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Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has formally withdrawn the much-despised extradition bill that sparked the nearly three-month long protest crisis now roiling the city, confirming the Post’s exclusive report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

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.

Helping Solve The Healthcare Problem

It is becoming obvious that the Democrats in Congress are not really interested in solving problems. They have been absent on the border crisis and they have been absent on healthcare and health insurance. Meanwhile, President Trump is making gains in both of those areas.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about a recent change in health insurance regulations announced by the Department of Health and Human Services. The change will allow businesses to fund employees who buy health insurance on the individual market–something that until now has been illegal.

The article includes the announcement:

Today, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued a new policy that will provide hundreds of thousands of employers, including small businesses, a better way to provide health insurance coverage, and millions of American workers more options for health insurance coverage. The Departments issued a final regulation that will expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). When employers have fully adjusted to the rule, it is estimated this expansion of HRAs will benefit approximately 800,000 employers, including small businesses, and more than 11 million employees and family members, including an estimated 800,000 Americans who were previously uninsured.
***
Under the rule, starting in January 2020, employers will be able to use what are referred to as individual coverage HRAs to provide their workers with tax-preferred funds to pay for the cost of health insurance coverage that workers purchase in the individual market, subject to certain conditions. … Individual coverage HRAs are designed to give working Americans and their families greater control over their healthcare by providing an additional way for employers to finance health insurance.
***
The HRA rule also increases workers’ choice of coverage, increases the portability of coverage, and will generally improve worker economic well-being. This rule will also allow workers to shop for plans in the individual market and select coverage that best meets their needs. … [T]he final rule should spur a more competitive individual market that drives health insurers to deliver better coverage options to consumers.

Moving healthcare and health insurance back to free market principles will be better for everyone–it will increase competition and eventually drive costs down. This is a step in the right direction.

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.

When Making More Information Available To The Public Is Called A “Cover-Up”

Yesterday President Trump signed a memo allowing for the declassification of the background information on the investigation into Russian-collusion.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog reported the event this way:

From the White House comes this announcement:

Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election.

The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.

Trump’s directive doesn’t mean that information will be declassified willy-nilly. The Attorney General is instructed to adhere to “long-established standards for handling classified information” — the same standards that those who made the initial classification decisions should have applied, but may not have in order to cover their tracks.

This is how the Associated Press reported the event:

The headline reads, “Trump moves to escalate investigation of intel agencies.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday granted Attorney General William Barr new powers to review and potentially release classified information related to the origins of the Russia investigation, a move aimed at accelerating Barr’s inquiry into whether U.S. officials improperly surveilled Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Trump directed the intelligence community to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Barr’s probe. The directive marked an escalation in Trump’s efforts to “investigate the investigators,” as he continues to try to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe amid mounting Democratic calls for impeachment proceedings.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump is delegating to Barr the “full and complete authority” to declassify documents relating to the probe, which would ease his efforts to review the sensitive intelligence underpinnings of the investigation. Such an action could create fresh tensions within the FBI and other intelligence agencies, which have historically resisted such demands.

Still think the media is not biased? The Associated Press accuses the President of trying to undermine the findings of Robert Mueller. It fails to mention that Robert Mueller didn’t find anything. Make no mistake–the media is looking for impeachment. They want Watergate all over again. Only this time the illegal spying was the work of the people they support. That is a hard pill to swallow and is going to get even harder as the evidence comes out.

What was done to the President, his campaign, and his transition team was illegal. It was a flagrant misuse of government agencies for political purposes. Unless we want to see this sort of illegal surveillance occur during every election cycle, those responsible have to be held accountable.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

What The News Doesn’t Report

Scott Johnson posted an article on Power Line Blog today about an incident at the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota.

The article quotes Alpha News:

A mob of eight to 10 males wielding hammers descended upon bystanders at the East Bank Light Rail station on Friday night injuring several, according to recorded police dispatch audio.

The incident was apparently reported to 911 just before 10 p.m. on Friday according to the audio and other social media police scanner reports. A 9:48 p.m. Facebook post on 2nd Precinct Minneapolis Crime Watch page said that University of Minnesota (U of M) police were requesting assistance from Minneapolis police (MPD) and Metro Transit police for “a group of 8-10 males chasing people with hammers” and that some people were injured. A Facebook post a minute later on Minneapolis Scanner page said that the three police departments were responding to “multiple [911] calls” about “10-12 Somali teen males armed with hammers chasing people,” also with “several injuries reported.” Both Facebook pages regularly post summaries of police scanner audio.

A person who claimed on social media to have been at the station when the incident occurred said that the group of males had “hammers and bars,” and that they seemed to be “attacking anyone who looked like they had money or were white.” The witness, who said he isn’t white, said he didn’t want to “[take] on a bunch of dudes with blunt objects,” and that he “hurried an older white lady away” and they walked a few blocks to catch a bus.

