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Michael Hoexter

Michael Hoexter

Michael Hoexter is a climate and energy policy analyst and marketing consultant for energy efficiency and renewable energy, serving individuals, organizations, governments and enterprises. In addition to writing for New Economic Perspectives, he blogs about climate change and energy transformations at www.greenthoughts.us. He is developing a combined climate/energy and full employment policy solution called “the Pedal-to-the-Metal Plan”. He received a Ph.D. in Psychology from University of Michigan and a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University.

Articles by Michael Hoexter

21st Century Machiavellians 3: The Clash of Machiavellians, the Billionaire Class, and an Anti-Machiavellian Politics

January 27, 2020

By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
In the final section of this essay, I will look at the
combined effect of the conflicts and collusion between the two types of
Machiavellian political actors that dominate the higher offices and influential
media organizations in the United States and to a lesser degree in other
countries today.  Looking solely and
narrowly at one party or the other encourages myopia and the creation of a “voodoo
doll” in which all manner of evil is thought to be embodied, i.e. projected
onto. Thus our tendencies towards psychological “splitting” from our childhoods
are supported by finding the supposedly single locus of “bad”. The process of
collapse of our democracy is more complex and encompassing than just the
description, criticism and/or demonization of one party or set

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21st Century Machiavellians 2: The Gaslighting, Neo-Fascist Gangsters of the Republican Party

January 24, 2020

By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
While describing the machinations of the Democratic Party
Establishment creates an repellent vision of political scheming and ethical
compromise, today’s Republican Party is a few qualitative steps more repellent,
more reactionary, and at the same time simpler to describe.  To compare and create a realistic vision of
the current American political landscape, one has to be able to conceive of
both “bad” and “worse”, i.e. degrees of moral compromise and turpitude in
political (and social-economic) life. 
With the re-mobilization of the anti-New Deal, anti-civil
rights, anti-Communist Far Right following its crushing electoral defeat in the
1964 Republican Presidential Election (the aftermath of the Goldwater campaign)
and the emergence of the New Right in the

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21st Century Machiavellians 1.2: Elites View the Democratic Party as a Containment Vessel for Popular Discontent

January 22, 2020

(This is a 3-part essay divided here into a total of 4 installments, with the first part divided into two)
By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
Attracting Popular Discontent
The basic structure of concentric circles of the discourse
and ideological “space” of a political party or partisan organization,
described in the foregoing could apply to almost any political party or for
that matter any group with a relatively passionately held set of beliefs
against which they believe others are opposed. 
Using this schematic diagram of a group, the specific role of
“containment vessel for popular discontent” is more likely to be, in the now
almost 50 year old neoliberal era, to be slated for a party like the Democratic
Party or one of the Parties of the
Socialist International, like the British Labour

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21st Century Machiavellians 1.1: Elites View the Democratic Party as a Containment Vessel for Popular Discontent

January 20, 2020

(This is
a 3-part essay divided here into a total of 4 installments, with the first part
divided into two)
Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
The on-again, off-again political war now being waged inside and around the Democratic Party between a new generation of progressives and the Democratic Party Establishment requires a new or expanded lens to help understand what is going on.  This quite intense “war” of varying intensities is being waged in an era when simultaneously the Democrats represent the only established political vehicle within the United States to unseat the monstrous Trump Administration and the Republican Party that backs them.  Perversely, it seems, the Democratic Establishment has tried and continues to try, at almost every turn, to suppress enthusiasm for ideals and policies

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Alexandria on the Daily Show: the Moral Economy and Modern Money

August 15, 2018

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

[embedded content]

The hopes of many progressives in the United States are being hitched to a new generation of left-wing Democratic politicians emerging to challenge both corporate Democrats and the Trump-loving radical-right Republican Party.  This movement has grown out of a group of organizations and institutions originating in, or energized by, the Bernie Sanders campaign of 2015-2016.  Among the most prominent of this new generation and perhaps its first political star is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (sometimes abbreviated AOC), a 28-year-old community organizer and economics graduate from New York, who is now the Democratic nominee for New York’s 14th Congressional District, unseating in the process the 4th most powerful Democrat in the House,

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Cenk and Young Turks Team: Your Deficit Hawkery is Unrealistic and Stands in the Way of Progressive Change

