The House Science Committee's Anti-Science Rampage

From climate change and evolution to sex education and vaccination, there has always been tension between scientists and Congress. But Smith, who has been in Congress since 1987 and assumed the chairmanship of the Science Committee in 2013, has escalated that tension into outright war. Smith has a background in American studies and law, not science. He has, however, received more than six hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions from the oil-and-gas industry during his time in Congress—more than from any other single industry. With a focus that is unprecedented, he’s now using his position to attack scientists and activists who work on climate change. Under his leadership, the committee has issued more subpoenas than it had during its previous fifty-four-year history.

Smith, a Christian Scientist, has steadfastly campaigned against other scientific findings that cut against his a-priori beliefs—he’s opposed efforts to allow marijuana use for medical purposes, for example, which he has argued do not exist.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-house-science-committees-anti-science-rampage

When a Crackpot Runs for President

A CNN/ORC poll this month found that by a margin of 15 percentage points, voters thought Donald Trump was “more honest and trustworthy” than Hillary Clinton. Let’s be frank: This public perception is completely at odds with all evidence.

On the PolitiFact website, 13 percent of Clinton’s statements that were checked were rated “false” or “pants on fire,” compared with 53 percent of Trump’s. Conversely, half of Clinton’s are rated “true” or “mostly true” compared to 15 percent of Trump statements.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/15/opinion/when-a-crackpot-runs-for-president.html

Anti-Wahhabism spreading in Muslim world

The Shiites' increasing effort to undermine Wahhabism’s influence in managing Islamic affairs is now expanding to other Islamic denominations, including sects within Sunnism. This is especially true given the fact that hatred of Wahhabism is not confined to Shiites, but also includes Sufis, most of whom are Sunni. Wahhabis and their political advocates in Saudi Arabia often express equal hatred for Sufism and Shiism.

Alt-Right Leaders: We Aren’t Racist, We Just Hate Jews

In a windowless room in a swanky hotel half a block from the White House on Friday afternoon, three of the most visible leaders of the alt-right movement held a two-hour press conference to discuss their affection for Donald Trump and their hopes for a white homeland. The white supremacist alt-right movement has grown over the last eight years or so, incubated in racist forums like StormFront and meme-loving corners of the internet like 4chan and 8chan. Its members generally share a disdain for political correctness, feminism, zionism, Jews in general, immigration (especially Hispanic and Muslim immigration), and anyone who criticizes them for holding these views.

And the alt-right won substantial mainstream media attention when Hillary Clinton gave a speech last month excoriating Donald Trump for some of his staffers’ ties to it. Clinton’s team zeroed in on the campaign’s new CEO, Steve Bannon, who formerly helmed a website that he himself once described as “the platform for the Alt-Right.” And prominent alt-right figures, including two of the men who helmed Friday’s press conference, told The Daily Beast last month that they were delighted Trump hired him.