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Tom Steyer, NextGen Climate Action
Tom Steyer plans to make NextGen Climate Action an election and policy game-changer.
Matea Gold at The Washington Post reports, as has been apparent for the past few months, that retired hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer plans to make life harder on certain Republicans in the 2014 elections by selective targeting of Senate and governors' races through his super PAC, NextGen Climate Action. As Steyer told a group of environmental philanthropists invited in February to his Pescadero, Calif., grass-fed cattle ranch in February, the objective is to elect candidates who will take climate change seriously.

The organization will spotlight local issues, such as drought in Iowa, and take aim at climate-change deniers as well as the campaign contributions they've received from fossil-fuel companies, like those of the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers. The effort to bring climate change to the foreground includes blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, something about which Steyer has had face-to-face conversations with President Obama at his San Francisco home.

But, even though NextGen's spending this year may total $100 million in advertising, on-the-ground organizing and get-out-the-vote efforts—making it a competitor in scale with the Kochs—Steyer and his advisers plan for it to be just a prelude to 2016.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

Writes Gold:

So far, the list of targeted Republicans includes Senate hopefuls Cory Gardner in Colorado, Terri Lynn Land in Michigan and Scott Brown in New Hampshire, as well as governors Rick Scott of Florida, Paul LePage of Maine and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. The group also plans to target the GOP’s Senate nominee in Iowa. [...]

With the promise of ample resources, the group plans to spend money not only on television ads, but on data-driven voter outreach and opposition research, “every aspect of a modern-day campaign,” said Chris Lehane, Steyer’s lead political strategist.

“Tom has made clear that NextGen is not a drive-by” super PAC, Lehane told reporters at a briefing in Washington.

Steyer already invested at least $11 million in last year's successful gubernatorial campaign of Terry McAuliffe in Virginia and the special Senate election in Massachusetts. He has also contributed $5 million to the Senate Majority PAC, which makes him that organization's largest single contributor this year.

But Lehane has also said Steyer will not take it easy on Democrats whose climate change-related votes are out of alignment with NextGen's, such as Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.

While McAuliffe had no special credentials as a Democrat interested in aggressive action around climate change, his opponent, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, was so far off the wacko charts on nearly every subject, including climate change, that supporting his campaign became, in the words of Lehane, a "beta test."

Coral Davenport at The New York Times reports that the path ahead is likely to be bumpy:

Climate policies have traditionally been a tough campaign issue for candidates. A mounting stack of scientific evidence has concluded that human activities—particularly burning coal and oil for electricity and transportation—are trapping heat in the atmosphere and leading to dangerous food and water shortages, increasing droughts and deluges, and potentially devastating sea-level rises. But Many American voters remain unconvinced that the science is real. [...]

“The left knows that the global warming agenda is a loser for them with the American people,” Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, said in an interview. Mr. Phillips said that none of the four most vulnerable Democratic senators—Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas—had embraced climate change policy. All four support construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which Mr. Steyer opposes.

As Gold writes, Steyer and his advisers at NextGen are still in the testing stages despite the amount of money being poured into the campaigns they've selected. One point of reference are social changes of the past. “Change occurred once those issues were defined in moral terms, as right versus wrong, and then used within our political system as a wedge issue,” Lehane said.

As activists are well aware, past reforms required a lot of what might be called "street politics," everything from marches to civil disobedience and other defiance against the powers-that-be. Indeed, the outcome of elections changed over time in many instances solely because of reform movement action. But it was a circle of success, because getting the reforms enacted ultimately depended on what happened at the ballot box.

That being the case, NextGen's moves immediately after the results are in for the 2014 elections ought to focus on recruiting like-minded primary candidates for the next election cycle instead of merely waiting to see who shows up. Given the number of Democrats who—while not deniers—have never shown any eagerness to take aggressive action on climate change, NextGen could help create some opportunities for far better outcomes in 2016 in the Senate and House.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, Climate Change SOS, DK GreenRoots, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (116+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:51:24 AM PDT

  •  I knew Rick Scott, Terri Lynn Land and the Iowa (30+ / 0-)

    GOP were going to be targets of Steyer but I'm very happy Corbett and Gardner are on that list.

    Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

    by poopdogcomedy on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:05:16 PM PDT

    •  Corbett is likely to be toast in November. (5+ / 0-)

      Too many people -- of both parties -- loathe him. By refusing to expand Medicaid, he has hurt both his base and his opposition: b/c the "good jobs" are gone and what's left is the minimum-wage shit, and he doesn't care that his voters overwhelmingly fall into the income gap where they can't get health care...

      And most of us on the other side know what a scumbag he is.

      English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

      by Youffraita on Fri May 23, 2014 at 12:52:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ask the people in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Youffraita

        Berks County Pennsylvania and they will tell you that this year's weather has been the worst.  They had the winter where is snow several inches every other day and then on May 22, they had a severe hail and rain storm that totaled cars and smashed windows.  This severe weather is new to Berks County.

