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Showing posts from March, 2017

Germany tries to make the case for free riding on NATO obligations

BBC:
Calls by the Trump administration for Germany and other Nato partners to increase spending on defence have been rejected by Germany.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it was "quite unrealistic" to believe Germany would spend 2% of its economic output on the military.

Other spending such as development aid, he said, should be taken into account.

However, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg echoed US calls for member states to pay an equal proportion.

"Diplomacy, development aid, economic co-operation can be important to help stabilise a region," Mr Stoltenberg told a news conference after Nato talks in Brussels.

"We have international targets, guidelines, for development aid, 0.7% of GDP [gross domestic product], and then we have a Nato agreement on moving towards 2%. But those are two different things... It is not either development or security, it is development and security."

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told his counterparts in Brussels that by the ne…

Texas company to export gasoline refined from shale oil to Mexico

Bloomberg:
The newest oil refineries in Texas are looking to join the hottest two plays in the North American oil industry.

Raven Petroleum LLC and MMEX Resources Inc. are building refineries in the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin that will process ample local supplies of light crude into gasoline and diesel. The fuel will be shipped on existing rail lines across the border to Mexico, where the government has opened the market to foreign competition, attracting companies including BP Plc and Glencore Plc.

U.S. shale drillers have doubled the number of rigs seeking oil since May, with most of the gains seen in Texas. Production nationwide is expected to approach the all-time high from 1970. At the same time, Mexico’s gasoline demand is outpacing local supply, forcing the nation to increase imports, which government data show grew 3 percent year-on-year in 2016.

"It looks like they are a set of entrepreneurs that see opportunities in the refined fuels markets in Mexico as it’s getting…

More evidence of spies spying on Trump campaign

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.comWatch the latest video at video.foxnews.com
Fox News has uncovered more evidence of the use of US of intelligence resources to spy in the Trump campaign and attributes the unmaskings to someone "high up in the intelligence community."  This is potential criminal activity and appears to have been used in an attempt to sabotage the Trump administration.

Bottom story of the day

Washington Post:
Three White House officials linked to files shared with House intelligence chair

The White House role in the matter contradicts assertions by the committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and adds to mounting concerns that the Trump administration is collaborating with the leader of the House investigation into Russian meddling in the election. The Post seems hell bent on ignoring the real scandal here and that is the Obama administration's using the intelligence agencies to spy on the political opposition.  The fact that the Trump administration is cooperating with the chairman of the intelligence committee is something to be applauded and not treated as if that is a scandal.

So many at the Post have become anti-Trump partisans that they collectively have lost the plot.  They are willing to overlook lawlessness to pursue their partisan objectives in much the same way the Democrats have.  Or perhaps they are trying to distract from the pursuit of their sour…

ISIS tries to lure US into airstrikes against civilians

NY Times:
New ISIS Tactic: Gather Mosul’s Civilians, Then Lure an Airstrike
Islamic State fighters forced residents into buildings, then tried to draw an attack in the hope that a rising civilian deaths would lead to fewer airstrikes, an American spokesman said. ISIS is doing this to pander to the anti-war left in the West, such as the professor who was sickened to see someone give up their first class ticket to a soldier.  They are playing to the useful idiots on the left and the American's innate humanity.   The Iraqis have also alleged that ISIS is booby trapping these buildings to blow up the civilians and then blame the deaths on US airstrikes.  Most of their tactics such as this one are war crimes that the blame America first left is mostly silent about.

House Freedom caucus offers a compromise on healthcare

Washington Examiner:
President Trump and most of official Washington blames the House Freedom Caucus for the death of the American Health Care Act. There is some, but not complete, justification for this.

But the Freedom Caucus's top members have since laid out a clear path to passage of repeal and replace, and are showing a willingness to compromise. They have made a perfectly reasonable and prudent bid in the negotiation.

If the White House, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Republican centrists actually want to repeal and replace Obamacare, they should accept the Freedom Caucus's offer. If they reject it, it will demonstrate that they didn't mean it when they campaigned for election on a platform that included killing the 2010 law.
...
The Affordable Health Care Act repealed the employer mandate and the individual mandate. That's two of Obamacare's 12 mandates, by Meadows' count.

