Three Non-Muslim Lone Wolves Arrested En Route to Join ISIS

Three men, two in Brooklyn and one in Florida, have been arrested as two of them were about to depart for Turkey to join ISIS. Their names are Abror Habibov, Abdurasul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhmetov; Juraboev and Habibov are from Uzbekistan, while Saidakhmetov is from Kazakhstan. Saidakhmetov is a legal permanent U.S. resident. Habibov entered the U.S. legally, but overstayed his visa.

As has usually been the case with domestic would-be terrorists, these three don’t seem very formidable. They talked about hijacking an airplane and assassinating President Obama, but seemingly had little ability to carry out any but the most primitive attack. The authorities have been tracking them since August 2014.

Attorney Adam Perlmutter, who represents Saidakhmetov, claimed that the arrests reflect badly on the government:

“This case really makes us question the federal government’s approach…to young Muslim men in America,” he told reporters. “They are very ham-fisted tactics. There is no attempt to intervene, to speak, to explore, to understand. There’s just the rush to prosecution, to arrest, and to conviction.”

Maybe that will change if Hillary Clinton becomes president and follows through on her pledge to “empathize” with our enemies. For now, I think the rest of us are happy that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are eavesdropping on suspicious characters and tracking them on the internet, which, apparently, is how these particular ISIS recruits were caught.

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Climate Skeptic?

Let’s start by axing a simple question: If I say “two plus two equals four,” does the truth of that proposition depend on whether I’ve received a grant from the Charles G. Koch Foundation? Apparently it does for Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. He has sent letters to seven universities targeting seven academics who, according to the Democratic spokesman for the committee, were chosen because they seem “to have the most impact on policy in the scientific community.”

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And one of the Magnificent Seven is . . . me! I have to say I’m flattered to have been elevated to the ranks of Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Judith Curry, and Roger Piekle Jr. as all-stars in the climate field, and it was very nice of them to aggregate all of my congressional testimony (a grand total of five times in 15 years—yeah, that really makes me a “go-to” guy doesn’t it?) in one location (scroll down to the bottom). You can see Grijava’s letter about me nearby, or download it here if you’d like your very own copy. (Send it to me with a self-address stamped envelope, and I’ll autograph it for you!) More seriously: it appears I’ve really gotten under the skin of the climate cultists (almost certainly Greenpeace, the John Birch Society of the environmental movement, is behind this).

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Pepperdine’s administration will produce their own proper response since the letter is addressed to them rather than to me, but Rep. Grijalva and his McCarthyite witch hunters are in for a disappointment: there are no undisclosed financial supporters of my writing. I’ve received—and am receiving—no grants, honoraria, consulting fees, good karma baubles, or even Christmas cards from any fossil fuel interest, though I’d be proud and open about it if I did. And I didn’t consult anyone for the content of my congressional testimony over the years, though so what if I had? Is the good congressman really telling us that he is incapable of assessing factual claims and judgments about the wisdom of policy on the merits alone? That doesn’t speak well of his probity.

I do hope the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing on this topic, because I’d love to ask Rep. Grijava some questions in return, such as which contacts at Greenpeace ginned up the particulars of his complaint (since I doubt the worthy Rep. or his staff actually read Power Line, which is cited in his letter). Further, it will be fun to ask a series of questions about the incentives of government-funded scientists, such as what might happen to their government research grants if they didn’t report a result congenial to Rep. Grijalva. More to the point: why pick on the seven of us at universities?  Does he really just say “how high?” every time Greenpeace asks him to jump?

Got to hit the road for the rest of today and tomorrow, but I’ll have much more to say. In the meantime, Roger Piekle’s response is classic, and exposes the full dimensions of the absolute ritual conformity demanded by the climate cult today (since Roger is not a climate skeptic in any way, shape or form).

Another Shot of Oakeshott

Following up on my first installment a few days ago from Michael Oakeshott’s classic essay “On Being Conservative,” herewith my second-favorite passage from the essay, which I find can be effective in getting students to understand why Aristotle (among others) thinks the young are unsuited to the study—let alone practice—of politics:

Everybody’s young days are a dream, a delightful insanity, a sweet solipsism. Nothing in them has a fixed shape, nothing a fixed price; everything is a possibility, and we live happily on credit. There are no obligations to be observed; there are no accounts to be kept. Nothing is specified in advance; everything is what can be made of it. The world is a mirror in which we seek the reflection of our own desires. The allure of violent emotions is irresistible. When we are young we are not disposed to make concessions to the world; we never feel the balance of a thing in our hands—unless it be a cricket bat. We are not apt to distinguish between our liking and our esteem; urgency is our criterion of importance; and we do not easily understand that what is humdrum need not be despicable. We are impatient of restraint; and we readily believe, like Shelley, that to have contracted a habit is to have failed.

