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

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

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

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

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

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

Will ISIS lose its recruiting edge with loss of caliphate?

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

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

The radical Islam addiction leads to mass murders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump fulfills campaign promise on approval of Keystone XL pipeline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People voting with their feet--Leaving Chicago

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Daily Mail:

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

Permian wells being drilled but not complete to hold leases

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota forces healthcare workers to pay union thugs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marines and special ops take dam 25 miles from Raqqa

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

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

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

When deportation is not enough

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Daily Mail:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Another false claim of a crime

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

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

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

Oil companies using offshore technology advantage for wind energy

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

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

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

Mollie Hemingway:

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

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

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

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

Media falsely claims there is no evidence of vote fraud

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

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

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

I will be having eye surgery this morning

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

Attempts to sabotage Trump administration look more than incidental

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

Former admin planted series of landmines to subvert Trump team

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

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

Rail gun tested

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Daily Mail:

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

Intelligence from Yemen raid led to laptop ban from certain countries

Daily Mail:

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

Islamic terrorist attack hits London

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

How the surveillance of Trump team worked

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

A real life cyber war between nation states has already happened

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

Deputy NSA chief says government bureaucracy harming response to cyber threats

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

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

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

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



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

Democrats frustrated by their ineffective attacks on Gorsuch

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NY Times:
What to Watch: Will Democrats Be More Aggressive With Neil Gorsuch?
Eric Thayer for The New York Times Judge Neil M. Gorsuch during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. His testimony was folksier, a little more combative and a little more canned. Democratic senators were frustrated in the first round of confirmation hearings for Judge Gorsuch, who offered little insight on his personal thoughts on contentious legal matters. My impression of the Democrat questioning is that none of them are as smart as Gorsuch and they appear to be reading from a canned script in some cases with little understanding of the issues they are raising.   They have a misleading understanding of the theory of originalism.  They seem to prefer a "living constitution" approach which gives liberals wide latitude to make up new rights and laws from the penumbra or whatever.

They prefer decisions that advance their political agenda regardless of the merits of the …

Media trend--Trump budget is hurting GOP base?

NY Times:
Eyeing Trump’s Budget, G.O.P. Governors Say ‘No, Thanks’
As the White House presses for bone-deep spending cuts, some Republican governors have complained about reductions that they see as harmful or arbitrary.Of acute concern to Republicans are a handful of low-profile programs aimed at job training and economic revitalization. I am not a governor, nor do I want that job, but I have been pleasantly surprised by Trump's budget proposals.  His cuts make sense to me, and they certainly will have no negative effect on my life, and they appear to be a down payment on reducing the debt my grandkids will inherit.

But this has been a theme of NY Times reports including a recent one suggesting that Trump voters would be hurt the most.  You get the feeling that Times editors think the best way to keep liberalism fully funded is to act like they are concerned about the Republican base.

BTW, the governor of Texas supports many of the cuts and is pushing his own cuts to sanctuary cit…

Media distorts Russian intent regarding Hillary Clinton.

Washington Examiner:
Media reports this week inaccurately played up the idea that FBI Director James Comey said Russia was pushing hard for Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton, by omitting a critical portion of the intelligence community's assessment that said Russia was actually preparing for a Clinton victory, and was seeking to undermine her.
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Comey paraphrased the report during his testimony. "When Mr. Trump became the nominee, there was some sense that it'd be great if he could win, be great if we could help him," said Comey. "But we need to hurt her to matter what, and then it shifted to he has no chance, so let's just focus on undermining her. That was the judgment of the intelligence community."

Comey added that Putin "hated" Democrat Hillary Clinton "so much" that his preference was "for the person running against the person he hated so much."
... This is why you cannot trust the mainstream media on this issu…

Media and Democrats mislead about revelations at hearing on Russia and election

Joel Pollack:
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Monday’s hearing “debunked” Trump’s wiretapping tweets, but left his underlying claim intact: that there was surveillance of the Trump campaign; that the results were shared throughout the government — even possibly reaching the Obama White House; and that intelligence was leaked, illegally, to the mainstream media.
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Gowdy’s questioning revealed an astonishing list of potential suspects. And given that the FBI and NSA testified that there was still no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, the fact remains that the only crime that is known to have occurred with absolute certainty was the leaking of Flynn’s name and the contents of his conversation with the Russian ambassador.
... If you read the mainstream media accounts of the hearing you might miss the most important revelations.  The left is still playing semantics games over the term wiretap, instead of focusing on the reality of what was happening.

