Exposed: Putin And Buffett’s War On U.S. Pipelines

Abundant, reliable, affordable oil and natural gas empower people. They support job creation, mobility, modern agriculture, homes and hospitals, computers and communications, lights and refrigerators, life and study after sundown, indoor plumbing, safe drinking water, less disease, and longer lives.

Hydrocarbons make plastics, pharmaceuticals, and synthetic clothing. They create fertilizers and pesticides, to improve crop yields, reduce food prices, and improve nutrition.

But the Sierra Club, 350.org, and other radicals want to keep America’s oil and natural gas bounties in the ground. They block leasing, drilling, and fracking. They block pipelines that transport oil and gas to refineries, power plants, factories, and homes. And the more their “dangerous manmade climate change” mantras fall on deaf ears, the more absurd their anti-energy campaigns are getting.

Hydraulic fracturing and Canadian oil sands development made North American petroleum production soar, created millions of jobs, sent oil, gasoline, and natural gas prices plunging, and provided some of the few bright spots in the 2008-14 Obama economy.

New pipelines were approved and constructed, including the Keystone system’s first three phases. They augmented 2.5 million miles of liquid petroleum, gas transmission, and gas distribution pipelines that already crisscross the United States.

But when the Keystone XL segment was proposed, intense opposition suddenly materialized. Protesters railed that habitat disturbance, potential leaks, climate change, and ending fossil fuel use necessitated “no more pipelines.” Now, the Sandpiper Pipeline from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region across Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin, is meeting similar resistance.

As with Keystone, the protesters say they’re just concerned student, hiker, and Native American grassroots activists: average citizens who just care about their environment. The facts do not support their claims.

In reality, they are being bankrolled by billionaires, fat-cat foundations, and foreign oil interests.

Putin-allied Russian oil billionaires laundered $23 million through the Bermuda-based Wakefield Quin law firm to the Sea Change Foundation and thence to anti-fracking and anti-Keystone groups, the Environmental Policy Alliance found.

Sandpiper opponents are also being funded and coordinated by wealthy financiers and shadowy foundations, researcher Ron Arnold discovered.

It’s true that several small groups are involved in the anti-Sandpiper protests. However, the campaign is coordinated by Honor the Earth, a Native American group that is actually a Tides Foundation “project,” with the Tides Center as its “fiscal sponsor.” They’ve contributed $700,000 and extensive in-kind aid. Out-of-state donors provide 99% of Honor’s funding.

The Indigenous Environmental Network also funds Honor the Earth. Minnesota corporate records show no incorporation entry for the Network, and 95% of its money comes from outside Minnesota. Tides gave IEN $670,000 to oppose pipelines.

Indeed, $25 billion in left-wing foundation investment portfolios support the anti-Sandpiper effort. Vastly more backing makes the $13-billion-per-year U.S. environmentalist movement a power to be reckoned with, Arnold and I document in our book, Cracking Big Green.

These tax-exempt foundations do not simply give money to pressure groups. They serve as puppeteers, telling protesters what campaigns to conduct, what tactics to use. Meanwhile, donors enjoy deductions for “charitable giving” to “education, conservation and other social change” programs.

Tides Foundation combined cash flows exceed $200 million annually, Canadian investigative journalist Cory Morningstar reported (here and here). Like Arnold, she and fellow Canadian sleuth Vivian Krause have delved deeply into troubling arrangements among Big Green, Big Government, and Big Finance.

Morningstar calls the San Francisco-based Tides operation “a priceless, magical, money funneling machine of epic proportions.” It enables über-rich donors to distribute funds to specific organizations and campaigns of their choice, without disclosing their identities.

Even more interesting, among Tides’ biggest donors is Obama friend and advisor Warren Buffett. Beginning in 2004, Buffett funneled $30.5 million through his family’s NoVo Foundation to Tides. The cash ultimately went to selected pressure groups that led campaigns against Keystone, Sandpiper, and other projects, Morningstar and Arnold found.

