Pagan Kennedy peers down the microscope at all us participants in the ongoing experiment.If you walk into a farm-supply store today, you’re likely to find a bag of antibiotic powder that claims to boost the growth of poultry and livestock. That’s because decades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals’ bodies, helping them pack on pounds. Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat.
But what if that meat is us? Recently, a group of medical investigators have begun to wonder whether antibiotics might cause the same growth promotion in humans. New evidence shows that America’s obesity epidemic may be connected to our high consumption of these drugs. But before we get to those findings, it’s helpful to start at the beginning, in 1948, when the wonder drugs were new — and big was beautiful.
That year, a biochemist named Thomas H. Jukes marveled at a pinch of golden powder in a vial. It was a new antibiotic named Aureomycin, and Mr. Jukes and his colleagues at Lederle Laboratories suspected that it would become a blockbuster, lifesaving drug. But they hoped to find other ways to profit from the powder as well. ...
Mr. Jukes wanted more Aureomycin, but his bosses cut him off because the drug was in such high demand to treat human illnesses. So he hit on a novel solution. He picked through the laboratory’s dump to recover the slurry left over after the manufacture of the drug. He and his colleagues used those leftovers to carry on their experiments, now on pigs, sheep and cows. All of the animals gained weight. Trash, it turned out, could be transformed into meat.Feeding the animals the slurry from a chemical trash heap. Sure. No possible problem there. You may be wondering whether it occurred to anyone back then that the powders would have the same effect on the human body. In fact, a number of scientists believed that antibiotics could stimulate growth in children. From our contemporary perspective, here’s where the story gets really strange: All this growth was regarded as a good thing. It was an era that celebrated monster-size animals, fat babies and big men. In 1955, a crowd gathered in a hotel ballroom to watch as feed salesmen climbed onto a scale; the men were competing to see who could gain the most weight in four months, in imitation of the cattle and hogs that ate their antibiotic-laced food. Pfizer sponsored the competition.
...experiments were then being conducted on humans. In the 1950s, a team of scientists fed a steady diet of antibiotics to schoolchildren in Guatemala for more than a year,while Charles H. Carter, a doctor in Florida, tried a similar regimen on mentally disabled kids. Could the children, like the farm animals, grow larger? Yes, they could.By the way, the children to whom the drugs were fed in that experiment were totally helpless, definitely non-volunteer participants. But then, that's pretty well true of the rest of us.
Think it's just food quality and quantity that's making America's kids fat? Read the rest of this article.
Then waddle on inside for more.
The point, my friends, is strength.
This year's ballot featured 26 candidates, who together represent the full spectrum of crazy—from the far right to the extreme far right, and everything in between—and I, for one, welcome our new Koch-addicted overlords.
ABC News got a sneak peak of the ad, titled “Absurd,” which will run for the next two weeks, and the campaign says it has an ad buy in the “upper five figures.”
“Matt Bevin and out-of-state special interest groups are attacking Mitch McConnell,” the narrator says. “Nothing new. But can you believe them? PolitFact, a non-partisan fact-checker, says Bevin’s attacks on McConnell are quote ‘absurd … the claim is not only wrong, but ridiculous…’ Endquote.”
The one-minute ad then mentions Bevin’s resume exaggerations, first reported in The Hill last year, before going after the Senate Conservative Fund.
“Bevin’s allies at the so-called Senate Conservatives Fund are also attacking,” the narrator reads. “The media say their ads are quote ‘misleading’ and ‘erroneously cited.’”Once again, McConnell portrays himself as the victim, which is quite a stretch coming from the guy who had his campaign prepare opposition research on Ashley Judd in order to play a game of political Whac-a-Mole. Yeah, I'm sure everybody is feeling so sorry for him. But on the bright side there's this: In November, if things go right, Kentucky voters can finally put him out of his misery.
...two local groups -- Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a brand-new super PAC, and the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a repurposed nonprofit -- have spent more than $2 million to boost McConnell... And guess who is propping up those groups?
Deep connections between the Rove organization and the two Kentucky groups show that, despite their locally flavored names, the real power behind the latter groups emanates from the offices of Crossroads-linked consultants in Washington and Virginia. That's right. Karl Rove is playing big in Kentucky, but he's doing it with a pair of sock puppets. For some perspective on how amusing it is, consider this: Rove started Crossroads so he could be the front for big money donors to anonymously spend against Democrats. Now his brand has become so sullied that not only do his donors need to be shielded from the taint of having done business with Rove, but so does Karl Rove himself.
