About a week ago, Senators John Kerry and Lindsey Graham teamed up to push bipartisanship on the next big legislative fight after healthcare reform -- climate legislation. In an op-ed in the New York Times, the two argued in favor of a plan to allow industries to buy and sell the ability to pollute. It's pretty simple, really; the government sets an allowable emissions standard for an industry and companies that pollute below that standard can sell their excess polluting capacity to those who don't. This creates a financial incentive to run cleaner operations, since dirtier practices cost money, while greener manufacturing actually makes money. That's the short version, but it's really not all that much more complicated than that.
This op-ed is, of course, the worst thing Lindsey Graham has ever done. He's working with Democrats to actually govern -- rather than trying to prevent the Senate from governing -- and this is literally treason. Never mind that, as Steve Benen pointed out recently, Graham is an extremely conservative Senator and "only 17 senators are to his right." Graham is now a wussypants liberal elitist. Probably a Communist, maybe a fascist. Someone ought to check his birth certificate to make sure he wasn't born in Kenya.
"Even climate change skeptics should recognize that reducing our dependence on foreign oil and increasing our energy efficiency strengthens our national security," Kerry and Graham wrote. "Both of us served in the military. We know that sending nearly $800 million a day to sometimes-hostile oil-producing countries threatens our security. In the same way, many scientists warn that failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will lead to global instability and poverty that could put our nation at risk."
Anyone who'd write something like that clearly hates America.
Someone who clearly doesn't hate America is Tom Borelli, who's written his own op-ed over at Fox News. In it, Borelli accuses Graham and Kerry of "colluding with those who oppose our values" to pass cap and trade.
"Yes We Can!" the slogan used by then-Senator Obama during last year’s presidential campaign -- is now being used by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) to launch a last ditch effort to jumpstart cap-and-trade legislation in the Senate.
Graham and Kerry's commentary, "Yes We Can (Pass Climate Change Legislation)" published in the New York Times last weekend outlines elements of a bipartisan legislative framework on cap-and-trade.
The commentary follows the launch of "We Can Lead" -- a campaign to promote climate change legislation by a coalition of big business, environmental, labor and left-wing special interest groups.
This high-profile corporate support of Obama's energy policy exposes a long-simmering development in public policy: the progressive takeover of the boardroom.
We ought to boycott these companies, Borelli argues, because they've been taken over by commies. Nike, Duke Energy, Hewlett Packard, and Starbucks aren't just cool with cap and trade, but they're actually promoting it. Worse, they're spending money to support it. Borelli argues that this is because they've been taken over by nefarious special interest groups with dark plans for corporate America.
Of course, another -- less insane -- explanation might be that these companies are already green and would stand to do well under cap and trade. It might just be that these corporations are actually capitalist and want to make a little money with new markets and new technologies, while at the same time positioning themselves as leaders in a new green culture which -- purely coincidentally -- is already proving extremely popular with consumers. It's possible, if you really try hard, to imagine that these companies and corporations haven't been taken over by radical leftist forces, but simply recognize a good business move when they see one.
But who is Tom Borelli anyway? Well, it turns out he's a whore. It's hard to put it any other way. Before becoming the Paul Revere of the socialist takeover of corporations, he was a tobacco industry flack whose job was to deny that secondhand smoke was bad for you. The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library at the University of California, San Francisco lists 1,442 documents either to or from Borelli on the subject of secondhand smoke and law. There's no way to know who's paying him now, but he doesn't do stuff like this for free. Like I say, he's a whore. In the parlance of global warming denial, he's what's known as a "biostitute" -- a scientist prostituting his degree (he has a PhD in biochemistry) to the highest bidder to say whatever said bidder wants him to say.
With fellow biostitute (and frequent Fox News talking head) Steven Milloy, Borelli founded Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund. It's here that Borelli's hypocrisy becomes apparent; according to the PR watchdog site SourceWatch.com, "The Fund aims to counter the trend by corporations to embrace corporate social responsibility and campaigns by activist groups seeking to shift corporate social and environmental policy." In other words, it tries to do what Borelli is accusing labor and environmentalists of doing -- using the leverage of stock ownership to influence the corporate culture.
I guess it's only bad when you're not getting paid to do it. More from SourceWatch.com:
On its website it states that the group aimed "to keep businesses focused on business rather than activist-defined CSR, the Fund aims to promote more generally our system of free enterprise. The Fund will direct advocacy and education efforts at corporate managements, institutional shareholders, the media and the public."
In the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change organized by the Heartland Institute, Milloy stated that the Fund aims to "be a problem for managements and shareholders", and that he and Borelli "primarily work through shareholder proposals" to "get the shareholders and CEOs to think about what they're doing". He also stated, "We have filed numerous shareholder proposals with companies in the US Climate Action Partnership."
Again, this is only bad when people on the left do it. When those on the right do it, it's "free enterprise" and "free markets."
Of course, Borelli's op-ed appears at the Fox News website -- i.e., it's preaching to the choir. Those people are a lost cause anyway and they'll oppose cap and trade for the simple reason that President Obama is for it. They're knee-jerk obstructionists.
But this is a glimpse of what's coming down the road. Those healthcare townhalls, with their shrieking teabaggers and "OBAMA=HITLER" signs will be out again over cap and trade. Borelli's just priming the pump by introducing the issue -- complete with a list of good guys and bad guys -- to the wingnuts. Go out and boycott Starbucks... then go out and protest cap and trade. All that corporate astroturf is coming back and the shrill, hairtearing lunacy and unfounded panic will be whipped up all over again.
The attack on Graham and Kerry is just the beginning. This ride is going to get stupid -- again.
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