Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Real Reason Why TeaBaggers Are Up In Arms Over Light Bulbs

By MARC McDONALD

To hear the TeaBaggers tell it, the ban on incandescent bulbs is a good example of "Big Government" interfering with the lives of ordinary citizens.

At first glance, it might appear that the Tea Party has a point. After all, what right does the government have to tell us what type of light bulbs to buy?

However, the reality, is that the light bulb "controversy" is nothing more than a red herring. It's designed to distract the dim bulbs who constitute the ranks of this AstroTurf movement.

In reality, the TeaBaggers have no problem with the government legislating how people live their lives. After all, they support Republicans: a party that constantly micromanages every aspect of ordinary citizens' lives---even our personal morals.

You hear a lot of talk about "freedom" at TeaBagger rallies. But while TeaBagger/GOP types talk a good talk about freedom, they have nothing but contempt for real freedom for ordinary citizens.

The GOP supports outlawing everything from gay marriage to a woman's right to choose. It supports a "lock them up and throw away the key" approach for even casual drug use. Indeed, most TeaBaggers I've talked to would support the government embracing an evangelical right-wing theocracy and ramming it down the throats of the rest of us. So much for less "government intrusion" into our lives.

Indeed for all the rage the TeaBaggers claim to have toward Big Government, it's clear that (as usual) they have no idea what they're talking about. Polls have even shown that a majority of TeaBaggers support programs like Medicare (although they seem to be ignorant of the fact that it's a government program). They seem to be clueless that the GOP would abolish Medicare in a heartbeat if it only could muster the votes.

Despite all this, the TeaBaggers continue to rage against "Big Government intrusion into people's lives." The interesting thing is that, their "Exhibit A" of such intrusion is always the light bulb issue.

But is the light bulb ban really an "intrusion" by government into people's lives? Actually, it's the very opposite.

After all, the new compact fluorescents use 75-80 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. If every U.S. household bought just one CFL and used it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. It'd be the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the roads.

Here's where the TeaBaggers are clueless about "government intrusion." If everyone uses CFLs, America will save millions of barrels of oil a year. And let's face it: that just increases the odds that our nation won't be involved in further oil wars in the Middle East.

Speaking of "government intrusion" into people's lives, the Iraq War alone is expect to cost U.S. taxpayers around $3 trillion.

As usual, the TeaBaggers and GOP can't see the forest for the trees. They want to save us from "government intrusion" by banning CFL bulb laws. But they have no problem with the U.S. government forcing taxpayers to cough up trillions for wars to steal other countries' oil.

Actually, if the U.S. was more energy efficient, we could easily live off the oil we produce right here at home. And we could do it with off-the-shelf technology that already exists. For example, Japan already gets an astonishing three times as much economic activity per barrel of oil than the U.S. does. If the U.S. were as energy efficient as Japan, we'd save many millions of barrels of oil per year.

Bottom line: the light bulb "issue" is nothing more than a red herring, aimed at distracting the ignorant TeaBagger crowd into believing that the leaders of this AstroTurf movement are actually acting in their interests.

To be sure, the real leaders of the Tea Party movement (like the billionaire Koch brothers) are indeed against government intrusion. But they don't give a damn about government intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens. No, the government intrusion they oppose is any and all regulations against multinational corporations.

If the rich and powerful interests who really control the Tea Party had it their way, corporations would face zero government regulations. Corporations would be free to rape and pillage the planet as they pleased. They'd even be free to continue gorging themselves on corporate welfare. The latter, of course, is one Big Government program that the TeaBaggers have no problems with.

I've yet to see a single sign at a TeaBagger rally that condemns corporate welfare. Or a sign that condemns TeaBagger darling Michele Bachmann's family from hypocritically gorging on our tax dollars. Or a sign that condemns the U.S. spending trillions of our tax dollars to invade other countries to steal their oil.

It's clear the whole light bulb issue is nothing more than a fake "controversy," cynically contrived to mislead the American people, and the mainstream media, about the real intentions of the Tea Party movement.

