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My pro-markets comments on these two posts at the "free-market energy blog," MasterResource, are why Robert Bradley banned me

January 4th, 2013 No comments

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Rob Bradley in Koch Wonderland: a 'Libertarian' uses his fossil fuel PR front to trumpet the 'principled entrepreneurship' of his rent-seeking benefactor

November 10th, 2010 No comments

Of course none of the Koch brothers (among the wealthiest Americans), the oil and other companies they own, nor the people they directly or indirectly employ – including Rob Bradley, who founded the oil-funded Institute for Energy Research and runs the ‘free market’ Master Resource blog (where yours truly is persona non grata) – is evil personified (us libertarians save that label for villains on the left, like George Soros, Al Gore and nasty enviros), but the Kochs’ efforts to seek favors from government and to protect those already earned is rather hard to miss:

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Koch_Industries

http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/31/report-koch-industries-outspends-exxon-mobil-on-climate-and-clean-energy-disinformation/

http://climateprogress.org/2010/07/22/koch-industries-afp-tea-party-founded/

http://www.desmogblog.com/koch-industries-extensive-funding-climate-denial-industry-unmasked

http://climateprogress.org/2010/04/05/koch-industries-thinks-calling-people-%E2%80%98hitler-youth%E2%80%99-is-an-%E2%80%98honest-debate%E2%80%99/

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/polluterwatch/koch-industries/institute-for-energy-research/

http://motherjones.com/environment/2009/12/dirty-dozen-climate-change-denial-12-institute-energy-research

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/paltman/who_are_these_guys_yet_more_po.html

http://www.fightcleanenergysmears.org/behind_the_smears.cfm

http://newledger.com/2010/08/who-are-the-koch-brothers/

In the face of the Koch brothers’ rent-seeking efforts, Rob Bradley’s recent praise at Master Resource of Koch Industries, Inc. for a “corporate call to principled action” is notable for its astonishing chutzpah and/or self-deception. 

Says Bradley, in reprinting a pre-election message from the Koch Industries newsletter (the message itself is not particularly objectionable):

In a sea of political capitalism and rent-seeking by corporations, it is refreshing to see a principled defense of capitalism from the business sector.

Further:

Koch’s Principled Entrepreneurship™ is just the opposite of Ken Lay and Enron’s political capitalism model.

If the Left is suspicious of corporativism, and if they do their homework, they might just repect the intellectualism behind privately held Koch.

Hah – this can be true only if Bradley’s trademarked “Principled Entrepreneurship” means unlimited, secretive corporate spending designed to directly affect the political and regulatory environment (the Koch’s have recently spent about $50 million on funding climate change ‘skepticism’)! For libertarians these days, does “up” mean “down”?

Well, I suppose that it’s not surprising if one’s views may be influenced by the hand that feeds them.

Oh, the rent-seeking games that we have fallen into!

Does anyone still NOT see where the favors government gives to corporations – starting with the initial grant of limited liability to shareholders – has led us?

PS: I just tried to leave the following comment at Master Resource, but it was rejected; Master Resource is not open for comment by critical libertarians:

Rob, how much money do firms that practice “Principled Entrepreneurship™” spend on trying to purchase regulatory and legal favors? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sky’s the limit, as long as the rent-seeker in question professes to prefer “free markets” (while ignoring statism inherent in the grant of limited liability to shareholders, in regulations that license pollution and serve as barriers to entry, and in continuing government ownership of leased resources)?

Tom

PS: Rob Bradley in Koch Wonderland: a ‘Libertarian’ uses his fossil fuel PR front to trumpet the ‘principled entrepreneurship’ of his rent-seeking benefactor – TT’s Lost in Tokyo http://bit.ly/ccG8Op

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[update] Bob Murphy, Rob Bradley and the Austrian Road Not Taken on Climate by two fossil-fuels gunslingers

October 28th, 2009 No comments

[Update: I copy at bottom a follow-up exchange I had on Bob`s thread with another reader – radio silence from Bob.]

