How it Could Be

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expresses the messages behind an urgent video on climate change released Wednesday by The Intercept.

“Before we can win a Green New Deal, we need to be able to close our eyes and imagine it. We can be whatever we have the courage to see.”

The video, A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was produced by The Intercept‘s Naomi Klein. Narrated by AOC, the short film is presented as a look back to the present day from a future in which the Green New Deal passed Congress and reshaped America and the planet for the better.

The video features art from Molly Crabapple and was written by Ocasio-Cortez and Avi Lewis. It was co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt.

Check the video:

Mike Lee is a Crazy Person

The Onion is going to go out of business because it can’t make up anything more absurd than our current reality. We must, as a country, find and punish the interloping time-traveler who has plunged us all into the worst possible timeline.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on the Green New Deal resolution put forward by Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The measure went down 57-0, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell only brought it to the floor as a stunt for Republicans to mock it, because that’s just the kind of turtle he his. To protest, Democrats voted present en masse.

Even though 80 percent of Americans support most of the key measures in the Green New Deal, which calls for a massive public works investment in carbon-neutral infrastructure with the goal of net-zero emissions within 10 years, Republicans believe that they can poison it in the public debate.

No one demonstrated this more enthusiastically than Senator Mike Lee, who used his time on the floor to engage in a series of absurd prop-comedy stunts to attack the Green New Deal, delivering a bunch of lines sure to have Republicans splitting their sides.

Here are the five craziest moments in Lee’s totally bonkers speech:

  1. Gun-toting Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor.

Yeah, be brought memes, you know, because that’s what the youths like!

“This is, of course, a picture of former president Ronald Reagan,” said Lee, gesturing at his board. “Naturally, firing a machine gun, while riding on the back of a dinosaur. You’ll notice a couple of important features here. First of all, the rocket launcher strapped to President Reagan’s back. And then, the stirring, unmistakable patriotism of the velociraptor holding up a tattered American flag. A symbol of all it means to be an American.”

“This image has as much to do with overcoming communism in the 20th century, as the Green New Deal has to do with overcoming climate change,” Lee added.

This happened on the floor of the United States Senate in the year 2019.

  1. We’ll have to navigate Alaska using Tauntauns.

“The Green New Deal calls, essentially, for the elimination of airplanes,” said Lee. “How are we supposed to get around the vast expanses of, say Alaska during the winter? Well, I’ll tell you how. Tauntauns, Mr. President, it’s a beloved species of repto-mammals native to the ice planet of Hoth.”

“Not only are Tauntauns carbon-neutral, but according to a report a long time ago and issued far far away, they may even be fully recyclable and usable for their warmth, especially on a cold night,” he continued snidely.

No mention of course, of how bad they smell.

The Green New Deal does not eliminate airplanes. Lee is taking this from an FAQ sheet put out by AOC’s office that actually says the opposite: that the plan will require “net-zero” emissions rather than “zero” emissions because it does not anticipate eliminating airplanes, because they are pretty much unavoidably carbon emitters. As of now, this is not a practical possibility.

Lee was so busy ham-fisting a that Star Wars reference, that he didn’t bother to actually read the proposal he’s mocking with it.

  1. We’ll need Aquaman to help us get to Hawaii.

Oh, did you think that Lee was done mocking the straw-man argument of a world without airplanes?

Because he wasn’t!

“What about Hawaii?” he continued. “Isolated, 2,000 miles out in the Pacific Ocean … how are people there supposed to get to and from the mainland? And how are they supposed to maintain that significant portion of their economy that’s based on tourism? At that distance, swimming would of course be out of the question, and jet skis are notorious gas guzzlers. No, all residents of Hawaii would be left with is this. This is a picture of Aquaman, a superhero from the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, and notably here, a founding member of the Super Friends. I draw your attention, Mr. President, to the 20-foot impressive seahorse he’s riding. Under the Green New Deal, this is probably Hawaii’s best bet.”

