It’s almost funny to watch. The radical left “Progressives” see our victories over their well-orchestrated plans to restructure America via Agenda 21 and Global Warming legislation, and they just can’t understand how it’s happening. Their only theory is that there must be some massive source of secret money driving us. We couldn’t possibly be a true grassroots movement, doing this on our own.
So, the Progressives are using all of their impressive resources in government, the news media, and the Internet to publish articles and plant their attempts to ridicule, cast doubt, and spread their own creative conspiracy theories about our unexplained successes.
Here are just a very few samples. The New York Times launched a front-page, Sunday edition attack entitled “Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing UN Plot.” Mother Jones magazine offered its version of the anti-Agenda 21 battle with this headline: “We don’t need none of that Smart-growth Communism.” Then came The Atlantic magazine’s offering under the title of “Is the UN Using Bike Paths to Achieve World Domination?” And then The Atlantic Cities publication decried “How the Tea Party is Upending Urban Planning.” And that, of course, is the center of the matter. Anti-Agenda 21 activists are scoring victories in community after community, seriously curtailing or even stopping the “urban planning” that has damaged citizen’s rights to use their own bought-and-paid-for private property. How outrageous.
In addition to the articles in main stream media, they have dedicated whole websites and blogs to the task of “exposing” the leaders of this unexplained movement, digging deep to find our hidden funding, and searching for “suspicious” links to others guilty of the “conspiracy.” The witch hunt is searching for the roots of Hillary Clinton’s proclaimed “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.”
The websites and blogs include Wing Nut Watch, through which they breathlessly alert readers to the latest right-wing threat; Desmogblog.com, which declares its purpose to “Clearing the PR Pollution That Clouds Climate Science”; meaning, of course, that anyone who questions the “science” of global-warming theories is nothing more than a public relations huckster bought and paid for by evil big oil.
Exxon Secrets and Greenpeace
Along those same lines is Exxonsecrets.org, created by Greenpeace. The site claims that most of the vast right-wing conspiracy is funded by Exxon. Which, so the theory goes, is the reason why the poor Greens just can’t get any respect or traction for their dire warnings that Global Warming is about to destroy the Earth. And so, they claim, as the Earthen pot boils, Exxon funds the “deniers” so it can continue to make obscene profits.
According to the site, Exxon is supposed to have accomplished this feat by funneling $22,123,436 to more than 100 groups since 1998. That would average out to about 1,474, 895 per year, meaning each group would receive about $14,700 per year. Now the real mystery is how that tiny amount could influence anything. But the site presses on, including an elaborate mapping system designed like a spider web to show the direct ties between all of the right-wing groups, their leaders, their funding and their ties to Exxon. Amazing stuff. Even more amazing is how utterly inaccurate are the charges from such sources.
Lazy Reporters and Inaccurate Claims
Yet, the real danger in such postings is that lazy, uneducated reporters use such websites and blogs as sources for stories. For example, the Washington Post used Desmogblog.com as a source for an attack on the Heartland Institute. Heartland is one of the leading organizations attempting to bring balance and scientific accuracy into the global-warming debate. It has sponsored several international conferences featuring scientists who have dared to disagree with the Chicken Little scare tactics making the Institute the alarmist’s favorite target.
The Post claimed that Heartland received more than $7.3 million from Exxon Mobil between 1998 and 2010, and nearly $14.4 million between 1986 and 2010 from foundations affiliated with Charles and David Koch. In fact, during that time period, Heartland received only $700,000 from Exxon Mobil (not $7.3 million as the Post claimed). Worse, the Institute received only $25,000 from the Kochs, and that wasn’t for the global-warming issue, but for work concerning healthcare issues.
Greenpeace has charged that Exxon Mobil was funding respected scientist Dr. Willie Soon. He is a research scientist who earned notoriety by exposing the fallacies of Michael Mann’s so-called “Hockey Stick” graph of warming temperatures in 2003. Dr. Soon also wrote that polar bears were not threatened by a decline in Arctic sea ice in 2007. Recently Greenpeace was forced to admit that Exxon Mobil was not financing Dr. Soon. Nor was Exxon Mobil sending checks to such global-warming truth warriors as the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and the Frontiers of Freedom. Yet all are listed on Exxonsecrets.org as receiving such funding. As Joe Bast of Heartland Institute puts it, such false reports are designed to “add to the false narrative that the only persons and organizations that question the dogma of man-made global warming are shills for the oil industry.”
Only Paid Shills Would Support Global-warming Denials
Of course, my favorite use of such misinformation concerning the funding of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy deals with the funding of my American Policy Center. On more than one occasion, as I appear on radio interviews to discuss the issue of global warming or Sustainable Development, the host charges that I am a paid shill of Exxon Mobil. They try to make the claim that it’s the only reason I could possibly take such a position. Such charges have also appeared in several letters to the editor in newspapers in cities where I was invited to speak and in opinion articles all over the Internet.