        If someone tells you that you are putting too much peanut butter on your bread, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

        by Cats r Flyfishn on Fri May 23, 2014 at 08:47:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Berks County...isn't that (0+ / 0-)

          where Reading is? If so, they just can't remember real winters b/c this part of PA didn't get many in the past 40 years. The last time Lancaster Co. got this much snow was twenty years ago (I wasn't here, but that's what the paper said). Severe hail in May is a bit more unusual, but the region isn't (or shouldn't be) any stranger to tornadoes.

          English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

          by Youffraita on Fri May 23, 2014 at 11:02:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is good....Goopers have to feel like idiots (11+ / 0-)

    blurting out the KochLine uniformly.

  •  Dems Know That Every Issue is a Loser For Them (17+ / 0-)

    as a first approximation, considering it's a few politicians and activists plus public opinion on our side, versus a score or more global billionaires and the media they own and sponsor working to make the US an authoritarian oligarchy.

    Well now with climate change at least on one issue we've got us a billionaire willing to fight the others.

    This is great news to hear, I've been keeping an eye out for reports about his activities, and this current project looks strong and credible.

    They really need to help us fight 2014 on a generic basis. 2010 is how we got the Tea Party. The job for 2016 is going to be almost out of reach if we lose the senate this fall. Conversely it is hard to overstate the value of retaking the House, though that seems impossible. And of course the downticket races, with the Kochs governing or having veto power in 30-40 states, everything we can do to weaken that grip is carbon in the bank in the coming years.

    Even if many individual contests aren't carbon oriented.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:29:26 PM PDT

  •  I hope Steyer doesn't ignore NC. What with the NC (11+ / 0-)

    coastline imperiled by climate change, and the NC Republicans contempt for science, the environment, and holding their ears and going "lalala" on rising seacoasts, plus the unpopularity of the state leg. and governor, there could be opportunities there- even with gerrymandering---at least that of Democrats in Pa., IF Wolf commits to combating environmental degradation and the harm Corbett policies have had to one of only four Commonwealths in the U. S.

  •  We plan to make it tough on them too. (13+ / 0-)

    Pick up the phone and Give em hell!




    California Fracking Moratorium Blogathon
    May 20-May 23, 2014

    Key votes will be held this week on California SB 1132, which imposes a moratorium on fracking. If the bill fails, the legislative process toward moratorium must restart next January.

    Please join us for a blogathon May 20-23 in a campaign to tell lawmakers to support this bill. This is a coordinated effort with a coalition of more than a dozen NGOs, including Earth Works, Sierra Club, and Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment.

    And please call key lawmakers, ASAP. Tell them YES on SB 1132!

    Sen. Darrell Steinberg: (916) 651-4006
    Sen. Kevin De Leon: (916) 651-4022
    Sen. Ricardo Lara: (916) 651-4033
    Sen. Ed Hernandez: (916) 651-4024
    Sen. Cathleen Galgiani: (916) 651-4005
    Sen. Ben Hueso: (916) 651-4040
    Sen. Lou Correa: (916) 651-4034
    Sen. Carol Liu: (916) 651-4025
    Sen. Richard Roth: (916) 651-4031
    Sen. Norma Torres: (916) 651-4032

    Please Help Pass a Moratorium on Fracking in California!


    Photograph Credit: EarthWorks.

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:04:56 PM PDT

  •  Gotta love this man! I hope he targets Abbott in (8+ / 0-)

    TX, Walker in WI and Mitch McConnell, too.  Mary Burke could beat Walker.  Please target Paul Ryan.  He can now be beat.

  •  It's nice to have this billionaire on the side (5+ / 0-)

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:37:54 PM PDT

    •  This isn't the kind of rich guy Vyan was talking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Words In Action

      about.  He's talking about, you know, the normal rich guys, who are trashing our country and undermining our democracy and demand that we be soooo grateful for the taxes they pay to support a safety net for us no-account takers.

      Whole different topic.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Thu May 22, 2014 at 04:35:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tom Steyer isn't helping (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    with efforts to paint KXL as an "export pipeline" when it isn't.

    Thinking that an anti-KXL campaign to effect a Presidential Permit decision in which President Obama and Secretary Kerry will both be involved ought to include deliberate dissemination of erroneous claims is environmental advocacy malpractice.

    At a fundamental level, the "KXL is an export pipeline" meme isn't valid conservation that is appropriate and necessary  advocacy for the successors of John Muir.

    What the "KXL is an export pipeline" campaign is....is a public branding campaign to create a public perception that is neither real nor the truth.    In this branding campaign we're treated to images of KXL pipeline-delivered oil being shipped to China in tankers.  Michael Brunes tells the public on the Ed Show that all of the oil is for export, and then repeats the same garbage to a congressional committee.

