The greatest danger facing our world 8

For readers who missed hearing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress today, here’s the heart of it – the part that is most important for Americans to hear.

Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Backed by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Backed by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply. Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. … It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations. We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!  Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that.

Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever. Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America. Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.

We must always remember – I’ll say it one more time – the greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.

But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it. Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.

The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short breakout time to the bomb. Breakout time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.

Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s breakout time would be very short – about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.

And if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that breakout time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here’s the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.

Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It’s done that on at least three separate occasions – 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras. Now, I know this is not going to come as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

… The IAEA said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught – caught twice, not once, twice – operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed.

Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could produce many, many nuclear bombs.

Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount – 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.

And by the way, if Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is not part of the deal – and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table – well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reaching corners of the Earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would only whet Iran’s appetite for more.

Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors, Iran’s neighbors, know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb. And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world. Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel …

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires. If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table – and this often happens in a Persian bazaar – call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.

Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true.

The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal: a better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short breakout time; a better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends; a better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb; a better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country has a greater stake – no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen,

History has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war. The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

The whole speech has been posted by the Prime Minister’s office here.

It’s a great speech, and we do not like having to disagree with any part of it. But in the light of what Netanyahu himself says in it about the nature of the Iranian regime, we cannot believe that the present leaders of Iran will agree to any sort of deal except one that gives them all they want – such as the Obama-Kerry deal at present on the table in Geneva.

And besides, Obama is all too willing to make this bad deal an even worse one in his desperation to get any deal at all. He is surely not prepared to try and make a better deal. (The unintelligent Nancy Pelosi, possibly speaking for all the Democrats who hate Netanyahu, says that the speech is “an insult to Americans’ intelligence”.)

We think the only alternative is war. A pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities needs to be made now. Can, and will, Israel do it?

The Prime Minister implied that his country not only can, but will if it has to:

As Prime Minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel. You stand with Israel because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.

He has said before that Israel would take whatever steps it had to to defend itself, implying the possibility of a military strike when it would have been a somewhat easier undertaking. But it did not happen. Perhaps he sees this as an eleventh hour. Perhaps now it will happen. If it does not, Iran will be a nuclear-armed power, and that will bring those “horrific consequences to all humanity”.

A necessary speech 4

This opinion column appears today , March 3, 2015, in The Times of London.

It points out that there is a necessity to oppose the deal that Obama is making with the monstrous Iranian regime.

The defiant decision of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to

plead direct to the United States Congress against rushing into a nuclear

deal with Iran represents a watershed in the dismal relations between

Jerusalem and the Obama administration. A foreign leader is being invited

by Republicans to denounce the president on American soil. It is a speech

that even before its delivery today has split Israel and the Jewish

community in America, and is being presented by the Obama team as crude

electioneering and provocative mischief-making on the part of Mr Netanyahu.

Yet it is a necessary speech. All the signs are that the US, flanked by

five other powers including Britain, is accelerating towards a deal with

Tehran that will allow it to retain significant capacity to enrich uranium.

The arrangement would in theory allow the West to spot and block one year

in advance any attempt to build a bomb. That presumes easy access to the

most sensitive nuclear sites and a quick and efficient verification system.

Israel does not trust Iran. It sees a regime that is so desperate to have

sanctions lifted it is willing to fabricate concessions. The negotiations

do not include Iran’s ballistic-missile programme, whose prime function can

only be the delivery of a bomb.

Mr Netanyahu therefore comes to Washington full of suspicion not only about

Iranian intentions but also those of the Obama administration. He fears the

nuclear treaty would be the first step towards projecting Tehran as a de

facto ally and a regional power-broker. A nation that is so often

challenged by Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias and the Iranian-supplied

weaponry of Hamas has a right to be concerned.