Rubio: Clear Signs Emerge That An ObamaCare Bailout Is Coming
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today commented on new evidence of the increasing likelihood of a taxpayer-funded bailout of health insurance companies under ObamaCare.According to Rubio, the problem was the law's "risk corridor" provision, which was designed to mitigate risk for insurance companies during the transition to Obamacare. Rubio said the program would fail, leaving taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars.
What's coming up on Sunday Kos ...
- The demographic underpinnings behind the blue shift, by David Jarman
- "I support the troops, but they did volunteer …," by Mark E Andersen
- Why are so many conservative politicians brandishing guns, by Ian Reifowitz
- GOP will repeat Ryan budget history by adopting Camp tax plan next year, by Jon Perr
- What if legislators didn't have to draw majority-minority districts? Democrats would lose big, by Stephen Wolf
- Women's History: Latinas, by Denise Oliver Velez
- Obama's foriegn policy doctrine and why it makes sense, by brooklynbadboy
- The Vaccination Intervention, by DarkSyde
- Conservative ideology sentences citizens to poor health and permanent poverty, by Egberto Willies
- Our Corporate Anthem, by Mark Sumner
Bloomberg News this week offered the state of Washington as a powerful rebuttal to those who claim hiking the minimum wage would kill jobs. Washington, it turns out, has had the nation's highest minimum wage since 1998 and over the past 15 years enjoyed annual job growth well above the national average. New Jersey, too, has seen faster job creation since its new $8.25 hourly wage went into effect in January.
But not everyone Bloomberg interviewed is happy about those numbers. Joe Olivo, president of Moorestown, New Jersey-based Perfect Printing, opposes the raise for lower-income working Americans. But if that name sounds familiar, it should. As it turns out, "everyman" small business owner Joe Olivo is regularly trotted out as a right-wing poster child to protest the supposedly dire impact of the minimum wage, Obamacare, a millionaire's tax, the estate tax, unemployment benefits and just about anything Democrats advocate.
The ersatz small business job creator became ubiquitous in media stories after the Supreme Court's ruling in the 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius case that upheld the Affordable Care Act. But as Alternet, Balloon Juice, Media Matters and others documented, left unmentioned was the fact that Joe Olivo is a prominent member of and donor to NFIB, the National Federation of Independent Business. After reviewing segments from NBC and NPR in June 2012, No More Mister Nice Blog revealed that Olivo the printing proprietor was also a plaintiff:
Well, as it turns out, Joe Olivo of Perfect Printing turns up quite a bit in public discussions of this and other issues. Here he is testifying against the health care law before House and Senate committees in January 2011. Here he is on the Fox Business Network around the same time, discussing the same subject. Here he is a few days ago, also on Fox Business, talking to John Stossel about the law. Here he is discussing the same subject on a New Jersey Fox affiliate.
And here he is in July 2010 discussing small business hiring with Neil Cavuto on Fox News. Here he is opposing an increase in the minimum wage in an MSNBC debate a couple of weeks ago.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Seven years ago, when I was barely past my toddlerdom at Daily Kos, I grew frustrated with the fact that environmental diaries rarely caught many eyeballs at Daily Kos. So I initiated a weekly series called Eco-Diary Rescue. It was a round-up of excerpts and links of the efforts scores Kossacks trying to bring environmental matters of concern to the community. Four years ago, the series became the Green Diary Rescue. Over the years, EDR and GDR totaled 216. You can read the first one here.
When I had a personal meltdown in August 2011—which, by the way, had nothing to do (as some Kossacks have speculated) with my work as Daily Kos moderator—I left for a three-and-a-half-month hiatus. When I returned in December 2011, I did not continue Green Diary Rescue. On March 9, 2013, I revived the feature. Today marks its one-year anniversary. It also marks another milestone, the most environmentally related diaries ever rescued in the series all the way back to that first round-up in December 2006.
As of today, 16,367 green diaries have been excerpted and linked in 265 diary rescues. Today's total is 99.
So, eat some cake and congratulate the GDR and all the eco-diarists who participate here. A lot of good reading.
