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Showing posts from 2017

Migrants trying to wade across Rio Grande drown near El Paso

Guardian:
Four migrants die trying to cross Rio Grande, days after Texas truck deaths

Three Guatemalans, including two children, and woman of unconfirmed nationality die in effort to reach Texas after torrential rain swelled river It is not clear why they chose to try to cross the river at El Paso which is hundreds of miles further than the mouth of the river from Central America.  I suspect they were misled by the Mexican cartel.

The US needs to publicize the deaths in Central America to discourage the dangerous journey.

US sanctions Venezuelan officials

BBC:
The US government has imposed sanctions on 13 senior Venezuelan officials as pressure mounts on President Nicolás Maduro ahead of a controversial vote for a new constituent assembly.

The sanctions freeze the US assets of those affected, and US entities are barred from doing business with them.

Those targeted include the interior minister and the head of the army.

Last week, President Donald Trump vowed "strong and swift economic actions" if Mr Maduro held the poll, due on Sunday.

The vote, which Mr Maduro says will proceed as planned, is to choose the 545 members of a new constituent assembly that would rival the opposition-held National Assembly.

Critics say the president is trying to cement a dictatorship. He argues it is the only way to bring peace back to the divided nation.

The US sanctions also target the head of Venezuela's National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, and former vice president Elias Jaua, who is leading the presidential commissions organising Sunday&…

Dirty dossier firm tied to alleged cover up of South American corruption

Washington Times:
Anti-Trump dossier firm did work for corrupt regimes, rights group claims

Corrupt Russian and Venezuelan officials benefited from the work of the Washington-based firm that also commissioned the largely unsubstantiated anti-Trump campaign research dossier, according to testimony from a leading South American human rights campaigner submitted to a congressional panel probing the 2016 Russian election-meddling scandal.

Thor Halvorssen, head of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Fusion GPS operated a smear campaign against journalists who threatened to expose a multibillion dollar fraud involving faulty South American electric power plants, the laundering of its proceeds in U.S. banks, and a kickback scheme to pay off Venezuelan officials.
... It appears that Fusion may become the central focus of the hearings.  This could jeopardize the Democrats' Russian collusion conspiracy theory.

Molly Hemingway ha…

Rust belt rejection of the media narrative about Trump

Salena Zito:
Why the Rust Belt just gave Donald Trump a hero’s welcome Zito was one of the few reporters who caught the trend toward Trump in the Rust Belt and she finds that trend has solidified despite the caterwauling coming out of the Washington and New York media.

Liberal hostility toward the Boy Scouts takes a new twist after Trump speech

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Washington Post:
A Boy Scout jamboree. A controversial Trump speech. And the backlash that followed.

The president’s speech prompted an outcry from many current and former Scouts and their families, who said Trump’s remarks were inappropriate and undermined efforts to diversify and modernize the century-old organization. Liberals have been at war with the Boy Scouts ever since they rejected gay scout leaders.  Some even compared Trump's speech and its reception to Hitler.  What is it about liberals who keep comparing the President to Hitler?  Hitler was a socialist who killed millions of Jews.  Trump is a capitalist whose family includes Jews whom he has placed in his administration.

This looks like the typical overreaction of some to the President and those who support him.  Obama largely ignored the Scouts when he was President and did not personally appear at any of their jamborees.  Trump shows up and gets a warm reception from thousands of future voters and all of a sudden its…

The 'millions without healthcare lie'

NY Times:
The Health Care Travesty
Ignoring public disgust, the Senate will now debate proposals that would leave millions more without insurance. It is interesting that liberals who ignored the public disgust with Obamacare for years are concerned about Congress ignoring their big lies about the changes to the program.  The fact is that the changes would allow people to make a decision about what health care insurance they want and whether they would rather take their chances without it.  The removal of the mandate to buy is not the same as "leaving millions without insurance."  What liberals seem to oppose is giving people a choice.

Sailor makes $100 million screw up?

Times:
A sailor on board a US Navy destroyer pressed the wrong button during an exercise last month, ruining a $100 million missile test.

It was the fourth test of a new super-interceptor, designed as part of a joint US and Japanese military programme to combat an intermediate-range ballistic missile attack by North Korea. Three earlier tests had been successful.

The crew of the USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer, fired an SM-3 block IIA interceptor targeting an unarmed ballistic missile that had been launched from Hawaii.

It was the first test of this interceptor from a warship equipped with the US Aegis combat system that is supposed to manage the whole “hit-to-kill” operation. The interceptor should have hit the target with the force of a ten-ton lorry travelling at 600mph, destroying it.

