(WAC NJ) Just before lunch one Tuesday in mid-January, the public address system at Jiri Stastny’s office in Prague ordered all employees to evacuate: someone had called in a bomb threat. Police crawled over the building for more than three hours. Officers conducted a sweep of the seventh-floor offices of OTE, the company of which Mr Stastny is director that manages the Czech Republic’s part of the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions trading system. Nothing seemed amiss. The first indication of trouble came just after 7am the next day. One of OTE’s clients called: thousands of its digitised carbon allowances, which had been stored at the Czech registry run by OTE, had gone missing.
The national registry is a sort of back office, where all the country’s state and commercial ETS allowances are held and trades are logged. Within an hour, Mr Stastny and his fellow executives realised the bomb threat had been an elaborate ruse. Computer hackers had used the distraction to pry into OTE’s registry and pilfer the allowances. With just a few strokes of the keyboard, those allowances could then be sold on the open market for millions of euros before anyone would have noticed.
“People watch thriller movies where diamonds and cash are taken out of the vault,” said Alan Svoboda of CEZ Group, a Czech energy company that lost 700,000 allowances with a market value of roughly €10m. “Here it was the same thing but with a very unlikely asset.”
The thefts at OTE were one of at least six attacks on operators of the EU emissions trading system across eastern and central Europe in the past three months. All told, cyberthieves swiped allowances worth more than €50m before panicked authorities in Brussels were forced to pull the plug and halt spot market trading.
Nominally, those losses may pale in comparison with the billions of dollars swiped by Bernard Madoff through his long-running Ponzi scheme and other swindles that accompanied the global financial crisis. Authorities are also quick to point out that many companies have continued to trade without incident using carbon futures contracts.
Still, more than three weeks after the suspension, only six of the 30 national registries that comprise the system have reopened for business. Traders say the market is now riven with distrust.
More broadly, the thefts have battered the credibility of the EU’s chief instrument in the fight against global warming. The emissions trading system is supposed to prod more than 11,000 industrial installations across the EU’s 27 member states – as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – steadily to reduce emissions.
In basic terms, Europe’s cap-and-trade market sets an overall limit for emissions and then forces polluting companies to buy allowances to cover their excess. More efficient ones can sell unused allowances for cash or save them for the future.
European policymakers have touted the market – the world’s largest – as the focal point of a future series of linked international exchanges working to arrest warming. One trader calls it “a European solution to a global problem”.
Yet interviews with regulators, law enforcement officials and corporate executives suggest that – in the rush to prove the fledgling market could work – evidence was overlooked of security flaws enabling a new breed of criminal to mount increasingly audacious and sophisticated heists.
Connie Hedegaard, EU climate change commissioner, insists the market has not been discredited and that repairs are in hand. “You do not say the banking system is not working just because somebody robs a bank.”
She says the Commission wants to slow down the pace of trading in carbon markets in order to make the system less susceptible to cyber-thieves. Authorities believe the spot market’s quick execution aided the heists by allowing criminals to transfer allowances to other accounts and sell them for cash before their owners realised they had gone missing. In some cases, the stolen allowances appear to have passed through several accounts before law enforcement officials were eventually able to track them down. “I’m not a specialist in this, but I can just see that if we had a delay function then it might be less tempting to cheat on the system,” says Ms Hedegaard.
But some politicians and traders are still fuming that regulators failed to secure a market whose stated purpose is nothing less than saving the planet from global warming.
“It is absolutely the right policy for reducing emissions across Europe,” says Louis Redshaw, head of emissions trading at Barclays Capital, the market’s largest trader by volume. “What is frustrating is that bad implementation is allowing criminal elements to infiltrate the spot market. The carbon market is now in danger of seeing irreversible damage and a slide into disorder.”
Until recently, something as ephemeral as a carbon emission would have held little appeal for a thief. That changed in 2005, when the EU launched its carbon market with the goal of putting a price on emissions.
With the market facing criticism from industry and environmentalists alike, European policymakers took a measure of satisfaction when the value of allowances traded reached €90bn in 2009. Stavros Dimas, then environment commissioner, predicted the system would become a model for the US, China and others.
