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July 2017

Al Gore Can’t Save the Global Warming Cult The fake science has been exposed. Bruce Thornton

Following Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, Al Gore is releasing an update of his 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth. It’s called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, in which no doubt we will hear the same apocalyptic hysteria of its predecessor, and the same lurid predictions that will never come true. The difference between the 2006 Academy Award winner and the updated version is that now volumes of counter-evidence and exposure of the manipulation of climate data make it obvious that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is a progressive cult-belief and alternative energy boondoggle, not real science.

Earlier this month PJMedia covered a new report that seriously challenges the data all warmists rely on to buttress their case that the planet has been steadily warming to disastrous levels. This peer-reviewed paper examines how the raw data from weather stations are manipulated and altered by the three main purveyors of temperature data known as Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST)––The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research––before being used by other researchers. Incorporating more reliable satellite temperature data­­––which for going on two decades do not show any meaningful rise in temperature, let alone the steep rise that the GAST data show––the authors come to this devastating conclusion:

The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent year have been the warmest ever––despite current claims of record setting warming.

Moreover, the legitimate need to control for any environmental factors that could distort raw temperatures has been abused to produce a preordained conclusion:

While the notion that some “adjustments” to historical data might need to be made is not challenged, logically it would be expected that such historical temperature data adjustments would sometimes raise these temperatures, and sometimes lower them. This situation would mean that the impact of such adjustments on the temperature trend line slope is uncertain. However, each new version of GAST has nearly always exhibited a steeper warming linear trend over its entire history.

These types of manipulation of data, however, have been obvious going back to 1998 and Michael Mann’s infamous “Hockey Stick” graph, in which the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250), when temperatures were about as hot as they are today, was erased to show a steep linear rise in temperatures. And NOAA’s manipulation of data also has been exposed by the Real Climate Science blog, which examines NOAA’s charts and graphs claiming to show that 2016 was the hottest year on record, and U.S. temperatures have increased 1.5°F since the 19th century. In fact, critical analysis reveals that in 2016, “The percentage of hot days was below average, and ranked 80th since 1895. Only 4.4% of days were over 95°F, compared with the long term average of 4.9%.”

As for the second claim of a 1.5°F rise, “NOAA creates the warming trend by altering the data. The NOAA raw data shows no warming over the past century.” The altered data are made to correlate with the increase of atmospheric CO2, conveniently supporting the main hypothesis of a “greenhouse effect” in which temperatures increase along with the greater volume of CO2 in the atmosphere––a hypothesis dating back to 1896. Additionally, missing weather station raw data––42% of stations in 2016––have been replaced by fabricated data.

Warmists, of course, like most cultists have a whole repertoire of very unscientific tactics for swatting away these inconvenient truths. They use the ad hominem and genetic fallacies to demonize critics, accusing them of being stooges of the oil companies or flat-earth kooks, even as they ignore the warmists who have received billions in government grants and green-energy subsidies, and who like Al Gore indulge in end-of-times scenarios–– “Every night on the TV news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation,” he told Fox News––redolent of Millerism and other eschatological melodramas. And of course, it’s okay for Al Gore to make millions of dollars off such subsidies and “renewable energy” investments. Not to mention celebrity status and perhaps political capital; he’s being touted as a presidential contender in 2020, the environmental knight who will slay the “denier” dragon Trump who besmirched our national reputation and endangered the planet by withdrawing the U.S. from the preposterous Paris Climate Accord. And let’s not forget global-warming “scientists” themselves, who over the years have reaped billions of federal dollars, with $22 billion of taxpayer money slated just for 2017. At least oil companies spend their own money.

Palestinians, Mother of Terrorist, Celebrate Slaughter Of Jewish Family “Praise Allah. I am proud of my son. May Allah be pleased with him.” Joseph Klein

A Palestinian mother extolled her 19-year old son’s “accomplishment” in the name of Allah. She exclaimed: “Praise Allah. I am proud of my son. May Allah be pleased with him.” The mother was not celebrating her son’s graduation, new job, marriage, fatherhood or some other life-affirming event. Rather, she was celebrating the deaths that her terrorist offspring, Omar al-Abed, brought to a Jewish family on July 21st. The family was about to sit down for a Sabbath dinner and to celebrate the birth of a grandson that same day when the Palestinian terrorist prodigy invaded the family’s home. Wielding a knife, he proceeded to kill a grandfather, his daughter and his son, and to seriously wound the grandmother. The massacre ended only after a neighbor, who belongs to an elite IDF unit and was home on leave, heard cries for help from the house and shot the terrorist. Al-Abed was eventually handcuffed and taken to a hospital for treatment of his wounds.

