Wind Can Power 20% of Eastern U.S.. But Would They Let It?

Reuters assures us this is so:

Wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity needed by households and businesses in the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but it would require up to $90 billion in investment, according to a government report released on Wednesday.

For the 20 percent wind scenario to work, billions must be spent on installing wind towers on land and sea and about 22,000 miles of new high-tech power lines to carry the electricity to cities, according to the study from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“Twenty percent wind is an ambitious goal,” said David Corbus, the project manager for the study. “We can bring more wind power online, but if we don’t have the proper infrastructure to move that power around, it’s like buying a hybrid car and leaving it in the garage,”

But the article itself alludes to the tricky part: would people allow the infrastructure, both the wind generators and power transmission lines, to be built?

And, more significantly from a political standpoint, would the “scientific left” get behind it?  If their behaviour from the 1960’s onward is any indication (remember nuclear power?  or the opposition to the Martha’s Vineyard wind generators?) they’ll fight it tooth and nail.  They’ll do it in spite of their commitment to global warming as an indisputable scientific fact.  And that’s a big reason why I don’t think that the left, for all of their “belief in evolution” can claim to be either scientific or rational.

To end things on a more upbeat note, let me present a few pictures from the wind generator farm near Palm Springs, CA, taken in 2004.

Choose Life

Since this is the day we’re supposed to think about these things, I’m going to feature an album from The Ancient Star-Song that’s a favourite of mine: Choose Life, from the School Sisters of Notre Dame (in Mankato, MN.)

Since the album dates from 1976, I would think that, when they recorded the title track (which you can download here,) they were thinking about Roe v. Wade.

The thing that separates this album from a lot of the Catholic music of the era is the quality and complexity of the vocal arrangements.

Strange Bedfellows: Liberals and Muslims

On the first day of this decade, one Muslim extremist broke into the apartment of Danish political cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose “Muhammad-in-a-bomb” cartoon’s publication in Jyllands-Posten ignited another round of rage in the Islamic world. Westergaard joins Salman Rushdie, Geert Wilders and others who are forced to live underground because they have drawn the ire of at least part of the Muslim world.

As Bruce Bawer in City Journal notes, across the Skagerrak in Norway, long-time women’s rights activist Hege Storhaug has suffered a home invasion of her own. Three years to the day before Westergaard retreated to his panic room, one or more people burst into her apartment, beat her unconscious and left her in a pool of her own blood.

Muslims on the prowl again? Probably not. In this case, Hege’s main opponents were a combination of leftists in both the Norwegian media and the political activist community who were incensed by her 2006 book But the Greatest of All Is Freedom: On the Consequences of Immigration. In response to this they launched a campaign to demonise her as a racist and Islamophobe and, following the play-book they ascribe to their opponents, hate speech led to violence.

Islamophobe? Why should the left care if anyone hates Islam or not? They certainly don’t care if people hate Christians. But Islam, if it succeeds, will be the end of much of what leftists hold to be “beautiful and good.” That includes but is not limited to their sexual agenda. Homosexuals and those who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage—especially women—will find themselves subject to capital punishment if sharia is implemented, a frequent goal of Muslim groups.

And yet we in the West have been treated to this strange pas-de-deux between leftists and Muslims which has complicated our efforts to deal with those followers of the Prophet who use terrorism to achieve their aims. Leftists have pursued this agenda consistently, especially in the last decade. London Mayor Ken Livingstone thought nothing of displacing the Kingsway International Christian Centre while making way for the largest mosque in Europe near the 2012 Olympic venue. The Anglican/Episcopal world has been regaled with the strange relationship between Episcopal Bishop of Washington (DC) John Chane and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While promoting the complete acceptance of homosexuality in the life of the Episcopal Church, Chane has cultivated his friendship with a man whose regime hangs homosexuals from truck cranes. Sometimes things leave the realm of reality completely. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art recently moved to eliminate images of Muhammad from its Islamic Art Gallery (these were done many years ago, before the absolute ban on these images went in to effect.) They are even changing the name of the Gallery to that of art from “Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia.” Their solicitousness for Muslim sensibilities is so divorced from reality that Islamic arts’ export Kishwar Rizvi characterised the name change as “a shame” and misleading.

