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Yes, the Koch's and friends poured big money into the election and it didn't give them President Romney or control of the Senate.  But their destroy American energy innovation agenda by keeping the US reliant on outdated, climate changing, polluting fossil fuels is not dead.  Not by a long shot.  In fact, they are just getting started.  Take a gander at this story from WaPo:

The Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank skeptical of climate change science, has joined with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council to write model legislation aimed at reversing state renewable energy mandates across the country.

The Electricity Freedom Act, adopted by the council’s board of directors in October, would repeal state standards requiring utilities to get a portion of their electricity from renewable power, calling it “essentially a tax on consumers of electricity.” Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have binding renewable standards; in the absence of federal climate legislation, these initiatives have become the subject of intense political battles. [...]

Todd Wynn, who directs ALEC’s energy, environment and agriculture task force, said the group decided to take up the issue because some of its members are worried about the mandates’ “impacts on their state’s economies and their constituents.”

“It is not that ALEC is opposed to renewable energy in any way,” Wynn said. “But we are opposed to government intervention mandating certain energy sources over others.”

The Electricity Freedom Act?  Straight out of Orwell.  You would think our politicians received a wake-up call this Fall after Hurricane Sandy and all the other extreme weather events that have occurred over just the last few years.  But no.  Climate Change is still the one issue that our political discourse avoids like the plague.  While other countries (and California, the one exception that proves the rule) forge ahead with investments in reducing carbon emissions and providing seed money to renewable energy technologies, the United States continues to dig ourselves deeper into the hole of reliance upon dirty energy.  And a major reason for that is ALEC and all the other conservative organizations and think tanks that continue to lie and obscure the truth about our use of fossil fuels.

It's no surprise that the Koch Brothers created ALEC, the stealth bomber of American politics. And they use it very effectively to promote laws that protect and advance their business interests in oil and gas, while trying to cut off any competition from cleaner sources of energy at the knees.  The Kochs have billions invested in their dirty energy businesses, companies that routinely violate environmental laws and regulations while taking full advantage of the many subsidies the Federal government provides the oil and gas industry.

A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries has a long history of being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.

From 1999 through 2003, Koch Industries was assessed more than $400 million in fines, penalties and judgments. In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn't pay for from federal land by mismeasuring the amount of crude it was extracting. Koch paid a $25 million settlement to the U.S.

Phil Dubose, a Koch employee who testified against the company, said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat, using techniques they called the Koch Method.

I would like to believe that Democrats, especially after the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Sandy, an extreme weather event more and more climate scientists are willing to link to climate change, would wake up and make this a critical issue.  We certainly need leadership from the Democratic Party to preserve vital research and subsidies for renewable energy.  May I suggest you contact your Democratic representatives in Congress and in local state houses across the country and send them a link to this story.  Ask them what they plan to do about it.  Do they really want to preserve the hundreds of billions of dollars of profits Big Oiil makes at the expense of the billions of dollars of damage caused by extreme weather events?  After all our time to limit the damage done by man made climate change is running out even faster than we thought.

The work, published yesterday in Science, finds evidence that Earth's climate is more sensitive to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than some earlier studies had suggested.

If the new results are correct, that means warming will come on faster, and be more intense, than many current predictions. Moreover, the impacts of that warming, including sea level rise, drought, floods and other extreme weather, could hit earlier and harder than many models project, said study co-author John Fasullo, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

"Temperatures are likely to go up to the high side of current projections, as is [atmospheric] water vapor," he said. "To the extent those environmental impacts influence events like [Superstorm] Sandy, expect the impacts to be on the high side."

If we don't act to pressure our politicians, rest assured the ALEC agenda to make our country ever more dependent on the "products" produced by a few megacorporations will be put in place.

Contact info for Congress:  LINK and LINK

Contact info for State Legislators:  Link and Link

Originally posted to Steven D on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 09:38 AM PST.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think all the "abortion" and "fiscal cliff" talk (21+ / 0-)

    is put out there for the media (think "squirrel") while ALEC is doing far destructive legislative manipulation of the Repubs right under our noses.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 09:49:11 AM PST

  •  Another Luntzism. (14+ / 0-)

    Sounds like something right from the old Frank Luntz playbook.

    Clear Skies Initiative (rolling back air pollution standards)

    Death Tax (the Luntz name for the Estate Tax, one of the greatest examples of public policy that helped build the American middle class)

    Government takeover of health care (and the accompanying, "death panels")

    Thus begat the Electricity Freedom Act...

  •  ALEC works at the state level (15+ / 0-)

    Most people who follow politics concentrate on the national level--but the decisions that affect your daily life happen at the statehouse.

