Ron Arnold's Left Tracking Library

Carol Browner
Assistant to the President
for Energy and Climate Change

Carol Browner is a Socialist. This claim has been heard since The Washington Times ran its January 12, 2009 story, "OBAMA CLIMATE CZAR HAS SOCIALIST TIES."

Is it true? The Librarian thinks so. Or maybe she should just be titled The Weather Witch - "climate change" is so vague.

Political Danger. Most powerful official in the Obama Administration to determine the fate of America. She has dictatorial power to say yes or no to every energy decision within reach of the federal government.
She has the power to destroy the use of fossil fuels - 85% of America's energy - with a word.

Example 1: The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and a number of other corporations had quietly negotiated during most of 2008 with a number of green groups to jointly support government aid in developing technology that significantly reduces the environmental toll of coal use, known as Integrated Gasification / Combined Cycle (IGCC) with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) and specific emissions control targets. Coal provides half of America's electricity. The joint effort, called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, asked that any federal limit on greenhouse-gas emissions not hit coal-burning power producers too hard. The partnership planned to ask Congress for mandates to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 42% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. The plan was advancing well until the first week of January 2009, when Browner, not yet a government official, tried to kill the effort, telling the two parties that the Obama administration would not support any coal technology development. The Center for American Progress, run by Obama Transition Team leader John Podesta, also published a series of anti-corporate analyses condemning clean coal technology and the coal industry. That contradicted campaign promises of then-President-Elect Barack Obama. Did Obama know of or approve these actions? Insiders to the negotiations say he did not. Carol Browner tried to kill a potentially huge improvement in American energy production. She did it for ideological reasons with no concern for the cost or availability of electricity for our citizens.
Obama, however, quickly repeated his campaign pledge. His choice to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, described coal to a Senate panel as "a vital resource" for the country. A day earlier, Mr. Obama's nominee to run the Energy Department, physicist Steven Chu, referred to coal as a "great natural resource." (Two years earlier, he called the expansion of coal-fired power plants his "worst nightmare.")
Point: Undermining and attempting to subvert senior officers is part of Browner's character.

Example 2: Browner's history with the Clinton administration was full of double-crosses and efforts to undermine the president's more centrist views with her mentor Al Gore's extreme environmentalism. She installed more than a dozen environmental group operatives into EPA posts. Sample of key players:
Kathleen Aterno
, Clean Water Action: Deputy Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Administration and Resource Management.
David Doniger
, Natural Resources Defense Council: Senior Counsel to EPA Assistant Secretary for Air and Radiation.
J. Charles Fox
, Friends of the Earth: Special Assistant (Reinvention) to EPA Administrator Carol Browner.
David M. Gardiner
, Sierra Club: Assistant EPA Administrator for Policy Planning and Evaluation.
Jean Nelson
, Natural Resources Defense Council: EPA General Counsel.
Mary D. Nichols
, Tennessee Environmental Action Fund, Southern Environmental Law Center: Associate EPA Administrator for Air & Radiation.
D. Reid Wilson
, Sierra Club Political Action Committee: Director of Public Liaison Division, EPA Office of Communications, Education & Public Affairs.

Example 3: Profile of Browner's performance in the Clinton administration. Click here.

Political insulation: Browner's White House position is newly created. It does not require Senate confirmation. Congress has little or no power over her decisions. Congress cannot limit outside influences on Browner, since Presidential executive privilege covers her actions.

Political beliefs: Confirmed socialist beliefs. Browner was a Commissioner of the Socialist International (SI), a worldwide organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labor political parties. The Socialist International does not appoint commissioners who do not share their views. Browner was a Member of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for "global governance" that would dilute or eliminate United States sovereignty over many jurisdictions, and says "rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change." The Commission also insisted that the 2008 global economic collapse "must not stop strong measures to control climate change."
Browner's speech to the SI
congress in Greece, June 30, 2008, "How do we strengthen the multilateral architecture for a sustainable future?" reveals socialist beliefs that only a multilateral organization can regulate with sufficient power to overcome the resistance of nation states trying to preserve their economies. Browner withdrew from SI when Obama nominated her as presidential assistant.

Browner is not a known member of the Democratic Socialists of America, largest U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International, although many of her labor leader friends, including AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, are members.

