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Grass Roots vs. The Tea Party

2:52 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Some conservatives are desperately trying to besmirch the ever growing “Occupy Wall Street Movement” as something other than a grass roots movement and some have gone so far as to say that America’s newest grass roots movement is trying to make themselves look “as grassroots as the tea party.” Moreover, they’re saying that the “Occupy” movement has co-opted the Tea Party slogan “take back our country.” There’s more than one fallacy contained in this analysis, lets take a look.

First, the phrase “take our country back” predates the Tea Party movement by several years. I recall it being used by Republicans who wanted to retake the White House from Bill Clinton on the theory that by having won a plurality, his presidency was somehow not quite legitimate. Odd but one of the few Tea Party candidate’s who won a senate seat in 2010, Marco Rubio of Florida, won by a plurality as well. The phrase was used yet again by Democrats in the 2004 elections as they were enraged by the fact that George Bush was handed the 2000 election by the Supreme Court. Hence there is no way that the phrase “take back our country” is generically a Tea Party creation.

As far as the Tea Party movement being genuinely grass roots, well by now it’s a well known fact that the “movement” has been buoyed up by the money of rich conservatives, PACs and other conservative organizations. Jane Mayer, of the New Yorker in an article called “Covert Operations detailed the support given to the Tea Party movement by the billionaire Koch Brothers. To wit: “A few weeks after the Lincoln Center gala, the advocacy wing of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation—an organization that David Koch started, in 2004—held a different kind of gathering…Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas…At the lectern in Austin, however, Peggy Venable—a longtime political operative who draws a salary from Americans for Prosperity, and who has worked for Koch-funded political groups since 1994—spoke less warily. “We love what the Tea Parties are doing, because that’s how we’re going to take back America!” she declared, as the crowd cheered. In a subsequent interview, she described herself as an early member of the movement, joking, “I was part of the Tea Party before it was cool!” She explained that the role of Americans for Prosperity was to help “educate” Tea Party activists on policy details, and to give them “next-step training” after their rallies, so that their political energy could be channeled “more effectively.” And she noted that Americans for Prosperity had provided Tea Party activists with lists of elected officials to target. She said of the Koch’s, “They’re certainly our people. David’s the chairman of our board. I’ve certainly met with them, and I’m very appreciative of what they do.” Beyond the Koch Brother’s there’s the millions of dollars funneled into the “movement” by Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Then there’s the Tea Party Express and various and sundry other groups. By now all of this is established fact and undeniable as well.

Lastly, if the Tea Party is such a viable grass roots organization then why does it have such low favorability ratings? In April of this year in an article titled “The Fading Allure of the Tea Party Movement” I detailed how the “movement’s” favorability ratings had fallen to the levels of the two political party’s. Moreover, this decline was attributable to the fall off in support among those earning less than $50,000.00 per year, a threshold that represents roughly the mid point in American incomes. Thus it’s no surprise that the Tea Party continues to have low favorability ratings as per PollingReport.com which shows as of September of 2011 some polls show the Tea Party movement polling its lowest favorable and highest unfavorable ratings of all time or darn close to it. When asked “do you consider yourself part of the Tea Party movement only 12 percent of respondents answered yes and when asked if they supported the movement the number is a low 25 percent. Thus even if the Tea Party movement can legitimately be considered grass roots, big money donors aside, it’s obvious that most of that grass has wilted or died off all together. I have asked many of my friends on the right to show me something that contradicts these findings and I have yet to see anything from a legitimate source that shows the Tea Party ascendant.

SJG
10/10/11

Sources:

Covert Operations by Jane Mayer; http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer#ixzz1aQCFuZAK

The Fading Allure of the Tea Party Movement; http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti/2011/04/23/the_fading_allure_of_the_tea_party_movement

PollingReport.com: Politics – Tea Party; http://www.pollingreport.com/politics.htm

The Pathos of Denial

7:17 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

You know as far as being honest about the role of the Koch brothers in Scott Walker’s anti-union efforts, it’s been more than somewhat amusing to see the elaborate kabuki dance of denial, self delusion and double talk that has emerged on the right since the Madison protests began. It seems that some of my good friends on the far right, a few who can clearly be classified as members of the fringe element, have worked overtime at trying to deny the very clear, apparent and undeniable role played by Charles and David Koch in what has become a Midwestern assault on public employee unions. Now at the risk of sounding too high handed, lets all understand one simple thing: If the Koch brothers found and fund an organization like American’s for Prosperity, and that organization’s leadership publically states that it is out to cripple public employee unions, then the link is indisputable and undeniable. That link would be undeniable when viewed by any intelligent and reasonable, right thinking human person, that is. I find the inability, on the part of some of my right leaning friends, to honestly admit the undeniable, a development that for me engenders the utmost pity for them in their self inflicted plight.

