Dike Bursts: Tech Giants Flee Climate Denying Koch Front – “They’re just literally lying”.

September 24, 2014

Google pulled the plug on it’s support for the American Legislative Exchange Council,(ALEC) a Science denying, far right wing lobbying group, funded by the Koch Brothers. Google chairman Eric Schmidt said that Google had originally formed an alliance with ALEC “..as part of a lobbying campaign on an unrelated issue.” (presumably an ill-considered kitten-drowning initiative..)

Google followed Microsoft in cutting the tie, and now the dikes seem to have burst, as a stampede of tech firms trample each other to  flee association with ALEC, and climate denial – in the wake of this week’s game changing Climate March in New York.

Watch for more aftershocks to come.

National Journal:

A powerful cohort of Silicon Valley firms are publicly bolting from the American Legislative Exchange Council following a renewed spurt of public outrage over the conservative group’s views on climate change.

Facebook announced late Tuesday that it would likely end its affiliation with ALEC next year, joining a recent wave of tech companies seeking divorce from the controversial organization, which has drawn heated ire from left-leaning public-interest groups for years. Just a day earlier, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt announced plans to cut ties with ALEC, accusing them of “just literally lying” about climate change.

“We reevaluate our memberships on an annual basis, and are in that process now,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “While we have tried to work within ALEC to bring that organization closer to our view on some key issues, it seems unlikely that we will make sufficient progress, so we are not likely to renew our membership in 2015.”

Also on Wednesday, Yelp’s director of public policy, Luther Lowe, confirmed the company had ended its ALEC membership, but noted the separation had occurred months ago and before Google or Facebook’s announcement.

In a statement, Lowe said Yelp allowed its membership with ALEC to expire after achieving its explicit goal of promoting legislation protecting free speech on the Internet. Lowe also acknowledged the public criticism Yelp faced as a member.

A number of influential tech companies maintain a relationship with ALEC, including Yahoo, AOL, and eBay. Amazon, eBay’s rival, ended its relationship with ALEC in 2012.

SFGate.com:

Silicon Valley firms, which are relatively new to politics, have supported both liberal and conservative candidates and groups. But public pressure on such issues as global warming is forcing tech companies to rethink their strategies.

On Tuesday, national and world leaders including President Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown gathered in New York for a United Nations summit on reducing carbon emissions. The summit follows massive protest in New York that drew more than 300,000 people.

For several years, climate activists have urged tech companies and other corporations to cut ties with ALEC. The lobbying organization, which counts Exxon, Koch Industries and other major fossil fuel companies among its more than 300 corporate and 2,000 legislative members, writes pro-business legislation on a variety of issues, including energy. ALEC then reintroduces the “model” bills elsewhere.

Across the country, ALEC-written measures have attempted to roll back existing protections on environmental, labor, civil rights and public health laws. The less government intervention in business, the better, ALEC believes. It also helped craft the “stand your ground” law in Florida that drew nationwide attention after teenagerTrayvon Martin was shot to death.

ClimateProgress:

Google’s controversial decision to fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was a “mistake,” company chairman Eric Schmidt admitted on Monday, saying the group is spreading lies about global warming and “making the world a much worse place.”

In an interview on NPR’s Diane Rehm show, Schmidt said the free-market lobbying group’s anti-climate and anti-clean energy positions are harmful to future generations, and a bad investment idea for the company.

“Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,” Schmidt said. “And so we should not be aligned with such people — they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”

Schmidt did not say that Google had officially cut ties with the group, but did say that the “consensus within the company was that [the investment] was some sort of mistake and so we’re trying to not do that in the future.”

 

8 Responses to “Dike Bursts: Tech Giants Flee Climate Denying Koch Front – “They’re just literally lying”.”


  1. No matter the lack of MSM coverage. The massive climate March is having its effects. If one studies the 60 s and 70 s marches one finds the effects were far greater than most realized. It will be interesting to Look back and find out what all the other dropped shoes are. There could be more coming. I think the intensity of the next generations interest in the pressing survival threats is growing.
    Ironically, some big business also sees their own survival in paying heed.


  2. […] Google pulled the plug on it's support for the American Legislative Exchange Council,(ALEC) a Science denying, far right wing lobbying group, funded by the Koch Brothers. Google chairman Eric Schmi…  […]

  3. uknowispeaksense Says:

    Reblogged this on uknowispeaksense and commented:
    About time.


