The Democrats' War on Science Aids Our Enemies
It's an article of faith among Democrats, crystallized in the book The Republican War on Science, that Republicans are unscientific boobs stupidly opposing such established verities as anthropogenic global warming promoted by those better educated in the mysteries of science (i.e., Democrats).
Of course this is nonsense, and this week's events prove that it's the Democrats and their appeals to low-information voters (including celebrity and big time coastal donors) that constitutes the real war on science to the detriment of all of us.
1. Al-TV -- this week Al Gore, anti-carbon fuel drum major, made a cool $100 million selling his 20% share in the failing, unwatched Current TV to Arab Al-Jazeera, owned by major carbon fuel producers. (His partner, Joel Hyatt, son-in-law of former Ohio Democratic senator Howard Metzenbaum, also benefited mightily.)
It's hard to conclude that this $500 million Al-Jazeera purchase is anything other than a payoff for effectively hampering the exploitation of American carbon fuels and advocating openly for giving a cable entrée to this Arab-broadcasting network. Current TV isn't worth anything like the price paid for it.
And the fact that Current turned down American Glenn Beck's purchase on political grounds offer adds to that suspicion. Michelle's Mirror notes:
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Glenn Beck's the Blaze inquired about buying Current last year, but was rejected due to ideological differences. Current leadership told the Blaze at the time that "the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us." Beck confirmed the inquiry late Wednesday.
Current TV co-founder Joel Hyatt explains:
When considering the several suitors who were interested in acquiring Current, it became clear to us that Al Jazeera was founded with the same goals we had for Current: To give voice to those whose voices are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the important stories that no one else is telling. Al Jazeera, like Current, believes that facts and truth lead to a better understanding of the world around us.
Blogger Ann Althouse, University of Wisconsin law professor, also thinks that's a bizarre amount of money "just to get into cable TV," adding:
The idea is -- as the NYT puts it -- "to convince Americans that it is a legitimate news organization, not a parrot of Middle Eastern propaganda or something more sinister."
How hard is it to take over an existing slot in cable TV?
News channels financed by Britain, China and Russia are especially hungry for American cable deals. To date, the BBC has had the most success; its BBC World News channel is now available in about 25 million homes thanks to a deal struck last month with Time Warner Cable.
But the takeover of Current brings Al Jazeera to the front of the line. [Snip]
In recent weeks, Mr. Gore personally lobbied the distributors that carry Current on the importance of Al Jazeera, according to people briefed on the talks who were not authorized to speak publicly.
So... Al Jazeera was buying the former Vice President's advocacy.
Distributors can sometimes wiggle out of their carriage deals when channels change hands.
How long is that carriage deal? $500 million worth [ed:for]long? And it's not even guaranteed? It could turn into nothing?!
Most [distributors] consented to the sale, but Time Warner Cable did not...
Time Warner Cable had previously warned that it might drop Current because of its low ratings. It took advantage of a change-in-ownership clause and said in a terse statement Wednesday night, "We are removing the service as quickly as possible."
So Time Warner -- which serves 12 million of those 40 million homes -- is already out. Did Al Jazeera get hoodwinked by the Oscar-and-Nobel-Prize-winning former Veep? He did what he could for them, "personally lobb[ying] the distributors that carry Current on the importance of Al Jazeera." How much more can you buy in this world? You got Al!
2. Is this the only reason why a major carbon fuel producer paid off Gore in order to get a cable channel in the U.S.?
I think it's more than an effort to bring Arab political viewpoints into the U.S. I think it's part of an ongoing effort to keep the U.S. from displacing the Middle East as the major gas producer by propagandizing against hydraulic gas fracturing -- fracking.
American shale gas resources stand to both reduce carbon emissions -- if we need to (see below) -- and displace the Middle East oil producing economic and political advantage. Only stupid constraints our politicians place on the exploitation of these resources can stop that. Buying up politically connected Democratic advocates and celebrities to stand in as Arab proxies to this end is a useful Arab strategy.
The American Interest explains the U.S. boom and its impact:
Saudis Sweating Bullets As Energy Revolution Changes The Rules.
The US shale gas boom, drastically cutting the cost of gas, is shaking the foundations of the Saudi Arabian economic model -- and more is coming. The highly profitable $100bn Gulf petrochemical industry is taking a hit as its biggest customer -- the U.S. -- is importing less and relying instead on domestic production.
