Punch Back Twice as Hard

Our pals at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute issued the following press release today, which I post here in full:

For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2015

Contact:
Craig Richardson
Richardson@eelegal.org
703-981-5553

Following Rep. Grijalva Inspiration, E&E Legal Files FOIA Request with the University of Delaware Seeking Records Relating to the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), in conjunction with the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FMELC) and the Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI), filed a Delaware Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) with the University of Delaware related to Dr. John Byrne, Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy and Distinguished Professor of Energy and Climate Policy.

Specifically, the FOIA request seeks documents describing the University of Delaware’s policy or policies relating to disclosure applying to Dr. Byrne; records in the University’s possession relating to outside funding, grants, or other contributions made to support Dr. John Byrne’s work at or relating to the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy; records involving Dr. Byrne’s outside funding, including consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary and other compensation or monies given to Dr. Byrne which did not originate with the University itself; financial disclosure forms in which Dr. Byrne lists the University of Delaware or the State of Delaware as his affiliation; and records reflecting Dr. Byrne’s total annual compensation for each year at the University of Delaware.

Those who have followed recent news reports may notice that this FOIA request was inspired by and even replicated the request that U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) made to seven universities, including Delaware. In his letters, Congressman Grijalva notes that the “disclosure of a few key pieces of information will establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations published in your institute’s name…[C]onflicts should be clear to stakeholders, including policymakers who use scientific information to make decisions.” Although the University responding to Rep. Grijalva is discretionary, processing FOIA requests from Delaware citizens is not.

“We certainly appreciate Congressman Grijalva’s rhetoric about the importance of disclosure and transparency,” said Chris Horner, E&E Legal Senior Legal Fellow and the attorney who filed the FOIA request on behalf of the three organizations. “His insistence that the Constitution compels him to demand these records — citing to no authority for why the universities should provide them — so moved us that we followed in his footsteps, if in our case by proceeding under Delaware law.”

It is possible that Representative Grijalva assumes that congressional letterhead carries authority to insist such demands be satisfied. Regardless, E&E Legal, FME Law and CRI appreciate the Congressman’s enthusiasm that the University dedicate itself to producing such records.

The groups far more narrowly tailor the period of time covered by their request, otherwise modeled after Rep. Grijalva’s nearly verbatim (also changing of course the party whose records are involved, which we are confident is not material to whether records should be released). The requesters look forward to the University of Delaware taking to heart Rep. Grijalva’s embrace of transparency, and satisfying this request made pursuant to Delaware’s statute which implements the legislature’s determination that, for institutions including the University, “it is vital that citizens have easy access to public records in order that the society remain free and democratic”. FOIA § 10001.

“We have followed Rep. Grijalva’s footsteps for our request, if under actual statutory making our request, unlike the Congressman’s, not discretionary. UDel has provided records in the past to Greenpeace, and we are confident that the State of Delaware will comply with this request,” concludes Horner.

Heh.  By the way, learning some fun things about Rep. Grijalva, and his lead “investigator” for this witch hunt, Vic Edgerton, who turns out to be a former Green Party candidate for local office in Connecticut, because, he said at the time, he needed to shine a light on issues Democrats ignore.  Edgerton also previously worked for Keith Ellison, and Dennis Kucinich.  He clearly knows how to pick leading statesmen.

Stay tuned.  More to come.

Murdered By a Dreamer: Do Black Lives Matter?

Jamiel Shaw, Jr. was murdered by an illegal alien–a “dreamer”–the day after the dreamer was released from jail after a trivially short sentence for assault with a deadly weapon, and left to roam the streets rather than being deported. There have been many such stories; Jamiel Shaw’s story only came to light because his father, Jamiel Shaw, Sr., was called to testify before an Oversight Subcommittee hearing. His heartbreaking testimony illustrates the human cost of our government’s failure to enforce the immigration laws:

Author, Blogger, Philosopher Avijit Roy Murdered by Jihadists

Avijit Roy, a native of Bangladesh, was an engineer by training, an atheist, the proprietor of a web site, and the author of a number of books. Recently, he has lived in the United States, but has been threatened with death by radical Muslims because of his religious and social views. His wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, was raised as a Muslim but supported Roy’s work as an atheist.

avijit-bonna

Earlier today, they were in Dhaka, Bangladesh for a book fair that featured two of Roy’s books. While walking back from the book fair between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m., they were attacked by men wielding cleavers. While they have not been caught, no one doubts that they were Muslims following through on the threats that had been made against Roy. They hacked both Roy and Bonna savagely. Roy died shortly thereafter in a hospital. Bonna survived; among other injuries, the attackers reportedly hacked off the fingers on her left hand.

