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Showing posts from May, 2016

Marines give new meaning to power walking

US Marines to trial 'battery pants' that charge as they march http://dailym.ai/1Vt1dOh via http://dailym.ai/androidThe pants allow the troops to harvest energy for use in communication equipment and other devices used in combat operations. It also allows them to shed several pounds of batteries they normally need.

ISIL counterattack in Falluja

Islamic State group hits back as Iraqi army moves into Falluja - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-36417199The 100 fighter attack was defeated. ISIL was not able to effectively use car bombs and at least 75  fighters were killed in the assault. This suggests that the ISIL contingent is short of supplies and fighters.

Three pronged attack aimed at ISIL in Fallujah

Iraqi forces ENTER Fallujah: troops storm ISIS bastion on three fronts http://dailym.ai/1UdDyfy via http://dailym.ai/androidWill they be able to close off ISIL'S avenues of retreat?  Can they cut the enemy supply lines?

Bush had 20 times higher approval than Obama in Russia

Gallup: Just 1% Russians approve of U.S., Obama, far worse than Bush | Washington Examiner. http://tiny.iavian.net/ai2e Download Drudge Report from Google Play Store. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.iavian.dreportThat was a heck of a reset Obama and Secretary Clinton managed. It may be one of her few accomplishments.

The attack on ISIL north of Raqqa

The attack is apparently not aimed at taking Raqqa but is aimed at another town that has some ties to the control of Aleppo. It will be difficult for the Kurdish troops. The place is well defended and the attacking force must cross the Euphrates river on its approach. This attack will probably divert ISIL from supporting its forces under attack in Falluja.

Trump shows contempt for court handling Trump U case

Trump attacked the Hispanic judge trying the Trump  U fraud case.  This was not a smart thing to do.  The judge just unsealed documents that the Trump lawyers were trying to keep secret. Both parties appear to be nominating people with character flaws and serious legal issues.

The power is back

The bad news is that the phone and Internet are not. The desktop computer and Direct TV are also still down. I do have water, lights and air conditioning.

Day 3 of my personal EMP saga

If it were not for my F150 the storm that hit here would be pretty close to an EMP attack. With the truck I am able to keep my phone charged and go get distilled water.The flooding has receded for the most part.  Only 2 people lost their lives. My house survived the beating. The power company assures me that I am on their list for repair. Fortunately, it's unseasonably cool. I can cook on my propane stove.

The storm in Washington, Texas

My power has been off since 2 yesterday afternoon. My rain gauge tops out 5 inches. We had several huge tree limbs fall, some on the house. I had to move one off my drive to get out. Forecast calls for more mid day.

Angry voters and the candidates they love or hate

Frank Luntz:
Welcome to the Election From Hell

Voters demand that politicians speak as angrily and as disrespectfully as the voters feel I must be an exception to the people he met in the various focus groups.  I do not trust candidates who confuse insults with logical arguments.  I am disappointed with the Republican Congressional leadership and feel betrayed by them but it is irrational in the extreme to lump Ted Cruz and many of the other candidates in with that leadership.

At this point, it appears that the two parties have selected candidates who may be the weakest in modern history.  They both appear dishonest in their own unique ways.  Trump comes across not only as insulting, but incoherent and lacking a core beyond striking a deal of some sorts.

While I have usually been reluctant to label someone a liar, Hillary Clinton seems to be an unusually bad liar.  Her lies become inexplicable.  What is striking about that is that her supporters don't care that she is a liar.  In …

There is a sickness within Islam that is not being cured by silence

Independent:
Elderly Christian woman stripped naked and paraded through streets by mob

The 300-strong mob of Muslim men in rural Egypt also burned down seven homes belonging to Orthodox Coptic families, over rumours of an affair between a local Christian man and a Muslim woman This is more evidence of a sickness within Islam and a rabid religious bigotry against people of other faiths.  Unless the 300 perps are punished they will continue this abuse of the "other."

Hat tip to Pam Geller.

Lack of a death penalty in Mexico may lead to more deaths

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NY Times:
Body Count Points to a Mexican Military Out of Control
In fighting organized crime, the military kills far more of its enemies than it injures. The authorities say soldiers are simply better trained. Others argue the numbers reveal something more ominous. I doubt that the military is out of control.  They are fighting a particularly ruthless enemy that will kill anyone at anytime.  When it comes to mass murder, the Mexican drug cartels have the morals if ISIL.   They are just as dangerous in prison as they are on the loose.

Blue states with crumbling infrastructure

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NY Times:
Why Subways in the Northeast Are So Troubled
Transit systems in Boston, New York and Washington need billions of dollars to replace old infrastructure and to meet rising demand. In the meantime, riders are bracing for the worst. Blame liberal vote buying schemes.  They focus spending on groups that they believe will  become dependent on the government and therefore reliable voters.  It is not just the Northeast.  Illinois and Califonia where liberals dominate also have the same problem of generous spending on government pensions and Democrat constituencies while infrastructure crumbles.

Harry Reid challenged by junior senator from Arkansas

Daily Caller:
Sen. Tom Cotton Goes Off On ‘Vulgar’ Harry Reid [VIDEO] This is a terrific speech that has been needed for years.

He concludes his remarks by saying:
...
“We’re delaying it for one reason and one reason only, to protect his own sad, sorry, legacy. He now complains in the mornings that the Senate is not in session enough, that our calendar is too short. Well, whatever you think about that, the happy by-product of fewer days in session in the Senate is that this institution will be cursed less with his cancerous leadership.” Tom Cotton joins Ted Cruz is the honest man club in the Senate.

