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Showing posts from November, 2017

Trump may announce moving US embassy to Jerusalem

Wall Street Journal:
The Trump administration is considering a plan to formally recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy there in the future, U.S. officials said, steps that could trigger Palestinian protests and imperil the restart of a long-stalled peace process.

The Trump administration has begun notifying U.S. embassies overseas about the plan so envoys can inform their host governments and prepare for possible protests. Officials said the plans weren’t final, however, and the U.S. was working through additional legal and policy considerations. A formal announcement could come as early as next week, the officials said.

“The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if,” a White House spokesman said when asked about moving the embassy. “The president is still considering options and we have nothing to announce.”

The disclosures about the potential move come as President Donald Trump faces an early December deadline under U.S.…

Would Brits have preferred Trump to make his point with ISIS videos?

NY Times:
Outcry Over Videos in Britain and Calls to Cancel Invitation
Pressure was growing to withdraw President Trump’s invitation for a state visit after he shared videos on Twitter from a British far-right group, then rebuked Prime Minister Theresa May. This outcry comes from the same sentiments that allowed Muslim Pakistanis to "groom" young English girls into prostitution because they did not want to upset Muslims?  There is something wrong with this sick kind of political correctness.  If Saudi Arabia can condemn Islamic terrorism and radicalism, why can't the UK?   Why pretend that the Muslim migration into Europe has not made the continent less safe. 

Why can't Muslims in Britain condemn those who are making everyone less safe?

Liberals siding with guy who threatens to kill them

Seth Lipsky:
Liberals are increasing the odds of a new Korean War They seem to be embracing the same guy who is threatening to blow up liberal cities in the US.  They are taking their Trump hatred to an extreme that is threatening their own safety and millions of others.

Democrats using secret money to push lawsuit against Trump administration

Paul Sperry:
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, arguably the most outspoken Democratic critic of secret money in politics, last month sent a plea to donors to help counter “buckets of right-wing dark money” spent by “the Koch brothers and their shady network of outside groups” to unseat leftist giants like her.

But now, in a fit of hypocrisy, a top protégé of Warren is using secret money to protect her and President Barack Obama’s anti-business brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from duly coming under the control of the Trump administration and its regulatory reforms.

Before stepping down as CFPB’s overzealous first director over Thanksgiving, Obama appointee Richard Cordray hand-picked a successor, Leandra English, to preempt an appointment by President Trump.

Undeterred, Trump installed his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to temporarily run the powerful agency, which has the authority to determine the “fairness” of virtually every financial transaction in America.

B…

Democrat opposition to drilling in ANWR was a gift to OPEC and Russia

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NY Times:
Also Inside the Tax Bill: Arctic Drilling
A measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration is in the tax bill before Congress. Drilling advocates have cause for optimism. Democrats had to know that restricting drilling in ANWR would not reduce consumption of oil and gas, it would just have to come from somewhere else.  They had this illusion that by restricting the supply of oil they could make alternative energy sources look more competitive, but it did not work and it did expose those alternatives as inefficient. 

The actual result of their opposition was to hurt the Alaskan economy and help OPEC and Russia.  By opening up ANWR the GOP hopes it will increase revenue to the US treasury too.

California 'jobs program' can't cover the cost of California taxes

Washington Examiner:
California Governor Jerry Brown has been lauded by the left as one of the most successful and influential leaders in the country. Supported by a Democratic supermajority in both houses of the California Legislature, the governor can basically do as he pleases, but he can’t seem to bring back the jobs that he’s chased away.

Four years ago, Brown launched “California Competes,” his program to boost California jobs by awarding tax credits to job-creating businesses. Today, two-thirds of those credits have been left unclaimed.

To make matters worse, no one can vouch for the jobs that the program has produced because, conveniently enough, the state offices responsible for awarding and tracking the credits aren’t keeping count.

Brown’s administration is crossing its fingers that businesses are simply waiting until the last minute to claim their credit, but that’s probably wishful thinking. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office even said it “anticipated somewhat larg…

Ted Cruz vs. Bernie Sanders on taxes

Canada Free Press:
You might recall that, back in October, I wrote about how Ted Cruz debated Bernie Sanders, and got him to admit he couldn’t explain the difference between a Democrat and a socialist. Perhaps because it can’t accept the results of the 2016 election, CNN has decided to continue these debates - extending the 2015 primary season ...Forever. To that end, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz have been battling over a range of issues in a series of showdowns that allow Wolf Blitzer to pretend Trump isn’t President yet.

