Posts

Leaks and political plumber operations

NY Times:
Amid Leaks, Recalling an Epic Battle Over Press Freedom in Nixon Era
President Trump’s fury over leaked government secrets evokes the Nixon administration’s frantic efforts to block publication of the Pentagon Papers. The two are not alike.

The Pentagon Papers exposed the duplicity of a Democrat administration in dealing with a communist insurgency in South Vietnam and how micromanagement of a war led to a quagmire.

What is going on with Trump is very different.  It is an attempt by Democrats who still have government jobs to sabotage the Trump's presidency.   It is a coup attempt by using the resources of intelligence agencies to attack a new administration.  There is nothing high-minded about this sabotage.

Why oppose interpreting the constitution and statutes according to their original meaning?

Washington Examiner:
'Originalism' — another word for the rule of law The so-called living constitution is just an excuse for liberals to make it up to fit their objectives.  That is how you get "penumbra" law, or more accurately described as marginal thinking.

Liberals create fake news to avoid reality of Islamic terrorism

Power Line:
...
A prominent theme is that Republicans don’t care about truth:

Why would the Trump administration paint a picture so starkly at odds with reality? It’s simple: A vision of the nation besieged provides clear justification for policies that will advance Sessions, Bannon and Miller’s divisive nationalism.
So it must have been embarrassing when, this morning, the Times had to admit that Bazelon’s article included an important piece of fake news. This is today’s correction:

An article on March 5 about the Department of Justice included outdated statistics. It is not the case that non-Muslim extremists have killed nearly twice as many Americans as radical Muslims since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the New America Foundation. That was true until the mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., and Orlando, Fla. Radical Muslims have now killed nearly twice as many Americans as non-Muslim extremists.
The original statistic was silly on several grounds. It started on the day after t…

Major real estate purchases become a tool for money laundering

Washington Examiner:
In a little-noticed statement, the Treasury bureau responsible for investigating financial crimes shared a remarkable money laundering statistic last month.

Thirty percent of the cash purchases of high-end real estate by shell companies in six major cities involved a suspicious buyer, according to an investigation conducted by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to find out who was behind the deals.

In other words, money laundering plays a significant role in shaping U.S. cities.

But money laundering is only one reason that foreign investors might pour money into luxury condos and exclusive addresses. Foreigners also prize expensive real estate because it allows them to evade taxes in their home countries or escape government restrictions on using their own money.

All that money being poured into U.S. real estate is contributing to affordability difficulties for middle-class families and to the loss of vitality in many of the country's richest neighborhoo…

A history of getting global warming predictions wrong

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The Federalist:
Check out the link above for a lengthy list of failed predictions of doom.  Here are a couple of the failed predictions.  ABC News said New York City would be underwater by 2015.  Al Gore said the Earth would be a frying pan by 2016.  To be that far off they have to be relying on invalid assumptions about the effects of CO2.

How to repeal and replace Obamacare

Patterico: The response to the defeat of TrumpCare is not to pick up the ball and go home. It must be to draft a bill that actually does what Republicans promised, and drives down costs through market-based mechanisms.

What should such a bill look like? As it turns out, Ted Cruz had a proposal that outlined an answer to that question. I blogged that op-ed before, but with the defeat of the AHCA, Cruz’s op-ed has renewed relevance, as a blueprint that could bring Republicans together and actually repeal ObamaCare. I think it’s worth giving his proposal another detailed look.

First, Cruz suggests something I have been pushing throughout this process: starting with the 2015 repeal bill.

First, begin with the 2015 repeal language. . . . Virtually every Republican in Congress voted for that language, and the parliamentarian has already ruled it as permissible. We should begin with that previously approved repeal language as the baseline. ...
But the 2015 bill is not enough. So Cruz next fo…

London terrorist used WhatsApp encryption that police can't read

BBC:
There must be "no place for terrorists to hide" and intelligence services must have access to encrypted messaging services, the home secretary has said.

Khalid Masood killed four people in Westminster this week. It is understood his phone had connected to messaging app WhatsApp two minutes earlier.

Amber Rudd said she would be meeting technology firms this week.

A WhatsApp spokeswoman said the company was "horrified at the attack" and was co-operating with the investigation.

Meanwhile, a 12th arrest has been made by officers investigating the attack. The 30-year-man was detained in Birmingham on Sunday on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.
...

All messages sent on WhatsApp have end-to-end encryption, meaning they are unreadable if intercepted by anyone, including law enforcement and WhatsApp itself.

So while Masood's phone is believed to have connected with the app, police may not know what, if anything, was communicated.
... I suspect that this is another exa…

People continue to vote with their feet leaving Democrat enclaves

Lifezette:
93 of America’s 100 Fastest-Growing Counties Went Trump

Newly released Census Bureau stats suggest voters are fleeing Democratic strongholds Clinton did better in counties that lost population.
...
“That signals to me that people are leaving a lot of states that have liberal policies and coming to states with conservative policies,” said Mike Joyce, a spokesman for the Texas Republican Party.