Examples such as these abound. But how to explain them? Politics makes for strange bedfellows, but this one stretches credulity. From the Islamic viewpoint, the relationship is fantastic; it has given Islam credibility in the West it would not otherwise have. But how can the “multicultural” left justify it? Let us look at four aspects: a) the shared assumption between the left and Islam, b) “millet” or “identity” politics, c) the left’s myopic view of Islam and d) hedging their bets in the event of an adverse result.

The Shared Assumption of the Left and Islam

With all of the significant differences between Western liberalism and Islam, one important similarity stands out: the goal of both is implementation and enforcement of their respective agendas by the state. In that respect the two sides are alike and can, if not agree, understand each other.

With Islam, the situation is fairly simple. Islam is an idea where religion and politics not only go together, they are a unity. The ultimate goal is the establishment worldwide of the dar-al-Islam, under sharia, lead by the Caliph, who is at once a religious and secular leader. The major change in recent times is that Muslims are becoming more proactive in the achievement of this goal, as opposed to the fatalism of the past. Both the nation states that are especially active in forwarding the agenda (Iran and Saudi Arabia) and the non-governmental organisations formed along the way (al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.) are transitional in the achievement of the objective. The major complication is that there is more than one Muslim idea out there as to who amongst these “transitionals” ends up actually leading the caliphate (the Sunni-Shi’a divide is the most prominent of these divisions.)

The left, by and large, is a statist movement. Their goals are ultimately achieved through supra-national organisations, the EU currently being the most successful. (The UN is somewhat more complicated because of the presence of Third World countries in the General Assembly, which have the bad taste sometimes to express their own views rather than those of their liberal patrons.) Nation states and NGO’s are their transitional organisations, especially the former, who have the power to tax. They furnish employment for their advocates and dispense patronage for their client groups. Their ability to promulgate laws is, for them, the preferred method of defining morality. If it’s legal, for the left, it’s moral, and illegal is immoral. The complicating factor, as with Islam, is how to deal with the “lower level” divisions when things finally coalesce.

Thus we have two sides whose style of mind, with distortions, are mirror images of each other. Neither of them have any use for Christianity, who proclaims a kingdom beyond this world, a purpose for life beyond politics and power, and whose logic and MO frequently baffle both.

“Millet” or “Identity” Politics

Students of Ottoman history are familiar with the millet system. Certain religious groups, especially Christian ones, were allowed to practice their religion if they lived in an isolated society, a “millet.” Their community leaders were accountable for their actions and held authority in the group. Christianity went on for centuries in the Middle East in this way, only to be chased away in recent times by Islamic extremists practising religious cleansing.

So why did the Ottomans, the successful leaders of Islam for more than four centuries, allow these people in their midst? Because they were useful to them! They were a reliable counterweight to Islamic groups, many of which were always conspiring against Ottoman rule. As long as they served the purpose of the Ottoman state, they were allowed to remain.

To a large extent leftists, although they preach equality, are in reality practising millet (or in a more contemporary expression identity) politics. One only needs to look at the Democratic Party in the US to see this in action. They are in reality a coalition: blacks, Hispanics, “women,” LGBT people, etc.. If one’s opponents make strategic mistakes (such as the Republicans’ stand on illegal immigration) then keeping such a coalition together is all the simpler. Each community has its leadership which demands and receives patronage for themselves and their group. Those who would breach this convention and look elsewhere for inspiration (like Clarence Thomas) are punished. The left sees Muslims as another identity group to be added to their arsenal, ready to receive the same kind of patronage as the others. Additionally the left sees Islam as a counterweight to Christianity, its usual opponent for the last three centuries.

The Myopia of the Left

It should be obvious from the above that the left’s primary challenge is to keep all of the groups that support them in their camp, as opposed to either leaving the fold or overpowering the rest. So far they have been reasonably successful in this endeavour. Based on past performance, the left proceeds with the idea that they can both use the Muslim community as a part of their power base while at the same time containing their higher ambitions, as they have done with other groups.

That expectation is buttressed by the idea that Islam, in their view, cannot win against an “enlightened,” secular West. Such as view has more than a tinge of racism attached to it, since most Muslims do not have European ethnic backgrounds. It’s a supremely ethnocentric view, but also overlooks a simple fact: if a weapon of mass destruction is properly built and operational, it doesn’t matter whether the man or woman who pushes the button or sets the timer believes in Western civilisation or not. Recent history, especially in Europe, also suggests that, when Muslims act in concert, they are capable of blunting the rule of law and imposing their idea on at least the proportion of the population adjacent to them.