"The Freedom Caucus has asked for two [more] to be included in the repeal," Mead…

Seattle to forum shop a suit against Trump's decision on defending sanctuary cities

streiff:
The mayor of Seattle has announced that he will be suing the US government over President Trump’s decision to not award federal grants to state and local governments who do not cooperate with ICE agents. This should be unremarkable. Federal money goes out in grant agreements. The agreement stipulates what the city will do in exchange for the money. All the grant applications have numerous riders that require the grant recipient to adhere to all manner of federal policies. This is the way Common Core has become embedded in the nation’s education system. If a grantee will not agree to abide by the terms of the grant they don’t get the money. Simple concept, no?
...
King County (see page 31 of the report) will only honor ICE detainers if someone has been convicted of a serious felony or if there is an outstanding criminal warrant. If a person is picked up on suspicion of anything, like murder, for instance, and they aren’t charged but they are illegal, Seattle will not honor an …

House says EPA can no longer hide data it relies on to impose regulations

Fuel Fix:
Legislation putting stricter limits on what scientific findings the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can and can not use to justify its regulations passed the Republican-controlled House Wednesday.

The bill, called the HONEST Act, would require the agency to use only scientific findings for which the underlying data is publicly available, potentially leaving out medical studies that do not make data public to protect patient privacy. Such studies are used frequently by the EPA in creating regulations on everything from power plant emissions to acceptable levels of cancer-causing toxins in drinking water.

“The American people have a right to see the data that is used to justify EPA’s costly regulations,” Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, author of the bill and chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said in a statement. “The days of ‘trust me’ science are over. Allowing EPA’s data to be independently reviewed promotes sound science that will restore…

Democrats' attacks on Nunes are part of an elaborate cover up operation of violations of law

Kimberly Strassel:
California Rep. Adam Schiff may not offer much by way of substance, but give him marks for political flimflam. The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee was so successful at ginning up fake outrage over his Republican counterpart that he successfully buried this week’s only real (and bombshell) news.

Mr. Schiff and fellow Democrats spent this week accusing Chairman Devin Nunes of carrying water for President Trump, undermining the committee’s Russia investigation, and hiding information. The press dutifully regurgitated the outrage, as well as Mr. Schiff’s calls for Mr. Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation into possible Russian electoral meddling.

All this engineered drama served to deep-six the important information Americans urgently deserve to know. Mr. Nunes has said he has seen proof that the Obama White House surveilled the incoming administration—on subjects that had nothing to do with Russia—and that it further unmasked (identified b…

GOP proposes 2 % fee on money transfers from US by immigrants

Washington Times:
A group of House Republicans on Thursday introduced the first major bill to fund President Trump’s border wall, saying the government could collect billions of dollars by imposing a 2 percent fee on all the money Mexicans and other immigrants send back home.

Estimates vary, but remittances from those in the U.S. to their relatives back home could top $130 billion a year. A 2 percent tax could net more than $2 billion a year, if it applied to all money regardless of who’s sending it.

“This bill is simple – anyone who sends their money to countries that benefit from our porous borders and illegal immigration should be responsible for providing some of the funds needed to complete the wall,” Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican, said in a statement. “This bill keeps money in the American economy, and most importantly, it creates a funding stream to build the wall.”

Mr. Rogers and Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania are leading the effort.

Mr. Trump has vowed to make Mexico fo…

US offshore wells leading the surge in production of oil

CNBC:
When OPEC points at U.S. oil producers, it always blames the shale drillers for oversupplying the world market.

But while shale is in resurgence, the real source of recent growth has been the offshore drillers in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, U.S. oil production growth between September and December was almost entirely the result of offshore wells, which increased production by 220,000 barrels a day in that period.

Offshore projects are much more long-term investments. They are far more costly to develop and take years to get started. "Those projects have an inertia," said John Kilduff of Again Capital.
...
Total U.S. oil production peaked at 9.6 million barrels a day in 2015 and fell to 8.56 million by September, according to Energy Information Administration data. Since then, U.S. production has jumped back, reaching 9.1 million barrels a day this month, according to the latest EIA weekly data.

Bank of America points out that offshor…

The goal of a war is to persuade the otherside their cause is hopeless

NY Times:
U.S. Escalates Role in Mideast Wars, With No Endgame
In places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, the United States is deepening its involvement in wars while diplomacy becomes largely an afterthought. The problem the US is up against now is that Obama gave the enemy eight years of hope that we would just walk away and let them have their way.  They need to be disabused of that notion.