Oil company shareholders reject environmentalist plan for them to go out of business

Bloomberg:
Big Oil investors voted to continue doing the thing that has defined the industry since the 19th century: drilling for crude.

Shareholders of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. overwhelmingly rejected resolutions backed by environmental activists on Wednesday that would have curtailed exploration for new oil fields and funneled the money to investors in the form of higher dividends and share buybacks.

The “no" votes reached 96 percent at both companies, where other climate-related proposals also failed. Environmental critics as diverse as state pension funds and Roman Catholic religious orders said future climate rules will soon make it unprofitable for Exxon and Chevron to harvest their reserves. The companies countered that there doesn’t yet exist a renewable fuel that can replace gasoline or diesel, and that demand for petroleum-based fuels will grow for decades, even if carbon limits are imposed.

“We need technological breakthroughs but until we have those, just s…

OK--Who was in charge of the State Department?

Washington Examiner:
Clinton camp blames 'poor' record-keeping system at State Dept. The head of a department is responsible for seeing that the record keeping function is properly managed.  That means finding someone within the department to see that it is done and to fire them if they fail.  That is what CEO's do all the time.  Can you imagine the CEO of a company telling the SEC that he can't provide the documents they requested because the company record keep process is flawed?  That would lead to one more charge against the company and its management in the case filed by the SEC.

What seems clear is that Hillary Clinton is too incompetent at management to be President.

Elizabeth Warren's sad story, bumps up against her own history

Red States:
How Elizabeth Warren Trafficked In Shattered Dreams To Turn A Quick Buck

...
Anecdotes are always heart-rending but somehow I scratch my head in wonder over someone who views having to make mortgage payments as “an ugly surprise buried in the fine print.” I question the commonsense — and maybe the sanity — of any father who would seriously contemplate having his family live in a van so the child could go to the same school (I say that as someone who attended 10 schools in 12 years and the last three years were all spent at the same school). The important thing to keep in mind here is that the housing bubble bursting had zero to do with Donald Trump or big banks. Its roots lay in federal policy that encouraged lenders to make loans to people, like Mr. Estrada, who were simply not financially able to make mortgage payments.
...
The Boston Herald investigated Warren’s profiteering off of home foreclosures back in 2012. As usual, the champions of the little guy couldn’t be both…

Who knew--Illiterate religious bigots not interested in peace?

Washington Examiner:
Obama: New Taliban leader offers no hope for accord I can only conclude that Obama has not been paying attention to his intelligence briefings for the last seven plus years.  The Taliban is made up of illiterate Islamist religious bigots who think they are on a mission from God.  The only way to get them to quit fighting is to persuade them that their cause is hopeless through relentless military operations.  Instead, Obama has been finding ways to give the Taliban hope that the UA will just leave Afghanistan and let them resume their control of the country.

UK looks after its crooks

Telegraph:
Father told to demolish garden pond 'because burglars could fall and drown' Why not just leave the door open too?  I do not think I have ever heard of a country so concerned for the safety of thieves.  The castle doctrine appears to be extinct in the UK.

IG's reports provides evidence that Hillary Clinton knowingly violated the rules

Politico:
Hillary Clinton expressed concern in November 2010 about the risk of her personal emails becoming accessible after one of her top aides said they needed to discuss putting her on the State Department’s email system.

The revelation of the exchange between Clinton and Huma Abedin was included in a report from the State Department’s inspector general that was released to lawmakers on Wednesday.

The report concluded that Clinton violated the agency’s email rules when she chose to exclusively use a private email server during her four years at State Department and did not promptly turn over records after she departed the agency.

The document also included some details of an exchange between Clinton and Abedin, who both chose not to cooperate with the IG’s investigation.

“In November 2010, Secretary Clinton and her Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations discussed the fact that Secretary Clinton’s emails to Department employees were not being received,” the report said. “The Deputy C…

When they show momentum with the side you oppose?

NY Times:
When Should You Start to Worry About Presidential Polls?
At this point before an election, a simple polling average has differed from the final result by about nine percentage points. With the current polls showing a deadlocked race, the polling averages cited suggest a landslide for one or the other.  The momentum has definitely been with Trump in recent weeks.

US should cut off all support of Palestinians who call murderer of American a martyr

Fox News:
'Martyr': Palestinian media praise killer of US tourist in Israel These people clearly are not intelligent enough to be given the responsibility of running a country.  The US should stop funding these people.  The US should also block funding of this group by the UN.  It si absurd to try to push Israel into an agreement with such people.

It was not 'permitted' Sec. Clinton

Washington Examiner:
An audit by the State Department inspector general has concluded that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton violated her agency's own records policy by withholding all of her government-related communications.

"Secretary Clinton should have preserved any federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records ... because she did not do so, she did not comply with the department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act," the watchdog report said, according to an excerpt in Politico.
... This directly contradicts Clinton's claim that her conduct was permitted and did not violate any rules currently in place.

Making the primaries about the GOP base

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NY Times:
Reeling From 2016 Chaos, G.O.P. Mulls Overhaul of Primaries Hilary Swift for The New York TimesVoting in Manchester, N.H., in the primary this year. Republican Party leaders are debating how to give more voters a meaningful role sooner in the process, a change that could stoke resistance in states that have traditionally held their votes early, including New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. Iowa and New Hampshire could lose their coveted status as gatekeepers to the presidency, and independents could be barred from voting in Republican contests. I support both of these proposals and would also exclude Democrats from voting in a GOP primary.  Iowa and New Hampshire have a tendency to lean left of the GOP base pushing candidates to the top who may not be that popular in the rest of the country.  This year was somewhat of an exception as Ted Cruz managed to thwart the ethanol lobby and get the most votes despite his stand.  Ethanol is a product that is unnecessary and one tha…

Trump demonstrates why it is so difficult to make an attack stick to him

Fox News:
...
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, hit the presumptive GOP nominee on his years-old housing comments at a campaign stop earlier Tuesday.

