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April 2018

When the EPA Was Really Corrupt By Julie Kelly

Who said this? “The EPA is one of the most toxic places in the federal government to work. If you don’t get rid of the toxicity of the employees at the EPA, we are doing a great disservice to this country. I have serious questions about [the EPA administrator’s] ability to actually administrate.”

No, those remarks aren’t from one of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s many critics on the Left. They’re the words of former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who held several congressional hearings in 2016 to investigate egregious cases of misconduct and mismanagement under the leadership of Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s last EPA chief.

Since official Washington is consumed with Pruitt’s every move, perhaps it’s time to take a little trip down pre-Trump Memory Lane—when all was right in the world, according to incurious elite media—and jolt the faulty memories of these hyperventilating talking heads and editorial boards who insist Pruitt should be fired for spending 50 bucks a night to rent a D.C. condo.

Gina McCarthy should share a place of ignominy in the Obama Hall of Shame, right alongside IRS commissioner John Koskinen, FBI Director James Comey, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite extensive evidence of wrongdoing and subsequent attempts to cover up one scandal after another, McCarthy mostly avoided harsh news coverage during her tenure from July 2013 to January 2017. (She barely won Senate confirmation following questions about her integrity and environmental activism.)

Chaffetz led a series of hearings in 2015 and 2016 detailing outrageous—and occasionally unlawful—behavior by EPA bureaucrats, and McCarthy’s failure to reprimand wayward employees. McCarthy was a masterful blame-shifter who skillfully conned a gullible media into buying her excuses, an approach that started before Obama promoted her to EPA chief. (After a top official embezzled nearly $1 million in bogus pay and bonuses while working for an EPA department McCarthy supervised, she blamed a colleague for her failure to act in a timely manner—a delay that permitted the plundering to continue for more two years.)

She was at the helm of the EPA during two major environmental crises, the Gold King Mine spill and the Flint Water crisis. McCarthy helped push one of the greatest bureaucratic overreaches of all time—the Clean Power Plan—which was so excessive that the Supreme Court stayed the rule in an unprecedented move by the court. She spent nearly $750,000 on international travel in three years.

New York Times Melts Down Over EPA’s Secret Science Ban By Steve Milloy

The New York Times is spittin’ mad at Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt. In just the past week, the paper has attacked Pruitt four times—from the front-page to the editorial page—following his announcement that the agency would not longer be permitted to rely on so-called “secret science” as a basis for taking regulatory action. And at no point in this onslaught has the Times allowed the truth to get in the way of its narrative.

Since 1994, the EPA and university researchers it funds have been hiding scientific data from Congress and the public. The agency has used the data and studies in question since 1997 as the basis for issuing unnecessary and draconian air-quality regulations. During the Obama years, EPA relied on these studies to issue regulations that wiped out 94 percent of the market value of the U.S. coal industry. The largest companies were forced into bankruptcy, eliminating thousands of miner jobs, and wreaking havoc on communities that depended on those jobs.

In 1994, an EPA external science advisory board known as the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee asked EPA for its air pollution data, but the agency ignored the request. In 1997, Congress requested the same data and was refused. In 1998, Congress passed a law requiring that scientific data used by the agency must be made available to the public. But a federal appellate court held the law unenforceable.

In 2011, Congress again began politely asking the EPA for its data. No luck. So in 2013, Congress issued its first subpoena in 30 years to force EPA to produce the data. Again, no luck. The House then began passing bills—three of them in successive sessions of Congress—to bar EPA from relying on secret data to issue regulations. But all three got stuck in the Senate, including the current bill known as the HONEST Act. (The secret science saga is told in full in my book, Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA and summarized in my March 27 Wall Street Journal op-ed).

Since Congress can’t or won’t act, Pruitt has taken the initiative and recently announced that the agency will no longer rely on studies with secret data.

