Steyer, Farewell!

Okay, perhaps that headline is a bit too obscure, though whether that's because the average reader is less likely to be familiar with the work of the 16th century English politician-poet Sir Thomas Wyatt or with the now-suspended presidential campaign of billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer is anyone's guess.

At least as far as the latter is concerned, let me enlighten you. Tom Steyer is one of these hyper rich guys who eventually got the itch to get involved in politics. An early Clinton supporter in 2008, he switched to Obama once it became clear which way the wind was blowing. Steyer was eventually disappointed when then-President Obama declined to appoint him Treasury Secretary once he was in office, though that snub elicited a wonderful quote from Steyer's brother Jim: "[Obama's team] should have listened to my brother, because he's smarter and richer than they are... Obama did not recognize Tom's talent. He will rue the day that he failed to recognize it."

For bored billionaires eager to get a bite from the political apple, environmentalism is low-hanging fruit. So Steyer founded the environmentalist PAC NextGen Climate through which he directed hundreds of millions of dollars towards trying to kill the Keystone XL pipeline and getting far-left Democrats elected to offices throughout the country. For his efforts he secured himself a kind of secular sainthood among the Eco-Fascist crowd. He's often referred to as the environmentalist answer to the Koch Brothers, a designation Steyer dislikes: in 2014  he told Politico that the Koch’s priorities “line up perfectly with their pocketbooks, and that’s not true for us.”

Backing up Steyer's point is the odd fact that a lot of the money he's pored into Democratic coffers can be traced back to his investments in massive Australian, Indian, and Indonesian coal mines. His firm, Farallon Capital, has even been called "an anchor in the Indonesian coal industry.” On the other hand, during his war against that the Keystone Pipeline, he did own stock in the energy infrastructure firm Kinder Moran, whose pipelines benefit from the failure of Keystone, so perhaps Steyer's argument doesn't hold as much water he wants you to think.

Steyer eventually turned his attention back to gaining a spot in the Executive branch, this time the top spot. To help get his name out, he spent millions on don't-call-them-campaign ads, calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump. Then he entered the race to replace the president himself, running on a platform of declaring a "Climate Emergency" and... not much else. Steyer promised that as President he would “give Congress 100 days to pass a Green New Deal” before enacting it himself via executive orders. President Steyer would ensure that the USA was a net-zero carbon emitter by 2045... somehow. He also said "Climate Justice" a lot.

Amazingly, this job-killing platform and the money he poured into early voting states won Steyer exactly zero delegates. In South Carolina alone he spent $23.6 million on advertising, even humiliating himself in the days before the South Carolina primary with a cringe inducing dance to '90s rap song “Back That Azz Up” onstage at a rally at a historically black university. But it was all for naught.

Tom Steyer's candidacy will be remembered for little more than his hysterically awkward attempt to become buddies with Bernie Sanders. Here's hoping that the experience helps him beat the political bug forever, so that he redirects his money from attempting to shut down zero-carbon Nuclear Power plants towards, you know, basically anything else. We would all be better off.

'Climate Change,' the Green New Deal, and the Remaking of the American Economy

Back when Americans learned civics, schoolchildren were routinely taught 19th-century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s famous aphorism: “The people sleep better when they know neither how laws nor sausages are made.”  From this we understood that there was horse-trading, arm-twisting, log rolling, benefiting various factions, which went into any piece of legislation that emerged; just as tasty sausage often contained fat, gristle, and offal.

To be sure, much inefficient policy came into being this way, but politics is not a pure art.

As it turns out, there are far worse ways of making policy than ensuring that competing interests are met: Extrapolating action from pure leftist ideology is the absolute worst. And that is what is happening now with American energy and environmental policy, as we see it unfold during the Democratic presidential primaries. With the partial exception of newly arrived billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the statements provided by all the other candidates in debates, town halls, and on their websites, concerning how they will "combat" climate change, provide a blueprint of policy disasters to come.

On a recent stage all seven remaining candidates embraced the shibboleth of Earth-destroying disaster to come, if we fail to make set of radical changes in how we obtain and use energy; how we produce goods and services; how we travel; how we build, heat and cool our homes; how we dispose of waste; all of it.  Naturally, everything that contributes to human comfort and ease must be slashed. Automobiles, which literally shaped the  20th-century landscape, are evil, and must be abolished in favor of bicycles. People need to live stacked on top of each other in dense urban spaces, and eat only vegetables. The fracking and increased oil production that has bolstered our economy, and made locally produced goods more competitive, must end.  This agenda is not entirely new, but the vehemence, the absolute, religious conviction, and the overarching scope of policy solutions is new.

