I’ve always had mixed feelings through the years of going through the hassle of noting the right-wing extremism in this place on this blog since it’s so obvious, especially to people who live out of the state, but I’ve always felt it’s important for the historical record.
— Brewster Kahle (@brewster_kahle) December 10, 2016
Now it’s more important than ever. The Internet Archives, for example, recently announced that it’s moving a copy of its material to Canada to protect it from possible censorship by President-elect Donald Trump, who has apparently at least blustered that he might be interested in “closing off parts of the internet.” More on this later in the post.
For the record, then, on the right-wing extremism issue, here’s Oklahoma’s own infamous global warming denier U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe official statement about Trump’s selection to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who is none other than Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, another climate change skeptic:
Scott Pruitt is the ideal candidate to lead the EPA. Pruitt has seen first-hand the abuses of power at the hands of this agency and has fought back to ensure environmental quality without sacrificing jobs. Scott is an expert in constitutional law, and understands the fundamental element of balance necessary between the states and the federal government. I look forward to working with Chairman Barrasso and the EPW committee to move Scott’s nomination swiftly and fairly through the committee and to the Senate floor.
What does this “balance” even mean? This is what I believe it means to Inhofe and Pruitt: States with deep fossil-fuel reserves should be allowed to damage the planet in local ways, such as all the earthquakes caused by the fracking process here in Oklahoma, to the larger concern of rising sea levels because carbon emissions are accelerating the greenhouse effect, which leads to the melting of arctic ice. My argument is that Pruitt and Inhofe believe the profits of oil and gas companies render environmental arguments and evidence obsolete. Maybe they truly believe in their position, despite huge evidence that global warming is harming the planet, or maybe they simply don’t care.
Of course, Inhofe’s statement fails to note that every real environmental group in the world, including the Sierra Club, is vehemently opposed to Pruitt because of his deep ties to the fossil fuel industry and his lawsuits trying to stop the EPA from at least trying to ensure we have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.
Don’t count on the local corporate media, especially The Oklahoman, to dig into this major controversy, and it IS a controversy because it really does concern the future of this planet. So what, though, just another Inhofe pontification and distortion, right?
Back to the Internet Archive. A recent article in Mother Jones (click on the above link) reported the organization, devoted to saving older material on the web, is moving a “duplicate copy” of its material to Canada. This includes the incredible Wayback Machine, which even saves blog posts, include some from Okie Funk. The idea is to preserve the historical record. The Canada decision comes because of campaign statements about the internet like this from Trump, who was quoted in the article this way:
We’re losing a lot of people because of the internet, and we have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people…about, maybe in certain areas, closing the internet up in some way. Somebody will say, Oh, freedom of speech! Freedom of speech! These are foolish people…We’ve got to do something with the internet.
So there you have it: “Closing the internet in some way.” Trump is also arguing that people who believe in freedom of speech are foolish.
Inhofe and Pruitt need to be held accountable in real time, for sure, but who knows what’s coming down under Trump when it comes to erasing historical records. The use of the word “Orwellian” is no longer a sophomoric cliche or trope to describe misinformation and changing the historical record. George Orwell saw it coming. It’s become our reality. It’s only going to get worse under Trump.