Joyce should know. His state has nearly a quarter of the top 100 fastest-growing counties. All but one of those 24 counties went for Trump.
... I suspect that Travis county was the only high growth county that Clinton won.

There is no need for a special independent commission on Russia and the election

Washington Examiner:
A top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee said that a special independent panel isn't needed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election because the FBI is already doing a probe.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said on Face the Nation on Sunday that the FBI probe negates the need for the independent panel, which Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had called for earlier in the program.

Gowdy said that the FBI is the world's "premier law enforcement agency."

"It doesn't get any more independent than that," he said.

FBI Director James Comey briefed the panel earlier this week that the agency is conducting an investigation into the Russian interference.
... The so-called independent panel would be politicized in a matter of seconds after being formed.  The Democrats are desperately looking for a scapegoat for their election loss and it does not matter what the composition of any panel is.

A Russian spring?

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Washington Post:
Russian police arrest opposition leader, hundreds more in nationwide anti-corruption protests

By Sunday evening, riot police had hauled in more than 700 demonstrators in central Moscow. Alexei Navalny, one of the first to be detained, had called for the protests in the wake of allegations that the prime minister has amassed goods worth more than $1 billion. There appears to be disquiet in the Russian empire.  These demonstrations follow the assassination of a former Putin critic who had sought sanctuary n Ukraine.  There is little doubt that the current Russian leadership has profited but the peasants not so much.

Iraq says civilian casualties in Mosul caused by ISIS booby trap, not US air strike

BBC:
Iraq's military has cast doubt on reports that an air strike by the US-led coalition caused the deaths of dozens of civilians in west Mosul.

Instead it blamed explosive booby-traps set by so-called Islamic State (IS).

The US said on Saturday that it was investigating an air strike on 17 March at "the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties".

The Iraqi government offensive to drive IS from west Mosul continued on Sunday with helicopter gunships in action.

"Ignore reports Iraq forces have paused Mosul offensive," the BBC's Jeremy Bowen tweeted from Mosul.

"It continues. Have seen gunships firing and heard much activity in the last few hours."
...
The Iraqi claim is plausible.  It is just the kind of thing that could be expected from ISIS forces.  ISIS is in a desperate fight and appears willing to pull down all those around them as they lose.

Dealing with the transgender mental disorder

streiff:
...
While at Heritage, Severino was a prolific writer and that is what is causing splody-heads. He is a defender of religious liberty. He believes there are only two sexes. Both of which make him anathema to “public health” professionals who generally believe religion is fine as long as you don’t practice it and that any sexual perversion should be honored. Of particular concern is the effort by HHS to impose upon the US healthcare system the same view of this “transgender” nonsense that Department of Education tried to impose upon our education system. While Education was primarily interested in getting men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms, HHS has focused on bullying all doctors and hospitals into treating transgender individuals as sane and requiring those institutions to do whatever surgical mutilation is necessary to help them live out their delusions. One such case is in the courts right now that would force a Catholic hospital to perform “gender reassignment sur…

The argument that says North Korean leadership is irrational

Washington Post:
North Korea’s leader is a lot of things — but irrational is not one of them

World leaders, military chiefs and Hollywood have painted Kim Jong Un as an unhinged maniac. North Korea watchers said this is not just wrong but also risks a dangerous miscalculation. The belief that their hell hole of a country is worth conquering seems to be the driving force about their pursuit of nuclear weapons.  It is a self-defeating irrational move.  The world has been content to let North Korea alone if it would just let the rest of the world alone.  It is now bent on provoking an attack that might lead to the demise of the regime.  The world would be a better place without the current leaders of North Korea.

The Nork cyber bank robbers

NY Times:
North Korea’s Rising Ambition Seen in Bid to Breach Global Banks
An attack late last year targeting more than 20 Polish banks suggests that hackers linked to North Korea are becoming more sophisticated and brazen. The North Koreans are likely to become more desperate if new sanctions cut them off from the world banking system.  I suspect that is the next move by the US in countering their nuclear ambitions.

The Republicans who opposed the repeal and replace bill

NY Times:
The 33 Republicans Who Stopped the Bill
They were united in their resistance, but from opposite ends of the spectrum. The main problem that most had with the bill was the "replace" portion which left intact most of the provisions that made Obamacare unaffordable.  The arguments against removing the mandates which are the main cost drivers were that it would take 60 votes in the Senate.  This contention was challenged by Ted Cruz who I think had the better argument.

The bottom line is that without removing the mandates, the deal to many was not worth doing and was seen as counterproductive politically too.

