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Showing posts from January, 2016

Clinton wants government to release top secret messages found on her server

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Daily Mail:
Clinton says email scandal 'very much like Benghazi' and Republicans are 'grasping at straws' as she begs State Department to release messages marked 'top secret'
The Obama administration said Friday that 22 of the emails once held on Clinton's private home-brew server were 'top secret' and so sensitive that they can't be shown to the public in any form. I don't think she is making this request in good faith since she has to know it would be illegal for anyone else to release the messages either.  If she is making it in good faith it is only more evidence of her cavalier attitude toward the nation's secrets.

Another major setback for El Chapo organization

Guardian:
Two dozen Sinaloa drug cartel members arrested at US-Mexico border

Operation dealt ‘strong blow’ to powerful cartel, officials say, yielding hundreds of pounds of narcotics as well as assault-type weapons

Two dozen members of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel have been arrested in an operation at the US-Mexico border that also yielded assault-type weapons and hundreds of pounds of narcotics, US authorities said on Sunday.

The secretive operation carried out by US and Mexican authorities on Friday dealt a “strong blow” to the cartel, US immigration and customs enforcement said, just weeks after the arrest of cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman, following his escape from prison six months earlier. ... I suspect they probably gathered more intel on the organization activities after the raid that captured its leader Guzman. They probqably developed some ability to intercept communications in teh course of the hunt for El Chapo.

Obama visits mosque with ties to odious Muslim Brotherhood

Washington Times:
The Baltimore mosque that President Obama will visit this week to show support for American Muslims has historical ties to radical Islamic groups, critics said Sunday.

The Islamic Society of Baltimore had an imam who was a leading figure in the extremist Muslim Brotherhood. And the organization is connected to the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim civil rights group named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2008 criminal prosecution in which several individuals were convicted of funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas.

The president’s choice of the first U.S. mosque to visit is “insulting” to American Muslims, said Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim who is vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“It’s disgraceful that this is the mosque he’s picked to be the first to visit,” Dr. Jasser said on “Fox and Friends” Sunday. “This mosque is very concerning … Historically, they are basically a radical, extreme mosque and not repres…

Reporter discovers that Cruz is not an extremist

Texas Monthly:
The Field Guide to Ted Cruz

Ten tips for figuring out the ”wacko bird.” This piece is really quite good and the authors first finding is that Cruz is not as extreme as his opponents infer.

Why do Trump voters trust him?

Megan McArdle:
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I can see why you’d want a candidate strong on an issue you care a lot about, someone who ignores the accusations of bigotry that so often shut down serious debate on immigration. What I don’t get is why you think Trump is going to give you what you want.

After all, four years ago, the guy was an immigration liberal, criticizing Romney for taking an excessively hard line. His positions on other major conservative issues, like abortion, are shamelessly opportunistic.

His enthusiasm for bashing China is somewhat undercut by his enthusiasm for outsourcing the manufacturing of his own products to same. It’s impossible to say with certainty which way he actually leans on any issue.
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... his endlessly convenient opinion shifts, on the very core issues his supporters care most about, ought also to signal that Donald Trump doesn’t care about you, either. He’s against outsourcing and immigration, as long as that’s getting him votes. But if he can find a different coaliti…

Sen. Ben Sasse explains conservatism

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This guy is good.  I hope he gets into the Senate leadership.

9 Americans among 33 terror suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia

AFP:
Saudi authorities have arrested nine American citizens among 33 "terror" suspects rounded up over the past days, the Saudi Gazette newspaper reported on Sunday.

The arrests also included 14 Saudis, three Yemenis, two Syrians, an Indonesian, a Filipino, an Emirati, a Kazakhstan national and a Palestinian, the paper said.Four Americans were arrested on Monday and five others over the past four days, the paper reported citing an unidentified source.

It did not say if any of the "terror suspects" was linked to the Islamic State group, which has claimed several deadly attacks against security forces and Shiites in the kingdom in recent months.

On Friday, a suicide bomber attacked a Shiite mosque in Eastern Province killing four people before worshippers disarmed and tied up his accomplice who had fired on them.
... These are apparently in addition to 532 ISIL suspects who are being interrogated.  Saudi intelligence is usually pretty good and it is living in a target ri…

Trump boasts about his humility

Washington Post:
Trump says he has 'much more humility' than people think He has now descended into self-parody.  This is Saturday Night Live material.

Hillary Clinton was never issued a government email address as Secretary of State

Paul Sperry:
‘This was all planned’: Former IG says Hillary, State Dept. are lying
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The Harvard-educated lawyer points out that, from Day One, Clinton was never assigned and never used a state.gov e-mail address like previous secretaries.

“That’s a change in the standard. It tells me that this was premeditated. And this eliminates claims by the State Department that they were unaware of her private e-mail server until later,” Krongard said in an exclusive interview. “How else was she supposed to do business without e-mail?”

He also points to the unusual absence of a permanent inspector general during Clinton’s entire 2009-2013 term at the department. He said the 5¹/₂-year vacancy was unprecedented.
... There is much more.

The scandal shows a clear intent to circumvent government record keeping.  It seems to combine Clinton arrogance with incompetence in the administration.

GOP establishment hopes to play a long game in this year's race

Dan Balz:
GOP establishment still hopeful it can stop Trump and Cruz

There is a consensus that it won't happen quickly — it will require the capacity to absorb a series of losses before the dynamic shifts. It is understandable why they hope to stop Trump since he is so inconsistent on the issues and is too much a wildcard.  Cruz, on the other hand, supports almost everything they say they are for, so it looks like they would rather put their personal pique above what they say they want in the way of policy.   So do they want to repeal Obamacare, stop amnesty, reduce spending, strengthen the military or not?

