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Why we should all mourn Lisa Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) conceded her primary race Tuesday night. And despite the crowing from the enviro left and the climate-skeptic right, this is bad news.

Covering energy issues, I've often disagreed with Murkowski and her staff, particularly on whether the Environmental Protection Agency should have the authority to regulate carbon emissions. But she is one of the last few Republicans in Congress who favors addressing climate change robustly. She has even -- in her tortured, elected-from-a-deep-red-state way -- favored putting a price on carbon emissions, a rational policy that the rest of her party has demagogued to death with dishonest implications about how much it would cost Americans.

As enviros will point out, her more responsible approach did not translate into support for the climate legislation that the Democrats aimed to pass in the Senate earlier this year. She had some substantive objections, and she was in a tough position knowing that almost none of her GOP colleagues would have backed her up if she voted for the bill. But if she remained in the Senate, she may have found a way to support carbon curbs in the future.

And even if her presence in the Senate wouldn’t have resulted in a yea vote on comprehensive climate legislation, at least she wouldn’t have contributed to the rank know-nothingism on climate change that her victorious opponent embraces. The unrepentant disregard for evidence and reasonable argument among the Tea Party types winning these GOP primary races will make Congress even more rhetorically hostile to acting responsibly.

Next year could be very depressing for those concerned about the risks of climate change. What Joe Miller, Sharron Angle and other resolute climate-change skeptics running this year don’t seem to appreciate is that, sure, scientists struggling to understand a complex, multivariate system should cultivate a healthy sense of humility. But you need only think that the likelihood that scientists are correct is high enough to warrant concern. And it very clearly is. In fact, many skeptics are the immodest ones in their declarations about reality, given the risks involved; those who favor doing little or nothing betray a dangerous overconfidence, since the consequences if they are wrong could be devastating, and the odds don’t appear to be in their favor. I think Lisa Murkowski understood this.

By Stephen Stromberg  | September 1, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Next: Can we ban the word 'shed' from jobs reports, already?


The climate debate needs more people who say they understand the problem but refuse to do anything about it? It wasn't deniers like Jim Inhofe & Mitch McConnell who killed the climate bill -- it was people like Jim Webb & Lisa Murkowski who understand the problem & still ducked the tough vote. Now we're supposed to feel bad for her?

Posted by: TheGreenMiles | September 1, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

First, let me point out to your readers the article's use of "know-nothingism." The Know-Nothings were a nativist movement in the 1840s and 1850s. By using that term the writer identifies those who question prevalent theories of global warming with racism, religious bigotry, etc. This sort of subtext to most Post blogs (that those who are not ultra-Leftist are racists, bigots, etc. motivated by hatred and not by rational disagreement) is offensive. The Post blogs reflects that jourolist consensus that middle America are "F**king NASCAR retards."

Second, the article confirms the thrust of the later anti-Murkowski ads. Sen. Murkowsi was sympathetic to much of the Democratic agenda. This was a legitimate point to raise in a Republican primary, and a legitimate reason for Republicans to vote against her.

Posted by: dante99654 | September 1, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"But if she remained in the Senate, she may have found a way to support carbon curbs in the future".
More proof of how critical it is to vote out RINOs like Murkowsi.
Great job, Tea Party and Sarah Palin!
Joe Miller will make a great US Senator.

Posted by: bobdame | September 1, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Stromberg wrote: "But she is one of the last few Republicans in Congress who favors addressing climate change robustly."
And you wonder why she lost in the primaries?

Then Stromberg wrote: "She ... favored putting a price on carbon emissions, a rational policy that the rest of her party has demagogued to death with dishonest implications about how much it would cost Americans.
Dishonest implications? Please explain how imposing ascross the board carbon emissions will not have a negative impact on our businesses and the American economy.

Whenever a liberal can't refute an issue, as Stromberg shows us in this example, his or her only recourse is to spout out their opinions with an air of authority in a attempt to spin their opinion into fact like straw into gold.

