Freaky Friday Photo Caption Contest

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Gianforte Wins Montana Special Congressional Election

You can see the results here.

He apologized for the incident with the reporter during his victory speech.

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More economic vandalism threatened by POTUS

Empty threats or actual statist plans? Hard to tell.

U.S President-elect Donald Trump warned German car companies he would impose a border tax of 35 percent on vehicles imported to the U.S. market, a plan that drew sharp rebukes from Berlin and hit the automakers’ shares.

In an interview with German newspaper Bild, published on Monday, Trump criticized German carmakers such as BMW (BMWG.DE), Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) for failing to produce more cars on U.S. soil.

“If you want to build cars in the world, then I wish you all the best. You can build cars for the United States, but for every car that comes to the USA, you will pay 35 percent tax,” Trump said in remarks translated into German.

“I would tell BMW that if you are building a factory in Mexico and plan to sell cars to the USA, without a 35 percent tax, then you can forget that,” Trump said.

I suppose if you want to pay more for cars transferring your hard earned money to Ford, GM and the UAW you will support this.

If you support reducing economic growth, you will support this.

If you support destroying the livelihood of many thousands of Americans who own and work for BMW and Volkswagen dealerships you will support this.

If you support confiscatory tax increases you will support this.

If you support a massive expansion of the power of the federal government you will support this.

If you are just an economic muggle you will support this.

Otherwise, you will oppose this ignorant mercantilist bullshit.

More here.

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Hoverboards are the future! I love the future!

Fast-forward to 1:25 mark unless you prefer boring…

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“I might pull off a leg… or two.”

“The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.” ~Hannah Arendt

Witness the banality of evil.

“When all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.” ~Hannah Arendt

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Full employment?

It sure looks like it.

New applications for unemployment benefits rose a minimal 1,000 to 234,000 in the third week of May, the Department of Labor reported Thursday, driving the average for the past four weeks down to the lowest it has been in 44 years.

Thursday’s report beat forecasters’ expectations, which were for new jobless claims, adjusted for seasonal variations, to rise to 237,000.

And it provided a good sign for the economy. Few claims indicate that layoffs are rare, and that, in turn, net job creation is strong.

Investors and officials at the Federal Reserve pay attention to the jobless claims numbers because they are published every week, giving a frequently-update gauge of the health of the labor market. Recently, that metric has been strongly encouraging.

The total number of people receiving unemployment benefits, which are available for up to 26 weeks in most states, also is at the lowest level since 1974, averaged over the past month. There were just 1.9 million such “continuing claims,” down from as many as 6.5 million at the height of the recession in 2009.

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BBC: UK stops sharing intelligence with US

It’s pretty simple: You don’t tell secrets to blabbermouths.

Police investigating the Manchester Arena bomb attack have stopped sharing information with the US after leaks to the media.

UK officials were outraged when photos appearing to show debris from the attack appeared in the New York Times.

It came after the name of bomber Salman Abedi was leaked to US media just hours after the attack, which left 22 dead.

Theresa May said she would tell Donald Trump at a Nato meeting that shared intelligence “must remain secure”.

The US’s acting ambassador to the UK “unequivocally condemned” the leaks in a BBC radio interview.

“These leaks were reprehensible, deeply distressing,” Lewis Lukens said.

“We have had communications at the highest level of our government … we are determined to identify these leaks and to stop them.”

More here.

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Washington Pos: “The Russians Fooled Comey”

It’s all the fault of those darned Russians. If it weren’t for them Hillary Clinton would be President. And James Comey would still head the FBI.

“How a dubious Russian document influenced the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe”

A secret document that officials say played a key role in then-FBI Director James B. Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake, according to people familiar with its contents.

In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received what was described as a Russian intelligence document claiming a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server.

[…]

Current and former officials have said that Comey relied on the document in making his July decision to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.”

