Is Barack Obama Like Benito Mussolini on Environmentalism?

Myron Ebell Sinister

What do Barack Obama and Benito Mussolini have in common? A fascist agenda, of course! According to Myron Ebell, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, environmentalists have a ‘sinister’ agenda akin to Italian fascism of the 1920s and ’30s. He spoke at the “Climate: What Tom Steyer Won’t Tell You” panel at CPAC, where climate deniers united to ridicule all the silly environmentalists, from Steyer to President Obama to Secretary of State John Kerry, and of course EPA administrator Gina McCarthy.

Panelists included Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX 17), who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Becky Norton Dunlop, the panel moderator and Vice President of External Relations at the Heritage Foundation; Andrew Langer, President of the Institute for Liberty; and Gary Broadbent, assistant general counsel of Murray Energy Corporation, one of largest coal mining operations in America. Ebell replaced Joe Bast of the Heartland Institute, a renowned climate denier, who had to leave the conference because, according to Dunlop, “a great scientist [and renowned climate denier], Willie Soon, is under attack by the left and he asked Joe to come up to be with he (sic) and his family.” Damn those leftists for challenging a scientist who has been funded largely from the fossil fuel industry!

Opening the panel, Dunlop charged the environmental movement with lying. Flores repeatedly decried “junk science.” Ebell was emphatic that no global warming has taken place in the last 18 years. Langer talked about the “war on conservative speech.”

And shockingly, the coal industry lawyer lamented the dying coal industry. Broadbent spent several minutes discussing the economic hardships imposed on coal miners, the elderly, and the poor — supposedly from the overwhelming regulatory costs on his industry. Talking about miners facing job losses from mine closures, Broadbent wondered how they would survive and claimed that “coal mining is their passion.” Hmm, yes, passionate about black lung. Or perhaps they are passionate about keeping jobs that pay more than 1.65 times the national average across all industries, in an economic environment of falling wages.

It was hard to choose between Ebell’s and Broadbent’s claims for most mind-boggling. But in the end, you always have to pick the corporate shill who likens activists trying to conserve the environment (in an era of unprecedented giveaways to multinational corporations), to the very form of government they are fighting. Lest we forget, the words of Benito Mussolini:

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

Watch highlights from Ebell’s speech on the panel and my interview with him below, and subscribe to The Undercurrent on YouTube for more independent, on-the-ground reporting. You can see the full panel here.


Republicans Debate Which “Hostage” to Take at CPAC

Obama Hostages

Hostages. Bullets. Threatening an economic crisis. You’d be forgiven if you thought these were the words of ISIS or Al Qaeda operatives. But alas, they came from senior leaders of the Republican Party last week.

At a CPAC panel on deficit reduction, Deroy Murdock of the National Review and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA 6) put forth alternative “hostages” to the Dept. of Homeland Security, like the Environmental Protection Agency and IRS, for blocking President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. I asked Price to discuss his strategy in more depth afterwards, and at one point, he referred to opportunities to take hostages as “bullets.”

In a separate CPAC event with noted immigration opposition leader Jeff Sessions, the senator referred to threatening a national debt default (refusing to raise the debt ceiling) as an “obvious opportunity for Republicans” to advance their agenda. The comment came amidst talk of a Republican messaging response to the Democratic Party’s “clean” funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Mind you, the DHS funding bill was nearing its first deadline that very day — the shutdown of the agency was imminent. Without apparent resolution in sight, Sessions was already on to the next standoff.

Violent rhetoric against the government is neither new nor uncommon to the Republican Party — think Grover Norquist’s notorious line: “Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub.” After winning the mid-terms, GOP leadership promised an end to shutdowns, but the rest of the party didn’t seem to get the memo. The manufactured crises that they seem pretty intent on inflicting, as a rule, rather than the exception, are more akin to domestic terrorism than governance.

Watch both interviews with Rep. Price and Sen. Sessions below, and subscribe to The Undercurrent on YouTube for more independent, on-the-ground reporting…

Sen. Sessions: Debt Ceiling An Opportunity to Advance GOP Agenda

Sessions Debt Ceiling Thumb

On Tuesday Speaker of the House John Boehner ended the months long showdown over funding the Department of Homeland Security, despite strident objections from Republican hardliners seeking to block President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Though Democrats ultimately won this battle without making any concessions, there will be other opportunities for the GOP to pick a fight. One is the upcoming raising of the debt ceiling.

Congress will technically hit the debt limit on March 15, but likely will not have to act until months later because of Treasury Department maneuvering. Politico estimates a vote will come sometime between late spring and early fall.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference last Friday, before the one-week DHS funding deal extension had been reached, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was already contemplating the next Republican standoff. He called the debt ceiling “an obvious opportunity for Republicans” to advance their agenda. Manufactured debt ceiling crisis here we come!

Watch the exchange below on The Undercurrent, and subscribe on YouTube for more independent, grassroots reporting…

Sen. Sessions: Lessen Donor Influence, But Don’t Limit Contributions

At the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) struck a populist tone with remarks chiding the GOP for its focus on big money donors. Tying in immigration and trade as drivers of worsening economic conditions for working Americans, Sessions said the party should remember who its constituents are — average, working and middle class voters. He emphatically declared, “Votes trump money!”

However, when I asked Sessions what he would do to lessen the influence of donors, whether he would support contribution limits, the senator demurred…