We are with Greta Thunberg, Fighting Global Warming, for All Our Children’s Sake

WE STAND WITH GRETA

Greta Thunberg addresses an audience in Iowa during her 2019 visit to the United States.
Greta Thunberg addresses an audience in Iowa during her 2019 visit to the United States. Her message to today’s leaders: don’t leave her generation a ruined planet.
Greta Thunberg began calling attention to climate change with her school strikes in her native Sweden.
Greta Thunberg began calling attention to climate change with her school strikes in her native Sweden.

 The Trump Administration is petitioning the United States Supreme Court to repeal Obamacare. A pharmaceutical company lobbyist is running our federal health agency. Our planet is on fire and a coal lobbyist is running the Environmental Protection Agency. Is this truly the legacy we want to leave for our children and grandchildren?

We thought votersDemocrats, Republicans and independents; all of ushad sent the Republican Party a message in 2018. But only big money and Russian mobsters get to talk to this criminally corrupt administration and its Republican lackeys.

Just this once, even if you’re a hard-core Republican, let’s send every Republican politician a message, louder and clearer:

COME ON! LET’S DO IT FOR OUR KIDS!
 

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words . . . . You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.”

So said the teenage Swedish global-warming activist Greta Thunberg at the Climate Action Summit 2019. To see her challenge to work leaders, go to the video below.

To learn more about her position and the movement she has inspired, see the longer video below.

We all can see that the temperatures are rising to record levels, the ice caps are melting, extreme weather conditions are getting more extreme every year—and Republicans keep telling us climate change is a hoax. Why?

ONE CHART SAYS IT ALL!

This chart from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that energy corporations contribute overwhelmingly to Republicans and conservative causes. And Republicans return the favor with policies skewed toward protecting fossil fuel interests. The planet and our children be damned.
This chart from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that energy corporations contribute overwhelmingly to Republicans and conservative causes. And Republicans return the favor with policies skewed toward protecting fossil fuel interests. The planet and our children be damned.

Sorry kids, it’s just business.

The chart at right was compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics at OpenSecrets.org, which also supplied this:

“Led by the oil and gas industry, this sector regularly pumps the vast majority of its campaign contributions into Republican coffers . . . Since the 1990 election cycle, more than two-thirds of this sector’s contributions to candidates and party committees has gone to Republicans. Besides oil and gas, the electric utilities industry is another big donor in this sector. Less generous, but even more partisan, is the mining industry.
That’s the deadly bargain Republican politicians have made with these giant energy corporations: you keep the money coming in and we’ll block every Democratic effort to regulate you, to tax you, to move the country to alternative energy sourceswhatever you need, just keep the money coming in and you got it.
The corporations that are pouring these millions of dollars into the pockets of Republican politicians have huge financial stakes in promoting the idea that global warming is merely an unproven theory:  How Have They Gotten Away With It For So Long?
 
ONE MEMO SAYS IT ALL; IT WAS WRITTEN BY THIS GUY
 
Frank Luntz, minister of propaganda for the Republican Party and the fossil-fuel lobby.
Frank Luntz, minister of propaganda for the Republican Party and the fossil-fuel lobby for many years.

This is from the Frank Luntz memo circulated to the top Republican politicians in 2002:

“[T]the first (and most important) step to neutralizing the problem and eventually bringing people around to your point of view on environmental issues is to convince them of your sincerity and concern . . . any discussion of the environment has to be grounded in an effort to reassure a skeptical public that you care about the environment for its own sake – that your intentions are strictly honorable.”
 

So Luntz counsels Republican to convince voters they’re sincere. Okay, it’s not the same as being sincere; but it’s a start.

Here’s Luntz explaining how Republicans should “frame” the global warming issue:

“Do you want some pencil-pushing Washington bureaucrat to tell you what to do and how to do it, someone who gets all his knowledge of the Everglades, the Rocky Mountains, and every environmental issue from the pages of National Geographic?”
 

Sincere enough for you?

Recall the similar “framing” tactic around Obamacare. Luntz also prepared the Republican propaganda playbook for that one. As with global warming, Big Oil and Big Coal, Republicans are taking down our health care while raking in the cash from the giant pharmaceutical and insurance industries. So they need the right “framing” language to confuse us and have people forget that we only get programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid under Democratic administrations. Blame Democrats for high drug prices, pre-existing condition insurance scams, and the like, and put Republicans on the side of the people.