The terrorist’s mother was joined in her celebration by Palestinians dancing in the street in Gaza. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh reportedly phoned Omar al-Abed’s father to congratulate him for what his son had done to bring “pride to the nation.”

The trigger for this latest spurt of violence was said to be Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrances leading to the Temple Mount. Israel took this action in response to the killings by terrorists on July 14th of two Israeli police officers guarding the holy site. The murders were carried out by Arab Israeli citizens who used guns previously smuggled into the compound. Israel installed metal detectors to prevent any further smuggling of arms.

Palestinian violence has been spreading since then, resulting in the deaths of four Palestinian rioters in confrontations with Israeli security forces trying to restore calm.

The spiraling violence is being spurred on by Muslim religious leaders and Palestinian officials claiming that Israel’s security actions were defiling the Al Aqsa mosque situated on the Temple Mount. Omar al-Abed picked up on this theme in the “will” he posted on Facebook three hours before his cowardly attack. He said he was acting against “the sons of apes and pigs who defile Al Aqsa.” Hoping for martyrdom, he posted: “I will go to heaven. How sweet death is for the sake of God, his prophet and for Al-Aqsa mosque.” The 19-year old terrorist, who is the apple of his mother’s eye, did not get his wish and will now have to answer for his crimes. No doubt, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will reward the terrorist’s family with a generous stipend while he remains in Israeli custody. That’s the way Abbas operates.

After first mouthing an insincere condemnation of the murderous attack on the police guarding the Temple Mount, Abbas has exploited the situation ever since. He announced that he was going to suspend all contacts with Israel until the metal detectors were removed. Abbas reached out to the United States and the so-called “international community” to pressure Israel into cancelling its heightened security measures. He reportedly said that unless Israel backed down, tensions over access to the holy site could spiral out of control. The United Nations Security Council is meeting in closed session Monday morning to discuss the crisis. Sweden, Egypt and France requested the special meeting. None of these countries have supported Israel in dealing with the ever present threat of Palestinian terrorism. They have bought into the Palestinians’ victimhood narrative.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government has been holding firm so far on its latest security measures. Tzachi Hanegbi, the minister for regional development and a senior member of the ruling Likud party, told Army Radio: “They (metal detectors) will remain. The murderers will never tell us how to search the murderers. If they (Palestinians) do not want to enter the mosque, then let them not enter the mosque.”

However, there is some division within the Israeli government on the utility of the metal detectors. Senior security officials have reportedly warned that the potential danger the metal detectors may pose in being used as a pretext for widespread violence may outweigh their usefulness. Thus, the government could be preparing a way to replace the metal detectors with a less controversial alternative. Israel has begun installing sophisticated security cameras at one of the entrances. While security officials have told Israeli media that the cameras are meant to complement the metal detectors, not replace them, the cameras may provide the Israeli government with a face saving way to defuse the immediate crisis. Prime Minister Netanyahu hinted as much when he said at his weekly cabinet meeting, “The only thing we want is to ensure no one can again take weapons in and carry out another attack. We’re willing to examine alternatives to the metal detectors, so long as the alternative ensures the prevention of the next attack.”

Peter Smith Wan Secularism Is No Match For Islam

The contest is unequal. Those who believe in nothing beyond this mortal coil are no match for those inspired by religious faith. The battle could be engaged, maybe, if the diminishing Christian alter ego of Western secularity were muscular. Unfortunately, from its leaders down, appeasement predominates.

Is it well worthwhile watching and listening to Linda Sarsour. She is the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. This organisation has links through Qatar to the Muslim Brotherhood. She is an American born of Palestinian parents. She was a Bernie Sanders supporter and played a leadership role in the Women’s March in Washington, organised the moment Donald Trump won the presidency.

