The Kooch: Doubling Down on Racism and Climate Denial

August 14, 2019

Boy, climate deniers have hated it when I’ve shown, again and again, that climate denial and racism seem joined at the hip. Almost as if there was some kind of structure in the Republican brain that was responsible for both…
My theory is trauma from torturous toilet training, but I digress.

Ken Cuccinelli (affectionately known as “the Kooch”) was in the news the other day with racist blather about changing Emma Lazarus’ famous poem about Miss Liberty, “..give me your tired and your poor.”
Apparently the poor part is considered gauche in Trump’s DC.
Kooch deftly pivoted (above) to clarify that what he meant was that immigrants should be European.

Kooch is famous, of course, for leading a censorship and intimidation campaign against climate scientist Michael Mann.


WASHINGTON – Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli gave a new interpretation of the famous Emma Lazarus sonnet in response to a question about the White House’s “public charge” rule that could disqualify many indigent immigrants from entering the U.S.
On Monday, President Donald Trump’s administration issued a new rule that would allow officials to deny green cards to migrants if officials believe they would require public assistance, or those at risk of becoming a “public charge.” The rule would go into effect on October 15. 
Appearing on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Cuccinelli was asked by host Rachel Martin if the sonnet, which reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” would still be part of the “American ethos” under the new rule.
“They certainly are,” Cuccinelli replied, before offering a revised version of the sonnet:
“Give me your tired, your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” he told Martin. “That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the first time the first public charge law was passed.” 


WASHINGTON – Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday evening doubled down on his characterization of the famous Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty sonnet, saying the poem was referring mostly to immigrants coming from Europe.

Cuccinelli ran against Terry McAullife for Governor of Virginia, and Kooch’s climate denial came up as an issue in the campaign, which McAuliffe won. (below)

Washington Post:

RICHMOND — The newest TV ad in the Virginia governor’s race focuses on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s legal battle with a University of Virginia climate scientist.

Titled “Witch Hunt,” the commercial recalls a two-year effort by Cuccinelli, the GOP nominee for governor and a climate change skeptic, to obtain records from Michael Mann, then a U-Va. researcher.

The campaign of Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli’s Democratic rival, released the ad Monday. It declined to say where it will run and for how long.

“It’s been called ‘Cuccinelli’s witch hunt.’ ‘Designed to intimidate and suppress,’ ” a narrator for the 30-second spot says, quoting newspaper editorials from the time. “Ken Cuccinelli used taxpayer funds to investigate a U-Va. professor whose research on climate change Cuccinelli opposed. Cuccinelli, a climate change denier, forced the university to spend over half a million dollars defending itself against its own attorney general. Ken Cuccinelli — he’s focused on his own agenda, not us.”

The ad is part of McAuliffe’s broader strategy to portray himself as a business-oriented moderate and Cuccinelli as someone outside the mainstream on a range of cultural issues. The opening image of the ad shows McAuliffe sitting at table, having a seemingly productive discussion with others gathered there.

In 2010, Cuccinelli issued a civil investigative demand — essentially a subpoena — for grant applications and correspondence exchanged among Mann, research assistants, and scientists around the country. He based that demand on a 2002 state law designed to combat government employees defrauding the public of tax dollars. Cuccinelli said he was trying to investigate if Mann had, while seeking grants to study climate change, had used manipulated data to show that there has been a recent spike rise in the Earth’s temperature.

UPDATE: Colbert on Kooch.

16 Responses to “The Kooch: Doubling Down on Racism and Climate Denial”

  1. rsmurf Says:

    What we are watching is a deconstruction of the United States of America. Turning it into a giant monopoly corporation that vacuums up money and spits out destroyed lives!

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Cuccinelli may now be affectionately known as “the Kooch” by some RWNJ’s, but those of us in Virginia who had to put up with his insanity before we sent him packing do NOT remember him with affection—-my politest name for him was KookyNelly.

    (And the state never recovered the half million dollars he wasted on his Mann “witch hunt” )

  3. J4Zonian Says:

    “trauma from torturous toilet training,”

    Uh, no. Why not do what the site does and ask a scientist or expert or 3 who would actually know something about the link between climate denial and other conservative beliefs?

