“As ferocious as they have been in defense of free-market ideas, the Koch brothers are also acting out of tangible self-interest, Mayer argues. The Kochs made their money in the carbon business; they have diversified far beyond it over the years, but a stiff tax on carbon could have a significant impact on their bottom line. Mayer reports that an E.P.A. database identified Koch Industries in 2012 as the single biggest producer of toxic waste in the United States. The company has been in and out of federal court over the years as defendants in cases alleging careless and sometimes lethal flouting of clean-air and clear-water requirements. Several have paid tens of millions in fines to settle these cases. It is plausible that the Kochs and some members of their network are participating in politics largely to keep their fortunes intact. “They said they were driven by principle,” Mayer writes of the Koch-led network, “but their positions dovetailed seamlessly with their personal financial interests.” “
This is an historic period, as the world faces the threat of climate change. This piece by Paul Krugman is hugely important.
He starts: “Future historians — if there are any future historians — will almost surely say that the most important thing happening in the world during December 2015 was the climate talks in Paris. True, nothing agreed to in Paris will be enough, by itself, to solve the problem of global warming. But the talks could mark a turning point, the beginning of the kind of international action needed to avert catastrophe.
Then again, they might not; we may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party.”
The new David Brooks!
“I’ve been confused about this Paris climate conference and how the world should move forward to ameliorate climate change, so I séanced up my hero Alexander Hamilton to see what he thought. I was sad to be reminded that he doesn’t actually talk in hip-hop, but he still had some interesting things to say.
First, he was struck by the fact that on this issue the G.O.P. has come to resemble a Soviet dictatorship — a vast majority of Republican politicians can’t publicly say what they know about the truth of climate change because they’re afraid the thought police will knock on their door and drag them off to an AM radio interrogation.”
So funny, sad and true. I have bet a friend a penny that in the next two weeks, a prominent Republican will come out of the closet on climate change.
Tim Egan: “As a global citizen, Exxon failed miserably, to say the least. A host of organizations, and some politicians have called for Exxon to be prosecuted for fraud not unlike that which tobacco companies engaged in when they hid the risks of smoking. Exxon argues that it was a climate change “pioneer” and didn’t so much deceive the public as stir a broader debate.
At least it is now on record as stating the obvious: that climate change is real, and human-caused, and that something — perhaps beneficial to its corporate bottom line — needs to be done.
The Republicans did not get the updated memo. Their two leading candidates for office, Ben Carson and Donald Trump, deny the consensus of human-caused climate change. They’re still reading from quarter-century-old Exxon talking points.”
“ExxonMobil gave more than $2.3m to members of Congress and a corporate lobbying group that deny climate change and block efforts to fight climate change – eight years after pledging to stop its funding of climate denial, the Guardian has learned.Climate denial – from Republicans in Congress and lobby groups operating at the state level – is seen as a major obstacle to US and global efforts to fight climate change, closing off the possibility of federal and state regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the ability to plan for a future of sea-level rise and extreme weather.Exxon channeled about $30m to researchers and activist groups promoting disinformation about global warming over the years, according to a tally kept by the campaign group Greenpeace. But the oil company pledged to stop such funding in 2007, in response to pressure from shareholder activists.”
NAOMI ORESKES, NYT:
“CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — MILLIONS of Americans once wanted to smoke. Then they came to understand how deadly tobacco products were. Tragically, that understanding was long delayed because the tobacco industry worked for decades to hide the truth, promoting a message of scientific uncertainty instead.
The same thing has happened with climate change, as Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization, has been reporting in a series of articles based on internal documents from Exxon Mobil dating from the 1970s and interviews with former company scientists and employees.
Had Exxon been upfront at the time about the dangers of the greenhouse gases we were spewing into the atmosphere, we might have begun decades ago to develop a less carbon-intensive energy path to avert the worst impacts of a changing climate. Amazingly, politicians are still debating the reality of this threat, thanks in no small part to industry disinformation.”
I was at first impressed by Scott Walker, for taking on civil service unions in Wisconsin. They are a serious problem in Hamden, CT, where our Town and State workers live with better pay, pensions, and job protections than the dwindling middle class in the private sector. But more and more people have written about an extremely ugly side to Governor Walker. He is a famous, climate change denier, and his biggest funders are the Koch brothers. Now Frank Bruni knocks him down
“In the formal announcement of his presidential campaign on Monday, Scott Walker mentioned God right away, introduced himself as a preacher’s son and invoked religion repeatedly, as he has throughout a perpetual candidacy that stretches back to his college days, when he told the Marquette University yearbook: “I really think there’s a reason why God put all these political thoughts in my head.”
But what I see in him is the kind of soullessness too common in American politicians and the kind of careerism that makes American politics such a dreary spectacle.
