The true Tory colours come out


12:19 pm - September 3rd 2008

by Rupert Read    


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Around the blogosphere and in the press, a number of British right-wing commentators (notably Peter Hitchens and Iain Dale) have already come out in support of McCain’s VP pick Sarah Palin.

It is good to see these Tories lining up in support of her. It makes pretty clear just how skin-deep the Cameron ‘revolution’ has been.

Let’s remind ourselves of some of what Palin stands for:

* Palin opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest. She believes, that is to say, in (for example) the right of a father who rapes his under-age daughter legally to ensure that his daughter bears his grandchild. Yes: Palin believes that rapists and incestuous predators have the right to see their babies sired, as long as they succeed in forcing conception. (Her 17 year-old unmarried daughter Bristol is pregnant); Palin would insist on the law forcing Bristol to take the baby to term, whoever its father was, whatever the circumstances of the conception.)

* Palin doesn’t believe in evolution, and thinks creationism should be taught in state schools.

* She’s doesn’t think humans are the cause of the climate chaos that is currently melting the Arctic to an unprecedented degree and that has just given New Orleans another narrow escape (such that the Republicans have had in effect to delay the start of their Convention). One would be grateful for such an act of God, were it not for the fact that Gustav is more an act of man.

* She’s solidly in line with John McCain’s “Big Oil first” energy policy: She’s pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won’t be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species – she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.

It’s good to know that many of Britain’s Tories are happy signing up to support such a person: it’s good to know where they stand.

It is also extraordinary to see the depths to which McCain has gone in his personal sell-out to buy the active support of the ‘conservative’ movement in the United States. He has placed a heartbeat away from his potential Presidency a paleo-con who disagrees with him on fundamentals (McCain himself has no sympathy with any of the first three of the four points asterisked above; for instance, he claims to be absolutely serious about stopping global over-heat — …and yet he is willing to put a climate-denier in the White House!).

This is how Obama can win: if he stops selling out, and is truer for the remainder of the campaign to his progressive instincts.

McCain should increasingly come over as the desperately-opportunistic phony that the Palin choice once again proves that he really is.

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About the author
This is a guest post. Rupert Read is a Green Party councillor and ran as a MEP candidate in Eastern region in 2009. He blogs at Rupert's Read and Comment is free
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Environment ,Equality ,Feminism ,Foreign affairs ,United States

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Reader comments


In other news, the wind blows and bears shit in the woods 🙂

3. John Meredith

This anti-Palin stuff strikes me as a bit ersatz in its levels of indignation. Like many people on both the left and the right, she is anti-abortion. This is even less newsworthy for US politicians. That she is anti-abortion on principle so that she does not think the circumstances of the conception are significant makes her hardline but no more culpable than if she were more pragmatically anti-abortion, it seems to me.

On the other points, well these are not left/ right issues either, are they? You can reasonably disagree with the theoy of AGW and we can be pretty sure that GW, A or not, had nothing to do with either Katrina or Gustav (hurricane activity has dipped, not increased in recent times). Drilling for more oil when there is an oil shortage may be the wrong policy but it isn’t exactly the sign of mad, rightwing derangement. Even not liking polar bears all that much is within the acceptable range of human traits, I reckon.

Can we collectively keep our hair on?

This is to look at the world through Dick Cheney coloured glasses. The degree of executive power wielded by the incumbent VP is highly unusual. Most VP’s are marginal figures brought in to pander to some demographic where the candidate thinks he is weak.

John McCain feels his appeal on the Conservative right is not what it might be – ergo he chooses a running mate from that area – he would be pretty daft to do anything else. However, as you correctly point out, McCain’s views are very different from those of the conservative right. So he picks the least threatening candidate from that strand of thought. A woman with so little experience and support in Washington that she will struggle to have an effect on anything at all.

True, she will be “a heartbeat away from the presidency” and McCain is pretty old but, I think McCain may be forgiven for seeing his own potential death as a relatively minor risk here. As to being the obvious Republican candidate when McCain steps aside after either four or eight years – well, that danger too could be overplayed.

