Barbara Lifton


You do know why Thomas More made up the word utopia, don't you?

If not, all will become clear.

As a native New Yorker (as in New Yawker), I never could understand the appeal of the place.  Well, it's about to become a lot less appealing—even, I suspect, to the most rabid devotees of the cult of "the city."

From a piece entitled "The Coming Detroitification of New York":

The high cost of all things New York has reached such an extreme that it now costs a truck $102 just to cross the George Washington Bridge. No worries; after Bill de Blasio has been the mayor for a few years, no one will want to come into the city anyway.

De Blasio’s election was the ultimate triumph for the lunatic Left:

Headlining a Brooklyn fund-raiser for the group New York Communities for Change, Mr. de Blasio was hailed as a progressive hero and the fruit of a more than decade-long battle by labor groups, grassroots organizations and the Working Families Party to crown one of their own. …

Definitely read the whole thing.

You see, de Blasio is opposed to having welfare recipients look for a job—I know, I know, that's a really harsh requirement—but is in favor of essentially forcing individuals to pick taxpayer pockets take government handouts. So why is his party called the Working Families Party?  Doesn't sound like a whole lotta work will be getting done on his watch.

Other, more local, politicians are proudly endorsed by the so-called Working Families Party, too...Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton for one and Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson for another. Why is this important?  Because many state "Democrats" run under both banners—the Democrat Party and the Working Families Party (WFP). Why? One reason is that then they can suck in the uninformed voters who still believe that there is such a thing as centrist Democrats.

But for the most part, there isn't.  In NYS, there's the WFP, and the WFP has rather close ties to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) .

And none of those groups—the Democrat Party, the WFP, the DSA, the CPUSA— has the best interests of upstaters at heart.  Assemblyman Bill Nojay today described a conversation in an Albany elevator with a fellow legislator, a Democrat, in which Nojay remarked that Democrat policies were having an adverse effect on upstate jobs.  The Dem's response? "Why would we want upstate jobs?"

They have no intention of creating upstate jobs. They would much rather that all of us who resist their statist, collectivist ideas would simply leave, as many already have. Then, like de Blasio in NYC, they could establish their utopia in NYS and eventually throughout the country. Panem.

Which brings us back to More. He needed a word for a place that didn't, and couldn't, exist. Utopia means both "good place"—the meaning that probably comes to mind first—and "no place."

There's a reason why the term "Left" is often prefaced with "lunatic."

Party line

Now, really, these are human beings we're talking about.  Can there be such a thing as a disinterested party?

In the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin:

The New York State Attorney General’s Office has launched an ethics inquiry concerning votes by Southern Tier town board members related to natural gas drilling, according to documents obtained by the Press & Sun-Bulletin.
In single-page letters sent in October, Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin indicated that drilling-related action by town boards earlier in the year raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.
“We have been alerted to concerns about Windsor Town Board members with signed gas leases voting on issues related to hydrofracking,” one of the letters states. “This concern raises possible conflict of interest issues.”
“In that regard,” the letter adds, “would you please send us a copy of the town’s ethics code”...
ITHACA — In the run up to an appeal of Norse Energy v. Town of Dryden, this week New York state Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-125, filed a document supporting the town.
Documents are still being filed in the appeal, which will be heard by the New York state Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department. A date for the trial hasn’t been set.
Lifton said she supports local zoning control over oil and gas development.
If municipalities have the right to zone against oil and gas development is a question that’s central to the case. A lower court ruled in favor of Dryden during the case’s first hearing.
"Based on research into both New York State statute and case law, I believe -- and two Supreme Courts so ruled this past spring -- that the Town of Dryden and municipalities across New York, retain the ability to use their zoning powers to decide to exclude or limit gas drilling within their borders,” Lifton wrote for a public statement. “I am hopeful that the Appellate Division will uphold the two rulings from the lower courts.”
In a post from a year and a half ago (which I suggest you check out—the more things change, the more they stay the same), I had written, "Babs is not your father's (or grandfather's) Democrat.  Her philosophy is much closer to that of Marx—Karl, not Groucho (although you could make a case....)."
And the Democratic Socialists of America, with which Babs is so closely allied, is itself tight with the CPUSA. At Trevor Loudon's New Zeal:

Contrary to popular opinion, the US Democratic Party does not set much of its own policy.

