Photo: Screengrab via YouTube
With the elections drawing closer, the oil company-funded Prop 23 campaign has kicked into full gear. The Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro, along with Koch Industries, a coal and oil conglomerate, have donated millions of dollars to finance TV ads and other campaigns in an attempt to overturn California's groundbreaking climate and clean energy law, which was passed in 2006. That TV ad has recently been put into heavy rotation in major California markets -- and, staying true to form for such political ads, it's chock full o' lies. Here's the spot:
First of all, the tagline: California Jobs Initiative? I guess it's no longer a requisite for political ads to convey even a shred of truth in naming their political prerogative: The only thing that Prop 23 does is cancel out AB 32, California's climate law of 2006, which Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law. That's it. There is no evidence that Prop 23 will create a single job. The goal is to protect the bottom line of oil companies, and other emissions-intensive industries. Period -- the initiative was actually put on the ballot by the oil companies, not concerned citizens.
AB 32 would slowly make it more expensive to burn dirty fuels, and will make oil and coal companies responsible for their emissions -- an idea they clearly don't take kindly to. So, they've responded by doing what they do best: Lie. Let's break down the list of lies stuffed into this single 30-second spot:
1. What "New" Energy tax? First of all, it's hardly new -- it's four years old. The ad tries to make it sound like those nasty politicians have whipped together some nefarious new tax to hit the unsuspecting public with -- and that voters must rise up to beat them!
2. It's Not a Tax. For the last f@$&ing; time, laws that require companies to reduce their emissions are not 'taxes' -- and especially not taxes, or "bills" on citizens. This is a willful mischaracterization; an excuse to drop the four letter 'T' word on the public. But making companies pay for their emissions pollution is in no way a 'tax' on Americans.
3. Energy Costs Would NOT Rise 60%. This an outrageous, baseless statistic whipped up by an oil company-sponsored think tank. Marginal increases in energy bills -- less than a postage stamp per month -- may eventually come to pass. But that is pretty outright misleading. As is the claim that:
4. Prop 23 Will Save a Million Jobs! -- Yet another figure generated in much the same way. Pro-clean energy think tanks have released their own studies with figures much the same in the opposite direction -- that AB 32 will create nearly a million jobs in the renewable energy sector. But the most reliable estimates show that just over 100K jobs will be created by sound clean energy policies -- like those AB 32 promotes, and that Prop 23 seeks to uproot. For further proof, 118 Economists composed and signed a letter explaining that AB 32 will "Stimulate Innovation And Efficiency" and create jobs.
5. "Wait" Until People are "Back to Work" - Finally, this notion, mentioned at the end of the add is also just short of being an outright lie. Prop 23 overturns AB 32 until California sees 4 consecutive quarters where the employment rate is under 5.5%. This has happened only three times in the last 30 years. Oil companies are betting that it won't happen again anytime soon: the unemployment rate is currently close to 12%. Also worth noting is the cynical portrait of the bourgeois housewife, who says "I want to do my part on global warming," but reassures everyone that it's OK to wait. Climate change becomes another far-off problem, like world hunger or such, that we can deal with when we've tended to more fixable, real-world matters.
Prop 23 embodies everything there is to hate in politics -- Powerful, self-interested corporations trying to protect their bottom lines at the expense of California's environment and economy. And doing so by lying directly to the American public.
See a more detailed takedown of this ad at Political Correction
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