Friday, April 07, 2006

Dana Rohrabacher on Bill Maher

On last week's HBO Real Time with Bill Maher, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R–CA) was on the panel. Even though it's a week later, I haven't found anyone in the blogosphere who has taken apart Mr. Rohrabacher's deeply reality-challenged positions, so here I go, venturing into the breach, even though the new episode begins in only ten minutes. I'll be interspersing quotes from Rep. Rohrabacher with my own commentary. Unless otherwise indicated, the indented quotes are all from Dana Rohrabacher. Most of the discussion was between Bill Maher and Dana Rohrabacher, although panelists Erica Jong and Seth Green did contribute more than is reflected in the excerpts below.


Half of the Republican Party has too close an association with "Big Business," but remember, none of the Democrats ever vote right on illegal immigration. The fact is, the Democrats try to exploit these poor people who come across politically; a lot of the Republicans exploit them financially. It's wrong, it's bad for the American people, to have so many people coming in from overseas, bidding down the wages of our average person, and at the same time, a lot of employers aren't giving the same kind of benefits, so we end up with less tax revenue, we end up with our education system collapsing under this pressure, our healthcare system collapsing under this pressure. (Bill Maher: You're blaming all that on the Mexicans?) Yes, I am.
Well, one thing you can't accuse the Democrats of doing is exploiting the illegal immigrants for their votes. Yes, the presence of large numbers of illegal immigrants serves to "bid down" the wages for unskilled labor, as well as for some skilled labor not involving contact with the general public (for example, in the construction trades), but the lack of taxes and benefits provided by the employers can hardly be blamed on the immigrants. The assertion that it is the illegal immigrants who are responsible for the "collapse" of our education and healthcare systems is absurd. Here in California, Proposition 13 has far more to do with the collapse of public services than illegal immigrants do. Before Prop 13, it was too easy for politicians to let property taxes increase with skyrocketing valuations; since Prop 13, it's too difficult for politicians to raise taxes, even when the need is obvious and immediate. The pendulum has to swing back to the middle. Texas doesn't have Prop 13, per se, but it shares the same rabid anti-tax mentality as the proponents and die-hard defenders of Prop 13. The bottom line is, if you want public services, you have to pay taxes to get them. There is no free lunch.

By the way, Congressman Rohrabacher authored California Proposition 187 back in 1994, to deny all government services — including primary and secondary education — to undocumented residents and to require all state and local officials to report any suspected illegal immigrant to the federal authorities. Prop 187 passed with 59% of the vote statewide, but it is largely credited with shifting the state significantly towards the Democratic Party, since the primary supporters (Rohrabacher, Assemblyman Dick Mountjoy, and Governor Pete Wilson) were Republicans. The measure was struck down by the courts, but Rohrabacher proposed a federal law in 2004 to deny even emergency medical care to anyone who cannot prove legal residence. That's right — you're in the E.R. bleeding out from a gunshot wound, and the doctor can't treat you until you show your birth certificate, passport, or green card. If you're unconscious, that's just too damned bad. Better to let an innocent citizen die than to take the chance of rewarding an illegal alien with free medical care.
You're talking to a guy whose wife had triplets two years ago. We have succeeded without having to have a foreign nanny. Our family became closer. The grandparents come over and help. Yeah, you can hire foreign nannies and not pay more for an American nanny, or get tight with your family. I think it's better to have better relations in a family than to pay a foreigner.
That's all fine and well if you live in a Norman Rockwell family with the grandparents just down the street. However, most parents today do not have grandparents in a position to take on that responsibility. Either the grandparents live too far away or they're still working or they're in some way ill-suited to be caretakers for the children. As for "paying more for an American nanny," first you have to find an American nanny. As Erica Jong pointed out, childcare is a low-status profession in our culture, even lower than teaching. (Hmm — I wonder if that might have something to do with the "collapse of the education system"...) How high can you bid up the wages to entice Americans to take that job before you put the parents in a position where they can't afford childcare?
Bill Maher: The way the right wing talks about the "border" of America, like it was there from time immemorial — excuse me, most of the southwest of America, up to Oregon, was Mexico, up until the 1840's, when another President trumped up a phony war so we could steal it — (Seth Green: Manifest Destiny, man.) — Manifest Destiny, so we are sort of "married" to this part of the continent in a way; there was a divorce, but don't you think we owe them a little more than, say, immigrants from Iceland?

