An Open Letter to the Industrial Capitalists and Members of the %0.01

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The following is a letter from John Irving, posted originally on his Facebook page and reprinted here as a guest post:

NOTE: JOHN NOW HAS HIS OWN WEB SITE AND HAS POSTED HIS LETTER THERE. So do note that there are comments, including by John, below, but also go and visit his site!

John Irving
John Irving
Dear Industrial Capitalists and members of the %0.01,

I feel obliged to inform you that you’ve made a huge strategic blunder and things aren’t probably going to work out very well for you soon.

You recall that way back in 1965 – 50 years ago this year – President Lyndon B. Johnson was warned about the dangerous impact industrial activity was having on the Earth’s atmosphere. Unfortunately, rather than confronting the challenge you opted to do the complete opposite – you doubled down on fossil fuels.

Over the intervening years you employed many unethical and subversive tactics to maintain the dirty status quo. This included investing many billions of dollars to obfuscate the problem through the use of propaganda and so-called “think tanks,” covertly influencing government and lobbying politicians, suppressing alternate forms of clean energy technology, poisoning land and sea through toxic extraction techniques and transportation blunders, and shafting taxpayers to the tune of many trillions of dollars through outrageous and unwarranted subsidies.

As outlandish as all that was you went even further. Decades ago, when the public started to become aware of, and concerned about, widespread environmental damage that threatened your interests, you subverted democracy itself – the greatest invention since probably, well, ever! I could go on and on but co-opting the religious right, fabricating a protest movement (a.k.a. The Tea Party) and a fake cable news network are a few examples that come to mind.

And who could forget the invasion of Iraq under false pretences that led to hundreds of thousands of casualties and disrupted the lives of millions, the obstruction of every attempt by the global community to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and bringing the most powerful democracy the world has ever known to a grinding legislative halt (if not the brink of financial default).

Thanks to these underhanded methods of gaming the system for your own narrow interests and greed America now has levels of inequality not seen since 1929. Even worse the planet’s biosphere is now completely out of whack and will be for millennia. Hundreds of millions of people will be displaced and require aid due to sea level rise, extreme weather events, drought, crop failure and more. Countless species will go extinct. To put it bluntly – it’s an absolute mess!

People are now starting to realize what you have done and they are not very happy about being completely screwed over for decades just so you could have private jets, mansions and plastic surgery. Even some of your traditionally dependable supporters have been abandoning you lately. People are even talking about ditching capitalism itself – some are even talking about outright revolution (I’m not exaggerating!).

This is just my opinion but I think you might have gone a little bit overboard this time.

John Irving

Ottawa
John is on Twitter at: @ClimateNow
The original letter is here, where you will find additional comments.

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56 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Industrial Capitalists and Members of the %0.01

  1. Call me names, but I don’t think this very helpful.
    Too much pathos, and too much conspiracy for a fair discussion, not funny enough for a rant.

  2. Muriel, I think John was pretty light on what you are referring to as “conspiracy”. Large corporations with huge holdings can not survive without controlling the message, regulation, law, politics, etc. as much as possible. This is not a secret or an unproven accusation. It is simply business as usual. Note hidden. You can go get a job doing it with them if you are qualified. They are in the white pages. John only touched on what is openly known.

  3. Blaming this on a shadowy cabal of industrial capitalists misses the larger issue — consumers want cheap energy. An environmental conscience is a luxury, one that doesn’t exist until baser needs are met. You can’t expect the working class to support clean energy until it’s cheaper than fossil fuel. This article makes the case of a big “push” from industrial interests, but it’s just as much a “pull” from consumers. And forget about the US — you can’t expect the developing world to forgo their own industrial revolution without massive subsidy from the developed world.

    1. Again, it is not a shadowy cabal. Irrespective of your other points, it is a misconception that industry’s involvement in shaping media, messages, and education is somehow speculative. Much of it is totally out in the open, and it is hard to truly hide what one might want to hide, so we pretty much know about that stuff too, with a bit of digging.

      There is no conspiracy, no shadowy cabal. The stuff john is talking about is right there.