Other notable DSA members have included United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, SDS veteran Steve Max, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers President William W. Winpisinger, literary critic Irving Howe, feminist activist and journalist Gloria Steinem, actor Ed Asner, former Congressman Ron Dellums, author Barbara Ehrenreich, 1997 New York City mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger, United Auto Workers co-founder Victor Reuther, leading African-American Studies professor Cornel West, linguist Noam Chomsky (a "very passive" member), political scientist Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, political columnist Harold Meyerson, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at the Harvard School of Law Elaine Bernard, labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein, and political scientist Stephen Eric Bronner.

Hiding Browner's Socialist connections:

In the United States, it is not illegal to be a socialist or to have socialist sympathies

Political goals: Browner's statements and past behavior demonstrate that she personally believes in government control of all economic activity. She has also stated that that "global warming is the greatest challenge ever faced," and envisions unlimited restrictions on energy use and the destruction of fossil fuel use. Her goal is to downsize the American economy to levels that most Americans would find catastrophic.

For the distinctions between democratic socialist and social democratic policies, which are important and not a mere matter of words, see Wikipedia entries Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism. Ignorance of these distinctions can lead to serious errors in policy making.

Green power base:
Browner was C
hair, National Audubon Society;
Browner was a Member of the
Board of the Directors of:
    John Podesta's Center for American Progress;
    Al Gore's
Alliance for Climate Protection;
    and the
League of Conservation Voters.
She withdrew from these positions when nominated as presidential assistant.

Personal background:
Browner was born in Miami, Florida in 1955. He mother and father were both professors at a community college. Browner grew up in South Miami, and claims that hiking in the nearby Everglades gave her a close connection to the natural world: "I was very shaped by growing up in that kind of environment where nature was right there."

Browner has a B.A. in English from the University of Florida (1977), and a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law (1979). For the next two years she was General Counsel, Florida House of Representatives Committee on Government Operations.

Radical activist background: In 1983, Browner became associate director of Heather Booth's Citizen Action in Washington, where she worked with far left activists.

Citizen Action and its lobbying arm, Citizens Fund, were once-important national organizations destroyed by scandal surrounding the group's involvement in a 1997 money laundering scandal in a Teamsters Union election. Browner and her then-husband Michael Podhorzer both worked in the Washington office.
Citizen Action was founded by
Heather Booth, Chicagoan whose activist career began in the Mississippi Summer civil rights projects in 1964. She returned to Chicago and organized an underground abortion clinic and a woman's group in 1967. She founded the Midwest Academy in 1973 to provide training for organizers in neighborhood organizations.
Her husband, Paul Booth, was a founding member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the early 1960s, and was president of Chicago's Citizen Action Program (CAP) formed in 1969 by organizers from Saul Alinski's Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).
The Midwest Academy and IAF worked together on CAP's campaigns.

In 1989 Citizen Action consolidated its various nonprofit structures as Citizen Action Fund, with a 32-member board of directors representing affiliate state organizations. During the early 1990s Citizen Action / Citizens Fund had 22 state affiliates with 10 more organizing. Then the Teamsters scandal emerged in 1997 and the national organizations collapsed, leaving scattered state affiliates, which disengaged from the national before and during the scandal.

Congressional jobs: Between 1986 and 1988, Browner was chief legislative assistant to Senator Lawton Chiles from Florida. She advised on a federal land grab in Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve, as well as a ban on offshore drilling.  She was a legal counsel for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Gore girl: Browner was Legislative Director for Senator Al Gore from 1988 to 1991, and became a Gore protegé. She helped Gore rig a smear against Ron Arnold and others in an ABC News Nightline show, but it backfired when Ted Koppel revealed his source as Al Gore on the air and reworked the report in a fair and balanced manner, enraging Gore and Browner.

EPA head: Browner served as transition director for Vice President-elect Gore.  President Bill Clinton nominated her as Environmental Protection Agency head and she was confirmed by the Senate. The selection of Browner revealed that Gore's extreme environmentalism had won out over Clinton's more pro-business mindset. Browner was the longest-serving EPA administrator in the history of the agency, staying through both Clinton terms.

Political ties: During the 2008 presidential election, Browner strongly supported Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination. After that failed, she campaigned for Barack Obama in several battleground states and in League of Conservation Voters events.

Business ties: Browner is now married to former Congressman Thomas Joseph Downey. Downey heads a lobbying firm that includes clients involved in energy policy. In 2006 she and Downey collaborated on behalf of Dubai Ports World, but were trounced by Senator Charles Schumer during the Dubai Ports World controversy.