T Boone Playing Dirty

It's all out war

It's all out war

He buys his own army of government officials.

He boasts his own self-declared army and the support of 13 governors, 53 congressmen and 180 mayors, along with the Sierra Club and the American Lung Association. He has plugged his cause on countless news shows and spent $60 million of his own money on a massive ad spree.

He tries to sell directly to our president and both candidates.

Mr. Pickens took his plan first to President Bush. The two men met in the Oval Office in April.

“The president sat and listened for an hour and a half,” Mr. Pickens says. “And then nothing happened. No call back. Nothing. So I decided to do it myself.”

He didn’t fare much better with the two presidential nominees. When he sat down with Sen. John McCain in August, the Arizona Republican chastised him for “trying to pick winners” by so openly favoring natural gas. President-elect Barack Obama seemed more amenable when the two met in a hotel conference room in Reno, Nev., a few weeks later.

Mr. Pickens sketched out his plan in series of pie charts on a white board. “He didn’t do any back flips or anything but he did seem to like what I was saying,” Mr. Pickens says.

He threatened the trucking industry.

So Mr. Pickens shifted his focus to the country’s truckers, saying that all new long-haul trucks should be required to run on natural gas. That didn’t sit well with former Kansas Gov. Bill Graves, who heads the American Trucking Association.

The son of a truck operator, Mr. Graves laid out his objections over breakfast recently in Mr. Pickens’s suite. Many companies, he noted, are already turning to diesel hybrids. Natural gas-run trucks are about a third more expensive than traditional diesel trucks. Nationwide filling stations for natural gas don’t exist.

“How do you just airlift in the infrastructure to make this happen?” he said.

Mr. Pickens has recently taken to labeling his critics as un-American. Mr. Graves got the full dose.

“Bill, I just want to warn you on this,” Mr. Pickens said, putting down his fork. “I’m going to make you look unpatriotic for supporting foreign oil. I just want to make sure you understand that.”

Taken aback, Mr. Graves pointed out raspberries and croissants arrayed before them. The foreign oil helped deliver the food, he said. “We wouldn’t have any of this here if our trucks hadn’t delivered it,” he said. “So what’s more patriotic, Boone?”

He declared war.

Mr. Pickens has recently taken to labeling his critics as un-American.

“This to me is like a war without guns,” says Mr. Pickens between a flurry of meetings one recent morning in his hotel suite across from the White House.

The collapse of the financial market, and the vote in California killed his wind turbine project. The drop in crude oil from $160 a bbl to $40 a bbl, killed his propane project. So now he will take a piece out of Al Gore’s Global Warming Playbook, and launch an all out propaganda campaign to spread his lies. I can’t figure him out. He doesn’t need the money, and with the price of crude oil where it is, we should drill here and drill now, before the next upturn in prices. It’s never been clearer. But he still wants government money to pay for his far fetched schemes. It must be the thrill of the chase. I guess it still falls into the Follow The Money category though.

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