Bob Murphy has a new post up at his blog, “CBO Testimony Misleads on Cost of Cap-and-Trade“, that draws attention to a new blog post at the Institute of Energy Research that Bob says he “had a lot to do with”.

The IER post rightly criticizes some of the numbers that the Congressional Budget Office has released, but the IER is playing games itself.

I left the following note at Bob`s (now substantially goosed up for the benefit of readers):

TokyoTom said…

IER? Isn`t that the “free-market” blog that bans libertarians who are not on their pro-coal, pro-pollution wagon? [Oops, I confused this with Rob Bradley`s MasterResource blog; IER is different, in that IER is – much more clearly than MR – an active rent-seeking front for fossil fuel interests, which Exxon made clear last year when it publicly announced that it would no longer fund IER`s “unproductive”, climate-skeptic position.]

But while we`re on the subject, let`s not forget:

– Austrians` fundamental objections to cost-benefit analysis;


that the mining, transport and combustion of coal, in addition to whatever climate “cost” it
might have to various people whose preferences can`t be measured, have
very real and significant costs in terms of damage to persons and property;


that federal law authorizes this (via the “Clean Air Act”, surface mining laws and ownership of the TVA), and grandfathers the very worst
midwestern utilities, the oldest 10% of which (41 or so) are  estimated to be responsible for 43% of the
$62 billion in annual  damages (not including damages from harm to ecosystems, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, or climate change)(according
to the latest NAS report on the indirect costs of fossil fuels);

– that our federal government and states own most of the coal deposits and are otherwise addicted to the royalty revenues and complicit in turning a blind eye to damages;

– the future “costs” that the IER analysis refers to (in 2050) are not discounted to present value;


that alternative policies – such as

are never advanced, much less their costs weighed [that is, no attempt is ever made to engage opponents in good faith or to seek mutual gains by working to resolve underlying problems];

– the costs/consequences/risks and equities of “do-nothing” policies are hardly considered, and when so are heavily discounted;

– that deliberate “geo-engineering” holds no promise as a panacea, and itself is fraught with issues about statism, preferences, risks and liaibility;


the need for investment in infrastructure and change in laws to adapt
(and foster adaptation) to very real ongoing climate changes are never
discussed; and

– no one at IER ever seems to question the
unstated presumption that utilities and our transportation industries
have somehow homesteaded an ownership right over the global atmosphere – or the massive role that our federal government and states play as coal and other energy resource owners),
so that it`s perfectly okay to dismiss the preferences of those who
have concerns at home [those “religious” nuts like Exxon, and our Academies of Science] and those abroad in the least developed countries
that are most vulnerable to damages (much less to suggest how those
injured should be aided).

In other words, those defending the
status quo seem to have abandoned any Austrian training (or to have no
familiarity with its concern for problem-solving and awareness that
[as Block points out] common law protection of private property rights was hijacked a century
ago, with massive pollution and rent-seeking problems being the result
).

Someone
ought to post a few of these thoughts over at IER; Rob Bradley somehow
finds comments of this type over fundamental principles to be “ad hominem” arguments [of the kind that very quickly tested his patience and got me banned, without any word to his co-bloggers, who found my comments worthy of considered response].

Sure, we should fight over policy, but let`s not ignore principles or put our heads in the sand.

October 28, 2009 10:10 AM

*  From the NAS report:

Coal accounts for about half the electricity produced in the U.S.  In
2005 the total annual external damages from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen
oxides, and particulate matter created by burning coal at 406
coal-fired power plants, which produce 95 percent of the nation’s
coal-generated electricity, were about $62 billion; these nonclimate
damages average about 3.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour (kwh)
of energy
produced.  A relatively small number of plants — 10 percent of the total number — accounted for 43 percent of the damages.  By 2030, nonclimate damages are estimated to fall to 1.7 cents per kwh.

[update:

Supporters of cap and trade always turn to the
argument that opponents are burying their heads in the sand. It’s not
true. This legislation won’t do anything to help the environment. It is
merely a front so that the administration and the Democrats can say
they did “something.” We don’t need legislation that is going to cost
every single American household and won’t even be able to achieve its
stated goals. Write your Congressmen at
http://dontcapandtradeourjobs.net/?tr15.