Rohrabacher: Does that mean New York — we should have a special relationship with the Dutch. C'mon, give me a break! The fact is, this is the United States. This is the United States of America. We owe it to the American people to watch out for their interests, even though these people coming across illegally are good people. This is hurting the lower middle class and the middle class Americans in this country, big time.
The comparison of New York and the Dutch to the American Southwest and the Mexicans demonstrates a profound and dangerous disregard for history. Yes, what is now New York City was once a Dutch colony, and the English did take it from the Dutch in a war of aggression. However, the Dutch only held Nieuw Amsterdam for a total of 51 years in the 17th century; the Mexican people had been in what is now the American Southwest much longer than that area has been a part of the United States. A better analogy would be to say that the American people in the New York area owe a similar debt to the Manhatta Indians, from whom the Spanish, Dutch, and English stole New York. The fact that the American Southwest was stolen from México, to the continuing economic detriment of that entire nation, does give us a special obligation. It is unspeakably arrogant to say that simply because we moved an arbitrary line, that they should be shut out entirely.
[The United States has] more legal immigration coming into this country than all the other countries of the world combined. We have nothing to apologize about legal immigration.
As Jorge Ramos pointed out earlier in the program, a century ago, 14% of the U.S. population was foreign-born. Today, it's only 11%. The white working-age population is going to decline by about 5 million over the next 15 years. In order to sustain our prosperity, we need to increase legal immigration. In particular, we need to facilitate the immigration of skilled, ambitious, hard-working people from all over the world, rather than throwing up more hurdles. Of course, we also need to facilitate a lot more desarollo económico south of the border, for our own sake as well as Mexico's.
The fact is, these wonderful people are coming over to work here because they need the work. It is unfortunate, but it is having a horrible impact on the wages that are paid to our own people, and let me note, the argument is saying, "We have to bring them over, because we can't find Americans to do the work." We have 50 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 50 who are able-bodied who are unemployed. Unemployment among people without high school degrees is 15%. We've got plenty of people to work, but they have to pay them more to get them to do it.
I'll be charitable and suggest that perhaps Congressman Rohrabacher forgot his crib notes, because his unemployment figures simply bear zero resemblance to reality. There are nothing close to 50 million unemployed Americans between the ages of 20 and 50. The overall unemployment rate is only 4.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even if we take every single man, woman, and child, 4.7% of the entire U.S. population is less than fifteen million, never mind fifty million. In fact, the total unemployment figure in the U.S. is about seven million. The unemployment rate for men and women over 20 years of age is only 4.1%. The unemployment rate for people over 25 with no high school diploma is only 7.0% — less than half of what Congressman Rohrabacher claims. The "50 million unemployed" figure was neither a slip of his tongue nor a mishearing on my part; he clearly enunciated and emphasized those words. In short, whether it was an honest mistake or an intentional ploy, Dana Rohrabacher simply pulled his unemployment numbers straight out of his ass; I at least have the decency to pull my figures out of the BLS's ass.
Saddam Hussein was a vicious dictator who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people. He had a blood grudge against the people of the United States for kicking him out of Kuwait. This is a man who, if he would slaughter his own people, would certainly be slaughtering Americans.
Yes, Saddam Hussein was a bad man — on his best day, even worse of a human being and even worse of a national leader than George W. Bush on his nastiest. He killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and hundreds of thousands of people in neighboring countries. He personally killed probably dozens of people face to face. However, saying that he wanted to get revenge on America doesn't justify military action to remove him from power, and neither do his own misdeeds against his own people or against his neighbors. As Bill Maher asked, what about the bloodthirsty dictators of Turkmenistan, Myanmar [Burma], North Korea, and plenty of other nations? Clearly the United States does not feel compelled, nor even empowered, to take military action against every brutal war-mongering crackpot with a country under his thumb.