Apparently, she was invited seven times to the Obama White House. She is part of the grand and noxious alliance between the Left and Islam. Here, in Australia, think of left-faction Labor luminaries lining up with Islamists to throw Israel to the wolves.

By the way, advisedly, I said ‘watching and listening to’ Ms Sarsour, rather than just ‘looking her up’. The lady is resolute and you fully realise that only by seeing and hearing her speaking. She absolutely knows where she stands, gives no quarter, and is not the least bothered by engaging in racial stereotyping.

Switch to defenders of Western civilisation who speak with the same forthrightness? That’s right, where are they to be found? Well, maybe Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders among politicians or Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer among US commentators. But there is a big difference. All those who I have mentioned are shunned, as extreme, by polite Western society. Geller and Spencer were refused entry into the UK in 2013. By contrast, Sarsour is embraced by mainstream Muslim society and by the Left at the highest levels.

sarsour tweet

Sarsour is not at all shy about invoking Allah in secular matters. There is nothing strange about this in an ideology which has no separation between mosque and state. Herein lies the problem for the non-Muslim rest of us.

sarsour tweet II

The strength of Western enlightened society has been its secular nature. Church and state are separate in nations built on Christian values. These values allowed capitalism to flourish and bring about unimagined prosperity. However, part and parcel of such values is to let discordant voices be heard. Freedom and tolerance — a strength — has become a chink in the armour.

Conservative commentators fall over themselves to be balanced and fair when faced with an imam carrying the religious equivalent of Mein Kampf in his back pocket. (‘Oh, I am sure you wouldn’t personally beat your wife even though you are prepared to stand by the words of Allah, which precisely instructs husbands to beat their disobedient wives.’) And so, the contradiction, along with many others, wafts away into the ether never to be chased down.

An irreligious, multicultural, society is ill equipped to defend itself against the menace of religious fundamentalism when those embracing such fundamentalism are part of a rapidly growing minority group. It can’t be done. The menace simply grows. It grows because there is no effective counterweight.

Muslims enjoy and suffer the same experiences as do we all in everyday life. But there is more to them. They live out the possibility of an afterlife. Whereas this is all there is for your average Joe or Jill.

Hero Imams by Khadija Khan

More than 60 Islamic leaders and imams — from France, Belgium, Britain, Tunisia, and of different Islamic faiths — in a move that may be unprecedented, are touring Europe to denounce Islamic terrorism and to pay homage to the victims of terror in Europe by visiting many of the sites of terror attacks.

The idea seems to have shaken extremists to the core. They have been sending these imams death threats.

It is therefore high time, as mankind faces a crucial turning point, that people will pull together and support any voices of peace such as those of the marching imams, and restrain any hands that would try to sabotage their noble mission.

More than 60 Islamic leaders and imams — from France, Belgium, Britain, Tunisia, and of different Islamic faiths — in a move that may be unprecedented, are touring Europe to denounce Islamic terrorism and to pay homage to the victims of terror in Europe by visiting many of the sites of terror attacks.

It is ironic that while the “liberal” world has been busy in Canada lavishing millions on the “Foreign Terrorist Fighter” Omar Khadr, and in the US pampering extremists such as Linda Sarsour — an apologist for ISIS and Islamist terrorism who calls for a “jihad” on the president, and whose tweets include racist comments such as “How many times to we have to tell White women that we do not need to be saved by them? Is there a code language I need to use to get thru?” — that the press has largely ignored these courageous Islamic leaders. They have travelled from six major European countries and launched a peace march in Europe to show the masses that some Muslims, at least, do condemn terrorism and want nothing to do with terrorists who murder in the name of Islam.

Many consider their efforts a brave stand to win back the trust of those in the West who are justifiably angry about the recent wave of terrorist attacks in United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Israel, Germany, the United States and across much of the world.

These imams, from different Islamic faiths, have done an extraordinary job in unequivocally denouncing the terrorists by visiting the sites of terror attacks to pay homage to victims of terrorism in Europe.