May 8, 2018

By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
[The Young Turks (TYTNetwork) is an online news network that has a wide reach among mostly progressives and independents in the United States with viewership in the hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per day and over 2 million views per day.  Cenk Uygur is its founder, CEO, and leading on-camera commentator.]
Dear Cenk, John Iadarola, Ana Kasparian, and the Young Turks Team,
I’m a Young Turks subscriber, member, and a longtime fan of your coverage of politics.  I think you have provided a consistent and detailed perspective on the failures of our political system, consistent criticism of both US major political parties as well as the alarming emergence of Trump and Trumpist/GOP neo-authoritarianism.  I think your instincts for analyzing political

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After Meeting with Gore/DiCaprio Then Choosing “Fossil Fool” Cabinet, Trump is saying “I’m Evil”

December 14, 2016

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
In the past week, Donald Trump has with his cabinet choices on energy, environment, and now foreign affairs openly declared war on a stable climate and the future of humanity.  The manner in which he did these now, and soon-to-be more, heinous acts has been revealing about who Donald Trump is and how he can be expected to act in the future on a whole host of issues related and unrelated to climate.
While Trump in his campaign gave almost no signs that he had any interest in climate action, calling climate change a hoax and hewing to the now-standard Republican pro-fossil fuel “drill, baby, drill” line, Trump had in the last couple weeks flirted with climate action advocates and the mainstream press by suggesting that he had “an open mind” with regard to the reality of human-caused climate change.
While no serious climate-action oriented candidates for Trump’s Cabinet were being vetted, Trump met last week with Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio on the the issue of climate.  DiCaprio and Terry Tamminen, the CEO of DiCaprio’s climate foundation, apparently offered a 90-minute presentation about how climate action could generate millions of good jobs.

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Donald Trump, Why are You Planning to Destroy the World of Barron, Arabella, Joseph, Theodore, Kai, Tristan, Chloe & Donald III?

December 4, 2016

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
Listen Donald,
Becoming President-elect was a grand coup for you, yet, with the path of climate denial and destruction you are headed on as President, you will be personally responsible for some extremely bad, real impacts on all Americans, even on all human beings, making you and them big “losers”.  It is no longer a matter of you playing a game for yourself in which you might be a “winner” but it means protecting and taking care of the destinies of all Americans, including your family, by making better decisions in policy and government actions.  It means moving from rhetoric in a campaign to real-world consequences that are potentially a HUGE catastrophe for all Americans and for humanity, caused or made immeasurably worse by you personally and your chosen actions.
You do have the chance to do better than Obama on a bunch of different issues and maybe you will be able to consider that another win if it ACTUALLY happens.  But signs are, given your performance during the campaign and in the last couple weeks, that your being in better than Obama is PROBABLY NOT going to happen on many, many fronts.  (And actually to be frank, on many fronts, we DO need a President that does better than Obama at this point in time.)  You have a LONG way to go to be as great as you think you are or want to be.

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Myron Ebell, Trump’s Nihilistic EPA Selection, Soft-peddled by the New York Times

November 22, 2016

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
The US press has generally played a dismal role in warning people of the imminent dangers of climate breakdown and upcoming thresholds beyond which humanity may not survive as an organized species or a species at all.   The media should be every day reporting on both the record breaking temperatures of 2016 as well as alarming changes in the surface of the earth that have resulted and will likely result from the enormous heat.
Questions for the recent 2016 US Presidential debates reflect the norms of disregard for climate among US pundits and the press, as no single question during the debates was posed that had anything directly to do with climate change and carbon constraints.  That Donald Trump was able to win the electoral college, came close to frontrunner Clinton on the popular vote with 60+ million votes, and therefore win the Presidency on a platform that included straight-out “hard” climate denial is in part a function of the “soft climate denial” rampant in the “liberal” political elite and media.  Hard climate denial, for that matter any climate denial, should in an adequately aggressive media environment, be viewed in 2016, by far the hottest year on record, as a disqualifier for high office.

