Wednesday 12th of December 2018

they did not like him at first...

koch and koch

Trump’s highly controversial decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement was well-telegraphed throughout his campaign, but speculation that his one-time detractors the billionaire business mogul Koch brothers were behind the decision is gaining momentum.


I turned down a meeting with Charles and David Koch. Much better for them to meet with the puppets of politics, they will do much better!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2016

“What’s happening behind here is real politics. This is the victory paid and carried out for 20 years by two people: David and Charles Koch. That’s what this is about,” Columbia University professor and Director of the Earth Institute Jeffrey Sachs said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Sachs placed the blame for Trump’s decision squarely on the Koch brothers’ shoulders, claiming: “They have bought and purchased the top of the Republican party… Trump is a tool in this.”

Koch Industries and its subsidiaries are a sprawling conglomerate that comprises everything from chemicals and plastics manufacturing to energy products such as natural gas and petroleum and even fertilizer and ranching, all of which are highly polluting industries that would greatly benefit from decreased regulation and government interference.

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happy customers...

As news that President Trump was pulling out of the Paris climate accord hit at a luncheon for small-business owners in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday, an already happy crowd suddenly turned euphoric.

“It was like a major win at a football game,” said Rick Longenecker, a management consultant who had been among the 50 or so attendees who gathered to trade thoughts amid a rapidly improving local economy.

While multinational corporations such as Disney, Goldman Sachs and IBM have opposed the president’s decision to walk away from the international climate agreement, many small companies around the country were cheering him on, embracing the choice as a tough-minded business move that made good on Mr. Trump’s commitment to put America’s commercial interests first.

This full-throated support from the small-business community comes even as the Trump administration struggles to advance health care legislation and tax reform plans through Congress — and despite the swelling controversy over Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

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The "swelling" controversy over Russia/Trump is the media scratching itself raw to bleed where there is no zit. Eventually, the media will carry this story like an infected carbuncle on its own butt. Time to give this one a rest. The fact that Trump has canned the "Paris Agreement" for the US is a thousand times more significant for the future. 

trump believes in global warming...


President Trump is aware of climate change, but will “take care” of it on America’s own terms, US Envoy to the UN Nikki Haley told CNN. In response to Trump’s pullout from the Paris climate accord, the EU is considering economic measures.

The US president Donald Trump “knows that [the climate] is changing and that the US has to be responsible for it,” Haley told CNN host Jake Tapper, commenting on Trump’s recent decision to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement on climate change.

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What is global warming?


china, our revered leader of planetary climate...

Until the very end, they tried behind closed doors to get him to change his mind. For the umpteenth time, they presented all the arguments -- the humanitarian ones, the geopolitical ones and, of course, the economic ones. They listed the advantages for the economy and for American companies. They explained how limited the hardships would be.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the last one to speak, according to the secret minutes taken last Friday afternoon in the luxurious conference hotel in the Sicilian town of Taormina -- meeting notes that DER SPIEGEL has been given access to. Leaders of the world's seven most powerful economies were gathered around the table and the issues under discussion were the global economy and sustainable development.

The newly elected French president, Emmanuel Macron, went first. It makes sense that the Frenchman would defend the international treaty that bears the name of France's capital: The Paris Agreement. "Climate change is real and it affects the poorest countries," Macron said.

Then, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminded the U.S. president how successful the fight against the ozone hole had been and how it had been possible to convince industry leaders to reduce emissions of the harmful gas.

Finally, it was Merkel's turn. Renewable energies, said the chancellor, present significant economic opportunities. "If the world's largest economic power were to pull out, the field would be left to the Chinese," she warned. Xi Jinping is clever, she added, and would take advantage of the vacuum it created. Even the Saudis were preparing for the post-oil era, she continued, and saving energy is also a worthwhile goal for the economy for many other reasons, not just because of climate change.

But Donald Trump remained unconvinced. No matter how trenchant the argument presented by the increasingly frustrated group of world leaders, none of them had an effect. "For me," the U.S. president said, "it's easier to stay in than step out." But environmental constraints were costing the American economy jobs, he said. And that was the only thing that mattered. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

At that point, it was clear to the rest of those seated around the table that they had lost him. Resigned, Macron admitted defeat. "Now China leads," he said.