Image result for mike lee senate floor

The honorable gentleman from Utah 

  1. The closest Utah has come to seeing climate change is Sharknado.

Lee went on to say that it is not that he doesn’t take climate change seriously. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “No Utahn needs to hear pious lectures about the gravity of climate change from politicians from other states. For it was only in 2016, as members of the SyFy network will well remember, when climate change hit home in Utah, when our own state was struck not simply by a tornado, Mr. President, but by a tornado with sharks in it. These images are from the indispensable documentary film, Sharknado 4.”

It’s like shitposting but in real-life. On the floor of the United States Senate! Because for some reason, Mike Lee thought that his constituents would be best served by tolling?

There are actually real climate change problems affecting Utah right now. The state’s winter precipitation has increasingly shifted from snow to rain, meaning flooding is increasing during the winter months, and because less of this water is entering aquifers, drier growing seasons in the summer.

All of this is making it harder for farmers in Utah.

If Lee wasn’t so busy making up graphics of Sharknado, that’s a problem his constituents might expect him to work on.

  1. The best way to fight climate change is to have more babies.

“The courage needed to solve climate change is nothing compared with the courage needed to start a family,” Lee said. “The true heroes of this story aren’t politicians, and they aren’t social media activists. They’re moms and dads, and the little boys and girls that they are, at this very moment, putting down for naps or helping with their homework, building treehouses or teaching them how to tie their shoes.”

“This is the real solution to climate change: babies,” Lee concluded. “The solution to so many of our problems at all times and in all places is to fall in love, get married, and have some kids.”

Fucking WHAT?

Lee’s remark doesn’t even make a little bit of sense. Having fewer children, not more, alleviates climate change. Not to mention, birthrates are in decline largely because Republicans have been unwilling to make investments in anything that makes having a child or parenting affordable, from the social safety net, health care, or education.

I doesn’t seem to have been read this way in the media at large, but this read to me like Mike Lee subtly trying to tell Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez to get a husband, pump out some kids, and shut up and get in the kitchen. Maybe that’s unfair, but who the hell can say what is going on in Lee’s head?

What is even happening? If someone tried to make this up, they would be laughed off the planet. But here is Mike Lee, Senator of Utah, thinking that he is nailing it with these pop-culture references and lazy, nonsensical arguments.

Did Lee not run this by anyone before he went on the floor of the Senate? Does he not have any friends of people on his staff who could say to him, “Dude, you’re going to look like a fucking clown if you go out there and do this”?

Stuff like this is what prompted me call this blog “Dispatches from the dumbest timeline.”

Image result for i award you no points gif

Don’t Eat Me Bro!

It is no secret that the right is obsessed with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and has dedicated an excessive amount of time and energy criticizing the freshman lawmaker in every way possible. But a Fox News contributor took that obsession to strange new heights Saturday, suggesting in an unhinged rant that the Green New Deal could lead to cannibalism.

Yes, really.

“AOC has completely lost her marbles. I think she’s living in bananaland,” National Review columnist Katherine Timpf said. “Earlier this week she called herself ‘the boss’ for coming up with the Green New Deal. How are you ‘the boss’ for coming up with a plan that doesn’t work? Like, are you sure that the Green New Deal’s not, like, what you’re putting in your pipe and smoking every day?”

Oooooh, sick burn!

Timpf (I can’t type that without laughing, I’m sorry) said she could come up with lots of plans that don’t work (probably the truest thing that she said): “How about we fly around on unicorns instead of airplanes? How about instead of gasoline we use fairy dust we get from Tinkerbell?”

She said all of this in jest (I think), but are her fantastical “plans” really any more preposterous than the Fox News/Republican “plan” of: “We don’t have to worry about Climate Change because Republican Jesus will take care of us?”

She then wonders whether AOC “wants us to do away with all modern technology” before going on to suggest that the deal would lead to turning back to the mid-1800s and “reliv[ing] the Donner Party.”

“I don’t want to eat people, Greg, and I don’t want people to eat me,” Timpf said. “AOC, do you want people to eat you?” She said that right after suggesting that the Green New Deal would also force her to “only eat lettuce and carrots like some kind of little fucking bunny.”