New York values that are being rejected in Iowa?

NY Times:
A Bloomberg Poll Finds Little Support for Michael Bloomberg
A Bloomberg-sponsored poll delivered some sour news about Michael R. Bloomberg himself: Few Iowa voters like him as he weighs a third party White House run. Gun and soda control are not favored evidently.  Nanny state liberalism is just not a winner, and that is probably the reason that Donald Trump "evolved" on those issues.   It is also interesting that the poll was conducted by an organization that Bloomberg owns.

Some poll numbers that Trump does not talk about--60 % of voters have an unfavorable opinion of him.

Gallup:
Most political and media commentators have at this point installed Donald Trump as the GOP front-runner on the eve of the first actual voting set to begin on Monday in Iowa. But this narrative tends to obscure the fact that Trump is the most unpopular candidate of either party when the entire U.S. population is taken into account -- and that he has a higher unfavorable rating than any nominated candidate from either of the two major parties going back to the 1992 election when we began to track favorability using the current format.

At this point (two-week average through Jan. 27), 33% of Americans view Trump favorably and 60% unfavorably. It's that 60% unfavorable figure that I can focus on here.
... The only candidate that comes close to Trump's unfavorable rating since 1992 was Ross Perot who got only 19 percent of the vote.  So why does the establishment see him as more electable than Ted Cruz who has a significantly higher favourable rating outside of Washington.

Why are schools that ban prayer trying to indoctrinate kids about Islam?

Red States:
Marine Vet’s Lawsuit Claims School Tried to Indoctrinate Students to Islam

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The lawsuit also claims the students were forced to write out and profess the Shahada, which is the Islamic Creed. It states that “there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” For reference, the statement is what non-Muslims use to pledge allegiance to Islam when converting to the religion.

Still skeptical? Just wait. It gets worse.

According to the law center, the teacher actually taught the students that “the Islamic religion is a fact, while Christianity and Judaism are just beliefs.”
... The school should lose this case.  If they are to push this indoctrination, they should also be telling students  what the New Testament says "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."  Those suffering under radical Islam right now are being thrown to the wolves.

The Cruz record in standing up to UN and foreign bureaucrats

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He has also been standing up to the Washington cartel.

Trump supporters will be forced to ignore the facts if they support him

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Caleb Howe:
Here Is The BLISTERING Anti-Trump Ad That Will Run In Sunday’s Des Moines Register Is he doing so well in the polls because he is so logically inconsistent?

The Carbon tax price fixing scheme

William O'Keefe:
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... the premise for a carbon tax is that carbon dioxide (CO2) is harmful. How do we know that? Climate advocates, not science tell us so. What do we know with certainty about CO2? It is a nutrient that is essential for the growth of crops, plants, and trees. Satellite photos show that as it has increased in the atmosphere, the planet has been greening. We know that it is a greenhouse gas but its warming potential is not linear, which means that each incremental addition to the atmosphere has less of a warming effect than the preceding increment. That is a reason to challenge apocalyptic predictions about the future. We also know that over the course of the earth’s history, there have been times when CO2 levels have been higher as well as times when temperatures have been higher as well. But, our climate history does not show a correlation between the two. As an aside, although NOAA proclaimed 2015 to be the warmest year on record, it wasn’t. Last year’s averag…

Willful blindness to migrant crime in Europe

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Sunday Telegraph:
EU leaders: No link between Cologne attacks and migrant crisis That is just not a credible statement.  The police have identified most of those responsible as Muslim migrants.  If Europe does not come to grips with the problem created by the migrant invasion it may find more Europeans resorting to self help to defend themselves.  The purchase of guns has already greatly increased in several countries.  It is not only absurd to pretend the3 migrants were not responsible, it will in the long run be detrimental to a lawful order.  As in indicated in a link in the post below, some in Sweden have already resorted attacks on the perceived miscreants.

Sweden losing control of civilized life

Daily Mail:
EXCLUSIVE -The city destroyed by migration: Inside the Swedish town where armed gangs patrol the streets, crime has exploded and a beautiful social worker's murder has shocked Europe
Social worker Alexandra Mezher, 22, was murdered in Mölndal on MondayGothenburg suburb last year took in more unaccompanied refugee children than anywhere else in the country – 4,041 added to a population of 63,000 Received £22.6million to provide housing for unaccompanied minors – the most state funding per capita than any town or city in Sweden Crime figures reveal there were 222 criminal complaints linked to migrant centres – between 20 October 2015 and 8 January this year MailOnline went inside lawless town where eyes of Europe have been watching since the senseless stabbing The migrants appear to be bringing their failed culture with them and the Swedes seem unprepared to deal with the situation.  It would not be too surprising to see people begin to find ways to respond to the attacks …

The Muslim rape culture in Britain

Daily Mail:
Three Somali men who gang-raped white 16-year-old girl in bathroom of hotel where they had stayed to celebrate Eid are jailed for 30 years
Muhyadeen Osman, Bilal Ahmed and Mowled Yussuf, all 20, guilty of rapeThey attacked 16-year-old girl at Victoria Park Hotel in Manchester in 2013The trio also robbed the victim at the hotel, where they celebrated EidAll three were jailed for a combined 30 years at Manchester Crown Court  That is some religious celebration.  They appear to be acting on a religious tenant that they are allowed to take non-Muslim women when they can.