Sorry hoss, it didn't work. Time to go back to the drawing board and try again.

Posted by: bryanmcoleman | September 1, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse


Wed, September 1, 2010 11:22:15 AMKoch's is funding the Tea Party Express and Joe Miller win.


There is also mounting evidence that Palin’s bread-and-butter, Fox News, has a cozy relationship with Koch money.
This election, Alaska candidate for US Senate Joe Miller is being endorsed and pushed heavily by Sarah Palin. He is also receiving an amazing amount of support on a national level by appearing multiple times on Fox News and receiving most of his financial backing from an organization called the Tea Party Express. According to the campaign finance reports at the Federal Election Commission website, the Tea Party Express (Our Country Deserves Better PAC) as of August 23 has spent a TOTAL of $560,175.98 on Joe Miller’s campaign.

Over half-a-million bucks on an unknown Senate candidate from Alaska…and interestingly enough, HE MAY BE THE ONLY CANDIDATE THEY ARE FUNDING!

In August 2009, it was reported in Talking Points Memo and the Washington Times that “Americans for Prosperity” helped launch the Tea Party Express’s trip across America with further assistance from FreedomWorks (Dick Armey’s organization that was formed from the split of Koch group, Citizens for a Sound Economy). Most Tea Party Express events are put on in collusion with what they call the “American Grassroots Coalition.” These include Koch Industry founded and/or funded organizations.

Even without the funding ties, this attempt at a coup in Alaska’s Senate race is the modus operendi for organizations run/funded by Charles and David Koch. Per The New Yorker article:

By 1993, when Bill Clinton became President, Citizens for a Sound Economy had become a prototype for the kind of corporate-backed opposition campaigns that have proliferated during the Obama era. The group waged a successful assault on Clinton’s proposed B.T.U. tax on energy, for instance, running advertisements, staging media events, and targeting opponents. And it mobilized anti-tax rallies outside the Capitol—rallies that NPR described as “designed to strike fear into the hearts of wavering Democrats.” Dan Glickman, a former Democratic congressman from Wichita, who supported the B.T.U. tax, recalled, “I’d been in Congress eighteen years. The Kochs actually engaged against me and funded my opponent. They used a lot of resources and effort—their employees, too.” Glickman suffered a surprise defeat. “I can’t prove it, but I think I was probably their victim,” he said.

I took a look at Joe Miller’s latest campaign disclosure. Of the over $283,000 he has raised, $103,000 came out of his own pocket, $5,000 came from SarahPAC, and $174,000 came from individual contributions both inside and outside Alaska. However, this is dwarfed by the over $560,000 used towards Miller’s campaign by the completely-outside-and-corporately-influenc

Posted by: gallagher591 | September 1, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

So, Lisa Murkowski should be "mourned" for not having enough conviction to vote her conscience over her party? I think not!

The best result of the Alaska Senate race would be to elect the Democrat, a true Alaskan, with the needs of the Alaska population foremost in mind.

I live in a GOP gerry-mandered district in Southern California, where my Congressman regularly goes against what is best for us here, in favor of what Boehner, Cantor, et al, want him to do. Somehow, I don't feel very well represented by that, but my neighbors don't seem to see it.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | September 1, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Well put, TheGreenMiles @3:01pm.

Posted by: simpleton1 | September 1, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has no one but herself to blame for her primary loss. Her views on climate change are but one of many reasons Alaska Republicans chose another candidate.

Posted by: austinrl | September 1, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

The only thing green about the Green Movement are the taxpayers dollars being handed out as political favors and control of industry. The sooner the taxpayer green is cut off from the fuzzy headed environmentalists desperately trying to protect their government grants and slush funds the better. Murkowski, Snowne, Collins, McCain and the other rino's had better start looking for new work. We need new blood and fiscally responsible representatives who will look out for the interest of the taxpayers. There is a novel thought.

