Showing posts from 2017

Norks take another American hostage

Washington Post:
U.S. citizen becomes 3rd American held in North Korea

South Korea’s news agency reported that the man, who was arrested trying to leave the airport in Pyongyang, has been a professor at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology and had been involved in aid work. This is what the thug government of North Korea does when it is under pressure.  It did something similar when Malaysia was dealing with the murder of Kim's half-brother.  It a previous hostage-taking they viewed getting former Presiden Clinton;s coming to get him released as a diplomatic triumph.

Trump's base remains with him despite the most hostile media in US history

Washington Post:
Trump’s approval ratings sit at record lows but base stays steady, poll shows

President Trump is nearing the 100-day mark of his administration as the least popular chief executive in modern times. His voters are largely satisfied with his performance, but his base of support hasn’t grown since he took office, according to a Post-ABC News poll. The media has to be frustrated by their inability to separate Trump from his base.  Despite a myriad array of stories alleging his policies will hurt his base, those people are sticking with him.  What the media and other leftist do not seem to get is that people were actually voting against them more than they were voting for Trump.  All their attacks since his election have only reinforced the resolve of his base to oppose the evils of liberalism.

By focusing all their anger and resentment on Trump the left is ignoring their real problem.  People do not like them or their policies.  There is a reason why Democrats have lost ov…

Venezuela now has its own version of the Iranian Baiji

NY Times:
Armed Civilian Bands in Venezuela Prop Up President
Members of the so-called collectives, or colectivos in Spanish, operate with impunity and will defend their besieged president at all costs, experts say. I suspect that Maduro probably got the idea from the Iranians who he helps with Venezuelan passports.  Other close ties have also been alleged between the two governments.

The Baiji were the Iranian thugs who were used to suppress the actual reformers in Iran who were protesting the theft of the election by the religious bigots who rule Iran.

The 'Trump is a Russian tool' narrative is incoherent

Power Line:
When the Trump campaign (allegedly) conspired with Putin to engineer the unlikely defeat of Hillary Clinton, did Putin get anything in return? Apparently not. The story line refuses to cohere. In the world according to the Democrats, however, if the facts don’t fit you must not acquit. You must recommit.

Two months ago the sober Hudson Institute Distinguished Fellow and foreign policy historian Walter Russell Mead impolitely noted that “Trump isn’t sounding like a Russian mole.”Trump had remarked “effusively” to Reuters on the importance of expanding the American nuclear arsenal. Mead commented: “What the press has largely ignored about Trump’s latest pronouncement is an obvious truth that undermines its own narrative: someone who was safely in Vladimir Putin’s pocket wouldn’t run around saying things like this.”

Mead must have wanted to provoke the Democrats’ idiotic media adjunct. He enlarged to telling effect on this point. Like the little boy who declined to praise the…

Democrats' case against the Senate for not approving Garland rejected by Supreme Court

Daily Signal:
On Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case of Michel v. McConnell, where the courts below rejected a citizen’s effort to sue senators for inaction on D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

The lower courts’ opinions explain why another controversial dispute, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) v. Donald J. Trump, will also fail—with only days left until the government’s response is due in that case.

Disappointed with the process of the Senate’s refusal to hold a vote on Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Steven S. Michel sued Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for allegedly violating his constitutional right “to elect his senators by depriving his home-state senators of a voice” in the nomination process.

The U.S. Court of Appeals found, as did the district court below, that Michel “lacked standing to bring this action because he failed to demonstrate an…

The Democrat's misleading new motto

Jason Russell:
If you've ever wanted to get a high-five from Pajama Boy or a compliment from your neighbor that still hasn't removed their "I'm With Her" bumper sticker, the Democratic National Committee has a shirt for you. For $30, you can wear a shirt that says "Democrats give a sh*t about people." The unspoken implication is obvious: Republicans don't care about people. Don't vote for them.

A more truthful motto might be "Democrats give a sh*t about some people," because there are plenty of people about whom the Democrats lack any sh*ts to give.

Consider millions of children in low-income families, trapped in terrible schools because Democrats and teachers unions wouldn't let them have a choice to go somewhere else.

What about the coal miners that Hillary Clinton wanted to put out of work?

What about fetuses with a beating heart several weeks after fertilization?

The shirt should have an asterisk that says "*except coal mi…

Predictions of the end of the world are greatly exaggerated

Mark Perry:
18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year With that track record, you would think the left would pause for consideration, but they are still in denial about the pause in "global warming."

French women rebel against Muslim cultural dictates

NBC News:
Muslims preoccupy Jennifer Troin.

"I'm worried about my nieces having to wear the veil," said the soft-spoken 29-year-old.

This fear has helped propel the young mother to the far-right of the political spectrum ahead of key presidential elections Sunday — and into the arms of the hard-line National Front party.

