Friday, September 10, 2010

Silly Season

The November ballot will, as is customary in California, contain a number of state propositions which voters will have to grapple with. Sometimes those propositions are crafted by the state legislature to get the voters' approval on borrowing measures as required by the state constitution. Usually, however, the propositions are placed by special interest groups who want to impose their will on the people, as evidenced in past elections by such wonders as Proposition 13 (which froze property taxes and which is a major reason for the state's economic woes) and Proposition 8 (the homophobic bill currently being litigated in the federal courts).

This November we have Proposition 23, which would nullify a state law requiring the state to roll back carbon emission levels in an attempt to slow global warming. Prop 23 was initiated by some oil companies who saw the threat of reduced profits on the horizon. The campaign for Prop 23 is being funded by some pretty deep pockets, but the opponents of the proposition are fighting back and with some pretty amazing help from unlikely sources, as this Los Angeles Times article makes clear.

The fight over Proposition 23, a November ballot initiative to suspend California's global warming law, turned ugly this week, with personal attacks and emotionally charged rhetoric on both sides.

In a conference call with the news media Thursday, former Secretary of State George Shultz, co-chairman of the campaign against the initiative, warned of the danger to national security from dependence on oil imports, noting that part of "this money is undoubtedly slopping over into the hands of terrorists."

The state's 2006 global warming law would promote a transition from oil to clean energy, he said, adding, "We can't let these Texas oil characters take it away from us. So, 'No on 23.' "

George Shultz, for crying out loud! He of the Reagan cabinet...

In this case, however, he is on the side of the angels. So is retired Adm. Dennis McGinn, a former deputy chief of naval operations, who sees climate change as "a threat multiplier" in terms of national security.

And the proponents of Prop 23? Oh, just the usual suspects:

Two Texas-based refiners, Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., along with Kansas-based oil giant Koch Industries, are primary backers of the proposition, which would delay the law's curbs on carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and other planet-heating emissions until unemployment in the state dropped to 5.5% for at least a year. The jobless rate is now more than 12%.

How nice of them to worry about the state's unemployment rate, as if switching to clean energy wouldn't create some badly needed jobs in California as well as put a brake on the emissions contributing to climate change. Prop 8's backers don't give a rodent's hindquarter about jobs, only continued obscene profits, and they're willing to put a few dollars of those profits behind the drive to keep us addicted to oil.

My take?

If even a real Reagan Republican is concerned about climate change and dependence on foreign oil for national security reasons, the tide just might be changing.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bartkid sez,
Just like Stockman, Melman, and even McNamara, the change in heart comes years or decades too late, when they have no influence.
ack. pfft.

11:34 AM  

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