Politics & Law

BGI Documents $5.7 Billion To Green Political Pressure Groups

WASHINGTON, DC (April 8, 2021) – The Institute for Energy Research (IER) released another update to its Big Green, Inc. (BGI) database adding documentation of $476 million in grants moving between innocuous-sounding foundations and powerful special interests in Washington DC. In total, BGI has documented $5.7 billion fueling today’s green lobbying and grassroots pressure groups. That figure only includes the giving history of seventeen major foundations and there are hundreds of foundations and organizations actively connected to the green movement.

This latest BGI update pulls from 2018 tax filings, only recently made available, revealing a disturbing trend among several foundations that the database tracks. Among the latest round of grants, $14.25 million flowed from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to the Energy Foundation and ultimately to an organization called Energy Foundation China, just as tensions between the U.S. and China are mounting.

  • The Energy Foundation received $21 million “for general operating support” from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as grants totaling $14.25 million for “Energy Foundation China,” and $1,065,000 in “additional grants.” Together, these grants amount to nearly half of the foundation’s $81,940,531 net assets at the end of 2018.
  • The Energy Foundation appears to receive money from organizations like the Hewlett Foundation and passes it through to Energy Foundation China so that it doesn’t show on Hewlett’s tax documents directly.
  • Energy Foundation China lists several other BGI organizations like the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the John. D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation among its key funders.

These donations coincide with a major shift in policy direction by the Biden Administration away from America’s newfound energy independence (built on traditional energy sources) towards wind, solar, and electric vehicles, all of which are primarily manufactured in China and require Chinese-controlled rare earth minerals. Numerous media outlets have highlighted the rush by the green lobby to push Congress to again extend the wind and solar tax credits for a 13th time, this time for 10 years. The wind and solar industries claim they are now the cheapest form of electricity generation in the U.S. and the fastest-growing, yet they appear to be unable to survive without assistance from U.S. taxpayers. There’s little doubt these tax credits would greatly benefit Chinese-owned or controlled companies.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was also a big beneficiary of BGI grants in 2018, receiving 11 grants totaling just shy of $4.7 million, including $500,000 for their own China energy program. This is on top of a pledge by Jeff Bezos to provide the NRDC with $100 million. Bezos has committed $791 million to 16 environmental organizations as a part of his widely publicized $10 billion Earth Fund, despite the fact that Amazon’s carbon footprint grew by 15 percent in 2020. Some have charged Bezos with trying to buy off the environmental community with their grants while doing very little in terms of active lobbying for climate regulations that would negatively impact their business.

Gina McCarthy, the former CEO of the NRDC turned Biden National Climate Advisor, is in a powerful position that circumvented Senate confirmation process. In this role, McCarthy is largely shielded from transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act and has direct access to the President.

Upon the release of today’s BGI database update, IER President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement:

“This latest update to the Big Green Inc. database is further evidence that the green left has more interest in protecting the interests of its funders and the global renewables industry than they do the environment. Thanks primarily to America’s shale revolution, America has become energy-independent and at the same time has been leading the developed world in greenhouse gas emissions reductions. And yet, the greens would prefer that we give up that newfound independence and instead rely on China for our future energy needs.

If Congress were serious about transparency and the influence of special interest money in politics, Big Green Inc. is the first place they should be looking, especially the connections between left-leaning foundations, the Biden White House, and China.”

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2020 was the year America realized energy independence for the first time in 62 years, producing more than we consumed. Thanks to the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, production in the oil and natural gas industry increased a combined 11 percent in 2019. Total U.S. energy production increased by 5.7 percent in 2019 while U.S. energy demand decreased by 0.9 percent. The United States produced 101.0 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of energy and consumed 100.2 quads last year. Natural resources accounted for 80 percent of both energy consumption and production in 2019.

About Big Green, Inc.

Big Green, Inc., a project of IER, catalogs the influence of the deep-pocketed left on energy policy in the United States. The online map enables users to navigate the various foundations that spend billions of dollars supporting aggressive climate litigation, the promotion of uneconomic renewable energy sources, and overburdening regulations. Their influence has helped foment the anti-market sentiment that dominates energy policy in the United States and has played a major role in limiting economic growth in recent years.

Three important takeaways from the information presented in Big Green, Inc.

