Lewis to EPA: We’ll gut your funding

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Opening salvo.


Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) wants to get the chair of Appropriations once Republicans take control of the House, and he’s campaigning hard to demonstrate his commitment to conservative causes.  In an attempt to move the conversation away from earmarking, Lewis has fixed his sights on the EPA and its “arbitrary interpretations of the Clean Air [...]

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Another extreme drought hits the Amazon, raising climate change concerns - With exclusive commentary by forest scientist Simon Lewis

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Drought in the Amazon (1 month assesment period, through 16  October 2010).  Source: University College London,

We know from simple on-the-ground knowledge that the 2010 drought was extreme, leading to record lows on some major rivers in the Amazon region and an upsurge in the number of forest fires. Preliminary analyses suggest that the 2010 drought was more widespread and severe than the 2005 event. The 2005 drought was identified as a 1-in-100 year type event.

That’s from an email to CP by forest scientist Simon Lewis, a leading expert on the Amazon (see Scientists: “There are multiple, consistent lines of evidence from ground-based studies published in the peer-reviewed literature that Amazon forests are, indeed, very susceptible to drought stress”).

The figure above is from the University College London Global Drought Monitor via a post by WWF’s Nick Sundt, that I am reposting below.  It represents a 1-month assessment period, through 16 October 2010.

Amazon drought, BrazilBut first, here’s a excerpt from an article (with a video) by the Global Post that Lewis recommends, “Rivers run dry as drought hits Amazon: Droughts are growing more severe. Has the world’s largest rain forest reached its tipping point?”  In the photo, “Brazilians cross the muddy bottom of the Rio Negro, a major tributary to the Amazon River, in the city of Manaus, Oct. 26, 2010.”

The world’s largest rain forest was dangerously dry, and may well be drying out.

October marked the end of one of the worst Amazon droughts on record — a period of tinder-dry forests, dusty cropland and rivers falling to unprecedented lows. Streams are the highways of the deep jungle and they’re also graveyards for dead trees, usually hidden safely under fathoms of navigable water.

But not this year, and the drought’s significance extends far beyond impeded boats.

While the region has seen dry spells before, locals and experts say droughts have grown more frequent and severe. Scientists say there’s mounting evidence the Amazon’s shifting weather may be caused by global climate change.

The world’s largest rain forest has long been a bulwark of hope for a planet troubled by climate change. Covering an area the size of the continental United States, the Amazon holds 20 percent of Earth’s fresh water and generates a fifth of its oxygen. With the planet’s climate increasingly threatened by surging carbon emissions, the Amazon has been one of the few forces keeping them in check. But the latest scientific evidence suggests the forest may be unable to shield us from a hotter world.

“Every ecosystem has some point beyond which it can’t go,” said Oliver Phillips, a tropical ecology professor at the University of Leeds who has spent decades studying how forests react to changing weather. “The concern now is that parts of the Amazon may be approaching that threshold.”

Phillips led a team of dozens of researchers who studied the damage caused by a severe 2005 drought to trees and undergrowth at more than 100 sites across the Amazon. His findings, published in the journal Science, are troubling.

Through photosynthesis, the rain forest absorbs 2 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide each year. But the 2005 drought caused a massive die-off of trees and inverted the process. Like a vacuum cleaner expelling its dust, the Amazon released 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2005. All told, the drought caused an extra 5 billion tons of heat-trapping gases to end up in the atmosphere — more than the combined annual emissions of Europe and Japan.

It still remains to be seen whether the rain forest’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases has been permanently harmed. “We can’t say for sure — it could be happening now,” Phillips said. “Often you don’t know you’ve passed a turning point until you’ve already passed it.”

Phillips said he’s worried about yet another drought following so closely after the last. Along the edge of the forest in Peru and Bolivia, there were more fires this year than any year on record, he said, along with reports of substantial damage to plants in the normally wet northwestern Amazon.

“The humid tropical forests have evolved at pretty high temperatures but there’s a temperature at which you don’t see them on the planet,” said Greg Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science. “And some tropical forests in the world now are starting to be exposed to temperatures they’ve never experienced.”

(Courtesy Greg Asner.)

Asner recently completed a study of world rain forests showing just how extensive the damage could be. He took 16 leading models for predicting the next century of climate change and essentially created a map — showing hotspots where they all agreed rising greenhouse gases would substantially change the forest.

He found that higher temperatures and shifts in rainfall could leave as much as 37 percent of the Amazon so radically altered that the plants and animals living there now would be forced to adapt, move or die. When other man-made factors like logging are taken into account, the portion of affected forest could be as high as 81 percent.

Asner said melting polar ice sheets aren’t the only climate change sentinels out there. The world’s largest rain forest — drained, drying, sometimes burning — is on the front lines, too, and just as threatened.

“I hate to pit myself against the polar bears,” he said. “But we’re talking about the Amazon, the majority of the biodiversity on the planet is in the humid tropical forests.”

Locals call the Amazon’s annual dry spells “the burning season,” named for the forest fires landholders regularly set to make room for crops and cows. In past decades, fires kindled on the jungle’s edges burned themselves out once they advanced a few yards into permanently damp virgin forest.

But that changed with the 2005 drought, said Foster Brown, an environmental scientist at the federal university in the Brazilian state of Acre….

“The ecosystems here have become so dry that instead of a being a barrier to fire, the forest became kindling,” he said. “We’ve changed from a situation where a relatively small part of the region would be susceptible to fire to the entire region being susceptible to fire.”

Burned forests aren’t the only evidence of drought. This year, one of the Amazon River’s biggest tributaries, the Rio Negro, dropped 13 feet below its dry-season average — to the lowest level on record. Channels in some areas have become little more than winding belts of mud — leaving boats stranded and remote communities cut off from supplies….

“Everything has changed. We don’t know when we can plant. We plant and then the sun kills everything,” Mariazinha said. “If it continues like this, we expect a tragedy.”

And the point she pressed upon her visitors was, perhaps they should be worried, too.

“I ask you,” she said, “as someone who lives in the outside world who knows the tragedy that’s happening there — is there anything we can do?”

