Emails released by the Heartland Institute this week show that scientist Peter Gleick apparently created a G-mail account under the name of an existing board member to trick the group, which casts doubt on the science of man-made climate change, into sending him internal documents that he later sent to the press.
"Can you please add... this personal email address to the Board mailing list for all future Board communications?" Gleick allegedly wrote in an email on Jan. 27. "Do not delete my [redacted] address, just add this one as a duplicate."
Gleick admitted to sending the emails under a fake name earlier this week and apologized for his actions. The internal documents have already sprung a call for a congressional hearing into whether, as laid out in the documents, a scientist in the Interior Department was paid by the group, an apparent violation of rules for federal workers.
Gleick evidently continued sending emails requesting additional documents like past board minutes through at least Feb. 8.
The Heartland Institute said in a press release that the first email was sent on the same day as Gleick "rejected a cordial invitation to debate climate science at The Heartland Institute's 2012 anniversary benefit dinner in August." The group also called on news outlets which have published the "stolen" documents and a climate change strategy memo they maintain was "fake" to take the material offline.
Image from olly / Shutterstock
Pro-business conservatives are pursuing an unprecedented assault on the rights of working families at both the national and state levels. Congress and no fewer than 37 state legislatures are pushing through right-to-work or related bills. Some of them are passing. Everywhere, though, the arguments supporting the laws are based on outright falsehoods, some of them, including phrases like 'forced unionism', are embedded in the names of the legislation. Organizations like the National Right to Work Committee use scary language, including threats of union violence and allusions to corrupt union bosses, and misleading or false propaganda to pursue their anti-worker agenda:
What's next is up to Right to Work supporters like you.
If you haven't done so already, please send your senators an e-mail expressing your support for freedom and the National Right To Work Act. Then, please forward this message to friends, family, and other like-minded citizens and ask them to sign the petition as well.
It's absolutely vital we turn up the heat on every member of Congress.
As you know, this legislation would enshrine the common-sense principle ? already enforced in 22 states ? that no worker should be compelled to join or pay dues to a union just to get or keep a job.
In an age of legislative overreach, this is one of the shortest bills ever introduced.
A National Right to Work Act does not add a single word to federal law. It simply removes language in the National Labor Relations Act that gives union bosses the power to extract dues and fees from nonunion workers.
And as we've seen in Wisconsin, Indiana, and elsewhere so far this year, the union bosses will do anything to protect their government-granted forced-dues powers.
That's why your actions are vital. Please Act Today!
Movement conservatives at all levels echo these types of claims and use the army of talking points from the NRTWC and the Republican Party. The problem is that the talking points are just plain false. Here's the reality about right-to-work (for less) laws:
Even in the worst years of their futility, the Detroit Lions drew crowds to Ford Field that dwarfed the one Mitt Romney addressed there today. [...]
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Southern District Public Service Commissioner Leonard Bentz is incensed by Public Utilities Chairman Rep. Charles Jim Beckett's love letter to AT&T, too. In an earlier post, I detailed Rep. Beckett's relationship with AT&T and the bill he crafted for them, HB 825. In that post, I also covered Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley's (D) press release that called Rep. Beckett to the carpet for being AT&T's mouthpiece in the House.
Well, last night, Southern District Public Service Commissioner Leonard Bentz (R) jumped all over HB 825, too. Here's an excerpt from Bentz's press release:
?This is a very bad bill for consumers in Mississippi,? Commissioner Bentz stated. ?Even though AT&T will tell you that the oversight that we [PSC] have is limited, the little we do have is piece of mind for the consumers.?
?You don?t have to think very long to understand why this bill is bad. Think back to last time you called in a problem to AT&T and the lack of customer service you received. This bill would make it worse. It is important to understand AT&T will lead you to believe this bill will affect only a small number of customers, but that is not so. As it stands right now, all customers with AT&T have the ability to file complaints with the Public Service Commission, and have the PSC on their side to help them navigate the system. The bill clearly states customer appeals will be removed from the PSC jurisdiction.Bentz tweeted his press release last night, and directed it at Fox News' account. I find it amusing that Bentz believes Fox would pick up this ball and run with it. He really should have directed it at Geoff Pender, Patsy Brumfield, Emily Wagster Pettus, Jeff Amy, or a host of other folks more likely to cover it. Maybe now they will.
