Freedom and Liberty
Christopher Snowden writes an article that uses an example that is quite handy in defining the essence of the disease called “progressivism”. He acknowledges that “liberal” has be coopted by the left but still has enough historical cache to be useful to both sides of the philosophical divide. However, “progressive”, at least in the US, is uniquely the left’s.
Fast forward to a city soda tax under consideration in the “progressive bastion” of Berkley, CA where we find none other than little Robbie Reich (former Clinton Secretary of Labor) ensconced as Professor at UC Berkley and waxing enthusiastic about this proposed soda tax:
To see what the word progressive means today, consider the city of Berkeley, California. According to Robert Reich, a professor at UC Berkeley, it is‘the most progressive city in America’. It has also been described as a ‘liberal bastion’. How liberal is it? So liberal that it is illegal to smoke a cigarette in your own flat (sorry, ‘apartment’) and, at the city’s university, it is against the rules to chew tobacco or use e-cigarettes anywhere at all, including in the open air.
Berkeley is also seriously considering a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages – aka a ‘soda tax’. A public vote will settle the matter next month, and, in the view of Robert Reich, ‘if a soda tax can’t pass in the most progressive city in America, it can’t pass anywhere’.
Well, yes, that’s correct. But Reich’s claim is also a very useful tool for a little word substitution to show the insidiousness (and true intent) of “progressivism”:
Consider that statement for a moment. If you didn’t know what the word ‘progressive’ meant – and you knew nothing about Berkeley – what could you infer from the context? If the sentence was changed to ‘if a soda tax can’t pass in the most oppressive city in America, it can’t pass anywhere’, it would make sense. If words like ‘tax-hungry’, ‘anti-business’, ‘puritanical’ or ‘illiberal’ were substituted for ‘progressive’, it would still read correctly.
If, however, the sentence was changed to ‘if a soda tax can’t pass in the most tolerant city in America, it can’t pass anywhere’, it would be incongruous. Words like ‘permissive’, ‘libertarian’, ‘easygoing’ and ‘broad-minded’ would also be confusing substitutes for ‘progressive’ in this context, and yet these are all adjectives that appear in the thesaurus under the word ‘liberal’. From this we might conclude either that soda taxes are not terribly liberal or that progressives are not terribly liberal. Or both.
At this point I’m chuckling because Snowden has made a very good point. Reich is all but giddy about oppression and feels it is “progressive” to champion it. Because, you know, the elite know best and hopefully have hammered those who should appreciate them and their ideas enough to vote “yes” and tax themselves.
Then there’s this:
In economics, unlike politics, the word ‘progressive’ has a fixed meaning. A progressive tax is one that takes a larger share of income from the rich than from the poor. The alternative is a regressive tax, one that takes a larger share of income from the poor than from the rich. Taxes on fizzy drinks are highly and indisputably regressive, not only because the rate of tax is the same for all income groups, but also because the poor tend to consume more of them in the first place. So while it is true that Berkeley is a bellwether city when it comes to eye-catching ‘public health’ initiatives, the adoption of punitive taxes on soft drinks would be a step towards it becoming America’s most regressive, not progressive, city in economic terms.
Oh my. Snowden then asks the question of the day:
This is what confuses us, America. If a ‘liberal bastion’ – your ‘most progressive city’ – is one in which the government effectively fines people for drinking the wrong type of soft drink, what on earth are your illiberal bastions like?
Berkley (and New York and … ).
Glad you ask.
Let me start out with the conclusion – the government does not have a right to have easy access to your possessions on the premise that at some point in the future you might turn out to be a criminal.
There’s a lot of hoopla going on about child molesting pedophiliac serial murdering terorists(non islamic of course) who are just waiting for the release of the newer Apple IPhones so they can encrypt and hide the evidence of their crimes. This reckless disregard for government’s need to easily poke through your posessions, i.e. read the stuff on your IPhone, will allow these yet to be criminals to get off scott free because the government will be unable to easily decrypt the data.
Well, that at least seems to be the argument I keep hearing. I probably could have thrown in some other things these criminals are going to encrypt, but pedophiles and terrorists seem to be the hot button crimes the government thinks are the be all end all arguments for why they should be able to get at the data without a great deal of hassel on their part.
As a counter weight to that set of players, let’s imagine a journalist, with secret “Deep-Throat” level informers inside government who has data encrypted on his phone that pertains to government malfeasence with names, and dates, including the name or names of the informers (and copies of 8×10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a parapgraph on the back explaining what each one is to be used as evidence against them). And for crazy but obvious reasons the reporter really doesn’t want to share that with the government and he encrypts it on his IPhone.
