Posts

North Korea appears determined to provoke an attack from US

NY Times:
North Korea Says It Has the Right to Shoot Down U.S. Jets
North Korea’s foreign minister escalated the tensions with the U.S., saying the country had the right to shoot down American warplanes, even if they are not in North Korean air space.He also called President Trump’s derogatory comments about the country and its leadership “a declaration of war.” It is interesting how he ignores his own derogatory comments and threats to the US.  By his logic, he is already at war with the US.  

Does North Korea have an air defense that could threaten US jets?  Probably not.  If the US planes approach at an altitude above the range of their ancient air defense system, North Korea would probably just be wasting ammo and poking holes in the sky.

If North Korea did launch such an attack it would not be the first time they have attacked the US military in international waters.  During the Vietnam Tet offensive, they captured a US spy ship in international waters and held the crew captive for…

Kurds ignore those who say their independence is inconvenient

NY Times:
Iraqi Kurds Vote on Independence, Despite Opposition
Many have long yearned for nationhood. But Iraq considers the vote illegal, and the United States, Iran and Turkey are also opposed. World War I was a disaster for the Turkish empire.  The Europeans who divvied up the spoils of the Turkish empire made the mistake of putting the Kurds' ancestral home gound in what remained of Turkey, as well as in Iran and Iraq.  It has not worked out well for anyone especially the Kurds who have been abused by all three at one time or another.

The treatment has not quelled the Kurds' desire for independence.  It has enhanced it.  If I were a Kurd, I would vote for independence from despotic regimes like that in Turkey and Iran.  I suspect the US opposes the vote because it is inconvenient to their objectives in Iraq and Syria.  On the other hand, it could be a benefit to US objectives in Iran.  In the long term, it could also help in dealing with the emerging despotic regime in Turk…

A Lone Pittsburgh Steeler hero when the anthem was played

Cheryl Chumley:
When the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to stay their sorry selves in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem at Sunday’s game, the entire NFL fanbase, minus the Friends of Colin Kaepernick crowd, gave a collective sigh — a heavy, frustrated, “here we go again” sigh.

Then came Alejandro Villaneuva, jogging onto the football field to stand and place hand over heart as the anthem played. Alone.

And now Villaneuva’s the hero; his teammates, the dark-hearted.

Villaneuva is a U.S. Army veteran who served three tours in Afghanistan. It’s sad that his fellow teammates couldn’t put aside their partisan politicking for messages that aren’t based entirely on truths for the playing of the one song that’s supposed to unite all of America — for the one song that recognizes the great sacrifices of those who went before, those who gave so much, those who served as Villanueva did.

The Steelers were reportedly surprised that Villaneuva didn’t stay in the locker room with …

Obama's responsibility for the problems of his own healthcare law

Washington Examiner:
...
The law struggled for years when Obama was in office, even though his administration created it. Many of the problems were the result of short-term fixes by the Obama administration through the use of executive decisions, waivers, and deadline extensions. These inflicted losses for insurers in the exchanges. Those decisions by Obama slashed choices for customers and hiked prices, especially for those who were not receiving federal subsidies.

The Obamacare law gives the secretary of Health and Human Services latitude to decide questions about open enrollment, customer outreach, and special enrollment periods. Leaving such issues up to a government healthcare agency meant experts could weigh in and provided flexibility and adjustment during the early years. This was arguably necessary, to a degree, experts say, given that the law overhauled the healthcare system and caused disruption for millions of people.

But some of the decisions that were made also injected …

What is the crime that has prompted the prosecutorial abuses of Manafort?

Melanie Phillips:
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s squad inquiring into allegations of collusion between Team Trump and President Putin’s Russia broke into the home of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort in the middle of the night, drew their guns on Manafort and his wife, carted out boxes of stuff and took out Manafort himself in handcuffs and pyjamas, telling him to expect an indictment.

For what, precisely?

If prosecuting authorities uncover evidence to support a prosecution, they charge someone. They don’t tell that individual to expect a charge about some unspecified offence at some unspecified future date unless they are putting the metaphorical screws on him. Nor do they physically strong-arm him as though he were a dangerous mobster especially if – as in the case of Manafort – he was already cooperating with Congressional investigators and had made 300 pages of documents available to them.

Manafort may have unsavoury business associations – as former prosecutor Andre…

Players and media politicized sports and many besides the President are fed up with them

Erick Erickson:
If you listened to the media over the weekend, or the Patriots’ owner, you’d think Donald Trump had just politicized sports. Actually, Trump is responding to the politicization of sports. The players, ESPN pundits and analysts, and the national press corps has politicized sports. They are the ones who started taking knees, covering the taking of knees heroically, and trying to examine the politics of it all.

