Update On Hong Kong

Politico posted an article today about the latest events in Hong Kong. The article is taken from the South China Morning Post. Please consider the source when reading the excerpts.

The article reports:

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has formally withdrawn the much-despised extradition bill that sparked the nearly three-month long protest crisis now roiling the city, confirming the Post’s exclusive report earlier on Wednesday.

She will also set up an investigative platform to look into the fundamental causes of the social unrest and suggest solutions for the way forward, stopping short of turning it into a full-fledged commission of inquiry, as demanded by protesters.

The decision to withdraw the bill will mean that the government is finally acceding to at least one of the five demands of the protesters, who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks to voice not just their opposition to the legislation, but the overall governance of the city in demonstrations that have become increasingly violent.

Apart from the formal withdrawal of the legislation, the protesters have asked for the government to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate police conduct in tackling the protests, grant amnesty to those who have been arrested, stop characterizing the protests as riots, and restart the city’s stalled political reform process.

Whether they will view the investigative committee as adequate in meeting the call for a commission remains to be seen. On the bill withdrawal, a government source said that Lam will emphasize that the move was a technical procedure to streamline the legislative agenda, with the Legislative Council set to reopen in October after its summer break.

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog today about Hong Kong. In the article he quotes a Claudia Rosette article at The Wall Street Journal:

[T]he millions of protesters. . .have been doing the world a heroic service. Like their predecessors at Tiananmen, they are exposing on a world stage the brutality of the Beijing regime. From the only place under China’s flag where there is any chance to speak out, they are shouting the truth, day and night, in the streets and from the windows—while they still can.

During more than 13 straight weeks of protest, Hong Kong’s people have demanded the rights and freedoms—including free elections—that China, in a treaty with Britain, guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years after the 1997 handover. At a press conference last week held by Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front, which has organized some of the biggest peaceful protests, spokeswoman Bonnie Leung observed that if the authorities would simply keep those promises, “the whole movement will end immediately.”

Instead, President Xi Jinping and his puppet, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, have defaulted to threats, propaganda and force. Ms. Lam’s administration has deployed riot police, tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. Officers have made more than 1,000 arrests.

China has been pressuring Hong Kong companies, including Cathay Pacific Airways, to fire employees who join the protests. Chanting “Stand with Hong Kong! Fight for freedom!” the protesters have refused to back down. Some told me they are ready to die for their cause. Many of their predecessors did in Tiananmen.

Hong Kong police have begun firing warning shots with live ammunition. This weekend, police were caught on video beating unarmed civilians bloody on the subway. China has been conspicuously drilling troops of its People’s Armed Police across the border, and last week it sent fresh army troops to its garrison in Hong Kong, labeling this a routine rotation to ensure “prosperity and stability.”

(Emphasis added)

The article at Power Line Blog concludes with an UPDATE:

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has finally agreed to withdraw the extradition bill discussed above. She takes her order from Beijing, so it looks like China wants to avoid a Tiananmen Square style massacre and the worldwide condemnation it would bring.

Will this concession, absent the freedoms China promised Hong Kong in 1997, be sufficient to take the steam out of the protests? Perhaps.

Another possibility is that the protesters, if anything, will be emboldened by the concession and that China, having made it, will believe it can defend a crack down by claiming that the protesters couldn’t take “yes” for an answer.

 Stay tuned.

 

When The Numbers Are Just Not Cooperating

As the climate change hysterics from the Democrat presidential candidates continue, some of the actual facts seem to have gotten lost in the discussion.

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog yesterday with the following headline, “No U.S. Warming Since 2005.”

The article reports:

Even when measured, temperature records are not very reliable. The U.S. is generally considered to have the best records, but surveys show that over half of our weather stations do not comply with written standards. Some are located in places that obviously will be warmer than surrounding air, e.g., next to airport runways. Many are in cities, where temperatures are artificially inflated by concentrations of people, motor vehicles, buildings, etc. And on top of all of that, the alarmists who curate weather records have systematically fiddled with them, lowering temperatures that were recorded decades ago and raising recent ones, to exaggerate the supposed phenomenon of global warming.

The article continues:

In order to address some of these problems, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) implemented, beginning in 2005, a new surface temperature measurement system in the U.S.

[The U.S. Climate Reference Network] includes 114 pristinely maintained temperature stations spaced relatively uniformly across the lower 48 states. NOAA selected locations that were far away from urban and land-development impacts that might artificially taint temperature readings.

Prior to the USCRN going online, alarmists and skeptics sparred over the accuracy of reported temperature data. With most preexisting temperature stations located in or near urban settings that are subject to false temperature signals and create their own microclimates that change over time, government officials performed many often-controversial adjustments to the raw temperature data. Skeptics of an asserted climate crisis pointed out that most of the reported warming in the United States was non-existent in the raw temperature data, but was added to the record by government officials.

The USCRN has eliminated the need to rely on, and adjust the data from, outdated temperature stations.

So–not to keep you in suspense–what does the USCRN show so far? No warming:

I guess we might have a little more than twelve years left. Please follow the link to the article to read the rest of the information.

Not All Of What You Are Hearing Is True

Chicken Little is again running around yelling, “The sky is falling!” This time the attempt to induce panic in the general population is related to the fires burning in Brazil in the Amazon rain forest. The panicked extreme environmentalists cry, “The lungs of the earth.” The more rational environmentalists have a different perspective.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article that reports some facts and historical perspective on the fires.

