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Showing posts from July, 2016

US shale operators have fought OPEC to a stand still

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:
Opec's worst fears are coming true. Twenty months after Saudi Arabia took the fateful decision to flood world markets with oil, it has still failed to break the back of the US shale industry.

The Saudi-led Gulf states have certainly succeeded in killing off a string of global mega-projects in deep waters. Investment in upstream exploration from 2014 to 2020 will be $1.8 trillion less than previously assumed, according to consultants IHS. But this is a bitter victory at best.

North America's hydraulic frackers are cutting costs so fast that most can now produce at prices far below levels needed to fund the Saudi welfare state and its military machine, or to cover Opec budget deficits.

Scott Sheffield, the outgoing chief of Pioneer Natural Resources, threw down the gauntlet last week - with some poetic licence - claiming that his pre-tax production costs in the Permian Basin of West Texas have fallen to $2.25 a barrel.

"Definitely we can compete wit…

Trump repeats his incoherent statements about Ukraine

CNN:
Donald Trump said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin won't make a military move into Ukraine -- even though Putin already has done just that, seizing the country's Crimean Peninsula.

"He's not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want," Trump said in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week."

"Well, he's already there, isn't he?" Stephanopoulos responded, in a reference to Crimea, which Putin took from Ukraine in early 2014.

Trump said: "OK -- well, he's there in a certain way. But I'm not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you're talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he's going away. He takes Crimea."

Stephanopoulos int…

Russia think Clinton sees Russia as the enemy

Fox News:
To understand what the Kremlin thinks about the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming the U.S. president, it was enough to watch Russian state television coverage of her accepting the Democratic nomination.

Viewers were told that Clinton sees Russia as an enemy and cannot be trusted, while the Democratic Party convention was portrayed as further proof that American democracy is a sham.

In her acceptance speech, Clinton reaffirmed a commitment to NATO, saying she was "proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia."

In doing so, she was implicitly rebuking her rival, Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has questioned the need for the Western alliance and suggested that if he is elected president, the United States might not honor its NATO military commitments, in particular regarding former Soviet republics in the Baltics.

While Trump's position on NATO has delighted the Kremlin, Clinton's statement clearly stung.

&q…

The failure of liberalism, makes the case against an Obama third term

Zero Hedge:
Obama Only President in History to Never Have 3% Growth Hillary Clinton should have a tough time running on Obama's record.  She would against a more competent opponent.

Koch's focus on Senate races and tie Dems to Hillary

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Washington Post:
Koch political network plans to invoke Hillary Clinton in Senate ads

“We are going to tie the Democrat candidates to Hillary Clinton and the failed policies that she supports,” the chairman of the network’s funding arm said. This is a smart move that avoids having to defend Trump.  Hillary Clinton is still a divisive figure and voters will want to contain her liberal agenda if she wins.

DNC should sue Russian intelligence services for invasion of privacy

NY Times:
If Russia Hacked D.N.C., How Should Obama Retaliate?
The hacking at the Democratic National Committee and other campaign computer systems is forcing the White House to face a new question: how and whether to fight back. I think a suit by the DNC would probably enjoy more success than one by Obama.  They could also take better advantage of the discovery process and if the Russian agencies refuse to cooperate, they could face a default judgment.

Trump's response to family of Muslim casualty of Iraq war shows lack of political acumen

NY Times:
Muslim Family of Slain Soldier, Drawing Ire
Donald J. Trump said Ghazala Khan may not have been “allowed” to speak at the Democratic convention, implying that she was subservient because of her Muslim faith.

The negative remarks by the Republican presidential nominee about the mother of a dead soldier drew quick and widespread condemnation. I suspect her not speaking had more to do with culture rather than faith.  But it is really irrelevant and Trump really blew his response.

What he should have said is that the man's son is a hero and disserving of our respect and appreciation and that if all Muslims showed similar character and courage we would not be having a problem with Islamic terrorism.

Such an answer would have shown respect to the fallen and would have also addressed the serious problem of Islamic terrorism that the Democrats were trying to evade.  For example, they had no speeches from the families of the victims of Islamic terrorism in this country such as th…

Cruz gains in popularity with independents after refusing to endorse Trump

Daily Wire:
Cruz Post-Convention: Popularity Among Americans Holds Steady The gain among independents more than offset any loss in popularity among Republicans.  I tend to think he is going to come out stronger as a result of his refusal to endorse Trump.  Many see him as having more integrity than those who decided to back Trump despite all his faults.  The sentiment among the anti-Trump faction of the party is so strong that Cruz probably would have lost even more support had he endorsed Trump.

I still think Trump handled the matter poorly and his attacks after the speech by Cruz showed him at his petulant worst.  A smart politician would have said, "I think when people examine their conscience they will vote for me."  Trump is not that smart.

Muslims starting to recognize that Islam is the problem?