The false choice of the year award

Red Alert Politics:
German feminist welcomes refugees: ‘Better rapists than racists’ This would lead most people to question the sanity of liberal German feminists.   I have rarely seen such a more false choice.  It makes no sense to say that those who oppose rape are racists.  No wonder the liberals in Europe have lost the plot.

Cruz TV ads seen as most effective

Politico:
Ted Cruz has a powerful tool as he tries to close the deal with Iowa voters: He has aired the most effective TV ads in the Republican presidential race, according to independent research by a private company.

The ratings come from Ace Metrix, a television analytics company that uses large online panels to rate the effectiveness of TV commercials. The company’s political unit found that Cruz’s campaign produced five of the 11 top-scoring ads among Republican voters this election, including the single most effective ad of the GOP primary so far.

The ad is simple: Cruz faces the camera, wearing a suit and red tie, positioned just right for the American flag pin on his lapel to be in the middle of the screen.

“Under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, the world is more dangerous and American is less safe,” Cruz says, brow furrowed. “If I’m elected to serve as commander-in-chief, we won’t cower in the face of evil. America will lead. We’ll rebuild our military. We’ll kill the ter…

Nebraska Senator asks Trump question in Twitter, but does not get much of an answer

Dan McLaughlin:
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse Responded To Donald Trump and It Was PERFECT I think Trump has some trouble responding to logical questions.

This is a group of college students with their low brow approach to rule of law and US borders

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The dreamers are not always the nice people that the media tries to portray.

Some ministers in Iowa explain why they support Cruz

Bloomberg:
An Iowa Evangelical Pastor Leads His Coveted Flock to Ted Cruz

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“A lot of evangelicals in the state of Iowa, we look at candidates based upon a three-tier value system: What will a candidate do about life, marriage and religious liberty?” he told members of his 200-member congregation attending Wednesday night’s weekly study session. “It’s not that economics and the economy are not important; they are. It’s not that health care is not important; it is, but that it takes a second seat, a back seat, to those three critical issues.”
... They have a belief that if you get those three things right the other things will get worked out.  It would be very hard for Democrats to appeal to these voters with their stand on abortions, gay marriage and punishing anyone who does not go along with them on those issues.  Cruz seems to be the obvious choice for these voters.

Hamas is digging for the next Gaza war

Times of Israel:
After quite a few attempts at concealment and denial, Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, on Thursday released the names of “the seven heroes, men of Allah” who were killed earlier in the week in the collapse of an attack tunnel in the Tufah neighborhood in the northeastern part of Gaza City, only a few hundred yards from the Israeli border.

At first, Hamas leaders tried to hide the fact that any of its members had been killed in the tunnel. Then they claimed that the men were merely missing. Finally, they released the names of seven of the 11 excavators who were there at the time of the collapse.

Hamas’s statement read in part: “We trod the path of death for your lives’ sake.”

Several days earlier, Faiz Abu Smala, a journalist with close ties to Hamas, wrote on his Facebook page about a meeting with the local commander of Hamas’s military wing: “He admitted to me that they were still working night and day, around the clock, and that the battle t…

Socialism nears its final end in Venezuela

Washington Post:
Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic collapse

Thanks to a combination of bad luck and worse policies, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world is basically bankrupt, and markets expect the nation to default on its debt in the very near future. Socialism in Venezuela has run out of other people's money.

This is where Bernie Sanders and the people who still think socialism is viable would take the US.  When Bernie attacks Wall Street it is just a veiled attack on capitalism which has created massive wealthy in this country that has also created millions of jobs and lifted millions out of poverty.  Socialism only pushes more people into poverty and it squanders the wealth created by others.  The fact is that state capitalism is inefficient and is a massive failure.

If I were running a campaign against Sanders I would do a video of the squalor and crime created by the socialism in Venezuela.  Corruption is rampant because the government would …

France plans to support Palestinian terror state

NY Times:
France Plans Mideast Peace Effort, and Recognition of Palestine if It Fails
The announcement was criticized by Israeli officials who said it would encourage the Palestinians not to negotiate seriously. This will not end well and will likely lead to more bloodshed on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The main reason there has never been a settlement of this dispute is that the Palestinians and their leaders do not want one.  They want a single state solution that excludes the Jews.  They are religious bigots who take joy from the murder of Jews and encourage it with propaganda and support of the killers and their families.   The ones who oppose the killing are powerless to stop it in both the West Bank and Gaza.

The main reason there has never been a solution is that those pushing it have insisted on one-sided concessions by Israel.  They never put any pressure on the Palestinians such as threats to withhold the massive aid that sustains them.  The Palestinians a…

Trump's veteran's prop project not a winner for Huckabee, Santorum

NY Times:
Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum Slammed for Appearing at Donald Trump Event
From the looks of the polls, they had little to lose, but Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum might have lost the respect of some conservatives by attending a Trump rally. I suspect it hurt them not just with conservatives but with veterans too.  It was basically just a Trump infomercial where he induced a few of his rich buddies to donate to Trump's foundation  for funds that are supposed to go to veterans groups.  But in the past Trump has donated more money to the Clinton's than he has veterans which raises the suggestion that he is just doing it as a political stunt.

BTW, I am a veteran.

Sniper in Libya targeting ISIL leaders

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Telegraph:
Is a secret sniper killing off Isil's high command in Libya? Mystery gunman credited with shooting three of the terror group's leaders in their new "Caliphate" in Colonel Gaddafi's home city of Sirte The Brit special ops guys do have some good snipers but so far they are not taking credit for this action.  Whoever is responsible is taking care of some people making war against civlization.

