Republicans Take the Lowliest Low-Road Ahead of COP21

by Robert Hunziker

The movers and shakers in the Republican Party must be firmly convinced that Obama and the world community are finally willing to commit to climate change action in Paris at COP21 this November. Key Republican operatives have been spotted maneuvering in the gutters and the sewers covertly assuring foreign embassies that the Republican Party will “fight Obama’s climate agenda at every turn.”

In short, the Republicans are essentially telling the world community to relentlessly keep on pumping carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere because climate change negotiations ultimately go nowhere.

The Republicans are thus breaking every rule and protocol of international diplomatic negotiations on behalf of their own country, without plenipotentiary powers essentially claiming that there is no reason for foreign negotiators to exchange preliminary agenda/notes about a climate plan since it’s DOA, sooner or later, one way or the other. After all, without U.S. backing, a worldwide climate deal is “no deal” plain and simple.

Although, in all fairness, obtuse threats likely don’t count as negotiations per se.

According to sources, here’s how the dastardly, cowardly, underhandedly vile and appalling Republican-hatched plan originated: “In the early months of 2014, a group of about 30 corporate lawyers, coal lobbyists and Republican political strategists began meeting regularly in the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, often, according to some of the participants, in a conference room overlooking the White House. Their task was to start devising a legal strategy for dismantling the climate change regulations they feared were coming from President Obama,” Jonathan Chait, The Republican Plot to Destroy an International Climate Agreement, New York Magazine, September 10, 2015.

Hereinafter, the tired old Republican line that a comprehensive international agreement amongst all parties, meaning “developed as well as developing countries,” might, just might (maybe) justify U.S. emission cuts is dead meat. Instead, they’re fighting tooth and nail against any agreement no matter who’s committed.

Therefore, based upon Republican meddling, and behind the back finger crossing, it’s meaningless if the “developing countries” sign on with the almighty “developed countries” joining hands in a divine séance of “we all agree to cut emissions,” whilst the Pope proffers a blessing. Contrariwise, the Republican message says: “Don’t go there because we’ll kill it, sooner or later.”

Where does this leave COP21 in Paris this coming November/December? Obama has already convinced China, the “developing-country elephant in the room,” to cooperate. Not only that but astoundingly, unbelievably true, since meeting with Obama a year ago, China subsequently stated it will hit peak coal consumption by 202o, beating their prior commitment by a decade, in exchange (quid pro quo) for Obama’s executive order to cut U.S. emissions.

Moreover, what about the Pope’s upcoming September 24th speech to Congress about climate change? His June encyclical hammered home the point about the immorality of climate inaction, yet underhanded Republican conniving in toto already abrogates morality issues. So, morality really doesn’t count much as a safeguard.

In anticipation of that speech, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid mistakenly said the Republicans “have no plan on climate change” (The Hill, August 4, 2015).

Yes they do: They plan to kill it!

According to Beltway sources, some Republicans, like Chris Christie, are bright enough to admit to anthropogenic global warming, but they are scared stiff to even whisper the words, knowing political suicide lingers at the next turn. Look at Lindsay Graham’s poll numbers, zero in 5 of 6 national polls. The antecedent: “Graham Urges Action on Climate Change,” Politico, June 7, 2015.

It’s notable that intellect, perception, and brainpower no longer figure in today’s global warming battleground, e.g., Rick Perry dropped out of the race. Rather, similar to a medieval slugfest, brawn, forcefulness, and threats supersede any decorum associated with “the most serious worldwide dilemma of the 21st century.”

Gangster Politics at Work

Today’s Republican shenanigans ironically echo the Heritage Foundation’s chief economist Stephen Moore’s remark: “The Obama administration’s strong-arming of U.S. companies considering a move overseas to save taxes smacks of ‘real gangster politics,” Conservative Economist Thinks Democrats Aim ‘Gangster Politics’ At Companies,” Huff Post Politics, Aug. 14, 2014.

Did he expect Obama to hold a going away party?

As an aside, Mr. Moore must be thinking: How dare President Obama violate one of the guiding lights of neoliberal economics, which is to relocate American plants and equipment offshore with the lowest bidder, lowest regulator, and lowest wage terra firma no matter where located.  Anywhere cheap works just fine.

As for “gangster politics” (Moore’s gibe) combined with the lowliest low-road in American political history for selection of a presidential candidate, Republican candidates flock like geese in heat to Las Vegas to kiss the ring finger of Sheldon Adeleson, who poured $150m into the last presidential election. It’s free enterprise at work.

Egads, inauspiciously the “casino magnate’s trial remarks raised more questions than they answered about Las Vegas Sands’ connection with an alleged organized crime leader in China,” Sheldon Adelson Faces New Scrutiny as Documents Challenge His Testimony, The Guardian, May 9, 2015.

Adelson’s former CEO of his casinos in Macau, Steven Jacobs, is suing the casino magnate because he claims Adelson sacked him for his attempts to break links to organized crime groups. In turn, Adeleson abruptly, inadvertently, and recklessly, beyond all imagination, accused Jacobs of “squealing like a pig to the government” (Guardian). Hmm.

Jacobs also claims that Adeleson personally approved of using prostitution as a business strategy at the Macau casino and also demanded that Jacobs help him blackmail high-ranking officialdom in Macau.

Fortunately for Republican presidential candidates, none of Jacobs’ testimony segued into any of the grisly behind-the-scenes details about “buying the White House via a hand-picked Republican candidate.”

Meantime, “Two organizations have asked a Clark County district judge to unseal documents that could reveal business ties between Las Vegas Sands Corp and high-ranking members of Chinese Triads,” Carri Geer Thevento, Judge Asked to Unseal Reports on Alleged Sands Ties to Macau Organized Crime, Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 9, 2015 (Note: Triads are callous, barbaric Hong Kong-based transnational criminal organizations).

Hopefully, for the sake of the next Republican candidate, the Clark County district judge delays his decision until after the 2016 election. If he does not delay his decision, it’s likely that a rogue Democratic Super Pac runs a TV ad: “Does America Really Want a White House Directly Connected to Mafioso Racketeering?” It goes without saying that the ad will feature photos of the Republican candidate at the Exclusive Private Restricted Secured Side Door Entryway of the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. (Shades of the Kerry Swift Boat incident, 2004)

At the end of the day, if gangster politics equates to a winning hand, which it frequently does by hook or by crook, then both COP21 and America’s democratic nominee could be in deep trouble, assuming the Clark County judge delays his decision.

Depending upon whom wins the presidency, President Obama’s executive orders on climate change are no better than the hand dealt to the next president, a point likely emphasized by Republican backroom lackeys, on the QT, to foreign dignitaries, emissaries, and envoys.

In their tough words, a climate deal wrapped around “U.S. executive orders” is no better than the “hole card” dealt to the next president.

On the other hand, maybe not… political gimmickry often times backfires, notably where dirty money is involved, which almost always associates with untrustworthy squealing pigs that stupidly “spill the beans.”

Although, according to Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA, Obama’s main policies to fight climate change will survive even if Republicans win the White House/16.

Maybe, but maybe not, and herein lies the leverage behind Republican craftiness.

Robert Hunziker View more

Robert Hunziker
Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: rlhunziker@gmail.com

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