Breitbart:
In a radical turn of events, Muslim writers from across the Arab world are admitting that Islam itself is a problem, and the only way to curb the terror carried out in its name is to conduct a fundamental overhaul of Islamic texts and their interpretations.
Intellectuals from Saudi Arabia and Jordan to Egypt and Morocco are slamming Muslim leaders and clerics for ignoring the problems of Muslim society and dismissing terror attacks with faulty platitudes such as the oft-repeated, “Not in Islam’s name.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors Arab-language media, published translations of explosive articles arguing that the ideologies behind terror groups such as the Islamic State stem from Islamic jurisprudence that is no longer relevant today.

Writing in the London daily Al-Hayat after the July 14 truck-ramming attack in Nice, France that claimed the lives of 84 people, a Palestinian writer and academic living in Britain, Khaled Al-Hroub, called on…

Trump has trouble remembering his own policy proposals

Leon Wolf:
So yesterday Trump was tossed a softball question about whether the Federal government owns too much land, particularly in the West. This is an issue about which there is pretty broad bipartisan agreement and is moreover an issue that was in the news and was of especial interest to many of Trump's supporters. So this reporter who is asking Trump the question even sets the question up with information that clearly indicates how Trump is supposed to answer, and still, Trump kind of cluelessly flounders around....
...
Here's what's really problematic about this story. Some months ago, Trump caused some problems for himself and his campaign by suggesting that he could pay off the national debt in 8 years. This caused people to ask, with understandable incredulity, "How?"

So the Trump campaign responded by sending out an official economic advisor to explain that one of the ways (actually, the only way) Trump planned to pay off the debt was to sell off all l…

Recycling does not pay

AP/Fuel Fix:
The past couple of years of relatively cheap crude oil and natural gas have upended the industry with the greenest image: recycling.

Yes, it’s still an advantage for many businesses and municipalities to recycle rather than have the junk hauled to a landfill.

But only a few years ago, there was plenty of cash in reselling that trash — paper, plastics and metal — to provide a nice profit for the recycling companies and give back money to the cities and companies producing the waste.

No longer. And if that doesn’t turn around, it may mean some people will pay relatively more for trash pickup than if the market for recycling were better.

The problem is not only about the cheap oil and gas made possible by fracking in America’s shale fields, and particularly in Texas. It’s also linked to a slump in the world demand for raw materials.

A used plastic water bottle that once might have been turned into a few threads of polyester in a pair of Chinese-made jeans, woven into a carpe…

US shale gas roils world LNG markets

Bloomberg/Fuel Fix:
Shale drillers from Pennsylvania to Texas flooded the U.S. with so much natural gas over the past decade that prices slid to a 17-year low. Now they’re going global, with the potential to upset markets from London to Tokyo.

The U.S. began shale gas exports by sea this year and is projected by the International Energy Agency to become the world’s third-largest liquefied natural gas supplier in five years. Gas will challenge coal at European power plants and become affordable in emerging markets, where prices have been high and supplies limited, according to the IEA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

LNG became the world’s second most traded commodity after oil last year and demand will keep growing, Goldman said. U.S. gas is adding to the global glut triggered by new Australian supply and weakening Asian consumption. Shale is having an outsized impact on how LNG is sold, prompting spot trading in lieu of long-term contracts.

RELATED: Texas LNG projects await 2nd wave of expo…

The made up disease of Islamophobia

Powerline excerpts an interview with Daniel Pipes.  Here is a brief portion of that excerpt:
...
I do not recognize the term “Islamophobe” and do not know what it means except, in the immortal phrase of Andrew Cummins as a word “created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons.”

Your question reverses the sequence of events. Islamist ideology breads Islamist violence, which starts the process and in turn inspires anti-Islamic sentiments.Anti-Islamic views might also inspire more Islamist violence, but that is incidental. The real dynamic here is Islamism creating anti-Islam parties. As Norbert Hofer has shown in Austria, they are approaching 50 percent of the vote and with it, political power. …
... I think he puts this phony disease in context.  Whenever I hear  someone use the term, I know they are charlatans who are trying to shut down the debate over the unacceptable conduct of Islamists.

Trump's incoherent ties with Russia

Guardian:
A key figure at the Republican national convention where Donald Trump was nominated for president has strong business ties with Ukraine, the Guardian has learned.

The party platform, written at the convention in Cleveland last week, removed references to arming Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russia rebels, who have received material support from the Kremlin. Trump’s links to Russia are under scrutiny after a hack of Democratic national committee emails, allegedly by Russian agents.

The coordinator of the Washington diplomatic corps for the Republicans in Cleveland was Frank Mermoud, a former state department official involved in business ventures in Ukraine via Cub Energy, a Black Sea-focused oil and gas company of which he is a director. He is also on the board of the US Ukraine Business Council.