I suspect they were trying to thwart an attack on Iran

BBC:

US and UK 'hacked into Israeli aircraft' This appears to have taken place during the negotiations with the Iranian religious bigots over their nuclear program.

Trump crowd at Vets rally not all supporters

Time:
Donald Trump Doesn’t Win in Cheap Seats at Rally Reporter finds Sanders, Cruz and Rubio supporters at the back fo Trump rally.

Obama learning that you can't end a war by retreating

Washington Times:
Hundreds of additional forces including trainers, advisers and commandos are needed in the fight against the Islamic State, Pentagontop brass has conceded, prompting Department of Defense officials to urge the White House to approve further deployments to Iraq and Syria in the coming weeks.

Defense Department officials told the White House that the U.S.-led effort to destroy the Islamic State requires still more manpower in addition to the roughly 3,700 American troops already in Iraq, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Citing senior White House and Pentagon sources, The Times said the officials determined hundreds more military experts are needed in the region to take on the terror group, with one suggesting that the number of troops increases to 4,500.

Admission from the Obama administration that more troops are needed followed recent remarks from Defense Department officials who expressed a desire to adjust U.S. operations abroad.
... The Pentagon is also asking…

Trump's appeal to labor voters worries Dems

NY Times:
Labor Leaders Fear Trump’s Appeal With Rank and File
Labor leaders fear that Donald J. Trump may draw a large number of union voters, possibly improving Republican chances in a November general election. This must be the blue collar support that has been fueling his campaign.  It may explain how low brow insult laden campaign has managed to do so well in polling.

Hillary Clinton's email troubles mount

Fox News:
The intelligence community has now deemed some of Hillary Clinton’s emails “too damaging" to national security to release under any circumstances, according to a U.S. government official close to the ongoing review. A second source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, backed up the finding.

The decision to withhold the documents in full, and not provide even a partial release with redactions, further undercuts claims by the State Department and the Clinton campaign that none of the intelligence in the emails was classified when it hit Clinton's personal server.

Fox News is told the emails include intelligence from "special access programs," or SAP, which is considered beyond “Top Secret.” A Jan. 14 letter, first reported by Fox News, from intelligence community Inspector General Charles McCullough III notified senior intelligence and foreign relations committee leaders that "several dozen emails containing classified information” were det…

Donald Trump likes the Clintons more than the veterans?

Daily Beast:
Donald Trump Donated More to Clintons Than Veterans

The GOP frontrunner talks about his love for vets—but his foundation gave far more to the Clintons over the years than any group that helps military veterans. He may be trying to correct this transgression with his latest venture.

Breakthrough in attack on Russian jet?

Reuters:
Exclusive: EgyptAir mechanic suspected in Russian plane crash

An EgyptAir mechanic whose cousin joined Islamic State in Syria is suspected of planting a bomb on a Russian passenger plane that was blown out of Egypt's skies in late October, according to sources familiar with the matter.
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But the sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, said the mechanic had been detained, along with two airport policemen and a baggage handler suspected of helping him put the bomb on board.

"After learning that one of its members had a relative that worked at the airport, Islamic State delivered a bomb in a handbag to that person," said one of the sources, adding the suspect's cousin joined Islamic State in Syria a year and a half ago.
... The Egyptians are still being officially closed mouth about the investigation.  The ties to ISIL who claimed credit for the crash could have broader consequences for both Egypt and Rus…

It would only matter if she were a Republican?

Washington Post:
It doesn’t matter if Clinton is ‘dishonest’

Regardless of who is president, recent history suggests that public policy has little to do with whether the Oval Office’s occupants believe their own campaign rhetoric. I have heard some variation of this theme about Bill Clinton in the past and it seems to reflect how Democrats feel about their guy, but I have never heard them say such a thing about a Republican.

Olympics in Brazil could spread pandemic

NY Times:
Rio Olympics Feared as a Way for Zika Virus to Go Global
Of the visitors expected to pour into Brazil in August, some may get infected by the mosquito-borne virus and then return home at a time of peak mosquito activity. Why not treat mosquitos like cancer and try to wipe them off the face fo the earth.  They are of not value to the ecology and they have been spreading diseases of various types forever.   Brazil happens to be a good breeding ground for these predators.

To get serious about fighting ISIL, more is needed now

NY Times:
ISIS Fight Requires More Military Help, U.S. Officials Say
To deal a lasting blow to the Islamic State, officials believe that additional forces will be needed to work with Iraqi, Kurdish and Syrian opposition fighters. This is what many of us haveing been saying for months including most of the GOP presidential candidates.  Ted Cruz has been criticized for his "carpet bombing" talk, but when pressed on the issue has made clear he is looking for the kind of operational tempo used in previous Gulf Wars where significant more air power was used to prepare the battle space as well as more serious aid to the Kurds who are the only really effective ground force in the current war.

Poor Donald Trump sounds like a kid whining to his mother

Leon Wolf:
Everyone is So Unfair to Donald Trump (VIDEO) This is a funny montage of the whining.

The Democrats disastrous immigration policy

Paul Bedard:
Dems push citizenship for illegals, 'sanctuary cities,' in Iowa CaucusesTrump's "touchback" amnesty proposal is just as bad if not worse.  It is an expensive way to grant amnesty that does not really solve the problem.

The Donald Trump portion of the debate

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This was a pretty good sumation of the Trump campaign style.