Al Qaeda terror mastermind killed in airstrike in Afghanistan

Fox News:
The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed that a U.S. counter-terrorism airstrike conducted March 19 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, resulted in the death of Qari Yasin, a well-known al Qaeda terrorist leader responsible for the deaths of dozens of innocent victims, including two American service members.

Yasin, a senior terrorist figure from Balochistan, Pakistan, had ties to Tehrik-e Taliban and had plotted multiple al Qaeda terror attacks, including the Sept. 20, 2008, bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens of innocent people, among them U.S. Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez and Navy Cryptologic Technician Third Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O’Bryant.

Yasin was also responsible for the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed and six members of the team injured.

"The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target …

Is Europe now seeing NATO as essential since Trump began criticizing their participation?

Victor Davis Hanson:
It is a bit rich to hear Europeans insist that any Trump Administration doubts about NATO’s usefulness is heresy—given their occasional popular indifference to and ambiguity about the alliance.

In current journalistic groupthink, Donald Trump has endangered NATO by suggesting a) it does not have a clearly defined role and needs to find one for the 21st century; and b) the vast majority of European members have welched on their defense spending commitments, on the expectation that the U.S. defense budget would always take up the slack, protect Europe, and thus indirectly subsidize the European social welfare project.

No one really disputes the logic of Trump’s criticisms, only his supposed recklessness in daring to be so rude as to voice them.
...
A European solution at a time of a strengthening euro and widespread loathing of George W. Bush was greater autonomy. The long overdue reification of an all-European Union defense agreement (“Common Security and Defence P…

Explaining what is wrong with Obamacare to liberals by a victim of it

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They do not really have an answer for people who have been screwed by Obamacare.  All they focus on is those who have gotten "free" healthcare from it and not the victims who have been devastated by it.

Will ISIS lose its recruiting edge with loss of caliphate?

Patrick Cockburn:
Isis's losses in Syria and Iraq will make it harder for it to recruit another Khalid Masood

Isis portrayed its victories as a sign of divine intervention, but reverses in the battlefield will make it difficult to inspire individuals abroad to kill and to die for its monstrous version of Islam I am not sure radical Islamist will lose hope if ISIS is defeated.  It should be a blow to their centralized recruiting, but al Qaeda has been successfully recruiting without a caliphate for decades.  Their hope is wrapped up in their interpretation of specific verses of the Koran. Many in the West refuse to focus on this because they want to pretend that Islamic terrorists have nothing to do with Islam.

The radical Islam addiction leads to mass murders

NY Times:
London Attacker: Quiet and Friendly, but With Hostile Side
Investigators are trying to grasp how a former English teacher with a degree in economics and leading an outwardly quiet life slipped into extremism. Some things become clear with this event.  It was not a lack of education or a lack of a job that made this guy want to go out a commit mass murder of people he did not even know.  Within Islam and its religious text, there is a strain that appears to command the followers to kill those who do not accept their "prophet."  Many of these people are also willing to kill other Muslims if they do not buy into the weird beliefs of the radicals.

Notice how the lead of this story discusses this killers action like they would someone who became addicted to a dangerous drug i.e. "slipped into extremism."  It should be clear that former Obama officials who thought the answer to radical Islam was a jobs program could not have been more wrong.

Poll says majority of registered voter want commission to study Russia and election--I don't

The Hill:
A majority of registered voters are in favor of an independent commission to investigate the potential ties between President Trump's campaign and the Russian government, a new poll finds.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey released on Friday, 66 percent of those polled favor an independent commission, and 29 percent do not.
... I think this is really a bad idea.  Most of those same voters don't think Russia "hacked the election."  The commission would just become a vehicle for Democrats and their cohorts in the media to attempt to sabotage the Trump admistration.  The Democrats should not be given another platform to push their bad politics.

The media and the Obama team mob hit on the Trump campaign

John Nolte:
12 Pieces Of Proof: The MSM Knew Obama Spied On Trump and LIED To Cover It Up The media should also read this in case they are wondering why they have a credibility problem with Republican voters.  Nolte quotes extensively from the same media that now denies there was surveillance of the Trump team during the transition.

Trump fulfills campaign promise on approval of Keystone XL pipeline

Fuel Fix:
The Trump administration issued a construction permit Friday for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, reversing a decision by former President Barack Obama that allowing the project to move forward would undermine U.S. leadership on climate change.

The decision marks the latest twist in a years-long fight between environmental groups and the energy industry over the $8 billion pipeline, which would bring carbon intensive oil sands from western Canada to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The State Department, responsible for reviewing the project because it crosses an international border, said Friday it determined that building it serves U.S. national interests, citing the importance of Canadian crude in maintaining U.S. energy security and the administration’s goal of improving the country’s energy infrastructure.