The NFL, ESPN, and other media outlets already have internal data showing the protests are not popular. ESPN has internal data showing its politicization of sports is not popular.

So along comes President Trump to express a widely held sentiment and he amps up the rhetoric. The press and player reaction is to not only double down on the protests, but to accuse Trump of inserting politics into the situation — something everyone already knows the players and pundits did first.

And now what happens? Because of the way the argument has unfolded, you are either on the s…

Jones Act is an impediment to interstate commerce

Washington Examiner:
The recent hurricanes affecting coastal states have renewed calls to reform or repeal the Jones Act, an obscure, century-old shipping law designed to protect American maritime interests and shipbuilders.

Enacted in 1920, the federal law prohibits tankers from hauling oil between U.S. ports unless those vessels are American-made, flagged and manned by a crew that is 75 percent U.S. citizens.

The Trump administration this month extended a temporary waiver to the Jones Act in response to fuel shortages caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to allow foreign-flagged vessels to meet demand.

But some lawmakers and experts say the waivers prompted by the hurricanes showcase the need to repeal a law they view as protectionist and anti-competitive, making it harder to move goods to market, and raising prices for consumers.

Because of the high cost of using vessels that qualify under the Jones Act, critics say coastal shipping has declined, even though infrastructure experts…

Single-payer healthcare in UK bans US made Parkinson drug

Times:
Tens of thousands of Parkinson’s disease patients with a mixture of dementia and psychosis are being denied an effective drug that is available in the United States.

About 130,000 people in Britain have Parkinson’s, which erodes the brain’s control over body movements, leading to shaking and poor co-ordination.

In the long term, four out of five of these patients will also face mental decline when the disease spreads from the base of the brain to the areas that handle memory and planning.

As the condition worsens, three quarters of this group will also develop aspects of psychosis, such as paranoia, delusions or seeing, smelling or hearing things that are not really there.

Scientists in Britain have carried out a fresh analysis of the findings from their trial of a Parkinson’s medication and found that it is particularly potent in patients who have both dementia and psychosis.

The anti-psychotic pill, which is called pimavanserin but marketed in the US as Nuplazid, turned out t…

North Korea earns a spot on US travel ban

BBC:
The United States has expanded its controversial travel ban to include people from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad.

The White House said the restrictions follow a review of information sharing by foreign governments.

Donald Trump issued a presidential proclamation late on Sunday.

"Making America safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet," Mr Trump said.

The restrictions on Venezuelans apply only to government officials and their family members.

The three new countries join five others from Mr Trump's original travel ban: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. But the new proclamation removed restrictions that were placed on Sudan.
... Lifting the travel ban on Sudan may raise some questions.  It has a despotic Islamist leader and yesterday a legal Sudanese immigrant was accused of opening fire on worshippers at a Chruch of Christ in Tennessee killing one and wounding several others.  Authorities have not given the relig…

Another doomsday prediction bites the dust

Daily Mail:

David Meade is a conspiracy theorist who alleged that the world would end on September 23, though he has now clarified that the apocalypse has in fact been delayed. The climate change cult has made its own predictions but it appears to be a moving target, as they tend to overreach in their predictions.  But some of the members of the cult are not that far from Meade when it comes to making predictions that do not come true.

Spy satellite could be used to track Nork launches

CBS Los Angeles:
It was actually a rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base Saturday evening carrying a top secret payload. The spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office launched just before 11 p.m. Seconds after the scheduled launch — the ship’s main engine and four rocket boosters — were off with a roar.

The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is carrying a classified NROL-42 satellite.

Rocket scientist Olympia LePoint said the ship reached the speed of sound in 35 seconds.
...

Though classified, LePoint said we can still tell a lot about the mission because they are using the Atlas Five. The Atlas 5 rocket is one of the strongest, capable of carrying 18,000 pounds.

“It is a spy satellite that’s being delivered up into our upper atmosphere” LePoint said. “It’s our eyes and ears towards space.”

It’s rumored the ship’s cargo is a highly-specialized orbital camera that can give us larger-than-ever views of the Northern hemisphere. That could come in more than…

Who is being divisive?

Washington Post:
Two-thirds of Americans think Trump is dividing the U.S.

Even before the president jumped into the fraught NFL debate, Americans saw him doing more to fracture the country than to unite it, according to a Post-ABC News poll. It depends on which poll you are looking at.  Town Hall reports:
...