  4. KUDUS to John Irving for hitting all ninepins on the slippery slope facing power mongers trashing our one and only Earth! It is high time dreamers and visionairies be allowed to create living, breathing economies that foster, not destroy our resources of worth and beauty, and his letter gives us hope in this desire. Corporations must not be allowed to visit grief on the whole world for love of lucre. Among other destructive pursuits, corporate-government fixation on fossil fuel expansion will make Global Warming unstoppable, and we cannot let this happen. Fossil fuel expansion must stop NOW— later will be too late, and heat, drought, fires, floods, storms, rising seas and sinking nations, starvation, loss and grief will take over the world. Increasing acidification of the oceans will rob the seas of their their magnificent gifts to the world;. The unraveling of Nature’s majestic order–the seasons as they roll, the part that warm and cold ocean currents play in sharing climate and sun and rain; the benificent Ozone layer just so to shield radiation from the Sun that gives us life–the whole majestic dance of Creation achieved over milllions of years–will be lost. We must unite across all borders against Canada’s fixation on fossil fuel extraction and gross environmental destruction. And we must vigilantly vote for the Good Earth, not for the end of thIs beautiful world as we know it under current governments gone rogue..

  5. I was listening to “Wait, wait, don’t tell me” on NPR this morning and they mentioned you and your blog piece “Go home, Arctic, you’re drunk.” Cool.

  6. we eez marketing deez line of bullets – diamond studded with your name highlighted in rubies or precious gem of your own choice

    we need some samples for the adwertizing – with some names and addresses of the rich and powaful

    what time day are home would be good too

    and where the surveilance cameras are located would be especially appreciated

    thanks for your help

    p

  7. Calling the Tea Party a “fabricated” movement is a fairly clear indication his views are clouded.

    I don’t like anything at all to do with the Tea Party, which I consider a bunch of idiotic bigots. But that they are a genuine movement is without a doubt. And in a democracy they have every right to be heard. And sometimes (though I’ll grant not very often in my view) they may even be right about something.

    When Irving makes clear that his opponents are not just all evil, but pretends that they lack any real popular support at all when they clearly are legion, he appears to the mainstream to be a blinkered idiot.

    The 0.01% is also a stupid exaggeration. 32,000 only “industrialists” in the US? There are 100,000 MBAs issued annually in the US! Does he imagine most of those are anti-industrialisation? Around 5% of the US belongs to households with net assets of over $1,000,000. Are they all itching to give it all up for a simpler lifestyle?

    The reality remains, as much as Irving doesn’t like it, most Westerners are more than happy with the current industrialised nature of society.

    1. Moo,

      There might be a real movement in there somewhere but there is strong evidence that the tea party was created and shaped to serve a purpose. This is simply something of which you were unaware.

      There certainly is popular support for it. That does not prove or require it having been organic.

      I’ll let John defend his numbers but I’m pretty sure “industrialist” as he means it and “MBA” are not synonyms.

  8. Ryan, you’re forgetting that “cheap energy” is cheap only because it is not being marketed to the consumers at its true cost. The balance of the costs are currently being accrued to be forced upon future generations to pay. That is what is making it cheaper than “clean energy”. Consumers wouldn’t be “pulling” the way they are if the price of their fossil fuels were the true price.

    Those who are perpetrating this energy financing scam have been getting rich from it. You & your kids & grandkids will pay for this. The sad part is that you & they will pay even if you don’t want to, and even if you refuse to believe this.

  9. As I’ve been saying for a number of years now this will end badly for the 1%. The political constipation (corruption) over doing anything of real significance to combat global climate change will eventually result in violent revolution when the masses realize how they, their children and grandchildren etc have been royally screwed over decide to fight back. It is nigh near inevitable (though I expect you don’t necessarily agree with that Greg) because the political systems around the 1st world nations are utterly corrupted by money and that money comes from the 1% corporatists who want to keep the status quo.

  10. I agree with the open letter, I think they have made a strategic blunder. I have been puzzled by this because surely they do want to stay in business.

    The fossil fuel companies have the resources and access to quality research so they can’t be misinformed on the problem of global warming – so they must actively be avoiding facing it.

