PowerLine -> Trump terminates U.S. participation in Iran nuclear deal + Ban Cutlery Now!

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PowerLine -> Trump terminates U.S. participation in Iran nuclear deal + Ban Cutlery Now!

Daily Digest

  • Trump terminates U.S. participation in Iran nuclear deal
  • Candace Owens comes to town
  • Pop Culture Tidings
  • Ban Cutlery Now! (2)
  • An Omnibus Climate and Energy Roundup
Trump terminates U.S. participation in Iran nuclear deal

Posted: 08 May 2018 02:47 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)President Trump announced today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—“JCPOA”). Here are talking points sent out by the White House.

President Trump is terminating United States participation in the JCPOA, as it failed to protect America’s national security interests.

· The JCPOA enriched the Iranian regime and enabled its malign behavior, while at best delaying its ability to pursue nuclear weapons and allowing it to preserve nuclear research and development.

· The President has directed his Administration to immediately begin the process of re-imposing sanctions related to the JCPOA.

· The re-imposed sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, such as its energy, petrochemical, and financial sectors.

. Those doing business in Iran will be provided a period of time to allow them to wind down operations in or business involving Iran.

· Those who fail to wind down such activities with Iran by the end of the period will risk severe consequences.

· United States withdrawal from the JCPOA will pressure the Iranian regime to alter its course of malign activities and ensure that Iranian bad acts are no longer rewarded. As a result, both Iran and its regional proxies will be put on notice. As importantly, this step will help ensure global funds stop flowing towards illicit terrorist and nuclear activities.

Iran negotiated the JCPOA in bad faith, and the deal gave the Iranian regime too much in exchange for too little.

· Intelligence recently released by Israel provides compelling details about Iran’s past secret efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which it lied about for years.

. The intelligence further demonstrates that the Iranian regime did not come clean about its nuclear weapons activity and that it entered the JCPOA in bad faith.

· The JCPOA failed to deal with the threat of Iran’s missile program and did not include a strong enough mechanism for inspections and verification.

· The JCPOA foolishly gave the Iranian regime a windfall of cash and access to the international financial system for trade and investment.

. Instead of using the money from the JCPOA to support the Iranian people at home, the regime has instead funded a military buildup and continues to fund its terrorist proxies, such as Hizballah and Hamas.

. Iran violated the laws and regulations of European countries to counterfeit the currency of its neighbor, Yemen, to support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force’s destabilizing activities.

President Trump will work to assemble a broad coalition of nations to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and to counter the totality of the regime’s malign activities.

· Nations must work together to halt the Iranian regime’s destabilizing drive for regional hegemony.

. In Syria, the Iranian regime supports the Assad regime and is complicit in Assad’s atrocities against the Syrian people.

. In Yemen, the regime has escalated the conflict and used the Houthis as a proxy to attack other nations.

. In Iraq, Iran’s IRGC sponsors Shia militant groups and terrorists.

. In Lebanon, the Iranian regime enables Hizballah to play a highly destabilizing role and to build an arsenal of weapons that threaten the region.

· The Administration’s actions are directed against the malign behavior of the Iranian regime, not against the Iranian people, who are the regime’s longest-suffering victims.

President Trump is making clear that, in addition to never developing a nuclear weapon, the Iranian regime must:

· Never have an ICBM, cease developing any nuclear-capable missiles, and stop proliferating ballistic missiles to others.

· Cease its support for terrorists, extremists, and regional proxies, such as Hizballah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qa’ida.

· End its publicly declared quest to destroy Israel.

· Stop its threats to freedom of navigation, especially in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

· Cease escalating the Yemen conflict and destabilizing the region by proliferating weapons to the Houthis.

· End its cyber-attacks against the United States and our allies, including Israel.

· Stop its grievous human rights abuses, shown most recently in the regime’s crackdown against widespread protests by Iranian citizens.

· Stop its unjust detention of foreigners, including United States citizens.

We will have plenty more to say about President Trump’s decision, I’m sure. But I wanted to give the first word to the White House, especially because its points will be largely ignored in mainstream media coverage of the decision.


Candace Owens comes to town

Posted: 08 May 2018 02:47 PM PDT

(Scott Johnson)The Center of the American Experiment hosted Candace Owens at the Marriott City Center over lunch this afternoon in the hotel’s packed ballroom with 550 guests in attendance. Congratulations are in order to John and his gang at the center. It was a spectacular and spectacularly successful event.

Candace is a powerful speaker. She is an inspirational figure. She is young and beautiful. She displayed poise and easy eloquence in her presentation. She seemed to connect with those in the audience who had the opportunity to ask a question and she left us all wanting more. I have filed this one under Hope For the Future.

Only the masters of the social media cast a pall. Gary Heyer of Bloomington, Minnesota, was called on to ask a question. He noted at the outset that he had been live streaming the event on Twitter and discovered that his Twitter account had been locked in response. The video is inaccessible. I trust that the center will have a video available on YouTube in short order.

Quotable quote via Howard Root’s tweet below.