But even as EU leaders heralded the system’s success, criminals were infiltrating. Some of the ruses were simple. In Hungary, for instance, allowances that had already been used mysteriously found their way back into circulation.
Other ploys were more sophisticated. There have been dozens of arrests for elaborate tax fraud schemes involving the carbon market. The most common involved buying allowances in a country that does not impose value added tax and selling them in another with the cost of the VAT included. Rather than handing the tax money to authorities, fraudsters pocketed it and declared bankruptcy or went missing. Interpol has concluded that the carbon market scam cost governments as much as €5bn in lost tax revenue.
Such stunts were made possible, in part, by lax security. In some countries, such as Denmark, opening an account at the registry was easier than opening a bank account, according to traders. “You could open one tomorrow if you applied tonight,” says one.
Some banks, such as Barclays Capital, alerted authorities. They were worried about a proliferation of seemingly unreliable characters in the market, and put in place restrictions on those with whom their own traders could deal.
Still, there was little concern when the first emissions theft occurred in January 2010. It happened in Germany, where a trader fell prey to a “phishing” attack. Essentially, he was fooled – probably by a phoney e-mail – into supplying his login information.
Phishing is a common form of internet theft, and the verdict in the market was that victims were to blame for their carelessness. But the mood changed last November when a Romanian subsidiary of Holcim, a Swiss cement company, reported that someone had stolen 1.6m of its allowances.
“At first people thought it was another phishing attack,” said Olivia Hartridge of Morgan Stanley, who helped create the emissions trading system during a stint at the European Commission in Brussels. However, it soon became clear these criminals were far more sophisticated than that. “It was a whole other ball game,” Ms Hartridge says.
Having gained access to the registry by breaking into Holcim’s computer network, the thieves transferred allowances to accounts in Liechtenstein and Italy. Like an owner in search of a lost pet, Holcim posted the serial numbers of its missing allowances on the internet.
Panic set in as legitimate traders worried about the consequences of ending up with stolen allowances, and the risk of having to forfeit them without compensation. “If you get stuck with them, it’s very likely you will be losing face value,” says Trevor Sikorski of Barclays Capital. Even worse, market participants believed they could be unwittingly exposed to the risk of prosecution for crimes such as money laundering.
Morgan Stanley began demanding legal warrants stating that any allowances that it handled had come from original government auctions – and not third parties – before it would accept them. At Barclays Capital, officials decided in December to abandon the spot market, judging it too risky.
“The market largely stopped trading, even before they shut all the registries down,” Ms Hartridge says, “because no one could be sure they weren’t dealing with stolen goods.”
And yet the thefts kept coming, bolder and more daring. On January 10, a little more than a week before the Czech attack, hackers for the first time managed to break directly into a national registry – this time Austria’s – rather than just the computer of an account holder.
The thieves managed to spirit 488,141 allowances from the registry’s reserve to accounts in Liechtenstein and Sweden before authorities managed to freeze them. The audacity of the attack raised alarm in Brussels. Jos Delbeke, head of the Commission’s climate action directorate, was now convinced the system was under attack not by a lone hacker but by organised criminals.
In theory, the Commission has the best view into the system. It controls a sort of super-registry, known as the community independent trading log, with links to each of the 30 national registries and a record of every allowance by serial number.
Following the Austrian attack, Mr Delbeke set up an emergency group to liaise with member states and provide hourly updates.
But as with many EU matters, officials said there was little Brussels could do even in the unlikely event that they spotted a theft in progress. Without investigative authority of its own, EU officials can only respond to requests to national law enforcement authorities and Interpol. “Sometimes people would come to us and say: ‘My allowances are stolen.’ But they didn’t even have a police report,” one aide complains.
The Commission’s hands are further tied by carbon market rules that force it to keep individual transactions confidential for five years.
. . .
The decision to close the 30 national registries came after BlueNext, one of the market’s biggest exchanges, announced hours earlier that it was halting carbon spot trading across Europe.