Meanwhile. the Washingt…

$10 billion petrochemical plant clears hurdle for construction near Corpus Christi

Fuel Fix:
A $10 billion petrochemical complex north of Corpus Christi can move forward after a local school board faced down community opposition and unanimously approved millions of dollars in tax breaks sought by two of world’s biggest companies.

The Gregory-Portland School Board, after more than four hours of debate and deliberation Tuesday night, Tuesday voted 6-0, with one abstention, to approve tax abatements that would extend for more than 15 years, part of $460 million in tax breaks sought from local governing bodies by Exxon Mobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., or SABIC, a company owned by the government of Saudi Arabia. The San Patricio County Commissioners approved tax breaks on Monday.

The plant, the largest proposed in Texas, would create an estimated 11,000 construction jobs and 600 permanent ones and feature the world’s biggest ethane cracker, which processes a component of natural gas into ethylene, the primary building block of most plastics. Exxon Mobil and SABIC …

Permian Basin oil play could be larger than huge Saudi Arabia field

CNN/Money:
The Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico has emerged as the new poster boy of the U.S. shale oil revolution. Land prices in the Permian have skyrocketed, drilling activity has tripled since last year and production there is poised to soar despite cheap oil prices.

Some are even predicting this hotbed of shale activity could eventually surpass the colossal Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oilfield.

The Permian's rise on the global stage couldn't come at a worse time for OPEC, which just last November cobbled together a delicate deal to deal with the oil glut by cutting production.

The latest resurgence of U.S. shale oil output from the basin has caught OPEC off guard. Its strength even prompted U.S. government experts to recently predict that American oil production could soar to a new record by 2018.
...
The key is that the unique geology of the Permian allows frackers to hit multiple layers of oil as they drill into the ground. That's wh…

Solar energy creating a problem for California

Press Enterprise:
California's power-grid operators are dealing with a glut of daytime electricity produced by household, government, business and industrial solar installations.

This forces the electricity prices on state's real-time marketplace to plummet, leading some power-plant operators to shut down until demand catches up with supply later in the day.

And increasing amounts of wind and solar energy are being wasted or "curtailed," as they call it, because no one can use it, according to data obtained from the California Independent System Operator ( Cal ISO).

Last year 305,241 megawatt hours of solar and wind electricity were curtailed -- a loss of enough carbon-free electricity that could have powered about 45,000 California homes for a year. This was almost double the amount of clean power that was lost through curtailment in 2015.

This energy loss coincided with a 28 percent yearly increase in electricity produced from large-scale solar plants on the state&…

A windfall for the family of a drug smuggler

Washington Post:
U.S. border officers told a Mexican teen to drink liquid meth. His family received $1 million for his death.

The boy had just crossed the border with two bottles he claimed were apple juice. Customs and Border Protection agents told him to drink it to prove he wasn't lying. Two hours later he was dead. This is as crazy as the person who drank the meth.  Would anyone pay this guy money to smuggle apple juice into the US?  Of course not.  All the guy had to do was either refuse to drink it or confess.  This sounds like an injustice to the US taxpayers and a reward to a family that does not deserve it.

Will Hawaii and Maryland say laptops have constitutional rights?

NY Times:
U.S. Limits Devices on Foreign Airlines From Eight Countries
The Trump administration has barred carrying on devices larger than a cellphone, including laptop computers and tablets, on American-bound foreign flights from 8 majority-Muslim countries. When will liberals go to bat for Muslim laptops and tablets?  The first amendment, after all, includes more than just religion but also includes speech.  Will they argue that noncitizen's speech is also protected?