The article reports:

It isn’t entirely a fraud–there are indeed fires in the vicinity of the Amazon rain forest. But the hysteria that has been induced by those fires, which occur every year at this time, is ridiculous. Wildly exaggerated claims have been repeated uncritically in the press, and celebrity ignoramuses and politicians have avidly circulated photos of pretty much every forest fire that has occurred anywhere in the world over the last 20 or 30 years, claiming they were taken yesterday in the Amazon region.

The controversy has reached the level of high diplomacy (or rather, low comedy) as European countries have leaned heavily on Brazil to do a better job of controlling fires, threatening among other things trade sanctions, while Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro declined European offers of aid, while pointing out that French president Marcon wasn’t even able to prevent a foreseeable fire at Notre Dame cathedral. Relations between Brazil and France spiraled downward to the point of a Facebook comment by Bolsonaro on the relative pulchritude of the countries’ first ladies.

Yesterday The Tennessee Star posted an article about the fires.

The Tennessee Star reports:

The origin of this Amazon fire crisis traces back to the beginning of August, when Bolsonaro sacked his Space Institute minister for publishing worrisome data about the 2019 fire season. The dry season in Brazil typically runs from August to November, as farmers use these months to burn dried-out timber previously cut during land clearing operations. Ranchers also prepare the land for cattle grazing.

An important point to remember about these fires, however, is that the rainforests themselves are not entirely or uncontrollably ablaze. Natural fire does not typically occur in these tropical forests due to suffocating humidity, wet dense foliage, and daily thunderstorms. What is burning right now is land near the forests where farmers and ranchers have cleared hundreds and hundreds of acres of trees. This is easily seen in satellite imagery, which scientists finally examined and compared to the past two decades.

The New York Times pumped the brakes on the misinformation and published a highly informative map showing the location of the fires on previously cleared land obviously related to farmers and ranchers.

The Brazilian state of Mato Grasso has been transformed into an “ocean of soybeans” the size of Iowa. On the periphery, the land is cleared at the rate of 2,500-square-miles annually.

This deforestation peaked in the 1990s but lessened significantly over the past 10 years. There is evidence, however, to suggest Bolsonaro’s government had cut back on enforcement measures against illegal fires and land-clearing activities. The initial reports about the beginning of fire season sent the international community into a panic, led by the Europeans.

The number of fires and cumulative area burned so far in 2019, on the other hand, is on par with previous years and described as “near average” by NASA.

The farmers are clearing their land for their soybean crops. According to a Reuters article from May 2019:

Soybean trading in Brazil has gained momentum in recent days, driven by a wave of Chinese demand, boosting prices and premiums paid at ports amid a weakening of the Brazilian currency, according to analysts.

An estimated 5.5 million tonnes of soybeans have traded over the past few days, and are slated to leave Brazilian ports in June, July and August, according to estimates by the Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea) issued on Friday.

The boost in trading has been driven by the failure of the Washington and Beijing to resolve their longstanding trade dispute, which made China turn to Brazil for soybean supplies, the analysts said.

The fires are not extraordinary when viewed through the lens of history. The farmers are clearing their land in order to plant soybeans and graze cattle. The hysteria is unfounded and unproductive.

A New Twist On Environmentalism

There is a lot of questionable science behind the push for ‘green energy.’ In some ways the quest is reminiscent of the quest for the elusive perpetual motion machine. One of the main reasons we have the wind and solar farms we have is that they are heavily subsidized by the government. Because the government has gotten involved, the free market has not invented the technology to make green energy truly effective. Why should they when competition is not a factor? Less than perfect technology has its challenges.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article with the following headline, “Wind Energy Collapsing In Germany.’

The article reports:

The expansion of wind power in the first half of this year collapsed to its lowest level since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in 2000. All in all, just 35 wind turbines were build with an output of 231 megawatts. “This corresponds to a decline of 82 percent compared to the already weak period of the previous year”, according to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) in Berlin.

“This makes one nearly speechless,” said Matthias Zelinger at the presentation of the data. The managing director of the Power Systems division of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) spoke of a “blow to the guts of the energy turnaround”. This actual development doesn’t match “at all to the current climate protection debate”.

The article notes the cause of the decline:

The most important cause lies in the legal resistance of wildlife and forest conservationists fighting new wind farms. The BWE President referred to an industry survey of the onshore wind agency. According to its findings, more than 70 percent of the legal objections are based on species conservation, especially the threat to endangered bird species and bats.

The article concludes:

The conservationists have a point. One of the worst features of both wind and solar energy is that they are terrible for the environment. They use up an enormous amount of land that otherwise would be available for agriculture, development or recreation. They are eyesores. And they kill huge quantities of wildlife.

It isn’t the most important reason to oppose corrupt subsidies and mandates for “green” energy, but the fact that these energy sources are bad for the environment is one more nail in the coffin.

Somehow I don’t expect to see this news in the mainstream media.

When Senators Don’t Read The Constitution

Article VI of the U. S. Constitution states:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog about the confirmation of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska.

The article reports:

The Senate today confirmed Brian Buescher, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska. Readers may recall that Senate Democrats attacked Buescher for his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization. I wrote about this here.

Sen. Kamala Harris was one of the Senators who led the charge against Buescher during his Committee hearing. His other main adversary was Sen. Mazie Hirono, one of the Senate’s dimmest members.

Harris isn’t dim, but she’s a hard core leftist and an incorrigible opportunist. Thus, her suggestion that Buescher’s membership in the Knights of Columbus makes him unfit to serve as a federal judge was over-determined.

The argument was that the Knights of Columbus takes the “extreme” position that a marriage is the union of a man and a woman. But, as Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out at the time, Buescher belongs to two other organizations that consider marriage to be the union of a man and woman (and that also are anti-abortion, another of the Knights’ “extreme” positions). The two organizations are the Catholic Church and the Republican Party.

Do Hirono and Harris think that Buescher’s Catholicism raises problems with his nomination? I assume they do, to the extent that Buescher takes Catholic doctrine seriously.

Buescher declined Hirono’s invitation to resign from the Knights of Columbia as a condition of being confirmed. The Senate confirmed him anyway.

The vote was 51-40. No Democrat voted to confirm Buescher. Harris and the other Senate Democrats running for president didn’t vote.

In September 2017, Dianne Feinstein made the following statement about the Catholicism of  Amy Barrett during the confirmation hearing for the judge:

Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that — you know, dogma and law are two different things. And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.

People of faith who have been blindly voting for Democrats over the years might want to take notice of these statements made during confirmation hearings. Again, the Senators need to reread the U.S. Constitution. Faith is neither a qualifier nor a dis-qualifier according to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.

 

When The Story And The Facts Collide

According to Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog:

On July 9, (2018) Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted:

Two decades after Brown v. Board, I was only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools. Without that decision, I likely would not have become a lawyer and eventually be elected a Senator from California.

That’s the power a Supreme Court Justice holds.

Harris’ election to the Senate is one of the lesser reasons to celebrate Brown v. Board. Moreover, it’s far from clear that Harris wouldn’t have become a lawyer without attending an integrated public school. Plenty of African-Americans became lawyers without having that benefit.

But is it even true that Harris was in only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools? Based on an examination of old yearbooks from Berkeley High, Freida Powers reports that classrooms at Berkeley High were already integrated in 1963, a year before Harris was born.

Maybe Harris meant that she was part of only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. But even if that’s true, and it seems implausible given the early integration of the high school, it’s ludicrous to suggest that attending a segregated kindergarten would have prevented her from becoming a lawyer and Senator.

At the Democrat debate this week, the story was retold.

However, Paul Mirengoff printed another article at Power Line Blog on Friday which reported:

I wondered whether Harris meant that she was part of only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. However, according to Gateway Pundit, Harris went to school in Berkeley for only two years before moving with her mother to Canada where she attended grade school and high school.

Maybe Harris means that her class (minus her) was only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. This doesn’t seem likely either given the early integration of Berkeley High.

Harris presents a misleading picture of Berkeley and, implicitly, of her family’s status. A friend who graduated from college there around the time Harris depicts tells me:

Berkeley was not segregated or racist during that era. It was one of the most liberal places in the country.

I’d like to learn a lot more about [Harris’] busing. I accept that she took a bus to elementary school, but I don’t think they were busing kids to various neighborhoods for racial reasons in Berkeley in 1971. Makes no sense at all to me.

Her mom and dad were PhDs, and she went to India during summers to stay with her mom’s family (see Wikipedia). She makes it sound like they were poverty-stricken. . .or something.

Actually, Harris herself presented evidence that she did not live in a segregated neighborhood, such that she needed to be bused to attend school with whites. During the debate, she told of a would-be friend whose parents wouldn’t let her play with Harris due to race.

I guess the message in the Democrat debates is don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Karma Anyone?

A lot of elected officials have never worked in the private sector. This impacts their view of economics and how it works. Often people who support liberal ideas have not had enough economic experience to understand that ideas that may sound wonderful may not work out as planned.  A recent example of this is a bookstore owner in New York City.

Yesterday Steven Hayward posted an article on Power Line Blog about Chris Doeblin, the owner of Book Culture, a four-location independent bookseller in New York City. The bookstore has a reputation of being a progressive bookstore.

The owner of the bookstore is quoted in the article:

“Our four stores are in danger of closing soon and we need financial assistance or investment on an interim basis to help us find our footing. This is true in spite of the fact that business has been good and we are widely supported and appreciated,” [owner Chris Doeblin] wrote. “In the last 30 months the payroll costs for Book Culture have risen by 50% and it has been difficult to adapt quickly enough. We have now made the structural changes to our company and the cuts that will allow us to move ahead profitably once we find the financial resources we need.”

The operative statement in that quote is that the payroll costs have risen by 50%. The article explains:

Doeblin blamed payroll cost increases on the city’s minimum wage raise, which he says increased hourly wages for his employees “from $10 to $15.25 since December 2016” and forced him to initiate layoffs and reorganizing.

Now Doeblin has a solution for the problem, which further confirms his lack of understanding of how economics and the free market work:

Doeblin explained to Gothamist what he believes the business needs to survive, and his larger ambitions to try to help other small businesses stay alive in an ever-changing city: “I think we need at least $500K in a term loan but I hope to find $750K to a $1M,” he said. “I would like the city to immediately [guarantee] such a loan and then embark on a serious plan to improve the odds of small business in New York. I would like to be on that panel too, because there is a lack of creative optimistic thinking and action.”

This illustrates the reason we need to teach economics and the principles of the free market in high schools and colleges.

The Appropriate Response And The Slanting Of The Story

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog about the warfare of the future. In the article Mr. Hinderaker mentions that according to The New York Times, Russia and China are working on the technology of hypersonic weapons. These weapons would render our missile defense systems useless.

The article also mentions President Trump’s response to the Iranian attacks on oil tankers:

Cyber warfare is almost old hat by comparison. The Associated Press (AP) says that President Trump ordered cyber attacks on Iran in place of actual bombings:

U.S. military cyber forces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems on Thursday as President Donald Trump backed away from plans for a more conventional military strike in response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, U.S. officials said Saturday.

The article then illustrates how the Associated Press can spin a story by quoting the AP’s reporting on the President’s response:

“This is not a remote war (anymore),” said Sergio Caltagirone, vice president of threat intelligence at Dragos Inc. “This is one where Iranians could quote unquote bring the war home to the United States.”

Caltagirone said as nations increase their abilities to engage offensively in cyberspace, the ability of the United States to pick a fight internationally and have that fight stay out of the United States physically is increasingly reduced.

Note that the AP accuses the United States of picking a fight internationally.

The article concludes:

Did the U.S. pick a fight here? I thought Iran did that, by bombing tankers in international waters and shooting down an American drone. But for the AP, like many other American liberals, anything other than Obama-style supine acquiescence constitutes picking a fight.

Well said, sir.

A Well-Deserved Honor

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line Blog today about a Presidential Medal of Freedom that President Trump will be awarding to Arthur Laffer, the father of the Laffer Curve.

So what is the Laffer Curve. The International Finance website defines it as follows:

The term “ Laffer Curve” was coined by Jude Wanniski (former associate editor of the The Wall Street Journal) in 1978 when Wanniski penned an article named “Taxes, Revenues and the Laffer Curve”. In December 1974, Wanniski who was the associate editor of The Wall Street Journal along with Arthur Laffer, Professor at the Chicago University, Donald Rumsfeld ( Chief of Staff of to President Gerald Ford) and Dickey Cheney (Rumsfeld’s deputy) were discussing President Ford’s WIN (Whip Inflation Now)  proposal for tax increases at a restaurant in Washington, Laffer grabbed a napkin and a pen and sketched  a curve on the napkin illustrating the tradeoff between tax rates and tax revenues, Wanniski later named it as the “Laffer Curve”.  A humble and honest academician who served Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Economic Advisory Board, Arthur credited the theory to 14th century Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun and eminent Economist John Maynard Keynes.

This is what the Laffer Curve looks like:

127464b5194cbef69a

The “Laffer Curve” is a theoretical curve showing the relationship between applied income tax rate and the resulting government revenue. The theory propagates the following points:

    • A tax rate of zero would result in zero government revenue
    • A tax rate of 100% will also result in zero government revenue
    • As the tax rate increases to above zero, there is an increase in the revenues of the government
    • As the tax rate continues to increase, the resultant increase in government revenue begins to slow
    • At a particular point the curve peaks and turns back towards the horizontal axis

The Laffer Curve is the reason that the federal government will collect more tax revenue this year despite the fact that President Trump lowered taxes. When taxes are raised, those with the money to hire good tax accountants find a way to avoid paying high taxes and tax revenues go down. Those of us without good tax accountants (usually the middle class) are stuck paying the increased taxes. The spending power of the middle class decreases, and the economy slows down. When the middle class has more money to spend, the economy does well.

Congratulations, Arthur Lapper. The recognition is well deserved.

Tariffs And Trade Negotiations

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today about the ongoing trade negotiations with China. It is an open secret that China has been stealing American intellectual property for years. They have also engaged in other unfair trade practices such as manipulating their currency. What is happening now is that President Trump is trying to make the playing field more level. There will be opposition. There also may be some short-term losses for Americans, but the President is doing what needs to be done.

The article includes the following cartoon:

That about sums it up.

Sorry, Your Stories Just Don’t Add Up

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about an article that appeared in The New York Times. Because the article at The New York Times is subscribers only, I am not including a link. The article deals with the FBI’s sending someone to investigate the Trump campaign. Spying, actually. So why is The New York Times finally admitting that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign? The Inspector General’s report is due out shortly, and Attorney General Barr has openly stated that he will be investigating the roots of the surveillance of the Trump campaign. Both investigations are expected to say that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

On April 15th, The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the spying on the Trump campaign. The article includes the following:

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

The normal protocol if the FBI believed that a foreign government was attempting to infiltrate a political campaign would be to notify the campaign to put the candidate and the campaign on alert. However, this was not done. Those involved in the operation needed secrecy to keep their operation going. Now, as all of this is about to be revealed, some of the mainstream media is trying to get ahead of the story and undo the lies they have been telling for the past two and a half years. Hopefully, Americans are smart enough to see through their hypocrisy.

What Are We Teaching Our Children?

The future of America depends on what we teach our children about morals, American history, and current events. We need to take a closer look at some of what we are teaching them.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about some of what our current history books are teaching our children.

The article focuses on the AP U.S. History book By the People written by James W. Fraser.

The article reports:

Fraser isn’t just a hard-leftist. Stanley (Stanley Kurtz) shows that, at a minimum, he’s a communist sympathizer. That phrase went out of style decades ago, perhaps for the best. But applying it to Fraser actually gives him the benefit of the doubt.

The article cites what By The People writes about conservatives:

Opposition to Clintoncare and Obamacare is said to be fueled by selfish insurance interests, not policy arguments. While leftists are presented via their own most inspiring rhetoric, conservatives’ actions are framed by quotes from their critics.

Again and again, Fraser portrays conservatives as heartless racists and sexists. He mischaracterizes the GOP’s “southern strategy,” and explains opposition to Hillary Clinton as the product of sexism. Concerns about crime are dismissed as code for racial bigotry. Controversies over single motherhood and conservative stances on social issues are treated as simple heartlessness or antiquated religiosity, rather than concern over family decline.

On abortion, opponents are not in favor of the right to life but said to be “opposed to abortion rights.” For Fraser, there’s no such thing as illegal immigrants, only those who came to the United States “without official approval.”

The really sad part of this is that many of the students who take AP History classes will be tomorrow’s leaders. If this is what they are being taught, they will have such a warped view of the America our Founding Fathers created that they will lose the republic.

 

If President Trump Did Nothing Else, This Makes Him A Great President

For years national security experts have been warning of the dangers of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. A nuclear warhead exploded at a precise altitude in the middle of America could totally disable our electric grid. Car engines with electronic fuel injection would no longer run (older cars could simply replace their spark plugs and a few other parts and carry on). One well-placed EMP attack could instantly bring Americans back to the early 19th Century. The phenomena of EMP was discovered in the 1940’s and 1950’s during the nuclear testing the United States did on Bikini Atoll. When an atomic bomb was set off on the Atoll, it scrambled all of the traffic lights in Hawaii. That was an early example of the impact of an EMP.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about a recent Presidential Executive Order.

The article reports:

In the first step of its kind, President Trump has signed an executive order calling for a government wide war on EMP, the types of electromagnetic pulses that can wipe out every computer, electric grid, and jet.

In joining the voices of those warning of EMP attacks, Trump called on his government to quickly generate a plan to detect EMP, protect critical infrastructure like water and electric sources, and also to recover if a hit lands.

This is part of the Executive Order:

(b) The Secretary of Defense shall:

(i) in cooperation with the heads of relevant agencies and with United States allies, international partners, and private-sector entities as appropriate, improve and develop the ability to rapidly characterize, attribute, and provide warning of EMPs, including effects on space systems of interest to the United States;
***

(iii) conduct R&D and testing to understand the effects of EMPs on Department of Defense systems and infrastructure, improve capabilities to model and simulate the environments and effects of EMPs, and develop technologies to protect Department of Defense systems and infrastructure from the effects of EMPs to ensure the successful execution of Department of Defense missions;
***
(vi) incorporate attacks that include EMPs as a factor in defense planning scenarios; and

(vii) defend the Nation from adversarial EMPs originating outside of the United States through defense and deterrence, consistent with the mission and national security policy of the Department of Defense.

In 2014 Natural News reported:

Meanwhile Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has been working to raise concern about the issue (EMP attack) for years. He said during the first panel testimony that “catastrophic civilian casualties” could occur unless Congress acts.

…Franks has introduced H.R. 3410, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which would enable the Department of Homeland Security to adopt measures necessary to protect the power grid.

Dr. Michael J. Frankel, a senior scientist at Pennsylvania State University, said Franks’ bill is a “necessary first step” for the defense of the electric grid, WFB reported. Currently, the measure has 19 co-sponsors.

Dr. Peter Pry, a member of the Congressional EMP Commission and executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, said during testimony that the issue is urgent because an EMP event could wide out nine-tenths of the nation’s population.

“Natural EMP from a geomagnetic super-storm, like the1859 Carrington Event or 1921 Railroad Storm, and nuclear EMP attack from terrorists or rogue states, as practiced by North Korea during the nuclear crisis of 2013, are both existential threats that could kill 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse,” he said.

That was almost five years ago. It seems as if an Executive Order may be the only way to protect Americans–Congress does not seem capable of the job.

The Letter

Below is a copy of Attorney General Barr’s summary letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Representative Doug Collins. You can view the letter on Scribd by clicking on the link.

Barr’s Letter by on Scribd

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article about the letter today.

He notes a few basic facts about the letter:

This investigation is the product of a Clinton campaign fabrication. That’s why the investigation was a witch hunt. It is also why the finding of no collusion is unsurprising to anyone who has paid attention with a modicum of impartiality and critical intelligence. The finding of no obstruction is made by Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. If there was no collusion, they suggest, there was highly likely no obstruction and in fact they find that Mueller did not identify any actions that in the judgment of Barr and Rosenstein constituted obstructive conduct. See page 3, paragraph 3.

While investigations and prosecutions will continue for the foreseeable future, we can turn out the lights on the Mueller investigation; the party’s over. Mainstream media hardest hit.

One thing to keep in mind is that a team of totally partisan Democrats looking under every rock they could find for two plus years not only could not find evidence of Russian collusion by President Trump, they somehow failed to notice the entanglement of the Clinton campaign in providing a dossier that paved the way for surveillance of a political opponent’s campaign. As the Democrats continue to investigate in the hope of turning public opinion against President Trump before the 2020 election, I hope the American voters begin to realize where the scandal was in this investigation–it wasn’t in the Trump campaign.

Following The Money On Renewable Energy

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about the cost of the a green energy proposal in Minnesota. The article illustrates what will happen if this sort of program is attempted on a national scale.

The article reports:

Today Center of the American Experiment released a groundbreaking paper that addresses a relatively mild “green” proposal: legislation that would raise the renewable energy standard in Minnesota from 25% to 50%. Two of my staffers have been working on the paper for months, drawing on publicly available (but rarely consulted) sources to understand what would be necessary to achieve that 50% goal, what it would cost, how it would impact the state’s economy, and what effect it would have on global temperatures.

The paper is titled “Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.” With appendices, it runs to 75 pages. I am not aware of a similarly comprehensive analysis that has been done of any “green” proposal at either the state or the federal level. The paper is fully transparent: all assumptions, data and calculations are clearly set forth. The appendices are largely spread sheets. If anyone disagrees with the report’s conclusions, it should be easy to identify where and why those disagreements arise. You can read the paper here.

The article cites a few highlights from the report:

* Building and maintaining “green” wind and solar facilities, along with transmission lines and necessary natural gas complementary plants (to provide electricity when the wind isn’t blowing, i.e. 60% of the time), would cost $80.2 billion through 2050. For a state like Minnesota, that number is out of the question.

* Every household in Minnesota would pay an average of $1,200 per year, in 2016 dollars, through higher electricity rates and otherwise.

* Electricity prices would rise by 40.2%.

* Electricity-intensive industries like mining, agriculture, manufacturing and health care would be hurt the most. Once again, urban greenies are hammering rural, and physically productive, America. [That last is my commentary, not found in the executive summary.]

* Higher electricity prices are a dead loss that will reduce spending in other areas as household budgets are squeezed. Therefore, according to economist John Phelan, using the generally accepted IMPLAN software, achieving the 50% renewable goal would cost Minnesota 21,000 permanent jobs, and reduce the state’s GDP by $3.1 billion annually. It is one small step on the road to Venezuela.

This really does not sound like a good idea. The push for green energy has always been about government power–whether at the state or federal level. It is interesting that the political left has chosen to attack fossil fuels just at the time when America has achieved energy independence because of fossil fuels and fossil fuels are driving our economic success. Economic success is the enemy of those who espouse socialism–if people are become prosperous, why would they want something different?

Be Careful When Getting Excited About An Upcoming Trip

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about a recent controversy in the knitting community. I am posting most of the article because I am not sure anyone could explain this as well as Mr. Hinderaker.

The article reports:

It begins with a young (white) knitter who expressed enthusiasm about an upcoming trip to India on social media:

On January 7, she blogged excitedly about her upcoming trip to India. She wrote that 2019 would be her “year of color.” She said that as a child, India had fascinated her, and that when an Indian friend’s parents offered to take her with them on a trip, it was “like being offered a seat on a flight to Mars.” She spoke of her trip as if it were the biggest hurdle anyone could jump: “If I can go to India, I can do anything — I’m pretty sure.” Templer, it should be noted, is white.

As someone who is mixed-race Indian, to me, her post (though seemingly well-meaning) was like bingo for every conversation a white person has ever had with me about their “fascination” with my dad’s home country; it was just so colorful and complex and inspiring. It’s not that they were wrong, per se, just that the tone felt like they thought India only existed to be all those things for them.

Following a major controversy in the online knitting community, the offender offered a Maoist apology:

Templer has since apologized for her post, writing, “It took women of color pointing this out for me to see it … which is not their responsibility, and I am thankful to them for taking the time,” and that she’d be continuing to raise visibility of people of color (and specifically black/indigenous POC) knitters and their work.”

The article concludes:

Social media also makes pointing out racism easier than ever. For weeks, POC knitters have used Instagram, and specifically Instagram stories, to share their observations, tag other knitters, and conduct polls about others’ experiences with racism in the community. Hundreds of people of color have shared stories of being ignored in knitting stores, having white knitters assume they were poor or complete amateurs, or flat-out saying they didn’t think black or Asian people knit.

There is much more–“whitewashing,” for example. If lefties can turn knitting into a hotbed of racism, what can’t they do?

Wow. Not even knitters are safe from racism.

Setting A Really Bad Precedent

The pettiness in Washington is getting totally ridiculous. We have reached the point where if President Trump endorsed the idea of Democrat  Congressmen wearing suits to work, they would all show up looking as if it were casual Friday. There have always been political differences in Washington, but the ‘resistance’ has reached a really unhealthy level.

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line today about the confirmation process of William Barr for Attorney General.

The article notes:

The vote in the Judiciary Committee was 12-10. Every Democrat on the Committee voted against Barr.

This is the same William Barr whom the Senate confirmed unanimously three times during the Reagan-Bush years. The last of these times, when Barr was nominated to be Attorney General under Bush, the Judiciary Committee approved him by unanimous vote, and the full Senate confirmed him by a voice vote.

Barr was confirmed unanimously even though he testified that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided. Joe Biden, then the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, praised Barr for his candor. Biden added that Barr, who had been serving as Deputy Attorney General, as “a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you.”

This time around, Barr received no votes from Committee Democrats. In all likelihood, he will receive virtually no Democratic votes on the Senate floor.

The article concludes:

The Democrats’ unanimous opposition to Barr isn’t about Mueller, a personal friend of Barr. Rather, it’s the product of their resistance to President Trump. Indeed, any number of Trump appointees have been approved without any Democrat support or with virtually none.

Accordingly, the next time a Democrat is president, Republicans will be well within their rights unanimously to oppose his or her nominees. They should exercise this right freely, though not indiscriminately.

If Republicans happen to control the Senate, meaning that the nominee can’t be confirmed without some GOP votes, this should not deter them from saying no. I suspect it will deter a few GOP members, but it shouldn’t.

This is no way to run a country. It is also pointless. The Republicans have enough votes in the Senate to pass the nomination. The ‘resistance’ simply looks stupid and petty. If I were a Democrat in the Senate, I might want to consider the concept of karma before I voted no.

The Ultimate Successful Disinformation Campaign

The following chart is taken from a Power Line article posted yesterday by John Hinderaker:

I realize that the print is small, but essentially the chart shows that 42% of all Americans believe that Russia helped defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is true despite the fact that in two years there has been absolutely no evidence to support that claim.

The article concludes:

Note the question asked: Did Russia “tamper with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President?” There is no evidence–I repeat, none–that Russia “tampered with vote tallies.” To my knowledge, no one has claimed that Russia tampered with vote tallies. I am not aware of any plausible theory on which a foreign power could tamper with vote tallies. To say that Russia tampered with vote tallies is as credible as asserting that the moon is made of green cheese.

And yet, two-thirds of Democrats say it is either “definitely true” (31%) or “probably true” (36%) that Russia tampered with vote tallies. Women are especially gullible; 48%, across all party lines, have fallen for this fake news. Sadly, 70% of blacks have bought it hook, line and sinker. The Northeast is the country’s most ignorant region, apparently: 47% of Northeasterners have fallen for the hoax.

So the Democrats, by their constant hysteria and innuendo, have convinced a large majority of their followers, and 42% of all Americans, of a palpable falsehood that was fabricated in order to assure Hillary Clinton’s election and then, when that effort failed, perpetuated in an attempt to cripple President Trump’s administration.

Is this the most successful disinformation campaign in history? I don’t know. But in American history, I can’t think of a plausible rival. President Trump is right: fake news is a serious threat. By cynically selling an absurd lie to its followers, the Democratic Party has badly damaged confidence in our democracy.

This is chilling. It means that through a deceptive media campaign Americans can be convinced that any election the media does not like the outcome of can be labeled fraudulent and that many Americans will believe the label. This sort of disinformation campaign is a threat to our republic, but the even bigger threat is voters who believe everything the mainstream media tells them without doing their own research.

 

The Race Begins

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line today about Nancy Pelosi’s quest to become Speaker of the House again. Although many Democrats ran on the promise that they would not vote for Ms. Pelosi, there seemed to be a lack of opponents.

The article reports:

Yesterday, in a post about the opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s bid to become House Speaker, I noted that, thus far, no one has stepped forward to run against Pelosi. You can’t beat somebody with nobody.

I added that if somebody emerges to oppose Pelosi, it had better be a woman. Otherwise, Pelosi and her backers are sure to play the gender card, and the new House members who are resisting the former Speaker, many of whom are females who themselves played that card during the election, will probably cave.

Now, a potential opponent has emerged — Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio. Not only is Fudge a woman, she’s African-American.

Fudge hasn’t formally entered the race, but she’s already playing the race card. She told the Washington Post, “if we’re going to have a diverse party, it ought to look like the party.” Try parsing that gibberish.

We know what she’s getting at, though: “Support for me because I’m Black.”

The article goes on to anticipate Ms.Pelosi’s response to her opponent.

The article concludes:

I’m not sure how seriously to take a potential bid by Fudge for the Speakership. Pelosi has some support withing the congressional black caucus and Fudge’s opposition, for whatever reason, to pro-gay rights legislation might be a deal-breaker for many of those insurgent Democratic members.

In any event, Pelosi’s struggle within her caucus, and the fact that it’s being played out so blatently in identity politics terms, is a sign of trouble for Democrats down the road. As Steve likes to say, “pass the popcorn.”

Stay tuned.

Using The Law To Break The Law

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about a lawsuit a half dozen members of the Honduras caravan have filed against President Trump and various other federal officials. It is a class action lawsuit.

The article reports:

Trump’s professed and enacted policy towards thousands of caravanners seeking asylum in the United States is shockingly unconstitutional. President Trump continues to abuse the law, including constitutional rights, to deter Central Americans from exercising their lawful right to seek asylum in the United States, and the fact that innocent children are involved matters none to President Trump.

Remember that the majority of the caravan is comprised of military-age men. The women and children are put at the front of the line for photo ops (and will probably be put in the front during the attempt to break into the United States). It may be lawful for people to seek asylum, but I think it is rather cheeky to sue the leaders of the country where you are requesting asylum.

The article explains:

Asylum is supposed to be available to people who face persecution in their home countries on grounds of religion, race, etc. It was never intended to apply wholesale to entire populations on the ground that their country is poorly governed.

But the theory of the caravan (and the lawsuit) is that anyone who makes it to American soil has due process rights as an asylum seeker, meaning, as a practical matter, that he or she has plenty of time to disappear into sanctuary regions like California. Think of it as a kind of legal illegal immigration.

Canada is not impressed with the economic migrants either. Reuters posted the following headline on Wednesday, “Exclusive: Canada rushes to deport asylum seekers who walked from U.S.”

The article at Reuters reports:

Canada is prioritizing the deportation of asylum seekers who walked across the border from the United States illegally, federal agency statistics show, as the Liberal government tries to tackle a politically sensitive issue ahead of an election year.

…Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman said there were good reasons for accelerating the processing and deportation of people who crossed the border: it deters people with weak claims from making refugee claims in the hopes of living in Canada for years while their case wends through the system.

“The best way of discouraging people from making frivolous claims is by having the claims processed quickly,” Waldman said.

Canada may have stumbled on the answer to the problem.

Questionable At Best

The October Surprise is a political tactic that has been used in the past to convince the public that a candidate is unfit for office. It is done close enough to the election so that there is not adequate time to research the the accusation before the election. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Somehow the accusation and the accusers disappear after the election. Rarely does the accused get a chance to redeem his reputation. In the past the tactic has been used in presidential campaigns and Congressional campaigns. A form of it has also been used to attempt to block Supreme Court nominees. It worked on Robert Bork; it failed on Clarence Thomas. I have no idea what is going to happen with Judge Kavanaugh.

There are a few things to consider in the attack on Judge Kavanaugh. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today that revealed the following:

It looks like Brett Kavanaugh’s mother, Judge Martha Kavanaugh, ruled against the parents of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accuses Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Court documents show the losing party in a foreclosure case Martha Kavanaugh heard to be Ralph and Paula Blasey of Potomac, Maryland. They appear to be Christine Blasey Ford’s parents.

The fact that Kavanaugh’s mother ruled against Ford’s parents doesn’t prove Ford is lying about the conduct of the son. Her allegation, coming so many years after the fact and without a description of when or where the event supposedly occurred, is probably not susceptible to being ruled out conclusively. But there now seems to be a motive, beyond partisan politics, for Ford to make up or significantly embellish her story so long after the “fact.”

In any event, the fact that Ford’s story, having been presented so late and with little detail as to time and place, is probably not susceptible to being ruled out means that, if not “ruled in” conclusively, the story should not preclude Kavanaugh’s confirmation. We have statutes of limitations for a reason.

Finally, unless we accept the view that Kavanaugh truly attempted to rape this girl, I don’t believe his conduct provides a basis for rejecting his nomination. Kavanaugh was still a teenager. More than five dozen women who knew him at the time vouch for his behavior. His female law clerks consider him a gentleman and a mentor.

The American Thinker posted an article today detailing some of Ms. Ford’s student reviews. It is very obvious that Ms. Ford easily fits into the category of a radical liberal. The question is whether or not she has any foundational principles that would prevent her from making false accusations.

The article at The American Thinker concludes:

So has Kavanaugh gotten on Ford’s bad side by expressing conservative ideas?  Probably.  And even if her allegations are true, I very much doubt she’d have come forward had Kavanaugh stayed on her good side by being a leftist reprobate in the mold of Slick Willie or Chappaquiddick Ted Kennedy.  For a good example of such situational sexual mores, note that liberal reporter Nina Burleigh actually said in 1998 about B. Clinton, “I’d be happy to give him [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.”

As for Kavanaugh, unless it’s shown that he’s like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy and has exhibited a pattern of sexual wrongdoing, there’s nothing to see here.  Ford claims that the 36-year-old alleged incident of sexual misconduct took place in a room with only her and the two boys present.  So while 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school have come forward to vouch for his character as a gentleman, Ford’s lone word is the only claim against him.  Heck, there are more testimonials as to Ford’s alleged insanity than there are regarding Kavanaugh’s alleged impropriety.

This is foul play on the part of the anti-Trump crowd. The fact that Jeff Flake is using these accusations as an excuse not to vote Judge Kavanaugh out of committee and let the Senate vote is an indication of where things are. The fact that the Democrats are using this tactic to attempt to stall the nomination also illustrates their pettiness in trying to prevent the President from exercising his Constitutional right to select judges. The actions of Diane Feinstein and the other Democrats involved in this smear campaign are a disgrace to their party and to their country. These are the people who supported Bill Clinton as President when there was current evidence against him. Now they have discovered morality and can’t support a man with a questionable accusation from thirty years ago. That really does not pass the smell test.

Another Global Threat Down The Drain

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line yesterday about some recent research on deforestation. It seems that it is not happening.

The article reports:

I have noted from time to time the data from the United Nations Global Forest Resource Assessment (UNGFRA) that has found that deforestation stopped at least 25 years ago, and that net reforestation has been taking place.

But the UN data is not as good as one would like. This week, however, Naturemagazine published a major new studywith much more precise measurements and analysis than the UNGFRA based on 35 years’ worth of satellite imagery, and it finds that since 1982 global forest cover has increasedby 7.2 percent, or 2.24 million kilometers.

The article includes information from the study:

Changes in land use and land cover considerably alter the Earth’s energy balance and biogeochemical cycles, which contributes to climate change and—in turn—affects land surface properties and the provision of ecosystem services. However, quantification of global land change is lacking. Here we analyse 35 years’ worth of satellite data and provide a comprehensive record of global land-change dynamics during the period 1982–2016. We show that—contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally—tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km2 (+7.1% relative to the 1982 level). This overall net gain is the result of a net loss in the tropics being outweighed by a net gain in the extratropics. Global bare ground cover has decreased by 1.16 million km2 (−3.1%), most notably in agricultural regions in Asia. Of all land changes, 60% are associated with direct human activities and 40% with indirect drivers such as climate change. Land-use change exhibits regional dominance, including tropical deforestation and agricultural expansion, temperate reforestation or afforestation, cropland intensification and urbanization. Consistently across all climate domains, montane systems have gained tree cover and many arid and semi-arid ecosystems have lost vegetation cover. The mapped land changes and the driver attributions reflect a human-dominated Earth system.

In addition to the reforestation of the earth, global warming has slowed down since 1999.

In 2014, the BBC reported:

Scientists have struggled to explain the so-called pause that began in 1999, despite ever increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The latest theory says that a naturally occurring 30-year cycle in the Atlantic Ocean is behind the slowdown.

The researchers says this slow-moving current could continue to divert heat into the deep seas for another decade.

However, they caution that global temperatures are likely to increase rapidly when the cycle flips to a warmer phase.

I guess those who study the earth and its climate have not yet figured out all of the answers.

Charts Tell The Story

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today about the impact the economic policies of President Trump have had on the State of Minnesota. The focus of the article is the economic impact of the tax cuts.

The article includes the two following graphs:

The article also includes the following news from the Labor Department:

American wages unexpectedly…

Unexpectedly!

…climbed in August by the most since the recession ended in 2009 and hiring rose by more than forecast, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to lift interest rates this month and making another hike in December more likely.
Average hourly earnings for private workers increased 2.9 percent from a year earlier, a Labor Department report showed Friday, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey and the median projection for 2.7 percent. Nonfarm payrolls rose 201,000 from the prior month, topping the median forecast for 190,000 jobs.

As I have previously stated, why is good economic news unexpected during a Republican administration and expected by the media during a Democrat administration?

The conclusion of the article reminds us what will happen in the Democrats take control of Congress:

A Democratic Congress never would have passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In fact, not a single Democrat voted for it. And Hillary Clinton never would have signed it. The progress the U.S. economy has made since Donald Trump took the helm from the hapless Barack Obama is an ongoing rebuke to the Democrats’ anti-growth policies. This is one reason the Democrats are so anxious to regain control over the House in November. With the House in Democrat hands, they won’t be able to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but they will be able to guarantee that no more pro-growth, pro-worker legislation will be enacted. They will focus on impeaching President Trump instead.

If you don’t like the current economic growth, vote Democrat and it will stop.