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A Vote for Trump is a Vote for a MORE Corrupt America

November 6, 2016

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
The Presidential election campaign of 2016 has been nauseating in the ugliness of its tone and content as well as how discussion of important issues about government policy has been sidelined in the public debates and the public sphere more generally.  The media seem to be encouraging the personalized ugliness in ways that are perhaps predictable as they have for years now reported politics as a horserace and soap opera and not as the conflict of ideas.  If we were to choose dominant basic emotions that has been mobilized and triggered by various events, media coverage, and political strategies, those emotions would be primarily disgust and secondarily anger.  Each political side has seemed to attempt to evoke reactions of revulsion in relationship to their opponent to better their chances of winning, utilizing when they can the media’s attraction to dramatizing rather than communicating facts and competing realistic visions.
With the help of FBI director Jim Comey’s reopening of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal in the last week before the election, Trump’s extremely ugly campaign has gained new life.  A predominant strain in his campaign is portraying himself as an anti-corruption candidate and also a victim of an Establishment aligned against him and his constituency.

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Morality, Modern Money, and Climate Mobilization

July 17, 2016

By Michael Hoexter
On July 10, the National Day of Climate Mobilization declared by The Climate Mobilization, I gave a talk about the role of money and morality in effective climate action.  The setting was the gymnasium of the St. Robert Catholic School in Sacramento, California.  A parishioner at the adjoining St. Robert Church, Vince Valdez, has been spearheading the development of a Climate Mobilization group in Sacramento, in part inspired by Pope Francis’s “Laudatio Si” encyclical.
Though these are really lecture notes and very simple (no graphics), I think this is one possible way to explain the role of morality, politics, and modern money to a non-technical audience.  I am careful not to say that morality exactly dictates fiat money creation and destruction but the political representatives of powerful interest groups (like the military industrial complex) need to wrap their various giveaways to defense contractors in terms of the shared moral value of “national defense”.   I made this clearer in some of my remarks.
A shift in the hierarchy of moral values as expressed in US politics would need to occur for the return to a full-employment economy in the process of refashioning the energy and land-use basis of our societies.

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Democratic Party Platform 7/1/16 Draft Would Lock In Catastrophic Climate Change

July 9, 2016

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.
The Brexit vote is being taken by some commentators as a sign that the basic competence of leadership groups throughout Western countries is in question.  Unfortunately not enough media attention has been paid, public concern raised, and action taken about the most massive and long-standing failure of the political leadership classes, a failure to protect by governments that threatens humanity itself.  Governments and government leaders have failed to lead on climate change, even as most recently in Paris, they have sworn to hold Earth’s surface temperature below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and target 1.5 degrees as the “optimal” goal.  This failure of leadership both in governments and also in the nongovernmental organizations that nominally address environment and climate is almost absolute and is terrifying to behold.

2016 is on track to become by far the warmest year on record globally with a combination of a strong El Nino plus global warming boosting temperatures far above 2015, last year, the warmest year so far in instrumental records.   February 2016 was already 1.35 degrees C above current “normal” and close to 2 degrees over pre-industrial.

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COP21 and Beyond: Outlines of an Actually-Effective International Climate Policy Architecture

December 4, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
In this series, I attempt to outline key issues facing policymakers as they meet in Paris at the UN’s Conference of the Parties-21 starting on November 30th and possibly culminating in a global climate treaty by the end of the conference on December 11th, called a “deadline” by the organizers. COP21 is being viewed as a last chance for humanity to seriously address climate change in concert and therefore face humanity’s most serious and ominous existential crisis. Human survival as a species may very well be at stake.

Contents
Shedding the Kyoto Paradigm
Assuming the Can Opener: Another Damaging Legacy of Neoclassical Economics
Kyoto: All Funding is Private Investment; Public Investment Unthinkable
 
Outline of an Actually-Effective International Climate Policy Framework
Declare a Climate Emergency
Guard & Enhance Human & Political Rights During the Long Emergency
Target 1.

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Road to COP21 and Beyond: The Missing Analysis of the Kyoto Protocol and its Failure

November 24, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
In this series, I will attempt to outline key issues facing policymakers as they meet in Paris at the UN’s Conference of the Parties-21 starting on November 30th and possibly culminating in a global climate treaty by the end of the conference on December 11th, called a “deadline” by the organizers.  COP21 is being viewed as a last chance for humanity to seriously address climate change in concert and therefore face humanity’s most serious and ominous existential crisis.  Human survival as a species may very well be at stake.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”                                                                        George Santayana, The Life of Reason

Flying without Radar
It’s strange yet on the eve of COP21 in Paris, starting on November 30th, where humanity will try to save itself, that reasoned, careful analysis of previous such attempts have been heedlessly left to one side. The natural scientific backdrop of a deteriorating climate system will, it seems, not be translated into effective social and technological instruments.