"When he was talking about the possibility of a housing market crash before the Great Recession, he said, ‘I sort of hope that happens,' " Clinton said. "He actually said that, he actually said he was hoping for the crash that caused hard working families in California and across America to lose their homes, all because he thought he could take advantage of it to make some money for himself."

Trump's campaign issued a statement defending his comments, made in the mid-2000s, as the mortgage, then housing bubble began to burst.

"I am a businessman and I have made a lot of money in down markets, in some cases as much as I've made when markets are good. Frankly, this is the kind of thinking our country needs -- understanding how to get a good result out of a very bad and sad situation," Trump sai…

I am sure the liberals in New York can add to this list

Daily Caller:
New York City Lets You Choose From 31 Different Gender Identities It is a great city with an abundance of  people with ambiguous ideas about their own sexuality.  I suspect they will be even more creative in coming up with more things to identify as.  New York even has a mayor who will make it an offense to disagree with delusional people.

Iran reimposed financial support for Islamic Jihad terrorist against Israel

Jerusalem Post:
... Iran is attempting to bring Islamic Jihad back into its fold by renewing financial support for the Palestinian terror organization, sources affiliated with the organization told the London-based daily Arab newspaper a-Sharq al-Awsat on Wednesday.

Iran's decision to re-embrace Islamic Jihad after two years of strained relations, came following a visit to Iran in April by a high-level delegation from the organization, led by Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah.
...
According to Suleimani's move, 70 million dollar of financial aid will now arrive directly from Revolutionary Guard's treasury to the Quds Brigades.

Iran's decision to renew its alliance with the Islamic Jihad is mainly an attempt to rebuke Hamas for rejecting Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's initiative to renew relations in exchange for Hamas declaring its support for Iran in its conflict with other regional Arab states. Now we know at least some of what Iran will be …

Taliban meet to chose new leader--They should be greeted by another drone strike

NY Times:
For the second time in less than a year, senior Taliban leaders have convened in the Pakistani city of Quetta to deliberate how to replace a dead supreme leader.

Unlike last summer’s gatherings, where some leaders arrived in convoys of hundreds of vehiclesto choose Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour as the successor to their founding leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, Taliban figures described the tone of the meetings over the past three days as decidedly low-key, and even shocked.

They described how the American drone strike that was said to have killed Mullah Mansour in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province on Saturday also destroyed the perception that the protection they had received for years in their Pakistani havens could be permanent. Some angrily accused Pakistani intelligence agents of selling out Mullah Mansour’s location to the Americans.

Taliban spokesmen and commanders were happy to jump on the phone last summer, first to reject news of Mullah Omar’s death and then to project an…

Pipelines make more sense than those opposing them

Washington Examiner:
...
With manufacturing and power generation serving as key drivers, total natural gas demand is poised to increase 40 percent over the next decade. U.S. supply, meanwhile, is expected to swell about 48 percent over the next decade to meet this new demand.

Which means the urgency for more energy infrastructure to gather, transport, store and export natural gas has never been greater — for multiple reasons.

"Shale gas production has created new flow patterns that are causing existing pipelines to reverse flow and will necessitate the construction of new pipeline capacity," the NAM report said.

That's one reason.

Here's another: "There is a mismatch, geographically, in the growth in natural gas demand and supply in the U.S. lower 48." The U.S. has the energy resources it needs but lacks the pipelines and transmission lines it requires to transport energy to where it's needed.

And there's only one way to fix this: Build more. We hav…

Oil exploration outside the US in significant decline

Fuel Fix:
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Outside of the U.S. energy boom, the oil industry discovered the least amount of crude in 64 years, as the oil-market crash forced drillers to make deep cuts to exploration budgets, research firm IHS says in a new report.

The group estimates 2.8 billion barrels of oil were discovered last year, the smallest amount on record since the industry began its surge of exploration for oil around the globe after World War II. The decline in discoveries is the culmination of an industry-wide pullback from international waters that began when companies turned their drill bits to shale formations in Texas, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

“We’ve seen four consecutive years of declining oil volumes, which has never happened before,” said Leta Smith, a researcher at IHS Energy, in a written statement.

The shale revolution drew oil producers to North America, away from more expensive and risky investments in international waters. The years of $100 oil made it profitable to develop existing o…

ISIL under attack from Kurds closing in north of Raqqa

BBC:
Syria conflict: Kurds begin campaign north of IS-held Raqqa This move along with Iraqi attacks on Fallujah and Iraqi Kurdish attacks are putting pressure on ISIL at multiple points which should make it more difficult for the group to lash out in other areas in response to attacks.  In the past have usually been more focused on one area.

The US was the top oil and gas producer in the world in 2015

Washington Examiner:
The U.S. managed to beat out the Saudis and Russia as the world's top oil and natural gas producer last year, despite low prices and a persistent supply glut challenging the industry, according to the federal government.

"U.S. petroleum and natural gas production first surpassed Russia in 2012, and the United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2011 and the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013," the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department's independent analysis arm, reported Monday.

U.S. and Russia production is almost split evenly between oil and natural gas output, while Saudi Arabia relies heavily on petroleum production, the agency said.