I don’t know what kind of ratings they’re getting (I can’t imagine they’re reeling in the viewers) but I will say this: They’re occasionally pretty entertaining.


That’s because Ted Cruz genuinely seems to love stomping all over Bernie’s incomprehensible, unworkable, and poorly thought out plans to give everyone everything “for free.” In last night’s matchup, Cruz dropped the hammer on the Democrat’s single-payer dream.

“Democrats have one talking point on taxes: ‘It…

The making of a conservative

Ed Feulner:
If you consider yourself a conservative, have you ever thought about why? How would you answer someone who asked you to explain the reason?

Maybe you’ve never thought about it before. It might be because your parents were conservative, and you absorbed your political outlook from them. Or perhaps you read and thought your way into the movement, the way Ronald Reagan did years before he became president.

Or perhaps there was a moment that shook you and made you look at the world differently.

That’s what happened to Lee Edwards. The author of more than two dozen books, Lee is a good friend of mine, hailed by many as the unofficial historian of the conservative movement.

At a recent event marking the release of his latest book, “Just Right,” I asked him why he’s a conservative. Was it because of his father, himself a famous writer?

“No,” Lee promptly replied. “I’m a conservative because of communism.”

It may be hard for many young people today, years after the Cold War has fa…

DOJ rejects Buzzfeed's claim that dirty dossier is a government document

Washington Times:
The Justice Department has rejected BuzzFeed’s argument in a pending libel lawsuit that its posting of the discredited Trump-Russia dossier and an accompanying story is protected speech.

In a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., three Justice Department attorneys rebutted the news website’s stance it enjoys “fair reporting privilege” because the dossier was part of an FBI investigation.

The Justice Department’s declaration says that BuzzFeed’s Jan. 10 posting never cited any such probe and the dossier itself is not a government document.

BuzzFeed faces a separate, dossier-linked libel suit in Florida. The D.C. case involves BuzzFeed’s request for a judge to compel testimony from the FBI and possibly the national intelligence directorate on how they handled the dossier and what was told to President Trump.

The website’s aim is to prove that its dossier posting was part of accepted journalism practices when reporting on government investigations.
...

The Justi…

ISIS brutality video makes the ones Trump is criticized for re-tweeting look tame

Daily Mail:

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT. The disgusting video, released by ISIS terrorists operating along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, shows children murdering an alleged US spy in brutal fashion. Why all the moral outrage at the Trump re-tweets when the real thing is worse.

US creating hostile terrain for Taliban

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Daily Mail:

The US is using bombs to transform the very terrain of Afghanistan in an effort to deny enemies control of the battlefield. Many methods have been used but B-52s remain the favorite.  I recall the B-52 Arc Light strikes in Vietnam.  They usually happened in the evening and lit up the ground.  The NVA troops who were not killed in teh strikes felt teh concussion throwing them into the air.  These strikes are reshaping the terrain to make it harder for the Taliban to move to contact from their lairs.

Trump's deregulation is responsible for growth in stock market value

Gary Schilling:
Reducing government regulation is tough. It’s resisted by all those who benefit, including government employees who administer the many programs. Every president since Jimmy Carter has attempted to lower the cost of regulation. At best, any cuts have been tiny and mostly centered on trimming paperwork. But less regulation is one campaign promise made by Donald Trump that is coming true. With tax and health-care reform problematic and given the president's protectionist leanings, deregulation is probably a major driver of the stock market rally.

The size and scope of the federal government give the president immense powers. In relation to gross domestic product, federal spending rose from 16 percent in 1946 to 22 percent in the 2017 fiscal year. Executive orders give the chief executive, in effect, legislative powers. President Barack Obama issued many in his waning days, especially affecting power plants and oil pipelines. The Competitive Enterprise Institute last …

Texas is # 1 drilling prospect for oil companies

Oil and Gas Journal:
Texas tops a list of 97 jurisdictions ranked by oil and gas executives for investment allure in an annual survey by the conservative Fraser Institute of Canada.

Venezuela ranked last in the survey, which had 333 respondents.

The survey ranks jurisdictions—states, provinces, geographical regions such as offshore areas, and countries—according to the extent of their oil and gas investment barriers.

It evaluates jurisdictions by assigning scores on each of 16 questions about factors known to affect investment decisions. The scores yield a “policy perception index,” which the institute applies to jurisdictions grouped by proved oil and gas reserves.

Of the 15 jurisdictions with the largest petroleum reserves, the five ranking highest in investment attractiveness, in descending order, are Texas, the United Arab Emirates, Alberta, Kuwait, and Egypt.