All of the money being poured down the green rat hole now will be shown to be a complete waste and the green industry will wither and die once the government tata is removed. Cannot wait for November.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | September 1, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Here's a quote from Stromberg about Giethner:
"Part of Geithner's appeal to the Obama camp is that it's pretty hard to accuse him of being a tool of corporate America, a shill for big finance, or whatever alarmist moniker you prefer, since he's been taking home relatively tiny paychecks of one type or another his whole career. So it's a little astonishing that this Geithner-as-Wall-Street-servant meme still has life -- and in an oversight panel on the substance of TARP policy, no less."

There is no wiki page on you,Stromberg, so I'm judging you on your own words. Geithner took $200 million out of TARP for his own pocket, so obviously, you are just an Obama shill. Johns Hopkins Professor R.C. Wood disproved the CO2 global warming hoax in 1908. While I was at Hopkins getting my own Ph.D. in physics, I remember seeing the bronze plaque in his honor near the front door of the building. Before this latest NWO UNEP genocidal scam raised its head in the Obama administration, I realized independently that this is a hoax. The physics community rejects the essential concept of "radiative forcing" as non-physical. The only reason they sit there and don't speak up is that we are living in a scientific fascist dictatorship, and they don't want to lose their research grants. Everybody else who thinks this is real is just stupid, like this author. Under the theory that the American people are no longer stupid than the ruling class degenerates at Harvard or their subservient minions in the mainstream, it is demonstrably good politics, mine are. Keep whistling past the graveyard, it suits me fine.

Posted by: stanlippmann | September 1, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Stromberg, a true one-trick pony, writing only about AGW. Dude is either obsessed or has been brainwashed by some kind of global warming syndicate (ala Zoolander). Mix in some different subjects.

Posted by: gmfletcher12 | September 1, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Stephen W. Stromberg ’05 is a Russian studies concentrator in Adams House (Harvard).

I once stayed as a guest at Adams House in 1977. Sure Harvard is nice, but the problem is that getting in makes you for life. So Someone like Stromberg thinks he's qualified to pontificate this moral fig-leaf issue because he is ashamed that he's never really done anything with his life except get into Harvard and pontificate eco-babe seducing (didn't work too well for Al Gore either) global warming nonsense.

Posted by: stanlippmann | September 1, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Folks, it is exactly 2 months until election day....This is the last hurrah of the liberals and the Democrats for a generation. The likes of Mr. Stromberg can rail on from their (bankrupt)podium at the Washington Post (as we all know, without the ethically challenged Kaplan Division of WPO, there would be no Washington Post Newspaper, just like there is really no Newsweek--sold for $1.00 recently). This election is the watershed that will put the Democrats into the minority for a generation and good riddance!

Posted by: dcmowbray1 | September 1, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

It's really interesting to see how the "progressive, far-left" reacts when "We the People" get together to vote for someone who hopefuly will represent our values and views. It was our previous apathy that allowed things to get to where they are today.

The writer says that we should mourn the exit of Lisa Murkowski. About the only thing we really should mourn is that she'll probably get a job as a lobbyist and will still be doing the same thing, but only in a corporate way. LISA MURKOWSKI: GOOD BYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE!

Posted by: barrysal | September 1, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Just one question: Does Stromberg include Obama as one of those "demagogues" who say "putting a price on carbon emissions" that promise drastic "implications about how much it would cost Americans?" It was Obama, of course, who predicted that his own energy policies -- including cap and trade -- would a drive coal companies into bankruptcy and also cause utility costs born by Americans to "skyrocket" -- both of these forecasts made by Obama during his campaign, while speaking behind closed doors to that bastion of conservatism, the San Fracisco Chronicle's editorial board.

