A ‘Notorious’ 2016 for Ginsburg and Comey The justice’s politicking and the FBI director’s appropriation of prosecutorial authority likely did lasting damage.By Laurence H. Silberman

Last year we experienced a rather spirited presidential election season. It was probably the fiercest of my lifetime. But we should not be troubled by heated political campaigns. They are the occasional episodes that mark a healthy democracy.

In one respect, however, the 2016 election campaign was quite troubling. We saw two of our most important legal institutions—the Supreme Court and the Justice Department—bend in the political winds.

Years ago, I gave a speech in which I tried to explain why some justices moved, over time, to a more activist posture, less restrained or principled—in other words, result-oriented. A major factor was the influence of the press. Hence the “Greenhouse effect,” referring to Linda Greenhouse, who covered the justices for the New York Times. The Supreme Court press is increasingly dominated by lawyer-journalists who reflect the change in the composition of law-school faculties, which are now almost uniformly left-activist. That political flavor was recently demonstrated by the stunningly uniform opposition at law schools to the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Since the press’s orientation is sympathetic to activist results, which I think it is safe to say are largely on the left, it is not surprising that the Greenhouse effect is more demonstrable vis-à-vis Republican appointees. And the effect has been particularly strong on Washington neophytes—judicial appointees who had not served in prior Republican administrations and therefore had not yet experienced the attacks of the mainstream press. The neophytes had not yet grown the thicker skin that Republican officials in the executive branch necessarily develop. Compare, for instance, Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor,Anthony Kennedy and David Souter with William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia,Clarence Thomas,John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The latter five had served in Republican administrations, but none of the former had.

THE CLIMATE CHANGE CHIMERA

The climate may change but one thing that never does is the use of climate change as a political wedge against Republicans. Also never changing is the call from some Republicans to neutralize the issue by handing more economic power to the federal government through a tax on carbon. The risk is that Donald Trump takes up the idea, which would hurt the economy with little benefit to the environment.

George Shultz and James Baker, the esteemed former secretaries of State, have joined a group of GOP worthies for a carbon tax and recently pressed the case in these pages. They propose a gradually increasing tax that would be redistributed to Americans as a “dividend.” This tax on fossil fuels would replace the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan and a crush of other punitive regulations. Energy imports from countries without a similar structure would face a tax at the border.

A carbon tax would be better than bankrupting industries by regulation and more efficient than a “cap-and-trade” emissions credit scheme. Such a tax might be worth considering if traded for radically lower taxes on capital or income, or is narrowly targeted like a gasoline tax. But in the real world the Shultz-Baker tax is likely to be one more levy on the private economy. Even if a grand tax swap were politically possible, a future Congress might jack up rates or find ways to reinstate regulations.

Another problem is the “dividend.” A carbon tax would be regressive, as the poor spend more of their income on gasoline and household energy. The plan purports to solve this in part by promising to return the tax to the American public. But the purpose of taxes is to fund government services, not shuffle money from one payer to another. No doubt politicians would take a cut to funnel into renewable energy or some other vote-buying program.

The rebates would also become a new de facto entitlement with an uncertain funding future. A family of four would receive a $2,000 payout in the first year from a carbon tax, according to a report from the Climate Leadership Council, and that “amount would grow over time as the carbon tax rate increases.” But the point of taxing carbon is to emit less of it, and eventually revenues would decline as the tax rate rises. The public would then receive minimal or no help paying for energy the government made more expensive, and the progressives will try to make up the difference by raising other taxes.

Meanwhile, the energy import fee looks like an appeal to Mr. Trump’s protectionist impulses, but it’s too clever by half. The idea is an attempt to export U.S. climate and tax policy with the threat of tariffs, which other countries my resent. It’s a particular stick in the eye to Canada and Mexico and the promise of North American energy security. China and India aren’t likely to follow while they need fossil fuels to lift millions out of poverty.

