Showing posts from November, 2014

Chinese economy hampered by sink hole investments

Business Insider: The Chinese Economy Is Facing A $6.8 Trillion Nightmare That Could Get Worse ... For sure, $6.8 trillion is a difficult figure to imagine. That's two years of output for the entire German economy . It's more than four times as much as is invested in S&P 500 index funds . Even in the enormous Chinese economy, that's practically half of the investment between 2009 and 2013, the period covered by the investigation. This is likely to have pretty grim effects on Chinese economic growth in the years ahead. ... Some of the money was invested in "ghost cities" filled with big empty buildings.  It suggest that Chinese financing does not rely on feasibility studies.  It si like the Field of Dreams   approach to urban planning.

Watch the liberal reaction to Rich Lowry's telling how to avoid getting shot by police

While they wanted to talk about conflicting testimony that Lowry referred to was also supported by the forensic evidence.

Texas has growing clout in Congress

Roll Call: Loving the state you represent is not a unique phenomenon in Congress. But, as Texas Republicans are just dying to tell you, everything is bigger in the Lone Star State. Republican House members punctuate their $300 suits with gimmicky $3 Texas-themed ties. They sit together on the House floor during votes as a sign of solidarity. And they hold weekly lunches to socialize and celebrate just how Texan they are. Texas Republicans talk about the state like it’s a different country — it was, they’ll be happy to remind you, once an independent republic. (Rep. John Culberson , the Republican who represents west Houston, said it’s “genetically Texan” to remember that the state was once its own nation.) But how does a state delegation translate its state pride — state worship, really — into congressional power? In hallway interviews with more than 20 Texas representatives, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry, the Lone Star State politicians all insisted there was

Carbon capture dependent on oil and gas extraction

American Interest: One of the world’s most promising potential solutions to climate change is currently highly dependent on oil production. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems intercept emissions of the greenhouse gas and pump them into wells deep underground. This technology could end concerns over human-caused climate change if—and this is a big if—it can be profitably deployed. Just last month, the first commercial CCS operation started up in Canada, and as the FT reports , it’s only viable because of oil.... ... There have been experiments with it in Texas too.  It appears to help force more oil out of the ground in old fields.

Another reason why Iraq is such a mess

Washington Post: Investigation finds 50,000 ‘ghost soldiers’ in Iraqi army Iraq is paying salaries to tens of thousands of soldiers who don't exist, the prime minister said on Sunday. This is corruption on a grand scale and makes those who stay and fight look like saps.

18 years with no warming is a 'grim reality?

NY Times: Grim Reality Amid Optimism Ahead of Climate Talks Even as United Nations negotiators gathering in South America this week expressed optimism that they may finally achieve a deal, experts caution it may not be enough to stave off the near-term impact of global warming. I think the grim reality is that they have yet to come up with a coherent explanation of why their computer models have been consistently ]wrong about warming.  What we have seen is a pattern of dire warnings that are as failed as other predictions for the end of the world.

Obama sees the law as a way to game the system to achieve his desired results

Paul Sperry: How Obama blatantly disregards the law He is willing to stand statues on their head to achieve results he lacks the political skills to achieve in Congress.

Liberal mythology about grand juries

Andrew McCarthy: As Ferguson burned this week, the law books got a workout. Suddenly, grand-jury procedure was all the rage. Commentators better known for parroting the bromide that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich went berserk when the sandwich on offer was a white cop and the grand jury refused to bite. As it turns out, there was no need to thumb the legal treatises of Blackstone or Joseph Story. If you were going to hit the books, Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism would have served you better. Brilliantly illustrating modern liberalism’s roots in 20th-century progressivism — a movement as comfortable marching lockstep with Stalin as it was borrowing copiously from Mussolini — Jonah homes in on the centrality of myth. It is irrelevant whether an idea around which the Left’s avant-garde rouse the rabble is true; the point is the idea’s power to mold consciousness and rally the troops. For the American Left, a bedrock myth is that white cops kill black kids.

Texas likely to be an early primary state in 2016

Texas Tribune: With the 2014 election now in the history books, the reality is that the 2016 campaign is upon us. And you can expect Texas to get more time in the spotlight now that the 2016 GOP presidential primary is a main attraction. Four candidates with direct or indirect connections to the Lone Star State are on most early lists of top potential candidates: Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and two scions of families with strong Texas ties — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the son of former Texas Congressman (and frequent presidential aspirant) Ron Paul, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of the former presidents from Texas. Texans will also go to the polls earlier in the primary season than they did in 2012, when the legal fight over Texas’ redistricting map delayed the election until May. This time, Texas is considering a March 1 primary — the earliest date allowed after the Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada contests. Texas’ delegate count

Putin resorts to Stalinist tactics in Crimea

Washington Post: Crimean Tatars say Russian annexation is repeat of history Stalin deported the Tatars from Crimea in 1944. Now Tatar leaders say Russia is after them again. This is what despots do when faced with a lack of popular support for their polices, and genocide is not an acceptable alternative.  Crimea is suffering under Russian rule and that rule is becoming less popular.

