Is John Kerry a GOP Double-Agent?

Never mind the idea that Nancy Pelosi may be a GOP deep-cover double-agent.*  I think I’ve figured out who is operating in ever deeper cover: Secretary of State John Kerry. Today in Jakarta Kerry spoke about the causes of climate change.  Here are some highlights of Kerry’s keen grasp of science:

The science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3D movie. . .

In fact, this is not really a complicated equation. I know sometimes I can remember from when I was in high school and college, some aspects of science or physics can be tough – chemistry. But this is not tough. This is simple. Kids at the earliest age can understand this.

Try and picture a very thin layer of gases – a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity – that’s how thick it is. It’s in our atmosphere. It’s way up there at the edge of the atmosphere. And for millions of years – literally millions of years – we know that layer has acted like a thermal blanket for the planet – trapping the sun’s heat and warming the surface of the Earth to the ideal, life-sustaining temperature. Average temperature of the Earth has been about 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which keeps life going. Life itself on Earth exists because of the so-called greenhouse effect. But in modern times, as human beings have emitted gases into the air that come from all the things we do, that blanket has grown thicker and it traps more and more heat beneath it, raising the temperature of the planet. It’s called the greenhouse effect because it works exactly like a greenhouse in which you grow a lot of the fruit that you eat here.

This is what’s causing climate change. It’s a huge irony that the very same layer of gases that has made life possible on Earth from the beginning now makes possible the greatest threat that the planet has ever seen.

And there’s more, much more.  This bit about the “quarter-inch” layer “at the edge of the atmosphere” “sets a new standard for utter imbecility” in the words of my CEI pal Myron Ebell.  Myron adds:

Later in his speech, Secretary Kerry made the usual sneering remarks about people who don’t think that global warming is a crisis: “President… Obama and I believe very deeply that we do not have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”  I suspect that were Secretary Kerry to find the time to attend a meeting of the Flat Earth Society, his presence might lower the level of discourse.

Kerry is a double-agent, I tell ya’, more necessary now that Gore has become so utterly useless.

* Did you hear Pelosi’s latest?  The whole Ray Rice situation is somehow the fault of . . . Republicans.

Give Code Pink Credit for Consistency

It is hard not to enjoy the spectacle of the Obama administration making the case for pre-emptive war in Iraq, and relying on the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, which President Obama wanted to revoke just a few weeks ago, as its legal authority for the war. It is also interesting to see the reaction on the Left. For the most part, liberals are remaining mute, as though they haven’t noticed that Obama has reversed himself on the signature issue that brought him the Democratic nomination, and the presidency.

A few on the Left are consistent, however, including Code Pink. This morning the Senate Armed Services Committee conducted a hearing on the threat posed by ISIS. Code Pink invaded the committee room and repeatedly disrupted the proceedings, to the great annoyance of Chairman Carl Levin. I detest Code Pink, but again, we can only enjoy the fact that it is the Democrats’ turn to be subjected to the group’s obnoxiousness:

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a full-blown anti-war movement to develop, however; not with a Democrat in the White House.

Census Report Shows Income Stagnation Under Democrats

The Census Bureau has released its annual income and poverty report for 2013. You can read it here. Not much changed last year–which, actually, should be a major news story. At a time when we should be experiencing rapid growth coming out of a recession, incomes continue to stagnate:

Median household income was $51,939 in 2013, not statistically different in real terms from the 2012 median of $51,759. This is the second consecutive year that the annual change was not statistically significant, following two consecutive years of annual declines in median household income.

In 2013, real median household income was 8.0 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession.

Democrats love to talk about the middle class, because it distracts attention from how bad their policies have been for ordinary Americans. This graph, showing median household income in constant dollars from 1967 through 2013, tells the story. Click to enlarge:

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When you have slow-growth policies, you will get slow growth. When you have slow growth, incomes stagnate or even decline. That is pretty much the story of the Obama years.

One other interesting sidelight in the report:

The real median income of households maintained by a non-citizen increased by 6.0 percent between 2012 and 2013.

As opposed to no statistically significant increase for citizens. I am not sure what this means; non-citizens were starting from a lower base. Still, the difference is striking.