[A], you`re missing my higher -level poinht, which is that IER is
rather apparently UNINTERESTED in engaging productively or on a
principled basis on this issue; rather, they are simply sniping (though
they make excellent points) at the cap-and-traders).

Though,
of course, from the view of those financing them, this form of
engagement may very well be “productive”, if it delays any action that
will lower returns to coal, rail or utility investors.

What`s
regrettable is that this obfuscation, which has been going on for
decades, is what is likely to saddle us with extremely costly, porky
and ineffective “climate change” policies.

The extra richness of Robert Bradley/MasterResource: diehard libertarian making a living at pure rent-seeking ("political capitalism")

September 11th, 2009 No comments

Lord knows I`ve got better things to do, but I can`t resist.

Rob Bradley has written extensively on energy regulation from a libertarian viewpoint and spent a number of years as an adviser to Ken Lay inside Enron – apparently seeing up-close (while conscientiously fighting a losing battle to steer Enron away from) the now well-known efforts of Enron to use the power of government to create profitable markets for it. Bradley`s energy commentary came to my attention a few years ago (on the Mises pages), and I have been observing him fairly closely over the past year, particularly after the launch of MasterResource, his “free-market energy blog”.

Unfortunately, even while Bradley has been making some very thoughtful comments on energy policy, he is now rather nakedly involved in precisely the game of
rent-seeking (Rob`s preferred term is “political capitalism”) that he
so loudly decries in practically every blog post or other piece of
“free-market” commentary that he spins out.

Bradley`s activities now include:

  • his commentary and support for Institute for Energy Resources
    a “free market” “think tank” that he founded and remains CEO of but which is
    now staffed by former Republican K Street apparatchiks Essentially the same staff as AEA, noted next), and which has moved from
    Houston to DC, the better to engage in influence peddling, but whose
    cover was blown wide open last year when ExxonMobil (a firm that Bradley has made clear, in post after post, that he adores), announced that it would no longer fund
    IER
    and others whose activities were tied too closely to anti-climate change
    science and policies that Exxon has decided are counterproductive);
  • support for the public lobbying arm of IER, the American Energy Alliance, staffed by former Republican K Street apparatchiks, which
    has been coordinating “grassroots” events to put political pressure on
    Congresscritters from coal-producing and -consuming states; and
  • his relentless blogging on climate police at MasterResource
    his chief soapbox – with co-bloggers who are generally well-regarded
    but nevertheless professionals at the climate policy influence game (such as Chip Knappenberger, who works at a self-proclaimed “advocacy science consulting firm”).

This is clearly a rent-seeker`s game, and Rob is in the thick of it, producing a steady stream of one-sided political, economic and scientific argument after another.

Bradley valiantly pretends simply to be an opponent of some possibly counterproductive government policies (of which there are plenty, to be sure) that various nefarious and/or corrupt interest groups are advancing, but in reality serves as a paid spokesman for that group of interests that have benefitted most from the status quo, and have the most to lose from any form of carbon pricing –  including “King Coal“, as Bradley so aptly names them. Coal merits unfailingly positive references – it`s clean, it`s cheap, it`s the FUTURE – but never any observations of the pollution resulting from coal (significant annual deaths, breaches of fly ash dams, court cases regarding cross-border pollution) or of the negative role of government ownership of coal reserves or of misguided federal regulations (Clean Air Act grandfathering of the oldest, dirtiest plants, and right to pollute; and the federal supplanting of private tort protections regarding air pollution and mountaintop removal practices).

It looks like a pretty good brew that Bradley serves up – he serves his clients well – but it`s always been a bit too strong for me. As a result, Rob has booted me from his bar, and I`ve been left to occasionally grumble outside. I haven`t particularly lost interest so much as run out of time and an ability to keep up, particularly as the flow of rhetoric and partial “analysis” has increased (in step with the legislative agenda).

But in a couple of recent posts by Bradley, the brew of self-righteous, self-serving and self-deceptive rhetoric has proved too rich for me to ignore.