The Commission’s impotence has its roots in the trading system’s birth nearly a decade ago, when member states insisted that they – and not the EU’s Brussels bureaucracy – should retain control of the registries.
Beyond the institutional rivalry that prompted this demand, there were practical reasons, too. As signatories to the Kyoto climate treaty, each of the EU’s members had made its own commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, some argued, it was sensible to maintain separate registries to log the transactions and manage the allowances that underpinned those commitments.
But the quality of security varied widely – creating weak points where the hackers have focused their attacks. Making matters worse, several cash-strapped governments in central and eastern Europe ignored a plea from Mr Delbeke last year to bolster their defences.
“Member states wanted to make their own decisions about what sort of system they had for users,” says Ms Hartridge. “But it’s clear that they have not kept up with how sophisticated hackers have become.”
It is possible the situation will improve next year when the Commission is set to open a central registry that it will oversee – an overhaul that was in the works even before the crime spree. Thanks to an opt-out clause, some member states may still decide to go it alone.
In the meantime, EU officials say no registry will be allowed to reopen until its security has been verified. “We cannot have the reputation of the emissions trading system damaged by organised crime,” insists Mr Delbeke.
Even a central registry, though, is no guarantee of safety. The best secured registries still fall well below routine bank security standards.
Better security will also not untangle the legal issues still plaguing the market. Back in Prague, for instance, Mr Svoboda says most of CEZ Group’s missing allowances have been tracked down but he suspects they are now held by people who have nothing to do with the initial theft.
His company believes OTE should be held responsible for any losses, although other market participants are unsure how claims of this sort would play out in the courts – particularly in a system that is subject to the laws of the 30 different member states. “Somewhere in the chain,” says Mr Svoboda, “the money is gone.”
View from the trading floor
Stolen certificates and suspended spot trading: the silver lining
Politically, the series of thefts that hit the European emissions trading system in January, along with the near shutdown in spot market trading for two weeks, has dealt a blow to a high-profile initiative, writes Philip Stafford
Markets, however, are able to see at least some positive aspects in the events. The thefts, according to trading houses and exchanges, are sign that the market is fast maturing.
The spot market accounts for about 10 per cent of the total. The rest consists of futures markets – which have remained unaffected and open. At about €14 a metric tonne, the ECX futures contract, the largest market, has changed little over the period.
“There’s no need to rush things,” says Henrik Hasselknippe of GreenX, an exchange owned by CME Group of the US. “The market can cope.”
Nonetheless, the confidence of some investors has been damaged. “Members are reluctant to trade because of the uncertainties caused by the stolen certificates and the registries,” says Toralf Michaelsen of EEX, a German exchange.
The closure of the registries had an unsettling effect. During the shutdown, the European Federation of Energy Traders warned that the suspension of the spot market would have serious effects on derivatives; it risked unbalancing the supply and demand of contracts.
There is general agreement that, in the short term, legal ownership of stolen permits that have crossed borders must be resolved.
In the longer term, the industry is calling for tighter regulation, a more centralised overview of the system and harmonisation of investor protection if permits are to be traded freely across the 30-country bloc.
Under the ETS, which accounts for 80 per cent of the global market, weighted average carbon prices increased by 6.6 per cent, from €13.6 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2009 to €14.5 per tonne in 2010.
The value of permits traded on the market is forecast to rise this year by 15 per cent to €107bn ($136bn). Carbon permit allocations, which have been free, are expected to fall in 2013 when full auctioning is introduced.
Trading is dispersed between several venues, including ICE Futures Europe in London, owned by Intercontinental Exchange; Paris-based BlueNext, set up by NYSE Euronext; and EEX.
(WATTS UP WITH THAT) Personally, I’ve always thought that the key to an advanced and open society was freedom of information. Apparently too much freedom for certain labeled groups of people is going to destroy the planet. Gosh. Australian media really has gone off the edge of the Earth since Gillard took over. Oh in case you haven’t seen it, here’s the leaked Gillard game plan to teach those Australian “deniers” to accept a new carbon tax. Damn that Internet and those meddling kids!