JV president critiques terrorist JV

President Obama famously disparaged ISIS as a terrorist junior varsity squad. Without conceding error, Obama has come to rue the characterization so much that he baldly lies about it. According to Obama, he wasn’t singling out ISIS when he referred to the terrorist “jv” in his interview with the apostle David Remnick of the New Yorker. It is a misjudgment that rebounds on Obama himself to mark him as the jv president.

Let us pause for a moment over Obama’s disparagement of ISIS as a terrorist jv squad to Remnick. It was superficially sophisticated. It supported a defense of his (our) misguided withdrawal from Iraq, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It served to justify continued inaction. And it was monumentally wrong. Classic Obama.

John wrote here on Sunday about Peter Baker’s page-one New York Times story “Paths to war, then and now, haunt Obama.” If one seeks to understand Obama’s state of mind, it’s an article that warrants close attention. Here is a passage regarding ISIS that is bizarre (almost) beyond belief:

Mr. Obama had what guests on Wednesday afternoon described as a bereft look as he discussed the murders of Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, particularly because two other Americans are still being held. Days later, ISIS would report beheading a British hostage with another video posted online Saturday.

But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men’s deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.

If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.

Only last week in his interview with Chuck Todd, Obama asserted that he lacked a sense presidential theater. According to Obama, it wasn’t something that came naturally to him. Yet here is Obama providing his critique of the grand strategy of ISIS terrorist theater. What is going on here? I offer a few thoughts.

In part the remarks reflect Obama’s grandiosity. “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama has declared. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” To this list we can now add: “I’m a better terrorist strategist than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

In part the remarks reflect Obama’s reluctance to confront ISIS. Obama’s “strategic” response to ISIS is limited and ambivalent. If only they had used their public relations sense to support his desire to avoid confrontation, life would have been easy. Now he has to serve up something to mollify the American public. Obama does not consider the possibility that ISIS has his number somewhat more closely than he has theirs. Obama to the contrary notwithstanding, for example, they know they’re Islamic and that Obama has little appetite to take them on.

In part the remarks reflect Obama’s misunderstanding of Islamist terrorism. The terrorists mean to terrorize and demoralize us. They are an Islamist/terrorist form of shock and awe. The beheading are in fact demoralizing so long as the perpetrators remain at large and undefeated. They do not fear Obama’s response and they have yet to be proved wrong.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Yale

Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke to a full house at Yale last night under the auspices of the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program. The Yale Daily News reports that she spoke “without significant interruption or disturbance.”

The YDN notes the lack of disruption because Hirsi Ali’s appearance provoked the vehement opposition of the Muslim Students Association at Yale under the leadership of one Abrar Omeish. The MSA at Yale “sent a letter signed by over 30 other student organizations to all students, expressing concerns over Hirsi Ali’s lack of academic credentials to speak on Islam, as well as over the allegedly hateful anti-Islam statements that she had made in the past.”

Ms. Omeish discusses the letter in a YDN column in which she mentions her meeting with the Buckley Program in advance of Hirsi Ali’s appearance last night. According to Ms. Omeish, at the meeting she “expressed concerns about the speaker and explained how offensive many people find her commentary. I explained my view that Hirsi Ali does not have the scholarly credentials to speak on Islam and asked that the event be limited to subjects she can speak on from her personal experiences. I also requested that another speaker be included in the discussion with Hirsi Ali to provide a more balanced talk.”

Coincidentally, Andrew McCarthy’s NRO column “In search of the ‘moderate Islamists’” provides helpful context to the controversy generated by Omeish and the MSA in advance of Hirsi Ali’s appearance at Yale. Andy reminds us that the Muslim Students Association constitutes the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s American infrastructure. Andy mentions in passing one Esam Omeish, a Democrat who was forced to resign from a state-government immigration panel after the emergence of videos showing his praise for “the jihad way” against Israel. Abrar Omeish is the daughter of Esam Omeish.

This is the YDN’s report on Hirsi Ali’s appearance at Yale last night:

The talk was attended by over 300 individuals, with lines to enter the auditorium stretching more than a block. While the MSA did not organize any formal demonstration during the actual event, the organization did maintain a booth outside of the lecture hall with educational leaflets about Islam.