Most recently the charge was made by the mayor of Whitney Point, New York, David Downs. When anti-Agenda 21 activists presented American Policy Center materials as part of their presentation, the mayor answered by saying, “I am aware that the American Policy Center is funded by super-rich individuals (like the Kochs) and large corporations with vested interests (like Exxon).” And the mayor went on about me, saying, “Tom Deweese (sic) has had fundraising schemes going back many years. He is a very experienced and highly skilled PR man. It is even likely that he believes much of this stuff that he is being paid to promote.”
Now, where did a mayor, who has never met me, never spoken to me, get such ideas? Obviously it wasn’t first-hand knowledge. Here’s one clue. In an article appearing on www.treehugger.com, entitled “Exposing the Influence Behind the Anti- Agenda 21 Anti-Sustainability Agenda,” author Lloyd Alter did his best to paint me as “the loudest mouthpiece of the anti-Agenda 21 crowd.” He believes (as he quotes Robin Rather of something called Collective Strength) that the only way such an “innocuous 20 year old document” has become such a nationwide battle is because “the Agenda 21 phenomenon is highly manufactured.” Says Rather, “It’s not out there in the mainstream.” “Yet, the scale of the Agenda 21 campaign is enormous. Who is manufacturing it?” asks Rather.
Alter builds on his conspiracy theory, saying, “Usually when you listen to complaints of Tea Party members, they are different inflections, a much wider variation. But this isn’t organic and local, the same talking points come up everywhere. They are being played and used. The whole campaign serves no interest to anyone who isn’t trying to ensure that we keep burning as much fossil fuel as we can for as long as possible.”
There it is again. The only possible explanation they are able to consider is that Big Oil is funding such a conspiracy in order to stuff their pockets with big bucks. Of course they would believe that, because that’s exactly how the Left operates in most cases. There is very little leftist grassroots movement. They usually find a big funder to create the image of citizen involvement, such as the bogus Occupy Wall Street movement.
So who is driving the Anti-Agenda 21 bandwagon, according to Alter? The John Birch Society and Tom DeWeese!
And how am I and the American Policy Center funded? Well, since he can’t find any direct link between me and Big Oil (because there isn’t any) he goes into great detail about the connections that members of the APC board of directors have with other groups. My directors, including Dr. Bonner Cohen and John Meredith, each have dealings with other groups, like CFACT and the National Center for Public Policy Research. Hey, I don’t have the money to pay these guys, so they have to work with other groups which can. And where did Alter get these links? Exxon Secrets, of course.
Alter also goes into great detail about how Dr. Cohen and I once published a newsletter called “EPA Watch.” And for two years in 1993 and 1994, we did receive two grants from the Phillip Morris company ($50,000 each). Those were the last and only grants ever received by APC for any reason. And just to note, EPA Watch was positively received by many members of Congress who were greatly relieved to finally have information to counter Green lies on environmental issues. Until then it had all been a very one-sided argument. APC and EPA Watch began to change that and have continued that effort for the past 25 years.
Tom DeWeese Is Everywhere!
Alter digs even deeper to tie me to the Koch Brother’s “evil” coal money. It seems that on a few occasions I was paid to speak at anti-Agenda 21 meetings by Americans for Prosperity — a group that receives funds from the Kochs. Says Alter, “AFP branches from Kansas to Oregon appear to have Tom Deweese (I wish he could at least spell my name right) consistently on the rubber chicken circuit, he is everywhere.” That makes it sound like I covered a vast part of the nation on AFP’s behalf. No, it was just Kansas and Oregon, period. And so, the conspiracy grows. The fact that I have no other ties to AFP other than making a couple of speeches isn’t noted. Guilt by association is the crime.
For the record, the American Policy Center has never received a dime from Exxon Mobil, the Koch Brothers, or any other major (or minor) corporation (except from Phillip Morris 19 years ago). However, after being accused time and time again for being a paid shill for Big Oil, I did write a letter in 2009 to the Chairman of the Board of Exxon Mobil and told them I was taking their heat — so where was my check? I never received a reply. That’s funny treatment, don’t you think, for one so important in the vast anti-green propaganda battle! In truth, APC has approximately 25,000 individual donors who give an average, occasional contribution of $25. We live and operate on a shoe string.
However, here is the real tactic that’s being played against us: Alter’s last few paragraphs let the real conspiracy out of the bag. He points to the Green’s successful efforts to stop California’s Proposition 23, which would have cut back on over-reaching air pollution controls that were strangling the state’s economy. The Greens used a common tactic — that big corporations were funding the Prop 23 effort. So, says Alter, “to counter efforts against Agenda 21, the same tactics need to be employed.” “Big Oil is paying...” “The Kochs are promoting it like mad...” Alter sums it up by saying, “And that is how we have to paint them: not concerned citizens worried about the United Nations, but representatives of big oil out to preserve their turf.”
Like scared little children hiding under their blankets with a flashlight, telling each other ghost stories, they frighten each other with tales of the boogie man — Tom DeWeese — who is coming to destroy their well-laid plans. Like I said, it’s pretty funny to watch.
Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence. Go to americanpolicy.org for more information.