Brendan DeMelle's blog

Fri, 2010-11-12 10:05Brendan DeMelle
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George Marshall: The Ingenious Ways We Avoid Believing in Climate Change

George Marshall, founder of the UK-based Climate Outreach Information Network, has a new three-part video series exploring ‘The Ingenious Ways We Avoid Believing in Climate Change.’  Marshall explores the psychology of climate change denial and climate communications, both in this video series and on his blog ClimateDenial.org. Check out the videos below.
 
Part one
Risk – and why we don’t feel threatened by climate change
Belief – why we can’t just accept the information and need to believe in it
Attention – how avoiding  talking about climate change is like avoiding talking about human rights atrocities

Thu, 2010-11-04 14:02Brendan DeMelle
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Special Interests Enabled By 'Citizens United' Spent $186 Million To Influence U.S. Midterm Races

The success of GOP and Tea Party-backed candidates in the 2010 U.S. midterm elections was enabled by a massive influx of secretive spending thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.

A new analysis by the Sunlight Foundation identified $126 million in unrestricted funds spent during this midterm without any disclosure of whose money it was. That figure represents more than a quarter of the total $450 million spent by outside groups on the midterms.

Sunlight Foundation notes that:

“Add the $60 million spent by groups that were allowed to raise unlimited money, but still had to disclose, to the undisclosed money and the total amount of outside money made possible by the Citizens United ruling reaches $186 million or 40 percent of the total spent by outside groups.”


The two leading GOP shadow groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS - both founded and guided by GOP veterans Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie - are reportedly “gloating” over their influence on the elections. The two groups spent more than $38 million on attack ads and misinformation campaigns to defeat Democratic candidates.

NBC News reports that “a substantial portion of Crossroads GPS’ money came from a small circle of extremely wealthy Wall Street hedge fund and private equity moguls.”

Wed, 2010-11-03 18:04Brendan DeMelle
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Welcome the GOP Anti-Science Caucus - Only Four GOP House Members Acknowledge Science of Climate Change

Just how bad is the new crop of Tea Party-infused GOPers when it comes to scientific understanding of climate change?  Pretty mind-bogglingly abyssmal. 

A new analysis by the Wonk Room with research by Daily Kos contributor RL Miller details the denial among the new crop of Climate Zombies that will be walking the halls of Congress.

Among the findings: “45 of 97 Republican freshmen and 85 of 166 reelected Republicans are confirmed climate zombies. There are no Republican freshmen, in the House or Senate, who admit the science is real.”

Yikes.

Head over to the Wonk Room for the full report.

Wed, 2010-11-03 17:49Brendan DeMelle
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William Reese: "Warning To the People of Earth"

Here is a new documentary worth watching compiling the lectures and planetary warning issued by William Rees, the co-creator of the Eco-Footprint concept and Professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Rees has measured humanity’s use of the planet’s resources, and has concluded - not surprisingly - that humans are using more resources than the planet can supply us with sustainably.

Tue, 2010-11-02 13:29Brendan DeMelle
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Outcome of U.S. Midterm Election Already Clear - Polluters Win Again

While U.S. voters head to the polls today - and everyone from Fox to Politico to your uncle on Facebook becomes a pundit trying to predict the results - the outcome is already crystal clear: polluters have won again, handily.

With the advent of now limitless corporate donations polluting the democratic process thanks to the Supreme Court’s insane ruling on Citizens United, dirty energy interests, Wall Street fat cats and lobbyists will run America for the foreseeable future.

Corporations have long enjoyed the advantage of spending a tiny amount (compared to their enormous profits) to influence the entire political system, buying future access and favors that pay off for years to come, simply by driving contributions to their favored candidates in every contest from local zoning board races to governors to U.S. Senators.

But thanks to Citizens United, corporate influence is now far more invasive and impactful. Polluters can freely run attack ads and vicious smear campaigns against climate hawks, deploy their front groups to mislead voters on everything from health care to global warming, sponsor ballot initiatives to kill clean energy progress, and generally play fast and dirty with zero accountability for their actions. 

Mon, 2010-11-01 18:28Brendan DeMelle
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Koch Brothers Are Kings of Alberta Oil Sands Too

The Tyee notes today that billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch and their company Koch Industries are a major player in Alberta’s dirty oil sands, a fuel source far more polluting than even regular oil.  Leave it to the Koch brothers to gravitate towards (and profit from) the dirtiest sources of energy on the planet - while ignoring investments in cleaner alternatives that could help rescue and stabilize the U.S. economy - and collect love letters from the Tea Party’s “patriots” for their efforts. 

Tyee reporter Geoff Dembicki notes the Kochtopus’s role in spawning the fake ‘grassroots’ Tea Party movement, especially through the Koch-filled coffers of Americans For Prosperity, and points to the Kochs’ role in funding the climate denial machine as a key indicator of why the TeaOP is overrun with anti-science sentiment

The looming threat of a TeaOP takeover in Washington - even if exaggerated in its scope - is bad news for science-based policy, particularly in the arena of climate change policy.  With a fresh crop of climate deniers set to assume seats formerly held by moderate Republicans and Democrats, the silly season antics that typically crop up during election time appear to be stuck on auto-repeat for the foreseeable future.

Dembicki details Koch Industries’ role in sponsoring the Tea Party rise, but also probes Koch’s extensive control over Alberta’s filthy oil sands, including this excerpt:

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