Smokey Joe Barton: Joe Camel’s Oily Ally

April 11, 2013

I posted this week’s bible thumping by “Smokey Joe” Barton (see below) in relation to the Keystone pipeline project, as well as the hilarious and sad boot-licking apology to BP.

But fake Christian piety is not a new part of Barton’s schtick.  I’ve been doing some research for an upcoming video on the connection between tobacco denial and climate denial. It’s amazing how many of the same characters we know and love keep cropping up.

Turns out, in his youth, the gentleman from Texas was (probably still is) the recipient of generous contributions from the Tobacco industry, and an enthusiastic part of the “tobacco health effects are junk science its just the gummint trying to mess with yore freedum” caucus. See the 90s era interview above with the late Peter Jennings.

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18 Responses to “Smokey Joe Barton: Joe Camel’s Oily Ally”

  1. Dr. Steve Hansen Says:

    Hi Peter–keep up the great work– Here’s a little abstract I presented at the World health Org.’s “World Conference on Tobacco OR Health” in 2009 in Mumbai. Of course, Naomi Oreskes book is the kind of stuff that you want. Cheers,SH


  2. Slave owners were in denial,smokers were in denial, and we are all still in some level of denial–with lots of help from the “merchants of doubt”. But folks in other nations do not have nearly as much doubt/disinformation–a revenue-neutral carbon tax here would be the way to clarify the issue for all.
    See George P. Shultz and Gary s. Becker’s WSJ Op-Ed of Monday, April 8,2013

  3. stephengn1 Says:

    Don’t forget Shimkus and “There is a theological debate that this is a carbon starved planet.”

    This is definitely a pattern. Attempts at manipulation of the bible for political gain is a specialty of the right – as it is with taliban and the Qoran

    • greenman3610 Says:

      I couldn’t find video of shimkus with working sound. let me know if you have a link


      • Here’s Mr. Shimkus’s risk assessment at the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

        • andrewfez Says:

          Carbon as an atom/element was first described in the late 1700’s. It’s been a while since I’ve read Sir Humphry Davy’s early 19th century lecture/book called Elements of Agricultural Chemistry, so I cannot recall if he talks about C in these or not, but more than likely he does – it’s a pretty extensive book that covers all the basic elements and how they relate to plant nutrition. It was published like 1812 or 1813, just a decade+ removed from the discovery of the 27 or so atoms/elements known at the time (some being actually discovered by Davy).

          At this same time in history, there were lots of theological debates happening: There was a debate on baptism – how to properly do it: in running water, full immersion, whether or not a child could be baptized, etc.. There was a debate on whether or not ‘non-elect’ (those not properly baptized) should be allowed to participate in communion.

          However, not one theological debate in this era of carbon discovery had anything to do with whether or not our planet had enough carbon or not. If you try to Google whether or not there really is or was such a debate, the only thing you get is a bunch of people making fun of Shimkus.

          I have to conclude this guy is a liar who has no respect for the commandment that ‘Thou shall not lie’ and thus should not be arguing from the stance of religious authority. There is the possibility that he just worded his idea poorly and just meant to repeat the fallacy, ‘Long ago there was more carbon in the atmosphere, thus it’s no problem today’. But just the act of trying to drag religion into a non religious topic is a symptom of malicious motives.

      • stephengn1 Says:

        Glad someone found that URL. I’m on an iPad which is like pulling teeth when it comes to YouTube.

        Inhofe has also quoted the bible on several occasions and there is a movement among clergy in the evangelical world to infuse denialism into the liturgy.

        Look forward to a video addressing holy roller denialists

        • pendantry Says:

          Religious fanaticism is scary. That such people are in positions where they can influence, or determine policy is scarier still.

          When religion and politics ride in the same cart, the whirlwind follows.

  4. Nick Carter Says:

    Although “there’s no one single paper that proves” that smoking causes lung cancer….Peter Jennings, a former cigarette smoker, died….from lung cancer.


  5. Actually, there are papers that show smoking (and radiation) cause cancer. The confusion is that we know it by statistical inference. It is difficult to prove a particular individual died of cancer due to a particular carcinogen. Thus, the residents of St. George Utah can have high cancer rates, but how to prove they died from fallout contamination from tests. Same for smoking. All a lawyer has to do is show that the link is based on probability rather than a specific causal link. Then there is doubt. In the real world, we know Peter Jennings increased his chances of dying from smoking.


  6. This is THE story. Most of us will not change our minds when presented with facts, yet we will when presented with a good story.

    Blah blah arctic ice, blah blah Superstorn blah blah – it’s all stuff that can be ignored with a little ignorant hand-waving.

    But “They lied to us, people died, and they’re doing it again.” is a story that we all recognize. It’s immediate, we accept it and it makes us angry – as it should.

    We already know that tobacco companies were immoral *$@)s that killed 10s if not 100s of thousands. That many of the same people are using the same tricks to sell a different lie is easy to accept.

    I always emphasize this connection in my climate talks : when I present the climate lie and then ask the audience where they’ve seen this before they always know – “tobacco”.

    We won the debate 10 years ago, we are no longer in a debate we are in a campaign and that succeeds with stories. (And Bill McKibben).

    SO – I look forward to your research enormously!!

  7. johnmashey Says:

    Try:
    LTDL search for Joe.

    The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library is an amazing resource.

  8. fw134 Says:

    There’s something I don’t understand about the American political system. Representatives get large sums of money from commercial interests. When elected, the representatives protect those interests.

    Where I come from, this would be called corruption. Not in a hyperbolic sense, but in a literal, prosecutable sense. How did bribery come to be legal in the US? Is there some historical reason?


  9. […] 2013/04/11: PSinclair: Smokey Joe Barton: Joe Camel’s Oily Ally […]


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