    They run a big risk that if we have sudden climate change and something bad happens, there will be a public backlash and their business may be taken away from them.

  11. What a load of nonsense. What has shafted the economy is the fat cats in Wall Street & the City, using toxic derivatives, legalised by Clinton as he came out of office. So I do agree that the 0.01% contribute. The rest is just hot air, where are the millions displaced by sea level rise? What science tells us extreme weather is on the up when looking at a 100-200 year time period? The suppressed technology to which you refer, where is it? If it is suppressed how do you know about it or is this assumed? So let’s cover some of the others, species extinction? 99% of animal species on this earth are extinct over geological time. This is nature & happened way before humans stood erect. Crop failures, where? The carbon cycle tells us that CO2 increases actually increase crop yields, global greening etc… Do we have examples of mass crop failures or have you read all this from a Greepeace panflet? People are starting to realise something, and this is the nonsensical & extreme predictions made by the environmental lobby are not just based on flawed logic & reasoning, computer models & activist scientists, but that Eco leaders, like Al Gore, Leo DiCaprio, James Cameron, Robert Refford & dozens of other hacks are happy to traverse the world lecturing on this issue, even travelling to Brazil to stop a HED being built which would provide electricity for thousands of very poor people, but then jump back on their private plans, or in Di Caprios world, hope onto a luxury Ship owned by an Oil Billionaire in the Middle East, which he filled up & took to Brazil for the Soccer World Cup!! Here are your hypocrites. Mr. Gore, carbon trading, Chicago exchange would have been the first carbon billionaire if it had gone forward. But he did this for the earth, not his pockets you understand. Your billionaires are pushing the scare. Lastly, the Carbon Cycle. Do people here know what it is? We are carbon based life forms, carbon is not pollution. It is food, without which life on Earth would die. All life. Reducing it to 150ppm would start your species extinction right there! What a load of shit!

  12. Another mindless rant devoid of scientific fact. Last year the polar vortex was caused by too little polar sea ice and this year it’s caused by too much. Record CO2 levels are producing record cold across North America. This is classic ‘Gore effect’! Speaking of which, how many private jets and mansions does Al Gore have? His latest touch up plastic surgery looks good too. Wake up sheeple.

  13. Discerning ‘blissful ignorance’ in our time

    Perhaps it is possible for us to discern what blissful ignorance looks like on our watch. As long as experts willfully ignore the “system causation factor” of the human population explosion, as is occurring in our time, then the increasing food supply which is literally fueling the human population explosion will go on and on until there no way to grow more food for human consumption. We will continue to see the promulgation of politically convenient thought, economically expedient, culturally prescribed happy talk about the soon to appear demographic transition, the automatic stabilization of human population numbers and the end of human population by the middle of Century XXI. Science regarding ‘why the human population is exploding’ will continue to be denied and endless preternatural, ideologically-driven chatter about ‘what is happening’ will pass for a complete sharing of scientific knowledge. ‘What is happening’ will be broadcast ubiquitously. ‘Why it is happening’ will be treated as the last taboo, about which no one speaks. Just for a moment, let us imagine that now we have all the greatest population experts speaking with one voice. They tell us that we are headed rapidly for 8 billion people on the surface of Earth, declining TFRs in many European countries and elsewhere notwithstanding. When that number is reached in the foreseeable future, we will have too much food, too little water and clean air, and no decent environment to speak of. Pollution will be visible to all, everywhere. In the meantime many species of birds and wildlife will go extinct because of the destruction of their habitat from land clearance to grow more food to support an exploding human population. What is happening is made evident. Why this situation is occurring with a vengeance now here is ignore, avoided and denied assiduously. Silence prevails over science. All this is good, they say, because things are getting better.