    The entire "KXL is an export pipeline" meme is shoot-yourself-in-the-foot-to-achieve-ineffectiveness styled advocacy.

    The "KXL is an export pipeline" meme is also an example of enviros engaging in scientific misconduct.....the science in this matter being hydrocarbon pipeline engineering.   This is a most fundamental error because it is science denial in the area of energy, environmental and pipeline stewardship.   The "KXL is an export pipeline" branding campaign fundamentally denies [in the full blown manner of science denial] the entire primary purpose of the KXL pipeline.

    What is the primary purpose of the KXL pipeline? --  to import foreign Canadian heavy sour crude from tar sands into the United States to be refined at Gulf refineries that presently sell most of their refined products in the United States.   The 830,000 barrels per day (less any Bakken OIl transported) replaces that amount of Venezuelan, Mexican or Saudi crude which will no longer be imported.

    The important thing is to keep all eyes on the prize, which would be the first-ever Presidential Permit decision denial based on the source of tar sands crude and the negative consequences of this decision on the national interests of the United States because of the high greenhouse gas intensity of this crude source.

    But the "KXL is an export pipeline" meme gets in the way of and clouds decision-making as to the Presidential denial decision that is Job One in anti-KXL camp.  

    A false meme, conflated by the Sierra Club and Oil Change International, isn't the basis of success in gaining a denial of the KXL pipeline.   And a product branding campaign that engages in unreality isn't valid John Muir-style conservation activism and programming.

    The only way to win is to focus on what President Obama needs to justify and defend a denial decision on KXL.   Claiming "KXL is an export pipeline" when KXL actually and is clearly an import pipeline is never going to be a winning strategy.   And the effect of trafficking in the "KXL is an export pipeline" conflation is absolutely corrosive to the effectiveness and the credibility of many of the national environmental organizations.

    •  Isn't this oil getting here now? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      I have read many reports that this crude from Canada and other locations in the north is getting into the U.S. and being transported down through the central states via railtanker cars.  If this is true, the issue really isn't the huge problems with greenhouse gasses with this type of crude so much as it is the affects on our environment and natural areas and possible spills damaging ground water and so forth from building and then operating the pipeline.

      I think that approach is what should be taken by the president for justification for refusing to approve the KXL pipeline.

      •  Yeah, but most of the oil being transported (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        saucer1234

        by rail is actually from the Bakken  - interestingly, another of "our" billionaires (Warren Buffet) profits mightily from this . . .

      •  You said: (0+ / 0-)
        I have read many reports that this crude from Canada and other locations in the north is getting into the U.S. and being transported down through the central states via railtanker cars.
        Most of the heavy sour crude from tar sands in Alberta is imported into the United States through previously constructed pipelines that reach Cushing, OK or via other pipelines (such as natural gas pipelines re-purposed for tar sands crude like the ExxonMobil pipeline through Mayflower, OK.  

        Large amounts of heavy sour crude from tar sands that are transported through pipelines are already reaching both Midwest and Gulf Coast refinery markets for feedstock to domestic refineries.  KXL would primarily serve the United States heavy sour crude import market with an additional 830,000 barrels per day [when it was not being utilized for Bakken Crude).  

        As a result thinking that KXL would be the advent of heavy sour crude from tar sands introduced to the Gulf refinery market or that rail transportation is the primary means of getting tar sands crude to the Gulf isn't realistic or accurate depiction of the present situation.

        If this is true, the issue really isn't the huge problems with greenhouse gasses with this type of crude so much as it is the affects on our environment and natural areas and possible spills damaging ground water and so forth from building and then operating the pipeline.
        If the primary decision that environmental groups are seeking from President Obama is a denial of KXL based on the high greenhouse gas intensity (life cycle emissions of CO2e per unit of energy in delivered crude), your approach doesn't address the fundamental decision being sought from President Obama.....because it attempts to evade the fundamental policy question of making the United States more dependent than it is now on heavy sour crude from Alberta tar sands.  

        As to these issues, anti-KXL camp should be saying that:

        1.  It isn't in the interests of the United States to make itself more dependent on high greenhouse gas intensity heavy sour crude from tar sands imported from Canada.

        2.  That the KXL decision is just substituting one foreign import heavy sour crude source (Canada tar sands) for another (heavy sour crude from Venezuela, Mexico and the Saudis), and does not have anything to do with United States energy independence to the extent that foreign oil imports adversely affect United States trade deficits.

        3.  That President Obama need not be bound by past decisions of the Gulf refining industry as to refinery configuration and crude oil supply in the face of a glut of oil produced domestically that isn't heavy sour crude...just because use of domestically produced non-heavy sour crude isn't the most profitable feedstock for Gulf refineries.  All of those Gulf coast refineries could be run on domestically produced sweet light/intermediate crude since they need not run either vacuum distillation units or cokers at their physical rated capacities, or at all.