Mr Netanyahu has, however, talked himself into an awkward corner. The

calendar creates an unfortunate linkage between the Israeli election on

March 17 and the next deadline for a settlement with Iran on March 28. Fear

of Iran is thus being played out in the Israeli campaign against the fear

of losing its most powerful ally, the United States. Almost 200 retired

Israeli security officials have warned Mr Netanyahu that he risks not only

a rupture with Washington but also advertising Israel’s weakness.

President Obama has needlessly aggravated relations with the Israeli

government by making it public that he is angry with the prime minister.

More, he seems ready to veto the bipartisan Kirk-Menendez bill that would

impose further sanctions on Tehran if it failed to sign an accord. This

saps the negotiating power of the West.

The relationship between the United States and Israel is too important, too

fundamental to Middle Eastern peace, to be drawn into partisan feuding.

Relations between Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu have never been warm but the US

should recognise that Iran cannot be blindly trusted. Tehran is already a

leading sponsor of terrorism in the region; it is alarming to contemplate

how nuclear weapons would transform this status. There is still time to

build cheat-proof assurances into a future accord. This must be done to

reassure Israel and all of Iran’s rightly nervous neighbours.

Rigorous inspection, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency, must

become the norm. Any attempt to conceal should be punished. Washington

cannot deny itself the option of escalating sanctions. Iran, though ready

for its own reasons to sit down with the West, remains a hostile power

rather than a putative ally.

*Adam Levick*

Managing Editor, UK Media Watch.

 

Keep her out! 7

Hillary Clinton must not become president of the US.

It is vital that Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, the Tea Party and every anti-Left organizations in the country do everything they can to discredit her, show her up in the worst possible light, make a mock of her, and remind voters of everything she has done that is dangerous, stupid, wrong, damaging, and disgusting.

The campaign against her needs to be started immediately, and carried on relentlessly, day after day after day.

It is as important to denigrate Hillary as it is to find an electable Republican candidate. Bring her into extreme disrepute. Make her unelectable. It’s not difficult. She’s earned it. It just needs to be done tirelessly and with unshakeable conviction. 

Here are samples of what can be used against her, taken from Discover the Networks, where much more may be found.

Hillary’s Admiration for Saul Alinsky

In 1969 Hillary wrote her 92-page Wellesley senior thesis on the theories of radical Chicago organizer Saul Alinsky. A great admirer of Alinsky’s activist tactics, Hillary met with the famed author several times in 1968 to interview him personally.

Her conclusion … included this sentence: “If the ideals Alinsky espouses were actualized, the result would be social revolution.”

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Radical influences at Yale Law School 

At Yale, Hillary was strongly influenced by the radical theoretician Duncan Kennedy, founder of the academic movement known as critical legal studies, which, drawing on the works of the Frankfurt School, viewed law as a “social construct” that corrupt power structures routinely exploited as an instrument of oppression to protect and promote their own bourgeois values at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised. Advocates of critical legal studies were interested in revolutionary change and the building of a new society founded on Marxist principles.

Ties to ACORN

A longtime supporter of the pro-socialist, notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN, Mrs. Clinton has spoken at numerous ACORN conferences and boasted about her ties to the group. Speaking at ACORN’s 2006 national convention, for instance, Clinton looked back fondly on her memories of the group’s early days in Arkansas. After noting that she herself had founded a group called Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, which dealt with many of the same issues as ACORN, she hailed ACORN for its outstanding work. “I thank you for being part of that great movement,” she said, “that progressive tradition that has rolled across our country.”

Ties to George Soros

Mrs. Clinton has close ties to the billionaire financier George Soros and his so-called “Shadow Democratic Party,” or Shadow Party. This term refers to a nationwide network of unions, non-profit activist groups, and think tanks that actively campaign for the Democrats and leftist causes. The Shadow Party was conceived and organized principally by Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Harold McEwan Ickes — all identified with the Democratic Party left.

