July 27, 2017

SPACE: Japanese company preparing for country’s first private rocket launch.

I NOTICE IT’S ALWAYS WOMEN IN THESE SORTS OF ARTICLES. WHY? ‘Yes, I Have Herpes—And No, It Didn’t Ruin My Love Life.’

I KNOW SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO LIVE FOREVER: Being Neurotic Might Help You Live Longer.

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ROGER SIMON: Imran Awan Case Needs Special Counsel 100X More than Russiagate.

“WELCOME TO THE TEA PARTY, DEBRA MESSING!” Republican Wants To Raise Taxes, Democrat Freaks Out.

Psst, attention Steve Bannon: Repeal the Hollywood tax cuts, if you want to really stick it to the lefties in Hollywood.

LIFE AMONG THE RULING CLASS: Harvard Magazine Personal Advertisements’ Many Synonyms For “Rich” or “Thin.”

TRUMP’S SECRET WEAPON: THAT ELITES HAVE PROVEN THEMSELVES NOT SO ELITE, AND EXPERTS NOT SO EXPERT. Trump’s war against elites and expertise.. The insane, foaming-at-the-mouth response to his election from the “elite, expert” class is itself refutation of the idea that these are the people with better judgment.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21st CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Now Science Knows Just How Much Pee Is in a Public Pool.

But can science instantly determine that it’s just a Baby Ruth bar tossed into the pool at the Bushwood Country Club to keep the bathers calm?

IN THE MAIL: From Encounter Books, Uber-Positive: Why Americans Love the Sharing Economy, and How Progressive Cities Fight Innovation, and also, Unlocking Precision Medicine.

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MIAMI HERALD: Wasserman Schultz kept paying tech expert suspected of stealing House computers.

When a computer expert who worked for congressional Democrats was accused of stealing computers and data systems in February, members of Congress cut him loose within days, leaving Imran Awan with no supporters five months later.

Except for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The Weston Democrat has not explained in detail why she continued to employ Awan until Tuesday when she fired him — after he was arrested on bank-fraud charges at Dulles International Airport in Virginia attempting to board a flight to Pakistan.

And she has not elaborated on what work Awan did for her after he lost access to the House computer network.

She declined to answer questions about Awan in Washington on Wednesday, and her spokesman, David Damron, accompanied her to the House floor while instructing a reporter that Wasserman Schultz would not take questions about her former employee.

Background: Wasserman Schultz aide arrested trying to leave the country. “A senior House Democratic aide confirmed Awan was still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as of Tuesday morning. But David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, later said that Awan was fired on Tuesday.” Why was he still on the payroll?

Related: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tries to Distance from Staffer Who Took $100k from Iraqi Politician.

Flashback: House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data.

Congressional technology aides are baffled that data-theft allegations against four former House IT workers — who were banned from the congressional network — have largely been ignored, and they fear the integrity of sensitive high-level information.

Imran Awan and three relatives were colleagues until police banned them from computer networks at the House of Representatives after suspicion the brothers accessed congressional computers without permission.

Five Capitol Hill technology aides told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group that members of Congress have displayed an inexplicable and intense loyalty towards the suspects who police say victimized them. The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.

“I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point” with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. “Something is rotten in Denmark.”

A manager at a tech-services company that works with Democratic House offices said he approached congressional offices, offering their services at one-fourth the price of Awan and his Pakistani brothers, but the members declined. At the time, he couldn’t understand why his offers were rejected but now he suspects the Awans exerted some type of leverage over members.

“There’s no question about it: If I was accused of a tenth of what these guys are accused of, they’d take me out in handcuffs that same day, and I’d never work again,” he said.

This stinks.

Another flashback: Wasserman Schultz Threatened Capitol Police Chief For Gathering Evidence On Her IT Staffer’s Alleged Crimes.


I WAS HOPING FOR MORE THAN “I HAVE A PEN AND A PHONE,” BUT WITH THE GOP CONGRESS MAYBE I EXPECTED TOO MUCH: The Myth of Trump’s Do-Nothing Presidency: To gauge impact, go beyond the laws he has signed to the vast authority he wields through departments and agencies that apply the law.

Six months into his presidency, Donald Trump’s detractors portray him as a do-nothing president with no big wins on issues such as health care, taxes and infrastructure.