    All these top rank population experts, inside and outside the scientific community, then go on to say that in order to have more and more happy, healthy people we need more and more people who can be counted upon to increase the depletion and degradation that will rapidly subtract from the source of that happiness and well being, our planetary home, until such time as Earth is no longer able to function as a source of happiness and well being. More importantly, because the self-proclaimed experts are supposedly ‘free to know and to speak’ but talk only of what is deteumined by the powers that be to be best for the rest of us to know, some scientific research can be and will be denied. While these experts do not lie, they deliberately refuse to give voice to the whole of what is true to them, according to the lights and scientific knowledge they possess. By their conscious silence, these experts will ensure that the unsustainable growth of the human species, the reckless depletion of resources and the irreversible degradation of ecology of the planet happens as soon and efficiently as possible. All this is good, they say, because we are making things better and better for all those generations in future space-time who follow the greatest generation.

    “Speak out as if you were a million voices. It is silence that kills the world.” — St. Catherine of Siena, 1347-1380

  14. I think the Tea Party was briefly a grass roots movement that erupted when the government bailed out reckless Wall Streeters. But it was quickly taken over and repurposed to challenge Democrats and moderate Republicans.
    I also think it is wishful to believe things will end more badly for the 0.1% than for the rest of us. A lot of innocent people get hurt in political revolutions and economic unrest.

  15. Pingback: Donal
  16. Mooloo #9

    Calling the Tea Party a “fabricated” movement is a fairly clear indication his views are clouded.

    GL has already responded, but you might find the back story interesting. I certainly did – and like you, I had no idea that the Tea Party was *not* a bona fide grassroots phenomenon. One lives and learns.

  17. Ryan #4 and Brainstorms #10,

    Think about the history of this business, not what’s happening now.

    Ryan: Consumers want to be comfortable, mobile, and not exhausted from physical work. “They want cheap energy” is pretty much one of the propaganda expressions disseminated by the Denial-Industrial Complex. Cheap energy is not necessary to achieve the underlying goals.

    Brainstorms: We have *never* paid the true costs of fossil fuels, and if there were *no* problem of climate change, it would still be prudent and parsimonious to minimize their consumption. The oil companies and utilities did their damage long before they could imagine AGW; they distorted the market to benefit from their monopoly. It is the nature of those who gravitate towards extraction; everything is there to be exploited, including people.

    Here’s an alternative history: The fossil fuels become rare in 1920. Vehicle transport is fueled by batteries and biofuels. Likewise agricultural machinery. Industrial processes depend on hydro-generated electricity and existing FF (as chemicals, not energy sources) which are ‘expensive’– certainly not to be wasted on consumers.

    So, do people freeze in the dark? No, people build better insulated houses, and capital flows to increasing efficiency in all activities, rather than speculating on oil and gas. And, incidentally, some horrific wars are never fought.

    Where’s the downside? And today, we shouldn’t be talking only about the negative effects that may come from climate change, but debunking the chicken-little claims about the End Of Civilization if we put some solar panels on our roofs.

  18. zebra

    we shouldn’t be talking only about the negative effects that may come from climate change, but debunking the chicken-little claims about the End Of Civilization if we put some solar panels on our roofs.

    Ah yes, the people who like to call everybody else ‘alarmists’.

  19. Hi everyone,

    I apologize for not responding sooner and thanks for your comments.

    First of all, quite some time ago I came to the conclusion that it’s not worth responding to people that are willfully ignorant or in a state of self imposed denial. The subject of climate change has been studied by science more than any other in history and has an extremely high level of consensus scientifically, > 95%, in fact. If you disagree with its conclusions the onus is clearly on *you* to support your assertions, not the mainstream scientists and scientific institutions that support the consensus. Furthermore, the evidence of climate change is widespread to even casual observers and is regularly reported on around the world with increasing frequency. So I do not need to defend the science of climate change, as I have stated. This is a very cursory response:

    2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record Globally By Far
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/05/3607735/2014-hottest-year-by-far/

    ——————

    Mooloo questioned my claim about the Tea Party being fabricated and BBD supplied a link regarding that. Here’s another:

    Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaire Koch Brothers
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-demelle/study-confirms-tea-party-_b_2663125.html

    ——————

    There was some question about my framing of the %0.01. True, I may have been exaggerating mathematically (it’s less) but the figure is one popularly associated with the concept I wanted to convey.

    Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/20/oxfam-85-richest-people-half-of-the-world

    In addition, have a look at this data and note the number of fossil fuel companies in the top ranks. Clearly the fossil fuel companies are profoundly powerful and therefore influential.

    List of largest companies by revenue
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_companies_by_revenue

    Also, understanding the history and geopolitical role of the fossil fuel industry is helpful:

    The Secret of the Seven Sisters
    A four-part series that reveals how a secret pact formed a cartel that controls the world’s oil.
    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2013/04/201344105231487582.html

    ——————

    Clearly extinctions are presently occurring at an alarming rate (much has been written about this):

    THE EXTINCTION CRISIS

    “Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals — the sixth wave of extinctions in the past half-billion years. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.”

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

    ——————

    We face a minimum of 25–40 meters of sea level rise. That alone implies that hundreds of millions of people will need to be relocated and that vast areas of prime agricultural land (e.g. flood plains and river deltas) will be lost. I’ll let you connect the dots.

    Scientists connect the dots from identifying to preventing dangerous climate risks

    “Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were at similar levels to today’s (400 parts per million) 15 million years ago during the mid-Miocene period. However, the Earth’s climate was very different. Geologic records give us estimations that sea levels were 25–40 meters higher than today, global mean temperatures 3­–6°C hotter, and there was very little sea ice relative to today.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/dec/23/scientists-connect-dots-identifying-preventing-dangerous-climate-risks

    This recently produced documentary suggests that sea level rise could actually be catastrophically worse (towards the end).

    NOVA | Secrets Beneath the Ice – PBS

    ——————

    On extreme weather, crop failures, etc.: It is well understood that; most past civilizations collapsed due to temporary regional climatic variations; past significant volcanic eruptions have led to worldwide famines (if not revolutions) – the planet is very sensitive to significant atmospheric changes; that some regions of the planet have suffered extreme multi-decade droughts or “megadroughts” in the past (such as the U.S. South West, the breadbasket of the U.S.); that many countries depend on reliable annual monsoons for crops and water supply replenishment; some of our primary crops such as grain and rice will not germinate in sustained extreme heat conditions; unchecked ocean acidification is a threat to virtually all marine life, etc. Global warming will increasingly exacerbate, if not produce, the sorts of conditions that threaten many of the resources modern societies have come to take for granted, in other words. You can read more about any of these subjects and others related to climate change by simply using Google though I urge you to stick with reliable sources (i.e. not vested interest funded think-tank propagandist blogs).

    John

  20. I’m sorry BBD but DeSmogBlog was set up to push a line just as political as any Tea Partier. I trust not a word they say.

    Huffington is a better bet, but cite a study (unseen) by a group with a big dog in the fight about showing how evil the tobacco companies are.

    I’m prepared to bet an (equally tenuous) relationship could be shown to how #Occupy was a front for “Marxist” organisations. And here we go: http://www.aim.org/special-report/soros-funded-marxists-to-occupy-the-rnc/

    I believe #Occupy was a popular movement, and I believe the Tea Party was too. Because I see the very obvious popular anger, and don’t ascribe anything I don’t like (which is both those groups) to nefarious groups capable of somehow influencing millions of people against their will.

    The view that Laden and Irving have that all their enemies are so evil that they must be funded and run underhandedly is just ridiculous. They’d certainly ridicule the opposite view about under the bed “Marxists”, despite being the mirror image of what they project.

    The reality remains that industrialisation has brought the Western world unbelievable benefits in health, opportunities like travel, education and funding a social net for unemployment etc. Most of us are actually pretty happy with that. Your railing about how it’s all going to end badly (which I have been hearing my entire 50 year life, incidentally) don’t provide us with a satisfactory alternative which is better. The world has seen a fair number of utopias that have failed — some of them unfortunately similar to what you propose.

  21. Mike Harris: “What a load of nonsense.”

    Louis Hoofstetter: “Another mindless rant devoid of scientific fact.”

    You gentlemen need to slow down and re-examine your arguments. (Also, Mr. Harris, you might look into the concept of the paragraph; it can be helpful.)

    I won’t try to out-rant you, tempting though that is. I’ll simply ask, where is it written that every blog post or comment on the subject of climate change has to reprise the scientific basis for knowing it’s a problem? Only in the rule book you gentlemen follow, apparently.

