In the picture above, an IS member unsheathes his sword as he prepares to behead an ancient Babylonian statue. His sheath is the Koran and the sword is covered with verses from the Koran. The caption states: “With this sword is civilization and humanity slaughtered.”
We quote Raymond Ibrahim, above and below:
The Daily Mail reports:
Islamic State thugs have destroyed a collection of priceless statues and sculptures in Iraq dating back thousands of years.
Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artwork as they rampaged through a museum in the northern city of Mosul.
Video footage shows a group of bearded men in the Nineveh Museum using tools to wreck 3,000-year-old statues after pushing them over.
Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artifacts at a museum in the northern city of Mosul
Militant uses a power tool to destroy a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity at the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. The statue dates back to the 9th century B.C.
A man shown in the video said the items were being destroyed because they promoted idolatry.
“The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,” the unidentified man said.
The articles destroyed appeared to come from an antiquities museum in the northern city of Mosul, which was overrun by Islamic State last June, a former employee at the museum told Reuters.
The extremist group has destroyed a number of shrines – including Muslim holy sites – in a bid to eliminate what it views as heresy.
Militants are also believed to have sold ancient artwork on the black market in order to finance their bloody campaign across the region.ISIS destroy artifacts with sledgehammers at Mosul museum
Yesterday it was revealed how terrorists had blown up the Mosul Public Library, sending 10,000 books and more than 700 rare manuscripts up in flames.
Leading members of Mosul society reportedly tried to stop the fanatics destroying the building, but failed.
The director of the library, Ghanim al-Ta’an, said that the extremists used homemade bombs in the attack, which took place on Sunday.
He told Middle Eastern website Geran: “ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library. They used improvised explosive devices.”
Presumed destroyed are the Central Library’s collection of Iraqi newspapers dating to the early 20th century, maps and books from the Ottoman Empire and book collections contributed by around 100 of Mosul’s establishment families.
Large segments of the priceless winged-bull Assyrian protective deity are hurled to the ground as militants smash it to pieces
Isis first invaded the Central Library in January. Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books – including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science – into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.
“These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned,” a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to The Associated Press.
The enlightened West is doing nothing to stop them.
“Our evening is over us; our night whelms, whelms and will end us.”
– Gerard Manley Hopkins: Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves. ( He was a Jesuit. But even so, a very good poet.)
The Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) jihadis have issued a video proudly showing them smashing ancient artifacts in Mosul’s central museum. They have also destroyed 8,000 books, and precious manuscripts, many very ancient, from the library of Nineveh.
This video includes parts of that one, while making an unspoken but most eloquent and apt comment on it:
(Hat-tip our Facebook commenter Tedd Allen)
The Muslim in this video from the British TV channel Sky News is speaking for an Islamic organization called CAGE.
CAGE, be it well noted, is run by former Guantanamo Bay inmates – and is an affiliate of Amnesty International.
Amnesty International was taken over by extreme lefties decades ago.
Although Amnesty International is not mentioned, this interview illustrates how far the bizarre alliance between Islam and the Left has defiled and contorted a Western institution founded originally to defend the principle of individual freedom.
Chelsea Clinton doesn’t care about money.
It seems that almost everybody doesn’t care about money.
Money is very unpopular.
But we will always give it a warm welcome.
(No, we are not asking our readers for donations. We just want money to know that it can make a happy home with us.)
Chelsea’s parents do not say they care much for money. But one can work out that they do from little pointers, like their accumulation of it, through Hillary giving dull ill-informed speeches for a few hundred thousand a pop.
And accepting millions upon millions of dollars from foreign tyrants, notably – believe it or not – heads of Arab states.
The legality of such donations is questionable, but …
Here’s a says-it-perfectly Michael Ramirez cartoon from Investor’s Business Daily:
While we blame no one for making as much money as he and she can (and regard envy, not “greed”, as a vice), we do not enjoy the stink of corruption. It is reaching our noses now, emanating from news about the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
The Washington Post – which, remember, is heavily biased towards the Left, the Democratic Party, and (probably) the Clintons – reports:
The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.
Most of the contributions were possible because of exceptions written into the foundation’s 2008 agreement, which included limits on foreign-government donations.
The agreement, reached before Clinton’s nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels.
The new disclosures … make clear that the 2008 agreement did not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the U.S. government from giving money to the charity closely linked to the secretary of state.
In one instance, foundation officials acknowledged they should have sought approval in 2010 from the State Department ethics office, as required by the agreement for new government donors, before accepting a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government.
