Author Archives: R.D. Walker

Trump and Putin share a laugh

Putin makes a joke about Trump and the media…

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin kicked off their highly anticipated one-one-one meeting by trading disparaging comments about the reporters gathered to cover it.

At a photo op before their private G20 summit meeting, the Russian President leaned in to Mr Trump, gestured to the journalists in the room, and asked: “These are the ones hurting you?”

“These are the ones. You’re right about that,” Mr Trump responded.

Then they had a shared chuckle.

Amusing. Of course in Russia the press doesn’t insult Putin. They know better. The consequences would be swift and serious.

I get the feeling that a lot of Americans who get a kick out of Trump’s war with the media think that the Russian way is a fine way to run things.

Doubtless, those folks will enjoy seeing the president and a neo-fascist despot share a laugh about the depredations of the free press.

More here.

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The United States of Trade Protectionism

If the position of the Republican Party under Trump is to promote trade protectionism, then the Republican Party is indeed the Stupid Party.

Mr. Trump told the G-20 leaders in the closed-door meeting that they were “largely responsible” for the U.S.’s trade deficit, according to an official. China alone is responsible for about two thirds of the U.S. trade deficit. European Union leaders bluntly warned the president that they would retaliate against protectionist measures from Washington.

“The vast majority pointed out that we need free, but also fair, trade,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, seeking to reconcile the two positions. The U.S. has emphasized “fair” trade in contrast to past official language focusing on open markets.

“The discussions on this are very difficult,” Ms. Merkel said.

Disagreements deepened a G-20 schism that officials had flagged before the two-day gathering. Mr. Trump’s critical stance toward international initiatives largely isolated the U.S., while the remaining 19 pushed for more cooperation, according to people at the discussions.

The only fair trade is free trade. Any deviation from free, open trade is unfair trade.

Trade protectionism is indeed unfair in exactly the opposite of the manner Trump seems to think. When other countries sell the US products at low cost they harm themselves and benefit Americans. It is a direct transfer of wealth from, say, China to the US. The idea that it is anything else is childish sophistry. That is the trade policy of this administration: Childish sophistry.

More here.

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Republicans may have to prop up Obamacare

If the Trumpcare fiasco isn’t resolved, the GOP may be forced to repair Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that if his party fails to muster 50 votes for its plan to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, it will have no choice but to draft a more modest bill with Democrats to support the law’s existing insurance markets.

The remarks, made at a Rotary Club lunch in Glasgow, Ky., represent a significant shift for the veteran legislator. While he had raised the idea last week that Republicans may have to turn to Democrats if they cannot pass their own bill, his words mark the first time he has explicitly raised the prospect of shoring up the ACA.

“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur,” McConnell said. “No action is not an alternative. We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”

More here.

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The Biggest Breaking News Story in Human History!

And Alex Jones has it!

ROBERT DAVID STEELE: This may strike your listeners as way out but we actually believe that there is a colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space on a 20 year ride. So that once they get to Mars they have no alternative but to be slaves on the Mars colony. There’s all kinds of —

ALEX JONES (HOST): Look, I know that 90 percent of the NASA missions are secret and I’ve been told by high level NASA engineers that you have no idea, there is so much stuff going on. But then it goes off into all that, that’s the kind of thing media jumps on. But I know this: we see a bunch of mechanical wreckage on Mars and people say, “Oh look, it looks like mechanics.” They go, “Oh, you’re a conspiracy theorist.” Clearly they don’t want us looking into what is happening. Every time probes go over they turn them off.
[…]
JONES: Well I don’t know about Mars bases, but I know they’ve created massive, thousands of different types of chimeras that are alien lifeforms on this earth now.

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Matthew Yglesias has a plan for America

I think he is serious.

Where to start? I guess the by the “Fed figuring it out” he means by expanding the money supply in order to create enough funds to pay this new minimum wage. That would pretty much have to happen since the alternative would be to fly the entire economy into the side of the mountain as every business in America went bankrupt.

So the federal minimum wage is $7.25. An increase to $150 would be an increase by about 20.7 times. I suppose the Fed could inflate the dollar by that amount and then every price would increase by 20.7 times and everybody would be right back where they are now. A value meal at McDonalds costs about $7.25 now (an hour’s wages) and in the new world it would be $150 (an hours wages). It is hard to see what is accomplished.