The five least attractive jurisdictions in the large-reserves category, starting at bottom, are Venezuela, Libya, Iraq, Indones…

'Fact checkers' continue to lose credibility with their own partisan nonsense

Mollie Hemingway:

Calling Pence A Liar While Protecting Warren Is Why People Hate Media

Journalists need to learn what facts are before claiming to fact check. What is absurd is that what Pence said was inarguably true, while their tendentious defense of Warren's unproven assertion of Native American ancestry is excused.

Read the whole thing.  It is a good example of why I do not have a high regard for the "fact check" genre.

Education faculty group defends calling student 'neo-fascist'?

Lincoln Journal-Star:
The American Association of University Professors said Tuesday the University of Nebraska-Lincoln violated academic due process used by institutions across the country in ending the employment of lecturer Courtney Lawton on Nov. 17.

Hans-Joerg Tied, the national organization's associate secretary, wrote in a letter to UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green that conflicting accounts regarding the end of Lawton's employment indicate the university violated the graduate student's academic freedom.

Lawton has said she was removed from her teaching duties as a safety precaution after she was filmed referring to an undergraduate student recruiting for Turning Point USA as a "neo-fascist" and making an inappropriate gesture toward her at the Nebraska Union plaza in August.

After a November meeting between university administrators and three lawmakers at the Capitol, Lawton was informed her contract with the university would not be renewed at the end of the sc…

'Deterrence' of North Korea could cost millions of lives

Kevin James:
Choosing to deter North Korea is to engage in a gamble: you avoid the costs of a preventive war today when North Korea is relatively weak, but you run the risk of an accidental nuclear war later when North Korea is vastly more powerful. Using plausible estimates of the probability of accidental nuclear war derived from the U.S.-Soviet experience during the Cold War, I find that gambling on deterrence will lead to 7.5 million U.S.-South Korean-Japanese deaths on average (under optimistic assumptions) while a preventive war now will lead to 1.4 million deaths (under pessimistic assumptions). So, not only is deterrence a gamble, it is a reckless and foolish one. Preventive war is the wise and prudent response to North Korea's nuclear threat.
... I tend to agree that the time for a preventive attack is before they can ramp up their missile and nuclear weapons production from its current stage.  They have made enough threats to justify a preventive war.

Making the case for Democrats keeping their reprobates?

Washington Post:
Al Franken should resign? That’s absurd. I think they should keep Franken and Conyer around to represent the face of a party of hypocrites.  They should also keep Elizabeth Warren around as the face of phony identity politics.  There are apparently other House members around who may also have similar issues as Franken and Conyer.  Identify them and add them to the face of the party.

The Post should also create a list of those who women should avoid being in an elevator with.

Who knew-- Muslims commit acts of violence?

NY Times:
Trump Shares Inflammatory Anti-Muslim Videos
President Trump shared video posts on Twitter from an ultranationalist British party leader. They supposedly portray Muslims committing acts of violence. Even Muslim leaders know Muslims are committing acts of violence.  Saudi Arabia is at war with Islamic terrorism as are other Muslim countries.  ISIS is known for its videos extolling violence. 

That someone who opposes Islamic terrorism is spreading the word about the terrorists should not even be considered news.  At least Trump is not sticking his head in the sand about the problem the way Obama and many on the left would like to do.

What is inflammatory about a truthful presentation of the facts?  I see this same hostility to the facts in the criticism of people like Pam Geller who uses fact-based criticism of Islamic terrorism.  I understand that there is a pretension that the terrorists who claim they are killing people for Islam are not "true" Muslims.  That is li…

Texas increases its wind power capacity

Fuel Fix:
While ERCOT still gets most of its power from natural gas and coal, wind power generation now accounts for 15 percent of the power mix — up from just 2 percent a decade ago.
The imminent shutdown of three coal-fired power plants owned by Dallas-based Vistra Energy and the loss of their 4,000 megawatts of capacity will further tip the scales in wind's favor, said Joshua Rhodes, a research fellow at the University of Texas' Energy Institute in Austin. In October, Vistra announced the pending shutdowns of its Monticello, Big Brown and Sandow coal plants, triggering the loss of more than 800 jobs and the closure of two coal mines. The shutdown of the Vistra plants are the first retirements of coal-fired power plants since Texas deregulated power markets in 2002.

"We are used to seeing wind numbers add, add, add," Rhodes said. "We are not used to seeing coal plants' numbers decreasing."

Rhodes is already watching for the next milestone — when Texas&#…

Iran fearful of competing with Israel

Times:
An Iranian wrestler is being lionised by his country for deliberately losing a match at a junior world championships so that he would not have to fight an Israeli opponent in the next round.