These, in my opinion, are among our virtues when we are young: but how remote they are from the disposition appropriate for participating in the style of government I have been describing. Since life is a dream, we argue (with plausible but erroneous logic) that politics must be an encounter of dreams, in which we hope to impose our own. . . [Dreams From My Father perhaps?]

For most there is what Conrad called the “shadow line” which, when we pass it, discloses a solid world of things, each with a fixed shape, each with its own point of balance, each with its fixed price; a world of fact, not poetic image, in which what we have spent on one thing we cannot spend on another; a world inhabited by others besides ourselves who cannot be reduced to mere reflections of our own emotions. And coming to be at home in this commonplace world qualifies us (as no knowledge of “political science” can ever qualify us), if we are so inclined and have nothing better to think about, to engage in what the man of conservative disposition understands to be political activity.

Just a hunch: I’m betting Barack Obama never read a word of Oakeshott.

Why is this woman laughing?

In its annual Dubious Achievement Awards, Esquire magazine never failed to include a photo that captured Richard Nixon in an uncharacteristically humorous moment with the caption: “Why is this man laughing?” It was a joke of which Esquire never tired.

Someone needs to bring the joke back in honor of the unspeakable Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, who yuks it up with Charlie Rose in the video below. Rice ends up laughing uproariously in response to Rose’s question asking about Ukraine’s “humiliating retreat” from Russia’s troops. Why is this woman laughing? And what did we do to deserve this?

Via Washington Free Beacon.

Iranian shadows

Secretary of State John Kerry testified yesterday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an appropriations subcommittee. The Washington Post covers his testimony here. The Post reports:

Much of the questioning was about negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Kerry denied media reports here and in Israel that negotiators are considering a plan to limit Iran’s nuclear activities for 10 years, with sanctions gradually eased over that period.

Kerry appears to deny the accuracy of the recent article on the negotiations by the AP’s George Jahn and Bradley Klapper: “Historic US-Iran deal could be taking shape.” In response to a question premised on one prong of the AP article, Kerry responded: “The answer is the proverbial ‘don’t believe what you read. I’ve told you it’s not true. But secondly, I’m not going to go into what is or isn’t the situation.”

Why is our current offer to the mullahs a secret from the American people? Kerry didn’t say.

Here I will digress and simply note that the Obama administration has not been a good source of reliable information on our negotiations with Iran. The AP in general and Jahn in particular have been relatively reliable sources, and so have the mullahs. The latest word from Tehran, picked up by the Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo, is that American negotiators are “begging [the Iranians] for a deal.”

The Iranians have Obama’s number. They aren’t stupid. This past October Kredo reported that the Iranian president’s senior advisor has called President Barack Obama “the weakest of US presidents” and described Obama’s tenure in office as “humiliating[.]” Humiliating, of course, to the United States — another point on which the Iranian regime is completely reliable.

Back to the Post report. As we have noted previously, the Obama administration intends to present the agreement it will reach with Iran to the American people as a fait accompli:

In both hearings, Kerry defended negotiated, verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear activity by saying that the previous administration, under President George W. Bush, turned a blind eye to prohibited uranium enrichment by Tehran.

Kerry also rejected congressional demands that lawmakers be given veto rights over the agreement, saying their only opportunity to approve or reject it would come with a decision on whether to lift congressionally mandated sanctions on Iran.

The Obama administration will present the agreement as a fait accompli and a famous victory. Thus Kerry’s reference to “verifiable limits” and the obligatory insult to President Bush.

Thus also the Obama administration’s continuing disparagement of Benjamin Netanyahu New York Times reports Obama National in light of Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress on the coming deal with Iran; Netanyahu objects to the terms of the coming deal and will make it difficult for Obama to present it as a famous victory for the United States. The New York Times reports that Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice disparages Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress in “Obama aide calls Netanyahu’s planned visit ‘destructive’ to US-Israel ties.”

The Obama administration continues to hurt the friends and promote the enemies of the United States. It’s almost enough to make you wonder whether the president loves his country.