When the interceptor exploded before reaching the incoming missile, the Pentagon feared that the flight test had failed because of some disastrous technical fault.

After an inquiry, i…

Memo details Obama administration violations in the handling of classified materials

The Hill:
The National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama years by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies’ ability to obey their own rules.

The memos reviewed by The Hill were publicly released on July 11 through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.

They detail specific violations that the NSA or FBI disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Justice Department's national security division during President Obama’s tenure between 2009 and 2016. The intelligence community isn't due to report on compliance issues for 2017, the first year under the Trump administration, until next spring.
The NSA says that the missteps amount to a small number — less than 1…

The State Department has become a rogue institution

Washington Free Beacon:
The State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson has been locked in a growing power struggle with the White House that has angered officials in the West Wing and sparked claims that the Trump administration's top diplomatic organ is now in "open war" with the White House on a range of critical issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, Iran, the crisis with Qatar, and other matters, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the situation.

The State Department is said to be in a state of "massive dysfunction," with top officials working under Tillerson ignoring White House directives on critical staffing issues and key policy matters, according to multiple sources, including administration allies who are said to be increasingly frustrated with what is perceived as the White House's inability to control its own federal agencies.

The tensions have fueled an outstanding power battle between the…

The multiple formations at different depths makes the Permian Basin a rich resource for oil

Seeking Alpha:

“Array fracking” has arrived: operators increasingly use a full-volume approach to stimulating thick or stacked shale formations.With dozens of wells typically drilled and completed off the same pad simultaneously, operational efficiencies are powerful.The elimination of “over-capitalization” – drilling less wells to recover the same amount of oil – is the next big saving the industry is likely to realize in full development.
... This is the summary of arguments made in the piece.  If you consider the various layers under the Permian Basin, the efficiency of using one well to access them all is one reason why the costs of production have come down.

'Fact checkers' become accessories to Democrat politics of fraud

David Harsanyi:
So-Called Fact Checkers Keep Butchering The Facts About Obamacare This genre has become a scam to hide Democrat political fraud. If these guys were lawyers for Obama they would be laughed out of court for the arguments they make defending the lies he used to sell Obamacare.

Democrat IT aide arrested trying to leave country after hard drives were seized

Daily Caller:
Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology (IT) aide was arrested attempting to leave the country just a few hours after The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group revealed that he is the target of an FBI investigation.

The employee, Imran Awan, had wired $283,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union in a House office building to two individuals in Pakistan. Credit union officials permitted the wire to go through, and his wife has already fled the country to Pakistan, after police confronted her at the airport and found $12,000 in cash hidden in her suitcase but did not stop her from boarding.

“On January 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm, an international wire transfer request form was submitted [at the Congressional Federal Credit Union] at the Longworth House Office Building in the District of Columbia, in the amount of $283,000.00, to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan,” according to an affidavit obtained by TheDCNF.

Imra…

Venezuela desperate to keep US purchases of oil

Miami Herald:
As chaos envelops Venezuela, Caracas spends millions on lobbyists in Washington

...
U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil market could have major financial implications for the Maduro regime and for average Venezuelans. Although Venezuelan crude makes up a small fraction — about 8 percent in 2016 — of all U.S. oil imports, the U.S. buys nearly half of Venezuela’s oil, and oil revenues account for 95 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings, according to OPEC.
... This is why President Trump's sanction threat is being taken seriously in Venezuela where the regime has run the economy into the ground.

I suspect Manafort's meeting notes with Russian will not support collusion

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Washington Post:
Manafort testifies before Senate Intelligence Committee, submits Trump Tower meeting notes

Before his testimony, Paul Manafort submitted to the committee notes that he took at a meeting with a Russian lawyer he and other campaign aides attended during the presidential campaign, a person familiar with the investigation said. I would be surprised if any smart person would ever take notes suggesting collusion with a foreign power.   I suspect the notes probably are consistent with the memories of others in attendance who have already given their recollection of the meeting as a "waste of time."    But Democrats are fond of wasting time on the collusion theory of why they lost an election.  The media will be so disappointed.

US fires warning shots toward threatening Iranian boats

CNN:
A US Navy ship fired warning shots at an armed Iranian patrol boat Tuesday in the northern end of the Persian Gulf, according to two US defense officials.

The Iranian boat is believed to have been operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to a defense official familiar with details of the incident. The officials said the Iranian boat approached and came within 150 yards of the USS Thunderbolt, a US Navy patrol ship.

The USS Thunderbolt was accompanied by the USS Vella Gulf, which is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, and two other US Coast guard vessels at the time.