That may be true if the benchmark is legislation, but that is an incomplete benchmark. To gauge a president’s impact you have to go beyond the laws he signs to the vast authority he wields through departments and agencies that apply the law. On that score, Mr. Trump is on track to do a lot. On finance, the internet, immigration and drugs, to name just a few issues, Trump appointees have begun nudging the economy and the country in a more conservative, pro-business direction. Whether that is good or bad is to a great extent in the eye of the beholder. What isn’t debatable is that the imperial presidency, after expanding under Barack Obama, remains just as formidable under Mr. Trump.

In recent weeks headlines have been dominated by the Senate’s stop-start efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Away from this drama, Mr. Trump’s Labor Department moved to undo Mr. Obama’s expansion of eligibility for overtime pay, financial regulators dropped efforts to tighten restrictions on banker pay and the Interior Department signaled it would rescind proposed rules on oil and gas fracking on federal land. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump announced transgender individuals couldn’t serve in the military, reversing an Obama-era decision.

In Mr. Trump’s first six months, rule-making has changed dramatically. The latest update on regulatory actions released last week by the White House Office of Management and Budget contained 1,731 preliminary, proposed or final rules, down 40% from its peak under Mr. Obama in 2011 and a 17-year low, according to Sofie Miller of George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center. Many actions taken under Mr. Trump are actually reversals of earlier rules. Ms. Miller says of 66 completed actions at the Environmental Protection Agency, a third were rule withdrawals.

You take what you can get.

FOR IRAN, SPEEDBOAT BLUFF IN THE PERSIAN GULF IS ASYMMETRIC WARFARE WAGED AGAINST THE GREAT SATAN, AMERICA: The ayatollahs will continue to employ terror and crime until they obtain The Great Equalizers: nuclear weapons and ICBMs that can target Washington, Tel Aviv, Paris, etcetera.

THE 21st CENTURY ISN’T WORKING OUT THE WAY I HAD HOPED: Planned Parenthood Targets Toddlers for Talks on Transgenderism, Masturbation.


2017 has already been a banner year for American oil production. U.S. shale producers have gotten their feet underneath them once again, adapting to the low oil price environment by cutting costs and improving efficiencies en route to turning a profit at $50 crude, and we’ve seen output surge accordingly. Since last October, U.S. oil production has increased more than 900,000 barrels per day, but according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the party’s just getting started—it expects American producers to break a 47 year old record for production in 2018. . . .

The United States is already the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas, thanks to a recent surge in production of hydrocarbons trapped in shale. Fracking has catapulted the U.S. to the front of the energy producing pack, so to speak, and now it’s going to hurtle us past another important milestone, into uncharted territory.

Policymakers and the public are both still playing catch-up to this extraordinary transformation. For decades, the U.S. energy debate was framed in terms of scarcity, as the legacy of the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s loomed large in American minds. We’ve moved far, far beyond that, as next year’s projected milestone shows, into a new era of energy abundance.

And just as we once transitioned from a discussion of achieving energy “independence” (a farcical idea) to shoring up energy “security,” we might now shift again to discussing how to achieve American energy “dominance,” as the Trump Administration has described it.

Yes, please.

OBAMA’S VERY BAD DEAL WITH IRAN: It didn’t stop an arms race, it ignited one.

THE COLLATERAL COSTS OF diversity in legal education.

USA TODAY: Trump’s military transgender ban is unfair but correct.

An observation: The ObamaCare repeal effort suffered a humiliating defeat, but all the press can talk about is Trump reinstating the transgender military ban. And that’s something that polls well with Trump’s base, and lots of other people. So who’s the stupid one?

IT’S SAFER THAN CHASING DOWN ISLAMIST ACID-ATTACKERS: British Police Force to ‘Consider’ Charging People Who Mocked Promise to Track Down Trolls.

HARRIER AT SUNSET: Yes, the AV-8B Harrier is still around. It hasn’t quite faded into the sunset. (Nice photo.)

ED MORRISSEY ON HOW Trump Needs To Follow Through On His Promise Of Increased Antitrust Enforcement.

THIS IS A SAFE SPACE. NO JEWS ALLOWED: Why are some American progressives embracing overt anti-Semitism?