    I’ve encountered this sort of thing before. But not until last week did I learn that there’s a term for it: Sea-lioning.

    Oh, one more thing. Mr. Harris asks, “…where are the millions displaced by sea level rise?” In the future, of course, if things continue as they are going. That’s where the really serious impacts of global warming reside. And one of the dumbest mistakes a climate contrarian can make is to protest that climate change isn’t a problem because the dire circumstances projected for fifty or more years down the road haven’t happened yet.

  22. John Irving:

    Thank you for that open letter. It says a thing that cannot be said too often, and says it well.

    I’m not familiar with your background, so forgive me if I tell you something you already know. But it’s a standard tactic to call for scientific justifications from anyone who writes about the problems climate change is expected to bring. Typically, the intent is to waste the correspondent’s time. (See the “Sea-lioning” link in my previous comment.)

    Of course, it’s not invariably true that this is the intent. Also, citing sources and giving background helps the lurkers. So your explanation today is worthwhile.

  23. Mooloo

    I’m sorry BBD but DeSmogBlog was set up to push a line just as political as any Tea Partier. I trust not a word they say.

    Nobody has sued, which is a very good indication that the information is accurate.

    For future reference, your opinions are irrelevant. You must support what you say with evidence>/i>. You have not done so. You have not shown that there are factual errors in the information I provided. You have committed the logical fallacy of argument from assertion. This means that you have automatically lost the argument.

    What you *did* do was try to delegitimise DeSmog, which is simply irrelevant and a clear demonstration of bad faith.

    In doing so you also demonstrated that you have not read the link because DeSmog did not write the report. Whoopsee.

    RTFR before continuing to bullshit is always a good idea or you look like a clown:

    “‘To quarterback behind the scenes, third-party efforts’: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party” by Amanda Fallin, Rachel Grana and Stanton A Glantz, was published online last week in BMJ Tobacco Control, a high-impact peer-reviewed journal.

  24. Mooloo

    I’m sorry BBD but DeSmogBlog was set up to push a line just as political as any Tea Partier. I trust not a word they say.

    Nobody has sued, which is a very good indication that the information is accurate.

    For future reference, your opinions are irrelevant. You must support what you say with evidence. You have not done so. You have not shown that there are factual errors in the information I provided. You have committed the logical fallacy of argument from assertion. This means that you have automatically lost the argument.

    What you *did* do was try to delegitimise DeSmog, which is simply irrelevant and a clear demonstration of bad faith.

    In doing so you also demonstrated that you have not read the link because DeSmog did not write the report. Whoopsee.

    RTFR before continuing to bullshit is always a good idea or you look like a clown:

    “‘To quarterback behind the scenes, third-party efforts’: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party” by Amanda Fallin, Rachel Grana and Stanton A Glantz, was published online last week in BMJ Tobacco Control, a high-impact peer-reviewed journal.

  25. Christopher Winter:

    Huh. No – I am familiar with the tactic (aren’t all of us that try and engage in reasoned discussion) but didn’t know it had been defined so clearly or under that term. That’s useful – thanks.

    In case anyone misses the link at the page Christopher shared here is the definition:

    Why Sealioning Is Bad
    http://simplikation.com/why-sealioning-is-bad/

    John

  26. John Irving,

    You should insist on whatever that game is– “you answer one and I’ll answer one.”

    I know; they will sink beneath the waves.

  27. @Mooloo.
    I see you’ve been fairly well addressed already, but I thought I’d point out that 100,000 MBAs have little or nothing to do with “Industry”. They have a lot to do with “Commercial” and “Finance” though.

    And they don’t have “control” either, which is the key point.

    Also, $1,000,000? Pah, I’m worth a million (NZ) dollars, and today that’s worth about $40,000 when I was born.

    Or to put it another way, a million was a big deal in the 60s/70s, but these days you’d need to be worth around 25 million for the same kind of worth. Isn’t inflation wonderful, it makes us all feel better about our income while we complain about how expensive everything is these days.