Republican suit challenges Obama's authority to spend money on healthcare

NY Times: Republicans’ Suit on Health Law Focuses on Funding Powers House Republicans say Congress never appropriated money for a provision of the Affordable Care Act that offers financial assistance to low- and moderate-income people. One of the original common law causes of action for a suit is called quo warranto .  It means " by what authority do you take this action."  In this case, it is saying that Congress did not appropriate the money Obama is spending  to push his despised healthcare law.  He has no authority to act outside the scope of Congressional authorization.

How GOP took away a Democrat talking point

NY Times: G.O.P. Gains by Tapping Democrats’ Base for Candidates In taking control of nearly 70 state legislative chambers in the midterm elections, Republicans focused on recruiting women and minorities as candidates. The fact is that the "war on women" meme never made much sense .  There have always been activist Republican women who disagree with Democrats on most issues.   When I attended a national AFP convention this year, it appeared to me that the majority of those attending were women of all ages.  Many of the leaders of the organization are women.  They all dislike Obamacare and want to see the law repealed.  They also oppose Democrats on other issues.  They are actively contacting voters and trying to get them to the polls.  Minority candidates are also finding that they have more opportunities as Republicans.  They don't have to appeal to just other minorities.

Brit company builds manufacturing facility in Brenham, Texas

Houston Chronicle: Brenham has more going on than just ice cream. Precision Polymer Engineering/IDEX Sealing Solutions has selected the Texas town for it first U.S. plant, where it will make O-rings and rubber sealing components used in a variety of industries. Houston-based Welcome Group, a single-tenant design build and build-to-suit development firm, has completed a new 30,000-square-foot building for the manufacturer of O-rings and compression molding products in the Brenham Business Center on Blue Bell Road. Based in northern England, Precision Polymer Engineering’s products are used in the oil and gas, food, pharmaceutical, and engine manufacturing industries. The new plant contains 3,960 square feet of office and 26,040 square feet of warehouse space on 4.9 acres. “Brenham offers a stable and skilled labor pool and a lower cost of operations, while still providing great access to Texas’ major markets, and that is what attracted PPE to this site,” Page Michel, president of the

Energy giving US economy competitive advantage

Sunday Telegraph: ... The excess supply created by America’s shale revolution has been disguised in recent years by capacity reductions in war-torn countries such as Libya. But the producers’ luck has run out this year as supply has picked up around the world even as China’s slowdown and stagnation in Europe and Japan has reduced demand. The jockeying for position by Saudi Arabia and others might sound like a game, but it really matters. With world oil exports amounting to around 40m barrels a day, the $40 drop in the oil price since June represents a transfer from oil exporters to oil consumers of more than $400bn a year. US consumers have an extra $70bn in their pockets, money they used to spend on fuel and can direct towards eating out, buying electronic gizmos or going on holiday. Even with the usual lag before consumers see the benefit of falling petrol prices, we are starting to feel the impact. Last week’s revision to third quarter US GDP, from 3.5pc to 3.9pc, was in part

Social Security and Medicare for illegals?

Washington Examiner: Fight brewing over Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants The White is acknowledging the likelihood of their getting the benefits.

Reporter who published Ferguson cops address feels threatened? The New York Times journalist who published Darren Wilson’s home address wants police protection and has been calling the police nonstop, has learned. Julie Bosman “keeps calling the 020th District station complaining about people harassing and threatening her,” our source told us. She’s also “complaining about numerous food deliveries being sent to her residence.” ...  Her judgment in publishing the address of Wilson has been questioned and I have yet to hear a good reason for doing so.  She may have a better understanding of the problem now and no mobs are threatening to kill her.

Are Globo Warmers ignoring the science

The Hockey Schtick: New paper finds strong evidence the Sun has controlled climate over the past 11,000 years, not CO2 Perhaps this is why they are also finding global warming on Mars despite a lack of CO2.