The Iranians did not respond to any warnings from the US ship, including radio calls, firing of flares and five short blasts from the US Navy ship's whistle, which is the internationally recognized communications signal for danger, the officials said.

The Navy ship then fired warning shots into the water over concerns about the possibility of a collision, one of the officials said.

The …

Taliban using Russian made heavy weapons

Washington Times:
Evidence of Russian-built assault weapons, sniper rifles and heavy machine guns reportedly being used by the Taliban against U.S.-backed Afghan forces in the northern and western parts of the country emerged Tuesday, fueling concerns in Washington that Russia is covertly backing the Afghan insurgents.

Video obtained by CNN shows fighters from a Taliban splinter faction based near the western city of Herat, along the Iranian border, brandishing the Russian-made weapons. In the video, the group’s second-in-command Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi says the weapons were taken from Taliban fighters in the area.

Clashes between the Taliban and Niazi’s faction have roiled Herat and surrounding areas in recent weeks. Niazi said the weapons had been supplied to Taliban fighters from Russia via Iran. The Russian weapons were then taken by members of Nizai’s group after a recent gun battle. “The Russians are giving them these weapons to fight ISIS in Afghanistan, but they are using them …

The high cost of wind and solar inefficiency

Gail Tverberg:
Researchers Have Been Underestimating the Cost of Wind and Solar

...
There are two reasons why these percentages are lower than a person might expect. One reason is that the figures usually quoted are the amounts of “generating capacity” added by wind and solar, and these are nearly always higher than the amount of actual electricity supply added, because wind and solar “capacity” tend to be lightly used.

The other reason that the percentages on Figure 1 are lower than we might expect is because the places that have unusually high concentrations of wind and solar generation (examples: Germany, Denmark, and California) tend to depend on a combination of (a) generous subsidy programs, (b) the availability of inexpensive balancing power from elsewhere and (c) the generosity of neighbors in taking unwanted electricity and adding it to their electric grids at low prices.

As greater amounts of intermittent electricity are added, the availability of inexpensive balancing capaci…

Trump's disappointment with Sessions

Washington Post:
Trump team weighs options for replacing Sessions

Some of President Trump’s confidants are floating prospects who could take Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s place were he to resign or be fired, according to people familiar with the talks. It comes as Trump continued to vent his frustration with Sessions. Some of his disappointment is beyond Sessions control.  Perhaps Sessions should have advised the President before he accepted the appointment that he would have to recuse himself.  I suspect both men were surprised that the bogus Russian collusion narrative by the Democrats went as far as it did. While trump was willing to let Clinton off the hook for her mishandling of classified information and the appearance of corruption, the Democrats were not as magnanimous in defeat as he was in victory.

Trump would like to see some push back against the Democrats and he now thinks it was a mistake not to pursue an investigation of Clinton, but the way to handle that is to call…

The drug invaders and their methods

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NY Times:
How Smugglers Get Drugs Across the Border
As the United States increases the number of agents, drones, sensors and cameras on the border, smugglers resort to more inventive modes. While the drug cartels are engaged in a criminal insurgency in Mexico their main business is selling narcotics and dope to Americans.  They use various means to smuggle their product into the US and they are similar inventive in trafficking illegal aliens into the US.

Dope has been found in the spare tires of cars manufactured in Mexico for sale in the US They have also used catapults to launch some dope across the border.  They have hidden it in produce trucks.  The recent trafficking deaths in San Antonio show they are as careless with the lives of their human cargo as they are with the lives of their drug consumers.

The murder of US troops in Jordan

NY Times:
Video Shows U.S. Soldiers Surrendered Before Shooting
Newly released footage of a gunfight that left three Americans dead near a military base in Jordan in November shows a deliberate attack that was initially explained as a mistake. In this case, the video does not lie but the perps do.

There is some evidence that the killer was a radical Islamist.

Forensic evidence shows DNC emails were leaked, not hacked

Zero Hedge:
...
Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.

After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].

Independent analyst Skip Folden, a retired IBM…

Permian Basin is helping US set record energy production

USA Today:
U.S. daily crude oil production in 2018 may shatter a record established nearly a half-century ago, the Energy Information Administration has suggested.

The average production will be 9.9 million barrels per day next year, the federal agency revealed this week, up from 9.3 million barrels this year and more than the 9.6 million barrels produced in 1970, the landmark year.

Leading the U.S. production charge will be Permian Basin operations in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico and operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

The EIA said production in the Permian will increase to about 2.9 million barrels per day in 2018 as average production ramps up 515,000 barrels per day from June 2017 to the end of 2018. That 2.9 million barrels represents almost 30 percent of expected U.S. production next year.