In the U.S., petroleum supply rose by 1.0 million barrels a day last year, despite relatively cheap crude oil prices and a 60 percent in the number of operating oil and natural gas rigs, the Energy Information Administration said. Natural…

Trump responds to stories about his raising money for veterans

The Hill:
Trump: 'Dishonest media' should investigate the Clinton Foundation The guy has a knack for turning the media glare back on his main opponent.  The media has shown a disinterest in dealing the Clinton foundation slush fund.  The book Clinton Cash has recently been made into a movie to be released before the conf=ventions.  It will be harder for them to ignore at that point so they will probably switch to attempting to discredit it.

New York man arrested for ties to ISIL

AP:
A New York City man rejected twice trying to enter the United Kingdom after his camouflage clothing, nunchakus and Islamic State flag images on his cellphone raised suspicions was arrested Tuesday on charges that he tried to assist the terrorism group.

Sajmir Alimehmeti, 22, of the Bronx, was awaiting an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court. A criminal complaint signed by an FBI agent described Alimehmeti as repeatedly demonstrating support for the Islamic State since 2014.

It was not immediately known who would represent him at an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court.

According to court papers, Alimehmeti tried this month to provide advice and assistance to a person he thought was traveling from New York to Syria to train and fight with the Islamic State.

The FBI complaint described how employees of the agency and the New York City Police Department gave Alimehmeti numerous opportunities to demonstrate his enthusiasm for the Islamic State after authorities in th…

Air base used by Russia in Syria suffers significant damage from ISIL attack

AFP:
Satellite imagery appears to show extensive damage to an air base in Syria used by Russian forces following an attack by fighters from the Islamic State group, US intelligence company Stratfor said Tuesday.

The images suggest four helicopters and 20 lorries were destroyed by fire inside the T-4 base, which is also known as Tiyas and is strategically located in central Syria between war-ravaged Palmyra and Homs.

"The T4 air base was severely damaged by an Islamic State artillery attack. In particular, four Russian Mi-24 attack helicopters appear to have been destroyed," Stratfor said on their website.

Russia has not officially commented on the incident and the cause of the apparent damage could not be determined from the images obtained by Stratfor.

But the BBC quoted Stratfor analyst Sim Tack as saying that "this was not an accidental explosion".

It "would really be a marginal, almost non-existent chance for this to be accidental," he added.

Tack sai…

Democrats still making bogus claims about getting an ID to vote

Washington Post:
Minorities, poor, elderly face hurdles getting ID for voting

For the first time, 11 states are requiring a photo identification to vote in a presidential election. Many experts say that the process for obtaining an ID can be far more difficult than it might seem for hundreds of thousands of people across the country who do not have one. I just do not believe that it is all that difficult.  I must have a higher regard for the intellect and abilities of blacks and Hispanics than the Democrats who oppose these requirements.  In fact, I would be hard pressed to find someone in rural Texas without an ID.  If someone is going to register people in a nursing home they can arrange for an ID at the same time.

This is a losing issue for Democrats even if many in the media keep pushing it for them.  The voters and the courts overwhelming support voter ID and it is used in some of the poorest countries in this hemisphere.

Was decapitation strike against Taliban leader part of a messaging strategy?

NY Times:
U.S. Strike on Taliban Leader Is Seen as a Message to Pakistan
President Obama described Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour’s death as an “important milestone,” but it also illustrated the tangled relationship between Washington and Islamabad. I tend to think strategies aimed at the destruction of the enemy are more effective than "messaging strategies."   However, if this strike had a message it was to the Taliban that they should not threaten US troops in Afghanistan.  The message to Pakistan is that their sanctuary for the Taliban attacking US forces will not be honored.  Neither of these "messages" hints at the destruction of the enemy.

Unhappy Democrats in distress

Washington Examiner:
Sen. Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton by 12 points in last Tuesday's Oregon Democratic primary. It was an unusual victory in that Clinton's nomination is already a done deal.

Sanders has no hope of catching the Democratic establishment's chosen champion. Even he knows superdelegates, party guardians of the status quo, are not going to defect from a candidate who has the most votes and earned delegates.

Yet not only did Oregon reject Clinton at this late stage, but Kentucky, viewed by most as a relatively safe state for her, very nearly went to Sanders as well. Her 1,900-vote, 0.5 percentage-point margin will probably hold. But it's not a ringing endorsement, more a resigned acceptance of the lifeless Democratic queen anointed long ago by the party episcopacy.

On their own, Tuesday's results and Sanders' recent wins in Indiana and West Virginia might not signify much. But combine this with the bitter chaos that enveloped the Nevada De…

Failure and tone deafness at the VA continues

Washington Examiner:
Republican lawmakers slammed the Department of Veterans Affairs Monday after Sec. Bob McDonald compared the agency's long wait times for veterans seeking health care to the wait times for rides at Disneyland.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump used McDonald's comments to remind voters that his likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, said in October that problems at the VA were "not widespread."

Trump's former rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, also weighed in over social media.

"Healthcare for our veterans is NOT a visit to the Magic Kingdom," Cruz tweeted. "They EARNED quality care in a timely fashion!"
... The story has a lengthy list of Twitter responses from Republicans to the comments by McDonald.  Whoever thought up that excuse for failure at the VA was not thinking about the ramifications or the troops dying while waiting to be seen.

Recently a doctor recommended that I see the VA about getting hearing aids.  After…

Is Russia in the early stages of a hybrid war with Turkey and NATO?

