Friday, August 28, 2009

On The Energy Front, Things Are NOT Improving Either

The first three items in TP's ThinkFast, daily round-up are energy/climate related stories, and though the TP folks cast them in a positive light, it's hard to share their enthusiasms, guarded though they may be. The Big Money is just beginning to weigh in to co-opt the energy reform debate. And no public initiative in recent times has been able to overcome the weight of the Big Money. Big Money always wins (else, why have it?).

Item I.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll has found that 55 percent of Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling energy issues and nearly 60 percent support changes in U.S energy policy being proposed by Congress and the administration. Fifty-two percent support a cap-and-trade system.
A narrower majority, 52 to 43 percent, back a cap-and-trade system; that margin is unchanged since June. A cap-and-trade system would set a ceiling for the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, and it would allow firms to buy and sell emissions permits.

"Something definitely has to be done," said Marian Eldridge, a former legal secretary from East Windsor, N.J., who participated in the survey. "Anything's worth a try at this point." She said she tries to "ignore the politics; you get discouraged." But she said that higher energy costs were "inevitable" and that "we're too dependent on other countries."

Despite public support for an energy and climate bill, the prospects for legislation remain uncertain. The House narrowly passed a measure in June, but not before inserting a multitude of provisions for consumers, interest groups and corporations. The Senate remains divided over how to move forward, and getting 60 senators to back an end to debate could be difficult. Adding to that challenge is the thin public support for the cap-and-trade approach if it were to raise consumers' costs. Although 58 percent of those polled would support the plan if it reduced greenhouse gas emissions and cost them an extra $10 a month, support drops to 39 percent if new monthly costs reached $25.
Which leads to a nifty seque to Item II.
Business lobbying groups are launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to defeat climate change legislation. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) are targeting the Waxman-Markey bill “as a threat to the economy” by claiming it would raise energy costs.
Fear works, always, of course, and especially appeals to job fears in a time of economic distress. (My plan for the hundreds of thousands of obese "Health Insurance Parasite" office workers displaced by the nationalization of health insurance would be to turn 'em all over to Van Jones, who can teach 'em to do really vital work: green technology installation and maintenance. If they're too obese/out-of-shape/stupid to handle that, tough; they can live off their stored fat for a while.)

Thence to Item III, where you learn HOW they always seem to win:
The astroturf grassroots lobbying firm Bonner & Associates, which sent fake letters to congressmen on behalf of coal companies, is now blaming the embarrassing incidents on a temporary employee. The firm claims it was “the victim of a fraud” perpetrated by a temp who joined the firm “with the pre-determined intent of engaging in fraudulent activity.”
Yeah, right. And I have a couple of high-rise office buildings in lower Manhattan I'd love to sell ya...

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