Democrat policy is actually dictated by the labor unions and radical think tanks, such as the Center for American Progress, and the Institute for Policy Studies.

The unions are dominated by the US’s largest Marxist organization Democratic Socialists of America – which also works closely with the C.A.P. and I.P.S...
In case you think this has gotten pretty far afield from the topic of fracking, it hasn't at all.  In fact, it's where we've fallen down repeatedly—we haven't connected the dots even when they were there in plain sight, and we've been too bashful to call a spade a spade out of some misplaced desire to be seen as "taking the high road."
Time to baldly point out that the other side has an agenda of its own, one that many of us are passionately opposed to.
I do get concerned at times when someone says "Well, you’re a landowner so you shouldn’t make decisions on these issues. What town board member in this state is not a landowner?...Who doesn’t have an interest?
Prescisely.  The "interest" may not be quite as tangible as owning land but it's no less real.


Thelma and Louise discuss the fiscal cliff

No,'s Dora and Peregrina in an earnest tête-à-tête whilst simultaneously having coffee and their hair done (bet you didn't know you could do that at the Queen Diner—don't let the health department in on it.).  

Are you frustrated by the all the fiscal cliff talk?  So's Dora.  As always, the old gal makes a lot of sense.

Going Over the Cliff
“Are you happy with the direction the Republican Party is taking on the fiscal cliff?” my friend Peregrina asked me as we had coffee at the Queen Diner in Dryden. I had to admit I am not.
We agreed that a status quo election in which the popular vote split almost in the middle and which gave continued control of the House to the Republicans by a large margin was no mandate for the President’s radical income redistribution or grow government schemes.  Contrary to media claims, the Republican Party is not dead or even moribund.  About two-thirds of the states have Republican governors.  Even residents of the City of Ithaca have a Republican representative-elect now.  Yet, the Republican Party is suffering from a kind of sickness in which many Republicans neither speak out proudly for our basic principles nor vote on election day.
Now I’ve been a registered Republican since I turned 21, 67 years ago, and was eligible to vote (yes, they made you wait until 21 back then).  The main thing I like about the Party is its fiscal conservatism though that has been much lacking among some Republicans of late.
Ronald Reagan, bless his soul, said that he had not left the Democrat Party, it had left him.  I’m now beginning to feel the same way about the Grand Old Party (GOP).  In Washington, numerous “Republican” office holders have been talking compromise on basic fiscal principles.  Compromise works when the other side is genuinely interested in reaching a viable solution, but you can’t negotiate with people like the President who think it must be their way “or the highway.” Merely kicking the problem down the road or supplying our ever growing government with more funds just won’t work nor can we keep borrowing forty cents of every dollar we spend.
You can’t solve an overspending habit by borrowing, you have to do it by tightening your belt, Peregrina agreed.  Imagine a family, she suggested, that makes $60,000 a year but spends $100,000 every year.  How?  By borrowing money from banks, maxing out credit cards, and using friends and relatives year after year.  Sooner or later, the house foreclosed, bankruptcy filed, overspending must stop.
So, I’ve voted for Republicans only to see that when they get to Washington they get infected with “going along to get along” and to see them abandon the basic Republican principles of smaller government and lower taxes.  Sadly, they no longer feel willing to stand up and speak out for fiscal sanity.  They become “me too” Democrats, always wanting to spend more and to solve all problems with government “solutions.”
There is no such thing as a free lunch.  Common sense says that whatever we spend must be paid for by someone.  The taxing the rich mantra espoused locally by such voices as Barbara Lifton just cannot work.  Why not?  Because the rich just aren’t rich enough.  The tax increases sought by the President from successful people would only bring in about forty billion dollars a year, enough to run the government for little more than a week. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan lowered taxes and found lower taxes actually mean higher government revenues and prosperity for the American people.  Franklin Roosevelt raised taxes during a depression and got a longer depression. Yet the class warfare advocates continue to assault success and make it more difficult though the revenue that can be raised is merely politically symbolic and not meaningful.  They ignore the facts and follow a false dream.
But the problem isn’t revenues, it is spending.  Government is simply too big.  Some Republicans go to Washington to cut its size and end up increasing it.  That won’t do.
So, what must happen?  Statist Republicans and taxing Republicans must be given fiscally conservative and committed primary opponents.  We must confront our Republican office holders and let them know they will have internal party opposition if they persist.  We must get them to adhere to principle.  Or, we Republicans must turn to and work with the more committed Tea Party folks in trying to take back the Republican Party.
UPDATE:  I guess great minds really do think alike  wink


