Wednesday, January 25, 2023


If you've gone to Breitbart anytime recently, you've been greeted by this ad:

Also at Breitbart, there's "sponsored content" on the same subject:
Have you heard about this thing called ESG? Most people have not. It stands for Environmental Social Governance. On its surface, ESG claims to have a well-intended objective — to promote corporate responsibility. And that sounds like something we can all support.

But under the surface, lurking inside the ambiguous language and claims of social compassion is something very different. In reality, ESG policies are a backdoor that progressives are using to invade our economy, so they can advance their radical economic, social, and climate agenda.

They know that they can no longer get their destructive ideas passed through our democratic process. And they can’t count on winning in the Courts.

So ESG is infiltrating corporate America with the help of unelected bureaucrats and regulatory agencies — like a shadow government with no accountability to everyday investors.

Leveraging Wall Street corporate board rooms, ESG is being used to attack our energy independence, our small businesses, and our family farms. They want to ban clean coal mining in West Virginia, oil drilling in Texas. They even want to ban wheat farming in Kansas, and cattle ranching in Nebraska.

They are even using ESG to push radical initiatives to mandate abortions on-demand and to strip away our Second Amendment rights. All of this is a direct threat to hard-working American families.
In the Christopher Rufo era, anything with an acronym is a sinister tool of the enemy. You know about critical race theory (CRT). Right-wingers also attack DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives, and in education, Ron DeSantis and others have attacked SEL (social-emotional learning).

So now we have an attack on ESG, from a group with a very dull-sounding name: the State Financial Officers Foundation. Who are these people? SourceWatch explains:
The State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that describes itself as “the premier free-market organization bringing financial officers together with the nation’s top private sector companies and organizations.” Although SFOF is registered as a nonpartisan nonprofit and claims “it is not involved in issue advocacy on behalf of elected officials,” the “team” is composed of all Republican financial officers, most of whom serve in elected positions....

Republican treasurers, auditors, and staff from 16 states huddled together with corporate lobbyists and an array of right-wing groups for the State Financial Officers Foundation’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans in February 2022 to discuss strategies to combat “woke” policies, fake news, and China, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reported.
The people behind this are the billionaires who drove right-wing politics in the pre-Donald Trump era:
The Heritage Foundation awarded one of its inaugural Innovation Prizes to SFOF for their anti-ESG work....

Leadership of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) occupy key posts in SFOF and were in attendance at the 2022 Annual meeting....

ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson is on the group’s board of directors. ALEC Chief Economist and Executive Vice President of Policy Jonathan Williams is a senior policy advisor and sits on SFOF’s National Advisory Committee....

CRC Advisors senior vice president Mike Thompson, who is also secretary and treasurer of CNP Action, the political arm of the Council for National Policy (CNP), attended the State Financial Officers Foundation's 2022 Annual Meeting.

Other known CNP members that attended the 2022 Annual Meeting include: Justin Danhof, Executive Vice President of the National Center for Public Policy Research; Stephen Moore; ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson; and Bridgett Wagner, Vice President of Policy Promotion at The Heritage Foundation.
So the same old people are behind this: folks named Koch, Bradley, Mercer, DeVos, Coors, Scaife. But the language is modern: These billionaire-financed propagandists are warning about "elites" who are "woke"! But what they're fighting for is one of the things right-wing billionaire have demanded for years: they want America to be entirely dependent on fossil fuels forever.

The modern right's top elected edgelord, Ron DeSantis, is, of course, all over this. Last week, his office issued this press release:
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and Trustees of the State Board of Administration (SBA) formally approved measures to protect Florida’s investments from woke environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), ensuring that all investment decisions focus solely on maximizing the highest rate of return. Today’s updates to the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan policy and SBA corporate governance proxy voting guidelines build on actions taken last year to clearly define the factors fiduciaries are to consider in investment decisions, ensuring that ESG is prohibited from consideration.

“Corporations across America continue to inject an ideological agenda through our economy rather than through the ballot box,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Today’s actions reinforce that ESG considerations will not be tolerated here in Florida, and I look forward to extending these protections during this legislative session.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Cabinet reaffirmed today that we don’t want a single penny of our dollars going to woke funds,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “We need asset managers to be laser focused on returns and nothing more. Florida’s not going to subsidize the actions of a bunch of Leftist ideologues who hate America; we’re not going to let a bunch of rich people in Manhattan or Europe try to circumvent our democracy.”
This is new language, but it's the same old plutocrat agenda, driven by (literally) the same old plutocrats.

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