Elizabeth Warren’s Sad Sick Joke By Ronald L. Rubin

Mick Mulvaney lets the senator’s attacks convince Democrats to restructure the CFPB.

If Elizabeth Warren’s Wall Street Journal piece “Republicans Remain Silent as Mulvaney’s CFPB Ducks Oversight” had run three days later, readers would have thought it was an April Fools’ Day joke about the famously two-headed government agency.

Most Americans had not heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last Thanksgiving when its first director, Richard Cordray, resigned and proclaimed Warren acolyte Leandra English acting director, prompting President Trump to appoint cabinet member Mick Mulvaney to the same post. Senator Warren has not laughed much in the four months since a judge backed the president’s choice.

It was no wonder the public tuned out the CFPB narrative that Democrats have repeated since they controlled Congress and the White House and passed the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which created the bureau. The plot never changes — before Cordray’s resignation, Republicans opposed the bureau because it kept the financial industry honest; now they restrain the CFPB so businesses can cheat consumers.

Facts never get in the way of the banal narrative. In February, Patrick Rucker of Reuters reported that, according to unnamed sources, after Equifax disclosed its historic data breach on September 7, 2017, Cordray “authorized an investigation that month” and that acting director Mulvaney had “not ordered “subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives, routine steps when launching a full-scale probe.” The “exclusive” was hardly news. The Dodd-Frank Act forbids the Federal Trade Commission and the CFPB from conducting independent inquiries into the same matter. Cordray may have authorized an investigation of the Equifax data breach, but the FTC ended up conducting the full-scale probe.

Cordray and Warren, who helped draft the law, surely recognized Rucker’s sleight-of-hand. Nevertheless, the senator tweeted, “Another middle finger from @MickMulvaneyOMB to consumers: he’s killed the @CFPB’s probe into the #EquifaxBreach.” Cordray, while campaigning for Ohio governor, wrote in the Washington Post that “the administration has . . . halted the investigation of Equifax,” with a link to the Reuters article as proof there had been something for Mulvaney to halt.

The New Last Refuge of Scoundrels By Victor Davis Hanson

‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Samuel Johnson famously used that line in an attack on William Pitt for supposedly advancing his agenda under warped pretenses. During the McCarthy era and the 1960s anti-war movement against Vietnam, when leftists were called unpatriotic, they offered Johnson’s line as a riposte, quoting it ad nauseam, not as a serious counter-argument but as an accusation that the conservative establishment was smearing them.

When Harvey Weinstein was caught coercing female subordinates, assaulting actresses, and offering quid pro quo perks for quickie sex, he thought, in medieval fashion, that he could preserve his fortune and power by making politically correct offsets. Weinstein pompously announced that despite the charges of sexual assault, he should be given a pass because he was buying politically correct indulgences:

I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party.

Weinstein crammed a lot of firewalls into his apologia: His crimes were merely a matter of “anger” management. He was religiously devout. The ironic upside of assaulting women was that now he could be turned loose to devote his “full attention” to battling NRA. And he now would have time to use his cinematic talents to trash Trump. Why would liberal women hound someone promising a twofer destruction of the NRA and Trump?

Late-night host Steven Colbert tried a similar me con. He used obscene and homophobic imagery to smear Trump, in words that would have gotten a conservative fired: “In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.” The Left did not care that he had smeared the president of the United States, but Colbert potentially had committed a mortal sin in suggesting that a homosexual act was tawdry or embarrassing.

Saudi Crown Prince Acknowledges Israel’s Right To Exist By Tom Knighton See note please

Okay the Prince is trying, but how ridiculous is the statement “acknowledges Israel’s right to exist”as if that was a big concession. Israel is a democracy with the most advanced scientific, technical, medical and social institutions that has contributed 100 times more than all the OPEC nations to the well being of the entire world….And, it is the only post colonial nation asked to accept recognition of its right to exist as an example of “moderation.” rsk

Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of the oil-rich kingdom, has been rapidly instituting big changes to one of the world’s most repressive countries. He’s still acting dictatorially, but change that could affect the whole region is occurring.