Institute for the Study of War:
Russia is waging a multi-front campaign against Turkey in order to weaken NATO in line with its strategic objectives. The use of a high-end Soviet-era MANPADS against a Turkish helicopter in southeastern Turkey on May 13, 2016 could indicate that Russia is providing meaningful military support to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) insurgency. The incident, if indeed a Russian escalation, is yet another Russian infringement of a sovereign NATO partner. Russia targeted the same pressure point by overflying Turkey with combat aircraft in November 2015, leading Turkish President Recep Erdogan to authorize the shoot down of a Russian plane. The U.S. rushed to de-escalate rather than backing Turkey in November, a signal that Erdogan does not have unequivocal NATO support. The provision of military support to the PKK thus offers Russia a surgical option to escalate against Turkey without provoking a response from the U.S. and NATO, especially because U.S.…

China's debt bomb could require massive bailout

Bloomberg:
Charlene Chu, a banking analyst who made her name warning of the risks from China’s credit binge, said a bailout in the trillions of dollars is needed to tackle the bad-debt burden dragging down the nation’s economy.

Speaking eight days after a Communist Party newspaper highlighted dangers from the build-up of debt, Chu, a partner at Autonomous Research, said she was yet to be convinced the government is serious about deleveraging and eliminating industry overcapacity.

She also argued that lenders’ off-balance-sheet portfolios of wealth-management products are the biggest immediate threat to the nation’s financial system, with similarities to Western bank exposures in 2008 that helped to trigger a global meltdown.

The former Fitch Ratings analyst uses a top-down approach to calculating China’s bad-debt levels as the credit to gross domestic product ratio worsens, requiring more credit to generate each unit of GDP.

While Chu is on the bearish side of the debate about the out…

More evidence that NPR skewed its coverage of Iran deal after payments

Washington Free Beacon:
A prominent media outlet that received money from a White House-backed group of Iran deal advocates refused interviews with a top congressional critic of last summer’s nuclear agreement, deepening accusations that the Obama administration and its allies suppressed voices opposing the deal, according to conversations with sources and a series of emails viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.

The publicly funded National Public Radio declined interviews with Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a leading critic of the Iran nuclear deal. NPR had received funding from the liberal Ploughshares Fund, which has been exposed as being a core part of a White House-backed campaign to push lobbyists, policy analysts, and journalists in favor of the deal.

When asked by reporters last week about refusing the interviews, NPR suggested that Pompeo’s office had never reached out to the station. However, multiple emails viewed by the Free Beacondemonstrate that Pompeo’s office had been in t…

Financing floating oil storage in hopes of a price recovery

Bloomberg/Fuel Fix:
The waters between Singapore and Malaysia used to heave with wooden ships carrying exotic spices. Now the Straits of Malacca are filled with vessels carrying a very different sort of commodity.

Oil traders awaiting a recovery in crude are turning to floating storage after benchmark Brent prices more than halved over a span of two years, according to Morgan Stanley analysts led by Adam Longson.

Unlike previous oil storage trades, however, this one is unusual in that current oil prices and storage costs ought to make it unprofitable. Morgan Stanley estimates that the one-month Brent storage arbitrage currently produces a loss of $0.48 per barrel, while its six-month equivalent loses $6.11 per barrel.

That suggests “no incentive to store oil on ships,” the analysts write. “Yet, banks are seeing a sharp uptick in interest to finance storage charters. This storage is not happening for profit. Rather, the market is looking for places to store oil. To profit, traders need…

Navy will use a network of sensors to control the battle space

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Daily Mail:

The 'All Domain Offensive Surface Warfare Capability' will carry targeting information from satellites, aircraft, ships, submarines and weapons themselves. The system will use targeting information from satellites, aircraft, ships, submarines and weapons themselves.  I hope they can keep the enemy from hacking it.

Will Hacker testify against Hillary Clinton?

Fox News:
HILLARY'S HACKER COPS A DEAL
'Guccifer,' who says he easily hacked Clinton email, is finalizing a plea deal
Whether the deal will require testimony against Clinton is not clear, but if there is a case brought against her, his testimony would be interesting.  One o the problems with these kinds of cases is that the government may have to reveal the classified information that it beleives was compromised.

Cubans think socialism still sucks

NY Times:
Desperate Cubans Risk All to Set Foot on U.S. Soil
A group of refugees risked their lives at sea to reach the U.S. Many others are not so lucky, and renewed diplomatic ties have not decreased the number of Cubans who undertake the journey. Cuba is still run by the same despots who have made a mess of it for over 50 years.  Any intelligent person with ambition would be eager to leave for greater opportunity under capitalism.   I am frankly amazed at the number of Americans who think change will ruin this socialist hell hole.  Now that Venezuela is falling apart the Cuban government will have to look elsewhere for handouts.  I feel sorry for anyone who lends the deadbeats who run Cuba any money.  If I lived there I would be desperate to leave too.

ISIL sees Sinai as a base for attacking Israel

Rowan Scarborough:
With a media blitz, the Islamic State has set its sights on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as the next shot at expanding its empire and establishing a base from which to attack neighboring Israel.

The terrorist group’s propaganda units have gone into high gear for recruitment this month to build a force in Sinai large enough to one day conquer Jerusalem — the same way its fighters took over large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Last week, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned of the Islamic State’s presence in Sinai, where the group may have placed as many as 1,000 terrorists. The general’s concern is a signal that the U.S. faces another war front against the Islamic State in addition to Iraq, Syria and Libya.

More than a dozen Islamic State media arms in Iraq and Syria have produced videos narrated by a who’s who of hardened jihadis, who are surely on a U.S. kill list for daily airstrikes.
... You would think that ISIL has enough enemies to fi…

ISIL attacks Syrian "safe zones"

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Washington Post:
At least 78 people killed near Russian military bases in Syrian blasts linked to Islamic State

It was the worst single day of violence to hit the relatively calm coastal provinces bordering the Mediterranean since the Syrian war began five years ago. I suspect this more of a response to the pressure ISIL is under in the turf it currently holds.  The group has a tendency to lash out when under pressure.  They are currently under attack in their Syrian strongholds and in Iraq.