Healthcare less affordable after Obamacare

Daily Caller: One in three Americans has put off seeking medical treatment in 2014 due to high costs, according to Gallup — the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 2001. Thirty-three percent of Americans have delayed medical treatment for themselves or their families because of the costs they’d have to pay, according to the survey . Obamacare, of course, had promised that it would help make health care more affordable for everyone, but the number of people who can’t afford a trip to the doctor has actually risen three points since 2013, before most Obamacare provisions took effect. The hardest-hit: the middle-class. Americans with an annual household income of between $30,000 and $75,000 began delaying medical care over costs more in 2014, up to 38 percent in 2014 from 33 percent last year; among households that earn above $75,000, 28 percent delayed care this year, compared to just 17 percent last year. The lowest-income section, some of whom can take part i

ISIL tries another avenue of attack on Kobani, this time from Turkey

AP: The Islamic State group launched an attack Saturday on the Syrian border town of Kobani from Turkey, a Kurdish official and activists said, although Turkey denied that the fighters had used its territory for the raid. The Islamic State group "used to attack the town from three sides," Khalil said. "Today, they are attacking from four sides."The assault began when a suicide bomber driving an armored vehicle detonated his explosives on the border crossing between Kobani and Turkey, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for Syria's powerful Kurdish Democratic Union Party. Turkey, while previously backing the Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad in that country's civil war, has been hesitant to aid them in Kobani because it fears that could stoke Kurdish ambitions for an independent state. A Turkish government statement on Saturday confirmed that one of the suicide attacks involved a bom

EEOC fighting Obamacare wellness provisions?

Reuters: Leading U.S. CEOs, angered by the Obama administration's challenge to certain "workplace wellness" programs, are threatening to side with anti-Obamacare forces unless the government backs off, according to people familiar with the matter. Major U.S. corporations have broadly supported President Barack Obama's healthcare reform despite concerns over several of its elements, largely because it included provisions encouraging the wellness programs. The programs aim to control healthcare costs by reducing smoking, obesity, hypertension and other risk factors that can lead to expensive illnesses. A bipartisan provision in the 2010 healthcare reform law allows employers to reward workers who participate and penalize those who don't. But recent lawsuits filed by the administration's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), challenging the programs at Honeywell International and two smaller companies, have thrown the future of that part of Obamacare

Healthcare continues to be bad politics for Democrats

John Goodman: As I wrote at Forbes yesterday , New York Senator Charles Schumer has placed the blame for the Democrat’s disastrous defeat in this fall’s election squarely at the feet of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Speaking at the National Press Club the other day, the third-ranking Democrat in the US Senate said that whatever the merits or demerits of health reform, it was bad politics. About 95 percent of all voters have health insurance, Schumer said, and the vast majority of those like the insurance they have. By contrast, most of the uninsured don’t vote. Only a third of them are even registered to vote. Although Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic insiders expressed surprise and disagreement with Schumer’s observations, the underlying facts have been well known (if only intuitively) by Democratic candidates for decades. How else can you explain the odd history of health care and the Democratic Party? National health insurance has been in the national Democratic Party pl

Black neighborhoods need more police to protect them

NY Post Editorial: Those protesting the St. Louis grand jury’s decision now have a new chant: “black lives matter.” Of course they do. But the protesters have the equation backward. It’s not policing that is the threat to black life today. More often, it’s the lack of policing. President Obama spoke to this truth after the grand jury’s decision Monday, noting that “nobody needs good policing more than poor communities with higher crime rates.” Unfortunately, too many American cities leave their most vulnerable communities under-policed and under-protected. Starting with Mayor Rudy Giuliani and then-Commissioner Bill Bratton , New York chose a different route: Police would go where the criminals were. Murder rates began dropping, and Mayor Mike Bloom­­berg and Commissioner Ray Kelly built on this success to take them to record lows. Because of this work, there are hundreds of black citizens walking around today who would likely be dead otherwise. That’s the basis of Giuliani’s clai

You mean it used to be hotter and earth survived?

Washington Post: Ancient bones in Colo. tell the story of a warmer Earth A “spectacular” site is offering scientists a way to better interpret climate models. This suggest the Henny Penny claims of the global warming movement are exaggerated.  The earth appears capable of adapting to changes in the weather.  I remain skeptical of the dire predictions of the globo warmers.

Inside the lawless immigration policy

NY Times: White House Tested Limits Before Acting on Immigration Months before President Obama took executive action to reshape the nation’s immigration system, a small group huddled for hours each day under orders to use “our legal authorities to the fullest extent” on a new policy, a senior official said. It was a conspiracy to avoid the law.  The so called new policy appears to be more a formal recognition of the administration's existing policy of not enforcing the immigration law unless they absolutely had to.  Other than openly talking about the policy little else has changed.  This so called new policy may let some of these people "come out of the shadows" but in doing so they make it easier to document their illegal status when a new administration comes in and starts enforcing the law.  I suspect some will be smart enough to realize the risk and will stay in their current situation.