From Jammie Wearing Fool (via Chris Horner) who sums this farce up quite nicely.
Great News: The Internet Will Destroy the Planet
Now how exactly will Al Gore’s masterful invention go about destroying the planet? Why, by giving climate change “deniers” a voice to oppose the environmental wackos.
Broadcaster and Sydney Morning Herald columnist
The planet may not be so lucky. It’s increasingly apparent that the internet may bring about the death of human civilisation, beating out previous contenders such as nuclear holocaust and the election of George W. Bush.
The agents of this planetary death will be the climate-change deniers who, it’s now clear, owe much of their existence to the internet. Would the climate-change deniers be this sure of themselves without the internet?
Somehow I doubt it. They are so damn confident.
They don’t just bury their heads in the sand, they fiercely drive their own heads energetically into the nearest beachfront, their bums defiantly aquiver as they fart their toxic message to the world. How can they be so confident, in the face of so much evidence to the contrary?
It’s the internet, of course, and the way it has given climate-change deniers the perfect forum — one in which groups of quite dim people can swap spurious information, reassuring each other there’s no evidence on the other side, right up to the point they’ve derailed all efforts to save the planet. Call it ”mutually reassured destruction”.
In decades past, the climate-change deniers would have swapped theories in the pub or at a barbecue. But at the barbecue there was always one person willing to put a contrary view, to say: ”There’s another side.” And unless the barbecue was particularly nutty, there was no one handing out gestetnered sheets of dodgy science for people to take home.
The net allows the climate-change deniers to bleat about the scientists and whine about a price on carbon without fear of ever hearing a different voice, right up to the point of planetary collapse. To reformulate T.S. Eliot: ”This is the way the world will end — not with a bang but a whinger.”
On the upside, when it all does end it’ll spare us from reading nonsense like that.
Gosh, those intellectual media types are so smart. Oh wait, I’m a “broadcaster and columnist” too. Hmmm. I thought about leaving a comment on his blog as a courtesy just to let him know that some deniers took notice of what he wrote, but he doesn’t accept comments. Good thing too, the wrong people could get ideas that way.
Maybe we could all send Mr. Glover the The big self parodying “climate change blame” list.
Problem is lately, the “deniers” as we are called, outnumber the “believers” when opinion polls are taken.
UPDATE: Some commenters have questioned whether Mr Glover isn’t simply writing a sarcastic piece. There’s two reasons why I don’t think so:
#1 While it is often difficult to detect sarcasm in writing, there appears to be no hint of it here in this piece that I can detect.
#2 He’s written about his dislike of the Internet and people who use it before, specifically Twitter. In March 2009 he claimed it would be gone in 3 months. Here it still going strong is two years later, more successful than ever.
This quote from that article rather sums up his world view when it comes to technology use by people:
The 1970s were full of innovations that were meant to change the world forever but then retreated to the fringe, providing little more than a safe habitat for nutters.
Reality about Twitter is far different than Mr. Glover’s opinion, see this:
- Lies about Texas not being affected by draconian EPA rules on greenhouse gases.
- Deception about clean burning coal-fired plants producing “carbon pollution”.
- Spin in denying EPA and Obama administration have publicly stated and openly embarked on mission to destroy coal industry by blocking construction of new power plants.
(WASHINGTON POST) The scene: A crowded room at the American Meteorological Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Seattle last week, where the theme was “communicating weather and climate.” Climate scientists and weather experts from the U.S. and around the world, along with a sizable contingent of communications specialists from various media outlets, government agencies and academic institutions, are listening to a presentation by Kevin Trenberth, a climate researcher who heads up the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.
Trenberth, whose accent betrays hints of his New Zealand heritage, is delivering a presentation in memory of his friend and colleague, Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climate scientist who died suddenly last year. Schneider was a passionate advocate of communicating climate science to the public and policymakers.