Alireza Karimi was ahead in his quarter-final bout in the under-23 world championships against a Russian, Alikhan Zhabrailov. Then news came in that in another quarter-final of the 86kg category Uri Kalashnikov, an Israeli, had won. In a video of the event posted online, a voice can clearly be heard off camera saying “Alireza, you have to lose!”.

“In a moment, my whole world seemed to come to an end,” Karimi said in an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency. “I was told that the Israeli wrestler defeated his American rival, and that I must lose to avoid facing an Israeli opponent. I have trained hard for months to win a gold medal, and it was easy for me to win.”

Iran not only refuses to recognise Israel but will not allow any interaction with Israelis. Last month a teenage Iranian…

Consumer Bureau has been collecting NSA like data on consumer transactions

Washington Examiner:
The ongoing fight for control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may have significant effects on the bureau's mass acquisition of private financial records, according to privacy advocates.

The CFPB pools vast quantities of data for research purposes, including millions of Americans’ credit card records, which it says are anonymized, commercially available and tracked to help consumers, not to spy on them.

Critics doubt the adequacy of safeguards, however, and liken the credit data-collection to the National Security Agency’s monitoring of internet and phone records under laws that allow tracking of spies and terrorists.

Mick Mulvaney, who assumed command of the CFPB on Monday morning, has been broadly critical of the independent agency as a “rogue" organization.
...
Calabria testified to Congress in 2015 that the CFPB’s collection, “particularly in the area of credit cards, poses significant threats to our Fourth Amendment protections.”

“These ex…

How the Obama-Clinton Libyan debacle led to the African migration crisis in Europe

Christian Science Monitor:
How the fall of Qaddafi gave rise to Europe's migrant crisis

Under Qaddafi, Libya worked closely with Europe to harshly stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean. But the country's chaos has upended that. Neither the US or the Europeans understood the ramifications that would result from toppling the Libyan government which also led to huge growth in terrorism using the weapons that were not secured by those who helped overthrow Qaddafi.

Pocahontas descendant not offended by Trump's comments about Warren

Daily Caller:
It turns out that an actual descendant of Pocahontas does not take any offense to President Donald Trump jokingly referring to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”

In a September interview with Sky News, Debbie “White Dove” Porreco said that Trump once asked her if it offended her that he used the name “Pocahontas” to refer to the Democratic senator.

“I know that he uses ‘Pocahontas’ sometimes with Elizabeth Warren,” Porreco explained. “He said, ‘well does that offend you when I use that?’ And I told him no, it doesn’t offend me.”
...
One of the code talkers also responded to the media hubbub about the statement:
...
Reporter and writer Joshua Green met Thomas Begay, one of the code talkers honored Monday, on his way out of Washington, D.C. Green asked him about the event. Begay said he was “puzzled” about the comment but not offended.

Then Begay dropped a very non safe-space one liner:

“The Marines made us yell ‘Geronimo’ when we jumped out of planes and that didn’t offend…

Consumer Bureau discriminates against Republicans in hiring?

Washington Examiner:
The Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under fire by the Trump administration has been a Democratic Party donor bank, its bureaucrats writing checks to liberals at a rate of 593 to one Republican.

Research of donor records on the OpenSecrets website maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics revealed that Hillary Rodham Clinton was the dominant recipient of tens of thousands of dollars from CFPB workers, followed by President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who had a huge role in creating the agency.

A quick count of donations found:
$46,611 to Hillary Rodham Clinton.$13,190 to Sen Elizabeth Warren.$19,988 to President Obama.$10,075 to Democratic campaign committees.$1,129 to Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Of the 594 donor entries who listed the agency as their employer, one went to Mitt Romney, the losing 2012 Republican presidential nominee. It was for $1,000.

Several other Democratic lawmakers also received donations from CFPB staff.

Overall, CFPB employees …

Trump and the empty chairs of Democrats in meeting to avoid shutdown

The Hill:
Trump, next to empty chairs, tears into Dems for skipping meeting This must be the empty chairs of the "resistance"

Troops with exoskeleton enhancement for super effort

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Daily Mail:

The exoskeleton, called Fortis, has been developed by experts at Lockheed Martin, and is being tested with soldiers at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. I would not mind having one of these for everyday work.  I think they will make troops more efficient if they work as designed.