The money was given to assist with earthquake relief in Haiti, the foundation said. At the time, Algeria, which has sought a closer relationship with Washington, was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues.
While the foundation has disclosed foreign-government donors for years, it has not previously detailed the donations that were accepted during Clinton’s four-year stint at the State Department.
A foundation spokesman said Wednesday that the donations all went to fund the organization’s philanthropic work around the world. In some cases, the foundation said, foreign-government donations were part of multiyear grants that had been awarded before Clinton’s appointment to pay for particular charitable efforts, such as initiatives to lower the costs of HIV and AIDs drugs and curb greenhouse gas emissions. “As with other global charities, we rely on the support of individuals, organizations, corporations and governments who have the shared goal of addressing critical global challenges in a meaningful way,” said the spokesman, Craig Minassian. “When anyone contributes to the Clinton Foundation, it goes towards foundation programs that help save lives.”
Some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government, including Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
Other nations that donated included Australia, Norway and the Dominican Republic.
The foundation presents a unique political challenge for Clinton, and one that has already become a cause of concern among Democrats as she prepares to launch an almost-certain second bid for the presidency.
Rarely, if ever, has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments.
[Hillary] Clinton formally joined the foundation in 2013 after leaving the State Department, and the organization was renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. …
Foreign sources, including governments, made up a third of those who have [each] given the foundation more than $1 million over time. The Post found that the foundation, begun by former president Bill Clinton, has raised nearly $2 billion since its creation in 2001.
Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to U.S. political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.
In a presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton would be likely to showcase her foreign-policy expertise, yet the foundation’s ongoing reliance on foreign governments’ support opens a potential line of attack for Republicans eager to question her independence as secretary of state and as a possible president.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the foundation had accepted new foreign-government money now that the 2008 agreement has lapsed. …
Foreign governments had been major donors to the foundation before President Obama nominated Clinton to become secretary of state in 2009. When the foundation released a list of its donors for the first time in 2008, as a result of the agreement with the Obama administration, it disclosed, for instance, that Saudi Arabia had given between $10 million and $25 million.
In some cases, the foundation said, governments that continued to donate while Clinton was at the State Department did so at lower levels than before her appointment. …
Countries that donated to the foundation during Clinton’s time at the State Department also lobbied the U.S. government during that time.
Qatar, for instance, spent more than $5.3 million on registered lobbyists while Clinton was secretary of state, according to the Sunlight Foundation. … Qatar has also come under criticism from some U.S. allies in the region that have accused it of supporting Hamas and other militant groups. Qatar has denied the allegations.
The 2008 agreement laid out that the new rules were intended to allow the Clinton Foundation to continue its “important philanthropic work around the world,” while also avoiding conflicts. It was signed by Bruce Lindsey, then the foundation’s chief executive, and Valerie Jarrett, who was co-chair of Obama’s transition team.
John Hinderaker at PowerLine justly comments:
Does anyone seriously think that a foreign government would choose the Clinton Foundation as its preferred charitable vehicle unless it sought to curry favor with a) a former president and still leading figure in the Democratic Party, b) the Secretary of State, and c) a possible future president? How dumb do the Clintons think we are?
Moreover, there is reason to suspect that the Clinton Foundation has served as a slush fund to finance the Clintons’ private enjoyments. The New York Post reported in 2013 that the Clinton Foundation had spent more than $50 million on travel expenses since 2003. Think about that: $50 million! That would cover a lot of the globe-trotting for which the Clintons are famous. …
It isn’t a stretch for the average voter to understand that when Hillary extracts $300,000 per speech from public institutions – a laundered campaign contribution that would otherwise be illegal – and the family foundation rakes in millions from foreign governments while Hillary serves as Secretary of State, the Clintons are more interested in cashing on on their position and their notoriety than in serving the American people.
How much does this fountain of beneficence actually give away to “good causes”? That we have not found out. But there is this – also from the Washington Post:
After earning more than $109 million over eight years, the Clintons took tax write-offs for $10.2 million in charitable contributions. In most of those years, that money was donated to the Clinton Family Foundation, and a portion was distributed to charitable causes. …
Between 2001 and 2006, the years for which tax records are available, the family put nearly $6 million into the foundation. The Clintons took a tax write-off for that money even though the foundation gave away less than half that amount– about $2.5 million. …
And there is this August 2013 report from the New York Times – which is even more biased to the Left, yet cannot make everything about the foundation seem above suspicion:
For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in. …
Worried that the foundation’s operating revenues depend too heavily on Mr. Clinton’s nonstop fund-raising, the three Clintons are embarking on a drive to raise an endowment of as much as $250 million …
The foundation, which has 350 employees in 180 countries, remains largely powered by Mr. Clinton’s global celebrity and his ability to connect corporate executives, A-listers and government officials. On this month’s Africa trip, Mr. Clinton was accompanied by the actors Dakota Fanning and Jesse Eisenberg and the son of the New York City mayoral candidate John A. Catsimatidis, a longtime donor.
