When a person adamantly asserts that a statement, empirical data, or an allegation is untrue or non-existent, they are purported to be in denial. Republicans are obviously in denial that mankind pouring millions of tons of carbon dioxide hourly into the atmosphere is the culprit behind anthropogenic climate change. However, over the course of the past couple of years just denying the obvious and pretending the never-before seen in history droughts, extreme weather events, flooding, and wildfires are not the result of climate change is not enough. Now, the second Koch-backed Republican state is taking the Orwellian step of prohibiting any mention of climate change regardless the damage to the state’s ecosystem and economy.
This week, in what looks to be a burgeoning trend among Koch-GOP states, Wisconsin Republicans banned state employees from ever discussing climate change and strictly forbid any state employee from doing any research related to the effects of climate change or attempting to find solutions to the increasing problems that climate change is bringing to Wisconsin. It is the next logical approach for the Koch-backed Republicans who have discovered that just denying climate change is real is not convincing pragmatic individuals that the real effects they are seeing and experiencing are not happening because the Koch brothers say they are not real.
On Tuesday, the Republican dominated state land board voted to forbid any staff “from engaging in global warming discussions or climate change work.” The gag order is all because Republicans on the board claim its executive director, Tia Nelson, had wasted valuable state time by working on climate change issues for concerned Wisconsin residents as head of the land board; Republicans claimed climate change does not exist even though the effects are having an adverse effect on Wisconsin and its residents. The Republican leading the denial of speech crusade, State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, said muzzling Wisconsin employees was crucial because the state government employees’ sole mission is “to make money for our beneficiaries; not waste time” protecting the ecosystem or the environment for Wisconsin residents from the effects of climate change that is the mission of the “state land board.”
Wisconsin Secretary of State, Democrat Tim LaFollette, who cast the only dissenting vote against the muzzling state employees put the Koch-backed gag-order and state treasurer Adamczyk’s crusade in blunt terms. He said that Adamczyk, like all Republicans loyal to the Koch brothers, “simply hates environmental people and is leading a witch hunt that reached the point of gagging employees from talking about issues.” Likely the gag order is a portent of what the Koch Republicans have in store for other issues important to advancing the Koch vision and muzzling government employees is going to seem like a mild imposition.
What is particularly inappropriate in controlling, and banning, the type of speech, discussions, and language of Wisconsin government employees in this context is that the target of the gag order is the state board with jurisdiction over protecting and preserving public land; public land owned by the people and will be impacted by the effects of climate change for decades well into the future. This is particularly troubling for Wisconsin residents in light of a very recent report published by the University of Wisconsin.
The University’s research and report outlined the certain effects of global climate change on the state will include increasingly harsh droughts, serious heat waves, more intense and severe storms, and degradation of the state’s plant and animal life; all acceptable consequences and devastation to the Kochs. In fact, even without the University report, a recent poll of Wisconsin residents revealed that over 70% of the population understand that climate change is real and believe the government should increase environmental regulations to prevent more damage regardless what the Koch brothers say or demand. Increasingly, as more Americans are seeing, and experiencing for themselves, the real effects of climate change! they are finally acknowledging that it is not only real and a serious danger, but that it is crucial for the government to take steps to prevent more damage with stronger environmental regulations. Of course the Koch brothers, and their Republican acolytes, have a different perspective and could not care less about the damage they are advancing or the people who are most affected.
Instead of heeding the will of the people, Wisconsin Republicans beholden to the Koch brothers are prohibiting any mention of climate change and banning research and work on how best to prevent the damaging effects; exactly the opposite of what the majority of Wisconsin residents demand their state government do. The Koch brothers want environmental regulations abolished, not strengthened, and if the people think their voices make a difference, they are deluded; particularly in a state the Koch brothers own and operate like Wisconsin.
Like Republicans across the nation and at the federal level, Wisconsin Republicans main priority is doing the will of the anti-environment Koch brothers; not what the people believe is important and want government to address. Remember what the Wisconsin state treasurer said, the state’s Republicans “sole mission is to make money for our beneficiaries; not wasting time” protecting the environment or doing the will of the people.
Now that the Koch Republicans banned government employees from uttering the words “climate change” because they wanted to prevent damage to the environment, one wonders how long before Republicans issue state-wide bans on private citizens mentioning, discussing, or advocating for action to combat climate change. It cannot be far away because the Koch fascists are so closely following the actions of Nazis in Germany, the next procedural step will be Republican legislation muzzling private citizens from mentioning climate change; two words the Koch brothers have declared verboten.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.