Baker Hughes' rig count says there are 366 onshore rigs in the Permian alone; there are 915 onshore rigs in all in the lower 48 U.S. states.

Eight projects came online in the Gulf in…

Trump receives enthusiastic reception from next generation of voters

Washington Times:
President Donald Trump received big-time cheers during delivery of remarks at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree.

Barack Obama, however? Not so much.

“By the way, just a question,” Trump said to the crowd, The Hill reported. “Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?”

Let the boos begin — and they did.

“The answer is no,” Trump said. And he’s quite right.

Night and day, ying and yang. The Boy Scouts know their friends. Obama made a videotape that played at the National Jamboree in 2010. But after that, he largely ignored the group — except when he could politicize it.
...

But Obama, who spent part of his childhood with the Indonesian Scout Association, not BSA, could never quite make the jamborees.

Trump did. And he told the crowd “we’ll be back” for the next jamboree as well. What a difference in administrations. Obama sees gay rights; Trump, the faces of America’s future. Such a small thing. But such a loud and large message. I am sure that most of the media…

Navy rail gun in action

Daily Mail:
The US Navy has revealed the latest tests of a radical electromagnetic gun that can fire projectiles at six times the speed of sound.

Described as 'Star Wars technology' by researchers, these powerful missiles don't rely on chemical propellants and are fuelled by electricity alone.

Strong magnetic fields a 'pulse power system' is used to send propellants flying at 4,500mph, and the technology has previously been shown to penetrate concrete at 100 miles away.

Railguns are touted as one of the future technologies of warfare, using kinetic and laser energies instead of classic controlled explosives.

'The railgun is a true warfighter game changer,' the Navy says.

'Wide-area coverage, exceptionally quick response and very deep magazines will extend the reach and lethality of ships armed with this technology.
... If they can make the barrel hold up to the movement of the projectile it will be a much more economical weapon which extends the rang…

Zeta cartel tied to immigrants on fatal truck ride to San Antonio

San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle:
People close to the Zetas Cartel helped some immigrants cross the Rio Grande, according to one man who survived the drive inside a sweltering tractor-trailer from Laredo to San Antonio late Saturday.

Ten people who were inside the trailer have died and dozens were taken to area hospitals.

Details in a criminal complaint against James Matthew Bradley Jr., the 60-year-old trailer driver, give an idea of what transpired in the days leading up to the deadly drive to San Antonio.

RELATED: New details emerge about immigrants' deadly trip to San Antonio in sweltering trailer

The man told authorities he waited with a group of 28 other people to be smuggled into the U.S.

"He was told by the smuggler that people linked to the Zetas would charge 11,000 Mexican pesos for protection and 1,500 Mexican pesos to cross by raft since the river ran deep in that area," reads the complaint. "The money was collected and his group crossed the river b…

What is the Democrat plan for repairing the damage caused by Obamacare?

CNN:
Schumer: Democrats' top priority is health care, not Russia Schumer did not present any ideas on how to repair the damaged caused by Obamacare.  I get the feeling that their top priority is to defend the status quo and to hell with those harmed by the current law.

Trump administration to repeal Obama fracking regulations on federal land

The Hill:
The Trump administration is proposing to repeal completely Obama-era standards governing hydraulic fracturing on federal land.

The proposal from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is due to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register.

The landmark 2015 regulation set standards in areas such as disclosure of fracking chemicals and integrity of well casing.

It was the Obama administration’s attempt to update decades-old regulations to account for the explosive growth in fracking for oil and natural gas in recent years.

The repeal is the latest in a long string of environmental regulations from Obama that Trump is working to undo.
...
Trump officials say in the proposal released Monday that the Obama regulation is largely duplicative of state and tribal standards, and would cost the oil and gas industry up to $45 million a year to comply.
... A federal court had already ruled that the Bureau of Land Management did not have the authority to regulate frack…

California keeps going down the wrong trail on 'climate change

Bjorn Lomborg:
...
At the moment, California’s greenhouse gas emissions account for less than 1% of global emissions, and a little less than 7% of U.S. emissions. The state now plans to cut its emissions by the equivalent of 181.5 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2030 — to 40% below its 1990 levels.