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scared of the USA bogeyman, losing traction on climate...


Isolating Trump

Merkel's G-20 Climate Alliance Is Crumbling

The German chancellor had been hoping to isolate Donald Trump on climate issues at the upcoming G-20 summit in Hamburg. But Merkel's hoped-for alliance is crumbling, underscoring Germany's relative political weakness globally. Many countries are wary of angering the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had actually thought that Canada's young, charismatic prime minister, Justin Trudeau, could be counted among her reliable partners. Particularly when it came to climate policy. Just two weeks ago, at the G-7 summit in Sicily, he had thrown his support behind Germany. When Merkel took a confrontational approach to U.S. President Donald Trump, Trudeau was at her side.

But by Tuesday evening, things had changed. At 8 p.m., Merkel called Trudeau to talk about how to proceed following Trump's announced withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. To her surprise, the Canadian prime minister was no longer on the attack. He had switched to appeasement instead.

What would be wrong with simply striking all mentions of the Paris Agreement from the planned G-20 statement on climate, Trudeau asked. He suggested simply limiting the statement to energy issues, something that Trump would likely support as well. Trudeau had apparently changed his approach to Trump and seemed concerned about further provoking his powerful neighbor to the south.

The telephone call made it clear to Merkel that her strategy for the G-20 summit in early July might fail. The chancellor had intended to clearly isolate the United States. at the Hamburg meeting, hoping that 19 G-20 countries would underline their commitment to the Paris Agreement and make Trump a bogeyman of world history. A score of 19:1.

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loading the DOE...

The Koch brothers have landed yet another of their trusted fossil fuel think tank veterans in the Trump administration’s Department of Energy (DOE). Alex Fitzsimmons was Manager of Policy and Public Affairs at theInstitute for Energy Research (IER) and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance (AEA), while also working as a “spokesman” and communications director for Fueling US Forward (FUSF), the Koch-funded campaign to bolster public opinion of fossil fuels.

Fitzsimmons will be joining former IER colleagues Daniel Simmons and Travis Fisher at the DOE.

Simmons now serves as the head of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), an office that AEAcalled for eliminating in 2015, under Simmons’ guidance, as then-Vice President of Policy. Fisher is currently working on the controversial grid study ordered by DOE Secretary Rick Perry. While at IERFisher wrote a similar report in 2015, which called clean energy policies “the single greatest emerging threat” to the nation’s electric power grid, and a greater threat to electric reliability than cyber attacks, terrorism, or extreme weather.

While there have been many IER veterans to land in the Trump administration (and even more known Koch affiliates), the arrival of Fitzsimmons at the DOE marks the first time that someone directly involved with Fueling U.S. Forward has taken a job at one of the agencies or in the White House.

The Koch network reportedly had big plans for the Fueling U.S. Forward campaign when it first launched in late summer of 2016, when Charles Drevna announced that it would make the “pro-human” case for fossil fuels, highlighting the “positives” of oil and gas to American consumers.

As the head of communications for Fueling U.S. Forward, Fitzsimmons wrote a handful of blog posts singing the praises of fossil fuels, work that echoes his contributions to the IER and AEA sites.

The Obama White House, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the DOE were all frequent targets in his articles for IER and AEA. On display in one such post, which contrasts DOE and Energy Information Administration (EIA) projections of wind power penetration in the U.S. energy system, is a casual dismissal of the department’s energy modeling and a blatant misunderstanding of how the EIA forecasts actually work.

(Basically, Fitzsimmons claims that the EIA’s numbers are model-based projections, but in reality they are forecasts based on current levels of deployment and “business-as-usual” trends. The EIA has also been rightly criticized forunderestimating renewable energy growth year after year, a tradition that had become so absurd that the agency had to publicly address it and make plans to correct it.)

Fitzsimmons will doubtlessly bring his pro-fossil fuel talking points to the DOE, though it is unclear what the communications specialist will be tasked with as a “senior adviser.”