“It’s a great day for American jobs and a historic moment for North America and energy independence,” President Donald Trump told reporters in the Oval Office…

When it comes to telling the Truth--The difference between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump

Clinton had a way of telling half truth sometimes convincingly.  He was like the witches in MacBeth  who told the title character that he would not be killed by any man of woman born, only to find out at the end that he was in a fight with a guy who had a cesarean birth are as Shakespeare wrote, "I was from the womb untimely plucked."

Trump, on the other hand, is a layman in a political office, but he still speaks like a lot of Americans.  When he talks about being wiretapped he is not speaking in legalese, but speaking about the fact that conversations of his and his campaign workers keep showing up in transcripts given to the media, and knows that just does not happen by itself.  In other words, the so-called fact checkers are applying a different standard to him and in the process misreading the situation and trying to protect their sources, i.e. the leakers.

Johnathon Turley captures the essence of the situation with the surveillance.
...
Now, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)…

People voting with their feet--Leaving Chicago

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Daily Mail:

More people are moving out of Chicago than any other U.S. city, census data released Thursday revealed. Chicago is a city that does not work very well anymore.  Will it be the next Detroit ruined b y Democrats and liberalism and an inability to stop gang violence and murders?  It is hard to blame anyone for leaving that high-priced mess.  People are also leaving Illinois in general too.  The high tax high regulation blue model is being rejected,

Permian wells being drilled but not complete to hold leases

Reuters:
U.S. shale producers are drilling at the highest rate in 18 months but have left a record number of wells unfinished in the largest oilfield in the country – a sign that output may not rise as swiftly as drilling activity would indicate.

Rising U.S. shale output has rattled OPEC's most influential exporter Saudi Arabia and pushed oil prices to a near four-month low on Wednesday. U.S. production gains are frustrating Saudi-led attempts by the world's top oil exporters to cut supply, drain record-high inventories and lift prices.

Investors watch data on the number of rigs deployed in North American oil and gas fields as a leading indicator for output. But the rising rig count and frenetic drilling activity in the Permian Basin in West Texas is not all about pumping oil.

During the 2014-2016 downturn in global oil prices, the number of wells left incomplete grew as companies shut down rigs, laid off workers and retreated from the fields. When prices picked up, operators …

Millions of people minimize their taxes paid every year, including NY Times

NY Times:
Pages From Trump’s Tax Returns Raise Many Questions
Filings from 1995 and 2005, incomplete as they are, offer tantalizing clues about how the Trumps might have minimized their liability over several years. This should qualify as the bottom story of the day.  It would be bigger news if someone was not minimizing the amount of taxes they pay.  Who in the world thinks this is newsworthy?

Minnesota forces healthcare workers to pay union thugs

Forbes:
Labor unions have been known to do many despicable things to grab dues money from workers who don’t want anything to do with them. A current Minnesota case is about as bad as you’ll ever find.

In 2013, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) got one of its favored politicians, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, to sign an order declaring that home healthcare providers who receive Medicaid money to care for disabled family members were government employees. But they were “employees” only because that made them eligible for unionization. The SEIU figured that it had a good shot at finagling a victory in an election, which would then lead to a nice infusion of new dues money.

The election, conducted under the auspices of the friendly state bureaucracy, was done entirely through mail-in ballots and under its rules, a victory required only a majority of the votes cast. When the votes were counted in 2014, 3,543 were in favor of the union and 2,306 against. There were about 27…

Bob Woodward says those responsible for 'unmasking' Trump team could be prosecuted for crimes

Washington Examiner:
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward warned on Wednesday that there are people from the Obama administration who could be facing criminal charges for unmasking the names of Trump transition team members from surveillance of foreign officials.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said earlier that he had briefed Trump on new information, unrelated to an investigation into Russian activities, that suggested that several members of Trump's transition team and perhaps Trump himself had their identities "unmasked" after their communications were intercepted by U.S. intelligence officials.

The revelation is notable because identities of Americans are generally supposed to remain "masked" if American communications are swept up during surveillance of foreign individuals.

During an interview on Fox News, Woodward said that if that information about the unmasking is true, "it is a gross violation."
... Woodwa…

Marines and special ops take dam 25 miles from Raqqa

The Drive:
US--backed Syrian fighters and US special operations personnel, along with a cadre of Marines, have been deployed to the al Tabqa Dam, also known as the Euphrates Dam, located roughly 25 miles west of ISIS's self-proclaimed capital of al Raqqa. The dam and the nearby town that shares its name are placed along two highly strategic routes that if left unsecured could give ISIS militants an escape route out of al Raqqa once the offensive to take back the city officially begins.

The surprise deployment to the dam was said to have been largely made possible via US airlift capabilities and fire support. Although the number of troops involved in the operation remains unconfirmed, multiple reports put it around 500.

