I don’t oppose the filibuster. I just oppose the bastardized version our Congress is using these days. The difference? The filibuster USED to be an exercise in stamina. If a person (or group) wanted to filibuster some bill or another, they had to physically control the floor of Congress for as long as possible. No, not like the conservative morons of January 6th. You had to talk and refuse to yield the floor. It was a Hail-Mary kind of play. IF you could pull it off, you MIGHT win your point. But somewhere along the way, the filibuster rules changed. Now, any Congress critter can simply declare an issue “filibustered” and it’s TREATED as though the process was carried out successfully. It’s not the same and it has created a situation in which the tyranny of the minority rules the day. There are many pieces of legislation out there awaiting disposition but under the right conditions any of them – all of them – can be blocked by ONE person declaring “filibuster” – and it’s what they do. I would prefer to see a person have to go through the process rather than simply declaring they might…
I watched Bill Maher and his panel from the February 26 episode of ‘Real Time’ discuss the power supply failures in California and Texas. This particular show’s panel was made up of two Democrats, Senator Jon Tester (D – Montana) and Ezra Klein. They focused mightily on how government regulation has interfered and caused problems. Not one mention – not one – of the fact that in both states, the power companies are privately owned and operated under the supposedly watchful eyes of corrupted “oversight” boards. In California, the corrupted oversight board is the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and in Texas it’s the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
Every time private corporation PG&E sets California on fire with some neglected piece of equipment or some cost-saving maintenance failure, the resulting damage is NOT because of too much government regulation. It’s because there’s not enough. Texans who suffered, perhaps died, in this most recent cold snap did so specifically BECAUSE Texas didn’t want regulations. “Leave it to the free market,” they said. Compliance with regulations would have required them to winterize their equipment. Sure, that would have saved lives and prevented all of that suffering but it would have cost the power companies some small portion of their precious lucre. Can’t have that.
It’s disappointing to me that even on a panel comprised only of left-leaning people, they STILL couldn’t manage to point the finger of responsibility where the responsibility belongs: corporate boardrooms. The only failure of government I can see was the failure to seize the power companies and run them in accordance with regulations and without consideration of what the stock price is doing. I’m old enough to remember when the wind could blow in California and not even affect PG&E equipment. Of course, that was before “deregulation…”
Maher is currently irritated that he’s been trying to get solar panels installed on his house for something like 1,200 days and can’t seem to find a route through governmental rules and regulations and so can’t get the panels installed. To borrow a bit from Bill, I can’t prove this, I just know it’s true. I’d bet the governmental regulatory morass interfering with his transition to solar is no accident. My guess is, if you followed the history of those particular restrictions, you’d find vested parties behind every one of them. In this case “vested parties” refers to the fossil fuel industry.
Imagine if you ran a horse-drawn wagon building company in the late 19th century, understood what this newfangled “automobile” was going to do to your industry, and had the ability to block the arrival of cars for 50 years. The numbers vary but the first successful car was built in around 1885. They were not great. The first successful cross-country trip in a car happened in 1903, eighteen years later. Using the same scale, had our hypothetical wagon builder been able to forestall the introduction of the automobile for 50 years, the first cross-country trip wouldn’t have happened until 1953! But it would have happened. Once invented, cars were inevitable – because they’re better.
The same is true of renewables. They’re coming. They’re inevitable because they’re better. Decentralized power will eliminate many of the problems we just accept from the centralized grids of today and I’d rather suffer a solar “spill” than an oil spill any day. But a very small portion of our society will lose their golden goose. Without the ability to manipulate a market people can’t refuse, some of these business “jeniuses,” as they like to present themselves, might have to get real jobs. So, they stall. It’s what they do.
Science has been warning about Climate Change for a long time. The first climate warnings were sounded in 1938! Push-back in the form of disinformation from the fossil fuel industry has left them in control ever since. 83 years! In fairness, practical alternatives have not existed throughout that entire time. Once they started being pursued more aggressively, they took a bit of time to develop the technology to a useful degree. No new technology springs forth fully developed. But they’re here now. They’re commercially viable, ready for use, and better…
I hear Donnie Dumbass is giving a speech at CPAC today. CPAC is a conservative convention. I believe the acronym stands for ‘Crappy People Acting Crappily’ but you shouldn’t quote me on that. The dumbass is widely expected to announce that he’s the presumptive front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2024. I don’t know. It looks to me like he’s going to spend more time running from the law than running for the White House. (Hope springs eternal, I guess…) I read a bit by Robert Reich in which he points out that the dumbass “only” has a steady 38 percent approval rating. But 38 percent of the registered voters in this once-great nation (roughly 239,000,000) is still 93 million people. That’s quite an army. Especially with the Republicans doing everything in their power to suppress votes.
Conservative Christian’s current golden idol…
Made in Mexico!
I hear still-sane Republicans wondering aloud how they can free the GOP from the clutches of trumpery. I know the answer, if only generally: find an even crappier person! For whatever reason, the deplorables have taken to finding the very worst examples of humanity and throwing in with them. They first latched on to George W. Bush, aka, “43” – an under-developed human being if ever there was one. When they couldn’t have him anymore, they found an even worse person, Donald Trump. I don’t know how the trumpsters are going to find anyone worse than the Donald – but I have faith they will. It’s what they do…