Listen, there is no doubt — I am the chairman of an investigative and oversight subcommittee, and we're just now getting a mountain of documents that were captured during the war. The very first documents we got to translate in my subcommittee basically detailed how Saddam Hussein ordered 448 Kuwaiti prisoners that he had held for 11 years to be placed on the battlefield as human shields. (Bill Maher: We know he was a bad guy. You're not answering my question. If there are other bad guys around the world who do the same thing —) The answer to your question is very easy: Saddam Hussein had a blood feud with the United States of America. Don't think he didn't. (Maher: But did he have the ability —) Look, whatever happened originally, I can tell you that after Kuwait, this man meant to do us harm, and I will tell you that (Maher: Come on, how long had it been since he was able to do harm or did any harm?) Let me note this: as we translate these documents, we are going to find out — we know he had weapons of mass destruction, because he used them on his own people. We have found mass graves in which he used gas on his own people. Why do you think he wouldn't use gas on us? Because he likes his own people more? He hated us.
Actually, we now know beyond a reasonable doubt that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction. He had had them, to be sure, but that was all in the long-ago before time. The chemical weapons Rep. Rohrabacher is talking about have very limited shelf lives. After about three years, they are useless. It had been more than a decade since Saddam had any production capabilities. Do the math — it ain't that hard. It had been many, many years since Saddam Hussein had the capability to do anything more than take a few potshots at airplanes flying over his own territory. Saddam Hussein posed no credible threat whatsoever to the United States in 2003. Kuwait was liberated in 1991, fifteen whole years ago. All of the atrocities that Rep. Rohrabacher mentioned took place before that. Things that Saddam did in the 1980's, horrific as they might be, are not a reason to go to war against him in 2003. If the United States invaded and deposed every foreign leader who hates the United States, we would have to conquer the entire world, because we would set in motion a real domino effect: as we conquered one wave of countries, the next wave would have reason to hate us, giving us a reason to conquer them.
The other dictators of the world, they may not like us, but they do not have a grudge against us.
That is absolutely DELUSIONAL, Mr. Rohrabacher. How about Fidel Castro? How about 김정일? How about آیت‌الله سید علی حسینی خامنه? Besides that, again, merely having a "grudge" against the United States is not an adequate cause for war.
It's a lot safer world without Saddam Hussein in power.
Again, utterly DELUSIONAL. The world is a far more dangerous place because of the removal from power of Saddam Hussein. By removing Saddam, George W. Bush created a terrorist training camp beyond al Qaeda's wildest dreams — far beyond what he ever had in Sudan or Afghanistan. That alone makes the world less safe. Furthermore, the political instability that was unleashed by the sudden removal of Saddam jeopardizes the entire region, again making the world less safe. The Iraqi people, too, are less safe in the post-Saddam world than they were before. Even with the crippling economic sanctions, the average Iraqi was much better off under Saddam than under the current chaos. Is a dead Iraqi better off than he was alive under Saddam Hussein's despotism? More to the point, is it our right to force that choice upon him?
It's really great that [al Qaeda] are there [Iraq] rather than here. We're killing them there rather than here. We have attracted into Iraq the leadership of al Qaeda and the resources of al Qaeda and we are fighting them there. They have limited resources, and they are wasting them in Iraq. Yeah, they have a cell here, but they'd have twenty cells here if they weren't engaged in battle in Iraq.
What DRUGS are you taking, Dana? What makes you think for an instant that al Qaeda is incapable of mounting operations in the United States at the same time it is fighting American forces in Iraq? Al Qaeda has demonstrated the ability to carry out attacks in Jordan, Spain, England, Egypt, and even the United States of America, just since the U.S. invaded Iraq. The entire 9/11 plot took only 19 people and $500,000. Do you really think that al Qaeda couldn't raise that kind of resources, just because it has a lot of people in Iraq right now? As for the leadership of al Qaeda, yes, certainly some of the leadership of al Qaeda is in Iraq, because Iraq is a major theater of operations for al Qaeda. By the same token, we have "attracted" a sizeable chunk of U.S. military leadership to Iraq. The fact remains that most of the leadership of al Qaeda — Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, in particular — are outside Iraq. If our purpose was to draw all of al Qaeda's resources to Iraq in order to leave them unable to mount operations elsewhere, then we were on even more of a fool's errand than if we really went in on any of the other pretexts given by the Bush administration.

