It is time to stop punching the hippies

The Republican line is this: Bring back coal, shut down development, subsidies, any encouragement at all, for solar and wind energy.

There is absolutely no logic to this policy, but it is in fact the policy. The reason for it is generally thought to be that the big rich corporations and individuals that control coal and petroleum resources, and that are fully engaged in delivery of those energy sources (and other materials, such as plastic bags made of petroleum) pay off the politicians to support their businesses. And that is true, they do this. But that does not explain why regular voters or grassroots “populist” supporters go along with it. Every other thing about how such folks think and act should turn them away from the big corporate donors. These grass-rooted populs should be putting up their own energy generators and cutting themselves off from the grid, telling Big Electricity to tread no more upon them. But they don’t do this. Rather, they go along with the Republican plan to repress the development of renewable independent energy production, which I like to refer to as the making of Freedom Volts, and this is entirely inexplicable.

In the broader context it makes sense, in the context in which the populs vote for the faux populist against their own interests. Voting for coal and against solar is voting against one’s own interests, by and large, even if you are a coal miner. But then, while we have explained the bone-headed approach to energy that most Republican voters embrace we’ve only explained one illogical process by saying that it looks and feels like a larger illogical process.

The reason the leaders and politicians that run the Republican party vote against the planet and in favor of the Koch Brothers is because the Koch Brothers and their ilk own them.

But, the reason the people who support those politicians, against their own interest, act like they do, is a matter of punching hippies. Some call it identity politics. That’s a fancy term, “identity politics.” Translation: “hippie punching.”

But recently, it seems like there is a move to stop punching the hippies quite so much. Consider the following quote, from a recent piece in Bloomberg News:

“Seventy five percent of Trump supporters like renewables and want to advance renewables. The conversation has changed. You have to have the right message. Talk about energy freedom and choice. The light bulb will go off.”

Those words were uttered by Tea Party organizer Debbie Dooley at a recent energy finance conference.

Indeed, we are seeing a pro-energy transition shift among the right wing generally. It is not at all clear that the current Republican White House, assuming they ever manage to do something that isn’t based on a night time drunken tweet storm by the leader of the free world, will go in one direction or the other on energy, climate change generally, or Paris in particular. Subsidies for renewable energy may be left alone. Promises to renew coal have already been broken. Paris may be kept intact.

(Make no mistake: Big oil owns the state department, science is fully under attack and research will be curtailed. These things are very real and very bad. But at the same time, there is strong evidence of waffling on just how much the Trump White House well end up hating on clean energy in the private sector.)

Congress is less uncertain. The Republicans in Congress are bigly owned by Big Energy and they will not change their stance at all. Or, more exactly, the only way the hoax huxters in the House and Senate are going to drop their love affair with coal and oil is if they are replaced.

I would predict a fight between Congress and the White House over this, but there won’t be. The Congress owns the White House and will own the White House until actual arrests are made. (Never wonder again why both the House and Senate investigations of the White House are stalled.) So there won’t be any real fighting, just a lot of counter productive and destructive confusion.

But long term, the hippie punching is becoming a thing of the past, with respect to energy.

Don’t worry, though, there are still plenty of reasons to punch the hippies. No one on the right wing need be worried that their favorite past time is going anywhere any time soon.

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57 thoughts on “It is time to stop punching the hippies

  1. My cynicism is higher than ever these days. I’d bet the Kochs are holding out until they figure they’ve squeezed the last nickel out of coal then they’ll buy up all the major solar / wind / renewables players and start all over. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was already happening in secret using shell companies that can’t be easily traced back to them.

  2. I am sure the Kochs are trying to “pump and dump” fossil fuel assets. They want someone else to take the loss on “stranded assets”.

  3. Remember, hippies don’t punch back.

    And when they do, everyone complains about those violent drug-addled hippies.

    ‘course, when some white dude goes randomly shooting up a school, it’s not the fault of WASPs or rightwingers, it’s just a single instance, a lone wolf…

  4. #2: When I was teaching geology I would encounter creationist students. At the time, I thought it was primarily a knowledge problem but experience and reading some educational theory and reading comments on internet blogs such as TalkOrigins and Pandasthumb soon disabused me of this notion. The article to for which you provided a link describes behavior and mindset very similar to that of many creationists. I suppose that the GOP is now their party of choice.

    This does not bode well at all for the future. Even if Trump & the GOP lead the country into complete and obvious disaster, the blame will probably be shifted onto some convenient scapegoat group while the actual perps will tell their followers how great they are while picking their pockets and destroying their future.

    Is that too cynical? I’m afraid that I’m not.