Needless to say, this whole blowup is exactly what Trump wanted. The media is in meltdown mode. The NFL is going apoplectic. And some on the Left are saying that Trump has engaged in a culture war that he can’t win. I’m not so sure about that. In fact, they could be dead wrong (again). CBS Sports reported on a poll, where 72 percent found Kaepernick’s antics to be unpatriotic (via CBS Sports)... They both could be right, but the media is ignoring the fact that the Kaepernick caper is hurting the NFL and the owners have to know it regardless of what they say in response to Trump.

Kaepernick was reacting to the "Hands up, don't shoot" chant coming out of Ferguson which…

ISIS in Libya training camp takes a direct hit from precision strikes

NY Times:
U.S. Airstrikes Hit ISIS Camp in Libya; 17 Reported Killed
A half-dozen “precision strikes” hit a training camp about 150 miles southeast of Surt, from which militants were plotting and conducting attacks, the military said. The US continues to work on its annihilation strategy against ISIS with this hit in Libya.  They are under pressure in the Middle East, but they are still causing trouble in the Philippines

Wall Street is being played by Obama to fund attacks on their own objectives

Paul Sperry:
Wall Street might be shocked to learn it is helping bankroll the anti-Trump “resistance” movement that’s aggressively fighting policies it favors — including corporate tax cuts and the repeal of Obama-era banking and health-care regulations.

The Obama administration’s massive shakedown of Big Banks over the mortgage crisis included unprecedented back-door funding for dozens of Democratic activist groups who were not even victims of the crisis.

At least three liberal nonprofit organizations the Justice Department approved to receive funds from multibillion-dollar mortgage settlements were instrumental in killing the ObamaCare repeal bill and are now lobbying against GOP tax reform, as well as efforts to rein in illegal immigration.

An estimated $640 million has been diverted into what critics say is an improper, if not unconstitutional, “slush fund” fed from government settlements with JPMorgan Chase and Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., according to congressi…

The Obama unmasking scandal grows

Michael Goodwin:
The number is so large that it explodes everything we were led to believe about how tightly-controlled our government’s surveillance programs are.

The number is 260, and that’s how many times Samantha Power, the ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama, reportedly requested the names of American citizens who were included in intelligence reports covering foreign officials.

The story, by respected Fox News’ journalists Bret Baier and Catherine Herridge, said Power made the requests to “unmask” the 260 names in one year alone, including the period between the presidential election and the inauguration.

The first obvious question is this: Why would she need those names? Power had no operational duties for either intelligence-gathering or counterintelligence investigations, yet her requests apparently were approved.

The second obvious question: what did Power do with those names? Having no clear official reason to get them, any use she made of them would be susp…

The difference between Tebow and Kaepernick

Washington Post:
Perspective: Why is Kaepernick taking a knee different from when Tebow does it? One of the big differences is the media reaction.  Tebow was ridiculed for praying and Kaepernick was praised for pushing the racial grievance project of the left.

Kaepernick was buying into the "hands up don't shoot" lie that fed the Black Lives Matter movement.  Fans did not react negatively to Tebow's prayer like many in the sports media did, but they did turn off their TV's because Kaepernick and others were seen as disrespecting the country and its flag.

Without fans, the league will have fewer billionaire owners and fewer millionaire players.  Trump seems to have a better understanding of this than NFL management and many of the owners.  He has also exposed again the political bias of the sports media.

Kaepernick and his imitators are the ones being divisive and the NFL seems clueless as to why this is a problem.

NFL is allowing the racial grievance industry to ruin the market for their game

NY Times:
Trump Calls for Boycott if N.F.L. Doesn’t Crack Down on Anthem Protests “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our country, you will see change take place fast,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. In San Francisco where this movement started with Kolin Kaepernick, they played Thursday night to a half-full stadium.  The team they were playing was the Los Angelos Rams who notoriously fell for the "hands up don't shoot" lie that gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.  The TV ratings continue to drop for this once dominant sport.

It has become a toxic mix that the owners and the NFL do not seem to have an answer for except one does.  Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys told his players that if they did not show respect for the national anthem and the flag they would be cut.  His team still sells out every game and has a large fan base.

I feel sorry for players who have bought into the Ferguson lie.  It is sad to see millionaires act…

Small Houston oil company awarded $100 million for allegedly fraudulent book keeping by Spanish owned company

Energy Fix:
A small Houston energy company was awarded nearly $100 million in damages by a Texas jury that found Canada's Talisman Energy violated their partnership agreement and committed accounting fraud.

The district court jury in La Salle County sided with Matrix over the multibillion-dollar company in the Eagle Ford Shale dispute that dated back to 2011. Talisman was later acquired by Spanish energy giant Repsol in 2015 in an $8.3 billion deal. Talisman, now known as Repsol Oil & Gas Canada, can still appeal the jury decision.

