More Climate Change Awesomeness

What caused the recent outbreak of ebola? Would you believe—why of course you would, it’s flippin’ obvious isn’t it? Climate change!

Ebola outbreaks may become more frequent because of climate change, scientists have warned, as the deadly disease ravages four countries across West Africa. . .

Some scientists believe global warming—and the subsequent increase in extreme weather—could be a factor behind in the virus’s ascendance.

Well that just settles it then.

Also floods. In England at least. But as the estimable Anthony Watts points out, it isn’t so much that there is increased precipitation so much as the fact of growing population in proximity to flood plains. Sort of like people building on the coast of Florida and the Carolinas and wondering why those coasts are at increased risk of hurricane damages.

Climate change: is there anything it can’t do? No, seriously. The list of things not linked to it is very short.

A Hawkish Rick Perry addresses the Heritage Foundation

Gov. Rick Perry stopped off in Washington today, on his way to New Hampshire, to give a speech at the Heritage Foundation. His address came at the conclusion of a panel discussion (which Perry did not participate in) called “The Border Crisis and the New Politics of Immigration.”

Perry talked for a while about immigration but, exercising potential presidential candidate’s prerogative, his speech focused primarily on a different topic — the threat posed by ISIS. (In fairness, the two subjects aren’t entirely unrelated; as Perry noted, lack of border security makes it easier for ISIS to attack the U.S. homeland).

Perry took a hard line on ISIS. He stated: “We better get on top of this [the threat posed by ISIS] with whatever means are necessary.” He called on the administration to “confront ISIS with overwhelming force,” not just in Iraq but in Syria too.

During the brief period for questions, an NBC reporter followed up by asking Perry whether the U.S. response to ISIS should include “traditional ground troops” in addition to special forces. Perry answered that “all options should be on the table.” He added that we should not tell our enemies in advance what we won’t do.

Perry’s aggressive position on ISIS goes further than what I’ve heard most “hawks” express. For example, at a Heritage event last week, the panel — consisting of Steven Hadley, Mary Habeck, and Steven Bucci –seemed to agree that the “boots on the ground” in the fight against ISIS in Iraq should not (with the exception of some advisers and special forces) be American boots. And I don’t believe the idea of the U.S. attacking ISIS in Syria was raised.

I suspect that many conservatives would, by now, support the use by the U.S. of conventional forces in the battle against ISIS, even perhaps in Syria. But few want to publicly advocate this or even talk about it as a possibility.

Perry didn’t advocate such a deployment. But his remarks made it clear, even before he was questioned, that this option should be on the table.

Is it wise politically for Perry to be so publicly hawkish? It’s not clear yet. If Obama’s more dovish approach halts ISIS and if ISIS doesn’t successfully attack America, Perry’s presidential ambitions (to the extent he has them) probably will have been ill-served. Otherwise, Perry will likely have helped himself by being an early exponent of going after ISIS hard.

I don’t mean to say that Perry’s position on ISIS is driven by presidential politics. In fact, I assume he is completely sincere.

Interestingly, though, Hillary Clinton, whose position almost certainly is politically driven, takes a relatively hawkish stance on ISIS too. Throw in the recent comments of Chuck Hagel, and it looks like rational figures across the political spectrum see big trouble ahead from these terrorists.

Finally, a note on Perry as a public speaker. He’s not bad, but he’s not inspirational either, at least not today. The Heritage audience was quite sympathetic, especially given Perry’s persecution in Texas. But, although his speech was received well, it didn’t seem to generate great enthusiasm.

In person, even more so than on television, Perry reminds me of George W. Bush whom he succeeded as governor but with whom, reportedly, relations weren’t great. The resemblance includes speaking style, speech patterns, and mannerisms. It even extends, I thought, to banter. Perry’s joking references to the youthful appearance of Rich Lowry (who introduced the governor) seemed very Bush-like.

How far can a Texas hawk with a resemblance to George W. Bush go in 2016? We may well have the opportunity to find out. For better or for worse, he has piqued my interest.

Science According to Steyer

Left-wing billionaire Tom Steyer reportedly is having trouble persuading fellow lefties to join his $100 million campaign to elect Democrats in November. Steyer is soldiering on, nevertheless, in large part through his organization NextGen Climate. In New Hampshire, NextGen is running anti-Scott Brown ads. Politico reports:

NextGen Climate, Tom Steyer’s environmental group, is going up with its first New Hampshire ad today, tying Scott Brown to the Koch Brothers and attacking him as a carpetbagger.

An official said the group will spend in the high-six figures to air the 30-second spot, produced by GMMB.

More conventional than some of their recent ads, it starts with an image of a man collecting syrup from a maple tree and then flips to a derrick sucking oil from the ground.

You get the drift. But it looks as though Steyer may need to pony up more millions, as the latest poll data are looking good for Brown. Also from Politico:

The New Hampshire Senate race is tightening, according to a just-posted WMUR poll that puts Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen up only 2 points, 46-44, over Republican Scott Brown.

That’s within the margin of error. The same poll last month had Shaheen ahead by 12 points.