By donating the market value of greatly appreciated Berkshire Hathaway shares to NoVo, the Omaha billionaire avoided income taxes on his gains. Even more important, while public, media, and political attention was riveted on Keystone, Berkshire Hathaway quietly bought the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Union Tank Car manufacturing company – with no notice, dissent, or interference, Morningstar observed.

When Keystone XL et al. were blocked, more oil was shipped by rail – much of it via Buffett companies. In fact, oil-by-rail skyrocketed from 9,500 carloads in 2009 to 450,000 carloads in 2014. Mr. Buffett’s “investment” in anti-pipeline activism garnered billions in rail revenues.

The anti-pipeline campaigns blocked thousands of jobs and increased risks of tank car derailments, like the Lac Megantic, Quebec spill that destroyed much of the town and incinerated 47 people.

That may help explain why Mr. Buffett recently criticized President Obama’s veto of Keystone XL legislation. He now says the pipeline would be good for both Canada and the United States, and it is a mistake to jeopardize trade relationships with our northern neighbor.

But the campaigns rage on. Mr. Buffett helped unleash a beast he cannot control. The campaigns are not grassroots, or even Astroturf. Their “green” tint is the color of unfathomable behind-the-scenes wealth.

The clandestine Buffett-Berkshire-NoVo-Putin-Tides-activist-railroad arrangement reflects “a devious strategy on the part of both benefactor and recipient,” Morningstar concludes. “At minimum, it demonstrates an almost criminal conflict of interest.” Legislative investigations are needed, especially since the Justice Department is hardly likely to look into what its key allies are doing.

Meanwhile, pro-Sandpiper students from the Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow presented these inconvenient financial truths to pipeline protesters at a recent University of Minnesota rally. “Buffet’s Puppets,” the CFACT students called the protesters.

How did the Buffett-Tides-Putin allies react, when they learned they are being used by billionaires? They dug in their ideological heels and shouted insults.

One red-faced protester walked away. Others intensified their chants or shouted racially tinged epithets at the multi-ethnic CFACT students. None wanted to discuss funding issues, America’s need for oil and jobs, or how best to transport fuels safely.

This is what passes for “environmental studies,” “robust debate,” “higher education,” and compassion for blue-collar families on campuses and picket lines today. No wonder “environmentalism” and “liberalism” have become such pathetic political philosophies.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

How To Curb The EPA’s Abuses

Russian President Vladimir Putin is outraged that the United States has indicted 14 FIFA soccer officials, accusing them of corruption, racketeering, fraud, and conspiracy, involving bribes totaling over $150 million in kickbacks for awarding tournament rights. He says the US is meddling in Russian affairs and plotting to steal the 2018 World Cup from his country. What chutzpah.

This is the same Mr. Putin who annexed Crimea and parts of Ukraine, and whose close cronies have been secretly channeling millions of dollars to US and EU environmentalist groups to oppose both American oil drilling in the Arctic and hydraulic fracturing – the game-changing process that is producing so much oil and gas that it’s slashed energy prices … and Russian revenues.

The Justice Department indictments generated global applause. Now, the DOJ needs to conduct an equally zealous investigation into corruption, fraud, and collusion in the Obama Environmental Protection Agency. Of course, that will never happen – no matter how rampant or flagrant the abuses have been.

As Kimberly Strassel documents in May 14 and May 21 articles, EPA emails and other documents reveal that the agency had already decided in 2010 to veto the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska on ideological grounds, “well before it did any science” on the project’s potential environmental impacts. Meanwhile, an EPA biologist was working with eco-activists to recruit Native Americans to oppose the mine. “It’s not much of a leap,” Strassel writes, “to suggest that the EPA encouraged [petitions against the mine] so that it would have an excuse to intervene, run its science as cover, and block a project it already opposed.”