Recent Trump appointee to hear case over who is in charge at Consumer Protection Bureau

streiff:
The Judge Assigned To Hear The CFPB Counter-Coup Case Has The Left Going Bonkers The law also seems to favor the position of the Trump administration.  I suspect the Democrats were hoping to delay a Trump appointee as long as they could so they could keep on imposing control freak policies.

Update:  Court sides with Trump in dispute over CFPB leadership

That did not take long.

Another poll shows Moore leading in Alabama Senate race

Hot Air:
Reversal: Roy Moore Gains Eight Points In New Poll, Now Leads Democrat By Five Some are saying this is a result of scandal fatigue, but I think the biggest selling point is a new focus on teh policies of the Democrat candidate in the race and Democrats in general.  Many voters really don't like those policies.

Robo drilling increasing shale well efficiency

Reuters:
Shale oil engineer Oscar Portillo spends his days drilling as many as five wells at once - without ever setting foot on a rig.

Part of a team working to cut the cost of drilling a new shale well by a third, Portillo works from a Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) office in suburban Houston, his eyes darting among 13 monitors flashing data on speed, temperature and other metrics as he helps control rigs more than 500 miles (805 km) away in the Permian Basin, the largest U.S. oilfield.

For the last decade, smaller oil companies have led the way in shale technology, slashing costs by as much as half with breakthroughs such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking that turned the United States into the world's fastest-growing energy exporter.

Now, oil majors that were slow to seize on shale are seeking further efficiencies by adapting technologies for highly automated offshore operations to shale and pursuing advances in digitalization that have reshaped industries from auto…

The failure of the Paris agreement to meet its objectives, US is not the problem

Washington Examiner:
World leaders gather in Bonn to celebrate missing climate targets

...
Meanwhile, the rogue United States, despite the Trump administration’s plan to leave the Paris agreement, is expected to lower its carbon dioxide emissions twice as much as the European Union this year. (The United States’ reduction is projected to reach 0.04 percent, while the European Union will likely only reduce its CO2 emissions by 0.02 percent.)
... The virtue signaling is strong at these meetings, but the carry through is weak.

Odds are liberals think Russia wants the US to be a dominant energy competitor, put missile defense if Europe etc.

NY Times
Michelle Goldberg:
Odds Are, Russia Owns Trump There is ample evidence the president is not working for America first. To believe Goldberg you have to believe that Russia wants the US to expand its energy production and compete with it to supply Europe.  You have to believe that despite what Putin says he wants to see the US place missile defense bases in Europe and force NATO members to improve their defense budgets.   You have to believe that Russia wants to see the US build up its military assets.

I believe that Russia liked the Obama-Clinton policies better and wishes Obama had been more successful in stopping fracking.  Fracking, which liberals oppose, has cut the price of oil in half and significantly weakened Russia ability to do its own military build up.  Their policies of weakness gave Russia an opening to reinsert itself in the Middle East.

I believe that when it comes to Russia, the liberals have lost their ability to reason.  What should be clear is that by attacki…

Trump contrasts authentic native American heroes with Elivabeth Warren and media gasps

NY Times:
At Navajo Veterans’ Event, Trump Calls Warren ‘Pocahontas’
Standing in the Oval Office alongside three World War II code talkers, Mr. Trump made the unscripted comment about Senator Elizabeth Warren after other officials praised the veterans’ history and contributions. The Navajo code talkers were Marine heroes of World War II and richly deserve the honor bestowed on them by President Trump.  His remarks about Warren was to contrast these authentic native Americans with one he viewed as a phony who made questionable claims to get her gig at Harvard.

Naturally, the media jumped to the defense of the liberal with the questionable bona fides and threw in a helping of political correctness in addition.  When they engage in political correctness, Trump is winning.  It is interesting that they still do not get it.

Democrat used 'severance package' to resolve complaint of hostile workplace environment

Washington Times:
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva quietly arranged a “severance package” in 2015 for one of his top staffers who threatened a lawsuit claiming the Arizona Democrat was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment, revealing yet another way that lawmakers can use taxpayer dollars to hide their misbehavior on Capitol Hill.

While the Office of Compliance has been the focus of outrage on Capitol Hill for hush-money payouts in sexual harassment cases, the Grijalva payout points to another office that lawmakers can use to sweep accusations under the rug with taxpayer-funded settlements negotiated by the House Employment Counsel, which acts as the attorney for all House offices.

The employment counsel negotiated a deal for taxpayers to give $48,395 — five additional months’ salary — to the female aide, who left her job after three months. She didn’t pursue the hostile workplace complaint further.