Matrix is a very small, privately owned energy company in Houston that's represented by The Kim Law Firm, of Houston. The argument centered on Talisman allegedly violating their joint operating agreement.

Matrix alleged Talisman signed on with them to drill wells on Cooke Ranch fields in 2011, but Talisman instead drilled wells on a competing, adjacent lease and later lied about production volumes and revenues for more than five years. Matrix was a…

Trump is getting under the thin skin of Nork leader

streiff:
...
Today’s speech is the direct result of US presidents allowing three generations of imbeciles North Korean despots think that they can a) do whatever they wish and b) they will be rewarded for bad behavior and c) the more outlandish their behavior the greater the reward.

What Kim Jong Un is experiencing is something very new to him and to his regime. Bad behavior is getting punitive action. He is not being treated as a player on the world stage, rather he’s being treated like a spoiled brat with a can of gas and a Zippo.

The key mistake he made was letting Trump know that the “rocket man” label is getting under his skin. All this ensures is that we will see more of it and we will see more inventive insults yet to come. Where will the goading lead? We don’t know but if we’re going to have to fight this guy, we need to do it now before he has a creditable nuclear force. Because then we will have to fight him and the carnage will be appalling. Some recent polling is troubling…

Iran continues to embarrass those who back Obama's bad nuclear deal

The Drive:
Shortly after revealing the new Khorramshahr medium range ballistic missile to the public for the first time, Iran released a never before seen video showing a successful test of the weapon, but did not give a date or place for the footage. The new development will undoubtedly have an impact on whether U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration decide to scrap a deal with Iran over its controversial nuclear program, but it also underscores long-standing concerns that the Iranian authorities have been working with the North Koreans and other allies to skirt their international obligations.

Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), a military-political organization that commands immense influence on the country’s domestic and foreign policy, unveiled the Khorramshahr during a military parade on Sept. 22, 2017 as part of the country’s annual Sacred Defense Week. The events commemorate the country’s bloody war with Iraq between 1980 and 1988.
...
Brigadier…

US backed forces take Syrian oil field from ISIS near area where leaders are thought to be

Reuters:
U.S.-backed forces said on Saturday they had seized a major natural gas field in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province from Islamic State militants in rapid advances since the start of an operation earlier this month to capture areas east of the Euphrates river.

Commander Ahmed Abu Khawla told Reuters that the Conoco gas field was the first of its kind taken by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, since it began an offensive earlier this month to capture the eastern province.

“This is the first gas or oil field in the campaign which we have liberated,” said the commander of the group whose campaign is in parallel with an ongoing battle for the nearby Raqqa city.

The Conoco field is named for the American company which discovered the gas reserves and built a processing plant there. It has been the target of U.S. strikes and was used to supply cooking gas canisters for household use. Before the conflict it supplied gas to power stations.

In Deir …

US B-1 bombers expose new avenue of approach to North Korea

BBC:
US bombers have flown close to North Korea's east coast to demonstrate the military options available to defeat any threat, the Pentagon has said.

It said the flight was the farthest north of the demilitarised zone between the Koreas that any US fighter jet or bomber had flown in the 21st Century.

Tensions have risen recently over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

At the UN, North Korea's foreign minister said US President Donald Trump was on a "suicide mission".

Ri Yong-ho's comments to the General Assembly mimicked Mr Trump's remarks at the UN on Tuesday, when he called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a "rocket man on a suicide mission".

Mr Ri added that "insults" by Mr Trump - who was, he said, "mentally deranged and full of megalomania" - were an "irreversible mistake making it inevitable" that North Korean rockets would hit the US mainland.

Mr Trump, the foreign minister said, would "pay dearly" for his sp…

NFL's response to Trump's criticism of anthem protests shows they are out of touch with fans

ESPN:
President Donald Trump criticized NFL players who lodge protests during the pregame national anthem, saying Friday night that he wished those players would be released and encouraging fans who are offended to walk out of stadiums.
...
The NFL responded Saturday with a brief statement.

"The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities," the statement said.
... There is much irony in this response to Trump's criticism.  The anthem protests are intended to be a disrespectful act to those who sacrifice to keep them safe.  Usu…

China restricting North Korea oil shipments

LA Times:
China will soon begin restricting oil exports to North Korea, the country’s Commerce Ministry announced on Saturday, marking a major step by Pyongyang’s top ally and trading partner to further isolate the country from the global economy.