A New York hedge fund manager with a personal fortune estimated at about $7.2 billion (aside from the billions of dollars in investor assets controlled by his management company), Soros is one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals. Since 1979, his foundation network — whose flagship is the Open Society Institute (OSI) — has given billions of dollars in grants to a multitude of organizations whose objectives are consistent with those of Soros. The major agendas of those organizations can be summarized as follows:

  • promoting the election of leftist political candidates throughout the United States
  • promoting open borders, mass immigration, and a watering down of current immigration laws
  • promoting a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs funded by ever-escalating taxes
  • promoting social welfare benefits and amnesty for illegal aliens
  • financing the recruitment and training of future activist leaders of the political Left
  • promoting socialized medicine in the United States
  • promoting the tenets of radical environmentalism
  • promoting racial and ethnic preferences in academia and the business world alike

Hillary Clinton shares each of the foregoing Soros agendas.

At a 2004 “Take Back America” conference in Washington, DC, Mrs. Clinton introduced Soros with these words:

“Now, among the many people who have stood up and said, ‘I cannot sit by and let this happen to the country I love,’ is George Soros, and I have known George Soros for a long time now, and I first came across his work in the former Soviet Union, in Eastern Europe, when I was privileged to travel there, both on my own and with my husband on behalf of our country. … [W]e need people like George Soros, who is fearless, and willing to step up when it counts.”

More Alliances with the Left 

Mrs. Clinton also has particularly close ties to a vital think tank called the Center for American Progress (CAP), which was founded jointly by George Soros, Morton Halperin, and John Podesta. Soros and Halperin first proposed CAP’s creation in 2002 to promote generally the cause of the Left and the Democratic Party. But CAP’s overarching objective is considerably more specific than that: As an inside source told reporter Christian Bourge of United Press International, CAP is in fact “the official Hillary Clinton think tank.”

Another key organizational ally of Mrs. Clinton is Media Matters For America (MMFA), headed by David Brock. Media Matters is financed, in part, by the Open Society Institute as well as the Soros-funded Democracy Alliance.

Like Media Matters, Hillary Clinton supports the re-establishment of the so-called Fairness Doctrine (or a law whose ultimate effect would be the same), just as she did during her years as First Lady. This Doctrine would dilute, restrict, or limit the message of influential conservative broadcasters and, consequently, influence the thinking and the voting decisions of the American people.

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Addressing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

On behalf of the Obama State Department, she negotiated with the OIC a resolution that would make it unlawful to engage in speech that incites “discrimination” and “hostility” toward “religion.”

But as former Assistant United States Attorney Andrew C. McCarthy points out: “Religion here does not mean religion; it means Islam.”

Hillary Clinton and the Muslim Brotherhood

In July 2012, author and former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy noted the following items about the relationship between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the ideological wellspring of Hamas and al Qaeda:

  • “The State Department has an emissary in Egypt who trains operatives of the Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations in democracy procedures.”
  • “The State Department announced [in November 2011] that the Obama administration would be ‘satisfied’ with the election of a Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government in Egypt.”
  • “Secretary Clinton personally intervened to reverse a Bush-administration ruling that barred Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Brotherhood’s founder and son of one of its most influential early leaders, from entering the United States.”
  • “The State Department and the administration recently hosted a contingent from Egypt’s newly elected parliament that included not only Muslim Brotherhood members but a memberof the Islamic Group (Gama’at al Islamia), which is formally designated as a foreign terrorist organization.”
  • “On a just-completed trip to Egypt, Secretary Clinton pressured General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military junta currently governing the country, to surrender power to the newly elected parliament, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, who is a top Brotherhood official.

In the summer of 2012,controversy arose over the fact that Secretary Clinton’s closest aide and advisor, Huma Abedin, has longstanding intimate ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Refusing to Designate the Islamic Organization Boko Haram As a Terrorist Group

Throughout her time as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram — an Islamic group seeking to overthrow the Nigerian government and create an Islamic state — as a “foreign terrorist organization.” Her refusal came despite the fact that Boko Haram had already: (a) bombed or burned hundreds of Christian churches over the years, most when they were packed for service; (b) stated its intent to cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christian presence; (c) openly threatened to poison the food eaten by Christians; and (d) stormed areas where Christians and Muslims were intermingled, singling the Christians out before slitting their throats.