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in France: June 2017 by Soeren Kern

“I am in fundamental disagreement with these left-wing people who do everything to dissociate fundamentalism from Islam. Islam has been radicalized for fifty years. On the Shiite side, there was Imam Khomeini and his Islamic revolution. In the Sunni world, there was Saudi Arabia, which used its immense resources to finance the spread of this fanaticism of Wahhabism. But this historical evolution took place within Islam and not outside. When the people of the Islamic State attack, they do it by saying ‘Allahu Akbar.’ So how can we then say that this has nothing to do with Islam? It must be stopped.” — Sir Salman Rushdie, author of the novel The Satanic Verses, who has been hunted to be killed by Muslim extremists for nearly 30 years.

Residents of the Paris suburb of Mée-sur-Seine complained that a mosque was blasting prayers on outdoor loudspeakers well beyond midnight each night during Ramadan. Mourad Salah, a local Muslim leader, said the city council was to blame for the noise because of its failure to provide Muslims with a larger mosque: “The ball is in the mayor’s court. Until we have a place of prayer worthy of the name, with a greater capacity, things will be difficult.”

An online petition — “Women: An Endangered Species in the Heart of Paris” — accused Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo of allowing a large swathe of the city to become a no-go zone for women. Every night, hundreds of migrants from Africa and the Middle East line the pavements to form an intimidating gauntlet for women walking from the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est railway stations to their homes, the petition said. Shouts of “bitch” and “dirty whore” are common.

June 1. Saber Lahmar, a 48-year-old Algerian who has lived in Bordeaux since his release from Guantánamo Bay in 2009, was charged with “terrorist association” and placed in pre-trial detention. He is suspected of providing financial, logistical and doctrinal aid to French jihadists who were planning to travel to Iraq and Syria. Lahmar was arrested in Bosnia in 2001 after being accused of plotting to bomb the American embassy in Sarajevo. In November 2008, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered Lahmar to be released from Guantánamo because there was insufficient reason to hold him. In December 2009, Robert C. Kirsch, a lawyer at the firm of WilmerHale, which represented Lahmar in federal court, said: “We are grateful for the courage and generosity of the French people and government, and for the ongoing effort by President Obama… which will now give Mr. Lahmar a chance to rebuild his life in France.”

June 1. A group of prominent intellectuals accused French authorities of covering up the April 4 murder of a Jewish woman by her Muslim neighbor. Kobili Traoré a 27-year-old Malian Muslim, tortured 66-year-old Sarah Halimi and threw her out of her third-story apartment. The letter criticizes the Paris Prosecutor’s Office for omitting hate crime charges from a draft indictment against Traoré. They cited a recording of the incident made by another neighbor. In it, Traoré can be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” and calling Halimi “dirty Jew” to her face. Some observers believe the authorities covered up Halimi’s murder to prevent it from helping Marine Le Pen’s presidential campaign.

June 2. The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, banned Noorassur, a local insurance broker, from hanging a sign with the words “Islamic finance” because it “poses a high risk of disturbing public order.” Estrosi said the sign was placed in close proximity to the Promenade des Anglais, the site of the July 14, 2016 jihadist attack. He said that there was a risk to both the staff and the customers and that passersby might see the sign as a provocation. Noorassur’s founder, Sonia Mariji, filed a lawsuit against the city. “Islamic finance is not incompatible with the Republic,” she said. “I am a fruit of the Republic.” Her lawyer accused Estrosi of “conveying the idea that Islamic finance is linked to Islamist terrorism.”

June 6. Farid Ikken, a 40-year-old Algerian, attacked a police officer in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said the hammer attack was an “isolated act.” Ikken was later charged with “attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise.” Prosecutor François Molins said that Ikken was radicalized through Islamic State propaganda he found on the internet. Molins also confirmed that Ikken, who had recorded a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, was a former journalist who was legally living in France as a student working on his doctoral thesis.

Manufacturing Palestinian Violence For almost a century, Palestinian leaders have been exhorting their own people to commit senseless acts of violence. Will it ever end? By Elliot Kaufman

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has announced that Palestinian leadership will freeze all contact with Israel, including crucial security coordination. On Friday, a Palestinian terrorist killed three Israelis, including a 70-year-old man, in their home in the West Bank. On Facebook, the attacker posted: “They desecrate Al-Aqsa & you sleep. They declared war on Allah & all I have is a knife.” Hamas applauded the attack as “heroic,” and a Fatah-affiliated militia also praised it. On Sunday night, a Jordanian man stabbed a security guard with a screwdriver at the Israeli embassy in Amman. On Monday, yet another terrorist stabbed an Israeli in the neck and torso, and then told police he “did it for al-Aqsa.” Meanwhile, violence rages across East Jerusalem and the West Bank as Palestinian rioters clash with Israeli police. Three Palestinians have already died. Hundreds are injured. More bad news arrives each hour.

