They Are Already Here

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about two recently arrested brothers Abdullah and Majid Alrifahe. The men were arrested while sitting in a parked car in Minneapolis. They had thrown a food wrapper out the window. A passerby confronted them, and they became belligerent, indicating that they were armed. The passerby called the police, the police placed the men in a squad car and did a quick search of the car. They found a hand grenade, weapons, and bomb-making material.

The local news carried the story:

The article at Power Line concludes:

Abdullah Alrifahe is in custody subject to $200,000 bail; he is scheduled to appear in court next month. We can only hope in the meantime that he doesn’t make bail.

Where is brother Majid? What is the brothers’ immigration status? What were they up to?

To be continued.

This could have ended very differently.

 

Has Sovereignty Become An Issue?

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the repeal of ObamaCare. That’s not so unusual, but some of the source of the pushback against the repeal is interesting.

The article reports:

Dana Milbank reports, with glee, that the United Nations “has contacted the Trump administration as part of an investigation into whether repealing [Obamacare] without an adequate substitute for the millions who would lose health coverage would be a violation of several international conventions that bind the United States.” The warning comes from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission (now known as the Human Rights Council) purports to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,“ Its members include China, Cuba, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.

This would be laughable if it were not serious. So what is happening here? President Trump is not a globalist. Unfortunately for a number of decades, the American government has been run by globalists. Our recent Presidents have been in step with the United Nations and have done things that have put our national sovereignty in jeopardy. Evidently the globalist elites at the United Nations now feel that they have a valid voice on the American political landscape. That’s a notion that needs to be put to rest very quickly. It is a little upsetting to think that countries with such dismal human rights records as China, Cuba, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela feel free to criticize America because America does not want socialism. Let’s look at what poverty looks like in those countries versus what poverty looks like in America.

The article goes on to report:

By way of illustration, one of the provisions the U.N. relies on in this case is Article 5(e) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by the U.S. in 1994. It calls on states to “guarantee the right of everyone” to, among other things, “public health, medical care, social security and social services” without regard to race or color.

It is not far-fetched to imagine lawsuits in U.S. courts based on claims that the government is violating this kind of “obligation” to which America agreed. How far-fetched is it to imagine left-liberal judges seriously entertaining such lawsuits? Not very, in my view.

In reality, pre-Obamacare America offered health care to everyone without regard to race or color. It provided poor Americans with free health care via Medicaid. Millions of other Americans received health insurance from their employer. The rest (except those with pre-existing conditions, a matter of real concern) were free to purchase health insurance, if they so desired. The market offered plans that were not expensive — my wife had one — at least not compared to the ones Americans are required to purchase under the Obamacare regime.

No one was denied health insurance due to race or color. Nor, to my knowledge, was anyone denied service — e.g. at an emergency room — on that basis.

The article concludes:

The U.N., through its “investigation,” is claiming the right to evaluate Obamacare replacement packages. In effect, it asserts the right to assess whether the replacement incentives measure up to the Obamacare incentives (inadequate though these are).

The U.N.’s infringement on our democracy is obvious.

It’s not surprising that elites in the rest of the world want to dictate to America. It’s not surprising that many of the left want such leftist elites to dictate to us. What’s surprising is that America has gone as far as it has to provide the tools with which claims like those being made by these elite, via bureaucrats in Geneva, can be asserted with a straight face.

When the United Nations begins to attempt to interfere in internal politics of its member countries, it is time for the United Nations to go away. We need to withdraw our membership, make them pay their parking tickets, and kick them out of the country.

What Happens When Government Interference Skews The Free Market

America has been on a search for green energy for a long time. Historically man has been  on a quest for a perpetual motion machine. I am not sure the two searches are unrelated.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the environmental impact of solar energy. Solar energy is not as environmentally friendly as one might assume.

The article cites the example of a 60-acre solar farm at the Minnesota National Guard’s facility at Camp Ripley, Minnesota.

The article reports:

If we devoted a fraction of that space to a natural gas, coal or nuclear facility we could produce 100 times the energy–even at night time, when people need to turn lights on.