Rep. Rohrabacher seems to be caught in the disastrously pre-9/11 mentality that al Qaeda is a fixed group of people incapable of recruiting new fighters or new sources of money, materiel, and strategic leadership. If they can mount operations in a half dozen other countries at the same time, they certainly still have the resources to mount another operation here. It doesn't take batallions of soldiers and billions of dollars for al Qaeda to attack us. They give a whole new meaning to the phrase "An Army of One."

Shifting topics to the question of women's equality in American society, keying off of a discussion of the book Manliness by Harvey C. Mansfield.
Let me note for the society in general, I don't think it would surprise anyone if we had Hillary Clinton at the head of one ticket and perhaps Condoleezza Rice on the other ticket, in the next Presidential election. We've come a long way, you might say.
Well, let me say that it would surprise me greatly if Condoleeza Rice is on the Republican ticket, even as the Veep. She is utterly unqualified, besides which she carries far too much baggage from the Bush administration. The Republicans' only hope of holding onto the Oval Office is to make a clean break from Dubya. As for Hillary, I would say that I will actually be surprised if she ends up as the Democratic nominee. I would be less surprised to see her as Veep, but I honestly don't see her as a Presidential figure, at least not this time around. I'm not saying that because she's a woman, I'm saying that because she has taken such wishy-washy positions on so many issues, from the war in Iraq to flag burning to gay marriage. I'm also saying that because I believe that her six years (hopefully eight, by the time of the Presidential election) in the Senate have not yet done enough to move her out of the shadow of being defined as Bill Clinton's wife. I think Hillary might be a formidable contender in 2012 or 2016, but not in 2008.
To be fair about it, I called the White House the day before 9/11 to warn them that there was an imminent major terrorist attack about to happen. (Maher: How'd you know?) I was an Afghan specialist, as you know, and I've been very involved in the Afghan war and the things that have been going on there. When they killed Commander Massoud [2001-09-09], that was a signal that something big was about to happen.
I have to give Congressman Rohrabacher credit where credit is due: he demonstrated clear understanding and foresight on this issue, and America and the world would be far safer today if President Bush had taken his wise counsel.

Of course, Mr. Rohrabacher developed much of his Afghanistan expertise in the process of helping create the Taliban, which puts rather a bit of a damper on anyone's respect for his work.
Rohrabacher: You made a point that's significant, Bill, and that was, How is history going to judge so-and-so? Who knows, George [W.] Bush may be judged well by history. I worked in the Reagan White House. Ronald Reagan was savaged as a buffoon, a war-monger, a heartless budget-slasher. After Ronald Reagan has left, now, as we read history, we find out he was a great leader that helped end the Cold War.

Maher: Excuse me, but not enough history has passed to make that judgment yet on Ronald Reagan. It's only been 20 years. That's not history.

Rohrabacher: Yeah, but it's long enough to know that the Soviet Union has disintegrated, and there is less chance of war.

Maher: Okay, but that was going to happen anyway, and it was not just because of Ronald Reagan.

Rohrabacher: Sure, sure, it was totally Ronald Reagan. Without Ronald Reagan, we'd still be in the Cold War.

Maher: I'd say that the people who gave their lives in Viet Nam had a lot more to do with bringing down the Soviet Union than the buildup under Reagan, although he does get his credit for that, but not the sole credit.

Rohrabacher: The same people who attacked that war were the same ones who were attacking Ronald Reagan's efforts every time we meant to confront the Soviet Union, and the same ones who are tearing down our efforts in Iraq.
To borrow a phrase from Ronnie, "There you go again!" I bet you knew that the lovefest between me and Dana wouldn't last long. The Soviet Union did not fall solely because of Ronald Reagan, nor even primarily because of Ronald Reagan. Yes, he gave it a few well-timed nudges along a path it was already traversing, but he didn't start the process and he didn't finish it. The Soviet Union collapsed because its economic model of centrally controlled production and distribution was unsustainable. Reagan didn't make it unsustainable; all he did was bait the Soviets into a bit more egregious military overspending than they might otherwise have undertaken.

Furthermore, Bill Maher is absolutely right: it is still far too soon to write the history books about Reagan's role in the ending of the Cold War. For example, at what price did we buy the end of the Soviet Union? Are we really safer from nuclear war with Putin's Russia controlling — or failing to control — the former Soviet arsenal? For that matter, are we really safer with a multiplicity of possible foes coming at us from all corners of the globe than we were with a single foe on whom we could reliably keep tabs? So, no, Mr. Rohrabacher, 20 years is manifestly not long enough to say that Reagan's actions reduced the possibility of nuclear war. As for the protesters against the Viet Nam War and against Reagan's military build-up and against our current military adventure in Iraq, some of them are the same people — indeed, some people stand unequivocally opposed to all military action — but it is absurd to cast aside the opposition to those three very different policies with such a broad brush. There are millions of Americans today who oppose the Iraq War who supported Viet Nam and who supported Reagan, and you and President Bush would be wise to remember that.

