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March 2017

‘Seattle Times’ Op-Ed: Climate Change Is Racist By Tom Knighton

Climate change fanatics will use any tool they can find to force draconian regulations on the public in the name of their holy church. Nothing is off limits.

For example, see this effort to claim that climate change (and environmental problems in general) is racist:

With unchecked federal power in the executive branch, all communities will feel the pain of President Donald Trump’s attacks on environmental protections. Communities of color, who face higher barriers to living and working in areas free from pollution and climate impacts, as well as greater economic and health disparities, are likely to be hit first and worst.

A recent report by Front and Centered, a statewide coalition we help steer, showed that toxic pollution sites awaiting cleanup in Washington state are often in neighborhoods with a high share of people of color and people with lower incomes.

The National Equity Atlas illustrates that air-pollution exposure in the Asian Pacific Islander population is 34 points worse than it is for the white population in Washington state. The University of Southern California Program for Environmental and Regional Equity report, The Climate Gap, documented how climate change will worsen air pollution disparities, increase the cost of basic necessities, and reduce job opportunities unevenly and harm agricultural jobs, a sector in which Latino immigrants are the majority of the workforce.

Combined with the Trump administration’s war on immigrants, the Asian Pacific Islander and Latino communities are at greater risk from an assault on environmental protections.

Of course, it’s not surprising that people with lower incomes are more likely to live near polluted places. It’s not like Beverly Hills is known for its handling of toxic waste. The only people who live near areas like that are people with no choice. After all, the presence of such problems is what makes those areas more affordable.

The Swamp Takes Aim at Seb Gorka A series of hit pieces is part of an effort to take down the White House counterterrorism adviser. By Andrew C. McCarthy

They’ve taken down General Michael Flynn. The former Trump national-security adviser resigned under fire when a false narrative — his purported collusion with election-hacking Russians — was inflamed by criminal intelligence leaks, exacerbated by his poor judgment (or, at the least, poor execution of his duty to brief senior administration officials). Now, the swamp is after its next scalp, Sebastian Gorka, a White House counterterrorism adviser. If the White House is wise, they won’t get it.

Seb is a friend of mine. He is also an accomplished scholar of jihadist ideology and methodology. A series of transparently coordinated hit pieces against him has issued from the usual mainstream-media sources. They have been ably rebutted, among other places, here at National Review Online, in a column by Colin Dueck, and at the Washington Free Beacon, in reports by Bill Gertz and Adam Kredo. The notion that he is racist, “Islamophobic” (as opposed to anti-jihadist), or uninformed is absurd. I wish only to add a couple of observations to the mix.

First, Washington’s government-centric clerisy has forged its own counterterrorism industry over the years, consisting of former investigators and intel analysts, along with the academics who collaborate with them. Much of the work they have done is very solid. But some of it has been highly politicized — in the Bush years, when the powers that be took umbrage at any suggestion that Islamic culture and some mainstream currents of Islamic thought are inherently resistant to Western democracy; and in the Obama years, when any whisper of the nexus between classical, scripture-based Islamic doctrine and terrorism committed by Muslims was a firing offense.

Gorka, an American citizen who grew up in London and holds a doctorate in political science from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, is an outside-the-Beltway academic. His clear-eyed understanding of totalitarian ideology, as we shall see, is largely based on having experienced its wages. In short, he is a gate-crasher who does not share the industry’s presumptions. Worse, from the industry’s perspective, he is an extraordinarily effective speaker and writer, who connects well in the classroom, on the page, in the council hall, and at the television studio. He is anathema to an expert class that has spent years willingly putting itself in the service of such farce as “countering violent extremism,” “workplace violence,” “Arab Spring,” “religion of peace,” and other manifestations of willful blindness.

There is thus a target on his back. The Trump administration’s quick cashiering of General Flynn has convinced establishment Washington that it may not take much character assassination for the next guy to be thrown under the proverbial bus.

Second, Flynn was replaced as national-security adviser by General H. R. McMaster, a commendable warrior but one lodged firmly in the Bush/Obama see-no-Islam mindset, which is at odds with Trump’s oft-stated determination to recognize the connection between Islam and terrorism. General McMaster evidently objects to Trump’s naming of “radical Islamic terrorism” as the enemy. As I’ve contended, naming the enemy is necessary but not nearly sufficient; it is but a first step toward the real necessity of understanding the enemy. I have expressed my own reservations about the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” so I can hardly fault McMaster on that score. I can quarrel, though, with his reportedly Obama-esque position that the Islamic State is not Islamic. That is no more sensible than saying that the Islamic State is perfectly representative of Islam.

