The U.N.’s Climate-Summit Charade : By Rupert Darwall

Western nations keep the talks going, to justify costly de-carbonization programs at home.

At a perilous juncture in world affairs and with the international system visibly breaking down — the first forcible annexation of European territory since Hitler’s war; a bunch of fanatics and psychopaths, perpetrators of a double genocide, seizing control of a vast swath of the Levant, and American leadership exhausted — the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, is convening a summit of world leaders to discuss, of all things, global warming. True, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton calls it the most consequential and urgent set of challenges facing the world, but the leaders of Canada, Germany, China, and India appear not to agree and are giving next week’s meeting in New York a pass.

The idea for the summit is Mr. Ban’s, who has made global warming the overriding mission of the United Nations since becoming secretary general in 2007. No previous secretary general has evinced so little interest in the great matters of peace and war and has so little to show for his efforts. Were it not for the prestige of his job, Mr. Ban would cut a hapless figure, over the years making a string of histrionic warnings and absurdly optimistic forecasts of the imminence of a global warming treaty.

Those might have been understandable at the outset of his term, before hopes for a treaty were repeatedly dashed. Mr. Ban was in Bali at the end of his first year hailing the annual climate talks as the chance to usher in a “a new age of green economics.” After the collapse of attempts to agree on a new treaty two years later, he told delegates at Copenhagen, “You sealed a deal,” which they hadn’t, and promised to have a legally binding treaty in 2010, which there wasn’t.

Having lost the race to have a new treaty in place before the end of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period, Mr. Ban declared at the start of the 2012 Durban conference, “It would be difficult to overstate the gravity of this moment.” So he gave it his best shot: “Without exaggeration, we can say: the future of our planet is at stake.” In fact, Durban was the high water mark of hopes for a son-of-Kyoto. Agreement in Durban on a road map to an outcome “with legal force” was later eviscerated by developing nations at subsequent conferences.

Do-It-Yourself Jihadism By Jonah Goldberg

The fact that ISIS focuses on beheadings rather than elaborate plots makes them that much harder to foil.

On Thursday, Australian authorities claimed they thwarted a plot by supporters of the Islamic State to grab random people off the street and then behead the captured citizens on videotape. Australia’s attorney general said that the massive raid, the largest counterterrorism operation in the nation’s history, involving more than 800 police officers and raids of at least twelve properties, was necessary because, “If the . . . police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened.”

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott confirmed that the raids were prompted by intercepted phone calls, from an Australian of Afghan descent believed to be Mohammad Ali Baryalei. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that he is suspected to be the “most senior Australian member of the terrorist group Islamic State, having traveled to Syria in April last year.” A proselytizer for the “Street Dawah Movement,” Barylei “was outspoken and wouldn’t shy from speaking the truth regardless,” a former fellow Dawah member told Fairfax Media. “He wasn’t pleased with living in Australian society and wanted to live in an Islamic society away from open alcoholism, homosexuality, fornication, drugs, and capitalism.”

Baryalei is credited with recruiting at least two fellow Australians to the cause. One, Khaled Sharrouf, infamously tweeted pictures of himself executing prisoners in Iraq and images of his seven-year-old son holding a severed head in Syria. Another fellow Australian, Mohamed Elomar, has also released images of himself holding the decapitated heads of his “enemies.”

So here’s the troubling question: Why did Baryalei bother making the phone calls?

We’ve been hearing for months that the Islamic State is brilliant at social media. The terror group can reach out to supporters, sympathizers, and assassins all around the world with a single tweet, Facebook post, or YouTube video.

If the terror group wants Muslims in Sydney, Australia — or in New York City, or in Topeka, Kansas — to grab innocent people off the street and saw their heads off, all it needs to do is say so. The word will get to the intended ears quickly enough.

Replacing Obamacare Saves a Lot of Money By James C. Capretta

Republicans have multiple plans to offer basically the same health-care at lower cost.

Supporters of the Obama administration like to create the impression that there is no viable alternative to the Affordable Care Act — i.e., Obamacare. But that is demonstrably not true. Republican senators Richard Burr, Tom Coburn, and Orrin Hatch introduced a plan earlier this year that would cover just as many people with insurance as Obamacare at a fraction of the cost.

Now we have confirmation, in the form of a new cost estimate, that a similarly constructed but slightly different proposal would also cost less, while covering nearly the same number of people.