There is no weariness in fighting another big Democrat lie about a Repubican

NY Times:
Fresh Worries on Russia for Trump’s Weary Defenders
The obsessiveness and ferocity of President Trump’s pushback against critics who suggested his campaign colluded with the Russians are making an uncertain situation worse. Democrats do not have much credibility on this issue and Comey lost credibility when he failed to seek an indictment of Hillary's Clinton's obvious mishandling of classified material.  These are the same Democrats who pushed the "Bush lied" lie after they voted to support the war in Iraq.  They knew they were the ones lying and they have thought up this lie to explain away the loss of an election by a lousy candidate.   The media has also lost credibility on the issue, first proclaiming there were wiretaps and then acting as if they never said it.

If the NSA can record Gen. Flynn talking to the Russian ambassador and then give transcripts of that to Democrat operatives to give to the media, that only adds to the lack of trust in any inves…

Comey could probably find more Russian ties to Clinton's campaign than Trump's

NY Times:
G.O.P. Responds by Changing Subject
As Mr. Comey acknowledged an investigation, Republicans instead focused on leaks to news organizations.  From the Podestas to other prominent donors there were overt ties between Russia and the Clinton campaign, but democrats would rather blame Russia for its election loss than its lousy candidate and the lousy issues the Democrats have been pushing.

The GOP focus on the other hand, is on the only real crime that has surfaced so far, and it appears to have been perpetrated by those with ties to the Clinton campaign or the Obama administration.  You can find a list of potential suspects involved with the illegal leak in this post.

The Clinton campaigns Russian connections

Washington Free Beacon:
A number of top Democratic lobbyist bundlers, who together pulled in millions of dollars for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and donated generously to Democratic leaders, personally represent or work at firms that have represented Russian interests in recent years, according to a review of foreign agent registration filings.

Several powerful lobbyists who have pushed millions of dollars into Democratic coffers have ties to foreign banks and governments.
... There is much more.

This is just another example of how bogus the claims being made against the trump campaign are.  Democrats would love to find this kind of connection with the Trump campaign.

Chicoms and Russians concerned abut missile defense

Stratfor:
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For the Russians, not to mention Pyongyang's Chinese backers, the deployment of U.S. antiballistic missile (ABM) technology around the world is becoming a bigger and bigger concern. The Kremlin's anxiety, on clear display in Europe over the past few years, has more recently come to include the Asia-Pacific as the United States wraps up its delivery of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to South Korea. That these systems will extend the coverage of missile defense radars operated by U.S. allies to include Chinese and Russian territory is an obvious concern to Beijing and Moscow, since the systems will enable Washington to better track missile flights and tests in both countries. But their fears go far beyond these immediate consequences.

Instead, Russia and China worry that the United States' devotion to investing in ABM technology could severely undermine their nuclear deterrents in the long run. After all, the latest generation of ABM systems — w…

Putting a bigger financial squeeze on North Korea

Reuters:
The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

The sanctions would be part of a multi-pronged approach of increased economic and diplomatic pressure – especially on Chinese banks and firms that do the most business with North Korea – plus beefed-up defenses by the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies, according to the administration official familiar with the deliberations.

While the long-standing option of pre-emptive military strikes against North Korea is not off the table – as reflected by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's warning to Pyongyang during his Asia tour last week - the new administration is giving priority for now to less-risky options.
... This move would also put greater pressure on the Chinese to do something to stop the Nor…

US moves ahead with program to create airborne aircraft carriers

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Janes:
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Dynetics, Inc. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) have been contracted to continue development of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that can be launched and recovered from a host 'mother ship' aircraft. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. and Lockheed Martin were the other two companies contracted under Phase 1 of the programme.

"The Phase 1 programme showed the feasibility of airborne UAS launch and recovery systems that would require minimal modification to the host aircraft," said Scott Wierzbanowski, DARPA programme manager, adding, "We're aiming in Phase 2 to mature two system concepts to enable 'aircraft carriers in the sky' using air-recoverable UASs that could carry various payloads -advances that would greatly extend the range, flexibility, and affordability of UAS operations for the US military."

