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Showing posts from March, 2017

UK condemns UN anti-Israel bias

Guardian:
UN criticism of Israel's bombing of Hezbollah is absurd, says Johnson

Foreign secretary speaks after UK mission puts UN ‘on notice’ over what it sees as human rights council’s bias against Israel

Boris Johnson, the UK foreign secretary, has condemned the UN human rights council criticism of Israeli bombing of Hezbollah positions in the Golan Heights as “absolutely preposterous” and “a profound absurdity”.
... He is right about that subject.  It is a shame that it has taken so long for member states to criticize the nonsense coming out of the UN on the subject of Israel.

US looking at increased role against Iran proxies in Yemen

CNN:
The Trump Administration is expected to decide as soon as this week on a plan to increase US military involvement in Yemen's civil war.

The proposal calls for stepping up military assistance to support Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in their fight against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who have toppled the central government there. The move would have significant implications for the US military posture on Iran, while Yemen is a key location for a top al Qaeda affiliate.

The proposal is part of the overall military plan to counter ISIS being reviewed by the White House, a US defense official said. But in contrast to other parts of the strategy, increased US support to the Saudis and UAE in Yemen could be interpreted by Iran as the beginning of a Trump administration effort to build an anti-Iranian military coalition, the official acknowledged.

The defense official noted that if Iran perceives US assistance to Tehran's foes in Yemen as an anti-Iranian move, it co…

Marines look at unmanned wooden glider for delivering supplies

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Breaking Defense:
...
My personal favorite is the big wooden box with wings. In essence, it’s an unmanned update of the wood-and-canvas gliders used by airborne troops in World War II. Formally known as RAIN, for Revolutionary Airlift Innovation, it’s basically a cargo crate that delivers itself (once). You can fill the box with almost a ton of cargo (1,600 lbs), load it on a transport aircraft — CH-53 helicopter, MV-22 tiltrotor, or KC-135 turboprop — and kick it out the back in flight. Then the wings pop out, turning the box into a glider, and a computer brain guides it to its destination, up to 75 miles away. Even if you’re resupplying a unit in a city, no worries. The glider can pop a parachute to land between the buildings.

LG-1000 Logistics Glider, aka RAIN (Revolutionary Airlift Innovation)
It’s crude, it’s ugly — and it’s brilliant. The entire prototype cost $600, manufacturer Logistics Gliders Inc. says, “less than 1/3 of the cost of nylon used in today’s cargo parafoils,” wh…

Son of homeowner kills three home invaders with AR-15

NY Post:
Three would-be robbers were shot and killed Monday when an Oklahoma homeowner’s son opened fire on them with an AR-15, authorities said.

Wagoner County sheriff’s deputies were called to the home in Broken Arrow, southeast of Tulsa, around 12:30 p.m. local time. When they arrived, they found the three dead suspects and two uninjured residents.

Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Nick Mahoney said the suspects entered the home through a glass back door with the intent to burglarize it. It was not immediately clear why they picked that home.

Mahoney said the suspects encountered the homeowner’s 19-year-old son, who opened fire after an exchange of words. Two of the suspects died in the home’s kitchen while a third was found in the driveway.
... Officials also arrested a young woman who was accused of being the getaway driver for the home invaders.  For those who argue that no one needs an AR-15, this family would probably disagree with them.

Liberal arrogance was the driver of Democrat defeat in 2016

NY Times:
A 2016 Review: Turnout Wasn’t the Driver of Clinton’s Defeat
Persuasion was a far bigger factor. To the extent Democratic turnout was weak, it was mainly among blacks, but that weakness has been exaggerated. Democrats act under the assumption that if you were smart you would be a liberal and that there is no serious alternative to liberal ideas.  They lost the debate on substance with their belief that all was well after eight years of Obama executive overreach.

