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September 2017

Prof Tweets That He’d ‘Be OK if #BetsyDevos Was Sexually Assaulted’ The now-deleted tweet was a response to Devos’s plans to rein in Title IX on college campuses. By Katherine Timpf

A professor at Austin Community College tweeted that he would “be OK if #BetsyDevos was sexually assaulted” because of her intentions to change the guidelines for how colleges handle sexual assault.

Rob Ranco, who is an adjunct professor of paralegal studies, posted the tweet on Friday. It has since been deleted, but not before a screenshot was obtained by Campus Reform. It stated, in full:

“I’m not wishing for it… but I’d be ok if #BetsyDevos was sexually assaulted. #SexualAssault #TitleIX”

Ranco then followed it with what seems to be some attempts at explanation:

“Perhaps Betsy doesn’t understand how horrible rape is. She’s made the world more dangerous for my daughters. I need her to understand.”

“Yes, @twitter. My words were harsh. I don’t wish harm on anyone. I wish there’s some way #BetsyDevos would understand and care about others.”

He also jokingly tweeted that “Twitter trolls are now due process experts! Priceless. #TitleIX”.

Ranco’s tweets, of course, have faced a lot of criticism. His account (@RancoLaw) is not on Twitter anymore and a spokesperson from the school issued a statement to Campus Reform saying that the school “does not condone these comments and their sentiment.” I’ve got to say, I’m really wondering just what in the hell this guy could have been thinking.

Now, I do understand that there are a lot of problems with the way that we treat victims of rape and sexual assault in this culture. It’s disgusting, but it’s true: There are far too many people who would rather just write off all accusers as being opportunistic liars than actually try to understand what it must feel like to be in a rape victim’s position — to understand, for example, how issues like shame and/or power dynamics might prevent a woman from reporting her assault to the police. It’s very, very important to educate people on this issue. It’s also important, however, to acknowledge the plain and simple fact that current Title IX guidelines have created a few problems of their own.
As Reason’s Robby Soave points out, people who are critical of Betsy DeVos for wanting to alter the guidelines should stop and think about the fact “that every crazy Title IX case she referenced actually happened.” Rape is a serious issue, which is exactly why it should be handled in a serious manner — for the sake of everyone involved. After all, as Soave explains, campus kangaroo courts not only force the accused to act as their own defense attorneys, but they also can force victims to have to act as their own prosecutors. It allows for situations such as what happened at Stony Brook in New York, where an accuser had to face and question her alleged rapist herself, without the assistance of a lawyer or even her own therapist.

9/11 Ended a Golden Age We were so impressed by our victory over the Soviet Union that we failed to appreciate that 19 Islamic fanatics with box-cutters had a sense of History, too. By Kevin D. Williamson

The golden age lasted about ten years.

In November of 1989, the gates of the Berlin Wall were opened. Soon after, the people themselves took to it with sledgehammers, and people who did not know that they could cry from joy learned to. The Wall was a product of that original Antifa, the self-proclaimed anti-fascists of the East German police state, who called it the Antifaschistischer Schutzwall, the “antifascist rampart.” They told the subjects of their totalitarian rule that the Wall was built to protect socialism from the evils without, but of course it was designed to stem migration out of East Germany, where people with direct experience of life under socialism went to great lengths to remove themselves and their families from that workers’ paradise.

By 1991, the demolition of the Wall was complete — and so was the demolition of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which was dissolved in November of that year. On the radio, pop stars sang about strolling through Gorky Park and “watching the world wake up from History.” The capital H was implicit, denoting History in the Hegelian sense, the force against which National Review proposed to stand athwart yelling “Stop,” the History of “dialectical and historical materialism,” the process which Francis Fukuyama would declare concluded, with liberal democracy having emerged as the unchallenged victor in History’s great contest.

The United States declared victory and then turned its attention to domestic matters. That happens in the wake of every great conflict in which the United States is involved: The people grow weary of it, even in victory, and someone, usually a presidential candidate, comes along and demands: “Why are we spending all that money in Berlin (Baghdad, Kabul, Damascus) when we could be using it to fix potholes in Sheboygan?” Barack Obama would later talk about “nation-building at home,” but he hardly invented that sort of thing, and in 1992 it was Bill Clinton making the case for investing the so-called peace dividend in a larger welfare state at home. President Clinton put his wife, a middling lawyer, in charge of reforming the nation’s health-care system, and the project failed, but not before establishing the Clintons as a kind of ersatz royal house cum crime syndicate.