  1. Environmental groups have crafted a narrative that depicts their efforts as a “David vs. Goliath” battle against those who would like to see U.S. energy policy move in a free-market direction. This narrative is false. Environmental groups outpace conservative and free-market groups both in terms of funding and organizational capacity.
  2. There is an overwhelming, well-coordinated and deeply funded sweeping influence of environmental activism, and information within this database provides insight into how groups target the gatekeeping institutions of our society. As the database illuminates, environmental funding has been directed toward policymakers, journalists, academic institutions, the offices of elected officials, government organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as international institutions such as the World Bank.
  3. This complicated system of financial transfers muddles efforts to reveal the sources of this funding, which has been linked to individuals who stand to benefit financially from the adoption of various environmental policies as well as foreign actors trying to influence energy policy within the U.S.

C. Bradley Thompson: “Common Good” Theory of Politics is a Fraud

Writing on his blog C. Bradley Thompson opines on the “common good,” channeling many of the same arguments used by philosopher Ayn Rand.

He reviews “six problems with common-good politics.”

First, all versions of the common-good school of thought assume, without proof, that there is one, absolute, universal, eternal, knowable “higher” or “common good” that should guide public policy despite the fact that there are innumerable and competing definitions of the “common good.”

[…]

Second, the very real practical problem with “common-good” politics becomes manifest when rival factions compete with one another for political power in order to impose their view of the “common good” on society as a whole.

[…]

Third, until recently, Left- and Right-wing proponents of the “common good” were reverse mirror images of each other. Liberals typically wanted social freedom and command-style economics, whereas conservatives typically wanted economic freedom and command-style morality.

[…]

Fourth, does anyone seriously believe that Harvard professors, the Vatican’s College of Cardinals, or Deep State bureaucrats actually know what is best for ordinary Americans better than ordinary Americans?

[…]

Fifth, virtually every tyrant throughout history has used the “common good” to justify acts of violence and oppression. Jacobinism, socialism, fascism, communism, and Nazism all claimed to serve the common good.

[…]

Sixth, common-good harpies of the Left and Right misunderstand what virtue and moral action are. They fail to understand that to be moral requires uncoerced, free choice. Coerced virtue is not virtue; it’s obedience.

Thompson adds:

In the end, the promises of the “common good” theory of politics is a fraud. This is because the idea of a “common” or “highest good” is an undefinable concept, particularly when governments attempt to define it, which is exactly what we’re talking about.

There is no such thing as a “common good” (at least as the concept is typically used by its Left- and Right-wing proponents), unless one is speaking of an ant colony or a bee hive. But man is neither ant nor bee. To the extent that the idea of a “common good” has any valid philosophic meaning, it can only be the sum of the interests or goods of all men and women in a particular society, and the primary “goods” common to all men are freedom, justice, safety, and the rule of law that protects them.

Read the whole article.

Hat Tip: @JWoiceshyn

 

 

Amazon Stands Up To The Fascist Senator Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren threatens to confiscate additional profits of the most successful companies by eliminating “loopholes.”

Warren threatens to break up companies that dare to question her.

 

Amazon calls out Warren’s fascism. After all, if a billion-dollar company cannot speak against Warren what chance does a lone individual have?

 

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Biden Administration Cancels Freedom of the Press on The U.S. Border

Getty photographer John Moore writing in WaPo, of how he was able to cover border control encounters with migrants under President Donald Trump, but not so under Biden.

Writes Moore:

For the past four presidential administrations, I have accompanied U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and photographed their encounters with migrants as they enforced immigration policy. No longer. Last week, when I documented migrant detentions in El Paso, I had to do so from the Mexican side of the border, taking long-range shots. Until now, journalists haven’t had to stand in another country to cover what is happening in the United States.

Most asylum seekers cross the Rio Grande into South Texas on land controlled by federal agents. For decades, the U.S. government has let journalists accompany Border Patrol agents and other officials as they surveil the land. But since the change in administration, those agents have been physically blocking journalists from the riverbank. For example, after being turned down for official access on a trip in February, I followed a Border Patrol transport bus in my own vehicle to where agents were detaining migrants. They stopped me before I got close enough to take pictures. They called a supervisor, and ordered me to leave immediately.

We have gone from the Trump-era “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrants to a Biden-era “zero access” policy for journalists covering immigration. This development is unprecedented in modern history. (While the Trump administration reduced access somewhat when the pandemic began, for defensible reasons of safety, the Biden administration has gone much further and eliminated it altogether.) [“I’m a photojournalist. Why is the administration banning me from border facilities?“]

This begs the question: what is the Biden Administration have to hide?