Today, big-name companies vie to buy sponsorships at prices of $250,000 and up, money that has helped subsidize the foundation’s annual operating costs. Last year, the foundation and two subsidiaries had revenues of more than $214 million.
Yet the foundation’s expansion has also been accompanied by financial problems. In 2007 and 2008, the foundation also found itself competing against Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign for donors amid a recession. Millions of dollars in contributions intended to seed an endowment were diverted to other programs …
The foundation piled up a $40 million deficit during those two years, according to tax returns. Last year, it ran more than $8 million in the red.
Amid those shortfalls, the foundation has sometimes catered to donors and celebrities who gave money in ways that raised eyebrows in the low-key nonprofit world. In 2009, during a Clinton Global Initiative gathering at the University of Texas at Austin, the foundation purchased a first-class ticket for the actress Natalie Portman, a special guest, who brought her beloved Yorkie, according to two former foundation employees. …
In interviews, foundation officials partly blamed the 2008 recession and difficulties in getting donors to provide operating support rather than restricted grants for specific programs for the deficits. …
On one occasion, a team of employees [flew] around the world for months gathering ideas for a climate change proposal that never got off the ground. …
While much attention has focused on Mrs. Clinton’s emerging role within the foundation, advisers to the family say her daughter’s growing involvement could prove more critical in the years ahead. After years of pursuing other career paths, including working at McKinsey & Company and a hedge fund, Ms. Clinton, 33, has begun to assert herself as a force within the foundation. Her perspective is shaped far more than her parents’ by her time in the world of business, and she is poised to play a significant role in shaping the foundation’s future, particularly if Mrs. Clinton chooses to run for president. …
Over the years, the foundation has dived into virtually any cause that sparked Mr. Clinton’s interest: childhood obesity in the United States, sustainable farming in South America, mentoring entrepreneurs, saving elephants from poaching, and more. That list will shift soon as Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea build their staffs to focus on issues including economically empowering women and combating infant mortality.
In the coming months, as Mrs. Clinton mulls a 2016 presidential bid, the foundation could also serve as a base for her to home in on issues and to build up a stable of trusted staff members who could form the core of a political campaign. …
And Mrs. Clinton’s personal staff of roughly seven people — including [Muslim Brotherhood associate] Huma Abedin … — will soon relocate from a cramped Washington office to the foundation’s headquarters. They will work on organizing Mrs. Clinton’s packed schedule of paid speeches to trade groups and awards ceremonies and assist in the research and writing of Mrs. Clinton’s memoir about her time at the State Department …
Which, of course, will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
It is against reason to oppose fracking. But the Left opposes it with passion. That is to say, the opulent elite who vote left and have political influence, oppose it with passion.
Of course, in the Great Divide between the politics of Reason and the politics of Romanticism, the Left is the Romantic side: the side of the emotions. Reason is its enemy.
So there should be no surprise that wealthy Democrats hate industrial progress. They find the landscapes of poverty too pretty to spoil.
Here’s the story.
We quote from The Liberal War on American Energy Independence, by Arthur Herman, in the February 2015 issue of Commentary.
Williamsport sits on the edge of the Marcellus Shale area, the second-largest natural-gas find in the world. It stretches across most of Pennsylvania and into New York, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Most of it was inaccessible until a decade ago, when a combination of new extraction technologies—including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and horizontal drilling—opened up the shale to energy development.
Since 2002, fracking has generated in Pennsylvania more than 24,000 drilling jobs and some 200,000 other support jobs in trucking, construction, and infrastructure, according to the state’s Department of Labor and Industry. Wages in the gas field average $62,000 a year—$20,000 higher than the state average.
To Pennsylvania, fracking has brought in $4 billion in investment, including a steady flow of income to local landowners and local governments leasing mineral rights to their land. According to National Resources Economics, Inc., full development of the Marcellus Shale could bring another 211,000 jobs to this one state alone, not to mention other states on the formation, including New York.
But there will be no such jobs in the state of New York. In December, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a complete ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing. The cost of that move was already foreshadowed three years ago when I drove across the border from Pennsylvania into New York. The busy modern highway coming out of Williamsport, U.S. Route 15, shrinks down into a meandering, largely empty two-lane road. On the way to Ithaca, I passed through miles of a deserted rural landscape dotted with collapsing barns and tumble-down houses reminiscent of Appalachia.