(The “penicillin-resistant syphilis of American politics,” as I called them, a line I would thank Roger Stone to stop plagiarizing.)

It was a heck of a party. The economy had gone from stagflation and gas lines in the Carter years to booming in the Reagan era, and that continued through the Clinton presidency, turbocharged by the emergence of the Internet and the high-tech economy associated with it. My last year in college, 1996, may have been the best year in American history to have been entering the work force with a halfway respectable bachelor’s degree and a little bit of technological knowhow. But things were pretty good all over: My own personal Austin Economic Indicator — the help-wanted sign at the Taco Bell across from the University of Texas campus — was advertising $10 an hour plus a $1,000 longevity bonus after 90 days, and they couldn’t hire people. My experience at my college newspaper and knowledge of desktop-publishing software was enough to take me around the world as a newspaper editor, but I was something of a slacker: The real go-getters weren’t going to work for anybody but starting their own companies and doing their own thing. The startup ethic wasn’t limited to software bosses like Bill Gates and Marc Andreessen: Robert Rodriguez didn’t sit around waiting for Miramax to make his movie — he took $7,000 to Mexico and made El Mariachi himself. There was a sense not that anybody could do anything, but that the possibilities had become much larger than they once were. The combination of technology, freedom, entrepreneurship, and ready investment capital amplified the individual, and made him if not quite the equal of a Fortune 500 corporation then at least a potential rival to it.

16 Years Later: Lessons Put into Practice? by John R. Bolton

Today marks the 16th anniversary of al-Qaida’s 9/11 attacks. We learned much that tragic day, at enormous human and material cost. Perilously, however, America has already forgotten many of Sept. 11’s lessons.

The radical Islamicist ideology manifested that day has neither receded nor “moderated” as many naive Westerners predicted. Neither has the ideology’s hatred for America or its inclination to conduct terrorist attacks. Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution brought radical Islam to the contemporary world’s attention, and it is no less malevolent today than when it seized our Tehran embassy, holding U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days.

The Taliban, which provided al-Qaida sanctuary to prepare the 9/11 attacks, threaten to retake control in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida persists and may even be growing worldwide.

While ISIS’s caliphate in Syria and Iraq will not survive much longer, countries across North Africa and the Middle East (“MENA”) have destabilized or fractured entirely. Syria and Iraq have ceased to exist functionally, and Libya, Somalia and Yemen have descended into chaos. Pakistan, an unstable nuclear-weapons state, could fall to radicals under many easily predictable scenarios.

The terrorist threat is compounded by nuclear proliferation. Pakistan has scores of nuclear weapons, and Iran’s program continues unhindered. North Korea has now conducted its sixth, and likely thermonuclear, nuclear test, and its ballistic missiles are near to being able to hit targets across the continental United States. Pyongyang leads the rogue’s gallery of would-be nuclear powers, and is perfectly capable of selling its technologies and weapons to anyone with hard currency.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, he ignored these growing threats and disparaged those who warned against them. His legacy is terrorist attacks throughout Europe and America, and a blindness to the threat that encouraged Europe to accept a huge influx of economic migrants from the MENA region, whose numbers included potentially thousands of already-committed terrorists.


Here are some excerpts from then President George Bush’s speech to the United Nations on November 10, 2001: After paragraphs of blah, blah, blah about the hijacking of a peaceful religion.. the president offered a challenge, but managed to include processing peace between Israel and terrorists. That is the only commitment that has been implemented…forcing Israel to reconcile with and appease terrorists who openly share the agenda of Al-Qaueda. All other promises have been cynically abrogated….rsk

“The conspiracies of terror are being answered by an expanding global coalition. Not every nation will be a part of every action against the enemy, but every nation in our coalition has duties.

“These duties can be demanding, as we in America are learning. We have already made adjustments in our laws and in our daily lives. We’re taking new measures to investigate terror and to protect against threats. The leaders of all nations must now carefully consider their responsibilities and their future.

