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.

The Major Media Did Tell You Part Of The Story

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about a story that has recently been in the news.The media has been reporting that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was training children to commit school shootings at a compound in New Mexico. The compound housed eleven hungry children in deplorable conditions.

The article includes the Associated Press report:

The father of a missing Georgia boy was training children at a New Mexico compound to commit school shootings, prosecutors said in court documents obtained Wednesday.

The documents say Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was conducting weapons training with assault rifles at the compound near the Colorado border where 11 hungry children were found in filthy conditions.

The article also includes The Daily Caller report which actually tells the readers what is going on:

The son of a prominent Brooklyn-based imam was training children at a New Mexico compound to commit schools shootings, prosecutors said in court documents released Wednesday.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, was training 11 children at a compound north of Taos, New Mexico, according to The Associated Press. Authorities raided the compound Friday and arrested Wahhaj, two of his siblings and two other men during a search for Wahhaj’s son, who had been abducted from Georgia late in 2017.
***
Residents in Amalia, New Mexico, near the Colorado border, had complained for months about the squalid conditions of the makeshift compound before Friday’s raid, according to news reports. Authorities recovered multiple firearms as well as an AR-15.
***
Wahhaj’s father, also named Siraj, is a controversial cleric with close ties to Muslim rights groups like the Islamic Circle of North American, the Muslim American Society and the Center for American Islamic Relations. The elder Wahhaj was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case. He was a character witness for Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called “Blind Sheikh.”

I suspect at least some members of the major media have children in school. Shouldn’t they at least be concerned for the safety of their own children? Keeping Americans in ignorance of the threat of Islamic supremacists does not help keep Americans safe.

When The Pot Calls The Kettle Black

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about a recent tweet from Jim Acosta.

This is the tweet (without the video):

The sad scene he was referring to was probably not Americans at their best, but it was real–it was people protesting the false reporting of CNN. Mr. Acosta seems to have forgotten the actual incidents of Trump supporters being abused. The article at Power Line cites a number of these incidents. However, I believe the most egregious incident is a statement by Representative Maxine Waters to a group of supporters.

According to CNN, Ms. Waters said:

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere…”

Again, I don’t necessarily approve of the way Mr. Acosta was treated, but it was tame compared to being confronted with an angry mob when you are taking your family out to dinner. Mr. Acosta needs to clean up his own back yard before he attacks anyone else.

How Things Actually Work In Washington

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the confirmation vote that will eventually take place to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Judge. The article explains exactly how things work in Washington. If Judge Kavanaugh has enough Republican votes to be confirmed, he will probably receive a few votes from Democrats in favor of his confirmation. This has nothing to do with his qualifications or what those Democrats believe about his willingness to uphold the Constitution–it has to do with their election prospects in 2018. If there are enough Republican votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh (and the votes of Democrats will not change the outcome), Democrat Senators from states that voted for President Trump will probably vote to confirm. If there are not enough Republican votes to confirm Judge Kavanuagh, all of the Democrat Senators will vote against him. The good of the country or the man’s qualifications have nothing to do with the way they will be voting. That should give all of us pause.

The article includes a quote from Senator Joe Manchin on the vote:

“I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards, a family person who’s very involved in his community, has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed, and that’s going to basically preempt anything else he does.

“Most importantly. . .I intend to hear from West Virginians. And during that period of time, I just announced, I’ll be hearing from West Virginians and their opinion. And I think they have, also, a right. And that’s who I work for. They’re my boss. And we want to hear from them, too, during this process. .”

The article notes:

A new poll released on Tuesday by Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) found that 59 percent of West Virginia voters want Manchin to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

I looks to me like Manchin will do so unless something is discovered that causes one or two Republican Senators to defect.

The same poll finds that 56 percent of Indiana voters want their Senator, Joe Donnelly, to vote to confirm the Kavanaugh. Sen. Donnelly has not, to my knowledge, praised the nominee the way Sen. Manchin has. But Donnelly echoed Manchin when he said, “I work for the people of Indiana and I want them to have a voice in this.”

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether Sen. Heidi Heitkamp begins to make mildly pro-Kavanaugh statements. The poll I cited above found that 68 percent of North Dakota voters want Heitkamp to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. If that number holds, the pressure on her to comply will be enormous.

Stay tuned.

Get out the popcorn!

Political Attacks On Good People

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line today about the appointment of Fred Fleitz as chief-of-staff of the National Security Council. The smear campaign against a good man has begun. Yesterday the Washington Monthly posted an article calling Fred Fleitz a Neo-Nazi.  He is not a neo-Nazi–but he is a man who understands the threat of radical Islam. They describe him as the anti-Muslim senior vice-president of an Islamaphobic think tank and now NSC chief of staff. The think tank they are referring to is the Center for Security Policy headed by Frank Gaffney. The Center for Security Policy has been one of the few honest sources for information on Sharia Law and the attempts to infiltrate Sharia into our government. They are described as Islamaphobic just as anyone who understands the threat of Sharia extremists in America is described.