Just another day in the jihad.

Is MSNBC Giving Up on the Hard Left?

Chronically low ratings have led to a major shakeup at MSNBC. The network announced a week ago that it is canceling the shows hosted by Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid. Variety now reports that those programs will be replaced by a two-hour show called “MSNBC Live With Thomas Roberts.” Variety says:

Beset by significant ratings declines, MSNBC has been emphasizing reports on breaking news, rather than the issues-based discussion for which Farrow and Reid have been known.

Meanwhile, Al Sharpton may also be on the way out:

The Rev. Al Sharpton may soon be booted from his weeknight television host role on Politics Nation and relegated to the pile of less-watched weekend fare, one source within MSNBC’s ranks said, citing the need for the cable provider to bolster sagging audience numbers.

Company President Phil Griffin said that the outlet’s Republican-bashing days are pretty much over — and that as part of the image overhaul, it’s now being surmised that Mr. Sharpton’s show may move from its prime 6 p.m. Monday-through-Friday slot….

MSNBC’s Republican-bashing days are over? I’ll believe it when I see it.

“Going left was a brilliant strategy while it lasted and made hundreds of millions of dollars for Comcast,” one MSNBC source told the Daily Beast. “But it doesn’t work anymore. The goal is to move away from left-wing TV.”

So, why doesn’t the far-left strategy work anymore? Are liberals disillusioned with the Obama administration? Are the old lefties dying off? Are younger liberals realizing that the Republicans were right after all? Or did viewers just get tired of the endless stream of bile and vituperation emanating from MSNBC?

I don’t know, but, as another observer put it, “Everybody in the [company] food chain, from top to bottom, understands that the [Keith] Olbermann era is over.” That can only be a good thing.

The SecState who couldn’t shoot straight

Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday. In response to a question posed by Rep. Gerald Connolly, Kerry cast doubt on the adverse judgment rendered by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the deal in process with Iran. As described by the AP, the terms of the coming deal will put Iran on a glide path to the lawful acquisition of nuclear weapons over a period of years.

Kerry’s response to Connolly did not defend the wisdom of the coming deal on the merits. Kerry’s response did assert that the interim deal has frozen Iran’s nuclear program. Not true.

Rather, Kerry offered a strictly ad hominem response to Netanyahu’s criticism of the coming deal (C-SPAN video below). “The prime minister was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq,” Kerry said. Netanyahu, he added, “may have a judgment that just may not be correct here.”

Iran, however, has been the focus of Netanyahu’s concerns over something like the past 20 years, and his judgment on that score has been amply vindicated. The New York Times reviews Netanyahu’s 2002 testimony in this article today by Robert Mackey. Mackey notes that Netanyahu linked his support for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein with the possibility of inspiring the implosion of the ruling theocracy in neighboring Iran and puts this quote in that context: “It’s not a question of whether Iraq’s regime should be taken out but when should it be taken out; it’s not a question of whether you’d like to see a regime change in Iran but how to achieve it[.]”

If we’re speaking to the credibility of the man, however, John Kerry is probably not the guy to be advancing such an argument. In 2002, when the authorization for the use of military force to depose Saddam Hussein was debated in Congress, Benjamin Netanyahu was not even in office. He was a private citizen. Netanyahu testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee as a private Israeli citizen.

John Kerry held office as a United States Senator in 2002. Kerry voted in favor of the authorization of the use of military force against Iraq on October 11, 2002, on the basis of the same kind of intelligence Netanyahu relied on for his testimony. Kerry’s ad hominem critique of Netanyahu applies even more so to Kerry himself than to Netanyahu.

By his own purported lights, Kerry’s views should not be taken seriously. He may be right about that, but not because he supported the Iraq war (before he opposed it, of course).

In his dystopian comedy Sleeper, Woody Allen inserted a joke about the devastation that took place “when a man named Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear warhead.” Shanker was only the politically incorrect leader of a militant teachers’ union.

Now we are to acquiesce in, and facilitate the acquisition of, nuclear weapons by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The mullahs have been at war with the United States since 1979, have a lot of American blood on their hands, and continue to proclaim that the United States is the Great Satan. Who in his right mind, with the best interests of the United States at heart, thinks that relenting in our opposition to the mullahs’ acquisition of nuclear weapons is a good idea?