At the Red State Gathering in August 2016, during which Charles Drevna announced the launch of Fueling U.S. Forward, Fitzsimmons interviewed Drevna. On top of his archives of IER and AEA posts, the interview provides a good a sense of Fitzsimmons’ perspective on energy...

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loading the slanted info with cash...

I went to D.C.’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History expecting to learn about the history of our planet. Instead, I stumbled upon a Koch-funded climate denial disaster.

With the planet in peril, arts groups can no longer afford the Koch brothers money.”

That’s what Washington Post art and culture critic Philip Kennicott wrote in a recent opinion piece about prolific climate denial funders Charles and David Koch. Having recently seen Koch money in action at one of the world’s most prestigious science museums, I couldn’t agree more.

On July 4, 2017, after watching the Independence Day Parade, I went to the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum feeling joyful.

I’ve visited the museum before, and every time I visit I’m attracted to all different types of exhibitions — from wildlife specimens to the beautiful gem collection. As a graduate student from China, I’ve always looked at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as one of the best museums in the world.

But this visit was different. As I wandered the museum’s bottom floor, my eyes were drawn to the words “David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins” on the wall. Wait, that David Koch? The one famous for his role as an architect of climate science denial?

I decided to take a closer look at the exhibit. The first thing I saw were the faces of ancient humans and skeletons, which made up about half of the exhibit — that much made sense.

The other half of the exhibit is focused on how ancient people adapted to the changing environments. That’s where things took a shocking turn. As an environmental engineer, I’m very familiar with the science of climate change. There is no doubt that our climate has changed beyond its natural variability — accelerating since industrialization — and those changes are already affecting our planet.

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A new rooftop solar system is installed every three minutes in the U.S., up from one every 80 minutes just eight short years ago. If this pace continues to accelerate or even just holds steady, it will not be long before solar panels become visible, if not ubiquitous, in many neighborhoods nationwide.

That prospect is enough to upset the Koch brothers, the heirs of the Walmart fortune and the utility industry, all which are trying to stamp out the rooftop solar movement or at least make a tidy profit penalizing the people who use it. With the help of powerful lobbyists and PACs like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), American Enterprise Institute and Americans for Prosperity, they are set to do battle in statehouses across the nation in 2015.

ALEC, which receives much of its funding from the utility industry and fossil-fuel investors like the Kochs, has long been an opponent of renewable energyand the Obama administration’s effort to reduce carbon emissions. It's working with conservative activists and corporate interests to fight homeowners who are installing solar panels on their roofs. Calling people who install rooftop solar panel “freeriders,” another word for freeloaders, the pro-corporate group is actively promoting legislation in states to charge fees, even exorbitant ones, for rooftop solar installations.

Behind the lobbyists are the megarich Walton family. The majority owners of the Walmart retail chain also own several energy interests, including a 30% stake in First Solar, which makes the parts for huge commerical installations of solar panels that operate like power plants. A recent report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance shows that the Waltons are giving lobbyist organizations millions to attack renewable energy laws at the state level. Their prime targets are the homeowners and businesses that opt for solar panels to provide their own electricity.

“Rooftop solar in the U.S. is growing exponentially and more and more Americans have access to affordable solar power that cuts their energy bills and builds a more sustainable energy future," says Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth. "Yet, the Waltons’ money is instead limiting average Americans’ ability to go solar and control their own energy future,” 

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too much peperoni against the truth...

Q: What does spending tens of millions of dollars supporting climate denial organizations over a twenty year period buy you?

A: Donald Trump, abdication of U.S. leadership on climate and increased risk of damage from climate change.

The Washington Post’s Bob O’Harrow just penned the most complete treatment to date on what has happened over the past year and the past twenty years starting in 1997, resulting in the June 2017 Rose Garden party to ditch the Paris Climate Agreement. This story contains a sequence of key events and history, ending in the Trump White House.

This story boils down to the legacy of climate denial funding by ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers, coal companies and conservative foundations, which has supported and paid for the salaries, campaigns, programs and rent at dozens of non-profit organizations who have opposed sensible climate policy.

See ExxonSecrets for Exxon’s funders.  See DeSmog's Disinformation Database for more up to date funding data.

Brand new reporting in this piece:

  • The 1997 ExxonMobil Foundation report showing a grant for $95,000 for “Global Climate Change Program and other support”  This document was recovered by Climate Investigations Center from the University of Texas Exxon archives.  It is significant because the previous grants to CEI were only $5-10,000/year.  1997 was a crux year for climate policy with the Kyoto Protocol on the horizon. In subsequent years, 1997-2005, Exxon dropped $2.1million into CEI’s bank account.

1997 Exxon Education Foundation report identifying $95,000 climate change grant to Competitive Enterprise Institute, the year the Cooler Heads Coalition was formed.

  • New April 18 email from Myron Ebell reveals a White House briefing this spring that may have helped convince Trump to dismiss the advice of Secretary of State Tillerson, dozens of major corporations and his daughter Ivanka:

This spring, he leveraged those connections to arrange a White House briefing in opposition to the Paris agreement, according to an email from Ebell to participants that was obtained by The Post.

Thank you for agreeing to be part of the basket of deplorables,” he wrote in an April 18 email. “The purpose of the meeting is to present our views on why President Trump should keep his campaign commitment to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty.”

  • They knew exactly what they are doing:

One former Cooler Heads member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of a punitive backlash, said the coalition’s mission under Ebell was to be a “Johnny-on-the-spot for climate denialism” and to simulate a “cacophony of voices” against climate-change science.”

  • Newly revealed document from tobacco documents  shows Myron Ebell’s former employer and current ally, Frontiers of Freedom, in pay to play mode for Big Tobacco:

In a funding proposal to Philip Morris, Frontiers suggested a complex influence campaign in support of tobacco. The plan foreshadowed some of the tactics that Cooler Heads members would soon employ.

Frontiers could “play a substantial role” in a campaign aimed at making it politically easier for lawmakers to thwart new tobacco taxes, the proposal said. It would “educate and motivate grassroots activists” to change the “political dynamics,” making it “politically possible for key legislators to block any legislative initiative.”

The campaign proposed is, essentially, an issue-driven political campaign,” the document said.

  • Murray Coal admits paying CEI for services in defense of coal.  These grants to CEI are not meant to be public.  An rare complete CEI IRS Form 990 provided to the Washington Post resulted in this first ever acknowledgement by Murray Coal of its support for CEI:

Supporters included one of the Obama administration’s prime targets: big coal. A 2009 IRS filing for the Competitive Enterprise Institute — inadvertently made public without redactions — disclosed funding from two coal mining companies. Ohio-based Murray Energy donated $90,000, and Richmond-based Massey Energy gave $100,000.

In a statement to The Post, a Murray Energy spokesman said the company provided annual support to CEI “in order to advance their principles of ‘limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty.’ ”

Indeed, for eight years the Obama Administration severely undermined these principles, in its effort to completely destroy the United States coal industry,” the statement said. “The Competitive Enterprise Institute was effective in advocating against this destruction, and in supporting preservation of coal jobs and family livelihoods, and low-cost, reliable electricity for all Americans.””

  • Ebell was “mystified” at being selected to run Trump’s transition team:

The call to Ebell from the Trump campaign came in late August 2016. Ron Nicol, a business consultant leading the team preparing for a possible transition, left a voice mail saying he wanted Ebell to consider serving as transition chief at the EPA.

Ebell told The Post he was mystified. He had never served in the federal bureaucracy and Trump was not his favored candidate. “Why do you want me?” he asked when he returned Nicol’s call.

Ebell said the answer was direct. Trump wanted to abolish the EPA, and so did Ebell.  Ebell’s singular focus on the agency and global warming also was in tight alignment with the views of Scott Pruitt, the man who would soon lead the EPA.

  • The signatories to a May letter to Trump demanding the President kill the Paris Agreement were the people who filled the Rose Garden event.  No corporate or trade association representatives made their presence known.  The crowd was largely composed of organizations currently supported by the Koch brothers, coal companies, the Mercer family (major Trump and Bannon/Brietbart supporters) and other conservative, “free market” and libertarian foundations.

