PowerLine -> Today in the Annals of Stupid, Climate Edition – How Trump inadvertently helps al Qaeda in Syria

PowerLine -> Today in the Annals of Stupid, Climate Edition – How Trump inadvertently helps al Qaeda in Syria


Daily Digest

  • Single Fallacies
  • How Trump inadvertently helps al Qaeda in Syria
  • Today in the Annals of Stupid, Climate Edition
  • The Awan connection
  • Of tools and their toolkit
Single Fallacies

Posted: 26 Jul 2017 02:59 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

Obviously, the future of health care policy rests on a knife edge. It is a political game of chicken between whether Republicans have the nerve to roll back the egregious features of Obamacare that will necessarily involve creating gaps in insurance coverage, and Democrats who think that they are in the catbird seat because either the eventual collapse of Obamacare or the defects of a Republican reform will set the table for their real goal: Canadian-style single-payer health care. And just as some conservatives are warming to the idea of a “universal basic income,” here and there you hear a few conservatives say, “Oh what the hell: we may as well get used to the inevitability of single-payer health care. I mean, how bad is Canada, really?”

Much worse than you think. Set aside for the moment the salient fact that one reason Canadian single-payer “works” is that it has private medicine in the United States available as a safety value for its own system. (A lot of Canadian doctors actually practice some of the year in the U.S. after they’ve fulfilled their annual quota of work in Canada.) More damning is a report out recently from the Commonwealth Fund that compares health care systems of eleven health care systems. Canada came in ninth.

It’s a dense report with lots of tables and charts. Brian Lee Crowley gets to the heart of the matter in Canada’s National Post:

On measure after measure the data belie the boasts that medicare apologists tout as proof we have the best system in the world. When measuring the equity of our system against the others, we come a pitiful ninth out of 11, despite the fact that “fairness” is the argument most frequently trotted out to defend the status quo. Turns out Canadian health care isn’t all that fair.

Ditto for health-care outcomes. Despite being a fairly high spender, we are not able to turn that money into better outcomes for Canadians. Again, we rank ninth out of 11.

But in what must be the bitterest pill, we come 10th in access. That means that among the 11 systems studied, every one of them gives better access to health-care services except one: the United States. Gives a whole new meaning to the sentiment that we don’t want American-style health care here, doesn’t it?

The only thing I want from a single source is my Scotch whiskey.


How Trump inadvertently helps al Qaeda in Syria

Posted: 26 Jul 2017 12:32 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

I’ve discussed how President Trump’s collaboration with Russia in Syria is helping IranMarc Thiessen shows that it is also inadvertently aiding al Qaeda.

Thiessen cites the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project (CTP). They find that “current U.S. strategy empowers al-Qaeda, which has an army in Syria, is preparing to replace ISIS,. . . [and] is more dangerous than ISIS.”

How so? Because Sunnis see the United States as working with their mortal enemies, Russia, the Assad regime, and Iran. Al-Qaeda is taking advantage of this perception to build support among Sunni tribes, portraying itself as the defender of Sunni Arabs against a U.S.-Russo-Iranian axis intent on subjugating and destroying them.

Thiessen explains:

Right now, al-Qaeda has established itself as the tip of the spear in the fight against the Assad regime, so many Sunnis who do not share al-Qaeda’s ideology are flocking to al-Qaeda because it is the only game in town for fighting Assad. Al-Qaeda’s goal is to take charge of the anti-Assad uprising and slowly transform it into a global jihad against Iran, Russia and the United States. [Note: ISIS used a similar strategy during its rise after President Obama pulled the U.S. out of Iraq.]

Instead of undermining these efforts, we are helping them, by focusing almost exclusively on the Islamic State and driving the Sunni population to ally itself with al-Qaeda.

In addition, Thiessen reminds us, the Trump administration told most of the pro-American Sunnis who want to fight with us that we would arm and train them only if they signed a pledge promising not to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which has massacred their families with mortars and poison gas. Then, as a concession to Putin, it canceled the covert CIA program that allowed a small number of rebels to fight Assad.

The effect, says Thiessen, will be to drive many of the fighters into the waiting arms of al-Qaeda, which promises to help them against Assad. Meanwhile, the cease fire Trump negotiated as part of the deal that canceled the CIA program “create[s] an al-Qaeda haven in southern Syria. .where the terrorist network behind 9/11 is free to operate without fear of U.S. attack.”

Thiessen concludes:

We need to restore the CIA’s covert train-and-equip program and lift the Defense Department’s restrictions preventing Sunnis who join us from fighting the Assad regime. We must then facilitate the emergence of a Sunni Arab partner force in southern Syria that will fight alongside U.S. forces to expel not just the Islamic State but al-Qaeda as well, while helping stop Iran from imposing Persian-backed domination by the Alawite minority against the Sunni majority.