Mermoud has longstanding ties to Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who in 2010 helped pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych refashion his image and win a presidential election in …

After trashing the state for supporting Cruz, Trump has a steep hill to climb in Colorado

Washington Post:
Trump lavishes attention on Colorado, which backed Cruz

Republicans make up only a third of the state's electorate, so the GOP nominee not only has to win over conservatives, he has to widen his base. Trump has a lot of ground to make up in Colorado where polls have shown him trailing.  It is going to take more than an anti-Hillary pitch to turn things around.  He is going to have to earn their votes and he has shown little aptitude for such exercises.

The Russians and the US election

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NY Times:
Computer Systems Used by Clinton Campaign Are Said to Be Hacked, Apparently by Russians Mark Makela for The New York TimesSouvenirs at a Clinton rally in Philadelphia on Friday. A federal law enforcement official said the intrusion appeared to have come from that country’s intelligence services. The Russian intelligence service's focus on Hillary Clinton is pretty obvious.  Lexx obvious was their efforts in the GOP primary where they used bogus Twitter accounts to attack Trump opponents in the most vile ways possible.   They turned Twitter into a sewer of insults and epithets.  Trump supporters amplified these attacks by retweeting them regularly.

Are they trying to turn Trump into a Manchurian candidate?  It is clear that Putin is still angry with Clinton for her perceived interference in his own election.  Trump's stated willingness to accept Russian aggression in Crimea and elsewhere is probably also seen as a plus in Moscow.

The Clinton campaign is not without fau…

Muslim speaker overstates his argument

NY Times:
In Tribute to Son, a Lesson in Citizenship
In a speech that included displaying a copy of the Constitution, a father gave voice to Muslim Americans and rebuked Mr. Trump for wanting to “ban us from this country.” I am not a Trump supporter.  I appreciate the service of this man's son and his sacrifice.  But I have not heard Trump say he wants to ban all Muslims from the country.   What he has said is that he wants to have a temporary ban of Muslims from some countries in order to get a handle on those who are coming here as terrorists.

There is no threat of mass deportation of Muslims in the country legally.  There is no threat of rounding them up and putting them in concentration camps like Democrats did with Japanese in world War II.

When you overstate your case like this you actually only appeal to those already on your side and you don't persuade others to join you.  If Muslims want to reduce ethe fear of terrorism in their community, they need to be more vocal i…

Why oil companies are switching their production to the Permian Basin

Fuel Fix:
...
Exxon, whose profits fell to $1.7 billion in the second quarter — the lowest in more than a decade — said its development cost in West Texas’ Permian basin has plummeted from $25 a barrel two years ago to $8 a barrel last quarter. Jeff Woodbury, Exxon’s vice president of investor relations, noted that production in the Permian is growing swiftly.

Chevron posted a second-quarter loss of $1.5 billion on Friday, compared with profit of $571 million a year earlier.

But the company said it, too, has been able to cut development costs in the Permian from almost $20 a barrel last year to about $10 in the second quarter of 2016. Well development includes drilling, completion, facilities and administration costs, Chevron said.
... This is another reason why the OPEC market share strategy has failed them.  It also explains why producers are more focused on inland plays than offshore production.

Someone who appreciates the police

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CNN:
Little girl has tea party with officer who saved her life It is a nice story worth reading in full. The child was choking on a coin when her mother called 911.

Trump tells Republicans they have to eat his crap sandwich

The Hill:
Donald Trump said Thursday that Republicans wary of his campaign have little choice but to vote for him anyway.

"If you really like Donald Trump, that's great, but if you don't, you have to vote for me anyway. You know why? Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court judges," Trump said at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice," Trump continued, calling the late Justice Antonin Scalia a "great guy" and acknowledging tied decisions at the Supreme Court after his death.

Trump said the next president "will probably have three, could be four, could even be five" appointments to make to the Supreme Court, alluding to the ages of senior justices.

Trump dismissed critics who speculate he may appoint liberal judges and said if Hillary Clinton appoints judges: "You're going to end up with another Venezuela. You're going to be Venezuela."
... No one in the US has to vote for any…

France has a problem with its vetting process for Muslim job seekers

NY Post:
ISIS teen who killed priest passed background check for airport job
...
“Petitjean had no trouble getting through a police investigation and psychological evaluation,” a source told the paper.

“He was considered to be a hard-working, friendly young man who did not pose any danger to passengers or others using the airport. He got through the police investigation easily,” the source said.

The ISIS wannabe, who left the airport in April, was spotted by Turkish intelligence officials on June 10 as he tried to reach Syria to join the terror group.

He returned to France June 11 for reasons that remain unclear and was put on a terror watch list on June 29, authorities said.
... The story highlights the problem in determining when the "sudden jihad" syndrome will strike.  It raises suspicions about the viability of the current vetting used by European and American law enforcement.

Trump won't attack critical Democrats?

Leon Wolf:
Sigh. This was so predictable that it's almost tiresome. The guy who attacked every Republican under the sun, no matter how small or inconsequential, who said even the least critical thing of him, has decided he's not going to attack the Democrats who attacked him at the convention. Because, I am not kidding you, he wants to display good message discipline.......