The Gremlins programme envisions launching groups of UASs from multiple types of military aircraft -…

Unmasking the leaker of the Flynn call

Trey Gowdy names a few people who had access to the information that was leaked and gets Comey to confirm that access.

US oil production continue to increase

Since US oil producers do not have the same high overhead of most OPEC producers who are burdened by having to subsidize government spending in most cases, its makes money at the current price in many US formations.  The growth in US production is likely to continue and actually increase as Trump administration policies reduce the tax burden.

What is needed for the US to become more self-sufficient in energy production is to get refineries that can handle the light crude being produced from many of the shale wells.  Even when US production offsets the import of oil the market will still be effected by OPEC to some extent, but it is clearly not in OPEC's interests to start another suicidal predatory pricing scheme.

Right now, OPEC is still treading water as inventories remain high.

Israel missile defense system nearly complete

VOA:
Israel's multi-tier air defense missile system will be fully operational early next month with the deployment of the David's Sling interceptor, a senior Israeli air force officer said on Monday.

David's Sling, designed to shoot down rockets fired from 100 to 200 kilometers away, will be the final piece of a shield that already includes short-range Iron Dome and long-range Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 missiles.

"In the next two weeks we will declare operational the David's Sling and at that time we will have completed our multi-tier (defense capability)," said the officer who could not be identified under military rules.

"I'm sure that together with the Iron Dome and the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 it will enhance our ability to deal with threats," he added.

Israel used Iron Dome extensively to intercept rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the 2014 Gaza war, and the Arrow missiles were developed with an Iranian missile threat in mind.

David's Sling…

Canadians not that eager to have illegal aliens either

Reuters:
Exclusive: Almost half of Canadians want illegal border crossers deported - Reuters poll Previous media reports would suggest otherwise, but this poll seems to make more sense that the narrative that these people are being welcomed with open arms.

This media guy will probably not get a pass at next Super Bowl

Washington Post:
Police track down not one but two missing Tom Brady Super Bowl jerseys in Mexico

Video and an informant helped authorities find the jerseys the Patriots quarterback wore in Super Bowls XLIX and LI. In this instance it may be safe to blame the media. Stealing from a limited access area limits the potential targets of the investigation, and the video made it easier to run down the alleged perp.

Cutting the USAID boondoggles

Mark  Moyar:
The Trump administration’s new budget outline calls for a 28% cut in funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Defenders of USAID insist that foreign aid is vital to advancing U.S. interests. They’re right—but there’s also plenty of waste.

On its website, USAID explains that the “Purple My School” program, a joint venture with the United Nations, “encourages peers, teachers and parents to become allies of LGBTI students” in eight Asian countries. “Through teachers’ facilitation, students discuss issues surrounding homophobia, how to create safe spaces for LGBTI students, and are encouraged to wear, draw, or make something purple.” (The acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex.)

To promote transgender rights in Central America, USAID has “helped Guatemala’s Election Tribunal update election manuals and provide trainings to electoral officials on how to be sensitive to people whose appearances are not cong…

Jury summons demonstrate non-citizens voting in US elections

Washington Times:
The debate over noncitizens voting was a hot topic a few years ago in Frederick County, a prosperous Maryland suburb wedged between Washington’s urban metropolis and the state’s rural western gateway to the rest of America.

Conservative activists went to court to show that noncitizens were registering fraudulently to vote. A court employee met their request by turning over pages of residents’ names disqualified from jury duty because of alien status.

When those lists were compared with voting records for just three years — 2007, 2008 and 2011 — nearly 180 noncitizens were found to have registered to vote. Of those, 63 had voted, some in multiple elections. The 180 registered votes came from 1,400 disqualified noncitizens in those three years, a rate of 12.8 percent.


The issue of noncitizen voters has taken on national importance. President Trump, who said 3 million or so voted illegally in November, plans to name a federal task force to investigate.

