And it's only Wednesday
In a week that has seen the escalating Tiger Woods side show threatening to derail not only debate on Health Care and an escalating war in Afghanistan, but also now the rather stunning developments at the climate conference in Copenhagen, and a week in which President Obama is set to collect a Nobel Peace Prize for doing basically nothing other than not being George W. Bush, and a week in which President Bush, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and Bill O'Reily are all still out there doing their things, the award for biggest asshole of the week has been determined and, and it is still only Wednesday.
No, make that asshole of the year. The year is almost over and I doubt we are going to find that Sadaam Hussein or Roy Cohn are still alive.
The prestigious Asshole of the Year award goes to none other than Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington Think Tank, for his response to Tuvala's demand at the Copenhagen conference that industrial and developing nations be required to cut green house emissions more than is being discussed.
According to an article in the AP, Low lying Tuvalu, which is already seeing its nation literally being swept away, defiantly, and fruitlessly, declared that stopping global warming was a moral imperative. They were seconded by several other island nations including Kiribati, which is already seeing its wells turn brackish and is losing land and roads to high tides every two weeks. They are hoping to evacuate all of their citizens to three of their larger islands, IF the developed world helps to pay for building those islands up. These are nations, entire nations, that are disappearing off the face of the earth (so far the only plan most people seem to be able to get behind is one where the mass of foreseeable environmental refugees immigrate to Australia). The island nations, seeing their homelands being literally washed off the face of the earth are begging, pleading, and demanding--with the nobility that can only come from pursuing survival in a righteous but hopeless gesture of defiance--that the industrial nations agree to a global warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Setting aside for a moment the fact that man-made global warming is not the only kind, and that a greater rise is already probably inevitable, this was a bold statement. The island nations have set themselves up as the true face of global warming, the people who if nothing is done will be left truly nation-less, a new Diaspora for which China, India, Europe, the United States, and Saudi Arabia are primarily responsible. Like the Palestinians today and the Hebrews ov the last two thousand years, they will be perpetual refugees, outcast with no place left to go home to.
And so what does Fred Smith have to say to all of this? Simply that curbs on fossil fuels would be too economically damaging, and that the real answer is "Wealth Creation." If the island nations become richer, in his twisted little world, then they can build sea-walls to protect themselves from rising sea levels (something that will have to be done here in Lower New Amsterdam, and is already done in Old Amsterdam). His answer is supply side, trickle down economics.
That's right: Fred Smith's answer to global warming is the same de-regulation, Ayn Rand inspired, Voo Doo economics that helped cause the problem in the first place, that is responsible for last year's Global economic melt down, and that has been completely discredited over the last fifteen months. Reaganomics. It's like a broken record with these people. Let me tell you, just as all of President Bush's de-regulation and supply side voo doo did nothing to lift the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans out of poverty, so to it will do nothing to lift Tuvalu or Kiribati or any of the other island states. The money won't trickle down that far. It never does. In fact, more often than not it trickles up. Just as the rich got richer and poor got poorer and the middle got squeezed out during the supply-side era of the last thiry years, so too the rich nations will get richer and the poor nations will get poorer and Tuvalu will disappear if the solution we adopt is global supply side economics. The rising tide in this case will swamp the island nations as surely as it did New Orleans. But don't tell that to Fred Smith. His panacea, the answer to everything, is still deregulation, no taxes, and wealth wealth wealth building. And during the Christmas season too.
Fred Smith: the biggest asshole of the year.