For you see every time someone denies established facts his credibility suffers as a result, to the point that it can be diluted to such an extent that it can never be repaired or even restored. All this at the cost of a great effort at vigorously denying that the Koch brothers are involved with these anti-union efforts, in spite of quotes from Dave Koch himself as to their role in founding and funding AFP and of AFP’s president Mr. Phillips and his hit man Mr. Hagerstrom of their desire to “cut the unions off at the knees.” This public denial of the obvious is something that can only be classified as deep denial and severe self delusion. I am sure that there are clinical classifications for this type of behavior, but that’s beyond my pay grade and professional certification. If it’s not the aforementioned then it’s just plain old deflection or outright fraud. Either way it’s a losing proposition for those who have taken up the fight of trying to publicly disentangle the Koch brothers from events in Wisconsin and beyond. This is particularly amusing as the Koch brothers themselves have never denied their involvement, even as their water carriers have been working overtime in an attempt to do so. That said, how much longer are those who are busy talking in circles amongst themselves going to continue to fool themselves as to the degree of impact that they might be having on the current national discussion? In reality, by continuing to deny the undeniable, they have effectively removed themselves from the larger discussion and are only talking to each other and reinforcing their continued self delusional fantasies as the rest of reasonable humanity has long since tuned them out.

Perhaps this affliction on the right that is the result of the heavy involvement of the Koch brothers and other big money players in the Tea Party Movement. Perhaps it has it’s roots in the desire of the Tea Party crowd to go on believing that the “movement” is actually a genuine grass roots operation rather than an organization pumped up with the money of the wealthy and puffed up by all of the free press It has received from Fox News. Perhaps all of this big money involvement, especially the part it played in the last election, has given rise to a certain uneasiness among the rank and file of the far right, suggesting that they have ceased to be in control of their own “movement”, if in fact they ever were. That uneasiness would in fact be very hard to cope with over the long term, especially when the interests of big money leave their little allies behind as they pursue their own specific interests. If that is in fact the cause of this complicated dance of denial, then that would go a long way to explaining things. Short of that explanation, I’m not sure that another exists out there in the realm of the real world.

If anyone is in need of the details pertaining to the involvement of the Koch Brothers in the battles of Madison, see the following for details:Scott Walker, Conservative Hero Propped Up By the Koch Brothers or The Proof of the Pudding Concerning the Koch Brothers

Steve Gulitti

3/10/11

The Proof of the Pudding Concerning the Koch Brothers

7:33 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

A few days ago I posted “Scott Walker, Conservative Hero Propped Up By the Koch Brothers” wherein which I laid out the bare facts behind the brothers Koch and their involvement in the anti-public employee union battles currently taking place in the Midwest. I detailed how the Koch’s had increased by over five times the budget of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), showing how “The organization has taken up a range of topics, including combating the health care law, environmental regulations and spending by state and federal governments. The effort to impose limits on public labor unions has been a particular focus in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all states with Republican governors…” In fact AFP was founded by the Koch brothers with a $1 Million dollar grant of seed money a decade ago. I revealed that Walker and other Republican governors received guidance from the American Legislative Exchange Council, another Koch funded organization that aims to fight unionization. I also pointed out that even before Scott Walker was sworn in agents of Koch funded organizations were at work in Wisconsin setting up the showdown presently in it’s third week. I quoted AFP president Mr. Tim Phillips showing that he felt that taking on the unions in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania was “an important thing to do.”

Some of my good friends on the right seemed flummoxed by the assertion that the billionaire Koch brothers, major financiers of the Tea Party Movement as well, could actually have a interest in destroying public sector unions. This misconception is based on the fact that the Koch brothers, being private sector businessmen could not possibly have interests beyond their day to day business operations. My right leaning colleagues have vainly attempted to pursue a line of reasoning that suggests breaking public unions does nothing to further Koch business interests so it would be of no interest to them in the first place. They have implied that the facts put forth in the abovementioned piece either don’t adequately make the case or are “too fuzzy” in their linkage of the brothers Koch to the situation in Madison.