US petrochemical companies, propelled by cheaper access to raw materials, are competing effectively against companies like the Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), the world's largest chemical maker. Sabic also has some home-grown problems. The rapidly growing Saudi population wants to consume (subsidized) petrochemicals at home, air conditioning Saudi houses and running Saudi cars instead of exporting product abroad. Falling production, demand, and prices are beginning to hurt the once stalwart $89bn company. . . .
US gas prices have plummeted due to new techniques, known as fracking and horizontal drilling, developed to extract the vast deposits of shale gas in the North American bedrock. Production has jumped by nearly a quarter since 2000, reducing demand for Saudi gas. If China figures out how to exploit its own shale gas reserves the Saudis will have every reason to be nervous. The two pillars of the Saudi economy -- oil and petrochemical exports -- will both be on shaky ground.
But the changing energy landscape threatens more than economic consequences for the Gulf state. The US could surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer by 2020, and this could mean big changes for US foreign policy and the domestic economy.
Terroristic Islam worldwide is basically a Saudi export, fueled by Saudi money. The less Saudi money, the better.
Buying up the almost worthless Current TV at an exorbitant price and securing the advocacy of Al Gore is only part of the Middle East oil producers' efforts to halt our use of shale gas. Other strategic moves including getting celebrities, style setters and opinion makers onboard.
The first fairly public effort in this direction is the ridiculous anti-fracking film starring Matt Damon financed in part by OPEC member United Arab Emirates.
Now, following a technological revolution yielding to burst of domestic energy production, wealthy oil producers in the Middle East have become a pro-Democratic constituency. Who'd have thunk?
The Promised Land, an upcoming film starting Matt Damon and Frances McDormand, is the story of a morally conflicted energy worker who comes to a small American town to extract the local energy supply via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"). Damon, the protagonist, confronts an ethical conundrum when he is forced to choose between the greedy and villainous energy producers who employ him and a local environmental activist who stole his heart. Spoiler alert: the environmental activist wins.
According to an investigation by the Heritage Foundation, however, it turns out that a portion of the financing for the film comes from the oil-rich royal family of the United Arab Emirates. The film was produced in association with Image Media Abu Dhabi, a company owned by the UAE government.
The benefits for oil exporters abroad to increase the politically-imposed restrictions on "fracking" technology are self-evident. Employing Hollywood to get that message across is, however, a game-changing and previously unavailable strategy for Middle Eastern oil exporters.
With no one monitoring seriously the contributions of "nonprofit, public interest" operations behind the anti-fracking movement here, who knows how much Arab money is being thrown at this. It is, to my mind, war by other means by opponents who have no chance of defeating us on a field of battle.
Of course, it's not just Arab money outright that's involved. Big companies are engaged in this disinformation campaign as well. LVMH's Tag Heuer is running expensive ads featuring Leonardo Dicaprio, bragging of its green building programs and contributions to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a foe of fracking. I have no idea who besides the French magnate Bernard Arnault owns Heuer but I am certain that LMVH's high priced luxury goods sell well in the oil producing states of the Middle East. I think the company -- and it's not alone -- is appealing to its Arab consumers by contributing to efforts to halt fracking and its US consumers by using a Hollywood celebrity as a spokesman.
DiCaprio is widely-known as a serious environmentalist. It seems, among the wide variety of liberal causes, that DiCaprio certainly puts the environment above the rest but acknowledging many other important issues., DiCaprio once said of the media's obsession with social issues like gay marriage:
That's the most infuriating thing -- watching people focus on these things. Meanwhile, there's the onset of global warming and these incredibly scary and menacing things with the future of our economy. Our relationship to the rest of the world. And here we are focusing on this?
DiCaprio has certainly put his money where his mouth is (literally and figuratively) when it comes to the environment. DiCaprio is famous for his environmentally friendly cars, he has installed solar panels on his house, and he works with environmental organizations (and Al Gore) such as Global Green and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Maybe he and Al can discuss in depth the green benefits of Al Jazeera cable while winding their Tag Heuers on Al's private plane. "Serious environmentalist" DiCaprio may be, as are most celebrity greenies, but seriously uninformed is not a compliment and that is what the anti-fracking and global warming spokesmen are.