Let’s presume for a moment a corrupt Department of Justice or other government agency. Crazy talk, right? Gee, that could never happen (cough cough…. DOJ FIFA foot dragging, contempt of Congress Fast and Furious, IRS investigations, lost emails, crashing hard drives, NSA reading everything written by everybody that traverses the internet) Let’s presume that the encrypted data that would bring down the government perps in these corrupt agencies is on the reporter’s IPhone, and the corrupt agency creates reason to confiscate said phone, and would like to know what’s on it, again, for crazy but obvious reasons. Suppose the criminals ARE the government. Nah, that could never happen.
So, do you believe you’re obligated to make your possessions easy for the government to search? Do you believe your house should be an open book to government warrant, because, hey, you might be a criminal in the future. People don’t think of their data as a posession, but just because the old way of storing data was ‘papers’ doesn’t mean that ‘bits’ aren’t really the same thing. All we did was change how it’s stored. Should you be obligated to tell the government about any and every secret hiding place you have on your property when they show up looking for those Cuban cigars you knew were illegal to bring back from your Carribean cruise? Should you be obligated to make it EASY for them?
It has been correctly pointed out that this action by Apple is in direct response to the NSA snooping, and we joke about it, but be honest, we all pretty much think they’re looking at EVERYTHING, don’t we? And despite their protestations of innocence, we think they’re doing it here, and abroad, for practically everyone, on any electronic transmission they can get access to. It all has to go through routers somewhere, sometime, it’s all being recorded and relayed at some point. All of it. This ain’t magic ya know. And now they’re outraged! outraged! that people might be trying to make it hard on them to peek and poke and prod.
And I’m supposed to believe being able to crack the data on an IPhone is going to stop, oh, another Boston Marathon bombing? When they lost track of a guy because they didn’t spell his name right? How are they going to get his phone to decrypt his data?
Nah, sorry, there’s a whole lot of government house cleaning that needs to go on at the IRS, the DOJ, and the many flavors of DHS before I get excercised about them not being able to easily decrypt data on an IPhone. I’m more afraid of the listed agencies than I am of Achmed and Mohammed or the guy who dresses up as Barney and keeps encrypted pictures of nude kids on his phone. I’m against all of those things okay? And my way of dealing with such people would probably be much more at home on the frontier west of the 1800’s than 21st century America.
But we have people flowing across our southern border from who knows where, thinking who knows what, carrying who knows what diseases or posessions and agencies getting bent out of shape over not being able to decrypt future criminal eveidence are doing exactly jack-all to stop THAT even though they know it’s occurring RIGHT NOW. Keep Achmed and Mohammed out of the country, and we won’t have to worry what they’ve encrypted on their IPhones. And we caught pedo’s before they had IPhones to encrypt data on.
Federal law enforcment can spare me their attempts at moral outrage because from what I see they’re not outraged much by the abuses they can do something about directly right now that have nothing to do with easily decrypting future data on a future criminal’s phone. And I am flat not convinced that the 4th Amendment was written to make it easier for the government to poke through my stuff.
It is in that benighted land that irony, reason and hypocrisy are unknown concepts:
In California, Ventura High School Principal Val Wyatt barred the football booster club from selling meals donated by Chick-fil-A at back-to-school night to raise money. Wyatt cited company President Dan Cathy’s opposition to gay marriage as the reason for the ban. Superintendent Trudy Tuttle Arriaga backed up Wyatt. “We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus and all of our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission,” she said.
What could be more “inclusive” than allowing opinion that doesn’t agree with you to “coexist” without forcing everyone to suffer your biases because you have the power? I mean if you’re really, honestly and truly interested in “inclusiveness”. Oh, and what happened to tolerance, Arriaga and Wyatt? What could be more diverse than a community that welcomes all opinions as long as they don’t advocate violence or other forms of coercion? Is there something wrong with having a differing opinion about a subject based on principles that may be different than yours but are certainly shared by much of the mainstream (such as students at this school)? Apparently. Conformity with the opinion in power is the rule there it seems. The irony? This sort of action is blatantly exclusive and it makes a laughing stock of the word “diversity”. It says diverse opinion certainly isn’t welcome if it doesn’t conform with the people in power’s opinion.