The arrangement appears to run contrary to House rules that constrain sever…

Texas Congressman Al Green admits to affair with drug using staffer

Daily Caller:
Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green had sex with a staffer who he said was a drug addict and then sued her when she threatened to go public with claims she suffered a hostile work environment, saying he “will not be extorted or blackmailed.”

Lucinda Daniels, his onetime district director, claimed she suffered a hostile work environment, claimed sexual harassment and demanded $1.8 million. Green sued her, saying she was using their sexual relationship to shake him down at the behest of other unnamed conspirators.

“Daniels has threatened to go public with her complaints if the Congressman does not per her money. Green has done nothing wrong and refuses to pay ‘hush money’ just for political expediency. Green will not be extorted or blackmailed by Daniels. He will not be the victim of a shakedown by Daniels and her agents. Green demands vindication of his actions and now sues Daniels for declaratory judgment relief relating to her workplace allegations and her quest for money,” …

OPEC still struggling as its once biggest customer is now its biggest competitor

Fuel Fix:
The clash between OPEC and America's oil industry is reaching a day of reckoning.

The U.S. shale revolution is on course to be the greatest oil and gas boom in history, turning a nation once at the mercy of foreign imports into a global player. That seismic shift shattered the dominance of Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel, forcing them into an alliance with long-time rival Russia to keep a grip on world markets.

So far, it's worked -- global oil stockpiles are draining and prices are near two-year highs. But as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia prepare to meet in Vienna this week to extend production cuts, ministers have little idea how U.S. shale production will respond in 2018.

"The production cuts are effective -- it was absolutely the right decision, and the fact of striking a deal with Russia was crucial," said Paolo Scaroni, vice-chairman of NM Rothschild & Sons and former chief executive officer of Italian oil giant Eni Sp…

Texas prosperity not tied to price of oil anymore

Vance Ginn:
Some folks never miss an opportunity to discount Texas’ prosperity by ascribing the Lone Star State’s good fortune to its oil and gas deposits. A recent example from The New York Times, “Why Texas No Longer Feels Miraculous,” argues that the oil and gas sector boom led to the “Texas Miracle” even as conservative fiscal policies hurt Texans.

But Texas’ prosperity isn’t a short-term miracle. It’s a sustained growth period supported by an institutional framework known as the “Texas model” — a model that continues to serve the state as it depends less and less on oil and gas.

If the naysayers were correct, the steep decline in oil prices from the summer of 2014 to early 2016 should have led to an economic catastrophe in the state. It didn’t. Though certainly not immune to fluctuations in the oil and gas sector, Texas is much more resilient than it was in the 1980s. Thirty-plus years ago, oil and gas represented roughly one out of every four dollars of production in the state and…

DOJ indicts three alleged hackers from Chinese cyber security firm

Bill Gertz:
The Justice Department charged three Chinese hackers on Monday with conducting cyber attacks against U.S. and international financial and technology firms and stealing confidential business information.

The three hackers, Chinese nationals Wu Yingzhuo, Dong Hao, and Xia Lei, all worked for a Chinese cyber security firm called Boyusec that the Pentagon has linked to the Ministry of State Security, the civilian intelligence service.

The three men were charged with coordinated cyber attacks against computer networks at Moody's Analytics, Siemans AG, and Trimble Inc.

The companies are involved in economic analysis, manufacturing and electronics, and GPS technology, respectively.

The hackers "launched coordinated and targeted cyber intrusions against businesses operating in the United States… in order to steal confidential business information," said Soo C. Song, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

"These conspirators masked their c…

Homeless turning Portland into unlivable city

Fox News:
Columbia Sportswear may be the next business to flee downtown Portland after a series of frightening encounters with the city's homeless population, including car break-ins, human waste dumped by the office's front door and threats to its employees.

In an op-ed piece published earlier this month by The Oregonian, Columbia Sportswear President and CEO Tim Boyle said he is concerned he made a mistake when he opened a headquarters for the company’s Sorel footwear brand downtown, calling the situation "outrageous and unacceptable."

"In fact, I am so concerned about the safety of our employees at the Sorel headquarters that we are taking the next 90 days to re-evaluate our location decision," Boyle wrote.

Since moving the 50 employees downtown, workers immediately reported being harassed and threatened by homeless individuals near the new offices.

"A few days ago, one of our employees had to run into traffic when a stranger outside our office foll…

Consumer agency's lawyer says Trump has right to appoint an acting director

Politico:
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's top lawyer sided with the Justice Department over President Donald Trump's appointment of Mick Mulvaney to lead the CFPB as a leadership battle over the controversial watchdog agency escalated.