China said the new restrictions are in accordance with United Nations sanctions leveled against the North to stymie its nuclear and missile ambitions. They include a total and immediate ban on natural gas and textile exports, and will limit annual petroleum exports to 2 million barrels beginning on Jan. 1.

“When approaching the upper limit, Chinese government authorities will issue a notice based on the export situation,” said a statement on the Commerce Ministry’s website. “Once it reaches the limit, from the date of implementation, no refined oil products will be exported to North Korea.”

China has been North Korea’s top ally for decades, and now accounts for an estimated 90% of the country’s trade. Yet Beijing has been increasingly uneasy…

Media and Trump on two different wave lengths on Russia and the election

NY Times:
Trump Dismisses ‘Russia Hoax’ as Facebook Turns Over Ads Tied to Campaign The president asserts that the “Fake News Media” had the most sway in the 2016 election, and he again denies any Russian role in the campaign. They are arguing about two very different things.  Uppermost in Trump's mind is the bogus charge that he collaborated with Russia to steal an election.  That has been the Democrat narrative and the media has embraced it without finding any real evidence to corroborate it.  Mueller is looking increasingly desperate to try to find something he can hang his hat on or extort testimony out of targets like Manafort.

So, the media has been more focused of late on Russian attempts to peak at State voting.  As the post below indicated there were apparently 20 attempts by Russia to "hack" elections in the states.  However, none of them changed any votes or effected the results.  To Trump that goes to his fervent belief that he won the electoral college fair a…

California's 'sanctuary law' will make the state less safe, sheriff say

Washington Free Beacon:
California Law Enforcement Groups Say Sanctuary Law Makes Communities Less Safe

Top sheriff: We can't call ICE on three-time drunk-drivers or MS-13 gang members California has become totally irrational when it comes to illegal immigration.

Putin's unproductive election hacking?

Daily Mail:

BREAKING NEWS: Putin's hackers targeted TWENTY ONE states before the 2016 election - including key state Wisconsin which Hillary lost to Trump but no votes were changed
Department of Homeland Security tells 21 states that Russian government hackers targeted them in 2016No votes were changed by the electronic attempt at interference, says DHS States include Wisconsin, where Hillary Clinton narrowly lost to Donald Trump in one of his key moves towards victoryOther include the less closely contested Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington In other words, the Russian hacking had nothing to do with Trump's victory or Clinton's loss.  I think the same can be said of Russian attempts to influence the election with "fake news."   I voted against Hillary Clinton for numerous reasons none of which had anything to do with something some Russian or Macedonian might have said.  I tuned out Twitter during the election.

Clinton was the propone…

'Climate change' in California?

BBC:
Snow comes early to California

Snow has come early - very early - to Northern California, on the last day of summer. Drivers have been advised to be careful in icy conditions. There is a video of the snowfall that will continue the recent trend of ending what the global warming crowd called the "permanent drought."  Maybe the California government will allow the farmers to have some of the resulting water.

The left's nutty embrace of a man who wants to kill them with nuclear weapons

Red States:
It only takes one small word to set progressives off. In this case, it was the word “dotard,” and it was used by Kim “Rocket Man” Jong-un to describe his arch nemesis, Donald Trump. Rocket Man was responding to Trump’s speech at the United Nations, in which the president said the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if it came to that.
...
Rocket Man isn’t used to such strong talk from other world leaders, and, thus, the boy leader lashed out at Trump:
Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say. “Dotard” quickly started trending on Twitter, mainly because American leftists were cheering on Kim for insulting their president. (For record, “dotard” means an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile.)
... If the left looked at the map North Korea has provided of its targets in the US, every one of them is a large liberal enclave.  He is saying he wants to reduce these liberal enclaves to ashes…

Predatory pricing claim may lead to tariffs on foreign solar panels

Fuel Fix:
The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Friday to that a flood of foreign made solar panels was damaging the domestic solar manufacturing industry, setting the foundation for new tariffs that developers here fear will dramatically raise costs on solar projects.

Two U.S. solar manufacturers, Georgia-based Suniva and Oregon-based SolarWorld, filed a petitions with the ITC earlier this year, arguing that large manufacturers abroad are dumping their products onto the global market below cost, driving American competitors into bankruptcy.

The ITC is scheduled to make a decision on what if any tariffs to impose by Nov. 13. A final decision would then be made by President Donald J. Trump, who campaigned on protecting U.S. manufacturing jobs by taking a tougher line on trade policy.

"We brought this action because the U.S. solar manufacturing finds itself at the precipice of extinction," Suniva said in a statement Friday. "President Trump can remedy this injury wit…

Mueller using an attorney who has been accused of prosecutorial misconduct

Fox News:
When a report surfaced that federal agents picked the lock on Paul Manafort’s front door for a surprise raid over the summer while the former Trump campaign chairman was in bed, it was also a wake-up call for prominent Houston attorney Tom Kirkendall.