Texas results beat California intentions

Chuck Devore: When it comes to poverty, the two biggest states, California and Texas, offer a vivid contrast: Results matter more than well-meaning intentions, and work beats welfare. Once again, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 23.4%, according to a new Census Bureau report that takes into account the variable cost of housing from state to state as well as noncash benefits such as housing vouchers and food stamps. (The official poverty measure assumes the same costs throughout America.) This broad poverty measure shows that Texas' poverty rate dropped to 15.9%, the national average. Along with the nation's highest poverty rate, California, with one-eighth of America's population, has one-third of the nation's welfare recipients. Its state and local taxes are a whopping 52% higher as a share of income than Texas'. In fact, California could completely eliminate its income tax, the nation's highest, and it would still pull more money from

Chicoms keep up with party guys and adultry

Telegraph: Communist Party publishes 'adultery map' of unfaithful Chinese officials I can think of at least one former Democratic official who could fill out his own map in the US..

Here is an idea lets Palestinians have a state in France?

Christian Science Monitor: Push for Palestinian statehood grows in Europe as France begins debate Some folks are pretty generous with other people's decisions.

120 die as Boko Harem extends its Islamic religious bigotry to other Muslims

Telegraph: Nigeria suffered one of its bloodiest terrorist attacks on Friday when three bombs exploded outside the Central Mosque in the northern city of Kano, killing at least 120 people. The assault was timed to coincide with Friday prayers and the blasts injured another 260 worshippers. No group has claimed responsibility, but the incident bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, a radical Islamist movement linked to al-Qaeda which has killed thousands of people in northern Nigeria and forced over a million to flee their homes. The Emir of Kano, Mohammad Sanusi II, often attends prayers at the Central Mosque. An outspoken opponent of Boko Haram, he may have been an intended target. However, the Emir was believed to be in Saudi Arabia on Friday. Three bombs detonated outside the Central Mosque in the heart of Kano as worshippers gathered. Eyewitnesses said that two devices exploded in the courtyard, while a third went off some distance away. As the blasts tore through the crowd, gunmen o

Perry meets with donors about 2016 run?

Politico: Texas Gov. Rick Perry is inviting hundreds of prominent Republican donors and policy experts to a series of gatherings next month that are intended to rebuild his damaged national brand and lay the foundation for a potential 2016 presidential campaign, fundraisers and organizers confirmed to POLITICO. The small-group sessions kick off Tuesday and Wednesday in Austin with a pair of lunches and dinners held in the governor’s mansion wedged between policy briefings at the nearby office of Perry senior adviser Jeff Miller. In all, Perry’s team expects he will meet in person with more than 500 major donors and bundlers from around the country in December as well as a slew of operatives, Republican National Committee members and policy experts. Perry’s intensive month of foundation-building comes as other prospective Republican presidential candidates – notably former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – are engaging with the wealthy Texans who for years have been amon

New special ops command to deal with 'hybrid warfare' like that used by Russia of late

Medium: On Sept. 30, the U.S. Army unceremoniously stood up a new headquarters—the 1st Special Forces Command—at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The division-level unit brings together more than 15,000 Green Berets and other special troops in a single new organization. Previously, the Army’s Special Operations Command had directly controlled all of these troops plus others on a wide range of missions. The idea behind the new HQ is to assemble a force specifically tailored for dealing with what the Pentagon calls “hybrid warfare.” Simply put, hybrid warfare is a blend of straight-up traditional combat—with infantry, tanks and artillery—and secretive insurgency. Probably the biggest practitioner of hybrid warfare is Russia. Just look at what’s going on in Ukraine, where Russian-supplied separatist insurgents are fighting alongside disguised Russian troops in an attempt to seize territory from the government in Kiev and bring it under Moscow’s sway. “This is … a real requirement based on R

Theft might not be enough for ISIL to sustain operations

Reuters: Islamic State (IS) militants may ultimately lose the war in Iraq and Syria because they do not have enough money to run the territory under their control, despite holding assets worth more than $2 trillion, international terrorism experts said. The cost of running an entire administration – paying civil servants and the military, maintaining roads, schools, hospitals, electricity and water networks – is far beyond the reach of Islamic State, said Charles Brisard, an expert on terrorist financing and a consultant on business intelligence. "That means there will probably come a time when the population could turn against the Islamic State, which is not the case at the present moment, especially … in Iraq," Brisard said in an interview on Thursday. Iraq's Sunni tribal leaders can decide the fate of IS, he added. In 2006 and 2007, they played a major role in fighting the group, then called al Qaeda in Iraq, with U.S. backing. Since then, however, support for IS has