Will killing of Taliban leader make a difference?

NY Times:
Death of Taliban Leader Is a ‘Milestone,’ Obama Says His death upends the group’s latest military offensive and throws the insurgency into its second leadership crisis within a year. I am skeptical as to the effect of his death.  The "leadership crisis" will probably make it easier to find a replacement because the Taliban can just choose the next man up from the last go round.

In World War II when things were going bad for Germany, Hitler took comfort from the death of  US President Franklin Roosevelt.  But the death changed nothing for the war in Europe.  That is likely to be the same in Afghanistan.  It si not like the Taliban  was run by a charismatic leader

The EU issues a despotic decree outlawing criticism

Telegraph:
THE European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that the European Union can lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading figures, sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of European precedents on civil liberties.

The EU's top court found that the European Commission was entitled to sack Bernard Connolly, a British economist dismissed in 1995 for writing a critique of European monetary integration entitled The Rotten Heart of Europe.

The ruling stated that the commission could restrict dissent in order to "protect the rights of others" and punish individuals who "damaged the institution's image and reputation". The case has wider implications for free speech that could extend to EU citizens who do not work for the Brussels bureaucracy.

The court called the Connolly book "aggressive, derogatory and insulting", taking particular umbrage at the author's suggestion that Economic and Monetary Union was a thre…

Trump does not have much of a ground game for general election

Washington Examiner:
Donald Trump's presidential campaign may have hit a snag in Ohio.

While Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has an Ohio team in place, Trump is reportedly lagging behind.

Ed Rollins, co-chairman of the pro-Trump Great America political action committee, told the Wall Street Journal it feels like Trump's team is "at ground zero."

"I think we have a superior candidate," Rollins told the Journal. "It's a question of whether you can build the resources. Campaigns are used to building for two years, and we have far less time to do it."
... Trump has no general election staff in Ohio according to the story.  For a billionaire, Trump has run a pretty cheap campaign but it may be catching up with him.  He has alienated many of the donor class and is struggling to get the money for the general election.

There is some support for a third choice for President

Leon Wolf:
Two Different New Polls: 20% of Americans would Vote Third Party over Trump and Clinton These are likely generic polls and the numbers could go up or down given a specific candidate.  Given the reluctance of anyone to step forward at this point, it is likely they would go down.

Trump still has to win reluctant voters

Hugh Hewitt:
With 23 weeks until Election Day, Donald Trump — the unlikeliest, most unconventional nominee of a major party in modern times — faces two challenges.

The first is to rally the 30 percent of the GOP faithful who remain at least reluctant to rally to his banner; the second is to lower his unfavorable ratings among the general electorate. (Gallup's numbers from last week led the polling giant to remark that "Trump has a significantly more negative image than has been the norm for his party's nominees at this point in recent campaigns," and that the "relative lack of enthusiasm for Trump among his own party may not be his biggest challenge to winning the presidency — twice as many Americans overall have an unfavorable (60 percent) as a favorable (34 percent) opinion of him.").

I have written elsewhere on the steps Trump could take to reduce the 30 percent of GOP holdouts to a hard core 5 percent of dead-enders whose principles prevent them from ev…

Pilot of downed Egyptian plane did call to say there was smoke in the cabin

Daily Mail:
It was initially claimed that Mohamed Said Shoukair lost all radio contact before the Airbus A320 plunged into the sea last Thursday, with the loss of 66 lives, while traveling from Paris to Cairo. But according to aviation sources in Paris he was in fact worried about smoke filling the plane and said he was going to make an emergency landing. There was 'conversation several minutes long' between Captain Shoukair and the controllers, which amounted to 'a distress call'. It is strange that this conversation was at first denied.
...
According to Greece's defence minister, Pano Kammenos, the plane dropped sharply from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet, and then made 'sudden swerves'.

As it entered Egyptian airspace, over the Greek island of Karpathos, the first turn wa…

Al Qaeda plotting new attacks against the West from its base in Afghanistan

Telegraph:
Al-Qaeda has re-established its terrorist headquarters in southern Afghanistan and is using it as a base to plan major attacks against the West, the Daily Telegraph can reveal.

After more than a decade of hiding across the border in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt, al-Qaeda terrorist cells have moved back into southern Afghanistan following the withdrawal of British and American forces at the end of 2014.

Now Afghan security officials are warning that al-Qaeda chiefs are hoping to use their new Afghan base to plot a fresh wave of terror attacks against the West and its allies.

“Al-Qaeda has taken advantage of the withdrawal of Western troops to re-establish its headquarters in southern Afghanistan,” said a senior Afghan defence official. “Now they are back they will be determined to use Afghanistan as a base to prepare new attacks against Western targets.”

Afghanistan on Sunday said a US drone had killed the Taliban's leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, with a missile strike …

Immigration drives those who want Britain to leave EU

Washington Post:
Immigration backlash at heart of British push to leave E.U.

Advocates for a British exit have argued it's the only way for the country to control its borders and, in some cases, they've demonized immigrants as criminals and addicts. But they bristle at any comparison to Donald Trump's rhetoric. I think it is the inability to deport those who want to destroy the country and its culture that has them justifiably angry.  The Human Rights Wackos of the EU have made it impossible to send terrorist back to their homeland and on top of that the country has to take care of those who hate them and spend millions of pounds in the process.  It is a situation that makes sense only to extreme liberals.

