Richard Windsor, aka Lisa Jackson
What’s in the secret e-mails of the head of the EPA? (Green Watch, May 2013 – PDF here)
By Christopher C. Horner
Summary: Transparency used to be a treasured goal of the Left. But the current administration, especially where environmental issues are concerned, has worked hard to prevent sunlight from disinfecting its machinations. Recently, the discovery of secret e-mails may have prompted the resignation of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
People on the Left say they love transparency—which they do, except when it inconveniences them, as it does increasingly today.
For a long time, the Left trumpeted transparency as a core value of liberalism. By the early years of the twentieth century, “open government” was a policy demanded by those who called themselves Progressives. Before Woodrow Wilson nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court, Louis Brandeis coined a famous metaphor for transparency: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”
Similarly, Justice William O. Douglas once quoted from a New York Review of Books article by historian Henry Steele Commager: “The generation that made the nation thought secrecy in government one of the instruments of Old World tyranny, and committed itself to the principle that a democracy cannot function unless the people are permitted to know what their government is up to.” That quotation has a near-perfect liberal pedigree: an iconic liberal jurist quoting an iconic liberal historian writing in an iconic liberal publication. Yet as with so many progressive agenda items, “transparency” proved to be about other people. Read all »
30 Years of Junk Science, from SDI to Fracking
How politics and ideology combat scientific innovations and economic development (Green Watch, April 2013 – PDF here)
By Kevin Mooney
Summary: The politicization of science, and leftists’ use of pseudoscience, can be traced back many decades, notably to the Left’s false attacks 30 years ago on President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Today, politicized science and anti-American ideology combine to frustrate natural gas development and other innovations that could help the nation be stronger and more secure. The biggest losers include average Americans who would benefit directly from fracking.
Would you like to build a pipeline that would extend from a safe, friendly region of world to parts of rural America in need of jobs? Or use innovative drilling techniques to free natural gas that was previously inaccessible? Or apply high-tech agriculture to arid, semi-desert regions in order to boost living standards?
Try advancing any of these policy aims and you can expect to run into “green” roadblocks. Almost any policy that advances America’s geopolitical interests and economic well-being is now attacked as Read all »
[From the April 2013 issue of Green Watch. This is part of our series on deception in politics and public policy.]
When scientists become political activists, they almost always take positions that are later revealed to be foolish, even dangerous. Why?
A clue might be found in the work of James Randi, the magician known as The Amazing Randi. Randi has made a second career out of exposing con men who make claims of the paranormal, such as Uri Geller, whose mystic powers (such as bending spoons with his mind) were supposedly confirmed by a number of scientists. Scientists, Randi wrote,
think logically, from a cause-and-effect paradigm. A trickster supplies all the misdirection, the elements expected by logical inference, the necessary aspects that identify a situation as normal—then he uses a different approach, a set of actions, a scenario that leads the dupe to accept that the expected situation is being fulfilled—but it’s not. The scientist’s conclusion is that nature—which he knows does not change the rules to deceive—has been abrogated in some way. In other words, it’s magic. Read all »
The Global Partnership for Oceans
Imposing “Limits to Growth” around the world (Green Watch, March 2013 – PDF here)
By Neil Maghami
Summary: Americans are all too familiar with fear-mongering campaigns organized by “green” nonprofits and their big foundation backers. Now some major environmentalist organizations appear to be shifting their efforts from stirring anxieties about the global atmosphere to new campaigns involving the world’s oceans. The focus of this new push is the “Global Partnership for Oceans,” which is yet another effort to squash private development of the world’s resources in favor of creating international bureaucracies that can stifle development around the world.
This past year marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the book Limits to Growth by the doomsaying body known as the Club of Rome. With 30 million copies distributed, the book has influenced policymakers around the world. Its premises are long discredited—yet it may soon be the basis for worldwide policy regarding earth’s oceans.
The Club is a think tank founded by academics, politicians, bureaucrats, and business people who came together in Rome in 1968. The founders represented a point of view then fashionable among the world’s elites: that earth’s resources were being rapidly used up. Read all »
From the March 2013 issue of the Capital Research Center publication Green Watch.