On July 13, the Dyke March provided further proof that its intersectionality functioned as a flimsy pretense for anti-Semitism. A tweet from the group’s Twitter account used the term “Zio,” an anti-Jewish slur popularized by David Duke and his neo-Nazi followers. The Dyke March later sent another tweet apologizing for the insult—and adding, “We meant Zionist/white tears replenish our electrolytes.” Indeed, the group’s bizarre fixation on Jews frequently manifests itself as alt-right–style trolling. This is a mockery of intersectionality, not a defense of it.

For a primer on the leftwing conspiracy theory that is “intersectionality,” Christina Hoff Sommers has you covered:


Incidentally, I tracked down Sommers’ video in the Insta-archives, when I linked last September to a Washington Post story titled, “In the safe spaces on campus, no Jews allowed.”

I’m sensing the aura of a penumbra of an emanation of a pattern here, based on the remarkably similar headlines. Why are Democrat monopoly institutions such cesspits of anti-Semitism?

THE 36TH INFANTRY DIVISION’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY: I meant to link to this a few days ago. The 100th anniversary was July 18. In the 1930s my grandfather commanded the division’s 131st Field Artillery Regiment.

LIVING WITH A NUCLEAR-ARMED NORTH KOREA?: Admiral Scott Swift, Commander of the Pacific Fleet, discussed options with The Sydney Morning Herald.

Asked to clarify whether that meant the world might have to live with a nuclear North Korea that could strike other continents, Admiral Swift said: “It’s not for me to say. It’s part of the dialogue is what I’m acknowledging. When people say, ‘everything is on the table,’ in my mind I think it includes a dialogue with respect to North Korea as a nuclear power. I don’t know if that’s acceptable. I’m not part of those discussions. But I know that’s part of the dialogue because people are reporting on it.”

Asked for his response to the fact that the stated US position is that it cannot tolerate a nuclear North Korea, Admiral Swift said: “I’m not a policy-maker. That may very well be the policy that the United States arrives at. But that now becomes the starting point for the dialogue.”

He said that military intervention was also part of the dialogue.


He said that no simple solution was going to emerge and this was going to be a complicated and long-term process.

Here are some other course of action options for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear quest. They aren’t good, they aren’t simple.


A poll conducted less than one month prior to President Trump’s decision on Wednesday to reverse an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender individuals to serve openly in the military found more people opposed than supported it.

Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 likely voters on the topic in late June, almost exactly one year after then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the shift last summer.

“The U.S. Department of Defense now allows transgender people, those who identify with and want to live as the opposite sex, to serve openly in the military,” the survey said. “Is this decision good for the military, bad for the military or does it have no impact?”

Only 23 percent of people surveyed responded that it was good, while 31 percent said it was bad. The largest bloc of respondents, 38 percent, said it has no impact.

As the Washington Examiner reported earlier today, a Military Times poll conducted last December found 41 percent of active-duty troops believed the policy hurt military readiness, while only 12 percent said it helped.

Who knew?

CHANGES IN CIA MANAGEMENT POLICY?: According to the Washington Free Beacon, new CIA Director Mike Pompeo is giving more power to field agents and less to the bureaucrats.

Sounds like a good decision — but stay tuned.


FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM: Students will defend due process of their accused peers in new national program.

With growing concerns about due process on college campuses, a civil-liberties group is rolling out a new program intended to help students advocate for each other in campus judicial proceedings.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education plans to start 10 campus organizations this fall under the banner “FIRE Student Defenders,” FIRE Student Network Director Molly Nocheck told The College Fix in a phone interview.


JOURNALISM IS ABOUT COVERING IMPORTANT STORIES. WITH A PILLOW, UNTIL THEY STOP MOVING: Total CNN and MSNBC Blackout of Arrest of IT Guy Continues; Print Media Mentions the Story — with Hilarious Understatement.

Just think of the media as Democrat operatives with lavalieres, and it all makes sense.

(Classical reference in headline.)

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: University to spend full week promoting ‘resistance’ to Trump policies.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Historically Black College Offers $25,000 Scholarships for ‘Self-Identified LGBTQ Advocates.’


ABOUT TIME SOMEONE DID: Indie Goes Where Hollywood Fears to Thread.