The anticarbon Republicans want a commission to consider after five years whether to raise the tax based on the “best climate science available,” but all methods of calculating a price for carbon are susceptible to political manipulation. The Obama Administration spent years fudging “social cost of carbon” estimates to justify its regulatory agenda. The tax rate would also be influenced by international climate models that have overestimated the increase in global temperature for nearly two decades.

A carbon tax is always pitched as “insurance” against climate change, but no one thinks it will change the trajectory of temperatures. A 2016 paper from the Cato Institute makes the point that insurance policies hedge risks that are well-known, unlike climate change, whose risks are highly uncertain.

Would You Want Your Vaccine Produced by Supporters of Jihad? by Judith Bergman

“Selling the crucial manufacture of vaccines to an ideologically hostile country, which might – for whatever reason – suddenly decide to shut down production, does not sound like a good idea… Those who say that the Saudis are merely interested in profit, just like everybody else, should know better”. — Rachel Ehrenfeld, expert on financing terrorism

Virtually all political parties supported the Danish government’s sale of its vaccine manufacturing facility to the Saudi conglomerate.

After the publication of the Danish Mohammad cartoons in 2006, Saudis boycotted Danish goods. Do Danish politicians really have such short memories?

Vaccines are not an easy commodity to come by. It takes minimum six months for an order of vaccines to be delivered, but, according to the World Health Organization, delivery can also easily take up to two years.

How much trust are Danish consumers supposed to have in a Saudi owned conglomerate, which employs jihadists such as Usmani and donates heavily to jihadist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, who want to bring about a caliphate? The potential for political exploitation is too evident to reject.

Would you want your vaccines produced by a Saudi company that supports jihad? Danes, it seems, may have no choice.

Denmark recently sold its state-owned vaccine manufacturing facility to a conglomerate owned by the Aljomaih Group, a Saudi family dynasty[1] led by Sheikh AbdulAziz Hamad Aljomaih. The sheikh is also the largest single stockholder and chairman of Arcapita Bank, (formerly First Islamic Investment Bank) headquartered in Bahrain. As an Islamic bank, it has a so-called Sharia Supervisory Board comprised of Islamic scholars, who ensure that the bank’s activities comply with sharia (Islamic law).

Former Islamic judge and leading Islamic scholar Taqi Usmani, who sits on the bank’s Sharia Board, in his book, “Islam and Modernism”, writes ruminations such as: “Aggressive Jihad is lawful even today… Its justification cannot be veiled…”

Usami had also, after Danish newspapers reprinted the Mohammad cartoons in 2008, co-signed an appeal to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), urging it to boycott Denmark:

“If the Danish government does not declare the [publication of] shameful and blasphemous cartoons as a criminal act, the OIC [should] appeal to all Islamic nations for a trade boycott of that bigoted country”.

Extremist Muslims’ One-Way Street by Burak Bekdil

Extremist Muslims’ understanding of freedom is a one-way street: Freedoms, such as religious rights, are “good” and must be defended if they are intended for Muslims — often where Muslims are in minority. But they can simply be ignored if they are intended for non-Muslims — often in lands where Muslims make up the majority.

Many Muslim countries, apparently, already have travel bans against other Muslims, in addition to banning Israelis.

Look at Saudi Arabia. Deportation and a lifetime ban is the minimum penalty for non-Muslims trying to enter the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Given the state of non-Muslim religious and human rights, and the sheer lack of religious pluralism in most Muslim countries, why do Muslim nations suddenly become human rights champions in the face of a ban on travel to the U.S.?

Meanwhile, Muslims will keep on loving the “infidels” who support Muslim rights in non-Muslim lands, while keeping up intimidation of the same “infidels” in their own lands.

President Donald Trump’s executive order of January 27, 2017, temporarily limiting entry from seven majority-Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for 90 days, until vetting procedures can be put in place — has caused international controversy, sparking protests both in the Western and Islamic worlds, including in increasingly Islamist Turkey.