More at the Washington Pos

Related: Without any evidence, 55% of Democrats believe Russians fiddled 2016 vote totals:

Source here

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Again Foreign Leftists Interfere With American Politics

“Black Lives Matter awarded 2017 Sydney peace prize”

BLM Founders

Each year the Sydney Peace Foundation honours a nominee who has promoted “peace with justice”, human rights and non-violence. Past recipients include Julian Burnside, Prof Noam Chomsky and the former Irish president Mary Robinson.”

Peace With Justice

More at The Guardian

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Even If They Throw Trump Out It Won’t Put Hillary In

Plan B: Call Trump unfit and throw him out using the 25th Amendment. Ross Douthat, writing in the New York Times, says it is the answer.
“The 25th Amendment Solution for Removing Trump”

One does not need to be a Marvel superhero or Nietzschean Übermensch to rise to this responsibility. But one needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.

Trump is seemingly deficient in them all.

[…]

It is a child who blurts out classified information in order to impress distinguished visitors. It is a child who asks the head of the F.B.I. why the rules cannot be suspended for his friend and ally. It is a child who does not understand the obvious consequences of his more vindictive actions — like firing the very same man whom you had asked to potentially obstruct justice on your say-so.

A child cannot be president. I love my children; they cannot have the nuclear codes.”

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On having your cake and eating it too…

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too” is a way of saying you can’t have it both ways. You can keep your beautiful cake to admire it but, if you do, you can’t eat it. If you eat it, you will no longer have it to admire. It’s one or the other.

The same thing applies to money. You can’t keep your money and spend it too. Which leads us to the Trump budget.

Team Trump is claiming that the tax cuts in its budget will pay for themselves. In other words, there will be no reduction in government revenue because the cuts will stimulate the economy to the extent that there will be as much revenue collected at the lower rate as there would have been without the cuts.

This is a bit dubious. In the past tax cuts have induced growth that paid for up to 50 percent of the cut, but never 100 percent. Still, let’s go with it and assume that the cuts will pay for 100 percent of the reduction in rate with an increase in the economy.

The great benefit here, according to the administration, is the cuts won’t increase the national debt. The same tax revenue (it’s a couple trillion over ten years) can be spent without going deeper in the hole. Okay, that makes sense.

Later in the same budget, however, the administration says it will use that two trillion associated with its projection of economic growth to reduce the debt.

Now you see the problem. You can use the additional tax revenue to “pay for” the tax cut and maintaining spending or you can use it to reduce the national debt. You can’t do both. In other words, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

There is a detailed description of the problem here.

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There is a special House election in Montana today

Yesterday the GOP candidate allegedly body slammed a reporter. This might harm his electoral chances. Then again, it might improve them. Whatever the case, it should be interesting.

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News from the War on Drugs

Carrier Pigeon caught smuggling Ecstasy across the Iraqi Border

Also…

Two counselors at a drug addiction treatment facility in Pennsylvania die of an Opiate Overdose

Build the Wall.

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Carrier – Trump ‘deal’ Falls Apart

Not sure what to make of this:

A deal that then President-elect Trump claimed would save more than 1,000 jobs at an Indiana Carrier plant will actually send more than 600 jobs to Mexico, the company announced Monday.

In the weeks following last November’s election, Trump and then Vice President-elect Mike Pence highly publicized their efforts to put pressure on the air conditioner manufacturer to keep it from outsourcing jobs to Mexico — a key campaign promise.

The pressure resulted in an incentive-laden deal that saved about 800 jobs. But the deal still called for at least 500 jobs to be moved to Mexico.

And on Monday, Carrier said it would be outsourcing even more than that.

Trump celebrates at Carrier after it agrees to keep 1,000 jobs
The company will eliminate a total of 632 jobs at the company’s Indianapolis factory — work that will be outsourced to Mexico — with 338 jobs being cut by July 20 and another 290 being cut by Dec. 22, the company said.

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Charlie Daniels’ Open Letter to Chuck Schumer: “You’ve Opened Pandora’s Box”

It appears in CNS News. This is just an excerpt but Daniels’ letter is powerful.

Charlie Daniels

Sen. Schumer, will you do me and America a favor? Will you lay your hand on a Holy Bible and tell America that you believe in your heart that Donald Trump has actually colluded with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government to the detriment of the United States of America?