Very little of this was part of the Democratic agenda in 20012 or 2016. How did we get here?

Fourteen months ago, the supremely mediagenic, ridiculously inexperienced bartender, 27 year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was sworn in as the U.S. Representative from an undistinguished stretch of Queens and the Bronx. She had been selected, during literal auditions, by the radical George Soros-backed “Justice Democrats,” to primary an incumbent centrist Democrat, in a solidly Democratic district. With their backing and money, she won.

Since AOC gets attention, the radical ideas she spouts with great dramatic conviction, get attention. The pièce de résistance of these policies, announced Feb. 7, 2019, was the Green New Deal (GND). The actual piece of legislation submitted came out of the "wishful thinking" bin at a radical environmental activist operation in California. It had been kicking around since at least 2007. The bill as written is light on science, or any significant quantification of environmental impact of current policies, but full of "end of the planet/human misery" rhetoric.

It is worth noting that AOC’s puppet master and then chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabati, who pushed the bill, had previously been a staffer for socialist Bernie Sanders, during his 2016 campaign. Indeed, the bill is socialism on steroids.

In a nutshell, the GND calls for wholesale ‘decarbonization’ of everything, immediately.  (Candidates vary as to their target dates, but 2050 is the furthest out.) To do this requires: upgrading all existing buildings in the country for energy efficiency;  working with farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,  supporting family farms and promoting universal access to healthy food; reducing emissions by expanding electric cars, building charging stations everywhere, and adding enough high speed rail to end air travel. The legislation also mandates: a guaranteed job "with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security" for every American; and "high-quality health care" for all Americans.  It isn’t called the “…New Deal” for nothing.

Within days, progressives in Congress had all signed on, though House speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the GND on grounds of cost. A year later she no longer criticizes it.

As the Trump economy has boomed, bringing long-delayed wage increases to the working and lower middle classes, the dire prose about suffering workers has lost much of its impact.  Yet, by early 2020, the GND had become the baseline policy for all of the Democratic presidential contenders –including so called ‘moderates,’ like former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, and  former vice president Joe Biden. Billionaire businessman Tom Steyer has made it the centerpiece of his campaign – and has a plan to spend $2 trillion on it up front. Senator Elizabeth Warren pledges $3 trillion. And leading Democrat contender, the 78 year-old, Soviet-style communist, Bernie Sanders, promises $16.3 trillion in spending. Yes – the equivalent of the entire U.S. debt!

Mandating retrofitting of all the nation’s buildings is an employment program for contractors, lumber yards, plumbers, carpenters, etc., though they are plenty busy right now.  It’s intended to bring the working class back to the Democrat party. At a recent voter meeting, Harvard grad Buttigieg, 38, explained, ‘Hey, there’ll be lots of jobs for plumbers, carpenters and glaziers.” He repeated “glaziers, you know, glass?”--“windows?” to clarify.

So, in one year we have seen a socialist/activist wish list that posits blanket control of the most sectors of the economy, plus all energy production, sales and use, become a policy centerpiece for a major American political party. It is now within the realm of "normal," which is a major ideological triumph. There is zero willingness to submit the energy and environmental claims to any kind of rational analysis. Questioning it makes you “anti-science.”  Bernie Sanders wins, even if he loses.

The great irony is that, last summer, Chakrabarti, the America-hating socialist who put the GND in play, deliberately revealed his game. Shortly before being pushed out of office last summer, in an interview with the Washington Post:

“The interesting thing about the Green New Deal,” he said, “is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all... Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Chakrabarti continued. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

Predictably, this slap at fellow Democrats for falling in love with Marxism all over again, was not widely reported in mainstream media.

 

Bernie: "There will be some job loss." Ya think?

Hey, at least he's honest.

I wonder, though, how much goodwill his honesty buys him with the tens of thousands of voters in Pennsylvania -- which the Democrats need to win if they are going to win the Presidency -- who rely on jobs in the natural gas industry to put food on the table.

Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have promised them a total fracking ban on Day 1 in the White House. I'm not sure what they're going to do while they wait for jobs in wind and solar to materialize.