Get the hell out of here with this nonsense, Donald Trump. Here's the thing, right now, this is good advice. You know what? It would also have been good advice with respect to a billion Republicans who you felt absolutely no compunction about crapping all over in the name of good message discipline.

It would also have been good advice the day after Ted Cruz gave a speech at the Republican convention that didn't even criticize Donald Trump at all - would have been fantastic advice for Trump not to come out the next day and resurrect insane conspiracy theories about Ted Cruz's father and promise …

Trump panders to fracking phobic left

Washington Examiner:
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Friday that if voters in individual towns or cities want to ban fracking within their borders, he "can understand that."

Trump is strongly in favor of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a means to draw oil and natural gas from the earth. But in an interview with 9News in Colorado, Trump said he could get behind local bans on fracking.

Two cities in Colorado had voter-passed initiatives to ban or pause fracking, which involves shooting a mixture of water and other chemicals into layers of rock to release the fossil fuels trapped within. However, the Colorado Supreme Court shot down those bans because they conflicted with state law.

"Fracking is something that we need, fracking is something that's here whether we like it or not," Trump said. "But if a municipality or a state wants to ban fracking, I can understand that."
... The people who oppose fracking ar wrong and there is nothing…

Clinton campaign computers hacked by likely foreign power

Reuters:
The computer network used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The latest attack, which was disclosed to Reuters on Friday, follows reports of two other hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The U.S. Department of Justice national security division is investigating whether cyber hacking attacks on Democratic political organizations threatened U.S. security, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The involvement of the Justice Department’s national security division is a sign that the Obama administration has concluded that the hacking was state sponsored, individuals with knowledge of the investigation said.

The Clinton campaign, based in Brooklyn, had no immediate comment and referred Reuters to a comment from earlier…

Appeals Court ruling will help Democrats cheat at election time

Washington Post:
Appeals court strikes down North Carolina’s voter-ID law

The decision by a three-judge panel was an overwhelming victory for civil rights groups and the Justice Department that argued the voting law was designed to dampen the growing political clout of black voters, who participated in record numbers in elections in 2008 and 2012. This was a ruling sought by the same people that required photo ID's to enter their convention and vote on their nominee.

I think it was brought in bad faith, to begin with.  It denigrates the competence, intelligence and abilities of minorities to suggest that they are incapable of acquiring a free ID to be used to vote and for the other purposes that are required for daily living in this country.

The supreme court should reverse this case and make it clear to the appeal courts they are not to mess with these voter integrity laws.

Iraqi refugee accused of plotting with ISIL to explode bombs at Houston malls

Newsweek:
An Iraqi refugee living in Texas has been accused by the Department of Homeland Security of trying to help the Islamic State militant group (ISIS or ISIL) by planting bombs at two Houston malls and learning how to make electronic transmitters capable of detonating the improvised explosives.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan is facing three charges after authorities arrested and indicted him last week, including attempting to provide support to a designated terrorist organization. The 24-year-old emigrated from Iraq to Houston in 2009 and later became a legal permanent resident.

According to testimony from Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Herman Wittliff, Al Hardan planned to leave explosives in trash cans in Houston’s Galleria and Sharpstown malls and detonate them remotely.

Al Hardan purchased electronic components that are used to remotely detonate explosives, according to Wittliff, and practiced by blowing up model cars in his apartment. During a search of his apartm…

Trump and Clinton put the special interests ahead of the people on free trade

NY Times:
Both Parties Used to Back Free Trade. Now They Bash It.
Democrats and Republicans agreed on almost nothing at their conventions this month, except that trade agreements, notably the Trans-Pacific Partnership, are now politically perilous. They are appealing to the failed economies of the blue states who lost their competitive edge.  They are playing to the union bosses who have ruined US competitiveness.

As I have noted before, NAFTA has been a net positive for the State of Texas and has had a hand in created around a million jobs.   Texas did it by being proactive and seeking business with Mexico and Canada.  It did it by keeping taxes low and regulation reasonable.

What Trump and Clinton are doing is they are trying to bail out the mismanaged states run by Democrats.  In the process, they are not going to create much in the way of new manufacturing jobs and they are going to drive up the cost of living for everyone.  This will fall hardest on the poor, who will find they a…

Swedish policewoman in bikini capture phone thief

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BBC:
A bikini-clad Swedish police officer has been praised for tackling a suspected thief while she was off-duty sunbathing with friends in Stockholm.

Mikaela Kellner told the Aftonbladet daily that she and a fellow officer pursued the man when they realised he had taken one of their mobile phones.

She told the paper that she would have intervened "even if she were naked".

A photo of the incident on Ms Kellner's Instagram page has attracted more than 9,000 likes in less than two days.

The incident is said to have taken place in Stockholm's Ralambshov Park on Wednesday, where the off-duty policewoman was sunbathing with friends.