The plan, developed and promoted by the 2017 Project — a group dedicated to developing a conservative reform agenda — shares several key features with Burr-Coburn-Hatch:

It repeals the ACA.

It leaves in place the employer-sponsored system of coverage through which the vast majority of working Americans and their families get insurance today.

It would provide new “continuous coverage” protection for people who stay enrolled in health insurance. They could move from employer coverage to the individual market, and vice versa, without their health status factoring into the premiums they owe. Their preexisting medical conditions would also have to be covered by insurance plans, and they couldn’t be denied coverage by an insurer based on their health status.

It provides new federal funding for high-risk pools, aimed at ensuring affordable options for persons with expensive conditions and minimizing the premium effects of more high-cost patients entering the individual insurance market.

It provides new, age-adjusted tax credits for persons who do not get their health insurance through an employer. Workers in firms with 50 or fewer employees could opt for the credit in lieu of tax-exempt employer-paid premiums.

It places an upper limit on the tax preference for employer-paid premiums, pegged initially to a premium level exceeded by 25 percent of employer plans.

It allows participants in the Medicaid program to get the tax credits and thus enroll in the same private insurance plans available to others in the individual insurance market.

Standard Clinton Procedure on Benghazi : Did Hillary’s Files Get the Whitewater Treatment Once Again? By Deroy Murdock

According to a retired high-level U.S. diplomat, top aides to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton concealed embarrassing documents from investigators probing the deadly Islamic-terror attack of September 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. For longtime Clinton watchers, this story of sneaky staffers and stashed papers sounds like an episode of a 1990s teledrama called Whitewater.

Former deputy assistant secretary of state Raymond Maxwell says he learned about unusual activity in the State Department’s basement as the Accountability Review Board (ARB) sought official records pertinent to the Benghazi assault, which killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.

“I heard about it and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon,” Maxwell told the Washington-based Daily Signal’s Sharyl Attkisson, an Emmy-winning former CBS News correspondent. Maxwell, a 21-year-veteran Foreign Service officer, says he encountered an office director who served Clinton’s leading advisers. She stood among cartons of documents and piles of papers.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” Maxwell told Attkisson. The secretary and top personnel occupy State’s seventh floor.

Maxwell asked his colleague, “‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’”

Maxwell says that Hillary’s then–chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and then–deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, also were in the basement, inspecting pre-attack diplomatic cables and other items and deciding what to show the ARB and what to spare them. Maxwell considered this “an exercise in misdirection.”

BRIDGET JOHNSON:What Does Kerry Call ISIS? ‘The Enemy of Islam’(HUH??)

In the question of what the group that calls itself the Islamic State should be called, France has decided to officially use “Daesh” — an insulting Arabic acronym used by Kurds and others in the region.

Secretary of State John Kerry has his own moniker for the terrorists that the administration formally refers to as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

“What would you call — I call them ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) asked Kerry today at a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on the administration’s strategy.

“What would you tell the American people? OK, we are doing this support. We are at war. We are a counter-terrorism operation. Whatever you want to call it,” Poe said, referring to Kerry’s insistence on “war” terminology not being important. “Who is the enemy? Define the enemy for me. What would you call them?”

“Well, I call them the enemy of Islam, because that’s what I think they are, and they certainly don’t represent a state, even though they try to claim to,” Kerry replied.

“So, officially, we should refer to them as the enemy of Islam?” Poe asked.

“Well, I do,” said Kerry. “I don’t know if there’s an official whatever. But I hope you join me in doing that, because that’s what I think they are, and [they] don’t they deserve to have a reference in their name that gives them legitimacy.”

“Are they the enemy of the United States?” Poe continued.

“They are an enemy of humanity,” Kerry responded. “…Definitively, it is in the national security interest of our country, with Americans over there with passports learning how to fight and taking part in this.”

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said he thought “many” people were “shocked” when Obama “emphasized that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was in fact not Islamic.”

Ambassador Accused of Siding with Islamists in Egypt Now a Leader of ISIS Coalition Strategy By Bridget Johnson

Twenty days before the caliphate was created, Anne Patterson said “we can do much” to “contain and roll back the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”
WASHINGTON — One of the point people at the helm of the State Department’s strategy against the Islamic State and coalition-building effort is the U.S. ambassador reviled in Egypt for cozying with the Muslim Brotherhood during the summer 2013 Tamarod protests.

