Sunday, October 17, 2010

"We've had ice ages and yet there were no SUVs"

The quote comes from a video clip from the October 15 Glenn Beck show and is posted on Media Matters.

Think about people trying to argue that the earth is round 500 years ago.  "But if the earth were round, people on the bottom would fall off."  Actually, that makes a lot more sense than the SUV/Ice age argument.   But for someone who is already skeptical about 'intellectuals' this probably proves that global warming isn't human caused.

Who creates this stuff?

ThinkProgress writes about this video:
 Today, Fox News hate-talker Glenn Beck brought on a representative from the group to tout Cornwall’s new DVD, “Resisting the Green Dragon,” which claims the climate change movement is a “false religion,” and a nefarious conspiracy to empower eugenicists and create a “global government.” The DVD, which Cornwall is distributing to evangelical churches around the country, seems to be designed perfectly for Beck’s world view, and unsurprisingly, the Cornwall guest and Beck exchanged bizarre conspiracy theories.
 Fortunately, ThinkProgress has been doing its homework and is able to link Cornwall with a Global Warming Denial website, CFACT.

CFACT's  (Campaign For A Constructive Tomorrow) website is littered with headlines like:

All Pain No Gain - Exposing the True Costs of Global Warming Polices

Renewables are Unsustainable

3 billion and counting by Paul Driessen
New film challenges DDT myths and lies that have caused millions of needless deaths.
Greens shackle national security - and renewable energy

ThinkProgress continues:

CFACT is a gimmicky right-wing organization that does everything it can to try to discredit the science underpinning climate change. For instance, staffers from the group traveled to the Copenhagen conference on climate change to stage silly press conferences with Rush Limbaugh’s former producer and stunts aimed at mocking Greenpeace.
But who is the “driving force” behind CFACT? According to disclosures, CFACT is funded by at least $542,000 from ExxonMobil, $60,500 from Chevron, and $1,280,000 from Scaife family foundations, which are rooted in wealth from Gulf Oil and steel interests.

Think Progress then links CFACT to the Cornwall Alliance that produced the video introduced on the Glenn Beck Show.
CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance, according to disclosures filed with the Washington State Secretary of State’s office, share a common fundraising firm, ClearWord Communications Group. ClearWord has helped raise millions of dollars not only for CFACT and Cornwall, but also for infamous polluter front groups like FreedomWorks, the Institute for Energy Research, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Last year, Cornwall produced a video with former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) attacking clean energy legislation as part of a campaign by the ExxonMobil-funded “American Energy Freedom Center.”

Winning for many is more important than the truth. Figuring out sincerity, especially for the marginally educated, isn't easy.  One clue is the level of transparency.  How easy is it to find out who is behind all this?  Even the Alaska legislature - both Republicans as well as Democrats saw the need to require disclosure for 'Independent Expenditures' after the Supreme Court's  Citizens United case.  When the funding sources are hidden, even lied about, then our crap detectors should light up.

ThinkProgress relates that they got denials about linkages between these organizations.
In a call to the Cornwall Alliance’s media office, spokesman Quena Gonzalez said Cornwall has no relationship to CFACT and said CFACT President Rothbard has no official capacity with his group. Gonzalez said that in “several years of working” at Cornwall, he had never heard any questions about working with CFACT, and instructed ThinkProgress to contact Calvin Beisner, the national representative for Cornwall. Beisner is a board member of CFACT.

Rothbard had a central role in sparking the founding of Cornwall and is currently a partner with Chris Rogers, the man who runs Cornwall and CDR Communications. Nevertheless, under his capacity as CFACT President, Rothbard’s anti-Greenpeace publicity stunts are reported regularly on the Cornwall blog as breaking news, without any acknowledgement of Rothbard’s relationship with Cornwall.

Gonzalez also said he had never heard of CDR Communications. But according to his own LinkedIn profile, Gonzalez works for CDR Communications as the “Director for Religion and the Environment” at the firm. ThinkProgress contacted Chris Rogers on Monday, who contradicted Gonzalez and said his firm CDR Communications provides “support” for Cornwall but did not clarify.

It appears that Cornwall attempts to carefully hide its backers. Not only did Gonzalez refuse to provide much information, but Cornwall’s website is registered with a special service to hide the identity of the person or group who purchased the domain address.

 There are a lot more details in the ThinkProgress post.

This sort of work by ThinkProgress gives me hope about the power of blogs, but also concern that this power is likely to attract attempts to make access to the Internet for bloggers and readers more difficult in the future. I'm sure there are those who are busily plotting ways to restrict this ability of anyone to publish to the world.

By the way, Alaskans will be pleased to know that we too aren't without connections to this world.   Last year at least one of our state legislators, Carl Gatto, Republican from the Valley, and running unopposed for reelection, received $2,249.68 from the Heartland Institute to attend their 2009 climate change conference in his hometown New York City.
The mission of The Heartland Institute is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.
They strongly oppose government efforts to combat global warming. And their website embraces the Tea Party Movement.  I can't find any direct links between CFACT Sourcewatch cites Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets claiming Heartland received $675,500 from Exxon between 1998 and 2006.

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