Again, here is Luntz advising on how to “frame” the health care debate:

“No Washington bureaucrat or healthcare lobbyist should stand between your family and your doctor. The Democrats want to put Washington politicians in charge of YOUR healthcare. We can and must do better. Say no to a Washington takeover of healthcare and say yes to personalized patient-centered care.”

But this time it didn’t work. Too many of us “hard working taxpayers” (another Frank Luntz phrase) got wise to the scam before the 2018 mid-terms. So many of us had “pre-existing conditions” that Republicans were afraid to go back to their districtsand we threw the bums out of their
majority in the House. More on health care later, but now let’s return to the global warming scam.

In an interview with Greta Thunberg, Trevor Noah, host of “The Daily Show,” asked, Do you feel a difference in the conversation traveling from Sweden to America?”

Greta answered, “I would say yes because here it feels like it is something being discussed as something whether you believe in or not believe in. And where I come from it’s more like—it’s fact!” See video from that interview, below.

Unlike most of the world, why are so many Americans, mostly older Americans, still wondering whether global warming is for real? Here, straight from the jackass’s mouth is the key reason that our country has so badly failed our children. Luntz’s memo continues:

“The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science,”

“Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.

“Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate and defer to scientists and other experts in the field.” (all emphasis in the original)

Now look at that last phrase: “Defer to scientists and other experts in the field.” But here’s what the scientists actually say:

“The scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming is likely to have passed 99 percent, according to the lead author of the most authoritative study on the subject, and could rise further after separate research that clears up some of the remaining doubts.”
If reputable climate scientists can’t be found, there are always “other experts” to advance these disinformation campaigns. Remember this one? 
 
Just as the tobacco industry blew smoke for years, casting doubt on the health risks of their product, so the fossil fuel lobby is falsely alleging that the science remains unsettled.
Just as the tobacco industry blew smoke for years, casting doubt on the health risks of their product, so the fossil fuel lobby is falsely alleging that the science remains unsettled.

Those tobacco companies were able to find a few of these “experts,” put them on the pad, and have them swear on their mothers’ graves and children’s lives that smoking was no problem at all. Research? We’ll give you all the research you want. They were all lying, of course. Eventually, the weight of the evidence was too overwhelming. Smoking was banned from public places all over the world. It even became uncool. But not before it hooked many more of our kids.

And now because we haven’t been able to locate the hearts to drive in the wooden stakes, the tobacco company blood suckers –the CEOs, their lobbyists, and propagandists are making a comeback—and Donald Trump and his Republican Party lackeys have their snouts deep into the tobacco pig trough—willing and able –unless we throw them out in November — to kill many more of our kids. In case you’ve missed it, we’ll tell you that horror story in the next couple of weeks.

We don’t have much time left to get wise to the global warming scam. And we can call it a scam without fear of contradiction from the disinformation guru himself.  Last year when Luntz  was caught in a raging California fire, he admitted, not that it was all a scam, but that he was “wrong.” (It’s something like saying “mistakes were made.”) That story in a moment. Let’s pick up the original global warming script Luntz was peddling to his Republican clients because they’re still using the same script.

More from Luntz’s advice on how to manipulate the debate:

·         “Emphasize the importance of acting only with all the facts in hand and making the right decision, not the quick decision.”

·         “We need to emphasize how voluntary innovation and experimentation are preferable to bureaucratic or international intervention and regulation.”     

   “The ‘international fairness’ issue is the emotional home run. Given the chance, Americans will demand that all nations be part of any international global warming treaty. Nations such as China, Mexico and India would have to sign such an agreement for the majority of Americans to support it.”

·         “The most important principle in any discussion of global warming is your commitment to sound science. Americans unanimously believe all environmental rules and regulations should be based on sound science and common sense. Similarly, our confidence in the ability of science and technology to solve our nation’s ills is second to none. Both perceptions will work in your favor if properly cultivated.”

He had a lot of other focus-group tested phrases he urged them to use. Now that you’re alert to them, you’ll notice.

He told them to be “conservationists’ and “preservationists,” not “environmentalists” because his focus groups told him that environmentalists were seen as  more “extreme” and that “turned off voters.”

He told them to use the phrase “common sense” as often as possible—as in “common sense solutions” and avoid pro-business arguments at all costs because Americans believe the Republican Party is in the hip pocket of big business. Hmmmm. I wonder why so many of us believe that? 

If his clients couldn’t remember the general principles, Luntz’s 16-page document gave them the exact language in little boxes like these:

”LANGUAGE THAT WORKS”: “We must not rush to judgment before all the facts are in. We need to ask more questions. We deserve more answers. And until we learn more, we should not commit America to any international documents that handcuff us either now or in the future.