The group was approached by a man who claimed to be selling publications on behalf of the homeless.

Ms Kellner reportedly became suspicious when the man began lingering, setting some papers down over their blanket.

As soon as he left, collecting his papers, one of her friends noticed that her phone was missing.

"There was no time, so I ran after …

Al Qaeda group in Syria changes its name to admit it is 'a Sham'?

Institute for the Study of War:
The leader of al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al Nusra, announced the end of his group's operations and the creation of a new entity named Jabhat Fatah al Sham today. He claims that this new organization has "no affiliation to any external entity." The maneuver removes a key obstacle Jabhat al Nusra faced in Syria, namely the al Qaeda brand name, but it does not denote a change in the group's Salafi-jihadi ideology. Rather, the break will facilitate the unification of armed Syrian opposition groups around a core that still pursues al Qaeda's long-term objective of establishing an Islamic emirate in Syria.

The cancellation of Jabhat al Nusra's operations and rebranding of Jabhat al Nusra fighters does not remove the group from the global Salafi-jihadi movement, which believes in the use of violence to establish shari'a-based governance. Jabhat al Nusra will continue to fight to advance Syrian Salafi-jihadi interests …

Which of the candidates has mishandled classified information?

Washington Post:
Candidates poised for classified briefings despite spy agency worries over Trump

The intelligence director said spy agency secrets will be shared with both nominees. One senior official has vowed not to participate. I know the Post is as down on Trump as I am, but they should be as down on Hillary Clinton too, especially when it comes to handling classified material.  She is the one who would be likely be prosecuted if she were not running for President.  It is absurd to overlook her history and focus only on Trump.

Father of fallen Muslim US soldier makes powerful statement to Trump

NY Times:
Father to Trump: ‘You’ve Sacrificed Nothing’
Capt. Humayun Khan of the Army was killed in Iraq. More than a decade later, his father offered a rebuke of Mr. Trump’s immigration proposals and his ideas on religious tolerance. This is probably the most effective case made against Trump at the DNC.  It works on several levels especially since the Trump sons who spoke at the convention were probably pretty close in age to Capt. Khan.

It does not negate the dangers posed by importing immigrants from a war zone, but it is a counter argument to treating all of them as a threat.

Incompetent Clinton runs on competence?

NY Times:
Clinton Asks Not for Trust, but for Faith in Her Competence
Besieged by lingering doubts about her honesty, Mrs. Clinton made the case for a more pragmatic faith in her motivations, experience, temperament and priorities. Competence is something she has not shown a lot of in her career.  From getting fired for her work on the Watergate staff, to a botched Hillarycare health plan to a disastrous policy in places like Iraq Libya and Syria, none of them imply competence.  It sounds like she is mimicking Dukakis.  That pitch did not work for  him either.

Crying wolf against decent Republicans will effect media credibility attacking Trump

Jonah Goldberg:
How the Media’s History of Smearing Republicans Now Helps Trump

...
Many in the media were so willing to put clicks and ratings before country because the conventional wisdom was that Trump would fade or implode eventually. Why not gawk at the spectacle? And if Trump did get the nomination, many journalists calculated, all the better. What fun it will be to watch Hillary Clinton destroy Trump and Trump destroy the GOP.

Only slowly have the media come around to the realization that Trump is an actual threat, but now it may be too late because they have a serious “cry wolf” problem. Millions of Americans firmly believe that journalists are water carriers for the Democrats and will tune out much of what they have to say about Trump now that he’s the nominee.
... It is a problem they earned by saving their ammo in hopes of seeing better candidates defeated in the primaries.  Ted Cruz even warned them about this.

Now as they try to lash out they find that their attacks hav…

ISIL using commercial drones against coalition forces

The Hill:
A U.S.-led military coalition is increasingly destroying drones controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The terrorist group has begun using commercial drones on the battlefield to spy on Iraqi forces and is fashioning some of them into bombs. The coalition has destroyed two ISIS drones within the last week.

The coalition destroyed one drone on Wednesday in airstrikes near Hit and destroyed one just five days earlier near Mosul.

U.S. troops are planning to deploy to the Qayyarah air base, only about 60 miles south of Mosul, ISIS's stronghold in Iraq.

U.S. Central Command said in an email Thursday that the drone near Mosul was a surveillance drone, likely obtained commercially.

Statistics on armed drones, however, are classified, and it is not publicly known how many armed ISIS drones have been destroyed to date.

On April 30, the coalition destroyed an ISIS drone "site" near Hit. And on April 1, the coalition destroyed an ISIS drone near Qayyarah…

Did Democrats conspire to thwart the 1st Amendment?

Brandon Morse:
DNC Colluding With Anti-Religious Freedom Group According To WikiLeaks Democrats have a recent history of hostility toward Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech.  They have attempted to restrict both to push their agenda of "transforming" America.