This is of course a straw man argument as people of vast wealth often have interests beyond the mundane and pedestrian endeavors of making money. Take for example Rupert Murdoch, owner of  the News Corporation. His tabloid, The New York Post continues to lose money with no end in sight yet he keeps it going because it’s his primary organ for promoting his conservative ideas in New York City and the surrounding region. If his motives for running the Post where purely economic it would have been closed long ago. Then there is what used to be the preeminent conservative news magazine in America, the National Review. Since its inception the National Review has never been profitable, relying on generous donations from wealthy conservatives to stay afloat. Likewise there’s George Soros and his Open Society Foundation which “promotes work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens”, an endeavor that has absolutely nothing to do with shorting the stock market or currency arbitrage. Over a century ago, there were such titans of industry like Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie who built universities and centers for the performing arts. In fact David Koch himself donated so much money to renovating the New York State Ballet Theater at Lincoln Center that the place is now named after him! Needless to say, this argument that the Koch brothers couldn’t possibly be interested in destroying public unions as part and parcel of a wider right wing agenda simply won’t  stand up to the evidence at hand. Nor are their present actions in any way at variance with the past history of how the rich employ their personal wealth for both political and cultural reasons.

It would appear that my conservative friends will benefit from two news items that appeared on February 25 that unequivocally link the brothers Koch to the anti-union campaign underway against public employees, that is if any honest person really needed further evidence. The first was aired on NPR’s morning broadcast “Billionaire Brothers In Spotlight In Wis. Union Battle” by Peter Overby. Notice what David Koch says: “Five years ago, my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity…And it’s beyond my wildest dreams how AFP has grown into this enormous organization.” Likewise there are the comments of AFP’s Scott Hagerstrom: “We fight these battles on taxes and regulations, but really what we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees, so they don’t have the resources to fight these battles.” I have already established the fact that that AFP’s agenda contains an “effort to impose limits on public labor unions” so if the Koch brothers are the cash behind AFP and if fighting to undo public sector unions is a plank in the AFP platform, then ipso facto the Koch brothers harbor anti-union sentiments and have gone so far as to put their money where there mouths are, so to speak. For those on the far right who don’t like the idea of listening to an NPR rebroadcast then they can see the actual video of Mr. Hagstrom’s speech at http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/25/afp-union-knees/

So there you have it, the proof positive is too real to deny. For those who were so unwilling or unable to come to terms with the fact of  the billionaire brothers involvement, they can now no longer deny that the Koch’s have shown themselves to be central players, if not the most important participants, in the current anti-union campaign. The proof of the pudding is in eating it and there is no denying the role of the Koch brothers in the controversy in Madison or beyond Wisconsin. Perhaps some of my conservative friends are having a problem with the fact that the richest on the right may have already taken control of what they all believed to be a “peoples” grassroots movement. Maybe they don’t cotton to the fact that they are no longer the driving force on the right that they thought they were, if they ever were. Perhaps they have yet to realize that they are merely along for the ride with no effective means of reaching the controls. But one thing’s for sure and beyond question, and that is that the Koch brothers are the puppet masters and the newly elected Republicans are the puppets. Oh and one more thing, we all know how much the full mooners on the far right hate NPR / PBS, well ironically the Koch brothers are contributors to the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Now if that doesn’t set the full mooners to howling at the heavens, nothing will.

 Steven J. Gulitti

2/27/2011

Sources:

 Scott Walker, Conservative Hero Propped Up By the Koch Brothers

http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti

Billionaire Brothers In Spotlight In Wis. Union Battle

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/25/134040226/in-wis-union-battle-focus-on-billionaire-brothers?ft=1&f=1014&sc=tw

Koch Front Group Americans For Prosperity: Take The unions Out At The Knees

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/25/afp-union-knees/

Scott Walker, Conservative Hero Propped Up By the Koch Brothers

7:21 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been heralded by some as a conservative hero, a man of the grass roots if you will, who is attempting to bring order to the financial woes of the state by crushing the public employee unions. The Governor may have overreached in this effort and there is now some solid evidence that Walker may be dancing to a tune, coming in part, from the Koch Brothers. Do the financial titans who have so heavily bankrolled the Tea Party Movement have a finger or two in this epic battle now underway in Madison? The answer to that question can only be yes. 