Mouthing of platitudes doesn’t change that. Their “mission” has nothing to do with “inclusivity and diversity”. It has to do with ideology. A particular ideology. One that abuses the english language daily as well as our freedoms.
Large quote from Andy McCarthy. This is an important point that so many in the West simply refuse to acknowledge:
This point has been made so many times it should hardly be necessary to point out that Obama and Kerry, like Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, and like many Bush-administration officials before them (including President Bush), are dead wrong when they deny the nexus between Islamic doctrine –– the literal scriptures –- and terrorism, decapitations, totalitarian government, repression of women, rabid anti-Semitism, the murder of homosexuals, and so on. Still, it would be a serious error merely to observe that they are wrong, snicker at their fecklessness, and move on.
There is a reason they are taking a position diametrically opposed to reality.
Obama and Kerry, like transnational progressives in both of our major political parties, believe there are “moderate Islamists” who are the key to stability in the Middle East. Now, the term “moderate Islamist” is contradictory: an Islamist wants government by sharia, Islam’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code. There is nothing moderate about sharia. Those who want it implemented are not “moderates” even if they don’t commit mass-murder to get their way. Sharia is also anti-liberty, anti-equality, and anti-Western. Therefore, we should oppose Islamism just as we oppose other freedom-killing ideologies. That doesn’t mean we need to go to war with all Islamists, but we should work to diminish their influence and we should never regard them as a solution to anything.
Notwithstanding their abhorrence of the West, “moderate Islamists” are regarded by Obama and Kerry as potential allies: people, groups, and, in the case of Turkey, for example, countries that we can work with to solve the problems plaguing the Middle East and overcome our own security challenges. It is thus critically important to Obama and Kerry for the public to believe that (a) all Islamists are not basically the same and (b) there is a sharp difference — a day-and-night difference — between “moderate Islamists” and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. If, instead, the public becomes convinced that all Islamists, violent or non-violent, adhere to essentially the same ideology, the administration’s goal of working with Islamic supremacists becomes politically untenable.
It is impossible to convince people that non-violent (or, at least, purportedly non-violent) Islamists are not representative of Islam. The administration tried that with its “largely secular” Muslim Brotherhood flyer . . . and has been embarrassed ever since by the howls of laughter. Most significant Islamist groups are rooted in or affiliated with the Brotherhood. Not only do these groups claim the mantle of Islam’s representative; our government concedes that status to them.
Because they refuse to acknowledge this they simply hold out a “solution” that doesn’t exist. So-called “moderate Islam” is only a ratcheted down version of the extremists. Perhaps “moderate Islam” doesn’t want to take part in killing you, but they’re not particularly upset that the extremist version is doing it for them. They may differ in the methods, but they’re not indifferent to the result – i.e. the world converting to Islam and the establishment of Sharia law. That is the ultimate goal of Islam. Weasel wording it doesn’t change that fact.
So how does one go about convincing “moderate Islam” to back off? Well one way to to recognize the threat, and the threat isn’t just limited to “extremists”. However, such recognition is antithetical to the tenets of the left’s multi-culturalism. Every culture is “worthwhile” and has “value”. Even those which justify the murder of non-believers and homosexuals, enslave and mutilate women, and essentially redefine misogyny. The very people who support this sort of “tolerance” would likely be its first victims.
Back to the question – how do we back off “moderate Islam?” Well this is going to sound exceedingly violent, but it is meant to be. You have to ruthlessly and completely wipe out the extremists. But instead, we seem to be contemplating a strategy of “managing” the threat. As Michael Totten notes:
The reason we must reject the tempting tendency to close our eyes and hope this problem goes away is that Allah doesn’t always sort things out according to American interests.
Life is filled with things we don’t want to do but have to do anyway. No one wants radiation or chemotherapy, but if you get cancer, you’re going to have to take it despite the fact that it might not work and that it will certainly feel like it’s killing you.
Let’s not kid ourselves. ISIS — or ISIL as the President calls it — is cancerous. And it is not a benign tumor. It is metastasizing and will not stop growing stronger and deadlier until it is dealt with aggressively and, at the absolute minimum, contained.
And only that sort of treatment will impress “moderate Islam” – period. Of course, that’s only step 1. Step 2 will be even more painful for the Western left. It is all about intolerance. That’s right, it’s about being intolerant of ideas, principles and cultural norms that attack and would eventually destroy Western culture as we know it. Islam is as intolerant of our Western culture is we should be of it’s culture. Just because some group of elitists on the left decided one day that all cultures are equal and valuable has now been shown to be simplistic pap. And unless Western civ is in the mood to commit suicide, it is going to have to make some very hard and intolerant decisions in the near future.