It is sad to see military personnel who should know better, and probably do, mouthing the inane pieties of global warming:

“Camp Ripley is now capable of producing as much energy as it consumes,” said Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. “We can make a better Minnesota and a better world by joining the worldwide initiative to address the serious challenge of climate change.”

Right. We’d prefer you address the serious military challenge of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and so on. Tom Steward (Tom Steward in a story at the American Experiment) points out the costly reality:

The project’s astonishing $25 million price tag has led to the utility taking fire from state regulators for overpaying for solar panels and long-term lease with the National Guard. The collateral damage includes the northern Minnesota utility’s residential ratepayers, whose bills will rise as a result of the costly solar farm.

The solar facility can provide electricity for only 1,700 homes, a ridiculously small number, at “full capacity.” But solar installations never reach full capacity, and if it is dark or cloudy, they are irrelevant. No one would argue for ugly 60-acre scars on the landscape based on a cost/benefit analysis.

In Duluth, the best proxy for Camp Ripley, there are an average of 77 sunny days per year. Hey, that is better than one in five! Of course, they don’t have any sunny nights in Duluth, so there’s that.

Solar energy is not perfect. In 2014 I wrote an article about the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert. The solar energy complex has the potential to kill as many as 28,000 birds annually. Last month I wrote an article about Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a key chemical agent used to manufacture photovoltaic cells for solar panels. There has been a 1,057 percent in NF3 over the last 25 years. In comparison, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions only rose by about 5 percent during the same time period. There are also problems with wind energy. Spain attempted to move to green energy a few years ago and nearly wrecked its economy (article here).

If the free market is allowed to work, we may actually approach something like green energy at some point in the future. However, as long as the government subsidizes and encourages things that are not actually working, the progress will be delayed.

 

Changing the Wrapping Doesn’t Change The Package

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the changes made to the ObamaCare replacement bill.

The article quotes Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton:

“Despite the proposed amendments, I still cannot support the House health-care bill, nor would it pass the Senate. The amendments improve the Medicaid reforms in the original bill, but do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making insurance unaffordable for too many Arkansans. The House should continue its work on this bill. It’s more important to finally get health-care reform right than to get it fast.”

The article at Power Line states the following:

If, under a Republican plan, premiums/deductibles continue to rise, people will believe that Obamacare’s replacement made things worse. They will blame Republicans and the GOP will pay a heavy price.

No Republican should support replacement legislation unless he or she is confident it will result in better outcomes with regard to premiums/deductibles. If Democrats won’t support legislation that’s likely to produce that result, Republicans should either push such legislation through without Democratic support (overruling the Senate parliamentarian) if necessary or let such legislation be voted down.

Republicans have no obligation to pass replacement legislation they don’t like in order to patch up Obamacare. The Democrats created the current mess. If they won’t cooperate with the GOP in fixing it properly, Republicans shouldn’t take the political hit that would come with pretending to fix it on their own.

I left the Republican Party because I felt that they had forgotten their commitment to smaller government and had become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The current ObamaCare replacement bill is a perfect example of that. Republicans were told that if we gave them the House, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House and the Senate, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, ObamaCare would be gone. If this bill passes, it won’t be gone. We will simply have ObamaCare Light, a bad bill that the Republicans would be totally responsible for–just as the Democrats were totally responsible for ObamaCare. That is not a step forward–it is a step backward! Please, Republicans, do not pass this bill. Simply repeal ObamaCare. Then you can fight over its replacement. Don’t break faith with the voters.

 

This Is How You Handle A Tyrant!

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. I have to say that after reading the article, I like Rex Tillerson’s style. The story that follows is an example of quietly outsmarting someone who tries to take advantage of you.

The article quotes a Washington Post story that details what happened shortly after Tillerson became CEO of ExxonMobil. Hugo Chavez needed money and demanded more of the profits of the western oil companies in Venezuela. All of the companies agreed except ExxonMobil.

The Washington Post reports what happened next:

Chavez responded by nationalizing ExxonMobil’s considerable assets in the country, which the company valued at $10 billion. The losses were a big blow to Tillerson, who reportedly took the seizure as a personal affront.

