In a previous article I documented how liberal billionaires deceive liberal voters about policies to address global warming, so as to support only policies that will fail; but in this article, I address how conservative billionaires deceive conservative voters to believe either that global warming doesn’t exist or that if it does it’s not largely a result of the burning of fossil fuels by humans. So: the present article is addressed to conservatives and will expose how conservative billionaires fund the deception of those voters.
I should first make clear that there are some issues on which both liberals and conservatives agree, and those are in some ways even more pernicious. For example: both liberal billionaires and conservative billionaires are neoconservatives, and in 2002 and 2003 were funding media that stenographically reported to the American people the lies that ‘justified’ America’s 20 March 2003 invasion and destruction of Iraq (a country that had never threatened nor posed any danger to the American people): not a single billionaire was funding any media to expose the lies. Republican billionaires didn’t, and Democratic billionaires didn’t. That invasion, which should have caused all Americans to repudiate both of America’s political Parties and to start demanding democracy in America, did no such thing — not even when all of Bush’s “WMD in Iraq” statements came to be recognized to have been lies.
So: how are Republican billionaires and their donations funding the propaganda that alleges global warming to be either a hoax or not a result of fossil-fuels burning?
On May 31st, Real Clear Energy headlined “Narratives for Sale: The Deep-Pocketed Donors Buying Media to Attack American Energy Have Troubling Ties to Russian Interests”, and Daniel Turner wrote:
The destructive leak of US intelligence documents once again highlights the extent Russia is placing informational warfare front and center in its approach to conflicts of the 21st century. And with questions continuing to circulate about financial ties between Russian interests and many radical green organizations in the US, it’s worth scrutinizing how these groups are adapting their tactics to influence media coverage in an age of unaffordable gas prices and frustration with President Biden’s failed energy policies.
Radical green groups are scooping up reporters to become full-time propagandists for their cause, using their connections and credentials to legitimize false attacks and undermine American energy production. The Associated Press announced a “donation” to fund the salaries of 20 journalists who would push climate change stories. As many media organizations are forced to shed staff, they are cleverly filling the void with misinformation that’s being presented as unbiased journalism in mainstream outlets.
Take the example of the group Floodlight, which advertises itself as a “nonprofit newsroom that investigates the powerful interests stalling climate action” and employs a sizable team of “journalists.” Despite openly touting a biased and one-sided agenda, its work attacking American energy companies is published as news articles — not opinion — in publications like The Guardian, The Texas Tribune, NPR, and the Los Angeles Times. The disclosed donors all share Floodlight’s radical mission of “stopping oil and gas at the source” across the US.
The deeper you dig into Floodlight’s funding, the more troubling patterns emerge. In recent years, filings with Bermuda’s registrar of companies revealed that Klein Ltd, a company “run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle,” funneled $23 million to the Sea Change Foundation. At the time, the massive gift to this radical green group that provides grants to “nonprofit organizations focused on climate change” was the company’s “only publicly documented” activity. This bombshell revelation has been the subject of numerous calls for investigation by leading members of Congress.
It doesn’t require much investigation to reveal Floodlight’s close ties to the Sea Change Foundation. One of Floodlight’s most significant donors, the Tides Foundation, has received at least $4 million from the Sea Change foundation. Another major supporter of Floodlight, the Heising-Simons Foundation, is run by Liz Simon — the sister of Nathaniel Simons who founded and runs the Sea Change foundation. The Sea Change foundation has also contributed an eye-popping $125 million to the Energy Foundation, which in turn has given at least $8 million to Floodlight donors. Given these established ties, Floodlight’s repeated attacks on American LNG companies that are posed to replace Russian supply in Europe will inevitably raise eyebrows.
Daniel Turner was for two years the Director of Strategic Communication at the Charles Koch Institute. The libertarian propagandist billionaire, Charles Koch, is the single biggest American investor in the Athabasca Canada tar sands, which is the costliest-to-extract and refine source of oil in North America, and he was the biggest funder of politicians who favored a U.S. Government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have made those tar sands profitable. Koch, via his foundations, has also been the biggest donor and bundler organizing other U.S. billionaires to donate to the Republican Party. For example, on 5 January 2014, the Washington Post bannered “Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012” and almost all of that secret money went to Republicans.
In May 2015, a report was published “Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb: The Case for Keeping the Koch Brothers’ Tar Sands Assets in the Ground”. It presented libertarianism as being the gospel of greed. For such a philosophy to be admired by anyone who isn’t on the receiving end of greed suggests that the person must be a fool. Curiously, Daniel Turner’s Real Clear Energy article is trying to convince its readers that Vladimir Putin and Russia — a major oil-producing nation — are trying to deceive Americans to switch AWAY from oil (including Charles Koch’s oil). However, if the world were to switch away from oil, then that would be a bigger loss to Russia’s economy than to America’s. It would make no sense for Russia to do that. The underlying argument that Turner is making is dubious at best, but isn’t even clear. And how is it “Real Clear Energy”?
Real Clear Energy is a front for conservative billionaires, very much including (if not mainly) Charles Koch. That Daniel Turner report has also been presented in different forms at other Republican Party billionaires’ sites. For example, a front that calls itself “Big Green Radicals” issued a report, “FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE? Examining Links Between US Environmental Funder and the Kremlin”. “Big Green Radicals” is just a front for Richard “Rick” Berman, who hires himself out to tobacco companies, oil companies, etc., against all sorts of left-of-center organizations such as labor unions and animal-rights organizations. Here is how he presented himself to one Republican group:
“People always ask me one question all the time: ‘How do I know that I won’t be found out as a supporter of what you’re doing?’” Mr. Berman told the crowd. “We run all of this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors. There is total anonymity. People don’t know who supports us.”
CBS News reported about him, “Rick Berman takes a certain pride, even joy, in the nickname ‘Dr. Evil.’ But the people who use it see nothing funny about it — they mean it.” And he described himself there by stating the unadulterated libertarian philosophy, which damns all regulations by government, especially regulations that restrict megacorporations. Furthermore, he believes that every billionaire has a right to keep everything secret, especially including their payments to shills such as himself. To him, it’s simply their right to privacy. The “liberty” in libertarianism is billionaires’ liberty to do everything that they can get away with doing. This includes deceiving the public.