At the same time the biologist was aiding the petition drive, he was also helping to write the EPA’s “options paper” for the mine – and lobbying his co-authors and report contributors to veto the mine, Strassel notes. Now, contrary to newly discovered agency emails, EPA bosses are pretending they never saw the options paper and trying to put the blame on low-level functionaries, when they were deep in cahoots all the way.

This represents incredible collusion, deception, fraud, and abuse of power – to impose agency edicts and appease environmental ideologues in and out of the EPA. Moreover, it is just the latest in a long line of abuses and usurpations by this Obama agency, under a culture of corruption and secretive, manipulated science used to justify regulatory overkill that imposes extensive damages for few or no benefits.

On climate, the EPA relies on computer models and discredited IPCC reports to predict global catastrophes that it insists can be prevented if the United States slashes its fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions, and living standards, even if China, India, and other developing countries do nothing. Meanwhile, real-world temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes, and polar ice and sea levels continue to defy the fear-mongering. So now the rhetoric has shifted yet again, to alleged national security and asthma threats from climate change.

Just this past week, the EPA announced that it will henceforth regulate any ponds, puddles, creeks, ditches, and other waters that have a “significant nexus” to navigable waterways, even if that ill-defined connection enjoys six degrees of separation from streams in which you can actually paddle a kayak. The EPA itself recognizes that “science” does not support its new regime, so now it says its “experience and expertise” justify regulating virtually all “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) – and thus of all lands, land uses, and family, farm, and industrial activities not already covered by its climate and other rules.

Homeowners, farmers, and businesses will now have to apply for permits to do almost anything that might theoretically pollute or affect waterways. Even taking a shower is now subject to EPA regulation.

On mercury, the EPA is shutting down coal-fired power plants that emit barely 3% of all the mercury in US air and water. It claims this will prevent “0.00209 points” in American IQ losses and protect nonexistent “hypothetical female subsistence consumers” who every day for 70 years eat a pound of fish that they catch themselves in US navigable or “nexus” waterways.

For fine particulates, the EPA wasn’t satisfied with regulations that prohibited more than one ounce of soot spread evenly in a volume of air a half-mile square by one story tall. When illegal experiments on humans failed to demonstrate that these levels were not actually “dangerous” or “lethal,” it imposed tougher standards anyway, as part of its war on coal.

Before he landed in jail for fraud, high level EPA bureaucrat John Beale concocted the sue-and-settle tactic, under which agency lawyers meet with environmentalist groups behind closed doors, agree to new regulatory standards, and then settle a friendly lawsuit whereby a court orders the EPA to adopt the rules. Parties actually impacted by the new regulations never find out about them until it’s a “done deal.”

As presidential candidate Obama promised, under his policies electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” But this means poor families, small businesses, factories, school districts, hospitals, and churches must pay far more to keep their lights, heat, air conditioning, and equipment running. That means people get laid off; fewer jobs are created; living standards decline; people’s health and well-being suffer; stress, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse increase; more people die during heat waves, and far more die during much deadlier winter cold snaps.

However, the EPA ignores all these cold, hard realities – as it cherry-picks research and pseudo-science to support its agenda, ignores contradictory studies, and pays advisory boards and activist groups like the American Lung Association millions of dollars annually to rubberstamp and promote its decisions.

What can be done to curb these abuses and usurpations, and rein in this renegade agency?

Congress should cut the EPA’s budget, to eliminate money that it routinely gives to activist and propaganda groups – and prevent the agency from spending any further taxpayer funds to regulate carbon dioxide, impose its new ozone, mercury, and WOTUS rules, or participate in new sue-and-settle lawsuits.

Congress should also pass the Secret Science Reform Act, to ensure greater honesty and transparency in EPA rulemakings – and hold hearings on the Pebble Mine and other questionable agency actions, with EPA officials under oath and subject to penalties for perjury, malfeasance, and criminality in office.

Presidential candidates must become well versed in these issues, discuss them during interviews and debates, and be prepared to amend, suspend, and upend EPA decisions and regulations that were implemented in violation of transparency, integrity, and honest, robust science.