Both President Obama and Anne Patterson were lambasted by protesters as propping up the Muslim Brotherhood and sanctioning the Islamists’ abuses against the Egyptian people. As the U.S. envoy in Cairo, Patterson discouraged the epic protests against Islamist rule and reportedly tried to dissuade Coptic Christians from taking part.

Egyptian protesters were not shy about expressing their feelings of betrayal, hoisting banners that accused Obama of supporting terrorism in backing the Morsi government and holding photos of Patterson smiling and laughing at a meeting with Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie. “We know what you did last summer,” read one banner, while another said, “Anne Patterson, leave Egypt now and go to hell!!!”

“Wake up America, Obama backs up a fascist regime in Egypt,” said one banner, while another placed an international “no” symbol over Obama’s face and read, “Obama, you can’t fool your people and the world any more. You finance & back terrorism.”

Al-Ahram newspaper ran a piece accusing Patterson of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to smuggle fighters in from Gaza to “spread chaos” in the country.

“Your article’s claim that I personally am involved in a conspiracy to divide and destabilise Egypt is absolutely absurd and dangerous,” she wrote in a letter slamming the article [1] as “outrageous, fictitious, and thoroughly unprofessional.”

When she left the ambassador post at the end of August, Egyptians partied [2] outside the U.S. Embassy in a “good riddance” celebration.

Patterson was promoted to assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs at the end of last year.

Harvey A. Silverglate :A Campus Crusade Against the Constitution

Limiting First Amendment rights for Christians undercuts rights for everyone else.

In my lifetime I have been fortunate to see private associations within civil society promote astonishing social and political advancements in civil rights for African-Americans, women and gays. The voices of a like-minded minority, when allowed to associate and present a unified message, can be powerful. Yet we cannot pick and choose which groups have rights. Thus the current controversy surrounding evangelical Christian organizations on college campuses is a test of our commitment to liberal and constitutional ideals.

Earlier this month the California State University System “de-recognized” 23 campus chapters of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). This decision stems from a December 2011 chancellor’s executive order stating that “No campus shall recognize any . . . student organization unless its membership and leadership are open to all currently enrolled students.”

The new policy has insidious implications. Any student may attend IVCF meetings or participate in its activities regardless of belief. But because IVCF asks its leaders to affirm their adherence to evangelical Christian doctrine—a “belief” requirement—California state-university administrators have deemed the group discriminatory. IVCF chapters will no longer have use of certain campus facilities and benefits available to other groups. This policy guts the free association right that was enshrined in the First Amendment precisely to protect minority or unpopular views.

It is obvious why IVCF would want to restrict leadership to true believers. It would be anomalous for a conventional religious group of any kind to open its top leadership to, say, atheists who would want to change the group’s beliefs and activities. The pope has to be Catholic, after all.

Yet this concept of associational rights is apparently foreign to college administrators, especially regarding religious students who hold out-of-favor views about marriage and abortion rights. As contentious as these issues are—especially within the ideological rigidity of the college campus—it is the constitutional right of students to hold unpopular beliefs and collectively espouse them.

The battle over the status of evangelical and other orthodox religious groups was long resolved in favor of the rights of such students to organize and enjoy equal access to colleges’—especially public colleges’—facilities. But this changed in 2010 when a narrowly divided Supreme Court decided Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.


On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of President Barack Obama’s proposal to arm and train Syrian rebels to combat the Islamic State group (ISIS). Combined with a lot of talk about creating an international coalition to fight this group of barbarians who mean business — and a lack of willingness to put American boots on the ground — this is part of Obama’s touted “leading from behind” Middle East policy.

Like every other move Obama has made since taking office, this one will fail to achieve its stated objective, and in the process strengthen one set of anti-Western forces or another.

Furthermore, even if U.S. and European troops did enter Syria, they would be hard pressed to distinguish friend from foe. This confusion certainly presents a problem when striking from the air. That’s the bad news.

The worse news is that ISIS is not only gaining huge swaths of territory (at this point larger than Great Britain), but has billions of dollars at its disposal. In addition, it runs a disciplined network inside and out of its territory in Iraq and Syria. It also employs Western methods to spread its message in a sophisticated way.