“This is the definition of racism — that because of my skin color, I must think a certain way.” pic.twitter.com/WVBrl3hGzO

— Howard Root (@RootHoward) May 8, 2018


Pop Culture Tidings

Posted: 08 May 2018 11:33 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)I don’t think I will be venturing into spoiler territory if I point out that the galactic villain of The Avengers: Infinity Wars, whose name is Thanos (close to or perhaps derived from the ancient Greek word Thanatos, for the rule of death), is a Paul Ehrlich-style Malthusian. In the movie, Thanos expresses his ruthless determination to reduce the population of the entire universe dramatically because of “scarce resources.” What a perfect rendering of environmentalism! Down with people! Let us not forget that Ehrlich often openly embraced “coercion,” while many other environmentalists have openly embraced authoritarianism as necessary to forestall our supposed environmental crisis. (See this old post as an example.) I call such people “democracy deniers.” Heh.

Needless to say, it is the would-be totalitarian crisis mongers that represent a greater threat to humanity than any environmental problem. Nice of Hollywood to be spreading this message, even if inadvertently. We’ve come a long way since Soylent Green, which included a bonus pro-Malthus sermon on the early DVD versions.

Meanwhile, my pal Michael Shellenberger notes another unlikely pop culture reversal, on the TV show “Madam Secretary.” Whereas Hollywood for years did its best to demonize nuclear power (thank you, Jane Fonda), a recent script of the show ran as follows:

The secretary of state was meeting with the president in the Oval Office. Both were shaken by a military confrontation with the Russians in the Arctic circle — one that required they get help from a Chinese icebreaker — and were sharing a drink.

“You know what I can’t get out of my head?” the secretary said. “That Chinese icebreaker can push through 20-foot thick ice at seven knots for two years before refueling. Do you know why?”

The president didn’t hesitate. “Because it runs on nuclear power.”

The secretary responds, “We let a transformative, carbon-free technology get buried in fear and ignorance —”

“— and now we’re suffering the consequences,” replies the president.

It gets even better. The plot of the episode revolves around an overseas energy trade show of some kind, which natural gas people have somehow come to dominate to the exclusion of nuclear power. More from Michael’s summary:

Later in the show, Secretary McCord confronts the leader of CDF [an anti-nuke environmental group, obviously a stand-in for the Environmental Defense Fund], Bella Rossi, and demands she help fund the clean energy pavilion, which once again includes nuclear thanks to McCord standing up to the natural gas man.

Rossi: CDF is still worried about the threat of a meltdown.

Staffer 1: That fear has always been way overblown — if non-existent.

Staffer 2: And barring some technical moonshot, we’re not getting to 100 percent renewables before the ice caps are gone.

Rossi: Between us, I get that modern nuclear plants using light water reactors are virtually accident-proof.

Staffer 3: Then what’s with all the “bathe the planet with radiation” stuff?

Rossi: Official party lines. Our members? They think that any support for nuclear takes money away from renewables.

Secretary McCord: So educate them!

Rossi: It’s not that simple. I have to think about my donor base… I need to fight global warming and I cannot do that without them!

Staffer 1: You can’t win that fight without nuclear power!

As Shellenberger points out, “in the course of just a few minutes, seven million viewers learned more accurate information about nuclear power — and the severe limitations of renewables — from “Madam Secretary” than they will learn from network news all year. . . While “Madam Secretary” rightly holds anti-nuclear groups to account, no institution has done more to undermine our largest source of clean energy than Hollywood.”

Even if you’re a climate skeptic, it is worth noting when Hollywood goes against leftist orthodoxy on at least one major part of the story.

By the way, did I mention that Shellenberger is running for governor of California on the gonzo platform (for a Democrat) of keeping nuclear power and building housing? It’s so crazy it just might work!

Meanwhile, what to drink if you’ve run out of Soylent Green:


Ban Cutlery Now! (2)

Posted: 08 May 2018 11:27 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)We noted here a few weeks ago how London, which has no guns but somehow still has achieved a higher murder rate than New York City, is trying to ban knives because of an epidemic of knife violence. The London Times reported Sunday that the problem of knife violence is actually worse outside of London:

The Sunday Times disclosed last month that London’s murder rate had overtaken New York’s in February and March. At least 36 people in the capital have been stabbed to death so far this year.

Knife crime is up 20% in London over three years. But in the home counties the increases since 2014 are far steeper. Knife crime incidents in Hertfordshire are up 150% from 229 incidents in 2014 to 573 in 2017; Hampshire is up 102%, Cambridgeshire up 83%, Warwickshire up 180%, Bedfordshire up 86%, Essex up 86%, Thames Valley up 50% and north Wales up 134%. Norfolk’s knife crime rate has rocketed 274%.

Here’s the chart:

Pretty clear England needs to institute greater knife control right away.