1. The first is a naked appeal to influence the policy leanings of the natural gas industry, in Bradley`s September 8 post, the title of which lays bare Bradley`s clients: “Why Natural Gas Should Not Play the Cap-and-Trade Game (the real enemy is mandated renewables/conservation, not coal)” (geez, has he beat my record for long titles?). Why is this rich? First, because coal is the heaviest producer of GHGs per BTU, so coal is obviously most threatened by climate bills (that`s why Bradley and a legion of others can make a living at this, after all). Next, some of the reasons he trots out, such as his reference to “grassroot” citizens in Houston that Bradley and the American Petroleum Institute organized, and the more straightforward argument that, to be blunt, “Big Coal is too powerful for a Kill Coal bill on the Senate side“.  But despite all of coal`s bluster, Bradley knows that it is THEY that are on the table, not natural gas, and so he argues that it`s really natural gas “as the swing fuel in electricity generation” that loses mostly from a climate bill. Which is why Bradley closes with an appeal to natural gas to help not coal, but “capitalism in its desperate hour”.

2. The second post is a re-post of interesting earlier commentary by Bradley concerning Enron. This is rich because Bradley continually tries to draw important lessons about what went wrong at Enron (while thumping his chest about his own efforts to correct “philosophical errors” at the firm), while blindly ignoring his own present involvement in the self-same “political capitalism” that he decries. Bradley just conveniently overlooks that “political  capitalism” lies not solely in seeking CURRENT political favor, but also in PAST efforts to secure such favor, and in ongoing efforts to preserve it. One wonders whether for Bradley, reciting the lessons he learned from Enron might be serving as a salve for a guilty conscience for actually forgetting the inconvenient part of such lessons (and deeper Austrian lessons about problem solving and the frustration of preferences when government is acting heavy-handedly).

Okay, I`m all out of rants for now.

 

Categories: Bradley, Coal, Enron, rent-seeking Tags:

Fun with Partisanship and Self-Deception: the climate follies and Rob Bradley

August 25th, 2009 No comments

Political scientist and climate commenter Roger Pielke, Jr. and scientist and Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm had a heated little spat last month, with both trading accusations of lies and bad faith.  When I left comments with each suggesting that the other might have a legitimate complaint, each reflexively questioned my motive while dodging my comment, and both claimed the moral high ground while exercising editorial discretion to refuse to post some of my remarks.

This is not particularly surprising, given our cognitive predilections to see ourselves as right (and good), and those who disagree with us as wrong (and evil), as I have noted on any number of occasions.

But as this predilection hinders the ability of people to look in the mirror and see themselves even when they are complaining about how badly they are mistreated by others, it is not simply a continuing source of amusement, but also a serious vulnerability that rent-seekers frequently deliberately exploit to harness and distract us from their agendas.

A small case in point is Rob Bradley, bloggermeister at MasterResource and founder of the Institute for Energy Research, who wrote in to Roger Pielke to commiserate and complain about how he, too, was a victim of Joe Romm`s personal attacks, and how much more civil and “open-minded” the discourse was from “the free market side”. 

Given my own experience – including Rob`s banning me from his blog for questioning his support for fossil fuel rent-seekers – I felt that Rob`s complaint was too rich to go unaddressed,  I copy here (with slight changes to improve clarity) my response:

Rob Bradley says, “I certainly do not know anyone on my side of the debate who acts like he does, and I do not think that institutions on the free market side would tolerate what the Center for American Progress does with him.”

Come on, Rob, beauty may be in the mind of the beholder, but the right has always played a highly policized and personalized game on climate policy; just look at Marc Morano, Stephen Milloy, Chris Horner (and the whole “Planet Gore” ad hominem corner at NRO), and Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters.

“But these are desperate times for climate alarmism and policy activism on all fronts–physical science, political economy, and public policy.”

Sure they are, and not merely for the left. In any case, the right bears a great deal of responsibility, for refusing to provide any leadership over the past decade – except leadership on unending wars on terror, gays, enviros and our pocketbooks (which is one of the reasons we now have Dems in charge) – while engaging during that period in an orgy of self-righteous pork-barrel for their own special interests (some of whom even now are being fed at the public trough).