        4.  That President Obama should not approve expanded crude oil exports which won't be heavy sour crude from tar sands, but will instead be light and intermediate sweet crude which is more value crude oil on world markets (since other countries did not re-rig their refineries for heavy sour crude use.

        Remember, the only reason that the KXL pipeline decision is in President Obama's court is because it crosses and international border and it is an import pipeline into the United States.  

        On the issue of spills from pipelines, including KXL....enviros should be articulating their own vision of pipeline stewardship and engineering that is an alternative vision to traditional pipeline installation practices (and monitoring and operational requirements).   This means getting into details about how and where pipelines are constructed and particularly their relation to hydrological critical areas....Like Congressman Mark Schauer is doing here in Michigan.

        Saying that potential leaks from the KXL pipeline is the main reason why the President should reject the border crossing President permit is not a very strong argument under present circumstances...given widespread pipeline operation in the U.S.

        •  Were does the sand go? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          saucer1234

          The pipeline will no doubt be overloaded before you can say snap. But even with the oil that reaches the refinery in Ok. and Tx. one thing is sure. They will dump the refuse in the Gulf. BP hasn't cleaned up the gulf at all and are not paying claims they were supposed to in their agreement with the govt.

          To put it short, the oil companies do not care if they have leaks with plastic bags catching the drip or duct tape stopping a leak, and they never intend to clean up the Gulf because all the governors in the south are on their payroll. And they are not ashamed of it either.

          •  The federal government in in charge of it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            penelope pnortney

            States aren't the force that BP has to answer to.  The Federal Government is in charge of this.  If they aren't keeping B P's nose to the grindstone and making them honor their commitment, it's the FEDERAL government that is at fault here.  Let's not lose sight of this.  

    •  And yet not one word in your ... (10+ / 0-)

      ...comment about how Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the industry's American Petroleum Institute, the Chamber of Commerce and others are currently engaged in vigorous efforts to eliminate government restrictions that constitute the current crude oil export "ban."

      If we're going to call people liars and schemers, at least link to material where they are supposedly lying and scheming.

      Here is Oil Change International's report Exporting Energy Security: Keystone XL Exposed.

      One thing to note in all this is that five of the six companies that are contracted for three-fourths of Keystone XL transported heavy sour crude are foreign-owned. One of them, Valero, sees its 100,000 barrels-a-day as a supplement not a substitute for other sources of such crude.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:29:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You said: (0+ / 0-)
        And yet not one word in your comment about how Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the industry's American Petroleum Institute, the Chamber of Commerce and others are currently engaged in vigorous efforts to eliminate government restrictions that constitute the current crude oil export "ban."
        The entire effort to drop the export ban is aimed at allowing a whole lot more flexibility to oil companies to export the present glut of domestically produced crude....including north slope Alaskan crude and light/intermediate crude produced in the United States.....not tar sands heavy sour crude imported to the United States from Canada through KXL and its predecessors.
        Here is Oil Change International's report Exporting Energy Security: Keystone XL Exposed.
        Absolutely nothing in that report addresses crude oil exports from the United States.  Next, nothing in that report confirms what Sierra Club has been claiming all along that all of the KXL crude oil is for export.  

        Next, that report claims that 100,000 barrels per day of tar sands crude is 20% of the KXL capacity, but that doesn't compute at 100,000/830,000 = 12%.

        Nothing in that report accounts for Valero's extensive marketing of petroleum products in the United States.

        One thing to note in all this is that five of the six companies that are contracted for three-fourths of Keystone XL transported heavy sour crude are foreign-owned. One of them, Valero, sees its 100,000 barrels-a-day as a supplement not a substitute for other sources of such crude.
        Footnote #10 which is supposedly the justification for this statement does not work.  Also, claiming that two of the shippers are Canadian tar sands shippers does not mean that the tar sands crude they are shipping is being exported.

        Finally, Valero is a publicly traded corporation on the NY Stock exchange ...not foreign owned, and Valero has a very considerable business of selling its products domestically through branded and unbranded distribution chains in the United States.   That entire report evades that important fact.

        •  Yes, by clumsy wording I turned Valero... (3+ / 0-)

          ...into a foreign company, when what I wanted to do was call it one of the six. Mea culpa. Sometimes, I write too fast.

          At the time of the drafting of the Oil Change report Change, TransCanada was saying that Keystone expansion would add 500,000 barrels per day to the existing 590,000 bpd that were already reaching the U.S. So Valero's 100,000 bpd for its refineries was 20% of that added flow.

          Given that growing glut of oil in the U.S. and Valero's reconfiguring its relevant Gulf refinery to handle 310,000 bpd, 80% of which can be heavy sour crude, it stands to reason that it would do what it is doing, pushing hard to get the export ban off the books so that it can ship diesel fuel refined from that sour crude overseas. The argument that the entire effort at getting rid of the ban is being done solely to relieve the glut and has nothing to do with the addition Keystone XL will bring to Valero and the other refineries at Port Arthur doesn't hold water, imo.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Fri May 23, 2014 at 01:40:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Meh, let him have his fun . . . . (0+ / 0-)

      No harm really (no good either, but whatever).