Well, a lot of debt would be wiped out. If you have a $10,000 car loan, it is a hell of a lot easier to pay that off at $150 an hour than at $7.25 an hour. That would seem like a benefit in the short term.

Of course nobody would ever make a loan to you again. One reason is that the lenders would be bankrupt by the inflationary theft of the Fed. Furthermore, no lender would ever again be willing to make a loan without an inflation rider. Interest rates forever more would make mafia dons blush.

In fact, it would be devastating to anyone with savings. That $100,000 you saved up by sacrificing for years? Yeah, it is now worth about 4,800 bucks in the new world. You won’t be able to buy a seven year old Corolla with that hundred grand. Screw you, huh?

So, loan equity wiped out. Savings wiped out. Loanable capital impossible to acquire. Hard currency difficult to acquire. Where have we seen this before?

Matt’s plan is right out of the Hugo Chavez playbook. Welcome to the United States of Venezuela.

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CNN: “Nice little life you have there. Shame if something were to happen to it.”

Here is what happened…

A Reddit user made a fairly crappy GIF of Trump clotheslining CNN and put it on Twitter.

It would have been a big fat nothing except that the POTUS retweeted it.

This caused CNN to investigate the true identity of the GIF maker.

CNN contacted said GIF maker and, under threat of ruining his life, made him engage in a session of Marxist self-criticism and self-denunciation.

Then Ted Cruz got in the act.

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz even suggested on Twitter that CNN could have a legal problem.

“Troubling. I assume CNN’s lawyers are examining GA § 16-8-16 Theft by extortion. If CNN constructively obtained the gif-maker’s IP…it’s a GA crime if they threatened to ‘Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule….’” he wrote.

The Reddit user was behind the controversial GIF that Trump tweeted out Sunday — and that showed Trump wrestling an opponent (from his pre-politician days) with a CNN logo plastered over his face. The KFile group found the creator — user name “HanA**holeSolo” — by comparing information posted on Reddit to Facebook profiles. While CNN decided against publishing the user’s real name, the network appeared to attach a caveat to that decision.

So, once again CNN shoots itself in its own bullet ridden foot.

Look, there is right to anonymity for Internet trolls. If CNN would have simply published his name, not much would have come of that, what with the First Amendment and all. That is a free press.

What you can’t do, however, is threaten someone with ruin in order to get them to do what you want them to do. That is exactly what CNN did. How many times will CNN shoot itself in the foot? Turn in tomorrow.

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A Tweet from the British Embassy in the US

In honor of American Independence Day.

I don’t care who you are, that is funny. 😀

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Happy Independance Day

John Adams was thrilled by the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This was part of a letter he wrote to his wife Abigail that early July day in 1776.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

A greater proportion of Americans died in the Revolutionary War than any war other than that of 1861-1865. It was truly the first American civil war. Our republic was purchased at great expense in blood and treasure. We were given a great gift. Take a moment to reflect on that today… and then go celebrate with pomp and parade.

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A Message from the President of the United States

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A Message from the President of the United States

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GOP Prepares to Re-Pass Obamacare

But don’t worry, they will call it a repeal.

Republican Senator Bob Corker said Thursday that he expects GOP leaders to scrap a provision in their health bill that would repeal a tax on investment income that affects high-income earners.

The Tennessee Republican said the decision to retain Obamacare’s 3.8 percent tax on net investment income would help Republicans boost subsidies for low-income people in the individual exchanges. Some other Republicans said they were willing to at least consider the idea.

“We are going to figure out a way, I believe, before Friday comes to greatly enhance the ability of lower income citizens to buy insurance on the exchange and at the same time my sense is that the 3.8 percent is going to go away,” Corker told reporters. “It’s not an acceptable proposition to have a bill that increases the burden on lower-income citizens and lessons the burden on wealthy citizens.”

Of course the Republicans are going to have to pass it for us to find out what is in it but we do know a few things.