Here is what Lewis has to say about the drought:

We need to be a little cautious when looking at these unpublished results as we don’t know the exact details of the techniques used to generate the maps. But, we know from simple on-the-ground knowledge that the 2010 drought was extreme, leading to record lows on some major rivers in the Amazon region and an upsurge in the number of forest fires. Preliminary analyses suggest that the 2010 drought was more widespread and severe than the 2005 event. The 2005 drought was identified as a 1-in-100 year type event, was anomalous as did not occur in a El Nino year, hit South-Western Amazonia hardest (a different pattern to El Nino related droughts), and was associated with high Atlantic sea surface temperatures (not Pacific sea surface temperatures as in El Nino years). Now in 2010, we again have a severe drought, again hitting South-Western Amazonia hard. Atlantic sea-surface temperatures and the north-west movement of the inter-tropical convergence zone seem ripe for careful study to improve our understanding of the 2010 drought.

The good news for the Amazon is that deforestation rates have been radically reduced since 2005, so in that sense the Amazon is doing well. The bad news is these droughts kill trees and promote fires, which are very damaging to forests and leaves them more vulnerable to fire in the future, potentially leading to a drought-fire-carbon emissions feedback and widespread forest collapse.  Most concerning of all is that while two unusual droughts clearly don’t make a trend, they are consistent with some model projections made well before 2005: that higher sea surface temperatures increase drought frequency and intensity, leading later this century to substantial Amazon forest die-back.

We ought to remember that every ecosystem has it limits, a point of where they radically change. The open question is whether such a point is being reached in some parts of the Amazon. While little is expected of the climate change talks in Cancun next week, the stakes, in terms of the fate of the Amazon are much higher than they were a year ago in Copenhagen.

And here is an excerpt from a World Wildlife Foundation post by Nick Sundt.

The Amazon region is experiencing the third extreme drought in a dozen years — and it may turn out to be the worst on record. The droughts coupled with recent research findings, suggest that rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will rapidly increase the frequency and severity of droughts in the region. The implications for people, biodiversity and climate are ominous.

As the map below shows, most of the Amazon region was afflicted by drought in mid-October 2010, with large areas in the north and west experiencing exceptional drought - beyond extreme.  Drought conditions, which now are improving, have been concentrated in Brazil, but extend into parts of neighboring countries including large areas of Bolivia, Peru, Colombia.

According to the classification system used by the University College London (UCL) Global Drought Monitor, exceptional droughts normally should not occur more than a couple of times  in a century. Typical impacts include “exceptional and widespread crop and pasture losses; exceptional fire risk; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams and wells, creating water emergencies.” According to UCL,  nearly 8.7 million people live in the locations shown above (which include smaller areas outside the Amazon) that are experiencing exceptional drought conditions.

The drought results from a combination of above normal temperatures over much of the region combined with low precipitation.  As the figure below illustrates, most of the Amazon region received less than 75% of normal rainfall between 1 July and 30 September.  Large areas have received far less precipitation, in many cases less than 25% of normal.

Brazil, Percent of Normal Precipitation, 1 July - 30 September  2010.  Source: NOAA.

In a press release on 22 Oct (Seca pode bater recorde na Amazônia / Drought may hit record in the Amazon), Brazil’s Amazon Environmental Research Institute (Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia or IPAM) said:

“The drought of 2010 still hasn’t ended in the Amazon and could surpass that of 2005 as the region’s worst during the past four decades. In the Western Amazon, the Solimões River reached its lowest level in recorded history. In Manaus, the level of the Rio Negro (Black River) is approaching that of 1963 – the lowest in a century. Even if this doesn’t occur, the forest will have already experienced three extreme dry spells in just 12 years, two of which occurred during the past five years: 1998, 2005 and 2010. And this is not including the drought of 2007, which affected only the Southeastern Amazon and left 10 thousand sq. km. of forest scorched in the region…`The Amazon that had wet seasons so well-defined that you could set your calendar to them – that Amazon is gone,‘ says ecologist Daniel Nepstad of IPAM…”

Among the consequences of the drought are extremely low flows on many of the region’s rivers.  On 24 October 2010, the Rio Negro, a major tributary of the Amazon, reached an all time low of 13.63 m at Manaus, edging out 1963 when water levels reached 13.64 m (Monitoramento Hidrologico: 2010, Boletim no 33 – 29/10/2010, by the Companhia de Pesquisa de Recursos Minerais or CPRM).  In contrast, just last year, the river saw an all time record high of 29.77 m as the region experienced devastating floods. (Relatorio da Cheia 2009 [PDF] [2010], by CPRM).  See photos of the flood [PDF]. Records for the Rio Negro extend back 107 years.  See also Flooding Near Manaus, Brazil, NASA Earth Observatory, 19 August 2010.

Writing for the New York Times upon his return from Iquitos, Peru, Nigel Pitman reports that “people were deeply upset by the lack of rain.”  He explains: ”Long dry spells like these in Amazonia wither crops and worsen air pollution and cut off whole towns from the rest of the world, when the arm of the river they’re on turns to mud. They also destroy forests” (Drought in the Amazon, Up Close and Personal, 12 November 2010).  Satellite imagery on 19 August showed a pall of smoke concentrated over Bolivia  (see Fires in South America, NASA Earth Observatory, 8 September 2010), where drought conditions allowed fires to burn out of control, prompting the Bolivian government in mid-August to declare a state of emergency.

Dr Richard Bodmer of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (University of Kent) and the Wildlife Conservation Society recently reported on the impacts the drought is having on the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon.  Among the species affected:  the pink river dolphin (see photo below).  “The conditions have resulted in fewer dolphins observed throughout the Samiria River,” says Dr.  Bodmer.  “Overall, pink river dolphin numbers have decreased by 47 per cent and the grey river dolphin by 49 per cent compared with previous years’ population estimates. The dolphins have been forced to leave their habitats in the Samiria River and find refuge in the larger channels of the Amazon.” See Amazon drought results in dramatic fall in pink river dolphin populations (press release from Earthwatch).

Pink river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis)  in the Rio Negro, Brazil.  © naturepl.com/Luiz Claudio Marigo / WWF.

For an outstanding series of photographs documenting the impacts of the drought, see Estiagem na Amazônia posted by Último Segundo (22 November 2010).  See also the Reuters video (6 Nov 2010) below for discussion of some of the major consequences of the drought.

Above: Brazil Looks to Ease Amazon Drought, Reuters Video, 6 November 2010.