    •  It's not just Tom Steyer and Michael Brune (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Fiona West, YucatanMan

      who are taking this stance, it's this guy named President Obama.

      So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.
      •  That is not a Presidential statement saying that (0+ / 0-)

        heavy sour crude from tar sands delivered by KXL will be exported as crude from the United States.

        That diary stated"

        Keystone XL is a pipeline THROUGH the US, not to it.
        This claim is patently false if the final destination of the heavy sour crude from tar sands are gulf refineries that ship most of their refined oil products in the United States.  

        In that diary, Oil Change International said:

        Research has shown that the pipeline’s major purpose is not to provide oil for the U.S., but to serve as an export pipeline fueling international markets. New data reveals that a full 60 percent of gasoline produced in 2012 at Texas Gulf Coast refineries was exported. These are the refineries that would process the majority of the tar sands bitumen flowing through the Keystone XL pipeline, if it were built.
        This claim is garbage and is completely erroneous and unsupported.  See this diary where I debunked this claim in its entirety as the 60% gasoline exports claim:

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        •  My comment quotes President Obama (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, citisven

          from this  interview saying Keystone XL "oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets."

          ALL the rest of your response is not relevant because you are still fighting Oil Change International, but my comment is focused on what President Obama said.

          •  You're trying to read into Pres. Obama's (0+ / 0-)

            statement a meaning which isn't necessarily what he meant .....as all refined oil products produced in and sold in the United States are part of a world market.

            Nothing about Obama's statement supports the Oil Change International claim that KXL is an export pipeline.

            KXL-delivered heavy sour crude is intended for delivery to gulf cost refineries that sell most of their products in the United States.   Valero's products a primarily sold in the United States.

            KXL is a foreign oil import pipeline from Canada for supplying crude feedstock to gulf coast refineries that sell most of their products in the United States.

            That is primary purpose of the KXL pipeline and that is the reality of situation that all anti-KXL advocates should be addressing.....by focusing on the prize we're after....the first ever Presidential Permit for a pipeline denied for the sole reason that the primary crude source for this pipeline crossing an international border has a high greenhouse gas intensity.

            What the "KXL is an export pipeline" meme does is to make it easier, rather than harder, for President Obama to approve the pipeline.    

            A conflation allegation that "KXL is an export pipeline" and that the United States somehow does not benefit from it means that its approval does not impinge on energy supply for domestic energy industry use....and therefore, Presidential Permit issuance becomes an easy decision because the permit issuance decision would therefore not have much impact or impinge on U.S. domestic interests.

            If you want President Obama to deny that KXL permit as a crucial matter of United State national interest, it does not help to be making claims that KXL is of no benefit to the United States (as fuel supply) or that 100% of the tar sands crude is exported to China, or to pretend like the heavy sour crude from tar sands is not going to Gulf Coast Refineries, when it clearly is.

            President Obama has to be able to beat Gary Doer [Canadian Ambassador] at his arguments.   I'd urge you to watch both of the Gary Doer interviews on the Ed Show to see what you and President Obama are up against.  Put yourself in President Obama's position and how would you answer each of Doer's claims in those two interviews.  

            With Michael Brune is out pushing the phony "KXL is an export pipeline" meme, I can predict that Brune would not have fared very well had he actually been paired to debate with Gary Doer.   Brune ducked that bullet when their scheduled encounter on the Ed Show was cancelled because of coverage of matters in the Ukraine.

    •  If it isn't for export then why pipe it to Texas? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fiona West, Odysseus

      The whole point of the KXL pipeline is to move the crude to refineries in Texas. If it's for consumption in Canada and the USA then why not refine it in Alberta, take the gas to the gas stations and leave the waste petcoke in the convenient hole in the ground in Alberta that the oil shale came out of?

      There may be another very good reason but the story that the oil is for export is an awfully easy one to sell. It might even be true.

  •  More than a little scary. (0+ / 0-)

    I can't think of much that makes me worry more about my family's future than billionaire's drafting the blueprint for global warming action.

    As 2009-present ably attests,  that is a recipe bound to make us bigger losers than we already are.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:07:14 PM PDT

  •  Creating opportunities (3+ / 0-)

    It does not necessarily require a change in candidates, although it often might. However, if the conversation is changed it can make it safer for soft Dem candidates to support the issue, or ultimately more than just safe, but even expected.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:08:09 PM PDT

    •  Not required but a solid primary challenge can.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, Catte Nappe

      ..prove more effective than softening the conversation as that tends to dilute the purpose of the polices sought.
      From a longer comment within an Armando Diary on how to force Dem candidates to the left on the issues of concern:

      This would be achieved by "persuading" Congressional Democrats and potential candidates that they need to adopt progressive values and positions. [...] I think we've seen already that "leaders" are often led to the head of the ongoing parade (see gay marriage). I would counsel attempting a similar approach to our presidential frontrunner for 2016, who could, in fact, lead a progressive landslide in 2016, even if she herself is not as progressive as the movement.