Despite extreme pressure on the EPA by the anti-fracking coalitions, EPA scientists found it did not contaminate ground water. Nor, according to the NRC, does it cause earthquakes, another falsity.
In addition, every day further evidence mounts that the Gore promoted notion of anthropogenic global warming is just so much hot air.
Not only is the evidence mounting that the notion of AGW is as foolish as skeptics believed it to be, but that it has been shoved down our throats by a passel of bullies and charlatans.
James Delingpole at the Telegraph explains their tactics to those who haven't been giving this adequate attention:
Rig public enquiries, hound blameless people out of their jobs, breach Freedom of Information laws, abuse the scientific method, lie, threaten, bribe, cheat, adopt nakedly political positions in taxpayer-funded academic and advisory posts that ought to be strictly neutral, trample on property rights, destroy rainforests, drive up food prices (causing unrest in the Middle East and starvation in the Third World), raise taxes, remove personal freedoms, artificially raise energy prices, featherbed rent-seekers, blight landscapes, deceive voters, twist evidence, force everyone to use expensive, dim light bulbs, frighten schoolchildren, bully adults, increase unemployment, destroy democratic accountability, take control of global governance and impose a New World Order.
Of course, not all the advocates of AGW are bought. Some are just ill-informed but remain opinion makers, nevertheless, in an era where cloaking opinions as science is the norm: Thus, for example, the NYT food writer Mark Bittman advocates less meat eating to save the globe. (I'm old enough to remember when food writers like James Beard and Craig Claiborne and Julia Childs actually loved all good tasting food and urged us to leave Puritanism aside and enjoy it and scientists worked to improve yields to feed better more people .Those were the days!)
3. Some Democrats behind the drive to twist science are catering to ill-informed but rich donors, including those well-financed "nonprofit, public interest" outfits: The Salmon Fiasco illustrates what I mean.
This week we learned that serial federal law violator HHS secretary Sebelius and Valerie Jarrett illegally sat on an FDA study that establishes that genetically modified salmon was perfectly safe for people and the environment:
The AquAdvantage salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies of Massachusetts -- an Atlantic salmon modified with a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon so it grows to maturity faster -- had been winding its way through the federal approval process for 17 years. Two years ago, the FDA had said it was going to release its environmental assessment, the final document in the approval process, within weeks. It was finally and quietly posted on the FDA's website only last Friday -- just hours before the long holiday weekend -- and published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.
The release came, FDA sources say, in response to the publication of an investigation in Slate by the Genetic Literacy Project two days before, on December 19. The GLP, which I head, had reported that the FDA had definitively concluded last spring that the fish would have "no significant impact" on the environment and was "as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon." However, the draft assessment, dated April 19, 2012, was not released -- blocked on orders from the White House.
The seven month delay, sources within the government say, came after discussions late last spring between Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius' office and officials linked to Valerie Jarrett at the Executive Office, who were debating the political implications of approving the GM salmon. Genetically modified plants and animals are controversial among the president's political base, which was thought critical to his reelection efforts during a low point in the president's popularity.
Cheaper wholesome food which has no negative impact on the environment -- it's not what the NYT food editor or the administration want, apparently. Al Capp's Lower Slobovia seems to be their vision of Utopia.
4. In this litany of eco-activism certain to impoverish us all, there's one bright spot this week. Barnum & Bailey Circus's owners, Feld Entertainment, brought a RICO suit against "animal rights" scamsters and has already won a $9.3 million settlement from one of the multiple defendants:
This settlement applies only to the ASPCA. Feld Entertainment's legal proceedings, including its claims for litigation abuse and racketeering, will continue against the remaining defendants, Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, Tom Rider and the attorneys involved.
"These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe. Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses. This settlement is a vindication not just for the company but also for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working and caring for all the animals with Ringling Bros. in the face of such targeted, malicious rhetoric," said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Feld Entertainment.
Maybe it's time Congress took a closer look at the nonprofit sector. Who's funding them? What other misconduct are they engaged in? Whose interests are they really advancing? Just maybe, instead of always settling with these nudniks, it would help if more people followed the Feld example and defended their conduct and sued litigants and their lawyers for instituting frivolous actions interfering with commerce by slander and lies.