Hedging Their Bets

It’s probable that at least some on the left have considered the possibility of the failure of their political scheme. And that leads to another aspect of the leftist-Muslim entente: the idea that the left, realising their own weakness, is going along with Islam’s demands in the hope that, if Islam predominates, they can become a protected millet within the scheme of things. This turn of events is most likely to first come to pass in Europe.

Unfortunately such attempts to curry favour (or use others for one’s own advantage) can backfire, and do so tragically. One of the best examples of this comes from post-Roman Britain. Having cast off imperial rule, the native rulers found themselves saddled with the task of defending their part of the island on their own. They, convinced by Vortingern, brought in the Saxons to help defend against barbarian attacks from the Continent. This was good Roman practice; however, this time, the results went an entirely different direction, as the Saxons turned on their Briton masters and began their own conquest of England.

Experience teaches that Islam, once the controlling factor in a country, will move to impose sharia on the population and do so without exception. Although the Ottomans were probably the most able rulers the Islamic world has ever known, their system of encapsulating and using non-Islamic groups to their own advantage is going out of fashion, replaced by the religious cleansing we see all too often in the Middle East today.

So What’s a Christian To Do?

This strange, symbiotic relationship between the left and Islam leaves Christianity in a quandary. How best to deal with it? What is our future in the face of two such powerful and antipathetic groups? There are three possibilities.

The first is to go on fighting what is, in effect, a two-front war against these groups on a legal and political basis. In my opinion, such a conflict, waged in a purely political and legal environment, is not winnable. Christianity in the West will continue to find itself caught in the middle, and ultimately share the fate of old Poland, partitioned and eliminated.

The second is to attempt an alliance with one or more elements on one side or the other. Islam, with its shared aversion for Western mores, is a logical partner. But there is too much bad history between Islam and Christianity for this to be viable on a consistent basis, and in any event such a pairing suffers from the same problems that the Islamic-leftist relationship does, especially when it comes to answering the question, “Who wins?”

Looking in the other direction has possibilities as well. Although the multiculturalist leadership will brook no opposition to their idea, some of the followers are having second thoughts. For example, Dutch homosexuals, swept from the streets of Amsterdam by Muslim thugs, are largely voting towards the right. The Creteil Bebel soccer league business underscores the antipathy between Islam and the LGBT community. Ken Livingstone lost his last re-election bid as Mayor of London. For this to work, however, will require a more libertarian view of the role of the state on both sides, and particularly in the US that doesn’t look forthcoming.

The third possibility is this: Christians should be…Christians. Americans are notorious for projecting their “God and country” ideal back into the New Testament and its teachings on our relationship with government. But the truth is that the church came into a world driven by patronage from top to bottom, cruel in dealing with opponents (the Jews and Britons took the worst of Roman power during the first century) and without a really good way for most people to redress their grievances or impact state policy. Nevertheless, the church grew until it achieved what Michael Walsh referred to as “the triumph of the meek” largely by caring for those around it and pointing them to a kingdom that really was the way their Saviour described it:

“My kingly power,” replied Jesus, “is not due to this world. If it had been so, my servants would be doing their utmost to prevent my being given up to the Jews; but my kingly power is not from the world.” (John 18:36)

Is ours any different?

Going Rogue in Combat Boots, Indeed

This piece is one of the best pieces I have seen in a long time on the state of the U.S., and where we might be heading:

Angry and desperate veterans and mercenaries already conditioned to violence, merging with “tea baggers” and other alienated groups, could one day form our own Freikorps units, rioting for violent solutions to national decline. Recall that the Nazi movement ultimately succeeded in the early 1930s because so many middle-class Germans were scared as they saw their wealth, standard of living, and status all threatened by the Great Depression.

If our great recession continues, if decent jobs remain scarce, if the mainstream media continue to foster fear and hatred, if returning troops are disaffected and their leaders blame politicians for “not being tough enough,” if one or two more terrorist attacks succeed on US soil, wouldn’t this country be well primed for a coup by any other name?

Read it all.

Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Bois Caïman Ceremony

In the midst of all of the conservative dancing in the streets about Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, the tragedy unfolding in Haïti continues to require both prayer and assistance.  It isn’t without controversy either; we’re still batting about Pat Robertson’s remarks about a pact with the Devil and its consequences.

There’s no doubt that’s what he was referring to, which took place in 1791.  So let’s take a look at it, from here:

Traditionally in Haiti the following prayer has been attributed to Boukman (one of the leaders of the revolt) at the vodou ceremony:

“The god who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light. The god who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man’s god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men’s god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that speaks in all our hearts.”

There are two things that should be noted about this:

  1. It’s a voodoo ceremony.
  2. Boukman makes a clear distinction between the god he worships and the one the white people do.  Since the white people he’d be facing were the French, and they were (up to that point, at least) overwhelmingly Catholic, that distinction makes the identity of the two deities in question fairly clear.

Since Boukman invoked the god of voodoo, that brings up the issue of the curse.  Boukman Dutty did ask for the aid of the god of voodoo, and that god (I think there’s more than one) has been followed ever since in Haïti.

I’m one of these people who think that curses are made to be broken.  I believe the Jesus Christ is powerful enough to break any curse.  But we have to ask.  And sticking with the voodoo potentates isn’t the way to break any curse.  To make progress, voodoo needs to meet its Waterloo, and that hasn’t happened in the two centuries since Bois Caïman.

Waterloo brings up the next two points about Boukman’s prayer:

  1. He and his Haïtian contemporaries were probably unaware of this, but back in France the very white French were in the process of abandoning the “white man’s God” in the course of the French Revolution, which was sliding into the Reign of Terror and the enthronement of the “goddess of Reason” at Nôtre-Dame.  So the contrast he draws wasn’t as meaningful then as he thought it was.
  2. It certainly isn’t true now.  The emergence of the Global South and the shifting of the centre of Christianity to the Third World has effectively reversed any racial significance as to whose God he is.  (He is beyond race, in reality.)

No one knows that last point better than Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.  In a sense, she’s fighting Boukman Dutty’s war in reverse against the Africans who have brought their jurisdictions (and facilitated the formation of the ACNA) to these shores.

Perhaps she and her eminence-grise, David Booth Beers, will find themselves praying their own version of the Bois Caïman prayer:

“The god(s) who evolved the earth; who evolved the sun that gives us light. The god(s) who holds up the judicial system; who makes the lawsuits roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the black has made us suffer. The black man’s god asks him to commit intolerant crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, he/she orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s he/she who will direct our attorneys and bring us the victory in court. It’s he/she who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the black men’s god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for litigation that speaks in all our hearts.”

What kind of result will they get?  Just ask the Haïtians.  Few places on earth have won the battle and lost the war quite like Haïti has.

HT to StandFirm for some of the source material.

The Most Litigated Tax Issues

From Rubin on Tax, the IRS’ “top ten”:

  1. Collection due process hearings;
  2. Summons enforcement;
  3. Trade or business expenses;
  4. Gross income;
  5. Accuracy-related penalties;
  6. Frivolous issue penalties;
  7. Actions to enforce federal tax liens or to subject property to payment of tax;
  8. Failure to file penalty and estimated tax penalty;
  9. Family status issues; and
  10. Relief from joint and several liability for spouses.

As Rubin points out, “…most of these heavily litigated issues are not “sexy” but typically relate only to procedural matters.”  To put it another way, with taxes, just like anything else, the devil is in the details.  Unfortunately small business people and entrepreneurs are the most likely to get put through the wringer.  Leaving out the issue of outright fraud, most small business people aren’t naturally attuned to things like these, so they get tangled up in the formalities.  The expense of keeping up with these formalities can be considerable, which explains another frequent characteristic of tax litigation:

…71% of these cases involved pro se taxpayers who represented themselves.

And the success rate isn’t inspiring either:

Taxpayers prevailed in whole or in part in 14.3% of the cases.  (That’s 1 out of 7.)

Mercy Chefs Update: Going to Haiti

This update from Mercy Chefs’ director Gary LeBlanc:

Last night as I called for prayer, Mercy Chefs was contacted by long-time relief partner Tim Wylie with Parakletos International to assist in Jacmel Haiti 40 miles south of Port Au Prince. The city was equally devastated but has received no assistance. Mercy Chefs is planning to open and staff a kitchen to feed victims and the coming tide of volunteers that will help to rebuild what they can. We will open and leave the kitchen at a school or orphanage so it will have lasting benefits to the people of Haiti. We will also start a bread bakery in town intended to be sustainable and operated by locals. We have the large equipment donation in place already! We need cargo transport and funding to proceed. We also need continued prayers and several doors to open for us to move forward.