Liberals appear upset that White House is fighting back against their sabotage efforts

NY Times:
2 White House Officials Helped Nunes View Secret Reports
White House officials helped provide Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, with reports that showed incidental surveillance of the Trump team.The revelation is likely to fuel criticism that Mr. Nunes has been too eager to do the bidding of the Trump administration. I failed to see why this should be viewed as a problem.  Now the committee can subpoena the records and determine their veracity.  If it shows a pattern of criminal conduct on the part of Obama holdovers then the DOJ should act on the evidence.  This looks like it could be a potential scandal for Democrats and is much more substantive than the alleged Russia involvement in the election.

Throwing money at education has failed to improve results

NY Times:
Betsy DeVos Calls for More School Choice, Saying Money Isn’t the Answer
In a speech at the Brookings Institution, the education secretary rejected the notion that money was a panacea for the challenges facing public schools. It is an easily provable point.  All you need to do is look at the Washington DC school system which has one of the highest expenditures per student of any district in the world and still get substandard to crappy results.

Elements of the Democrat plot to sabotage Trump's presidency revealed

Power Line:
Evelyn Farkas is the former Obama administration deputy secretary of defense — and now an MSNBC analyst. Appearing on air among her friends at MSNBC yesterday, she all but outed herself as a key source for the seminal New York Times story on the Obama administration’s efforts to subvert the incoming Trump administration.

The March 1 Times story ran under the headline “Obama administration rushed to preserve intelligence of Russian election hacking” under the byline of Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt. The Times reporters noted that they protected the identity of their sources because, you know, their cooperation with the Times was criminal or because their actions were otherwise legally problematic. The Times reporters put it this way in their March 1 story:
More than a half-dozen current and former officials described various aspects of the effort to preserve and distribute the intelligence, and some said they were speaking to draw attention to the mate…

A Chicom spy at the State Department?

Bill Gertz:
The FBI has arrested a State Department official who is charged with concealing extensive contacts with China's intelligence service.

Candace Marie Claiborne, an office management specialist who held a top-secret security clearance, faces charges of obstructing an FBI probe and making false statements about years-long contacts with two Chinese intelligence agents.

Claiborne, 60, worked for the State Department since 1999 and was posted at the headquarters in Washington, as well as U.S. diplomatic posts in Beijing and Shanghai, along with posts in Baghdad and Khartoum, Sudan.

A criminal complaint in the case said she conspired with two Chinese intelligence agents working for the Shanghai State Security Bureau. She also worked with a fourth person who is a male U.S. citizen and relative of Claiborne's who was not identified by name but labeled "Co-conspirator A" in court papers.

The case is one of the first Chinese espionage-related operations involving a U…

Yemeni Iranian proxy forces try swarm missile attacks against the Saudis missile defense system

Janes:
Yemen's rebels fired multiple ballistic missiles on 28 March in an apparent attempt to overwhelm the Patriot battery that defends the neighbouring Saudi cities of Abha and Khamis Mushayt.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that four ballistic missiles were launched towards the cities from Yemen at 0630 h local time but were successfully intercepted by the Royal Saudi Air Defence Forces (RSADF) without causing any damage. It did not identify the ballistic missiles.

Amateur video footage was posted on social media sites showing at least six Patriot missiles being launched in quick succession, indicating the battery was simultaneously engaging multiple threats.

Pro-rebel media outlets reported that three medium-range ballistic missiles had hit King Khalid Air Base and inflicted heavy losses. The airbase is located in Khamis Mushayt and plays a major role in the military intervention that Saudi Arabia and its allies launched in Yemen two years ago.
... This sounds s…

US needs more troops and equipment to adequately defend Europe from a Russian invasion

Military.com:
The commander of U.S military forces in Europe told lawmakers Tuesday that he needs a larger combat force, including an armored division and increased naval power, to deter Russian military forces on the continent.

"We need a greater force there, I think, potentially in the land component," said Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command, testifying before the House Armed Service Committee.

The general said he needs the "enablers of an armored division -- a fires brigade, an engineer brigade, air defense -- those kinds of systems in the numbers that I need there."

Currently, the Army has one armored brigade combat team on a continuous rotation to Europe to bolster the Stryker and airborne infantry brigades stationed there permanently.