Has Trump read the constitution?

Washington Examiner Editorial:
Of all the traits that distinguish conservatives from liberals, the most important may be the former's fidelity to the Constitution. During the presidential primary debates, the Constitution has been mentioned more than fifty times by Republicans and only seven times by Democrats.

Yet the front-runner for the presidential nomination of America's conservative party is a man who has spent much of the campaign promising to undermine the Constitution.

In just seven months since he entered the presidential race, Trump has proposed policies that are clearly unconstitutional and others that are dubiously so. He has vowed to end birthright citizenship, unilaterally deport millions of illegal immigrants and close down parts of the Internet. He has proposed creating a registry of Muslims living in the U.S. and temporarily barring Muslims entry into the country. Trump has also promised to issue an executive order that would mandate the death penalty for any…

Ted Cruz responds to question about endorsements

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It was a good answer to the criticism coming from Senate collegues in Washington.

Does this mean that the University of Texas will start interviewing conservatives for positions?

Houston Chronicle:
Under a new policy announced by chancellor Bill McRaven on Thursday, University of Texas institutions must interview "a candidate from an underrepresented group" — meaning women or minorities — for all senior administrative positions.

The rule, which McRaven said went into effect immediately, applies to all executive positions that report to the school president. In the Longhorns' athletic department, that would cover the men's and women's athletic directors. But a UT system official said institutions will be "encouraged" to follow the rule for other senior administrator positions, which include coaches.

UT's policy is based on the "Rooney Rule" designed in 2003 to increase minority coaching hires in the NFL.
... The most underrepresented group at UT in the faculty and staff is conservatives.  Liberals hold a disproportionate number of jobs of all types in the UT system.  There is very little ideological diversity and th…

The debate without Trump is a much smoother operation

The lack of bombast and insults is refreshing.  I think all the candidates on the stage are doing a better job of stating their case without the Trump disruption.

While I do not think the questions are unfair, there are too many opposition research-type of questions.  I prefer the Fox Business Network approach where the candidates are asked about their policies and how they would implement them.  While this debate had some of those questions, it would have been better if all of the questions were of that nature.

Poll shows Trump lead shrinking in the wake of attacks on Cruz

John Merline:
Donald Trump’s lead among Republicans dropped six points in the days leading up to Monday’s Iowa caucuses, the latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows.

Support for Trump fell to 31% among registered Republicans and Republican leaners, down from 34% in the prior IBD/TIPP Poll. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz saw his support climb three points to 21%, the highest number that Cruz has achieved in five months of polling.

This comes after Trump has spent several days launching sharp attacks at Cruz, challenging his eligibility to serve as president, and attacking his character.

While Trump’s attacks didn’t move the needle among conservatives, his support among moderates fell from 39% to 24%, while Cruz’s jumped from 5% to 18%.
... The rest of the field was unchanged in this survey.  It will be interesting to see how the absence of Trump from the debates polls.  His core supporters seem very defensive about the move and have amped up their insults of Cruz and Fox News.  It is not the kind of move that pe…

Hillary guarded by terrorist on Libya trip?

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Daily Mail:
EXCLUSIVE: Hillary Clinton was guarded by known Islamic 'terrorist' on her 'triumphal' tour of Libya - less than a year before US personnel were murdered in Benghazi 
A new book reveals an extraordinary security blunder which led to a known Islamic suspected terrorist arranging security for the then Secretary of State in Tripoli in 2011 during a lightning visit. It makes you wonder if it could have been the same people responsible for security at the Benghazi facility on the night of the terrorist attack.   At the very least it shows the remarkably poor vetting process used by the Clinton State Department.

Some refugees in Germany self deporting

AP:
Homesick and fed up: Iraqi refugees in Germany head home The cultural change was apparently too much for some of the refugees despite the relatively warm welcome the German government gave them.

Syrian Kurds plan to cut ISIL control of Turkish border area

Reuters:
The powerful Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and its local allies have drawn up plans for a major attack to seize the final stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border held by Islamic State fighters, a YPG source familiar with the plan said on Thursday.

Such an offensive could deprive Islamic State fighters of a logistical route that has been used by the group to bring in supplies and foreign recruits.

But it could lead to confrontation with Turkey, which is fighting against its own Kurdish insurgents and sees the Syrian Kurds as an enemy.

After a year of military gains aided by U.S.-led air strikes, the Kurds and their allies already control the entire length of Syria's northeastern Turkish frontier from Iraq to the banks of the Euphrates river, which crosses the border west of the town of Kobani.

Other Syrian insurgent groups control the frontier further west, leaving only around 100 km (60 miles) of border in the hands of Islamic State fighters, running from the town of Jarablus on th…

Vets not interested in being props for politicians

Fox News:
Veterans group won't take Trump fundraiser donations They also indicated they were not interested in donations from other politicians.

Trump a thin skinned tyrant?

Andrew McCarthy:
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In sum, there was no offense but, rather, a proper line of questioning that was unflattering to Trump because it accurately reported obnoxious public statements he’d made — the same sort of thing every politician should expect to be called on and that every Republican politician is guaranteed to be called on. Trump parried it capably, perhaps even turning it to his advantage. That should have been the end of it, yet Trump could not help but flash the unsavory parts of his personality. He is so self-absorbed that he had to turn the exchange into a personal battle with the journalist; and he is on such a hair-trigger that he went DEFCON 5 over what, essentially, was no offense at all, much less a vicious attack.