Although this is a much bigger cut than California achieved with its 2006 climate change legislation, it’s still nowhere near enough to have a meaningful effect on global warming overall. Even if California succeeds in making the new cuts and sticks to them for the rest of the century, according to calculations using a standard model of the U.N. Climate Panel, they will amount to a difference of .008 degrees Fahrenheit (.0044 degrees Celsius) — a minuscule drop in the bucket of the cuts needed in order to limit total global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, the number climate activists have identified as a dangerous tipping point.
...
A smarter approach to climate policy — and on…

Why big Green is losing

Joel Kotkin:
When President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accords, embraced coal, and stacked his administration from people from fossil-fuel producing states, the environmental movement reacted with near-apocalyptic fear and fury. They would have been better off beginning to understand precisely why the country has become so indifferent to their cause, as evidenced by the victory not only of Trump but of unsympathetic Republicans at every level of government.

Yet there’s been little soul-searching among green activists and donors, or in the generally pliant media since November about how decades of exaggerated concerns—about peak oil, the “population bomb,” and even, a few decades back, global cooling—and demands for economic, social, and political sacrifices from the masses have damaged their movement.

Not long ago, many greens still embraced pragmatic solutions—for example substituting abundant natural gas for coal—that have generated large reductions in greenhouse gas emissi…

Congressional Republicans lost their excuse for inaction and seem to be floundering without it

Washington Post:
Republicans are in full control of government — but losing control of their party

The president's allies on Capitol Hill have described the dynamic between the White House and GOP lawmakers as a “disconnect” between Republicans who are finding it difficult to accept that he is the leader of the party that they have long controlled. The Republican Congress seems to be having a problem getting out of its own way.  It no longer has an excuse for not passing legislation its base wants but seems incapable of moving.  It is like it struggling against movie quicksand.

While I had my reservations about the President, I do not think he is the problem.  He has shown flexibility with Congress and they still can't get much done when it comes to major legislation like healthcare and taxes.

The bulk of the problem seems to be concentrated in the Senate.  It is not enough to make people want to vote for Democrats, but it is enough to make them want to challenge recalcitrant…

House IT scandal heats up

Daily Caller:
EXCLUSIVE: FBI Seized Smashed Hard Drives From Wasserman Schultz IT Aide’s Home It appears these guys are trying the Hillary Clinton method of evidence destruction.  The Democrats have been trying to suppress the story of their own IT scandal and for the most part, the media other than the Daily Caller has been ignoring the story.

These guys had access to classified information that was provided to Democrats as well as many DNC emails.  Strangely, the Democrats do not appear to be as upset with them as they are with the Russians who did not have nearly that kind of access.

Oh pardon me, and you and anyone else Mueller tries to 'flip'

streiff:
Jay Sekulow: Pardons Are Not On The Table, Sorta As Bill Clinton proved on his way out the door, the pardon process is pretty expansive.  And as Bush 41 showed it can be used to stop political prosecutions of people who worked for him.  The bottom line is that when Mueller's team says it is trying to "flip" Manafort to say something bad about Trump and the Russians a discussion of the Presidential power should make it obvious that flipping someone in order to attack the President may foreclose a potential pardon.

Kushner letter responds to media Russia meme and explains why there is no evidence of collusion

CNN:
READ: Jared Kushner's statement on Russia to congressional committees The letter is worth reading in full.  It appears to have been compiled with the help of an excellent legal team that had waded through documents to confirm his statements.   It also explains why the Democrats have been able to find nothing because there is nothing to find.  I suspect it also explains why the FBI has also found nothing.

OPEC looking for help in balancing supply with demand

CNN/Money:
OPEC to U.S.: Please don't pump so much oil! Since their predatory pricing model did not work to kill the fracking wells, OPEC is trying a more polite approach.  The group is still trying to come to grips with the fact that shale drillers have put a ceiling on what they can get away with charging and the group is also having difficulty internally enforcing their own restrictions on production.

Ecuador has recently said that it could no longer afford to restrict its output.  OPEC is also having trouble reining in Libya and Nigeria as well as Iraq.  All of those countries desperately need the money from sales.

Pipeline to bring large volume of water to fracking wells

Fuel Fix:
The Houston water well company Layne Christensen has laid its last segments of 22-inch polyethylene pipe in the Delaware Basin, and is just days from opening its 20-mile pipeline to oil and gas operators here.

The Delaware, the southern lobe of the prolific Permian Basin, is a desert, full of thorny mesquite trees and pesky agave lechuguilla — also called shin daggers — a cactus that trips up horses and pierces skin. Oil and gas companies must find water here for hydraulic fracturing operations to work.

Layne, based in The Woodlands, has landed some big fish as its first customers.
... This is an interesting development in what can be a water scarce region of Texas.  It is another example of how production from fracking wells is becoming more efficient.  They are already producing fracking sand locally rather than bringing it in on rail cars from the Northern US.