Troin sells children's clothes at a store in Cogolin, a town of 11,000 a few miles from the jet-set resorts of the French Riviera. In 2014, Cogolin became one of a handful of communities nationwide to elect mayors from the National Front, which is also known by the acronym FN.Jennifer Troin, 29, is a sales assistant in a children's clothes store in Cogolin, France on April 13, 2017.Saphora Smith / for NBC News

Troin told NBC News that it wasn't just the FN's stance on Islam and immigration that attracted her, but also the party's populist take on the economy.

But most of all, it was the party's charismatic leader, Marine Le Pen, who ca…

Are these the same people who said New York city would be underwater by now?

Washington Post:
At March for Science in D.C.: ‘The oceans are rising, and so are we’

Historians say today’s demonstrations in Washington and hundreds of other cities around the world are “pretty unprecedented.” Thousands of people are rallying in support of research and evidence-based policy. These people are allowing themselves to be used by Democrats who want excuses for instituting control freak government.

There is a difference between being challenged and being 'under siege'

NY Times:
Scientists, Feeling Besieged, March Against Trump
Thousands of scientists and enthusiasts took to the streets in Washington and around the world on Saturday to protest the administration’s policies. One of their problems is that the Democrats have politicized science instead of embracing scientific inquiry.  Those with an inquiring mind who challenge the political orthodoxy are called "deniers."  Skeptics is probably a more descriptive term.  There is a reason for skepticism.

The models used to project "climate change" are clearly flawed, yet the proponents of the CO2 hysteria cannot explain which of their assumptions is invalid.  Like Einstein's description of insanity, they keep on pumping in the same data expecting to get a different result.  They stubbornly refuse to consider other alternatives.

Resorting to insults of those who disagree with them is causing them to lose the argument.  They really need to engage with the skeptics and try to find …

Leaders of Gulf Cartel and Zetas killed in shoot out in Mexico

AP/Houston Chronicle:
Two top drug traffickers have been killed in pre-dawn shootouts Saturday with federal force in the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas, authorities reported.

The Tamaulipas security spokesman's office says the men were killed in separate confrontations, which left highways littered with burned-out vehicles.

Julian Loisa Salinas, better known as "Comandante Toro," was killed in the border city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas.


On Saturday, photos showed burned-out cars, trucks and buses littering the streets, and state authorities said his supporters had set fires and tried to block roads in Reynosa in an unsuccessful effort to help him escape.

Also Saturday, the leader of the rival "Zetas" cartel in the Tamaulipas state capital of Ciudad Victoria was killed in a similar shootout further south. He was tentatively identified as Francisco "Pancho" Carreon.
... In previous encounters where there was an attem…

Any attack on the Norks would include taking out the artillery threatening Seoul

Washington Post:
The U.S. has 25 million reasons to refrain from a military strike on North Korea

Kim Jong Un’s regime could retaliate by unleashing its conventional weaponry lined up on the demilitarized zone that has separated the two Koreas for about seven decades. That weaponry is reliable and could devastate South Korea’s populous capital. The US and South Korea would include strikes against the artillery units threatening Seoul in an opening salvo.  The attacks would probably include attacks by MOAB's or MOP ordinance that would destroy the weapons and those who were manning it.

Democrat disarray-Most popular guy is an economic illiterate who is not a Democrat

NY Times:
At a ‘Unity’ Stop in Nebraska, Democrats Find Anything But
At the center of the debate over the party’s future is Senator Bernie Sanders, who has emerged as the most popular active politician in America, but he isn’t even a Democrat. Sanders is a likable curmudgeon, but anyone who actually thinks socialism is a good idea is ignorant of history and economics.

If socialism were sound economics, Cuba and Venezuela would be wealthy countries instead of impoverished countries run by despots.  Socialism is where people stand in line for food instead of a new iPhone.  It is where healthcare is rationed and countries free ride on pharmaceuticals developed in the US by capitalists.

What is really sad is that the education establishment perpetuates this ignorance about socialism creating uninformed voters to support policies proposed by Sanders.  That tells you something about what a lousy job the schools are doing.

Hillary Clinton's search for scapegoats for her stunning loss to Trump focused on Russia and FBI

The new Clinton campaign tell-all, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, reveals how Hillary Clinton personally placed blame for her bruising defeat on Russian meddling “within twenty-four hours of her concession speech.”

The blistering behind-the-scenes book, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, illustrates how Hillary Clinton furiously blamed her defeat on the FBI investigation into her private emails, Russian interference, and Trump’s supposed support from “white nationalists.”

From Shattered:

On a phone call with a longtime friend a couple of days after the election, Hillary was much less accepting of her defeat. She put a fine point on the factors she believed cost her the presidency: the FBI (Comey), the KGB (the old name for Russia’s intelligence service), and the KKK (the support Trump got from white nationalists).

“I’m angry,” Hillary told her friend. And exhausted. After two brutal campaigns against Sanders and Trump, Hillary now had to explain the fa…

Manhunt underway for CIA leaker that allegedly provided material to Wikileaks

Washington Times:
Federal law enforcement authorities believe it was a vetted member of the U.S. intelligence community — either an official CIA employee or a contractor — who supplied WikiLeaks with a trove of documents that the anti-secrecy group published last month purporting to expose the agency’s vast clandestine cyberoperations.

While the CIA has refused to comment on an investigation into the matter, intelligence sources who spoke anonymously with The Washington Times on Thursday did not push back against the veracity of news reports that the agency and the FBI are engaged in a manhunt for the suspected leaker within the U.S. government.

CNN reported Thursday night that federal prosecutors are separately weighing whether to bring criminal charges against members of the WikiLeaks organization, taking a second look at a 2010 leak of diplomatic cables and military documents as well as last month’s CIA leak.

The network cited unnamed sources behind the claim, but noted that Attorney …

The Austin-San Antonio corridor is becoming a mega city.

Joel Kotkin:
If you drive south from Dallas, or west from Houston, a subtle shift takes place. The monotonous, flat prairie that dominates much of Texas gives way to a landscape that rises and ebbs.

The region around Highway 35 is called the Hill Country, and although it does not seem so curvy to a Californian, it is some of the very nicest land in the state of Texas, attracting a growing coterie of wealthy boomers seeking rural retreats. It also turns out to be a growth corridor that is expanding more rapidly than any other in the nation. The area is home to three of the 10 counties with more than 100,000 residents that have logged the fastest population growth in the country since 2010.

In fact, there is no regional economy that has more momentum than the one that straddles the 74 miles between San Antonio and Austin. Between these two fast-growing urban centers lie a series of rapidly expanding counties and several smaller cities, notably San Marcos, that are attracting residents a…

Drone strike against Zawahiri nearly killed him

He has been the forgotten man in the West’s desperate campaign to obliterate the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). He didn’t even merit a cameo in the celebratory coverage of Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs in 2011. For several years, he has been described as the leader of a spent force.

Yet Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s mentor and successor, remains a key player in an attack threat to America that retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, the U.S. homeland security secretary, says is "worse today than what we experienced 16 years ago on 9/11.” And if officials in the Donald Trump administration have their way, al-Zawahiri’s name will soon be as familiar to the world as bin Laden’s once was.

The White House signaled a new, tougher approach to eliminating al-Zawahiri and his militant allies in early April with the appointment of Lisa Curtis to head the South Asia desk for the National Security Council. A well-known former CIA analyst, congressi…

Corruption in Mexico is turning it into a narco state

Many of Mexico’s top leaders are linked to the brutal drug cartels overrunning their country. As Mexico slips further into a failed narco-state, top politicians’ links with drug cartels possibly help explain why.
Despite his many campaign promises, the current Mexican president has been unable to put a halt to the raging cartel violence taking place in his country; or has he been unwilling?

As a candidate and during his term in office, Peña Nieto has openly supported many of the cartel linked politicians who are now in trouble with the law. As Breitbart Texas reported, operators from the Juarez Cartel allegedly funneled illicit funds into Peña Nieto’s 2012 presidential bid. The funds were used to buy cash cards that were then given to citizens in exchange for their votes. The scandal became known as Monexgate and was originally discovered by famed Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui.
... There is much, including the names of the alleged cartel associated politicians.  P…

Selling kids on the evils of communism

Daily Signal:
In order to make the deadliest ideology of the 20th century palatable to young Americans, “Communism for Kids” is coming to a bookstore near you.

This newly released book from MIT Press “proposes a different kind of communism, one that is true to its ideals and free from authoritarianism.”

The death toll from communist regimes in the 20th century is well-documented. One study found that more people were killed under communism than homicide and genocide combined, and only 9 million more people were killed in World War I and World War II combined than under governments of this ideology.

Another study showed how the mass killings of civilians by their own governments took an immediate nosedive after the collapse of the Soviet Union and international communism.

According to the Amazon synopsis, the book weaves a fairy tale of “jealous princesses, fancy swords, displaced peasants, mean bosses, and tired workers.”

It is bewildering why MIT Press would publish a book that cutesies …

Syria joined the axis of evil by buying WMD from North Korea

Defense One:
Weapons from North Korea have ended up in Syria, ultimately enriching the Kim regime and prolonging Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power.

The civil war in Syria, which began in 2011, has been a tragedy for millions of people, including refugees fleeing the violence and residents caught in the crossfire. But for North Korea’s ruling elite, the conflict has in many ways been a good thing.

Since the 1960s, North Korea has sold arms and equipment to Syria, and provided other sorts of military-to-military assistance, such as training and technical assistance. Of particular importance, Pyongyang has helped develop Syria’s chemical weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Today, North Korea, faced with United Nations sanctions over its ongoing missile and nuclear tests, denies providing such assistance to Syria. But evidence has emerged suggesting that in one way or another, via front companies and elaborate logistics, war materials from North Korea have ended up in Syria, ultimately …

US special ops raid takes down an ISIS leader

US troops have targeted and killed a leading member of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in a commando raid in Syria, military officials say.

The attack took place near the town of Mayadin in eastern Syria.

Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, who was believed to be from Uzbekistan, is said by the Americans to be a close associate of the IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The US says he played a key role in an attack on a night club in Istanbul on New Year's Eve which killed 39 people.

Turkish police arrested Abdulkadir Masharipov, the main suspect in the attack,on 17 January after a huge manhunt.

"It was a ground operation. I think that's all we're willing to say about that," US Central Command spokesman John Thomas said in Washington in relation to Friday's attack.
... The operation took place close to where the US took out ISIS's chief financial officer in 2015.  ISIS appears to be more vulnerable to these kinds of attacks as it loses control of real estate.  It also …

Iran accused of cheating on Obama's bad nuke deal

Rowan Scarborough:
Iran is cheating on its historical deal with the U.S. by secretly conducting research into nuclear weapons components such as bomb triggers and enriched uranium, the main Iranian opposition group said Friday.

The regime is doing engineering and weaponization testing at a walled military complex south of Tehran, a location which Iran has declared off-limits to inspectors, said the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its main operational arm, the People’s Mujaheddin of Iran (MEK).

“This is the site that has been kept secret,” said Alireza Jafrazadeh, NCRI’s Washington office deputy director. “There is secret research to manufacture the bomb and basically cover up the real activities of the Iranian regime.”

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), negotiated by the Obama administration, has become a major foreign policy issue for the Trump White House as it evaluates whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran. Iran has benefited with billion…

Putin sending his antique bomber fleet to test Alaska defenses of US

Russian military aircraft were spotted flying off the coast of Alaska for the fourth time in as many days, a US defense official told CNN on Friday.

The two most recent sightings occurred late Wednesday and on Thursday, with the first involving two IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft and the second involving two Tu-95 nuclear-capable Bear bombers.
... The picture is an interesting example of the technological edge the US has over Russia.  The F-22 air superiority fighter hovering over a 1950's Soviet era bomber.  In a real confrontation, the Bear bomber would probably never see the F-22 before Russian plane would be turned into smoking ruins.  The Bear should be spending its time in a flight museum.

Turning scientists into partisan hacks for liberals

Washington Post:
Why scientists will march on Washington and more than 400 other cities

Organizers insist that the March for Science, although political, is not a partisan event. But it may prove too delicate a distinction when people show up on Saturday with their signs and their passions. Their assertion that it is not partisan is not supported by the facts.  Democrats have turned pseudoscience into a cudgel for avoiding debate on issues like global warming.  When they make such remarks as "The science is settled" they are trying to shut off debate on their attempts to impose control freak policies on the use of energy.  They are using energy as an excuse to reimpose the kind of controls that destroy economic freedom.

They are losing the debate because they refuse to engage on the arguments of those who disagree with them.  Having a march by guys in lab coats is not going to change that dynamic.

Sessions mild criticism of a bad decision by a judge in Hawaii attacked

NY Times:
Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as ‘an Island in the Pacific’
The attorney general’s comments, related to a federal judge’s ruling that blocked the Trump administration’s latest travel ban, drew criticism from lawmakers. There are a lot of people who think the judge made a bad decision for partisan reasons.  What Sessions said is pretty mild compared to some of the things Obama said about decisions he disagreed with.

The left turns to advertiser black listing to suppress speech

NY Times:

Fears of Revolt by Consumers Felled Bill O’Reilly
Though the Bill O’Reilly scandal had relatively little impact on Fox News, he was dismissed because advertisers felt obliged to desert “The O’Reilly Factor.” This is a tactic that used to be used by some right-wing groups such as the John birch society to attack leftist in the media and in Hollywood.  Now it is used almost exclusively against conservative media figures.  They tried it against Rush Limbaugh and failed.

But make no mistake about it.  The same media that is running 86 percent negative stories against President Trump appears to be actively trying to suppress conservatives from the campuses to news outlets.

Liberalism has become the home of fascism in modern America.  It is intolerant of competing ideas and rather than engage in debate, tries to suppress speech it disagrees with.

The same media that made all sorts of excuses for Bill Clinton's conduct can get on its high horse about allegations of flirting by …

Getting inside the North Korean OODA Loop on its missile program?

Bill Gertz:
Inside the Ring: Cyber Sabotage of North Korea’s Missiles? While those who might know if the US is engaged in a cyber war with the North Korean missile program are not saying, the US appears to like the prospect that the Norks should be worried about it.   It is also possible that China may be selling North Korea defective parts deliberately to thwart their program.

California is the home of dirty air

The Resurgent:
 Something is causing this that goes beyond the use of fossil fuel.  Texas actually burns more fossil fuel than Califonia yet it does not have any cities in the top 10.  It is probably not climate change so much as the fact that the climate in California does not handle as many people as the state has.

Rubio's idea for restoring democracy to Venezuela

Washington Examiner:
How can President Trump intervene constructively, looking out for American interests without giving Maduro a foreign enemy to use for propaganda purposes? Maduro already insists that the mass protests against him are part of an American-led coup effort. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of Maduro's sharpest critics in the U.S. government, laid out the correct path in an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier when he called on Trump to ask the Organization of American States to expel Venezuela until it restores democracy.

"That may sound like diplomatic talk," Rubio said, "but it actually is the one thing that Venezuela is most sensitive to. They do not want to be ostracized. They do not want to be isolated in the hemisphere by fellow Latin American countries."

After two decades of socialist rule, despite its abundant natural resources, Venezuela is now entirely dependent on other countries and even smugglers for the goods it needs to keep …

MOAB blast in Afghanistan exposed the makeup of ISIS in that country

Radio Free Europe:
The massive U.S. bomb dropped on an Islamic State cave complex in Afghanistan last week killed militant fighters from Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, India, and other countries, an Afghan official said.

"Most militants killed in the attack were from Pakistan, India, Philippines, and Bangladesh," Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the Afghan defense ministry, said on April 18.
... The US needs to study how such a diverse ethnic mix found its way to fighting in a remote country like Afghanistan on behalf of Islamic religious bigots.  The bomb also destroyed a large cave complex and weapon arsenal.

Liberal hate speech on campus aimed at silencing conservative dissent

Washington Times:
Conservatives have come to expect that they might be protested, ridiculed and disinvited when they venture to speak on college campuses, but the penalty for telling students something they disagree with has taken a more violent turn.

Buttressed by an ideology that views “hate speech” as violence and its suppression as self-defense, students increasingly are resorting to the destruction of property and assault to keep conservative speakers quiet.

Students at Wellesley College made the intellectual case for using force to stifle free speech in an editorial last week, arguing that “hostility may be warranted” against people who are “given the resources to learn” yet “refuse to adapt their beliefs.”

“If people continue to support racist politicians or pay for speakers that prop up speech that will lead to the harm of others,” the students wrote in the April 12 editorial in The Wellesley News, “then it is critical to take the appropriate measures to hold them accountable for…

Russia moving troops and equipment near its border with North Korea, UN condemns Nork provocations

Russia ‘moves troops and equipment’ to North Korea border, as Kim Jong-un warns of 'super-mighty pre-emptive strike' The Russians say they are engaged in "routine" maneuvers while at the same time talking about the what is happening on the Korean peninsula.  The Russians did not veto the UN statement on North Korea.

China puts air force bombers on high alert

Chinese air force land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers were put "on high alert" on Wednesday, the official said, adding that the US has also seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness through intensified maintenance.

The official said that these recent steps by the Chinese are assessed as part of an effort to "reduce the time to react to a North Korea contingency."

Such a contingency could include the risk of an armed conflict breaking out as tensions on the peninsula have risen in the wake of multiple North Korean missile tests. There has also been ratcheted up rhetoric from the US and Pyongyang, with the latter's state media warning Thursday that a pre-emptive strike by North Korea would result in the US and South Korea being "completely destroyed in an instant."
... There is more.

China at this point appears to be working with the Trump administration in dealing with the threat from …

Autonomous weapons at war

Chris Reed:
The dilemma posed by artificial intelligence-driven autonomous weapons — which some scientists liken to the “third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms” — is that to take fullest advantage of such weapons, the logical move would be to leave humans entirely out of lethal decision-making, allowing for quicker responses to threats and in theory making us safer. But if future presidents and Pentagons trusted algorithms to make such decisions, conflicts between two nations relying on such technology could rapidly escalate — to possibly apocalyptic levels — without human involvement.

The U.S. military officially scoffs at this idea. In making life-and-death decisions, “there will always be a man in the loop,” Deputy Defense Secretary Work told the Times in October. But Work and others who try to offer a reassuring vision of a future in which radical new military technologies are deployed with care and caution may be swimming against the tide.
In a 2013…

Greedy government slapped down by Supreme Court ruling

NY Times:
States Can’t Keep Criminal Fines of Exonerated, Supreme Court Rules
By a 7 to 1 vote, the justices struck down a Colorado law that required people cleared by the courts to file civil suits and prove their innocence. The ruling, in this case, seems logical.   The government should also revise the civil forfeiture rules.

Rig count up 40 percent over last year

Fuel Fix:
The oil and gas industry is well into its recovery and embarking on “a new cycle of expansion,” according to the Texas Petro Index released Wednesday. The rig count is up 40 percent over the first quarter last year. Drilling permits have doubled. Employment has risen by 9,000 from the trough.

First quarter highlights include an average rig count above 360, more than 40 percent better than the same quarter last year, a doubling of drilling permits to 3,250, and a more-than-50 percent increase in average crude prices to almost $48.50 a barrel and natural gas to $3 per thousand cubic feet.

The factors together mark the first industry expansion in three years, since crude oil prices began to tank in 2014, falling by more than three-quarters to about $26 last year.
... It will take a while longer for the production numbers to catch up with the increased rig activity.

'Dreamer' dreams up case against Trump administration

Don Surber:
According to USA Today, Juan Manuel Montes was a DREAMer the federal government promised to allow stay in the country. But that mean old President Trump -- breaking his word -- had Juan Manuel Montes picked up and deported on February 17.

USA Today based this on claims by Juan Manuel Montes, his lawyers, advocacy groups for illegal aliens.

However, Homeland Security had no record of any Juan Manuel Montes.
The next day, U.S. News and World Report reported:
“Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez was apprehended by the Calexico Station Border Patrol after illegally entering the U.S. by climbing over the fence in downtown Calexico,” a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday morning. “He was arrested by Border Patrol just minutes after he made his illegal entry and admitted under oath during the arrest interview that he had entered illegally.”
But the DHS statement goes on to underscore that Montes-Bojorquez lost his DACA status when he left th…

Nuclear volleyball in North Korea?

U.S. experts who have been forecasting an imminent North Korean nuclear test said on Tuesday they were surprised when they viewed their latest satellite images of the country's nuclear test site and saw volleyball games under way.

With tension mounting between Pyongyang and Washington, analysts had thought they would see activity suggesting preparations for an underground explosion at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and were not expecting what the photos, taken on Sunday by a commercial satellite, revealed.

"We see that at three locations in the facility – in the main administrative area, at the support area, at the command center and at the guard barracks near the command center - they have volleyball games going on," said Joe Bermudez, an expert with 38 North, an independent North Korea monitoring project based in Washington.

Bermudez offered two possible explanations - that the test site could be going into "a standby mode" or that the games were i…

FBI used the unfounded dirty dossier to get the FISA warrant against Trump campaign operative

Back on April 11, it was revealed that FISA surveillance had been authorized for a member of Donald Trump’s campaign. Carter Page, a guy with lots of consulting arrangements with Russian oil and gas interests, was fingered as the guy who the FBI was worried was an actual conscious agent of Russian intelligence. Given the nature of FISA surveillance, basically anyone Page talked to for a period of months was caught up in the net and had their conversations recorded, and possibly their identities unmasked.

Now CNN is reporting that the mostly discredited “Trump Dossier” that had circulated about last fall was one of the main sources of information that the FBI used to establish that Page had foreign intelligence ties.
This revelation creates a much more complicated case for the House and Senate committees investigating real and imagined skulduggery in the 2016 election.

For instance, the dossier was paid for by a political opposition research company for a hit on Trump. So …

Venezuelans fed up with evils of socialism

Two Venezuelan students and a National Guard sergeant died on Wednesday after being shot during protests against unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro, increasing turmoil in the volatile nation amid a devastating economic crisis.

Opposition supporters protested in Caracas and other cities in what they called "the mother of all marches," denouncing Maduro for eroding democracy and plunging the oil-rich economy into chaos.

Crowds swelled to hundreds of thousands, including Maduro supporters who held a counter-demonstration in the capital at the urging of the president, and clashes were reported across the country during the most sustained protests since 2014.

Maduro says that beneath a peaceful facade, the protests are little more than opposition efforts to foment a coup to end socialism in Venezuela. The opposition says he has morphed into a dictator and accuses his government of using armed civilians to spread violence and fear.

The deaths mean eight people hav…

US hunter killer subs will need to focus on Nork threat

Bill Gertz:
North Korea is making rapid progress on developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles and missile-firing submarines, according to a report by a United Nations panel of experts.

"Rapid technological developments have taken place over a short period, resulting in significant progress towards an operational submarine-launched ballistic missile system," the eight-member U.N. panel of experts stated.

The report provides new details on Pyongyang's development of a submarine-launched missile called the KN-11.

"The shift from liquid- to a solid-fuel engine for the KN-11 is a major technological development, affording greater stability, quicker preparation and longer fuel storage," the report states.

The report provided photographs of the Gorae-class submarine used to launch the missile.
... The North Koreans will need nuclear submarines to make this threat more credible since they do not have access to bases outside the country.  Keeping their subs bottl…

Early polls show Ted Cruz in tight race for reelection

The Hill:
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) edges out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a potential 2018 Senate matchup, a new poll shows.

According to the statewide poll numbers released Wednesday by Texas Lyceum, Castro gets 35 percent support of Texas adults in the potential matchup, while Cruz gets 31 percent.

And in a matchup between Cruz and Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), the two are tied at 30 percent.

A Democrat hasn't won a Senate race in Texas in 29 years. Cruz, who came in second in last year's GOP presidential primary, has long been considered a big favorite.
The poll also found President Trump underwater in job approval, with 54 percent disapproving to 42 percent who approve.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said the country is on the wrong track — down from 63 percent in a 2016 edition of the poll.
... I suspect that Cruz has more upside than either Joaquin Castro or Beto O'Rourke.   They are both polling close to the maximum of what Democrats have done in recent ele…

Syria moved its remaining planes close to Russian bases in Syria

The Syrian government has relocated the majority of its combat planes to protect them from potential US strikes, two US defense officials told CNN Wednesday.

The movement of the aircraft to the air base at Bassel Al-Assad International Airport began shortly after the US's April 6 Tomahawk cruise missile strike on Sharat air base, which destroyed some 24 Syrian warplanes in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that the US says Syria launched from that airfield.

The move places the Syrian aircraft in close proximity to Russia's Khmeimim Air Base -- where the majority of Russian air forces helping ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime are based -- in Latakia Governorate, Syria.
... It appears that Syria is going to cling closer to mother Russia's skirts for now.  The downside for Russia is that it makes it harder for it to deny the use of chemical weapons if they are loaded right next to their planes.

Russia testing US air defenses in Alaska

Fox News:
For the second consecutive night, Russia flew two long-range bombers off the coast of Alaska on Tuesday, this time coming within 36 miles of the mainland while flying north of the Aleutian Islands, two U.S. officials told Fox News.

The two nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers were spotted by U.S. military radar at 5 p.m. local time.

Unlike a similar incident Monday night, this time the U.S. Air Force did not scramble any fighter jets.

Instead, it launched a single E-3 Sentry early warning aircraft, known as AWACS, to make sure there were only the two Russian bombers flying near Alaska, and not other aircraft flying underneath the large bombers.

U.S. territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from shore.

Two Russian bombers flew within 100 miles of Alaska on Monday night.

The Russian bombers took off from an airbase in Petropavlovsk, Russia and returned five hours later to an airbase in Anadyr. Both locations are in eastern Russia, some 1,000 miles away.
... Russia is testing US re…

US has bombs more powerful than MOAB to attack Nork tunnels housing their nukes

Daily Beast:
Forget the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier that President Donald Trump claimed, wrongly, was steaming toward North Korea to punish Kim Jong Un’s regime for apparently testing a nuclear-capable ballistic missile last Saturday.

Forget the U.S. Marine Corps F-35 stealth fighters that practiced bombing runs on the Korean Peninsula in late March. Forget the contingent of U.S. Army soldiers—part of the 29,000-strong American ground force in South Korea—that Vice President Mike Pence visited Sunday, just a day after Pyongyang’s latest missile test failed.

No, if the United States seriously intends to punish North Korea for continuing to develop nuclear warheads and the rockets to deliver them, then the punitive blow will likely come from Missouri.

That is, in the form of stealth bombers carrying America’s biggest non-nuclear bombs.

Not the 11-ton Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) fuel-air bomb that U.S. forces dropped on suspected ISIS positions in eastern Afghanistan on April 13. Rather…

Democrats trying to drive up cost of border wall?

NY Times:
Border Wall Could Cost 3 Times Estimates, Senate Democrats’ Report Says
The report said the wall could cost nearly $70 billion to build, a far cry from an internal estimate of $21.6 billion by the Department of Homeland Security. It makes you wonder how many of them ever built anything.  The fact is the Democrats do not want to stop illegal immigration and they will come up with any excuse to keep the borders open for what they see as "future Democrats."

Pence speaks on American aircraft carrier already in the theater

Daily Mail:

'The sword stands ready': Vice President Mike Pence warns North Korea of 'an overwhelming and effective American response' that will 'defeat any attack' as he addresses 2,500 cheering sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in Tokyo BayPence made the appearance on board the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier on Tuesday while in Japan
He told the US and Japanese sailors at the US Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay that the US wanted peaceBut he warned that the country would be 'ready' to retaliate if North Korea attempted any kind of attackAt the same time defense secretary Jim Mattis, who is in the Middle East, said Kim Jong-un was 'reckless'The aggressive stance is undermined by a carrier still off Australia's coast, 11 days after it was to head to KoreaThe USS Carl Vinson will head out within 24 hours, Pentagon officials said - it was supposed to set off April 8Russia and China have both called on the US to come to a peaceful accord wit…

Details emerge of how rules of engagement resulted in the death of SEALS in Afghanistan

Sara Carter:
A retired Air Force captain says Pentagon covered up real cause of deadly chopper crash The story sounds similar to what happened to the SEALs who got ambushed in the Lone Survivor story.   The captain was on an AC-130 gunship that was supporting an operation when a chopper was called in to take out eight insurgents.  She noticed that two of the eight survived the attack and asked for permission to take them out, but it was denied.  Those two gathered other fighters and were waiting when the helicopter with SEAL Team Six on it was ambushed killing everyone aboard.

Snipers play a critical role in the fight against ISIS in Mosul

USA Today:
This Iraqi sniper picks off ISIS fighters as they hide behind human shields

Yousef Ali peered through the scope of his Russian-made Dragunov sniper rifle. Through the small hole in the wall of an abandoned hotel, Ali saw the labyrinth of the Old City's narrow streets stretch before him.

Less than 300 yards away, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, prepared for another sneak attack, surrounded by civilian human shields. "The (ISIS fighters) are out there," said the 20-year-old Iraqi federal policeman, taking his eyes off the scope for a moment. "Just behind those buildings."
... I suspect that this is one of the reasons why American Sniper is still a huge hit in Iraq despite what the anti-war left would have you believe.

Democrats are losing because they are Democrats and hating Trump is not that big a factor

Sam Thomas:
You’re probably well aware of the Republican Party’s unfavorable view among voters, and the “GOP Civil War” that has been taking place since the 2016 primary season. The media has gone to great lengths to make sure you realize that not all Americans love Donald Trump. The talking heads really seem to think Republicans are in trouble, and Democrats are poised to capitalize. They’ve given millions in free coverage hyping a 29 year old carpetbagger in Georgia, trying to convince us that he will somehow pull off an upset in a race where the Democrat is polling even with the poor guy that Tom Price demolished in 2016.

Unfortunately for Democrats, numbers don’t lie. According to a poll released by Pew Research, a majority of Americans now view the Democratic Party unfavorably.

About half (51%) of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party, while 45% have a favorable view. In January, slightly more had a favorable than unfavorable view (51% favorable to 45% unfavor…

Democrat gamble in Georgia election fails to payoff

Washington Examiner:
Georgia race headed to runoff as GOP holds Ossoff below 50 percent The Democrat will not be facing six GOP candidates in the runoff in a district that has traditionally backed Republicans.  This looks like another example of Democrats wasting resources.  Trump continues to drive them to distraction.

Hillary Clinton and her campaign were out of touch with voters and reality

Michael Barone:
The Hillary Clinton campaign was worse than you — or I — thought. That's the message of Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes' Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign. Doomed in retrospect, mind you; not many of us — including me — thought it was doomed at the time.

Here are a couple of passages that struck me as astonishing.

1. "Hillary was already" — in spring 2015 — "inaccessible to most of her own staff, preferring to communicate through [Huma] Abedin." And Huma wasn't very accessible to anyone else. This led to screw-ups. In May 2015, communications director Jennifer Palmieri asked Abedin which TV interviewer Clinton would prefer for her first post-emails-revelation interview. Abedin said, "Brianna," and so the interview was set up with CNN's Brianna Keilar, who delivered a tough interviewer. "Only it turned out that Hillary had said 'Bianna'—as in Bianna Golodryga of Yahoo! News, the wife of former…

Mass murder by another name?

Jay Caruso:
AP Edits Fresno Killer To Erase Islam Reference, Implicate God

It’s not even an exact translation, by the way. And why would they do this? Hmm, what a mystery. Changing “Allahu Akbar” to “God is great” isn’t a matter of Arabic to English. It’s not really a translation at all. It’s a diversion. It’s political correctness. It’s liberal left machination meant to paint religion as guilty while simultaneously easing the burden of guilt on Islam.
... Besides being a religious bigot the alleged shooter also is quoted as saying he hated all white people and he specifically shot only white men.  So he also appears to be engaged in a racist hate crime too.  This guy presented a twofer when it came to left-wing political correctness.

Why do some oil and gas companies want to stay in the Paris climate agreement?

Fuel Fix:
Ahead of a high-level meeting at the White House today on the Paris climate accord, some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are pressing President Donald Trump to stay in the agreement.

On Monday Cheniere Energy Executive Vice President Anatol Feygin sent a letter to the White House saying, “domestic energy companies are better positioned to compete globally if the United States remains a party to the Paris Agreement.”

“There is a global shift to use natural gas in power generation to reduce carbon emissions and traditional air pollution. Cheniere believes the 2015 Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is a useful instrument for fostering demand for America’s energy resources and supporting the continued growth of American industry.”

The letter comes ahead of a high-stakes meeting, in which Trump’s Cabinet and adviser are reportedly at odds over whether or not the country should stay in the Paris agreement, which the leader…

Texas refineries want more pipelines of Canadian heavy crude?

Fuel Fix:
Gulf Coast refineries in Texas and beyond need new oil pipelines from Canada to cut down on their supply costs, a new report Tuesday from the IHS Markit research firm concludes.

Western Canada is projected to increase its crude oil sands production by nearly 1 million barrels a day by 2020, putting increased pressure on an already constrained pipeline system, and forcing more oil to be transported by rail unless new pipelines come online, the report contends.

Most Gulf Coast refineries rely on heavier crude oil — as opposed to just the lighter oil produced in Texas — and must turn to more expensive Latin American oil from countries like Mexico and Venezuela. More pipeline capacity for Canadian oil would ease their cost and supply burdens.

“The need for new pipelines departing Western Canada has not diminished with lower oil prices, quite the opposite,” said Kevin Birn, energy director for IHS Markit. “Canada remains a growth story with production volumes increasing since the…