The one thing that broke the dismal monotony were the signs, many painted by hand, that had sprouted up along the road and in the fields, all saying the same thing: Ron Paul for President. The state was then in its fifth year of a moratorium on fracking, and that moratorium had turned upstate New York’s rural residents into libertarians. Bitter ones, at that. They didn’t particularly care about Ron Paul’s views on Israel or the Federal Reserve. All they wanted was a chance to collect the lucrative fees a gas company would pay them to drill on their land; they would have voted for anyone who would help them make their land generate an income again for themselves and their families.
This sort of gain is precisely what the left’s war on fracking (which has scored its most significant victory so far with Cuomo’s permanent ban) aims to prevent. It is nothing less than a policy of selective immiseration.
Fracking — a technique that uses a mixture of chemicals, sand, and water to break apart deep formations of oil- and gas-rich shale rock and draw it to the surface — is the most important American industrial enterprise of the 21st century. It joins the automobile industry, aircraft and aerospace, the computer and the digital revolution, as one of America’s great successes in technological innovation, productivity, and entrepreneurial flair. Like other industrial revolutions, including the first in 18th-century Britain, the fracking revolution is bringing about enormous changes in how we live — and sharply altering the nation’s income-distribution curve.
The fracking revolution has also brought America’s oil and gas industry back to life. In 2000, fracking accounted for less than 3 percent of all oil and natural-gas production in the United States, which was then importing more than 60 percent of its oil. Today, fracking accounts for more than 40 percent, and that percentage is going steadily upward, as the U.S. replaces one country after another on the list of the world’s biggest oil and gas producers. Our oil imports from OPEC countries have shrunk by half.
Indeed, the production gushing from America’s shale oil and gas deposits — from Eagle Ford in Texas to the Marcellus Formation in Pennsylvania and the Bakken oil field in North Dakota — doesn’t just promise the long-elusive goal of energy independence. It points to an energy dominance and economic power that the United States hasn’t seen for 100 years, since the heyday of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil.
The difference is that instead of that power being lodged in a single megacorporation or the Seven Sisters of the 1950s (Mobil, Shell Esso, etc.), the fracking revolution is being created by hundreds of smaller, more agile independents who are transforming the technology as fast as they are pumping the oil and natural gas out of the ground.
They are also pumping out jobs by the tens of thousands. It is no longer the case that good-paying blue-collar employment in America is on the verge of extinction. Fracking employs thousands of people in physically demanding jobs that require no college degree and pay, in many cases, six figures.
In North Dakota, where fracking has turned the Bakken Shale formation into the most productive oil patch in the country, an entry-level job hauling water and helping to move rigs and machinery averages $67,000 a year. A well specialist with a couple of years experience will be looking at a $100,000 salary, while a directional driller—the highest job a fracking employee can hold without a B.A.—earns close to $200,000.
Overall, the fracking boom has driven up North Dakota’s per capita income to $57,367 in 2012—the highest in the nation save for Washington D.C. The per capita figure has jumped 31 percent since 2008, the year after the fracking boom got under way, compared with 10 percent for frackless South Dakota.
The other beneficiaries are private landowners, many of them farmers. They have been able to lease out the mineral rights to their land for large sums; and if a well opens up, it quickly becomes a gusher of cash. In North Dakota, that has produced a series of so-called High Plains millionaires; for other landowners, leasing fees have become a lifeline for their farm or property.
Private-property rights, often of middle-income people, are the real drivers behind the fracking revolution, with county and state governments leasing rights on their lands not far behind. It’s one reason so many state capitals have been amenable to the fracking revolution: They’ve been prime beneficiaries.
Under the Obama administration, the number of oil- and gas-drilling leases on federal lands has fallen, and oil production on federal lands is at levels lower than in 2007. Nevertheless, America’s oil production jumped by 1 million barrels a day last year thanks to fracking—even as we’re bringing up more natural gas than at any time in our history.
In less than a decade, the boom has already changed the energy map, with the rise of states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Dakota joining Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska as major energy producers, and with many others poised to join the club, from Illinois and Wisconsin to Alabama and California.
Indeed, the fracking revolution is the one sector of the Obama economy that’s been steadily booming, creating more than 625,000 jobs in the shale-gas sector alone—a number estimated to grow to 870,000 in 2015. Its benefits also flow in trickle-down savings by lowering the cost of energy, particularly natural gas. Mercator Energy, a Colorado-based energy broker, has calculated it’s saving American families more than $32.5 billion in lower natural-gas bills for home heating and electricity.
