Today in Great Moments in Senatorial Debate: Senator Mike Lee Edition!

Senator Lee gave a speech delineating his opposition to the Green New Deal today as part of Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s attempt to put the Senate Democratic caucus in a bind by making them take a stand either for or against one of the House Democratic caucus’s signature issues. Fortunately for us all, Senator Lee is, well, Senator Lee, which is sort of the Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of Senator Ted Cruzes. Or something… Even more fortuitously, Senator Lee posted a YouTube video of his remarks and posted a transcript of them at his Senate website.  He’s so considerate!

Senator Lee’s major proposal for resolving the problem that is climate change is to have more babies*, because one of them might actually come up with a good idea to resolve the problem at some point in the future.

This, Mr. President, is the real solution to climate change: babies.

Climate change is an engineering problem – not social engineering, but the real kind.
It’s a challenge of creativity, ingenuity, and technological invention.

And problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws, but by more humans!

More people mean bigger markets for innovation.

More babies mean more forward-looking adults – the sort we need to tackle long-term, large scale problems.

American babies, in particular, are likely going to be wealthier, better educated, and more conservation-minded than children raised in still-industrializing regions.

As economist Tyler Cowen recently wrote on this very point, “by having more children, you are making your nation more populous – thus boosting its capacity to solve [climate change].”

Finally, Mr. President, children are a mark of the kind of personal, communal, and societal optimism that is the true pre-requisite for meeting national and global challenges together.

The courage needed to solve climate change is nothing compared with the courage needed to start a family.

The true heroes of this story aren’t politicians or social media activists.

They are moms and dads, and the little boys and girls they are, at this moment, putting down for naps… helping with their homework… building tree houses… and teaching how to tie their shoes.

The planet does not need us to “think globally, and act locally” so much as it needs us to think family, and act personally.

The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution, but the serious business of human flourishing – the solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places: fall in love, get married, and have some kids.

I yield the floor.

This, however, wasn’t the most batshit insane part of Senator Lee’s audio-visual extravaganza. Pride of place for that honor goes to the graphics and images he used to help make his point.

President Reagan on a velociraptor wielding a machine pistol while the velociraptor carries a tattered American flag – this is apparently big on one of the Chan boards/sites:

A still image from The Empire Strikes Back of Luke Skywalker riding on a tauntaun on the ice planet Hoth:

A still image from the Hannah-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon series Superfriends of Aquaman on his seahorse Storm from the early 1970s (in the earlier 1960s Filmation Aquaman-Superman Adventures Storm was white with gold ears – do not ask how I know this…):

A picture of a bunch of babies (awww!):

This is stupidity, disingenuousness, and bad faith on par with Kyle Reese’s description of the Terminator:

Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

I don’t care if you’re Senator Booker who is claiming one of his key strengths is that he can, because he has in the past, work effectively across the aisle or Howard Schultz who keeps stating that as an independent centrist that he can work with both sides, THERE IS NOTHING HERE TO WORK WITH!!!!! There’s no difference to split here, there’s no accommodation that can be made here, and there is no compromise that can be reached. Right now, whether you agree, partially agree, or disagree with what the Democrats are proposing, you’ve got one party actually proposing solutions that have been thought through and one party that proposes the same four things no matter what is going on: 1) cut taxes, 2) cut regulations, 3) gut the social safety net and undo the New Deal, 4) and allow unlimited amounts of money in politics because money equals speech and corporations equal people. And, if there’s a crisis involving brown people with funny accents: 5) deploy troops to deal with them. The shame that is the United States in 2019 is that there is one party, the Democratic Party, that is dealing with reality, even if you don’t agree with what they’re proposing and then there’s this insanity being peddled by the Republicans.

At this point I’m about two weeks away from declaring myself Sub-Commandante Citizen-Leftenant Zero and storming a radio station… **

Which leads to one of my favorite political cartoons of all time:

Open thread!

* I’m sure at some point this will be rolled into an argument why Roe V. Wade must be overturned and abortion made illegal so we don’t accidentally abort the baby that will save us from the climate change crisis that Senator Lee doesn’t actually believe exists.

** This is SARCASM, lest someone eventually show up or use this to claim I’m advocating the overthrow of the US government or endorsing the use of low intensity warfare and political violence.

101 replies
  1. 1

    Thanks for doing this post, Adam. I kept seeing pieces of it on Twitter and just didn’t want to go there.

    I’m sure at some point this will be rolled into an argument why Roe V. Wade must be overturned and abortion made illegal so we don’t accidentally abort the baby that will save us from the climate change crisis that Senator Lee doesn’t actually believe exists.