Trump's email trap catches Clinton campaign in a contradiction

Fox News:
The Hillary Clinton campaign didn't take long to respond to Donald Trump's comments about how Russia should try to find Clinton's missing 33,000 emails.

“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent," senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan said. "That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

Charles Krauthammer said on "Special Report" tonight that Trump set a trap, and the Clinton campaign fell right into it.

He explained that the Clinton campaign statement said it would be a "national security issue," which contradicts Clinton's repeated assertions that the missing 33,000 emails were all of a personal nature, not work-related.

"If that's what's really in the 33,000 emails, then there's no nationa…

US to streamline drilling applications on federal land

AP/Fuel Fix:
U.S. officials announced plans Thursday to speed up permitting for oil and gas drilling on federal and Indian lands to reduce delays, as applications were projected to be down 40 percent versus their historical average amid an ongoing price slump.

Low energy prices already have curtailed domestic energy exploration, driving down revenue. That’s put a crimp in budgets for the major energy producing states, including Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Alaska, North Dakota and Montana, which receive a substantial share of revenue from oil and gas activity on U.S. lands.

In an attempt to streamline drilling approvals and reduce costs for companies, U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze said all drilling applications would have to be filed online under the new proposal.

RELATED: Obama administration halts new coal leases on federal land

The move follows years of criticism from the energy sector over the Obama administration’s handling of drilling applications. Companies …

F-35 passes its gun fire test

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You can find more on the test here.  It will be more interesting to see the test firing while actually in flight and hitting a target on the ground.  I assume this is supposed to give the aircraft some of the versatility of the A-10.  This particular aircraft was one used by the Marines and would be involved in close air support eventually.

As forces close in on ISIL expect a dispersal of terrorist around the world

Washington Times:
FBI Director James B. Comey on Wednesday told a cybersecurity conference in New York that Americans can expect to see a “terrorist diaspora” metastasize out of the Middle East.

Mr. Comey told an audience at Fordham University that battlefield gains against the Islamic State group in Syria will have the practical effect of scattering terror cells across the globe.

“At some point, there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before,” Mr. Comey said, The New York Times reported Wednesday. “Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield.”


The FBI director went on to say that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is a problem that is exponentially more threatening than the emergence of al Qaeda.

“This is 10 times that or more,” Mr. Comey said, the newspaper reported. “This is an order of magnitude greater than anything we’ve seen before.”
... This  is more fallout from the fail  policies of Obama and Clinton in dealing…

Islamist bring their war against Christianity to the West

Washington Post:
Terrorist attack on French church ignites fears of religious culture wars

Of the major terrorist attacks that have rocked this country over the past year and a half, none has been perceived so strongly as an Islamic affront to the age-old idea of a Catholic France. One of the reasons the West has been so inept in fighting the Islamic terrorists is that since the Bush administration left office it has steadfastly refused to deal with the reality of the enemy objectives.  Even when forced to admit that ISIL was engaged in a genocide against Christians in the Middle East, the liberals in the West have ignored other aspect of the war against Christianity in Africa and elsewhere.

When ISIL made a spectacle of chopping off the heads of around 20 Christians in Libya, the Obama administration tried its best to ignore the religious aspect of the atrocity.

I suspect it is because they do not want to admit that Christians are under attack and do not want to respond with something…

Some in the media starting to understand the Trump MO

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Dan Balz:
Trump again proves he’s the chaos candidate


The big story at the Democratic convention for most of Wednesday was not the Democrats, but the GOP nominee’s talk about Russia. He stole the show and returned the focus to Hillary Clinton's email scandal despite media attempts to try to tie him to working with Russian intelligence.  The story suggesting he was trying to get the Russians to hack Hillary were absurd.  First, they probably already have while she was Secretary of State.  Second, the server she used is no longer hackable, because it is in the possession of the FBI in some evidence lockup.

What Trump was doing was trolling the Clinton campaign and the liberals in the media.  I think it was a great success on that level.

With Bernie out of the way, Clinton's big donors resurface

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NY Times:
After Lying Low, Deep-Pocketed Clinton Donors Return to the Fore
As protesters bashed big money and Wall Street, the Democratic Party’s moneyed elite gathered in Philadelphia, undeterred and mostly unabashed.


Don't be surprised if Trump takes up the fight against Clinton donors. He pretty much did the same thing against opponents in the primary.  It si part of his populist theme.

Germany goes on the offensive against radical mosques

Daily Mail:
Armed police officers have launched a raid on a mosque and several homes belonging to a group believed to be radicalising Muslims in Germany.

Apartments belonging to eight board members of the radical German-speaking Islamic group DIK were searched by officers in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony.

It comes as part of a crackdown on the group, which is thought to have been encouraging people to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.