So if the West is to survive, it’s time to take a real “step 1″, not some half-measure that I am pretty sure is being contemplated as we speak.
Many violent jihadists who go on to join al-Qaeda and, now, the Islamic State (an offshoot of al-Qaeda) got their start in the Muslim Brotherhood. They seamlessly graduate from Brotherhood teaching to insatiable jihad because Brotherhood teaching lauds jihad. In fact, the transition happens because many of those who receive Brotherhood instruction become frustrated by the contradiction between the Brotherhood’s aim of a worldwide caliphate and endorsement of jihad to achieve it, on the one hand, and its counsel of patience in pursuing it, on the other.
It is precisely because Islamists share an ideology rooted in Islam, and what they see as a divinely mandated mission of conquest, that a Muslim can so predictably evolve from student to sharia adherent to “moderate Islamist” to not-so-moderate Islamist to terrorist. It happens frequently. And the common ideology rooted in Islam also explains why so many “moderate Islamists” financially and morally support violent jihadist organizations even if they don’t take up arms themselves.
Why? Because, as I said, the “moderates” are not at all indifferent to the outcome brought about by the extremists. And until we wrap our heads around that and do what is necessary to actually and finally address the real threat we face, it’s not going to get any better and could easily get much worse. It isn’t about extremists and moderates, it’s about a toxic culture/religion that was recognized as such by the West centuries ago as a threat. As for the present, there’s very little difference between “moderate” and “extremists” with regard to the final outcome they seek:
The Islamic State has presumed to declare a caliphate. Al-Qaeda franchises think that is hasty — especially since someone else is running the caliphate — and would proceed more gradually, setting up emirates and hoping for more consensus among Islamists. Both organizations want to confront the West only violently; the Muslim Brotherhood, on the contrary, teaches that, while violent jihad has its place (see Hamas), it is valid to negotiate with the West, to infiltrate the West’s institutions, and to achieve whatever conquest can be achieved without violence.
In a piece that hits some pretty important points, Victor Davis Hanson concludes:
In truth, the world has dropped its vigilance since 9/11; Western populations are exhausted by economic hard times and acrimony over the wars in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. The charge of Islamaphobia means that Western societies have trouble confronting radical Islamists in their midst, like Major Hasan, the Tsarnaev Boston Marathon bombers, and throngs of virulently anti-Semitic Muslim immigrants in Europe. The United Nations is about as useful as was the League of Nations during the rise of fascism. As in the case of the rise of the Nazis, we naively write off the savagery of ISIS as having no place in our century, as if brutality is always premodern rather than enhanced by postmodern technology. Neo-isolationism and appeasement have swept the West and have eroded the national will to confront radical Islam in the manner of the last 1930s—with all the familiar scapegoating of the Jews and “war-mongers.”
Make sure to read the whole thing.
Meanwhile, right here at QandO we’ve had to suffer through the brainless rantings of those who claim that such brutality has no place in this century. Of course and as usual, reality bitch slaps that nonsense to death. Quite simply, brutality and inhumanity have never confined themselves to man-made centuries and any thinking person would know that. Actually any person with the IQ of a persimmon knows that.
However, we’re caught in a postmodern web of our own making – spun by such concepts as “multi-culturalism” and its hand-maidens, “political correctness” and the grievance industry. The left has done a fine job in helping us handcuff ourselves at a crucial time in our history. We’re now afraid to confront that which is a threat to our existence for fear of … what? Offending the gods of multi-culturalism who dictate that all cultures are of value and equal? Of being politically incorrect when we correctly identify the threat as an extremist form of a religious death cult? My goodness, we might be called “Islamaphobes”. Of not being “tolerant”. Well I’m not tolerant of ignorant religious zealots who have declared their intention to kill me and my kind. Live with it.
Nor am I tolerant of those who would cosset them, excuse them or otherwise play down who and what they are. Instead they need to be exterminated, just like any infestation of vermin you might discover that threatens your life.
Minor rant aside, Hanson’s point is important. The threat is new in name only and the West is acting just as it did when its own home-grown version in Germany began its horrific rise. However there’s a huge difference, at least as I see it. The Nazis didn’t infiltrate other cultures before they attempted their conquest. This insidious enemy has. As Hanson points out Europe has allowed “throngs of virulently anti-Semitic Muslim immigrants” and has, in many places, all but lost control.