Posted by: JRS2U | September 1, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

It is this simple, how could pumping all this crud into the atmosphere have no effect.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld1 | September 1, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Let's assume that the average Alaskan resident receives an annual check from the State of Alaska for OIL ROYALTIES paid by oil companies that produce oil in Alaska. Let's also assume that the average Alaskan is leaning into a GOP (Red State) political view or perhaps prefer LIBERTARIAN views (Like Governor Sarah Palin). These two assumptions are compatible, and consistent with a strong belief in the "self-reliance of native alaskans." Alaskans have little regard for Washington politics, and why should they?

Thus, Senator Murkowski is easily thrown out by her "constituents." As oil producers, Alaskans would have little interest in curbing carbon based fuels. Oil is their "golden goose."

Alaska has a long history of exploiting natural resources (FISH), including mining. Remember the YUKON GOLD RUSH? Remember the Kennecott Copper Mines? Alaska has no use for Carbon caps.

Posted by: rmorris391 | September 2, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Believe in global warming or not. Every gallon of gas, every barrel of oil funds Islamic extremists. The money goes to the middle east, to madrassas that train western-hating, women-restricting religious extremists. We can either send the money over there or increase taxes on carbon and use the money here. We've been subsidizing automobiles and highways to the tune of multi-billions of dollars. Let's end those and force the true cost of oil use to be paid.

Posted by: thebobbob | September 2, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

This article is dead on. I honestly am amazed by the consistent resorting to personal attacks by many of the posters here. You don't get up by dragging other down! I can say this as an Alaskan who is proud of Lisa.......course, that said Miller's "drag down" tactics did win him the election. From what I hear up here, attack politics was a HUGE part of his campaign. It's not what I vote for however......thanks for pushing me across the aisle Joe but the Republicans lost a vote here.

Posted by: LifeCoach1 | September 2, 2010 4:02 AM | Report abuse

If she/he can make me safer, richer, and make sure my kids get a decent education, I will vote for her/him. Not sure where you have been for the last 2 years, but energy is about #17 on the list of things we care a lot about. WAKE UP

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | September 2, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

We need Alaskan oil for the US and the US only.The more the better to get rid of our dependency on Arab oil which we pay dearly for-in many ways-money leaves the US, and is used to promote Wahabism and jihad by the Saudis. This indoctrinates Muslims to hate and kill us. Why would we then want to pay a tax on carbon emissions and screw ourselves to boot? The only carbon emissions that need to be taxed is the foul hot air spewing out of the Democrap and Rino mouths. Global warming is based on faked data and is used as a pretext to redistribute wealth.The US is in big financial doo-doo anyway thanks to Obama and his Chicago gangstas and czars. The money we would pay for carbon tax would go to the UN for redistibution to our enemies. We don't need a massive redistribution of our considerably diminished remaining assets to poorer nations who vilify us and can't or won't in many cases use our help to improve their lives.In many cases we would simply be enriching the "WaBenzis" in Africa--the ruling despots who misappropriate all our aid, and leave their poorer subjects nto starve. So I'm glad Murkowski the RINO-Dcrap is out.

Posted by: sharon15 | September 2, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

The public rejects the Warmist hysteria.

Maybe that was a factor in Murkowski's defeat...that, and the fact she was a quintessential insider.

Stromberg, you're going to feel VERY VERY sad and disappointed this November.

Posted by: happyacres | September 2, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

We should never mourn any politician until he or she has been dead a few hours and is cooled down to room temperature. Most of them are worth 5 minutes tops and then back to work.

Lisa Murkowski is hardly dead.

Posted by: muawiyah | September 2, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

So sorry for not listening to your sage advise by not promoting "the moderates" aka RINO's. We listened to that sage advise in 2006 and 2008 and we got "the stupid one" for our trouble.

Posted by: elcigaro1 | September 2, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Lisa, Lisa, what have you done?

Ignored your constituents, and you no longer run.

We tried to tell you, but you listened not,

Now you run no more, you're part of that lot,

"We the People" are a tolerant bunch,

We'd even take you out to lunch,

But Pelosi, Obama and Reid was your demise,

and now "We the People" say to you "Good Bye".