This isn't the Wild West, you know.  Or is it?

We and our contributors have mentioned more than once one of the more ludicrous objections to hydrofracking in this neck of the woods...the problem of—gasp!—transients.  You know, those people that drive up the price of housing, cause traffic jams, engage in public drunkeness, wreaking havoc near and far and then leaving destruction in their wake as they hightail it out of town.

Sorta like students.

The Ithaca Journal ran a piece by Jon Campbell, 'splainin' why DEC Commissioner Joe Martens decided "to delay a decision on hydrofracking and further assess its health impacts..."

That makes it sound as though Babs Lifton and her fellow travelers got their way.

Not so much.

If you have the patience to stick with the entire article to the bitter end, you find out that "Martens dismissed requests from environmental and medical groups to hire an outside, nongovernmental group to perform a health assessment..."

So what actualy happened?

It went more like this:

...The groups would require that DEC conduct an outside health study that would determine the outcome of the final decision. I reject that demand. I believe it is highly likely that some of these groups will pursue litigation following the conclusion of the Departmental process if they do not agree with the outcome.

I believe deferring to an outside group or entity would be an inappropriate delegation of a governmental responsibility. Government is the public's independent reviewer: that is the essence of the current process. To suggest private interests or academic experts bring more independence to the process than government is exactly wrong. Many experts in this field have an opinion - pro or con- which could influence the process. Nor could one ever be sure that there weren't potential conflicts of interest with outside consultants if they were to actually direct the outcome. It is the government's responsibility to ensure objectivity and a review directed by DEC and the Department of Health is without bias.
The Governor's instructions have been clear from the outset - let the science determine the outcome...
...Accordingly, I have asked and NYS Health Commissioner Nirav Shah has agreed to assess the Department's health impact analysis. I have also asked Dr. Shah to identify the most qualified outside experts to advise him in his review. While the review will be informed by outside perspectives on the science of hydrofracking, the decision-making will remain a governmental responsibility....
One could raise the question of why we can't consider the experience of other states where hydrofracking goes on and where health impact studies have already been conducted, rather than spending NYS taxpayer dollars re-inventing the wheel. 
But never mind.
So what exactly are the health impacts of hydrofracking that we need to be afraid of?
Hilarity ensues.  At the NYDN:
In their desperation to block Gov. Cuomo from giving the okay for fracking in New York...the enviro-activists have demanded that state officials explore an alleged link between fracking and — we kid you not — syphilis.

They argue that a drilling boom would draw an influx of male workers from other states who would engage in activities of a kind that would spread sexually transmitted diseases...

And that increased truck traffic would not only lead to more road fatalities, but would also — again, no kidding — discourage people from getting the outdoor exercise they need to stay fit.

This is absurd...

...What fracking opponents really want is not a study of imagined risks, but many more months of wheel-spinning in Albany — and additional fodder for litigation...

...The opponents tried to push DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens into hiring a public health consultant to check out the danger of venereal diseases and all the rest.

Smartly, he went only so far as to ask Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to review whether DEC has appropriately considered health concerns...
The jig is up, anti's. People are only just barely able to stifle their laughter. 

h/t South of 5 and 20, UB, & Publius

The toxicologist, the teacher...

...and left-leaning Lee Rayburn.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that "Cuomo Proposal Would Restrict Gas Drilling to a Struggling Area" in the Southern Tier.