Beyond that, there remains the fact that Reagan was, in fact, a buffoon, a war-monger, and a heartless budget-slasher.
Maher: There is nothing that makes me madder emotionally than those 7 minutes [on 9/11 when Bush sat dumbstruck in a classroom after being told that America was under attack], and the idea that anybody could defend a President of any party, in the Nuclear Age — the Nuclear Age we are living in where missiles can reach us in less than an hour — a President being told, "America is under attack," and sitting there for seven minutes, in the age of ICBM's, is just astounding. To me, if there is one prerequisite to being President, it is that you don't freeze at the moment you're told the country is under attack. Any defending of a President — come on, you're working backwards.

Rohrabacher: This is "Monday morning quarterbacking" [criticism after the fact of actions taken in the thick of action] at its worst.

Maher: Oh, stop it! You're telling me —

Rohrabacher: You've never been in command of anything, Bill. Come on!

Maher: But if I was, I wouldn't sit there like Forrest Gump.

Rohrabacher: Sure you wouldn't. Sure you wouldn't. Sometimes under pressure —

Maher: Wait a second. Come on, Dana, I know you too long. You're telling me, if Bill Clinton was President and sat there for 7 minutes after being told America is under attack, you'd defend him?

Rohrabacher: Uhh, I — listen — it makes no difference whether it's Bill Clinton or George Bush: the fact is, America under attack, he was, I'm sure, perfectly aware that his staff —

Maher: He was aware of nothing! That's the point.

Rohrabacher: No, no, that is exactly the point.

Maher: He didn't want to get up and say, "Is it a nuclear attack? Are the missiles on the way? Are our fighters scrambled?"?

Rohrabacher: His National Security Advisor [Condoleezza Rice] was close at hand. He felt that if it was a major attack, he would be hauled out of there.

Erica Jong: Dana, I don't think you would've sat there frozen for 7 minutes.

Maher: Yes, I don't think you would've.

Rohrabacher: In retrospect, you can say that. But you cannot say that if —

Maher: But again, these guys sold the war partly by saying — Tony Blair gave a speech and he said Saddam Hussein could reach us with nuclear missiles (wink, wink) in 45 minutes. In this age, when missiles can reach us that — when Andy Card told the President, "Country's under attack," Bush didn't know any more than that. He didn't know what kind of attack.

Rohrabacher: That's correct.

Maher: So you still can sit there for the 7 minutes??

Rohrabacher: Look, the bottom line is, the first time that plane flew into that building, it was a while before we knew that that wasn't just an accident. It takes a time for people to analyze what's going on.
Just one problem, Dana: Bush knew before he entered the classroom that the first plane had hit. When Andy Card told him that America was under attack, it was already three minutes after the SECOND plane crash. In fact, the FAA had already suspended all flights in New England and the New York area. Specifically, Andy Card's exact words at 9:06 a.m., when he leaned over to Bush in the front of the classroom, were, "A second plane hit the other tower, and America's under attack."

By the way, Dana's criticism that Bill has never been in command of anything rings more than a little hollow, since Mr. Rohrabacher never served a day in uniform, himself.

There is no escaping the obvious truth: any competent President would have immediately stood up and told the students, "I'm really sorry, kids, but I have a very important phone call I have to take right now. Now, you kids enjoy your story time; I'll try to come back later if I can. God Bless America!" That would have avoided alarming the students — the feeble excuse Bush gave for staying — while still allowing him to fulfill his obligations as President and Commander in Chief. Bush was absolutely derelict in his duties by waiting seven minutes to get up and leave the classroom.
Erica Jong: "Cheney will take care of it; he's the President anyway."

Maher: It just shows how lame the Democrats are, that they couldn't win an election based on that. If I was the Democrats in 2004, I would've just showed — Karl Rove would've done that, he would've showed that picture every minute and said, "This is what happened when the country was under attack."