It has also had a positive impact on U.S. manufacturing, especially petrochemical and plastics firms that have cashed in on lower natural-gas and oil prices and the increasingly abundant supply. From 2010 to 2012, energy-intensive manufacturers added 196,000 jobs as Rust Belt cities such as Lansing, Michigan, and Gary, Indiana, have been revived by cheaper, more abundant energy.
Wallace Tyner, an economist at Purdue University, estimates that between 2008 and 2035 the fracking revolution (oil and gas combined) will add an average of $473 billion per year to the U.S. economy. That’s roughly 3 percent of today’s GDP.
The most striking change, however, has been at the gas pump. Falling U.S. demand for imported oil (a drop of 40 percent since 2005) has lowered global prices overall, and has been a huge factor in oil’s 25 percent price plunge in 2014. Filling up the family car at $2.80 a gallon versus $3.80 a gallon is a great benefit to Americans, especially in low-income households. A strong case can be made that the shale revolution’s impact on natural-gas prices has been the equivalent of a poverty-relief program, since the nation’s poor on average spend four times more of their incomes on home energy than do the more affluent. On average, the drop in natural-gas prices has given low-income families an effective tax rebate of some $10 billion a year.
This is one of the most notable aspects of the fracking revolution. Unlike the computer and digital revolution, for example, which created an industry dominated by Ph.D.’s and college-trained engineers, this is an economic bonanza of particular meaning to those in the middle- and low-income brackets, with the potential to benefit many more.
Yet today’s liberal left is, virtually without exception, implacably opposed to fracking, from the national to the state to the local level. In the forefront have been environmental lobbying interests. In localities such as Ithaca, New York—the hub of the anti-fracking movement in New York State—liberal elites have banded together to prevent an economic transformation that would pad the wallets of their neighbors and upset the socioeconomic status quo.
Of all the national environmental groups, the Sierra Club probably has the mildest official position: that further fracking in the United States must stop until its overall impact on the environment has been studied more carefully. More typical is Greenpeace’s April 2012 joint statement on fracking (co-signed by the Water and Environment Alliance and Friends of the Earth Europe) that makes a fracking well seem not entirely different from a nuclear-waste dump.
That document asserts that “fracking is a high-risk activity that impacts human health and the wider environment”. It warns that natural-gas development through fracking “could cause contamination of surface and groundwater (including drinking water)” and pollutes both soil and air while it “disrupts the landscape and impacts upon rural and conservation areas”. Greenpeace also claims that fracking and its related activities produce smog, particulates, and toxic methane gas; cause workers to expose themselves to toxic chemicals used in the fracking process; increase “risks of earthquakes”; and lock local communities such as Lycoming County into a “boom and bust economy” that will run out when the oil and gas run out. Greenpeace and its allies insist that these places look to “tourism and agriculture instead”.
The document creates a dire picture, yet nearly every one of these claims is false. Since fracking operates thousands of feet below the aquifer, the risk to drinking water is nil; and there are no proven cases of water supplies becoming contaminated from fracking, despite the thousands of fracking wells drilled both in the United States and Canada. Yet the charge is repeated ad nauseam in anti-fracking ads, films, and pamphlets.
So is the charge that fracking exposes people, including workers, to dangerous chemicals. More than 99 percent of the fluid used to fracture rock in the operation is nothing more than water and sand mixed together. In fact, most of the statistical risks associated with fracking in terms of contact with dangerous chemicals (benzene is a favorite example, radioactive isotopes another, methane yet another) are no higher, and sometimes lower, than those associated with any other industrial job or outdoor activity, including driving a big-rig truck.
The charge that fracking can leak methane into drinking water stems from a Duke University study that examined a mere 68 water wells in a region of Pennsylvania and New York in which 20,000 water wells are drilled each year—and those who conducted the study never bothered to ask whether any methane concentrations existed before the fracking began (which turned out to be the case).
That fracking might cause earthquakes is another oft-repeated alarmist charge with no facts or evidence behind it. In certain conditions, deep underground injections of water and sand used in fracking can lead to detectable seismic activities, but so can favored green projects such as geothermal-energy exploration or sequestering carbon dioxide underground. None of these adds up to seismic rumblings any human being will notice, let alone an Irving Allen movie-style catastrophe. And given the fact that for years there have been thousands of fracking wells around the country that operate without any detectable seismic activity, the argument seems clearly driven more by the need to generate emotion than the imperative to weigh actual evidence.