Mrs. Clinton’s logic was voiced by her husband, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who said, in a February 2012 speech in Nigeria, that “inequality” and “poverty” were “what’s fueling all this stuff”—a reference to Boko Haram’s terror — and warned the government that “It is almost impossible to cure a problem based on violence with violence.”

Mrs. Clinton and the 9/11/12 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi

Throughout 2012, violent jihadist activity had become increasingly commonplace in Benghazi and elsewhere throughout Libya and North Africa. At or near the U.S. mission in Benghazi, for instance, there were many acts of terrorism featuring the use of guns, improvised explosive devices, hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, and car-bombs, along with explicit threats against Americans issued by known terrorists like al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. As a result of such developments, U.S. personnel at the U.S. mission in Benghazi had repeatedly asked the Obama administration — i.e., the State Department — for increased security provisions during 2012, but all of these these requests were either denied or ignored.

It should be noted, however, that when Hillary Clinton herself had visited Benghazi on October 18, 2011, she clearly was well aware of the many dangers that already existed in the city. Her cognizance of those threats was evidenced by the fact that in advance of her visit, she had the Defense Department pre-position military assets off the coast of Libya, in case she was to encounter danger and need rescue.

On the night of September 11, 2012 — at approximately 9:42 p.m. Benghazi time — a large group of heavily armed Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya with much greater violence. In the process, they killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, 52-year-old Chris Stevens, and three other Americans. Two days later, Mrs. Clinton spoke out against the killings but prefaced her remarks by condemning [a] YouTube video, which she said had been used as a pretext for the violence. In short, she advanced the notion that the attack was an unplanned, unforseeable escalation of an impromptu protest over an obscure anti-Muslim YouTube video, rather than a pre-planned, carefully orchestrated act of terrorism led by an al Qaeda-affiliated group. Said Clinton:

“Let me state very clearly — and I hope it is obvious — that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. And as you know, we are home to people of all religions, many of whom came to this country seeking the right to exercise their own religion, including, of course, millions of Muslims. And we have the greatest respect for people of faith. To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage….”

At a September 14 receiving ceremony where the bodies of the four dead Americans were returned to the United States, Clinton spoke to the grieving families of the deceased. In the course of her remarks, she referenced an “awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.” Afterward, she told the father of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL who had been killed in the attack, “We will make sure the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.”

For nearly two weeks, Mrs. Clinton and the rest of the Obama administration continued to characterize what occurred on September 11 in Benghazi not as an act of terrorism, but as a spontaneous, unplanned uprising that evolved unexpectedly from what had begun as a low-level protest against a YouTube video. In reality, however, within mere hours after the September 11 attack, U.S. intelligence agencies had already gained more than enough evidence to conclude unequivocally that it was a planned terrorist incident, and that the video had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

On January 23, 2013 — fully 134 days after the September 11 attack in Benghazi — Mrs. Clinton went before Congress to testify as to what she knew about the incident. During the course of her testimony, she stated that she had been unaware of Ambassador Stephens’ August 15, 2012 cable stating that there was a clear and growing danger of terrorism against Americans in Benghazi.

In the course of her testimony, Mrs. Clinton said: “I want to make clear that no one in the State Department, the intelligence community, any other agency, ever recommended that we close Benghazi. We were clear-eyed about the threats and the dangers as they were developing in eastern Libya and in Benghazi.” (This testimony was later contradicted, however, by Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who headed the U.S. military’s efforts to improve diplomatic security in Libya. Wood testified that he personally had recommended that the Benghazi mission be closed, in light of the fact that more than 200 attacks — including approximately 50 in Benghazi — had been carried out against American interests in Libya.)

