From the Oldies File: George Carlin on Earth Day

This old George Carlin (RIP) routine about environmentalism has been around a while, but since it’s Earth Day, time for an encore. One thing I noticed upon watching again recently is that it seems you can make out a few disagreeable people in the audience heckling him for transgressing the Party Line: (more…)

Happy Earth Day, Hypocrisy Edition

Is it Earth Day again? Why yes, yes it is. (It’s also Lenin’s birthday. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.) I’ll be having a Green Weenie roast on my charcoal grill.  Now, where to start?

How about with Obama jetting off today to the Everglades in Florida (estimated jet fuel burned: 9,000 gallons) to use that famous overgrown swamp as a backdrop to warn us of the peril of climate change. But the real problems of the Everglades were caused by . . . the U.S. government (specifically the Army Corps of Engineers), which decided decades ago to reroute rivers and streams through it to create more ag land (partly for sugar plantations we don’t need). There’s a long running state-federal Everglades Restoration Plan that has spent millions . . . mostly to have lots of long, frustrating meetings with “stakeholders.” Well I’m sure Obama will at least give a recycled speech. Meanwhile, James Taranto sensibly wonders—if global warming is imminent and severe, why is the Miami real estate market so hot?

I think it was on Earth Day in 2009 that Obama promised to have 1 million electric cars on the road by this year. We’re about 800,000 cars short of that goal. Moreover, it is reported today that record numbers of electric car owners are trading them in for . . . gasoline-powered cars:

President Barack Obama promised to put a million more hybrid and electric cars on the road during his tenure, but new research shows drivers are trading them in to buy sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

The auto-research group Edmunds.com found that “22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and [electric vehicles] in 2015 bought a new SUV.”

What else? Oh yes, the annual Earth Day observances on the National Mall in Washington DC left the usual piles of trash behind:

Earth Day copyYes, it’s that time of year where liberals celebrate Mother Gaia by trashing every place they touch like a bunch of smug, pot-smoking, latte-drinking, garbage-ridden locusts. This time it was the National Mall where they held a “Global Citizen” concert with the likes of Usher and No Doubt. Apparently being a “global citizen” doesn’t include picking up after yourself.

And my pal Mark Perry offers up the list of the greatest hits of spectacularly wrong environmental predictions from around the time of the first Earth Day. A few of my favorites:

Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

What Is It With MSNBC and Taxes?

Add Toure Neblett to the growing list of MSNBC personalities who don’t pay their taxes:

Touré Neblett, co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, owes more than $59,000 in taxes, according to public records…. In September 2013, New York issued a state tax warrant to Neblett and his wife, Rita Nakouzi, for $46,862.68. Six months later, the state issued an additional warrant to the couple for $12,849.87. …

Last month, New York filed a $4,948.15 tax warrant against Joy-Ann Reid, who serves as managing editor of theGrio.com and until earlier this year hosted MSNBC’s The Reid Report, and her husband, Jason. …

Last week, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts an MSNBC show named after herself, and her husband, James Perry, owed around $70,000 in delinquent taxes, according to a federal lien filed in April 2015. Harris-Perry told the newspaper that she and her husband had made a $21,721 payment toward that debt on Tax Day.

Then, of course, there is Al Sharpton, who is in a class by himself:

Al Sharpton’s tax problems have been the subject of extensive coverage by National Review and other publications. In November, the New York Times estimated that Sharpton and his entities owed as much as $4.5 million in taxes, penalties, and interest, a sum the MSNBC host disputes.

All of these MSNBC personalities have called for higher taxes on others, while blithely ignoring their own tax obligations. The level of hypocrisy is stunning; take, for example, this riff by Harris-Perry on Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign:

In one breath, Romney dismisses nearly half of Americans. Why? For shirking their civic responsibility of paying income taxes. That 47 percent who is too poor, too elderly, or spent too much of their life serving this country in the military to pay income tax. Ok, so, paying taxes is the most important duty Americans have. Except, in the next breath, Mr. Romney claims that any good, responsible American should support him because he thinks people should pay less in taxes. Which is it? Is paying taxes the patriotic duty of all citizens? Or are taxes a job-killing burden imposed by greedy bureaucrats?

Neither, apparently, as far as tax scofflaw Harris-Perry is concerned.

MSNBC has refused to comment on its on-air hosts’ tax issues. So far, no one outside of conservative media seems to have taken much notice. It is a tired cliche, of course, but nevertheless true: can you imagine the hysteria if Sean Hannity owed a $4 million tax bill? And Megyn Kelly had a $70,000 tax lien, and Bill O’Reilly was delinquent to the tune of $72,000, and Greta van Susteren was the subject of a legal action to recover a (comparatively measly) $5,000 in back taxes?