The dam provides electricity to the region, making it an especially high-value asset, and the BBC reports that a military airbase and a detention center holding prisoners of ISIS are also nearby. The airfield in particular could provide a valuable hub of operation…

When deportation is not enough

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Daily Mail:

Tommy Vladim Alvarado-Ventura, 31, is accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend's two-year-old daughter and brutally stabbing two women in a vicious crime spree in Hempstead, New York After the second deportation, this jug should have been charged as a criminal illegal alien and if convicted be place in prison and not subject to parole.  The US needs an effective deterrent to recidivist illegal aliens.  It also needs a stronger presence on the border to stop people like this.

When a horrible rape does not fit the media narrative...

Washington Times:
The major television networks dedicated significant coverage to an alleged rape at the University of Virginia that turned out to be a hoax, but have paid little attention to the brutal gang rape of a 14-year-old at a Maryland high school allegedly committed by at least one illegal immigrant.

According to the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters, ABC, CBS and NBC have hardly covered the horrific crime since Fox News’ Bret Baier became the first reporter to tell the story to a nationwide audience Monday night.

The major networks failed to follow up the Fox News story with reports of their own, even after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the rape during his press briefing on Tuesday.


“Despite the room being packed with reporters from every national news network, ABC, NBC and CBS refused to report the story yet again Tuesday night or Wednesday morning,” wrote MRC’s Kristine Marsh.

“In fact, the only mention NewsBusters could find of this story on any of…

Another false claim of a crime

Washington Post:
Texas teen made up widely publicized story of being kidnapped, raped by 3 black men, police say

The allegations from 18-year-old Breana Harmon Talbott made “many in the community fearful there were individuals abducting women,” police said. The allegations suggest a terrible crime.  It is a newsworthy event.  But so are all of the fake hate crimes perpetrated by Muslims, some racial minorities, and people of different sexual orientation.  Those crimes rarely get this kind of coverage and they should because they have more of a political context than this one.  All are attempts to achieve victim status and stigmatize perceived political opponents.

I think the reason those crimes do not get as much attention is because they go against the media narrative of those people being victims.

Oil companies using offshore technology advantage for wind energy

Bloomberg:
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“It is certainly an area of interest for us because there are obvious synergies with the traditional oil and gas business,” said Luca Cosentino, the vice president of energy solution at the Italian oil producer Eni, which is working with General Electric Co. on renewables. “As the oil and gas industry we know, we cannot get stuck where we are and wait for someone else to take this leap.”

Even as oil production declined in the North Sea over the last 15 years, economic activity has been buoyed by offshore windmills. The notorious winds that menaced generations of roughnecks working on oil platforms have become a boon for a new era of workers asked to install and maintain turbines anchored deep into the seabed. About $99 billion will be invested in North Sea wind projects from 2000 to 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. A decade ago, the industry had projects only a fraction of that size.
...
Wind farms are especially interesting to Shell because they can pow…

Media misses the point of of collection of data and disseminating that data about Trump transition

Mollie Hemingway:

Here’s Why Nunes’ Obama Spying Revelations Are Such A Big Deal

House Intel Chief Devin Nunes revealed Obama's intelligence agencies may have been improperly spreading significant information about Trump's transition.

...
1) Information was collected on the Trump team by Obama administration agencies.
2) This information had no reason to be shared in intelligence reports to Obama officials.
3) Obama officials may have flouted legally required attempts to minimize and mask personal identifying information.
4) This had nothing to do with Russia.
...
When an administration is spreading around reports of political and personal discussions, failing to mask that information, and the information itself isn’t of foreign intelligence value, you have the makings of a huge scandal.
... There is much more.

The Democrats and their media cohorts do not seem to grasp what a scandal this is that intelligence agencies were using their resources to essentially collect and dissem…

Media falsely claims there is no evidence of vote fraud

NY Times:
G.O.P. Legislatures Tilt at Voter Fraud Despite No Evidence
Even after failing to find widespread voter fraud, Republican state lawmakers are calling for tighter restrictions on voting based on the perception of tainted ballots. This is a circular argument used by Democrats to avoid election integrity measures.  While there is absolutely some evidence of vote fraud and there is polling suggesting it could be in the millions, the Democrats object to voter ID laws which would make vote fraud more difficult.  

Their suggestion that requiring ID would result in "voter suppression" is grossly misleading and they are able to produce fewer so-called victims of this than there are actually cases of vote fraud.  Their argument is also racist on its face suggesting that blacks and Hispanics are incapable of doing ordinary functions of life like getting a free ID.

I see the arguments against voter ID as one of bad faith by Democrats who seek to facilitate vote fraud for their …

I will be having eye surgery this morning

I have an early trip to Houston for retina surgery on my right eye.  Blogging will probably resume later today.