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The Road To COP21: Where is the “Locus of Control” of Effective Climate Action?

November 10, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
In the next several weeks, I will attempt through this series “The Road to COP21” to outline key issues facing policymakers and activists as they converge on Paris at the UN’s Conference of the Parties-21 starting on November 30th and possibly culminating in a global climate treaty by the end of the conference on December 11th.  COP21 is being viewed as a last chance for humanity to seriously address climate change in concert and thereby face humanity’s most serious and ominous existential crisis.  Human survival as a species may very well be at stake.
With the approach of COP21, policymakers and activists concerned about the climate will have a series of choices to make, choices perhaps that will seal the fate of humanity as a species.  These decisions will be influenced by the participants’ pre-existing or emerging ideas about who or what are the central players or forces in effective climate action and which are the social-political-economic dynamics that they will initiate or continue to maintain.  Alternatively if those participants are not sincerely concerned about the fate of humanity as regards climate, they may simply enact “some” climate policy as a fig-leaf or showpiece.

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Yes, ExxonMobil Committed “Unparalleled Evil” Yet that Evil Can Distract From Taking Action

October 28, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
In a series of revelations over the past three months, the Pulitzer Prize winning website Inside Climate News has revealed what may be the greatest crime of the 20th and the 21st Centuries.  Via interviews and archival research, ICN recovered irrefutable evidence that Exxon scientists (and then ExxonMobil) had an extensive climate research program in the late 1970’s and 1980’s and came to the conclusions that fossil fuel use would lead to heating of the atmosphere, a radical change in climate, and would lead very likely to catastrophic consequences.  In the 1980’s, Exxon scientists participated in scientific conferences that explored the role of carbon dioxide in warming and other climatic effects. However, ExxonMobil, once government officials were alerted in 1988 by the broader scientific community that global warming was occurring and was a global crisis, changed course and funded climate denial, delaying and weakening climate action and nascent climate policies.  Exxon’s current CEO, Rex Tillerson, claims that global warming’s effects are exaggerated and won’t be that bad for humanity.  The Los Angeles Times has used some of the same archival material to come to similar conclusions as has ICN.
Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.

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Why Shouldn’t the US Federal Government Invest $4-$6 Trillion Per Year on Climate Protection? (Part 2 of 2)

October 13, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
Part I | Part II
 4. “We shouldn’t invest $4 to $6 Trillion per year more in federal dollars to save humanity because we already have carbon pricing instruments that are doing the job and are still under attack from opponents of climate action. We should stand by, applaud, and not “rock the boat” because serious climate policy makers are only talking about carbon pricing (cap and trade or carbon taxation) and not your full-scale mobilization proposal with its high price tag and dirigiste, mission-driven role for government.”
There are several assumptions in this objection that need to be addressed separately for a completely open and rational discussion to take place:
Are carbon pricing instruments alone effective in reducing emissions at all?
Are they effective ENOUGH given the ultimate purpose of stabilizing the climate?
Is it politically wise to “shut up about” an alternative even though it doesn’t support your potential allies? Are you supporting your mutual enemies, the fossil fuel industries and climate deniers, by offering a “more radical” but potentially actually effective alternative that is critical of mainstream climate action advocates?
I will try to address each of these briefly here:
Carbon pricing instruments have had mixed record of effectiveness with some leading to or at least associated with a plateauing of emissions, though causality is

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Why Shouldn’t the US Federal Government Invest $4-$6 Trillion Per Year on Climate Protection? (Part 1 of 2)

October 12, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
Part I | Part II
Summary:  Why We Should
Recently New Economic Perspectives posted a three-part provisional US Climate Platform I have put together.  The US Climate Platform outlines why and how the US federal government should invest somewhere in the area of $4 trillion to $6 trillion per year on stabilizing the global climate, in addition to preparing the United States and other nations for the upcoming effects of our 200-year long fossil fuel binge.  The climate expenditures would more than double current federal government spending over a period of ten to twenty years, where “spending” means investment in real, useful resources and people.
In a nutshell, as George W. Bush said in his most lucid moment as President, we are “addicted to oil”, coal and gas, as a civilization and economy.  That fossil fuel addiction puts the survival of our species and at least our civilization in grave jeopardy.  This fossil fuel dependence is not something that we can simply “quit” or put aside from one day to the next; unfortunately the analogy with tobacco and the tobacco industry’s misinformation campaign only goes so far.  Quitting fossil fuels means transforming (rapidly) our energy and transportation infrastructure to enable us to use mostly or entirely renewable energy to power civilization.