The group ran sermons, seminars and lectures entitled 'the hatred of infidels', according to German media.
...
'The DIK in Hildesheim is a nationwide hot spot of radical Muslims that we have been watching for a long time,' said Lower Saxony Interior Minister Boris Pistorius.
... The Germans believe the group may be the source of some of the radicalization that has resulted in a string of terror attacks in that country.  The mosques have been a traditional place for weapon storage by jihadis for centuries.  That is why it is a mistake …

The al Qaeda mole Hillary Clinton brought into the White House during the 90's

Patrick Poole:
Right now, prisoner #47042-083, Abdurahman Alamoudi, sits in his cell in a federal prison in Ashland, Kentucky.

It's a long way down from being one of Hillary Clinton's favorite colleagues. Alamoudi organized White House events during the Bill Clinton administration. Under Hillary's supervision, he held official positions: Alamoudi was strategically placed at the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department.

That is, until he was arrested and convicted in a bizarre Libyan intelligence/al-Qaeda assassination plot to kill the Saudi crown prince.

Later, he was identified by the Treasury Department as an Al-Qaeda fundraiser who had operated inside the United States.

Hillary Clinton and Abdurahman Alamoudi were no mere acquaintances. According to an affidavit filed in court by Georgetown professor John Esposito, Alamoudi was asked by Hillary Clinton to arrange the first White House Ramadan iftar dinner in 1996....
...

Under the Clinton administration, Alamoudi …

Venezuela-Cuban solidarity crumbles with falling oil prices

Fox News:
Venezuela cuts oil shipments to Cuba forcing Castro to consider veering to U.S. The bad news is that the Cuban deadbeats will probably look to the US for loans it will never repay.  Here we have two socialist/communist governments that are living proof of the failure of the command economic model.  It is the model you would choose if you really hated the people in the country you ran.

Gitmo alum who disappeared from Uruguay surfaces in Venezuela's socialist 'paradise'

AP:
A resettled former Guantanamo prisoner who disappeared last month in Uruguay, setting off alarm bells in neighboring countries and recriminations in Washington, has reappeared in Venezuela, the government said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa told The Associated Press that Syrian native Abu Wa'el Dhiab showed up at Uruguay's consulate in Caracas. Consulate officials refused to provide information or entry to AP journalists gathered outside.

Late Thursday, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Dhiab told the consulate he wanted to move to Turkey or another country where he could reunite with his family.

"He expressed clearly that in no case was he interested in returning to Uruguay, but required the assistance of our country for his proposal," the statement said.

Dhiab, who has repeatedly expressed his unhappiness at his life in Uruguay, previously accused the government of breaking its commitment to bring his family.

He is one of six former …

Cities begin interfering with interstate commerce in fossil fuels

AP/Fuel Fix:
As crude oil trains began rolling through its downtown a few years ago, Spokane was among the first cities to pass a resolution calling for stronger federal safety regulations.

But when a mile-long train derailed in the scenic Columbia River Gorge along the Oregon-Washington border last month — after earlier passing through this major railroad hub in eastern Washington — some city leaders said they couldn’t wait for tougher federal protections.

This week the Spokane City Council decided 6-0 to ask voters in November whether the city should prohibit the shipment of crude oil or coal by rail. The ballot measure, if approved, would make rail shipments of crude oil or coal a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $261 per tank car.

Spokane is certain to face a steep uphill legal fight, since the federal government regulates railroad operations and safety. Even council members expect the matter to end up in court, though some say it’s worth putting to voters.

Main rai…

Arab and Kurdish US allies gather a trove of digital data on ISIL

Reuters:
U.S.-backed forces fighting to drive Islamic State out of northern Syria have gathered a massive trove of documents and data belonging to the militant group, potentially shedding more light on its operations, a U.S. military official said on Wednesday.

The material, gathered as fighters moved from village to village surrounding the town of Manbij, includes notebooks, laptops, USB drives, and even advanced math and science textbooks rewritten with pro-Islamic State word problems, Colonel Chris Garver, the U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said in a news briefing.

The U.S.-backed fighters - an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces - have gathered more than 4 terabytes of digital information, and the material, most of it in Arabic, is now being analyzed by the U.S-led coalition fighting the militant group.

"It is a lot of material, it is going to take a lot to go through, then start connecting the dots and trying to figure where we can start dismantling ISIS," Garver said…

Muslim body phobia

Telegraph:
Nudist bathers in Germany 'threatened by men who swam onto beach and shouted Allahu Akhbar' The Muslim culture can't seem to handle body acceptance.  The men, in particular, have poor impulse control when it comes to nudity or even partial nudity.  They need to work on that or go back to Muslim countries where women are forced to wear head to toe coverings.

The war on the police is real

Washington Times:
Shooting deaths of police up 78 percent this year; ‘troubling’ to memorial fund The Ferguson effect is killing more people in black neighborhoods and also killing more cops.

Most gun related crime is committed by people who obtain weapons through illegal means

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Washington Post:
New evidence confirms what gun rights advocates have said for a long time about crime There is much more.

The study raises serious questions about the attempt to deny gun ownership to law abiding citizens. Disarming the innocent will not solve gun crimes.

