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Est. April 5, 2002
January 07, 2016 - Issue 635

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Gop Climate Propaganda
Confuses fhe Issue, but
Not All Americans Are Fooled


"The deniers view with alarm the movement
toward more sustainable and restorative human
activity across the planet. They’re alarmed
because they know that the money that flows to
them from corporations that poison and warm
the planet will slow, then (possibly) dry up, if
they are not successful in stopping the growing
movement to halt climate change."

After the Paris climate talks, nearly the whole world has agreed that nations must act in concert to prevent the gathering disaster of climate change and global warming, and the same world is faced with another disaster in the making: Failing to convince the Republicans in the U.S. and their corporate minders to grow up, act like adults, and work with the rest of the American people and the people of the world to avert cataclysmic change to our planet.

The Paris climate talks concluded late last year with a consensus that the world is facing deadly disaster, nearly 200 nations could for a short time put aside all of the myriad political and economic differences and begin to curb the continued release of greenhouse gases into our common atmosphere.

The consensus in Paris and, indeed, throughout the U.S., is that the biggest obstacle to doing what humans can do to mitigate the danger and destruction is the U.S. Congress. It is clear that Republicans are overwhelmingly responsible for the foot dragging that has brought the nation and the world to the state it is in: A time of storms and floods, more tornadoes, hurricanes and typhoons, the drowning of the first wave of small islands (and the danger of inundation of entire small island nations), droughts, and the destruction of clean water resources around the world.

With climate scientists, as many as 98 percent of them, estimated to be in agreement that humans are causing dramatic climate change and that the time to act might have already passed to prevent the worst effects. Despite that, Republicans in the U.S. haul out their own scientists, numbering in the dozens at least, who claim that climate change is “not settled,” that humans likely have not caused what is happening. The smattering of climate experts who agree with Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), along with Donald Trump, who is leading the pack of Republicans running for their party’s presidential nomination are all in agreement in their denial. Senator Marco Rubio, whose home state of Florida would suffer greatly from climate change said, according to the Los Angeles Times, “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it…I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy,” he added.

They all agree that humans could not have caused climate change and that what is happening is occurring naturally. “They’re just natural cycles,” they claim, just before they charge that the president and the Democrats, pushed by environmentalists, are just propagandizing the American people to bring the U.S. economy down and to gain control of the government and the nation.

There are plenty of people who buy what they are selling. Inhofe has said that God is in charge and the “climate alarmists” are forgetting that. He has claimed that the environmental movement has all the money and power and he cited the money of George Soros and Al Gore.

Republicans like Inhofe, Cruz, Trump, and Rubio can stand in public and lie about the money involved in the climate fight. What they cannot wrap their minds around is what they are seeing: Rather than money, they are seeing the power of the people, once they join together for a common purpose. No one knows by how much the environmental movement is outspent by the polluters. In dollars, is it 50-1, 100-1, 1,000-1? The polluters have the most money and they have used it in their think tanks, in their publications, in their broadcasts, and elsewhere to sow doubt and cause millions to agree with them that climate change is natural and nothing humans can do will change that.

The sides are not even in the money involved. Far from it. The deniers view with alarm the movement toward more sustainable and restorative human activity across the planet. They’re alarmed because they know that the money that flows to them from corporations that poison and warm the planet will slow, then (possibly) dry up, if they are not successful in stopping the growing movement to halt climate change. The rich and their corporations will not tolerate that. After all, they have paid a lot of money over the years to politicians who have done their bidding and, when they call for climate change denial, those politicians had better deliver.

It’s at least part of the reason for the Republican rebellion against the people, the majority of whom believe that the climate is indeed changing and many understand that humans are a primary cause. Early this year, the online Climate Desk carried a piece headlined “72 percent of Republican senators are climate deniers,” and many of them are in positions of power on the committees of Congress that directly affect the country’s action on climate change. Cruz has said that climate change is religion, not science.

Not to be upstaged by upstart Senator Ted Cruz, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Y.) said President Obama made promises in Paris that he cannot keep. The Associated Press reported that McConnell warned ominously that President Obama and others who support the Paris climate agreement should remember that the agreement “is subject to being shredded in 13 months,” meaning that, if a Republican is elected in 2016, that new president could arbitrarily cancel U.S. involvement, presumably by executive order

Certainly, if any of the GOP hopefuls who lined up in the primary debate in Las Vegas is elected, that is a very good possibility, because they are among the least qualified to hold office in Congress, let alone to occupy the White House. Virtually to a man or woman, they do not believe in science, no matter if the vast majority of climate scientists are warning of coming disaster, which will come down most heavily on the poor, wherever they live.

The evidence is everywhere: In the pollution of fishless oceans; the 100-year floods that are coming every five years; the Alaskan villages that are collapsing because of the melting of the permafrost; the crop- and livestock-killing droughts, and extinction of species that has not been seen in geologic time. These are but a few examples of things that should be clearly visible to anyone who takes the time to look.

If Republicans are incapable of seeing these screaming examples of climate change, how would they ever be able to see the problems which a president would have to solve, including economic inequality, collapsing infrastructure, human rights violations by the powers that be, mass incarceration of black and brown Americans, industrial flight to low wage countries, education costs that are impoverishing students over decades of their lives, lack of living wage jobs, to name a few. The answer is that they care little about these things, because they are not part of their reality. If they do not know about them, they don’t exist. We had a party like that in a previous century of our nation; they were called the “know nothings,” and the appellation seems to fit the current crop of climate denying Republicans.

Democrats share the blame, to be sure, but at least they do not reject science. They have known about the science of climate change for a long time, but they lack the will to move to less polluting energy sources on the massive scale that is necessary to curb warming of the planet. It could be that they were unwilling to cross the giant energy corporations that have profited from global warming and climate change and many, if not most, energy corporations are among the most powerful and they put a lot of money into the political funds of our erstwhile politicians. Even if they are late, the Democrats generally believe the 98 percent of climate scientists whose consensus is that we have and are causing the calamities that are occurring.

They have responded to the one thing that has always moved politicians, action by millions of people, in the streets and elsewhere. Over recent years, the people have moved American Democratic politicians, but the Republicans have seemed not to notice, either the issue or the people. Rather, they have doubled down on their opinions that scientists are wrong and that they are right in rejecting the consensus.

After the historic Paris climate agreement involving virtually all of the nations of the world, one thing is certain: If a Republican is elected president next year, all of those countries had better beware, because when the U.S. is not happy with someone, it usually sends bombs their way and, judging by the rhetoric of the GOP candidates running for their party’s presidential nomination, most of the herd is not only ignorant of the impending climate disaster, but also, they are trigger happy. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a long-time former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.

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