Mix in his signature instability: He would never stop treating Kelly nicely, until — turning on a dime — he did . . . just like Carly Fiorina was unattractive until she was “beautiful” . . . and Jeb Bush was a great guy until he was a loser . . . and Ted Cru…

Trump's 'everybody hates Ted Cruz' meme busted

NY Times:
Everybody Hates Ted Cruz? No, Not Even Close
Survey data shows that the senator is popular among conservatives, and that more than 40 percent of G.O.P. moderates view him favorably. Cruz has a strong base of support and would easily outpoll those in Washington who don't like him.  I suspect that is one of the things that really bothers those who complain about his positions.   Trump makes the mistake of overstating his argument, but he does that pretty often.

Trump's drama queen act becomes a distraction

NY Times:
Trump’s Feud With Fox News Steals Spotlight From Debate
The Republican Party is focused on Donald J. Trump’s standoff with Fox News rather than on tonight’s debate. And neither Fox News nor Mr. Trump show signs of budging. I am OK with neither budging on the point.  I would rather see a debate with the remaining candidates than some Trump infomercial  masquerading as a veteran's benefit.  Besides Cruz has already called his bluff on that point with an offer to make a $1.5 million donation to veteran charities in return for a one on one debate.  I don't think Trump sees such a debate in his interests despite his pretensions that he is a better debater.

The Saudi's bad bet on a war of attrition in oil markets

NY Times:
Despite Financial Risks, Saudi Arabia Keeps Pumping Oil
As petroleum prices plummet and the kingdom burns through its financial reserves, the Saudis are betting they can win an oil war of attrition. So far their strategy is not working, and their financial reserves are dwindling like most of the other petrostates.   Venezuela is already near default on many of its obligations and it can't even pay its UN dues, thereby losing the right to vote.  While some producers in the US are in financial distress the capital is there to have buyers step in to take over their operations.

Homeland Security having trouble securing its own ID's and weapons

Fox News:
Hundreds of DHS badges, guns, cell phones lost or stolen since 2012 No wonder they can't secure the border.

Sweden begins to crack down on migrants

BBC:
EU migrant crisis: Sweden may reject 80,000 asylum claims The rejections are for roughly half of the applications.  The more generous the welfare benefits the more applicants there are from refugees.   Who knew?

Superpac slams Trumpcare health plan

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Like most of his other "plans" this one lacks specifics of what would be covered, how care would be rationed and how the government would be able to pay for it.

Not debating is hurting Trump with some voters already

Byron York:
James and Brooks Schooley are raising a young family in this tiny Iowa community. They support Ted Cruz and brought their kids to an old church near the Bloomfield town square to hear the candidate, along with Iowa Rep. Steve King and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Schooleys like Cruz's faith and his fealty to the Constitution. But their choice is also shaped by their wariness of the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.

"He's not principled," James Schooley told me, referring to Trump. "He just goes by emotion."

"I feel like he doesn't stick to the Constitution the way Ted Cruz would," added Brooks. "Once you go away from that, then where's your standard? I mean, you can do anything."

Before Brooks finished, the Schooleys' 10 year-old son, until then silently enduring his parents' conversation with a visiting journalist, chimed in. "He can't control his anger," the boy said of Trump in a chi…

Pew poll shows Trump at bottom on religion issues

Neil Stevens:
...
Given the Democrats’ open hostility to Christians, it’s noteworthy that Donald Trump came out as the least religious candidate of all. Every other Republican scored ahead of Hillary Clinton (+5) and Bernie Sanders (+5), but Donald Trump was actually well under water, at a -30 net. 60% of those polled thought Trump is “Not too religious” or “Not at all religious”.

The candidates at the top of the heap? Former Iowa frontrunner Ben Carson (+57), and Ted Cruz (+53), the guy who got most of Carson’s support.
... This could be an indicator of how candidates do with evangelicals in Iowa.  It also raises questions about the endorsements of Trump by some evangelical leaders.

Gas is less expensive in Houston, Texas than some Middle East countries

Fuel Fix:
Oil’s drop makes it cheaper to fill up in Houston than Abu Dhabi

...
The price of the cheapest grade in the United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is the capital, is 1.51 dirhams per liter ($1.55 a gallon) for January, according to the country’s Ministry of Energy. That compares with $1.32 a gallon for the lowest regular fuel in Houston, data compiled by GasBuddy.com show. Houston drivers haven’t paid less on average than Abu Dhabi pump prices since 2008, according to the data. Dubai is the second-largest emirate in the U.A.E. which has the same fuel prices nationwide.
... The Saudis have also cut subsidies for their gas sales.  The lowest I have seen locally is $1.52.  On my recent West Coast trip, I paid as much as $3.26 in California, although the price dropped over a dollar a gallon from that level in Arizona.

Will Trump eat his words in Iowa?

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This is an ad put together by a PAC which is staffed by former Romney campaign advisers.  It makes his current positions look inexplicable.

Trump's big failure to put a deal together

Timothy O'Brian:
Here comes Donald Trump, again, and again, and again, touting his prowess at dealmaking. There goes Donald Trump, again, and again, and again, touting his prowess at dealmaking. Gliding into February’s Republican presidential primaries atop a flotilla of polls, Trump has made “deals” the litmus test of his candidacy.

“If I’m president,” he announced at the most recent GOP debate, “there won’t be stupid deals anymore.”

But a well-documented and widely reported trail of bad deals litters Trump’s career as a real estate developer and gambling mogul. (Disclosure: I wrote a book about the Republican candidate,“TrumpNation,” for which he sued me in 2006 because, among other things, it questioned the size of his fortune; the suit was laterdismissed.)