NR picks up Charles Krauthammer on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier last night, passing judgment on the coming deal with the mullahs: “It is an unbelievably bad deal.” Krauthammer speaks for me.

Three footnotes to this update on the Obama administration and the mullahs. First, the Post report also includes this complication:

As Kerry testified, an Iranian exile group claimed that a secret plant in suburban Tehran has been enriching uranium since 2008 at an underground site, named Lavizan-3. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, which has a mixed history of questioning Tehran’s nuclear program, showed satellite images of a large, walled complex of buildings. The group also exhibited photographs — purportedly taken inside tunnels where the clandestine labs are supposedly located — showing a steel door that it said was lined with lead to prevent radiation leaks.

“It’s absolutely senseless to continue negotiations and decide the number of centrifuges you’re going to have if we have these serious issues lingering out there,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the group’s Washington office.

Monday, when the group said that it would expose the site’s existence, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denied the allegations, calling them “a big lie.”

Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow with the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said the allegations should be investigated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s facilities.

Adam Kredo elaborates on the group’s disclosure here in a Free Beacon article with much more background.

Second, Emanuele Ottolenghi briefly summarizes the history of the IAEA’s difficulties with Iran’s nuclear program in the column “Why the US can’t trust Iran and its nuclear plans.” The mullahs traditionally characterize information regarding its nuclear program as “fabrications.”

Third, don’t miss Tom Joscelyn on a related point in the Weekly Standard article “Doomed diplomacy”

Taylor Swift is stalkin’ him

Ray Stevens has been creating novelty hits since I was a child; his recording career dates back to 1957. I haven’t heard about Stevens for a long time and didn’t know his creative juices are still flowing. I was therefore delighted to discover when we received a message from Stevens’s Nashville publicist yesterday that in his newly released video (below), Stevens “claims the world’s biggest superstar, Taylor Swift, is watching the veteran Grammy winner’s every move.” The veteran Grammy winner, let it be noted, has an impressive handle on the Swiftian oeuvre.

Stevens’s plaintive paranoia captures an aspect of the present moment that I thought readers might appreciate. The song’s happy ending, however, requires a deus ex machina lacking in the moment. This is comic art.

We are advised that “Taylor Swift Is Stalkin’ Me” is a track from Stevens’s album Here We Go Again, to be released on March 24. Orders can now be placed on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

Pachauri Out at IPCC

We reported here over the weekend that Rajendra Pachauri, the railroad engineer and sometimes smut novelist who somehow headed the UN’s IPCC climate change circus, was in trouble for some kind of chakra-releasing problem.  Today he resigned as head of the IPCC:

The head of the UN climate change panel (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, has resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Mr Pachauri said he was unable to provide strong leadership.

Indian police are investigating a complaint from a 29-year-old woman working in his office in Delhi.

Lawyers for the woman say the harassment included unwanted emails as well as text and phone messages. Mr Pachauri has denied the allegations.

Mr Pachauri, who had chaired the IPCC since 2002 and whose second term was due to end in October this year, denies any wrongdoing and says his email account and mobile phone were hacked.

Hacked!  Anthony Weiner should sue for copyright infringement.  In his resignation letter, incidentally, Pachauri says this:

“For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

Funny, I always thought climate change was about science, not religion or dogma.  Methinks Pachauri inadvertently slipped up and told the truth here.

But this may not be the end of the resignations from the diplomatic corps over the next few days:

Senior State Dept. official arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor

EXCLUSIVE: A senior State Department official in charge of federal counterterrorism programs was arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor, Fox News has learned.

Fairfax County Police officials say Daniel Rosen was arrested by a county detective about noon at his Washington, D.C. home after he allegedly sought to arrange sex with a minor. The detective, a female officer working in the county’s Child Exploitation Unit, had been posing as the minor in online exchanges with Rosen, police said.

Rosen, who is the director of counterterrorism programs and policy at the State Department, was arrested and transported to the D.C. jail and charged with one count of Use of a Communications Device to Solicit a Juvenile. . .

Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said late Tuesday, “We are aware that a State Department employee has been arrested and charges have been issued.

“For issues related to Department personnel and for privacy reasons, we are not able to confirm the identity of the individual or specific charges.

“His security clearance will be suspended and he will be put on administrative leave while this proceeds to its end through any judicial process. We are following standard procedure in this case.”

Smart diplomacy breaking out everywhere.