As U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello was considering how to vote on an important piece of climate change legislation in June, the freshman congressman’s office received at least six letters from two Charlottesville-based minority organizations voicing opposition to the measure.
The letters, as it turns out, were forgeries.
“They stole our name. They stole our logo. They created a position title and made up the name of someone to fill it. They forged a letter and sent it to our congressman without our authorization,” said Tim Freilich, who sits on the executive committee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit network that tackles issues related to Charlottesville’s Hispanic community. “It’s this type of activity that undermines Americans’ faith in democracy.”
The faked letter from Creciendo Juntos was signed by “Marisse K. Acevado, Asst Member Coordinator,” an identity and position at Creciendo Juntos that do not exist.
The person who sent the letter has not been identified, but he or she was employed by a Washington lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates.
This moment is too important, the crisis is too grave, to let our debate be distorted by under the radar screen gutter moves – this one the most egregious example yet reported.
From carefully crafted message memos to Republican members of Congress on how to talk about climate change to well-funded think tanks whose sole purpose is to try to cast doubt on the iron-clad science of global climate change to specific attacks on people like Al Gore and others who step up to tell the truth, the campaign has been relentless.
But the facts are clear: In the industrial era, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen from 280 to 385 parts per million. Scientists have drawn a red line at 450ppm -- which represents a warming of 2 degrees Celsius. Anything beyond that presents an unacceptable risk. But unless we take dramatic action -- now -- we are actually headed to 1,000 ppm by century's end.
The effects are already being felt. The ice is melting in the Arctic, the glaciers in the Himalayas (the source of the major rivers of China and India, home to billions of people) are projected to be totally gone by 2030, weather patterns around the globe are changing – and against all that, we get forged letters and phony science trying to block progress.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until we win: we have to fight this. I’ll be doing everything I can, from highlighting instances like this, to working every day in the Senate to make sure the truth is out there to counter the falsehoods. And I’ll be working to empower you to spread the truth. The Senate will be considering historic reform legislation to meet this challenge, and we need to get a real solution out of that process.
We all have an enormous stake in the outcome of this fight; it’s literally a fight for the future of our planet. And we all need to do absolutely everything we can to win this fight.
update: storms up North today -- plane was delayed a long time so I've had a chance to read through the comments and noticed lots of comments on health care, so quickly two things: first, you're preaching to the converted (or rather the baptized) on the importance of a public option. I've been working for one for a long time, and I'm not backing off. But how we end up where we need to go - Ted Kennedy taught me a long time ago - often has a lot of twists and turns which brings me to: second, there's still a lot more time in this fight. We have to get a bill out of the Finance Committee, and it's obviously a difficult committee ideologically speaking -- but then we can work with it on the floor of the Senate, marrying up the best of the Finance bill to the best of Teddy and Chris's HELP bill -- and again reconciling the Senate bill with whatever the House comes up with. In other words, getting the best possible bill outof Finance is a necessary but not sufiicient step for getting the product we need. So, look, I'm going to be fighting every step of the way to get us to a public option in this country, and also to get us to things like progress on long term care and kids' health which clearly should be universal and a few other huge priorities -- and I wouldn't expect any of you to give up working for that, either.