So what does that portend, and how does the West address it … if it will address it? Meanwhile, in the US, we have no idea of who or what what the throngs of illegal immigrants bring to this country. Our government refuses to enforce our immigration laws or secure our borders. Because? Because borders, apparently, have no place in the 21st century … or something.
The threat is real as is the seeming choice of the West to repeat the mistakes of the 20th century. All in the name of a failed ideology and an unwillingness to deal with reality in a way which ensures both the safety and survival of its citizens.
The West’s actions might “offend” somebody, and we know that is the worst offense known to man in this day and age, isn’t it?
At best they’re educated guesses. And, as the actual climate continues to demonstrate when compared to the outcomes the models predict (and that’s all they do is come up with a prediction based on how the huge numbers of variables have been set up in the algorithm they use), they’re woefully wrong about climate change. This comes under the category of “a picture is worth a thousand words” or in this case, a graph:
Not even close.
Now, who is the “denier”?
The VA system has given us a hint of what we can expect from a government run health care system in the US. But the UK has been doing it since 1948. And, it appears, most of those who want a single payer, government system purposely turn a blind eye to the UK’s experience:
Death rates in NHS hospitals are among the highest in the western world, shock figures revealed yesterday.
British patients were found to be almost 50 per cent more likely to die from poor care than those in America.
They have five times the chance of dying from pneumonia and twice the chance of being killed by blood poisoning.
Experts say that, despite recent improvements, NHS death rates still outstrip those in many other European countries.
Note the second sentence. That’s as of today. To date, our government hasn’t the level of intrusion or time to turn the health care system in the US into an NHS.
If you think its bad now, just imagine the entire country run like the VA. Or NHS.
President Barack Obama will attend a United Nations summit on climate change in September.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited heads of state and other leaders to the Sept. 23 summit in New York. The U.N. says the goal is to spur governments, industry and civil groups to make new commitments to addressing climate change.The summit comes one year before world leaders will gather in Paris for global climate talks aimed at securing a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Obama has set a goal to cut U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.
The Obama administration will seek a non-binding international accord – rather than a treaty – at a United Nations climate summit in Paris next year on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
It was a widely anticipated move, as President Barack Obama has repeatedly said he would act alone, bypassing Congress, if lawmakers declined to support his proposal.
So one would assume that the UN meeting would lay the groundwork for the Paris talks, no? Since it all under the auspices of the UN? And this apparently is very important to our president, no? He’s going to attend, he’s got a plan (one of the few plans his administration has ever managed to push out there) to make a commitment for the US while bypassing Congress. What could go wrong with this issue that is so important to Obama? And he’s certainly consulted with other world leaders to ensure their cooperation and backing, right?
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas-emitting nation, won’t join his U.S. and Chinese counterparts at a United Nations climate summit next month in New York. Modi’s absence is a bit of a blow to the summit.
Chinese counterparts? The Chinese are blowing it off too:
Chinese president Xi Jinping has decided to skip a meeting of world leaders on climate change in New York, according to climate insiders, casting doubt on the summit’s potential to make progress ahead of next year’s major UN climate summit in Paris.
You think? But, as the commercial says, “that’s not all”:
German daily TAZ reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn’t going to bother attending the Ban Ki-Moon initiated climate conference in New York this coming September. The TAZ adds this has been “confirmed by a government spokesman“. Merkel’s decision to snub the event is likely another sign that efforts to forge a climate agreement are already dead in water. The TAZ writes: “Ultimately only Europe and very few other countries remain on board. Canada for example has opted out. Japan and Russia are also no longer taking part.”
Always the last to know. Kind of like his foreign policy, isn’t it? No India. No China. No Russia. No Canada, Germany or Japan.
So, if all of these major players in the world don’t see a reason to show up for Obama and Moon’s little show, how are those two going to sell this to world as an emergency situation that needs drastic action?
I know — call in John Kerry!
And the clown car continues to careen down the path to nowhere.
And I’m not talking about Putin’s attempt to resurrect it – I’m instead talking about this horrific overreaction by state of Maryland to … a book set in the future:
A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—”taken in for an emergency medical evaluation” for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace’s Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, according to news reports from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future. . . .
Imagine that—a novelist who didn’t store bombs and guns at the school at which he taught. How improbable! Especially considering that he uses an “alias,” which is apparently the law-enforcement term for “nom de plume.” (Here is the Amazon page for The Insurrectionist, by the way. Please note that the book was published in 2011, before McLaw was hired.)