The Sierra Club, formerly seen as a mainstream environmental group, is showing more radical colors as controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline escalates. At a protest outside the White House February 13, various left-wing celebrities were arrested, including Robert Kennedy Jr., actress Daryl Hannah, former NAACP president Julian Bond, and, with the approval of his board, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, making him the first leader in the group’s 120-year history to be arrested at a protest.
Interviewed on the radical radio program “Democracy Now!” Brune insisted, “If we want to keep our temperature increases below three and a half degrees Fahrenheit, at least two-thirds of the oil, and coal, and gas that we know about all around the world has to stay in the ground.” Again: According to the head of the nation’s oldest environmentalist organization, two-thirds Read all »
The Great Gator Hoax
The American alligator is thriving—no thanks to the Endangered Species Act (Green Watch, February 2013 – PDF here)
By Brian Seasholes
Summary: This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which has been criticized for blocking construction projects, destroying jobs, and allowing the virtual confiscation of people’s property by making land unusable. In the future, the ESA may be used to justify government policies related to “global warming.” Yet one of the most-cited examples of ESA success, saving the American alligator from extinction, simply never happened. The alligator had been well-protected before the ESA was passed. Was it ever endangered at all?
American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) lives only in the United States, mainly in the Gulf Coast region. The state reptile of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, it is an emblem of Southern swamplands—and an American icon like the bald eagle, the American bison, Read all »
[Continuing Steven J. Allen's series on the use of deception in politics and public policy.]
This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which passed the U.S. Senate 92 to 0. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The ESA was born out of legitimate concern over occasional disappearances of lineages of living things. No one anticipated the ESA would play a major role in American life, destroying countless jobs and giving federal bureaucrats control over large sectors of the economy, because it never occurred to politicians and activists Read all »
Energy and the environment in President Obama’s second term (Green Watch, January 2013 – PDF here)
By Chris Prandoni, James M. Taylor, Jeff Stier, Christine Harbin, and James Inhofe
Summary: Re-elected and ineligible to run again, President Obama is in a position occupied previously by only five Presidents. He is as independent of the people’s will as any President can be. In the coming years, will he continue his first-term course on energy and the environment, or take the country down a new path? Green Watch asked some top policy analysts for their take on the second term. Read all »
From the December 2012 issue of the Capital Research Center’s Green Watch:
The Environmental Movement vs. the Marcellus Shale
Green disinformation campaign pits fake David vs. fake Goliath
By Kevin Mooney (PDF here)
Summary: Environmentalists often depict themselves as scrappy underdogs fighting the power of entrenched special interests. But the case of the Marcellus Shale—and the untold energy resources that could be recovered safely by new drilling technology such as fracking—pits “the little guy” against powerful “green” forces such as the Park Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Sometimes Goliath could use a little help. A common tactic used by environmental extremists and their friends in the media is to characterize adversaries as “Goliath”—the powerful villain—in conflict with the good guy, the scrappy underdog, the “David.” In fact, the purported David may be made up of wealthy foundations, powerful politicians, and unaccountable bureaucrats, and Goliath may be small farmers, working-class people, and people with small businesses.
The controversy over “fracking”—innovative drilling techniques to access vast reserves of natural gas—is one such case of David and Goliath. Read all »
From the November 2012 issue of the Capital Research Center’s Green Watch:
Green Jobs: How unions and environmentalists came together to damage the U.S. economy
By Diana Furchtgott-Roth (PDF here)
Summary: The definition of “Green Jobs” is very slippery, especially in the hands of activists and politicians. And while they inflate the number of possible green jobs, they almost entirely ignore all the costs of their top-down efforts at “greening” the economy. But the green jobs crusade has had one success: bringing together radical activists and unions in an alliance to consume tax dollars.
The date was June 6, 2012, the setting, an ornate hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building, where the full House Government Reform and Oversight Committee was investigating definitions of green jobs. The committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), was questioning John Galvin, acting commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), on the meaning of the “3.1 million green jobs” figure that his agency had recorded in data released in March.
“If you sweep the floor in a solar-powered facility, is that a green job?” Issa asked. The answer was yes. How about hybrid bus drivers and all the other bus drivers and workers who put gas in buses? Yes, they have green jobs. Employees at bicycle shops have green jobs. So do workers at antique dealers, at the Salvation Army used clothing recycling centers, and at used record stores, because used items count as recycled goods.
College professors who teach environmental courses? Green jobs. Oil company lobbyists? Green jobs. Read all »