Thousands of tax payers had data reviewed by White House

Daily Caller: The IRS’ improper disclosure of taxpayer information to the White House was extensively investigated, according to thousands of documents the Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently sitting on and could release within the next two weeks. The Daily Caller first reported that ex-IRS official Lois Lerner and White House policy adviser Jeanne Lambrew exchanged confidential taxpayer information about a conservative group that was suing to stop Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate in 2012. Now, with 30,000 Lerner  emails set to be turned over to Congress , new information is surfacing about the White House-IRS information pipeline. The legal advocacy firm Cause of Action sued the Treasury Department’s inspector general for information about further IRS coordination with the White House. The long-stonewalled lawsuit has finally borne fruit. “[T]he Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed Cause of Action that there exist nearly 2,500 potentially respons

The politics of healthcare get worse for Obama

Washington Examiner: Bad Obamacare month could haunt White House The Gruber videos were just one of the negative aspects for Obamacare.  Then there was Chuck Schumer indicating it was a strategic mistake to pursue the  healthcare law that benefited a small minority of votes while imposing greater cost on everyone else.

Brit special ops on ATV's are knocking off ISIL forces daily

Express: Defence sources the British regiment has been killing "up to eight terrorists a day" over the past few weeks in Iraq. Until now the SAS were thought to only be in the region in a reconnaissance role and not involved in combat operations. The troops, widely regarded as the world's best fighting force, have reportedly been dropped inside IS territory in RAF Chinook helicopters. To prevent the enemy being alerted by the sound of the helicopter's engines they are dropping SAS teams off around 50 miles from targets identified by unmanned drones. Armed with machine guns and sniper rifles the small groups of soldiers then use quad bikes to move into position under cover of darkness before launching deadly attacks. Among the targets are vehicle checkpoints set up by the terrorists to conduct kidnappings and extort money from local drivers. The missions have become so frequent and so effective over the last four weeks that the regiment's quartermasters have been

Man shooting buildings in downtown Austin killed by police

LA Times: Police shoot, kill man suspected of firing at Austin buildings They got him after he started shooting at Police headquarters.  At the time the police thought they also saw an improvised explosive device near him and he was wearing a vest they feared was explosive.  I sounds like a suicide by cop at this point.

Obama is a lousy leader

Kimberly Strassel: ... Who would want to work for a boss who micromanages everything but takes no responsibility when things don’t work out? This president’s playbook for controversy: Deny knowledge, blame subordinates. Mr. Obama fails to recognize the threat of ISIS; it’s the fault of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The administration cancels White House tours to ratchet up the pain of the sequester, then blames the Secret Service for the uproar. The ObamaCare website fails; Mr. Obama faults the Department of Health and Human Services (run then by Kathleen Sebelius ) for not telling him of the problem. Veterans Affairs wilts under the scandal of waiting lists; the president claims he read about it in the news. ... Obama claims he is well briefed then denies knowledge of problems until the media exposes them.  He makes bad decisions then looks for a scapegoat.  He does not know how the manage and he is teh worst negotiator to ever hold the job.

Syrian cyber attacks on US, UK and Canadian media

Israel National News: British and North American media websites, as well as Wal-Mart's Canadian unit were hacked today (Thursday) in an attack that is alleged to have been launched by the Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Among UK media sites hit were the Daily Telegraph, and the Independent and Evening Standard out of London. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and New York Daily News in North America also claimed to have been victimized by the attack. Arutz Sheva has also received reports from readers who claim they experienced the hack at the Chicago Tribune website, as well. ... This looks like more a nuisance  attack compared to the Chicom and Russian thefts of information.  It still shows that the West is still on the defensive when it comes to cyber attacks and is not openly responding to these attacks with a counter move.

Modest goals in changing Iraq military culture?

Washington Post: New U.S. plan: ‘Leaner, meaner’ Iraqi force After learning hard lessons rebuilding foreign militaries over the past dozen years, the strategy is to train a vanguard element within the larger army to take the offensive against Islamic State militants. Trying to change the culture in Iraq's military by training a smaller more elite core maybe a reduced ambition, but it will still be difficult.  The Iraq military lacks leadership at the top and mid levels  and that usually comes from experience.  It takes not only training, but determination in battle too.  So far, Iraq has a history of losing wars and not much tradition to fall back on in troubled times.  What they really need most right now is US boots on the ground to show them how to win.

Republicans pick up another House seat in Arizona contest?

AP/NY Times: Court Rejects Incumbent’s Bid on Ballot Count Representative Ron Barber sought to have 133 disqualified ballots counted in the tight election, but the judge ruled to let the 161-vote-margin victory of Martha McSally stand. McSally is a retired Air Force colonel. The decision proceeds a recount.  McSally was the first women to fly combat missions as an A-10 pilot in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Hopefully, she can put more pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to keep this valuable asset in the US arsenal.