The 2005 Drought

Just 5 years ago — in 2005 — the Amazon experienced an extreme drought that prompted the government of Brazil to declare a state of emergency in most of the region. In The Drought of Amazonia in 2005 (by José A. Marengo, Carlos A. Nobre, Javier Tomasella in the Journal of Climate, February 2008), researchers said:

“In 2005, large sections of southwestern Amazonia experienced one of the most intense droughts of the last hundred years. The drought severely affected human population along the main channel of the Amazon River and its western and southwestern tributaries, the Solimões (also known as the Amazon River in the other Amazon countries) and the Madeira Rivers, respectively. The river levels fell to historic low levels and navigation along these rivers had to be suspended. The drought did not affect central or eastern Amazonia, a pattern different from the El Niño–related droughts in 1926, 1983, and 1998.”

The 2005 drought in the Amazon also was notable for its impacts on the global carbon cycle.  Though the exact magnitude of the impacts are a matter of debate within the science community (see Amazon drought raises research doubtsNature News, 20 July 2010), there is evidence that the drought along with elevated air temperatures sharply reduced net primary production (NPP) in the Amazon. NPP is a measure of the amount of atmospheric carbon plants pull from the atmosphere and incorporate into biomass.  Where NPP is reduced, less carbon is fixed by plants and more is left in the atmosphere to disrupt climate.

In Drought-Induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000 Through 2009 (Science, 20 August 2010) researchers using satellite data found that global NPP dropped precipitously in 2005 to its lowest level of the decade.  The largest contributor to the drop was a decline of NPP in the Amazon rainforest that they attributed largely to elevated temperatures and the severe drought.

Similarly, scientists using records from long-term monitoring plots in the Amazon reported in Science a year earlier (6 March 2009) in Drought Sensitivity of the Amazon Rainforest that the drought had a large impact on carbon flows. They note that the Amazon’s old growth forests process 18 Petagrams (or Gigatons) of carbon each year — more than twice the amount emitted annually by burning fossil fuels (1 Petagram = 1015 grams = 1 billion metric tonnes = 1 Gigaton). “Relatively small changes in Amazon forest dynamics therefore have the potential to substantially affect the concentration of atmospheric CO2 and thus the rate of climate change itself,” they said.

They estimated that the drought reduced the biomass carbon balance by 1.2 to 1.6 Gigatons of carbon.  “The exceptional growth in atmospheric CO2 concentrations in 2005, the third greatest in the global record, may have been partially caused by the Amazon drought effects documented here,” they add. “Amazon forests therefore appear vulnerable to increasing moisture stress, with the potential for large carbon losses to exert feedback on climate change.”

The scale of such drought-induced changes in the Amazon’s carbon budget can be contrasted with the magnitude of Brazil’s carbon emissions from other sources, and with global carbon emissions from fossil fuels.   The Brazilian government estimates that in 2005, carbon emissions from land-use and landcover changes (including deforestation) were 1.3 gigatons of carbon and accounted for 77% of Brazil’s carbon emissions from all sources in 2005  (Segunda Comunicação Nacional do Brasil à Convenção-Quadro das Nações Unidas sobre Mudança do Clima [PDF], Coordenação-Geral de Mudanças Globais do Clima, Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia, Brasília, 2010).

That is at the low-end of the range of 1.2-1.6 gigatons of carbon that may have shifted to the atmosphere in 2005 as a result of the Amazon drought.  In other words, 2005 carbon emissions associated with the drought may have equaled or  exceeded those from deforestation in Brazil that year. Furthermore, at the global level, the range of emissions that may have resulted from the 2005 drought is equivalent to roughly 16-22% of annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuel use in 2005 (about 7.4 gigatons of carbon).

The 2010 Drought

Just as the 2005 drought was preceded by an El Niño (from Apr-May-June 2002 through Feb-Mar-Apr 2003), the 2010 drought was preceded by an El Niño (May-June-July 2009 through March-April-May 2010).  Consequently, the Amazon experienced well below normal precipitation during the rainy season that normally stretches roughly from September-November through March-May.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in The South American Monsoon System Summary, July 2009-June 2010 [Powerpoint] that precipitation from July 2009 through June 2010 was well below normal over the Amazon basin, consistent with the expected impacts of an El Niño.  Furthermore, precipitation was much lower than during the 2002-2003 rainy season associated with the 2002-2003 El Niño that set the stage for the 2005 drought.

Similarly, as in 2005, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical North Atlantic ocean in 2010 were elevated during the dry season (normally April-September). The maps below show the global temperature anomalies for September 2005 and September 2010 (around the usual end of the dry season) and show that SSTs in the north tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean in both years show a similar pattern.  Likewise, the surface temperatures over the Amazon during both years were elevated — though were substantially higher in 2010.

September 2005 surface temperature anomalies.  Source: NASA

Global Surface Temperature Anomalies, September 2010. Source:  NASA.

The Monthly Tropical North Atlantic Index (TNA) (a measure of the average monthly SST anomaly in the region) has been at record high levels (and above the values for 2005) for every month of 2010 through September. The TNA for October was second only to that of 2003. The separate Caribbean SST Index (CAR) has not been at record levels for most months, but has been anomalously high and for most months has been above 2005 levels.

For both the TNA and the CAR indices, the long term trend is upward.  See for example the long-term trend for the Tropical North Atlantic Index for the month of September below.

Above: The North Tropical Atlantic SST Index for the Month of September, 1951-2010. SST anomalies (relative to 1951-2000) averaged over the region of the tropical Atlantic between Africa and the Caribbean (the region is indicated by NTA on this map) for the month of September from 1951 through 2010.

As in 2005, these high SSTs in the Tropical North Atlantic are resulting in one of the worst coral bleaching episodes on record in the Caribbean, as well as energizing one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record.  See our recent posting, Sea Surface Temperatures in Tropical North Atlantic Rise to Record Levels in 2010, With Impacts from the Amazon to Canada (16 November 2010).

Are the high SSTs — as in 2005 — also associated with the Amazon drought conditions during the 2010 dry season?  The answer is most likely “yes,” but the nature of the connection and the role of other factors (such as the 2009-2010 El Niño in the tropical Pacific) will have to await the published research results of scientists.  Similarly, we will not know the impacts of the 2010 drought on the cycling of carbon to and from the Amazon until scientific assessments are conducted and research results are published.

The Climate Change Connection

What connection might these droughts have to rising concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere and what might we expect during the course of this century as GHG  concentrations continue to rise?