    ALEC concentrates much of their effort on passing extreme rightwing John Bircher style laws at the STATE level. They spend enormous time wining, dining and indoctrinating state representatives when the legislatures are not in session so that in January the reps can returned with canned laws and pass them before the opposition knows what's up.

    And in fact, in states like mine, wingnuts can pass laws saying that their wingnut regulations can void local laws, whenever they conflict. Nashvillians, for example, thought that we called the shots in our local schools via school board and Metro council.  FALSE! An ALEC statute enables the state to override whatever the wingnut hillbillies who dominate our statehouse don't like.

    These ALEC laws fly below the radar, and before people know what happened, it's over.  We must pay attention to what ALEC is doing at our statehouses.

  •  Island County, Washington went GOP (5+ / 0-)

    We traded in a good, solid state senator with a long track record of vigorous accomplishment (Mary Margaret Haugen) for an ALEC board member, Barbara Bailey.  

    We elected a so-so and unimaginitive Republican most likely to follow the ALEC lead instead of a smart, knowledgeable and dedicated environmental leader in not one, but two state rep positions.  

    We traded in a really brilliant planner and architect on the county commission for a Tea Party hack, so that there are now 2 of 3 positions on the commission occupied by Tea Partiers.  

    This is how it happens.  State legislatures get packed by people who get in there because there is money behind them and local people don't grasp why it is being spent.  

    To all too many people, the large amount of money being spent is there because there simply is civic engagement.  They don't suspect the agenda.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 10:42:37 AM PST

  •  what does (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNDem999, millwood

    State Farm insurance have to do with ALEC do you know?

    FDR called upon the world to embrace four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. You cannot fully realize one without realizing them all. ~ Pres. Obama

    by anyname on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 10:53:18 AM PST

    •  Glad you asked - happy to help (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Azazello, TN yellow dog, millwood, anyname

      State Farm has been a member for at least 20 years.
      Representatives of State Farm have served on the Private Sector Board of Directors (which advises the public sector Board of Directors) and have served on ALEC task Forces on Civil Justice and the Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force

      It could be argued that they have directly contributed to some of the ALEC legislation that includes destruction of consumer rights through tort reform, kill at will, and voter ID through their on-going funding and participation in the operations of ALEC.

      In addition – they help to forward ALEC “model legislation” that will increase the revenue of State Farm –- through their participation on the task forces and on the board – with the passage of ALEC legislation such as this:  

      "The ALEC “Online Motor Vehicle Insurance Verification Act” would mandate registration of all auto insurance in an online registry created by the insurance industry to supposedly ensure that all registered drivers in the state carry auto insurance.  The bill compensates insurance providers for the development of the registry, so it is a bill that would grant a free resource to billion dollar insurance companies." (Source MN Common Cause ALEC Report)
       That is only one example of how belonging to ALEC has helped State Farm's bottom line.

      From the PFAW Report on ALEC

      Simply put, “corporations can implement their agendas very effectively using ALEC,” as stated by Edwin Bender of the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
      ALEC actually said it better in this quote by ALEC Executive Director Sam Brunelli regarding ALEC legislation:
      “With a success rate of more than 20 percent [implementation of ALEC "model legislation"] I would say ALEC is a good investment.  Nowhere else can you get a return that high."
  •  There is something (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady, MNDem999, Chi, millwood

    ..seriously wrong with these greed-heads. DSM-IV wrong.

    There needs to be a whole new classification for this kind of sociopathy. Lacking empathy for other human beings is one very horrible thing. Being willing to cook the planet for profit is beyond my comprehension.

    They know that anthropomorphic climate change is real, and a menace. They just don't care.

    Maybe one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 10:59:31 AM PST

    •  Oh - they care - about private sector money (4+ / 0-)

      In 2011 they rewrote their energy mission statement and it included this

      Global Climate Change is Inevitable. Climate change is a historical phenomenon and the debate will continue on the significance of natural and anthropogenic contributions. ALEC will continue to monitor the issue and support the use of sound science to guide policy, but .ALEC will also incorporate economic and political realism. Unilateral efforts by the United States or regions within the United States will not significantly decrease carbon emissions globally, and international efforts to decrease emissions have proven politically infeasible and unenforceable.
      And they don't care - cause they have historically believed that nothing can be done:
      2002  
      AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL The State Factor: Global Warming and the Kyoto Protocol has been published by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Energy, Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture
      Task Force,
      VI. Can It Be Stopped?
      No known mechanism can stop global warming.
      It is clearly politically untenable to impose grave economic damage in return for no detectable environmental change—even if one assumed that global warming was a terrible threat.

