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How the Koch Brothers Fund the Climate Change Denial Machine

Triple Pundit

By Gina-Marie Cheeseman | March 18th, 2011 

The Koch brothers, owners of Koch Industries are major funders of organizations that create propaganda which denies the reality of climate change. David Koch expressed doubts to the New Yorker magazine last year that climate change is caused by human activity. He also extolled the benefits of climate change, if it happens, stating that it would result in longer growing seasons in colder climates. “The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because far greater land area will be available to produce food,” he said.

The Koch Industries website contains an article that begins by claiming that the company practices environmental stewardship. A couple of paragraphs down, the article states that the company also believes “over-zealous environmental regulation can be destructive.” The article goes on to criticize measures that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Greenpeace released a report last year about the Koch foundations supporting organizations that oppose “progressive clean energy and climate policy.” Koch gave $24.9 million from 2005 to 2008 to “organizations of the climate denial machine,” the report states.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative think tank, is one of the organizations that has benefited from Koch money. According to Greenpeace, ALEC’s total grants from 1997 to 2008 from the Koch foundations were $408,000.

The ALEC published a whitepaper titled, EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck: Strategies for State Legislators. The whitepaper states that the “highest priority should be to get the state on record as calling on Congress to stop this regulatory train wreck.” It cites the “Resolution Opposing EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck” as a model resolution. Wyoming and Indiana adopted the resolution this year.

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When Henry Waxman speaks, it’s like listening to my Uncle Henry in the old days. The message is straight forward, honest, and carries a sort of authority that is rarely seen in todays political theatre. I’m sure that he has an agenda, but it seems to be about accountability, a trait that is sorely lacking in most representatives of the people. If Steney Hoyer or, on the Repugnican side John Boehner, was on the podium, my thoughts would immediately turn to* “6 lobbyist’s for every congre$$man”. I’m sure that Waxman has a few hanging around too, but I bet they have plenty of respect, and maybe even a little bit of fear, when approaching the man who tells it like it is.

Fighting Back: Defending Our Public Health

Representative Henry A. Waxman

March 7, 2011, 10:00am – 11:00am

About This Event

The recent unrest in the Middle East has sent oil and gasoline prices up, yet another reminder of our vulnerability from imported oil. Oil and America’s other persistent energy problems demand attention—reducing oil use, protecting our health by reducing air pollution, and boosting our economic competitiveness. Rather than address these challenges, however, House Republicans have substantially cut programs that safeguard public health and invest in clean technologies, and seek to strip the EPA’s authority to limit mercury, smog, and carbon pollution. Their proposed disinvestments in energy efficiency and renewable technologies would wave the white flag of surrender in the international race to lead the clean-tech industry in the 21st century.

Full video of the event can be found… ~HERE~

Waxman: ‘All That Seems To Matter Is What Koch Industries Think’

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Al Gore News

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

On Laura Ingraham’s radio show, 12/10/09

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On First Day Of New Congress, Koch Operatives Met With GOP Chairman Planning To Gut The Clean Air Act

Think Progress- By Lee Fang at 10:00 am

In January, ThinkProgress interviewed billionaire plutocrat David Koch about his views on climate science, his Tea Party movement, and his political plans for the future. On the day of our interview, we also discovered that he planned to hold a party for the new Republicans he helped elect. As we have documented, Koch not only financed the rise of the anti-Obama Tea Party, he has also helped guide the movement to support the narrow business priorities of his conglomerate Koch Industries: Koch funds rallies for young children that attack the EPA, Koch’s front groups spread doubt about climate change, and Koch’s Americans for Prosperity hands out Tea Party talking points attacking clean energy. Building on this research, the Los Angeles Times reported this weekend about the central influence of Koch in the new GOP Congress.

MORE HERE

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latimes.com

Koch brothers now at heart of GOP power

The billionaire brothers’ influence is most visible in the makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where members have vowed to undo restrictions on greenhouse gases.

By Tom Hamburger, Kathleen Hennessey and Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times

February 6, 2011

Reporting from Washington

The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch no longer sit outside Washington’s political establishment, isolated by their uncompromising conservatism. Instead, they are now at the center of Republican power, a change most evident in the new makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Wichita-based Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the panel, ahead of giants like Exxon Mobil, contributing $279,500 to 22 of the committee’s 31 Republicans, and $32,000 to five Democrats.

Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity — to oppose the Obama administration’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. Of the six GOP freshman lawmakers on the panel, five benefited from the group’s separate advertising and grass-roots activity during the 2010 campaign.