~ No denial of pre-existing conditions, just like Obamacare.
~ Subsidies for those making less than 400% of the poverty level, just like Obamacare.
~ Subsidies for insurance companies, just like Obamacare.
~ All kinds of unrelated taxes, just like Obamacare.
~ Massive transfer of wealth, just like Obamacare.

Obamacare 2.0: Brought to you and made permanent by the GOP Congress and President Donald Trump.

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Ten Commandments monument in Little Rock lasts one day

It has already been destroyed.

Less than a day after a monument of the Ten Commandments was installed outside the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock, it was destroyed when a man smashed a car into the stone.

Authorities say Michael T. Reed II drove a 2016 Dodge Dart into the 6,000-pound granite slab at about 4:47 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

Powell said the crash into the 6-foot-tall slab was no accident.

“This was deliberate. The individual drove down there and stopped. He was videoing it on his cellphone as he accelerated into the monument,” Powell said. “One of our Capitol Police officers was on patrol and witnessed it.”

Evidently this is the driver’s second act of crashing a car into a Ten Commandments monument.

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Travel Ban 2.0

It starts today.

The Trump administration is expected Thursday to announce how it will implement its modified travel ban, following the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday lifting a stay on the executive order imposed by two lower courts.

The order bars travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days from when it takes effect, in order to allow the government to review its vetting procedures for people from those majority-Muslim nations. (The order originally included people from Iraq as well, but that nation was dropped after the administration realized its inclusion would hurt cooperation from the Baghdad government in the fight against ISIS.)

I have a question. The original travel ban was enacted on January 27 and was to be in place for 90 days. The purpose of the 90 day ban was to stop immigration from certain areas while a tighter vetting system was put in place.

January 27 was 153 days ago. Presumably, the tighter vetting practices were put in place as planned. What is the purpose for restarting the clock now?

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You want people to die!!

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Fake News

Heh.

The framed copy of Time magazine was hung up in at least five of President Trump’s clubs, from South Florida to Scotland. Filling the entire cover was a photo of Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!” the big headline said. Above the Time nameplate, there was another headline in all caps: “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS . . . EVEN TV!”

This cover — dated March 1, 2009 — looks like an impressive memento from Trump’s pre-presidential career. To club members eating lunch, or golfers waiting for a pro-shop purchase, it seemed to be a signal that Trump had always been a man who mattered. Even when he was just a reality TV star, Trump was the kind of star who got a cover story in Time.

But that wasn’t true.

The Time cover is a fake.

That’s an impressive fake too what with the legit sub-headlines, the UPC code and everything. Covfefe Score: Perfect 10

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Merkel: “Germany creates American jobs”

She is absolutely, positively correct.

Germany creates American jobs, Angela Merkel said Tuesday, in response to criticism from the White House over Germany exporting significantly more than it imports.

Speaking at the annual gathering of The Economic Council of the CDU, the business arm of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, the chancellor mounted a strong defense of German industry, less than two weeks before she will see U.S. President Donald Trump at a G20 summit.

“The fact that we have 10 times as much direct investment from Germany in the United States than there’s American investment in Germany has, of course, … a strong effect on the many jobs we create [in the U.S.,]” Merkel said.

As I have said on this forum many, many times: A trade deficit is just another way of saying capital account surplus. Germany invests ten times more in the US than the US invests in Germany because the US runs a trade deficit with Germany.

If Trump’s misguided protectionism reduces the trade deficit with Germany, the result will be a decrease in German investment in the United States. This isn’t in question. It is certain.

Trump wants to increase foreign investment while reducing the deficit. This isn’t possible. This table shows that they are inversely related. Reduce one and you reduce the other.

If the table went back to 1933, you would see that the US had a trade surplus and a capital account deficit. That was the height of the Great Depression and not an economic situation for which we should be striving.

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Czech nuke plant has potential interns compete in bikinis

CEZ Group unveiled the 10 photos of the high school graduates, which were taken at one of the cooling towers at its Temelin power plant, according to Deutsche Welle.

The power plant asked Facebook users to choose which bikini-clad woman was their favorite. The girl who won the most votes would be dubbed the “Bouncer of Energy” and awarded a 14-day internship at the company.

The competition was heavily criticized by Czech news media and social media.