“Here is a United States citizen where the FBI is coming in, picking his lock, and raiding his home in the early morning, over what? It doesn’t matter which side you’re on. It’s just crazy. We’re not the Soviet Union. It’s appalling,” said Kirkendall, who has worked on cases involving one of the special counsel’s key investigators, Andrew Weissmann.

The intensity of the focus on Manafort is widely seen as a potential effort by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to pressure him into providing information on others, possibly President Trump himself, in the Russia probe.

But the “brass-knuckle” tactics have raised eyebrows in the legal community.

The Manafort investigation has been the subject of numerous leaks, including new d…

This is the mess that McCain and the Democrats are 'saving'

Red States:
...
Recently, I was laid off from my job. I am now among the millions of Americans trying to figure out which health insurance plan to buy, all the while becoming more and more frustrated by the actual “coverage” included in them.

Because I no longer have an employer-sponsored plan, I’m left with plans on the individual market, where the cheapest premium I’ve been able to find thus far would cost me less than $100 per month.

Sounds great, right? Wrong.

That’s because with any plan with a monthly premium I can actually afford, the ridiculously high deductibles (ranging from $5,000 to nearly $10,000) basically ensures I’ll never even be able to use the coverage I buy.

The alternative isn’t much better. I could choose not to purchase health insurance and pay out of pocket for any medical expenses. However, I would then be stuck with a $1,000 penalty come tax time, and God help me if I’m forking over to the federal government one more penny than I have absolutely have to.

Now,…

Nork leader channels left wing zealots in the US in response to Trump

Washington Post:
Kim reacts to Trump, says he will ‘tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire’

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacted angrily to President Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly, calling it “unprecedented rude nonsense.”

Trump lashed back this morning, calling Kim a “madman” whose regime will be “tested like never before” amid new U.S.-imposed sanctions aimed at forcing nations, foreign companies and individuals to choose whether to do business with the United States or Pyongyang. I wonder whether liberals and those in teh media realize how close their own rhetoric is to that of North Korea's leader in their reaction to President Trump.  Hopefully, they are not flattered by the comparison.

The North Koreans are something of an expert when it comes to "rude nonsense."

Mueller's move against executive privilege

NY Times:
Mueller Seeks White House Documents Related to Trump’s Actions as President Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, is interested in Mr. Trump’s firing of his F.B.I. director and national security adviser and other events. I question whether he has a right to documents that are part of the deliberation process by a President in the exercise of his constitutional duties.  That would include his right to fire the FBI director and national security advisor for any reason or no reason.

Chinese banks no longer allowed to do business with North Korea

Fox News:
North Korea learned this week Chinese banks will no longer do business with the Hermit Kingdom, in the strongest sign yet pressure from the Trump administration to choke off funding to the rogue nation is working.

Chinese banks received a document Monday stating they should halt financial services and loans to new and existing North Korean customers as a result of strict U.N. sanctions passed earlier this month, a source told Reuters on Thursday.

“Our bank is fulfilling our international obligations and implementing United Nations sanctions against North Korea. As such, we refuse to handle any individual loans connected to North Korea,” the document reportedly said.
...
China's surprising instructions to banks this week, however, were at least partially undermined when South Korea on Thursday approved $8 million in supposed humanitarian aid to North Korea.

Some South Korean officials fear the new aid will send a mixed signal to international leaders. Son Kim-ju, a lawmak…

Iran is probably collaborating with North Korea on ICBMs

CNBC:
A former CIA analyst said Monday the Iranians are continuing to help North Korea with weapons technology as Pyongyang's new missile test over the weekend was described as "a significant advance."

North Korea's launch of an intermediate ballistic missile test on Sunday appears to be a new model and shows an improved capability to reach U.S. military bases on Guam. Also, experts said the new missile is a mid-range ballistic missile and suggests Pyongyang maybe getting more proficiency with reentry technology that could be used for longer-range missiles.

Such reentry mastery would be required for a nuclear warhead to withstand extreme temperatures and other stresses of atmospheric reentry of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"It was a significant advance in terms of missiles that seem to be able to carry a fairly heavy warhead and carry it a fairly significant distance," said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and now senior vice president for…

London terror suspect was in a 'deradicalization' program

BBC:
...

The 18-year-old arrested man is thought to have lived in a foster home owned by Ronald and Penelope Jones in Sunbury-on-Thames.

He is thought to have moved to the UK from Iraq aged 15 when his parents died.