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Massey Energy & Don Blankenship: Million-dollar Tea Party sponsors

Crooks & Liars- By karoli Tuesday Apr 06, 2010 9:00am

Meet Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy Company. Blankenship is also on the Board of Directors of the US Chamber of Commerce. In this speech above, he denies climate change, derisively refers to Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid, and others as “greeniacs”, and calls them all crazy. Watch the speech, you’ll see. In his mind, “the greeniacs are taking over the world.”

Massey Energy Company, Blankenship’s highly successful strip-mining and mountaintop removal operation is the parent company of Performance Coal Co, where a tragic explosion occurred on April 5th. As of this writing, 25 miners have died and 4 more are still missing. Twenty-five families are without a loved one. Four more may discover they have lost someone they love too. 29 families in all, forever changed by one single, violent event in a coal mine. One single violent event in a coal mine run by a company so obsessed with profit it runs roughshod over employees’ and neighbors’ health and safety.

Here’s something else about Don Blankenship and Massey Energy Company: Blankenship spent over $1 million dollars along with other US Chamber buddies like Verizon to sponsor last year’s Labor Day Tea Party, also known as the “Friends of America Rally.” Here’s Massey’s pitch. Note how he makes it sound like he isn’t one of the corporate enemies of America.

The Friends of America Rally featured such notables as Sean Hannity, Ted Nugent, and Hank Williams, Jr., and was graced by Blankenship himself going off on a diatribe that seemed strange at the time, but has come to be commonplace these days. It concerned President Obama, Democrats, and any one who doesn’t salute God, coal, and apple pie. Oh, and we’re also going to ‘steal their jobs,’ if Hannity is to be believed.

Blankenship and Massey Energy spend millions to defend unsafe workplaces

Even while coal dust settles on nearby schoolchildren, there are lessons to learn from this disaster about Massey Energy in general, and Don Blankenship in particular.

It seems that Performance Coal’s safety record is spotty, at best. From the Mississippi Business Journal:

Massey ranks among the nation’s top five coal producers and is among the industry’s most profitable. It has a spotty safety record.

The federal mine safety administration fined Massey a then-record $1.5 million for 25 violations that inspectors concluded contributed to the deaths of two miners trapped in a fire in January 2006. The company later settled a lawsuit naming it, several subsidiaries and Chief Executive Don Blankenship as defendants. Aracoma Coal Co. later paid $2.5 million in fines after the company pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges in the fire.

Massey and Blankenship also settled a lawsuit brought by the Manville Trust in 2007 with regard to workplace safety and environmental compliance.

The Manville Trust filed the case in July 2007 against company Chairman, CEO, and President Don Blankenship and certain other current and former officers and directors. The plaintiff sought several corporate governance reforms, specifically regarding environmental compliance and worker safety. Citing several incidents involving Massey Energy, including a major federal water pollution lawsuit, penalties for two coal miners’ tragic deaths and other safety and environmental compliance problems, the lawsuit claimed that a “conscious failure” by the defendants to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations and other legal obligations posed a “substantial threat of monetary liability for violations.”

Keep unions out, let teabaggers in

Don Blankenship inhabits a strange and bizarre world. In his world:

  • It’s fine for elementary school-age children to inhale coal dust while playing at school because Massey Coal “already pays millions of dollars in taxes each year”.
  • Blankenship truly believes that government regulation means “we all better learn to speak Chinese.”
  • He has absolutely no problem paying $3 million to elect state Supreme Court justice Brent Benjamin just ahead of a scheduled hearing of his appeal to overturn a large damage award for driving competitor Harman Mining Corporation into bankruptcy.
  • Blankenship will spend millions to keep the Massey Energy’s workforce non-union, is perfectly happy to discriminate against union workers even if it means being sued and losing, and might hate unions as much as he hates ‘greeniacs’.

    This is the same mine where the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently ruled that Spartan Mining illegally discriminated against 82 UMWA members by refusing to hire them because of their union membership status.

    “This settlement highlights yet again the treacherous and backhanded manner Massey treated the miners who had worked at the Cannelton mine for decades,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “While it was discriminating against these experienced miners because of their age or union status, the company was at the same time publicly crying about the lack of experienced miners in the coalfields.

    “But it wasn’t that Massey couldn’t find experienced miners,” Roberts said. “They were there all along and wanted to work. It was that the company would rather break the law than allow its employees to have a strong voice at work and the tremendous benefits of a union contract.