Attempts to sabotage Trump administration look more than incidental

Washington Free Beacon:
Obama Admin Loyalists, Government Insiders Sabotage Trump White House

Former admin planted series of landmines to subvert Trump team

...
Behind the effort, these sources say, are senior government officials who previously worked under President Obama and remain loyal to his agenda. These individuals leak negative information about the Trump White House and its senior staff to a network of former Obama administration officials who then plant this information in key media outlets including the Washington Post and New York Times.
...
Additionally, the previous administration permitted staff to accrue substantial amounts of vacation time in its last year in office. As soon as team Trump entered the White House, it was obligated to pay out all of these hours. White House sources say the cost was in the millions of dollars.

The payout prevented the Trump White House from hiring key staff in its opening days due to insufficient funds, according to those familiar with t…

Rail gun tested

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Daily Mail:

The technology has been described as 'game-changing'. The railgun was tested Dahlgren naval facility's new Terminal Range in Virginia was created by BAE Systems. There is a video of the test if you follow the link above.  This particular unit appears to be much more sophisticated and advanced than previous tests I have seen of this system.  This weapon would allow ships to loiter out of the range of traditional munitions and strike at a speed faster than a jet can travel.

Intelligence from Yemen raid led to laptop ban from certain countries

Daily Mail:

Laptop ban on flights 'is based on intelligence about an ISIS plot to target the West gathered during the raid on Yemen which killed Navy SEAL'
The intelligence centered around al-Qaeda's 'successful development' of compact battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices, sources claimedBombs would reportedly be manually triggered which explains cabin luggage banThe US and the UK have instituted similar bans on large electronics in carry-on bags for direct flights from certain Middle East and North African nationsThe US ban applies to 10 airports in Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates Britain's restrictions apply to flights originating from the countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia Electronics cellphone sized and small will still be permitted in passenger cabins Restrictions come a year after the bombing of Daallo Flight 159, in which a bomber used an explosiv…

Islamic terrorist attack hits London

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Washington Post:
Attacker kills 3, injures 20 in vehicle and knife assault near British Parliament
What we know0:59 (Video: Post; photo: AP) The assailant, who was shot and killed by police, fatally stabbed an officer at the gates to Britain’s Parliament compound after plowing a vehicle through terrified pedestrians in what authorities are treating as a “terrorist incident.” The attacker is believed to have a history of radical Islamist activity and may have tried to join ISIL.

How the surveillance of Trump team worked

NY Times:
Spies ‘Incidentally’ Heard Trump Team, House Leader Says
Monitoring described by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee would have been targeted at foreign officials, not specific members of the Trump transition or Mr. Trump himself. What makes this problematic is that those whose "incidental" conversations were picked up were then illegally "unmasked" by the security services and the transcripts were passed around and in some cases eventually leaked to the media.  What this also demonstrates is that the President is not paranoid.  This may not have been "wiretapping" in a very technical sense of the word, but does demonstrate how the Obama administration was using incidental contacts as a form of surveillance of a political opponent.

A real life cyber war between nation states has already happened

Bill Gertz:
NSA: Nation State Cyber Attack Included Virtual ‘Hand-to-Hand Combat’

Deputy NSA chief says government bureaucracy harming response to cyber threats

...
"It was a nation state actor who had gotten in and what we saw for the very first time, the adversary, once we detected them, instead of disappearing they fought back," Ledgett said during a conference on cyber threats.

"So it was basically hand-to-hand combat in a network where we would take an action [and] they would then counter that," he said.
...
"Actually one of the advantages NSA brings to this is our defenders also have access to our foreign intelligence capabilities so we were out in adversary space so we were able to see them teeing up new things to do," Ledgett said.
... It appears to have mainly been a defensive battle.  I would like to see a counter attack that would destroy the computer operations of the aggressor.

Woman who lied about Benghazi and said deserter served with honor and distinction says Trump statements hurt national security?

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Washington Post:
Susan Rice: The White House’s falsehoods endanger national security



This has to be one of the most ironic op-eds in recent memory.  Rice is an intellectual lightweight who appeared to be promoted based on her willingness to tell lies to push Obama's bad policies and mistakes.  She blatantly pushed to lie about a video supposedly being responsible for the terrorist attack on the Benghazi compound and made the utterly ridiculous statement about a deserter who was traded for Taliban terrorists in one of many dumb deals done by Obama.  It is hard to imagine a more imperfect messenger for this theme.

Democrats frustrated by their ineffective attacks on Gorsuch

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NY Times:
What to Watch: Will Democrats Be More Aggressive With Neil Gorsuch?
Eric Thayer for The New York Times Judge Neil M. Gorsuch during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. His testimony was folksier, a little more combative and a little more canned. Democratic senators were frustrated in the first round of confirmation hearings for Judge Gorsuch, who offered little insight on his personal thoughts on contentious legal matters. My impression of the Democrat questioning is that none of them are as smart as Gorsuch and they appear to be reading from a canned script in some cases with little understanding of the issues they are raising.   They have a misleading understanding of the theory of originalism.  They seem to prefer a "living constitution" approach which gives liberals wide latitude to make up new rights and laws from the penumbra or whatever.