The most dramatic moment in the congressional hearing occurred when Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson asked Mrs. Clinton to explain why the State Department had spent so long characterizing the attack as an unplanned, unforeseeable escalation of an impromptu protest over an obscure anti-Muslim YouTube video, rather than a pre-planned, carefully orchestrated act of terrorism led by an al Qaeda-affiliated group. Clinton yelled back: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”

At another point in the hearing, Senator Rand Paul asked Mrs. Clinton whether the United States had ever been involved in procuring weapons in Libya and transferring them to other countries including Syria. Clinton replied, “I do not know. I have no information on that.”

A March 25, 2013 New York Times story subsequently indicated that the Obama administration had in fact been sending arms from Libya, through intermediary nations and ultimately to Syria, since early 2012. Yet another Times article, in fact, described Mrs. Clinton as one of the driving forces who had called for arming the Syrian rebels in precisely that manner.

Revelations About Massive Coverup of Incriminating Benghazi Files

In September 2014, former Deputy Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell reported that in late 2012 he had witnessed — in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters — a Sunday meeting in which Cheryl Mills (Secretary of State Clinton’s chief of staff) and Jake Sullivan (Clinton’s deputy chief of staff) were overseeing and directing staffers who were busy culling through boxes and purging documents that might implicate Clinton or her top people in the Benghazi attacks. “When he arrived,” reported Fox News, “Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. His [Maxwell’s] aide was also there, and though she worked for him, he [Maxwell] was not told of her Sunday file purging duties.”

According to Maxwell: “She [the aide] told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light.’” (“Seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.) Added Maxwell: “I asked her [the aide], ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

Following Maxwell’s revelations, Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz said that Clinton’s team had clearly scrubbed documents before investigators could examine them. He told Fox News: “They were essentially creating two piles: The things the Accountability Review Board and that Congress would see and anything else that would shed quote ‘bad light’ on Hillary Clinton and her senior management that they were put in a different pile and they were never to be seen.” Chaffetz also said that Maxwell had come to him and Congressman Trey Gowdy more than a year earlier to tell them the same story.

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Squandered Because of Obama/Clinton Policy

On April 20, 2014, The Washington Times reported that according to internal government documents, “top officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development repeatedly cited former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for setting into motion a policy to waive restrictions on who could receive U.S. aid in Afghanistan, resulting in millions of dollars in U.S. funds going directly into the coffers of Afghan ministries known to be rife with corruption.”

Assessing Clinton’s Performance as Secretary of State

By the end of Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, America’s relations with Russia, Israel, most of Europe, and virtually every Muslim-majority nation in the Middle East had deteriorated significantly. …

In the summer of 2014, Israel engaged in a massive military operation designed to weaken the destructive capacity of Hamas terrorists who were launching more than 100 potentially deadly missiles per day from Gaza, deep into Israel. In the course of that military incursion, Israel discovered that Hamas, in recent years, had constructed a massive network of at least 60 underground missile storage-and-transport tunnels throughout Gaza. A number of those tunnels extended, underground, into Israeli territory — for the purpose of launching terror attacks, murders, and kidnappings aginst unsuspecting Israeli citizens. According to a Wall Street Journal report quoting Israeli military officials, Hamas had spent between $1 million and $10 million to build each of those tunnels, using as many as 350 truckloads of cement and other supplies per tunnel. To frame it another way, the materials used for each tunnel could have built 86 homes, or 19 medical clinics, or seven mosques, or six schools. But Hamas had other priorities.

Then, in a bombshell revelation in August 2014, Dennis Ross, the senior Mideast policy adviser to Secretary of State Clinton from 2009-2011, admitted that it was he who had been assigned the task of pressuring Israel to ease up on its military blockade of Gaza after Israel’s withdrawal from that region in 2005. “I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built,” Ross revealed in theWashington Post. “They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right.” Ross’s admission showed that it was Clinton who had sent her personal envoy to push for a policy that ultimately enabled Hamas to build the terror tunnels.

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Stupid things she’s said:

Appearing at an October 2014 Boston rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, Mrs. Clinton told listeners not to give credence to the notion that “businesses create jobs”. “Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs,” she said …

This list would be so long that the task of compiling it daunts us.