Good job! Maybe the right needs to hire Bob Luntz back again to give us more strategy memos of the same kind?

Like you, I`m hoping that “more and more open-minded people will come to see [TT: rent-seeking of all kinds – including by Old King Coal] as part of the climate-change problem, not the solution.”  But since surely you agree with me about open-mindedness and rent-seeking, maybe you`d care to share with the rest of the open-minded people here your reasons for BANNING me from commenting at MasterResource?

And inquiring minds would like to know if they are the same reasons you gave to your co-bloggers (Chip Knappenberger, Tom Tanton, Marlo Lewis, Bob Murphy) for pulling the plug in the middle of the public conversations that they were engaging me in on MR.

A further small irony, perhaps even now not realized by Bradley, is that Bradley, in a parallel post on his own blog designed to play up Roger’s complaints (with Joe’s of course going completely unnoticed), included a quote from Pielke’s blog where Roger notes that Romm could not provide a satisfactory response when questioned by a reader on one of the points of contention:

when a reader of both of our blogs called him on it he could not provide the goods (because there aren’t any).

The irony?  Rob, by including this quote from Roger, has linked to yours truly. I’m a leper as far as commenting on his blog, but I’m okay for him to link to, as long as he doesn’t know it’s me! (h/t to Bob Murphy)

Rob closes out his own post with a noble wish:  “May the climate debate become more civil and the best arguments win!”. 

Yes, and may Rob take his own advice, perhaps even on his own blog.

[Note: Bear with me, please.  I have a few similar thoughts to share on this topic, and thought this was a good place to start.]

Atlas Does Not Shrug at Climate Change: Exxon, Rob Bradley's favorite "principled entrepreneur", embarks on $600+ million biofuels venture

July 15th, 2009 No comments

A little birdy told me this story yesterday, which I think I was the first to ”Tweet”.

ExxonMobil has announced a $600+ million venture with Craig Venter’s advance genomics firm to develop fuels from algae.  An Exxon scientist noted:

“the potential advantages and benefits of biofuel from algae could be significant. Among other advantages, readily available sunlight and carbon dioxide used to grow the photosynthetic algae could provide greenhouse gas mitigation benefits. Growing algae does not rely on fresh water and arable land otherwise used for food production. And lastly, algae have the potential to produce large volumes of oils that can be processed in existing refineries to manufacture fuels that are compatible with existing transportation technology and infrastructure.” “

Exxon, whose scientists contributed directly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has made a steady stream of policy announcements and investments related to climate change over the past five years, and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson has specifically called for governments to establish regulatory frameworks that provide investors and consumers with incentives to find ways to reduce GHG emissions, with Exxon favoring carbon taxes over cap-and-trade policies.  (Tillerson has said: “It is rare that a business lends its support to new taxes. But in this case, given the risk-management challenges we face and the alternatives under consideration, it is my judgment that a carbon tax is the best course of public policy action. And it is a judgment I hope others in the business community and beyond will come to share.”)

A recent statement by Exxon explained its climate change views as follows:

“As was recently summarized in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the risks to society and ecosystems from increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are significant. Meeting the enormous energy demand growth and managing the risk of GHG emissions are the twin challenges of our time.We all must engage in the search for solutions if we are to succeed at mitigating these risks. Progress can be achieved through climate change policy frameworks that enable countries to pursue economic progress while promoting the development of technologies necessary to generate and use energy more efficiently. As the largest publicly traded international energy company, the energy ExxonMobil produces meets 2 percent of the world’s needs. We share the responsibility to take action with scientists, citizens, and governments around the world and are doing so in several substantive ways.”

(emphasis added)

 

As an aside, I note that despite Rob Bradley’s deep admiration for Exxon (including several posts noting Exxon`s reluctance to invest in “green” energy), Exxon has specifically stopped funding Rob Bradley‘s Institute for Energy Research and similar public policy research groups, on the grounds that these groups’ “position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion about how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.”  Does Exxon, despite an apparently strong policy disagreement with Bradley, still have his respect?