Democrats concerned that Nunes will not be a lapdog for their Russian conspiracy theories

NY Times:
Democrats Ask Leader of House Russia Inquiry to Step Down
Top Democrats rebuked Representative Devin Nunes for his secret meeting on the White House grounds to review intelligence related to surveillance involving President Trump’s team.Congressional leaders want Mr. Nunes to recuse himself from an inquiry into Russian meddling during the 2016 election, saying he is too close to the White House. What they really fear is that he is going to expose their embedded attempts to sabotage the Trump administration with leaks.  There is no evidence that the Russians "hacked" the election. None. and they will not find any because the idea is preposterous.  But the leaks of transcripts of Trump campaign officials are real crimes and those responsible should be found and prosecuted.

The Democrats are squealing now because Nunes is getting too close to the truth.  The US does not need a lapdog for Democrat conspiracy theories.  What Nunes appears to be closing in on is the Democr…

The general uprising in Russia

Telegraph:
Sunday’s demonstrations in Russia were the largest outpouring of anti-Kremlin sentiment since the spate of protests that gripped Moscow in the winter of 2011 to 2012.

It’s too early to tell if we will see a re-run of that ultimately unsuccessful uprising. But in several ways, Sunday’s demonstrations could prove even more threatening to Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.

First is the geography.

Five years ago, the authorities were able – with some justification - to characterise the demonstrators who filled the capital’s boulevards and squares as members of a coddled metropolitan elite, divorced from the lives and opinions of the vast majority of Russians living beyond the Moscow ring road.

After Sunday, however, that idea is dead.
... The uprising has spread to other regions.  While there has been a focus on the corruption of the elites in Russia, I suspect that the sanctions imposed as a result of Russian attempts to reconquer Ukraine and other areas have left ordinary citi…

Producers study the DNA of oil to find best spots to drill

Reuters:
A small group of U.S. oil producers has been trying to exploit advances in DNA science to wring more crude from shale rock, as the domestic energy industry keeps pushing relentlessly to cut costs and compete with the world's top exporters.

Shale producers have slashed production costs as much as 50 percent over two years, waging a price war with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Now, U.S. shale producers can compete in a $50-per-barrel oil market, and about a dozen shale companies are seeking to cut costs further by analyzing DNA samples extracted from oil wells to identify promising spots to drill.

The technique involves testing DNA extracts from microbes found in rock samples and comparing them to DNA extracted from oil. Similarities or differences can pinpoint areas with the biggest potential. The process can help cut the time needed to begin pumping, shaving production costs as much as 10 percent, said Ajay Kshatriya, chief executive and co…

Trump rolls back Obama's control freak energy policies

Fuel Fix:
President Donald Trump will begin a sweeping roll back of the Obama administration’s climate policies Tuesday, targeting rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions and policies believed to hinder the domestic energy sector.

Through a series of executive orders and memoranda, Trump will order a review of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which was expected to shutter a large share of the nation’s coal power plants, as well as rules forcing oil and gas companies to seek out and fix methane leaks at drilling sites, a senior White House official said Monday.

The administration also will also review guidance issued last year by Obama, who instructed federal agencies to consider the impact on climate change when writing policies, as well global warming’s social effects, and its social effects, from economic disruption to higher public health costs.

“This policy is in keeping with President Trump’s desire to make America energy independent,” the White House official said. “The president is …

Sanctuary cities will be losing federal funding

Washington Examiner:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the Trump administration would cut off all funding to sanctuary cities and work to "claw back" funds from jurisdictions that choose to ignore federal immigration requirements.

"Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk," Sessions said during a rare appearance in the White House briefing room. "The vast majority of the American people support this common sense requirement."

Sessions said cities that knowingly refuse to detain undocumented immigrants who are "known felons under federal detainer requests" will face consequences from the Department of Justice moving forward.

"Today, I am urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws," Sessions announced. "Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify…

Woman born in Siberian prison becomes first woman Marine to graduate from infantry school

VOA:
Marine Pfc. Maria Daume's life story reads as if she came straight from the pages of a superhero comic.

Born in a Siberian prison. Orphaned at age 2. Adopted by Americans at age 4 and raised in New York.

And now, she's just done what many naysayers believed a woman would never do: She's the first female Marine to join the infantry through the traditional entry-level training process, a process made available to women just a half-year earlier.