The connections between rising GHG concentrations on the  El Niños is a matter of scientific interest and debate.  El Niño-Southern Oscillation patterns in the tropical Pacific appear to be changing and some research suggests the changes may be related to climate change (see El Niño in a changing climate, Nature, 24 September 2010).  However, the science is very much unsettled, so we cannot say anything definitive about the relationship between rising GHGs and the El Niños that preceeded the 2005 and 2010 droughts.

In the case of rising SSTs in the tropical Atlantic — another major contributor to the 2005 drought and likely to the 2010 drought  -  the connection to rising GHG concentrations is better understood, though there is uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the impact relative to other variables.

When asked about the degree to which rising GHG concentrations in the atmosphere were contributing to the trend of rising  sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean, Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) said at a Congressional briefing on 30 June 2010 that the temperatures could not be explained without accounting for rising GHG concentrations.  He said that while some researchers thought the rising GHG levels might account for 60-80% of the temperature anomaly, he estimated that about half was due to rising GHGs.

This is consistent with research results published in Geophysical Research Letters on 29 April 2010.  In Is the basin-wide warming in the North Atlantic Ocean related to atmospheric carbon dioxide and global warming?, Chunzai Wang and Shenfu Dong of NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, conclude that “both global warming and AMO [Atlantic multidecadal oscillation] variability make a contribution to the recent basin-wide warming in the North Atlantic and their relative contribution is approximately equal.”

If the rise in SSTs in the tropical north Atlantic are being driven in part by rising GHG concentrations in the atmosphere, and if those SSTs are implicated in the Amazon drought of 2005 and potentially in the drought of 2010, then rising GHG concentrations are among the factors likely contributing to those droughts. However, researchers have not at this point definitively attributed either drought to rising atmospheric GHG concentrations.

More importantly rising atmospheric concentrations of GHGs in the future will continue to affect tropical sea surface temperatures in both the Pacific and the Atlantic,  and research indicates that this — in combination with rising air temperatures over the Amazon - will increasingly dry out the Amazon. In Amazon Basin climate under global warming: the role of the sea surface temperature (Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, 27 May 2008), researchers analyze these connections.

Using a model from the UK’s Hadley Centre, they focused on a period centered around the year 2050.  The analysis suggests that SST anomalies in both the tropical Atlantic and Pacific would combine to reduce Amazon Basin rainfall, “leading to a perennial soil moisture reduction and an associated 30% reduction in annual Amazon Basin net primary productivity (NPP). A further 23% NPP reduction occurs in response to a 3.5°C warmer air temperature associated with a global mean SST warming.”

In Drought under global warming: a review (Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 19 Oct 2010) Dr Aiguo Dai of the National Center for Atmospheric Research says that models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2007 assessment “project increased aridity in the 21st century, with a striking pattern that suggests continued drying” over many land areas including “most of Americas.”  While acknowledging the uncertainties, he says that the model results appear “to be a robust response to increased GHGs.”  He adds: “This is very alarming because if the drying is anything resembling [the model results]…a very large population will be severely affected in the coming decades” in Brazil and many other land areas.

Approaching — or passing — a Tipping Point

The possibility of increasingly arid conditions along with more frequent extreme droughts in the Amazon — and the regional and global implications — is a matter of growing and grave concern.  In a report to WWF, The Amazon’s Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire in the Greenhouse [2.49 MB pdf] (Dec 2007, WWF), IPAM’s Daniel Nepstad concludes:

Synergistic trends in Amazon economies, vegetation, and climate could lead to the replacement or damaging of more than half of the closed-canopy forests of the Amazon Basin over the next 15 to 25 years, undoing many of the successes currently in progress to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Counteracting these trends are emerging changes in landholder behaviour, recent successes in establishing large blocks of protected areas in active agricultural frontiers, important market trends favouring forest stewardship, and a possible new international mechanism for compensating tropical nations for their progress in forest conservation, that could reduce the likelihood of a large-scale dieback of the Amazon forest complex. In the long term, however, the avoidance of this scenario may depend upon worldwide reductions of greenhouse gas emissions that are large enough to prevent global temperatures from rising more than a degree or two.”

More recently (in late 2009 and before the 2010 drought), in Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector [PDF], WWF identified the prospect of more frequent extreme droughts in the Amazon and the related rainforest dieback as being among the ”tipping points” that could be passed in coming decades, with ”significant impacts within the first half of this century.”

Given the current drought in the Amazon, the report’s discussion of the 2005 Amazon drought should raise some eyebrows:

“…until more recently, 2005-like droughts may have had a frequency of between 1-in-40 and 1-in-100-years. Recent work, however, suggests that, with the now elevated concentration of GHGs  [greenhouse gases] (currently ~430 ppmv CO2e [parts per million, volume, of carbon dioxide equivalent],compared with 280 ppmv CO2e pre-industrial), the return period is of the order of 1-in-20-years and this is likely to increase to 1-in-2 and above by between 2025 and 2050 if stabilization at 450 to 550 ppmv CO2e is achieved (with a higher probability if it is not).”

Given that the 2010 drought is comparable to the 2005 drought — and that they are only five years apart, we already may be closer to a return period of 1-in-2 years than the research suggested.

About the implications of an increase in the frequency of 2005-like droughts, the report says:

“The 2005 drought impacts were relatively severe. However, the social, environmental and economic consequences of such a significant increase in the frequency of 2005-like events are far more than the sum of 2005 impacts x drought frequency. What is currently termed ‘drought’, with such a significant increase in frequency, becomes the norm implying a potentially radical change in hydrological systems in affected regions, with knock-on effects for people, environment, and economy.”


For an excellent discussion of the 2005 and 2010 droughts, climate change and the implications for the Amazon, see the video below from GlobalPost, Rumble in the Jungle: Is the Amazon Losing the Fight Against Climate Change? by Erik German and Solana Pyne.  See also their online article, Rivers run dry as drought hits Amazon (GlobalPost, 3 November 2010).

- Nick Sundt

Climate Progress

Chicago’s Michael Pfleger and Karen Lewis: When Radicals Disagree

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

When EAGtv’s reporting team got back from covering a school choice rally in Chicago, they mentioned how impressed they were by one of the event’s speakers – a Father Michael Somethingorother.  They appreciated Father Michael’s no-holds-barred support for school choice, but being journalists, they were especially grateful for his colorful sound bites that could be used to spruce up their story.