Again, they can’t even bother to keep their attacks consistent. Is it a wonder that none of them manage to resonate with anyone who doesn’t already hate AOC?

Timpf’s rant was guided by a piece she wrote earlier in the week in which she said the freshman lawmaker was “ridiculous” while characterizing the plan as pointless because it has no chance of working. “Would the world be a better place if the United States eliminated all carbon emissions? Of course it would—just like it would be better if we all got free Lamborghinis,” Timpf wrote. “The truth, however, is that being a notable leader requires a lot more than just fantasizing about pie-in-the-sky proposals that have no real future.”

Polls have shown that up to 80% of Americans have a favorable view of the Green New Deal. So it seems that pie is actually right there on the table, we just have to go get it.

AOC took to Twitter Saturday to defend herself from similar accusations that she’s a hypocrite for using the comforts of modern day life. “I also fly [planes] & use A/C. Living in the world as it is isn’t an argument against working towards a better future. The Green New Deal is about putting a LOT of people to work in developing new technologies, building new infrastructure, and getting us to 100% renewable energy.”

Don’t Call Him a Denier!

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that William Happer, a retired Princeton physics professor with no expertise in climatology, will lead a panel called the Presidential Committee on Climate Security.

Happer, unsurprisingly, is a climate change denier with a history of “controversial” comments. He has claimed rising carbon dioxide levels not only aren’t harmful, but also are actually beneficial (they are not). Happer even compared carbon dioxide to Jews in Nazi Germany.

Sorry, what?

“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” Happer said on Squawk Box on CNBC in 2014. He added: “Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”

What is he, CO2’s PR agent?

Happer, who is on Donald Trump’s National Security Council for some reason, has a history of dropping Nazi references.

Shocking.

In a 2017 interview with ProPublica, Happer said the word “denier,” which is applied to people such as himself who, wait for it, deny the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, was “carefully chosen to make me look like a Nazi sympathizer.” Um, no. It was chosen to make him look like someone who denies the scientific consensus on a subject he has no expertise in.

In 2009, he called climate science a “cult” and said that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant (not really the issue). Then he dropped another Nazi comparison to those who accept that the overwhelming majority of scientists in relevant fields think climate change is a thing and we should be concerned about it:

“This is George Orwell. This is ‘The Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth,’” he said. “It’s that kind of propaganda.”

In an another interview with The Best Schools, he managed to name-check the Salem witch trials, the French revolution, the Soviet purge, and the Nazis in defense of climate change deniers such as himself.

Methinks the lady doth protest too much. It’s almost like Happer is super defensive about his obviously ludicrous public position on climate change and feels like he has to go to 11 to demonize those who correctly criticize him for it. Where have we seen that before?

Happer’s new panel will determine whether climate change is a national security threat, the Post reported.

I wonder what conclusion they’ll come to?

The Pentagon has already issued a major report detailing that climate change is a significant national security threat.

Another One Bites The Dust

Last month was the warmest October ever recorded and the sixth straight month to set record temperatures. It also was the first month to surpass the average temperature by more than 1 degree Celsius, according to new NASA data revealed Tuesday.

October was 1.04 degrees Celsius (1.87 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the base period of 1951 to 1980 used as a reference to measure the long-term average. That marks the greatest departure from a month’s average heat since weather record-keeping began in 1880, beating January 2007 as the most anomalous month by 0.07 degrees Celsius.

Surpassing the 1-degree mark is significant because it puts the Earth halfway to the internationally accepted limit for avoiding the worst consequences of climate change such as drought, mass migration and superstorms. Putting a stop to climate change before it reaches the 2-degree milestone is the main goal of the Paris Climate Summit beginning Nov. 3.

October’s heat comes in a banner year of record-breaking weather events. July was the hottest month ever recorded. In the United States this year, Florida recorded its hottest March to May.California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington all logged their hottest Junes.

The shockingly high temperatures in October all but guarantees that 2015 will be the world’s hottest year ever recorded, beating the record set in…2014.