They should also examine how the federal EPA behemoth can be systematically dismantled and replaced with a “committee of the whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies – so as to balance and protect our needs for air and water quality, livelihoods, living standards, health, and welfare.

State legislators, governors and attorneys general, companies, and other aggrieved parties should continue to file lawsuits to block EPA excesses. However, they should stop relying on “abuse of discretion,” as courts almost always bow to government agencies. Instead, they need to demand that every agency decision is grounded in reliable, replicable, testable, peer-reviewed evidence, data, and standards – as set forth in the Supreme Court’s Daubert, Joiner, and Kumho decisions – and that the agencies demonstrate that they have fully accounted for the negative job, economic, health, and welfare impacts of their rulings.

Meanwhile, as Charles Murray (author of By the People: Rebuilding liberty without permission) and others have suggested, states, communities, companies, and individuals should engage in a new form of “systemic” civil disobedience: refusing to bow to harmful, nonsensical, tyrannical EPA regulations.

In short, we should take Dylan Thomas’s advice – and rage, rage against the dying of the light – due to regulations that are dimming the lights in our homes and the light of liberty and American exceptionalism.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Once Again, Radical Environmentalists Get Egg Thrown In Their Faces

The White House finally appears ready to announce conclusions and policy recommendations from the Pollinator Task Force it appointed a year ago. Environmentalist groups eagerly await the decision. After clamoring and campaigning for years for government action, they hope to get tough restrictions on using innovative new insecticides called neonicotinoids.

Agricultural interests await the decision with trepidation. A ban or broad restrictions would cost billions of dollars annually, force them to employ pesticides that are more difficult to use and more toxic for beneficial insects, and compel them to confront more secretive government “science” and faulty justifications for policies that are not supported by the evidence.

The deadline imposed by President Obama’s task force memo passed months ago, and yet the White House has been strangely silent on the issue of pesticides and honeybee health. What initially looked like an easy lame-duck giveaway to green groups has turned out to be factually complicated.

Long before the White House weighed in, anti-insecticide activists promoted claims that honeybees were headed for extinction because of pesticides, specifically neonics – unless the government banned them. Time magazine picked up their refrain, devoting a long cover story to the scary prospect of “a world without bees.” Other news stories uncritically repeated the end-of-bees assertions. One-third of the food we eat could disappear without bees to pollinate crops, they proclaimed. But there was a problem.

The narrative turned out to be false, extensive evidence now demonstrates – and inconvenient truths had gotten in the way of another slam-dunk Executive Branch edict.

Neonicotinoids are actually much less toxic for bees, other insects, humans, and animals than alternative pesticides, in part because they are primarily used to coat seeds. The neonics become part of the plant’s tissue structure and defense system, affecting only pests that feed on the protected crops. Farmers can greatly reduce pesticide spraying, especially with older, more toxic chemicals.

Field studies have repeatedly shown that bees are unaffected by neonics at real-world exposure levels. In fact, bees thrive in canola (oilseed rape) fields and other crops grown with neonic-treated seeds; and the number of bees has been rising steadily worldwide the past few years, even as neonic usage peaked.

U.S. Department of Agriculture annual beekeeper surveys reveal that the number of honey-producing hives in the United States has held steady at about 2.5 million since 1995. Indeed, the numbers increased four of the last five years and are actually higher now than when neonics first came on the market in the mid 1990s. Most beehive problems now involve less experienced hobby beekeepers.

A similarly hyped issue, “colony collapse disorder,” turned out to be a cyclical problem going back centuries. Recent large-scale die-offs of domesticated bees appear to be caused primarily by Varroa mites (which feed on bees and can transmit bee viruses and diseases), parasitic phorid flies, Nosema intestinal fungi, and tobacco ringspot viruses. Beekeepers have accidentally killed entire hives trying to combat these problems.