Penny-wise, pound-foolish. An investment in experienced workers trained in state-of-the art safety measures combined with OSHA compliance and mine safety measures might have saved at least 25, and possibly 29 lives.

Instead Don Blankenship spent that money and more on a US Chamber of Commerce corporate-sponsored tea party to convince good, hard-working honest people to work against their best interests.

I hope those families take a large pound of flesh from him in return.

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Bill Maher: The Environment Is The Ultimate Health Care Issue (VIDEO)

Huff Post- First Posted: 03-13-10 03:56 AM   |   Updated: 03-13-10 05:49 AM

Bill Maher called the environment the “ultimate health care issue” Friday night during “Real Time” and argued that our future depends on our ability to stop global warming. But some on his panel weren’t so convinced.

Conservative talk radio host Amy Holmes, actor Hill Harper, and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson weighed in, with Harper being the sole panelist to agree with Maher’s assessment. Johnson said he believes in climate change, but that its effects have been greatly exaggerated. While Holmes called herself a skeptic, and argued that the science behind the topic is not settled. She described it as a “raging debate.”

Maher was blown away by Holmes’ skepticism and shot down Johnson for opposing cap and trade legislation. Maher pointed out that Republicans weren’t so disgusted by cap and trade when George H.W. Bush used it to stop acid rain.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

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Crooks & Liars- By Heather Wednesday Feb 17, 2010 2:30pm

Rachel Maddow calls out Beck for editing her criticism of him on her show and making sure his viewers didn’t see Rachel calling him out for his bullshit. I had said before that Dylan Ratigan was wasting his time engaging Beck. That’s because Ratigan actually thought it would be a good idea to either bring Beck on his show or go on Beck’s show. I do not think when Beck lies about one of them they should let it go unchallenged and am glad Rachel Maddow pointed out Beck’s hypocrisy here and how he edited her segment. Engaging him is a complete waste of time. He’s not going to come on MSNBC any time soon and he sure as hell isn’t going to bring either Ratigan or Maddow on his show any time soon and if he did they’d be in some debate box where he could hit the mute button any time he wanted instead of live on his set.

It’s useless to even pretend like that might happen in any fair manner, ever, as Ratigan proposed. Calling him out for his bullshit is not. Although I would love to see the idiot try to debate Rachel in person if he wasn’t just allowed to yell over her, cut her mike or filibuster the entire time. I would imagine it would be much like Beck bringing a toy knife to an assault rifle fight if he actually had to debate Rachel Maddow on any subject and those were the rules of the game. I hope Rachel doesn’t spend too much time on this pissing contest with Beck though because in the end, too much time spent on this serial liar is just a waste of energy. Fox doesn’t care how much he lies and neither do his brain dead viewers. Well enough to point it out and move along.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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The Right’s Inability to Grasp Climate Change May Be Funny, But It’s Also Very Dangerous

February 12, 2010

The so-called Snowpocalypse has brought out the funny bone in the right-wing media, but their inability to correctly draw causal connections is very dangerous.

Climate change conspiracies are hardly new, but the so-called Snowpocalypse in Washington D.C. has returned them front-and-center to every single right-wing media outlet.

A Fox News anchor smugly claimed that the record snow had not only buried people’s cars — it was also “burying” global warming theories. In a World Net Daily radio segment, someone joked that liberals would soon be claiming the snowfall — and global warming — was the Tea Party movement’s fault. And the family of Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, built a six-foot-tall igloo on Capitol Hill and topped it off with a sign that read, “Al Gore’s New Home,” before posting it on Facebook to the delight of climate change non-believers across the country. (From a commenter: “What if the D.C. tent cities became IGLOO cities?? The irony!” Bashing global warming and the homeless in one fell swoop — classy.)

For years since climate change has been accepted fact among the bulk of the international scientific and environmental community, many people have contended that global warming is a farce brought on by a New World Order (often embodied by the relatively powerless United Nations) to construct a world government that will undermine American sovereignty and make us all slaves to Al Gore and his green business cronies, who will be swimming in our green — our hard-earned cash. Certainly not all global warming deniers fall into this particular conspiracy camp, but it’s among the more popular story-lines.

MORE HERE

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Doug Mills/The New York Times - President Obama with Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao, across from him, the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, right, and other world leaders at the Copenhagen climate summit on Friday.

JOHN M. BRODER
NYT
December 18, 2009

COPENHAGEN — President Obama announced here on Friday night that five major nations, including the United States, had together forged a climate deal. He called it “an unprecedented breakthrough” but acknowledged that it still fell short of what was required to combat global warming.