  28. Zebra,

    Arguing about science with impervious climate change deniers is like arguing with religious fundamentalists about the validity of evolution or the age of the earth. So I simply stopped doing it a few years ago, it’s a waste of time and energy IMO.

    John

  29. I spent a fair amount of time at Occupy Baltimore and had friends at Occupy Wall Street and Denver. While there was clearly a popular uprising of idealistic, mostly young people, it was the grim-faced anarchists in the big tents that were calling the shots, leading the marches.
    I’m guessing the same sort of dynamic happened with the Tea Party except the uprising was more of a range of ages, never encamped and were not attacked by police.

  30. “The view that Laden and Irving have that all their enemies are so evil that they must be funded and run underhandedly is just ridiculous. ”

    That isn’t my view.

  31. “The reality remains that industrialisation has brought the Western world unbelievable benefits in health, opportunities like travel, education and funding a social net for unemployment etc. Most of us are actually pretty happy with that. ”

    I agree with that.

  32. “Your railing about how it’s all going to end badly (which I have been hearing my entire 50 year life, incidentally”

    Doom sayers have often been wrong, but that is in part because no one has ever been that good at predicting the future. But the process of predicting the response of natural systems to various forcings has gotten better and has proven correct in many cases.

    The idea that you’ve heard doom sayers be wrong also conflicts with the fact that many doomsayers in the past were a) right and b) in those days we managed to listen and react, and act. Acid rain, DDT, and the Ozone layer come to mind. It is simply not true that in the past doomsayers said doom, and the doom never arrived, therefore they are always wrong. That is illogical and incorrect on many levels, and can be shown to be wrong with specific cases.

    The bottom line is that he the “doomsayers are wrong” argument is old, tired, has been wrong for decades, and if you are making that argument, the most important conclusion to draw is that you need to catch up to the last few decades of conversation about this.

  33. I can’t think if a single example of a movement created by or co-opted by powerful forces to become a popular movement that didn’t become a popular movement (if it did not fail). The argument that a movement is or was a popular movement and therefore could not have been created or manipulated is absurd.

    Then, we go tot he history of Tea Party specifically .. It started right here in my neighborhood, I can see the Homeland of the Tea party from my living room … we already knew the right wing was highly organized and attempting to create movements in their favor, and had been doing so for some time, much more effectively than the left wing. Indeed, the established left and progressives did not embrace or use #Occupy much, or very effectively. (It was used at the grassroots, of course). But the degree to which the Tea Party was concieved of and created by well organized and powerful forces is pretty clear.

    From wiki: The Tea Party movement is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas without central leadership. The Tea Party movement has been cited as an example of grassroots political activity, although it has also been described as an example of corporate-funded astroturfing.[68][69][70][71][72][73][74] Other observers see the organization as having its grassroots element “amplified by the right-wing media”, supported by elite funding.[54][75]
    The Tea Party movement is not a national political party; polls show that most Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republicans[76][77] and the movement’s supporters have tended to endorse Republican candidates.[78] Commentators, including Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport, have suggested that the movement is not a new political group but simply a re-branding of traditional Republican candidates and policies.[76][79][80] An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of local Tea Party organizers found 87% saying “dissatisfaction with mainstream Republican Party leaders” was “an important factor in the support the group has received so far”.[81]
    The Tea Party movement’s membership includes Republican politicians Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Michele Bachmann, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz.[citation needed] In July 2010, Bachmann formed the Tea Party Congressional Caucus;[82] however, the caucus has been defunct since July 2012.[83] An article in Politico reported that many Tea Party activists were skeptical of the caucus, seeing it as an effort by the Republican Party to hijack the movement. Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz refused to join the caucus, saying
    Structure and formality are the exact opposite of what the Tea Party is, and if there is an attempt to put structure and formality around it, or to co-opt it by Washington, D.C., it’s going to take away from the free-flowing nature of the true tea party movement.[84]
    Journalist Joshua Green has stated in The Atlantic that while Ron Paul is not the Tea Party’s founder, or its culturally resonant figure, he has become the “intellectual godfather” of the movement since many now agree with his long-held beliefs.[85]

  34. How quickly they forget… The story of Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works and how they funneled millions of dollars to fund Tea Party activities was well known as it was happening.