Russian Ruble falls to new low following OPEC decision

Wall Street Journal: The Russian ruble weakened to new lows in early trading on Friday, hit by a drop in oil prices after OPEC members rejected calls for drastic action to cut their oil output. OPEC members’ decision to keep their production ceiling unchanged sent Brent crude prices below $72 per barrel for the first time since mid-2010, threatening to put more of a brake on Russia’s economic growth. The country receives around 50% of its revenue from exporting oil and gas. The ruble touched an all-time low of 49.90 versus the dollar in the first minutes of trading on Moscow exchange, before recovering slightly to 49.57. This takes the ruble’s year-to-date depreciation versus the greenback to 34%. ... This would not be happening if the US had not ignored Obama's policy of artificial scarcity for oil and gas.   The shale revolution has handed Russia a strategic defeat at a time when its government is trying to expand its influence.  The Russians have lost more from the drop in t

OPEC bumps up against the limits of its market manipulation

AP/Fuel Fix: Reflecting its lessening oil clout, OPEC decided Thursday to keep its output target on hold and sit out falling crude prices that will likely spiral even lower as a result. Oil prices fell sharply on the news. Even though the decision was largely expected, it showed the once-powerful cartel is losing the power to push up markets to its own advantage. The move to maintain a production target of 30 million barrels a day appeared to reflect acceptance of the Saudi view within OPEC that short-term pain had to be accepted for later gain. The Saudis and their Gulf allies hope to put economic pressure on rival producers in the U.S., which need higher prices to break even. In the long term, that could help reaffirm OPEC’s dominance of the oil market. It would also be good news for consumers and oil-importing nations. International benchmark Brent crude plunged $5 to a four-year low of $72.76 a barrel. As recently as June it was around $115. U.S. markets were closed for Thanksgiv

Life is hell in Russian ruled Crimea

Daily Mail: Teenagers murdered, women hounded on the street and money so tight even the strippers can't get paid: Inside 'prison cell' Crimea after Russian invasion EXCLUSIVE: A MailOnline reporter found claims that residents in Crimea, which was annexed by Russian president Putin in February, are being murdered for speaking Ukrainian, hounded in the street if they talk back to police, and facing desperate food shortages. They cannot even access their savings because the Ukrainian banks have been shut, and the formerly bustling resort is like a ghost town, with even the strippers (right) complaining they are no longer paid. President Putin stands accused of plundering the region's famous wine cellars. That is what happens when the despots take over.  It suggest that the Russians are no longer being greeted as liberators.  It also suggest the Russians are really fearful of losing control of the situation in Crimea.

Reaper drones to join A-10 in fighting ISIL

Daily Mail: A-10 Warthogs and Reaper drones called up to blast ISIS from the skies: U.S. Air Force's most feared ground attack planes will strike militant targets within days A dozen A-10s are being moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait by next week to start patrols over Iraq and Syria Fearsome planes can approach targets low and slow and are protected against small arms fire and RPGs - ISIS's favored weapons More drones armed with missiles will patrol the skies within weeks as war on the Islamic State is stepped up Deployment comes after 200 commanders held talks on defeating ISIS, which is half-army, half-insurgency It is a start, but they really should be sending more A-10's if they are serious about stopping ISIL and stopping the mass murders.  The Reaper is the drone with the most weapons for attacking terrorist operations on the ground.  They can linger over a station and target enemy movement to contact as they approach cities and villages in Iraq.  The A-10&

Jordan gets tough with ISIL sympathisers

Guardian: “We are with the Islamic State and you are with Obama and the infidels,” Ahmed Abu Ghalous a big, angry-looking man in blue prison overalls, shouts after being sentenced to five years in jail for “promoting the views of a terrorist group” on the internet. The outburst earns him a further 50 dinar (£45) fine for contempt of court. It is a sunny morning in Amman and the three uniformed judges in Jordan’s state security court are briskly working their way through a pile of slim grey folders on the bench before them. Each details the charges against 25 or so defendants accused of supporting the fighters of the Islamic State (Isis) , now rampaging across Syria and Iraq under their sinister black banners and sending nervous jitters across the Arab world. Thamer al-Khatib, convicted on the same charge, protests too: “Why is it all right for people to express sympathy for [Syrian president] Bashar al-Assad when he is killing women and children?” His question goes unanswered but it

OPEC finds little agreement on price manipulation

Telegraph: Opec refuses to cut oil production, crude slumps to five-year low Venezuela's representative to Opec storms out of meeting after his calls to make deep cuts to production are ignored It is tough for the petro states that have budgeted their expenditures on a price no longer supported by the market.  Socialism really sucks without a monopoly price.  Venezuela has long been trying to repeal the law of supply and demand at home and now is fighting a losing battle to do so on the world stage.