Make Your Voices Heard -- Keystone Pipeline is a Threat to Human Health—by SenatorBoxer: "You have an opportunity to make your voices heard on the Keystone XL pipeline, and it is critical that you take a stand today. We are in the final days of the public comment period for the National Interest Determination (NID) by the U.S. Department of State, and I urge you to write Secretary John Kerry to express your opposition to the tar sands pipeline. I have said repeatedly that the pipeline is bad for the environment, will worsen the impacts of climate change, and will provide only 35 permanent jobs according to the Environmental Impact Statement. Another reason I oppose the pipeline is because tar sands is one of the filthiest kinds of oil on our planet and is already causing health miseries to those communities impacted. The health impacts of tar sands oil have been largely ignored. Last month, the State Department released the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Keystone XL pipeline, and it lays out some of the reasons why the pipeline would worsen climate change, including that operation of the pipeline would be the equivalent of adding 300,000 more cars on our roads each year. But the EIS was woefully inadequate when it came to exploring the human health impacts of the tar sands oil."
Nebraska rancher fighting Keystone XL to protect land, water, and property rights—by RandyThompson: "When this all began back in 2007 I was running my cattle buying business as well as managing my ninety-one year old mother’s 400 acre farm. I had done this for her since my dad passed away in 2004. My folks purchased the farm in 1975 after being tenant farmers for many years. It was a great achievement considering that they started out with nothing back in 1933 during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years. Believe me when I say it took a lot of grit, hard work, and determination along with a whole lot of self sacrifice for them to make farm ownership a reality. The farm was their 401K. Upon retirement the rent from the farmland and pasture was their main source of income. A barrage of unsolicited phone calls from Trans Canada’s land agent followed our initial meeting. The hard pursuit for a pipeline easement across my mom’s land was on, with no regard for our concerns or respect for our personal time. We knew immediately from our initial meeting with the land agent that we wanted nothing to do with this pipeline project even though he had only provided us with a few sketchy details."
Climate Denier Steve Milloy Now Director at Coal Giant Murray Energy, On CPAC Global Warming Panel—by bdemelle: "The Junkman has a new job, and yet again it involves defending fossil fuels and attacking science. Steve Milloy, who long ago dubbed himself 'The Junkman,' is listed as Director of External Policy & Strategy, Murray Energy Corporation, in a description of a global warming panel happening Thursday afternoon at the CPAC convention in Washington. That means he’s now deploying his anti-science, climate denialist PR spin for the largest privately-held coal producer in the U.S., Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. [...] Milloy, an infamous tobacco- and chemical industry-funded PR flack, was an author of the 1998 American Petroleum Institute 'communications plan' to attack science and undermine international action on climate change. Written in conjunction with many right wing think tanks and fossil fuel companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Southern Company, the industry’s goal was to launch 'a national media relations program to inform the media about uncertainties in climate science.'"
You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
... the number of Labor Department judges, who hear a wide range of workers’ compensation, immigration, wage and whistleblower cases, has fallen to 35 nationwide, from 41 in early 2013 and 53 a decade ago. The department’s caseload, meanwhile, is soaring, forcing some sick and injured workers to wait years for benefits. President Obama would like to begin to undo a small part of that damage:
President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget would add 10 people to the OALJ, though it’s unclear how many would be judges and how many would be support staff. The proposal comes on the heels of a Feb. 18 letter to the White House from six members of Congress, who complained of “untenable delays in adjudicating claims, such as claims under the Black Lung Benefits Act and alleged violations of employment law. These delays directly and severely impact the lives of workers throughout the country, placing an undue financial and emotional burden on the affected individuals and their families.”
The lawmakers said a total of 11,325 cases were pending in the OALJ in fiscal 2013 — nearly double the number from 10 years earlier.So Obama's hoped-for budget would likely still leave a lower number of judges than in 2013, and 2013 was already bad enough. We'll see what Republicans do with this request, but nothing in their recent record suggests that the likely response is "Wait, vulnerable, injured, and sick workers are waiting ridiculous amounts of time for justice for ways they've been hurt or wronged on the job? We have to fund the justice system to fix this!" (Ha ha ha, right?)
Continue reading for more of the week's labor and education news.
This week's source material, from the Daily Caller:
At The Left Hook of California, Louise Auerhahn writes—The Hourglass Economy is Real, Now What Do We Do About It?Acknowledging the extremes of poverty and wealth in Silicon Valley may have been radical 15 years ago, but today even the business community issues reports highlighting the social and economic problems generated by the growing hourglass economy.