  4. “A number of influential tech companies maintain a relationship with ALEC, including Yahoo, AOL, and eBay. ”

    This is no surprise. Have you seen the drivel they put out there on Yahoo? And the comments? AOL, who are they again? Oh yeah, they used to be players. And eBay, maybe when they first started they were hot, but over the years they’ve lost their shine, haven’t they? I’m sure their leaders are blaming their business troubles on government. After all it’s only human nature to not want to take responsibility for mistakes. Let these businesses die with ALEC.


  5. […] deniers in our time, but now, my stalker has really shone. My last blog entry, was a reblog from Greenman discussing the fact that Google has withdrawn its support for a large loony right wing American […]

  6. Gingerbaker Says:

    Rather grudging reappraisals by Google and Facebook. Pushed along kicking and screaming – Facebook only “likely” to change, and then only next year?!?

    There shouldn’t be any decision here, if these companies truly acted on democratic principles. ALEC is corruption personified, and anyone who pays attention at all knew three years ago exactly what they represented.

    We have lost a lot of what made America great. Eighty years ago, if any person or corporation acted like ALEC and their signatories, they would have been thrown in jail. The rich and powerful used to consider it their civic duty to ensure that the the public interest, not their own, was served by government.

    The American Way used to be to look out for the little guy. Now, profits for the elite – at any cost – even if that means breaking the law – is the Gospel.


    • “Rather grudging reappraisals by Google and Facebook. Pushed along kicking and screaming – Facebook only “likely” to change, and then only next year?!?”

      I can’t saying anything about Facebook, but I do know something about Google. And I think that Google gets a “bum rap” much of the time by people who assume that all corporations are the same.

      This is not to say that I think that Google is all teddy bears and unicorns. Like any corporation, their first job is to make money. However, there is a difference between corporate cultures, depending largely on whether or not the CEO and executive board is composed of people who would like to earn their bonuses more-or-less honestly, versus corporate psychopaths who would sell their own grandparents to a glue factory.

      Much of the hatred pitted against Google is the result of a dirty campaign primarily run by Microsoft, and to a lesser extent, Apple. Microsoft may have started out apolitical, but in 2000 donated US$2.4 million to get George W Bush elected. This was mostly revenge against Bill Clinton for the Microsoft anti-trust lawsuit. Since then, Microsoft hasn’t looked back – they’ve worked hard to get laws passed to kill competitors, especially patent laws. They recognized early that Google could become a future competitor in operating systems, and have worked hard corrupting the legal system trying to make sure that wouldn’t happen. Apple was less astute and mostly kept out of politics until they started seeing Google’s Android as a threat to the iEverything, and suddenly Apple executives became staunch Republicans, again with the goal of using patent laws to outlaw their competitors (not only Google, but phone makers such as Samsung).

      Thus, at the behest of Microsoft and Apple and their bribe money, we have congress demanding investigations into Google’s “monopoly.” And to defend itself, Google pretty much had no choice to pay their bribes to odious Republicans to get the “investigators” off their back. But make no mistake about it, Microsoft and Apple have pulled Silicon Valley (which is a very liberal place) sharply to the right. Any company that wants to survive the wrath of these twin evil corporations and their army of patent lawyers has to bribe congress, or else give up on the US market and seek their fortune elsewhere.

      Aside from bribing congress, one of Microsoft’s favorite dirty tricks has been to fund other (failing) companies that specialize in lawsuits, known as “patent trolls.” Microsoft funded now-failed SCO, which tried to kill Linux through lawsuits. Microsoft totally bankrolls “Intellectual Ventures,” a company whose only venture is to sue others.

      Hollywood – another bastion of liberalism – is dominated by music and movie studios, represented by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) respectively. Both are generous donaters to the Republican cause, which is to say “bribe for legislation to kill competition.” They’ve given the USA Mafia-like copyright laws, which America is now trying hard to force onto other countries via so-called “free-trade agreements.”

      And then there are the pharmaceutical companies, and the insurance lobby. But I’ll stop there – I wasn’t trying to write a sermon.

      Want to know more? Techdirt.com is a good go-to place to learn about these shenanigans. A recent post to get you started:

      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140904/07162328412/intellectual-ventures-tries-to-rewrite-script-pretends-plan-was-always-about-making-stuff-not-trolling.shtml


  7. […] recent rush of big Brand name tech firms  to distance themselves from climate denial is evidence that last week’s huge climate march in New York was both a catalyzing event, and […]


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