Honeybee habitat loss from urban, suburban, and even agricultural development has also taken a toll. Just removing fences, to improve agricultural efficiencies and let cattle roam and feed, reduces bee forage and nutrition, increasing bees’ susceptibility to mites, disease, and stress, entomologist and professional beekeeper Randy Oliver told me.

But facts like these never stopped organizations like Beyond Pesticides and the Natural Resources Defense Council from claiming America and the world faced a “bee-pocalypse” – never because of a convergence of problems, always because of their newest bogeyman: neonicotinoids. The facts likewise never stopped the White House from telling the EPA to scrutinize neonics intently, in the name of protecting pollinators.

Eventually, though, the facts caught up with the fear-mongering. As journalists wrote articles exposing the environmentalist falsehoods, the “honeybee Armageddon” justification began falling apart.

The White House and Big Green pressure groups did not want egg on their face. What to do? The preferred tactic: postpone the task force report and stall for time to concoct a new fable. It had worked before on other issues. A compliant, allied media and gullible public should make it work again.

The anti-pesticide groups used the postponement to switch their rationale for restricting neonics. Instead of critical threats to managed honeybees, they now say it is native or wild bees that need help. The shift reflects a shrewd, cynical calculation.

Since there are far fewer studies on the status of wild bee populations, activists can make any claims they like. As the NRDC’s Jennifer Sass said in November 2014, environmentalist groups can only “presume” that wild bees are in decline. But they sure know how to get ample press coverage for their presumption.

They, the White House and the EPA, need to check their facts this time. U.S. Geological Survey wild bee specialist Sam Droege says scientists still don’t know which species are declining or flourishing, but he believes most are doing fine. (There are some 4,000 native species of wild bees in North America.) Similarly, a 2013 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed U.S. native bee populations over a 140-year period and echoed that assessment. Of 187 native species analyzed, only three showed steep declines–and they were likely due to pathogens.

This may be why anti-pesticide activists are simultaneously employing another new tactic. By combining summer and winter bee losses, they can make it look like the honeybee crisis is worsening, as a May 14 Wall Street Journal article put it. This stratagem also benefits from the fact that summertime loss data go back only five years, so there is no way to look for historical trends or patterns.

The White House would do well to leave science to experts, rather than activists with an ax to grind. If bee numbers are increasing, it is much harder to justify restricting a pesticide that is needed by farmers – and that would be much better for honeybees, wild bees, and other beneficial insects.

As Randy Oliver emphasizes, it is important to let science do its job, figure out and address what is really happening to bees, use all insecticides carefully and responsibly, and not stigmatize neonic seed treatments on ideological or junk science grounds.

Otherwise, bee problems are likely to get worse, while neonic bans cause crop losses and a return to spraying pesticides that really can cause significant environmental problems.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

The Iceman Cometh?

President Obama, Al Gore, and other alarmists continue to prophesy manmade global warming crises, brought on by our “unsustainable” reliance on fossil fuels. Modelers like Mike Mann and Gavin Schmidt conjure up illusory crisis “scenarios” based on the assumption that carbon dioxide emissions now drive climate change. A trillion-dollar Climate Crisis industry self-servingly echoes their claims.

But what if these merchants of fear are wrong? What if the sun refuses to cooperate with the alarmists?

“The sun is almost completely blank,” meteorologist Paul Dorian notes. Virtually no sunspots darken the blinding yellow orb. “The main driver of all weather and climate … has gone quiet again during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century. Not since February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots.”

“Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles that have had a lower number of sunspots during their maximum phase,” Dorian continues. This continued downward trend in solar sunspot cycles began over 20 years ago, when Earth stopped warming. If it continues for a couple more cycles, Earth could be entering another “grand minimum,” an extended period of low solar activity.

That would mean less incoming solar radiation, which could have a marked cooling effect – as happened during previous decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The “Maunder Minimum” lasted 70 years (1645-1715), the “Dalton Minimum” 40 years (1790-1830); they brought even colder global temperatures to the “Little Ice Age.”

