The right wing has discovered that Carol Browner, President-elect Barack Obama’s new White House energy and environment adviser, was briefly a member of the Socialist International’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society. The commission first convened in November 2007 to “articulate from the world of progressive politics a way forward to address global environmental concerns, climate change and the issues of governance required to deal with these common challenges” at 10 Downing Street, hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Leader of the British Labour Party.
The Socialist International is “the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties” from Albania to Zimbabwe. Its members include the center-left New Democratic Party of Canada, the center-left Israeli Labor Party, and the ruling Labour Party in Great Britain. The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, founded by the U.S. government to support democracy in developing nations, works with Socialist International and other political parties “to help foster open, accountable and responsive political systems.”
Also, it has the word “Socialist” in its name. Not only that, the press is calling Carol Browner the “climate czar.” In a leap worthy of Stephen Colbert or Monty Python, the radical right wing is claiming these are signs that Barack Obama is going to transform the United States into a leftist dictatorship. The spread of this tale is interesting mostly as an examination of the interlocking web of conservative politics and corporate polluters:
January 2: Steven Milloy discovered Browner’s work with SI, emailing the bloggers at GlobalWarming.org, run by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a right-wing anti-regulatory think tank. Steven Milloy is a one-man scientific denial industry, as publisher of JunkScience.com, an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute, and a columnist for FoxNews.com and the New York Sun.
January 7: The story of Browner’s “utterly radical socialist agenda” reached the editorial pages of the DC and Baltimore Examiner last Wednesday. The Examiner newspapers are owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, a right-wing evangelical Christian who built his father’s oil business into a far-ranging media, telecommunications, railroad, energy, and entertainment empire. He has served on the board of the American Petroleum Institute and founded the Discovery Institute, an intelligent-design think tank.
January 8: Newsbusters‘ Noel Sheppard reports that Browner is no longer listed as a member of the commission. Newsbusters is one of the many faces of the anti-regulatory media machine founded by Brent Bozell III (Business & Media Institute, Media Research Center). Bozell has also served on the board of the American Conservative Union. The National Review‘s resident global warming denier, Chris Horner, asks, “Hey, comrades, what’s to be ashamed of?!”
January 9: By Friday, right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones called her a socialist agent for world government, as Steven Milloy asks about her “mysterious and Stalinist-like disappearance” from the SI website.
January 12: The Washington Times made Browner’s “socialist ties” its headline story today. The Times was founded by the Unification Church’s Sung Myung Moon, a right-wing
evangelicalfundamentalist religious leader who blames Jews for the Holocaust. From the Times the headline leapt to the Drudge Report, where Matt Drudge juxtaposed the story with headlines about extreme cold weather. Tipped off by the John Locke Foundation‘s Paul Chesser, the American Spectator calls the story “tremendously important” and “truly scary.” At the Heritage Foundation, Nick Loris (who previously equated the New Deal to Nazism) repeated Milloy’s bizarre mention of purges in Stalinist Russia. On his national radio show today, Glenn Beck used story to claim “almost everyone who does believe in global warming is a socialist.”
It’s just one more piece of proof that some elements in the environmentalist movement (and note: I said some, not all) are merely fronts for the some collectivist, totalitarian, statist impulses that have reared their ugly heads throughout the 20th century with such devastating results for so many.
That’s right, according to conservatives, Carol Browner’s meeting with the prime minister of Great Britain to discuss global warming is equivalent to the genocides of Stalin and Hitler. And it isn’t even January 20th yet.