"I am suggesting an additional division because ... I need armored and mechanized brigades," Scaparrotti said.

"The reason a division is so important is at that level you can then have …

Mexican Attorney general nabbed by US in drug deal

NBC San Diego:
An attorney general from one of the Mexican states was arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego for smuggling and trying to distribute drugs, charges filed by the state of New York in early March.

The State of New York filed drug trafficking charges against Edgar Veytia, state prosecutor from the Mexican State of Nayarit, on March 2, which led to his arrest on Monday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Ralph Desio confirmed Veytia was taken into custody Monday at the Cross Border Xpress bridge, which links Tijuana Airport to the U.S.

Veytia, also known as “Diablo,” “Eepp,” and “Lic veytia,” was indicted on Tuesday for charges, including grand jury charges of international conspiracy to illegally import, manufacture and distribute heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine.

Between Jan. 2013 and Feb. 2017 the amount of drugs that can be attributed to Veytia for manufacture and distribution is at least one kilogram of heroin, five kilograms o…

ISIS killing civilians in Mosul as army closes in

Reuters:
Islamic State has summarily killed 21 civilians in Mosul it accused of collaborating with U.S.-backed security forces, which said their offensive to recapture the city from the jihadists had made further advances.

The killings, reported on Tuesday by a medical source, indicate that the ultra-hardline group has maintained its ability to police Mosul, more than four weeks after the start of the offensive on the northern Iraqi city.

The campaign that began on Oct. 17 is the biggest military operation in Iraq in more than a decade of turmoil unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Counter terrorism forces breached Islamic State defenses in the east of the city two weeks ago but have faced resistance from the militants who have deployed suicide car bombs, snipers and waves of counter-attacks.

They have been fighting in a dozen of the roughly 50 neighborhoods on the eastern side of the city, which is divided in two by the Tigris river running through th…

Break even cost for some Texas wells is at $46

Fuel Fix:
In Texas and Oklahoma, oil companies can wring money out of newly drilled wells in major basins for less than $50 a barrel, a new Dallas Fed survey says.

As producers cut down on drilling time and pump greater quantities of crude, break-even costs in active U.S. oil fields have dropped 6 percent over the past year, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said on Wednesday.

“It’s no surprise that these regions continue to attract new rigs and capital week after week,” said Michael Plante, senior economist at the Dallas Fed. In the Permian Basin, break-even costs have dropped to an average $46 a barrel, the lowest of the major basins.
... This price is actually below most OPEC countries costs when you factor in the overhead cost of socialism in those countries.   It is another example of how capitalism promotes efficiency.

Trump strategy for defeating ISIS is working

Kori Schake:
Defeating the Islamic State was candidate Trump’s top national-security priority, one of the few policy issues on which he was consistent. While his claim to have a secret plan — and that keeping it secret was good strategy — was risible to national security experts, his policy goals were and are consistent. American effort should focus on fighting the Islamic State. Regime change to push Bashar al-Assad out of power was not only a lesser objective, but counterproductive to a stable end-state for Syria that prevents terrorism and too costly given Russia and Iran’s support for the regime. Stability is to be prioritized over humanitarian relief or democracy promotion. Russia is to be palliated, their interests supported.
...

To many observers, the emerging approach looks like the Obama strategy only better resourced....

I have the sense the administration actually is making a departure from the Obama approach, and sees bigger game afoot. The White House may not yet have for…

Norks plan chemical drone attacks on South Korea?

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Daily Mail:

The secretive state is focusing on developing drones in an attempt to make up for the inferiority of the country's air forces as well as to conduct better reconnaissance, South Korea has warned. This assumes they can get enough fuel to launch them.  Their air force has been practically grounded for lack of fuel. But the murder of his brother shows they do have some lethal weapons.

Behind the Russian uprising

NPR:
...
What brought people out into the streets again this time was a viral YouTube video by Putin challenger Alexei Navalny, 40, who accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of having amassed a real estate empire.

To everyone's surprise, kids who shun Facebook and swap memes via messaging services turned out en masse. Some of them brought rubber ducks, a reference to Navalny's allegation that Medvedev keeps a house for raising ducks at one of his estates.