The question: Will Trenberth refer to those who disagree with the scientific consensus – that human activities are very likely warming the climate system – as “climate deniers,” which he did in an earlier version of his talk, thereby raising an outcry and a fusillade of emails from the climate skeptic blogosphere?
The answer: Yes, he most certainly will.
Perhaps it’s just human nature to dig in your heels when under attack for holding a particular viewpoint, or maybe Trenberth really believes that it’s useful to use the term “denier” when discussing certain people who disagree with him. Whatever the reason or reasons, Trenberth does indeed show a slide entitled “The Deniers” during his wide-ranging talk, which touches upon the changing nature of extreme weather and climate events in a warming climate.
Defending his use of a term that many climate change skeptics say they find offensive due to its association with those who deny the Holocaust, Trenberth defiantly tells the audience: “My reaction to some of them is, ‘well, if the shoe fits, wear it.’”
Trenberth continues, “Indeed they are deniers. They deny rather basic information about climate science.” Without going into specifics, he says he does distinguish between “climate skeptics” and “climate deniers.”
Trenberth notes that, leading up to the AMS meeting, he received hundreds of angry, and occasionally even threatening emails regarding his presentation. These emails arrived in his inbox after two popular climate skeptic websites – Climate Depot, which is the climate skeptic equivalent of the Drudge Report, and Watts Up With That – harshly criticized him for his use of the term (among other things).
Both sites published his email address and encouraged readers to contact him regarding the upcoming presentation.
The Background: The Trenberth dustup is only the latest skirmish in an increasingly heated climate of confrontation between mainstream climate scientists and climate skeptics. Ever since the so-called “climategate” emails in 2009, the intensity of the climate debate has reached new levels, with climate scientists receiving not only insulting emails, but even threats of bodily harm, with some threats referred to the FBI.
Climate researchers have found their work under attack by skeptic bloggers who, unlike them, do not need to be published in peer reviewed scientific journals in order to have their work taken seriously by their readers and the media. Drawing large audiences, these bloggers wield significant influence, and the rhetoric they use can be alarming, particularly in light of the national conversation on civility in public affairs spawned in the wake of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) earlier this month in Tuscon. In general, there is a strong undercurrent of conspiracy theory present on many climate skeptic blogs, which tend to portray climate scientists as cooking the books to prove that manmade climate change is occurring, in order to justify certain government policies or obtain more research funding.
Blogs like Watts Up With That (known in climate circles as WUWT), which is run by former TV meteorologist Anthony Watts, helped propel the climategate story onto front pages in late 2009 and early 2010.
A brief search of the comments section below one WUWT post regarding Trenberth’s AMS presentation turned up several comments that raise some concerns – a couple of them border on making direct threats of physical violence against Trenberth.
For example, reader John Kehr wrote in to say, “Trenberth is a bad guy. No one should be surprised by anything that this consummate liar does or says. He keeps digging the hole deeper and deeper. He will be buried when it all collapses. I look forward to that day.”
Trenberth laments the hate-filled emails directed his way, but says they aren’t going to change the focus of his climate research. “There are some threats and obvious attempts to bully me into various actions, most don’t work. But some do have side effects. Mostly I recognize that this is ‘politics’ and is not me personally – although it has been getting a lot more personal with some name calling and abuse,” he says.
No climate researcher has more experience dealing with harsh criticism and threats than Ben Santer, a climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Santer was a lead author of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Second Assessment Report in 1995, which concluded for the first time that human activities were having a “discernible influence on the climate system.” Several years ago, he experienced an alarming incident at his home.
“In my case someone did cross the line between email threats and actually doing something,” he says. Santer says someone knocked on his door late one evening, and when he answered it, there was a dead rat on his doorstep, with “some fellow driving off at high speed in a yellow hummer shouting curses at me.” The experience was jarring, and left Santer convinced that he and his loved ones are at risk of violence and intimidation due to his climate science work.
Like Trenberth, Santer has been on the receiving end of more recent criticisms from Morano’s Climate Depot website. “[Morano] attacked me in a very unjust way on his website and posted my email address, and in my view such behavior is basically an incitement to hatred,” Santer says.