In a memorandum obtained by POLITICO, CFPB general counsel Mary McLeod said Trump had the legal authority to name an acting director to the bureau under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

"It is my legal opinion that the president possesses the authority to designate an acting director for the bureau," McLeod wrote in the Nov. 25 memo to the CFPB leadership team. "I advise all bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the acting director of the CFPB."

Yet even as McLeod's memo was circulating, Leandra English, former CFPB Director Richard Cordray's choice to serve as acting director of the watchdog agency, sued the Trump administration in U.S District Court in Washing…

When you can't recall who all you groped?

Washington Post:
Al Franken on whether he will face more groping allegations: 'I don't know. I can't say.' It is a statement that suggests it was a pattern and practice.  I get the impression it was all a big joke for him.

The Obama-Clinton Libyan disaster gets worse

Glenn Reynolds:
Africans are being sold at Libyan slave markets. Thanks, Hillary Clinton. Will these two ever be held to account for the mess they made in North Africa?

I doubt that Iranians support their despotic government

NY Times:
Long Divided, Iran Unites Against Trump and Saudis
Once sneering and cynical about the government, middle-class, reform-minded Iranians are backing their hard-line leaders amid a surge of patriotism. This story makes no sense.  Why would Iranians back their oppressors?   The government is in the hands of genocidal Islamic religious bigots whose desire for hegemony in the region is putting all Iranians at risk.  Even the recent moves by the Saudis are no threat to Iran itself, but only to its proxies which Iran's regime uses to try to control strategic areas in the region.  Since there is no real freedom of expression in the country, I am inclined to believe that this story is buying regime propaganda.

Sanctuary cities policies undercut democracy

NY Times:
ICE’s Courthouse Arrests Undercut Democracy By CÉSAR CUAUHTÉMOC GARCÍA HERNÁNDEZ This immigration enforcement tactic scares people away from courthouses and harms us all. The enforcement tactic is necessary because sanctuary cities policies obstruct justice and attempt to undermine federal immigration laws.  If local law enforcement was allowed to cooperate with ICE the courthouse arrests would not be necessary.  Since locals are not cooperating, it is a reasonable means of dealing with the immigration laws scofflaws.

It is absurd to argue that the US cannot enforce its own laws.  It is absurd to argue that people in the country illegally have a right to stay here and should not be taken into custody.  Allowing people to look at the laws as a menu where they can pick and choose which ones they will obey will lead to chaos.

Trump's cuts to Obamacare make more cheap plans available

Washington Examiner:
President Trump's decision to cut off Obamacare payments to insurers has driven up the number of zero-cost plans being sold to customers for 2018.

The move to stop the cost-sharing reduction subsidies has led to higher tax credits for low-income customers, which in turn has led to an increase in the number of cheap Obamacare plans available for no premium but high deductibles.

The eligibility for a zero-cost plan varies depending on where an enrollee lives and how much he or she makes. For instance, 2,436 counties in the U.S. offer free bronze plans — the cheapest of Obamacare’s four metal tiers — to a 40-year-old making $20,000 a year, according to an analysis from the health research organization Kaiser Family Foundation.

A separate analysis from Kaiser found that 4.5 million uninsured people are eligible for plans with zero-dollar premiums.

“There were certainly cases previously where zero premium bronze plans were available to people receiving tax credits,…

Earthquake caused by nuke test kills North Koreans

Daily Mail:
Dozens were killed when North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's most powerful nuclear missile test yet caused buildings to collapse.

Houses and a school near his nuclear base at Punggye-ri were brought down when his tests caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake injuring up to 150 pupils in North Hamgyong Province.

His explosion triggered aftershocks within eight minutes, hitting structures in a nearby village.

News of the deaths emerged today after there were three more shocks following the underground test back in September, according to the Sunday Express.

The fatalities were revealed by a defector group called South and North Development.
...
The Kim regime is accused of not warning locals of the nuclear test as children were in classrooms as usual during the quake, which also hit nearby farms.

Soldiers suffering from radiation sickness are also flooding the country's hospitals after the test, according to reports.

The government instructed farmers affected to harves…

Latest Alabama poll in senate race shows distrust of Democrats

Washington Examiner:
Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is ahead of Democratic challenger Doug Jones, despite several recent allegations of sexual misconduct, a new poll says.

Among Alabama voters, 46.7 percent are backing Moore, while 39.6 percent are supporting Jones. Almost 14 percent of voters are undecided, according to a pollconducted by Sky Research.

But Moore's lead might reflect the politics of people polled. Of the 1,059 respondents, 62.3 percent identified as Republican and 37.7 identified as Democrat.

