People get rich off the Big Green climate change agenda. Universities rely on government funding to continue research on the matter. Major corporations have also bought into the agenda, more likely because forcing regulations to comply with the Big Green agenda will force smaller competitors out of business. Is it any surprise, then, that major Big Green proponents like U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D, Rhode Island) now want to prosecute individuals who challenge climate change?
How do climate change alarmists plan on forcing their views on their not-so like-minded colleagues and by extension intimidate the general public to accept their views? Whitehouse, a former federal prosecutor then Rhode Island Attorney General, laid out his plans in a recent Washington Post Op-Ed:
Fossil fuel companies and their allies are funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution.
Their activities are often compared to those of Big Tobacco denying the health dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco’s denial scheme was ultimately found by a federal judge to have amounted to a racketeering enterprise.
It’s a stretch, to say the least, to compare Big Tobacco to the oil companies that dispute climate change as a serious threat to life as we know it and humanity in general. No one would argue otherwise that carbon monoxide, including cigarette smoke, is bad for the environment, and more importantly our lungs. But human beings breathe out carbon dioxide daily, and the trees breathe it in. Whitehouse has already failed to make a logical case for prosecution based on arguments of deception from Big Oil.
Thankfully, the government had a playbook, too: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies and their associated industry groups, alleging that the companies “engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO.”
I learned about RICO in an introductory criminal law class at University of California, Irvine. Then I heard it referenced in the Drug War gangster thriller Scarface, starring Al Pacino as Cuban drug lord Tony Montana. While Montana was laundering his latest haul of illicit funds, undercover cops pulled their guns on him then indicted him for violating the RICO.
Does Whitehouse really think that reasonable minds who dispute climate alarmism belong in a jail cell — that we are one step below drug lords and lying cigarette company executives? “Say hello to my little friend”? Whitehouse supporters might claim he’s targeting the corporations, not We the People. So there is nothing for us to fear, right? Wrong. Professor Judith Curry of Georgia Tech wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News:
One group of climate scientists is trying a different approach. Dismayed by what they see as a lack of progress on the implementation of climate policies that they support, these 20 scientists sent a letter to the White House calling for their political opponents to be investigated by the government.
In particular, they are voicing their support of a proposal by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) for a RICO investigation of fossil fuel corporations and their supporters, who the scientists allege have deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, with the consequence of forestalling America’s response to reducing carbon emissions.
Wow! What has happened to freedom of inquiry? Speech? Thought?
The same scientists who have pushed for rigorous, even draconian restrictions on carbon use, whether in our cars or our homes, have begun pressing upon President Obama to implement criminal sanctions not just against corporate interests skeptical of the climate change agenda, but even the political opponents of the agenda.
At this point, Whitehouse probably recognizes the need to rely on criminal sanctions, since his party lost the U.S. Senate majority last year, and any push for onerous regulations on carbon have met with frustration or ridicule. Even newly installed Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado, a champion for renewable energy, is nowhere near the inquisitorial fanatic on Big Green that the more progressive liberal Democrats have become.
Curry documents how individual scientists like herself have endured “McCarthyite” attacks because of their opposition to Big Government solutions to combat the natural patterns of warmth and cooling trends:
Seven other climate scientists were the targets of a recent McCarthyite ‘witch hunt’ by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.). I was one of the seven. Rep. Grijalva indicated that I was investigated because of my recent Congressional testimony summarizing peer-reviewed research indicating that the magnitude and impacts of expected warming could be less than generally believed.
Big Green’s political proponents now treat climate change skeptics like the Red Menace of fifty years ago. Have they instigated FBI sting operations onto college campuses and university lecture halls, too? These developments would be funny if the consequences were not so detrimental, and the assault on our freedoms and liberal democracy not so clear and present.
U.S. Senator Whitehouse represents a state in the poor house, with people fleeing its high taxes and regulations and rampant cronyism and corruption. Instead of targeting citizens and corporations for views on climate change, he should file RICO charges against the 38 Studios masterminds and the frauds behind Providence’s looming bankruptcy.
As often occurs, bad men will look for innocuous targets to say: “There’s the bad guy.” We should never underestimate the greed of political manipulators like Whitehouse and his climate change cronies, either. Or maybe we can take another line from Montana and start hiring our own lawyers, then tell off Whitehouse and Co. with:
You wanna waste my time? Okay. I call my lawyer. He’s the best lawyer in Miami. He’s such a good lawyer, that by tomorrow morning, you gonna be working in Alaska. So dress warm.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries and on Twitter.