Posted by: barrysal | September 2, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Tea Party

How do you like us NOW, chumps?

(are you silly-socialists starting to catch a clue? there are tax-n-borrow-n-spenders FROM BOTH PARTIES that will be getting the axe in the next several election cycles)

Posted by: sosueme1 | September 2, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

This AGW religion is so annoying. At least the older, established religions take voluntary donations. What would Stromberg say if, say, the Catholic Church received tax money from him? Yes, yes, they are tax exempt. Fine. Go ahead and have your green revivals and worship your windmills, and we won't tax your activities. But please stop taking my money in Gaia's name.

Posted by: NNevada | September 2, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The crazy thing about the whole climate 'debate' is that the advocates claim they hold a consensus, have overwhelming evidence, etc. You'd think they'd be busting at the seems to debate the so called 'deniers'. You'd think, but you'd be wrong. In fact, the opposite is true, as the skeptics continually challenge the so called 'consensus' scientists to debates that never seem to happen. Now why would that be?

Posted by: Tomdebar | September 2, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I believe environmentalists would gain some credibility with at least some sceptics if they would man-up and admit what the real problem is. Global warming is a symptom of the real problem of environental destruction, which is rapid human population growth. Listening to global warming alarmists talk endlessly year after year about the threat, without ever mentioning the connection with human population growth, leads me to think they aren't very serious people, and that this is another fad "good cause". People who take up a cause to feel superior instead of searching for real solutions, really should't be taken seriously.

Posted by: rickman1 | September 2, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse


See, the problem here is that everything has become political, including safety and science, and that can only be bad for the country.

Posted by: pathfinder12 | September 2, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of rank no-nothingism on climate change, the IPCC just got spanked - again -for its lack of scientific rigor, its political advocacy, and its "high confidence" in statements with little or no evidence. But hey, why wait for actual scientific proof to begin destroying the world economy?

Posted by: INTJ | September 2, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This is actually getting to be amusing. If you disagree with the left on some issues (global warming) you are a 'know nothing' (STUPID!)

If you disagree with them on other issues like immigration you are a BIGOT.

It seems their position going into the November Elections is:

'You are a stupid, bigot! Now vote for me!'

Personally I just do not see that working for them but we will see.

Posted by: TECWRITE | September 2, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

A point that many so called post partisan authors tend to forget is that this country's government is for the people by the people. This should translate to the person elected by the people serving the people NOT the party. Murkowski had too many Democrat Party tendencies for the folks who elected her, therefore, she was not re-elected. Much like Arlen Spector, and hopefully, Charlie Crist, the people will make this once more a government for the people by the people by sending a message that once an elected official makes their way to DC, they need to remember who it was that sent them there - not by the Pork they send back home but by the way they vote on the larger, national issues that affect all of us.

Cap and trade punishes the populace by allowing the corporations to "pass through" the taxes placed on carbon emissions - meaning they don't pay those taxes, the folks who have no choice about where they purchase their energy pay those taxes. The corporations that the Democrats so vilify don't bear the cost of a new energy policy, the folks do.

Al Gore has become a multi billionaire based upon Global Warming; far too many of our elected officials have invested money in the offset programs/companies and have their hands in the companies that will benefit the most from a Cap and Trade system.

And then we have the Climate Gate scandal where those who support taxation on our energy usage wrote emails that made clear they had falsified information, sought the firing of persons who disagreed with them, took out a portion of a graph showing that spikes in the earths temperatures had occurred pre-industrial age and therefore could not have been man induced.

There are far too many questions about Climate Change for many of us to support the Obama plan to cause our energy bills to "necessarily skyrocket"....his words, not mine.