Who knew?

NY Times:
Clinton Warns That Trump Is Not a ‘Normal’ Candidate
Even as she contends with Senator Bernie Sanders’s unflagging critique from the left, Hillary Clinton said it was vital for her to pivot to confront Donald J. Trump now, lest he successfully repackage himself for wider consumption. At least she did not let that slip by her.  Trump is a guy that breaks all the rules of civility in a campaign and appears to get away with it.   Many of his supporters think that is what appeals to them.  They apparently want someone who will tell liberals to go stuff it.  It does not matter if he is coherent or inconsistent as long as he looks like he will fight much of the liberal agenda.

60 percent of voters don't like Clinton or Trump

Washington Post:
Poll shows Clinton, Trump in statistical dead heat

A Post-ABC News poll also finds that 6 in 10 voters have negative impressions of both candidates. Hillary Clinton is seen as having superior experience, plus the temperament and personality to be president. Donald Trump has strong appeal as an outsider who can bring change to Washington. I question whether Hillary Clinton has superior experience since most of what she has done during her career in government has turned to crap.  While Trump is an outsider, I doubt he will bring much change to a government he has exploited.

The poll is of registered voters, and in this election it is going to be interesting to screen for likely voters since they are both so disliked.

Should US allow terrorist to set the rules on female guards?

NY Times:
Congress Moves to Nullify Judge’s Order on Guantánamo Guards
Lawmakers are intervening in a legal dispute over whether female guards at Guantánamo should be permitted to touch religiously conservative detainees. The detainees' position is patently ridiculous and juvenile.  They are acting like grade schoolers who think girls have cooties.  It is more than passing strange that in a military where there is a push to put women in combat roles they would be restricted from handling guard duty of terrorists.   If these guys don't like it, maybe it will make them think twice about returning to the war if Obama lets them go.  If this is all it take to turn them into a terrorist again, they are utterly hopeless.

Ads point to the weakness of the two candidates for President

NY Times:
Foes Point to ‘Con Man’ Trump and ‘Toxic’ Clinton
The Democrats hit Donald J. Trump hard on his claim to fame, his business skills. The Republicans tie Democratic candidates to Hillary Clinton’s baggage. This is one of those cases where the ads criticizing the two candidates are both right and those who support them will have to live with the consequences.  The control of Congress will probably hinge on who handles the baggage the best.

Clinton's dodge on mishandling classified info doesn't wash

Peter van Buren:
What everyone with a Top Secret security clearance knows – or should know

...
The key issue in play with Clinton is that it is a violation of national security to maintain classified information on an unclassified system.

Classified, secure, computer systems use a variety of electronic (often generically called TEMPESTed) measures coupled with physical security (special locks, shielded conduits for cabling, armed guards) that differentiate them from an unclassified system. Some of the protections are themselves classified, and unavailable in the private sector. Such standards of protection are highly unlikely to be fulfilled outside a specially designed government facility.

Yet even if retroactive classification was applied only after Clinton hit “send” (and State’s own Inspector General says it wasn’t), she is not off the hook.

What matters in the world of secrets is the information itself, which may or may not be marked “classified.” Employees at the highest levels o…

The 'moderate' Muslim religious bigots

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Red States:
Moderate Muslim Media Icon Revealed As Virulent Anti-Semite

...
When hijab-wearing Zakia Belkhiri saw members of a far-right anti-Islam group protesting outside an Islamic lifestyle event she was attending in Belgium she responded like a true Millennial.

The 22-year-old took out her phone and snapped a series of selfies with members of Vlaams Belang – a far-right nationalist group who some have described as “openly anti-Muslim“. The photo above of Ms Belkhiri posing against the backdrop of the demonstrators – some of whom were clearly impressed by her cheek – has since been widely shared on social media.
...
It comes to no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to these stories since September 11, 2001 that if you find a obviously doctrinaire yet friendly Muslim and a photographer next to a demonstration or smoking bomb crater, if you dig a little bit you are going to find a run-of-the-mill anti-Semitic Islamist. Ms. Belkhiri is not exception to the rule: That tel…

Iranian women cut their hair and dress like men to avoid edict to wear funny clothes

Independent on Sunday:
Women in Iran are cutting their hair short and dressing as men in a bid to bypass state 'morality' police who rigorously enforce penalties for not wearing a hijab.

A number of women have shared photos of themselves in public with their hair uncovered on Instagram and other social media.

The women have cut their hair short in some images and in others are dressed in clothes more typically associated with men.

The hijab is becoming an increasingly contentious issue in Iran as women step up their campaign against it and other oppressive, gendered laws. In recent months, women have been filmed walking through Tehran with their hair uncovered and activists have urged Western tourists to violate laws by refusing to wear the hijab during their visits to the Islamic republic.

But the response from authorities to this resistance has been severe.

A politician was disqualified from Iranian parliament after photos purporting to show her in public without a headscarf

The weirdness of Target management

Breitbart:
Target CEO Blames Climate Change, Not Bathroom Policy, for Hurting Sales And there is this:
This Man Saved A Girl From Being Stabbed To Death, And Now Target Is Suing Him For It

Michael Turner saved a 16-year-old girl from being stabbed to death, and Target wants him to apologize for it. I guess it should not be that surprising that they would also try to normalize deviancy with  their toilet tyranny policy.

Money intended for vicims of the 2008 housing debacle was diverted to liberal slush fund

Daily Caller:
Department of Justice officials diverted millions of dollars slated for victims of the 2008 housing meltdown to politically favored third parties, including “left-wing radical groups,” according to the chairman of a House of Representatives oversight subcommittee.