SOME GOOD NEWS:Scalise released from hospital .

LAYERS AND LAYERS OF FACT CHECKERS: Today Show Published An Eclipse Map That Skips Over Idaho. Wait, What?!


IT’S A CANADIAN PLOT! Axe throwing is now one of the hottest competitive sports.

DOES THIS MEAN I GET TO BUY MORE AMMO? Solar Eclipse Day Craziness Could Resemble the Zombie Apocalypse — Are You Ready?


AMANDA GREEN HAS SOME:Questions for Readers.


July 26, 2017

SAME HERE: I left New York City so I could feel hotter.

THE 21st CENTURY ISN’T WORKING OUT THE WAY I HAD HOPED: Feminists Shout ‘VAGINA!’ in Public for Planned Parenthood. WTF?

Don’t try this at home, kids: “I took the challenge at church during prayers. You should have been clear this was just for women. Please send bail money.”

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™


ANALYSIS: TRUE. De Blasio and company aren’t just bad liars — they’re dumb too.

Read my lips: I don’t care. It’s an irrelevancy,” Mayor de Blasio declared yesterday.

Well, that’s a little cold.

De Blasio is back in the deep weeds, his minions having booted vagrants from a couple of Brooklyn subway stations so the bums wouldn’t spoil a weekend campaign photo-op.

And getting caught at it.

And then lying about it.

And then getting caught in the lie, which clearly has made the mayor a tad peevish. This is understandable, because the episode exposes him as a man who can’t even stage a four-subway-stop publicity stunt — even as he runs for a second term as chief executive of the world’s greatest city.

(God surely must love New York, given the people it manages to survive.)


I LIKE THIS: Concealed Carry Wednesday: Show Us Your CCW Card And Get 25% Off. “You pack the heat, we cook the meat.” That’s even better than this story.

WHY I’M LEAVING UK ACADEMIA: “To put it simply we have in recent times witnessed an administrative coup in UK academia.”

It’s that way here, too. And it hasn’t made things better.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Scientists dim sunlight, suck up carbon dioxide to cool planet, Reuters reports today:

Scientists are sucking carbon dioxide from the air with giant fans and preparing to release chemicals from a balloon to dim the sun’s rays as part of a climate engineering push to cool the planet.

Backers say the risky, often expensive projects are urgently needed to find ways of meeting the goals of the Paris climate deal to curb global warming that researchers blame for causing more heatwaves, downpours and rising sea levels.

* * * * * * *

Keith’s team aims to release about 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of sun dimming material, perhaps calcium carbonate, from a high-altitude balloon above Arizona next year in a tiny experiment to see how it affects the microphysics of the stratosphere.

This was something that John Holdren, Obama’s “Science” “Czar,” who in the 1970s, had a serious dalliance with radical eugenics, proposed in early 2009. Why couldn’t he convince the Obama administration to take him up on his risky environmental scheme, during a period when Democrats had control of all three branches of the federal government, and when James Hansen, NASA’s (since-retired) global warming guru was saying that Obama only had four years to save the earth?

COOL NEWS: Discovering a sixth century parchment in the binding of a sixteenth century book.

HAPPY NEWS: USS Constitution, newly restored, is returning to the water.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Would A Supervolcano Eruption Wipe Us Out?

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ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING: VOA News reports on an immigrant who personifies the American success story — building a thriving business — and instead of virtue signalling on social media, puts his money where is mouth (or falafel) is.

ANALYSIS: FALSE. Powerful Photo Shows That Women Aren’t The Only Ones Who Get Periods.

EXCELLENT NEWS: The Moon Is Seriously Loaded With Water, More Than We Ever Expected.

FIGHT THE FUTURE: US regulators just dealt a blow to the most hyped area in tech investing right now.

On Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that “ICOs” (Initial Coin Offerings) can sometimes be considered securities — and as such are subject to strict laws and regulations.

For the uninitiated, ICOs are a fancy new way of fundraising enabled by digital currencies like Ethereum — participants invest money and receive digital “tokens” in return. Thus far, it has been largely unregulated, with some ICO crowdfunding events raising hundreds of millions of dollars — leading some observers to argue that it is a massive bubble.

But the SEC’s warning means that this free-for-all may not last forever.