The BBC has learnt that he had been referred to an anti-extremist programme before his arrest.

It is not known who made the referral and when - or how serious the concerns were.

Sources did not name the flagship Prevent programme, but it is thought that this is the mostly likely case as the referral for help was at local authority level.

Prevent is managed and delivered locally by multi-agency teams of social workers, police officers and other specialists.

He was already in contact with social services because of his foster care placement.
... These attempts to "deprogram" radical Islam from these terrorists have been largely a failure.  They have been tried from Saudia Arabia to Western Europe.  They are an outgrowth of an attempt to cure cancer by thought contr…

Afghan leader says Trump's war plan has a better chance of success than Obama's

Reuters:
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy to win the war in Afghanistan will work where his predecessor’s failed because the Afghan army is stronger and Trump wants a regional approach and a harder line with Pakistan.

Ghani also said that former President Barack Obama “did not have a partner in Afghanistan,” implicitly criticizing former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who frequently disdained U.S. policy and the U.S.-led international military force.

“President Trump is not just an individual (but) a team of partners in Afghanistan,” Ghani told the Asia Society in New York, where he is attending the U.N. General Assembly. “The Trump administration’s strategy has the uniqueness of immense consultations with us.”

At the same time, Ghani said, Obama’s decision to maintain some U.S. forces in Afghanistan “ensured our survival” despite advances by Taliban insurgents.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday that more than 3…

$6 billion petrochemical plant opens in Freeport, Texas, $4 billion addition now planned

Fuel Fix:
The newly merged DowDuPont said Thursday it's opening its new ethylene and plastics plants in Freeport, making the nation's largest chemical giant the first to start up a major ethylene complex along the Texas Gulf Coast.

The complex is the crown jewel of the old Dow Chemical's recent $6 billion expansion along the Gulf Coast. The chemical company will go back to being just Dow once DowDuPont splinters out into three separate companies in a year or so.

The project includes a massive ethane cracker that separates a component of natural gas liquids called ethane, which in turn will provide the feedstock for some 1.5 million metric tons a year of ethylene, the most common building block of plastics. A large portion of an upcoming $4 billion expansion will go toward expanding the plant to 2 million metric tons a year, eventually making it the world's largest ethylene production plant.

DowDuPont Executive Chairman Andrew Liveris, who's also chairman and CEO of Do…

Obama's secret wiretap of Trump campaign not known to Director of National Intelligence

Mediaite: Earlier this week CNN reported what radio talk show host (and former Justice Department official) Mark Levin revealed in March, that secret FISA court orders had been implemented during the Obama Administration to wire tap Paul Manafort. Mediaite then pointed out that the former Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, James Clapper, had unequivocally denied the existence of any such FISA wiretap during an interview on Meet the Press....
...
Obviously, Mr. Clapper had some explaining to do. Last night on CNN, he had the opportunity to do just that in an exchange with Don Lemon....
... Clapper said he was unaware of the wire tap.  So, who besides the FBI was aware of it.  Did Obama ask the FBI to get the warrant?  Will the media be asking Obama that question anytime soon?

The Federalists has 13 questions about the wire taps.  Eli Lake discusses the unmasking operation that appears to have coincided with the wire taps.  True Pundit takes a look at the agencies

Housing cost drives up California poverty rate

Chuck DeVore:
Liberal California and conservative Texas are different in many ways – including their poverty rates.

California’s poverty rate is 20.4 percent and the Texas rate is only 14.7 percent, based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for the regional cost of living, out-of-pocket medical expenses and other items.

Why the dramatic difference in poverty between California and Texas – proportionately 38.8 percent higher in the Golden State, and affecting the lives of millions of people? And what can we as a nation learn from the success of Texas and the failure of California to hold down their poverty rates?

Three big factors are responsible for California having more poor people and Texas having fewer as a portion of their state populations:


California has high state and local tax rates, while the rates in Texas are low.California has a generous welfare system that acts as a disincentive to work, while Texas incentivizes people to get jobs.And California’s many bu…

Liberal attack on DeVos backfires

Washington Post:
Betsy DeVos uses her own plane when she travels — and never bills the government, spokesperson says

The travel of President Trump’s Cabinet members has come under scrutiny after reports about their use of noncommercial flights for travel at immense cost to taxpayers. Some in the media were looking for another way to attack the Trump administration and seized on air travel by appointees.  DeVos  does not fit the profile they were trying to establish.  It is interesting that they are trying to make a story out of this when they were making excuses for Nancy Pelosi's expensive flights on government aircraft when she was Speaker of the House.