Rep. Sean Duffy, a Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, said Friday the officials “skimmed” off three percent from mortgage-related bank settlements. This created what he called a $500 million “slush fund” that could be steered toward favored groups.

“The first objective of a settlement is to make sure that we have victims who are made whole,” Duffy said, referring to millions of Americans who lost their homes during the meltdown that led to the Great Recession of 2009. “If you’re diverting money away from victims and sending it to third-party activist groups, you have victims who are being harmed not just once, but a second time.”
... This…

Obama paid liberal Jewish group to support his bad Iran deal

Israel National News:
J-Street was paid by Obama administration to promote Iran deal

Liberal Jewish group received $576,000 to advocate for Iran nuclear deal, belying its 'pro-Israel' pretensions. That they were willing to accept this deal speaks ill of them and Obama.
...
The liberal Jewish group, which bills itself as "pro-Israel and pro-peace" but which critics say takes solely anti-Israel stances, was paid the money by the White House's main surrogate organization for selling the deal.

The Ploughshares Fund was named in an explosive New York Times profile of Obama aid Ben Rhodes, in which the President's chief spin doctor listed the central groups responsible for creating an "echo chamber" in order to promote the deal, even when the White House's official line didn't jibe with the facts.
... This is the same fund that donated money to NPR and received positive coverage for the bad deal.

Cruz wins 40 of 41 delegates in Washington state

Seattle Times:
Donald Trump has all but sewn up the GOP presidential nomination. But as thousands of Washington Republicans converged on a rodeo arena for their state convention over the weekend, the gathering didn’t look like a political party yet united behind a Trump-led ticket.

Red Ted Cruz T-shirts outnumbered Trump ball caps on the convention floor at the TRAC Center, and supporters of the Texas senator won 40 of the 41 elected delegate slots for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer — even though Cruz has dropped out of the race.

While GOP leaders stressed unity to defeat Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Gov. Jay Inslee, some marquee statewide Republican candidates were declaring at the convention that they couldn’t vote for Trump — or were trying desperately to avoid the subject.

“The presidential race is its own deal,” GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant said after a Friday-night speech in which he didn’t mention Trump, but drew enthusiastic …

Taliban leader believed killed in drone strike

Washington Examiner:
The U.S. has attempted a "decapitation" attack against the Taliban's top leader, Mullah Mansur, who assumed leadership of the group in Afghanistan after the death of Mullah Omar.

A Pentagon statement says the strikes targeted Mansur, and that results are still being assessed.

But privately, Pentagon officials tell the Washington Examiner they believe the Taliban leader was "likely" killed in the strike conducted by several drones operated by U.S. special operations forces. Sources says Mansur was in a vehicle with a second man, who is also believed to have been killed in the attack, which occurred at 6:00 a.m. EDT.

The attack was conducted "in a remote area of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region," according to the Pentagon statement, southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal.
... There is more.

If he was in the vehicle in the accompanying photo with the story, he is dead.  The chances of anyone surviving that attack are remote.

Whethe…

New data on downed Egyptian plane suggest windows on right side were blown out by explosion

Sunday Telegraph:
Data from the final moments before EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean suggest an "internal explosion" tore through the right side of the aircraft, a pilot said last night.

Investigators trying to determine whether the A320 was brought down by terrorism or a technical fault are poring over a series of warnings indicating smoke filled the cabin shortly before it disappeared from radar.

French authorities confirmed that smoke detectors went off aboard the flight a few minutes before it crashed but said it was not clear what caused the smoke or fire.

A commercial pilot with a major European airline told The Telegraph that other parts of the data log suggested that windows in the right side of the cockpit were blown out by an explosion inside the aircraft.

"It looks like the right front and side window were blown out, most probably from inside out," said the pilot, who flies an A330 similar to the crashed A320 and spoke on conditio…

There is no quit in Cruz supporters

LA Times:
Cruz's campaign is over, but his delegates fight on The Cruz supporters will be a factor at the GOP convention and beyond.  They will fight for conservatism in the party platform and in revising the rules.  One rule they will probably push for will be to have closed primaries.  Cruz did much better in states that only allowed Republicans to vote in the party's primary.

Trump treating Clinton like Democrats treat Republicans

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NY Times:
Donald Trump Tells N.R.A. Hillary Clinton Wants to Let Violent Criminals Go Free Ty Wright for The New York TimesDonald J. Trump at the National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Ky., on Friday. Mr. Trump, accepting the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, said Mrs. Clinton’s desire for stricter gun controls would put law-abiding citizens at risk. Democrats have rarely had to face their own medicine like this.  He is much less inhibited than pas GOP candidates in challenging his opponent.  It also taps into the anger that many have toward the way Democrats have tried to run this country for the last seven and a half years.

Meanwhile, The Hill reports:
Trump: Clinton shouldn’t have armed protection if she opposes guns
"No more guns to protect Hillary!” Trump tweeted.

Hamas continues to put Gaza residence at risk to attack Israelis

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NY Times:
Hamas Tunnels Unnerve Both Sides of the Border
Hamas is busy tunneling its way back toward Israel, and Palestinians who live over the passageways fear they will bear the cost of the eventual Israeli response. Hamas is led by religious and ethnic bigots who are focused more on killing as many Israelis as possible regardless of the cost to its own captive population.  They can only be deterred for short periods of time while they rebuild for their next attacks.  Providing Hamas with aid is a fools errand that is the opposite  of compassionate.  The UN in Gaza has seen its facilities turned into weapons depots as have mosques.  It should be up to the Palestinians to stop this madness if they want a state of their own.