Bill Nye’s Embarrassing Face-off with Tucker Carlson on Climate Change It didn’t end well for the ‘Science Guy.’ By Julie Kelly

Climate-change alarmists who have been largely unchallenged by the media over the past decade have finally met their match in Fox News host Tucker Carlson. And it ain’t pretty.

Since the premiere of his new nighttime show, Carlson has frequently confronted the dogma of man-made global warming, pushing “experts” to cite data and evidence to back up their claims rather than allowing them to repeat well-worn platitudes about a scientific consensus and the planet’s impending doom. In January, Tucker took on California State University professor Joseph Palermo, who wrote, “If President Trump and his cohort believe the science of global warming is bogus, then they shouldn’t be allowed to use the science of the Internet for their Twitter accounts” based on the commonly accepted factoid that “98 percent of all scientists” believe the climate is changing because of human activity. When Carlson repeatedly asked Palermo to give the source of that figure, which Carlson correctly said was unknowable, the professor couldn’t do it. Climate fail.

But it was Carlson’s takedown of Bill Nye the Science Guy, a television personality and celebrity climate promoter, that exposes the intellectual chicanery behind this crusade. During an interview on Carlson’s show on February 27, Nye goofily claimed that people who question claims about global warming suffer from cognitive dissonance: “We in the science community are looking for information why climate change deniers, or extreme skeptics, do not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.” Nye went on to say that denial is denial, the evidence is overwhelming, and the question of whether humans are causing climate change is “not an open question, it’s a settled question.”

Now usually when these charges are made by someone who purports to possess expertise in climate science (Nye has a degree in mechanical engineering), the interviewer acquiesces, immediately surrendering the debate to the climate activist. But Carlson wouldn’t back down: “To what degree is climate change caused by human activity? . . . Is it 100 percent, is it 74.3 percent? If it’s settled science, please tell us to what degree human activity is responsible.”

Trump’s Clean Watershed He orders the EPA to review Obama’s illegal waterways regulation.

Speaking of deregulation (see nearby), President Trump on Tuesday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider an Obama Administration rule that seized control over tens of millions of acres of private land under the pretext of protecting the nation’s waterways. EPA chief Scott Pruitt will now follow due process to rescind one of his predecessor’s lawless rule-makings.

In 2015 the Obama EPA reinterpreted the Clean Water Act with a rule extending its extraterritorial claims to any creek, muddy farm field, ditch or prairie pothole located within a “significant nexus” of a navigable waterway. EPA defined significance broadly to include any land within the 100-year floodplain and 4,000 feet of land already under its jurisdiction, among other arbitrary delimitations.

Mr. Trump summed it up well, if not eloquently, when he said “it’s a horrible, horrible rule” and “massive power grab” that has “sort of a nice name, but everything else is bad.”

The rule would force farmers, contractors and manufacturers to obtain federal permits to put their property to productive use. After recent flooding in California, millions of more acres could come under EPA’s jurisdiction. Green groups could use the rule to block pipelines, housing projects or any development they don’t like. Farmers might be prohibited from using fertilizers that could flow downstream.

Draining the Regulatory Swamp The Congressional Review Act is even better than we thought.

Nancy Pelosi says Republicans have accomplished nothing in 2017, and no doubt she wishes that were true. But the House has already voted to repeal 13 Obama-era regulations, and President Trump signed his third on Tuesday. Now the GOP should accelerate by fully utilizing the 1996 Congressional Review Act.

Republicans chose the damaging 13 rules based on a conventional reading of the CRA, which allows Congress to override regulations published within 60 legislative days, with simple (50-vote) majorities in both chambers. Yet the more scholars examine the law, which had only been used successfully once before this year, the clearer it is that the CRA gives Congress far more regulatory oversight than previously supposed.

Spearheading this review is the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Todd Gaziano—who helped write the 1996 act—and the Heritage Foundation’s Paul Larkin. Their legal findings, and a growing list of rules that might be subject to CRA, are on www.redtaperollback.com.