I am glad to see Czech power plants take safety seriously. Hardhats should always be worn in that environment.

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Senate Healthcare Bill on edge of collapse

Conservative Republicans won’t support it because it is little more than Obamacare Lite. Moderate Republicans won’t support it because, according to the CBO, it leaves too many uninsured. At least 50 of 52 Republicans must support it for it to pass.

The Senate Republican healthcare bill teetered on the brink of collapse by Tuesday morning as the Congressional Budget Office delivered a brutal assessment of its potential effects on coverage.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a key moderate vote in the Republican conference, tweeted on Monday night that given its potential effects, she would not vote for the legislation — or even a motion to move it forward on the floor.

“I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won’t do it. I will vote no on mtp,” Collins tweeted Monday.

Other members of the GOP Senate conference also appear to be on the fence about voting for the legislation, many of them wavering after an analysis from the CBO showed the BCRA would reduce the number of insured Americans by 22 million in 2026 compared to the current baseline.

Allow me to quote Rudyard Kipling…

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

More here.

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SCOTUS: Public programs must be open to all

The Supreme Court says that denying church schools public benefits open to other private schools is unconstitutional.

In the church-state case, the court ruled 7-2 that it violates the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion to
exclude churches from state programs with a secular intent — in this case, making playgrounds safer.

“The exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution … and cannot stand,” wrote Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

The church had ranked high enough in its application for the safety surface that it would have received the grant, but for the denial from the state’s natural resources department.

“The express discrimination against religious exercise here is not the denial of a grant, but rather the refusal to allow the church — solely because it is a church — to compete with secular organizations for a grant.”

Roberts was joined by the court’s conservatives as well as one of its liberals, Justice Elena Kagan. Another liberal, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, agreed with the outcome of the case.

A very good decision by this court.

More here.

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The Road to Hell is Paved with Leftists’ Good Intentions

No, you didn’t. You lost. A lot.

It turns out that Seattle’s minimum wage law is costing low-income workers 300% of what they are gaining. In other words, the City of Seattle has stuck a massive blow against the very people it supposedly wanted to assist.

Here is the Washington Post…

The costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one, according to the study, conducted by a group of economists at the University of Washington who were commissioned by the city. The study, published as a working paper Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has not yet been peer reviewed.

On the whole, the study estimates, the average low-wage worker in the city lost $125 a month because of the hike in the minimum.

The paper’s conclusions contradict years of research on the minimum wage. Many past studies, by contrast, have found that the benefits of increases for low-wage workers exceed the costs in terms of reduced employment — often by a factor of four or five to one.

“This strikes me as a study that is likely to influence people,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the research. He called the work “very credible” and “sufficiently compelling in its design and statistical power that it can change minds.”

This, of course, was easily predictable by anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of economics and human behavior.

Question to ponder: Why do so many people who intuitively knew that artificially raising the cost of labor in the form of a minimum wage would cost more than it gained also believe that artificially increasing the cost of labor via trade protectionism won’t have an identical effect? Discuss.

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SCOTUS mostly reinstates Trump’s travel ban…

The only exception is that it allows travel by those who have a bona fide relationship within the United States.

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s administration to implement part of its temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and said Monday it would review lower-court rulings that found the executive actions likely unlawful.

The Supreme Court’s action is a reversal of fortune for Mr. Trump, who had been on the losing end of several lower-court decisions that blocked his March 6 executive order that sought to impose a 90-day ban on U.S. entry for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The executive order, a revised version of one issued in late January, also sought to temporarily suspend the U.S. program for admitting refugees.

The justices, in an unsigned 13-page opinion, narrowed the scope of the ban for now, ruling the president couldn’t enforce it against travelers “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with someone or some organization in the U.S. The court imposed a similar narrowing of the ban on refugees.

I am on record as predicting that the SCOTUS will overturn the lower court blocking of Trump’s ban and will do so unanimously. This does nothing to make me doubt that.

More at the WSJ.

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Trump says he didn’t make tapes and doesn’t have any…

Trump says he doesn’t have any recordings of Comey discussions but doesn’t rule out the possibility of their existence.

Does this seem a little Clintonian to you? Sort of a non-denial denial? Or maybe he is just trolling. He seems to love to troll.