Intrigued by reports of the crusader’s fiery performance, the EAG staff gathered around to watch the video.  It only took a couple of seconds for the most politically aware members to recognize the speaker as Father Michael. . . . Pfleger!

You remember him, right?  It was Father Pfleger (Barack Obama’s other nutty “pastor”) who said this about Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign:

“I believe she always thought, ‘[The Democratic presidential nomination] is mine.  I’m Bill’s wife, I’m white, and this is mine.  I just gotta get up, and step into the plate.’  And then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama,” and she said, ‘Oh damn! Where did you come from? I’m white!  I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!’”

It’s all coming back now, isn’t it?  Well, imagine our surprise when we heard Pfleger say this about school choice at last week’s rally:

“It’s time for you and I to demand excellent education for every child, no matter their race, their creed, or their zip code!  Whether it is public or charter or parochial or private or home schooling, excellent education must be the norm, not the exception! . . . .We always talk about how we expect to have our children value education.  Well, the real question is, do adults value education?”

It’s hard-hitting stuff (thus the use of all the exclamation points), and it certainly should disabuse anyone of the notion that school choice is the sole property of conservative Republicans. That’s the first point that needs to be made.

The second point of highlighting Pfleger’s involvement in the school choice cause is to compare it with the thinking of another Chicago radical, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

In her inaugural address to CTU members, Lewis cited an elaborate 20-year conspiracy being waged by corporate America as the reason Chicago’s public schools are so bad.  Apparently, Big Business has been secretly campaigning for horrible public schools so that one day, the public will be so desperate for decent schools that they will allow Big Business to swoop in with fancy for-profit schools that –eek!—educate students better.

Here’s how Lewis explained it in her July 1, 2010 address:

“You see, corporate America realized they didn’t have a big enough piece of the money in K-12 public education. . . . So this so-called school reform – charters, turnarounds, testing, canned curricula, all of it – this so-called reform is not an education plan.  It doesn’t help children.  Quite the opposite.  It’s a business plan.”

So there you have it: two Chicago radicals with two radically different views on school choice.  But what to make of all this? Who is being true to their radicalism?

Maybe the old political adage of “Follow the money” works in this situation.  As a Catholic priest, we know (hope?) that Father Pfleger does not stand to gain financially from school choice.  He’s supporting it because morally, it’s the right thing to do.

On the other hand, Karen Lewis’ livelihood is directly tied to fate of school choice.  If parents have a choice of where their children attend school, a large number of them are prepared to flee from failing CPS.  In turn, that would erode the union’s power and deplete its war chest.  So even though Lewis regularly invokes doing right by “the children” (almost as often she pledges “to fight” the Chicago school board), we know that her prescriptions for fixing CPS (more money, more services, more everything!) ultimately serve her personal financial interests.

As odd as it feels to champion Father Pfleger, his willingness to speak out for children and oppose Big Education makes him the true Chicago radical.  And that makes him our new political ally – on school choice, anyway.  This thought will take some getting used to.  But that brings to mind another old political adage:  “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”  (That makes us grateful that priests take a vow of celibacy.)


Big Government

Rush ridicules John Lewis over “He went to Selma” defense of Rangel

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Double standard for the goose and the gander.


We’ve already heard Allen West call John Lewis a hypocrite over his defense of Charlie Rangel. Now Rush takes a moment to point out the absurdity of John Lewis evoking race to help defend Rangel against his crimes: We see this ongoing theme among some in Congress and some in the media where what’s good [...]

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Allen West: Civil Rights Icon John Lewis is a hypocrite

November 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Character.


Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, admitting he didn’t know the facts of the case, proceeded to defend Charlie Rangel against his ethics violations by dredging up Rangel’s involvement in the Civil Rights movement. I guess the facts of the case or rather the actual ethics violations themselves don’t matter to John Lewis if you are [...]

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‘Top Ten Most Corrupt’: Rep. Jerry Lewis Not Fit for Appropriations Chair

November 16, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Last Tuesday I sent a letter to Rep. Boehner regarding corruption in general and a specific call to reject Rep. Jerry Lewis’s (R-CA) reported bid to head once again the House Appropriations Committee.

You may recall that Rep. Jerry Lewis has the dubious distinction of appearing on Judicial Watch’s “Washington’s Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” list for 2008.

Here is the letter in its entirety:

Dear Congressman Boehner:

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational foundation that advocates for the rule of law and against government corruption. We are supported nationwide by hundreds of thousands of Americans and have a sixteen-year record of holding members of both major political parties accountable to the law. You have our congratulations as you take on the high constitutional office of Speaker of the House.

The American people are tired of corruption in Congress, and I urge you to take serious steps to address these concerns.

Accordingly, Judicial Watch urges you and your leadership team to reject Rep. Jerry Lewis’s reported bid to head once again the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Jerry Lewis has the dubious distinction of appearing on Judicial Watch’s annual “Washington’s Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2008. I quote his entry from our “Top Ten” list in full:

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA): Rep. Lewis may share a name with a world-renowned comedian, but there’s nothing funny about his addiction to influence peddling and earmarking. Lewis, the senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, is under investigation for approving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal projects to benefit clients of one of his best friends, lobbyist and former Congressman Bill Lowery. According to press reports, Lowery, partners in his company and their clients donated approximately 37% of the funds collected by Lewis’ campaign PAC over a six-year period (an estimated $ 480,000) in return. Lowery has benefited handsomely from his relationship to Lewis. His company more than tripled its income between 1998 and 2004 with help from Lewis, while increasing its client base from 21 clients to 101 over that same time period. Despite these allegations, Lewis maintains his high-ranking position on the House Appropriations Committee.

(It is unclear whether a reported DOJ criminal investigation into Rep. Lewis’s conduct is still open.)

We believe Rep. Jerry Lewis’s conduct does not meet the high standards for ethics and integrity that American voters demand from their elected officials, particularly an elected official seeking to lead the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Lewis’s unapologetic advocacy and abuse of earmarks have lent the taint of corruption to his office and the Appropriations Committee.

In the least, we urge you to use your position and influence to prevent corrupt and unethical politicians such as Rep. Lewis from being put in positions of leadership on your watch.