But see also our posts:

Fifty female suicide bombers and Hillary Clinton Dec 20 2014

The principal enemy Jan 5 2014

Extreme obscenity July 27 2013

The role of the Turk Nov 5 2012 – includes appalling pictures of the murdered US Ambassador, Chris Stevens, for whose death Hillary Clinton bears a large share of responsibility.

The radicals who rule March 31 2010

 

What’s the Republican Party for? 19

We’re not just wondering what the Republican Party stands for. We’re also wondering why it exists at all.

An entirely different conservative party is badly needed to oppose the evil Left. (It would be splendid if a conservative party came to power that would exclude religion from its political thinking, but to wish for that – we fully realize – is to be far too unrealistic.)

John Hinderaker at Powerline writes:

It is almost unbelievable how badly Congressional Republicans have botched their opposition to President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty and the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. The House, under John Boehner’s direction, did the right thing: it passed a bill that fully funded DHS, but barred spending to implement the amnesty that has now been declared illegal by a federal court. The action then moved to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried repeatedly to bring the House measure to the floor for a vote. Four times, the Democrats filibustered the DHS funding bill.

As a result of the Democrats’ filibuster, DHS was in danger of running out of money. That put Republicans in a strong position. All they had to do was … nothing. If they didn’t blink, pressure on the Democrats to fund DHS would prove irresistible. It’s not for nothing the voters gave the GOP a majority, right?

Instead, Mitch McConnell backed off. He gave in to Harry Reid’s demands, even though Reid was surely bluffing, and the Senate passed a “clean” DHS funding bill that did nothing to block the illegal amnesty. That put the House in an untenable position. With the clock ticking down to the last hours before DHS ran out of money, it was now Republicans–not Democrats–who were standing in the way of funding the Department.

Having been sold out by the Senate, House Republicans bowed to the inevitable. John Boehner tried to pass a three-week funding extension, but didn’t have the votes. At the last possible moment, the House fell back to a seven-day extension, with Democrats providing the needed margin of support. The seven-day extension can have no possible purpose other than to give Republicans an opportunity to beat an orderly retreat.

If the Republicans wanted to arm their enemies, they couldn’t have done a better job. This is the New York Times triumphant account:

Republicans vowing to govern effectively as a congressional majority failed a fundamental test Friday, when House leaders managed to narrowly pass only a seven-day funding extension to avert a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security just hours before money was to run out.

That’s a news story, not an opinion column. But it’s hard to blame the Democrats for exulting. They were in a corner; they had no cards to play; the voters have ejected them from the majority in both chambers; their objective was to keep alive a patently illegal program that had already been declared so by a federal judge. And the Republicans still couldn’t manage to pull out a victory.

Politics is like anything else: if you want to succeed, you have to be good at it. As best I can tell, Washington Republicans aren’t.

We need new leadership, and we need it now.

Posted under Christianity, Conservatism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 1, 2015

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Hillary selling herself 2

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:

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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.

Posted under corruption, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 26, 2015

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The passion of the left: preserving the beauty of poverty 11

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.

Boasts, lies, and videotape 1

Posted under United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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Obama’s “downright hatred for this nation” 4

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.

Posted under Christianity, Commentary, Conservatism, Islam, jihad, United States, Videos, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, February 23, 2015

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President Obama: defender of the Islamic faith 1

This week we take two cartoons from PowerLine’s The Week in Pictures.

We like them both, equally.

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Posted under cartoons, Humor, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, February 21, 2015

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Obama appoints a Muslim terrorist supporter to counter terrorism 5

This is from Canada Free Press, by Matthew Vadum:

President Obama is appointing an openly terrorist-sympathizing Muslim to head a government office dedicated to countering Islamic State propaganda.

