Over the last decade Canada has fallen from its position as a leader in ocean protection and become a laggard that has failed to keep up with international...
Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer that recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after laying off over 1,000 workers, is facing a barrage of attacks by both politicians and the media. The GOP and its right wing media echo chamber in particular have sought to condemn the entire U.S. clean energy sector as a result of an FBI raid of Solyndra's offices.
Things have spun so far out of control inside the Beltway that Rep. David Vitter (R-La.) is disseminating a bill that would, “require an inspector general investigation into any company that receives federal money for renewable energy development and then goes bankrupt.”
But Vitter's so-called Federal Accountability of Renewable Energy (FARE) Act is hardly a fair assessment of accountability across the entire energy subsidies spectrum.
Besides serving as an opportunistic moment to dance on the grave of a solar company, in the wake of Solyndra's economic downfall, we're witnessing a true disdain among Republicans for a clean energy technology that was invented here at home, and possesses the potential to help wean the U.S. from deep reliance on foreign energy. In the currently toxic political environment, the GOP seems more interested in ceding that job-rich opportunity to China.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Lewis Powell Memo, a document that set the stage for the creation of the echo chamber that protects corporate interests ahead of the public interest. A corporate lawyer and well-known tobacco industry defender at the time, Lewis Powell wrote this influential memo to a friend at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce laying out a strategy to develop a long-term campaign to set up corporate front groups and think tanks to manufacture the appearance of credibility for corporate interests.
The echo chamber that the right wing constructed over the past four decades since Powell’s infamous memo has played a central role in blocking action on climate change and a host of other public health and environmental threats. This unethical corporate propaganda mill capitalizes on the dark side of social sciences, preying upon people’s biases and encouraging them to support and defend corporate interests above their own.
Charlie Cray from Greenpeace USA has written an excellent overview of the significance of the Lewis Powell memo, and with the kind permission of Greenpeace, we share Charlie’s piece in full below. Please read it, share it widely, and help to shine a bright spotlight on this document. If more people understood the roots of this corporate propaganda campaign, perhaps they would become immune to its influence.
The Lewis Powell Memo - Corporate Blueprint To Dominate Democracy
by Charlie Cray, Greenpeace USA
John R. Christy
- Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois (1987).
- M.S., Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois, (1984).
- M.Div. Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (1978).
- B.A., Mathematics California State University, Fresno (1973).
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Environmental Protection Agency had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act, Republicans and other climate-deniers have been given an unprecedented amount of airtime on television to deride the EPA’s new power. The folks over at Media Matters for America released a study showing that between December 2009 and April 2011, 76% of cable news guests were opposed to allowing the EPA to regulate GHGs, while only 18% spoke favorably of the decision.
As their research shows, these views are actually at odds with public opinion, as 71% of the public believes that the EPA should be allowed to regulate global warming pollution, and 76% believe that the government should have a direct role in curbing the emissions from polluters operating inside the United States.
Not only were the elected officials that appeared on most of these shows against regulations, but most also had received money from the energy industry during their careers.
Cross posted from The Great Energy Challenge
Anaheim, CA – Over the past few months, I’ve made the case that the dirty energy lobby plays a full contact game against clean energy, using lobbying and disinformation as business weapons to drive the idea that clean energy is “expensive, unreliable and not ready.” Cleantech, I’ve said, needs to step up its advocacy game dramatically, including driving an honest debate about who is really “expensive.”
At the WINDPOWER International trade show this week, I spoke on a panel that fielded a number of questions about how to do that. It’s hard to find a better place to start than by highlighting the clinic put on by Kate Gordon of the Center for American Progress at a recent “debate” that was hosted by the fossil energy-funded front group, the Cato Institute.
UPDATE: Video footage of the Greenpeace airship flight below this post.
A Greenpeace airship today flew over the secretive Rancho Mirage polluter strategy meeting hosted by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. Wealthy elite interests and oil tycoons arriving at the posh resort to plot their anti-democracy agenda were greeted with the aerial message “Koch Brothers: Dirty Money.”
Greenpeace also released information collected from tax records confirming that the Koch Family Foundations continue to fund climate denial organizations. The most recent records available document that the Kochtopus dished out $6.4 million in 2009 to front groups and think tanks that spread inaccurate and misleading information about climate science and clean energy policies. That brings the Kochtopus’s confirmed Dirty Money total to $54.9 million since 1997, with the majority, $31.3 million, spent since 2005.
The New Yorker has published a must-read article exposing the long reach of the “Kochtopus” network set up by Koch Industries to fuel the Tea Party and fund the climate denial machine.
Written by investigative journalist Jane Mayer, the piece titled “Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging war against Obama” explores the decades-long efforts of brothers David and Charles Koch to manipulate and deceive the public on issues ranging from climate change to cancer-causing chemicals.
Koch Industries has done far more than even ExxonMobil to fund the climate denial machine in recent years, and media coverage about numerous Tea Party and GOP candidates who deny the science of climate change confirm that the Kochs’ reach has infected national politics in unprecedented ways.
The lengthy New Yorker article covers many interesting new angles about the Kochs’ influence-peddling empire, and adds to a growing body of research about Koch Industries’ anti-science, anti-democratic activities.
Building upon the research from Greenpeace’s excellent Koch report earlier this year, Jane Mayer expands on Koch’s role in funding climate deniers and anti-science think tanks, not to mention the Tea Party.
Head over to The New Yorker to read the slimy details.
Notorious climate skeptic Pat Michaels of the CATO Institute finally admitted openly on CNN this weekend that 40 percent of his funding comes from - wait for it - Big Oil.
DeSmogBlog readers have known for years about Michaels’ long-time association with a network of at least eleven think tanks and industry front groups funded by ExxonMobil. Many of these same outlets have received funding from other oil interests like the Koch Family Foundations.
Michaels’ admission that he receives around 40 percent - his guess - of his funding from Big Oil is important, because he is quoted widely in the media for his skepticism about manmade climate change. As the ExxonSecrets profile of Pat Michaels sums up well, he is “possibly the most prolific and widely-quoted climate change skeptic scientist.”
Fareed Zakaria deserves a round of applause for challenging Michaels directly to cough up a figure for how much oil money he receives to defend the status quo fossil fuel addiction and to confuse the public about the threat of climate change. Far too few journalists bother to ask that question, and Zakaria has sent a much needed reminder to journalists - it is your job to expose the potential conflicts of interest among your interviewees. Zakaria gets an A+ for outing Michaels’ oily funding.