      - emphasis added

      "Leaders are often led to the head of the ongoing parade (see gay marriage)."
      ... recruiting like-minded primary candidates for the next election cycle instead of merely waiting to see who shows up.
      Given the number of Democrats who—while not deniers—have never shown any eagerness to take aggressive action on climate change, NextGen could help create some opportunities for far better outcomes in 2016 in the Senate and House.
      We make the parade/noise as best we know how.

      So you're correct  that we don't, although ultimately preferable - imo - necessarily have to change candidates (especially if that candidate has the best chance of defeating a republican) in order to achieve better outcomes.

      So we make it tough on republicans and make it "easier" for Dems to make the better choices too by laying tougher ground rules:

      Steyer will not take it easy on Democrats whose climate change-related votes are out of alignment with NextGen's, such as Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.
      - good deal

      Thx MB

  •  Get ready for the attacks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, indres, Words In Action

    They'll recycle their Soros attacks on Steyer.

  •  Well, it's good that at least one rich person is (12+ / 0-)

    on our side.

    However, it's a sad commentary on American politics. There shouldn't be billions invested in political campaigns. Those billions could provide a guaranteed "floor" income for every American, like the  homeless woman I saw on TV this morning. She's living in a tent in Virginia, in the woods. She shouldn't have to live in a tent because housing is so expensive.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:10:52 PM PDT

  •  I'm reaching out to Tom for a different reason (10+ / 0-)

    But the reason I'm doing what I'm doing is because he is a 1%er who gets it.  I hope his reverse-affluenza disease is contagious.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:10:56 PM PDT

  •  Does the bile rise for anybody else... (9+ / 0-)

    ...at the "yay liberals have our own Koch Brothers"/"meet your new benevolent plutocrat" excitement for this?

    Yes, we should play the game as it exists today. Yes, we should gladly take the money. I just hate the idea that we appear to be pawns in Bajillionaire Bowl.

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:11:39 PM PDT

    •  Yes, Termite, it does for me (3+ / 0-)

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:12:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I personally think... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Termite

      it's the height of hypocrisy for us to vilify the Kochs for their money spent in elections, sign petitions sponsored by Kos to remove money from politics and reverse Citizens United, and then lionize another bajillionaire because he is on our side. Repubes will always have more billionaires (and millionaires; nature of the beast) liking their politics than we will IMHO, and so we should not give up the desire and the fight to remove moneyed influence from our elections. The right to elect our leaders belongs to "We the People", not "We the Inherited and Ultra-successful", no matter whose side they are on.

      •  Agreed, but meanwhile (0+ / 0-)

        we shouldn't turn away any billionaires willing to put up their money for the causes we support.   Hypocrisy, be damned, it's called being realistic and pragmatic.  Idealism will have to wait for another day.

        3 guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducks.

        by penelope pnortney on Fri May 23, 2014 at 05:05:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Would rather Citizens United (9+ / 0-)

    were reversed, to pinch off the unrestricted flow of money into our elections, but this I guess is at least something.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:11:45 PM PDT

  •  Thankfully, this moron is losing his congressional (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Meteor Blades, indres

    seat this fall. Unfortunately, there are plenty more just like him who will fill the void.

    Congressman Praises Oilmen for Fixing Leaks With Duct Tape, Trash Bags:

    Remember Rep. Vance McAllister? Of course you do. He knows about leaks: leaked videos of him philandering, leaked texts of his guilt. And he would like these stupid tree-huggers to stop trashing the patriotic geniuses who fixed leaking oil pipelines with your dad's station-wagon emergency kit:

    In the video above starting at 2:33:55, the kissy congressman and a conservative colleague turned those crude fixes into cool points for oil plunderers at a bizarre environmental committee hearing Tuesday, according to the Huffington Post:

    "You took a picture of someone who was innovative, and rather than leaving the fluid to drip on the ground, repaired it with duct tape and a garbage bag, and yet you seem to be very upset about that," McAllister told Noah Matson, vice president of Defenders of Wildlife.

    "We're damned if we do and damned if we don't," McAllister added. "We take a garbage bag and fix it and keep it from leaking and yet you're still not happy, and come to Washington and testify before Congress and want to throw fits because some guy took initiative."

    http://gawker.com/...

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:12:45 PM PDT

  •  Nice to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Sure is nice to see democrats also using those evil rich, white gazillionaires to accomplish meaningful political change.

    Can't beat 'em?  Use their own strategy against 'em.