“Those [emails] are of concern,” Santer says, “particularly when you have loved ones and it’s clear that some of these people out there are not very rational.”
Santer points to Morano’s work as a major source of worry. “If something were to happen I would hold people like Mr. Morano personally responsible.” As a general practice, Morano prominently posts the email addresses of those he takes issue with, as if to incite the masses into writing hate mail. He even copies his opponents on blast emails he sends out criticizing them, as if to taunt and intimidate them.
“There is this incredible asymmetry here in what is occurring,” Santer notes. “[Climate scientists] are being subject to really intolerable nonscientific interference in their work simply because of what they’re doing and what they’ve learned.”
“If you do certain research and come up with results unpalatable to these forces of unreason they are sending the message that they will come down on you like a ton of bricks,” Santer says.
Morano, for his part, says his criticisms of mainstream climate scientists are within bounds.
“I am amused about how the insane actions of a lone nut gunman in Arizona is generating so much flowery pabulum from many quarters about the sudden need to tone down language,” Morano told me in an email message. “When climate con men like Michael Oppenheimer, James Hansen, Ben Santer, Michael Mann, Paul Ehrlich and Kevin Trenberth squelch debate and use the media to promote their insular views on climate, responding in toned down language should not be a top concern. We have scientists claiming the ‘debate is over’ and actively promoting regulations on every aspect of our lives to fight the phantom menace of man-made global warming. Public outcry against these scientists and their tactics is a very healthy and welcome development.”
Watts, who, unlike Morano, has a background in atmospheric science and writes long and detailed posts discussing various climate science concepts or debunking certain climate science studies, defends his work as well. In an email conversation, he noted several times that Trenberth had ample opportunities to alter his AMS presentation and take out the term “denier,” but he chose not to.
“I did ask Dr. Trenberth, who is at the top of the climate food chain, to stop using a derisive term. He clearly refused. I also sent him an email offering my forum for rebuttal should he wish. No answer. This speaks poorly for his leadership, it speaks equally poorly for the rest of the climate science community that they haven’t asked for him to publicly stop using a term,” Watts wrote. “In the climate science debate, the scientists are the leaders, yet they have embraced this word, ‘denier’ with all of its holocaust connotations. Dr. Trenberth’s AMS address using that word six times is the pinnacle of abuse of that word so far.”
Aside from the small, but very real, possibility that someone will cross the line and physically harm a climate scientist, excessive criticism of mainstream climate scientists may also have other detrimental impacts by jeopardizing scientific recruitment and research funding.
As Trenberth says: “The side effects come from when I submit a proposal and it has multiple anonymous reviews that are polarized with several excellents and very goods and then 2 poors. There are several emails to me about people working to make sure I can’t get funding and to go back to New Zealand. The funding issue is a delicate one because it means that my organization, NCAR, may be reluctant to step up and defend scientists if they feel it will jeopardize funding from NSF [the National Science Foundation] or elsewhere to the whole organization.”
Of course, the skeptics aren’t the only ones who are crossing, or at least blurring, the line. Blogs like Climate Progress harshly criticize the skeptics, using over-the-top language. For example, in criticizing AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi, Climate Progress’s Joe Romm called him, “probably the worst professional long-range forecaster on Earth” noting that this judgement was “based purely on the objective evidence.”
Simply put, the rhetoric on all sides has been out of hand for far too long, and it needs to be reined in, not only to avoid something horrific – a climate science equivalent to the Arizona shootings – but also because of the damage it’s doing to the public dialogue on climate change. At the end of the day, when climate scientists are fearful of engaging with the media or the public, it’s the American public that loses out on potentially critical insights into what is happening to the climate system and what would best be done about it.
As Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, explained to a House committee last year: “I worry about this type of intimidation,” particularly concerning its potential to stifle recruitment of talented scientists. “An atmosphere of civility and of encouraging scientists to seek the truth and to share their findings is always needed.”