Texas Speaker Joe Strauss thwarting the will of the voters

Charles Blain:
Why is a Texas Republican blocking union reforms? ...

House leadership has a history of holding conservative reforms hostage because of union cash. Though most union campaign contributions went to Democrats, public unions spent more than $1.6 million on Texas legislators during the most recent campaign cycle.

Overall, Speaker Straus received the most of those dollars, bringing the bulk of union contributions during his speakership to over a quarter of a million dollars. After Straus, the second highest Republican was Cook.

Those who control how legislation moves through the House are more than willing to give in to union demands so they can enjoy their continued support. A letter released by one of the unions following the last legislative session shows how much they value Straus and Cook.

“State Representative Byron Cook is Chairman of the powerful State Affairs Committee and is closely aligned with Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. Last session…

Bodies of dead ISIS fighters go unclaimed in Libya

Fox News:
Hundreds of corpses of Islamic State fighters remain stored in freezers in Libya, as that nation’s government negotiates the return of the bodies to the fighters’ home countries, a report said.

Most of the dead, shipped to a morgue in Misrata, Libya, were killed in December when Libyan forces defeated ISIS in a battle at Sirte, on Libya’s Mediterranean coast, Reuters reported.

In many cases, the fighters’ home countries – including Egypt and Sudan – have been reluctant to accept the remains because their arrival would help reveal how many of their citizens left to fight as ISIS jihadists, according to Reuters.

Officials in Tunisia have estimated that more than 3,000 of its citizens have left to join jihadists fighters in Iraq, Syria and Libya, the report said.

In the interim, Libyan authorities have documented and photographed the bodies and collected DNA samples, a Misrata law enforcement official told Reuters.
... This appears to be another front in the war against ISIS th…

8 die in alleged human trafficking case in San Antonio

AP/NY Post:
Eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer outside a Walmart store in the stifling summer heat in what police called a horrific human trafficking case, and the driver was arrested.

Several other people, possibly dozens, were found in the truck, which didn’t have a working air conditioning system despite blistering temperatures that topped 100 degrees, and they were taken to hospitals, authorities said. The driver had been held, authorities said, but they didn’t release the driver’s identity.

A person from the truck approached a Walmart employee in a parking lot and asked for water late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, said police in San Antonio, where temperatures on Saturday reached 101 degrees. The employee gave the person the water and then called police, and when officers arrived they found the eight people dead in the back of the trailer, police Chief William McManus said.

Investigators checked store surveillance video, which showed vehicles had arrived …

ISIS's improvised mechanized units in fight to hold Mosul

Image
Washington Post:

These are the suicide cars and trucks that made the battle of Mosul so bloody

To carry out some of its deadliest attacks, the Islamic State weaponized everyday vehicles — from sedans to tractors — for use as precision-guided munitions. In the end, the best they could do was prolong a losing battle.   The enemy has found the means to create objects that can kill a lot of people, but they are not enough to overcome a military operation against them.   The design looks like it may be somewhat effective against small arms fire but would be no match against modern armored vehicles.

Erdogan using failed coup as excuse to seize businesses

NY Times:
Turkey Wages War on ‘Enemies’ in Business World
The government has seized more than 950 companies, from a baklava chain to a major construction firm, over suspected ties to a failed coup attempt last year. The Turkish despot has used the failed coup attempt for everything from depriving political opponents of freedom to theft of businesses from those not deemed to be a supporter of his Islamist crackpot ideas.  Freedom is a big loser in Turkey.  Erdogan was already an unreliable ally in the war being waged against the rest of the world by radical Islamists.  He has unleashed his inner despot.

Lobby having trouble pushing E-15 'choice' act

Fuel Fix:
The bill, introduced earlier in March by a bipartisan coalition of Midwestern lawmakers, is still sitting at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It was not included on a list of bills to be debated next week, because it "does not have the support necessary to pass the committee," a spokesman for the committee said Friday.
With time winding down in the Senate, ethanol advocates say they do not expect a vote on the legislation before the Senate goes on recess in August.

"We will continue to work with our bipartisan sponsors to enact this bill to provide drivers across the country cleaner fuel options year-round," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

The legislation, known as the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, would allow gasoline stations to sell E15 - which contains 15 percent ethanol gasoline compared to the standard 10 percent -- despite summertime air pollution measures designed to reduce ozone levels around cities.

RELATED STORY: Gas…

Did NY Times help ISIS leader escape?