Abigail Shrier: Equality Act is Based on ‘Misogyny In Progressive Clothing’

Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, argues that the so-called “Equality Act” is nothing of the sort:

“Members of the Committee, if your daughter or granddaughter was the top high school tennis player in her state, and then five biological boys suddenly decided, at the age of 17, to identify as female — should she drop overnight to number 6? Should she lose her college scholarship to a male-bodied athlete who would never have qualified on the boys’ team? Does that strike any member of this Committee as fair or just?”

“If a woman in your state commits a crime, should she be put in a correctional facility with biological males, some of whom are sex offenders? Some of whom may have only begun identifying as female weeks earlier? All of whom could easily overpower her.”

“The plain truth is that it is not sensible, not safe, and certainly not just, to end these hard-won protections for women and girls in the name of equality.”

[…]

“Most would never think of stealing women’s scholarships by forcing young women into demoralizing contests with male bodies. But Gender Ideology, which is at the heart of this bill, is misogyny in progressive clothing. Gender Ideology tells women and girls they are not entitled to their fear or their sense of unfairness as their protective spaces are eliminated.”

[…]

“If you vote to take away those rights, don’t pretend you’ve achieved a civil rights victory. In the name of inclusivity, you’ll have made life far less safe, far less fair, and far less inclusive for America’s women and girls.”

Related: Abigal Shrier: Biden Rule and Boys (Who ‘Identify as Female’) On Girl’s Sports Teams

Salsman: Keynesianism is Potterism

Writes economist Richard Salsman over at the IFI blog:

To understand this, think: “Harry Potter’s wands.” That is the essence of Keynesian mythology, the basic idea, the notion, nostrum, fantasy, and fable – “the narrative” (today’s euphemism for fakery). Politicians now are mere vessels, spokesmen for the almighty People; they “speak their truth” and reveal their internalized, private fictions, untethered to reality. Keynesianism is Potterism. As quackery, it doesn’t bother to “follow the science” (of economics). It was mostly rejected during the neo-liberal supply-side revolution of the 1980s-1990s, but has since risen from its too-shallow grave, to stalk and block prosperity. Keynesian policy is always the policy of choice for statists – those who oppose choice (economic liberty) per se.

In 1936 Keynes the Quack wrote an influential book that later was crudely imported into a widely adopted college textbook written by MIT’s Paul Samuelson (Economics, in fourteen editions between 1948 and 1992). For nearly half a century, all over the world, millions of professors, pupils, politicians, preachers, and policymakers were fed Keynesian absurdities, including these:

“Pyramid-building, earthquakes, even wars may serve to increase wealth, if the education of our statesmen on the principles of the classical [free-market] economics stands in the way of anything better.” “If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again, there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing.”(John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936)

Perhaps I’m being unfair, quoting a non-serious passage from a stupid work many decades old, which no serious economist today would dare take seriously (let alone invoke as grounds for contemporary policy). But in April 2009, at the end of the U.S. recession which began in late 2007, Princeton professor Paul Krugman wrote “Time for Bottles in a Coal Mine,” for his New York Times column. Citing Keynes’s 1936 passage (above), Krugman extolled a “stimulus” scheme even as the economy was recovering (and presumably didn’t need the “help” of more fake money). In 2012, when it should have obvious that the U.S. economy was out of recession and expanding nicely, Krugman published End This Depression Now! He was more delusional than usual, mad with anger that vastly more “stimulus” had not been forthcoming from his hero Obama; by 2012 Krugman convinced himself that the 2007-09 recession had worsened. This is the quack who got the Nobel prize in 2008. [“Yet Another Anti-Stimulus Scheme“]

 

 

 

Steve Simpson: Ending CDC Eviction Ban Victory For Rule of Law

From Pacific Legal Foundation:

  • Congress did not authorize the CDC to ban evictions, and the Constitution’s separation of powers does not allow the CDC to make law.
  • Government cannot foist the economic burdens of the pandemic on a single group, landlords who solve the very problem that the government is concerned about: providing housing so that people can socially distance.

A federal judge ruled today that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority in issuing a nationwide eviction ban. The ruling is a victory for a group of Ohio landlords and the National Association of Home Builders, who challenged the moratorium in October.