House Jud B has taken up HB 488 and passed it, which means it will now be taken up by the Education Committee, to which it was double-referred. An amendment was reportedly offered to allow for undocumented infants to be immunized, but Republicans killed it.
Recently, Scott Douglas III, a civil-rights activist in Alabama and executive director of the Greater Birmingham Ministries, appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss his involvement as a plaintiff in an American civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit against the state of Alabama. The case challenges the state's infamous HB 56 law, which imposes a litany of sanctions on undocumented immigrants. The law
When it comes to employment, the law requires large and small businesses to validate the immigration status of employees using the US E-Verify program, prohibits illegal immigrants from applying for work, and nullifies any contracts formed in which one party is an illegal immigrant and the other has direct knowledge of that. The law also requires voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering.
Douglas believes that anti-immigration is the civil rights issue of our time and compares the way undocumented immigrants are treated today with the way blacks were treated in the Jim Crow south. According to Colbert, he?s even gone so far as to say that ?Hispanics are the new Negro.?
?It?s just like the Jim Crow laws,? Douglas says, ?where arbitrary laws, capricious in articulation, gives anybody the power over you to abuse you, to hurt you, to harm you.?
?But Martin Luther King said 'I have a dream,' not 'I want a taco,?? Colbert responds in the interview. Douglas explains, ?Dr. King said, ?No document written by human hand should be used to diminish the humanity of any man.? and this law diminishes humanity.?
Indeed, it?s clear that the real goal of HB 56 is to beat down the immigrants? spirit to the point that they are miserable enough to leave. And it?s working. After the law was passed in October, hundreds of immigrants fled in the night, yanking their kids out of school, leaving crops to rot on the vine, and shrinking Alabama?s economy, leading to an estimated billions of dollars in loss.
The sticking point for many Americans seems to be this. Isn?t it good that they?re leaving? Why should these so-called ?illegal? persons get the dignity of free education and access to healthcare?
Besides the fact that, in 1982, the Supreme Court found that all children living in the United States have the right to a public education, whatever their immigration status, let?s look at this from a human rights standpoint. If we are a country that proclaims to believe in certain unalienable human rights, shouldn?t we recognize that human beings aren?t only the people who?ve had the opportunity to come to this country legally? They?re also the ones who were so persecuted, hungry or otherwise unable to survive in their countries of origin, that they were forced to risk their lives to come here to eke out a living.
The right to education is also listed as a Human Right in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948.
How can we sit idly by while innocent children are forced to take part in a ?census? that serves to intimidate them and their parents? Why not put our efforts towards real immigration reform instead?
According to Douglas, it was HB 56?s insistence that churches not harbor or aid any immigrants?with items like rides to church or school supplies?that got the attention of African Americans. ?It really goes back, if you think about it, to the fugitive slaves acts of the 19th century. The only difference is then they punished you for trying to help somebody escape. Now they punish you for helping somebody stay here.?
But unlike slaves, you might be thinking, illegal immigrants are willfully breaking the law by coming here. To that I would say that when their choice is to come here illegally or watch their family starve, that?s not much of a choice at all. When we attempt to reduce illegal immigration to a simple, black and white, legal or illegal issue, those on the side of the law can develop the belief that undocumented immigrants are beneath human decency, and that?s a recipe for trouble.
What Scott Douglas and other immigrant advocates are trying to get you to see is that dehumanizing treatment of your fellow man isn?t okay just because they weren?t born here, no matter what the law currently says.
A revolution of thinking changed the way we are legally allowed to treat black people in this country. I?m confident that one day Americans will look back at the inhumane treatment of immigrant workers?the low wages, the health risks, the indefinite detentions that tear apart families?and wonder what their unenlightened ancestors were thinking.
?I tell young folks now, if you missed the 60?s, guess what? Now?s your time because now you can make the same kind of contribution that young people made in the 60?s,? Douglas says. ?That is to be out front in saying no to this system that will allow people to be treated like they?re worse than animals in being denied their human rights and all in the name of instilling fear in people.?
Perhaps people like Douglas are the only ones who can help legislators and voters see the parallels between the civil rights movement and the need for immigration reform in the United States. For that reason, I am grateful he is lending the cause his name.