He just said this to The Atlantic in an interview: “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”

The Atlantic noted the significance: “According to former U.S. peace negotiator Dennis Ross, moderate Arab leaders have spoken of the reality of Israel’s existence, but acknowledgment of any sort of ‘right’ to Jewish ancestral land has been a red line no leader has crossed until now.”

Needless to say, I expect social justice jihadis to protest bin Salman at every opportunity. After all, they’ve protested Gal Gadot for simply being a Israeli who landed a big movie role.

While the Palestinians have shown no interest in living side by side with the Jewish State, and the prince believes the Palestinians are a distinct people and deserving of autonomy, his acknowledge that Israel has a right to exist will have ripple effects.

Who knows what form those will take.

Bin Salman has enlarged the target on his back, but other Islamic nations will weigh their interests vis a vis Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United States, and act accordingly.

Brazile: Democratic Party Told Me ‘Shut up, Donna’ and ‘I Said Hell No’ By Nicholas Ballasy

WASHINGTON – Former Democratic National Committee Interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile urged African-Americans to stop “giving up” their votes to Democrats without demanding an “agenda” from the party that “matches their needs,” describing their political power as “enormous.”

Brazile said she had to stand up to her own party and say “hell no” after its leaders told her to “shut up.”

“We have to stop giving up our votes. I have done just about everything in the Democratic Party but run for office – everything that they have asked me to do. I have done it. I have registered millions of people in my lifetime. I have knocked on so many doors that I cannot even see the black of my own knuckles. I have carried their water,” Brazile said during her keynote address at the Stateswomen for Justice Luncheon last week, which was organized by Trice Edney Communications.

“I have put their platform within my heart to support. I have championed their issues. And when it came time for me to say what I believed was important, they said ‘shut up, Donna’ and I said ‘hell no, I am not shutting up,’” she added.

Brazile was critical of Democrats such as President Obama and former DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) in her book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, which was released in November.

“We had three Democratic parties: the party of Barack Obama, the party of Hillary Clinton, and this weak little vestige of a party led by [Wasserman Schultz] that was doing a very poor job getting people who were not president elected,” Brazile wrote in the book.

“[Obama] left it in debt. Hillary bailed it out so that she could control it, and Debbie went along with all of this because she liked the power and perks of being a chair but not the responsibilities,” Brazile also wrote. “As I saw it, these three titanic egos – Barack, Hillary, and Debbie – had stripped the party to a shell for their own purposes.” CONTINUE AT SITE

California: A ‘Sanctuary’ for Criminals The state threw out the rule of law, but Orange County will join the resistance. By Michelle Park Steel


I was born in South Korea and raised in Japan. My family moved to the U.S. when I was a teenager and worked through the legal immigration process. It was difficult and time-consuming, but we achieved our version of the American Dream—like the millions who came before us.

Today this system is being threatened as California moves closer to becoming a sanctuary state, with local law enforcement under order to disregard federal law and protect illegal aliens. That’s why, as a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, I voted to join a federal lawsuit against Senate Bill 54, the sanctuary law Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year.

The law prohibits state and local law-enforcement officials from informing federal authorities when an illegal alien who has committed a crime is being released from custody. Instead of protecting American citizens, politicians in Sacramento have prioritized the safety of alien criminals. They are provided privileges that American citizens don’t receive—all while endangering innocent people. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Fuel Economy Fraud Pruitt is right to rewrite rules that are mostly honored in the breach.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday took the Obama fuel economy rules off autopilot. This is good news for consumers, automakers and the U.S. economy, but the Trump Administration’s big test will be negotiating around the political potholes.

Corporate average fuel economy (Cafe) standards are a vestige of the 1970s gas shortages. Like the Nixon-era price controls, the fuel standards were intended to reduce gas consumption. But the environmental left long ago hijacked the rules to impose their vision of an electric-car future.