Fortunately, there are some efforts springing up to foster a more civil dialogue on climate science, as exemplified by a recent conference in Lisbon, Portugal, which may be the start of an ongoing effort towards nonviolent conflict resolution in the climate arena.
(RAW STORY) Chastened Obama signals compromise on tax cuts, emissions controls — not on gays in military
A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections.
Obama ruefully called the Republican victories “a shellacking.”
At a White House news conference, the president said that when Congress returns, “my goal is to make sure we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle class families.” He made no mention of his campaign-long insistence that tax cuts be permitted to expire on upper-income families, a position he said would avoid swelling the deficit but put him in conflict with Republicans.
He also virtually abandoned his legislation — hopelessly stalled in the Senate — featuring economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources.
“I’m going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem,” he said. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said, strongly implying there will be others.
In the campaign, Republicans slammed the bill as a “national energy tax” and jobs killer, and numerous Democrats sought to emphasize their opposition to the measure during their own re-election races.
The president opened his post-election news conference by saying voters who felt frustrated by the sluggish pace of economic recovery had dictated the Republican takeover in the House.
Asked to reflect on the returns, he said, “I feel bad,” adding that many Democrats who went down to defeat had done so knowing they risked their careers to support his agenda of economic stimulus legislation and a landmark health care bill.
The president said he was eager to sit down with the leaders of both political parties “and figure out how we can move forward together.”
“It won’t be easy,” he said, noting the two parties differ profoundly in some key areas.
One controversial issue, the president said he saw a possibility that Congress might agree to overturn the military’s ban on openly gay service members when lawmakers return to the Capitol for a post-election session later this month.
The election was a humbling episode for the once-high-flying president, and the change showed during his news conference. Largely absent were his smiles and buoyant demeanor, replaced by somberness and an acknowledgment that his policies may have alienated some Americans.
“I think people started looking at all this, and it felt as if government was getting much more intrusive into people’s lives than they were accustomed to,” he conceded. But he wasn’t talking surrender either.
He sought to tread a careful line, suggesting he would cooperate with Republicans where it was possible and confront them when it was not.
“No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here,” he said, a clear warning to Republicans that he won’t simply bow to their demands for a sharply conservative switch in economic policy.
With his comments, Obama largely followed the lead of Republican leaders who said earlier in the day they were willing to compromise — within limits.
With unemployment at 9.6 percent, both the president and the Republicans will be under pressure to compromise. Yet neither must lose faith with core supporters — the Republicans with the tea party activists who helped them win power, Obama with the voters whose support he will need in 2012.
The president said the economy had begun a recovery since he took office but Americans became wary when they saw government bailouts of failing banks and two of the Big Three U.S. automakers.
Many Republicans campaigned by calling for repeal of the health care legislation Obama won from Congress, but the president said repeal was a nonstarter.
“If Republicans have some ideas” for cutting costs of health care or making other changes in the bill, he said he would be glad to take a look.
“There are going to be some examples of where we can tweak and make progress,” he said. “But I don’t think if you ask the American people, `should we stop trying to close the doughnut hole that helps seniors get prescription drugs, should we go back to where people with pre-existing conditions can’t get health insurance’ … I don’t think you’d have a strong vote from people saying, `Those are provisions I want to eliminate.’”
Famously unemotional in public, Obama was asked whether he needs to change his leadership style, and he responded: “When you’re in this place, it is hard not to seem removed.”
He said he needs to do more “to ensure I’m getting out of here.” He also pointed out that “a couple of great communicators” — Reagan and Clinton — also stood at the podium two years into their presidencies “getting very similar questions.”
Actually, Clinton’s electoral comeuppance was worse. Republicans won both the House and Senate at his first midterm, but he recovered to win re-election two years later.
Republicans lost seats in Congress at Reagan’s first midterm election in 1982 but never had a House majority to lose, and kept control of the Senate for four more years.
Source: AP News
The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:
1. The Discovery Channel and it’s affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn’s “My Ishmael” pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other’s inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!
2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.
