Friday, November 24, 2006

The Annual Business Festival of Access Buying heads for the hills (Oops -- they forgot the Democrats)

You may recall that in years past, the Western Business Roundtable, run by former Dick Cheney aide Jim Sims, has organized an annual winter meeting in Arizona to encourage business leaders to booze it up and golf with prominent politicos.

(Who can ever forget the wonderful “Mulligans and Margaritas” political fundraiser? )

And now, yes, it’s time once again for The Annual Business Festival of Access Buying (ABFAB!), an opportunity for big polluters to buy access to policy makers in the privacy of a fancy resort. The fun starts November 27.

The sponsors of these political orgies have taken some heat for these adventures in bad taste, and so this year, they are heading for the hills – to be precise, the “Business-Government Summit of the Year” will take place amid “unrivaled luxury” at the Ritz Carlton ski resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Yes, the meeting will still feature “many opportunities for public-private sector ideas exchange.”

Among the other “summit” features:

--“The Great Climate Change Debate” featuring Cato Institute fellow Patrick Michaels, on whose behalf industry has passed the hat to make sure he can continue to confuse the climate science debate with industry-friendly nonsense;

--an address by James Connaughton, the chief apologist of the Bush environmental policy;

--a review of the 2006 elections by meeting co-sponsor BIPAC, the political action committee that seeks to elect pro-business candidates to Congress. (BIPAC got thumped in the elections, by the way: its favorites got blown away in six out of seven Senate races. )

-- a "Sneak Peak At The 2007 Congressional Agenda showing what we can expect in 2007 from Congressional leaders."


What “Congressional leaders?” In case the event sponsors weren’t looking, the Democrats captured Congress.


The meeting will also feature the “public launch” of a new effort to promote more coal mining and coal burning in the West.

This looks to be an anti-environmental initiative hiding behind green rhetoric. It is going to be looking for federal funding to underwrite dubious ventures such as coal-to-liquid production.

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