On Wednesday there was an attempted robbery at the same location during which two U of M students were injured, according to a media report. It’s unknown whether these incidents are related.

The East Bank LRT station is part of the Green Line operated by Metro Transit and is located on the 500 block of Washington Avenue Southeast in the center of the University of Minnesota campus and across the street from the U of M police department. The stop is popular with students and people attending U of M sporting events.

We reached out to the U of M Police Department, the MPD and to Metro Transit police for comment on this incident and did not receive a response prior to publication.

Somehow the Minneapolis Star Tribune has failed to report this incident.

The article at Power Line Blog further comments:

According to the Pioneer Press, police stopped seven teenage boys: “Two males who were carrying metal pipes were identified through video surveillance and witness descriptions….Police issued them citations….Police cited two males for disorderly conduct and fleeing police on foot; one was also cited for giving police a fictitious name. A police report didn’t specify their exact ages, but indicated that one is 12 or 13 and the other is 14 or 15.”

The lack of descriptive information is troubling. The juvenile status of the perpetrators protects their identities from disclosure, but if the hammer-wielding teenagers remain at large, the rest of us would like to be on guard. I would advise avoidance of the University of Minnesota’s East Bank light rail station after dark.

I think I would like a better description of the teenagers.

Who Is The New Guy?

LifeZette posted an article today about the seemingly abrupt resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will now become the new acting head of the Department of Homeland Security.

The article tells us a little about Acting Secretary McAleenan:

1.) McAleenan is a longtime border officer, “reflecting Trump’s priority for the department initially founded to combat terrorism after the September 11 attacks,” as Fox News noted.

2.) Trump wanted the “toughest cop” around on border security — “and McAleenan fit the bill,” the outlet also reported.

3.) McAleenan served as head of Customs and Border Patrol and was the nation’s top border security official; he was sworn into that job in March 2018. Prior to his confirmation, he was acting commissioner beginning Jan. 20, 2017, according to his biography.

4.) In that role, McAleenan oversaw 60,000 employees, managed a budget of over $13 billion, and ensured “CBP’s mission to protect national security while promoting economic prosperity,” as his biography also noted.

5.) Before that, he held several leadership positions at CBP and at one of its agencies, the U.S. Customs Service. In December 2011, he became acting assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations, leading “agency operations to secure the U.S. border while expediting lawful trade and travel at 329 ports of entry in the United States and 70 international locations in more than 40 countries.”

6.) From 2006 to 2008, he served as area port director of Los Angeles International Airport, directing CBP’s border security operations there and at 17 other airport facilities.

7.) After the 9/11 terror attacks, McAleenan focused on national security issues. In November 2001, he helped establish the Office of Antiterrorism in Washington, D.C. Two years later, he became executive director.

8.) Prior to government service, McAleenan practiced law in California. He received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

9.) He earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Amherst College in Massachusetts.

10.) He is 47 and was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is married to Corina Avalos McAleenan, a Deloitte executive; they have two children.

Congratulations, sir, you have probably just accepted the most miserable job in the universe–Congress not only won’t help you, they will fight you and the President in the courts every step of the way. However, the American people are behind you.

According to an article posted at Power Line yesterday by John Hinderaker:

Do you think illegal immigration is a serious problem? If you are like 67 percent of likely voters, you do. If you think illegal immigration is a very serious problem, you have plenty of company–47 percent of voters.

Of course, if you are running for president as a Democrat, you don’t think illegal immigration is a problem at all. Eight percent of likely voters agree with you. Not only do none of the Democratic presidential candidates want to build the wall, some of them want to tear down barriers where they already exist.

Best wishes, Secretary McAleenan, I sincerely hope you can do what needs to be done.

Follow The Example Of The People With The Money Who Have A Choice

Today John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about Mick Jagger’s recent heart surgery. I was never really a Rolling Stones fan, but the Beatles aren’t there anymore. At any rate, the article includes the following Tweet from Mick Jagger:

That’s great news, but there is more to the story. Mick Jagger just underwent a successful transcatheter aortic valve replacement (in New York City). Wait a minute–if socialized medicine is so great, what is he doing in New York City? No long wait and up-to-date care. There is still enough of the free market left in American medicine that medical procedures are up-to-date and relatively easy to obtain.

The article explains:

I think it was Robert Conquest who said that everyone is a conservative about what he knows best. Likewise, the more you really care, the less wedded you are to liberal shibboleths. I need heart surgery? Goodbye, NHS. Some years ago, there was a woman who was a member of Canada’s Parliament. She was a fierce opponent of private medical care on the ground that the people should share health risks equally. Then she came down with a rare form of cancer. She was on the next airplane to the U.S.

The Rolling Stones have always had a good appreciation of the virtues of free enterprise. John Phelan, the British economist who works for my organization, likes to quote Keith Richards:

The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws…It’s why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we’d be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all.

Further proving that a conservative is simply a liberal who has been mugged and that tax policies have consequences.

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?