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Why not do what the site does and ask a scientist or expert or 3 who would actually know something about the link between climate denial and other conservative beliefs?

      He’s already blogged about that in the past. I think a lot of us are getting tired of trying to maintain the intellectual high ground.

  4. ubrew12 Says:

    Its bad enough that this guy is not in jail, yesterday Charles Koch wrote an editorial in the Washington Post. Naturally, its about how government can’t solve our problems. Instead, the Koch’s will go directly into communities and fund solutions to wealth-disparity, criminal justice, drugs, etc. A quote: “When it comes to fixing the country’s biggest problems, there is no quick fix — no single solution from on high.” This is King Charles saying this, with no apparent sense of irony.

  5. Manny Good Says:

    I recognize that you have your ideas and I have mine. If we are to make the country better for our children perhaps less name calling would be helpful.

    A number of countries accept immigrants on the condition that they not be supported by the taxpayers. The USA is one of those countries under a law signed by President Clinton. The present administration is trying to simply enforce a law put into place by a democrat president and a democrat controlled congress.

    This is not about race, my wife for example is not white and is foreign born. This is about making sure that legal immigrants are not living off the taxpayers. This is also about making sure illegals are not doing the same thing. When I married her, signed a bunch of papers and paid a bunch of fees to bring her here, I signed a form saying I had the money to support her and that she would not be a public charge. Plenty of other people in this country have done the same thing. Are you saying that was racist? That President Bill Clinton was racist?

    • greenman3610 Says:

      Cuccinelli specified European immigrants. That’s not only historically inaccurate, it’s racist.

      The Republican Party has been taken over by racism, and Trump’s repeated signals to White Supremacists (“very fine people”) are only the most visible evidence.

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        Hasn’t the republkan party always been racist? Straight question, no agenda.

        • greenman3610 Says:

          pretty much.
          Recently discovered audio of Ronald Reagan confirms what most of us already knew

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Just about all white people in the USA were/are racist. A bit oversimplified, but the Democrats more so up until the civil rights movement era, when the parties “switched” positions. Since then, the Republicans have been the more racist.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            Racism is a trait of human beings but becomes a particular problem when we can’t simply live & let live.
            And use the cudgel of law & policy to enforce our prejudices.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          The Republicans and the Democrats swapped roles with regard to racism and immigration in the 1960s and 1970s. It is a result of the GOP’s notorious Southern Strategy:

          LBJ’s now-classic quote:
          If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      The present administration is trying to simply enforce a law put into place by a democrat president and a democrat controlled congress.

      This is a red herring. Any presidential administration has a lot of discretion on how much budget and emphasis to enforce any one law.

      Please don’t try to pretend that DJT’s administration has not made it an explicit policy to make handling of undocumented immigrants much more horrible than in the past as an explicit tactic to discourage these people, including family separation and long-term caging in terrible facilities. He’s already expressed to his fans how they’re “rapists” (rather than more likely to be raped) and other types of violent gangsters (when they’re more often targets of crime), or how they’re an invasion. This is the type of rhetoric that is seen in shooters’ anti-immigrant manifestos.

      Regarding illegality: Trump ignores any aspect of immigration law that he doesn’t like, such as how to deal with asylum seekers and how long children may be held in detention.

      Regarding competence: The tighter restrictions have multiplied the caseload on immigration courts which were overworked already. Migrants are being held in nasty facilities run by private prison contractors at grossly inflated expense to the taxpayer.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      @Manny Good
      Not to say some of your points aren’t valid but you should have made your arguments BEFORE Trump and his rabid supporters like Coulter were in the public eye.
      It’s time the Party of Personal Responsibility own up that a significant cause of unwanted immigration is driven by US foreign policy and interference; the foreign-born chickens are coming home to roost.

  6. rsmurf Says:

    Take a look at the platform the Kocokaroach ran on when it ran for president.

    “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”
    “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
    “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”
    “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”
    “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”
    “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”
    “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”
    “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”
    “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”
    “We support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”
    “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”
    “We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”
    “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”
    “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”
    “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”
    “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”
    “We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”
    “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”
    “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.”
    “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”
    “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”
    “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”
    “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”
    “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
    “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
    “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.”
    In oth

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