Frederick County’s nu…

Trump is not a fascists neo or otherwise

NY Times:
Nationalist Victories Reinvigorate Europe’s Far Right
Once in the shadows, neo-fascists in Europe have become more hopeful after a wave of victories, including Donald J. Trump’s. Fascists have always been leftists.  The Nazi's were socialists who were closer in their economic policies to modern liberals than to conservatives.   In the US today it is liberal fascists who are the violent extremists.  The Brownshirt wing of liberal fascism is responsible for attacks on campus speakers who they disagree with and violent attacks on Trump supporters.  The media seems blind to this development.

Trump lets the military make military decisions on how to fight the nation's wars

NY Times:
Trump Adopts Hands-Off Style on Military Operations
The change reverses what aides and some generals say was the Obama administration’s tendency to micromanage.But the new approach could raise questions of whether President Trump is exercising enough oversight. Obama was an amateur when it came to fighting wars and surrounded himself with other amateurs on his national security team, keeping the generals and other military experts at arms length.  That is one of the reasons his policies were such a a disaster.  From his decision to retreat from Iraq and pull troops out of Afghanistan to his reluctance to engage against ISIS he made poor decisions.  He was the worst war time leader since Lyndon Johnson.

One of the strengths of the US system for fighting wars is to give maximum flexibility to those charged with fighting it.  From Lieutenants to Generals, orders are given to take certain objectives and those who get the orders develop a plan to accomplish them.  When a President …

Israeli technology could make it easier to locate and deal with terrorists

Israel Defense:
Technologies for spotting and recognizing targets remotely using biometric data are emerging around the world. One of the technologies that evolved in recent years is Automatic Target Recognition (ATR). Target recognition enables smart weapon systems to acquire targets according to visual characteristics and patterns. This technology has significantly improved the efficiency of offensive missile systems, unmanned vehicles, surveillance systems and other resources.

The significant advantage of this technology is the improvement in the fire circuit closure intervals owing to the automated target recognition. The process of identifying the target or "target acquisition" as it is referred to in the military jargon is a critical phase that starts up the fire circuit. As the fire circuit is made up of a three-phase process that includes recognition, incrimination and elimination, the ATR technology made it possible to shorten the time gap between the recognition an…

Iran's Syrian quagmire

Jerusalem Post:
Iran has lost thousands of fighters and more than 10 generals during its engagement in the Syria- Iraq wars, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported on Sunday.
...
At a conference on martyrdom in Iranian culture on March 6, Mohammad Ali Shahidi, director of the Martyrs Foundation, estimated Iranian losses in the Syria-Iraq wars at 2,100.

The report noted that Washington Institute for Near East Policy researcher Ali Alfoneh recently put the number of Iranian losses at 2,603.

The center broke down the 2,603 as 511 actual Iranians, 1,045 Hezbollah fighters and 1,047 Afghan, Pakistani and other Shi’ite militia fighters – all under Iranian command.

Notably, more than 10 Iranians of the rank equivalent to a brigadier- general have been among those killed.

The intelligence report claimed that the high losses, especially of so many senior officers, is the reason Iran’s military footprint in Syria and Iraq has fallen from thousands to hundreds.

Othe…

Trump vs. Warren--'A dream come true'?

Image
Republicans in general would like to see her become the face of the Democrats even in 2018.

The Schumer Supreme Court nomination game

Washington Examiner:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., last Wednesday dragged out his feeble effort to block Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court. Ahead of today's confirmation hearing, he trotted out three people, representing supposed "victims" of Gorsuch's jurisprudence. He hoped to demonstrate that Gorsuch is hostile toward workers and cancer patients, and takes the side of "the powerful" and corporations against the "powerless" little guy.

Never mind that in all three cases, one of which was decided unanimously by a three judge panel that included one of former President Bill Clinton's appointees, Gorsuch scrupulously applied the text of the laws as written by the Congress in which Schumer serves. Schumer just didn't like the outcomes or, to be more precise, he hopes the outcomes might be sufficiently tear-jerking that they can inflict damage on the judge's chances of confirmation. He feels pressure fro…