I see an ambition even more pronounced than any ideology. I see an interest in personal advancement that eclipses any investment in personal growth.”
This is the second op ed piece that I have written and submitted to the New Haven Register on Bill O’Reilly, but the the first one that they have published, perhaps in last Tuesday’s paper.
The link below is dead. The article is no longer posted at the New Haven Register. Luckily, I have found the artice on my own hard drive.
Bill O’Reilly throws mud that doesn’t stick
By David Lindsay 5/6/2015 The New Haven Register
What Bill O’Reilly has discovered is that his publishers do not require of him real sources and data to back up his claims and calumny. Joe Nocera wrote in the NY Times last week that the economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a leader of the conservative American Action Forum, or A.A.F., complains that the right wing is too sloppy on data. Defending the Export-Import Bank which conservatives were attacking, Holz-Eakin said, “I think too many conservative arguments are made on the basis of ideology and faith. We are dedicated to the numbers at A.A.F. We can’t just assert that markets work; we have to show it.” It is time for the Register to hold its regular columnists to the Holz-Eakin standard of good journalism.
Bill O’Reilly diminishes the reputation of the New Haven Register with his unsupported partisan barbs and mudslinging. April 25, the target was again President Barack Obama. There is no question but that the world is a messy and dangerous place, but to read O’Reilly, the messes in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Russia are all Obama’s fault. Such grandiose assertions sound impressive, until you remember that the disastrous war with Iraq was the misguided adventure against non-existent weapons of mass destruction of George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Each trillion dollar disaster seemed to contribute to the next. But don’t take my word for it, the disaster was well reported by several writers’ especially Bob Woodward, in his book, State of Denial.
O’Reilly’s list of disasters is a real list, but it is slimy to insist that Barack Obama is to blame for any of them without support or facts. For the rise of ISIS, to pick another example, the backbone of ISIS is reportedly remnants of the dismissed Sunni Iraq Army, which was fired by GWBush and Rumsfeld after they were promised that they could run the country if they surrendered quickly to the US invasion, which they did. Now they are getting back on their betrayers.
O’Reilly also mocks Obama for saying that “the greatest threat to our planet…. is climate change.” Again no facts, figures or sources, just, “the administration is chasing the chimera of global warming.” That bombast is his support. There are many facts and stories that he ignores. The problems in Syria and Egypt started because of pressures from over-population, and an extended draught which destroyed the livelihood of many farmers. The droughts were exacerbated by climate change, according to leading scientists, reported Tom Friedman and others in the New York Times. Visitors to the Caribbean report that the coral reefs are dying or are dead.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says on their website that they are the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment HYPERLINK “https://www.ipcc.ch/docs/UNEP_GC-14_decision_IPCC_1987.pdf”ProgrammeHYPERLINK “https://www.ipcc.ch/docs/UNEP_GC-14_decision_IPCC_1987.pdf” and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
From IPCCfacts.org: “More than 2,000 scientists from 154 countries typically participate in the IPCC process.” The story I keep reading from reputable journalists, is that 97% of real climate scientist agree that climate change is a huge threat. The other 3% are either not real scientist, or are on the payroll of the oil, gas and coal companies and their owners, like the Koch brothers. Some are the same scientists-for-hire who found that cigarette smoking was safe.
After Hurricane Sandy caused over $60 billion of damage in New York and New Jersey, Bloomberg Businessweek wrote a cover story in great detail, titled, It’s Global Warming Stupid. Monday, April 27, the New Haven Register ran a brilliant editorial from the Washington Post, titled, “Republicans are engaging in smog and mirrors on climate” The editorial concluded, “The nation’s climate debate has been impoverished by the absence of responsible conservative voices. A revenue-neutral carbon tax is a reform Republicans should love. It could end irrational federal subsidies, lower the GOP’s most-hated taxes and harness market efficiency to provide some insurance for the planet at a minimal cost. Instead, the party’s would-be leaders appear to be looking for any way to avoid engaging seriously.” Thank you, New Haven Register.
It is a pity that the Register supports the rants of such ideologues as Bill O’Reilly. The Register should be helping their readers discern fact from fiction and science from nonsense. It is confusing as to why they support the demagoguery displayed regularly in O’Reilly’s op-eds.
David Lindsay lives in Hamden CT, and blogs at, InconvenientNews.wordpress.com and LindsayOnVietnam.wordpress.com. He is the author of The Tay Son Rebellion, about to be published.
Gail Collins writes: “Now climate change is perhaps the most important long-term issue the next American president will have to deal with. Our international enemies will come and go; our deficits will rise and fall. But if the atmosphere keeps getting clogged with greenhouse gases, future generations will be too busy with the floods and droughts to care.”
That is brilliant. In the previous paragraph, Scott Walker is denying climate change to a second grader. For environmentalists, the piece is awesome.