Solar activity is in free fall, Reading University (UK) space physicist Mike Lockwood confirms, perhaps “faster than at any time in the last 9,300 years.” He raised the likelihood of another grand minimum to 25% (from 10% three years previously). However, he claims a new little ice age is unlikely.

“Human-induced global warming is already a more important force in global temperatures than even major solar cycles,” Professor Lockwood insists. That warmist mantra may keep him from getting excoriated for even mentioning solar influences. But it ignores Earth’s long history of climate change.

And what if Lockwood is wrong about human influences and the extent of a coming cold era? Habibullo Abdussamatov, director of Russia’s space research laboratory and its global warming research team, is convinced another little ice age is on its way. (See pages 18-21 of this report.) That would be LIA #19.

A couple degrees warmer, with more carbon dioxide in the air, would be good for humanity and the planet. Crops, forests, and grasslands would grow faster and better, longer growing seasons over larger areas of land would support more habitats, wildlife, agriculture, and people – especially if everyone has access to ample, reliable, affordable energy, especially electricity, and modern farming technologies. Most people, including the elderly, can easily handle such warmth, especially if they have air conditioning.

But a couple degrees colder would bring serious adverse consequences for habitats, wildlife, agriculture, and humanity. Though geologists say we are overdue for one, this does not mean another Pleistocene ice age – with glaciers obliterating forests and cities under mile-thick walls of ice across North America, Europe, Asia, and beyond. Maybe Lockwood is right, and it won’t be a full-blown Little Ice Age déjà vu.

However, Antarctic sea ice just set a new April record. Ice conditions are back to normal in the Arctic. Winters have become longer, colder, and snowier. With less meltwater, sea levels are barely rising.

Moreover, a 2-degree drop in average global temperatures would shrink growing seasons, cropland, and wildlife habitats. Agriculture would be curtailed across Canada, northern Europe, and Russia, putting greater pressure on remaining land to feed hungry families without turning more habitats into cropland. Governments might even have to stop mandating corn for ethanol and devote the land to food crops.

Our ability to feed Earth’s growing population would be seriously impaired, especially since the same factions that wail about fossil fuels, fracking, and “dangerous manmade climate change” also despise the chemical fertilizers, insecticides, biotechnology, and mechanized farming that would enable us to get far more food per acre under colder conditions, even if crops are starved for plant-fertilizing CO2.

Generally colder conditions can also bring more unpredictable storms and cold snaps during shortened growing seasons. That happened frequently during the last Little Ice Age (1350-1850), resulting in frequent crop failures and bouts of hunger, malnutrition, starvation, and disease in much of Europe.

Worst of all, cold kills. Modern homes and buildings with affordable heat make it easy to survive even brutal winters in comfort. However, carbon taxes, restrictions on coal and natural gas, renewable energy mandates, and other ill-conceived programs have sent electricity and home heating prices soaring.

When energy is rationed, expensive, and unpredictable, businesses lay people off or close their doors. Forced to go on welfare, people’s health and well-being suffer. The elderly are especially susceptible. In Britain, many pensioners now ride buses or sit in libraries all day to stay warm, while others burn used books in stoves (they are cheaper than coal or wood). Thousands die of hypothermia because they can no longer afford proper heat.

In Germany, Greece, and other countries, rising energy costs have caused a surge in illegal tree cutting, as desperate families try to stay warm. Hungry, unemployed families are also poaching wildlife. Meanwhile, forests of wind turbines generate minimal expensive electricity but do slaughter millions of birds and bats every year, leaving crops to be eaten by hordes of insects, across Europe and the United States.

These realities portend what will likely happen on a far larger scale, if we do enter another prolonged cold era under anti-fossil fuel rules imposed in response to global warming hysteria. The specter of widespread turmoil, rising death tolls, and climate refugees by the millions could become reality.

And still alarmists say, even if temperatures aren’t rising, we should force developed nations to curtail their energy use and living standards – and modernize developing countries in a “sustainable” manner. We should use the “climate crisis” to “move the world in a greener, more equitable direction.”