  5. #5 Cynical – not at all 🙂 I think you’re right on. The GOP have spent the last 5 decades, and often with the help of “Neville Chamberlains” in the Democratic Party, working to lower the ability of public schools to actually educated children (as opposed to indoctrinate.) Now having mostly accomplished that they have turned to making profits off of the system through charter schools, that for the most part it seems do an even worse job than the public schools.

  6. Nah, keep punching them. I saw at the March for Science, that supporting climate science means advocating for lots of other liberal causes. In what was called a victory for climate justice, Portland pulled investment in Caterpillar, for the crime of selling equipment to Israel. Maybe instead of punching hippies, we should buy some of those bulldozers and use it against the antifa that is violently attacking.

  7. Hyperbole, fear-mongering, and name-calling, the core of all liberal arguments.

    Look at what all the subsidies for renewables has got us, scandals and failure.

    Solyndra, anyone?
    Solar frickin roadways?

    If you want to pour your own money into these kinds of boondoggles, go right ahead. Leave the rest of us out of it.

    1. Vic: “Hyperbole, fear-mongering, and name-calling, the core of all liberal arguments.”

      That reminds me of another general principle, which, along with the Hippie Punching Assumption (HPA), explains a lot of right wing talk. Accuse your enemies with what you yourself do!

  8. #7: Are you sure about that bulldozer story? Doesn’t sound like a big liberal cause to me. A link to the story would be helpful. People have been known to slip bogus stories about lots of things into the media or remove the context to make it seem like something it isn’t. I know the American government has on more than a few occasions tried to influence Israel to go easy on certain activities such as building new settlements in territories where it particularly inflames bad feeling. If it happened, maybe it has something to do with that.

  9. Tyvor, the two major divestment causes right now are fossil fuels and Israel. Caterpillar was one of six companies in the vote, so likely one of the others was climate related. The city council just decided to stop investing in all companies.

  10. #5: I was an educator for a few decades and I agree that Republicans don’t seem eager to encourage teaching the kind of critical thinking skills based on evidence and logic. Skepticism of evolution, climate change, etc. on the basis of misinformation and religion is more their style of criticism. As one anti-critical thinking GOP politician said (I forgot which one): It undermines the authority of parents and the Church. (I wonder which church.)

    They are also leery of higher education, witness the defunding that has gone on in TX, LA, and other red states. They are much happier about vocational training. Less chance of picking up ideas that might get in the way of corporate plans to make some rich people much richer.

    From what I’ve read, charter schools don’t seem to be an improvement on public schools in general. They vary much like public schools do. In a way that’s good news. It shows that it’s not the schools that are the main reason for the mediocre to poor showing of American students. A lot depends on the home and the societal culture.

  11. #9: Interesting. I’ll have to add that to my “look-up” list. I guess if it was a city council decision, it’s part of their job to decide such things. Cheer up, though, there are probably a lot of cities in red states putting money into fossil fuels, Israel, bulldozers, etc. The present crop of SUVs & pickup trucks need lots of gas, without Israel, there apparently can’t be a Rapture, and a lot of bulldozers will be needed to build The Great Wall and dikes along the low-lying ocean coasts.

  12. Sounds like MikeN is straining to make climate science a left wing invention plus a common denominator of BDS and “liberal” political concerns — with insinuations of anti-semitism to follow as the thread progresses, no doubt.

    BDS is a tactic. In its broadest sense, it’s boycotting; something that’s available to left, right, and center.

    As usual there is so much that is so uninformed and confused about MikeN’s thinking that it’s hard to know where to begin. I will say this though: a lot of the progressives that he’s trying to tar with a broad brush aren’t hippies, and they do punch back.

  13. #8: Of course, you can put your money into anything you want. Public money is different. I noticed that your post included only one failed alt energy company. Are you under the erroneous impression that most businesses that are started succeed? The fact that there were many alt energy companies that received such government support, but only one made a big splash as a failure indicates to me that most of these companies did not fail. If they had, I’m sure Faux News would have hyped it.

  14. “Look at what all the subsidies for renewables has got us, scandals and failure.”

    Uh, what scandals? What failure??

    Solyndra? It succeeded and paid back the debt early. However, China were going ahead with their renewables, and the USA hate the idea of renewables (the government and mainstream power structure, anyway). So they lost out to China producing cheap.

    Just like 90% of other US businesses.

    Most of whom went under owing money, unlike Solyndra.

    Meanwhile, what has freemarket conservatism give us? Boom and bust cycles, failure on failure and a neverending stream of scandals…

  15. I think he’s insidiously trying to imply, in a dog whistle sort of way, that AGW is a plot to take over the world by fascist hippies and is at the root of all evil in the world.