Today’s decision in Skyworks v. Centers for Disease Control allows evictions to resume, restoring the landlords’ rights to remove tenants who don’t honor their lease obligation to pay rent.

“This is a victory for the rule of law,” said Steve Simpson, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the landlords. “This decision makes clear that federal agencies can’t exercise power Congress has not given them. Now our clients no longer have to provide housing for free.”

Judge Philip Calabrese’s declaratory judgment held that the CDC lacks the statutory authority to promulgate the eviction ban, writing,

“Without question, effective pandemic response depends on the judgment of reliable science—not political science. But that obvious truism does not empower agencies or their officials to exceed the mandate Congress gives them.”

“If the Capitol Riot was ‘Domestic Terrorism’, Why Wasn’t the BLM Attack on the White House?”

That’s the simple question asked by Daniel Greenfield at FrontPage:

If the Capitol Riot was domestic terrorism, then when Black Lives Matter besieged the White House, set fire to its gatehouse and to the Church of Presidents, why wasn’t that domestic terrorism? There’s no coherent answer, except perhaps Merrick Garland’s answer that it happened at night”

“But the White House is always the center of government. President Trump and his family had to be rushed to the bunker when BLM attacked. Why doesn’t that fit Wray and Garland’s definition of domestic terrorism?”

And the answer is…

 

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo Deserves Emmy But Not Governorship

Writes Henry Olsen in an opinion column in the Washington Post on Andrew Cuomo’s reign as governor of New York:

“Cuomo, a Democrat, did not incite an insurrection, but his decision to send hospitalized covid-positive seniors back to their nursing homes and assisted-living facilities likely led to the deaths of thousands of people. More than 9,000 people who had tested positive for the coronavirus were sent back to these facilities under Cuomo’s orders. Given what was known even in the early days of the pandemic about covid-19’s transmissibility and the lethal threat it posed to the aged, this was a horrific decision. The state has said that more than 8,600 people died from the virus in nursing homes, many surely infected because of Cuomo’s order. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a report last month that the true total is thousands higher. That alone should be grounds for his removal from office.”

“But it gets worse. The New York Post reported on Thursday that a top aide for the governor, Melissa DeRosa, said while speaking to a group of New York Democratic lawmakers that the Cuomo administration rebuffed earlier requests from the Justice Department and state legislature for updated figures for deaths in nursing homes because of fear of a potential federal investigation. If true, the Cuomo administration authorized a coverup of his activities to avoid potential political, and even legal, exposure.”

Volokh: Not Parler’s Job To Block Bad People and Police Viewpoints

Eugene Volokh on why it’s not Parler’s job to block bad people and police viewpoints :

“Some people complain that Parler doesn’t do enough to block bad people who use their service, whether to spread falsehoods or evil ideas or plans for criminal conduct. But I’m skeptical that this should be Parler’s job.

“The post office doesn’t stop mailings by print magazine publishers because their magazines contain evil ideas or fake news. (They do investigate some mail frauds, but that’s a fairly narrow category, and in any event they do this using governmental law enforcement procedures.)

“Telephone companies (landline or cellular) don’t cancel the KKK’s phone number, or shut down phone service or text messaging service to people whom someone accuses of planning riots. And that’s not just a matter of privacy: They don’t do this even when the contents of the magazine are well known, or the KKK publicly announces that some phone number is its recruitment line. I think on balance we’re better off when the post office and phone companies aren’t policing the viewpoints or factual assertions their customers express.

“Now the post office is generally under a First Amendment obligation not to restrict our mailings (unless our speech has been found to be constitutionally unprotected, generally in some governmental proceeding). Telephone companies are likewise common carriers, who generally are legally barred from canceling service because they don’t like what their customers are saying. Parler does have the legal right to police the content of speech that uses their services, just as Twitter has that right.

“But I don’t think it has a moral obligation to do so (just as I don’t think Google has a moral obligation to cut off Gmail accounts of people who send messages to friends that someone reports as “misleading” or “defaming,” which technically violates Google Terms of Service, or Microsoft has a moral obligation to cut off Outlook accounts of people who “communicat[e] hate speech” or “advocat[e] violence against others”). I think it can reasonably choose to generally leave most content judgments to their users, and enforcement of most laws to law enforcement—just as the legal system has chosen to impose that approach on the post office and phone companies.” [Why I’m Happy That We’re on Parler” at Reason’s The Volokh Conspiracy]

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