Now to be fair to Walker, his anti-union attitudes go back to his days on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, thus nothing has changed. Quoting Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson: “Unions have always been his piñata, over and over…And this time I think he’s trying to out-right-wing the right wing on his way to the next lily pad.” However, those initiatives go beyond economics and that leads one to believe that Walker is as much interested in crushing public sector unions as he is in balancing the budget. With Wisconsin’s public unions having agreed to compromise with Walker on economic concerns, his continued obstinacy on issues of union security and non-wage bargaining can only be seen for what they are, a blatant attempt to destroy the rights of Wisconsin’s citizens to join and participate in public employee unions. According to Mary Bell, the president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council: “We have been clear — and I will restate this again today — money issues are off the table…Public employees have agreed to Governor Walker’s pension and health care concessions, which he says will solve the budget challenge.”

Specifically: “Mr. Walker’s plan would require government workers to put 5.8 percent of their pay into their pensions (most pay less than 1 percent now), and would require them to pay at least 12.6 percent of health care premiums (most pay about 6 percent now). Union leaders said they would go along with those plans, but they wanted to remove provisions that would prohibit collective bargaining for issues beyond wages, limit pay raises to a certain level without special approval by public referendum and require unions to hold annual votes on whether they should remain in existence.” This begs the question: “If Walker is solely concerned with the effects of public unionization on his state’s deficit and the unions have met him more than halfway, why won’t he declare victory and move on to the next big issue?” The fact that Walker is insisting on having his way on issues beyond economics is proof positive of his deep-seated anti-union animus. Walker has denied harboring any political motives in his standoff with the unions. “But in an interview with The Associated Press last week as protests raged inside the Capitol, he acknowledged his plan to allow workers to opt out of paying their dues could cripple unions…”

Here is where the influence of the Koch brothers comes into play. According to the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel: “While there has been significant attention devoted to the fact that Walker’s 144-page budget repair bill would strip away collective bargaining rights for public employees, the site “Rortybomb” points out a less noticed provision that would allow the state to sell or contract out any state-owned energy asset in no-bid deals with private corporations. But if this deal goes through, one of the companies that could stand to benefit significantly is Koch Industries. Koch already has several companies in the state, including a coal subsidiary, timber plants and a large network of pipelines.” Thus the brothers Koch have an economic stake in Wisconsin, above and beyond their political agenda.

The Koch brothers had invested heavily in the 2010 elections having donated $2 Million dollars to conservative candidates directly and now they are looking to cash in on that investment. They have fueled up the coffers of  Americans for Prosperity so that it could influence a wide range of issues. According to Eric Lipton, reporter for the New York Times: “The organization has taken up a range of topics, including combating the health care law, environmental regulations and spending by state and federal governments. The effort to impose limits on public labor unions has been a particular focus in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all states with Republican governors, Mr. Phillips said, adding that he expects new proposals to emerge soon in some of those states to limit union power.” 

During the 2010 election cycle, according to Amanda Terkel, “Walker received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC, his second-largest contribution. The PAC also gave significantly to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn helped out Walker considerably in his race. Koch also contributed $6,500 to support 16 Republican legislative candidates in the state…The Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity has also been standing with Walker throughout his budget battles, busing in Tea Party activists and launching the site, Stand With Walker. After the election, Walker and other Republican governors received guidance from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that is also funded by Koch dollars and has pushed anti-union measures.”

Thus it should come as no surprise that Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity was in Madison this past weekend attempting to rally support for Scott Walker’s besieged administration. As it turns out Phillips’ organization is a major recipient of the financial largesse of David and Charles Koch, having received $40 Million dollars from the brothers last year. That’s close to a sixfold increase over the budget that Americans for Prosperity had just three years ago. According to Eric Lipton, reporter for the New York Times, the Koch brothers laid their groundwork in Wisconsin long before the first protestor held up a sign in Madison. To wit: “Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday…We thought it was important to do… adding that his group is already working with activists and state officials in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to urge them to take similar steps to curtail union benefits or give public employees the power to opt out of unions entirely.” From the aforementioned, it is more than obvious that the Koch brothers and their fellow travelers have an agenda that goes far beyond the bottom line of state budgets and aims at the very institutional integrity of unions, as we know them. Why else would they be concerned with issues such as an employee being able to opt out of their membership or the desire to force a showdown?