Fueled by a slew of bank loans in the late 1980s, Trump absorbed an airline, a football team, a landmark hotel, a bunch of casinos, a yacht, and other nifty stuff -- almost all of which he eventually lost because he couldn’t ju…

Cruz says Trump is afraid of having to defend his record

The Hill:
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said late Tuesday that Donald Trump’s fear of defending his record is behind the GOP front-runner's boycott of the next Fox News GOP presidential debate.

“The reality is, the reason Donald is doing this — I actually don’t think it’s because of [Fox News host] Megyn [Kelly] at all,” he said on Fox News’s “Hannity."

“I think it’s because he’s afraid to defend his record, that he knows he can’t defend his record, and he’s trying to hide from the voters of Iowa,” Cruz said six days from the first voting state’s caucuses next Monday.

“He’s not willing to stand up and explain why he supports Bernie Sanders-style, full-on socialized medicine, expanding ObamaCare so the federal government is in charge of our healthcare,” he said, tying Trump with the Democratic presidential contender.

“He can’t explain why today he supports taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood,” Cruz added.

“He can’t explain why he supported Obama’s stimulus plan …

How US shale entrepaneurs changed the oil markets

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RCP:
The blue line shows how the shale revolution helped to change the energy markets.

Cruz challenges Trump to one on one debate

Politico:
Ted Cruz criticized Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Thursday night’s presidential debate and challenged the businessman to debate one-on-one in the coming days.

“Give the Republican primary voters the right to see a fair and policy-focused debate, not simply insults,” Cruz said on the Mark Levin radio show Tuesday night.

He proposed a 90-minute debate to happen before the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump said at a press conference here that he would not participate in Thursday’s Fox News debate because he believes co-moderator Megyn Kelly is biased against him and because he found Fox’s response to his concerns childish.

Cruz said that decision cast doubt on Trump's ability to serve as commander in chief. “If he thinks Megyn Kelly is so scary what exactly does he think he’d do with Vladimir Putin?” asked the senator.
... I doubt Trump will accept the challenge.  He is just not that good a debater and Cruz is a very good debater.  It will be interesting to see…

Democrats hope to exploit rogue indictments in Texas

NY Times:
Democrats Hope to Turn Tables on Republicans Over Planned Parenthood Indictments House Democrats, who have found themselves on the defensive over their support for Planned Parenthood, have called on Republicans to disband a special committee investigating it after two anti-abortion activists who conducted a sting on the organization were indicted in Texas. I suspect the indictments will have trouble surviving a motion to quash.  The crimes alleged require an intent and all the evidence suggest that those indicted never intending to actually engage in commerce in baby parts but were trying to actually expose the alleged misdeeds of Planned Parenthood.  Even if the indictments survive, they will not change the political dynamics.  Those who oppose abortion will still oppose it and still try to stop what they view as immoral conduct.  If anything, they will probably see the indictments as another injustice sponsored by the abotion industry.

The anti Cruz shenanigans in Washington

Erick Erickson:
This is a fascinating article that shows just how much contempt for Ted Cruz the Republican Establishment has. They absolutely hate the guy.

In fact, Henry Barbour, who helped scuttle conservatives in Mississippi in the race between Chris McDaniel and Thad Cochran, tried to raise money for a Mike Huckabee supporting super PAC for the sole purpose of attacking Ted Cruz.
... The Mississippi Machavalian is at it again.  They say they are conservatives but they seem spend more time and money attacking conservatives than Democrats.

The State Department's attempt to avoid production of Clinton emails is not credible

Leon Wolf:
The State Department’s Ridiculous Excuse for Delaying the Final Release of Hillary’s Emails A weekend storm is not worthy of a month's delay in production of court ordered documents.

Israel also says Turkey is buying oil from ISIL

BBC:
Israel's defence minister has accused Turkey of buying oil from the so-called Islamic State group, thereby funding the militants' activities.

Speaking in Athens, Moshe Yaalon said IS had "enjoyed Turkish money for oil for a very, very long period of time".

Turkey denies permitting IS smuggling, and the US recently rejected Russian allegations that Turkish government officials were in league the militants.

IS has captured swathes of Syria and Iraq, including operational oil fields.

"It's up to Turkey, the Turkish government, the Turkish leadership, to decide whether they want to be part of any kind of cooperation to fight terrorism," Mr Yaalon told reporters after a meeting with his Greek counterpart.

"This is not the case so far. As you know, Daesh [Islamic State] enjoyed Turkish money for oil for a very, very long period of time. I hope that it will be ended."

Mr Yaalon also alleged that Turkey had "permitted jihadists to move from …

The DC Republicans who support Trump

Erick Erickson:
The Republicans Who Helped Obama Ruin the Country Support Donald Trump

...
Trump supporters are deluding themselves through blind rage and emotion. The guys in Washington know that Trump, who just last year supported universal healthcare and two years ago supported Mitch McConnell against conservatives, can be reasoned with in a way Cruz cannot.

This should be a damning indictment against Donald Trump in Campaign 2016. The very Republicans who have collaborated with Barack Obama to grow the national debt, keep immigration expansive, fund Planned Parenthood, and fund Obamacare are on Team Trump against Ted Cruz. These same Republicans who say  they oppose the Obama agenda, are opposing the guy who would make it possible to stop it and they are in fact supporting a guy who will push the same authoritarian agenda as Obama.