John Kerry’s testimony betrays the depraved soul of the Obama administration. These people will say anything in a bad cause. Despite its bad faith and misplaced logic, Kerry’s critique of Netanyahu before Congress yesterday warrants the closest consideration.

While Grijalva grates

Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson asks herself how the media would treat a given behavior if it were practiced by a Republican. If the media would go ballistic, Attkisson suggests, the same behavior ought to be deemed newsworthy when a Democrat practices it. As she explains in her memoir Stonewalled, she calls it The Substitution Game.

There is more than one reason why Attkisson resigned her employment with CBS News. Her use of The Substitution Game is one of many signs that she was not a team player and why by early 2014 she found herself preferring to pursue other interests beyond CBS News.

Now comes the wretched Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva to give us the opportunity of playing The Substitution Game. Grijalva has sent letters to seven university presidents based on his concerns about the heterodox climate-related testimony of professors at the institutions. He seeks “detailed records on the funding sources for affiliated researchers who have opposed the scientific consensus on man-made global warming,” as the Washington Post’s Joby Warrick puts it in “House Dems: Did Big Oil seek to sway scientists in climate debate?”

It’s early, but let’s take a moment for The Substitution Game. If we were talking “House GOP,” that’s not how Warrick’s story would read. The story would seek responses from the targets of the inquiry. The story would note the unusual nature of the correspondence. The story would ask what is really going on here. The story would intimate the underlying threat to academic freedom.

Our own Steve Hayward has proclaimed his membership in the Magnificent Seven. Steve has outed himself and posted Grijalva’s letter to the president of Pepperdine University in “Are you now or have you ever been a climate skeptic?” Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., another target, has posted his comment on the inquiry in “I am under ‘investigation.’”

Steve is a happy warrior; I’m sure he’ll have more to say with gusto in his usual style and he’ll punch back twice as hard. Professor Pielke, however, presents a striking contrast. The likes of the grating Grijalva have taken their toll on him, precisely as intended. He candidly confesses as much.

How would the mainstream media react if a Republican congressman lobbed threatening inquiries hounding seven university presidents regarding the funding of professors’ research? They would recall the ghost of McCarthyism in the spirit of Steve’s post.

Yet today the proverbial crickets chirp, with the exception of National Review editor Rich Lowry. Rich takes note in the Politico column “A shameful climate witch hunt.” Thank you, Mr. Lowry.

Will the Clintons’ Greed Do Them In?

It has long been remarked that a certain Dogpatch air hangs over Bill and Hillary Clinton. They have, apparently, led separate lives for quite a few years, but one quality that they share is greed. Indeed, they seem unable to restrain that grasping instinct even when it undermines their presumably more important goals–as, for example, when Hillary extracts $300,000 from universities for 45 minutes of platitudes.

Tomorrow’s Washington Post reports that while Hillary was Secretary of State, “[t]he Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments.” How many millions? Weirdly, the Post doesn’t say. It does tell us that as of 2008–before Hillary became Secretary of State–”Saudi Arabia had given between $10 million and $25 million.”

Accepting donations to a family foundation from foreign governments while serving as Secretary of State represents extraordinarily bad judgment. Sure, most of the money went to bona fide charitable causes. But there are any number of ways to donate to, say, earthquake or flood relief. Does anyone seriously think that a foreign government would choose the Clinton Foundation as its preferred charitable vehicle unless it sought to curry favor with a) a former president and still leading figure in the Democratic Party, b) the Secretary of State, and c) a possible future president? How dumb do the Clintons think we are?

Moreover, there is reason to suspect that the Clinton Foundation has served as a slush fund to finance the Clintons’ private enjoyments. The New York Post reported in 2013 that the Clinton Foundation had spent more than $50 million on travel expenses since 2003. Think about that: $50 million! That would cover a lot of the globe-trotting for which the Clintons are famous.

Presumably when Bill rode the Lolita Express, the bills were paid by his convicted sex offender pal Jeffrey Epstein. But who knows what discreditable episodes may have been funded by the Clinton Foundation and its overseas donors, if any journalist took the trouble to check?

The Clintons’ problem is that they are, in fact, greedy. They are bound together by their lust for money. It isn’t a stretch for the average voter to understand that when Hillary extracts $300,000 per speech from public institutions–a laundered campaign contribution that would otherwise be illegal–and the family foundation rakes in millions from foreign governments while Hillary serves as Secretary of State, the Clintons are more interested in cashing on on their position and their notoriety than in serving the American people. You could compare them to the Kardashians, except that the Kardashians don’t pretend to be pursuing some higher goal.