  16. #16: I knew I should have looked up Solyndra instead of relying on memory. I was in a hurry. Glad you were able to remedy that mistake.

  17. Obtreperous Applesauce:

    I think [MikeN] is insidiously trying to imply, in a dog whistle sort of way, that AGW is a plot to take over the world by fascist hippies and is at the root of all evil in the world.

    Yeah, possibly the most significant victory for natural resource liquidators and investors following the 1970s was the successful linkage of earth science and political environmentalism, and of environmentalism and liberalism. It wasn’t always that way, but the rise of the tobacco public health risk denial industry in the 1990s made that kind of “communications” expertise available for hire on a broad market. The Republican Party was advised to adopt the false-linkage strategy no later than 2002, in the famous Frank Luntz memo to the Bush II political team.

  18. “Wikipedia says the loan program as a whole is in the black”

    They paid back early.

    “but lists the government recoups 27 million on a 500 million loan”

    Above the loan.

    “with more potentially to come from lawsuits.”

    So when is GM or the bank going to see a lawsuit? It’s a good example of how the power structure doesn’t want solar. It allows small generation, and that’s harder to monopolise and make the monopoly rent from.

  19. #22: I’m not sure that the two linkages you mention are entirely false. (1) It is hard to study geology in the broad sense and not be aware of the different ways in which pollution spreads, how slowly soil forms, how nearly impossible it is to clean up groundwater once it’s polluted, how earthquakes can be generated by liquids pumped or rapidly inflitrated into the ground, etc. (2) The Republican party, being for many decades the more supportive of big business of the two parties and now without any significant liberal membership has left the environmental field to the liberals. Maximizing corporate profits now seems to be the modern GOP’s position on environmental protection.

    The main problem as I see it is the success of the GOP in making liberal an insult even though much (most I’d say) of what is admirable about the country is a result of liberal ideals and programs. It certainly wasn’t due to conservatives that we have child labor laws, 8-hour workdays, federal protection of bank savings, Veteran’s benefits, Social Security, Medicare, and the protection of civil rights from Jim Crow laws etc.

  20. The Christian Conservatives never got over the fact that the hippies actually stood for the things that the Christian Conservatives claimed that they stood for.

  21. #25
    Bloody heck Walt Garage. Where did you get such a notion from? It happens to be very much correct, but rarely seen in print. Thankyou for articulating it.
    The hypocrisy has always been very palpable.

  22. #24

    It’s a question of understanding how segments of society function, interact and the reality of social cause and effect — and not making spurious correlations or superficial and poorly expressed observations.

    For instance a scientist may publicaly defend science if it’s under attack, that doesn’t mean that the science is in any way pollitical in that sense (I.e., that the methods used incorporate a political platform). People who talk about science and politics horribly botch this, whether intentionally on the one hand or naively on the other.

    Anything a good climate scientist says can and will be distorted and used against him/her. That is the rhetorical, Machiavellian reality of our political environment. Ignore it at your peril. Be very careful, clear, concise, and canny on this point.

    Think at least several moves ahead.

  23. “but lists the government recoups 27 million on a 500 million loan”

    Above the loan.

    That’s not what recoup means. If you’re right, the Wikipedia article needs editing to clarify.

  24. I think Mal has it exactly right by the way. In fact I don’t recall ever catching him in a misstep when it comes to metaliteracy.

    I see the linkages he’s talking about as referring to how the appearances of select associations are distorted in order to purposefully conflate them with corrupt underpinnings. The “reasoning” used always boils down to rhetorical manipulations and imputing guilt by association. Nothing more. Just slime. Hippy punching if you will. So keep your dukes up, Tinkerbell.

  25. “Parties should,when taking action to address climate change,
    respect,promote and consider their respective obligations

    on human rights,the right to health,the rights of indigenous peoples,local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity
    “,

  26. I hate to think I’m right, but I believe there is a good possibility that mikeN believes all the things he lists in #30 are bad things.

  27. Dirty hippies have been a convenient target for the American right for a full fifty years now after replacing the filthy Commies.

    Maybe there should be a commemorative stamp or coin to mark the handover to the snowflake SJWs or whatever the next great bete noire will be.

  28. #28, perhaps I read it wrong, but the Wikipedia article now looks different from what I described above, stating that government lost 500 million on Solyndra.

  29. Yeah, I guess you need to go to some place that has to, on pain of court appearance, to tell the truth. Solyndra or the government.

  30. OK Wow and MikeN enough with definitions.

    The entire loan program, of which Solyndra was a part, ended up making a little money. That’s net.

    The “expectation to recoup” refers to getting back some of the money from Solyndra in addition to that net.