They prefer decisions that advance their political agenda regardless of the merits of the …

Media trend--Trump budget is hurting GOP base?

NY Times:
Eyeing Trump’s Budget, G.O.P. Governors Say ‘No, Thanks’
As the White House presses for bone-deep spending cuts, some Republican governors have complained about reductions that they see as harmful or arbitrary.Of acute concern to Republicans are a handful of low-profile programs aimed at job training and economic revitalization. I am not a governor, nor do I want that job, but I have been pleasantly surprised by Trump's budget proposals.  His cuts make sense to me, and they certainly will have no negative effect on my life, and they appear to be a down payment on reducing the debt my grandkids will inherit.

But this has been a theme of NY Times reports including a recent one suggesting that Trump voters would be hurt the most.  You get the feeling that Times editors think the best way to keep liberalism fully funded is to act like they are concerned about the Republican base.

BTW, the governor of Texas supports many of the cuts and is pushing his own cuts to sanctuary cit…

Media distorts Russian intent regarding Hillary Clinton.

Washington Examiner:
Media reports this week inaccurately played up the idea that FBI Director James Comey said Russia was pushing hard for Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton, by omitting a critical portion of the intelligence community's assessment that said Russia was actually preparing for a Clinton victory, and was seeking to undermine her.
...
Comey paraphrased the report during his testimony. "When Mr. Trump became the nominee, there was some sense that it'd be great if he could win, be great if we could help him," said Comey. "But we need to hurt her to matter what, and then it shifted to he has no chance, so let's just focus on undermining her. That was the judgment of the intelligence community."

Comey added that Putin "hated" Democrat Hillary Clinton "so much" that his preference was "for the person running against the person he hated so much."
... This is why you cannot trust the mainstream media on this issu…

Media and Democrats mislead about revelations at hearing on Russia and election

Joel Pollack:
...
Monday’s hearing “debunked” Trump’s wiretapping tweets, but left his underlying claim intact: that there was surveillance of the Trump campaign; that the results were shared throughout the government — even possibly reaching the Obama White House; and that intelligence was leaked, illegally, to the mainstream media.
...
Gowdy’s questioning revealed an astonishing list of potential suspects. And given that the FBI and NSA testified that there was still no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, the fact remains that the only crime that is known to have occurred with absolute certainty was the leaking of Flynn’s name and the contents of his conversation with the Russian ambassador.
... If you read the mainstream media accounts of the hearing you might miss the most important revelations.  The left is still playing semantics games over the term wiretap, instead of focusing on the reality of what was happening.

Meanwhile. the Washingt…

$10 billion petrochemical plant clears hurdle for construction near Corpus Christi

Fuel Fix:
A $10 billion petrochemical complex north of Corpus Christi can move forward after a local school board faced down community opposition and unanimously approved millions of dollars in tax breaks sought by two of world’s biggest companies.

The Gregory-Portland School Board, after more than four hours of debate and deliberation Tuesday night, Tuesday voted 6-0, with one abstention, to approve tax abatements that would extend for more than 15 years, part of $460 million in tax breaks sought from local governing bodies by Exxon Mobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., or SABIC, a company owned by the government of Saudi Arabia. The San Patricio County Commissioners approved tax breaks on Monday.

The plant, the largest proposed in Texas, would create an estimated 11,000 construction jobs and 600 permanent ones and feature the world’s biggest ethane cracker, which processes a component of natural gas into ethylene, the primary building block of most plastics. Exxon Mobil and SABIC …

Permian Basin oil play could be larger than huge Saudi Arabia field

CNN/Money:
The Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico has emerged as the new poster boy of the U.S. shale oil revolution. Land prices in the Permian have skyrocketed, drilling activity has tripled since last year and production there is poised to soar despite cheap oil prices.

Some are even predicting this hotbed of shale activity could eventually surpass the colossal Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oilfield.

The Permian's rise on the global stage couldn't come at a worse time for OPEC, which just last November cobbled together a delicate deal to deal with the oil glut by cutting production.

The latest resurgence of U.S. shale oil output from the basin has caught OPEC off guard. Its strength even prompted U.S. government experts to recently predict that American oil production could soar to a new record by 2018.
...
The key is that the unique geology of the Permian allows frackers to hit multiple layers of oil as they drill into the ground. That's wh…

Solar energy creating a problem for California

Press Enterprise:
California's power-grid operators are dealing with a glut of daytime electricity produced by household, government, business and industrial solar installations.

This forces the electricity prices on state's real-time marketplace to plummet, leading some power-plant operators to shut down until demand catches up with supply later in the day.

And increasing amounts of wind and solar energy are being wasted or "curtailed," as they call it, because no one can use it, according to data obtained from the California Independent System Operator ( Cal ISO).