  •  Good news, I guess... (5+ / 0-)

    But depressing that our democracy boils down to:

    'Our Billionaire can beat up your Billionaire'

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

    by RichM on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:16:22 PM PDT

  •  Glad he's not limiting it to Republicans. (6+ / 0-)

    Not much use switching to Democrats when large numbers of them promote the same fossil-fuel economics in their votes.

    The "better" part of more and better essential here.

    There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:28:40 PM PDT

  •  According to polls, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    laws to stop climate change would be a populist message.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:32:16 PM PDT

  •  2010 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiona West, Meteor Blades

    After experiencing Obama's excellently-run 2008 campaign, it was discouraging to see Democrats completely abandon all those lessons learned about successful campaigning. Horrifying, even. Sacrificing not only the election, but also a lost decade, thanks to redistricting. 2010 perhaps couldn't have been stopped, but it could have been a lot less harsh had better attention been paid to it.

    Nobody was systematically organized to register voters at colleges everywhere. For one glaring example. They're using the VAN database more now, so at least that's something, even if mostly in the proliferation of surprise emails asking for money for candidates I've never heard of. (I keep unsubscribing, but new ones keep showing up all the time.)

    At any rate: There's a lot of room for improvement on GOTV efforts. Glad to hear there'll be work on that front, even if only in selected states and districts.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:53:49 PM PDT

  •  Right, cuz Democratic politicians are all over (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zumrum13

    climate change.  Give me a break.  

    The Democratic party is not the answer to climate change.

    Democrats will fix climate change the way they fixed banking. They will let fossil fuels corporations continue to run amok just like they did Wall Street.

    •  Lumping all Democrats into the same... (3+ / 0-)

      ...pile on climate change ignores the reality. Yes, there are Democrats who are far from being on the right path on this. The "all of the above" approach to energy of the White House is mistaken. But the administration has been quite good on renewables, and there are significant numbers of Democratic senators and representatives who are focused on the right approach. We need more of them rather than a call for abandoning them in favor of some will-o'-the-wisp approach to elections and policy.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu May 22, 2014 at 06:28:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How many Democrats are supporting WRDA? (0+ / 0-)

        It includes a billion bucks to widen the Sabine-Neches Waterway so Exxon can export Keystone XL oil.

        In other words, our Democratic administration and the Democrats in Congress support the KXL pipeline.  

        So, "quite good on renewables" is bullshit.  That's zero-zip-nada considering the enormity of the problem.  

        •  Having followed energy policy since I... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          penelope pnortney

          ...worked in the Carter administration at the Solar Energy Research Institute, I can assure you that the current administration's stance and spending on renewables is not zero-zip-nada. Should it be more? Absolutely. And exactly how do we spend more given the blockade the Republicans in Congress have put up against any good legislation, including matters like the production tax credit.

          As for the deepening, not widening, of the SNW, that may indeed allow export of refined tar sands oil, but even if Keystone XL is approved, that would hardly be the only purpose of a waterway that is more than a century old.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:11:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who exactly benefits from the SNW widening? (0+ / 0-)

            There was a Businessweek article that specified Exxon and Keystone XL as the primary beneficiaries.  The SNW does connect Port Arthur/refineries to the Gulf of Mexico.

            The problem with the Democrats is their avoidance of climate change discussion and their lack of effort to make it a real issue for all Americans.  Just like Republicans, Democratic politicians want to continue business as usual because that is what their big corporate sponsors want.

            WRDA primarily provides billions in funding for port deepening to make it easier to import cheap Asian goods that come through the newly widened Panama Canal.  These billions help the likes of WalMart and facilitate the loss of American jobs.  WRDA has total bipartisan support.  Clearly, Democrats in Congress are for big business and are not for the best interests of Americans.

            Too bad all these billions couldn't have been used to really change the country's energy problems.

            •  Agree with this especially (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sweeper
              The problem with the Democrats is their avoidance of climate change discussion and their lack of effort to make it a real issue for all Americans.  Just like Republicans, Democratic politicians want to continue business as usual because that is what their big corporate sponsors want.
              The corporate sponsors is part of it but the fear of losing elections is another part.  It's like Survivor for the white collar crowd.

              If we had states(wo)men instead of politicians, we might see something different.  Leaders should lead, pandering is for people ready to prostitute themselves.

              The irony is that Americans love a strong person who tells it like it is, treats them like thinking adults with legitimate concerns instead of willful children who need to be humored or patsies looking to be taken.  Americans are also just plain sick of the bullshit.  Witness the popularity of Elizabeth Warren, who talks straight talk about one of the things that matters most to Americans - financial security - and is more than ready to take on the Goliath of the financial industry.  Not just on our behalf, but because how that industry does business is immoral and WRONG.