Actually, you probably can’t. Such a scandal would dominate the front pages of our newspapers and lead off the evening news. So why are MSNBC’s scofflaws of so little interest? Is it because people have lower expectations of liberals? Or because no one cared much about MSNBC in the first place? Or is it the usual explanation, that publicizing MSNBC’s multiple tax defaults and evasions wouldn’t advance any of the Left’s narratives? All of the above, I suspect.

Attack on Paris Churches Thwarted

French authorities captured a would-be Islamic terrorist after he accidentally shot himself in the leg and called for an ambulance. He shot one woman, apparently at random, before being apprehended.

In most respects, this would have been a typical terrorist attack. The terrorist was an Algerian who had lived in Paris for several years. He was 24 years old, intelligent and prosperous–a computer science student–rather than poor. He was already on the police radar screen because of his interest in traveling to Syria, but was not under surveillance. He was in contact with ISIS, which apparently directed his attempted attacks. He was armed with, among other weapons, multiple Kalashnikov rifles. But in one respect, his attacks would have represented something new, at least in France. He planned to murder Christians:

An Islamic extremist with an arsenal of loaded guns was prevented from opening fire on churchgoers only because he accidentally shot himself in the leg, French officials said Wednesday. …

This person [who may have been in Syria] “explicitly asked him to target a church,” Molins said, declining to answer questions about the investigation into what he termed “an imminent attack.” …

An attack on a church would be a new target in France, where Jewish sites have been under increased protection since the 2012 attack on a Jewish school and the killings at a kosher supermarket this year.

So far, Muslim terrorists in Europe have concentrated on cartoonists and Jews, two groups with whom many, especially on the Left, have little sympathy. In contrast, Islamic violence in the Middle East, Africa and Asia is directed mainly at Christians. It will be interesting to see whether this latest planned attack represents the beginning of an expansion of the terrorists’ war against the West.

Hillary’s loose lips

Hillary Clinton has called for a “toppling” of America’s wealthiest one percent, according to a New York Times report. Clinton did so during a private meeting with “economists” earlier this year.

I found Clinton’s call odd. Not because Clinton herself is in the upper echelon of “one-percenters.” It’s quite common these days for prominent modern left-wing populists to be extremely prosperous, if not filthy rich.

What’s odd is Clinton’s use of the word “toppling.” The common synonyms for “topple” are: overthrow, oust, unseat, overturn, bring down, defeat, get rid of, dislodge, eject. The term is thus a revolutionary one — King Louis XVI, Czar Nicholas II, and the Shah of Iran were toppled.

Clinton didn’t say she wants to increase taxes on the wealthiest one percent or that she wants to “hold them more accountable,” whatever that might mean. She called for their overthrow.

Was this just poor word choice? Possibly. But if Clinton speaks this loosely, she will struggle on the campaign trail, as she struggled on her book tour.

Or did Clinton intentionally select an incendiary word in order to impress her audience with her populism? The New York Times describes the audience as “economists.” If they were at all sober-minded, it’s unlikely they were impressed by a call for the “toppling” of the one-percenters.

Or was Clinton’s intended audience her Party’s populist left, which perhaps was represented in the audience and to whom word of her remarks would be leaked? This is a sensible explanation.

Still, you have to wonder whether Clinton’s call for a “toppling” of the rich passes the straight-face test with the left. It’s more than plausible to believe that she will raise taxes on the rich. But “topple” them? That’s about as plausible as her claim to have left the White House “dead broke.”

In the end, I favor a combination of the first and third explanations. Hillary may well have difficulty choosing her words when she speaks. It’s a pretty common problem for people in her age group — I know from experience. When the mot juste does not pop up instantly, as it usually did in our younger days, we compensate not by taking extra time to pick a word — long pauses can be embarrassing — but by defaulting to a handy word that may not be quite what we want to say.

Here, Clinton may have defaulted to a handy term that, with its revolutionary overtone, over-compensated for her own status as a one-percenter with strong ties to the one-percenters on Wall Street.

This is sheer speculation, of course. But there’s nothing speculative about concluding that the Clinton campaign is well-advised ruthlessly to limit the amount of spontaneous speaking Clinton does during the next year and a half.

UPDATE: John Podhoretz provides his take. He goes with the “overcompensation” explanation, and concludes that “if [Hillary] continues to speak in ways that surely set off even the most hardened liberal’s bull detector, she is not going to be the president of the United States.”