Thank you for joining with us as we do our best to simply go and feed people.

Gary LeBlanc
a servant chef

For more information about Mercy Chefs click here.

Gary started his hospitality career as a bartender at the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter.  So this is, in a sense, an outreach from one part of old French North America to another.

The Haitians are in for a treat.

When Nations are Riskier Than Corporations

I never thought I’d live to see the day, but here it is, from David “Spengler” Goldman:

“For the first time, the market has started to price in a bigger probability of default among industrialised countries than among investment grade companies.

More specifically, it now costs more to insure the combined risk of default of Europe’s developed nations, including Germany, France and the UK, than it does the combined risk of Europe’s top 125 investment grade companies, according to the Markit indices.”

Although Goldman draws some important conclusions from this, what strikes me is that large corporations and financial institutions are so supernational that they’re actually more likely to endure than “sovereign” nations, at least in the view of financial markets.  Corporations are, legally speaking, creatures of the state, but in reality it looks as though some states at least are creatures of the corporations.  Liberals especially gripe (justifiably) about the “corporatist” nature of our government, and this seems to be reflected in the way financial markets value sovereign states.

It will be interesting to see what would actually happen if a nation such as Greece or the UK actually defaults in a major way.  But it won’t be fun.

J. Vernon McGee on the Second Temptation

For those of you who have forgotten, the second temptation is this:

And the Devil led Jesus up, and showing him in a single moment all the kingdoms of the earth, said to him: “I will give you all this power, and the splendor of them; for it has been given into my hands and I give it to whom I wish. If you, therefore, will do homage before me, it shall all be yours.” And Jesus answered him: “Scripture says–‘Thou shalt do homage to the Lord thy God, and worship him only.'” (Luke 4:5-8)

To this J. Vernon McGee trenchantly notes the following:

Satan offers Jesus the nations of the world.  Nations derive their power through brute force and political intrigue.  War is a way of life.  Hate and fear are the whips to motivate the mob.  This is satanic, and Satan offers the kingdoms of the world on these terms.  Men must be changed in order to enter God’s kingdom: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).  The answer of Jesus has a note of finality, “…Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”  (Matt. 4:10).  Then the apostle Paul tells us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:3-5). (J. Vernon McGee, Genesis through Revelation (Thru the Bible 5 Volume Set), Vol. 4, p. 260)

Prosecutorial Abuse: Martha Coakley and the Amirault Case

I never thought I’d link to the Daily Kos, but here it goes:

If you don’t remember the Amirault case, you’re probably sleeping better at night.  The pre-school child-abuse witch hunts of the 80’s remain an indelible blot on any history of justice and reason in this country.  The Amiraults were at the center of one of the prosecution frenzies of that era.

Coakley wasn’t there for the original farce.  But when the case finally began to unravel, when judges and even the Governor’s Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended commutation, Coakley, as Middlesex DA, continued to hound and persecute the family.

Read the story for yourself.  I can’t believe I’m linking to something at the Wall Street Journal, but the story is what it is.  If you don’t believe anything from the WSJ, look it up elsewhere.  Just do a search on “coakley amirault” and see what you find.

And then don’t expect me to make a single phone call for her, or donate a dime, or even show up to vote.  I’m being told over and over that her vote would be crucial to the health-care “reform” bill.  Well, I’ve had to swallow an awful lot over that bill already.  So much worthwhile stuff was cut out, so much inept and feckless bargaining with implacable nose-jobbers, that there’s not much of a bill left to care about.  And now I’m told that I have to swallow Martha Coakley, too?

Although I’m not completely up on this race, up until now I haven’t heard much from conservatives about this.  But prosecutorial abuse is a powerful weapon in the hands of those who want to separate the people from their freedom.  “Law and order” conservatives don’t like to talk about it, but they should.

After all, if you got a liberal with some spine up there, we would be next…

Coakley had the luxury of gracefully dropping this case.  But she didn’t, which only makes matters worse.

Massachusetts, it’s your call.  What are you going to do?