18 comments:

Jack Jodell said...

Marc,
The teabaggers AND the Republicans are all just a bunch of spoiled babies who don't want the government to have ANY say in what THEY do (especially economically). They are paradoxical hypocrites because, when THEY control the government, they try to make YOU conform to THEIR ridiculous moral dictates.

Such people do not belong in government. They belong in caves, or deep in the backwoods somewhere!

Anonymous said...

From what I've read, the incandescent bulb isn't banned. They just have to be 30% more efficient by a certain year.
Am I wrong?

Dino

Anonymous said...

Everything coming from the right lately is fake controversy, or poutrage. Acorn, PPA, Van Jones, the "New Black Panther" party, all of it has been blown way out of proportion simply to keep the right wing base fearful and unthinking. Everything they do is fear stoking and projection.

Anonymous said...

Teabaggers are in favor of freedom... except for the freedom of non-millionaires to live peaceful, healthy, educated lives. That's an opinion based on my critical analysis of the policies they support, not an opinion based on my "feelings."

Anonymous said...

And it's not even a ban, it just sets a minimum efficiency level, which you don't even need CFL tech to reach. Truly a herring, painted red for greater distraction.

Anonymous said...

"...the U.S. government forcing taxpayers to cough up trillions for wars to steal other countries' oil."

Bwahahahahahahahahahaha!

Taxpayers have not coughed up a penny for Bush's two failed wars. Rethuglican fiscal conservatives have left that problem for the next generation.

A.J.

Anonymous said...

On top of all that ignorance, it is not true that they will be forced to use CFL bulbs. Incandescent bulbs will still be available, but they will have been re-engineered to be more efficient.

Anonymous said...

Florecent Bulbs are only good where they are used for long periods of time. Frequently turning on and off shortens their supposed life expectancy and increases energy consumption.

Highest energy consumption for those lights is when they are first turned on, more than incandescent, It takes 15 minutes or longer to reach maximum efficiency and if you only need the light for less than that You are wasting money and they are more expensive to replace.

I'm not leaving my bathroom light on all day or any other for a 3 minute urination. That's a waste of energy too.

Montag said...

Umm, while I agree with the assertion that the incandescent light bulb is just a smoke and mirrors argument, it's not accurate to say that converting to CFLs will save a lot of oil.

To a very considerable degree, electrical power in this country is produced by domestic coal, followed by nuclear power and (mostly) domestic natural gas, with hydropower and alternative energy (solar, wind, etc.) bringing up the rear. Roughly 3% of electrical power produced in the country is dependent upon oil, and most oil-powered plants are aging fast and are overdue for replacement. So, complete phase-out of incandescent bulbs isn't going to change the importation of oil one whit in the long term, and in the short term, will be of marginal utility only in those areas (such as those with small municipally-owned plants) where oil-fired steam boilers are still in use.

The largest portion of oil use is for transportation, followed by space heating (particularly in the Northeast), use in chemical processes (everything from agricultural products to dyes), manufacture of solvents and lubricants, tire manufacturing (every new tire requires ~ six to seven barrels of oil), etc. But, in electricity production? Hardly worth mentioning.

Phoenix Justice said...

I would like to point out that the Koch Brothers and their ilk don't really want the U.S. to become more energy efficient as it would cut into their massive, tax payer subsidized profits.

www.PhoenixJustice.com

Anonymous said...

The teabagger light bulb crusade is asinine, and US energy policy is counterproductive and ultimately will prove catastrophic. But your analysis is also flawed and misleading - really, very little oil is associated with the energy used by lighting. That energy is produced by coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, and a bit of solar and wind renewable. The teabagger approach to policy is fact free. The appropriate response should not be.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Jack, thanks for your comment, as always. Well put!

Geraldo said...

You are missing the real reason why they are up in arms over light bulbs.

Keep in mind that these are petty, vindictive people. The greatest pleasure they derive is from poking a hippie in the eye. Or doing something else to piss off the hippies. Or show the hippies who's boss.

They see CFL's as beloved by hippies. Therefore, they will do everything in their power NOT to use them.

Anything the hippies want, they immediately want the opposite of because they are in this imaginary game of one-upsmanship against ghosts from the 1960's.

It's the exact same mentality that leads someone to leave their car running all day to "prove a point".

Of course it's stupid: they will burn a tank of gasoline and pay for it, just to imagine in their own little minds that this somehow constitutes a victory against the hippies.

Mission Man said...

You are exactly correct about the light bulb war by the conservatives. It is exactly the same thing they've done with the "debt crisis" -- manufacture an invented crisis just to scare the crap out of their base. It's revolting in the extreme...

http://friendlyfire56.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

You know, maybe the US defaulting on it's debt won't be Armageddon after all. Might just wake the blissfully ignorant out of their coma when taxes on normal people explode in order to clean up the mess the "elites" caused.

-WageslaveZ-

docpatmac said...

Dead On Geraldo! Another point is that of course like every other minor commodity item, light bulbs haven't been made in the U.S. for many years, so it requires a great deal of energy to transport them to market. If they're only being replaced every five years (not in MY experience, more like three TOPS), they reduce energy consumption right out of the gate.
But as Mission Man pointed out, this is just one more 'manufactured crisis' on the part of the Heritage Foundation, et al. Re: The Debt Crisis? Same thing! If the Democrats had the BALLS, and weren't out for the impossible "Bipartisan Solution", and caved every time the Right said BOO!, this would never have been an issue. They could have passed an extension on the Debt Ceiling a year ago, but failed to do so. Now our credit rating has been downgraded anyway, to AA+, for the first time in history, the markets are starting to tank AGAIN. Even a manufactured crisis can have real serious "real world consequences", to quote Paul Krugman.

Panta Rei said...

Regulations are a bad idea,
Liberal or Conservative or Libertarian, Tea Party, of course, at least in some of their freedom of choice incarnations, as you say)....

Liberal, Democrat?
= Tax and Subsidies instead

Think of bankrupt California Government,
banning everything in sight (buildings, cars, TV sets etc based on
energy consumption)
- and getting nothing for it.
The ban on some bulbs is all about lowering electricity use.
To lower electricity use, if seen as relevant,
then coal, electricity from coal, all electricity,
or the bulbs themselves could simply be taxed, and
cross-subsidize lower prices on energy saving alternatives,
so people are "not just hit by taxes"
equilibrating the market and keeping consumer choice.
1 1/2 - 2 billion annual pre-ban USA sales of relevant bulbs
show the income potential at federal as well as state level
(while a very high tax zeroing sales is the same as the desired ban
= win-win for pro-ban liberal Governments, either way)


Conservative, Republican?
= Stimulated Free Market Competition instead

Free market competition stimulation is best in my view
- also to lower energy consumption,
since electricity producers and manufacturers are then more keen to keep down
their energy costs,
and manufacturers deliver energy and cost saving products that the
public actually want.
New energy saving inventions can be helped to the market.



Apart from affecting people's freedom of product choice,
the actual switchover savings are not that great anyway =less than 1%
of overall energy use, or 1-2% grid electricity is saved, as shown by USA Dept of Energy and other institutional stats
http://ceolas.net/#li171x
with alternative and more meaningful ways to save energy
in generation, grid distribution or consumption.

Light bulbs don't burn coal or release CO2,
if there is a problem, deal with the problem...


Banning a cheap, simple, safe, popular product,
in order to wave a funny bulb around and thereby supposedly help Save the Earth,
is about as dumb as it gets, in my humble opinion....

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Panta Rei, I guess there's no point in trying to educate you about global warming. Or why a national energy-saving policy actually makes good national security sense. (More sense, in fact, than the insane trillions of dollars our bankrupt nation is spending on the military industrial complex---money that ONLY benefits rich, corrupt, "military" contractors).
I would try to advise you to turn off Rush for a change. But, hell, what's the point?
You wingnuts have had your brains turned into oatmeal by the Pig-Man.
It's sad, really.