As though wind, solar, and biofuel energy and widespread organic farming are sustainable, under any objective standard. As though government elites have a right to tell poor countries what level of development, what energy technologies, and what farming methods they will be “permitted” to have – and what level of poverty, disease, malnutrition, and early death they must continue to suffer.

Ending this insanity must begin with the climate scientists and modelers. They are taking our tax dollars and promoting constant scare stories. They owe it to us to be objective, transparent, and willing to discuss and debate these issues with those who question human influences on climate change. They owe it to us to get the predictions right, so that we can be properly prepared, especially if the iceman cometh again.

That means basing their models on all the forces that determine global temperature and climate fluctuations: the sun, cosmic rays, deep ocean currents, volcanoes, and other natural forces, as well as the 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere that is carbon dioxide. It means comparing predictions with actual (non-averaged, non-manipulated) real-world observations and data. If the improved models still do not predict accurately, it means revising hypotheses and methodologies yet again, until they square with reality.

Meanwhile, our politicians owe it to us to start basing energy and environmental policies on reality: on how Earth’s climate and weather actually behave – and on how their policies, laws, and regulations affect job creation and preservation, economic growth and opportunities, and human health and welfare, especially for poor and minority families, and even more so for the poorest people on our planet.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Exposed: The Silencing Of Skeptics, Conservatives, And Free Speech

Our scientific method and traditions of free speech and open debate are under assault as never before, by intolerant inquisitors in our media, universities, government agencies, and even Congress and the Vatican.

They threaten our most basic rights and freedoms, our political and scientific processes – and ultimately our continued innovation and invention, energy reliability and affordability, job creation and economic growth, and modern living standards, health, and welfare.

Congressman Grijalva and Senators Markey, Boxer, and Whitehouse sent letters to universities, think tanks, and companies, demanding detailed information on skeptics’ funding and activities – in an attempt to destroy their funding, reputations, and careers, while advancing “crony climate alarm science.” Equally intolerable, Democrats and the White House are blocking efforts to ensure that environmental regulations are based on honest, unbiased, transparent, replicable science that accurately reflects real-world evidence.

The Secret Science Reform Act (S. 544) and its House counterpart would require that the Environmental Protection Agency develop its regulations and the science behind them in the open, and allow experts and other interested parties to examine data, evidence, and studies that supposedly support EPA standards and mandates that could cost billions of dollars and millions of jobs. This should not be controversial.

But Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wanted Chairman James Inhofe to drop the bill from a planned markup. He refused, the bill passed on a party-line vote, and a Senate vote will be set soon. President Obama says he will veto the legislation. Why this opposition?

Obama said his would be the most transparent administration in history. But transparency quickly took a back seat to his radical climate change, renewable energy, and other plans to “fundamentally transform” the United States. EPA practices epitomize what goes on throughout his Executive Branch, why our economy is growing at 0.2%, and what congressional Democrats are apparently determined to perpetuate.

The problem is not only the EPA’s private email accounts and deleted emails, á la Hillary Clinton. It’s illegal experiments on humans – with test results ignored when they don’t support the EPA’s agenda of removing the last vestige of soot from coal-fired power plants. It’s rules for 0.5% of the mercury in U.S. air, justified with claims that they would bring a 0.00209 point improvement in IQ scores; economy and job-killing climate regulations that would reduce warming by 0.03 degrees by 2100, assuming carbon dioxide actually does drive climate change; and equally bogus health and environmental benefits of every description that ignore adverse human health and welfare impacts of the EPA regulations themselves.

The President and Democrats claim the “secret science” bill would “unduly burden” regulators. Baloney. The rules would simply require that promulgators of government edicts live according to the same rules they impose on us: Be honest and transparent. Show us your data, calculations, and analyses. Demonstrate that you have examined all relevant studies – not just what supports your agenda, while you ignore everything else. Back up your analyses and decisions with actual evidence. Answer our questions. Recognize that collusion, deceit, and fraud have no place in public policy and will no longer be tolerated.