The article at Power Line concludes:

The previous administration did not take the danger seriously. Or maybe it just couldn’t discern an Islamic radical group when it saw one.

Adam Kredo of the Washington Examiner argues that members of the Obama administration are instrumental in the slander of Fleitz. He notes that “organizations closely tied to the Obama administration” have led the charge. Kredo cites the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also includes or Anti Defamation League which is currently headed by Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official.

Desperate to defend Obama’s major legacy item — the Iran nuclear deal — Team Obama has a strong interest in bringing down John Bolton and Fred Fleitz, as it brought down Michael Flynn. But CAIR, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and even the Washington Post aren’t the FBI. These outfits are just shouting into the wind. But that doesn’t make some of the shouting any less despicable.

There are many places in our government that need to be revamped after the damage done by the last presidential administration. The National Security Council is one of those places. The appointment of Fred Fleitz is definitely a step in the right direction.

 

Circular Logic

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article today about the cancelled 2017 Arctic expedition of the University of Manitoba.

The article reports:

The University of Manitoba has canceled its 2017 Arctic expedition because there is too much ice to execute the mission safely. The U of M headlines: “Large Canadian Arctic climate change study cancelled due to climate change.”

So too much ice is the result of climate change? I thought we were concerned about global warming. Generally speaking, global warming does not result in more ice.

After explaining how the extreme ice conditions made the expedition impossible, the University of Manitoba explains:

This experience, and climate change conditions currently affecting Churchill, Man., clearly illustrates that Canada is ill prepared to deal with the realities of climate change.

Someone needs to explain to these scientists that the climate has been changing constantly (and cyclically) since earth began. I refuse to believe climate predictions from people who have been consistently wrong for more than forty years. Does anyone remember ‘the coming ice age‘ headlines of the seventies?

 

 

 

 

Where Are The Fact Checkers?

On Saturday, John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story about one of Hillary Clinton’s recent stories. For whatever reason, the mainstream media never bothered to fact check the story. The article at Power Line pointed out some of the more obvious errors.

The story had to do with Hillary Clinton taking the LSAT (the exam required to get into Law School). She claims that she took the LSAT at Harvard where she encountered a barrage of male chauvinism. The first obvious problem with the story is that Hillary attended Wellesley College. Did Wellesley students take the LSAT at Harvard? Maybe. Maybe not.

The second problem with the story is that she claims that she and her friend were some of the only women in the room and were subjected to heckling by the men in the room.

The article reminds us:

Hillary was a senior during the 1968-1969 school year, and presumably took the LSAT in the fall of 1968. Women were not exactly pioneers in the law business at that time. Seven percent of the first year law class of 1969 was female, a percentage that rose rapidly over the next few years.

She included the following statement in her story:

One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense. It got very personal.

Either the man was misinformed or she is lying. Take your pick. This is the background:

Her senior year began in autumn, 1968. She says she was a senior during this harrowing experience, which is when the LSAT is normally taken. But the LBJ administration ended all graduate school deferments on February 16, 1968, except for medical, dental and divinity students, when Hillary was still a junior in college.

Hillary also told this story to New York Magazine in 2016.

Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the truth is even more questionable than her relationship with Bill Clinton.

 

The Fight For Honest News Continues

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story today about Sharyl Attkisson, the investigative reporter who resigned from CBS’s Washington Bureau in March of this year.

Ms. Attkisson tells her story in her book Stonewalled: My Fight For the Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

In the book, Ms. Attkisson describes the hacking of her computer while she was at CBS:

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.

“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”

But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”

“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.

It is scary that our government is involved in this sort of thing.

John Hinderaker comments on Ms. Attkisson’s story:

If the Obama administration hacked into a reporter’s computers, used them to spy on her, and even prepared to frame her for a potential criminal prosecution by planting classified documents, aren’t we looking at the biggest scandal in American history? Perhaps I’m forgetting something, but I can’t come up with anything to equal the stunning lawlessness on display here–if what Attkisson says is true (which I don’t doubt), and if the administration is the guilty party.

John Hinderaker suggests that she file a lawsuit against the offending agency. Ms. Attkisson’s story is another example of a government that is out of control.

It’s Only Unfair When The Other Guys Do It

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about a video  Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, has done for the Democrat Senatorial Campaign. The video warns that if the Republicans take over the Senate, they might use a “tricky, little-known maneuver” to “ram through” their “right-wing policies” with only 51 votes, instead of the 60 votes “usually required” in the Senate. In case you have forgotten, that ‘tricky little-known maneuver’ is called reconciliation and was used by the Democrats to pass ObamaCare.

On October, 18, 2011, James Capretta posted an article at National Review which stated the following:

Without reconciliation, Obamacare would not have become law at all. It’s true that the main Obamacare structure was passed by the Senate in December 2009 under normal rules for legislative consideration. That’s because Democrats at that time had 60 votes (including two independent senators who caucus with them). They didn’t need to resort to reconciliation to pass the bill as long as  all 60 of their senators stuck together and supported passage, which they did.

But then Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate race in January 2010; the Democrats lost their 60-vote supermajority and could no longer close off debate on legislation without the help of at least one Republican senator.

At that point, the president and his allies had two choices. They could compromise with Republicans and bring back a bill to the Senate that could garner a large bipartisan majority. Or they could ignore the election results in Massachusetts and pull an unprecedented legislative maneuver, essentially switching from regular order to reconciliation at the eleventh hour, thereby bypassing any need for Republican support. As they had done at every other step in the process, the Democrats chose the partisan route. They created a separate bill, with scores and scores of legislative changes that essentially became the vehicle for a House-Senate conference on the legislation. That bill was designated a reconciliation bill. Then they passed the original Senate bill through the House on the explicit promise that it would be immediately amended by this highly unusual reconciliation bill, which then passed both the House and Senate a few days later, on an entirely party-line vote.

The article at Power Line states:

Reich knows all of this, but he is secure in the knowledge that the Democrats’ rank and file, including the donors to whom MoveOn’s video is addressed, are ignorant of the most basic facts of government and do not have memories that reach back to the distant past of 2010. So there is no effective constraint on dishonesty if you are a Democrat bent on fundraising.

In order to survive, a representative republic needs an informed electorate. It is unfortunate that at the moment America does not have one.

Hopefully This Bad Behavior Will Not Be Successful And Thus Will Not Be Repeated

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about the continuing Democrat party attacks on Charles and David Koch. The article reminds us that “It is rare for the Democratic Party to send out a fundraising email that fails to invoke the specter of the “Koch brothers,” who are treated essentially as bogeymen.”

The article reports:

This is unprecedented in our history. Never before has a political party based a campaign on demonizing individual, private citizens who hold opposing beliefs and who exercise their First Amendment right to participate in the political process. In my view, it would be a very bad thing if attacks like those the Democrats have made against Charles and David Koch–which, frankly, border on the insane–were to become the norm.

Charles and David Koch are American citizens who have been very successful in business and are exercising their right to free speech. To attack them for their wealth and involvement in politics is an example of class envy at its worst. Hopefully the attack will not be successful and will not be repeated in future campaigns. The politics of pitting one American against another in the way the Democrats have done is very unattractive.

The Pictures Tell The Story

As President Obama goes around the country praising the economic growth in America, there is another side of the story.

Yesterday, John Hinderaker at Power Line posted the following charts:

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 3.41.36 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 3.44.19 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 3.48.00 PM

The charts are taken from a booklet put out by the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee. The booklet includes another chart which explains the low unemployment numbers that were released today–the workforce has significantly decreased. If the unemployment rate reflected the number of workers that have left the work force, the number would be considerably higher.

workforceparticipationratePlease follow the link above to the booklet to see the eleven charts that explain what is happening to the American economy and to the Middle Class in America.

The Initial Case Against The Internal Revenue Service

As the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues and the Democrats continue to obstruct the investigation, there is one part of the investigation that is finished.

Scott Johnston at Power Line reported yesterday that under a consent judgment entered earlier this week, the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). The IRS released the donor list of NOM to a gay rights group that opposed the legislation NOM was supporting.

The article reports:

NOM’s statement on the settlement is posted here. The statement quotes NOM chairman John Eastman: “In the beginning, the government claimed that the IRS had done nothing wrong and that NOM itself must have released our confidential information. Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information.” Hmmmm.

That sounds strangely similar to what is happening in Washington in the investigation of the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party.

The article at Power Line concludes:

Reminder: The charge that Richard Nixon “endeavored” to misuse the IRS made its way into the second of the three articles of impeachment voted against him by the House Judiciary Committee. Nixon’s efforts to misuse the IRS were futile. They went nowhere. Nixon and his henchmen desired the IRS to “screw” their political opponents, but their efforts were a pathetic failure.

Nixon henchman Jack Caulfield astutely complained that the IRS was a “monstrous bureaucracy…dominated and controlled by Democrats.” As we have come to see, Caulfield was on to something. By contrast with Nixon’s failures to misuse the IRS, the IRS has very effectively “screwed” Obama’s political opponents, and we have yet to learn what the president knew and when he knew it.