Photo: Official Star Wars BlogThe bad news is that we now have a political climate in Congress that could only be more lethal to action on clean energy and climate change if it were made out of mustard gas. The worse news is that the reason things have gotten to this sorry state is that a pair of aging billionaires who are the closest thing this country has to evil incarnate are spending liberally from their giant pots o’ gold, establishing a sort of shadow GOP that takes on many of the roles that would previously have been the sole purview of national and state parties.
At the ‘center’ of Republican power: The L.A. Times gang-wrote a terrifying feature on the Koch brothers detailing just how deeply into the House Energy and Commerce Committee the tentacles of Americans For Prosperity — the political wing of the mythical ‘Kochtopus‘ — have reached. As a result, this committee is now full of representatives who are determined to block any EPA action that would curtail the emissions of greenhouse gasses, something that Koch Industries does in spades.
Behind countless hard-right libertarian groups: The Independent (U.K.) puts recent protest actions against Koch Industries in context:
In recent years, the Koch Brothers have given tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates. Millions more of their dollars have been given to think tanks such as the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, and lobbying organisations like the US Chamber of Commerce. They have also helped bankroll dozens of cleverly-named pressure groups, including Americans for Prosperity and the Institute for Justice
Koch Brothers set the agenda for countless other right-wing donors, notes Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones:
It’s also worth noting that the network of Koch associates is also influential when it comes to funding candidates. The forthcoming Greenpeace report I noted last week also found that the members of the guest list for last year’s Koch strategy confab have contributed more than $61 million to federal campaigns since 1990.
Koch Industries also has sway with the U.S. Supreme Court, opines The New York Times:
The framers of our Constitution envisioned law gaining authority apart from politics. They wanted justices to exercise their judgment independently–to be free from worrying about upsetting the powerful and certainly not to be cultivating powerful political interests.
A petition by Common Cause to the Justice Department questioned whether Justices Scalia and Thomas are doing the latter. It asked whether the court’s ruling a year ago in the Citizens United case, unleashing corporate money into politics, should be set aside because the justices took part in a political gathering of the conservative corporate money-raiser Charles Koch while the case was before the court.
The Kochs says they’re out to save America, says The Independent (again):
A leaked invitation to the retreat, which finished yesterday, informed guests that they were meeting “to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it”. These apocalyptic threats included “climate change alarmism and the move to socialised health care”, as well as “the regulatory assault on energy”. In his covering note on the invitation Charles asked: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”