By Ruth Milka for Nation of Change...
The just-published book “Dark Money,” penned by New Yorker staff reporter Jane Mayer, reveals that the Koch Brothers hired the former commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD) — and his daughter, a former FBI agent — to smear her as a “plagiarist” in the months after the release of her August 2010 bombshell article on the Kochs.
That article, titled “Covert Operations,” served at the time as one of the first in-depth pieces of long-form investigative journalism on David and Charles Koch and the influential right-wing political and climate change denial Tea Party network they had Frankensteined. Mayer's book exposes that the Kochs hired the firm Vigilant Resources International, run by former NYPD head Howard Safir and his daughter Jennifer Safir (the former FBI special agent), to do dirty work on their behalf.
The Republican Party has always been a little reluctant to side with science and accept things like global climate change, but recently, polls have shown that the Grand Old Party is actually evenly split on accepting climate change science.
That may not seem like a reason to celebrate, but considering the fact that just a few years ago the vast majority of Republicans denied the science of climate change, it is a massive step forward.
But there is still one faction of the Republican Party that largely refuses to accept scientific findings: The Tea Party.
According to recent polling by the Pew Research Center, Republicans in general are evenly split, with 46% saying that climate change is real, while 46% say that there is no solid evidence. However, 70% of self-described “Tea Party members” say that there is no solid evidence of climate change, and only 25% accept the science.
This puts the entire Republican Party, including the Tea Party, at odds with the American public at large - 67% agree that climate change is real and that human beings are making the problem worse.
The problem with these numbers is that those in charge of the Republican Party continue to pander to the minority within their own party, and of course to the heavyweight campaign donors like the Koch brothers, who don’t want any legislative action to tackle climate change.
Pandering to the minority becomes a more serious problem when that pandering leads to stalled nominations for environmental posts, lax regulations on the country’s worst polluters, and huge cash giveaways to companies that already pull in tens of billions of dollars in profits every year. These minority policies harm consumers, the environment, and our economy.
America cannot afford any more policies that are designed to appeal to a fraction of a fraction of citizens, especially when the views of that particular faction are being dictated by the dirty energy industry itself.
Last Thursday, in one of their final acts before they take the entire month of August off, the Republican-controlled House passed a piece of legislation that would greatly reduce the EPA’s ability to regulate corporate pollution. The vote, according to The Hill, was largely along party lines, with Republicans supporting the bill and Democrats opposing.
The legislation, cleverly titled Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny or REINS, would give Congress the ability to approve or deny any regulations put in place by the EPA, if they cost more than $100 million or any standards that would tax carbon emissions.
The Hill details the conservative reasoning behind the legislation:
This is a guest post by Pam Martens, cross-posted with permission from Wall Street On Parade.
On February 25, 2013, James Hepburn, writing at Daily Kos, made the emphatic assertion in a headline that “Big Tobacco Had Nothing to Do With Tea Party Formation.” That is likely to be the one headline that will haunt Mr. Hepburn to his grave.
I decided to follow in the treacherous footsteps of the IRS and engaged in that unforgiveable sin: I targeted the “tea party” as a key word search at the legacy tobacco document archive. Resting quietly in the archive is full blown proof that Big Tobaccodirectly created multiple Tea Parties in 1994 as push back against a planned increase in the Federal Excise Tax (FET) on cigarettes.
In fact, Big Tobacco not only created the Tea Party, it has promoted it over decades, pumped millions into marketing it, and pulled it out of its magic hat every time it needed to produce an overnight, spontaneous “grassroots” movement.
PERHAPS somebody should write a pocket guide book with the title: “How to spot you've been suckered by a fake grassroots movement”.
Once it's written, these guide books could be distributed free of charge to crowds at anti-carbon tax rallies, US Tea Party marches and pretty much any gathering of a “movement” telling you that you're freedom is being put at risk by big governments, nanny states, new world orders or communists disguised as climate scientists or public health professionals.
But why the sudden need for the guide?
There's now emerging evidence that if these really are “grassroots” movements, then many of the seeds and the fertilisers are being supplied by major corporations and “libertarian” billionaires. It turns out that the US Tea Party movement and its calls for “freedom” from government intervention wasn't some organic uprising of community concern after all.
A new academic study documents how the Tea Party was envisioned and planned by tobacco company executives in concert with Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group established by oil billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.
As reported on DeSmogBlog, the study “‘To quarterback behind the scenes, third-party efforts’: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party” shows how the industry wanted to hide their profit motive and fear of the government regulating their deadly products behind a “movement to change the way that people think”, as R.J Reynolds Tobacco's head of national field operations Tim Hyde described it.
A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene.
Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry's role in driving climate disruption.
The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, traces the roots of the Tea Party's anti-tax movement back to the early 1980s when tobacco companies began to invest in third party groups to fight excise taxes on cigarettes, as well as health studies finding a link between cancer and secondhand cigarette smoke.
Published in the peer-reviewed academic journal, Tobacco Control, the study titled, 'To quarterback behind the scenes, third party efforts': the tobacco industry and the Tea Party, is not just an historical account of activities in a bygone era. As senior author, Stanton Glantz, a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) professor of medicine, writes:
“Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry's anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda.”
The two main organizations identified in the UCSF Quarterback study are Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks. Both groups are now “supporting the tobacco companies' political agenda by mobilizing local Tea Party opposition to tobacco taxes and smoke-free laws.” Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity were once a single organization called Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). CSE was founded in 1984 by the infamous Koch Brothers, David and Charles Koch, and received over $5.3 million from tobacco companies, mainly Philip Morris, between 1991 and 2004.
PASTOR Daniel Nalliah, president of the fringe political party Rise Up Australia, has what you might politely describe as some fairly interesting views on matters of science, the climate, abortion and religious tolerance.
In the pulpit-driven eyes of Melbourne's Pastor Nalliah, humans didn't appear on Earth until 6000 years ago, when his god put us there. That same god was also behind Australia's most devastating bushfires, but only because laws are in place to allow abortion.
Pastor Danny, as he is known, doesn't like Islam much either. He'd also like to see school principals given the power to hit pupils with bits of wood (but only with parental consent).
But more of all this later, because Pastor Danny has announced the name of the man to give the keynote speech at the official launch of his Rise Up Australia political party.
This is a guest post by Greenpeace USA's Kevin Grandia, former DeSmog Managing Editor.
Christopher Monckton, well known for his wacky behavior attempting to deny the scientific realities of climate change, has now moved on to look into the conspiracy theory around whether US president Barack Obama was actually born in the United States!
Monckton, decked out in an American flag shirt, fire arm on his hip and a cowboy hat, tells the interviewer that:
My purpose in being here [in Arizona] is to have a further look into whether the president of the United States is the president of the United States. Now you might say, what has this got to do with someone from Britain… I am here because I am curious. As a peer of the realm I am allowed to stick my long aristocratic nose into anything I want to stick it in.
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. Here is the video:
There’s a fascinating new public opinion analysis out today from Anthony Leiserowitz and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. It looks at political divides and how they impact one’s views of the science, but with this new twist—Tea Partiers and Republicans are treated differently.
And look what results:
In other words, Tea Party members are more extreme than Republicans in their rejection of the scientific consensus on global warming—simultaneously more wrong, and also more sure of themselves.
What’s up with that?