    This form of argument has been made, although I have not seen it with these specifics.

  2. 2
    Nicole says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Those scamps on the intertoobs, with their Photoshopping! Okay, what was really on Lee’s easel?


    Oh. Oh. Oh. OHHHHHHH.

    We are so fucked.

  3. 3
    joel hanes says:

    That “voice of moderation” caption is the slogan of the Antient and Honorable blog, Obsidian Wings (originally, I think, because the comments were heavily moderated until all the trolls gave up).

  4. 4
    WaterGirl says:

    They are not sending their best.

  5. 5
    Immanentize says:

    I’ll be back

  6. 6
    Nicole says:

    …. though my husband said that someone has already photoshopped George Costanza doing his sexy pose onto the Senator’s easel.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: You’re welcome. And I’ve seen what you’ve seen in this regard. I wanted to make it explicit because we both know it is coming.

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    Mother will not be pleased.

    Vice President Mike Pence will meet Wednesday with the wife of Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan leader whom the White House has embraced as the interim president.
    Rosales will also be joined by family members of Roberto Marrero, Guaido’s chief of staff who is currently detained by the Maduro regime. The White House said Romy Moreno Molina, Marrero’s wife, and Belen Marrero Borjas, Marrero’s sister, will attend the meetings. Source

    Oh, and Mike Lee (Rand Paul’s BFF) is a grade A ass.

  9. 9
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Utah may be full of nice people (allegedly), but they are idiots, and they sent one of their worst to represent them in the U.S. Senate.

  10. 10
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    That was one of my first thoughts.

  11. 11
    Immanentize says:

    PS. It’s not Reagan’s machine pistol as much as the panzerschreck strapped to his back….

    I’m having Mork Loves Mindy vibrations.

  12. 12
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax: Ah. At first I thought the problem was that these people would be “brown”, then had the thought that Mother would surely think that was better than those gay people she couldn’t even be in the same room with, then realized it’s because of all the women.

    It does become a bit of a burden to keep all of Mike Pence and Mother’s issues straight.

  13. 13
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: I never watched that show so your comments are flying right over my head.

  14. 14
    Immanentize says:

    @WaterGirl: I’m going with a certain Reagan period je ne c’est quoi more than the show itself.

  15. 15
    plato says:

    We need babies to solve a crisis which we deny 24×7.

    The CD burns.

  16. 16
    NotMax says:

    @ PsiFighter37

    Mormonism, by its own gospel, is a Moronic faith.


  17. 17
    JimV says:

    The only thing I have to disagree with is that Dr. Silverman left the police station just before the Terminator attacked it in T1, and appeared again in T2. Probably previous commenters were too polite to point that out.

  18. 18
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: Okay, call me stupid, it’s okay. :-)

  19. 19
    Immanentize says:

    @WaterGirl: not at all!!! Never. Wouldn’t. Ever.

    My mind is a pathetic jumble of loose connections.

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    Sub-Commandante Citizen-Leftenant Zero

    Generalissimo Zero or bust.


  21. 21
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Immanentize: You have mail. :)

  22. 22
    Immanentize says:

    Sub-comandet Marcos is my favorite nom de guerre (Zapatistas) evah. Although Captain Renault is also fine.

  23. 23
    Peale says:

    Don’t necessarily need to have more children. We could just let young people from around the world move here to study at our world class universities. But sadly, we’re full…and don’t have enough crew scholarships to give,

  24. 24
    Gravenstone says:

    Saw him standing in front of the tauntaun picture during a news update this afternoon. Knew the rest of his spiel would be an unmitigated dumpster fire. Mildly surprised to see that I had significantly understated the matter.

  25. 25
    Leto says:

    @JimV: He also appears in T3. Joking about what he saw in T2.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    NotMax says:


    Command Sergeant Major Crabapple is my pomme de guerre.


    (Have seen a few handfuls of clever player names in WoW – Gnomedeguerre is one which sticks in memory.)

  28. 28
    Leto says:

    @joel hanes: Obsidian Wings is how I found Balloon Juice.

  29. 29
    Immanentize says:


  30. 30
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    As our esteemed Blog Host said many moons ago Tyre Rims and Anthrax. We are asking for nice Italian food, these people are offering us Tyre Rims and Anthrax. The choice is simple.

  31. 31
    JCJ says:

    So maybe his theory is during the cold winter if we are all banging our brains out making babies we can keep our houses cooler thus burning a smaller amount of fossil fuels which will reduce CO2 emissions resulting in …… I give up.

  32. 32
    The Dangerman says:

    This is SARCASM…

    Damn. Stop teasing us!