The pair argue, first, that the CRA defines “rule” broadly. The law relies on the definition in the Administrative Procedure Act, which includes any “agency statement” that is “designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy.” This includes major and minor rules as well as “guidance”—letters that spell out an agency’s interpretation of a law.

This matters because President Obama’s regulators often ducked the notice and comment of formal rule-making by issuing “guidance” to act as de facto regulation. Examples include the guidance requiring transgender bathrooms in public schools, which the Trump Administration recently withdrew, or the 2011 guidance dictating how universities must handle sexual assault. The latter is ripe for CRA repeal.

The second discovery is the law’s definition of when the clock starts on Congress’s time to review rules. The CRA’s opening lines require any agency promulgating a rule to present a “report” containing the rule’s text and definition. The CRA explains that Congress’s review period begins either on the date the rule is published in the Federal Register, or the date Congress receives the report—whichever comes later.

Thus any rule for which any Administration (going back to 1996) failed to submit a report is fair game for CRA review and repeal. The Trump Administration can begin the clock merely by submitting a report to Congress.

Our own search suggests past Administrations were fairly diligent about presenting reports for major rules. But a 2014 study by the Administrative Conference of the United States found at least 43 “major” or “significant” rules that had never been reported to Congress.

The study estimated a further 1,000 smaller rules a year that agencies had failed to report. The study focused only on formal rules—not “guidance” that also requires a report to Congress under the CRA. Redtaperollback.com is offering tools so citizens can examine whether past rules have reports.

Western Feminists Snub an Iranian Heroine The Universal Declaration of Human Rights seems not to apply to women in certain Islamic countries.By Darya Safai

Dorsa Derakhshani may be today’s bravest feminist. As the 18-year-old Iranian chess grandmaster competed at a January tournament in Gibraltar, she refused to don a hijab, in defiance of her country’s Islamic authorities. She was later removed from the national team. Her 15-year-old brother, Borna, was also booted, for facing off against an Israeli chess player.

It would be nice to report that Western feminists rallied to Ms. Derakhshani’s defense, but they didn’t. America’s liberal feminists have been busy planning a “Day Without a Woman” to protest President Trump’s alleged misogyny.

In Iran, the Interior Ministry investigates more than a million women every year for refusing to cover their heads. In 2014 several bareheaded young Iranian women posted a video of themselves dancing and singing to Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.” They were arrested for “hurting public chastity” and sentenced to a year in prison and 91 lashes. (The sentences were suspended contingent on three years of good behavior.)

Feminists and progressives have a habit of ignoring Islamism’s female victims, preferring to focus on phantom reports of Islamophobia in the West. Enormous attention has been paid to “burqa bans” in European countries. But how many readers have heard of Ms. Derakhshani?

Sweden claims it has a “feminist foreign policy,” yet during an official trip to Iran last month several female cabinet members covered their heads. How will Iranian women escape Islamism’s chokehold if European feminists submissively bow to men who refuse even to shake a woman’s hand?

Days before that state visit, an Islamic court in Iran’s Lorestan Province sentenced a man and woman to death by stoning for adultery. The Swedish feminists issued nary a peep in protest of this gross violation of human rights.

In the guise of cultural relativism, Western feminism appears to have evolved into a new kind of racism. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights seems not to apply to women in certain Islamic countries. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Democrats Abandon the Ship of State Democrats have two options: 1) #theresistance; or 2) get in the game. By Daniel Henninger

That scene you saw at the moment President Trump ended his speech to a joint session of Congress was the Democrats abandoning the ship of state.

Like the progressive street demonstrations endured by the country the past four weeks, we may assume Congress’s Democratic delegation organized their post-speech bolt to the exits via the famous social-media hashtag #TheResistance.

During the speech’s most extraordinary moment, the tribute to Carryn Owens, wife of slain SEAL Ryan Owens, one notable Democrat who refused to stand was Rep. Keith Ellison, who just lost a close race for Democratic National Committee chairman to Obama Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, also a man of the left.

You’d have thought that at the two-thirds point, when Mr. Trump hadn’t self-destructed as expected, when instead he was looking less like Alec Baldwin and more like President Trump, that Chuck Schumer might have pulled out his smartphone to tweet the troops, “Walkout maybe not a good idea.” Not this crew. En masse, they went over the side, just as they’ve refused to attend hearings for cabinet nominees and voted as a bloc against virtually all of them.