Only Tillerson didn’t get mad, at least in public. He got even.

In the deep blue waters 120 miles off Guyana’s coast, the company scored a major oil discovery: as much as 1.4 billion barrels of high-quality crude. Tillerson told company shareholders the well, Liza-1, was the largest oil find anywhere in the world that year.

For tiny Guyana (population 800,000), the continent’s only English-speaking country and one of its poorest, it was a fortune-changing event, certain to mark a “before and after” in a country long isolated by language and geography.

The Stabroek block where ExxonMobil and its partners struck oil is off the coast of a patch of wild South American jungle known as the Essequibo territory. Venezuela and Guyana have haggled over it with oscillating levels of vehemence for more than 100 years. Amounting to two-thirds of Guyana’s surface area, it is, by any practical measure, a part of Guyana and populated by Guyanese people, albeit sparsely.

But Venezuelan claims on the land have long kept foreign investors out. In 2013, a research vessel exploring the area for U.S.-based Anadarko was intercepted by a Venezuelan warship, which temporarily detained the 36-member crew. It was a warning to other companies thinking of partnering with Guyana. Tillerson’s ExxonMobil went ahead anyway.

Maduro ordered military exercises along the border, appealed to the United Nations to intervene, and cast his country as a victim of “imperialist” aggression.

But Maduro was boxed in. Tillerson had taken him to school. And he was just getting warmed up. The company has moved quickly to drill more wells since then, racking up new discoveries in the area.

Think about it. Tillerson refused the wishes of a bully, elevated a more reasonable government in a South America country without violence, and made a profit. I like his style.

 

 

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday about a recent incident in New York City.

The article reports:

Yasmin Seweid, an 18 year-old college students, was charged with filing a false report based on false statements to authorities that three men called her a terrorist and chanted “Donald Trump” while she was riding a New York City subway. Seweid alleged that when she moved to the other end of the train, one of the men followed her and tried to pull off her hajib.

As John Sexton notes, Seweid’s “traumatic train ride” became a talking point for the anti-Trump media. It fit the narrative that Trump’s election has produced a rash of hate crimes. See Slate’s initial coverage, for example.

The New York City police department reportedly spent significant resources trying to verify Seweid’s story. It was unable to find any witnesses to the incident or any video that corroborated her story.

Finally, Seweid recanted. She said she made up the tale to get attention because she was having issues with her family at home.

In this case the news reported what they thought was a true story, but how many of the reports of this nature have also been made up?

The article concludes:

How much trouble is Seweid in with the police? Possibly, more than a little. A NYPD source explained that given the amount of time detectives spent chasing the phony story, and how politically charged the allegation was, police and prosecutors felt compelled to charge her. To make matters worse, they reportedly gave her numerous opportunities to come clean, but she repeatedly refused to tell the truth for weeks.

The left is determined not to “normalize” Trump. But one benefit of normalization would be a diminution of abnormal behavior like that exhibited by Seweid. Let’s hope the mass freakout over Trump’s victory subsides in the coming months.

I can only assume that the left is so terrified of Donald Trump for two reasons–if his economic ideas work, they will be out of power for a long time, and if he drains the swamp, they might find themselves going down the drain. All Americans need to support what our President-elect is trying to do. It could mean the difference between America living up to her potential or America losing her way.

It Just Keeps Dripping

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line today reporting major gaps in Hillary Clinton’s appointment calendar during her tenure as Secretary of State.

The article reports:

AP has identified at least 75 meetings that Hillary Clinton had with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded (or not properly recorded) on her State Department calendar. AP identified the meetings by comparing her calendar with separate planning schedules supplied to Clinton by aides in advance of each day’s events.

In many cases, Clinton’s State Department calendar simply excluded the meeting altogether. On other occasions, the names of those with whom she met were omitted.

It seems clear that the omissions were made to obscure Clinton’s ties to tycoons and big donors. For example, in one omission, Clinton’s State Department calendar dropped the identities of a dozen major Wall Street and business leaders who met with her during a private breakfast discussion at the New York Stock Exchange in September 2009.