As the ISW-CTP report puts it, “We must stop attacking the Sunni Arab community from the outside through proxies, and instead embed ourselves within that population as its defenders.”

None of this will happen as long as President Trump collaborates in Syria with Vladimir Putin.


Today in the Annals of Stupid, Climate Edition

Posted: 26 Jul 2017 09:05 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

A group of “children” (as activist lawyers call their clients) filed a federal lawsuit a while ago claiming that a right to a stable climate should be enforced by judicial decree as a postulate of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, and the federal district court judge in Oregon (figures) denied a motion to dismiss. This lawsuit is so silly I didn’t bother to make note of it here. If the plaintiffs actually won this case, it would essentially mean the end of the Constitution. Are we really supposed to think that federal judges should supervise climate policy? It has worked so well in the case of public schools. More likely it is intended as a way of prying open the doors for trial lawyers to extract tobacco-settlement style exactions from the energy industry.

Guess who else thinks it is silly? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which yesterday issued a stay on further proceedings at the trial court level pending review by the appeals court. If even the famously flaky 9th Circuit thinks you’re going too far. . .


The Awan connection

Posted: 26 Jul 2017 06:05 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

Politico reported in February that five House staffers were under criminal investigation amid allegations that they stole equipment from more than 20 member offices and accessed House IT systems without lawmakers’ knowledge. The five staffers all worked for Democratic congressmen and have links to Pakistan. The Daily Caller reported that one of the suspects has hightailed it to Pakistan.

Something is happening here. One can only infer that some serious breach of security involving a spy ring seeking to misappropriate confidential and classified information is involved.

The New York Post reported that the criminal investigation was shrouded in mystery. “In a recent twist in the criminal probe,” the Post noted, “Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) demanded that Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa return equipment belonging to her office that was seized as part of the investigation — or ‘[expect] consequences.’”

Above is a video clip from the May 18 House Appropriations Committee budget hearing, covered here by the Daily Mail. According to the Daily Mail, Wasserman Schultz “still employed the staffer [under investigation] and that is why her computer was taken by police as part of their investigation….The Capitol Police and other agencies are investigating Imran Awan, who has run technology for Wasserman Schultz since 2005. He was banned from the House network in February on suspicion of data breaches and theft.”

In the latest development in the case Imran Awan was arrested Monday night at Dulles International Airport where he was “trying to leave the country,” Fox News reported Tuesday evening. Following his arrest for bank fraud, Schultz finally fired Awan. PJ Media’s Debra Heine has more here.


Of tools and their toolkit

Posted: 26 Jul 2017 05:48 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Politically correct opinion has imposed a stifling new orthodoxy on thinking about the phenomenon of gender confusion with astonishing rapidity. Reflecting the new orthodoxy, the Minnesota Department of Education advisory council has just approved a new “toolkit” for “Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.” The “toolkit” is to be disseminated to all public schools in Minnesota.

The DoE has posted the “toolkit” online. The Star Tribune reported the approval of the advisory council here.

At the Center of the American Experiment site, Catrin Thorman notes:

Schools won’t be “forced” to implement these “best practices” to address gender identity, but the language used in the toolkit puts pressure on schools to do so.

The toolkit informs schools they “need to ensure” students can access facilities consistent with their gender identity so they do not feel “stigmatized.” The toolkit recommends segregating students who are uncomfortable about sharing facilities with someone of the opposite biological sex as long as the segregation does not stigmatize a transgender or gender nonconforming student. Schools are also told they should refer to students by the names and pronouns of students’ choosing or risk violating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). According to Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, using pronouns other than what students want—or referring to them in ways they don’t identify with—is a form of harassment.

It is, of course, difficult to understand opposition to the new orthodoxy from the Star Tribune article. There is no hint of the profound harm now done in the name of the new orthodoxy. The opposition is seen as though through a glass darkly.

Center of American Experiment senior fellow Katherine Kersten has made herself an indispensable resource on the subject. Kathy looks at the harm being done in the name of the new orthodoxy in the Weekly Standard article “Experimenting on the young.” Kathy focuses on the Minnesota “toolkit” in the St. Paul Pioneer Press column “Put children’s safety first, not ideology.” Kathy writes:

Here’s a vital fact you won’t find in MDE’s toolkit: The great majority of children with “gender dysphoria” — who are distressed about their biological sex — outgrow this condition after passing through normal puberty, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That’s why the traditional treatment has been “watchful waiting” and family therapy to address the psycho-social issues that may contribute to this condition.

Kathy’s work is a “toolkit” of its own for those of us trying to understand what is going on here.


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