Last year 305,241 megawatt hours of solar and wind electricity were curtailed -- a loss of enough carbon-free electricity that could have powered about 45,000 California homes for a year. This was almost double the amount of clean power that was lost through curtailment in 2015.

This energy loss coincided with a 28 percent yearly increase in electricity produced from large-scale solar plants on the state&…

A windfall for the family of a drug smuggler

Washington Post:
U.S. border officers told a Mexican teen to drink liquid meth. His family received $1 million for his death.

The boy had just crossed the border with two bottles he claimed were apple juice. Customs and Border Protection agents told him to drink it to prove he wasn't lying. Two hours later he was dead. This is as crazy as the person who drank the meth.  Would anyone pay this guy money to smuggle apple juice into the US?  Of course not.  All the guy had to do was either refuse to drink it or confess.  This sounds like an injustice to the US taxpayers and a reward to a family that does not deserve it.

Will Hawaii and Maryland say laptops have constitutional rights?

NY Times:
U.S. Limits Devices on Foreign Airlines From Eight Countries
The Trump administration has barred carrying on devices larger than a cellphone, including laptop computers and tablets, on American-bound foreign flights from 8 majority-Muslim countries. When will liberals go to bat for Muslim laptops and tablets?  The first amendment, after all, includes more than just religion but also includes speech.  Will they argue that noncitizen's speech is also protected?

There is no weariness in fighting another big Democrat lie about a Repubican

NY Times:
Fresh Worries on Russia for Trump’s Weary Defenders
The obsessiveness and ferocity of President Trump’s pushback against critics who suggested his campaign colluded with the Russians are making an uncertain situation worse. Democrats do not have much credibility on this issue and Comey lost credibility when he failed to seek an indictment of Hillary's Clinton's obvious mishandling of classified material.  These are the same Democrats who pushed the "Bush lied" lie after they voted to support the war in Iraq.  They knew they were the ones lying and they have thought up this lie to explain away the loss of an election by a lousy candidate.   The media has also lost credibility on the issue, first proclaiming there were wiretaps and then acting as if they never said it.

If the NSA can record Gen. Flynn talking to the Russian ambassador and then give transcripts of that to Democrat operatives to give to the media, that only adds to the lack of trust in any inves…

Comey could probably find more Russian ties to Clinton's campaign than Trump's

NY Times:
G.O.P. Responds by Changing Subject
As Mr. Comey acknowledged an investigation, Republicans instead focused on leaks to news organizations.  From the Podestas to other prominent donors there were overt ties between Russia and the Clinton campaign, but democrats would rather blame Russia for its election loss than its lousy candidate and the lousy issues the Democrats have been pushing.

The GOP focus on the other hand, is on the only real crime that has surfaced so far, and it appears to have been perpetrated by those with ties to the Clinton campaign or the Obama administration.  You can find a list of potential suspects involved with the illegal leak in this post.

The Clinton campaigns Russian connections

Washington Free Beacon:
A number of top Democratic lobbyist bundlers, who together pulled in millions of dollars for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and donated generously to Democratic leaders, personally represent or work at firms that have represented Russian interests in recent years, according to a review of foreign agent registration filings.

Several powerful lobbyists who have pushed millions of dollars into Democratic coffers have ties to foreign banks and governments.
... There is much more.

This is just another example of how bogus the claims being made against the trump campaign are.  Democrats would love to find this kind of connection with the Trump campaign.

Chicoms and Russians concerned abut missile defense

Stratfor:
...
For the Russians, not to mention Pyongyang's Chinese backers, the deployment of U.S. antiballistic missile (ABM) technology around the world is becoming a bigger and bigger concern. The Kremlin's anxiety, on clear display in Europe over the past few years, has more recently come to include the Asia-Pacific as the United States wraps up its delivery of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to South Korea. That these systems will extend the coverage of missile defense radars operated by U.S. allies to include Chinese and Russian territory is an obvious concern to Beijing and Moscow, since the systems will enable Washington to better track missile flights and tests in both countries. But their fears go far beyond these immediate consequences.

Instead, Russia and China worry that the United States' devotion to investing in ABM technology could severely undermine their nuclear deterrents in the long run. After all, the latest generation of ABM systems — w…

Putting a bigger financial squeeze on North Korea

Reuters:
The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

The sanctions would be part of a multi-pronged approach of increased economic and diplomatic pressure – especially on Chinese banks and firms that do the most business with North Korea – plus beefed-up defenses by the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies, according to the administration official familiar with the deliberations.

While the long-standing option of pre-emptive military strikes against North Korea is not off the table – as reflected by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's warning to Pyongyang during his Asia tour last week - the new administration is giving priority for now to less-risky options.
... This move would also put greater pressure on the Chinese to do something to stop the Nor…