New sanctions on North Korea focus on businesses that do trade with it and those that facilitate the trade

NY Times:
Trump Moves to Widen Sanctions Against North Korea
With a new executive order, President Trump is expanding efforts to constrict North Korea’s trade with the world. It is similar to some of the sanctions the US urged on the UN, but it avoids cutting off all trade with China and Russia.  It is much more focused on the people doing the actual trading.

Trump's "Rocket Man" label on the North Korean leader appears to have been embraced by many at the UN.

Dr. Roy Spencer refutes the climate change celebrities

Washington Times:
Sparring with celebrities and Al Gore over global warming may not be what Roy Spencer had in mind when he earned his Ph.D., but it’s certainly become a bustling sideline for the University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologist.

A month after rebutting Mr. Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel,” Mr. Spencer has published another short e-book, this one challengingstatementsby Jennifer Lawrence, Bill Nye, Stevie Wonder and others linking global warming to this year’s active hurricane season.

Called “Inevitable Disaster: Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed on Global Warming,” the 50-page book was released Monday, and like his August e-book, “An Inconvenient Deception,” it’s already made landfall on the Amazon bestseller list.


As of midday Thursday, “An Inconvenient Deception” and “Inevitable Disaster” ranked number one and two on Amazon’s list of bestsellers in the category of Environment & Nature, while Mr. Gore’s companion book to “An Inconvenient Sequel” ranked 100t…

Did they tell her she would be put on trial for corruption?

Houston Chronicle:
Prosecutors say Texas lawmaker spent $51K on online psychic The Austin Democrat is facing misdemeanor corruption charges according to the story.  Besides the psychic matter, she was also accused of showing appearing for work at the Capitol impaired and hid a cellphone from investigators. "The Austin Democrat is accused of giving a taxpayer-funded raise to a legislative aide to cover gas money for shuttling Dukes' daughter back and forth from school."

The prosecutors may still charge her with a felony count for presenting false reimbursement vouchers.

It does look like she is doing her part to "keep Austin weird."

Democrats claim new healthcare bill helps insurance companies, but insurers don't agree

NY Times:
Insurers Come Out Swinging Against New Health Bill
The health insurance industry said that state-by-state block grants could create chaos in the short term and an uncertain market. It would create a return to state control of the process.  That probably will be scarier for people in large blue states like New York and California, which became more dependent on Obamacare to expand coverage.

ISIS to switch to insurgency operations

Washington Times:
The Islamic State command is calling for a big shift in battlefield tactics to guerrilla warfare, acknowledging that the U.S.-led coalition’s precise air campaign is methodically picking apart its clustered forces.

A retired U.S. Army infantryman told The Washington Times that the new tactics may well be preparation for a metamorphosis. Islamic State will transform itself from an occupation force defending territory to an insurgency trying to undermine the authority of the governments of Iraq and Syria.

The marching orders are contained in the Islamic State’s authoritative Al-Naba publication, which regularly releases guidance to fighters trying to retain the terrorist army’s weakening hold on land and people.

Islamic State terrorists have been in retreat for months. The predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces — advised by American special operations forces and guided by blanket aerial surveillance — have taken large swaths of territory and liberated almost all o…

California seeks to thwart US immigration law

Washington Examiner:
California sues Trump administration to block border wall I think California and its Attorney General should be sanctioned for bringing such a frivolous lawsuit.

Will Mueller investigate the wire tapping of the Trump campaign?

Joseph Curl:
WSJ Openly Calls Mueller Probe A Sham Unless Wiretapping Investigated I think it is going to take another special counsel to investigate this since Mueller appears to be compromised by his use of the illicit snooping.   The use of intelligence agencies to snoop on a political opponent is a huge scandal that needs special attention.

Obama's political espionage campaign against Trump was to help Hillary Clinton

George Neumeyer:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign memoir rests on an astonishingly audacious lie: that the very FBI director who made her campaign possible by improperly sparing her from an indictment doomed it. A normal pol who had mishandled classified information as egregiously as Hillary would have felt eternal gratitude to Comey. Only an entitled ingrate like Hillary would have the gall to cast her savior as the chief thorn in her side.

Nor does Hillary acknowledge another in-kind contribution to her campaign from Comey: his willingness to serve as a cog in Obama’s campaign of political espionage against Trump. Obama’s team of Hillary partisans, which included among others John Brennan, Susan Rice, and Loretta Lynch, wanted Comey to snoop on Trumpworld and he duly did.

It was reported this week that the FBI had until as recently as earlier this year been intercepting the communications of Paul Manafort, one of Trump’s campaign chairmen. This means that Comey, contrary to his lawyerly d…