“Terrorist groups like al Qaeda depend upon the aid or indifference of governments. They need the support of a financial infrastructure and safe havens to train and plan and hide.

“Some nations want to play their part in the fight against terror but tell us they lack the means to enforce their laws and control their borders. We stand ready to help.

“Some governments still turn a blind eye to the terrorists, hoping the threat will pass them by. They are mistaken.

“And some governments, while pledging to uphold the principles of the U.N., have cast their lot with the terrorists. They support them and harbor them, and they will find that their welcomed guests are parasites that will weaken them and eventually consume them.

“For every regime that sponsors terror, there is a price to be paid, and it will be paid. The allies of terror are equally guilty of murder and equally accountable to justice. The Taliban are now learning this lesson. That regime and the terrorists who support it are now virtually indistinguishable.

“Together, they promote terror abroad and impose a reign of terror on the Afghan people. Women are executed in Kabul’s soccer stadium. They can be beaten for wearing socks that are too thin. Men are jailed for missing prayer meetings.

“The United States, supported by many nations, is bringing justice to the terrorists in Afghanistan. We’re making progress against military targets, and that is our objective. Unlike the enemy, we seek to minimize — not maximize — the loss of innocent life. I’m proud of the honorable conduct of the American military.

“The Afghan people do not deserve their present rulers. Years of Taliban misrule have brought nothing but misery and starvation. Even before this current crisis, 4 million Afghans depended on food from the United States and other nations, and millions of Afghans were refugees from Taliban oppression.

“I make this promise to all the victims of that regime: The Taliban’s days of harboring terrorists and dealing in heroin and brutalizing women are drawing to a close. And when that regime is gone, the people of Afghanistan will say with the rest of the world, ‘Good riddance.’

“In this war of terror, each of us must answer for what we have done or what we have left undone. After tragedy, there is a time for sympathy and condolence. And my country has been very grateful for both. The memorials and vigils around the world will not be forgotten, but the time for sympathy has now passed. The time for action has now arrived.

“The most basic obligations in this new conflict have already been defined by the United Nations. On September 28, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1373. Its requirements are clear. Every United Nations member has a responsibility to crack down on terrorist financing. We must pass all necessary laws in our own countries to allow the confiscation of terrorist assets.

“We must apply those laws to every financial institution in every nation. We have a responsibility to share intelligence and coordinate the efforts of law enforcement. If you know something, tell us. If we know something, we’ll tell you. And when we find the terrorists, we must work together to bring them to justice.

“We have a responsibility to deny any sanctuary, safe haven or transit to terrorists. Every known terrorist camp must be shut down, its operators apprehended and evidence of their arrest presented to the United Nations. We have a responsibility to deny weapons to terrorists and to actively prevent private citizens from providing them.

“These obligations are urgent, and they are binding on every nation with a place in this chamber. Many governments are taking these obligations seriously, and my country appreciates it.

“Yet, even beyond Resolution 1373, more is required and more is expected of our coalition against terror.

We’re asking for a comprehensive commitment to this fight. We must unite in opposing all terrorists, not just some of them.

“In this world, there are good causes and bad causes, and we may disagree on where that line is drawn. Yet, there is no such thing as a good terrorist. No national aspiration, no remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know the consequences.

“We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th, malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror.

“The war against terror must not serve as an excuse to persecute ethnic and religious minorities in any country. Innocent people must be allowed to live their own lives, by their own customs, under their own religion.

“Following September 11, these pledges are even more important. In our struggle against hateful groups that exploit poverty and despair, we must offer an alternative of opportunity and hope.

“The American government also stands by its commitment to a just peace in the Middle East. We are working toward the day when two states — Israel and Palestine — live peacefully together within secure and recognized borders as called for by the Security Council resolutions.

“We will do all in our power to bring both parties back into negotiations. But peace will only come when all have sworn off forever incitement, violence and terror.

“And finally, this struggle is a defining moment for the United Nations itself. And the world needs its principled leadership. It undermines the credibility of this great institution, for example, when the Commission on Human Rights offers seats to the world’s most persistent violators of human rights. The United Nations depends above all on its moral authority and that authority must be preserved.

