Potential Democratic Presidential candidate Gov. Jerry Brown told NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday that a letter that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent to all 50 governors urging them to block or ignore the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon pollution regulations was “a disgrace.” Brown is somewhat of a hypocrite on the issue, because his family’s wealth reportedly comes from control of two huge imported oil trading firm.
In slamming McConnell for supporting his state’s coal business, Brown said, “Here’s the point, that the buildup of carbon coming from coal and petroleum and other sources, that this is going to create these droughts and much, much worse. And that’s why to have the leader of the Senate, Mr. McConnell representing his coal constituents, are putting it at risk, the health and well-being of America, is a disgrace.”
When the 76-year-old Brown was asked whether he would run for President if he were 10 years younger, he said that he might “jump in.”
Brown knows the best way to win the Democrat nomination in 2016 is to stay out of the head-to-head battle and pound away at the issues that have the strongest polling numbers–among which, for Democrats, is the environment. That may be why Brown is coming out strong to contrast himself to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who introduced the American Energy Renaissance Act in the Senate last week.
Cruz’s 16-point U.S. energy independence plan is a frontal attack on the “climate change” hypothesis. Brown knows that even though fracking for oil has caused gasoline prices to be cut in half, and has lifted the U.S. GDP growth to be the strongest in the world, only a minority of 39 percent of the American public supports increasing the use of fracking. About 51 percent oppose any increases–up 8 percent in the last three years.
Brown knows that the majority of the American public believes the earth is warming. With about 57 percent of Americans believing that the global warming is caused by man, this is the Democrats’ strongest issue currently. With the backdrop of a real drought, Brown can conveniently blame everybody but the Democrats for what he calls “a serious matter” and “kind of a foretaste” of environmental issues to come.
Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters spent months researching the source of the Brown family wealth. After Jerry’s father, Pat, left the governorship in 1967, he was introduced to the Indonesian generals who had just overthrown the country’s post-colonial dictator, Sukarno, and set up a military junta. The former governor was able to put together a consortium of banks that lent $12 billion to the junta to expand the immense Royal Dutch Shell petroleum holdings in Indonesia, which Sukarno had nationalized.
The grateful generals then set up two trading firms–one in Hong Kong and one in California–that handled the oil-exporting paperwork and were rewarded with a fee for each barrel. Pat Brown was given 100 percent ownership of the California brokerage and half-ownership of the Hong Kong office.
Jerry Brown received his cut of the family oil business when he left office as Governor in 1983. Walters told the Washington Times, “He just hates the idea that people will bring it up because what it is, is the Brown family is in partnership with these corrupt, murderous dictators. It’s not something that a Jerry Brown wants to be associated with.”
Despite Brown’s latest “presidential tirade” against fossil fuels, he has been very supportive of the California oil industry while governor. He pushed through and signed pro-fracking legislation in late 2013, known as Senate Bill 4. He also quietly accepted $1.72 million in political donations over the past several years from oil and natural gas interests to his statewide political campaigns for attorney general and governor, along with his Proposition 30 ballot-measure campaign in 2012.