As Judicial Watch did with Speaker Pelosi when she took office, we look forward to the opportunity to work with you and other members to strengthen ethical standards and conduct in the House of Representatives.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Thomas Fitton

To let Rep. Boehner know how you feel about someone like Lewis taking the lead on appropriations in the new Congress, you can contact his office directly at 202-225-6205. (You might also want to thank him for shutting down Air Pelosi.)


Big Government

How to beat the media in the climate street fight - Forest scientist Simon Lewis in Nature: “Researchers must take a more aggressive approach to counter shoddy journalism and set the scientific record straight”

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

What lessons are there for scientists in politically charged areas who find themselves in a similar position? Do your research. What is the reporter’s track record? Anticipate that every sentence you say or write may be dissected and interpreted in the least charitable manner possible. And if things go wrong, seek advice from public-relations experts, and where necessary, media lawyers. In my experience, science-media professionals are almost as lost as scientists themselves, when dealing with topics as emotive as climate change.

That’s tropical forest researcher and Royal Society research fellow Simon Lewis in a column in the journal Nature this week, “How to beat the media in the climate street fight.”  Lewis’s headline refers to the early editorial in Nature“Scientists must now emphasize the science, while acknowledging that they are in a street fight.”

Here’s the full column:

When science hits the news, researchers often moan about the quality of the coverage. A sharp reminder of the issue rolls round this month — the anniversary of the global media frenzy over the release of e-mails from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia, UK. So what should scientists do when reporting quality falls off a cliff? Earlier this year, I was seriously misrepresented by a newspaper and thrown into a political storm. Rather than take it lying down, I set the record straight. It has been an odd journey, and I think there are lessons for how we scientists should deal with the media.

In January, the absurd claim from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 launched a hunt to find other exaggerated risks of climate change. A British blogger, Richard North, found an IPCC statement that part of the Amazon rainforest may be at risk from droughts, referenced to an environment group’s report, not the scientific literature. North dubbed it Amazongate, and told the world that the IPCC view “seems to be a complete fabrication”.

As a tropical-forest expert, I found my telephone ringing for three days. Journalists asked me to comment on the IPCC line that “up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”. My short answer was that in context, the statement was broadly correct; but the wording was not careful, and the IPCC should have cited the primary literature. My comments were broadcast across the BBC, but for most news outlets it was a non-story.

The Sunday Times saw it differently. Its reporter, Jonathan Leake, asked both leading and genuinely inquisitive questions. I sent him scientific papers, and we discussed them. He agreed to read the finished piece to me over the telephone before publication. It stated, correctly, that the future of the Amazon is very uncertain, because the available data are limited. I was quietly pleased that I had ’spun’ what I saw as a blogger’s anti-IPCC tirade into a story about the science. Yet I was wrong. The newspaper headline was “UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim”, and worse, I was the expert quoted to support it. The article had been completely rewritten, essentially parroting North’s blog, to include new quotes from me (genuine, but heavily edited and misleadingly taken out of context), and fabricated assertions about my views. An accompanying editorial called for the IPCC chairman to resign.

I was furious. Worse, the two conflicting versions of my views — on the BBC and in The Sunday Times — constituted a serious affront to my professional credibility. But what could I do? I added a comment under the online version of the article that my views were not accurately reported, and sent a letter for publication to The Sunday Times.

Weeks later the misleading article had been reproduced over 20,000 times on the Internet. My letter had been ignored and website comment deleted. Furthermore, my words and standing as an expert were being used by other newspapers to allege widespread corruption by IPCC scientists. As an Editorial on climate disinformation in this journal said at the time: “Scientists must now emphasize the science, while acknowledging that they are in a street fight.” I needed to fight back.

After advice from a friend in public relations and press officers at scientific organizations, I filed an official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, the UK media watchdog. The commission could order the newspaper to print a correction, but would that happen and was it enough? I needed to make the complaint itself a story.

I contacted The Guardian newspaper, which published an article about my complaint. To reach the US audience, I handed the full complaint as an exclusive to perhaps the world’s most influential political climate-change blog, Joe Romm’s http://climateprogress.org.

JR:  See Exclusive: Forest scientist fights back against ‘distorted’ UK article on Amazon and IPCC and Exclusive audio: Sunday Times tells Simon Lewis, “it has been recognised that the story was flawed.”

For a scientist to take such an active media role was unorthodox, but it felt good. And it worked. It was widely recognized that the story was wrong and I had been badly treated. The New York Times featured me in a front-page article.

The Sunday Times offered to publish a single-line apology. I knew others had extracted greater concessions and kicked harder. It eventually agreed to remove the article from its website, and replace it with a formal correction and apology, also printed prominently in the newspaper. The retraction was reported around the world.

Environmental commentators hailed the apology as vindication for the IPCC (which it wasn’t quite, as its statements were not faultless). Climate sceptics launched a counter-attack by claiming that no apology was due because the IPCC statement was not perfect. But for me the storm had passed.

What lessons are there for scientists in politically charged areas who find themselves in a similar position? Do your research. What is the reporter’s track record? Anticipate that every sentence you say or write may be dissected and interpreted in the least charitable manner possible. And if things go wrong, seek advice from public-relations experts, and where necessary, media lawyers. In my experience, science-media professionals are almost as lost as scientists themselves, when dealing with topics as emotive as climate change.

The media dictate what most people know about contemporary scientific debates. Given the need for informed policy, scientists need to learn to better read and engage with this media landscape. Closing the newspaper with a sigh is not enough.

Hear!  Hear!

Or, as conservation ecologist CJA Bradshaw put it in on his blog, ConservationBytes, when he reprinted the column in a piece titled, Appalling behaviour of even the most influential journalists:

Amen, brother.

I’ll say it again – scientists now have the power to fight back directly – you have access to free social media like blogging, Twitter, Facebook and many others. Use them to your advantage and get the CORRECT word out there about the great science you’re doing.

Related Posts:

Climate Progress

The Ed Morrissey Show: Guy Benson, Matt Lewis, Teresa Collett

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

3 pm ET!


Today on the Ed Morrissey Show (3 pm ET), we have Townhall’s political editor, Guy Benson, and National Review’s Campaign Spot wizard, Jim Geraghty, giving us the latest from the midterm campaign trail. In bonus minutes, we’ll talk to Republican challenger Teresa Collett about her opponent’s strange claim that al-Qaeda is no longer a threat [...]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

The Ed Morrissey Show: Matt Lewis, Guy Benson, David Rivera

October 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

3 pm ET!