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The Greatest Military Device of All Time

The youngest member of Team Walker is heading off to camp next week for seven days of archery, canoeing, swimming, horseback riding, campfires and general camp goodness. He goes to the same camp I went to as a kid and darned if it doesn’t look pretty much the same. I love the nostalgia.

This year, he asked me to take along one of my most prized possessions – the greatest piece of military equipment ever devised by man: The poncho liner.

This is a device that carried me through many deployments and many tough times. It was warmth at night, shade during the day and camouflage for gear. It is lightweight and compresses into a tiny package. Basically, it is a grunt security blanket. In fact, I learned from my older son that it is called a “woobie” nowadays by the hardened commandos of the First Ranger Battalion… and every other grunt for that matter.

The poncho liner is magic. It keeps you at the perfect temperature through some kind of infantry witchcraft. I have used mine in Alaska and in Panama. It added warmth at Camp Ripley, Minnesota in January and covered me during day-sleeping in a hooch on Cato Bay in Grenada.

If it is hot, it shades you from the sun. If it is cold, it fends off the freeze. When it gets wet, it dries quickly. The thing is so versatile I am told it can even be used to line a pancho! How does it do all of this? Magic.

The boy will soon experience the joys of the woobie at camp and I am sure I will need to pry it from his hands when he returns.

Reflecting on the joys of the poncho liner just inspired me to go purchase a poncho liner related piece of equipment that is nearly as awesome as the woobie: The Ranger Smoking Jacket. I can’t wait to get it.

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14 of 15 charges dropped against pro-life activists

This is wonderful news!

In a huge victory, a California court today dismissed almost all of the criminal charges abortion activists filed against the pro-life advocates who recorded undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood selling the body parts from aborted babies.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against both David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Becerra is a longtime abortion advocate with financial connections to the Planned Parenthood abortion company that the two pro-life Advocates exposed in the videos for selling body parts such as fetal brains and livers.

At the time, pro-life advocates said Becerra’s 15 felony charges were bogus charges meant to belittle the expose’ campaign and to cast aspersions on Daleiden and the organization behind the videos. They said the attempt was about drawing attention away from Planned Parenthood’s sales of aborted baby parts.

They are confident that justice will prevail against the final charge.

“We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count. Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California Attorney General is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall,” said Staver.

These charges represented an appalling abuse of power. This is good news not just for these honorable pro-life activists, but for freedom of the press.

More at Lifenews.

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Putting solar panels on the wall? It’s official.

It was mentioned earlier on the Revo. It is official.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he wanted to install solar panels on his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, telling a crowd at a campaign-style rally that the proposal would save money.

Mr. Trump has privately discussed putting solar panels on the barrier, but the rally was the first time he mentioned the idea in public.

“Think of it—the higher it goes, the more valuable it is,” Mr. Trump said to several thousand people in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, of the solar-paneled wall. “Pretty good imagination, right?”

Mr. Trump has insisted that the wall, a core promise of his presidential campaign, will be built to prevent illegal immigration and drug smuggling, and that Mexico will pay for it. After Mexican leaders pushed back against the idea, the president-elect backtracked in January, suggesting the U.S. would pay upfront for the wall and Mexico would return the money later.

Why would any company want to put solar panels on an exposed, linear wall far from where electricity is needed when it would be far more effective to simply create a properly engineered solar facility? I don’t think any power company would. They would opt to create proper solar farms in the desert close to where the power is consumed. There is no reason why any power company would bid to put solar panels on the wall.

Or is the government going to get into the business of selling electricity? That raises questions about government funded competition with the private sector.

Of course the competition would be pretty poor. Electricity produced on distant, exposed, difficult to maintain wall panels will be far more expensive than that produced in more efficient, secure, densely engineered that are close to population centers. Wall sites panels will, therefore, require a significant taxpayer subsidy.

So that’s the plan? Build government funded solar panels in an inefficient, exposed, difficult to maintain manner that, naturally, increases the cost of production? Then, in order to sell electricity into the grid at market rates, create a permanent taxpayer appropriation to maintain the wall panels?

I guess.

More at the WSJ.

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