During her speech, Hirsi Ali reiterated her views on the religion in which she was raised, focusing on her childhood and adolescence in a Muslim community in Somalia. She said she believes her experiences are relevant to the current state of Islam, which she described as violent, intolerant and in need of reform.

Growing up, Hirsi Ali said religious teachers taught her the duties of being a Muslim, such as worshipping Allah, telling the truth, looking after those in need and being obedient and modest. She said in her community, those who neglected their religious duties were never ostracized or attacked, but rather were “left alone” or “nudged gently” at most.

When she was 15, Hirsi Ali said she encountered a different kind of religious teacher — whom she referred to as a “Preacher Teacher” — who encouraged youths to enforce the religious duty of Islam and wage jihad against those who did not obey. Witnessing this process of “indoctrination,” she said, makes her statements relevant to Islam today.

Hirsi Ali added that this “indoctrination” is at the source of radical Islam and leads to intolerance and violence. Therefore, she said, in order to fight the symptoms of radical Islam, the “core creed” of Islam — the Qur’an and hadith — must be reformed. Hirsi Ali called on Muslims to listen to their consciences and stand up to Allah, rather than bending to his will.

Hirsi Ali repeated many times that the western world acts with “restraint” when dealing with conflicts of Islamic terrorism and radical groups.

“The clash is there, but what we follow up with is restraint. And restraint is what we’ve been showing for the last 30 years,” Hirsi Ali said to the audience.

Although she said she did not blame U.S. President Barack Obama for his reservations in handling situations such as the current rise of ISIS, she also spoke in favor of perceiving her former religion as “one Islam” whose core creed involves complete submission to Allah, the Islamic god that she previously deemed “fire-breathing.”

The MSA’s campus-wide letter last week announced the group’s worries over Hirsi Ali’s talk and brought attention to her history of anti-Islamic statements.

Hirsi Ali directly addressed the MSA during her speech, asking why the organization took the time and resources to “silence the reformers and dissidents of Islam,” including herself, rather than fighting against the violence, intolerance and indoctrination Hirsi Ali associates with Islam.

“MSA students of Yale, you live at a time when Muslims are at a crossroads,” she said. “The Muslim world is on fire and those fanning the fire are using more creed. With every atrocity [they underscore] your commitment to Allah … Will you submit passively or actively, or will you finally stand up to Allah?”

Hirsi Ali also responded to the MSA’s critique of her lack of academic credentials by saying that even scholars with substantial credentials who have criticized Islam have been “bullied into silence.”

The bullying into silence or, failing that, the stigmatization of Ms. Ali as requiring special rules to govern her appearance, was of course the whole point of the MSA production all along. The YDN reports:

The MSA declined to comment, pointing instead to previous statements made in the email to students, which articulated concern and disappointment over Hirsi Ali’s invitation, but ultimately conveyed hope that the discussion would be constructive and respectful.

Still, individual Muslim students interviewed expressed a variety of reactions to Hirsi Ali’s talk, but declined to attribute their names out of fear of retribution. Some said Hirsi Ali’s presence made them feel uncomfortable being on campus, and others felt that Hirsi Ali’s talk invalidated their experiences as Muslims.

I’m not clear what the unnamed Muslm students mean by “invalidation” of their experiences as Muslims. When the religion demands the “submission” to which Hirsi Ali alluded in her remarks, however, you can see how she might indeed be the great invalidator.

Islamist sympathizing advisor finally gets the boot from DHS

In 2010, the Obama administration appointed Mohamed Elibiary to DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). It reappointed him in 2013 with the upgraded title of senior fellow.

Last week, however, DHS let Elibiary go. Given Elibiary’s record, I would like to think that his sacking was over-determined. But given the Obama administration’s affinity for Elibiary’s bizarre views about Islamic radicals, we’re probably lucky that Elibiary won’t be staying on.

The Washington Free Beacon identifies two possible reasons why Elibiary had to go. The first is his record of sympathetic comments about radical Islamists.

Elibiary has said on twitter that America is “an Islamic country with an Islamically compliant constitution.” He has also opined that the Muslim Brotherhood poses no threat to the United States.

The rise of ISIS also seems not have bothered Elibiary. In his view, the “return” of a Muslim caliphate was “inevitable.” This comment drew praise from affiliates of ISIS.

It was enough to make one wag wonder whose homeland Elibiary wants to secure.