Taliban hunting down interpreters to kill them

BBC: Interpreters who worked with US forces in Afghanistan are being hunted down by the Taliban. Thousands have emigrated to the US but others have been blacklisted, refused a visa, and left in grave danger. In spring this year, two men rang Nader's doorbell so hard they pushed it half way through the wall of his mud-brick house. He came to the door, they coaxed him outside and then dragged him to the village graveyard. "When I realised they were taking me somewhere to be executed I started yelling and fighting," he says. "My brother came out to find me, but by the time he'd come they'd shot me, I just lay down and they left." If Nader had not struggled he would have been shot in the head. Instead, as the militants hurried to get away, they only managed to shoot him in the leg. Nader's village, about an hour's drive north of Kabul, is hostile territory for the Taliban. It was home to some of the bloodiest fighting during the Soviet occupation i

Plot organized in Turkey planned mass murder and kidnappings in Israel

Times of Israel: Meembers of a Hamas terror ring in the West Bank, run from the organization’s headquarters in Turkey, sought to carry out an array of major attacks, including on Jerusalem’s main soccer stadium and its light rail line, the Shin Bet security service said Thursday. The Shin Bet announcement confirmed a Times of Israel report last week that said Israel had arrested dozens of members of a Hamas terror network operating throughout the West Bank. The network, Palestinian officials said, was funded and directed by Hamas officials in Turkey who have set up a de facto command center in the Muslim country. More than 30 Hamas operatives were arrested during the month of September, the Shin Bet said Thursday. The majority were recruited while studying in Jordan and trained in either Syria or the Gaza Strip, which they entered via tunnels from Sinai. The Shin Bet said the ring was preparing to kidnap Israelis in Israel and abroad, enter Israeli villages, detonate car bombs, perp

The arms of God?--Scientist discover invisible shield protecting earth

LA Times: Scientists detected an invisible shield roughly 7,200 miles above the Earth’s surface that is protecting us from harmful, super-fast electrons flying close to the speed of light. It may sound like Star Trek tech, but this mysterious protective barrier isn't science fiction. The findings, described in the journal Nature, could help scientists better understand the complex dynamics of the Van Allen radiation belts. The Van Allen radiation belts, discovered in 1958, are two doughnut-shaped rings of energetic particles circling the Earth up to about 25,000 miles above the surface, and are held in place by the planet’s magnetic fields. Scientists have found that there appears to be an inner zone full of high-energy protons and an outer zone full of high-energy electrons. These belts are thought to be fed by cosmic rays and the solar wind, and they can swell and shrink over time in response to changes in space weather. The high-energy "killer electrons" in the belt

Will this end the medical marijuana movement?

Science Daily: 'Off switch' for pain discovered: Activating the adenosine A3 receptor subtype is key to powerful pain relief This looks like a more scientific approach to managing pain that could have significant applications.  Will liberals accept the science?

Israel arrests 30 Hamas members in West Bank alleging huge plot against Jews in Jerusalem

AP/LA Times: Israel's Shin Bet security service said Thursday it had uncovered a vast Hamas network in the West Bank that was planning large-scale attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem. The Shin Bet said it arrested more than 30 Hamas militants who planned to kidnap Israelis and carry out attacks against Jerusalem's light-rail system and its largest soccer stadium, among other targets. It said the men were trained and recruited in Jordan and Turkey and that various arms and explosives were recovered. ... The arrests come amid Israel's worst sustained bout of violence in nearly a decade. Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks over the last month, including five people who were killed with guns and meat cleavers in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue last week. Most of the violence has occurred in Jerusalem, along with deadly attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. ... Hamas is still at war with Israel despite its ceasefire in Gaza.  Their attemp

ISIL tries to cut communications from Mosul to outside world

AP: Militants from the Islamic State group blocked all mobile phone networks in the largest Iraqi city they control, Mosul, accusing informants in the city of tipping off coalition forces to their whereabouts, residents told The Associated Press on Thursday. Residents described a scene of "chaos" and "paralysis" in the city Thursday, a day after the militants announced their decision on their Mosul-based radio network. Businesses were at a standstill as residents tried to understand what was happening, they said. Some are still able to access the Internet, which operates under a different network. All residents spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. ... The shutting down of phone lines is a notably switch from what has been the group's core strategy so far — focusing on providing services and establishing administration in areas it controls to win support of the locals. In parts of Syria under its control, the group now administers courts, fixe