Daily Mail:

General Tony Thomas, who leads Special Operations Command, said Friday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado that his teams were 'particularly close' to al-Baghdadi in 2015.

...
... a Delta Force commando raid in eastern Syria, killed ISIS oil minister Abu Sayyaf and captured his wife, yielding a trove of information about the terror group's operations and logistics.

'That was a very good lead. Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,' said Thomas, in an apparent reference to a New York Times report about the raid from June 2015.

That report read in part: 'New insights yielded by the seized trove — four to seven terabytes of data, according to one official — include how the organization’s shadowy leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, operates and tries to avoid bein…

Mueller targets Manafort

Reuters:
U.S. investigators examining money laundering accusations against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort hope to push him to cooperate with their probe into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia, two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation said.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is examining Manafort's financial and real estate records in New York as well as his involvement in Ukrainian politics, the officials said.

Between 2006 and 2013, Manafort bought three New York properties, including one in Trump Tower in Manhattan. He paid for them in full and later took out mortgages against them. A former senior U.S. law enforcement official said that tactic is often used as a means to hide the origin of funds gained illegally. Reuters has no independent evidence that Manafort did this.

The sources also did not say whether Mueller has uncovered any evidence to charge Manafort with money laundering, but they said d…

It is hard out there for ISIS terrorists

Washington Post:
A battered ISIS grows ever more dependent on lone wolves and simple plans

The sophistication of the group’s operations is slipping, suggesting that counterterrorism measures arrayed against the militants are taking a toll, U.S. and European counterterrorism officials say. ISIS is being squeezed from within and outside the caliphate.  The operations directly against the caliphate  territory are more than just a distraction for its outside efforts.  It is beginning to look like the Philippines operation is its "Battle of the Bulge."  ISIS has always reacted to direct attacks with assaults in a different direction.  Now its resources are shrinking to the point that has become difficult.  It is also probably losing its cache among jihadi wannabes.

Those who want to allow men in dresses to pee in the girls room are wasting their time with Texas Senate

NY Times:
Tense Showdown in Texas Senate Over Bathroom Bill
Opponents and supporters of a proposal to limit transgender bathroom use in public buildings packed a committee hearing in Austin on Friday. Their best chance of defeating the legislation is in the House where they have the backing of the Speaker, Joe Strauss.  The Senate already passed the bill once and is unlikely to change its mind.  I really do not see why it is so important for transgender people to use the other gender's facilities.  It looks like another attempt by the left to normalize deviancy and pander to a mental disorder.

Narco terrorists target Mexico's vacation resorts

Bloomberg:
Shootout in Cancun: Narcos Take Their War Into Hot Beach Resorts Mexico appears to be unable to contain its criminal insurgency.

Washington Posts Session hit job through another illegal leak proves nothing

Power Line:
The Washington Post claims that Attorney General Sessions’ statements about what he discussed with the Russian ambassador are at odds with reports by the ambassador to his government about what he and Sessions discussed. The Post relies on, you guessed it, “current and former U.S. officials.”

But the Post fails to describe a contradiction between what Sessions has said and what the Russian ambassador supposedly reported. Here are the only statements by Sessions cited by the Post and its sources as problematic:
I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.

I don’t recall any discussion of the campaign in any significant way.

I never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.
Here is the Post’s description of what the Russian ambassador told the government:

A former official said that the intelligence indicates…

Denver authorities tried to thwart arrest of murder suspect

Daily Caller:
Sanctuary City Denver Freed An Illegal Alien Homicide Suspect Over ICE Objections The alleged killing took place in the jail and the Sheriff and DA's office were accused of ignoring the ICE detainer and releasing the suspect at a hospital in order to thwart an arrest by immigration authorities.  It will be interesting to see if the feds charge them with obstruction of justice.

Questions raised about head of DNC's management of Obama Labor Department

Washington Free Beacon:
Labor Department Whistleblower: Agency Officials Intentionally Denied or Delayed Pay-Outs to Nuclear Workers in Hopes They Would Die

Government attorney who raised red flags said Perez, other Obama officials ignored his complaints about hostility toward nuclear-worker claims The workers helped to build the US nuclear arsenal during the Cold War.  They were one reason why the US won that war.

Largest petrochemical plant in world planned for Houston Ship Channel--2,500 construction jobs

Houston Chronicle:
The Houston petrochemical company LyondellBasell said it will move forward with its most expensive project ever, a $2.4 billion plant near the Houston Ship Channel that would become the largest factory of its kind in the world.