Today on The Ed Morrissey Show (3 pm ET), we have Matt Lewis filling in for Jim Geraghty, who’s feeling a bit under the weather.  Matt will give us his view of the midterm election with less than two weeks to go, and what stories he’s following at his site and Politics Daily.  Townhall political [...]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

Talk on Kelo and Eminent Domain at Lewis & Clark Law School

October 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Ilya Somin)

For those who might be interested, I will be speaking at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon tomorrow. The topic is my work on Kelo v. City of New London and post-Kelo eminent domain reform. I will also touch briefly on post-Kelo developments in state constitutional law on public use issues, including, the Atlantic Yards and Columbia University decisions, the two important recent eminent domain cases decided by the New York Court of Appeals.

The talk will start at noon in Room 2.




The Volokh Conspiracy

Maureen Dowd, Goddess of Snark, Sneers at O’Donnell via Tolkien, C.S. Lewis

September 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The the resident Goddess of Snark at the New York Times, Maureen Dowd, thinks that Christine O’Donnell lives in a fantasy world. Sneering at O’Donnell’s interest in J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis says more about Dowd’s isolation from normal Americans than it does about the GOP senate candidate from Delaware. If she bothered to check she would see that the two Oxford Inklings are amongst the best selling authors of all time. Their works have profoundly influenced tens of millions of lives and in spite of the critics, are major touchstones of 20th century literature.

tolkien

It is not surprising that Dowd regards Tolkien and Lewis as her cultural enemies; they may be dead and gone but the emanations of their penumbras threaten her in ways that she may sense, but that she is probably afraid to examine deeply. Maybe its the fact that the Lord of the Rings has sold more than 150 million copies. Maybe its the fact that it, like the works of C.S. Lewis, celebrate the values of courage, honor, loyalty, friendship and patriotism. Or just maybe, its that her peers really believed in the inevitable rise to power, of what in the late 1960s and early 1970s was called the counterculture. Millions of students, hippies and other freaks were reading Tolkien and absorbing his ideas and rejecting those of the New Left.

C.S. Lewis never gained the cult status of Tolkien, but his books have had an influence on this culture that no purely secular writer can hope to obtain. He may have died almost 47 years ago, but to the anti-religious elites he is still the object of their hatred. He did after all, write some of the most enduring stories about Christianity and about humanity’s relationship with God. If Christine O’Donnell is a fan of Lewis, it indicates to the New York Times that something is seriously wrong with her.

Lewis

What Dowd’s column shows is that the split in that emerged in the early seventies between the New Left and the Hippies never really went away. Dowd, like Willam Ayers or Abbie Hoffman or some other almost forgotten radical leader, has never really forgiven the Hippies for not being revolutionaries, for preferring the dubious joys of sex drugs and rock and roll to the exquisite pleasures of political power.

In the Age of Reagan, the New Leftists retreated to the universities and the Hippies melted away into the background (only to remerge in Eric Cartman’s nightmares.) Many of them, influenced in part by Tolkien, switched sides and supported Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984. The old actor represented courage and idealism in ways that neither Carter nor Mondale could ever hope to do. It may be this that frightens Ms. Dowd more than anything else.

Christie O’Donnell’s messy life, her search for transcendence, her idealism and her open religiosity remind anyone who even vaguely remembers the 1960s and 1970s.

Of the real, as opposed to imaginary “Hippie Chicks” of the era, Dowd may put O’Donnell down as “loopy” but she represents something that the older members of the cultural elite once had a powerful influence over. Those girls were used and abused in ways that few today remember, but that marked them and their generation forever.

In the anti- Vietnam War movement, the call “Chicks up front” and the slogan “Girls say yes to boys who say no” were powerful tools. The use of sex and sexual imagery as a weapon to helped defeat America and South Vietnam and to bring the Khmer Rouge to power may have been successful but it had a price. It is well known that the resentments it created helped bring the modern feminist movement into existence. What is less well known was that it left behind tens of thousands of spiritually and emotionally wounded women. This was hinted at in the movie Forrest Gump, but otherwise has rarely been mentioned.

In the end, it may be ironic if those women, ignored and scorned for so many years now, are ultimately vindicated by the improbable figure of Christine O’Donnell.


Big Journalism

Congressman Lewis In Der Speigel: They Hate Obama Because He’s Black

September 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Congressman John Lewis was an American hero in the 1960′s when he was a key player in the Civil Rights Movement, but in the last year it has become obvious that he has forgotten the words of Martin Luther King Jr and his dream that people of all races and religions work together to create a better world. Instead, Congressman Lewis’ lives in a Black vs. White world.

Back in March, during the last days of the Obamacare vote, Democratic party operatives in the Mainstream Media claimed that racial epithets were hurled at Lewis:

Democrat, claims that tea party protesters today hurled racial slurs at fellow CBC member Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia. Mr. Carson said that “hundreds of people” were chanting “kill the bill” and he heard “at least 15 times” the “n – word” being thrown around.

This claim was a lie, there has never been any proof of this incident despite a reward offered by Andrew Brietbart, if there was any proof, Media Matters would have provided it to every news organization within 10 minutes of it happening.  What does Lewis say about the “n” word incident? Nothing. He has never confirmed the incident nor denied it. If Lewis had any desire to bring together rather than to divide Americans, he woudl have told the truth about that day.

Earlier this week Lewis sat down with Der Speigel, to discuss politics and once again, his words were divisive in nature. He implies Obama’s critics are either racist or unknown nefarious obstructionists:

….SPIEGEL: Were you not surprised how quickly the political mood changed in the US?

Lewis: No. It’s the first time in the history of the country that we have a black president. You have to understand that there are some people in our society that say he is not one of us. He may be down in the polls right now, but he will come back. Just like Bill Clinton came back. He’s going to campaign his heart out.

Yes the political mood changed because Obama has one Black parent, it has nothing to do with the fact that unemployment remains at high levels, bills were passed by the Congress despite the fact that vast majority of the people objected to them, and he has appeased terrorists.

….SPIEGEL: How realistic was his goal to radically change the political tone in Washington? Today it seems as though it was a miscalculation.