“I like to prove people wrong,” Daume told VOA in her first interview since completing her training at the Marine Corps School of Infantry at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina. “No matter what your belief is, you can't argue that I didn't do it, because I did.”

Not only did she graduate from the School of Infantry on Thursday, she completed what Infantry Marines argue is one of the most difficult military operational specialties the school has to offer, at a time when instructors say the standards have become “even harder.”

As…

The secret deployments against North Korea

Daily Caller:
The U.S. is deploying strategic assets to the Korean peninsula with greater secrecy to “maximize fear in the North,” military officials revealed Sunday.

The U.S. has, in recent weeks, been regularly sending bombers and fighters, aircraft carriers and submarines, and troops to the peninsula for training exercises with South Korean forces, yet the announcements concerning their deployments have been delayed, with some coming after the units had already left Korea.

“Surprise dispatch of strategic weapons is effective in maximizing fear in the North as it sends a message that such weapons can be mobilized any time in case of a contingency,” a military official told The Korea Times.

Earlier in March, two B-1B Lancers were sent to South Korea from Anderson Air Force Base in Guam. The media received no prior notification, and even afterwards, the United States Forces Korea refused to offer confirmation. The deployment was reported by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, wh…

US to increase help to allies fighting Iran's proxies in Yemen?

Washington Post:
White House weighs deeper U.S. military role in Yemen war

The defense secretary’s request to lift Obama-era restrictions on aid to Persian Gulf states would mark a significant shift in U.S. policy, and also be a clear signal of the Trump administration’s intention to move more aggressively against Iran. This makes more sense than the Obama policy of kowtowing to Iran.  The Persian Gulf states may not be perfect but they are not sending people into the streets shouting "Death to America."  Containing and defeating Iran should be a major aspect of US policy in the region.

BTW, this "analysis" in the Post is way off base and shows the warped thinking of the left when it comes to war policy:
The innocent lives lost amid Trump’s war on terror

Analysts think this surge in deaths may be a product of a shift in the anti-Islamic State campaign under President Trump, who has called for more unfettered action against the jihadists. The Iraqis who are much close…

Leaks and political plumber operations

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

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

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

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

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

Liberals create fake news to avoid reality of Islamic terrorism

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

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

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

Major real estate purchases become a tool for money laundering

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

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

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

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

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

A history of getting global warming predictions wrong

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

How to repeal and replace Obamacare

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

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

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

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

London terrorist used WhatsApp encryption that police can't read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People continue to vote with their feet leaving Democrat enclaves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Russian spring?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dealing with the transgender mental disorder

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

The argument that says North Korean leadership is irrational

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

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

The Nork cyber bank robbers

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

The Republicans who opposed the repeal and replace bill

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

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

Al Qaeda terror mastermind killed in airstrike in Afghanistan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will ISIS lose its recruiting edge with loss of caliphate?

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

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

The radical Islam addiction leads to mass murders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump fulfills campaign promise on approval of Keystone XL pipeline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People voting with their feet--Leaving Chicago

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Daily Mail:

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

Permian wells being drilled but not complete to hold leases

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota forces healthcare workers to pay union thugs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marines and special ops take dam 25 miles from Raqqa

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

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

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

When deportation is not enough

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Daily Mail:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Another false claim of a crime

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

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

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

Oil companies using offshore technology advantage for wind energy

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

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

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

Mollie Hemingway:

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

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

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

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

Media falsely claims there is no evidence of vote fraud

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

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

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

I will be having eye surgery this morning

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

Attempts to sabotage Trump administration look more than incidental

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

Former admin planted series of landmines to subvert Trump team

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

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

Rail gun tested

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Daily Mail:

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

Intelligence from Yemen raid led to laptop ban from certain countries

Daily Mail:

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

Islamic terrorist attack hits London

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

How the surveillance of Trump team worked

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

A real life cyber war between nation states has already happened

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

Deputy NSA chief says government bureaucracy harming response to cyber threats

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

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

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

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



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