The motives of the Koch brothers are more than amply clear as is the actions taken on their behalf by their operatives, both elected and paid, now at work in Wisconsin and across the Midwest. Their can be no denying that the Koch brothers have a political agenda designed to reshape the American economic landscape into one in which unions no longer exist. When one considers the money invested and the macro-political issues that transcend the mundane economics of state budgets, one can only wonder once again about to what degree the Tea Party Movement and it’s followers have been had by the political pros who have received a greatly enhanced degree of power and influence as a result of the 2010 elections and the money they invested therein.

Steven J. Gulitti

2/23/2011

Sources:

For Wisconsin Governor, Battle Was Long Coming

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/us/politics/20walker.html?emc=eta1

Protesters in Wisconsin Say They Are Staying Put

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/us/21wisconsin.html?emc=eta1

Wisconsin plan to weaken public unions could help Republicans solidify power for years to come

http://www.startribune.com/local/116611768.html
The Less Discussed Part of Walker’s Wisconsin Plan: No-Bid Energy Assets Firesales.

http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/the-less-discussed-part-of-walkers-wisconsin-plan-no-bid-energy-assets-firesales/#comment-14041

Billionaire Brothers’ Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/us/22koch.html?emc=eta1

 Koch Brothers Money Fuels Wisconsin Fight Against Unions

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/22/koch-brothers-money-wisconsin_n_826423.html

Wisconsin Budget Battle Continues, GOP Legislators Forge Ahead

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/22/wisconsin-budget-battle-c_n_826478.html#113_littlenoticed-provision-in-walkers-bill-could-reap-huge-gains-for-koch-industries

Of Snowstorms, Conspiracies and Tea Parties

10:56 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

I have more than a few Tea Party adherents in my family who, prior to this summer, used to make a habit of sending me every little headline about how cold and snowy it was and how those “facts” proved that global warming was a fallacy being undone with each snowflake drifting down to earth. Oddly enough, they never sent me a single headline this summer about how unbelievably hot it was in the Northeast. I guess while I was bobbing around the bayous Louisiana they were reading the World Meteorological Organization’s Press Release No. 904 which came to the following conclusion: “The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top 3 warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850” and its byline: “2010 in the top three warmest years, 2001-2010, warmest 10-year period.”  Well now, as if by magic, the spate of cold weather and overly abundant snowfall gripping the Northern Hemisphere has set off a new round of debate, doubt and denial as it relates to the changing climate.

Global Warming is not a hot button issue with me and I believe that the related science is still in the process of being validated. That along with the fact that some of the findings have been manipulated for political purposes makes for a situation where the jury is still out with the final verdict still in the process of being formulated. Likewise the same holds true for most of the counterarguments. However, none of the aforementioned takes away from the fact that there are discernable changes in the climate that cannot be denied. There is little reason to doubt that there have been major changes in the climate in the last 50+ years. To deny that is to make an argument contrary to historical fact. At 57 I can remember winters that were much different than they are now, at least around the Northeast where I grew up. One of the great misconceptions surrounding the global warming debate hinges around snowfall and temperatures. There is nothing inconsistent with the general theory of global warming where some regions will grow colder with increased amounts of snow fall while others see their climate grow warmer. It hinges in part on the changes in the ocean current, the jet stream and the Central Asian snow pack. Moreover what the opponents of global warming fail to realize in pointing out the increase in snowfall this year and last is that the debate about climate is about trends, not a snapshot of a series of weather events within a given winter or within several winters. Focusing on short term events instead of long term trends serves to undermine an opponent’s counter argument as it fails to account for the larger, longer term picture. It fails because climate is a long-term trend whereas weather is the short term manifestation of climate and to focus on a handful of weather events while ignoring the longer term trends is to invite a flaw into one’s analysis. That flaw ultimately leads to misconstrued and faulty conclusions.

Judah Cohen of Atmospheric and Environmental Research has recently published findings that effectively debunk the idea that the increased snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere is inconsistent with the idea that the overall climate is warming. Quoting Dr. Cohen:” The not-so-obvious short answer is that the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes… Annual cycles like El Niño/Southern Oscillation, solar variability and global ocean currents cannot account for recent winter cooling. And though it is well documented that the earth’s frozen areas are in retreat, evidence of thinning Arctic sea ice does not explain why the world’s major cities are having colder winters… As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. So the snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased. The sun’s energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools. When snow cover is more abundant in Siberia, it creates an unusually large dome of cold air next to the mountains, and this amplifies the standing waves in the atmosphere…That is why the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century.” A further scientific elaboration on Dr. Cohen’s model and an assessment of its accuracy can be found in a National Science Foundation Special Report entitled “Predicting Seasonal Weather, A Special Report.”