Of the last three Vice Presidents, Dan Quayle never got to run, Al Gore lost out and Dick Cheney stepped down. The last VP to make it to the Oval Office was Bush Senior whose presidency formed a seamless continuation of Reagan’s. And there’s the thing – if America wants another Republican president after McCain it will almost certainly want more of the same – meaning McCain’s views not Palin’s. Any attempt to lurch right would land her with the same change/continuity dilemma faced by Gordon Brown. The notion that this very junior figure could spend the years of her vice presidency in open disagreement with John McCain and then undo all his bipartisan good work when he is done is simply fanciful.

Finally, a gold star for anyone who can point out the distinctive contribution to American policy made by any recent VP bar Cheney (Who is the polar opposite of Palin inasmuch as he had vastly more Washington experience than Bush Jnr). Gold star with oak leaves if the VP in question is Quayle

Even not liking polar bears all that much is within the acceptable range of human traits, I reckon.

Then you’re clearly some kind of monster 😉

Mr. Meredith is mistaken. Admittedly, the mistake is still fairly widespread:
In “Republican convention thrown into chaos [by Hurricane Gustav]” (Sept. 1, p.7), a _Guardian_ correspondent wrote “It is the first time in living memory that a Republican or Democratic convention has been disrupted by a natural disaster.” Shurely shome mishtake: This awesomely bad hurricane season is no natural disaster. As peer-reviewed articles in SCIENCE and NATURE in recent years have set out, it is almost certain that the increased number of hurricanes and their increased intensity (over the last decade or so) is the direct result of manmade climate change. In other words: in part, of the very policies that successive Democratic and Republican Presidents have supported…
[See also http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2008/09/new-orleans-not-out-of-woods-sic-yet.html ]
p.s. Presumably Mr. Meredith also doesn’t believe that smoking definitely causes cancer…?

Finally, a gold star for anyone who can point out the distinctive contribution to American policy made by any recent VP bar Cheney

Yes, but the precedent has been set, hasn’t it. And what if McCain keels over in a year’s time buddy? Do you want this woman in charge?

Uhhh – Rupert: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2005/2005-09-16-04.asp

‘But whether all of this is due to human-induced global warming is still uncertain, said Webster. “We need a longer data record of hurricane statistics, and we need to understand more about the role hurricanes play in regulating the heat balance and circulation in the atmosphere and oceans.”‘

BTW, peer reviewed does not mean “true”, it means peer reviewed. We have faced off enough political ideologies that drew on current bodies of scientific evidence in the 20th century to fall for another one now.

Peter Hitchens is not a Tory.

10. John Meredith

“As peer-reviewed articles in SCIENCE and NATURE in recent years have set out, it is almost certain that the increased number of hurricanes and their increased intensity (over the last decade or so) is the direct result of manmade climate change.”

No it isn’t. I refer you to the findings of the 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones of the World Meteorological Organization in San Jose, Costa Rica, 2006. They came out with the following statements:

Consensus Statements by International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones-VI (IWTC-VI) Participants :
-T hough there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point

– No individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change.

-The recent increase in societal impact from tropical cyclones has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions.

-Tropical cyclone wind-speed monitoring has changed dramatically over the last few decades, leading to difficulties in determining accurate trends.

-There is an observed multi-decadal variability of tropical cyclones in some regions whose causes, whether natural, anthropogenic or a combination, are currently being debated. This variability makes detecting any long-term trends in tropical cyclone activity difficult.

-It is likely that some increase in tropical cyclone peak wind-speed and rainfall will occur if the climate continues to warm. Model studies and theory project a 3-5% increase in wind-speed per degree Celsius increase of tropical sea surface temperatures.

-There is an inconsistency between the small changes in wind-speed projected by theory and modeling versus large changes reported by some observational studies.

-Although recent climate model simulations project a decrease or no change in global tropical cyclone numbers in a warmer climate, there is low confidence in this projection. In addition, it is unknown how tropical cyclone tracks or areas of impact will change in the future.

– Large regional variations exist in methods used to monitor tropical cyclones. Also, most regions have no measurements by instrumented aircraft. These significant limitations will continue to make detection of trends difficult.

-If the projected rise in sea level due to global warming occurs, then the vulnerability to tropical cyclone storm surge flooding would increase.

