Friday, July 12, 2013

Climate Change... Which Members Of Congress Would Vote To Drown Their Own Constituents?


In June of 2009, we had a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president. The Republicans didn't have much-- other than K Street. Obama and the Democrats were determined to deal with Climate Change. They failed. I think Ed Markey was just elected senator from Massachusetts because of his leadership in this struggle. He and Henry Waxman put together the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a cap-and-trade bill that limped through the House-- passing 219-212 and got destroyed by the Senate. When the House voted on June 26, 44 Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP, including Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA) and a whole slew of ConservaDems, most of whom were victims of the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010. Democrats just did not turn out to vote for these conservatives who were disappointing them. Carney lost his seat that day. So did two dozen others just like him. And the Republicans regained the House.

Why do I single out Chris Carney? Yes, he was one of the worst and most corrupt of the Blue Dogs elected in the 2006 anti-Republican tsunami and, yes, he certainly deserved to lose his seat. But I singled him out for another reason altogether. Investigative reporter Lee Fang examines how K Street cash warps the system in his new book, The Machine, and he begins by discussing a letter Carney got from an astroturf GOP front group.
"We ask you to use your important position to help protect seniors and other consumers in your district from higher electricity bills," wrote Helen cast of the Dunmore Senior Citizens' Center, in a letter requesting that Congressman Christopher Carney (D-PA) oppose Waxman Markey, the cap-and-trade legislation making its way through Congress in the summer of 2009. Helen Cast, however, didn’t exist. The senior center in Carney's district had no position on climate change and energy policy.

Similar letters, using almost identical language and formatting, were sent from local chapters of the NAACP, the Erie Center for Health and Aging, the American Association of University Women, and nearly half a dozen other organizations, to congressmen in competitive districts before the vote on the bill. Staffers working for freshman Congressman Tom Perriello, a recipient of the anti-cap-and-trade faxes, decided to call some of the groups. They discovered that the letterhead was fake, the names made up, and the letters forged and sent without the consent of the groups. In fact, the letters were written by Bonner and Associates, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. that was working on behalf of the coal industry.

The lobbying coalition behind the forged letters, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, also funded a $28 million campaign of targeted advertising, rallies, and organizing around congressional town halls in 2009. A loophole in lobbying law, however, ensured that none of this spending was recorded or disclosed at the time.

Perriello ultimately voted for Waxman Markey, but two other Democrats who received the fake letters voted no. The onslaught of lobbying slowed and watered down the legislation until it could be killed in the Senate months after it barely passed the House of Representatives.

The window of opportunity to deal with global warming closed largely as a result of the failures associated with Waxman Markey. Despite widespread belief in action on climate change among the American public, near consensus in the climate science community on the urgency of action, and the job-creating and utility rate–cutting benefits of clean energy policy, the bill still failed in a Democratic Congress with a Democrat in the White House. The coal and oil lobby proved to be too strong.

The secret to the failure to act on global warming lay in the dramatic expansion in what is known as “outside lobbying.” This type of influence peddling seeks to manipulate the public into pressuring regulators and lawmakers. In many cases, like the coal industry’s forged letters, corporate interests construct the perception of public support using deception and coercion. But this type of lobbying isn’t registered, because registered federal lobbying only applies to firms that spend over 20 percent of their time speaking directly to lawmakers.

The work of integrating grassroots groups, orchestrating letter-writing campaigns, rallies in support of corporate lobbying goals, and phony studies published by think tanks is typically tasked to public relations companies that work in tandem with traditional K Street firms.