The first thing to notice here is that the search for this information was initiated by the Associated Press. Usually the press is supporting Hillary Clinton. Since the press tends to be aligned with the Democratic Party, this is an interesting development.

The article further reports:

AP had to go to court to pry from the State Department the records it needed to expose this latest example of Clinton’s lack of transparency and her ties to the wealthy.

The AP first sought Clinton’s calendar and schedules from the State Department in August 2013, but the agency would not acknowledge even that it had the material. After nearly two years of delay, the AP sued the State Department in March 2015.

The department agreed in a court filing last August to turn over Clinton’s calendar, and provided the documents in November. After noticing discrepancies between Clinton’s calendar and some schedules, the AP pressed in court for all of Clinton’s planning material.

The U.S. has released about one-third of those planners to the AP so far.

Is this a person we want in the White House?

 

President Obama And The Democratic Party

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line about Tuesday’s election results. The article notes some of the results:

Matt Bevin was elected Governor of Kentucky.

Republicans maintained the majority in the Virginia Senate.

Ohio rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana.

The Sheriff of San Francisco, who supported the ‘sanctuary city’ was defeated.

Houston voters rejected an initiative claiming to be non-discriminatory that discriminated against Christians.

There are some happy conservatives around the country right now. However, the Associated Press (AP) did not see it that way.

The article at Power Line reports some of the comments from AP about the election:

State and local elections across the country this week produced warning signs for both Democrats and Republicans as they press toward next year’s presidential contest.

…Democrats lost ground in state legislatures and governor’s mansions, raising questions about the party’s strength when Barack Obama’s name isn’t on the ballot.

…And in Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin’s win for the governorship could be a sign that many voters are serious about electing outsider candidates.

…That sounds good for the GOP, whose leading presidential candidates are Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

…But Democrats still have important demographic advantages in the states that often determine presidential elections.

…And Republican leaders are skeptical that outsiders’ rebellious appeal will be sufficiently deep and lasting to send such a candidate to the White House.

The article at Power Line mentions one inconvenient fact:

The AP fails to mention that the Obama administration has been a disaster for the Democratic Party. President Obama is widely seen as both incompetent and outside the mainstream of American politics. This has largely driven the flight of voters to the GOP, not only in the House and Senate, both now under Republican control, but also in state offices across the country.

The conclusion:

It is remarkable how far the press will go to cover for the Democrats, even after ballots have been cast. But does it do the Democrats much good? On the evidence of the last five years, the answer is no.

At some point, the American voters are quite capable of looking past the hype and seeing the impact of eight years of President Obama. The next President will have to reconstruct both our economy and our healthcare system. It is becoming obvious that the Democrats are not capable of doing that.

Even The New York Times Needs An Editor Sometimes

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today about a New York Times editorial dealing with Scott Walker. Because Scott Walker is getting noticed by Republican voters, and because making him run for re-election in Wisconsin every year or so has not destroyed him, it is not a surprise that the New York Times would take a shot. However, the editorial might have been more effective if they had called him Mr. Walker instead of Mr. Scott.

This is an excerpt from the article:

ScottWalkerEditorialSomehow I really think this weakens their case against him–but it is funny. Evidently the error has been corrected (with no mention of it being made in the first place).

The Problem With Attempting To Rewrite Recent History

The problem with attempting to rewrite recent history is that there are too many people around who remember what actually happened and that some of them write books. Such is the case with the political spin President Obama has used to explain why there were no troops left behind in Iraq.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday about Leon Panetta‘s new book “Worthy Fights,” excerpted in Time Magazine.

The article reports:

In Panetta’s forthcoming memoir “Worthy Fights,” which Time Magazine has excerpted, Panetta argues that Iraqi leaders privately wanted U.S. forces to stay behind after the formal 2011 withdrawal; that the U.S. had “leverage” to strike a deal; and that the Defense and State departments attempted to do so. However, says Panetta, “the President’s team at the White House pushed back” and thus no deal was reached.

This statement agrees with statements made by Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Iraq during the period in question.

National security should not be governed by politics. Unfortunately, under President Obama, every decision is governed by politics. We need to elect leaders who will put the good of America ahead of their own desire for personal gains.