Reminder from a recent Week in Pictures:


An Omnibus Climate and Energy Roundup

Posted: 08 May 2018 08:59 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)At some point, it gets embarrassing to keep up with the daily failure of the climatistas. Exhibit 1 today is Japan, one of the most energy-efficient industrial economies in the world, but which is now in the process of building a whole bunch of new coal-fired power plants. Science magazine reports:

Bucking global trends, Japan again embraces coal power

Most of the world is turning its back on burning coal to produce electricity [not true, incidentally—SH] but not Japan. The nation has fired up at least eight new coal power plants in the past 2 years and has plans for an additional 36 over the next decade—the biggest planned coal power expansion in any developed nation (not including China and India). And last month, the government took a key step toward locking in a national energy plan that would have coal provide 26% of Japan’s electricity in 2030 and abandons a previous goal of slashing coal’s share to 10%.

Why is Japan reversing course so dramatically? Chiefly because they decided to scale back nuclear power after the disaster at Fukushima in 2011:

Not long ago, coal was on its way out in Japan. In 2010, coal plants accounted for 25% of Japan’s electricity, but the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) planned to reduce that share by more than half over 20 years. The ministry counted on nuclear power to pick up the slack, with its share of the nation’s electricity set to increase from 29% in 2010 to 50% by 2030.

But the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident forced a reassessment. All 54 of Japan’s reactors were shut down pending compliance with new safety standards. Just seven have restarted. Utilities have turned to liquefied natural gas and coal, which surged to provide 31% of the country’s electricity in 2014.

In many other nations, natural gas has replaced coal as a fuel source because gas costs less. But in Japan, “coal is cheap,” says Takeo Kikkawa, an energy economist at Tokyo University of Science and a member of an METI advisory council on energy. That’s because the nation must import natural gas in its relatively expensive liquefied form.

But, but-but . . . hasn’t Japan heard they can get all the power they need from wind and solar? Apparently not. Hold that thought for the moment. First, let’s check in with Europe, where . . . oops:

European Union carbon emissions increased in 2017 as French President Emmanuel Macron continues dinging the Trump administration for leaving the Paris agreement.

Carbon emissions in the EU increased 1.8 percent since 2016, EU’s statistics office Eurostat said Friday. There was also a double-digit increase in Malta and Estonia, while Germany’s emission levels remain unchanged.

And guess which nation’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to fall, and have fallen the most over the last decade? Yes—that would be us, the United Trumpified States of America. In fact, the U.S. has already achieved the year 2025 emission reduction targets called for in Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” that Scott Pruitt has wisely canceled. This is, of course, the result of the natural gas revolution, which happened without the permission or direction of Washington DC; it happened without a signing ceremony on the White House lawn or a diktat from the EPA. It happened because of market forces. And naturally, the left hates this.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget this evergreen (heh) fact about Germany’s energiewende (“energy revolution”), as reported in the New York Times:

Germany has spent an estimated 189 billion euros, or about $222 billion, since 2000 on renewable energy subsidies. But emissions have been stuck at roughly 2009 levels, and rose last year, as coal-fired plants fill a void left by Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power. That has raised questions — and anger — over a program meant to make the country’s power sector greener. . .

Julian Hermneuwöhner, a 27-year-old computer science student, said his family paid an additional €800 a year because of Energiewende. “But it hasn’t brought lower CO2 emissions,” he said. “It’s frustrating that we’re paying so much more, because the country hasn’t gotten anything for it.”

The coup de grace for this story is a recent study in Energy Policy which concludes that the rush to force renewable energy into the electricity grid has actually increased the use of fossil fuels to maintain overall power output and grid stability. The study looked at 10 European countries that have emphasized renewable energy, and amidst the usually specialized jargon and complicated regressions, some shocking conclusions are impossible to disguise or obscure:

Nevertheless, as RES [renewable energy sources] increases, the expected decreasing tendency in the installed capacity of electricity generation from fossil fuels, has not been found.

Looking more closely, the study finds that solar power has some effect in reducing fossil fuel consumption, but that wind power increases:

Regarding the ECA, an increase of 1% in the installed capacity of solar PV decreases electricity production from oil and natural gas by nearly 0.11%, and 0.20% respectively in the long-run. In contrast, an increase of 1% in the installed capacity of wind power provokes an increase of 0.26%, and 0.22% in electricity generation from oil and natural gas, respectively in the long-run. . .

In fact, RES cannot satisfy electricity consumption without resorting to fossil fuel electricity generation.This has hindered the shift from fossil fuels to RES, and has cancelled out the advantage of the shift to electrification, because of the need to burn fossil fuels. Furthermore, it should be stressed that natural gas, hydropower and cross-border markets are flexible, and their contribution to the electricity grid has been essential to back up RES intermittency and to satisfy peaks of demand.

This is exactly what we found in the study I co-authored on energy policy in Minnesota for John’s think tank, the Center of the American Experiment: when wind power flags in the summer and winter (and when, not coincidentally, electricity demand peaks), the gap is being filled almost entirely by coal-fired power, and hence Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions are flat are slightly rising, despite all the windmills it has installed over the last decade. This one chart tells the story succinctly—notice how coal power spikes when wind output falls.  (Though I suspect there’s a three-way story here—coal is used to provide baseload power during slack wind periods in the winter and summer, while natural gas is the swing producer to meet the intra-day peaks in demand.)

Nice going greenies. Maybe you’ll want to rethink your fundamentalist opposition to nuclear power some day.

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