    Since this involves pregnancy, I was going to propose the name Symbiotic Liberation Army but … oh well.

    The original SLA had “Field Marshal Cinque”, but “Sub-Commandante Citizen-Leftenant Zero” sounds far cooler.

    ETA: We’d have to have a flag, of course. I propose a an image of Tunch (it can be a really big flag).

  33. 33
    debbie says:

    Are the taxpayers on the hook for all those graphics? I demand my money back!

    In happier news, a “new” Van Gogh!

  34. 34
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: It’s a good think most people never have access to our stream of consciousness thoughts.

    Things I recall from the Reagan years:

    – Watching Bedtime for Bonzo, laughing at the absurdity of Reagan running for president, absolutely certain that he could never win.
    – Reagan winning. I still have the greeting card: Reagan sitting at a desk in oval office with a nameplate that said “President Reagan”. inside of card says: Happy Halloween. This was the scariest card I could find.
    – Grad school. Working, teaching, grading papers, writing.
    – Volunteering at Planned Parenthood, answering the rape hotline, advocating for victims with hospitals, police and state’s attorney
    – Administering an abortion loan fund.
    – Lots of going out drinking and dancing.
    – Certainty that Reagan could NEVER win a second time; all those people who were taken in the first time couldn’t possibly vote for him again.
    – Returning home on election night to the awful results after a night of drinking and dancing, sliding to the floor and sobbing in despair
    – My mom dying
    – First real jobs

    Maybe not a lot of time for TV.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: @Immanentize: Maximum Proconsul for Life. If it was good enough for Uncle Duke…

  36. 36
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: how are you guys holding up?

  37. 37
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Immanentize: Ottimi; grazie.

    @Adam L Silverman: Sie auch.

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JimV: @Leto: Fine, fine be that way.

  39. 39
    Leto says:

    @NotMax: I’ve seen too many in 14 years of play. Some were witty, like a rogue: Captainstabbin or Tauren warrior: Beefsteak (I wish I could remember some of the -moo puns names), though I’ve seen way too many dumb ones, which is to be expected. Of course the really good ones you waited to see how long they would stick before a GM got them ;)

  40. 40
    WaterGirl says:

    @Leto: Was there a fellow there who had mental health issues that I might have been supporting? Or am I confusing that with a different place?

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: Yes, some member of his staff was paid to do those up.

  42. 42
    plato says:

    In the good news dept.

    Michelle Obama's autobiography is on course to become the most successful memoir in publishing history, after selling more than 10,000,000 copies to date, according to her publisher.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 27, 2019

  43. 43
    Millard Filmore says:

    At this point I’m about two weeks away from declaring myself Sub-Commandante Citizen-Leftenant Zero

    “Gong – Zero The Hero And The Witch’s Spell (Flying Teapot Album)”

    (change from Google search to bare YouTube)

  44. 44
    chopper says:

    so sen. lee’s solution is…”fuckin’”.

    interesting. apparently we’re gonna fuck our way out of this problem.

    honestly, it’s pretty close to “fuckem” which is nice.

  45. 45
    Dev Null says:

    Voice of Moderation

    Hunh, and here I have believed for almost 15 years that the meme originated with the Unitarian Jihad.

    Shows what I know …

  46. 46
    NotMax says:

    @The Dangerman

    Biding it’s time on the wishlist.


  47. 47
    Mary G says:

    It’s not just abortion; this is the next stage in their longterm plan – outlaw contraception. Women stuck at home with five kids they didn’t want to have keeps them out of the way of men, who want to go back to being the boss.

  48. 48
    Gravenstone says:

    @Leto: Not WoW, but I was quite pleased to get Puddlegulp* for my Froglok paly when they became a playable race in EQ2.

    * NotMax or Adam might recognize the reference

  49. 49
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Is this the same Raygun who made training films during WWII and whose children never served in war?

  50. 50
    David Fud says:

    Welp, don’t worry, Georgia is already going to outlaw abortion in an effort to take the duh-crown from Floriduh. Georgia, I christen thee George-uh (or maybe Georgia-duh or duh-Georgia or … I don’t know, it is hurting my brain to be this stupid). It seems we are on track to be the home state of our future climate savior. Be Born, little savior! Quick!

  51. 51
    Leto says:

    @WaterGirl: Maybe? I arrived, roughly, second week of January, 2008, but I don’t remember anyone reaching out for specific help. I do remember a few of them who I thought probably did, but I don’t know if you were specifically supporting them :)

  52. 52
    JanieM says:

    then there’s this insanity being peddled by the Republicans

    This is an insult to the concept of insanity. There isn’t any word in the English language that’s adequate to the twisted wrongness of these people. And … they actually get elected. That’s the most depressing thing of all.