Rohrabacher: The bottom line is, the President's National Security Advisor was there, at the moment they knew it was a major attack, the President would've been pulled out, and he was. That's exactly what should've happened.
I'll grant you that the scenario you describe is what should have happened, but it is not what did happen. They knew it was a major attack before they even told the President that the country was under attack, and Andy Card's telling the President that the country was under attack should have told Bush that he was in fact being pulled out. I don't fault Bush for going into the classroom, at that point knowing only that one plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, but I certainly do fault him, "big time," for sitting like a bump on a log for 7 minutes after being told that a second plane had struck.
Maher: I made a point about global warming last week, and I really should continue it. Brazil, it was in the news this week, next year will be completely energy independent. They use sugar ethanol; we have some corn ethanol, but they made a decision in the 70's, their junta did, to be energy independent. You know, when Brazil can do something like this, and we can't, you know what, it just makes me feel like —

Erica Jong: When you have a President and a Vice President who are in the oil "bid'niss" and who have secret meetings with energy companies in the first year in office, they're not going to try to get rid of foreign dependence on oil.

Seth Green: The first result of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was the turnover of the oil contracts to Halliburton, which is a company that everybody knows that Dick Cheney has money ties to, he's one of the owners of this company, so it's impossible to deny that they have a vested interest in the maintenance of oil flow to our country.

Rohrabacher: I caught your commentary last week, and how global warming is a fact and there's no scientific evidence to be against it. I just brought you a little present today, Bill. (It's not a subpoena, is it?) It's just a note that contains the names of 12 pre-eminent scientists who believe man-caused global warming, and also suggests there are 2600 scientists who are pre-eminent in their fields who are skeptical of the global warming theory.


Rohrabacher: I think it also has to do with the fact that the United States of America — and people don't like to hear this — the fact is that we dedicate a large amount of our economy and our resources to defending the world and defending western democracies. The fact is, those other countries during the Cold War didn't put up their share, and during this time, they don't put up their share —

Maher: They wanted the insurance policy but they didn't want to pay the premium. I don't know why that has to do with the fact that we —

Erica Jong: We're going broke with this war in Iraq.

Seth Green: Doesn't anybody realize that they had to add a number to the clock that measures the debt. We reached $10 trillion; they had to build a new clock because there weren't enough spaces on it.
As Bill Maher pointed out, Dana Rohrabacher's comment was completely irrelevant to the question at hand. Whether or not other countries have contributed their fair share of the cost of America's world policing has nothing whatever to do with whether or not we have undertaken in all seriousness to achieve energy independence, nor with whether global warming is real.

As for global warming, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are at their highest level in at least 20,000 years, having increased by more than 30% since the beginning of the Industrial Age. Burning of fossil fuels worldwide adds more than 6 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere every year. Deforestation diminishes the planet's ability to reabsorb carbon dioxide — trees and other plants take CO2 from the atmosphere to form carbohydrates, releasing oxygen as a byproduct. The fewer trees we have, the less carbon dioxide gets absorbed back out of the atmosphere. The dramatically increased population of flatulent cows waiting to become McDonald's hamburgers even has a measurable effect. Atmospheric methane is at 2½ times its preindustrial levels. The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that human activity is the primary cause of the increase in global average temperatures in the last century. The small minority of scientists who disagree are ignoring the evidence. For instance, Dr. Willie Soon and others maintain that the proponents of the global warming theory have underestimated the natural variability in climate. How is it, then, that the increase in world temperatures coïncides so closely with the unprecedented rises in atmospheric CO2 and methane? In any case, there is universal agreement that the earth is getting warmer — not one of the 2600 scientists Congressman Rohrabacher referred to disputes that fact — the only disagreement is on the extent to which global warming is caused by natural forces or by human activity.

Many people speak dismissively of global warming, making jokes about more comfortable winters or going to the beach in Siberia. The reality is far more inhospitable. Global warming increases the volatility of weather systems. That means more and stronger hurricanes, more and stronger tornadoes, more droughts, more floods, and even more blizzards. The Bush administration's "head in the sand" attitude towards global warming is yet another reason that George W. Bush will be recorded as the worst President ever in U.S. history.

As for those "more and stronger hurricanes and tornadoes," consider this: three of the top six most intense hurricanes in the entire recorded history of the North Atlantic and Caribbean were in the year 2005 alone. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 has now been bumped down to #9 on that list. As for tornadoes, the news just a few days ago, on 2006-04-02, showed a major outbreak of tornadoes, with more than 70 across a seven-state area, less than a month after an unusually strong outbreak of tornadoes in early March. There's another tornado outbreak going on right now, expected to continue into Saturday.

In summary, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher isn't just on the wrong side of the issues, he is on the wrong side of reality. The only plausible explanation is that he is completely delusional, or else willfully intent on insulating himself from pesky little facts — just like his President.

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