The question is no longer “Is the hourglass economy real?” We know that a third of households in the Valley do not earn enough to meet a basic self-sufficiency standard, and nearly a third of jobs in the Valley pay less than $16/hr. With homelessness spilling out from garages and car campers into riverbanks and public parks, the triple epidemics of underemployment, inadequate pay and soaring rents have become the Valley’s worst-kept secret.
The real question is: “What can we do about it?” At the community level, many of the reforms needed are out of our hands: establishing a national full employment policy, closing tax loopholes that favor outsourcing, reforming labor law, passing comprehensive immigration reform, transforming our trade policy into one that supports job creation rather than job destruction. Certainly we can advocate for our representatives to lead on these issues, but for most the real action is at the federal (or even global) level.
Instead, Miller remained a “no” in the final tally.
Now, just for all of the reasons detailed here, at the Arkansas Blog, and on MSNBC, Rep. Miller’s position would be troubling enough on its face. But I could think of some things that would look even worse. Say, for example, using your position as a legislator to make blatantly self-serving changes to the Medicaid law so that it’s easier for you to get the same coverage that you would deny to others.Excerpts from more progressive state blogs can be found below the orange gerrymander.
A clear majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage, because we believe that nobody who works full-time should have to live in poverty. About half of all Republicans support raising the minimum wage, too. It’s just too bad they don’t serve in Congress. Because the Republicans who do serve in Congress don’t want to vote on the minimum wage at all. Some even want to get rid of it completely. Seriously. President Obama devoted his weekly address to once again pushing for a federal minimum wage raise to $10.10, citing states, corporations and small businesses who are already leading the way, without cutting back on hiring, and proclaiming that "if you treat your employees right, they’ll treat you right."
Expressing disgust with the political class in Washington, he said:
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.
- Sunday Sunday Sunday, tomorrow, one day only! ... Of course it has to be on that network: More than 30 years since the original series, Cosmos will once again find its way into people’s homes, this time led by Neil deGrasse Tyson. The new series—called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey—premieres this Sunday, March 9, at 9:00pm ET/PT on FOX.
- It's always nice to see religious beliefs about nature coming down on the side of working class patients and common sense when it comes to the failed War on Some Drugstm.
- There was a time, not that long ago, when it was unknown if there was a single planet orbiting a star outside of our own solar system. We now know many stars have planets, billions in our galaxy alone, that there are planets wondering loose untethered to a star, and that even exotic objects like supernova remnants and brown dwarfs probably have them. And the most common stars in the universe, modest red and yellow dwarfs, are teeming with new worlds: The research also suggests that habitable-zone super-Earth planets, where liquid water could exist and therefore make them possible candidates to support life, orbit around at least a quarter of the red dwarfs in the Sun’s own neighborhood.
Still, there were some interesting takeaways! Here are four things that caught my attention.
(Take note: The report focuses on people between ages 18 and 33, leaving out the teenagers who still technically count as millennials.) Dana Milbank: Paul Ryan, addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference this week, disputed the notion that “the Republican Party is in this big, massive civil war.”
“I don’t see this great divide in our party,” the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee said.
Ryan had a point. The notion of “civil war,” often used to describe the clash between the Republican establishment and the tea party, implies a conflict with identifiable sides. In reality, the GOP condition is more of a free-for-all.
The annual CPAC gathering, conservatism’s trade show, provides a snapshot of the anarchy:
The group’s much-celebrated straw poll of presidential candidates listed no fewer than 26 prospective contenders on the ballot this year — a sign of just how fractured the party is in advance of 2016.In Memoriam: Terry 'BartCop' Coppage
More politics and policy below the fold.
All this talk about the 99% versus the 1%? I say the easiest—and likely the most useful—thing to do is just forget the 1%. Write them off. Let them have their gated communities, their mega-yachts, their island retreats and off-shore bank accounts. What do we need them for?
For one thing, we DON’T need their money. Even if we could get it—which we can’t because they steadfastly refuse to use it for anything other than casino gambling in their private and secretive financial networks. We wonder why we have a “jobless recovery”? Does it have anything to do with the fact that such a large percentage of our “capital” has, for all practical purposes, been removed from the economy?
Even when the 1% decides to invest some of their Dollars to manufacture or build something, they rarely decide to manufacture or build anything we really need—only things we really don’t need. Like strip-mines in the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, or pipe-lines across Nebraska’s freshwater aquifers, or rocket-planes for space-tourism. Thanks, but we really don’t need—or want—any of it. We’d much rather have fresh wild salmon (rather than the artificially colored hatchery-stuff) than more copper and gold, fresh water instead of tar-sands oil, and the good-old week-at-the-beach is just fine for a vacation.