The agreement addresses many of the issues that leaders came here to settle. But it has left many of the participants in the climate talks unhappy, from the Europeans, who now have the only binding carbon control regime in the world, to the delegates from the poorest nations, who objected to being left out of the critical negotiations.

By the early hours of Saturday, representatives of the 193 countries who have negotiated here for nearly two weeks had not yet approved the deal and there were signs they might not. But Mr. Obama, who left before the conference considered the accord because of a major storm descending on Washington, noted that the agreement was merely a political statement and not a legally binding treaty and might not need ratification by the entire conference.

Continued>>>

Doug Mills/The New York Times - President Obama returned from Copenhagen early Saturday, landing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland amid a major winter storm

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Global Boiling: An Alphabet Of Nations

The Wonk Room-  By Brad Johnson on Dec 8th, 2009 at 6:30 pm

It’s day two of the Wonk Room’s on-the-scene coverage of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The skies are briefly blue, a reprieve from the darkness that engulfs this northern city for most of the day.

As the nations of the world gather in Copenhagen, the Wonk Room has prepared this alphabetical journey of the impacts of climate change around the globe.

A

East Antarctica, long stable, is now losing ice.

B

Bolivia needs $1 billion over the next seven years to build reservoirs, as the glaciers that hold the nation’s water supply are shrinking rapidly.

C

Leatherback sea turtles that spawn on the beaches of Costa Rica are threatened with extinction by warmer temperatures and rising seas.

D

Denmark joined United States, Norway, Canada, and Russia in identifying climate change as “the most important long-term threat” to future existence of polar bears.

E

The rapidly warming highlands of Ethiopia are becoming too hot for its elite athletes, such as local-born Haile Gebrselassie, to train there.

F

Noting the unprecedented floods this year in Fiji, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama recently warned that rising sea levels affect not just the islands’ economies, but put into doubt the very existence of his nation.

G

Greece suffered through another storm of extreme wildfires this summer as heat waves and drier conditions increase.

H

Global warming-fueled hurricanes, intense poverty, and widespread deforestation combine to form a gathering storm of disasters for Haiti.

I

The deforested peatlands of Indonesia are drying, disintegrating, and burning.

J

The increasingly early arrival of cherry blossoms in Japan reflects rising global temperatures.

K

The more frequent and severe droughts that are killing off the elephants will likely trigger more conflicts in the arid lands of northeast Kenya.

L

The incidence of wildfires in the cedar forests of Lebanon has increased tremendously over recent years.

M

“If things go business-as-usual, we will not live, we will die,” Maldives President Mohammad Nasheed told the UN General Assembly. “Our country will not exist.”

N

The ministers of Nepal have held the world’s highest cabinet meeting on Mount Everest, as rapidly rising temperatures have reduced snowfall over the mountains and caused glaciers to melt.

O

More than 50 per cent of the population of Oman lives on coastlines vulnerable to rising seas, but its supplies of peridotite may help sequester carbon dioxide emissions.

P

The massive floods that killed hundreds in the Philippines this summer are becoming the norm.

Q

Petroleum-soaked Qatar emits 60 tons of carbon dioxide per person, the most of any nation on earth.

R

Increased floods and malaria outbreaks from global warming, deforestation, and unsanitary conditions have hit Rwanda hard in the past decade.

S

The inhabitants of the Alpine villages of Fieschertal and Fiesch in Switzerland have asked for the Pope to bless their prayers for the restoration of their nation’s glaciers, which shrank by 12 percent over the past decade.

T

Newly discovered, exotic species like the fanged frog of Thailand are especially vulnerable as climate change will further shrink their already restricted habitats.

U

Agriculture in the United States has been ravaged this year by catastrophic droughts in Texas and California, heat waves in Louisiana and Nebraska, storms across the High Plains and the Midwest, floods in North Dakota and Minnesota, and torrential rains in Illinois and Georgia.

V

Speaking from Vatican City on the eve of the Copenhagen conference, Pope Benedict XVI counseled “all people of good will to respect the laws laid down by God in nature and to rediscover the moral dimension of human life.”

W

Warming oceans and sea level rise threaten the coral reefs of the remote Polynesian islands of Wallis and Futuna.

X

The nomadic descendents of Kublai Khan in Inner Mongolia, where Xanadu once stood, are being driven from the grasslands as the Chinese government attempts to fight the region’s desertification.

Y

Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, may be the first capital city in the world to run out of water, as drought and overuse diminish its supply.

Z

On the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the flow of Victoria Falls is far below average, as drought and high temperatures reduce the Zambezi.

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