All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW (CONT’D): The Navy’s Railgun Is About to Get Faster and More Powerful. It’ll be useful for cracking that Arctic ice.

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST. Why people are getting the hell out of the Northeast:

The cost of living across the region is among the highest in the nation and three of the five most expensive states or districts in the country (New York, Washington, DC, Massachusetts) are in the area. (The other two states are Hawaii and California.) Having to spend so much just to get by can make getting out of debt seem much harder. And housing costs and taxes in many of these states are also sky-high.

The horrendous weather

We told you winter was coming to the North — and it’s so bad that many people are leaving the Northeast in search of better weather. Indeed, the largest migration between states is from New York to Florida, according to data from the Census Bureau. And simple looks at recent winters in the Northeast explain why. For example, in 2015, Boston had its snowiest winter on record and New York City had one of its snowiest blizzards on record in 2016.

Just ask Karen Lanovi, a lifelong New Yorker who says she “left for better weather,” moving to central Florida 12 years ago. “It has proven a great decision for my husband, myself and our three children. We for the most part have a better life,” she says. The same reasons drove tech entrepreneur Jaimyn Chang out of the Northeast to Austin; he says he was “sick of the ridiculous snowy winters and bone-chilling temperatures” and “ the constant seemingly endless gray overcast days.”

Huh – that’s not what the New York Times was predicting at the start of the 21st century – and as recently as 2014. It’s as if the science is not settled or something.

(Classical reference in headline.)

INEVITABLE: Singapore Startup Launches Cryptocurrency Debit Card.

OH, THAT FAKE NEWS: Misreport Spreads That Psychiatrists May Now Diagnose Trump — the “American Psychoanalytic Association” is not the same thing as the American Psychiatric Association.

Twitchy has a roundup of the damage spread yesterday on Twitter, by Time, Deepak Chopra, Josh Marshall, and representatives of NBC and the Washington Post, among others: “‘F’ing nuts’! ‘Goldwater rule’ Fake News strikes the blue-checkmark brigade. WHERE ARE THE CORRECTIONS?”

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Indie Doc Goes Where Hollywood Fears to Tread.

TV show after TV show altered its programming to embrace “The Resistance.” The progressive movement attempted to overturn the will of the people by removing Trump from office before he even set foot in the White House..

It all happened in less than a year. And we’ll be seeing the fruits of this new creative push for months, if not years, to come.

And then there’s ISIS.

The radical Islamist group’s barbarism is the stuff or our worst nightmares. And they’re on the march. ABC News succinctly captures ISIS’s impact on the globe last year:

…the world’s most brutal terrorist network, not only responsible for thousands of deaths in the Middle East but also linked to hundreds more in dozens of terrorist plots in the West.

It’s been that way since President Barack Obama dismissed the group as a “JV” threat in 2014.

The Democrat-Media Complex has had Obama’s back from the start — why would they stop now? That aside, City of Ghosts looks like great viewing, and believe it or not it’s from Amazon Studios.

And do read the whole thing.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Russia May Put Lasers on Its New Icebreaker Ships: Moscow claims shipboard lasers will cut only ice, not enemy ships and planes. I’m skeptical about the ice-cutting rationale, though.


Just think of broadcast news as Democrat operatives with Chyrons, and it all makes sense.

Meanwhile, Nick Confessore‏ of the New York Times calls the story “remarkable,” Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post describes it as “Wild,”’ and curiously, neither seems very upset that both of their papers missed it.

Unexpectedly, as they say in the DNC-MSM.

(Classical reference in headline.)

Related: Scott Johnson of Power Line on “The Awan connection.”

JAZZ SHAW: North Korea Within One Year Of Nuke ICBM.

Let’s just get the bad news out of the way up front. We’ve known for quite a while now that North Korea has been working on miniaturizing their nuclear weapons while simultaneously sharing technology with Iran to develop reliable ICBMs. Recent intelligence analysis seemed to indicate that they were making progress, but it was probably still a few years away, giving us time to work on a diplomatic solution. But now our own intelligence community is briefing the Senate and letting them know that the timetable has moved up. Kim Jong-un could have a reliable, nuclear tipped ICBM ready to go by next year. And yes, it could potentially reach the lower 48.

Shoot them down. All of them.