That plan is not about finding a way to limit or eliminate our reliance on oil - that plan to skyrocket our heating, gas, air conditioning and lighting costs is a way to force societal behavioral change and to line the pockets of the elite. It is a new way to re-distribute America's wealth not only in this country but in the world.

When the politicians of this country can prove to me otherwise, then I'll believe in whatever plan they come up with - so far, all I've heard is that they intend to increase my costs to live - and in a time when I've lost more than 1/4 of my household income, have had trouble getting student loans for my college age children, and watched my limited investments all lose what value they had.

Till then, I will make my own home self sustainable, grow my own food, and vote for politicians who remember that they represent ME and not any Political Party.

Posted by: LMW6 | September 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I see. If you have legitimate concern over onerous climate related legislation then you're immediately labeled a "denier" by those who, obviously, are smarter and better than the rest of us. How stylish.

Interesting, especially in the light of yesterday's hostage taking by an extreme environmentalist who bought into the whole Al Gore "earth has a fever" hype, and considered humans only worthy of extinction.

Posted by: tigerized | September 2, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey Stromberg...I can see November from my house!


Posted by: luca_20009 | September 2, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

There will be no mourning for Murkowski from this quarter--I will save my mourning for the disservice the uber liberal Obama Administration aided and abeted by their Democratic sycophnats have inflicted on our country. Out of control and ineffective spending, apology tour, radical leftist appointments, blind ideaology as exhibited by their so called health care reform, payoffs to union and public sector unions, the laughable cash for clunkers, disclosure of confidential information, failure to secure the borders and their filing suit vs AZ, submitting ridiculous report re AZ law to the UN human rights commission, extension of unemployment payments to an unimaginable 2 yrs, their arrogant refusal to listen to the American people. Their come uppance is 60 days away and hopefully we begin to get our country back.

Posted by: rpg629 | September 2, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

@gallagher591 I don't know if you will check back on this page to look if anyone has responded but, I saw your comment and had to let you know that you are mistaken. I don't have an opinion the tea party and am not trying to get in an argument. Just simply look at the FEC filings for the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, aka Tea Party Express (which funded +$500,000 of Miller's campaign) you will see that:

A) No member of the Koch family has ever funded them
B)They have raised about $3.3 million dollars in 2010
C) of that $3.3 million, $1.2 mil came from donors ranging from $200-$5000 (only 43 donors gave more than $1000)
D)Meaning $2.1 million came from small donors (under $200)

So take it or leave it, but according to the FEC, the Tea Party Express is funded by thousands of individuals giving small amounts of money. The $500,000+ spent backing Miller did not come from any corporation.


Posted by: letsthinkforourselves | September 2, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

There will be no mourning for Murkowski from this quarter--I will save my mourning for the disservice the uber liberal Obama Administration aided and abeted by their Democratic sycophnats have inflicted on our country. Out of control and ineffective spending, apology tour, radical leftist appointments, blind ideaology as exhibited by their pushing so called health care reform as their #1 priority vs focusing on the economy and jobs, payoffs to union and public sector unions, the laughable cash for clunkers, disclosure of confidential information, failure to secure the borders and their filing suit vs AZ, submitting ridiculous report re AZ immigration law to the UN human rights commission, extension of unemployment payments to an unimaginable 2 yrs, their plans to close Gitmo and civil trials for terrorists, their arrogant refusal to listen to the American people. Their come uppance is 60 days away and hopefully we begin to get our country back.

Posted by: rpg629 | September 2, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

In the sage words of the Lone Ranger's faithful Indian friend, Tonto: "What you mean 'We' white man?"

Stromberg, your title only works if you are referring to Washington Democrats, career DC Republicans, and all of their MSM sycophants. These are the people most responsible for destroying the economy with their reckless spending. As such, they have ever right to mourn. Everyone else, however,...

And so it goes...

Posted by: pgould1 | September 2, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

gallagher591, Who cares. You have Media Matters, Daily KOS, ACORN, and others. The only difference is the The Tea Party loves is America.

