Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D): Say, Let’s Use RICO Against Skeptics

Criminalizing thought, by a guy who uses vast amounts of fossil fuels and energy within his own life

(Washington Post) Fossil fuel companies and their allies are funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution.

Their activities are often compared to those of Big Tobacco denying the health dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco’s denial scheme was ultimately found by a federal judge to have amounted to a racketeering enterprise.

The Big Tobacco playbook looked something like this: (1) pay scientists to produce studies defending your product; (2) develop an intricate web of PR experts and front groups to spread doubt about the real science; (3) relentlessly attack your opponents.

Thankfully, the government had a playbook, too: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies and their associated industry groups, alleging that the companies “engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO.”

Some folks take exception when I refer to Progressives as “nice fascists” (the nice part refers to massive government “for your own good””): how’s that phrase sounding when you have a sitting US Senator wanting to prosecute anyone who fails to follow the Cult Of Climastrology using RICO? Might Whitehouse and his Warmists allies think that even a little blog like mine is an “ally” of fossil fuels companies?

The coordinated tactics of the climate denial network, Brulle’s report states, “span a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts that aim at undermining climate science.” Compare that again to the findings in the tobacco case.

He seems very upset over our 1st Amendment Rights.

Walter Olsen at Overlawyered notes

Law professor Jonathan Adler, by the way, has already pointed out that Sen. Whitehouse’s op-ed “relies on a study that doesn’t show what he (it) claims.” And Sen. Whitehouse, along with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), has been investigating climate-dissent scholarship in a fishing-expedition investigation that drew apointed rebuke from then-Cato Institute President John Allison as an “obvious attempt to chill research into and funding of public policy projects you don’t like…. you abuse your authority when you attempt to intimidate people who don’t share your political beliefs.”

Whitehouse ends his free speech chilling op-ed thusly

To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke.

So, he actually has no clue. But, you can bet he wants to investigate, to ramp up the Climastrology witch-hunt.

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6 Responses to “Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D): Say, Let’s Use RICO Against Skeptics”

  1. john says:

    OOOOPZ looks like Sen Whitehouse (former US Attorney for RI) hit a nerve there Teach. I think it was making the comparison with BIG TOBACCO have much in common
    http://publichealthlawcenter.org/topics/tobacco-control/tobacco-control-litigation/united-states-v-philip-morris-doj-lawsuit
    Outcome

    On August 17, 2006 Judge Kessler issued a 1,683 page opinion holding the tobacco companies liable for violating RICO by fraudulently covering up the health risks associated with smoking and for marketing their products to children. “As set forth in these Final Proposed Findings of Fact, substantial evidence establishes that Defendants have engaged in and executed – and continue to engage in and execute – a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO.”

    The tobacco companies filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The court granted the motion, and on May 22, 2009 the three-judge panel unanimously upheld Judge Kessler’s decision finding the tobacco companies liable. The court upheld most of the ordered remedies, but denied additional remedies sought by public health interveners and the Department of Justice. The court also found that the First Amendment does not protect fraudulent statements, stating that “Defendants knew of their falsity at the time and made the statements with the intent to deceive. Thus, we are not dealing with accidental falsehoods, or sincere attempts to persuade.” The court dismissed the defendants’ argument that their statements were protected by the First Amendment.
    Teach that RICO ruling did/does not prevent YOU from saying that smoking is not harmful to you or others.
    It simply prevents FRAUD, which BIG TOBACCO and I think BIG FOSSIL ENERGY would do/continue to do if allowed.
    Fraud is illegal.That includes saying that using this product does not cause harm to yourself or others when used as directed

  2. john says:

    No Teach he does have a clue. That smoke. That is the clue. He doesn’t have PROOF that there is a fire. But there is a lot of smoke , so let’s take a really good look
    Do you regret starting to smoke tobacco use?
    Can you stop using the nicotine drug? Many people have a difficult time stopping that euphoria and emotional control associated with nicotine

  3. Liam Thomas says:

    Its time to elect Hillary.

    SO the Democrats are now dragging out stupid issues no one cares about…..latest pew research shows that only 11 percent of respondents claim climate change is a pressing concern.

    Anything to deflect the voters away from key issues.

    Pretty soon all Republicans will be baby eating, Women beating Lap dog for the Koch Brothers.

    While George Soros, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates…..JUST TO NAME A FEW WHACKO LEFTIST BILLIONAIRES laugh all the way to the bank.

    “As the Egyptian General said of the Democratic party….ARE THEY INSANE!!!!!!!

  4. Jeffery says:

    Do you think the government violated the 1st Amendment rights of the tobacco companies?

    It seems I recall multiple RWNJs calling for criminal charges against “warmists”, Al Gore, “climateers” and Michael Mann. (see WUWT, American Thinker et al – Selwyn Duke, Monckton, Don Surber etc). Fair’s fair.

    Is there a nefarious link between dark money funders such as DonorsTrust, Donors Capital and Exxon, Koch, Heartland, WUWT to mislead the American people? Of course. Is it criminal? I doubt it. It’s harder to prove the damage that they’re responsible for compared to the tobacco industry killing millions for profit.

  5. […] What was that about “media efforts?” William Teach gives us a possible clue: […]

  6. jl says:

    John- sometimes it’s a good idea not to be so much in love with the CAPS LOCK. BIG FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY IS NOT COMMITTING FRAUD- THE CLIMATE ASTROLOGERS ARE. There- doesn’t that make it look more important?

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