              3 guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducks.

              by penelope pnortney on Fri May 23, 2014 at 05:38:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Reading on NextGen Climate website (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiona West, Meteor Blades, Orlaine

      Gives you a much better read on Mr. Steyer and the why Toyota is leaving CA.  

        One of his early campaigns was in 2012 when he helped un-do an unfair tax loophole that gave only non-CA corporations a tax break.    He worked to correct / change that law, so businesses like Toyota lost a tax break.   It ended up cutting a $1 B freebies.  

          My suspicion is that he picks his targets pretty carefully and I will watch from TX - where idiots like Cornyn will face little opposition.    

         My gut tells me that the most competitive race in TX will be for Lt. Gov (Leticia Van de Putte)- DEM is well known and respected all through TX- which may also bring us a woman Gov.    

        And maybe, just maybe as Fracking Problems continue to be seen on the front pages of newspapers here - maybe, just maybe we can get a little help from National Dems and some Super Pac $$$$,

    •  For whatever it's worth (0+ / 0-)

      I'm in California and I've donated to Davis's campaign, and know others who have as well.   I would dearly love to see those two women wipe the smug looks off Republican faces.   I'd also dearly love to hear McConnell having to give a concession speech.

      3 guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducks.

      by penelope pnortney on Fri May 23, 2014 at 05:42:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is exciting. I remember thinking a while (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    back that I wished there was a deep-pockets person or group who would support progressives in making shifts in consciousness around certain issues.  Who would be issue focused even more than this-next-election focused, even though at this point every election is urgently important.  We need skillful people putting out "education" that speaks to both heart and mind, to the frightening realities and the moral urgency, and the love that most of us feel for much that could be damaged or lost.  We need ads of the kind that come early in campaigns, not attack ads but the kind used to introduce a candidate: relatively long, engaging, evoking what people care about, but giving real information too.  Ads not about candidates but about issues: global warming, KXL, what we can do with solar power right now, what sea rising will do to our coastal cities, and why we need to fund green jobs.  Then as elections come, we need to support candidates who are strong on Global Warming, and rip the deniers to shreds.

    And we need to support climate change groups on campuses, and environmental justice groups in communities, and the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, and infrastructure jobs for the unions, and -- oh, a thousand things.

    If we're lucky, if Tom Steyer has good poliltical sense, and openness to the people already working in these areas, his money could help.  It could really help.  And we've been shouted down for so long, outroared by FOX News and the false-eequivalency types and the petro-funded pundits.  We can use all the help we can get.

    --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

    by Fiona West on Thu May 22, 2014 at 07:38:54 PM PDT

  •  The planet finally finds a billionaire (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, penelope pnortney

    who gets it.  Truly looking forward to seeing lots of attention to climate issues in this election cycle and lots of enthusiastic voters in the fall.

    'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own. - Alexander Pope

    by liberaldad2 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:04:07 PM PDT

  •  I didn't know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    we had a billionaire on our side. Nice.

  •  Thank you Mr. Steyer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    At last someone with power and the cash is speaking up.  We need more people who have brains andmoney and aren't Hell bent on destroying the environment.  I am tired of all the Naysayers and their ignorant wisdom and denial of climate change.

    •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

      this seems to be a bit of a trend.  Not necessarily with climate change but with social justice issues - look at the business owners who have been vocal about upping their employees' wages and offering health care, in some cases just pointing out they'd been doing it all along.  It would be major poetic justice for those businesses to see their profits go through the roof as a result of progressives and people who just care about working people giving them their custom at every single opportunity.

      One thing progressives don't do well (because we don't have a media monopoly) is to get the word out beyond the "believers" to nonliberals who just happen to be decent people.   My brother is pretty conservative but shockingly, he was majorly pissed at the dogpile that descended on Martha Stewart when others (men!) who'd done the same thing she'd done suffered no consequences.  He and his wife immediately subscribed to her magazine and have been throwing business her way ever since.  

      3 guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducks.

      by penelope pnortney on Fri May 23, 2014 at 05:56:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pity Bill Gates seems so both nonpolitical and so (0+ / 0-)

    interested in protecting his bit of turf over the future of the planet.
    (From Ask.com)

    Is Bill Gates Registered Democrat or Republican?

    Bill Gates has been said to belong to the democratic party. He is typically not that politically involved. He has always stated that he's been socially a liberal. However, when the Clinton administration went after Microsoft he has slowly turned to being more conservative in his way of thinking. He has really never supported one party with his candidate choices, expect until recently when he has been supporting more republicans than he was in the past.

  •  Did Heaven send this guy? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm so very happy to hear about Steyer's plans. This is definitely something I can get behind if he ever needs us.

    Good luck to Steyer!!!!!!!!!!!

  •  the issue has already been defined in moral terms (0+ / 0-)

    david suzuki said it on bill moyers' show:

    failure to fight climate change is a crime against our children n grandchildren -- an intergenerational crime.

    http://billmoyers.com/...

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