What can possibly be wrong with those guidelines – unless the regulators have a lot to hide?

And now the Vatican is adopting the same secretive, agenda-driven, inquisition tactics.

Its Pontifical Academy of Sciences recently held a workshop on climate change and sustainability. But only religious leaders, scientists, bureaucrats, and regulators who support alarmist perspectives on these issues were invited. Those with contrary views were neither invited, welcomed, nor tolerated.

However, a dozen climate, health, and theological experts skeptical of “dangerous manmade climate change” allegations hosted a press event the day before the workshop. Three of them managed to get into the Vatican event. But when Climate Depot director Marc Morano tried to ask the UN Secretary General to advise Pope Francis that many Catholics and other Christians believe the papal position on global warming is ill-advised, a security guard took Morano’s microphone away and told him, “control yourself, or you will be escorted out of here.” Apostates have no rights at climate confabs, Vatican or otherwise.

Apparently, in the Vatican’s view, there is nothing to discuss – only anti-fossil fuel laws and treaties to implement. Computer model predictions and other assertions of looming disaster are all the Pope and workshop attendees seem to need to support this agenda – even though they are consistently and completely contradicted by real-world observations. Instead of protecting Earth’s poorest people from energy deprivation, disease, poverty, and death imposed in the name of preventing global warming, Pope Francis seems more devoted to newly green Liberation Theology concepts of “fairness” and “justice.”

As IPCC leaders have explained, the climate change agenda is no longer about the environment. It is now about “intentionally transforming” the global economy and negotiating the redistribution of the world’s wealth and natural resources, in the name of “social justice” and equal distribution of misery.

These developments are far too typical. Left-Liberal thought police refuse to debate their failed ideas and policies because they have no answers to inconvenient questions and cannot stomach dissenting views.

On campuses, free expression is limited to boxing-ring-sized “free speech zones.” Conservative speakers are banned from university events, or shouted down if they do appear. The Universities of Michigan and Maryland tried to ban “American Sniper” because a couple hundred students out of 27,000 objected. Oberlin and Georgetown students railed that Christina Hoff Sommers’ mere presence required “trigger warnings,” caused them “distress” and “discomfort,” and “constituted violence” against women.

Brandeis disinvited Ayan Hirsi Ali because her views on women’s rights might offend some Muslim men. Scripps revoked its invitation to conservative political analyst George Will, who later observed:

Free speech has never been … more comprehensively, aggressively and dangerously threatened than it is now. Today’s attack is … an attack on the theory of freedom of speech … on the desirability of free speech and indeed … on the very possibility of free speech….

The Democratic Party’s leading and prohibitively favored frontrunner candidate for the presidential nomination … said she wants to change the First Amendment in order to further empower the political class to regulate the quantity, content and timing of political speech about the political class – and so far as I can tell there’s not a ripple of commentary about this on the stagnant waters of the American journalistic community.

Meanwhile, NYU happily hosted delegates from Iran, which hangs people for the crime of being gay. President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service harasses conservative donors and organizations, keeps groups out of the political process, stonewalls investigators, and lies with impunity. His Federal Communications Commission plans to micromanage internet access, content, and operations. At the behest of hyper-partisan Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, police swat teams burst into homes belonging to Governor Scott Walker’s supporters, ransacked them, took computers, and told families “Don’t call a lawyer – or else.”

The abuses and intolerance are becoming broader, deeper, and more frightening by the day: from Christendom to Islam and Climate Orthodoxy; from universities to the Congress, Vatican, EU, and United Nations.

Good people everywhere need to rise up, speak out, and fight back, if they still believe in individual rights, freedom of thought and expression, and honest, transparent, trustworthy, accountable government and religious institutions. Otherwise, these fundamental values will disappear – and with them will go modern society and living standards, and efforts to improve the lives of billions of people who still lack the lifesaving energy and technologies so many of us take for granted.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth