Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I don't love WikiLeaks

CIA Director Mike Pompeo remains inconsolably hostile toward whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, insisting they are a "non-state hostile intelligence service" and are plotting to "take down America any way they can and find any willing partner to achieve that end."

Hostility to WikiLeaks has been a mainstay in the US government, as every administration faces the prospect of their covert misdeeds becoming a matter of public record, to their general embarrassment albeit rarely to the end of any meaningful reform.

President Trump had a positive attitude toward WikiLeaks during last year’s campaign, declaring "I love WikiLeaks."

Pompeo insists he doesn’t feel the same way, and that US intelligence agencies need to find ways to fight the organization.

"I don’t love WikiLeaks," Mr. Pompeo said Thursday.

Pompeo argued that the US needs to use the Espionage Act much more in going after leakers who aren’t actually foreign spies, though he stopped short of openly endorsing Espionage prosecutions against journalists for reporting on the leaks.

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In a world of clashing political ideologies, certain doctrines have been entrenched as articles of faith. Among these is the doctrine of multiculturalism. In itself, multiculturalism is a practical and humane policy, for any decent society to embrace. I have stated in recent times, during my speeches and appearances on National Media, that the West does not need to prove to the rest of the world that it is supportive of multiculturalism. Our strong nations have been built upon diversity.

However, the question here is, is it healthy to pursue an approach of "multiculturalism at all costs"?

The tolerant majorities of the West have been very accepting of successive waves of immigrants from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds. And almost exclusively within a single generation the newcomers have integrated into the mainstream. While large numbers of Muslims have made this successful adjustment, a large minority have not.

As decades have now passed since large scale Muslim immigration to the West began, one must ask, what is different about this particular community from all the previous waves of immigrants? I can speak with some authority on this matter.

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Quote of the day

Global laughing stock

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make: London is becoming a global laughing stock. Both intellectually and literally, Londoners are dying under the weight of a virulent dose of political correctness.

Last week, Transport for London pointlessly buckled to LGBT activists and banned the quintessentially British (and universally polite) phrase, "ladies and gentlemen" from its station announcements.

Its replacement "good afternoon, everyone" is deemed more "inclusive" and "gender neutral," although even that might offend those with multiple personality disorders.

In a city that has recently undergone three terrorist attacks, this might seem like a curious use of resource for its Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

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Scaling back legal immigration

As the White House and the press whirl with the revelations surrounding Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with a gift-bearing Kremlin-linked lawyer, Donald Trump, along with aides Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, is working with two GOP senators to scale back legal immigration to the U.S. Yes, legal immigration.

As POLITICO reports, Trump is planning to lend his support to an upcoming bill written by Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) which will slash in half the number of legal immigrants coming here by 2027, from 1 million annually to 500,000.

Especially focused on the legislation is White House aide Stephen Miller, whose anti-immigrant views are well known. The Washington Post recounted how his high school days in the mostly liberal Southern California city of Santa Monica were spent speaking out against multiculturalism. Steve Bannon, whose nationalistic views are documented as well, is also helping to guide the bill.

"Sen. Cotton knows that being more deliberate about who we let into our country will raise working-class wages, which is why an overwhelming majority of Americans support it. He and Sen. Perdue are working with President Trump to fix our immigration system so that instead of undercutting American workers, it will support them and their livelihoods," a Cotton spokesperson said according to POLITICO.

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Combatant immunity, isn't diversity great?

Invoking an unusual defense, the I-Team has learned that a west suburban woman and five associates accused of aiding ISIS say they were engaged in "legitimate warfare."

Mediha Medy Salkicevic, a mother of four from Schiller Park, was arrested in February 2015 on charges of conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists and providing material support to terrorists, including the Islamic State and al-Qaida in Iraq.

Investigators say Salkicevic, a Bosnian Muslim refugee, wanted to "bury unbelievers alive" and bring death to infidels.

When she was arrested the I-Team reported that Salkicevic, 37, was working at an O'Hare airport cargo company. She is still being held without bond.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Trump's odd choice

Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci stated on Saturday afternoon that he will be deleting his tweets from years past in an act of 'full transparency'.

Since Scaramucci, also known as 'Mooch', took on his new role as communications director to the President, his social media has been scoured by the public - and many of his tweets dating back to 2011 were ridiculed by Twitter users.

Including advocating for gun regulations, endorsements of Hillary Clinton, and misquoting Mark Twain, Scaramucci hopes to avoid 'distraction' by scouring his account.

Many of his tweets dating back to 2011 reveal views that are not-so consistent with his current role in the White House, as many Twitter users were quick to point out.

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Healthcare is very lucrative

A health care executive cheated Medicare out of $132 million and blew the money on a $7 million Franklin mansion and courtside NBA tickets, and stuffed secret storage units with cash, prosecutors allege.

Federal court records and prosecutors provided new details about the inner workings and riches of a health-care fraud conspiracy that ranks among the largest in Detroit history, orchestrated by 37-year-old businessman Mashiyat Rashid.

Prosecutors say the conspiracy involved recruiting homeless people as patients, sending phony bills to Medicare, subjecting drug addicts to unnecessary back injections and prescribing powerful pain medication that ended up being sold on the street.

The conspiracy generated so much money that Rashid withdrew $500,000 from a bank this month and stuffed the cash in a duffel bag, the government said. A surveillance team of federal agents watched him enter and leave the bank.

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Abolishing algebra is a civil rights issue

The chancellor of California’s community college system said he wants to abolish the college algebra requirement and called it a "civil rights issue" in a Wednesday interview.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California Community Colleges, made the argument while speaking with NPR. He pegged algebra's overly burdensome due to the disproportionate rate at which it prevents students from graduating from community colleges; nearly 50 percent of community college students do not complete their math requirement.

"This is a civil rights issue, but this is also something that plagues all Americans particularly low-income Americans," said Oakley. "If you think about all the underemployed or unemployed Americans in this country who cannot connect to a job in this economy which is unforgiving of those students who don’t have a credential the biggest barrier for them is this algebra requirement. It’s what has kept them from achieving a credential."

NPR suggested that Oakley was trying to improve the California community college graduation rate, pointing out that less than half of the system’s students transfer to a four-year college or obtain an associate’s degree from the community college within six years. But the chancellor denied this implication.

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Pay up, sucker

A court in Houston, Texas, is forcing a father to pay nearly $65,000 in child support payments for a daughter he has only met oncewho is actually not his child, according to a DNA test.

Gabriel Cornejo has found himself embroiled in a legal battle after an ex-girlfriend informed him that he has a daughter who is now 16 years old. However, after meeting the girl once, Cornejo told ABC 13 that he pursued a DNA test, and learned that he is not her father.

"I never thought in my whole life I would have to defend myself or something that I am innocent of," Cornejo said, noting that he is already raising three children of his own, along with two of his brother’s children.

Texas state law punishes nonpayment of child support harder than most. According to the Child Support Division at the Attorney Generals’ Office, Cornejo could be extorted and thrown in prison for failing to pay for a child that is not his. ...

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Former EPA workers banding together

The conventional wisdom that administrative agencies have been populated with political activists is evidenced by the lemming-like exodus of left-leaning bureaucrats from of the EPA. On July 19, Greenwire published an article titled, "EPA: The staffer escape network." Its title infers something akin to a bureaucratic Underground Railroad; a conduit of freedom for government-funded activists who’ve gotten the boot by a new pragmatic, pro-energy, pro-states’ rights administration. However, a reading of Greenwire’s report reveals that these former EPA staffers are not seeking freedom, but are attempting to ensconce themselves into a non-governmental branch of the Deep State. The report says:

EPA alumni are banding together to help their former colleagues find new jobs. They’re creating job boards, passing résumés around and spreading the word via social media. They say it’s an unprecedented networking effort among ex-staffers that comes as many EPA employees are feeling marginalized by the Trump administration’s environmental policies.

But, more than an alumni group, these former EPA staffers appear to be seeking ways to continue their various environmentalist crusades outside of the revamped agency they feel has turned against them. ...

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Odds and ends

On Friday´s MSNBC Live, host Craig Melvin denied that the dominant news media have a liberal bias after Republican Congressman Dave Brat started hitting him with reports that over 96 percent of journalists who made political donations chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

Apple plans to build its first data center in China. The consumer technology giant, in partnership with a Chinese data management company, is opening the new data center in China to comply with a new Chinese law that requires foreign companies doing business in China to store user data in that country, according to The New York Times. (So what could go wrong?)

From the ConservativeTreeHouse....How long do you think the Chinese economy can sustain itself? When will it run out of steam? Could you maybe add some meat to the bone of what a trade war may look like with China, in terms of what we can expect to happen? Answer...A trade confrontation with China will remove the cloak of capitalism and show the true colors of totalitarian control behind the Chinese economic mask.

The U.S. Postal Service lost $15.9B last year. In contrast, Fed-Ex's profits were up 7 percent in the last quarter. And in the same year the post office lost almost $16B, Fed-Ex showed profits every quarter, and their stock has risen from ~$84 in Jan of 2012 to $114 as of last week.

About 5 people per year are killed by sharks. Vending machines kill about 13 per year.

Global Cooling alert....Chile's capital was blanketed this weekend by the biggest snowfall in decades, with some residents grumbling about blocked roads and downed power lines, while others made snowmen or tossed snowballs.

Headline....Venezuelans in Austin protest Maduro government (but I'll bet they supported him and Hugo Chavez in years past)

The United States spends more on the military than the top eight countries combined.

Headline....Residents of small Pennsylvania town outraged by immigrants defecating in streets, beheading chickens

Border Patrol morale is said to be at all-time high because of Trump's election.

Headline....Megyn Kelly sinks to new ratings low amid reports she is really worried about her future at NBC

Headline....Trump's energy policies result in lower prices at the pump and inflation dropping to 1.6%

Headline....Maine town resorts to hiring Americans as foreign workers' visas run out

Back to 2007...."I want my bullet back."

It is estimated that Mao caused the deaths of about 70 million Chinese.

General Lewis "Chesty" Puller, USMC...."Show me the brig, I want to see the real Marines."

Remember the good old days when MTV showed music videos and CNN had actual news to broadcast?

July 20, 1934 was the hottest day in Iowa’s history. Keokuk, Iowa reached 118 degrees. Almost the entire country was over 90 degrees, almost half was over 100 degrees, and a large section of the Midwest was over 110 degrees.

Criminal aliens assaulted Border Patrol agents 25 times in the month of June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials reported. Since the beginning of this fiscal year, 583 have faced violence.

Texas did not always have such a significant Mexican presence as today. In fact, at the end of the nineteenth century, less than one Texan in 20 had ancestral roots south of the Rio Grande. Even in cosmopolitan San Antonio, the Lone Star melting pot with a population of fifty-three thousand, Germans outnumbered Mexicans.

In the past six months Trump has killed 860 regulations. But keep in mind that Obama added 3853 regulations in his last year. Still a way to go, Mr. President.

Headline....Michigan man says he killed stepdaughter because "it wasn't dinnertime."

Despite criticism from most states about the Trump administration’s request for voters' personal information, half have said they will deliver some or all of that data to the White House election commission.


Mummies with copper masks

Russian archaeologists have resumed excavations in a remote site near the Arctic Circle in the attempt to understand a perplexing find of medieval mummies clad in copper masks.

Roughly 1,000 years old, the mummies were found during a series of excavations that started in 1997 in a Siberian necropolis near the village of Zeleniy Yar, at the base of a peninsula local people called "the end of the Earth."

The archaeologists found 34 shallow graves with seven male adults, three male infants, and one female child wearing a copper mask. Buried with a hoard of artifacts, most of the bodies had shattered or missing skulls, and smashed skeletons.

Five mummies were unearthed still shrouded in copper and blankets of reindeer, beaver, wolverine or bear fur, while three copper masked infant male mummies were found bound in four or five copper hoops two inches wide.

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Cold Civil War

A kind of slow-motion decoupling has been in progress since the middle of 2016, or whenever what Carl Bernstein called the "Cold Civil War" started. Formerly sacrosanct red lines that maintained the truce are being crossed all the time now. A letter from Justice Department's Civil Rights Division asks "44 states to provide extensive information on how they keep their voter rolls up-to-date" in a strike at what the administration perceives as ghost voters. State Department layoffs under Tillerson and probes into Post Office use of employee time to campaign for Hillary suggest blows to the heart of the Democratic public sector base. Reports that "Trump’s lawyers and aides are scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller or get some members of his team recused" mean the administration is prepared to fight fire with fire.

Have the Trumpians no shame? The short answer is no. With Trump voters fiercely unrepentant, liberals are in for a fight. Each side is increasingly drifting toward "different truths" in Bernstein's phrase, and American politics is bifurcating under separate banners. As with marital divorces, much of the fuel for political estrangement is the lack of money. Government has long lived beyond its means. "Health care is devouring the budget. ... federal health spending has jumped to 5.5 percent of GDP today, on its way to a projected 9.3 percent thirty years from now." Now the money is running out. State funding for higher education dropped in 2016, with Illinois leading the collapse. Pensions are at risk. "According to a 2015 study from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), public pension funds are around $1 trillion in the red," writes Forbes. "They’re facing two major problems: a severe rise in the old-age dependency ratio and dwindling investment returns."

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Core of liberalism has been altered

"Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, our civilization and to set free suffering humanity….and we know that by thy grace, and the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph."

Who wrote those words? Someone from the Alt-Right? A white nationalist, perhaps?

In fact, they were composed personally by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a D-Day prayer and read to the nation in a radio address on the evening of June 6, 1944. They exemplify the high-water mark of a confident mid-20th century American liberalism that did not hesitate to attach the possessive pronoun "our" to concepts such as nation, religion, civilization, culture, and freedom.

The conceptual core of liberalism has been drastically altered since the halcyon days of FDR, Truman, and JFK. The reaction of mainstream 21st century liberalism to President Trump’s historic Warsaw speech clearly reveals what today’s progressives value and what they debase. Thus, the president’s speech (besides presenting a clear vision of democratic sovereignty and a broad understanding of what constitutes the West), has the added advantage of having flushed out, for all to see, what progressive liberals really think of the institutions and ideals that have for centuries been at the center of any decent society.

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At the forefront of green energy

When former premier Dalton McGuinty visited the new Siemens Canada plant in Tillsonburg in 2011, he brushed aside protesters and boasted that the plant was part of the Liberal alternative energy plan that would "put us at the forefront in North America."

The plant made windmill blades. Windmills were the future. Clean energy was what McGuinty’s two-year-old Green Energy Act was all about. It would free the province of old, dirty manufacturing and introduce new, cutting-edge jobs that would make Ontario the envy of the world.

Just six years later the plant is closing. Management says big changes in the wind industry make it no longer viable. The cutting edge plant that was to help lead Ontario into the Valhalla of a clean energy future can’t survive in a market that wants bigger blades.

McGuinty has long since faded into retirement. He chose to step down rather than endure further questioning about an earlier energy fiasco. There was no sign of his successor, Kathleen Wynne, outside the factory, Tuesday, as newly-jobless workers sought an explanation for the closure. "There was quite a bit of anger in there because they shut the place down the other night and never really told anybody about it," one complained to The London Free Press. "It was bang, everything was locked down."

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Willie Brown's "steady"

Finding a pol as (or more) obnoxious than Barbara Boxer is no easy feat, but Golden State voters managed to perform it by selecting Kamala Harris as her replacement. Harris is a left-wing dingbat of singular rudeness. A deluded Boxer thought of herself as kittenish and charming; Harris conceives of herself as more of a clawing feline the relentless prosecutor who is going to bring the conservative dogs of Washington to heel. Except she is too vapid and dim to pull the role off.

My favorite moment from her absurd harangue of General Kelly earlier this year came when she demanded to know why he was subjecting immigration officers and local officials to a "Hobbesian choice." She meant Hobson’s choice. Kelly was too nice to point out her sub-literate gibbering, but he did object to her lack of basic manners. She interrupted him repeatedly and finally he told her to knock it off (as have even John McCain and Richard Burr). That, of course, has occasioned feminist whining from Harris about a culture of mansplaining and double standards.

Barack Obama once got on the wrong side of her feminist fan club after he noted her striking good looks. He duly apologized for the infraction. The press, hinting at this secret to her success, calls her a "fresh face" in prospective presidential politics, by which it means a pretty one. It is hard to imagine reporters listening with bated breath to her pronouncements about this or that "Hobbesian choice" if she possessed the looks of, say, Barbara Mikulski.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Santa Muerte cult

Texas officials and the Catholic Church have warned of a strange Mexican folk religion involving human sacrifice.

Drug traffickers earlier this month murdered 28 inmates at a prison in Guerrero, Mexico. The incident, as Mexican newspaper Reforma alleged, happened during a ritual performed by followers of the Santa Muerte cult. Followers of "the saint of death" have caused concern for law enforcement in the United States, too.

The folk religion is sometimes linked to the drug trade and the "saint" appears anything but.

"Clad in a black nun's robe and holding a scythe in one hand, Santa Muerte appeals to people seeking all manner of otherworldly help: from fending off wrongdoing and carrying out vengeance to stopping lovers from cheating and landing better jobs," noted an Associated Press article from February 2017. "Others seek her protection for their drug shipments and to ward off law enforcement."

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Heritage Foundation releases voter fraud database

As the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity convenes its first meeting on Wednesday, the issue of voter fraud in American elections has become even more contentious and hyperbolic.

One of the left’s main arguments against reform is that voter fraud simply does not occur. How liberals arrive at this conclusion, we cannot say.

Time and again, studies and analyses point to one incontrovertible conclusion: that voter fraud is a real and pressing issue that deserves serious solutions, and The Heritage Foundation has the evidence to prove it.

On Thursday, The Heritage Foundation is releasing a new edition of its voter fraud database. Featuring well over 100 new cases, the database documents 1,071 instances of voter fraud spanning 47 states, including 938 criminal convictions.

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U.S. Military social experimentation

The social experimentation on our military is raging on full speed ahead.

Late in former President Barack Obama's second term in office, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter issued a "transgender inclusive" military policy set to be put into effect on July 1, 2017, (though it's been delayed by the Trump Administration for six months). In accordance with the initiative, which bypassed Congress, the Army is providing new training material for biologically female soldiers, who will now encounter "women with genitalia," otherwise known as men, in women's bathrooms, barracks, and shower facilities.

"The U.S. Army is telling women soldiers that they need to accept gender-confused, biological men in their showers, bathrooms, and barracks as part of a controversial policy to build 'dignity and respect' for 'transgender Soldiers,'" notes Life Site News. "The guidance is part of the Pentagon’s new 'transgender inclusion' agenda launched by Obama and gaining ground in the Armed Services."

Nothing says "inclusion" quite like forcing women to bump uglies with gender-confused men in women's showers, amirite?

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Jane Austen on British banknote

The new £10 note featuring Jane Austen has been unveiled on the 200th anniversary of the author’s death, complete with a quote about reading said by one of her characters who has no interest in books.

Austen becomes the first female writer (following in the footsteps of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens) to feature on a banknote.

The note, launched by the Bank of England at Austen’s resting place, Winchester Cathedral, includes an image of the writer and one of her most beloved characters, Elizabeth Bennet.

There are also illustrations of her writing table and her brother Edward Austen Knight’s home, Godmersham Park in Kent, thought to be a source of inspiration.

But it is the quote that will raise eyebrows among Austen enthusiasts. At first glance the line from Pride and Prejudice "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" seems a good choice.

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Grade inflation

Numerous studies have documented grade inflation in colleges. A study being released today shows that grades are going up in high schools -- in ways that may raise issues for college admissions systems that rely on high school grade point averages. The study also shows that many schools -- especially those educating wealthier students -- are no longer calculating or releasing class ranks, potentially making it more difficult to compare students in an era of grade inflation.

The study finds that the gains in high school GPA raise questions about the ability of colleges to rely on the statistics in college admissions. Further, the study finds that grade inflation in high schools has been most pronounced at high schools with students who are wealthier than average -- and where most students are white.

The study, released today, will be a chapter in Measuring Success: Testing, Grades and the Future of College Admissions, to be published next year by Johns Hopkins University Press. The two authors of the study are Michael Hurwitz, senior director at the College Board, and Jason Lee, a doctoral student at the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia.

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Rewriting history?

PBS is planning to run a new documentary series this September on the Vietnam War, produced and written by Ken Burns. Burns is a left-wing "historian" and documentary film producer with a history of having his politics shape the narrative of the story he is telling, with a number of resulting inaccuracies.

Ken Burns correctly identifies the Vietnam War as being the point at which our society split into two diametrically opposed camps. He is also correct in identifying a need for us to discuss this aspect of our history in a civil and reflective manner. The problem is that the radical political and cultural divisions of that war have created alternate perceptions of reality, if not alternate universes of discourse. The myths and propaganda of each side make rational discourse based on intellectual honesty and goodwill difficult or impossible. The smoothly impressive visual story Burns will undoubtedly deliver will likely increase that difficulty. He has done many popular works in the past, some of which have been seriously criticized for inaccuracies and significant omissions, but we welcome the chance of a balanced treatment of the full history of that conflict. We can only wait and watch closely when it goes public.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tesla bailout?

The California state Assembly passed a $3-billion subsidy program for electric vehicles, dwarfing the existing program. The bill is now in the state Senate. If passed, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown, who has not yet indicated if he’d sign what is ostensibly an effort to put EV sales into high gear, but below the surface appears to be a Tesla bailout.

Tesla will soon hit the limit of the federal tax rebates, which are good for the first 200,000 EVs sold in the US per manufacturer beginning in December 2009. In the second quarter after the manufacturer hits the limit, the subsidy gets cut in half, from $7,500 to $3,750; two quarters later, it gets cut to $1,875. Two quarters later, it goes to zero.

Given Tesla’s ambitious US sales forecast for its Model 3, it will hit the 200,000 vehicle limit in 2018, after which the phase-out begins. A year later, the subsidies are gone. Losing a $7,500 subsidy on a $35,000 car is a huge deal. No other EV manufacturer is anywhere near their 200,000 limit. Their customers are going to benefit from the subsidy; Tesla buyers won’t.

This could crush Tesla sales. Many car buyers are sensitive to these subsidies. For example, after Hong Kong rescinded a tax break for EVs effective in April, Tesla sales in April dropped to zero. The good people of Hong Kong will likely start buying Teslas again, but it shows that subsidies have a devastating impact when they’re pulled.

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Bavaria wants to secede from Germany

Almost one third of the respondents in Bavaria say they want independence from Germany, according to a new poll, which also showed that the southern region has the strongest secessionist sentiment among all German states.

Thirty-two percent of Bavarians agreed with the statement that their "state should be independent from Germany," a Bild commissioned survey conducted by the YouGov market research company revealed.

According to Bavarian Radio, 18 percent of respondents strongly agreed with the statement while 14 percent "would rather agree" with it.

The percentage of Bavarians who favor independence is rising the Deutschlandfunk broadcaster reported, adding, that according to a 2011 poll, only about a quarter of Bavarians supported that idea.

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Unlimited Migration is ruining Europe

The European migration experiment is failing miserably. Self-declared "refugees" and migrants from Africa and the Middle East are importing their violence, chaos and regressive norms of behavior into formerly harmonious countries all over Western Europe. As Seth J. Frantzman wrote in the Jerusalem Post last December, "They hate the very society they have often chosen to migrate to. Their new society tolerated their intolerance and taught them that this new country provided such unfettered freedom that it should be destroyed."

For example, while many French people were busy celebrating Bastille Day a year after the tragic Islamist massacre in Nice riots and violence reportedly broke out on the nights of July 13 and 14 in suburbs of Paris heavily populated by migrants. A policeman was badly wounded and 897 cars were burned. Hundreds of individuals were placed in custody.

There was also a riot in the streets of Paris a few days ago by a mob of angry Congolese. They were infuriated by a scheduled concert at Paris’s Olympia music hall by a Congolese artist thought to be too close to the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo they detest. The concert was cancelled as a result of the clashes and threats of more violence. The Congolese living in Paris brought their tribal hatreds to the land that gave them the opportunity to leave such hatreds behind. They abused the freedoms they were afforded, turning on those freedoms by violently preventing an artistic performance from taking place.

These are far from isolated incidents of migrant violence in Western Europe this year. Indeed, all is not well for the Western traditions of pluralism and individual liberties in the multicultural sewer Europe is fast becoming. The number of vehicular killings, stabbings, shootings, sexual assaults, riots and car burnings has risen exponentially in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, as the tide of migration has intensified. No-go zones have multiplied. Free speech is becoming a casualty of hecklers’ veto and misplaced multicultural sensitivities. Yet Europe continues to admit even more migrants without any adequate vetting.

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Quote of the day

Men are so simple-minded and so controlled by their immediate needs that he who deceives will always find someone who will let himself be deceived.

--- (Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter 18.)

Chicago is now killing anti-violence workers

A Chicago community activist who worked to fight violence was shot dead less than a block from the offices of his not-for-profit organization, according to police and the man’s relatives.

William "Willie" Cooper, 58, was shot on Saturday afternoon near the offices of Lilydale Outreach Workers for a Better Community, on Chicago’s South Side. Cooper was the principal officer of the anti-violence group, which provides jobs for local teenagers.

Police said Cooper was walking when someone shot him from a dark-colored vehicle driving by. Cooper suffered wounds to his torso and mouth. About 20 shell casings were scattered near his body, according to his wife, Sherry Clark, with whom he had three children.

"People are so cold-hearted," Cooper’s niece, Patricia Carter, told WLS-TV. "How could you take somebody’s life? He helped everybody. I just don’t understand."

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Come on down, Samantha

Former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power's involvement in the unmasking by former Obama administration officials of sensitive national security information is raising red flags over what insiders view was an attempt by the former administration to undermine President Donald Trump and key figures on his team, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the situation.

Power appears to be central to efforts by top Obama administration officials to identify individuals named in classified intelligence community reports related to Trump and his presidential transition team, according to multiple sources.

The names of Trump allies in the raw intelligence reports were leaked to the press in what many in Congress and the current administration claim is an attempt by Obama allies and former officials to damage the White House.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

False rape allegations

The former Sacred Heart University student accused of making up rape allegations against two football players to gain sympathy from a prospective boyfriend filed an application in court Friday contending she was suffering from a psychiatric disability.

It will be up to a judge to decide whether to grant 19-year-old Nikki Yovino a pretrial diversionary program that could result in the charges being dismissed against Yovino at a hearing set for Sept. 8. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Craig Nowak said he is going to object.

Under the Supervised Diversionary Program, the Long Island resident will undergo a psychological evaluation at Southwest Community Mental Health Center. A report of that evaluation will then be sent to a judge who will determine following a hearing whether Yovino is eligible for the program. If she successfully completes the program the charges against her will be dismissed.

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Macron accused of racism

French president Emmanuel Macron deeply upset his liberal fan base this week when he decided to address the problems of Africa.

"The challenge of Africa is completely different, it is much deeper. It is civilizational today. Failing states, complex democratic transitions, the demographic transition," Macron stated at the G20 summit on Monday. He then said "one of the essential challenges of Africa" is that in many of its countries "seven or eight children [are] born to each woman."

He concluded, "You can choose to spend thousands of euros but you will stabilize nothing."

The comments on African women having too many children drew international outrage for apparently sounding like racism. The Twitter user who made Macron’s speech go viral in America declared it "repugnant." Quartz concluded the statement "racist" and "problematic." The Independent said that Macron’s opinion on Africa showed that "he isn't that liberal after all." The Guardian argued Macron’s "slur against Africa" revealed he was still steeped in the colonialist mindset.

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Killing a bully

Out of law school only a couple of years, David Baird was asked if he would be the new prosecuting attorney of Nodaway County in northwest Missouri.

He didn’t jump at it. He was 27, single, working at Legal Aid and didn’t even know what kind of law he wanted to practice. He could go anywhere, do anything, didn’t have to stay in his hometown of Maryville.

But his father urged him to take the job "Nothing much happens around here anyway."

So Baird took the oath on a spring day in 1981. Three months later, 15 miles away, a murder in the small town of Skidmore shocked America and made headlines across the country.

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Turin Shroud back in the news

A remarkable new study looking at the markings on the controversial Shroud of Turin may shed new light on their origin.

Researchers in Italy say that an examination of the Shroud's fibers revealed that they contain 'nanoparticles' which seem to strengthen the case that the cloth was once wrapped around a victim of torture.

According to their study, these tiny particles feature biological elements that sport chemical signatures, specifically creatinine and ferritin, indicative of someone who has suffered repeated traumas rather than having come from a healthy human being.

The very presence of blood traces on the Shroud strongly challenges the contention of skeptics that the visage seen on the cloth is merely a painting.

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Leftists love to throw fits

Ever since Trump was elected President, the Left has been throwing a collective fit, marching and protesting nonstop. And the media has been having a complete meltdown. (How could the electorate not follow our advice?)

This is exactly what children do when they don't get their way: throw a tantrum.

(The Right didn't throw this kind of tantrum when Obama got elected. Two years into his Presidency, after he showed his true colors, the Tea Party emerged. They held some quiet, orderly rallies, and that was pretty much it.)

The Left uses any excuse to riot. They are currently doing it in Hamburg, at the G-20 summit. They set cars on fire, smash store windows, throw Molotov cocktails, throw things at policemen, and in general just wreak as much havoc as they can.

This is the behavior of juvenile delinquents. (Though JD's aren't vain enough to attribute their destructive impulses to a higher purpose.)

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Fear of being locked up in Mexico

Once in the Mexican state of Guerrero I met a sicario, or hitman, who went by the name of Chimino. At the end of a long interview Chimino told me how he had come to enjoy the work of killing and torturing people for the cartel called Los Rojos.

"The first time you do it... maybe you feel bad," he said. "After the first time you start to like it."

Chimino was a hard case. Worshipped the Santa Muerta (Death Saint), and knew his life would likely be cut short. And yet he did not worry about dying nearly as much as he feared being arrested, and a return to life in a Mexican penitentiary.

"Mejor que me maten, encontra la cárcel," he said. Better that they kill me, than to go back to prison.

Such a sentimentannihilation before incarcerationmight sound strange to northern ears. But the intra-prison gang battle that went down earlier this month at the Las Cruces prison, in Guerrero’s port city of Acapulco, demonstrates why even professional assassins like Chimino are terrified of being locked up in Mexico.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

FBI agent, liar liar pants on fire

An FBI special agent lied about his involvement in the fatal shooting of a protester who helped lead an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge, according to a federal indictment on obstruction of justice charges.

A grand jury in Portland has charged W Joseph Astarita with three counts of making false statements, alleging that he lied when he claimed he did not fire his weapon during the attempted arrest of LaVoy Finicum, a key figure in the Oregon militia standoff at the Malheur national wildlife refuge in 2016.

The charges, revealed in federal court records on Wednesday, raise fresh questions about the death of Finicum and the FBI’s response to the high-profile protest in rural eastern Oregon, which was led by ranchers and rightwing activists, who seized federal property to protest government land regulations.

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Trump needs to do this....

This week, President Trump is likely getting an earful in Paris over his extrication of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement earlier this year. But our withdrawal will be meaningless unless he follows up with two important actions before he leaves office.

First, the administration must vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 "Endangerment Finding" from carbon dioxide. Under the 2007 Supreme Court case Massachusetts v. EPA, this finding is required for the Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. No finding, no policy.

Second, the U.S. must pull out of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This treaty, which was ratified by the Senate, is the document that enables subsequent emissions agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol (not ratified) and the Paris agreement (an executive agreement).


Ghost recovery

To the naked eye, it represents progress. China has still an enormous rural population doing subsistence level farming. As the nation grows economically, such a way of life is an inherent drag, an anchor on aggregate efficiency Chinese officials would rather not put up with. Moving a quarter of a billion people into cities in an historically condensed time period calls for radical thinking, and radical doing. In one official party plan, it was or has to happen before 2026.

The idea has been to build 20 new cities for this urbanization, and then maybe 20 more. It led to places like Yujiapu in Tianjin. China’s answer to Manhattan was to include a replica Lincoln Center, a Rockefeller Center and even twin towers. Built to fit half a million, barely 100,000 live there.

There are numerous other examples of these ghost cities, including Kangbashi dug out of the grassy plains of Inner Mongolia. It is in every sense a modern marvel, 137 sq. miles of tower blocks and skyscrapers that sit almost entirely empty. There are now plans to build yet another one, south of the capital Beijing this time, to supposedly relieve pressure and pollution of that city’s urban sprawl. In the Xiongan New Area, this newest city will be three times the size of NYC, enough, if plans were ever to actually work out, to draw almost 7 million Chinese.

These are mind-boggling numbers and end up making truly eerie places for the few times when their existence is allowed to be acknowledged in the mainstream. The reasons for them are really not hard to comprehend, however.

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Most fiscally sound states have lowest taxes

A recent study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that states that have lower taxes are the most fiscally sound in the nation, while higher-tax states are still failing to make up for budget shortfalls.

The study shows that the best-run states are Republican strongholds, while the ten "least solvent" states are heavily Democratic.

The fourth annual "Ranking of the States by Fiscal Condition" report is based on "a review of audited financial statements for 2015 covering five measures that gauge the states’ ability to pay bills, avoid budget deficits, and meet long-term spending needs and cover pension liabilities."

The Republican led state of Florida moved from sixth place to first, while Alaska dropped from first place last year to 17th this year. Idaho moved up in the rankings to the top 10.

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Analysis from Snopes

Over the past two years, many thousands of broadcast hours and probably millions of words have been devoted to Donald Trump’s relationship with the truth. Equally, the President has made accusations of dishonesty and bias against the media and his political opponents a central part of his persona and presidency.

What lies are told about the President? Is he lying when he makes these allegations? In a feverish atmosphere of claim and counterclaim, when everyone seems to reflexively accuse everyone else of "fake news", it can be difficult to know what’s what.

There are many articles that exist detailing lies and misleading claims made by the Trump administration. This article is intended as a neutral, reliable analysis of the lies, false allegations and misleading claims made about and against Donald Trump since his inauguration in January 2017. We’ve attempted to strip away the hyperbole, name-calling and generalizations, and examine the patterns and trends at work: what characterizes these lies and exaggerations, the effect they have, what might explain them.

We pay particular attention to selected examples claims that have gained prominence among the mainstream opposition to Trump, revealing much about the methods, priorities, and tone of that opposition, and illustrating how this movement both cultivates and plays off a number of caricatures of the 45th President and at times falls prey to a handful of identifiable and repeated errors of thought.

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Dark side of eugenics

Alongside the benefits of our growing understanding of genetics, there’s been the dark shadow of its pseudoscience.

More than just an unfortunate chapter of history confined to Nazi Germany, eugenics the practice of selective breeding has long had a foot in American politics. North Carolina provides a perfect example of the wretched history of eugenics in the United States.

The focal point of the Old North State’s relationship with eugenics over the years was the Eugenics Board of North Carolina, a state board formed in 1933. It forcibly sterilized citizens, many of whom were black and impoverished.

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