Four women accused the Moore of pursuing sexual and romantic relations with them when they were between the ages of 14 and 18, and he was in his 30s, the Washington Post first reported earlier this month. Others have come forward with additional allegations since then. Moore has repeatedly denied the accusations.
... Other polls give Jones a slight edge.  That the race is still winnable for Moore is an indication of how unpopular Democrats are in teh state and how much the…

Trump's base is as defiant as he is in the face of media criticism

NBC News:
The American tradition is not deference to authority; it's defiance of authority, even when the cause is hopeless. Sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset once wrote that the United States was, in fact, peopled by “runaways from authority” — settlers seeking freedom from abusive governments and members of dissenting religions seeking freedom from established churches.

Defiance is Donald J. Trump's signature attitude; it was the defining characteristic of the 2016 Trump campaign. Trump defied the political establishment, the news media, conventional wisdom, common decency, former President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and even the pope.

Trump's supporters admire his defiance, which they see as fearlessness. They share his contempt for the establishment, the news media, educated elites and the norms of political correctness, all of which helps explain why Trump's base is sticking with him now that he has ant…

Large numbers of ISIS fighters surrendering, say they were mislead

Daily Wire:
Soldiers who promised to be martyrs for the Caliphate are surrendering "en masse," according to Kurdish forces. ISIS fighters, they say, have been turning themselves in by the hundreds after realizing they won't be fed or paid for their contribution to the cause.

"More than a thousand" Islamic State fighters have already passed through processing, TheNew York Times reports, and Kurdish authorities expect hundreds more, if their intelligence – gathered through interviews with those who have deserted their ISIS cohorts – proves correct.

Iraqi forces are moving quickly to oust ISIS from strongholds in Hawija, where ISIS once brutally massacred Kurdish prisoners; they say ISIS fighters are laying down weapons. Hawija itself fell in only three days; Kurdish forces told reporters in Iraq that ISIS soldiers gave up and ran after planting a handful of half-hearted booby traps.

When the Kurds caught up with them, the fighters clearly hadn't seen a bathroom …

Assad offers 25 mile buffer zone with Israel

Jerusalem Post:
REPORT: ISRAEL VOWS TO DESTROY IRANIAN POSITIONS WITHIN 40 KM OF SYRIAN BORDER Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida revealed on Sunday that an Israeli source disclosed a promise from Jerusalem to destroy all Iranian facilities within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Israel's Golan Heights.

The source, who remains unnamed, said that during Syrian President Bashar Assad's surprise visit to Russia last week, Assad gave Russian Premier Vladimir Putin a message for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Damascus will agree to a demilitarized zone of up to 40 kilometers from the border in the Golan Heights as part of a comprehensive agreement between the two countries, but only if Israel does not work to remove Assad's regime from power.
... It looks like Israel is taking the deal for now but using other words to make clear to Iran that its forces will be at risk if they threaten Israel.  I suspect Iran was probably aware of the offer and they realize how tenuous's Assad'…

Freedom of the press does not mean it should be free from criticism

Washington Post:
Comey tweeted about freedom of the press — minutes after Trump attacked CNN

Former FBI director James B. Comey quoted Thomas Jefferson: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” Comey's post would only make sense if Trump ordered federal marshalls to shut down CNN and other critics.  All he has really done is respond to criticism with criticism of his own of the media that is attacking him personally.   There is nothing in the constitution that suggests that someone attacked by the media should just stoically accept the criticism and not respond.

What the tweet does suggest is that Comey is not an impartial person when it comes to the President.

Media is still not handling Hillary's loss very well

Kyle Smith:
...
Not only is everything (still) hyper-politicized, but the lines between news media, lifestyle media and flat-out activism have faded into irrelevance. On Wednesday, the lead story in Teen Vogue, next to stories about how “I Will Never Use Regular Soap Again After THIS $6 Foam Body Wash” and “Everyone Basically Wore Lingerie to the VS Fashion Show After Party,” was this screaming headline: “The United States Voted ‘No’ on an Anti-Nazi UN Resolution.” It ran over a terrifying picture of crowds carrying banners, some featuring swastikas, with smoke in the background suggesting a terror attack. Only when you click through do you discover that there is no news here whatsoever: The US votes against this meaningless, nonbinding UN gambit every year because the US has this thing called the First Amendment. President Obama’s appointees also opposed the resolution.

Meanwhile, “Black-ish” star Tracee Ellis Ross addressed a Women of the Year Summit earlier this month hosted by Gla…