    And guess what? AFP is still using funds from right-wing organizations and people like the Koch Brothers to rally fake grass-roots movements against candidates and legislation they don’t like.

  35. Furthermore, the process by which groups like the Marshall Institute, the Koch Brothers and other right-wing interest groups use their vast funds to influence politics in the US is becoming institutionalized. I don’t think people are unaware of these interest groups and their influence because they’ve covered their tracks; it’s more because people feel powerless in the face of the huge amount of lobbying that goes on, and because they increasingly find this kind of – let’s call it what it is – corruption a normal part of the political process in America.

  36. Russell, I have no idea what you are talking about. What is a “syndics”? What is being declined? Self fulfilling prophecy of what?

    1. This has mind-boggling implications.

      Much of world’s fossil fuel reserve must stay buried to prevent climate change, study says

      “New research is first to identify which reserves must not be burned to keep global temperature rise under 2C, including over 90% of US and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands.”

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/07/much-worlds-fossil-fuel-reserve-must-stay-buried-prevent-climate-change-study-says

  37. Russell Seitz

    An interesting polemic, but false balance has crept in:

    The disdain shown science by ill-informed conservatives and intransigent liberals slugging it out in the TV trenches less recalls Jefferson’s fears than Thucydides’ view of an earlier conflict:

    “The state which separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”

    Republicans and Democrats clearly have two very different views of the world, but there can be no armistice in the Climate Wars until both sides acknowledge that, from the atmosphere’s point of view, there can be, at most, one kind of physics.

    The dismissal, distortion and denial of scientific evidence by the right and its motivated corporate sponsors is the problem. They are the ones arguing for a different kind of physics. ‘Liberal intransigence’ may simply be the natural response of rationality faced with science denial.

  38. Nice to find a name for the annoying tactic.
    Sealioning is a DoS attack – a Denial of Sanity…
    It therefore follows that astroturfing trolls engage in Distributed Denial of Sanity attacks in a desperate attempt to substitute physical reality with their own to justify their path to madness.

    Perhaps as their sponsors start getting liquidated due to the oil crash, and investors jump ship to more profitable renewables, they’ll shut up and crawl back to the holes they came from.

    A wise consumer would treat the money they save on fuel bills as a windfall, 🙂 and invest it in solar panels to be insulated from the inevitable rebound.

    Every installed system is a Denial of Surplus attack on the fossil fuel industry…

    If the fossil fuel industry does the unthinkable and changes its spots, retrains, retools and goes into renewables then we’ll still have an oligarchy, but at least the biosphere would become cleaner and have a better chance of recovery.

  39. Andy, the way to get there is to pool our resources (or print money) and buy the fossil reserves, and take over any debt related to the fossil reserves.

    1. Wow, I like it. Like what we do with dictators who have reached the end of the rope with the populace. Maybe we can find some (low-lying) tropical islands to offer to fly them to.

  40. Greg Laden,

    “Andy, the way to get there is to pool our resources (or print money) and buy the fossil reserves, and take over any debt related to the fossil reserves.”

    I’m with you Greg, as soon as we first stop giving away leases for fossil fuels at next to nothing, along with other uses for federal lands and EM spectrum and so on.

    Long road.

  41. If you can find a way to associate the accumulation of money with loss of security, you’ll be onto something that will solve this problem…

  42. Mooloo:

    I’m sorry BBD but DeSmogBlog was set up to push a line just as political as any Tea Partier. I trust not a word they say.

    Yeah, this is a predictable reaction. It’s harder to impugn the credibility of a refereed publication than that of a blog with an unambiguous PoV. I’ve been citing a peer-reviewed article in the respected journal Climatic Change (impact factor 4.6 in 2013), that draws on public records to detail the sources of funding for AGW-denial propaganda:

    Brulle, R. J. Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of US climate change counter-movement organizations. Climatic Change http://doi.org/f2pdbh (2013).

    Genuine skeptics will find it difficult to dismiss Brulle’s exhaustive documentation.

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