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David Fud: JawJah

  54. 54
    Suzanne says:


    honestly, it’s pretty close to “fuckem” which is nice.

    Shit. Now I’m tearing up again.

    Mike Lee seems to have forgotten that for every smart person who is born, a fuckton of morons are born, too. Of course, Mike Lee considers them “future Republican voters”.

  55. 55
    Gravenstone says:

    @Millard Filmore: We had a kid on our floor of the dorm who earned the derisive nickname “our hero Zero” for the dubious achievement of badly beating his roommate who was too drunk at the time to defend himself. Quite the asshole that little fucker was.

  56. 56
    Suzanne says:

    @Mary G:

    Women stuck at home with five kids they didn’t want to have keeps them out of the way of men, who want to go back to being the boss.

    “Men agreed to be ruled by other men in exchange for all men ruling over all women.”
    I forget who said that, but that is some true shit.

  57. 57
    NotMax says:


    One of the favorite Tauren names seen was Wellmarbled. Also too, Moonjumper


    (slaps self – gently)

    its, not it’s

  58. 58
    Suzanne says:

    @Suzanne: It was Valerie M. Hudson, professor of poli-sci at Texas A&M.

  59. 59
    Leto says:

    @Suzanne: The film Idiocracy was so far ahead of its time. Bring on the Brawndo!

  60. 60
    JaySinWA says:

    @WaterGirl: There was more than one person there who had issues after 9/11, But it was long ago and far away. OTOH there was one I recall, (not the nym but the issues) that even predated that. ETA talked about his depression and the coming civil war after GWB’s (s)election.

  61. 61
    The Pale Scot says:

    I have nothing constructive to say. The conmen/women of the world have proven that all you have to do is repeat the same bullshit over and over and hand wave away media’s polite requests for clarification. It started with supply side economics. It’s gonna end with sport drinks being sprayed on the crops, because it’s “what plants crave”

    You could shoot down all the comm satellites and tax all internet ads and try putting MSM out of business. But as long as ignorance is revered, shrug…..

  62. 62
    EthylEster says:

    @joel hanes: I miss Hilzoy.

  63. 63
    A Ghost To Most says:

    A doctor once told me:

    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

  64. 64
    Karen says:

    OT: What happens with the blacklist and Trumptard warning news programs to not have anyone on their list on their shows. Does it actually mean something?

  65. 65
    NotMax says:

    @The Pale Scot

    Yeah, that whole Tree of Knowledge thing was the first case of false advertising.


  66. 66
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Karen: No, it doesn’t mean anything.

  67. 67
    Karen says:

    @Mary G: It’s also about sex. Their plan is If you can’t get contraception, you won’t have sex.

  68. 68
    NotMax says:


    Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  69. 69
    Leto says:

    @EthylEster: Same, but she wasn’t the same after Andrew passed.

    @Karen: Don’t forget slut shaming: “You wouldn’t have gotten pregnant if you’d kept your legs closed! Actions have consequences!” 😑

  70. 70
    jl says:

    They have drug tests for Senators? Maybe they need breathalyzers? Guy’s high or hitting the sauce.

  71. 71
    Ohio Mom says:

    @JanieM: Not only was this example of twisted wrongness elected, he’s a Senator so we can’t blame gerrymandering.

    My sympathies to any Juicers from Utah (are there any?).

  72. 72
    NotMax says:

    Per O’Donnell, reports surfacing that AG Barr argues against the switch to have the DOJ now oppose the ACA, which tells us two things:

    1) This did not drop out of the blue, it was passed around and discussed beforehand.
    2) Barr’s backbone is in hock if he doesn’t resign over this.

  73. 73
    The Lodger says:

    @Gravenstone: Sounds like he should have been kept on the floor.

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ohio Mom: Didn’t SoonerGrunt end up there?

  75. 75
    NotMax says:

    @Ohio Mom

    IIRC Soonergrunt relocated to there, but doesn’t comment here much anymore.

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Other seemingly good news:

    But perhaps more significantly, according to the report, the Justice Department does not plan to hand over the report to the White House before it is released to lawmakers:

    Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of the Mueller report to lawmakers on Sunday. He has been working with members of Mr. Mueller’s team to determine what further information he can release, based on the law and the Justice Department protocol.

    The official said there were no plans to show the White House the report ahead of its release to Congress.

  77. 77
    The Pale Scot says:

    Back in the beginning of the net was an OB called The Misanthropic Bitch. Great,vicious sarcasm.