Yet in contrast to the scientific findings that have been put forth from reputable organizations such as the National Science Foundation and Atmospheric and Environmental Research, a large element of the opposition’s argument seems to hinge upon conspiracy theories, an anti-intellectual bias or the preaching’s of that ever present claque of political entertainers who make their living on cable television masquerading as political analysts. Needless to say, it’s definitely a hot button issue among the Tea Party crowd to deny the climate changes that have taken place. John M. Broder in an article entitled “Climate Change Doubt Is Tea Party Article of Faith” detailed the extent to which members of the Tea Party Movement are willing to accept anything but science in their efforts to dispute the scientific data contained in those reports that postulate that the world’s climate is changing due to global warming. Quoting Broder: “Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party Movement… For some, it is a matter of religious conviction; for others, it is driven by distrust of those they call the elites. And for others still, efforts to address climate change are seen as a conspiracy to impose world government and a sweeping redistribution of wealth.” Citing a New York Times / CBS poll conducted in October, Broder showed the degree to which members of the Tea Party Movement differ from the general public on the issue of global warming. Tea Party Movement supporters are considerably more skeptical when it comes to the existence and effects of global warming than the American public generally. The survey found that only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters said that the problem of global warming was here and now versus 49 percent of the public at large. More than half of Tea Party supporters said that “global warming would have no serious effect at any time in the future, while only 15 percent of other Americans share that view” and, “8 percent of Tea Party adherents volunteered that they did not believe global warming exists at all, while only 1 percent of other respondents agreed.”

Broder links the sentiments of the Tea Party Movement’s opposition to global warming theories with other groups that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. He points out that the fossil fuel industries have spent $500 million dollars since 2009 on lobbying against climate change legislation, that they have funded “lavishly financed institutes to produce anti-global-warming studies” and “waged a concerted campaign to raise doubts about the science of global warming”, as well as “paid for Web sites to question the science.” At the same time the anti global warming rhetoric has been a staple on the talks shows of America’s preeminent political entertainers: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and of course, Sarah Palin. Promoting anti-global warming skepticism has been a core tenet of right wing groups like Americans for Prosperity, and the Tea Party cash cow, Freedom Works.

All this begs a number of questions: If there is such a compelling body of scientific knowledge that disproves the theory of global warming, then why not just stick with the science and forgo the political theatrics? Why spend millions of dollars on lobbying and public relations to discredit the theory of global warming by raising doubts when you could just produce objective hard science results that point to the contrary? Surely the advocates of global warming theory were set back last summer when it was found that several scientists in England had fiddled with scientific findings for political reasons. That having happened, wouldn’t those who oppose global warming theory been better served by a counterargument based on facts at a time when their opponent’s integrity was in question? Or, conversely is their counterargument better served by the image of doubters poking around among snowdrifts with their yardsticks in some unscientific attempt to dispute actual scientific findings? Why do the doubters engage in deflection by saying that the argument surrounding global warming is really Marxist wealth redistribution disguised as science when the scientific reports don’t include any mention of politics and policy? Perhaps someone should clue these opponents in to the fact that we live in an age dominated by science and technology and that any disputing of hard science is not likely to come about via conspiracy theories, unsupported skepticism or Biblical quotes that address man’s relationship with the natural world within which he exists.

Steven J. Gulitti

12/28/10

Sources:

World Meteorological Organization’s Press Release No. 904

http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_904_en.html

Predicting Seasonal Weather, A Special Report

http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/autumnwinter/model.jsp

Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/opinion/26cohen.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Atmospheric and Environmental Research: In the News http://www.aer.com/news/inTheNews/index.html

 

IPCC Official: “Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World’s Wealth”

http://thegwpf.org/ipcc-news/1877-ipcc-official-climate-policy-is-redistributing-the-worlds-wealth.html

 

Climate Change Doubt Is Tea Party Article of Faith

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/us/politics/21climate.html?_r=1&emc=eta1