Tag Archives: Forbes

Climate incoherence, stage right

Very sorry to have missed Thursday’s carbon tax debate, featuring the Good Guys (Paul Burns of VPIRG and UVM’s Jon Erickson) against the Death Star Duo, Rob Roper and John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Oh yes, fair and balanced shall I be.

I’m sure the DSD walked away believing they’d won, because they are dyed-in-the-wool true believers whose outlook is hermetically sealed against the intrusion of actual evidence. Also, lest we forget, they’ve received hundreds of thousands of dollars from out-of-state conservative donors with ties to the Koch brothers.

The really striking thing about their presentation was the difference between Messrs. McClaughry and Roper. McClaughry is an out-and-out denier. Roper acknowledges climate change but says there’s nothing we can do about it, so we shouldn’t even try.

Yeesh.

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Sometimes, no matter what the cost, you just gotta make a stand

In the course of human events, there comes a time for a single heroic action that can spell the difference between ruination and glory. At moments like these, great figures arise, making statements that ring true across the centuries, imspiring new heroes with the sheer power of their words.

“I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” — Nathan Hale

“Don’t give up the ship!”  — James Lawrence

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”  — David Farragut

“I shall return!” — Douglas MacArthur

“We will bury you!” — Nikita Khruschchev

Oops, I don’t know how that last one got in there. Sorry. But you get my drift.

And today, in the midst of desperate times, another hero strode forth:

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 4.55.42 PM

“I stand by my retweet.” George S. Patton couldn’t have said it any better.

Really, I’m glad I wasn’t drinking coffee when I read that, because I would have had hot java up my nose and down my shirt.

A bit of context, for those just joining us. Earlier today, I wrote about a fatally flawed essay by James Conca of Forbes Magazine, which blamed rising energy prices in New England on “Vermont’s choice” to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Which is nonsense; the plant’s owner pulled the plug for financial reasons. But that didn’t stop Vermont conservatives, who should know better, from latching on to the erroneous column. One of the guilty was Darcie “Hack” Johnston, hapless campaign consultant, who eagerly retweeted a link to the Concatenation. And when I noted the duplicity of glomming onto a fundamentally flawed essay, Johnston issued her broadside.

“I stand by my retweet.”

That’s gotta be one of the most ridiculous attempts at inspirational rhetoric I’ve ever seen.

Go ahead, @DarcieLJ. Stand by your tiny evanescent masterpiece.

When a crucial omission becomes a Big Lie

On Monday, the Forbes website posted a piece by columnist James Conca entitled “Closing Vermont Nuclear Bad Business For Everyone.” Judging by Conca’s oeuvre, he is a complete apologist for nuclear energy… but that’s not my point here.

My point is the fundamental dishonesty of his column, based upon one crucial omission. And I quote:

Two electricity distribution companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire announced electricity rate increases for this winter. This collateral damage results from Vermont’s choice last year to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. That choice has hurt rate-payers in their neighboring states.

Catch it? “Vermont’s choice.”

As anyone with the most glancing exposure to the facts could tell him, it was not Vermont’s choice to close Vermont Yankee. It was plant owner Entergy’s choice, For financial reasons having to do with changing market forces, not with Vermont’s overzealous radical socialist hippie-dippie hatred of Big Nuke.

Sure, Vermont had a more skeptical regulatory eye than other host states. Completely justified, IMO, because of Entergy’s terrible track record as plant operator. But Entergy made the decision to close VY on its own. It was a surprise to everyone in Vermont, because it came in the midst of Entergy’s full-court-press legal battle to keep VY open. Indeed, by all indications, Entergy was very likely to win the case and a 20-year license extension.

Mr. Conca is either criminally uninformed for an energy columnist at a major publication, or he’s ignoring the facts to suit his argument. In short, he’s either stupid or a liar.

All that is bad enough. But now, at least three members of Vermont’s terminally frustrated conservative minority have picked it up.Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.58.34 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.20.05 AM

Ah, the immortal Tayt Brooks, former Douglas Administration functionary, former secretive head of the very secretive Lenore Broughton’s failed SuperPAC, Vermonters First, now the Vermont rep for American Majority, part of the Koch Brothers’ far-flung empire of innocuously-branded nonprofit organizations.

And then there’s Brian Keefe, bagman for Central Vermont Public Service. Retweeted by serially failed campaign consultant Darcie “Hack” Johnston, currently serving as unpaid consultant to the Dan Feliciano campaign.

As an outsider, James Conca may have the slightest figleaf of deniability for basing his argument on a canard. But Brooks, Keefe, and Johnston cannot possibly claim ignorance.

No, they’re spreading this column around because it suits their political interests, regardless of how it misrepresents the real situation.

I’m sure this is just the beginning of Vermont conservatives’ efforts to trumpet Conca’s essay as more proof of the evil Democrats’ anti-business agenda. Even though they know full well that the entire column is built on a foundation of quicksand.

Rob Roper? El Jefe General John McClaughry? “Super Dave” Sunderland? Scott Milne? Dan Feliciano? I’m lookin’ at you.