A Koch Hack Tells the Pope to 'Back Off' on Climate Change

Pope Francis will be issuing a rare encyclical on the environment and climate change next year, and it's pretty clear that his message will not be "Drill, baby, drill."

Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance, a Religious Right group that specializes in promoting pollution, has been well-paid by the Kochs and other polluters to say things like this:

[to believe in climate change] "really is an insult to God ... and it will eventually lead to tyranny."
Here's what he gave the Guardian for "balance":
Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion.

“The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

This is interesting on several levels.

1) Beisner is not Catholic, so why would a reporter ask him about the Pope? Other than that he is sure to return your email/call, since that's his job.

2) Beisner's grift is getting polluters to fund his propagandizing of white conservative evangelical Protestants like himself. Preaching to the conservative choir is a solid meal ticket these days. But it's not a Catholic choir in this case.

3) A minority of US Catholics are right-wing conservatives, and some of them have lots of media cred. Were none of them available (on presumably short notice) to espouse climate change denial?

4) Why would Francis care what "millions of evangelical Christians in the US" think about his endorsing the climate change consensus? If he thinks it's the right thing to do, he will do it, even if millions of American Catholics oppose him.

5) The "false religion" bit is ironic, since that's a charge evangelical Protestants have been aiming at the Catholic Church for 500 years.

Besides the encyclical, Francis plans to convene a summit of world religious leaders and speak to the United Nations General Assembly, all with the goal of influencing a major UN meeting on climate change in Paris next year.

Climate change will become a much bigger story next year, in good part due to Pope Francis.

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Mike Nichols: 'We Are All Willy Loman Now'

Not exactly Willy Loman, and not exactly now, Nichols was interviewed by the NPR business show Marketplace in 2012, when he directed a Broadway revival of "Death of a Salesman" starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the doomed Willy Loman.

I think in a strange way, it's truer of now the way Orwellian thought is truer now. You know, De Tocqueville saw ahead -- he predicted this in 1840, for Christ's sake. That sentence of his, that if American democracy continues in the way in which it's going, it'll become eventually pure market forces -- I think of that every week. We are pure market forces. It's happened. And of course, that's what "Salesman" is about. We're all salesmen now.
Pure market forces have created millions of Willy Lomans lately -- older workers who were the first to be fired in the Great Bush Recession, and the last to be hired in the ongoing  fitful recovery.

I saw the Young Vic's production of "Streetcar" at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA, Sunday. Gillian Anderson was excellent as Blanche, but despite the contemporary updating of the production, it was still the story of a personal mental breakdown that is particular to that family's situation. And she survived.

Willy Loman did not survive his mental breakdown, because Arthur Miller understood that his kind of unemployment was far more deadly depressing than what Tennessee Williams wrote about Blanche DuBois.

"We are all salesmen now" does not just apply to salesmen of a certain age these days -- factory workers, computer programmers, retail clerks, call center customer service reps, etc., have all suffered from "pure market forces" that have eliminated their jobs in favor of ever-cheaper labor, in the Confederacy or in Asia.

We can't say we weren't warned; "Salesman" was a Broadway hit in 1949.

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