You see, sir, everything you’ve come up with so far, and you’ve been at it since well before the election, has been superficial. And I believe that anything your special counsel will come up with will also be superficial, guilt by association, the fires of triviality fanned and proliferated by a tilted, hate-filled media and super partisan politicians.

Sen. Schumer, what goes around truly does come around, and if, or should I say when, this pendulum starts swinging back the other way, do you realize that Mr. Mueller could actually find a lot more dirt on prominent Democrats than they do Trump and his staff?

You have opened Pandora’s Box, sir, and basically thrown away the lid.”

Another link

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Woodward (Of Watergate Fame) Warns Of “Smug” Media

“You have to have a presumption of goodwill.”

“I think there’s so many people treating the Trump presidency as if it’s a try-out, as if it’s provisional… odds are, he’s probably going to be president for a full term, four years, maybe even more… there’s hyperventilation, too many people writing things. When’s the impeachment coming, how long’s he gonna last, will he make it through the summer, and so forth…

“I worry, I worry for the business, for the perception of the business, not just Trump supporters, they see that smugness… I think you can ride both horses, intensive inquiry, investigation, not letting up… at the same time, realize that it’s not our job to do an editorial on this.”

Woodward is absolutely right about this. The press should have an adversarial relationship with the White House, set firmly upon a presumption – or at least a pretense – of goodwill. That ship sailed during 8 years of tongue-slathering Obama’s ass crack. They might have relieved some of the distrust, if they’d pretended to give the new president a chance, but instead, they went full-on, tinfoil hat, conspiracy-mongering hate-filled, out-or-presidential-blood hysterical.

The level of irrationality in the media these days, prevents them from repairing the damage they did by giving Obama his affirmative action pass.

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Why Do We Even Have A FISA Court?

Obama admitted to the FISA court that he routinely abused American’s rights via the intelligence community.

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

Why is this not across-the-spectrum news? Because “Trump!” “Russia!”… our media is a freaking joke.

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Budget cuts shrink government programs?

That’s what they are saying.

President Donald Trump’s budget plans to cut the Children’s Health Insurance Program by at least 20% over the next two fiscal years and slash Medicaid, which covers millions more children.

Millions of poor and working families could lose their health coverage if his proposed budget, released Tuesday and called “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” gets through as-is. It would hit children’s health care hard and break Trump’s campaign promise to “save” Medicaid “without cuts.”

Before I continue, I would like to point out that a president’s budget is pretty much nothing more than a suggestion. Presidents don’t make or pass budgets; Congress does.

Now, having said that, let’s assume that the budget passes. The progressive critics are correct. If you cut the amount of funds available to an enterprise, the enterprise will be forced to cut back operations. That is common sense.

Here is my question: Why do progressives lose that understanding when it comes to tax increases or minimum wage? After all, it is the same principle. If you reduce the amount of funds available to a business either by raising taxes or increasing minimum wage, the business will be required to cut back operations.

It is the same. You cannot simultaneously believe that a reduction of funds in government reduces operations but that the same principle doesn’t apply to business. Why? Because that would be stupid.

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“Help Make June 19 National Millennials Day”

A bunch of un-self-aware young people say they are tired of being portrayed as narcissists so they are demanding a celebration of ‘Them’. How un-self-aware can you get?

“National Millennials Day is a way to show the world the truth about Millennials.”

With National Millennials Day, we want to turn the stereotypes inside-out. To show that we’re more Generation We than Generation Me. To transform ideals into actions. To inspire hope for the future. To celebrate the most open-minded, connected, innovative, purpose-driven generation on the planet: Millennials.”

More at Millennialsday.org

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You Know This Kind Of Makes Sense

Now scientists are saying the cradle of mankind was the Mediterranean sea rather than the sands of Africa. That sea has always been a rich source of food and the rivers that fill it were good farming areas.

“Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find”

The history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa.

Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield.

But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago.”