Clinton’s 7 pearls of wisdom, with a little help from CNN

Bill Clinton spoke at Georgetown University on Tuesday as part of his annual lecture series at his alma mater. In the speech he offered both political and personal advice to students. Seeking to do its part to gild the Clinton lilly for some mysterious reason, CNN has extracted “7 pearls of wisdom from Bill Clinton’s Georgetown speech.”

Here is one such pearl of wisdom officially recognized by CNN: “This is becoming more important than every before — in an interdependent world, whether we like it or not, inclusive politics is necessary to have inclusive economics. Inclusive discussion with various stakeholders is necessary to have various social change.” This officially recognized pearl of wisdom might make a reader wonder if English is the speaker’s native language.

Another of the officially recognized pearls of wisdom is captured in the video below as Clinton declares ISIS “the most interesting nongovernmental organization in the world today.” What makes it more “interesting” than al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the rest? Some “pearls” — actually, CNN’s seven Clintonian “pearls” — can’t withstand much of an examination.

This officially recognized Clintonian pearl of wisdom might go down better with a laugh track: “We all find our purpose in our own lives. If you work at i[t, i]t will come.”

Video via Daniel Halper/Weekly Standard.

A Minnesota problem revisited

Announcing the indictment on Monday of six Minnesota based Somali immigrants for seeking to join ISIS, United States Attorney Andrew Luger declared that the indictment represented “a Minnesota problem.” He meant that as an indictment of Minnesota. Native Minnesotans are somehow at fault for the irresistible attraction to wage jihad felt by an uncomfortably large number of Somali immigrants in our midst. A disinterested observer might start with the common denominator among the defendants past and present.

That, however, is not what Luger had in mind. He meant to direct attention to something we have done or failed to do. Luger’s statement represents the received wisdom in these parts, but it is exceedingly stupid. In this sense, I am sincerely sorry to say, Luger himself is part of “the Minnesota problem.”

Pretending that the problem derives from insufficient time, attention and resources spent on the Somali community by the various arms of the state contributes to the problem. In that wholly unintended sense Luger may have been on to something.

We can see it after each set of arrests or convictions renews our attention to the problem in our midst. Let me pause and note that National Review’s Ian Tuttle went looking in several of the right places when he visited Minneapolis and St. Paul this past fall for the NR article “Terror in the Twin Cities.”

Making the case that we have a “Minnesota problem” of politically correct misdirection and misdiagnosis, I give you as Exhibit A today’s Pavlovian Star Tribune story by Mila Koumpilova: “Terror charges leave shock and dismay across Twin Cities.” The Star Tribune reports:

Monday’s federal charges against six Minneapolis men accused of conspiring to join Islamic extremists overseas spurred soul-searching and pledges for action across the Twin Cities — from the governor’s office in St. Paul to the campus of Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where four of the men were students.

Some wondered what they might have done differently in the run-up to the charges; Minnesota leaders vowed to do more to engage with the Somali community in their aftermath.

“I think we need to do a better job, all of us, in providing a lot of good reasons for young Somali youth to see their better future here in Minnesota,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in an interview.

* * * * *

On Tuesday, Dayton said he and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith had met with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger on Sunday and discussed the arrests. He said he promised that his office would do more to reach out to Somali community leaders, promote Somali-American appointments to state leadership positions and explore ways to boost job opportunities for young Somalis.

“We pledged whatever assistance we could,” he said.

Hours after authorities announced the charges on Monday, a Minnesota House panel voted to boost state funding tenfold to combat terrorist recruitment in Minnesota. Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, offered an amendment that would raise Department of Public Safety funding earmarked to combat recruitment, to $250,000. Kahn said the money would support partnerships between community groups and government agencies to thwart recruitment efforts.

“We’ll be able to better understand the appeal and recruitment tools … and develop an effective response so more misguided youth aren’t tricked into becoming terrorists,” Kahn said in a statement.

And so on, and so on.

As the den grandmother of the Minnesota left, Phyllis Kahn reduces the stupidity to its essence: “tricked into becoming terrorist.” Hmmmm. What might have “tricked” these “misguided youth”? Ms. Koumpilova wasn’t asking and Rep. Kahn wasn’t saying.

We have a “Minnesota problem,” alright, but it does not derive from a lack of resources devoted to the community of Somali immigrants. It is lodged in Minnesota’s political and cultural establishment. It is represented by United States Attorney Luger and Governor Dayton and the Star Tribune itself. They faithfully parrot the liberal pieties and observe the relevant taboos.