Erdogan is such a weakling that he can't tolerate criticism from the media

Washington Post:
Turkey to shut down dozens of media outlets

The government is moving against newspapers and television stations, the state-run news agency reports, as the purge intensifies in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt. Erdogan is a despot who can't handle criticism.  He was a terrible leader before the coup and has become a worse on since it.

Trump trolls media and Clinton campaign again

NY Times:
Trump Calls for Russia’s Help to Expose Emails Clinton Deleted
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Donald J. Trump said, referring to messages deemed personal by Hillary Clinton and deleted from her private email server.

It was an extraordinary encouragement of a foreign power’s cyberespionage, with Russia already accused of meddling in the election. The assumption in the intelligence community is that the Russians and others already have what was on her server.  If that is the case, isn't Trump just asking them to share what they found about the missing emails?

As a practical matter, it would be very difficult to get what is on the server now since it is in the possession of the FBI and not hooked to the internet.

This looks to me like he is just playing the media and the Clinton campaign and they all seem to be falling for it.

This story may need a rewrite.  If the Russians do have the material, it would be bette…

Headline of the day

Guy Benson:
Analysis: Folksy, Impeached President Endorses Scandal-Plagued, Disliked Wife This will be hard to top.  The tabloids should be jealous.

Refusal to defend Christians has led to more Islamic terrorism against them

Ralph Peters:
When two fanatics pledged to ISIS slit the throat of 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel at mass on Tuesday morning, we steadied the knife. Our tolerance for Islam’s intolerance is the greatest weapon these blood-cult terrorists have.

How, exactly, did we help kill that priest?

We ignored the Islamist slaughter of Christians elsewhere. When Coptic Christians were murdered in Egypt, we dismissed it as an internal matter. When Christians were butchered in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, we merely shrugged.

Ordered to ignore the plight of Iraqi Christians to “avoid perceptions of bias,” our troops watched as Christians were slaughtered or driven out. The 2,000-year-old Christian civilization of Mesopotamia has been reduced to bones.

With Syria ravaged, President Obama refused to acknowledge the torture, rape, kidnapping, enslavement and mass murder of Christians at the hands of Islamist fanatics (and not just ISIS). When alarmed voices raised the prospect of giving priority t…

Dems see Green Party as spoilers

Washington Post:
As Green Party’s Stein woos Sanders backers, some see flashbacks to 2000

Looking back at Ralph Nader’s third-party run and Al Gore’s close loss to George W. Bush, Democrats worry that Jill Stein could cost Hillary Clinton the election this time around. The Libertarians are likely to draw more GOP voters than the Green Party does from Democrats, but the media is more worried about Hillary.  Some polls in Utah show the Libertarian nominee, Johnson, within three points of the lead.  That is rare.  He is already polling much higher than normal for a third party candidate.

But it is a mistake to blame this on the third party candidates.  The blame goes to the Republicans and Democrats who have nominated two of the worst candidates in history.

Democrats make a pitch to anti Trump Republicans

NY Times:
Looking to Build Base, Democrats Court Those Aggrieved by Donald Trump
From Hillary Clinton and her campaign, a scorching indictment of her Republican opponent as someone who has spared almost no group from insult or injury. Among the anti-Trump Republicans, there are probably a handful of people who might support Hillary Clinton.   There may even be more disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters who will vote for Trump.

But for a majority of GOP anti-Trump voters, a big part of the anger at Trump is not just his being a jerk, but the fact that he is wasting a golden opportunity to defeat the Democrats.  These people are not going to vote for Hillary either.

I suspect there will be a drop in votes for the Presidency this go round and that the Libertarian candidate may get some benefit from the animosity toward Trump and Clinton.

The Bernie Sanders voters may also go to the Green Party candidate.  Although Ted Cruz has rejected a write-in campaign, I am seeing a good number of pe…

Media bias that is hard to ignore

Red States:
STARK CONTRAST: Last Week, Moms Were “Exploited”. This Week, Moms Were “Brave”. What Changed? Both parties are seeking the empathy vote for families of victims.  The media obviously has more empathy for Democrat victims than victims of illegal aliens and administration incompetence.

Trump and Hillary Clinton equally unpopular

Five Thirty Eight:
If you were standing in the convention hall here or watching the Democratic National Convention on television Monday night, it quickly became clear from the tumult on the floor that the Republican Party doesn’t have a copyright on disunity. And there’s not much doubt about the reason for that.

Although most people who identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton, that view isn’t nearly universal. A look at the recent polling shows that Clinton and Donald Trump are now about equally popular, both with their respective bases and with the American public at large.

Even after becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee, Clinton has seen little improvement in her standing among Democrats and Democratic leaners. According to Gallup, Clinton’s favorable rating among those groups was 68 percent on the day of the California primary (June 7). Today, it stands at 70 percent. In other words, nearly a third of Democrats don’…