But perhaps the oddest claim from groups such as Greenpeace is that increasing the use of natural gas will not reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The evidence is overwhelmingly the opposite. As natural gas continues to squeeze out coal as a cheap supply of energy, especially for power plants, the greenhouse-gas-emission index will inevitably head downward. In fact, since the shale boom, those emissions in the United States have been cut by almost 20 percent, a number that one would expect to make any environmental activist smile.
All of which suggests that the war on fracking is waged in defiance of facts. And that, in turn, suggests a particular agenda is at work in the anti-fracking camp. A hint of it appears in Greenpeace’s claim that local communities would be better off sticking to “sustainable agriculture and tourism”, meaning organic farming and microbreweries that cater to the tastes of affluent and sophisticated out-of-towners. The war on fracking is a war on economic growth, which the shale revolution has managed to sustain in the middle of the Obama recession, and a war on the upward mobility any industrial revolution like fracking triggers.
It is part of what the Manhattan Institute’s Fred Siegel has called the “liberal revolt against the masses,” and a good place to see it in action is in New York State.
In 2006, then-gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer made a campaign swing through the so-called Southern Tier of upstate New York. The Manhattanite expressed shock at a landscape that was “devastated,” as he put it, and was steadily being abandoned for lack of jobs and economic opportunity. “This is not the New York we dream of,” he said.
Much the same had been true of large portions of rural Pennsylvania. Fracking reversed the downward course there. But the moratorium Spitzer’s successor, Andrew Cuomo, placed on fracking in 2008 before locking it in permanently late last year has frozen those portions of the state in their relative poverty.
Local farmers have been furious over the de facto ban. They are frustrated that the valuable source of income that fracking would generate has been denied them — and that Albany and its liberal enablers are content to crush them under the twin burden of some of the highest property taxes in the country and a regulatory regime that, in Fred Siegel’s words, “makes it hard to eke out a living from small dairy herds.”.
Locals are furious, too, that the ban is denying blue-collar jobs that could help young people find work in a fracking site and could transform local standards of living. In 2012, the state’s health department determined that hydro-fracking could be done safely in the state and concluded that “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF (hydro-fracking) operations”. This was not what state officials wanted to hear, and the report was buried. When someone leaked it to the New York Times, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s spokesperson quickly disavowed it. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s acting health commissioner, Howard Zucker, served as front man for his boss’s permanent ban.
Ithaca is the center of New York’s anti-fracking hardliners. Their leader is Helen Slottje, who organized the Community Environmental Defense Fund to use local zoning regulations to keep fracking out of the surrounding county. She admits that many local people down the hill from Ithaca resent their efforts and think that she and her environmentalist militia are little more than thieves stealing money from their pockets.
But Slottje dismisses their worries, just as she angrily dismisses the charge that she’s a classic example of someone who opposes salutary change because she doesn’t want it in her own back yard. “If a serial killer knocks on your door,” she says, “it’s not NIMBYism to fight back.” She doesn’t bother to wonder whether her comparison of frackers to serial killers might be slightly exaggerated. She simply adds, “We’re not NIMBY, we’re NIABY. Not In Anyone’s Back Yard.”
She is joined in her activism by the Duncan Hines heiress Adelaide Gomer, whose anti-fracking Park Foundation is based in Ithaca and bankrolls much of the activism. “Hydro-fracking will turn our area into an industrial site,” she has proclaimed. After citing the usual charges about poisoning the aquifer, she also adds, “It will ruin the ambience, the beauty of the region.” The beauty of falling-down barns, rusted cars and farm equipment, and abandoned farmhouses may be lost on the locals, but it’s united the rich and influential in New York City. They want to keep things that way — and keep the “creepy advances of environment-trashing frackers” out of the state.
Gomer was able to mobilize demonstrations around the state to maintain the ban despite lobbying in Albany to overturn it, while celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Robert de Niro, Yoko Ono, Debra Winger, Carrie Fisher, David Byrne, Jimmy Fallon, Martha Stewart, Lady Gaga, and the Beastie Boys signed an Artists Against Fracking petition. Like other Manhattanites, they have no reason to worry much about low land prices in the Southern Tier—but they do worry about development that would benefit the locals while possibly spoiling the view.