President Obama adds to our confusion by claiming we need to tax a bunch of the 1%’s Dollars in order to pay for a minimal laundry list of hodge-podge programs to train unemployed people to do jobs that don’t exist—and which the 1%, whether you tax them or not, have no intention of creating—ever. Why doesn’t the President just forget the 1% and start investing Sovereign Dollars (not tax Dollars, mind you) in the lower and middle economic strata he claims to care so much about? The 99% can have its own life—and a very good one to boot—if we’d just ignore the 1% and get on with the job of paying ourselves to build the things we really need.
They (the 1%) apparently reason that they don’t need to go to that trouble because in our globalized economy there’s somebody else who can build the really big transformers. It turns out that somebody is South Korea. So when, recently, Pennsylvania badly needed a new very-large transformer they placed an order with the Koreans, who promptly began building it. Two years later, the 400,000 pound item was put on a ship and transported for 26 days at sea to the port of Newark, New Jersey, where it was loaded by crane onto a railcar bound for Pennsylvania.
This little tale is made even more interesting by the fact that these very-large transformers—usually situated inside a compound protected by chain-link fencing—are easily destroyed with a few rounds of fire from a semi-automatic assault rifle.
Thankfully, semi-automatic assault rifles are difficult to come by in the U.S., otherwise there might be cause for concern. The seventeen transformers recently shot to death in California (we can’t explain how this actually happened, since the NRA is only marginally active on the West Coast) are a cautionary tale: If this were repeated on just a little bit larger scale, the Department of Homeland Security has determined, our entire electric grid could be down for months—or even longer. (Come on South Korea, hurry it up…. We’re waiting!)
So my example is this: Why doesn’t President Obama propose that since the 1% have no interest in doing it, the U.S. sovereign government build a plant to manufacture very-large transformers, hire engineers to train unemployed people to do the labor, pay those unemployed trainees for making the effort to learn how to make a giant-sized transformer, then hire those newly trained workers to run the manufacturing process? We could build a backup supply of these critical electric grid components so that in the (increasingly likely) event some crazy, anti-government sociopath seizes the opportunity to turn out America’s lights, we could turn them back on in fairly short order.
That seems sensible. And it’s total nonsense to imagine that we have to depend on using ANY of the 1%’s gargantuan stash of Dollars to do it. Like I said, just totally forget them. Let them play their Monopoly game while we get on with the task of building the world we want to live in.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—Bush stirs up mob hate against Mexicans:Does anyone really think France is sweating the Freeper "bash France" campaign? And looking at the latest car sales data, it's the American companies that are getting pounded, not the Germans.
But it looks like Bush is encouraged by the Freeper brigades, interpreting it as grassroots support for his war mongering. And he's now trying to focus the guns on Mexico, threatening mob retaliation if our southern neighbor doesn't support our war resolution in the UN Security Council. As Krugman writes:
And Mr. Bush then said that if Mexico or other countries oppose the United States, "there will be a certain sense of discipline."I'd like to say that Bush is "out of control". I'd like to wonder whatever happened to Bush's "humble foreign policy" promises in the campaign. But heck, I've already hit those themes about a million times. Yet while the US media ignores Bush's threats, the foreign media has actually been doing its job:
These remarks went virtually unreported by the ever-protective U.S. media, but they created a political firestorm in Mexico. The White House has been frantically backpedaling, claiming that when Mr. Bush talked of "discipline" he wasn't making a threat. But in the context of the rest of the interview, it's clear that he was. I don't buy the rationale for war, but it's clear that any other semi-competent president would've rallied world support by now, without trying to destroy the very international institutions that help keep the peace and souring relations with our closest allies. Love means never having to clear your browser history.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, developments in the Oscar Pistorius trial are interesting, in what the reveal about "gun culture" without borders. FAT (Frequently Asserted Trolling) on GunFAIL, including the accidents versus negligence controversy, and what to say to the swimming pool trope. Other topics: Issa vs. Cummings; "Disarmed: How Cities Are Losing the Power to Regulate Guns"; Paul Ryan, brown bag lunches, and poverty tautologies; wacko Alaskan Republican tut-tuts sex havers; McConnell strains under the weight of a rifle; that Oscar "selfie"; and is all this Bitcoin theft a sign that the time is right for Operation Privateers of the Caribbean?