Donald Trump extended an olive branch on key legislative issues, and the Democrats gave him the you-know-what. In fact, the party might consider making you-know-what its new logo because Mr. Trump has stolen their mascot, the Democratic donkey.

The donkey was the creation of Democrat Andrew Jackson, whose portrait hangs now in Republican Donald Trump’s Oval Office. Jackson’s opponents called him a jackass, which he transformed into a badge of honor by putting the jackass on his campaign posters.

Jackson served two terms. Eight years is going to be a long slog for Democrats if indeed they plan to conduct the nation’s business with the Trump White House from various street corners.

There is one other relevant image from the moments after the speech ended: Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin standing—alone—to shake Mr. Trump’s hand. CONTINUE AT SITE


The month ended with President Trump addressing a joint session of Congress. Eloquence may not be not his forte, but last night he was. He spoke for just over an hour and was interrupted with applause 96 times. It was, in my opinion, a home run of a speech. He was conciliatory toward Democrats, uplifted the American people and evoked empathy with guests he had brought, especially toward the widow of Ryan Owens, a U.S. Navy Seal killed last month in Yemen.

While global stock markets moved higher – the DJIA were up 4.7% for the month – clouds gathered on the horizon. This is a weather pattern we have seen before; however, man-made efforts caused them to temporarily dissipate, but not disappear. I write, of course, of the surge in government debt and obligations, which are growing faster than underlying economies – a situation that must, at some point, end. Adding to (and prolonging) the problem has been the effective socialization of debt, as central banks transferred private obligations to their public balance sheets. The Fed has stopped its QE programs, but the ECB continues. In 2008, such tactics were justified; but, to the extent they are used now to maintain social welfare benefits that would otherwise be unaffordable, they may delay, but will not prevent, future storms.

The problem is particularly acute in the EU, especially in those nations unflatteringly referred to as PIGS – Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. While Spain’s prospects appear better than the others, all are experiencing financial hardship and all are facing the demographic challenge of fertility rates far below replacement rates. Declining birthrates is one reason why Europe has been open to Muslim immigration. Somebody has to produce babies and if the native population won’t they must be imported; for economic growth is difficult when populations shrink and productivity is absent.

These trends, which have produced substandard economic growth, were instinctively understood by those in the UK who voted for Brexit and Trump voters in the U.S. They have been misread by elites throughout the West who seem as removed from reality as were those Russian aristocrats who sipped lemonade, as the guns of 2017 harkened the coming Revolution. Keep in mind, Brexit and Trump are symptoms, not causes. The causes were a consequence of hearts bigger than heads, of sensibilities that exorcised sense.

Not “Your” City—”Everyone’s” City How the Met, in its exhibition Jerusalem 1000-1400 and in its defense against critics of that exhibition, exploits the vocabulary of openness. Edward Rothstein

Last fall, the art historian Victoria C. Gardner Coates published an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal suggesting that the utopian multicultural paradise imagined by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heavenwas being used to promote a particular political position concerning the status of today’s Jerusalem. The exhibition functioned, in her words, “as a highbrow gloss on the movement to define Jerusalem as anything but Jewish, and so to undermine Israel’s sovereignty.”https://mosaicmagazine.com/response/2017/03/not-your-city-everyones-city/

Coates’s article provoked a letter to the editor from Thomas P. Campbell, the Metropolitan’s director and chief executive officer (until his sudden resignation in late February). Objecting to Coates’s “extraordinarily narrow perspective,” Campbell assured readers of the Journal that, far from engaging in an anti-Israel “conspiracy”—his word, not hers—the museum’s purpose in mounting this “unprecedented gathering of masterpieces from the three Abrahamic faiths” was simply to “reveal the richly intertwined nature of these various aesthetic traditions at a fascinating moment in Jerusalem’s history.”

“If anyone has chosen to politicize the exhibition,” Campbell concluded, “it is Ms. Coates.”

I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Campbell’s belief in the innocence of his museum’s exhibition, a belief shared by almost all reviewers. On certain subjects, when historical facts and their implications threaten to disrupt one’s more heavenly and comforting visions, the tendentious aspects of such visions simply become invisible: beyond notice, and certainly beyond argument. All the more reason, then, for me to thank the three respondents to my essay—Robert Irwin, Steven Fine, and Maureen Mullarkey—for making even more palpable the weighty historical facts that prove the illusion, or delusion, in Thomas Campbell’s blithe conception of that “fascinating moment in Jerusalem’s history.”