What in the world is going on?

The current spate of violence started last week, when Palestinian terrorists smuggled guns into the Temple Mount. The guns were then used to murder two Israeli-Arab police officers guarding one of the entrances to the al-Aqsa mosque. Afterward, the attackers ran back to the Temple Mount plaza to engage in an open gun battle. (This was all the more shocking since the Temple Mount, home to al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, is considered the third-holiest site for Muslims and the holiest site for Jews.)

In response, the Israelis temporarily closed the Temple Mount for a police investigation. The site was later re-opened with metal detectors and security cameras installed at its entrances. That Israeli response — not the Palestinian smuggling of weapons, not the Palestinian attack, not the shooting that followed — was then deemed an outrageous desecration of the holy site by Palestinians and their leaders.

It’s worth noting that metal detectors and other security measures are common at holy sites around the world. Everyone passes through them to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, for example. It is also worth noting that the status quo at the Temple Mount discriminates against Jews, who are forbidden from praying there. In 2014, Abbas even called on Palestinians to prevent all Jews from entering the Temple Mount. Before 1967, the Jordanians did just that, blocking Jews from their faith’s holiest site.

But no matter. Abbas’s Fatah party told its followers to “Set out for the al-Aqsa Mosque” on Facebook, initiating riots and clashes with Israeli police. Videos, however, showed large crowds of Palestinians chanting slogans against President Abbas, who is widely perceived as weak. Eager to fight that perception, Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, chaired by Abbas, escalated the situation by declaring Wednesday a “day of rage,” calling for mass demonstrations at al-Aqsa and throughout the suburbs of Jerusalem. Abbas has since placed responsibility for the resulting violence on the Israeli government, of course.

Remember, these are the Palestinian “moderates.”

Senior PA clerics have also done their share to stoke tensions and incite violence, as the Middle East Media Research Institute has shown over the last few days. PA and Jerusalem mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein banned Muslim worshippers from passing through the metal detectors on the way to al-Aqsa. “The prayer of anyone entering the al-Aqsa mosque via the metal detectors is null and void,” he said last Monday. On Thursday, the PA’s minister of religion, Yousef Ida’is, declared that, “The continued damage to the holy places requires exceptional activity by the Muslim Arabs.” The words “exceptional activity” are rather open to interpretation; others aren’t. On its official Facebook page, a Fatah branch posted: “Rage Jerusalem — the Intifada will continue, the revolution will continue to Jerusalem.”

On Friday, the city’s Muslim leadership closed all mosques, telling parishioners to go to the Temple Mount in order to form a volatile mob.

Stop Enjoying Summer, Climate Activists Advise Don’t drive, don’t fly, don’t grill burgers, and also don’t stay home and procreate. By Julie Kelly

The Merchants of Misery — a.k.a., climate scientists — are working overtime to shame you about all the pleasures you’re enjoying this summer and how your selfish indulgences will cause the planet’s demise. Grilling your favorite cheeseburger? Glutton! Packing up your brood for a drive to the lake house? Monster! Hoping vacation sex will result in a new baby to add to the family? Hedonist! Even mowing your lawn earns a tsk-tsk.

A study from Sweden’s Lund University published July 12 lists many of the sacrifices you should make to reduce your carbon footprint. Most of the media coverage — and criticism — focused on the study’s recommendation to have one fewer child (as the mother of two teen girls, I have my own irrational reasons for sharing that same advice right now, but I digress).