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer. After all the words written and spoken about ?Wall Street? and the ?1%,? and the ties between those at the top with DC Insiders, the 2012 campaign season clearly shows that[...]
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Yes, they were selling whale meat products in Japan where it's allowed, but Amazon should have known this would be a PR disaster. At least they came around, eventually.
Amazon was accused of hypocrisy by the UK-based environmental investigation agency (EIA) after investigators found 147 whale products for sale on the site, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Seattle-based company. The products contravened the firm's policy of refusing to advertise unlicensed or illegal wildlife products, including endangered species. Some of the items came from whale species listed as endangered, according to Amazon.com's Unpalatable Profits, a report by the EIA and the Humane Society International.
In what one state Democrat has called “Robin Hood in reverse,” Kansas’ tax committee this week approved a bill that would cut taxes on the wealthiest Kansans to the tune of $1,500, while raising taxes on those residents making less that $25,000 per year. About half a million of the state’s poorest residents will see their taxes hiked under the plan:
A Kansas House tax committee passed a bill in which anyone making less than $25,000 a year ? roughly half a million of the state?s 2.9 million residents ? will pay an average of $72 more in taxes, while those making more than $250,000 ? about 21,000 people ? will see a $1,500 cut, according to Kansas Department of Revenue estimates cited by the Kansas City Star.
The hike would come from the elimination of tax credits typically benefitting the poor.
This plan was actually amended from an earlier one proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) that would have been even worse for low-income Kansans, raising their taxes by hundreds of dollars while cutting them by more than $16,000 for a millionaire. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Kansas’ tax system is already regressive, with the poorest 20 percent of Kansans paying more than 9 percent of their income in taxes, while the richest 1 percent pay less than 6 percent of their income.
Former Reagan economic adviser and supply-side guru Art Laffer has been consulting with Kansas lawmakers about the state’s tax overhaul. In fact, Laffer has been peddling bogus research in several states in an attempt to get them to make regressive tax cuts. And considering that Laffer openly brags about Reagan raising taxes on low-income Americans, perhaps its not surprising that Kansas’ plan does what it does.
The Constitution provides that acts of Congress ?shall be the supreme law of the land? which is why states do not have the power to ignore federal law. Nevertheless, five Georgia state senators — including Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R) and senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams (R) — apparently do not believe that the Constitution applies to them. All five lawmakers introduced a wildly unconstitutional plan to have Georgia and its citizens simply ignore laws that its conservative leadership doesn’t want to follow:
(1) There is created the Joint Commission on Recommendation, which shall be charged with recommending and proposing for a vote by a constitutional majority the nullification in its entirety of a specific federal law or regulation which is deemed to be outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government in the United States Constitution or at odds with the Georgia Constitution . . .
(4) Upon recommendation for nullification, the General Assembly may vote to nullify following such recommendation. The appropriate documentation reflecting the vote shall be documented in legislative journals of the House and Senate. In the event the General Assembly votes by a constitutional majority to nullify any federal statute, mandate, or executive order on the grounds of constitutionality, neither the state nor its citizens shall recognize or be obligated to live under such statute, mandate, or executive order.
The unconstitutional idea that a state can nullify federal laws nearly sparked a civil war when it was invoked by southern slave owners in the 1830s, and it was a backbone of the segregated south’s efforts to maintain Jim Crow. Beyond a few flare ups, however, is has nearly always existed on the margins of American constitutional radicalism. As James Madison warned, nullification would ?speedily put an end to the Union itself? by allowing federal laws to be freely ignored by states.
Nevertheless, it has experienced a bit of a renaissance after a pseudo-historian named Tom Woods published a book on the subject that is popular among certain segments of the Tea Party. Woods also published an article claiming that ?[t]he real watershed from which we can trace many of the destructive trends that continue to ravage our civilization today, was the defeat of the Confederate States of America in 1865.?
Sadly, Sens. Rogers and Williams are far from the only elected officials who do not recognize that the proto-Confederate idea of nullification cannot be squared with the Constitution. Texas recently passed an unconstitutional law nullifying a federal law regulating light bulbs and numerous states have passed equally unconstitutional nullificationist attacks on the Affordable Care Act.