The Met was intent on showing medieval Jerusalem to be, in Irwin’s words, “the capital of a culturally vibrant La La Land,” and no counter-evidence—abundant examples of which are provided by Irwin in his learned and lively response—was permitted to get in the way. Moreover, just as the show’s positive vision of a medieval paradise was open to serious question, so too was its vision of the age’s stock villains; Mullarkey’s acute points about the show’s notion of the singular evil of the Crusades and of Christian rule in the Holy Land provide fodder for a much more extended inquiry.

Perhaps most surprising is how thoroughly the Met ended up distorting not just a proper historical perspective but a proper aesthetic perspective as well. Given how few artifacts in the show were actually from Jerusalem, and given that fewer still could even remotely be considered “masterpieces” (Campbell’s inflated term), the Met cannot be said to have demonstrated, on its own terms, how great cultural glories arose out of this presumed multi-faith experiment in convivencia.

Political Operatives Pose as Journalists, Human Rights Groups by Bassam Tawil

The same activists and organizations were silent when the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces arrested al-Qiq and harassed his family. Amnesty International neglected to mention that al-Qiq has also been targeted by PA security forces and that, in addition to his work as a newsman, he is also affiliated with Hamas. This detail, according to Amnesty, is evidently not significant.

When arrested, such political operatives posing as journalists — and so-called human rights groups, and the mainstream media in the West — get to scream about Israel assaulting freedom of the media. This dirty little game has been played by Palestinian and Western journalists and highly politicized, biased human rights groups for years.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), which is headed by Nasser Abu Baker, did not come out in support of journalist, Sami al-Sai when he was arrested (and tortured) for 20 days in the PA’s notorious Jericho Central Prison. Nor did Amnesty or most human rights organizations come out in defense of al-Sai.

Instead of calling on the PA leadership to release their detained colleague, Abu Baker and the PJS heads issued a statement in which they justified his arrest and defended the PA against charges of torturing him.

Nasser Abu Baker himself is affiliated with the PA’s ruling Fatah faction. Recently, the AFP correspondent even ran (and lost) in the election for Fatah’s Revolutionary Council.

While AFP has been reporting about the detention by Israel of al-Qiq, it has conspicuously failed to report about the plight of al-Sai and his serious charges of torture in PA prison. So a journalist arrested by the PA is not worth a story in an international media outlet, while anyone arrested by Israel gets wide coverage.

Now it is official: double standards, racism, and political activism are an integral part of the modern media.

Two Palestinian journalists are arrested — one by Israel and the other by the Palestinian Authority (PA). The name of the one arrested by Israel is Muhammad al-Qiq. The name of the one arrested by the PA security forces is Sami al-Sai.

Although he is registered as a journalist, al-Qiq was arrested for security-related offenses completely unrelated to his profession. Israel did not arrest him because of his reporting or his writing, but because of his activities on behalf of Hamas. As a student at Bir Zeit University in 2006, al-Qiq was already known to be affiliated with Hamas. He was a member of the Islamic Bloc — a student list belonging to Hamas.

Al-Qiq’s affiliation with Hamas even got him into trouble with the Palestinian Authority; its forces arrested and interrogated him several times in the past few years. The last time his family received a visit from PA security officers was in 2014. Then, officers in plainclothes seized al-Qiq’s laptop and personal documents.

Now, al-Qiq is in Israeli detention, where he has gone on hunger strike in protest against his arrest.

Guess who is campaigning on his behalf and demanding that Israel immediately and unconditionally release him from detention? The same PA that repeatedly arrested and harassed al-Qiq over the past few years.

In addition, human rights organizations and activists have endorsed the case and are now using it to attack Israel. These are the same activists and organizations that were silent when the PA security forces arrested al-Qiq and harassed his family.

One of these organizations is Amnesty International, which issued a statement last week calling on Israel to release the detained “journalist.” Amnesty neglected to mention that al-Qiq has also been targeted by the PA security forces and that, in addition to his work as a newsman, he is also affiliated with Hamas. This detail, according to Amnesty, is evidently not significant.