Not only did the researchers consider more than three dozen scientific papers to compile their list, they also reviewed a handful of school textbooks and government publications to see whether the ruling class in Canada, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. was appropriately indoctrinating the masses, particularly young people, about which “high-impact actions” will most effectively reverse global warming. But apparently, public authorities are falling short of that goal. (This will come as a surprise to anyone with school-age children, who are routinely admonished, in every subject from science to health class, about the dangers of manmade climate change.) “Textbooks overwhelmingly focused on moderate or low-impact actions, with our recommended actions mostly presented in a less effective form, or not at all,” the researchers found. “No textbook suggested having fewer children as a way to reduce emissions.” *Hint hint, McGraw-Hill*

The one-less-child policy was just one example of the study’s absurdity. Other suggestions include eating a plant-based diet, living car-free, and avoiding air travel. The paper also ranks other “low-impact” recommendations made in government guides and textbooks, such as keeping backyard chickens, letting your lawn grow longer, and hanging your clothes outside to dry. Thankfully, pet owners get a pass for now: “We originally hypothesized that two additional actions, not owning a dog and purchasing green energy, would also fit our criteria for recommended high-impact actions, but found both to be of questionable merit.”

So your life, according to the Merchants of Misery, should look something like this: stuck at home without a car, washing laundry in cold water and then clipping it on a clothesline while chasing down chickens and preparing locally grown vegetables for dinner. It’ll be just like Little House on the Prairie!

Europe’s Next Crisis: The Balkans Russia and Turkey stir up trouble, while the EU focuses on its own problems first. By Walter Russell Mead

At a recent closed think-tank meeting, a well-informed German official was asked what problem in Europe caused him the most worry. His answer came without hesitation: the Western Balkans, where a new crisis is brewing as Turkey and Russia stir the pot.

In his worst-case scenario, Russia and Turkey would encourage their proxies in the Balkans, Serbia and Albania, to help them redraw the region’s borders. The Serbian government, with Russian support, could annex large portions of Bosnia populated by ethnic Serbs. Turkish support could help Albania pull off a similar maneuver, not only in heavily Albanian Kosovo but also in Macedonia, where much of the large Albanian minority would like to reunite with the motherland.

This course of events is unlikely. Since some of the territory claimed by Greater Albania partisans is in Serbia, it would be difficult for the two countries to agree on a new map. But it’s not an impossible outcome, even if the idea more likely would inspire a James Bond villain than a foreign minister. And increasing numbers of wannabe Bond villains seem to be popping up in world politics these days.

There is a grave reality underlying the German’s concerns. The Balkans are unraveling, and the West now must worry about more than Russian meddling. Turkey is becoming more of a NINO (NATO in Name Only) power, and despite deep Turkish suspicions of Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is cooperating more closely with President Vladimir Putin.

Turkey and Russia have been brought together by their opposition to Germany and the European Union. Russians don’t just hate NATO; they see the EU as a barrier against Russia’s historical great-power role in European affairs. Turkey has also turned against the EU and is looking for leverage against Germany and its fellow members. For Russia and Turkey, the ability to cause Europe trouble in the Balkans with relatively little risk and cost is too good to pass up.

The prospect of EU membership for countries like Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia has done more than anything to keep the fragile peace in the Western Balkans. Every Balkan country would rather be part of the EU than be allied to either Russia or Turkey.

But hopes of near-term EU membership are fading. Europe is losing Britain and has had a hard time managing relations with members like Hungary and Poland. The 28—soon to be 27—EU members have little desire to take in five obstreperous new Balkan states that would make the union even more ungovernable, and would expect financial aid at a time when the post-Brexit EU budget will already be stretched.

Serbs and Albanians are both signaling that if the West walks away, they will have to look east, and that will mean shifting to a nationalist agenda with Russian and Turkish help. CONTINUE AT SITE

Mueller Is Trumping Congress Special prosecutors corrupt; independent counsels corrupt absolutely.By William McGurn

Did Congress learn anything from Lois Lerner ? Judging from Capitol Hill’s self-abasing deference to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, the answer is no.

You remember Ms. Lerner. She was the official at the center of an Internal Revenue Service effort that denied conservative political advocacy groups tax-exempt status, or at least held up approval long enough that these groups could not be a factor in the 2012 election.

Back when Republicans were holding hearings on the matter, time and again they were lectured not to do anything that might affect the FBI’s investigation—which eventually ended with no charges against anyone. Though Ms. Lerner was found in contempt by the House for her refusal to testify, it proved all for show.

The tip-off came when then-Speaker John Boehner, rather than use Congress’s inherent contempt power to jail Ms. Lerner until she talked, opted for classic swamp symbolism—by passing the buck to an Obama Justice Department everyone knew would never prosecute her.