By cloaking their social snobbery in the clothes of the environmentalist movement, New York’s well-heeled have managed to forestall the kind of wealth transfer that fracking has brought to Pennsylvania. Indeed, some like Slottje are hoping to spread the same anti-fracking gospel back across the state line and stop Pennsylvania’s economic boom dead in its tracks. …
Anti-frackers also thought they had a shot at stopping the industry in Colorado. The state is one of the wellsprings of environmental activism, after all, with plenty of willing foot soldiers from campuses such as the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Denver. But Colorado also sits on one of the biggest shale fields in North America and is one of the top natural-gas states. In 2013, oil and gas contributed $30 billion to Colorado’s economy, in addition to thousands of jobs.
A serious effort to launch an anti-fracking initiative, which would have banned drilling within 2,000 feet of homes and hospitals and given local community councils effective veto power over fracking efforts, ran aground early in 2014. Colorado Democrats realized it could endanger the reelections of Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall. Fracking is popular with Colorado voters, especially working-class voters. They convinced the multimillionaire congressman Jared Polis to set aside his petition drive for the bill just as Hickenlooper and Udall suddenly turned squishy on the fracking issue, to the fury of local environmentalists. …
When regulatory agencies actually investigate the dire charges made against the industry, most of the charges evaporate under scrutiny. Remaining health and safety matters, such as waste disposal, turn out to be manageable with simple oversight. In the end, this means that the fight to ban fracking outright is steadily turning into a losing battle.
And when politicians and courts decide to quit the field, what’s left for the left? More protests, even civil disobedience. “We will resist this with our bodies, our hearts, and our minds,” one southern Illinois organic farmer told the website Green Progress. “We will block this, we will chain ourselves to trucks.” …
While the activists are lying in the road, fracking and its technologies are constantly evolving. Far from rejecting the environmentalists’ demands for more safety and for meeting community standards, companies are constantly adjusting to make their work as clean as possible. Many now employ reusable water for the hydro-fracking process, for example, while cutting back their use of toxic chemicals. Technologies for water-free fracking are already here and will become increasingly widespread in areas where water resources are scarce. That will be another body blow to fracking’s opponents, who like to claim it wastes water needed for human consumption or agriculture.
And we haven’t even begun to explore the possibilities of natural gas. While fracking has yielded record levels of oil production in the United States, those reserves-in-rock are limited. American natural-gas reserves are not. According to a recent Colorado School of Mines study, they amount to 2.3 quadrillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas in the United States, enough to fuel our energy needs for decades — and the constant technological innovations of the industry will make extracting those reserves increasingly cost-efficient. …
Beyond that, there are methane hydrates — deep deposits of crystalline natural gas, embedded in large parts of the Arctic permafrost and ocean bottoms. Even when shale oil and gas have eventually run out, technologies to extract methane hydrates will be able to supply almost limitless energy — according to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than all previous discovered oil and gas put together, even while wind and solar are still trying to figure out how to generate power efficiently.
Progressives who believe themselves to be on the side of science and the little guy at the same time are in fact defying both. This is a battle between the partisans of a discredited ideology from the past and those who see the fast-advancing future.
We were reluctant to cut out any parts of the article, which is long but rewarding. Lean meat all the way through.
If you like the taste we’ve given you, read all of it here.
The heat that the doctrine of Anthropogenic Global Warming can generate could be felt on our Facebook pages recently. Dozens of passionate devotees of the religion hurled furious abuse at us for posting arguments against it. Of course sober commenters replied to them.
Now we have poured oil on the flames by posting the news of the railway engineer and pornographer Rajendra Pachauri’s departure from the UN’s Intercontinental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We await more fury.
Someone rightly said that “One of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism.”
But added: “Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists.”
It is not ours.
Here’s the good news.
We take it from a somewhat disjoined account at Climate Depot, by Marc Morano:
IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri forced out at UN climate panel after sexual harassment complaint
[From] Pachauri’s resignation letter on religion: “For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”
UN IPCC critic, journalist Donna Laframboise responds: “Yes, the IPCC – which we’re told to take seriously because it is a scientific body producing scientific reports – has, in fact, been led by an environmentalist on a mission. By someone for whom ‘protecting the planet’ is a religious calling.”
The IPCC is quietly popping champagne corks today. Pachauri gone can only be good news for the UN IPCC.
If Pachauri had any decency, he would have resigned in the wake of the Climategate scandal which broke in 2009. Climategate implicated the upper echelon of UN IPCC scientists in attempting to collude and craft a narrative on global warming while allowing no dissent.
Or Pachauri could have resigned when he wished skeptics would rub asbestos on their faces, or conceded that the IPCC was at the “beck and call” of governments.