“The steps I’ve described will not be easy. For all nations, they will require effort. For some nations, they will require great courage. Yet, the cost of inaction is far greater. The only alternative to victory is a nightmare world, where every city is a potential killing field.

“As I’ve told the American people, freedom and fear are at war. We face enemies that hate not our policies but our existence, the tolerance of openness and creative culture that defines us. But the outcome of this conflict is certain. There is a current in history, and it runs toward freedom.

“We are confident, too, that history has an author who fills time and eternity with his purpose. We know that evil is real, but good will prevail against it. This is the teaching of many faiths.

“And in that assurance, we gain strength for a long journey. It is our task, the task of this generation, to provide the response to aggression and terror. We have no other choice, because there is no other peace.

“We did not ask for this mission, yet there is honor in history’s call. We have a chance to write the story or our times, a story of courage defeating cruelty and light overcoming darkness. This calling is worthy of any life and worthy of every nation.

“So let us go forward, confident, determined and unafraid.

“Thank you very much.”

Previously Unseen 9/11 Hijacker Warning: ‘Your Blood is Delicious for Us and Your Meat Cheap’ By Bridget Johnson

Al-Qaeda marked the 16th anniversary of 9/11 by releasing previously unseen footage of Mohand al-Shehri, one of the hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, noting that the terrorists have “longed for your beautiful lands” and find the blood of Americans “delicious.”

Al-Shehri, 22, was a Saudi who trained in Chechnya and Afghanistan months before being granted a student visa to the United States. He arrived in the U.S. four months before the attacks and trained on a flight simulator in Vero Beach, Fla.

According to the video, al-Shehri shot the statement April 17, 2001, before he arrived in the United States that May.

The 35-minute English-subtitled video from al-Qaeda’s as-Sahab media apologizes for the video quality of the 16-year old reel, shot back in the days when terrorists released rough cuts of videocam footage instead of the highly produced films that now come from terror groups’ studios.

It begins with a few minutes of archive footage of late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before moving on to al-Shehri reading his statement. “The tyrants have led the ummah [Muslim community] to this abyss. Filth and immorality have become widespread and has deprived the hearts of sobriety and filled them with lowliness,” he said.

“So accompany me in this last will as I address you from the deck of my ship as to guide you to the shores of salvation. Perhaps your boat will hear my words of inspiration and rock with enthusiasm and you would stop in your way and change course to head for the gardens of eternity. Allah will surely replace those who have chosen to sit back and refrain from the obligation of jihad with others who will rise and act on the basis of the Islamic creed, be willing to pay the price of honor and overcome the enemies of Allah,” he continued. “Those who have chosen to sit back will then be left worthless, and their reckoning will neither be delayed nor hastened, for Allah is all-powerful and nothing can stop him from replacing you with another people.”

As the 9/11 hijacker spoke, the al-Qaeda production showed footage from 9/11, including parts of a PBS documentary, and from other attacks including the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, for which late Libyan dictator Moammar al-Gadhafi accepted responsibility.

Al-Shehri vowed that “this ummah has been molded by the Quran and the sword, and neither of them can be separated from the other,” and decried the “Judaization of Palestine.”

“If we abandon this cause, do not wake up from our slumber and do not dedicate to this cause except for the little spare time that we have, the Arabian Peninsula itself will become a killing ground of Muslims, just like Palestine,” he said, stressing that jihadists need to “defeat America and the Cross.”

Google Bias Against Leading Conservative Websites—Including PJM—Is Real By Paula Bolyard

A new research paper from Leo Goldstein claims to have quantified Google’s bias against leading conservative sites—including PJ Media—in search ranking, especially (but not exclusively) in the area of climate change.

“Google Search is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains and against conservative domains with a confidence of 95%,” Goldstein found. “Further, certain hard-Left domains have such a high [percentage of domain traffic, referred by Google Search, net of brand searches] that their standing raises suspicions that they have been hand-picked for prominent placement,” he says, adding that “certain respected conservative domains are blacklisted.”