Are Elibiary’s views antithetical to the Obama administration’s? Maybe. But Elibiary’s loss of his perch on the Homeland Security Advisory Council seems to have more to do with allegations that he was involved in inappropriate disclosure of sensitive law enforcement documents.

The essence of these allegations is that Elibiary improperly accessed classified documents from a secure site and may have attempted to pass them to reporters. The DHS maintains that it investigated the allegations against Elibiary and found no wrongdoing.

However, Judicial Watch says that the response by DHS to a request for documents pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act indicates that a proper investigation into Elibiary’s actions never took place. Judicial Watch requested documents pertaining to DHS’s alleged investigation. DHS responded that no such documents were found.

It seems likely that DHS cut Elibiary loose in the hope that members of Congress who have been pressing it about the alleged investigation will move on.

The apparent lack of an investigation by DHS into Elibiary’s alleged security breach remains interesting even with Elibiary gone. But the big question is how a guy with such obvious sympathy for Islamic radicals could hold down a position on DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council for all these years.

The answer, I think, is that his views are not antithetical to those of the Obama administration. Obama himself has been quite sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, which he seems to consider the wave of the future in the Middle East. And he was untroubled by the expansion of ISIS (the “jayvee”) until very recently.

I guess we should be grateful that Team Obama didn’t place Jeremiah Wright on the HSAC.

Democratic Party Media Run Interference for Hillary

Sarah Palin vs. Hillary Clinton: whom do you think the Democratic Party media prefers? Don’t worry, that isn’t a trick question. Still, no matter how reporters and editors may feel about the two women, it is obvious which one is more newsworthy. Sarah Palin served one-half of one term as Governor of Alaska. While she was, of course, the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008, she is not now, and most likely will not be in the future, a candidate for public office. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is not only a former First Lady, Senator from New York and Secretary of State, she is said to be the odds-on favorite to be the next president of the United States.

So by any normal journalistic standard, it is far more important to inform the public about Hillary Clinton than Sarah Palin, especially as to matters that may bear on Clinton’s fitness for the nation’s highest office. That being the case, the Democratic Party media’s frenzy over a supposed brawl in Wasilla, Alaska, that involved the Palin family is revealing. Even though, as John Nolte points out, the source of information about the altercation was a left-wing blogger who is viciously hostile to Palin and who freely acknowledged that she hadn’t tried to “track down the details of the brawl,” supposedly mainstream news outlets couldn’t get enough of the Palin story. This screen shot shows that the search “Palin brawl” generates almost 86,000 results:

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OK, that’s unseemly, but maybe it was just a slow news day, right? Just kidding. Meanwhile, another story has emerged: an eyewitness report by a former high-ranking State Department official who said that he observed Hillary Clinton’s representatives removing damaging documents from the supposedly comprehensive materials they provided to the Benghazi Accountability Review Board. This story would seem to be the ultimate bombshell: it involves the person who, according to conventional wisdom, will likely be the next president; it relates to the biggest scandal of her public career, in which four Americans, including an ambassador, died; and it reflects directly on her honesty and fitness for office. By rights, this story should receive roughly one million times the coverage of the Palin brawl in Wasilla.

So far, though, that hasn’t happened. The Democratic Party media, desperate to protect their party’s presumed nominee, have tried to bury the story. The Google News search “Clinton state department benghazi documents” returns a mere 2,060 results, about one forty-third the number of articles devoted to the Palin altercation:

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And note what outlets have reported on the Benghazi document scandal: not the New York Times, the Washington Post or the Associated Press, but Fox News, Human Events, Daily Caller, Paul’s Power Line post earlier today, and–somewhat ironically–London’s Daily Mail. This may be another instance where we have to read the British papers to get American news. Here, the exception proves the rule: Media Matters is the only Democratic Party organization to talk about the Clinton document allegations, and it tries to debunk them.

Maybe the liberal press hasn’t had time yet to pick up on Sharyl Attkisson’s report on former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell’s allegations, which appeared early this morning. Of course, it didn’t take them that long to jump on the Palin story. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We will be watching the Democratic Party press over the next few days to see whether its appetite for first-hand, eyewitness accounts of dishonesty by Hillary Clinton and her agents equals its thirst for rumors about Alaska’s former governor.