 

 

Categories: climate change, Exxon, Rob Bradley, Tillerson Tags:

Thorough defense by Joe Romm of Waxman-Markey against "carbon tax + dividend" James Hansen; where is "Principled Entrepreneurship" Bradley on fat subsidies for coal?

July 12th, 2009 No comments

Joe Romm`s defense of Waxman-Markey against climate scientist James Hansen (who prefers rebated carbon taxes and a faster phase-out of coal) is effective and worth a read.

Notably, however, Romm makes no attempt to justify all of the pork now in the bill, including the huge subsidies to coal (Congressman Ed Markey: “We have in huge subsidies for clean coal. Huge. Much more than we have in for renewables.”), which are one of the reasons why Greenpeace has wtihdrawn its support for the bill.

Hope springs eternal that Rob Bradley, in his “free-market” MasterResource energy blog, his Institute for Energy Research or their more blatant PR arms like “grass roots” American Energy Alliance (or side-kick Bob Murphy) will criticize past or ongoing rent-seeking  (“political capitalism”) by King Coal, but so far it looks very much like the piper is calling the tune – to the extent that Rob Bradley bans commentators who note the lack of balance in the application of “Principled Entrepreneurship” (which Bradley has trademarked!).

 

[Updated] Bob Murphy: Rob Bradley's "IER Calls for End to All Energy Subsidies" – Not

July 6th, 2009 No comments

[Update at bottom.]

Bob Murphy, Austrian economist and part-time consultant for Rob Bradley`s Institute for Energy Research, asserted in a recent blog post that “IER [has] Call[ed]  For End to All Energy Subsidies”.  I took a closer look at the recent commentary at IER that Bob pointed to as support for his position, and came away unimpressed.

I posted the following comments to Bob in response a week ago; since I have heard nothing further from Bob, I think it`s worth copying them here (with editorial comments in brackets):

Bob, I`m sorry, but where does IER (or MasterResource) actually CALL “for an end to all energy subsidies”? They certainly don`t do so expressly in this op-ed. I`d be thrilled if you could point the way to other places where Bradley`s various enterprises specifically call for an end to subsidies and other regulatory favors for coal.

By bashing WaPo`s inconsistent concerns about “clean coal” subsidies [in an interesting editorial about rent-seeking by coal firms that ignores other rent-seekers] – and bashing clean energy interests while refusing to criticize rent-seeking by coal – it seems fairly apparent that IER remains a friend of big coal, and of the big thumb that government has long placed on the scales in its favor.

“That would at least make them intellectually consistent. But it appears there is no room for logic and consistency when you have an agenda to advance.” [from Rob Bradley`s commentary]

Such apt words!

Categories: Bob Murphy, Coal, IER, Rob Bradley Tags:

Rent-seekers at the Core: Rob Bradley is anxious to defend his role at Enron, but is uninterested in balance, open debate or correcting his own misstatements about EXXON's support for carbon taxes

May 10th, 2009 No comments

Apparently Rob Bradley`s self-proclaimed “free-market” energy blog, “MasterResource”, has experienced a recent increased flow of traffic, so Rob is busy patting himself on the back and spinning his blog to his new readers.

But what`s the reason for the increased traffic?  Is MasterResource finding more success at putting out a message of “free-market” energy and “principled entrepreneurship“?*

* This is a purportedly trademarked(!) phrase that encapsulates Bradley`s laudable professed beliefs that (i) “businesses, big or small, should not seek special favors from government but create private wealth via the economic means rather than the political means” and that (ii) “government activism, not consumer choice in a free society, is the major threat to energy sustainability”.