According to an equally credulous and breathless report in the Star-Democrat, which is published in Easton, Md., the combined efforts of multiple law-enforcement agencies have made area children safe from fiction. Sheriff Phillips told the newspaper that, in addition to a K-9 sweep of the school (!), investigators also raided McLaw’s home. “The residence of the teacher in Wicomico County was searched by personnel,” Phillips said, with no weapons found. “A further check of Maryland State Police databases also proved to be negative as to any weapons registered to him. McLaw was suspended by the Dorchester County Board of Education pending an investigation and is no longer in the area. He is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.”
As I find and read more stories like this on a much more frequent basis, I have to wonder what happened to America. Where did it go? And when?
The fact that anyone would find this supportable is phenomenal in and of itself, yet here we have the report … McLaw was obviously taken as a credible threat because he wrote … fiction to sell books.
Jeffery Goldberg goes on:
It is somewhat amazing that local news reports on this case don’t make clear whether McLaw is under arrest, and if so, on what charge. It is equally astonishing that the reporters on this story don’t seem to have used the words “First Amendment” in their questioning of law-enforcement officials, and also astonishing they don’t question the Soviet-sounding practice of ordering an apparently sane person who has been deemed unacceptable by state authorities to undergo a psychological evaluation.
It would be useful to know if McLaw is under investigation for behavior other than writing two novels—and perhaps he will be shown to be a miscreant of some sort—but so far, there is no indication that he is guilty of anything other than having an imagination, although on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as news reports make clear, his imagination is considered an active threat.
Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Wagner told WBO that police will be present at the middle school “for as long as we deem it necessary,” and the sheriff said that law-enforcement officials across the Delmarva peninsula have been given McLaw’s photo in case he shows up in their jurisdictions—though again, it is not clear if he is, in fact, in police custody at the moment.
This is what happens when people quit thinking and only do “their duty”. When rules like “zero tolerance” replace common sense.
What happened to McLaw is an outrage. It is unacceptable. It should be condemned in the very strongest of terms.
Yet, at least by the media there, it seems all perfectly sane and normal. And, apparently, the police force as well. School. Etc.
Maryland (and Cambridge in particular) should be utterly ashamed.
How many times have we been treated to hissy fits by the environmental left when it comes to species other than humans and their endangerment? What group has constantly pushed for laws that protect animals from humans? And where have the enviros been mostly silent as a particular group of animals is wantonly slaughtered daily in the name of green, renewable energy?
California’s massive Ivanpah solar power plant can produce enough electricity for 140,000 households — but the environmental cost is nothing less than an avian slaughter.
The plant’s 350,000 mirrors bounce sizzling sunlight to the tops of three 40-story boiler towers, heating steam for turbine electricity generators. Temperatures near the towers can reach up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, heat certainly sufficient to fry a fowl.
“Workers at the state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — ‘streamers,’ for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair,” the Associated Press reports this week.
That’s a common occurrence, the AP continues; federal investigators saw a bird burn roughly every two minutes. Ivanpah owner BrightSource estimates that “about a thousand” die each year, and one environmental group says the plant kills up to 28,000 birds each year.
Of course, if you do the math (and account for 12 hours of darkness each day) it comes out to about 130,000 a year – assuming the observation that one bird “burns” every two minutes. And the outcry? Yeah, not so much.
And some of the birds it is killing are, among others, endangered:
As the plant prepared to begin operations, workers found the winged corpses of “a peregrine falcon, a grebe, two hawks, four nighthawks, and a variety of warblers and sparrows,” the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year.
You want a “silent spring”? Keep building these sorts of installations.
What about wind turbines? Well, Ivanpah comes up a piker in comparison:
Ivanpah isn’t the only green darling with a lot of bird blood on its hands, either. The American Bird Conservancy estimates wind turbines slay 440,000 birds each year, and the an analyst writing in the Wildlife Society Bulletin says it’s closer to 573,000 — in addition to 888,000 bats.
And, as usual, our federal government makes exceptions to the law for favored industries:
Federal wildlife officials on Friday for the first time agreed not to prosecute a developer if an endangered California condor is struck and killed by turbine blades at its proposed wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
You accidentally do it and watch how much of an exception they make for you.
In the meantime, with all this data showing massive bird kills among solar and wind turbine installations?
Crickets – unless they find some other sort of “green energy” source that happens to wipe them out too.