Russian journalist Kirill Martynov calls the young demonstrators "nobody's people" who have nothing to lose by protesting. "The experience of today's 11th grader is never-ending Putin and Medvedev, enmity with the whole world, crazy propaganda and grown-ups who lie," he wrote.

A video of Gleb Takmakov, a fifth-grader in the Siberian city of Tomsk, is emblematic of this new generation of protester. Dressed in a wool cap and a Converse sweatshirt, the boy takes to the microphone at a rally, explaini…

The refugee problem is not going away despite judges' orders.

NY Times:
F.B.I. Arrests Iraqi Refugees Related to American’s Kidnapper
The two refugees in Virginia are accused of failing to disclose that a brother had been involved in the 2004 kidnapping of an American contractor in Iraq. Will Democrats ever admit that there is a problem with mass migration from certain Muslim countries?

China and the environment--Get serious

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NY Times:
China Poised to Take Lead on Climate
For years, the United States pushed China to commit to limiting its use of fossil fuels. The countries now look likely to switch roles. China is not a model of a Big Green new world order.   Its pollution is much worse than that of the US.  You don't see Americans walking around in surgical mask outdoors as you do in China and there is a reason for that.  The US has greatly reduced pollution by switching to natural gas as a result of the shale revolution.  It is a revolution that the Democrats and the environmentalists opposed and they have yet to admit they and their "keep it in the ground" policies were wrong.

Democrats try to sabotage Congressional investigation of Russian ties to US election

Washington Examiner:
...
"My understanding is that Devin [Nunes] or the general counsel for the Republican side prepared a letter to Director Comey and Director Rogers asking them to testify at a closed session, and that thus far, the Democrats have not signed it," King said.

"The purpose of the closed session is to start getting answers to many of the questions that Director Comey could not answer at the public hearing because of the ongoing investigation. To me, if Democrats want answers to their questions, this is one way to get them. So I'm surprised they're not agreeing to this right away," King added.

A Democratic committee aide replied by accusing Republicans of trying to eliminate the open hearing entirely.

"Republicans wanted to do the closed hearing in lieu of the open hearing — they were hoping to schedule it at the exact same time as the open hearing, even though all the witnesses [Brennan, Clapper and Yates] were prepared to testify,"…

Media focus on civilian casualties is misguided

Washington Examiner:
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, had just fielded questions from the Pentagon press corps for 45 minutes Tuesday, and he felt it was time to inject a little moral clarity into the conversation.
...
"If these innocents were killed by the coalition, it was an unintentional accident of war, and ISIS is slaughtering Iraqis and Syrians on a daily basis," Townsend said. "ISIS is cutting off heads. ISIS is shooting people, throwing people from buildings, burning them alive in cages and they are making the video record to prove it. This has gotta stop. This evil has gotta be stamped out. And in my mind any responsibility for any civilian deaths, the moral responsibility for civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria belongs to ISIS."

"I'll close with that," he said.

Townsend had spent his entire briefing trying to paint a picture for the media about the complexites of urban combat in wes…

Democrats try to hide their kook supporters

Neil Stevens:
DNC Photoshops Protestor To Hide Fringe Nut Slogan

...
... the sign right at the front of the tweet was from the allied Party of Socialism and Liberation, holding a sign that reads: “Trump is the Symptom. Capitalism is the Disease. Socialism is the Cure.”
... They know if they showed their true agenda they would be rejected.

Dow's $6 billion petrochemical plant complete on gurlf Coast of Texas

Fuel Fix:
Dow Chemical said Tuesday it completed the massive ethane cracker plant in Freeport that’s the “crown jewel” of its more than $6 billion expansion along the Gulf Coast, primarily just south of Houston.

The cracker facility will churn out 1.5 million metric tons a year of ethylene, which is derived from natural gas liquids and is used as the primary building block of most plastics. The plant, which is part of Dow’s sprawling complex in Freeport and Lake Jackson, won’t fully commence operations until midyear.

“The Freeport ethylene unit is the cornerstone of our $6 billion investment in the U.S. Gulf Coast,” said Andrew Liveris, Dow’s chairman and CEO. “Our growth investments leverage the advantaged shale gas supply available in the U.S.”

Indeed there are a bevy of new ethane crackers in Texas under construction that are all planning to take advantage of Texas’ ample and cheap natural gas supplies unlocked by the shale revolution.

Dow’s announcement comes just one day after Pa…

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:
...
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.