In 2012 the Obama EPA turned up the Cafe dial and mandated a fleetwide average of 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025 with a midpoint review in 2017. After President Trump won the election, Obama EPA chief Gina McCarthy blazed through the review and upheld the 2012 targets no matter the economic and technological obstacles.

Passenger cars were about half of U.S. vehicle sales in 2012 when gas averaged $3.60 a gallon. But last year they made up only about a third of the fleet mix, and their share has been declining amid lower gas prices. This will make it nearly impossible to hit future targets even with cleaner technologies. By the Obama EPA’s own projections, fewer than 1% of gas-burning vehicles would meet its 2022 target.

Many automakers have met EPA’s targets so far by selling small and electric cars at a loss, and some have shifted production to lower-cost Mexico. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has estimated that his company loses $14,000 on each Fiat 500e.

3-in-4 Americans Say Media is Fake News

CNN rather recently pushed its whole apple/banana nonsense whose theme was that it was real news. And pro-Trump outlets were fake news. But only the media is allowed to call others, “Fake news”. And so it threw the expected self-righteous tantrum when Sinclair did the same thing that CNN had been doing. But the public isn’t buying it. It knows fake news when it smells it.

More than 3-in-4 Americans believe that traditional major TV and newspaper media outlets report “fake news,” including 31% who believe this happens regularly and 46% who say it happens occasionally. The 77% who believe fake news reporting happens at least occasionally has increased significantly from 63% of the public who felt that way last year.

Just 25% say the term “fake news” applies only to stories where the facts are wrong. Most Americans (65%), on the other hand, say that “fake news” also applies to how news outlets make editorial decisions about what they choose to report.

That’s an accurate understanding. Distorted reporting is just as dishonest. The Sinclair/CNN case is a typical example. The media manufactures fake scandals by applying biased double standards. It embargoes certain major stories, like the photo of Barack Obama with Louis Farrakhan, while inflating anything and everything about President Trump into a major scandal.

Anti-Israel Hate on American Campuses A new book shines a disturbing light on the university, the suppression of free speech, and the poison of the BDS movement. Noah Beck

About six months after Andrew Pessin posted on his Facebook profile a defense of Israel during its 2014 war against Hamas, the once popular Connecticut College philosophy professor was subjected to an academic smear campaign. The school paper published articles defaming him. The administration hosted condemnations of Pessin from across the campus community on the school’s website, and tolerated other anti-Semitic activities that only worsened the climate for Jews and Israel supporters. Pessin received death threats and, in the spring of 2015, took a medical leave of absence. The Connecticut College administration offered no meaningful protection or support to Pessin, and never issued any apology for its role in his abuse.

The Pessin affair was part of a growing trend of anti-Israel hostility on U.S. campuses, but at least his story has a somewhat happy ending. Pessin resumed teaching last fall after an extended paid sabbatical, and – together with a colleague – convinced the school to establish a Jewish Studies program. Moreover, he has edited a new book with Fordham University’s Doron Ben-Atar on the general campus trend: Anti-Zionism on Campus: The University, Free Speech, and BDS. Ben-Atar, who is part of Fordham’s American Studies program, protested at a faculty meeting about the 2013 passing of a resolution calling for a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) targeting Israel, only to find himself soon being investigated for unspecified charges, resulting in a Kafkaesque campaign of intimidation and vilification. This volume of essays, by faculty and students who have confronted anti-Israelism on their campuses, documents and analyzes how this movement masks an underlying anti-Semitism that creates a hostile environment for Jews while undermining free speech and civility.

Writer Noah Beck interviewed Pessin via email.

Q: Your book catalogues the many underhanded tactics used to promote the anti-Israel agenda on college campuses, which should help Israel advocates prepare for what awaits them. Did your personal ordeal inspire you to create a potential resource for campus Israel advocates? Or did you have the idea for such a book even before what happened to you?