Lisa was a RINO. Alaska was ripe for the picking. You people have no clue. You people waste all your time writing and bashing Palin. Guess what?? Joe Miller will be the next senator from Alaska. The DNC didn't if know the name of the guy running against Miller.

November is coming. After November its Media time.

Posted by: Truth35 | September 2, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Climate Change = More Taxes, More Regulation, More Government

If Stromberg is talking about global warming - say it. The term was changed from Global Warming to Climate Change because Global Warming trends and evidence are not clear and convincing.

Yes - the climate is changing, it has always changed, it will always change. The fear-mongering of "devastating" climate change is based on models, not reality.

For more on academic modelling, read Dana Milbank's column today on Christina Romer's use of economic models. The American economy should be much easier to model than long-term climate change, but the models failed miserably.

Posted by: pilsener | September 2, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

why would a supposedly true-believer libertarian like Charles Koch buy a vessel produced in a communist country—and name it after his own dear mother, to boot? After all, didn't Austrian school economist Ludwig Von Mises, an early influence on Charles' intellectual journey to libertarianism, write in his 1933 seminal work, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, that centrally planned economies are so inherently inefficient that "socialism must fail"?

It turned out that Yugoslavia's highly-centralized economy was the opposite of inefficient—it was on fire. In the 1960s and 1970s, the country was churning out, among other things, low-cost, high-quality ships that were sold around the world. Even the old-school libertarian magazine The Freeman couldn't help but praise the country's economic performance, writing in 1988, "Many of Yugoslavia's industries seemed highly competitive in world markets, and there were even astonishing reports that efficient Yugoslav shipbuilders wrested contracts away from the Japanese."

Posted by: dutchess2 | September 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Fertilizer production requires massive amounts of natural gas, and obtaining it can account for 50 percent of operating costs. Luckily for Koch, Fertinitro's semi-state-owned status allowed it to tap into a guaranteed supply of natural gas subsidized by the state. Steven Bodzin, a former Bloomberg journalist, found that "just on the natural gas, never mind the electricity or water subsidies, Koch profits from a direct Venezuelan government subsidy of $1.23 for every thousand cubic feet of gas consumed at Fertinitro." For Koch Industries, whose role in the partnership is to unload half of the 6 million tons of fertilizer produced by Fertinitro every year on the American market, that equals up to $123.6 million in subsidies every year.

(Pictured: Hugo Chavez with his oil minister)

Posted by: dutchess2 | September 2, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

For the past fifty years, through its Matador Cattle Company subsidiary, Koch Industries has been quietly milking a New Deal program that allows ranchers to use federal land basically for free. Matador, one of the ten biggest domestic cattle ranching operations, has something in the neighborhood of 300,000 acres of grazing land for its cows—two-thirds of which belong to American taxpayers, who will never see a penny of profit.

Posted by: dutchess2 | September 2, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

In 2006, Koch Industries acquired pulp and paper giant Georgia-Pacific for a $21-billion cash payment, allowing the Koch brothers to tap into a whole new area of government largesse: the ability to log public forests for private gain and have taxpayers cover the operating costs. Not only can companies like Georgia-Pacific, which is the world's leading manufacturer of paper products, exploit a publicly-shared resource without sharing the profits, but the U.S. Forestry Service subsidizes them to do it by forcing taxpayers to fund the construction of new logging roads that provide loggers with access to virgin growth—a nice welfare arrangement for the industry that costs taxpayers over $1 billion a year.

"Private logging of America's National Forests is a heavily subsidized form of corporate welfare," wrote Scott Silver, founder and executive director of Wild Wilderness, a conservation watchdog, at the time of the Georgia-Pacific's sale to Koch Industries. "Logging companies such as Georgia-Pacific strip lands bare, destroy vast acreages and pay only a small fee to the federal government in proportion to what they take from the public."