This article does not intend to discuss whether Trump’s ban is a racist, illegal order, or a perfectly justified action in light of threatened American interests. The ban, right or wrong, has once again unveiled the hypocrisy of extremist Muslims on civil liberties and on what is and what is NOT racist. Extremist Muslims’ understanding of freedom is a one-way street: Freedoms, such as religious rights, are “good” and must be defended if they are intended for Muslims — often where Muslims are in minority. But they can simply be ignored if they are intended for non-Muslims — often in lands where Muslims make up the majority.

Muslims have been in a rage across the world. Iran’s swift and sharp answer came in a Tweet from Foreign Minister Javad Zarif who said that the ban was “a great gift to extremists.” A government statement in Tehran said that the U.S. travel restrictions were an insult to the Muslim world, and threatened U.S. citizens with “reciprocal measures.” Many Muslim countries, apparently, already have travel bans against other Muslims, in addition to banning Israelis.

Terrorist Appointed as Mahmoud Abbas’ Deputy, But the World Stays Silent by Sean Durns

On February 15, Fatah appointed Mahmoud Al-Aloul as a deputy and possible successor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Unfortunately, just like Abbas, Mr. Al-Aloul is a terrorist who has condoned violence against Israelis. And unsurprisingly, the global media — which seems uninterested in reporting unflattering stories about the Palestinians — has largely ignored the news of his selection.

According to a policy brief by analysts Grant Rumley and Evan Charney of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Al-Aloul previously served as an assistant to Palestinian terrorist Khalil al-Wazir, better known by his nom de guerre of Abu Jihad.

Abu Jihad was one of the early founders of the Fatah movement. As Middle East analyst Efraim Karsh noted in his 2003 biography of Yasser Arafat, Abu Jihad oversaw the assassination of US diplomats in Khartoum, Sudan, in March 1973. Abu Jihad was also responsible for perpetrating and planning numerous terrorist attacks against Israelis, including the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, in which 38 civilians, including 11 children, were murdered.

Tomorrow the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will have to choose the direction of the Democratic Party, as well as its…

In addition to his involvement in murdering no less then 124 Israelis, Abu Jihad also served as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah’s liaison with the Soviet Union, the Syrian Baathist party and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abu Jihad was killed by Israeli forces in 1988, but a PA-funded museum at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem is named in his honor — as are at least eight streets in PA-controlled areas.

Al-Aloul’s activities would no doubt make his mentor proud.

In their report, Rumley and Charney pointed out that Al-Aloul, who is also sometimes referred to as Abu Jihad, participated in numerous PLO terror raids, including leading a 1983 operation that captured six Israeli soldiers. After his boss’ death, Al-Aloul became the chief of the PLO’s activities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

US Vice President Pence: ‘Israel’s Fight Is Our Fight, Her Cause Is Our Cause’ by Barney Breen-Portnoy

During the Donald Trump era, America “will stand with Israel,” Vice President Mike Pence vowed on Thursday during his address to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

“Israel’s fight is our fight, her cause is our cause and her values are our values,” Pence said, prompting a standing ovation. “I’m proud to stand with the president, who stands with our most important ally, the Jewish state of Israel.”

Pence’s CPAC appearance came a day after he stopped at a recently vandalized Jewish cemetery in Missouri and lent a helping hand in the cleanup effort.

An Israeli government representative slammed the BDS movement on Friday for falsely implying that a prominent US literary society had…

One panel discussion at CPAC on Thursday was titled, “Is BDS BS? The Left’s Attack on Israel.” It was moderated by Ned Ryun, the CEO of the American Majority organization.

“BDS isn’t about taking Israel out of business,” Lisa Daftari — editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk — said, according to the Legal Insurrection blog. “It’s about taking Israel off the map.”

Sander Gerber — a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank — said attention must be brought to the Palestinian Authority’s support for terrorism, “Expose the PA and it will change the view on Israel,” he said.

Erielle Davidson — a research assistant at the Hoover Institution think tank — said education was a key to fighting BDS.

“It’ll be better that truth is known,” she said. “Follow the money. Look at all charities you contribute to and see who is sending money to the PA.” She also noted that the PA and Hamas were “equally terrible.”

Watch Pence speak about Israel below (starting at 14:50):