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Thinking about Climate

by Fred Cederholm

The 1200-page Waxman-Markey bill, unread by the pols who voted on it, offers dispensation to sinning pollutors. Is this really what we should be doing?

I’ve been thinking about climate. Actually I’ve been thinking about recent Illinois weather, Waxman-Markey, reading, hearsay, and Martin Luther’s indulgences. The past week I’ve been enjoying the weather in late June here in central Illinois. I am increasing my distances in my daily outdoor walks when I go out by myself, or walk to my cornerwith my little Scottie – or on to the next one, if I feel ambitious. The air has been fresh and crisp and once again I am ever so grateful for the deep breaths I can now enjoy since my open heart surgery and mitral valve-job-fix have revitalized my breathing.

You see, I look at things much differently now. A simple walk and a deep breath on a sunny day in June are a treat and something to be treasured and glorified. It was hard to TH*NK about global warming during the winters (plural) of this past season. It seemed like we had three this year; one winter in December, a second in January, and a third in February. It snowed a lot, I shoveled, and it melted; it snowed a lot, I shoveled, and it melted; it snowed a lot, I shoveled, and it melted. I joked about wanting to experience some of the global warming we kept hearing so much about. The US under Bush had thumbed its nose at the Kyoto Treaty, the US was greedy and insensitive to things ecological, and Uncle $ugar was THE poster symbol of what was wanton and pillaging of our planet. The selection/election of Obama as leader/President and an enhanced Democratic congress majority would right the wrongs and push the US to the forefront in saving the planet, being green, and climate conscious. Or, would they?

Last week, the 1200-page Waxman-Markey bill squeaked though the House of Reps with a vote of 219 yeas to 212 nays – mostly along partisan lines. I wish I could share with you a synopsis of the details and salient points, but I can’t. You see the bill – even though passed by the lower House last Friday, only became readable in print late Sunday PM. Like the Homeland Security Bills (parts ONE, TWO, and THREE), the $750 BILLION Tarp bailout bill, and the TRILLION-plus economic recovery spending bill--- our upstanding members of Congress committed us (and future generations) without taking the time to read what they were enacting!

The mere fact that the bill was in excess of a thousand pages tells me it was NOT written by any activist Congress itself, or by the concerted workings of Congressional committees. It more than likely was the collective effort of the private sector interests who will benefit from the terms and conditions included therein; penned by their attorneys, their lobbyists and their lobbyists’ attorneys. Now, most of our elected officials are lawyers and should know what hearsay is: What someone learns from the tattling of a third party cannot be used by them in their actions and testimony! Somehow “I was only following party orders,” or “I was told something was included (or not)” will NOT be any defense when the whole thing blows up on US/us. A reckoning should come as early as the 2010 interim elections.

I find it particularly interesting to consider how the Waxman-Markey “Me People, You People, Kumbya, Hug a Tree, Recycle, and TH*NK Green” Bill of 2009 will exercise the moral suasion to promote the desired actions and policies. Planet Earth will NOT get any running start on the curtailment of the greenhouse gasses. Any targeted water-treading polar bears are just going to have to wait. Will this level the playing field against China, who will be adding hundreds of new coal-burning (and CO2-belching) power plants each year during the life of Waxman Markey? (Not one belch less!) Will it raise the costs of US-generated electric power by at least $175 per household per year? (More than likely!) Will it further make US-made goods more expensive and less competitive in the global markets? (What do you TH*NK?)

The enforcement mechanism seems to flash back to Martin Luther’s complaints against the Catholic Church that he nailed to the door of the castle church of Wittenberg in 1517. The sins and crimes against the planet are identified. There are costs and fines assessed. Guilty parties acknowledge they are doing wrong by planet Earth, but will buy a prepaid dispensation from Uncle $ugar. These 21st Century “indulgences” cry out, “forgive me Earth, for I’m gonna sin... and to make it palatable for one and all, I’m gonna grease the palm(s) of Congress (make that Uncle $ugar) to redeem me for what I’ll do...” HUMM?!?!

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on June 29, 2009.