There were so many opportunities [for him] to do the right thing and fade away. But it took the proceedings of the Indian court system over the allegations of sexual harassment to finally bring Pachauri down. Things can only be looking up for the UN IPCC now that it has ridded itself of this political and ethical cancer.
Michael Crichton: “One of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists.”
We repeat: not ours.
Donna Laframboise: “What’s missing from this (Pachauri’s resignation) letter is any suggestion of remorse. When a scandal-plagued leader resigns because his alleged misdeeds are nuking his organization’s reputation, that is a mark of failure. He has let everyone down. Where are his words of apology to the thousands of IPCC-linked scientists whose honor is now eternally tarnished by their association with him?”
Those scientists let themselves down. They tarnished their own honor. They have done a grave disservice to Science itself. It would be too convenient for them to heap all the blame on the lubricious railway engineer, Rajendra Pachauri.
Will the Chicken Little clamor about global warming now fade out?
We doubt it. It always was only a political ploy, a pretext for collectivists to institute world communist dictatorship.
The Examiner reports:
For years, conservatives have said that radical environmentalism is little more than a front for a move to Communist tyranny. That assertion seems to have been proven with comments made by Christiana Figueres, climate chief for the United Nations, who said Communism is the best model for fighting global warming. …
According to Figueres, China … is “doing it right”, even though it has major pollution problems of its own.
The reason, she explained, is that democracy is no good at handling something like global warming, with different parties arguing over policy. In fact, she said, political differences like those in the U.S. Congress, are “very detrimental” to solving the issue.
The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, can dictate policy with no debate. Those who disagree can simply be tossed into prison or suffer a worse fate.
Of course, that’s how things work in a dictatorship with one-party rule. Democrats who have clamored for Obama to rule like a dictator may like the idea of a single-party system in America where the ruling party can simply issue edicts, but the American people have made it clear they will not accept such an arrangement, nor are they likely to adopt the Communist Chinese model.
The Daily Caller is quoted as recalling some inconvenient truths:
“Communism was responsible for the deaths of about 94 million people in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe in the 20th century. China alone was responsible for 65 million of those deaths under communist rule,” the Daily Caller said.
Yet this is the model the UN says the world should adopt.
The reason … is that environmentalists hail the Chinese for being a “leader” in renewable energy. …
In 2012, China received nine percent of its power from renewable resources, while the United States got 11 percent of its power from renewable resources in the same year.
Nevertheless, the UN climate chief maintains that Communism is the model the U.S. should follow.
The Daily Caller also said that both China and the former Soviet Union have deplorable records with regards to air quality.
The Wall Street Journal reported [January 14, 2014] that about “1.2 million people died prematurely in China in 2010 as a result of air pollution”.
The pollution of human minds that Communism causes is far worse than any pollution of the air, land, and sea in the communist states.
And the UN is the filthy engine pumping it out.
The UN must be destroyed.
Here comes a future political leader.
We quote from The American Mirror:
President Obama may enjoy the approval of 84% of blacks, but don’t count CJ Pearson among them.
Pearson, a 12-year-old middle school student in Georgia, has more informed opinions than many adults.
The student posted a YouTube video yesterday in which he seeks to “applaud Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his comments about President Barack Obama” [that Obama does not love America].
CJ Pearson says:
Here’s the truth of the matter: I don’t want to be politically correct. I don’t care about being politically correct at this point.
President Obama, You don’t love America. If you really did love America, you would call ISIS what it really is: an assault on Christianity, an assault on America and downright hate for the American values that our country holds. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and every single thing that our country stands for.
I hope that one day people will get enough guts to speak out against your downright hatred for this nation. …
But here’s what you need to realize: here in America, we don’t back down to terrorists. We fight them on their own battleground and we annihilate them till the very end.
Here in America, we don’t allow the government to take away what we work for but we continue to work harder so that we may continue to succeed.”
Pearson is executive director of a group called “Young Georgians in Government”.
His Facebook page says he is “committed to fighting for conservative principles and engaging young people in the political process.”
“Most young people really don’t have an interest in government or politics, but we need to pique that interest. We need to make sure they know that the decisions politicians make are going to affect them,” the student told ABC 6 in a profile story last December.
We overlook the reference to Obama’s “assaulting” Christianity. We assault Christianity too – but far more intelligently than Obama does, of course.
We like everything else CJ Pearson says.
One doesn’t have to like everything Christopher Hitchens says in this medley of his arguments to enjoy it.
The nice thing is that he speaks well for atheism, and puts down his religious opponents, on every point they raise, briskly and thoroughly.
This week we take two cartoons from PowerLine’s The Week in Pictures.
We like them both, equally.