In April, Rashad Hussain will take over as director of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, a small office within the U.S. Department of State that Obama plans to make bigger. A new component called the Information Coordination Cell will be added to the expanded center and will reportedly be staffed by intelligence analysts. It will have a staff of around 80 people and will coordinate with other government agencies. The head-chopping barbarians of the Islamic State will no doubt cower in fear because the U.S. government has, as the newspaper notes, “more than 350 State Department Twitter accounts, combining embassies, consulates, media hubs, bureaus and individuals, as well as similar accounts operated by the Pentagon, the Homeland Security Department and foreign allies”.

Hussain is reportedly a devout Muslim who maintains close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in the U.S. He has been spewing radical Islamic propaganda for years. As a law student at Yale University in 2004, Hussain whined that the prosecution of University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian was a “politically motivated persecution” calculated “to squash dissent”.

How slickly these would-be squashers of dissent have learn to use the language of freedom and tolerance to advance their intolerant totalitarian ideology! 

The academic was recently deported and he entered guilty pleas regarding his activities as a leader of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Hussain’s pro-terrorist activities have continued since he left college. In a 2008 paper for the Brookings Institution he argued that language that links Muslim terrorism to Islam itself should be avoided. “Policymakers should reject the use of language that provides a religious legitimization of terrorism such as ‘Islamic terrorism’ and ‘Islamic extremist’,” he wrote. “They should replace such terminology with more specific and descriptive terms such as ‘Al-Qaeda terrorism’.” This is, of course, exactly what the Obama administration did upon coming into power the next year. Even today Obama argues strenuously that the U.S. is in conflict only with specific terrorist groups and not with the Muslim world as a whole.

In the same paper Hussain urged the U.S. to “welcome and encourage the further development of mainstream Muslim organizations and moderate institutions”.  He specifically referenced the work of the Fiqh Council of North America, which is linked to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

Hussain has also written that, “The primary cause of broad-based anger and anti-Americanism is not a clash of civilizations but the perceived effect of U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world.” This is, of course, the standard left-wing rationalization for Islamic aggression against the United States. It ignores the pattern of violent expansionism that has characterized Islam since the days of its founding prophet. It also ignores the fact that Islam, which is the Arabic word for submission, does not believe in the marketplace of ideas. Islam does not recognize separation of church and state. Its purpose from its creation has always been to conquer and eliminate all other religions. It must dominate.

President Obama, who nowadays makes no secret of his sympathy for Islamic terrorists, picked the right man to carry out his policies. Hussain has already been working for the Obama administration for five years. In February 2010 Obama appointed Hussain as his ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (previously known as the Organization of the Islamic Conference). [The expert on Islam] [Robert] Spencer describes the OIC as “the thuggish international organization that is engaged in a full-scale campaign to intimidate Western governments into adopting hate speech codes that will effectively quash criticism of Islam — including jihad violence perpetrated in its name.” OIC has long been pushing the myth that there is such a thing as “Islamophobia”.

Obama gushed over Hussain when he first appointed him to an administration post. “I’m proud to announce today that I am appointing my Special Envoy to the OIC — Rashad Hussain. As an accomplished lawyer and a close and trusted member of my White House staff, Rashad has played a key role in developing the partnerships I called for in Cairo [in 2009],” Obama said at the time. “And as a hafiz of the Qur’an, he is a respected member of the American Muslim community, and I thank him for carrying forward this important work.” (Hafiz is Arabic for “guardian” and refers to a man who has memorized all of the Koran.)

Of course, Hussain was a natural fit for the OIC, which itself is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. It consists of 56 member states plus the Palestinian Authority and aspires to impose shariah law on the entire world. It seeks to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate.

Now that Obama is safely reelected and the final off-year congressional election of his presidency is completed, he doesn’t care about appearances anymore. Obama doesn’t feel the need for the careful, studied, Alinskyite deception that marked his first six years in the highest office in the land. Now he is free at long last to be Obama and to let his Chicagoland, red-diaper baby, freak flag fly.

His despotic power is essentially unchallenged. 

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