NextGen Climate is a global warming scare group. But what sort of cutting-edge science are they peddling? In Florida, Next Gen used Steyer’s millions to stage a demonstration of sorts outside the office of Governor Rick Scott. The buffoon in the photo below purported to “educate” Governor Scott about global warming. Click to enlarge:

nextgen_climate_buffoon

What a pitiful display! “Climate change is Real…” Yes, and it has been real for millions of years. “The planet is older than 6,000 years old.” Huh? “Seawater is salty and rising.” Yes, at the same rate it has been for thousands of years. “The moon is not made of cheese.” I believe this is an Obama line. Apparently he considers it a crushing argument. “98% of scientists agree.” Not on anthropogenic global warming, they don’t. The battle continues to rage, and the hysterics are losing.

The white lab coat with too-long sleeves is an entertaining touch, too. If this is what Steyer is buying for his $100 million, Republicans can rest easy.

Sound Diagnosis, Pathetic Prescription

Earlier today, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel offered a surprisingly realistic and cogent evaluation of the threat posed by ISIL. This clip is only a minute and a half long, but it sums up the danger well:

Hagel says, correctly, that ISIL “is beyond anything we’ve seen,” creates a “whole new dynamic,” is “as sophisticated and well-funded as any organization we’ve seen,” an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” which poses a threat to our homeland for which we had better “get ready.” That’s the diagnosis.

So today the Obama administration announced that it is opening a criminal investigation into the murder of James Foley. I’m not kidding:

The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of the death of American journalist James Foley, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday. …

A U.S. official said American investigators were urgently attempting to “identify and capture” the man in the video.

I am sure the prospect of having Eric Holder on his trail will strike fear into the guy who sawed off Foley’s head. When you catch him, though, make sure to read him his rights!

This isn’t even bringing a knife to a gun fight, this is bringing a legal brief to a gun fight. Let’s hope the administration has plans for ISIL that go beyond legal harassment.

GAO: Obama administration violated law in releasing Gitmo detainees to Qatar in Bergdahl deal

The Government Accounting Office has concluded that the Obama Defense Department violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act when it transferred five detainees at Guantanamo Bay to Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits the Defense Department from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Gitmo unless the Secretary of Defense provides such notification.

The GAO also found that, by using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act, as well.

The prisoner transfer occurred in May of this year as part of the deal in which the Taliban released Bowe Bergdahl. Naturally, the Defense Department used congressionally appropriated funds to effectuate the transfer.

In doing so, says the GAO, it violated the unambiguous terms of section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. Section 8111 prohibits the use of “funds appropriated or otherwise made available” in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, to transfer any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay to the custody or control of a foreign entity “except in accordance with section 1035 of the [FY 2014 NDAA].”

Section 1035 unambiguously requires the Secretary of Defense to notify certain congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of such a transfer. This the Obama administration did not do.

Here we have yet another example of Obama’s disregard for the law.

It should also be noted that Qatar, the government to which he transferred the Gitmo detainees, is a supporter of terrorist groups. For example, it is a major backer of Hamas whose leader-in-exile, Khaled Mashaal, lives in Qatar.

Qatar has also credibly been accused of funding ISIS (now the Islamic State), although this matter appears to be in dispute. You can’t help but wonder whether some of the five transferred prisoners will eventually join other Gitmo alums in ISIS’s jihad.

Thus, it’s easy to understand why Congress would have been interested in knowing about the transfer in advance, and why Obama violated the law that required him to provide that heads-up.

A word from the Daily News

Joining the British tabloids, the New York Daily News delivers a rousing and heartfelt jeer to President Obama on its cover today (below). And it ties it to an accompanying editorial: “Obama’s duty to act.” We are far, far into “more mush from the wimp” territory, and we have two-and-a-half years to go.

bam-golf-war

Via Twitchy.

Defender of the faith

In his statement on the beheading of James Foley by devotees of the Islamic State (referred to in his statement as ISIL) yesterday, Obama spoke up on behalf of Islam:

Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages — killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims — both Sunni and Shia — by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people.

So ISIL speaks for no religion.

Obama continued in a theological vein:

Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. They may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision, and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.

ISIL is of course an acronym for the Islamic State in the Levant. It purports to have created or restored an Islamic caliphate in the territory under its control. How do you edit Islam out of the Islamic State?

Like Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad and all the rest, the Islamic State promotes the imposition of Sharia law in the name of Islam. They all understand themselves to be Muslims acting on behalf of the faith. Yet Obama makes a special point of standing up for the good name of Islam, such as it is.

We can compare and contrast Obama’s words regarding “ISIL” and Islam with his recent remarks declaring that “we tortured some folks.” He asserted: “When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line. And that needs to be understood and accepted.”

While he declared us guilty of “torture,” Obama instructed that the torture we committed was “contrary to our values.” So we have that going for us. Like true Islam, according to Obama, “our values” are worthy. The Bush administration officials who countenanced the “torture” and the CIA officers who undertook it on our behalf stand outside the American creed like the bloodthirsty maniacs of the Islamic State.

All is not lost. Obama has come to redeem the time. Like a merciful God who understands all, Obama allowed: “I understand why it happened. It’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were.” Obama does not purport to understand the devotees of the Islamic State, but his reticence in this case serves the reputation of Islam.