      That is the climate change philosophy that ALEC have been indoctrinating ALEC legislators with for over ten years.

      And the next million dollar question.
      Why would the American Legislative Exchange Council take this extremist climate change position – for their corporate profit sector members, of course.

      2004
      Sons of Kyoto: Greenhouse Gas Regulations in the States has been published by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
      This is one of the first examples of legislated environmental coercion under the climate change agenda that seeks to remove monies from tax-paying, private sector profit centers, to finance a new industry that will not serve as a revenue source for the state general fund.
      It comes down to money - the money that ALEC receives from their corporate profit sector members to keep ALEC viable.
      •  Took a look at the linked WaPo piece (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MNDem999

        ..and there in the comments - are a couple of hard-core deniers posting links to pseudo-science bullshit and insisting that their straw-man arguments be taken seriously.

        Is ALEC paying them? Exxon/Mobil? Kochs themselves?

        It's hard to believe that anyone would waste their time for free - spewing nonsense so vehemently - and suspicious that they seem to always go back to the same sources of lies and double-talk and attempts at sowing confusion.

        Maybe one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

        by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 12:20:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What we call facts - they call "junk science" (4+ / 0-)

          And they spend a lot of money trying to make sure their side gets heard.

          From the leaked documents from the Heartland – last year:

          The Heartland
          2012
          FUNDRAISING PLAN
          B. Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) Heartland sponsors the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an international network of scientists who write and speak out on climate change. Heartland pays a team of scientists approximately $300,000 a year to work on a series of editions of Climate Change Reconsidered, the most comprehensive and authoritative rebuttal of the United Nations’ IPCC reports. Another $88,000 is earmarked for Heartland staff, incremental expenses, and overhead for editing, expense reimbursement for the authors, and marketing.
          $300,000 a year
          And Heartland is only one of many with this mission - and they have ALEC to stand next to them and get ALEC legislators at the state and federal level to introduce anti-climate legislation or have ALEC legislators (state and federal level) standing in front of the media denying climate change based on Heartland (and others) reports of questionable quality.

          And then they distribute it to all the right wing media outlets to repeat over and over and over again - until people start to believe it.

          It's baffling - but true.

  •  It would be dangerous to ever count these (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, Chi, TN yellow dog

    slime bags out. They are playing the long game and their grassroots strategy has already borne so much terrible fruit. Scott Walker was able to remain governor of Wisconsin because Koch money paid for ads which claimed that liberals just didn't like him, which wasn't a valid reason for recall, even as the John Doe investigation wends it way through the courts headed right for him.

    ACORN may be dead, a victim of a right wing smear campaign, but ALEC will never die as long as billionaires have their wealth.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 11:19:28 AM PST

    •  ALEC will never die? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      millwood, Steven D

      I hope to see a day when membership in ALEC is political death.  I have been so glad to see all this scrutiny given to ALEC because they have been so secretive for so long.

      Specifically it has been very hard to find out which legislators attend their conferences and lead their committees. Once you know this, it's pretty easy to figure out who is on the ALEC dole. (Just figure out who introduces the worst legislation!)

      I hope, in my lifetime, revelation that you belong to ALEC is like revelation that you are a pedophile.

  •  in 2007 ALEC wrote a "resolution" opposing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Azazello, TN yellow dog, millwood

    regulation of green house gases.

    Here's some key phrases from that resolution:

    The rise in carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases is not linked to a decline in welfare or public health—indeed, quite the opposite is true.

    global sea level is rising at a pace of less than 6 inches per century, which is consistent with the rate of sea level rise that has been occurring since the end of the last ice age epoch 15,000 years ago  ...  The value of waterfront real estate has dramatically increased, even as sea level has risen.

    The Supreme Court cited “the global retreat of mountain glaciers, reduction in snow-cover extent, the earlier spring melting of rivers and lakes”as harms. It is difficult to see how those events “endanger public health or welfare”

    The warming temperatures and increased precipitation of the 20th century have resulted in moister soil and less frequent and less severe drought than in centuries past.9 Scientists have likened the warmer, moister conditions of the 20th century to “literally becoming more like a garderner’s [sic] greenhouse.”

    And this is the kind of propaganda that ALEC legislators receive in the mail every month - and listen to at ALEC meetings multiple times per year.
    •  Obviously scientific ignorance plays a role (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      millwood, Steven D

      To believe some of this ALEC rot about global warming, you'd have to be a scientific ignoramus.  

      I don't know if this generation of legislators can be saved (ie, educated enough to see how implausible this is).  Make your kids study their science extra hard, because we're going to need them badly,

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