Monday, March 18, 2013

#473: Joe Barton

“Smokey” Joe Barton is the Republican Representative from Texas's sixth district (since 1984), Teabagger, chickenhawk, and one of the most prominent global warming deniers in Congress. Barton, head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at the time, was one of the chief architects of Dubya's Energy Policy Act of 2005, which provided massive giveaway to Texas oil companies (as well as the “Halliburton Loophole”). Barton’s intertwinement with the oil industry is so intense that his declarations in relation to the BP oil spill (that is, his apology to BP had to be denied even by BP’s own questionably competent Tony Hayward.

Barton was also responsible for commissioning the infamous Wegman report on global warming, and although he didn’t plagiarize it himself at least he appears to have been very clear about what the report was supposed to end up saying before investigations were began.

He’s said some incredibly stupid stuff on global warming, such as here (also here), or here, or, in particular: “Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?” That’s … not entirely coherent.

Sometimes, it seems, Barton’s absolute lack of insight or scientific understanding can be slightly off-putting to people with the faintest idea. This one is legendary, as is his arguments that CO2 is really good for us, or his claim that trying to prevent global warming is pointless: “You can't regulate God. Not even the Democratic majority in the US Congress can regulate God.”

Despite his image as a religious zealot, he isn’t particularly familiar with the Bible, preferring instead the tenets of his religion to be exactly what he wants them to be instead.

Diagnosis: Utterly deluded hyper-denialist and virtually a cartoon-version of a villain in any disagreement over civilization or decency. Extremely dangerous.

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