In an email to PJ Media Goldstein warned that a number of conservatives sites, including PJM, could be the victims of Google bias:

Dear Editors,

You might be interestted to learn, that your websites have been almost blacklisted by Google. “Almost blacklisted” means that Google search artificially downranks results from your websites to such extent that you lose 55% – 75% of possible visitors traffic from Google. This sitution is probably aggravated by secondary effects, because many users and webmasters see Google ranking as a signal of trust.

This result is reported in my paper published in WUWT. The findings are consistent with multiple prior results, showing Google left/liberal bias, and pro-Hillary skew of Google search in the elections.

I write to all of them to give you opportunity to discuss this matter among yourselves. Even if Google owes nothing to your publications, it certainly owes good faith to the users of its search. Intentionally hiding conservative and/or libertarian websites from the customers is an obvious breach of good faith.

He included a list of several conservative sites that may have been targeted for bias:

The almost blacklisted domains:






On average, Goldstein explained in the paper, the percentage of Google referral traffic (PGSTN) is in the 25-30 percent range for a broad class of web domains. Respected conservative sites like PJM and RedState have much lower percentages according to his findings. He based his research on the Alexa website ranking site.

On average, the conservative domains have almost two times lower PGSTN than the left/liberal ones: conservative 15.5% (standard deviation 5.1%) vs. left/liberal 27.4% (standard deviation 4.9%). Hypothesis of Google Search left/liberal bias is confirmed with a confidence of 95%.

He included this chart to demonstrate his findings:
Chart showing Google’s liberal bias Image Credit Leo Goldstein

On first glance, this sounds like a clear case of bias. However, there are some factors to consider. First, Alexa is not known to accurately reflect a site’s internal numbers, relying as it does on “estimated” metrics. PJM’s actual Google organic traffic referral percentage, for example, is higher than what Alexa reports. And Alexa’s estimate is based on their estimate of total traffic to a site. So, for example, if a site gets a large percentage of traffic from another source (e.g. Drudge or Yahoo) the percentage of Google organic traffic will naturally be lower.

In addition, Goldstein admits that he holds “short positions in Google stock,” which means he is essentially betting their stock will drop. That introduces the possibility of bias into his assessments.

Having said all that, we’ve had a significant drop in Google organic traffic here at PJM in recent months which could be the result of bias—or a number of factors. Google announced “Project Owl” earlier this year, claiming it would use a combination of algorithm tweaks and user reports to crack down on “fake news”: CONTINUES AT SITE

Debasing the Memory of 9/11 By Titus Techera

This time one year ago, I was touring America to see the country in the grip of the agonistic election campaign and to prepare, like other foreigners before me, to write a book. I had only one afternoon in New York. I also had a remarkable guide, a friend who had spent his childhood weekends—before the city descended into the criminal madness of the 1970s—getting on the train from suburban Connecticut and tramping around Manhattan with his friends. https://amgreatness.com/2017/09/11/debasing-memory-911/

We grabbed a cab at Grand Central in the morning and travelled all the way to the Battery, marveling at the gleaming buildings in New Jersey. Then we spent all day walking back to 42nd Street, through an almost empty city—it was Labor Day weekend. The only queue we saw was a long, spindly, but seemingly funereal procession of very pretty girls. I crossed the street to ask them why they were all lined up and seeming so morose only to be told the obvious: It was a casting call for models. I’m no more used to Manhattan than anyone else…

We only spent significant time in two places. The first was the Empire State Building, which felt like a tourist trap. I felt compelled to go up to the top, and it’s worth thinking about what this iconic building reveals about New York—but it’s not important right now. The other place was the World Trade Center site and the memorial to the 9/11 victims.

This, off course, was much more shocking. It is a heartbreak that sends the blood throbbing to the temples even now. The newfangled skyscraper is quite beautiful, but perhaps it is more impressive to Americans than to a foreigner. We did not enter to the memorial museum. Even so, we saw the twisted metal remains—the skeleton of the once-proud towers. That is the only thing that I can remember seeing there to remind me of the sheer scale of the atrocity.