Posted by: dutchess2 | September 2, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Just two weeks ago, Koch Industries got into the ethanol business by buying two ethanol plants in Iowa. Other than defense, ethanol is possibly the most subsidized industry in America. Koch's own Cato Institute has called ethanol a "boondoggle," writing that "the dizzying array of federal, state and local subsidies, preferences and mandates for ethanol fuel are a sad reflection of how a mix of cynical politics and we-can-do-anything American naiveté can cloud minds and distort markets." The institute has sharply criticized the billions of dollars in federal and state subsidies that are poured into the ethanol industry (between $5 billion and $6.8 billion in 2006 alone).

Koch Industries has traded ethanol for years on the commodities market, but their entry into the production side of the business puts them in a position to profit off the subsidies in a more direct manner.

Posted by: dutchess2 | September 2, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Before Fredrick Koch suddenly developed a pinko paranoia and helped start up the John Birch Society, he was making piles of cash laying the foundation of Soviet oil infrastructure in the 1920s and early 1930s. He designed and built refineries, hosted Soviet engineers for training in Wichita, Kansas, and made an invaluable contribution to the rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union during Joseph Stalin's first Five-Year Plan. This is a touchy issue for the Koch family: without the Commie Reds providing his future seed capital, Koch Industries would not exist today—and neither would the Tea Parties.

Posted by: dutchess2 | September 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

In 1977, Charles Koch founded the Cato Institute, an influential libertarian think tank, with the aim of injecting free-market ideas into the mainstream. The Kochs would go on to establish and fund a vast network of overlapping think tanks, institutes, foundations, media outlets, and lobby groups that would vilify centralized government and promote laissez-faire capitalism as the only route to economic prosperity. The Mercatus Center, Americans for Prosperity, Reason Magazine, the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation are just a few of the right-wing organizations that run on Koch cash today.

Posted by: dutchess2 | September 2, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing how much those on the left love Republicans after they lose or if they challenge the mainstream. Forget the Tea Party, Lisa M was appointed by her dad, the governor, and her credentials do not measure up to the person who defeated her--you can look it up!

Posted by: jdennissmith | September 2, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

There are some of us that would view Ms. (Can I call you Ms.?) Murkowski as a clear representation of Hamiliton's elite aristocracy. After all, her initial term was handed down to her by her wealthy and powerful father. Seats in the national legislature are not a birthright. Mr. Miller's percieved extremeism is indicative of rightward lurch of our one party system. As long as we limit ourselves to the choices offered us by the Ds and Rs we will continue the disgusting government we have enjoyed for the better part of last century and the first decade of this one. Replace them all!! And keep replacing them until we find someone who will do the job as intended. Hell, they would do the same to you, if you worked for them.

Posted by: cowlesmw | September 3, 2010 5:19 AM | Report abuse

There are those of us who would view Ms. Murkowski as a clear representation of Hamilton's aristocratic elite. After all, her first term was handed down to her by her wealthy and powerful father. Seats in our national legislature do not come with a birthright, so why mourn that loss? Mr. Miller's perceived extremeism is indicative of the massive rightward lurch of our one party system. If we continue to limit ourselves to the choices, or lack thereof, offered by the Ds and Rs, we will continue to have the disgusting government we have enjoyed for the better part of the last century and the first decade of this one. Replace them all!! And keep replacing them until we get people that will do the job as intended. Hell, they would do the same to you, if you worked for them.

Posted by: cowlesmw | September 3, 2010 5:31 AM | Report abuse

As pointed out above, Tea Party Express took no Koch money, so your argument is ridiculous, just like every other Obamanoid line wafting like SO2 out of D.C. Jane Mayer is the granddaughter of Nevins of Princeton, who wrote a six volume hagiography of J.D. Rockefeller. It's all the the family, don't you see. I guess not, you are one of the sheeple, sad. Or not, if you are the best the Sorosian network can pay for.

Posted by: stanlippmann | September 3, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

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