On the heels of that story, Uni Blake, founder of WELC, Women's Energy Leadership Coalition, was interviewed on WHCU this morning by Lee Rayburn, formerly of Air America. 


After Lee got off his soapbox got done speaking with Uni, he then interviewed Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton—listen to the difference here. Listen to the hysterical tone, the "everybody knows" logic (isn't that a logical fallacy? Argumentum ad populum?), the softball questions—when he could get one in edgewise—from Rayburn. He could have read a thorough debunking of Babs' points in "Lifton Tea, Bitter from the First Drop" prior to the interview, but I'm sure that's too much to expect.

After all, there's no media bias at work here, oh no. Just the oil and gas industry, "with their infinite resources...losing the PR battle."

Can you say "Park Foundation"?

No shirt, no shoes, no problem?

Remember this?

Dingy Harry might have had a problem with "smelly tourists" in the Capitol, but the White House doesn't seem to have a problem with tourists who have no shirt,  no shoes, not even a birth certificate, as long as their parents sign them in:

The White House Visitors Office requires that an unborn child—still residing in utero—must be counted as a full human being when its parents register for a White House tour, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon...

..."It is ironic that President Obama's staff recognizes the existence of unborn babies for purposes of providing security within the White House -- yet, there is no indication that President Obama has any problem with the fact that throughout the District of Columbia, abortion is now legal for any reason up to the moment of birth,” said Douglas Johnson, National Right to Life legislative director...

And what is the case currently in DC may soon be the case here if some NYS legislators get their way. From the NYS Conservative Party:

The following legislative memo was distributed to the Members today:
2012 Legislative Memo in Opposition to Reproductive Health Act
S 2844 - Stewart-Cousins/S 2524 Klein           A 6112- Glick
Purpose: This bill seeks to ensure that abortions are legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy if they are deemed necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. Unfortunately, health has been defined by Courts to mean social, economic and emotional distress factors thereby allowing an abortion until birth for any reason.
Party Position: New York State already has the most permissive abortion laws in the United States of America, but this proposal seeks to expand the "right" to an abortion to the moments just before the birth of a precious child. Current NYS law allows an abortion through 24 weeks; however, if the life of the Mother is at risk, an exception could be made to perform an abortion.   Unfortunately, because of flawed court decisions, (Roe v Wade), this law is not enforceable, which makes abortion through the third trimester for any reason legal in New York.
This bill, however, would allow post-viability abortions in a clinic on an outpatient basis, clinics that are to all intents and purposes unregulated by public health authorities.
This bill also states, "the state shall not discriminate" against the fundamental right to abortion in the "provision of benefits, facilities, services or information", thereby requiring religious organizations to go against their fundamental first amendment rights or close down.
This bill may force successful programs that favor childbirth over abortion to close in order to prevent discrimination lawsuits.
This bill also restricts any reasonable regulations that have been allowed by the US Supreme Court, for example, parental notification, counseling prior to an abortion and restricting taxpayer monies to be used. Many of these reasonable regulations have been adopted by more than 32 states.
Another egregious proposal in this bill allows any health care practitioner to perform abortions. This proposal endangers the life of the mother and possibly the ability to carry a child to full term in the future.
The bill also lifts the age restrictions to purchase the "morning-after pill" at neighborhood drug stores and would allow girls as young as 11 to purchase the pill without the knowledge of their parents.
The NYS Conservative Party is strongly opposed to this bill that expands a woman's ability to have an abortion. Modern society has provided many ways to prevent becoming pregnant; expanding abortion laws only continues to denigrate precious life.
One of the co-sponsors of A 6112 is our own Barbara Lifton.
No, no, Babette...can't you understand? Even your feckless leader BHO thinks that not-yet-born visitors to his home in DC are well, you know, human.
h/t Tom

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts."

Richard Feynman, no slouch himself when it came to science, said that.

The Babster's been to the left coast and the results aren't pretty.  In today's Ithaca Journal (h/t South of 5 and 20):

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca, visited the West Coast earlier this week to tour renewable energy sites in central California and meet with leaders in the green energy field...