Lewis: I don’t think it was unrealistic. But there has been a deliberate, systematic effort on the part of certain forces in our country, and on the part of the other party, to destroy Obama’s presidency. They do not want him to succeed. There are Members of Congress, leaders in both the Senate and the House, who are bitterly opposed to everything he does. If Obama says the sky is blue, they say “no, he’s made a mistake. It’s not blue.”

Those secret forces are at work again.  Is it the Trilateral Commission?? The Free Masons? Or is it the most dangerous  “certain force of them all” the American people.

….SPIEGEL: But that’s what we’ve had for the last two years, and it hasn’t worked out well. If anything, the political tone in Washington has gotten worse.

Lewis: It’s unfortunate. We have very little control over the fact that the Republican Party is being hijacked by the extreme right. That the Tea Party is gaining influence. We cannot tell the Republican Party who should be their leaders.

Gee is it that the GOP was hijacked by the extreme right, or is it the fact that the government was hijacked by the extreme left, so the center looks extreme.

….SPIEGEL: Is there any difference between the backlash against President Bill Clinton in the 1994 midterm elections and the backlash against Obama we are seeing now?

Lewis: I don’t see a vast difference. A lot of people on the other side didn’t like Bill Clinton for different reasons, and they tried to destroy him. But he hung in.

That, I have to admit is true, one of the big reasons Clinton was disliked during his first two years was Hillarycare. With Obama its different. One of the big reasons he has lost support is Obamacare. See? Different names.

….SPIEGEL: The radicalization of the right, in other words, isn’t necessarily due to the US having a black president for the first time ever?

Lewis: In some quarters, it’s true, people cannot get used to the idea that a person of color is president of the United States. People cannot get comfortable with the idea that so many people are coming from different parts of the world to America. In just a short time, America will be a minority majority, and that feeds some of the frustration.

That is the arrogance of the left, they are so sure they are right and everyone else is wrong they can’t comprehend that people would have legitimate questions about progressive policy. It was very easy to get used to the fact that a person of color is president. I can never get used to the fact that a big government progressive is president.  If that makes me a racist Congressman Lewis, so be it.

Jeff Dunetz is editor of the Political Blog The Lid, a contributor to American Thinker, Big Government,Big HollywoodBig Journalism, and Big Peace.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Congressman Lewis In Der Speigel They Hate Obama Because He’s Black

September 16, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Congressman John Lewis was an American hero in the 1960′s when he was a key player in the Civil Rights Movement, but in the last year it has become obvious that he has forgotten the words of Martin Luther King Jr and his dream that people of all races and religions work together to create a better world. Instead, Congressman Lewis’ lives in a Black vs. White world.

Back in March, during the last days of the Obamacare vote, Democratic party operatives in the Mainstream Media claimed that racial epithets were hurled at Lewis:

Democrat, claims that tea party protesters today hurled racial slurs at fellow CBC member Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia. Mr. Carson said that “hundreds of people” were chanting “kill the bill” and he heard “at least 15 times” the “n – word” being thrown around.

This claim was a lie, there has never been any proof of this incident despite a reward offered by Andrew Brietbart, if there was any proof, Media Matters would have provided it to every news organization within 10 minutes of it happening.  What does Lewis say about the “n” word incident? Nothing. He has never confirmed the incident nor denied it. If Lewis had any desire to bring together rather than to divide Americans, he woudl have told the truth about that day.

Earlier this week Lewis sat down with Der Speigel, to discuss politics and once again, his words were divisive in nature. He implies Obama’s critics are either racist or unknown nefarious obstructionists:

….SPIEGEL: Were you not surprised how quickly the political mood changed in the US?

Lewis: No. It’s the first time in the history of the country that we have a black president. You have to understand that there are some people in our society that say he is not one of us. He may be down in the polls right now, but he will come back. Just like Bill Clinton came back. He’s going to campaign his heart out.

Yes the political mood changed because Obama has one Black parent, it has nothing to do with the fact that unemployment remains at high levels, bills were passed by the Congress despite the fact that vast majority of the people objected to them, and he has appeased terrorists. 

….SPIEGEL: How realistic was his goal to radically change the political tone in Washington? Today it seems as though it was a miscalculation.

Lewis: I don’t think it was unrealistic. But there has been a deliberate, systematic effort on the part of certain forces in our country, and on the part of the other party, to destroy Obama’s presidency. They do not want him to succeed. There are Members of Congress, leaders in both the Senate and the House, who are bitterly opposed to everything he does. If Obama says the sky is blue, they say “no, he’s made a mistake. It’s not blue.”

Those secret forces are at work again.  Is it the Trilateral Commission?? The Free Masons? Or is it the most dangerous  “certain force of them all” the American people.

….SPIEGEL: But that’s what we’ve had for the last two years, and it hasn’t worked out well. If anything, the political tone in Washington has gotten worse.

Lewis: It’s unfortunate. We have very little control over the fact that the Republican Party is being hijacked by the extreme right. That the Tea Party is gaining influence. We cannot tell the Republican Party who should be their leaders.

Gee is it that the GOP was hijacked by the extreme right, or is it the fact that the government was hijacked by the extreme left, so the center looks extreme.

….SPIEGEL: Is there any difference between the backlash against President Bill Clinton in the 1994 midterm elections and the backlash against Obama we are seeing now?

Lewis: I don’t see a vast difference. A lot of people on the other side didn’t like Bill Clinton for different reasons, and they tried to destroy him. But he hung in.

That, I have to admit is true, one of the big reasons Clinton was disliked during his first two years was Hillarycare. With Obama its different. One of the big reasons he has lost support is Obamacare. See? Different names.

….SPIEGEL: The radicalization of the right, in other words, isn’t necessarily due to the US having a black president for the first time ever?

Lewis: In some quarters, it’s true, people cannot get used to the idea that a person of color is president of the United States. People cannot get comfortable with the idea that so many people are coming from different parts of the world to America. In just a short time, America will be a minority majority, and that feeds some of the frustration.

That is the arrogance of the left, they are so sure they are right and everyone else is wrong they can’t comprehend that people would have legitimate questions about progressive policy. It was very easy to get used to the fact that a person of color is president. I can never get used to the fact that a big government progressive is president.  If that makes me a racist Congressman Lewis, so be it.




YID With LID

Black Conservatives on the John Lewis Incident

August 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Because it really doesn’t fit the narrative. From the National Black Conservatives press conference in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 4:


Big Journalism

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