I felt confusion and anger well up in me, all the more as I realized I was all alone in these emotions at this place. The Americans I saw at Ground Zero did not seem exactly to be tourists, but neither were they pilgrims. I thought I saw the heart of easygoing American law-abidingness there, and I did not like it. No one was revolted at the travesty that is Ground Zero. If you’re a student of American history, you know that public architecture died sometime around 1950, just after the Jefferson Memorial was completed.

Since then, and for complicated reasons, influential Americans of various kinds, from politicians to architects, have been busy using their prestige to plan and execute what amounts to the desecration of the great heroes of America and, accordingly, to remove from Americans their dignity as citizens. The Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial is a fearful joke, recalling Communism, as it does. The Dwight Eisenhower memorial is, thank God, never going to happen, having been taken over by madmen not fit to polish the Liberator of Europe’s boots. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the great, world-spanning war president of American history, has not fared significantly better. I am told American veterans treat the Vietnam memorial as sacred, which is altogether fitting and proper, but the memorial is no more fitting to the war or to the country than the reception of the returning soldiers was. I will not talk about the other war memorials. A conspiracy of incompetence and ignobility has robbed the American people of what ought to be the necessary focus of their reverence.

Then the 9/11 memorial happened. The efforts of two generations of influential people humiliating the public memory reached their apex and betrayed the need to memorialize the most shocking attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. Now there’s a black marble hole in the ground where one of the towers stood, and along its perimeter, water running down there endlessly, one supposes to symbolize the void where patriotism should be. Names are written into the marble on the edge. There’s a paved park around it. A few benches. A few trees. Everything screams, “Relax, nothing to see here. Carry on! Nothing more than tragedy happened here.” But it wasn’t a tragedy. It was an outrage.

The people; the parties; the politicians; the influential clever speakers on the radio, TV, and Internet—none of them seem to care much about this matter. What tremendous effort of the will would it take to raise a scandal so that Americans remember they deserve much better than this and that they owe more to the dead?

Islamic State Ambush in Egypt’s Sinai Leaves at Least 18 Dead Attacks marks the bloodiest day in region in months By Dahlia Kholaif

CAIRO—Islamic State militants armed with guns and a vehicle bomb attacked Egyptian police forces in the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 18 civilians and policemen, the interior ministry said, the deadliest assault in months in the restive region.

The roadside bomb blew up after intercepting a group of police vehicles west of the city of Al Arish, an interior ministry statement said, and an ensuing gunbattle erupted between security forces and the militants. The hourslong clash left three militants dead, according to state newspaper Al-Ahram. Ambulances had difficulty reaching the injured as it wore on, the paper said.

Five people were wounded, an interior ministry spokesperson said. He didn’t say how many of the dead were police.

Islamic State claimed Monday’s assault through its official Amaq news agency, saying its fighters had ambushed the outskirts of Al Arish, a hotbed of activity for Egypt’s growing insurgency.

It marks the bloodiest day in Sinai—home of a militancy led by Islamic State’s powerful Egyptian affiliate—since July 7, when 23 soldiers were killed and wounded in attacks orchestrated by the group.

The resurgent violence came the same day as Egypt’s army chief of staff, Lt. General Mahmoud Hegazy, met in the capital, Cairo, with Lt. General Joseph Votel, commander of the U.S. Central Command.

It also underscores Islamic State’s fallback on guerrilla-style warfare, including suicide bombings, as it suffers crippling battlefield losses in its Syrian and Iraqi strongholds. All but defeated in Iraq, it now faces an assault from U.S.-backed Syrian forces on its de facto capital, Raqqa.

Egypt has for several years battled its increasingly ferocious Islamic State-led homegrown insurgency, which regularly targets military and government installations in Sinai, killing thousands of police and security forces.

The extremists have in recent months also begun carrying out a campaign of violence against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, targeting civilians and houses of worship across the country.

The violence has sharpened criticism among Egyptians of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the former army chief who swept to power in a 2013 military coup promising to serve as a regional bulwark against terror.

Despite the endorsement of new U.S. President Donald Trump, who has lauded Mr. Sisi’s counterterrorism efforts, the failure to eradicate the Sinai militancy is piling pressure on the Egyptian leader ahead of a presidential race scheduled to be held next year.