More at the UK Telegraph

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Martha Raddatz Has a Great ‘Worry Face’

In this video she’s worrying that people will be mad at Muslims after the bombing in Manchester.

Listen, folks, we need to worry about real threats. We need to prepare for terror and other attacks against civilians. Especially children. We need to train our police to investigate attacks completely and to keep proper records when they do.

People like Raddatz and Steponallofus prefer to worry about potential reactions to attacks. They would rather the records show that it was not Muslims who did the deeds. They would rather protect the Islamists and let the children die.

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John Brennan Is Talking To Congress But Is He Telling The Truth?

This morning there are a lot of reports about the Brennan testimony. For instance:
“John Brennan Completely Contradicts FBI Director James Comey on Congressional Notification…”

The story goes like this:

Today former CIA Director John Brennan testified to congress on the Russian counter-intelligence operation which began in July 2016. Today, John Brennan completely contradicted the March 20th, 2017, testimony of former FBI Director James Comey.

[…]

On March 20th FBI Director James Comey -together with NSA head Admiral Mike Rogers- testified to congress specifically about this notification…

[…]

“Again, in consultation with the White House, I PERSONALLY briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership; specifically: Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11th August and 6th September [2016], I provided the same briefing to each of the gang of eight members.”

Then there is this. It was not collusion between Trump and Putin that got Russia involved in the election:

“John Brennan: Hostility between Putin, Clintons drove Russia’s actions”

We don’t know if Brennan is telling the truth but the Democrats seem to believe him.

“Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

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US leaks damage intel relationship with UK

Loose lips sink ships and the Trump Administration has an abundance of flapping, loose lips.

American officials have been criticised for leaking the identity of the Manchester bomber before British police officially named him.

Salman Abedi was identified in media reports that attributed “US officials” as the source even as their British counterparts remained tight-lipped.

The disclosures renewed concerns over leaks from Donald Trump’s administration two weeks after the US president revealed classified information, apparently from Israel, to Russia’s foreign minister in a White House meeting. Critics warn that US allies may be less willing to share intelligence in the future.

This is just the latest in a barrage of leaks coming out of Washington. Trump needs to get a handle on this. A big part of his problem is his failure to staff positions. Thousands of appointee positions that normally would have been swapped out following a change in administration are still Obama appointees. This is a Trump failure and it is failure that is hurting Trump more than anyone else.

More here.

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Looking Back To The Future Of Geopolitics

Originally published 05AUG13.

Today you’re going to get a crash course in geopolitics and America’s preeminence as a global political & economic leader. If I do my job right, you will see the intervening years from 1991-2013 in a completely different light, after reading this article.

The Project for the New Middle East

Map drawn by Col Ralph Peters for the Armed Forces Journal.

tgc

Map drawn by Zbigniev Brzezinski in “The Grand Chessboard”, 1998

The World Since WWII

To begin, the reader must understand the world following WWII. There emerged from the rubble of WWII, a bi-polar global power structure. We out-spent the USSR and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that centralized command-and-control economics do not work. A planning committee will never be able to duplicate the actions, or meet the needs, of a market based upon self-interest. The most basic of economic laws is that people respond to incentives.

Also following WWII, the US began to assert it’s global dominance through expansion of all things American. Hegemony is dominance through leadership. In Marxist ideology, cultural hegemony is the domination of a diverse, multi-cultural society by a ruling elite. This is important because America has been using this idea since WWII. An objective look at the global political & social landscape bears this out. We dominate through cultural hegemony, which brings us political control, as well.

We have expanded “The American Way” of governing and living. The American people don’t really care how we go about projecting our authority overseas, so long as it isn’t in their face every day (see Iraq & Afghanistan under Bush/Obama). Our ruling class understands this disinterest and seizes upon it in their efforts to insure the interests of our national survival. The way they go about it is neither legally, nor morally justified, in many cases, but it is absolutely necessary.

More below the fold…

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Mission accomplished

He leaves behind a great body of memorable work.

I loved his movies and the characters he played, mostly Bond.

May he rest in Peace.

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