You can read the rest here:

http://www.wmo.ch/pages/prog/arep/tmrp/documents/iwtc_statement.pdf

As you can see, the experts agree that it is too complicted to tell what effect if any AGW would have on hurricane activity but the best guess is that it might increase peak wind speeds but not that it would increase numbers of storms. In other words, you can blame Katrina and Gustav on Bush and the ‘deniers’ but the scientists don’t.

Oh, and I accept the link between smoking and cancer, but not just because some berk shouted at me on the internet. I checked it out for myself.

John; I am not suggesting that you should accept the link between ghg concentrations and dangerous climate change because I said (shouted???) it on the internet (n.b. I don’t think it is very nice to call me a berk, which you seem to have done, above), but because climate scientists without any serious exceptions accept it.
The evidence on the link between hurricanes and ghg concentrations is not as tight, but it is now fairly strong (It wasn’t, as of 5 years ago or even 3 years ago). My reading of the science as published in the top journals is that there is now strong evidence that the severity of storms/hurricanes has already increased, and reasonably strong evidence (though more debateable) that the number of hurricanes (though not necessarily the number of storms) has already increased.
As some of the quotation that you give evidences (in typically (over-?)cautious scientific language), it is virtually commonsense that the severity of storms and hurricanes increases as the world warms — there is simply more energy in the weather system. (And this means that there will be more hurricanes — because more storms will pass the threshold for being hurricanes).
There is also a precautionary principle point to be made here: even if what I was saying was merely fairly probable, as opposed to very probable or near-certain, then the potential negative consequences are so bad that we should act strongly against it / to forestall it. I worry very much that your counsel, and that of Nick, and that of the Republicans, and certainly that of Dale and Palin, will make us instead too slow to react, too complacent. Given the long-feedbacks that are in play here, there is no time for such slowness.
And this is why James Hansen warns that scientific caution (and lingustic caution) itself may be risking our civilisational future.

12. John Meredith

“My reading of the science as published in the top journals is that there is now strong evidence that the severity of storms/hurricanes has already increased, and reasonably strong evidence (though more debateable) that the number of hurricanes (though not necessarily the number of storms) has already increased.”

Well, we will all have different readings, but the most authorititative group of scientists on this matter warned in 2006 that the apparatus simply does not exist to get the quality of data needed to decide this matter, leaving aside the immense complexities involved in reading trends including multi-decadel cycles. How anyone can think they know the answer, therefore, baffles me. This is one where ‘consenus’ is evidently out of the wondow.

As to ‘precuationary principles’ I think they lead by the nose into nonsene. Given the human propensity to cock everything up, I tend to think the best precaution is not to do anything. But if you think something needs to be done, good luck to you. I am sure the Chinese government will listen with interest.

The point about Palin is not about her personally, but that she represents the heart and soul of the Conservative movement, both in America and here in the UK. Which is basically small minded, anti science, pro religion, simpleton hicks. This is a quote from a Republican representative from Alaska at yesterdays conference,……..

”One delegate, Grace Van Diest, told me she is so fervent about abstinence education that her three daughters are only allowed to go on dates with their father, who lectures them on chastity and makes them wear “purity rings” to remind them of their vows to not have sex until marriage.”

These people are nuts. And it is very interesting watching the Tory propaganda machine singing this woman’s praises. As has been said this is the real Tory party showing it’s true colours.

Agreed, this woman is vile and its heartening to see the our own Conservatives support her. Correction though – “McCain himself has no sympathy with any of the first three of the four points asterisked above” – not true, McCain is fiercely anti-abortion himself.

Even better than the above though is that stuff in the Guardian today about her suporting that Alaskan breakway party.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/03/uselections2008.republicans20088

Having her as vice president would be similar to Umberto Bossi’s position of power in Italy a senior figure in the government of a country they don’t even want to exist!

George V

“McCain’s views are very different from those of the conservative right. So he picks the least threatening candidate from that strand of thought. “

I can’t tell you how wrong you are. First, McCain’s so called Maverick position is a fairytale. It is an invention of the American corporate media who have been spinning this yarn for 20 years that McCain is a maverick. A better definition is that McCain has absolutely no principles at all. He says one thing today, and will change it again tomorrow. He will come out against a said policy, but then vote for it later on.