Islamic State accuses Copts of supporting the coup led by Mr. Sisi against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood official who was Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Since coming under attack in January, thousands of Christians have fled their homes in Sinai.

Since coming to power, Mr. Sisi has staged a sweeping crackdown on his political opponents, including many members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Climate-Change Distraction It’s confusing, causally incorrect and diverts resources from real solutions to real problems. By Bjorn Lomborg

Climate change has been blamed for a dizzying array of absurd woes, from the dwindling number of customers at Bulgarian brothels to the death of the Loch Ness monster. Most of us can see through these silly headlines, but it’s far harder to parse the more serious claims when they’re repeated in good faith by well-meaning campaigners.

Consider the recent assertion by Unicef’s Bangladesh head of mission that climate change leads to an increase in child marriages. Between 2011 and 2020 globally, more than 140 million girls under the age of 18 will become brides, leading to curtailed education and reduced lifetime earnings, more domestic violence, more deaths from complications due to pregnancy and increased mortality for the young brides’ children. By all accounts, child marriage must be taken seriously.

In Bangladesh, nearly 75% of women between the ages of 20 and 49 reported that they were married before they turned 18, giving the country the second-highest rate of child marriage in the world. As the Unicef head tells it, climate change has been a major cause, as warmer weather has worsened the flooding, pushing people to the cities, leading to more child marriages.

This entire string of logic is wrong. The frequency of extreme floods in Bangladesh has increased, it’s true, but studies show their magnitude and duration have in fact decreased. And Bangladesh is far better at adapting today than it was a generation ago. In 1974, a flood killed 29,000 people and cost 7.5% of the country’s gross domestic product. A slightly larger flood in 2004 killed 761 people and cost 3.3% of GDP.

Nor is Unicef right to claim a connection between flooding and urbanization. A study published in the Journal of Biosocial Science found that living in cities doesn’t increase the likelihood of child marriages in Bangladesh. Rather, it was “significantly higher among rural women.” According to another study, published in the Chinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment, the average age of marriage in cities is 16.15 years, compared to 15.08 years in rural areas.

This isn’t surprising. Across the world, there’s a convergence between low urbanization rates and higher child-marriage rates. In Africa, the three worst countries for child marriage—Chad, Mali and Niger—also have the lowest levels of urbanization.

Given the weak links between warming, flooding, urbanization and the contrary link between urbanization and child marriage, climate policies would be the least effective in addressing the problem. Copenhagen Consensus research shows that we need to focus instead on nutrition and education, political opportunities for girls and women, and improving women’s rights to inherit and start a business.

A program in southern Bangladesh run by Save the Children, for example, has demonstrated the significant effects of even a modest financial incentive: The program regularly gave cooking oil to parents of unmarried girls between the ages of 15 and 17, conditional upon confirmation that the girls remained unmarried. The program found that these girls were up to 30% less likely to marry before the age of 16 and up to 22% more likely to remain in school. Each dollar spent on such conditional transfer programs does about $4 of social good.

Pope Francis: History will judge leaders on climate change by John Siciliano see note please

I never want to be disrespectful of Catholics and the Vatican, but this meddling is sheer Papal bull….rsk

Pope Francis warned Monday that history will judge the actions of leaders on climate change, saying the science is clear on the matter.

“These aren’t opinions pulled out of thin air. They are very clear. Then [world leaders] decide and history will judge those decisions,” Francis told reporters while on a trip to the South American country of Colombia.

The pope urged “those who deny this” to “go to the scientists and ask them” because “they speak very clearly.”

He brought up the topic of climate change as several major hurricanes hit the United States and the Caribbean. Climate scientists and environmental groups have used Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to point out that although global warming is not directly the cause of the storms, it is a factor making them much more devastating.

But bringing up climate change so quickly after the storms is misplaced and insensitive to the victims, according to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. He told CNN last week that the country’s focus should be on the immediate effects of the storms, not wading into a political debate over climate change.

“Here’s the issue. To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm, versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced,” Pruitt said. “All I’m saying to you is, to use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to the people in Florida.”

Francis has given a copy of his 2015 encyclical on climate change to President Trump. The papal document determined that climate change was a being caused by manmade activities and that world leaders were not moving fast enough to address it.