Take its latest video, released on Thursday. Called “Lend me Your Ears,” this clip shows British journalist John Cantlie (captured along with American reporter James Foley in Syria in November, 2012) making the case for ISIS and denouncing American-led military intervention in the Middle East.

Unlike the previous three pieces of YouTube “porn” produced by ISIS — the graphic beheadings of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines by Jihadi John — this broadcast has a decidedly different flavor.

Here Cantlie is filmed in a professional studio. His captors are neither seen nor heard. And though he acknowledges that he is being held against his will, he claims that his words are his own.

“Now, I know what you’re thinking,” he says, appearing like a newscaster, except for his attire, the same orange outfit worn by Foley, Sotloff and Haines. “You’re thinking, ‘He’s only doing this because he’s a prisoner. He’s got a gun at his head and he’s being forced to do this.’ Right? Well, it’s true. I am a prisoner, that I cannot deny. But seeing as I’ve been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose.”

Elizabeth Whelan’s Impact: A Crusader for the Integrity of Science in Public Debates.

Elizabeth Whelan didn’t invent the phrase “junk science,” but she dedicated her life to fighting its destructive effects. Since starting the American Council on Science and Health in 1978, Beth, who died at age 71 last week, worked tirelessly to help the public and policy makers understand the uses and abuse of scientific evidence.

We recall Beth visiting our offices shortly after she began ACSH to describe her plans. Our ears perked up when Beth said that one of the things she planned to take on was the Delaney Clause, a federal law that empowers the Food and Drug Administration to ban any chemical or additive that caused cancer in laboratory rats fed vast amounts of the substance.

The FDA’s outrageous interpretations of the Delaney Clause—most famously its attacks on the food sweetener saccharin—was one of our favorite fights. We might have guessed that this smart, focused and forceful woman would stay the course for some 35 years. Her formal training was in epidemiology, and she took the sensible view that if the federal government wanted to ban something, it ought to have credible evidence for doing so. In 2001 the FDA finally declared saccharin safe for consumption.

Essentially what Beth Whelan tried to do was distinguish between science and technology that helped society, such as genetically modified foods, and things that harmed society, such as smoking tobacco. In 1986 she published her most well-known book, “Toxic Terror: The Truth About the Cancer Scare.”

One of the first scientists Beth attracted to ACHS’s cause was Norman Borlaug, the geneticist who developed high-yield varieties of wheat that resisted disease. Beth’s purpose was to organize scientists to take a public position in defense of good science. By the time of her death, ACHS’s board of supporting scientists and experts numbered nearly 350.

Beth accepted corporate contributions to keep ACHS going, and her critics of course used this as a cudgel to suggest her views were tainted. Anyone who spent 10 minutes with Elizabeth Whelan knew there was one thing no one could buy: her integrity. She and the organization she founded have produced a legacy that will last.


She loathed The New York Times but would smile at this obituary. Beth was a remarkable, brilliant, witty and courageous woman who jousted tirelessly with junk science charlatans and spurious claims on nutrition. rsk

Elizabeth Whelan, Who Challenged Food Laws, Dies at 70

Elizabeth Whelan, an epidemiologist who crusaded against what she called junk science by starting a national organization to question conventional wisdom on food, chemicals and the environment, died on Sept. 11 in Manahawkin, N.J. She was 70.

The cause was complications of sepsis, her husband, Stephen T. Whelan, said.

Dr. Whelan (pronounced WHEEL-an) believed that much research concerning complicated health questions lacked proper scientific underpinning, and in 1978 she started her organization, the American Council on Science and Health, to remedy this perceived deficiency.

One of the first scientists to join the initiative was Norman E. Borlaug, the biologist awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his contributions to the vast increase in global grain yields known as the green revolution.

Dr. Whelan had earlier collaborated with Dr. Fredrick J. Stare, who founded the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, on the 1975 book “Panic in the Pantry: Food Facts, Fads and Fallacies,” which asserted that many federal food regulations were absurd.

The council’s main contention was that some chemicals and products were regulated without proof that they were harmful. Dr. Whelan thus often found herself on the side of industry, which partly financed her efforts, against consumer and environmental groups and regulatory agencies.

At first, the council refused corporate financing, though it accepted money from private foundations. But “in avoiding corporate donations, we were limiting A.C.S.H.’s fund-raising potential to no avail,” Dr. Whelan wrote in a commentary for the organization’s 25th anniversary in 2003.