[....] "My work on gas drilling has heightened my great concern about climate change, and the role that fossil fuels are playing, according to an overwhelming consensus of our nation's and world's climate scientists," Lifton said. "Peer-reviewed studies are showing that the huge release of methane gas in the drilling and transportation of natural gas, which is mostly methane gas, is likely to significantly add to the amount of greenhouse gas we are releasing into the atmosphere. Since methane gas is anywhere from 72-100 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, such release of methane would add considerably to the already destructive effects we are seeing from climate change."

Lifton said the trip was mostly educational, but may factor into legislation she plans to draft in the next session of the state Legislature...

Remember when the Climategate story broke in November 2009? You remember—the hockey stick? "Hide the Decline"?  Oh, you don't remember? That's because it didn't get muchany play in the lamestream media.  Well, some people noticed anyway and produced a series of videos on the Church of Global Warming at which Babs is a regular worshipper:

Notice the not-very-subtle shift in emphasis in Lifton's remarks above from CO2, the original focus of all the hysteria, to methane, a bugaboo related to our regional environmental cause du jour—fracking.

We here at Redneck Mansion have gone hoarse—in a manner of speaking—on the subjects of our moral and intellectual superiors, global warming (or "climate change" as they now like to call it since "global warming" has become a discredited shibboleth), sustainability, energy development (or the lack of it, more to the point) and the like.  Lifton's brief remarks read like a compendium of logical fallacies, and she makes claims that if not demonstrably false, are at the very least questionable:

...Professor Robert Howarth, a biologist at Cornell University, argues that the gas industry generates as much or more greenhouse gas as the coal industry, though only in the short term. This is because methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and methane leaks during fracking and production59.

85. This conclusion requires unrealistic assumptions about: the quantity of methane that leaks during fracking, production and transport; the lack of methane leaks from coal mines; the residence time of methane in the atmosphere; and the greenhouse warming potential of methane compared with carbon dioxide60. For example, Howarth assumes that methane has 105 times the global-warming potential of carbon dioxide over 20 years; even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change only uses a factor of 72 over 20 years, but prefers 25 over 100 years, which is the normal period of comparison. And Howarth gets his numbers on high gas leakage from shale gas wells from unreliable sources, his numbers on gas leakage from pipelines from long Russian pipelines, and assumes that `lost and unaccounted for gas‘ is actual leakage rather than partly an accounting measure61. He also fails to take into account the greater generating efficiency of gas than coal. As one critic puts it of Howarth‘s latest paper:

Practically every paragraph includes an assumption, simplification or choice by the authors that tends to increase the calculated environmental impact of natural gas. Whether that‘s the result of bias or merely a series of judgment calls, it undermines confidence in the final conclusions at the same time it amplifies them. -- Geoffrey Styles, The Energy Collective, 15 April 201162.

86. Absent these unrealistic assumptions, gas is clearly a lower-emission fuel. It is also worth noting that the growth rate of methane concentration in the atmosphere `slowed in the 1990s, and it has had a near-zero growth rate for the last few years‘ according to NOAA63. This is hardly the signature of a growing problem.


We've said it before and we'll say it again—the science is not settled.  Babs would do well to not make it sound as though it were.

More politics of envy

Back in April, we had a post that consisted simply of a powerful Rich Terrell graphic, without comment—believe me, it needed none.

Then at a press conference today, the Carney man had this to say (via RCP):

"Americans are not like -- 'I demand this, you know, I draw the red line here and I draw this in the sand.' They just want us to get something done that's sensible, that spreads the sacrifice and spreads the prosperity."

Really?  Sure sounds like this:

We have our own local crop of "eat the rich" proponents—some of them even have an "R" after their names—but the one who comes to mind first is Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton.  In an op ed from June 22nd:

...we must reform our state income tax structure so that the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share of taxes. I will continue that fight for reform, and perhaps many more New Yorkers will join in that effort as they feel the destructive impact of state budget cuts where they live, work, and send their children to school.