Torture is a good example of McCain’s duplicity. He said he was against the US using torture, but when it came to the vote, he voted for torture. He claims he is against lobbyists, yet his campaign is full of lobbyists. He used to say the fundamental Christian right in America was divisive, but now he bows his knee, and campaigns with some very nasty pieces of work in the religious world.

All of McCains so called maverick positions have been slowly dumped as he embraces virtually everything Bush/Cheney have done. If you want an idea of how unprincipled this man is, consider this. In 2000 when he ran against Bush, The Bush campaign ridiculed his military service, they said he was unhinged, they ridiculed his wife’s breast cancer, and they put out story’s that he had a black baby. McCain has hired these very people to run his campaign 8 years later.

McCain is not a maverick, he is even worse than Bush. One day after 9/11 he was calling for attacks on Iraq. He wants to bomb Iran, he wants to bomb Russia, this is not a moderate.

Hmm… Palin has not pushed creation science as governor – http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gV5jvU52RD3WBflzbmSu5l6zwOqAD92V3VQG0

“When asked during a televised debate in 2006 about evolution and creationism, Palin said, according to the Anchorage Daily News: “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.””
In other words: Palin thinks creationism should be taught in state schools. Just as I said in my post.
This is a preposterous idea for anyone who cares at all about producing a scientifically-literate population.
(Or while we are at it, why don’t we teach kids the Giant Pumpkin, too?)
So she hasn’t pushed it yet, in Alaska. Great. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that she doesn’t push it if and when McCain keels over and she is the Pres.?

Forgive me for going a bit off-topic, Rupert, but I’m genuinely curious about something. I can perfectly understand if you prefer the US Green Party’s policies over the Democratic Party platform, but would you honestly rather see Cynthia McKinney as President than Barack Obama?

Iain Dale is looking a little too keen on provoking a culture war by the look of his Palin love fest.

In fairness a lot of his stuff seems to just be a direct reaction to the amount of bile being thrown Palin’s way from the liberals/lefties in this country.

Rednecks (American & British) must be in a constant state of hysterical ejaculation since her appointment. US flag bikini and wielding an assault rifle. What else could a redneck possibly want? A pint of beer perhaps?

Good to see Ian Dale has no problem with throwing his lot in with a creationist nut job. Did he ever work for Norman Tebbit by any chance? How about Andrea Minichiello Williams?

Rupert – “it is virtually commonsense that the severity of storms and hurricanes increases as the world warms — there is simply more energy in the weather system.”

Common sense would seem therefore to be lagging well behind good sense.

In general weather events depend on localised energy variability, whereas climate depends on total energy volumes in the atmosphere and hydrosphere.

One of the biggest threats of a warming cycle in climate change is that it may reduce variability (depending on how it is distributed) by equalising energy differentials across the globe (such as by reducing the volume and impact of cooling arctic meltwater on the atlantic conveyor system). Not only could this lead to reduced numbers of lesser ‘events’, but the consequence of ocean acidification has knock-on effects on sea life, with the production of oxygen from phyto-plankton, for example.

The environmental hysteria is only heightened by the amount of knowledge we do not have, but it should be tempered by reason and the numerous feedback mechanisms which constitute and comprise climate – the ever-changing climate can be seen as a response to ever-changing atmospheric inputs and we should therefore be prepared to act with caution about how it will effect us.

The changing climate is an overly-simplistic excuse to change our voting behaviour, whatever the self-interested politicians of the reactionary movements might tell us – it is however a reason to pressure all our politicians to adjust their policy formulation models.

Iain Dale is looking a little too keen on provoking a culture war by the look of his Palin love fest.

Bring it.

This is amusing in a rather nauseating way. It’s from the Republican presenter Hugh Hewitt:

The outpouring of supportive, favorable and emotional e-mails continues and I will again limit today’s callers to women who are moved by Governor Palin’s nomination.

Ick.

25. David Boycott

Linking a particular hurricane to manmade global warming undermines the credibility of your post. We lack any strong evidence that global warming is associated with a general increase in extreme weather events. To link it to a specific extreme event is clearly absurd.