False testimony against the police should be prosecuted

Watch the latest video at Rudy Giuliani makes the case for prosecuting those who falsely claimed Brown was shot int he back or shot while laying on the ground. RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: Here's the amazing thing. I read some of the testimony today. If you look at witness number ten, not identified by name or by race, but I'm pretty sure an African-American from the discussion. He corroborates every single thing that that officer just said including the fact that no one put their hands up. In fact, he came forward because he was angry and offended that people were lying about the fact that he was shot in the back and that Brown had put his hands up. MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Wow, that's amazing. GIULIANI: And he describes exactly the same thing. The reaching in, the shooting, the fact that the police officer got out of the car. The police officer yelled to Brown. Brown, instead of stopping, ran toward him. The police officer shot him two or three tim

Hagel caught in Obama spin machine

Austin Bay: President Barack Obama has fired Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The Beltway clerks and pundits tell us Hagel is a political scapegoat, a sacrifice to Obama's electoral drubbing. This explanation may be accurate, at least in part. Removing a senior cabinet member is an inherently dramatic gesture. It can signal the president's intent to rectify a problem or to promote new thinking. Rectifying and promoting, however, require follow-through, deeds to achieve results. Without follow-through, the gesture is little more than media theatrics. After six years, the public is painfully aware that made-for-media drama, especially personalizing drama, is the sine qua non of Obama administration political operations. Mentioning the Benghazi consular attack of Sept. 11, 2012, incites argument. However, the Obama administration's immediate political operational response to Benghazi provides an instructive example of "personalizing drama" and blame as an operatio

A-10's finally back in Iraq to fight ISIL

Medium: The A-10 Warthog Is Back in Iraq — And Just in Time Attack jets prep for war as Ramadi defenders make do without air support The A-10 is better suited for the mission in Iraq.  It can fly low and slow making it s\easier to spot enemy movement to contact.  This is a fairly long piece but worth reading.

Voter ID laws not as bad as Democrats claim

NY Times: Studies Back Up That Few Elections Are Swung by Voter ID Laws The Brennan Center for Justice points to large numbers of voters who can be disenfranchised, but that doesn’t mean many election results will change. Most of the arguments against the laws are circular  claims that there is a lack of evidence of fraud.  Of course fraud is hard to detect without the ID requirement.  As for not changing the results of an election, it is hard to quantify the deterrent effect of people not committing voter fraud because they are afraid they will get caught of they have to produce an ID.  I suspect people are more likely to cheat if they think they will not get caught.

Experts and the perp--Why focus only on police?

NY Times: Experts Dissect Officer’s Decisions in Ferguson Shooting Many experts said that Darren Wilson acted within the bounds of protocol, though some said the quick escalation of the fatal encounter could have been avoided. I guess it is easier to dissect the decisions of Michael Brown who made several bad choices on the day he died.  Start with his strong arm robbery caught on tape.  Then there is failure to follow the lawful orders of a policeman to stop.  Then there is the attacking of the officer in his vehicle and trying to get his gun.  There is the refusal to stop when ordered to.  And finally there is charging toward an officer with his gun drawn.   There are several points in this short period of time when Michael Brown could have saved his own life.  It appears it was the culminating point of a short life of bad choices. I would also like to see more attention focused on the false narrative of Brown's alleged accomplice and others who claimed they saw the shoo

Smart dogs?

Daily Mail: Dogs really DO understand their master's voice: Researchers find canines process language in a similar way to humans Sussex researchers have found that pet dogs process language in a similar way to humans, learning to recognise the groups of consonants and vowels that make up spoken commands. My current dog surprises me with his comprehension of what I am saying.  I started out with basic commands such as Come or Stay.  He has the habit of waiting for me by the mail box on the road about a quarter of a mile from the house when I leave to go to town.  When I get out to check the mail I tell him "Go to the house" and he is off like Rin Tin Tin.  He also seems to understand  Let's go home."  When we both go to the mail box, I tell him "Let;s go check the mail" and he heads for the door heads down the road with me.  Winner is a shelter dog that looks like an Irish setter.  He loves kids and is very protective when we are out for a walk if

Congress can defund Obama's amnesty order

Daily Mail: Congress CAN pull financial rug from under Obama's immigration amnesty: Republicans given boost by non-partisan body The thorny question is answered: Homeland Security authorities need congressional approval for every dime they spend, even if they collect it as part of a fee charged to an immigrant. Even if an agency is self funding, Congress can still direct how the money is spent.   The key for the Republicans is to avoid approving an omnibus bill which would allow Obama to shut down the government if he did not like the provision.  By separately funding each aspect of government, Congress can send him a spending bill for DHS and if he vetoes it is only shuts down that department.