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Blogging about WashPost OPED Editing: Inane or Insane?

August 1st, 2009 · 3 Comments

In Sunday’s Washington Post, yet another inane, deceptive, truthiness laden OPED appears on energy issues. Not satisfied with publishing George Will’s Will-ful Deceit, Krauthammer’s fact-free forays into energy analysis, Samuelson’s truthiness, and Sarah Palin’s paltry shallowness, and others, Kathleen Parker has stepped up to the plate for an attack on the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act (Waxman-Markey) that creates a strawman argument, ignoring core elements within the bill, to make a dishonest case that such legislation would weaken US security. Parker’s oped is, quite simply, inane, as it “lacks sense or substance” as long as one assumes that sense or substance should rely on fact and truth.

In A Crude Reality About Energy Independence, Parker asserts that ACES should be called the “American Clean Energy and InSecurity Act”, asserting that

The greener we are, the less secure we’re likely to be.

Meaning, we either can be green or we can be less dependent on oil from terrorist-sponsoring states.

Now, let’s be clear, we should listen, intently, to her because Kathleen has serious credentials since, according to her words,

As a Prius-driving, pro-seal, recycling, organic vegetarian, [Kathleen is] heavily tilted toward saving the planet.

Parker spends this article asserting that ACES does nothing about transportation (thus oil) and that, due to the carbon-intensity issues, ACES would drive greater US use of Saudi oil, rather than the greater security of getting oil from Canadian tar sands (and, one would think, oil shale).

Parker’s piece is filled with so many falsehood, on so many levels, that it is hard to figure out where to start. Matt Denorga eased the burden, with an extremely well done dissection that is entitled, simply and accurately, Kathleen Parker Dead Wrong. As Denorga highlights, Parker doesn’t even bother to mention that Global Warming, itself, creates what is likely the greatest national security threat the United States has faced since the English burned the White House (e.g., an existential threat: honestly, also faced probably from Nazi Germany and from Soviet ICBMs). Thus, her assertion that ACES is promotes “insecurity” totally discounts climate change’s security implications.

Parker asserts that ACES does nothing about transport, due to its focus on stationary sources,

Meanwhile, the transportation issues remain largely unaddressed. The extent to which oil and gasoline imports do decline in coming years wouldn’t be a function of the Waxman-Markey bill, but it will be thanks to initiatives begun by George W. Bush and implemented by Barack Obama, according to C. Boyden Gray, former ambassador to the European Union and pro-ethanol “green” Republican, who served under Bush 41 as special envoy for Eurasian energy.

One of those, the so-called CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) legislation, raised auto mileage standards by about 30 percent. Bush 43 also pushed through energy legislation in 2005 and 2007 that requires the blending of 36 billion gallons of biofuels in the transport sector — or about 20 percent of total liquid fuel consumption.

“These measures should significantly reduce oil imports,” says Gray. “But both CAFE and the biofuel legislation predate Waxman-Markey and would achieve much of the import-reduction security goals publicly associated with Waxman-Markey.”

That Parker is ignoring the reality that ACES has many provisions that relate to transportation (both directly and indirectly) evidently escaped those top-notch Post fact-checkers. That, for example, there will be carbon pricing associated with processing oil into gasoline will help drive ever more efficient processing. (Very roughly, about 1/5th the CO2 impact of the gasoline burned in your car is in the supply and processing change that got the gasoline to you.) But, more directly, ACES has provisions to help fund and otherwise promote electric vehicles, improved public transport, and other measures that will help drive down oil dependency.

While Matt does a great job in a discussion far more worth reading that Parker’s drivel, there are other elements of Parker’s truthiness that merit some attention. Being the good political operative she is, all hail George HW Bush and George W Bush for their thoughtful and perceptive leadership on energy issues.

Note that the CAFE standard improvements were “implemented by Barack Obama”, as if the leap forward in CAFE standards negotiated out of the Obama White House a few months should be created to George W Bush.

Sigh … How much time should we spend shredding apart yet another deceptive, truthiness-laden Washington Post Op-Ed on energy and climate issues?

As per the title, a question arises as to whether it is inane (”lacking sense”) to bother writing about falsehoods on energy and global warming issues that appear in the Washington Post opinion section. They just keep appearing, as opinion editor Fred Hiatt seems to relish his role providing a prominent publishing venue for those will-fully seeking to deceive Americans on the greatest threat (and opportunity) that this nation faces. As for hopes to sway Hiatt and the Post toward actually erquiring truth and truthfulness from their opinion writers, as Albert Einstein famously said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Tags: Energy · Washington Post · truthiness

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 gasburner // Aug 1, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Sometimes people feel safer when surrounded by a think cloud of pollutants.. you could say they like having a smoke screen

  • 2 Twitted by AndrewMontanajr // Aug 2, 2009 at 9:03 am

    [...] This post was Twitted by AndrewMontanajr [...]

  • 3 Washington Post washes its hands with passive voice re climate change confusion // Dec 22, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    [...] Could George Will’s flagrantly deceptive (and often simply false) opinion pieces about climate change be a contributing factor to confusion?  (Or course, Will is not the only regular Post columnist to deceive on energy / climate issues.) [...]

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