3. All programs promoting War and the technology behind those must cease. There is no sense in advertising weapons of mass-destruction anymore. Instead, talk about ways to disassemble civilization and concentrate the message in finding SOLUTIONS to solving global military mechanized conflict. Again, solutions solutions instead of just repeating the same old wars with newer weapons. Also, keep out the fraudulent peace movements. They are liars and fakes and had no real intention of ending the wars. ALL OF THEM ARE FAKE! On one hand, they claim they want the wars to end, on the other, they are demanding the human population increase. World War II had 2 Billion humans and after that war, the people decided that tripling the population would assure peace. WTF??? STUPIDITY! MORE HUMANS EQUALS MORE WAR!
4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn’t, then get hell off the planet! Breathe Oil! It is the moral obligation of everyone living otherwise what good are they??
5. Immigration: Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that. Find solutions to stopping it. Call for people in the world to develop solutions to stop it completely and permanently. Find solutions FOR these countries so they stop sending their breeding populations to the US and the world to seek jobs and therefore breed more unwanted pollution babies. FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH! (The first world is feeding the population growth of the Third World and those human families are going to where the food is! They must stop procreating new humans looking for nonexistant jobs!)
6. Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy. Find ways so that people don’t build more housing pollution which destroys the environment to make way for more human filth! Find solutions so that people stop breeding as well as stopping using Oil in order to REVERSE Global warming and the destruction of the planet!
7. Develop shows that mention the Malthusian sciences about how food production leads to the overpopulation of the Human race. Talk about Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people’s brains until they get it!!
8. Saving the Planet means saving what’s left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies! You’re the media, you can reach enough people. It’s your resposibility because you reach so many minds!!!
9. Develop shows that will correct and dismantle the dangerous US world economy. Find solutions for their disasterous Ponzi-Casino economy before they take the world to another nuclear war.
10. Stop all shows glorifying human birthing on all your channels and on TLC. Stop Future Weapons shows or replace the dialogue condemning the people behind these developments so that the shows become exposes rather than advertisements of Arms sales and development!
11. You’re also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing. All these unemployed people makes me think the US is headed toward more war.
Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture.
For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100 YEARS of that new human’s lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!
It is the responsiblity of everyone to preserve the planet they live on by not breeding any more children who will continue their filthy practices. Children represent FUTURE catastrophic pollution whereas their parents are current pollution. NO MORE BABIES! Population growth is a real crisis. Even one child born in the US will use 30 to a thousand times more resources than a Third World child. It’s like a couple are having 30 babies even though it’s just one! If the US goes in this direction maybe other countries will too!
Also, war must be halted. Not because it’s morally wrong, but because of the catastrophic environmental damage modern weapons cause to other creatures. FIND SOLUTIONS JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAYS! Humans are supposed to be inventive. INVENT, DAMN YOU!!
The world needs TV shows that DEVELOP solutions to the problems that humans are causing, not stupify the people into destroying the world. Not encouraging them to breed more environmentally harmful humans.
Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.
The humans? The planet does not need humans.
You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead of discouraging human growth and procreation. Surely you MUST ALREADY KNOW this!
I want Discovery Communications to broadcast on their channels to the world their new program lineup and I want proof they are doing so. I want the new shows started by asking the public for inventive solution ideas to save the planet and the remaining wildlife on it.
These are the demands and sayings of Lee.
Since time immemorial people have been inventing or exaggerating scares to gain power. I used to think carbon dioxide posed a real threat, and I even used to be an active member of the Australian Greens. Then I discovered all the things we weren’t being told (like this and this), and how much money was involved and I was shocked.
There are many good people among the Greens who will be outraged when they realize how they have been used.
Ultra elitist organization that openly bragged of inventing global warming scare to manipulate population behind new onslaught of green fascism which would criminalize questioning man-made climate change.
The e-mails from 2007 reveal that when a USA Today reporter asked if NASA’s data “was more accurate” than other climate-change data sets, NASA’s Dr. Reto A. Ruedy replied with an unequivocal no. He said “the National Climatic Data Center’s procedure of only using the best stations is more accurate,” admitting that some of his own procedures led to less accurate readings.