    So, the overall program, of which Solyndra was a part, turned out to be a good deal because technology was developed and the government made a little money. What’s not to like about that?

    Solyndra did develop an interesting technology, but it is the nature of venture capital that this doesn’t guarantee a successful business will result. Note that they did win some lawsuits against dumping by competitors; had prices for other tech not plummeted, and some oversight had been applied, it might have turned out differently.

    It is also probably true that the people running things were playing fast and loose– apparently not quite illegal but they are hardly the only finance people to wreck things with overly clever maneuvers and hubris and puffery.

    By the way, wait until the bill comes due on the nuclear plant bankruptcy, which I guess is an OK waste of taxpayer money, even though it is not driving much innovation at all?

  31. Zebra, I was responding to comments about Solyndra, with Wow claiming it made money and Vic saying it was a failure.

    BBD,see #7, 14.

  32. As usual there is so much that is so uninformed and confused about MikeN’s thinking that it’s hard to know where to begin.

    That is certainly true, but it doesn’t address the question about #30.

    Portland’s leaders did vote to stop corporate investments. The earliest they say this could be completed is 2019/2020, but since state law requires them to re-evaluate investment policies each year there is nothing certain to be said about whether it will happen or be re-instated.

  33. MikeN

    BBD,see #7, 14.

    Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.

    Why is any of this bad? Why should you even care if these objectives – laudable as they are – get linked with climate change?

    So, back to the question again:

    Why is any of this bad?

  34. Your question was what was the point of comment #30, I replied that it was a followup to 7 and 14. It is from the Paris Accord.

  35. Keep punching why?

    You quoted this:

    Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.

    You want to keep punching… why?

    Why is any of this bad?

  36. >You want to keep punching… why?

    Greg Laden described reason to stop punching as:
    “But recently, it seems like there is a move to stop punching the hippies quite so much. Consider the following quote, from a recent piece in Bloomberg News:

    “Seventy five percent of Trump supporters like renewables and want to advance renewables. The conversation has changed.”

    Having climate science associated with liberal causes is a counterargument to the stop punching advocated by Trump supporters. Your response is to ask what is wrong with the liberal causes being attached, or at least the specific example I gave. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into detail of arguing against various liberal slogans.
    I will note that the Human Rights Council recently sent a letter to Trump saying that repeal of ObamaCare is a violation of treaties.

  37. MikeN : “Having climate science associated with liberal causes is a counterargument to the stop punching advocated by Trump supporters.”

    No, it’s not. All you’re stating is that you hate “liberals” and that you think your tribe should hate them too… because guilt by association… and because you say so?

    MikeN: “Your response is to ask what is wrong with the liberal causes being attached, or at least the specific example I gave. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into detail of arguing against various liberal slogans.”

    … because? All you care about is how good it feels when your knee is jerking? Because all you have is a bunch of rhetorical nonsense that you don’t happen to be able to think of at the moment?

  38. Id suggest protecting and observing the
    biosphere is a very conservative thing.
    Wanna be a liberal radical? Then piss in the swimming pool
    we all swim in.

  39. “Your question was what was the point of comment #30, ”

    Yes, what was the point?

    “It was a follow up” isn’t a point, since that still requires a “why?”, since it still says nothing about what the point of the quote was, it just passes the buck back to why was it “in” #7?

    It’s no different from “I posted it into a textbox called “Comment” that I entered the text into!”

    That you still don’t know what the hell you’re talking about is no surprise to anyone. The only mild surprise is you still think you can get away with a nonanswer.

  40. That was incoherent nonsense, MikeN.

    You sound embarrassed by your own reactionary nastiness, which is, I suppose, progress of a sort.

  41. “But long term, the hippie punching is becoming a thing of the past, with respect to energy.

    Don’t worry, though, there are still plenty of reasons to punch the hippies. No one on the right wing need be worried that their favorite past time is going anywhere any time soon.

    BBD, did you object to any of this, or ask why he thinks its OK to punch the hippies? You understood what he was saying and accepted it. Suddenly you ask me to defend it, when I am using the same assumption. Greg was arguing that the hippie-punching is delinking from energy, and I point out that they are still being linked.

  42. “BBD, did you object to any of this”

    Did you? Or do you find it 100% absolutely fine?

    Or are you now wondering why BBD didn’t “bite the lure” of your asinine posts, therefore ensuring that no matter the outcome you can preen yourself in bed-wetting imbecility that you’re “winning” whether some random post is replied to (so therefore trolled successfully) or not (therefore you can berate for “hypocrisy”)?

    But did YOU ask why he thought it fine to punch the hippies? You understood what he was saying AND TOOK IT LITERALLY, yet you only deigned to complain at SOMEONE ELSE.

    How cucklord of you.

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