Saturday, December 02, 2006

No friend of Fred

For all its extolling of the free market, supply-demand, and actually producing something which people want to buy for their own consumption, the CEI is not above rattling its begging bowl in people's faces. There's a letter from 2000 where the hairy old boss, Fred Smith, is begging for more money from RJ Reynolds Tobacco, saying:
Our work is important both for America generally, and RJ Reynolds specifically...
Would you please consider making a general support contribution towards our efforts? I know you have contributed between $20,000 and $50,000 over the years. I would truly appreciate it if you can consider your largest possible contribution to support our work. This would mean a lot to me personally and your contribution would come at a critical time for the CEI.
One would expect that this sort of humiliation goes on continuously. They've printed this stupid brochure detailing their "Giving Clubs", with a list of pathetic badges to collect from "Deregulators" (cost $100), through to "Friends of Fred", "Executives" and Entrepreneurs" ($10,000) for which you get treated to a VIP CEI dinner and special visits by Fred, whoever he is, which is something "Friends of Fred" aren't important enough to get. Do you think if I gave $10,000 he could go jump in a lake?

The brochure is worth a look, because it includes the best stuff they think they have ever done in the past two decades of their pitiful existance.

It includes their vanity-published so-called studies on nearly "200 policy issues". Then there are the lawsuits on such issues as Sarbanes-Oxley -- an accountancy law brought in after business as usual at Enron -- and the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, FDA drug regulation, and alcohol advertising restrictions, all on the sides of the Merchants of Death.

It goes on: "The Institute’s successful challenge to federal fuel economy
standards has been characterized as 'the principal case' on 'health-health tradeoffs.'"

It's worth reviewing their ridiculous argument that driving bigger cars is healthier in principle. It's an example of how a tactic for the individual becomes hell on a global scale. It goes like this: People who drive heavier cars have a lower mortality in road accidents, therefore larger cars are safer, and we would all be better off if everyone drove the biggest cars they could afford.

The statastics are marginal, and even questioned by the people who drew them together, but an analogy is that when lions fight, the one with the biggest claws is least likely to get hurt. Therefore, according to Myron Ebell's screwed-up logic, if they all had the biggest, most razor sharp talons they could possibly handle, none of them would get injured.

Well, what do you know: the CEI is just a PR company. That means it's not a conventional business that sells products to into the market place to people who want to buy them, and leaves everyone else in peace. Its products are lies, and you don't buy lies for yourself, you buy them for other people to enjoy the benefits of. Rather like bullets.

In keeping with its losing qualities, the brochure features complimentary quotes from defeated Republican Represenative Dick Pombo, defeated Republican Senator George Allen R-VA, and former Republican Senator Don Nickles. Not bad for a non-partisan think-tank.

The CEI also presides over awards in the name of Julian Simon, a dead economist who thought the world's resources were infinite, and Warren T. Brookes, a dead op-ed columnist who was the brains behind the Reagan revolution. Other featured projects include our own Myron Ebell's "Cooler Heads Coalition" which hasn't put out a newsletter for two years, and whose astroturf members have been disappearing like so many turds in the rain.

The Myron Ebell Climate looks forward to the demise of the CEI. We will not rest until this this depraved spawn of Exxon and tobacco money is buried deep within the strata of a nuclear waste dump. By then it will almost certainly be too late. We were doomed from the moment we invented money and used it to pay people to lie. Thanks, Friends of Fred. You have been willing tools of this disease. Money doesn't buy everything, but it can hasten the date of our extinction.



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