On the morning of June 1, Ebell got an email from the White House. He was told that he and all those who signed the May 8 letter were invited to Trump’s Rose Garden announcement.

(Emphasis added to quotes from Washington Post)

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the koch president in waiting...


Fact #5: Mike Pence was still repeating the “draw a line in the sand” line from the No Climate Tax pledge in 2015 at Thomas Pyle’s American Energy Alliance (AEA)

During a conference call organized by American Energy Alliance to unify resistance to President Obama’s pollution-cutting Clean Power Plan, Mr. Pence declared:

We’ve drawn a line in the sand and made it clear that the state of Indiana will not comply … We’ll avail ourselves of all legal remedies.

AEA, an organization that has received millions from groups linked to the Kochs, was founded in 2008 by Thomas Pyle, a former Koch Industries director of federal affairs. After the conference call, AEA issued a statement which reads:

We encourage other governors and state leaders to follow the lead of Governor Pence, as well as Governor Walker of Wisconsin, and protect their citizens by ceasing all efforts to comply with EPA’s regulation.”

On November 11, 2016, President Trump replaced New Jersey Governor Christie with Vice President-elect Pence as chairman of his transition. Pence was ready. Shortly thereafter, he chose Pyle to head up the new Administration’s energy transition team.

A roadmap to radically rewrite America’s energy future, written by Pyle, was uncovered the following month by the Center for Media & Democracy. It laid out a master plan of 14 policies — including withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement — that collectively amounts to a Koch Brothers wish list to boost the fossil fuel industry and cripple competitive climate change solutions.

But Mike Pence was only getting started. The Vice President’s influence over the federal government and his fealty to the Koch agenda is breathtaking. Ms. Mayer quotes U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) as saying:

If Pence were to become President for any reason, the government would be run by the Koch brothers—period. He’s been their tool for years.”

She even quotes President Trump’s former chief strategist, Stephen Bannon:

I’m concerned he’d be a President that the Kochs would own.”

Today, the country is fixated on President Trump. Meanwhile, the Koch Brothers are getting stronger. Through the Vice President’s, who could soon become President, they are preparing for a final take-over of the federal government. 

Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from sustainable economy philanthropies and donors. 

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a blank canvas...


For decades, the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into building a network of political groups, think tanks, academic institutions, and grassroots outfits, all with the aim of realizing the brothers’ libertarian, small-government worldview. During Barack Obama’s presidency, the Koch network acted as the unyielding opposition, funding Republican candidates for office and seeking to block Obama’s agenda from practically day one. With their wealth and influence, the Kochs built their own rival party to the GOP itself.

But with the election of Donald Trump, a candidate who had little in the way of a policy agenda or a cadre of loyalists to run his government, the role of the Kochs and their network flipped: Now, they were in a prime position to stock the new administration with their own people and set the agenda. As one Koch networkdonor told Politico late last year, “In creating the Koch network, I don’t think that we ever envisioned that we would be supplying staffers to this semi-free market, semi-populist president. But we’re happy that he’s picking people who have that free market background, particularly because on many issues, [Trump] is a blank slate, so anybody with expertise is in an amazing position to shape his agenda.” 

A new report by the government accountability group Public Citizen finds that the Kochs have done just that. Public Citizen—a vocal critic of Trump that has filedseveral lawsuits against his administration—counts 44 different Trump administration officials who have close links to the Kochs and their sprawling network.

That list starts at the top of the administration—Vice President Mike Pence is a longtime ally of the Kochs—and includes senior and junior figures throughout the White House and the various agencies overseeing the functioning of the government. Marc Short, the White House’s point man on dealing with Congress, is a former president of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the political nerve center of the Koch network. White House Counsel Don McGahn represented Koch-backed groups in private practice. CIA Director Mike Pompeo—rumored to be the next secretary of state—represented the Kansas district where Koch Industries was headquartered, giving him the nickname “the congressman from Koch.” 

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