The result? Ms. Lerner avoided having to answer any hard questions. The IRS merrily continued to lose or destroy crucial documents. And John Koskinen, the awful replacement IRS commissioner who stonewalled and misled, remains in office.

The Lois Lerner fiasco offers a sobering lesson for a Congress whose various committees are holding hearings on Russia’s intervention in last year’s elections as Mr. Mueller investigates the same. While Mr. Mueller’s office is a watered-down version of Ken Starr’s or Lawrence Walsh’s , it remains true that special prosecutors corrupt even if they don’t corrupt as absolutely as independent counsels. The main headlines of the past week—Is Donald Trump attempting to undermine Mr. Mueller? Will Trump Fire Mueller?—all speak to the challenge a special prosecutor poses to the constitutional authority of the president.

Far less scrutiny has been devoted to the challenge Mr. Mueller poses to the authority of the legislative branch. In this case, ironically, the challenge stems less from the aggressiveness of the special prosecutor than from the meekness of Congress. In between their public tributes to Mr. Mueller’s sterling character, too many in Congress seem to worry more about how they might be affecting his investigation than about what his investigation might be doing to theirs.

One small snapshot: Mr. Mueller, an unelected appointee, had the Trump memos written by former FBI Director James Comey even as the FBI was refusing to release them to the elected representatives of the American people.

When Mr. Mueller was appointed back in May, Sen. Lindsey Graham rightly noted that though he respected the decision, the appointment will “really limit what Congress can do, and it’s going to really limit what the public will know about this.” Alas, the South Carolina Republican went on to say that “we in Congress have to be very careful not to interfere in his lane.”

Certainly representatives and senators shouldn’t set out to frustrate Mr. Mueller’s investigation. But neither should they permit Mr. Mueller to frustrate theirs. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Kushner Statement The President’s son-in-law sets a disclosure example on Russia.

Jared Kushner on Monday introduced a useful precedent for the Trump Presidency: comprehensive disclosure. In an 11-page statement released before meeting this week with the Senate and House intelligence committees, the President’s son-in-law and White House aide described his contacts with Russian figures during the campaign and after the election.

The statement to the committees ends with a definitive denial of collusion with the Russians: “I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government.”

The Beltway media are past the point of no return on their collusion odyssey, so there is little chance that Mr. Kushner has put this issue behind him. But as we suggested in these columns last week (“The Trumps and the Truth”), the White House’s best defense against death by a thousand cuts of anonymous leaks is radical transparency on Russia. Mr. Kushner’s statement has provided a template.

There isn’t much in this statement about Russia beyond what we know, but Mr. Kushner expressly rebuts some of the more incendiary news reports of recent months.

The biggest was the recent disclosure of a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer, which was also attended by several functionaries serving as “translators.” About 10 minutes into the meeting, which he calls a waste of time, Mr. Kushner says he emailed his assistant: “Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.” Aside from the amusement of this extraction effort, Mr. Kushner’s email to his assistant is surely available to investigators for confirmation.

Mr. Kushner also rebuts suggestions that he served as a back-channel conduit between the Russians and Trump Administration, and he denies ever discussing sanctions against Russia with its then ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak.

In Mr. Kushner’s accounting, the Russian ambassador comes off as a suspiciously eager pest, constantly seeking meetings with the President-elect’s son-in-law. Mr. Kushner says he finally agreed to a meeting that would have set off alarms of skepticism in a more politically experienced person. Mr. Kislyak puts him together with one Sergey Gorkov, “a banker and someone with a direct line to the Russian president.”

An important point is that with this and the other contacts described, Mr. Kushner offers details about what was, and what was not, discussed at these meetings. Up to now, Team Trump has taken the view that because every story is unfair or a witch hunt, they are under no obligation to provide their side of these allegations. Which has left the field open for months to media speculation.

Now we have the Kushner disclosure template. Lying to Congress is a crime, so this statement and its details involve some risk for Mr. Kushner if some other meetings or Russian connections turn up. But if this is all there is, the collusion narrative will have to find another protagonist. The President and other campaign officials could save themselves and the country much grief with similar disclosures.