Texas oil production approaches 43 year old record

Fuel Fix:
...
Despite massive cutbacks in the oil field, Texas likely broke the state’s 43-year-old record for crude oil production with an estimated 1.267 billion barrels in 2015, Ingham said Tuesday at the Petroleum Club in downtown Houston.

“If we don’t hit [that record], we’re going to get awfully close to it,” he said.

Ingham said he is a “little worried” that Texas producers have unlocked so much oil supply that prices could stay depressed for years, as has happened with natural gas prices.

“The industry has cracked open an energy supply of crude oil and natural gas literally for decades into the future,” he said.

The state’s crude oil production peaked in March, reaching 3.6 million barrels per day according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But production has remained stubbornly high — despite a massive drawdown that has seen hundreds of rigs sidelined in Texas oil fields — because many wells were already drilled and completed.

“We’re now on the course of sustaine…

Trump's fear of Megan Kelly

Mediaite:
Fox News has issued a statement responding toDonald Trump‘s conduct on social media, calling The Donald out for his timidity with what can only be described as trolling of the highest order.

Trump has said that he might not attend Fox News’s GOP debate this Thursday because, he says, co-moderator Megyn Kelly isn’t “fair” to him. He took his grievances to Twitter and Instagram Tuesday afternoon, asking fans, “Should I do the GOP debate?”

Fox News responded in a statement given to Mediaite, saying:

We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.
In a similar statement released Monday, a Fox News spokesperson said the network was “surprised he’s willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kel…

ISIL using migrants and refugees to infiltrate terrorist into Europe

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Telegraph:
Isil exploiting migrant routes to smuggle jihadists back to Britain using fake documents Exclusive: Intelligence officials fear terror groups are increasingly exploiting the huge migrant flows to set up jihadist sleeper cells throughout Europe It is not a difficult conclusion to arrive at since ISIL leaders have been very open about doing just that and they in fact did it for the Paris attacks and some that were foiled.  What is strange is how many Western leaders including Obama seem to want to let them in anyway.

The Obama legacy

CBS News:
Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever There are several obvious sore spots like the VA and the IRS.  It takes patients to deal with most government agencies and then there are the ones that Obama refuses to let do their jobs like parts if DHS.  This could also explain why Democrats are struggling in this election year.

Fleeing failed Cuban economy, refugees wind up in Rio Grand Valley of Texas by the thousands

KRGV:
At least 7,000 Cuban refugees are expected to come to the border in the next coming days.

The activity at the Hidalgo International Bridge continues. For 40 years, Jose Angel Rodriguez has made his living driving a cab.

He said he’s seeing more Cubans crossing the port of entry. “They get here every night, in the morning, and at night they get here. They go to Laredo, too,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez remembered taking a few to a hotel or store. It gets busier each week that passes by.

Down the road from the bridge were a handful of 15-passenger vans. They had Florida license plates. Giovanni Acosta is one of them.

“In Cuba, there’s nothing. There’s no freedom. We came from Cuba because the pressure that we have there,” Giovanni Acosta said.

Acosta said he’s waiting for his wife to come to the bridge so he can take her back to Miami. She’s taking the same track as he once did. “I did the same path, like all the Cubans did. I came from Ecuador. I walked for 27 days on the road,” he said.

Hillary at the town hall debate

John Podhoretz:
Hillary needs to switch to decaf before opening her mouth again Read it.  It is too good to even summarize.

The establishment's Trump delusion

NY Times:
Republican Says ‘Malleable’ Donald Trump Is More Electable Than a ‘Rigid’ Ted Cruz
Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, who has not made an endorsement, said that Mr. Trump could appeal to a wider bloc in the general election than Mr. Cruz. This is certainly counter to the polling that shows Ted Cruz doing better in a head to head race with Democrats than Trump.  Cruz also has a higher approval rating  while Trump has higher negatives.  I suspect their real concern is that Cruz will call their bluff on issues they claim they support.

It is getting harder for GOP establishment to ignore the rejection of the voters

NY Times:
As Trump and Cruz Soar, G.O.P. Leaders’ Alarm Grows
The Republican establishment fears that time is running out for a credible alternative to Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz to emerge as the mainstream candidates continue to bash one another. What Cruz exposes more so than Trump is the hypocrisy of the Washington establishment.  The Cruz agenda would implement nearly everything the GOP in Washington says it is for, and that seems to really scare them.   It would expose the "show vote" fraud that is part of the gamesmanship in Congress.

In reality, Trump is a much bigger danger to Congress and the country with his authoritarian bent.  What they would get from his is someone who would continue to grow government to build stuff.  Trump is likely to be as big a spender as Bernie Sanders.

Ted Cruz energizes the conservative base of the GOP like no other

Molly Ball:
They hate Ted Cruz so much.

His fellow senators publicly denounce him and call him names. They yell at him behind closed doors and complain about him to their lobbyist friends. They hate him with a wild, deranging passion. The Beltway grandees, with their consulting contracts and expensive suits, would sooner die or move to Europe than live in the America he would govern.

And Cruz revels in their hatred.

“You know,” the Texas senator said, eyebrows tented plaintively, black hair neatly parted on the left, “when we launched this campaign, the New York Timespromptly opined, ‘Cruz cannot win, because the Washington elites despise him.’” He paused for effect, exactly the same way he had paused for effect the previous night in Whitefield, exactly the same way he would pause for effect the next morning in Exeter. Then he delivered the punch line: “I kind of thought that was the whole point of the campaign!”

The White Buffalo Trading Post, a convenience store and pizza restaurant in t…