“Unnecessary environmental regulations hurt women and dads, grandmas and grandpas. They hurt senior citizens on fixed incomes. They take an enormous swipe at miners, loggers, truckers, farmer—anyone who has any work in energy intensive professions They mean less income for families struggling to survive and educate their children.”
 
“MORE WORDS THAT WORK”: “In the last 20 years, America has made significant progress in environmental research without any foreign treaty. These breakthroughs have already been put to work to help the global environment, and we didn’t need any foreign body to tell us how to do it.”
 
Luntz’s memo was aimed at rationalizing George W. Bush’s withdrawal from the Kyoto climate accord. Trump, of course, has taken things miles down that same road. Hup, hup . . . We’re Americans!! Go USA! We don’t need no stinkin’ foreigners to tell us how to deal . . . People who support the Paris Climate Change Treaty Don’t Love America!
 

LUNTZ’S GREAT INVENTION: THE SMOKING GUN THAT THREATENS TO KILL ALL OF US.

Recall the wording in his memorandum: “Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.” until that memorandum, “global warming” was the phrase for what almost everyone now calls “climate change.”

Luntz: The phrase “global warming” should be abandoned in favor of “climate change.” Why? “As one focus group participant noted, climate change ‘sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.'” While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”

Republicans—but not only Republicans—followed his advice.

After Luntz’s memo, though he slipped once in a while, Bush stopped using “global warming,” replacing it with Luntz’s “climate change.”

THE SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS IS CLEAR: GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL AND IT’S CAUSED BY HUMAN ACTIVITY

Three studies published in “Nature” and “Nature Geoscience” use extensive historical data to show there has never been a period in the last 2,000 years when temperature changes have been as fast and extensive as in recent decades. “There is no doubt left—as has been shown extensively in many other studies addressing many different aspects of the climate system using different methods and data sets,” said Stefan Brönnimann, from the University of Bern and the Pages 2K consortium of climate scientists.

Commenting on the study, other scientists said it was an important breakthrough in the “fingerprinting” task of proving how human responsibility has changed the climate in ways not seen in the past.

“This paper should finally stop climate change deniers claiming that the recent observed coherent global warming is part of a natural climate cycle. This paper shows the truly stark difference between regional and localized changes in climate of the past and the truly global effect of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions,” said Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College London.

The pushback has been political rather than scientific. In the U.S., the right wing think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute is reportedly putting pressure on NASA to remove a reference to the 97 percent study from its webpage. The CEI has received event funding from the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and the Charles Koch Institute, which have much to lose from a transition to a low-carbon economy. [1]

AND IT WORKED! Today, almost everyone is using the less threatening phrase. (After all, the climate changes all the time.) If there’s ever been a case of the operation being a success but the patient dying, this is it.

I needn’t point out—but I will—that writing in 2000, Luntz warned Republicans that we Americans unanimously believed in science. Maybe even then it was somewhat of an overstatement but not by much.

Look at how far we’ve fallen as a country since then. After years of Republican Party disinformation, and years of fraudulent religious leaders pumping anti-science disinformation into our country’s political bloodstream, into our kids’ textbooks, and into our school curricula, tens of millions of Americans are rabidly anti-science.

The sick genius of Donald Trump has been to recognize the opening and to push hard to exploit it. The Trump-led Republican war on science has left us far more vulnerable in this pandemic. And the horrific result is clear for all the world to see. Even if scientists succeed in developing a  successful vaccine, its effectiveness is open to serious doubt; like the NRA and gun control, no matter how many mass shootings, the anti-vaccination crowd is ready to rumble. And there will be plenty of demagogues to exploit them-and to kill so many more of us.

ON GLOBAL WARMING AT LEAST, FRANK LUNTZ HAD HIS COME-TO-JESUS MOMENT

At 3 a.m. one night, Luntz saw flames outside his bedroom window. His Los Angeles home was in the path of the 2017 “Skirball” wildfire, one of the scores of wildfires that destroyed parts of Southern California. Luntz, who reportedly convinced Trump to highlight “border security” and the wall as a cornerstone political message, testified at a Senate hearing,  “Rising sea levels, melting ice caps, tornadoes, and hurricanes more ferocious than ever. It is happening.”             

Was that a sincere mea culpa? Who knows whether Luntz has a sincere bone in his body? Maybe he’s smart enough to know that Donald Trump is going to take every enabler down with him. Or maybe he understands that if he gets another term, there’s won’t be anybody left whose brain needs washing by Luntz’s research firm. A firm that carries the Orwellian name “Straight Talk.”

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