This is a meme, one of a number of stock talking points, that crops up over and over again in Lifton's communications.  What is its origin?  Well, try the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America:

Ithaca Democratic Socialists of America Presents #485:

"Tax, Then Spend in New York State" Charles Dunaway draws on information presented last year by the James Parrott of the Fiscal Policy Institute, Mike Hirsch, Barbara Lifton and Maria Svart to show that New York State could easily afford to pay for what it needs, if only people would demand a return to earlier income tax rates on top incomes or a return to the stock sales tax that the state once had. Recorded Feb. 16, 2010, March 20, 2010, and February 7, 2011.

The video in question may be found here, along with several others.

In fact, if you poke around these local DSA links, you'll find all sorts of interesting things. 

Babs is not your father's (or grandfather's) Democrat.  Her philosophy is much closer to that of Marx—Karl, not Groucho (although you could make a case....).  

For more info, Assemblywoman Lifton has her own entry at KeyWiki, sister site to New Zeal—she may be pleased to know that she's being observed from halfway around the world.  And type in other local names in the search box at KeyWiki—you never know whose name is liable to pop up.

Instead of dining at the Moosewood, maybe they should give this joint a try:

Thanks to South of 5 and 20 and TR for providing the inspiration.

Babs embraces the fishwrap of record...

...and the smell isn't attractive.  Via WHCU:

Local state Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton is calling for federal and state investigations into hydraulic fracturing after a series of New York Times articles raised concerns about the industry this week.

The reports show industry insiders questioning whether companies are as well-off as they claim, comparing gas drilling to the housing or dot-com industries right before they crashed.

Lifton says there now needs to be greater oversight of the industry from both the state and federal government.

Really.  Funny, but a piece at Hot Air begs to differ:

...The Gray Lady blew a spectacular bit of smoke with a recent article that suggested shale natural gas production is a shaky investment at best and, at worst, a Ponzi scheme of sorts, destined to devastate those who buy the “lie” that shale plays will not only produce high profits for companies, but will also provide affordable energy for the country.

The piece — “Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush” — appeared in the Sunday New York Times and implied natural gas companies intentionally or even illegally overstate the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves. The article mentioned by name (among others) Aubrey K. McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the second-largest producer of natural gas in the country. The piece juxtaposed a McClendon quote — “It’s time to get bullish on natural gas” — with supposed “facts” that suggest no reason to be bullish exists.

By Sunday night, McClendon had already responded to the inaccurate and misleading article. In an internal all-staff e-mail, McClendon reminded Chesapeake employees of the facts NYT reporter Ian Urbina conveniently chose to ignore. Yesterday, McClendon published much of the same information to the Chesapeake website...

...McClendon was hardly alone in his reaction to the article. Energy in Depth compiled a list of some 25 responses to it, from experts in government, academia, industry and peer media, all to the same effect: The NYT article misstated the truth about natural gas...

Natural gas just might be the energy solution environmentalists say they want, but actually can’t stand because nothing would put them out of business faster.

Absolutely, positively read the whole thing.

In the shadow of Frackingstock


Not so epic?

I'm right in the shadow of the "epic" "Frackingstock" , which is taking place right across the Six Mile Creek valley from Redneck Mansion.  A great time for a compendium of stories from our Finger Lakes area colleagues...

There is lots of discussion about today's WSJ piece, The Facts about Fracking which responds to the anti-fracking hysteria with some common sense and perspective.  Read it all, and the comments.

The question for the rest of us is whether we are serious about domestic energy production. All forms of energy have risks and environmental costs, not least wind (noise and dead birds and bats) and solar (vast expanses of land). Yet renewables are nowhere close to supplying enough energy, even with large subsidies, to maintain America's standard of living. The shale gas and oil boom is the result of U.S. business innovation and risk-taking. If we let the fear of undocumented pollution kill this boom, we will deserve our fate as a second-class industrial power.

Lonely Conservative wonders why the public employee unions don't get behind fracking.

In Why They Oppose Fracking, South of 5 and 20 mines the comments to find what is really going on.

Strange bedfellows:  Our Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and State Senator Jim Seward team up (read the comments) to throw bones to the anti-fracking zealots.

Marcellus protestors just don't get it.  Make them ban the use of natural gas where they ban drilling for it.


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