The project, which would create some 2,500 construction jobs and 160 permanent positions at the plant, represents a continuation of the petrochemical boom along the Gulf Coast fueled by cheap and ample natural gas liquids and supported by access to foreign markets through the growing export terminals at the Port of Houston and other Texas ports. The American Chemistry Council, a trade group, estimated the Texas Gulf Coast accounts for about $70 billion of the $185 billion in petrochemical plants completed since 2010 or planned through 2023.

The Houston area today boasts one of the world's greatest concentrations of petrochemical plants, in many ways the result of the shale-drilling boom that produced large amounts of natural gas liquids - …

Rush--Obamacare is like cable where they make you pay for something you don't want or need

Rush Limbaugh:
...
RUSH: Well, you know, you may have performed an experiment which proves that point. Let me ask you what… Is the clip that you played for them my comparison of bare-bones, stripped-down cable coverage and comparing that to health care and how both make sense?

CALLER: That’s exactly right.

RUSH: And that resonated with ’em?

CALLER: It really did.

RUSH: See? I knew it. I knew it would. I knew it would. ‘Cause they hate cable, and when you accurately explain what’s bad about cable and why they dislike it; then say, “It’s the same thing that’s going on in health care. They’re making you buy things you don’t need and would never buy on your own,” it had to click. Well, I really owe you big time. I’m happy to give you that iPhone since you took the time to do that.
... That is an interesting comparison.  It strikes at the heart of the mandate issue and it demonstrates how popular Ted Cruz's consumer freedom agenda will be if Republicans pass it.

Left's war on free speech expands to attack criticism of Paris deal

Washington Post:
EPA chief Pruitt accused of breaking the law by criticizing Paris deal

A watchdog group zeroed in on a meeting he had in April with a lobbying group for the mining industry at which Pruitt reportedly “bashed” the climate accord, according to media reports at the time. Such a reading of the law is absurd on its face and unconstitutional.   Millions of people have criticized this deal and it really does not matter who their audience was.  A political figure cannot be muzzled by special interest groups who support a different policy.

I have to say that this is typical conduct for the anti-energy left and the true believers of global warming.  They have often tried to shut down debate with name calling and other means.  This looks like another fascist attack on the Constitution.

Unsubstantiated claims of losing healthcare coverage effecting attitudes toward Obamacare

NY Times:
They Hated the Health Law — Until the Idea of Repeal
Sentiment in a Pennsylvania county has tracked with a national shift in opinion about Obamacare amid fears that millions could lose coverage. The goofy CBO numbers and the scare headlines in the media are having an effect on people's opinions about Obamacare.  It is still a very bad law that has harmed millions.  The allegations of lost coverage appear to be grossly misleading.  There only roughly nine million people who have purchased Obamacare through the exchanges, yet the people who will supposedly love coverage are estimated at around 30 million.  The math does not add up.

Most people still have employer provided healthcare which is not effected by the reform legislation.  Those with coverage by government programs are also largely uneffected.  The numbers don't make sense.  In addition, the Health and Human Services Department estimates that the Cruz amendment actually increases coverage by two million.

FBI still investigating discredited dirty dossier

Washington Times:
The FBI is routinely asking witnesses in its Russia investigation about the accusations in a dossier against Donald Trump, further expanding the reach of a discredited opposition research paper sourced from the Kremlin and financed and distributed by Democrats.

A source close to the investigation described the dossier as a checklist agents tick off as they go over numerous unverified charges denounced as fabrications by President Trump and his aides.

The source called it strange that a gossip-filled series of memos is guiding the way the bureau is conducting the investigation.

The memos were used not only to try to surreptitiously influence the November election, but congressional Democrats also used them to attack the president.

The FBI is using the checklist approach even though former Director James B. Comey referred to the memos from ex-British spy Christopher Steele as “some salacious and unverified material” when he testified in June on his firing by Mr. Trump.
...

Media is out of touch on issues Americans care about

Erick Erickson:
...
According to Bloomberg’s polling, the media is giving 75% of its attention to the Russia investigation and only 6% of Americans think that is the most important news of the day. 35% of Americans think healthcare is the most important news and the media is giving that only 4% of its attention. On top of that, 10% of the public thinks immigration is the biggest issue and the media is giving zero coverage to that topic.

If the President gets his wall and gets a GOP win on healthcare, he probably thinks he can do whatever he wants on the Russia investigation. Like it or not, he is going to be President for a while and as the media continues to chase this story, the public continues to not give a damn about it.

So many, myself included, truly thought Trump could not win last November. But he did. Perhaps he actually understands the American people better than us and knows he can continue to ride public apathy for a story only the media and left seem to truly care about.