Ms. Kelly’s concern over incriminating herself by producing the documents at issue is not ‘trifling or imaginary,’ but ‘substantial and real.' Honestly, I can't blame her for taking that position, particularly in light of the fact that she is the person who authored the "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email. Neither can I blame Christie's former top political aide Bill Stepien for saying basically the same thing. If you were in their position, wouldn't you want immunity, too?
Of course, you wouldn't ever put yourself in their position, and I'm not saying they deserve immunity, but while it's possible that invoking the Fifth is a smart legal move on their part, I doubt that it will do Christie any good on the political front. For Christie, the biggest impact of this scandal has already been felt: He no longer boasts the post-Sandy crossover appeal that got national Republicans so excited for his candidacy, yet he has failed to capture the enthusiasm of the Republican base.
If nothing else changes, that's where Christie is: A 2016 hopeful who has lost his rationale for running and has yet to invent a new one. And if something does change, odds are it won't be good news for Christie, because unless it turns out that the traffic jam was a plot by Bruce Springsteen to bring down his (self-described) biggest political fan, the only real question at this point is whether Christie was willfully clueless about his organization's political tactics—or if he knew what was going on all along.
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
Late Night Snark: Crimea River Edition
Jon Stewart unveils Fox News's new slogan: "We
Read The Chain Emails Your Grandma Gets In
Her Inbox Out Loud Like They Were True."
- "Sixty percent of Crimea is ethnically Russian. Basically it's not Russia, but it's right next door and it's full of Russians. The closest thing we have to that in America is Cancun in March."
"House Speaker John Boehner referred to Vladimir Putin as a “thug,” and then called on President Obama to stand up to him. Which is sort of like throwing your drink on a big guy at a bar and then saying, 'My friend here will take care of you.'"
"Piers Morgan announced that he's stepping down from his low-rated CNN talk show. Morgan says he wants to spend more time gradually morphing into a potato."
---New SNL co-anchor Colin Jost
"Stock trader Steve Schwarzman---net worth $8 billion---once said that Obama raising his taxes three percent felt like when Hitler invaded Poland. Sounds like something Sarah Palin would tweet after huffing paint thinner."
"We're now down to the final four. Not college basketball, the number of people who still think President Bush is doing a good job."
---Jay Leno Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Here's what that looks like:
The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel either has no understanding of campaign finance, or is willfully misleading her readers. […] In her column, “The Really Big Money? Not the Kochs,” Strassel cites a Center for Responsive Politics list to claim that unions “collectively spent $620,873,623 more than Koch Industries” on political races. Of course, if you actually visit this page on the CPR website, the list runs below a disclaimer noting that it does not include certain Super PAC spending or most undisclosed dark money spending, the preferred route for the Koch brothers for decades. I'll go with "willfully misleading" on that one. The reality is, the reported spending by the Kochs in 2012 was dwarfed—almost 100 times—by their unreported spending, $4.9 million in disclosed contributions compared to $407 million in undisclosed money spent.
Of course the best part about all that Koch money spent in 2012 is that they lost.
Two thirds of those surveyed want it built, very much in line with what polls have been saying about rank-and-file opinions on Keystone XL for a long time. What's disturbing and disappointing is how many of those who want the pipeline nevertheless acknowledge that building it contains risks for the environment.
And then there's the fact that 85 percent believe the pipeline will create a significant number of jobs even though President Obama himself has said jobs from Keystone XL would be a "blip relative to the need." However, given the huge range of predictions we've been showered with about how many jobs would be created, and given the desperation many Americans feel nearly five years since the official end of the Great Recession, a big chunk of those who answered yes to the jobs question may simply be expressing their hopes for the project as much as anything. No way to know that for certain.
The poll itself suffers, as do so many issue-oriented opinion surveys, not so much from bad questions as incomplete ones. It would, for instance, be useful to know what percentage of that 65 percent think human-caused climate change is happening. And how big a percentage know what tar sands even are. And it would be enlightening to know where they got their information about the tar sands and the pipeline.
But there is no sugar-coating the fact that the long-running battle against Keystone XL has failed to persuade more Americans of the pipeline's true nature, failed to upend the propaganda. The predicament for pipeline foes is neatly summed up by the Post:
The poll questions and answers in chart form can be found below the fold.