Far from it – in the face of the growing stream of unbalanced (pro-fossil fuels and “clean” coal), partisan, thinly argued, and some surprisingly not pro-free-market posts from MasterResource and its related sites, the Institute for Energy Research (of which Bradley is founder and CEO) and IER`s “independent grassroots affiliate”, the newly re-founded energy front group American Energy Alliance (which calls IER its “partner”), these groups and blogs have basically simply been earning negative attention from those they see as their opposition in a classic rent-seekers` battle over using government (via public opinion tools) to achieve economic and other ends.  IER has been busy pushing for greater energy production on “public” lands, while AEA, with the help of Burston-Marsteller, has created affliliates in every state, and is running a large “integrated education and advocacy campaign” against the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill (which AEA prefers to misleadingly call simply an “energy tax bill”).

As I noted in another post and in comments regarding a puzzled reaction by Bob Murphy (who has found himself the target of attacks as a result of speaking on behalf of IER against Obama`s green jobs program), this is too bad, not only because one of the first casualties in a war of words is truth and reason.  MasterResource and the folks Bradley runs with at IER and AEA are assembling their own “Baptists and Bootleggers” coalition, where market principles are given lip service (along with patriotism, energy independence and the like), but the funders appear to all have rather more common-place and less lofty motives.  The descent into partisan bickering (while Bradley tries to maintain a lofty tone, it`s easily seen elsewhere by those who pick up posts from his blog, IER and AEA) is too bad, but the natural consequence when one acts as a spokesman for particular classes of rent-seekers.

That this state of affairs – professing the high ground while fronting for rent-seekers (or “political capitalists”, to use a term that Bradley prefers) – is what Rob Bradley actually desires, seems to be attested to:

– (1) by the alacrity by which Bradley has rushed to defend himself and IER against criticisms that were generated in response to commentary from Master Resource and IER, while deliberately obfuscating and refusing to correct the record about ExxonMobil`s fairly dramatic change in position – from opposition to government action on climate financial support to cutting off funding for IER and to actively supporting carbon taxes (Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson: “It is rare that a business lends its support to new taxes. But in this case, given the risk-management challenges we face and the alternatives under consideration, it is my judgment that a carbon tax is the best course of public policy action. And it is a judgment I hope others in the business community and beyond will come to share.”); and

– (2) of course, by the fact that, despite Bradley`s professed call to “Let the analysis and debate continue–and assume the best of intentions and civil discourse from all of us at MasterResource,” he banned me from the site, without explanation, and without the knowledge or consent of his “volunteer” co-bloggers in mid-conversations (Tom Tanton carried the conversation to my blog, while Chip Knappenberger responded by email, and I just discovered that Marlo Lewis, weeks after I was banned, posted a rejoinder).

Sure, Rob, let the “high-level” discourse continue, with nary an acknowledgement of the legitimacy of others`s preferences, of the role of government in frustrating such preferences so far, and of the firms and investors that continue to benefit from government interventions at the expense of consumers and the public weal. 

Heaven forbid anyone call for greater competition in power markets, for finding ways to rein in the mismanagement of the federal lands that your friends are itching to drill/mine, or for a frank acknowledgment that the world faces a number of “environmental” problems as a result of a lack of clear or enforceable private or communal property rights in important shared resources.

It`s the Austrian/libertarian/Objectivist way, after all.

Do actions speak louder than words?

More on Boone Pickens and power regulation in Texas: in which I test whether Rob Bradley/Master Resource is still blocking my posts

April 25th, 2009 No comments

Here`s Bradley`s post, A Texas-Sized Energy Problem: Republicans, Democrats, and ‘Baptists & Bootleggers’ Running Wild in the Lone Star State (Obama sends his thanks).  I left a short note wondering how Bradley could have made it through a generally observant post without referring to all of the sweet deals that Boone Pickens managed to buy from the thoroughly Republican Texas legislature; it`s also a puzzle why he didn`t call for public utility deregulation.

Rob banned me from his blog 6 weeks back; I`m checking to see if he`s reconsidered.

Here`s the comment I left:

TokyoTom { 04.25.09 at 1:43 pm }

Rob, why not go the extra step and identify Boone Pickens as the chief bootlegger, and the shameful way that the Republican legislature let him buy rights of eminent domain?

http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=pickens

Steve Milloy has also written astutely on this.

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Categories: Pickens, Rob Bradley Tags: