Showing posts from 2017

Man with AR-15 arrested in Houston before New Year's eve celebration at hotel with 28 floor atrium

Fox News:
Drunk man found with weapons cache on Houston Hyatt Regency's top floor before New Year's Eve celebration, police say I have been to several events at this downtown hotel.  There is a central court surrounded by rooms that go all the way to the top.  The arrested man had an AR-15 and several rounds of ammo.  Police are still trying to determine why the man had the weapon.

A regime that has failed the people in Iran calls adversaries the "Devil"

James Robbins:

... Iran’s foreign adventurism is one of the causes of the current troubles. The regime promised that the nuclear deal with the United States and the end of sanctions would lead to an economic resurgence. But the expected growth has not happened. Furthermore, the windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars in direct cash transfers has not trickled down to the people. Instead Iran is still subsidizing Hezbollah militias in Syria, sending missiles to Yemen, and rockets to Hamas. Hence the chants in the streets, “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, I give my life for Iran.” Meanwhile wages are downand food prices are up. It is not a recipe for stability.

A top cleric in the holy city of Qom, Hossein Noori Hamedani, has come out in support of the economic aspect of the protest. “The people are demanding their right and we must support them,” he said. But the demonstrations have gone well beyond economics and foreign policy to question the legitimacy of the regime itself. In Khorrama…

Trump nails the motivation behind Iranian demonstrations

Washington Times:
Trump: Iranians ‘finally getting wise’ on their money ‘squandered on terrorism’ The see the money going to Hezballah and Hamas and they don't like the fact that Iranians got no relief from the sanctions relief.  Unlike Obama, Trump sides with the Iranian people.

Where is the GOP rift on the FBI's use of dirty dossier?

NY Times:
Republican Attacks on Mueller and F.B.I. Open New Rift in G.O.P. A campaign to discredit the F.B.I. and the special counsel investigating President Trump is growing more heated, splitting the Republican Party. I do not see a "rift."  It appears that some in the FBI strongly opposed Trump as a candidate and later as a President.  It also appears they bought into the lies contained in Democrats opposition research project which paid Russians for unsubstantiated claims against Trump.  This led some in the agency to participate in what looks like a coup attempt against the President.

The best way for the FBI to regain its credibility is to quickly disavow the dirty dossier and for Mueller to wrap up his investigation and clear the air.

By now it is clear that they have found no evidence to support the claims made in the Clinton opposition research material.  That they got fooled into using it as a vehicle to spy on the Trump campaign is something that should be dealt wi…

Al Qaeda in Yemen still a major target for US strikes

NY Times:
U.S. Pummels Al Qaeda in Yemen, but Threat Remains
Despite tripling airstrikes this year, American officials concede an attack emanating from the chaotic, ungoverned spaces of Yemen remains among their top terrorism fears. The group has sponsored many terrorist plots against the US.  There is no deal to be made with them.  The US will have to keep pounding them until they are annihilated.  Their bases are not secure.  Yemen is a war zone with many different factions and no central government to impose its will.

DOJ should proceed with an obstruction of justice case against Clinton and those who aided and abetted it by destroying data under subpoena

Andrew McCarthy:
Time to Give Clinton’s Server Technician the Mueller Treatment There appears to be a pretty clear case for an obstruction of justice charge in the destruction of Hillary Clinton's emails that were subject of a Congressional subpoena.

FBI, Media try to shift emphasis from dirty dossier to Papadopoulos

Washington Examiner:
The FBI reportedly decided to open its investigation into the Trump campaign after George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser for the Trump team, drunkenly admitted to an Australian diplomat the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, an admission that came weeks before WikiLeaks began publishing its tranche of hacked emails.

Papadopoulos made the revelation in May 2016 to Alexander Downer, the top Australian diplomat in Britain, while he was drinking at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London. Three weeks earlier, a professor with ties to the Russian government told Papadopoulos the Russians had emails that would be damaging to Clinton, according to the New York Times.

Australian officials notified American officials about Papadopoulos’s statements two months later when WikiLeaks began publishing the hacked emails from Democratic officials, American and foreign officials told the New York Times.

According to the New York Times, it was Papadopoulos’s …

Iranian revolution becomes bloody

Daily Mail:
A videos posted on social media appeared to show two young Iranian men lying motionless on the ground and covered with blood and a voiceover said they had been shot dead by police.

It claimed security forces fired on protesters in the western town of Dorud and killed at least two as other protesters in the same video were chanting, 'I will kill whoever killed my brother!'.

Other videos showed protesters setting fire to a government office in the city of Khorramabad while in the capital Tehran, demonstrators were filmed tearing down a picture of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Demonstrators attacked a town hall in Tehran as protests spilled into a third night despite government warnings against any further 'illegal gatherings' and moves to cut off the internet on mobiles.

After a day of clashes between rock throwing protesters and riot police, who responded with tear gas, at Tehran University, the demonstrations continued after dark and spread across …

Iran attempts to suppress growing protest of government incompetence

The Iranian government warned people against further protests on Saturday after two days of demonstrations sparked by anger over an array of economic problems.

"We urge all those who receive these calls to protest not to participate in these illegal gatherings as they will create problems for themselves and other citizens," said Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli.

State news channel IRINN said it had been banned from covering the protests that spread from second city Mashhad on Thursday to hit several towns and cities.

The protests initially targeted economic problems, but quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole.

US President Donald Trump warned "the world is watching" after dozens of demonstrators were arrested.
Media coverage inside Iran focused almost exclusively on pro-regime rallies held on Saturday to mark the defeat of the last major protest movement in 2009, which hardliners call "the sedition".
... Iran has a classi…

In Alabama thousands could not make themselves vote for Roy Moore or a Democrat

NY Times:
Write-In Results From Alabama Senate Race Are In. And They’re Downright Weird. Alabama officials released the recipients of thousands of write-in votes. Some are living. Some are dead. Some were never alive in the first place. I suspect their votes were enough to sway the election for Jones.  It is another reason to doubt that Alabama's senate race outcome can be repeated in 2018, despite the wishes of liberals.

Israeli company transplanting 'lab-grown' bones

Israeli biotech company Bonus Biogroup’s lab-grown, semi-liquid bone graft was successfully injected into the jaws of 11 people to repair bone loss in an early stage clinical trial, it said on Monday.

The material, grown in a lab from each patient’s own fat cells, was injected into and filled the voids of the problematic bones. Over a few months it hardened and merged with the existing bone to complete the jaw, it said.

The announcement was made in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Bonus Biogroup is presenting its results at the International Conference on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Spain on Monday.
“For the first time worldwide, reconstruction of deficient or damaged bone tissue is achievable by growing viable human bone graft in a laboratory, and transplanting it back to the patient in a minimally invasive surgery via injection,” said Chief Executive Shai Meretzki.
... The company plans clinical studies for "long bones" to repair larger bon…

Putin supplemented his military units in Syria with Russian mercenaries

President Putin’s private army pays a high price for Syria success Up to 2,000 mercenaries fought for Russia in Syria and 150 of them died in the fighting.  Their relatives are beginning to question what happened to them.   I think Putin took a similar approach in Ukraine.

Resistance has, indeed, been futile

Red States:
Once Trump was elected to office, “The Resistance” sprang into action. Under that banner, groups organized marches, protests, and campaigns that were covered by an ecstatic media that did everything it could to get the message out.

Oh, and it was a giant flop. Like, all of it.

This is something even hard-left site Think Progress, the poster child of leftist asininity, unintentionally admitted in a recent video that looked back over The Resistance in 2017. They listed a few of the protests they found pertinent, conveniently left out details about other protests, and failed to mention some of the others that were just downright ridiculous…or even violent.

But at the end of the video, Dr. Dana R. Fisher, whom they are interviewing to speak on the accomplishments of The Resistance, admits that nothing has changed politically because of all the marching, rioting, and pussy hat wearing. She instead marks its success by the fact that it made people feel like they were angry along…

The FBI has damaged its own reputation with its reactions to the Trump candidacy

Surprisingly, this assessment comes from a CNN legal analyst, Paul Callen.
The ferocity of President Donald Trump's recent attacks on the integrity of the FBI has sent shock waves through an agency accustomed to public adulation in recent years. Sadly, much of the presidential criticism of the bureau may be entirely legitimate.
When news of the text messages between Strzok and Page came to light against the backdrop of claimed McCabe improprieties, it became harder to just dismiss all of Trump's FBI conspiracy claims as delusional -- though many of his critics do.
While I rarely agree with much of what the President does or says regarding legal issues, this time he's got it right. The FBI's reputation has been severely damaged not by the President's criticism but by a systematic failure of the bureau's leadership.
... There is much between the ...'s that is worth reading.  Sharyl Attkisson also discusses Investigating the Investigators at DOJ and FB…

Trump shows more compassion for Iranian people than Obama

Roger Simon:
The students and others marching in the streets to overthrow these tyrants desperately wanted America's help, specifically the support of our "oh-so-liberal-progressive" president. they shouted, "Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?"

Obama was silent.

I can't think of a moment I was more disgusted by the acts (inaction actually) of an American president. What did he stand for? What did we stand for?

Well, who knows? What we do know is he wanted to deal with Iran his way — whether to get the glory for himself or for other even less attractive reasons we will never know. He was secretly communicating with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei even before he took office, hinting at accommodation.

He wanted an Iran deal and he got it, the Iranian people and the U.S. Constitution be damned. (I have met several of the student demonstrators from that period who spent years being tortured in Tehran's Evin Prison. Their faces resembled Picasso…

Russians accused of helping North Korea evade sanctions on oil deliveries

Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources, providing an economic lifeline to the secretive Communist state.

The sales of oil or oil products from Russia, the world’s second biggest oil exporter and a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, breach U.N. sanctions, the security sources said.

The transfers in October and November indicate that smuggling from Russia to North Korea has evolved to loading cargoes at sea since Reuters reported in September that North Korean ships were sailing directly from Russia to their homeland.

“Russian vessels have made ship-to-ship transfers of petrochemicals to North Korean vessels on several occasions this year in breach of sanctions,” the first security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

A second source, who independently confirmed the existence of the Russ…

5 classified emails found on Weiner's laptop despite Comey's clearance of Clinton and Abedin

Daily Mail:
At least five emails determined to be classified were found among 2,800 documents stored on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, whose then-wife Huma Abedin was deputy chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The State Department released hundreds of pages of materials Friday afternoon, including a total of eight pages classified at the 'confidential level,' the third most sensitive level the U.S. government uses.

The confidential classification level is applied to information whose unauthorized disclosure 'reasonably could be expected to cause damage to national security,'

The emails date from 2010, 2011 and 2012 and concern discussions with Middle East leaders including some from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Large portions, including entire pages, were redacted before the documents' release.

Three of them were sent either to or from an address called 'BBB Backup,' which one email id…

Iranians demonstrate dissatisfaction with government by Islamic religious bigots

Anti-government demonstrations that began in Iran on Thursday have now spread to several major cities.

Large numbers reportedly turned out in Rasht, in the north, and Kermanshah, in the west, with smaller protests in Isfahan, Hamadan and elsewhere.

The protests began against rising prices but have spiralled into a general outcry against clerical rule and government policies.

A small number of people have been arrested in Tehran, the capital.

They were among a group of 50 people who gathered in a city square, Tehran's deputy governor-general for security affairs told the Iranian Labour News Agency.
How did the protests start?

The demonstrations began in the north-eastern city of Mashhad - the country's second most-populous - on Thursday.

People there took to the streets to express anger at the government over high prices, and vented their fury against President Hassan Rouhani. Fifty-two people were arrested for chanting "harsh slogans".

The protests spread to other cities…

Crew of ship supplying oil to North Korea being held by South Korea

Fox News:
The crew of a Hong Kong-flagged ship that allegedly violated U.N. sanctions by transferring oil to a North Korean vessel in October is being held in South Korea until a full inspection is sent to the Security Council, officials announced Friday.

The Lighthouse Winmore is believed to have transferred about 600 tons of refined petroleum products to the North Korean ship, the Sam Jong 2, in international waters in the East China Sea on Oct. 19, after leaving the South Korean port of Yeosu, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official told the Associated Press.

The announcement came on the same day Defense Secretary James Mattis told Fox News that he believes the world will exert “increased pressure” on North Korea in the coming months following the recent maritime incidents.

South Korean customs authorities said they boarded the ship and interviewed crew members after they returned to Yeosu on Nov. 24. South Korea formally seized the ship after the U.N. Security Council on Dec. 22 …

Will Pakistan pay for its double game on fighting terrorism?

NY Times:
U.S. Frustration on Terror May Cost Pakistan Millions in Aid
American officials are considering withholding $255 million in aid to punish Islamabad for failing to cooperate on counterterrorism operations.The money is a test of whether President Trump will deliver on his threat. A decision could be made in the coming weeks. It sounds more like a test of Pakistan's cooperation if fighting Islamic terrorism and particular the Haggani group it hosts.  Pakistan is still a strategic route into Afghanistan.  It just needs to get its act together in stopping its territory from being used as a sanctuary for terrorist attacks.

Why do colleges hate Republicans?

Washington Post Op-Ed:
Catherine Rampell
Why do so many Republicans hate college? Colleges have become a hostile environment for Republicans and conservatives.  Speakers are attacked if allowed to speak at all at many colleges.  Instead of teaching, too many of them are engaged in the indoctrination of "social justice" ideas that ignore real justice.

If students are being taught socialism if better than capitalism, they are being lied to.  Students seek safe spaces when being challenged on their weird ideas.

Colleges are also overpriced in many cases.  There are too many administrators living like the one percent while students are being stuck with predatory student loans that cripple their ability to become independent once leaving college.

Is weather only the same as climate when it is hot out?

NY Times:

It’s Cold Outside. Cue the Trump Global Warming Tweet.

With frigid temperatures in the East, President Trump cast doubt on the reality of climate change. But weather is not the same as climate. Let's see.  Firestorms in California are the "new normal" because of climate change but record low temperatures in the US that match the low for Antarctica are just weather?  No wonder, the climate change crowd is having trouble selling tickets to movies about global warming.

South Korea enforces sanctions on North Korea with seizure of oil tanker

NY Times:
South Korea Seizes Ship Suspected of Sending Oil to North
The seizure of the Lighthouse Winmore was revealed after President Trump accused China of secretly transferring petroleum to North Korean ships. Trump did not just accuse China of secretly transferring petroleum, he provided satellite images showing the transfers taking place.  What China needs to do is find out who was responsible for the transfers and deal with them appropriately.

Global warming movies not a hot ticket

Washington Times:
Climate change got its close-up in 2017. A gaggle of films either name-checked Al Gore’s biggest fear or built their narratives around it.

The timing, in theory, couldn’t be better for Hollywood bean counters: Three major hurricanes. Massive fires in the West. Record-setting chills. Media reports routinely connected the disasters with a warming planet.

Yet audiences stayed away from films influenced by eco-concerns. Far, far away.

Think “Blade Runner 2049,” “Geostorm,” “Downsizing,” “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and “mother!” They all flopped, some in spectacular fashion.

Mr. Gore’s sequel to his documentary smash “An Inconvenient Truth” paid the most attention to climate change, of course. The 2006 original scored with audiences and Oscar voters, earning best documentary honors. The sequel snared a fraction of the first film’s tally: $3 million versus $24 million. That’s despite massive media attention, mostly fawning reviews and promotion from eco-conscious …

Arabs live longer in Israel

The Tower:
Study: Israeli Arabs Have Highest Life Expectancy in Muslim World Isreal has medical care comparable to that in the US.  Most Arab countries to do not have comparable care or facilities.

How to stop sexual harassment settlements

Colin Hanna:
Taxpayers should stop funding hush money to silence victims of congressional sexual harassment The results of such a policy would more than likely mean there would be fewer settlements. 

That would mean that the person complaining would also become known and have to testify in a court case if they pursued the matter.  It would probably wind up being a "she said, he said" case that would embarrass both parties and also drive up the litigation expense. 

Of course, nothing would prevent the two parties reaching such an agreement that did not involve taxpayer funding.  I suspect that is what would happen.

That would not be a bad thing since the person responsible for the conduct would have more incentive to avoid it in the future.

Ted Cruz calls Bernie Sanders bluff on making middle-class tax cuts permanent

Cruz has backed the socialist into a corner: Bernie can make the tax cuts permanent, or admit he's lying about them
It all started with a CNN interview where Sanders was asked about the GOP tax cuts....
Bernie's response is complete and utter garbage. The tax cuts are temporary because Democrats wouldn't get on board. With only 51 GOP votes to play with in the Senate, republicans had to get creative to pass the bill. That means the cuts are only good for ten years. The blame for that falls squarely on the democrats, but it's going to be difficult to convince people. Bernie and his leftist colleagues are very good at the blame game, and the typical GOP response of pointing fingers and yelling "it's all your fault!" would quickly devolve into partisan nonsense.

In times like these, it takes a thrifty strategist to shift blame to Democrats and still leave them with no response. Well, Cruz did it, and he needed less than 240 characters.

Ted …

Did Brennan break the law by colluding with foreign spies to attack Trump?

George Neumeyer:
An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, dec…

Congress getting fed up with DOJ-FBI intransigence in production of documents and witnesses

Fox News:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is blasting the Department of Justice and the FBI for its “failure to fully produce” documents related to an anti-Trump dossier, saying “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.”

In a Thursday letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein obtained by Fox News, Nunes expressed frustration that information and witnesses subpoenaed by the committee in August related to the so-called Steele dossier had not yet been turned over. The salacious dossier includes unverified allegations about President Trump's connections with Russia that he has denied.

“Unfortunately, DOJ/FBI's intransigence with respect to the August 24 subpoenas is part of a broader pattern of behavior that can no longer be tolerated,” the California Republican wrote to Rosenstein.

Nunes demanded that all records – and available dates for witnesses to testify – be provided to the committee by Jan 3.

“As a result of the n…

Shortage of truck drivers may slow production of oil in Permian Basin

When the price of oil collapsed in 2014 and disrupted drilling operations all across Texas’s massive Permian Basin shale formation, truckers were among those hardest hit. Rendered unnecessary by the slump in output, they were fired in scores.

Now, three years later, with oil prices inching back higher and production in the Permian soaring once again, the drillers want the truckers back. The feeling, though, isn’t mutual. The pain of the 2014 bust remains fresh for many who went on to find driving gigs in other industries and, what’s more, they worry that companies will remain tightfisted with pay as they re-hire.

The result is a growing trucker shortage that threatens to limit just how high drillers can push production. The problem is most acute in the western fringe of the Permian -- known as the Delaware Basin -- where shale companies are moving back into aggressively as prices climb. Given the off-the-beaten-path location of these wells amid the sprawling 75,000-square m…

Liberal media credibility crumbles with attacks on Trump

Washington Times:
Nearly half of all Americans believe the media fabricate negative stories about President Trump, according to a new survey.

Forty-four percent of respondents in the 2017 Poynter Media Trust Survey say the media invent “fake news” to make the president look bad.

Of that cohort, 24 percent say negative stories about Mr. Trump are made up “about half of the time”; 14 percent “most of the time”; and 6 percent “all of the time.” Seventy-seven percent are Trump supporters, and 74 percent are Republicans.

The survey found that a substantial minority of Americans, 31 percent, believe the media are the “enemy of the people,” a moniker Mr. Trump assigned to the national press in February. Among Trump supporters, that number is 63 percent.

Even more, 25 percent of Americans — and 42 percent of Trump supporters — say the government should “be able to stop a news media outlet from publishing a story that government officials say is biased or inaccurate.”

While Trump supporters have an…

Democrats make a bad bet on the Trump economy

Holman Jenkins:
Every bit as hysterical, excessive and embarrassing was the countershow put on by Democrats. But they put themselves on the side of bad things happening. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and their junior shadows danced around the maypole, lighted candles, burned effigies—in hope that you will lose your job in 2018, see your hours cut, fail to get an expected raise.

This probably is an ill-advised bet by Democrats. The world’s major economies are in a synchronized upswing. The world’s central banks are using the window to withdraw their histrionic and destabilizing monetary accommodations of the past decade. To the extent that “it’s the economy, stupid” still trumps, the GOP will benefit.

Democratic economists are reworking their “secular stagnation” models to say the Trump program is leading not to faster growth but higher inflation. They are likely to be disappointed. The Trump economy—which we’ve maintained since before Election Day is the economy you get when you tak…

The food Luddites are starving the most vulnerable

Mitch Daniels:
Avoiding GMOs isn’t just anti-science. It’s immoral. I live only a few miles from Texas A&M where food scientists have been developing higher yield crops that are more disease and insect resistant.  Crops like these are saving the human race from starvation.  But the food Luddites who are paranoid about genetic modifications that improve crop yields are making it harder for people in Africa and parts of Asia to produce enough food to feed those who live there.

Daniels is right.  What opponents to GMO's are doing is immoral.

The country that proves a command economy and socialism do not work

NY Times:
Energy Prices Rise, but Venezuela’s Oil Firm Nears Collapse
The company’s deepening troubles threaten to further destabilize a nation facing a dire recession and unbridled crime, as well as food and medicine shortages. It is impossible for even smart people to make a command economy work as efficiently as a market economy. 

Trying to predict how many eggs and slices of bacon are needed in New York City every day would be an impossible task that markets do every day with no guiding hand.  Multiply that times every item produced and sold and it becomes an even more impossible task because managers are not nimble enough to adjust prices to fluctuating demands as well as production to react to demands.  A command economy is all blunt force nonsense and it becomes even worse when those managing a command economy are not intelligent, to begin with.

Venezuela has leaders with fat heads and fat bellies at the top while everyone else starves and the cash cow oil business falls apart f…

Weird professors see market forces as 'oppression'

Washington Times:
Two professors from San Diego State University claim in a new book that farmers’ markets in urban areas are weed-like “white spaces” responsible for oppression.

Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J Bosco are part of an anthology released this month titled “Just Green Enough.” The work, published by Routledge, claims there is a correlation between the “whiteness of farmers’ markets” and gentrification.

“Farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized,” the SDSU professors write, the education watchdog Campus Reform reported Wednesday.

The geology professors claim that 44 percent of San Diego’s farmers’ markets cater to “households from higher socio-economic backgrounds,” which raises property values and “[displaces] low-income residents and people of color.”
... These professors must hate the free market system that has created prosperity for people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. 

Why would a seller wan…

Preconditions for a deal on DACA

Steve Levy:
Here’s what Republicans must get:

1) End of sanctuary cities.

Receive a legislative concession from Democrats that any city defying the federal government on this issue will lose its federal funding.

2) Kate's Law

Pass this law that imposes mandatory five-year sentences for deported criminal illegal aliens who try to make it back into the states.

3) The Wall and border security.

Fences work or we wouldn't put them up. Ask the Israelis, who saw terrorist attacks drop precipitously after its wall was built. The one-time spending on the Wall will pay for itself very quickly due to the elimination of the billions that would otherwise be spent annually on still more illegal new arrivals.

4) E-Verify.

A wall wouldn’t even be necessary if E-verify was enforced both prospectively and retroactively. If you don’t have either a valid Social Security or Alien ID number (or other legal dispensation), you shouldn’t be able to hold a job in America. Congress must require ever…

Permian Basin breaks record set in 1973 for oil production

Fuel Fix:
Operators have pumped more barrels of oil out of West Texas’ prolific Permian Basin than ever before.

Permian production hit 815 million barrels in 2017, blowing past the previous record of 790 million barrels set in 1973, business research firm IHS Markit said on Tuesday.

“The magnitude of the rebound in Permian Basin liquids production is unprecedented,” analyst Reed Olmstead said in a report. “Not so long ago, many in the industry were saying the Permian was dead.”

In 1973, operators pumped an average of 2.16 million barrels of oil and gas liquids per day. Permian volumes this year will average 2.75 million barrels per day, IHS said, a rise of more than 25 percent or almost 600,000 barrels per day.

By the end of 2018, the Permian surge should push total U.S. liquids production to a new all-time high, 10.5 million barrels per day, Olmstead said.

“The implications for U.S. energy security are significant,” Olmstead said, “since we have become, in a relatively short period of tim…

Spy satellites capture Chinese ships offloading oil to North Korea despite sanctions

U.S. spy satellites reportedly captured photos of Chinese ships illegally selling oil to North Korean boats some 30 times since October.

Satellite images released by the U.S. Department of Treasury appeared to show vessels from both countries illegally trading oil in the West Sea, The Chosun Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing South Korean government sources.

North Korea was barred in September by the United Nations Security Council from importing natural gas and had its crude oil imports capped in response to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear missile program.

The U.S. Treasury in November also sanctioned North Korea’s Maritime Administration and its transport ministry, in addition to six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their vessels, in an effort to block the rogue regime’s transportation networks.

The satellite images appear to identify the ships. One of them — Rye Song Gang 1, seen “connected to a Chinese vessel” — was included in the Nov. 21 sanctions as a vessel of Korea…

The Texas Congresswoman who is the queen of mean

Daily Caller:
Sheila Jackson Lee has been a congresswoman for over 20 years. However, she acts far more like an arrogant monarch than a humble servant of the people.

The Texas Democrat has regularly abused her power and position to demand and receive special treatment from private companies, demean and harass subordinates, and reap untold benefits of being “The Queen.”

When her abusive behavior comes to light, Jackson Lee often claims her opponents are racist.

Jackson Lee’s most recent abuse of power comes at the expense of teacher Jean-Marie Simon who was allegedly bumped from her first class seat when Jackson-Lee demanded it. Simon was given a voucher for her flight by United and moved to the economy section. On her way to the back of the plane, Simon saw Jackson Lee occupying her seat.

In a Facebook post, Simon says she spoke with a congressman who said Jackson-Lee regularly poaches seats from other passengers.

“I was the last passenger on the plane. A Texas congressman, a nice g…

Venezuelans resort to using dollars instead of their worthless currency

Monica Showalter:
Imagine, if you will, Hugo Chávez's worst nightmare. The weapon he used to shake dollars out of the hated gringo, oil, is gone. Venezuelans cannot even get gas for their cars from their gas stations these days, and oil production has dropped to historic lows. The money is gone, too. Venezuela is under default and sanctions and can no longer pay its bills. Its foreign reserves have fallen below $10 billion. Chávez, before his death in 2013, ranted about the primacy of the dollar, even as he kept the dollars from Venezuela's oil profits to himself and his cronies. Now, the people have the dollar – and they are using it to fight the failures of Chávez's socialist regime.

This explains why the new phenomenon of dollarization now happening in Venezuela is actually a spark of light for a post-socialist future.

Dollarization happens whenever something goes very, very, very wrong with the local currency. In Venezuela, annual inflation today, on 12/27/17 is …

Obama DOJ and its frat house environment

Fox News:
DOJ scolds Obama administration over reported groping, harassment, office sex

The Justice Department scolded the Obama administration on Wednesday following a report on how sexual harassment of all kinds was improperly handled at the department for years.

The Washington Post reported that the DOJ’s inspector general had found “systemic” problems with how complaints were addressed, with offending officials often being let off the hook or even rewarded. The article cited investigative reports on a lawyer who allegedly groped two female attorneys and a top U.S. Marshals official who had sex with “approximately” nine women in his office.

Though fresh complaints have been filed as recently as August, the IG said some of the worst alleged offenses happened several years ago in the department’s Civil Division.
... The current Democrat push on sexual abuse appears to be blowing up in their face or other body parts.  I suspect it reflects the real liberal attitude toward sex in this e…

The inclusivity fetish of the left wants to make military mediocre?

The Sun:
BARMY ARMY British Army drew up £500K proposal to scrap ‘Be the Best’ motto because it was ‘non-inclusive’

The Be the Best slogan has been used since 1993, but market research has since found the message did not 'resonate' with the public I guess it depends on whether you want to have elite troops protecting you or a mediocre gathering of whoever shows up.  Personally, I was proud to be a part of the US Marine Corps that was selective in who it would take and who it would keep among those who got in.  If you are recruiting people who do not want to be part of the best, you are likely to have a problem when things get stressful.  When the going gets tough the mediocre are likely to bug out.

The message is supposed to resonate with those who want to be part of the best.  If the country lacks people who fit that demographic it has bigger problems than just a motto.

The Post movie tries to make the Pentagon papers about Nixon and not the liberal Kennedy and Johnson administrations

George Neumeyer:
From Hollywood comes a steady stream of movies casting powerful liberals as embattled and marginalized conservatives as menacing. Hollywood’s latest tribute to a hopelessly entitled press, The Post, is in that vein. Meryl Streep plays an astonishingly brave and nervy Katharine Graham, willing to risk her fortune and even her freedom to publish the Pentagon Papers in the Washington Post. It is a feel-good film for the kind of press liberals who consider Trump’s mere tweets a singular and monstrous threat to their freedom.

The film borrows from the Nixon tapes to make it seem like his impotent ravings imperiled her paper. But most of those rantings don’t even pertain to the Pentagon Papers, and in the one tape that does Nixon sounds remarkably blasé. If director Steven Spielberg had included the whole conversation with Al Haig in the movie, viewers would have heard the two agreeing that the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers primarily threatened to tarnish the legacy of …

Rich liberals engage in tax avoidance scheme

Washington Post:
A new headache this holiday: Waiting in line to pay property taxes

Residents of high-tax states are trying to avoid the new federal cap on real estate deductions by paying 2018 property-tax bills before the end of the year. The smart move would be to move from the high tax states.  Over a million people in recent time have moved from California, Connecticut, Illinois and New York.  They took with them around $57 billion in assets.  The rich are also leaving states like Maryland to lower tax states.  The new tax code makes the move even more logical if the high tax states don't get their act together and cut taxes and regulations.

Obama's rules of engagement against ISIS caused greater civilian casualties

Fox News:
ISIS has lost 98 percent of the territory it once held -- with half of that terror group's so-called "caliphate" having been recaptured since President Trump took office less than a year ago, U.S. military officials said Tuesday.

The massive gains come after years of "onerous" rules, when critics say the Obama administration “micromanaged” the war and shunned a more intensive air strategy that could have ended the conflict much sooner.

“The rules of engagement under the Obama administration were onerous. I mean what are we doing having individual target determination being conducted in the White House, which in some cases adds weeks and weeks,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the former head of U.S. Air Force intelligence. “The limitations that were put on actually resulted in greater civilian casualties.”

The latest American intelligence assessment says fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters now remain in Iraq and Syria, down from a peak o…

Trump-Russian collusion theory of Dems continues to crater

Daily Beast:
Democrats Are Actually Praising Team Trump for Taking on Russia

The president is still Putin-philic. But his administration is taking an increasingly hard line toward Moscow. Top Democrats are noticing the shift. There are probably still a few "true believers" in the collaboration theory like James Clapper, but it is getting harder to sustain it based on Trump's actual policies.

Are there enough members of 'alt-right' to move bitcoin market?

Washington Post:
Bitcoin boom a boon for alt-right groups seeking to duck Web, government scrutiny

Far-right political leaders and experts on extremist movements alike say the adoption of bitcoin gained new urgency after Charlottesville’s bloody Unite the Right rally in August as extremists looked for ways to operate beyond the reach of government control and the shifting policies of U.S. tech companies. Put me down as skeptical that the market movement is driven by a group that is not large enough to fill a hotel ballroom, much less a stadium.  I suspect it is more likely that the market is being driven by left-wing geeks who fear the Trump economy.  It is the left that has been fearful of what Trump is doing to the mainstream economy, despite the obvious growth in market indicators.

It appears to me that the Bitcoin bubble is and should be fragile.  It is like the Dutch tulip bubble of the past.  It would probably be in the interest of the US and its allies to see the bubble burst so…

The 5,000 commandants of the apple orchard

NY Times:

Picking Apples on a New York Farm With 5,000 Rules
Produce growers represent a textbook example of what businesses describe as regulatory fatigue. President Trump is tapping into the discontent. It is hard to imagine why there are more than a half a dozen rules for picking apples.  Perhaps it is because it is impossible to make some simple things foolproof because fools are so ingenious.  Doing away with many of the rules is making people and businesses more productive which should lead to higher incomes.

Totalitarian countries always act like there is broad support for their guy, Russia is no different

NY Times:
Blocked From Ballot, Putin Rival Can’t Even Boycott Vote
Aleksei A. Navalny, an anticorruption activist, was barred from running for president and was warned not to organize a boycott of the election. It raises the question of what the Kremlin has to fear. Putin probably fears a small turnout would be seen as a vote against him which would allow critics to question his legitimacy.   He apparently does not oppose elections as long as they are seen as a show of support for his rule.

Trump's support of police credited with lower violence against them

Washington Times:
Law enforcement leaders say Trump’s strong support for police saves lives

Line-of-duty deaths, including fatal shootings of police officers, are down this year I do think the Obama administration's hostility toward the police was a problem.  Their pandering to the "hands up, don't shoot" lie appeared to be a direct cause of more attacks on police.  Others who have bought into that lie have also gravely damaged support for the NFL with their protests.

What is causing the drop in life expectancy in the US?

Did ObamaCare Contribute To The Shocking Drop In Life Expectancy? There are probably several factors including opioid abuse.  We have also seen shorter life spans for many in the "sex, drugs and rock and roll" culture.  But it does seem clear that the claims that Obamacare would improve Americans' health have not lived up to their promises.

There is no evidence to support Democrats' claims that people are dying because of the repeal of net-neutrality or the tax cuts.

Tax Foundation analysis shows tax cuts will increase capital formation leading to higher wages and employment

Washington Free Beacon:
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, recently passed by both the House and the Senate, will increase capital formation, which will lead to higher wages and employment, according to an analysis from the Tax Foundation.

"We estimate that the Act will boost investment, employment, and incomes in the United States," the report says. "It will facilitate the expansion of U.S. capital stock, our productive capacity, and our ability to compete in the world."

The Tax Foundation explains that because the corporate tax rate will be cut to 21 percent, it is projected that long-run GDP will increase by 1.7 percent. This would lead to $1.8 trillion in the quality of equipment, commercial, residential structures, and plants, which would boost employment, wages, and productivity.

The bill's provisions of immediate expensing, reduced income tax rates, and reduced rates on businesses would make GDP closer to 4.7 percent. It is projected that capital stock would be …

300 ISIS fighters from Britain believed hiding in Turkey

Hundreds of British fighters who joined Isis are believed to be hiding in Turkey, prompting fears from western intelligence agencies of an increased risk of terror attacks in Europe, The Times has learnt.

When the Isis-held cities of Raqqa and Mosul were retaken this year, thousands of jihadists fled to Turkey, among them at least 300 Britons.

Ciwan Xhalil, a Syrian-Kurdish intelligence officer responsible for dealing with western intelligence agencies over the fate of foreign fighters, said he thought that most Britons had fled Syria.

“The exodus began after Mosul [in Iraq] fell and continued after [Isis] lost Raqqa. We have lots of French in our jails and scores of other nationals but we think most of the British have escaped,” he added.

About 850 Britons travelled to join Isis, of whom about half have returned. About 130 are confirmed dead.

British security sources warned yesterday that there was a risk that the jihadists would try to slip home and that there was the potenti…