Managing public opinion has been a key component of lobbying since the early twentieth century. Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud living in America, developed some of the first major corporate campaigns to shift policy through public relations. For Mack Truck, for instance, Bernays set up conferences in the Waldorf Astoria and created front groups like the Better Living Through Increased Highway Transportation to influence the development of the interstate highway. His tactics remain the basis for an industry that is exploding in growth inside the Beltway.
One might quip that anti-environment fanatic John Mica may one day see the value of his Orlando area home rise dramatically, as rising oceans cover Miami and southern Florida and make Mica's home-- over 200 miles from Miami Beach-- beachfront property. This year, Mica will be facing off against progressive Democrat Nick Ruiz, for whom environmental sustainability is a primary reason he's even running. This morning he told me that "the ramifications of John Mica's time in Congress (he's 70 years old, and has been entrenched in Congress since 1993 like a giant lobbyist tick) are much more serious. As such a longstanding artifact of Congress, no single central Florida federal representative could be more to blame for Florida's horrible ecological mismanagement than John Mica. Since his two decades in office, the Indian River Lagoon is dying; algae is spreading; dolphins, manantees and fish are dying off in record numbers, stunning biologists and residents. Florida's rivers and conservation areas are being strangled by pollutants, all because of the decreasing oversight of agencies like the EPA. And John Mica continues to act to further limit their ability to protect these areas. All of this destruction can be laid at the feet of the worst representative for the environment that Florida could ever have elected: Mr. John Mica."

Now even conservative organizations-- like the R Street Institute we talked Thursday-- are telling Republicans in Congress to stop with the ostrich behavior and face the challenges of climate change... before it's too late. R Street president Eli Lehrer: "Rather than pretend climate change isn't a problem, there are ample opportunities for Republicans to point out the obvious flaws in the left's plans to deal with it and offer alternatives of their own... Nobody seriously involved in the policy debate over climate change-- not even those the left unfairly labels as “deniers”-- actually denies that humans influence global climate. There’s also no dispute that the Earth is warmer than it was before the Industrial Revolution or that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases can trap heat energy."
Likewise, there’s little doubt that the worst plausible projections of sea level rise and temperature change resulting from this warming trend would present major problems in almost every corner of the globe. While more carbon in the atmosphere could have some benefits, such as fewer deaths from cold, it’s also likely to pose a variety of severe problems ranging from droughts and floods to the destruction of commercial fishing. Nearly any accounting of these costs indicates they will exceed the benefits."
What was that crack about "those the left unfairly labels as 'deniers'?" Is he kidding? Has he never met anti-Science sociopaths like David McKinley (R-WV- $725,776), Steve Scalise (R-LA- $520,735), Marco Rubio (R-FL- $529,013), Fred Upton (R-MI- $1,723,236), Joe Barton (R-TX- $3,852,995), Ted Poe (R-TX- $413,453), John Boehner (R-OH- $2,763,714), Bill Cassidy (R-LA- $407,750), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA- $179,244), Morgan Griffith (R-VA- $386,588), and Paul Broun (R-GA- $118,350)... these guys, all of whom have had their careers financed, at least in part, by oil, gas and coal companies. The dollar amount next to each name is how much in legalistic bribes they've taken from these companies to say the crackpot nonsense on this video:

The half dozen states that will suffer the most catastrophic consequences of rising sea levels-- in order of magnitude-- are Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia. All 6 states will be absolutely devastated if nothing is done about global warming. These are the bribed climate change deniers whose districts will be most underwater in another few decades:
Steve Scalise (LA-01)
Charles Boustany (LA-03)
Steve Southerland (FL-02)
Ander Crenshaw (FL-04)
Ron DeSantis (FL-06)
Bill Posey (FL-08)
Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)
Bill Young (FL-13)
Vern Buchanan (FL-16)
Tom Rooney (FL-17)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Trey Radel (FL-19)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27)
Jack Kingston (GA-01)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
Tom Rice (SC-07)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Randy Weber (TX-14)
Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
Steve Stockman (TX-36)
This list of congressmen above have decided to drown their own constituents in return for bribes from energy and natural resources companies... and their constituents keep electing them. By the way, notice that there's only one Democrat on this list.

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At 6:49 AM, Anonymous me said...

In June of 2009, we had a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president.

Lot of good that did. Worthless bastards.

It's no wonder people don't vote.


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