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A US Climate Platform: Anchoring Climate Policy in Reality (3/3)

September 19, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
Part I | Part II | Part III
4) Question and Answer
Q: I notice that the platform cites amounts of money for some of the government actions proposed and for others it is left open. Why not either leave amounts open or develop a full budget?
A: There are a few reasons for this inconsistency:
1) This document and outline is a starting place for a larger scale development of this approach. Some numbers are there to suggest magnitudes in areas where I am more confident that they will mean something.
2) I have more knowledge in some areas than in others and I am inviting others to discuss either general approaches or the details of this approach. This platform should become a team effort.
3) Some of these amounts, even if they are “right” as a starting place, will need to be adjusted over time as the policy is implemented to maximize the effectiveness of the policy.
4) I, the initiator/initial author, have been only able to devote part of my time to this effort, as I need to earn a living
Q: I see that you emphasize spending and tax credits but not the levying of new taxes in your actual proposals. But in the beginning “Rationale” you mentioned higher levels of taxation, particularly on the wealthy.

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A US Climate Platform: Anchoring Climate Policy in Reality (2/3)

September 18, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
Part I | Part II | Part III
2) Political Demands/Planks of the US Climate Platform (Slogan-Form)
1. Popular Rule Not Big Money Rule
2. Living Wage and Full Employment
3. End Police Abuse, Discriminatory Law Enforcement and Abuse of the 2nd Amendment
4. A Real Economy not a Ponzi Wall Street Economy
5. Electrify Energy Use
6. 100% Zero-Carbon Electricity
7. Prioritize Transportation Options for Health & the Climate
8. Renewable Energy Supergrid
9. Secure Finance for Renewable Energy Generators
10. No Financial Penalty for Utilities to Go Green
11. 1,000,000 Frequent Solar-Electric Buses for the Climate Emergency
12. Safe Streets for Walking/Biking13. Orderly Stepwise Liquidation of Fossil Fuel Industries/Ban Extreme Fossil Fuels
14. Ultra-High Performance, Comfortable Buildings
15. Revitalize Communities with Land Value Taxation
16. Fossil-free Agriculture
17. Remove Atmospheric Carbon via Better Agriculture and Forestry
18. Nationalize, Electrify & Multi-track Railways
19. Continental High Speed Rail or Maglev Network
20. Rising $80/tonne Carbon Tax and Import Tariff
21. Public Information & Workforce Training for Climate Action
22. Climate Savings Bond Program
23. Stopgap Geo-Engineering with UN Coordination
24. Help Communities Stay Dry, Whole and Productive in Changed Climate
25. Research Climate & Sustainability Solutions
26.

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A US Climate Platform: Anchoring Climate Policy in Reality (1/3)

September 17, 2015

By Michael Hoexter
Part I | Part II | Part III
Below is a provisional platform of policies, acts of Congress, Constitutional amendments or Presidential actions that would represent a serious and appropriate confrontation by US society and government with the upcoming climate catastrophe. This document is meant to start a public discussion on government actions grounded in economic, human and geophysical reality and is therefore provisional. It is divided into the following parts:
1) Rationale
2) List of the Platform Planks (Slogan Form)
3) List of Short Descriptions of the Planks/Required Government Actions
4) Question and Answer
1) Rationale
Geophysical Context
A. We, the people of the United States, and every other people, are currently in a global climate emergency. Two hundred years of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use have destabilized and warmed our atmosphere. These human-caused emissions have increasingly disrupted the biosphere of which we are a part and upon which our lives depend. Most of these emissions and warming have occurred in the last several decades with no appreciable halting of them since the beginning, starting in the late 1990’s, of efforts at climate policy.

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