Vested Interests Digging Deep to Doom California's Prop 23

My eye-opening experience with Enron revealed to my surprise just how it is that certain interests actually drive Big Green, and make otherwise inconceivable policy ideas into threats and often even reality. The revelation was such that it left me shaking my head in wonder as to how the (now suddenly) obvious, at least seeing how it escapes the interest of at least the establishment press cheerleading the same agenda: when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you are guaranteed the enthusiastic support of Paul.


In fact — as I learned regarding Enron’s and BP’s pet projects, “carbon cap-and-trade” and related ‘green jobs’ schemes all designed to make uneconomic investments in windmills etc. pay off — sometimes the entire enterprise is Paul’s idea.

So it is that we see with deep pocketed gents now scrambling to protect their bets on uneconomic investments and rent-seeking schemes, by supporting the campaign to defeat Proposition 23 in California. Prop 23 would delay California’s climatically meaningless but economically suicidal state-level adoption of Kyoto agenda, called AB 32. Oddly, there is no condemnation of these bags of money being thrown at killing a ballot initiative, despite the opprobrium heaped upon those few who have dared venture in to help the “Yes” campaign.

This is a shame, for the question Cui bono? is so readily answered simply by scanning the growing list of those digging deep to make sure the ‘green’ gravy train of wealth transfers isn’t derailed (regardless of the fairly obvious economic consequences if they are successful, which in a rational world would be of great interest to a watchdog press).

Things are heating up in Cali, as we see with a Forbes blog post about some lefty billionaires — that would be the ‘good’ kind of billionaires to the uninitiated — picking up on this more detailed Grist item from last week. Both offer some insight about who stands to gain if the political class defeats the electorate’s uprising in the form of Prop 23.

That is to say, we see whose beaks just might have been wetted by AB 32, bizarrely hailed as a ‘world’s first’ greenhouse gas and ‘green economy’ law notwithstanding the train wrecks of similar plans piling up around us where the scheme has already belly-flopped. It should come as no surprise that these examples hail from throughout Europe’s more profligate basket cases like Spain, Ireland and Portugal.

From the Grist piece:

“Over the past few days, the No forces have collected $5 million from venture capitalists, New York financiers, renewable energy companies, and other deep-pocketed backers, according to California Secretary of State records….

Of course, Texas oil companies Tesoro and Valero and the billionaire Koch brothers, who earlier contributed $1 million to the Yes effort, could drop $10 million on the campaign tomorrow. But there appears to be a fundraising enthusiasm gap between the campaigns during the home stretch sprint to Election Day.

Take a look at the growing roster of No partisans willing to put their money where their mouths are — not to mention their self-interest.

Ann Doerr, the wife of leading Silicon Valley capitalist John Doerr, gave $1 million to the No campaign on Thursday while her husband contributed $500,000 (in addition to the half million dollars he previously donated). Thomas Steyer, founder of the Farallon Capital Management hedge fund and co-chair of the No on 23 effort, put another $2.5 million into the campaign. San Francisco venture capitalist Paul Klingenstein contributed $100,000.

On the other coast, New York hedge fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management kicked in half a million dollars on Thursday.

Renewable energy companies stepped to the plate as well. The U.S. division of Spanish wind giant Iberdrola Renewables gave $25,000; Santa Monica-based Solar Reserve, a developer of solar power plants, pitched in $50,000; and Google executive Jonathan Rosenberg contributed $10,000.

The Consumers Union, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, and Working Assets also gave a collective $100,000 over the past week.”

The fear-mongering about what could happen is de rigueur in such contexts, but also note these latter parties cited, who remind us that this fashionable spin on central planning is coincidentally catnip to statists and ideologues. Also see, for example, the venture-cap guy Steyer whose website touts his “Core Investment Strategies“, one of which is “Value Investments“, which according to him means “securities …which are expected to appreciate in value due to a catalyzing event or a change in circumstances, including regulatory or legislative change, changing business models, …”.

All of which screams out that he’s probably, like the other deep pockets rushing to the rescue, putting his money where his money already is (yes, I’ve screenshot it). Someone might ask him if he’s ever had $5 million pay off like he’s hoping this $5 million will.

And now greenie trade press outlet Climate Wire reports that those seeking to keep the voters from taking this mismanaged issue from the political class have a 2-to-1 funding advantage. Oddly, this is precisely the opposite of the long-running story line employed to demonize citizen activism.

Regardless, these late-hour outbursts of panic that California’s newest stab at central planning might get scuttled does put a little more perspective on the cries that monied interests oppose it.

What they don’t want to discuss is that the “Yes on 23 campaign” has every appearance of having originated as a grassroots effort to delay a scheme that is proving a disaster everywhere it is tried. Which, of course, is why no one opposing Prop 23 is telling you to look at the successes elsewhere; but instead sputtering ‘world’s first’-type fibs.

So, as the opponents of Prop 23 have been shrilly claiming in lieu of substantive argument, people who might have money at stake support it, so you know it must be sinister. Peter, meet Paul, and goose, meet gander.


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