Home > Uncategorized > Senator Sarlo Pulls a Trump on RGGI

Senator Sarlo Pulls a Trump on RGGI

Political Lying Becoming the New Normal Under Christie’s Leadership

Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) joins TeaParty attack on global warming laws.

Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) joins TeaParty attack on global warming laws.

[Updates below]

Donald Trump is looking like a real Chump for joining the birthers in what a NY Times editorial today described as

a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life.

I agree.

But the NY Times left out the fact that that “debasing moment” was aided and abetted by the “balanced” media.

The media – for far too long – have given legitimacy to falsehoods by reporting the false claims of ideologues as “he said/she said” stories, ranging from the birthers, to global warming deniers, and intelligent design religious fundamentalists who reject Darwinian evolution as fraud.

Although this is a political, policy, and media disgrace of national scope, Governor Chris Christie has broken new rhetorical  ground here in NJ, while, on the policy front, quietly shredding the state’s global warming programs .

But not to be outdone by The Donald, Christie, and the Birthers, NJ State Senator Paul Sarlo has joined the Liars Club.

Last week, Sarlo publicly stood with the Koch Brother’s billionare funded TeaBaggers (Americans for Prosperity)and assorted global warming deniers in attacking the ten northeastern states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Today the Bergen Record reported the story: Many turn out at rally to end NJ’s participation in regional cap and trade agreement

The headline could have been “Many say Earth is Flat”, but this particulalry egregious (and unrebuted) lie caught my eye:

Steve Lonegan said the cap and trade program created by RGGI “is designed to further undermine the economic prosperity of this nation.”

“What will you give up as your electricity rates double over the next few years?” he asked.

A few easily researchable facts destroy this lie. In addition to the statutory cap on RGGI charges, for example, here is the BPU breakdown of NJ electric rates.

Note that the total RGGI component accounts for 0.041 cent per kilowatt hour (that’s 41 one thousands of a penny), while the typical rate is 16.74 cents per kilowatt hour.

The RGGI charges amount to 0.24% of your electric bill. So if your bill is $100 per month, then RGGI accounts for 24 cents per month.

The Record has written several excellent substantive articles on RGGI, by former reporter Alex Nussbaum.

As Nussbaum has reported, the facts of the matter are that RGGI charges are far too LOW to change energy demand or provide economic incentives for renewable energy alternatives, and that the so called “caps” allow emissions to INCREASE! (see this Nussbaum story also: Limits could let pollution levels rise (12/26/07)

If current reporters can’t pick up a phone to call knowledgeable experts or even do a basic Google, one would assume that they at least check in with Record archives to get educated on a story before writing. Especially when Lonegan or TeaParty activists are involved as “news sources”, if only because they have a well known political agenda and neither have much of a track record for credibility on public policy issues.

So Record editors should be ashamed for publishing a piece that relies on stenographic reporting of lies by Steve Lonegan, a source with about as much credibility on complex policy issues as a typical right wing smear artist.

Please don’t ask me to back that up with evidence, I don’t have the time because there are too many recent examples to refer to.

So let me take the easy way out: for a superb historical overview of the problem, read Rick Perlstein’s essay: Inside the GOP’s Fact-Free Nation – From Nixon’s plumbers to James O’Keefe’s video smears: How political lying became normal.

NJ Democratic Senator Paul Sarlo can now join the Political Liars Club and become part of the “New Normal”.

Oh, and did I mention that the billionaire Koch Brothers are behind attacks on clean air and global warming, including the failed effort to gut California’s global warming law, AB32?

Or that Koch Brothers billions are what formed and fuels the TeaBagger “movement”?

The fact that these critical relevant contextual background facts were omittted from the Record story makes it an even more absurd example of puerile journalism.

[Update #2: May 8, 2011 – More legislators jumping on Koch Teaparty bandwagon, including my State Senator (Doherty): State senators seeking to ratchet up movement to repeal emissions pact]

Update#1: May 2, 2011 – Star Ledger editorial nails Christie on RGGI and Lonegan on his lie: Gov. Chris Christie shouldn’t consider a retreat on global warming

However, they got one important point significantly wrong. The Ledger wrote:

The pact suggests that states use at least 25 percent of the proceeds for that purpose.
The rest could be used to help balance the budget.

This gets is backwards. It is technically correct that the RGGI pact suggests state use at least 25% – BUT, in 2008, NJ passed a stricter state law, kown as “The Global Warming Solutions Fund Act “.  Here’s the legislative policy on uses of the money:

The Legislature thereor determines that is is in the public interest to establish as program that authorizes the State to dedicate to consumer benefit purposes up to 100% of the revenues derived from the [RGGI] auction or other sale of allowances pursuant to an emissions allowance trading program 

Evironmentalists sought to have 100% of RGGI auction proceeds dedicated. They did not win that issue, but regardless, a policy “up to 100%” in NJ State law is far stronger than the floor minimum 25% in a 10 state RGGI agreement. End update]

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.