Yes! Though to be honest this really calls into question McCain’s judgement. I was stunned when listening on Bloggingheads and a Republican activist said that he didn’t know what Palin’s foreign policy views were- he said he’d asked Norm Coleman, a Republican Senator, who also didn’t know. Given that the President’s most important powers, ie where they can do something, lie in foreign policy- it strikes me as odd to nominate someone who has none!

Horse Race Blog argues that McCain picked her because she is risky. He is a Republican, running in a year in which the Republicans are sure to get hammered. He is rolling the dice because if he does not, he will lose anyway.

Which is a sensible decision, from his point of view.

Lee Griffin “In fairness a lot of his stuff seems to just be a direct reaction to the amount of bile being thrown Palin’s way from the liberals/lefties in this country.”

Oh look, there’s a surprise. Lee Griffin on a Liberal site attacking liberals ,and defending Conservatives. Lee the troll doing what he does best.

Sally, this isn’t a ‘liberal’ site, this is a ‘liberal-left’ site, hence the perfectly credible attacks on parts of the left as conservative. It is an interesting if combustible mix, but Lee certainly isn’t trolling any more than you’re arrogating complacency.

Lee is a troll. He belives in nothing at all. Accept the sound of his own voice.

“Iain Dale is looking a little too keen on provoking a culture war by the look of his Palin love fest.”

Ian Dale is a typical Tory hypocrite. On the one hand he would love to start up the culture wars. Then on the other he is starting up his new magazine promoting all the good things in politics. Where he wants left and right to come together in some fantasy land . Labour Mps should have nothing to do with this chancer.

Just thought I’d bring word of the (almost predictable) division within Republican ranks over Palin’s ridiculous appointment as VP candidate:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/03/peggy-noonan-mike-murphy_n_123647.html

Obama and Biden still need to work to not only bring out but expand the Democratic base so that they have a true mandate for change, but in the meantime the media is tearing Palin apart – meaning the Dems don’t have to get their hands dirty doing that job. Obama, ever the statesman, has rightly suggested the press lay off Palin’s children; and it seems they got the hint, and are not laying into her “record” and her bizarre past, littered with examples of how she is absolutely unfit for governing!

I’d also like to draw attention to the new Obama-Biden campaign unofficial think tank, a website called Oh Boy Obama, that acts as a portal for anyone to contribute ideas to the campaign, another example of how the Dems are transforming American politics into a grassroots, netroots opportunity for all to participate in:

http://www.ohboyobama.com/

Obviously my comments to Sarah in the past hit a long standing nerve 😉 For the record I wasn’t attacking anyone, just saying there is no smoke without fire…very rarely is in blog-land.

Sally, the left and right are full of hypocrites, get over it already, or you’ll turn yourself into one. It’s foolish to assume critics are more nihilistic than sceptic – Lee is just your bad conscience.

In answer to Neil’s question: yes, absolutely, I’d much prefer McKinney as Pres. to Obama!! Watch McKinney speak, and listen to what she says. She has policies and conviction that could really change our world for the better. Not just tinkering and good rhetoric, which is increasingly the impression I get from Obama (I hope I’m wrong.).
Thomas’s would-be-snooty and superior-sounding comment is not one I welcome: Anyone who claims that we are suffering from ‘environmental hysteria’ is really deeply out of touch with reality. Thomas and his ilk don’t understand the difference between alarmism and SOUNDING THE ALARM. Yes, like Hansen, I’m sounding the alarm. Because we have 100 months or so left before this world gets locked into a pattern of ever-rising ‘natural’ (sic.) disasters, rising sea-levels, etc.
The rest of the discussion here seems to me on track: it is right for us and the media to draw attention to the unsavoury immoral central planks of Palinism: the extreme paleo-con ideology that gives rapists more rights than teenage prgnant women, that denies the existence of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction (manmade climate change), that threatens to make that climate change even worse by yet more frantic mining of fossil fuels, that thumbs its nose at the science of climate and at the science of biology…

99 months and you mean “could”: http://onehundredmonths.org/

Great marketing though! Liberals should borrow this idea and set an arbitrary time limit beyond which the powers the state holds over the people COULD have reached a tipping point, beyond which they cannot then be rolled back.


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