    “Your child might discover a CURE FOR CANCER!
    It is just as likely he will torture kittens, wet his bed, listen to some ridiculous death metal band, be socially inept and eventually, stalk women like prey to compensate for his sexual inadequacies. But neither of those outcomes is likely.

    It looks like all her stuff is gone, it was on the Way Back Machine for a while

  78. 78
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    As Bar’s son-in-law moved from DOJ to become a White House counsel at the same time Barr was named AG, color me skeptical.

  79. 79
    B.B.A. says:

    This is an open thread? Cool.

    I’ve gotten some flack here in the past for dismissing the SPLC as a grift, so I see this takedown in Current Affairs as bitter vindication. I’d rather the most prominent civil rights group in the country for the past few decades to not have been a cynical scam that sat on its endowment while fascists took over the federal government, but it is what it is.

    But with first Dees and now Avenatti getting comeuppance, it looks like this is going to be a good year for tossing out the grifters and focusing on real progress.

  80. 80
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: I can’t find that one in my 64 color Crayola box.

  81. 81
    Alex says:

    In the Charles Stross Laundry universe, the more computational power we add to the planet in the form of human minds, the more we risk attracting the attention of tentacular horrors from beyond space/time. Climate change would be the least of our problems then; maybe that’s Lee’s plan?

  82. 82
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: and Not Max: Oh yes, Sooner Grunt. I think I vaguely remember when he moved to Utah. Miss seeing him here.

    My Rep is Republican, as is one of my Senators and they are both odious, but they are geniuses compared to this Lee character.

  83. 83
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    Ooh, the fancy box with the built-in sharpener?


  84. 84
    The Pale Scot says:

    In a nod to Adam’s Florida Man, allow me introduce Jersey man

    Man arrested in N.J. for killing of reputed Gambino family mob boss,

    Apparently he’s the Doppelgänger of the van Maga-man down in Florida. Except at least the right wing nutjobs shoot the right people in my homeland……………. so far…….fingers crossed……….

  85. 85
    Ruckus says:

    What’s worse is that they actually are sending their best.
    Now that’s a sobering thought isn’t it.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    NotMax says:

    @The Pale Scot

    FYI for those who may not have seen it, Florida van guy entered in a plea of guilty last week.

  88. 88
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Almost makes one fondly long for the days of a mob defendant drooling and wearing a ratty bathrobe.

  89. 89
    Ruckus says:

    He’s not drunk or stoned.
    This is as good as it gets.
    Now you know what a fucking moron looks stone cold sober.
    As if there was ever any doubt.

  90. 90
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Almost.

  91. 91
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: None other.

  92. 92
    joel hanes says:


    I miss Hilzoy

    Oh god yes.
    One of the ways that Balloon Juice is distinguished is that she has shown up a couple times in the comments here.

    She tweets :
    but that’s not much like going to ObWi and finding a page and a half of humane wisdom, clearly expressed.

    russell still comments, and is very good.

  93. 93
    Sab says:

    @EthylEster: Hilzoy is still around tweeting on her own.

  94. 94
    The Lodger says:

    Buried in Lee’s… presentation… is a premise I’ve never heard before (only one? Quiet, let me finish.) It’s the idea that climate change is a problem that will be solved by a Lone Genius, and that if humanity just keeps pumping out babies, sooner or later another Einstein or Feynman will fix it all for us.
    However if the problem is solved, the answer isn’t Lone Genius Saves Our Unbelievably Fecund Asses, it’s more like Billions of People Keep From Fucking Up. And the fewer people there are, the lower the likelihood of disaster.

  95. 95
    joel hanes says:

    Found on hilzoy’s twitter

    It was the best of times.

  96. 96
    joel hanes says:

    @The Lodger:

    the answer isn’t Lone Genius Saves Our Unbelievably Fecund Asses

    More likely the real answer is
    Fewer People On The Planet Would Make All Our Environmental Problems More Tractable.

  97. 97
    GxB says:

    @chopper: Well as an amateur vintner, I always give my yeasty hench-critters a little pep talk every batch. Hump! Hump! My little pretties! The end result works out just as well for them as it would us.

  98. 98
  99. 99
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @David Fud: Georgia – Why stop at the 1950s? Let’s go back to colonial times!

  100. 100
    tybee says:

    @Adam L Silverman: we prefer “dumbfuckistan”

  101. 101
    artem1s says:

    There’s no difference to split here, there’s no accommodation that can be made here, and there is no compromise that can be reached

    this should be the center of the Dem platform and the ticket price a candidate has to pay to participate in the primaries and debates. Otherwise go run as an independent a Republican.

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