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NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Forward Head Posture Fix. The only time you should push your head forward is in a picture, when “smiling forward” will make your face and jawline look a lot better. (It’s an old model trick).

SALENA ZITO: Why the Rust Belt just gave Donald Trump a hero’s welcome.

Trump’s approval rating, according to Gallup, is 39 percent. Youngstown is the 39 percent.

On Monday, police said that the advance ticket request of over 20,000 had exceeded the 6,000-seat capacity of the center, prompting the event coordinators to put a large screen outside the center for the overflow crowd.

Dave Torrance, from Hermitage, Pa., had left early in the morning with three of his friends to see Trump. Torrance, 71, wore a blue ball cap with “American Patriot” embroidered across the top and a navy T-shirt with an American flag across the front.

Torrance, who is black, says he gets his fair share of criticism from folks when they find out who he supports. He got more when he told them he was driving to see him in person at the rally.

“They don’t understand why I think he is doing OK,” he said. “They don’t think because I am black that I should support him. I am polite about it, but I tell them that politics isn’t about color, it is about accomplishments, and I think Trump is doing the right things.”

Great reporting from Salena, as you’ve come to expect.

IT WILL NOT BE MOURNED: Adobe announces Flash is dead.

Flash is malware masquerading as an interactive content platform.

SILICON VALLEY GROWS EVER CREEPIER: Roomba’s Next Big Step Is Selling Maps of Your Home to the Highest Bidder.

TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: ‘I Would Bulldoze Existing Wall’ at Border.

REPORT: Toyota set to sell long-range, fast-charging electric cars in 2022.

Toyota’s new electric car, to be built on an all-new platform, will use all-solid-state batteries, allowing it to be recharged in just a few minutes, the newspaper said, without citing sources.

By contrast, current electric vehicles (EVs), which use lithium-ion batteries, need 20-30 minutes to recharge even with fast chargers and typically have a range of just 300-400 kilometers (185-250 miles).

Toyota has decided to sell the new model in Japan as early as 2022, the paper said.

Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi said the company would not comment on specific product plans but added that it aimed to commercialize all-solid-state batteries by the early 2020s.

Toyota thinks they can beat the range and charging time problems in just five years, and if they can, then the price problem should solve itself quickly enough through economies of scale.

Master those three problems, and the age of the electric car will have arrived.

AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR: Taliban Seizes 3 Districts From Afghan Government.

Bill Roggio:

The loss of the three districts shows that the Taliban is capable of conducting operations in all regions of the country. Even as the three districts fell, the Taliban is on the offensive in all of the other regions. Afghan security forces, which are sustaining record highs in casualties and desertions, is largely on the defensive in most areas of the country.

The state of play of Afghan districts is often difficult to determine. Often, some districts switch hands multiple times over a short period of time. For instance, Nawa district in Helmand province has gone back and forth between the Taliban and the Afghan government four times over the past year. The Afghan government retook it just last week, but the Taliban are fighting to regain control.

In some cases, such as with Jani Khel or all of the districts in Uruzgan province, the Taliban controls all of the district except for the district center, which hosts the government facilities and police headquarters.

Estimates issued by the US military and the Taliban are not that far apart.

Positive spin? At least we agree on something.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Jeff Sessions Lets Cops Be Robbers.

Jacob Sullum:

In theory, the government can forfeit a seized asset only after proving it is a tool or fruit of crime, typically drug trafficking. But the burden of proof is much lighter than in a criminal case, and it applies only if the owner challenges the seizure in court, which often costs more than the asset is worth.

Recognizing how easily innocent people can lose cash, cars, and homes to money-hungry cops, two dozen states and the District of Columbia have reformed their forfeiture laws since 2014. The changes include mandating data collection and reporting, strengthening standards of proof, and requiring a criminal conviction before some or all forfeitures.

By reviving federal “adoption” of forfeitures initiated by state or local agencies, Sessions is offering cops who chafe at these restrictions the option of ignoring them. Adoption, which Attorney General Eric Holder mostly eliminated in 2015, lets police and prosecutors evade state limits on forfeiture and keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds.

Seven states prohibit or restrict such circumvention. But in the rest, cops who do not like reforms aimed at protecting innocent property owners from legalized theft can once again easily dodge them with help from the Justice Department.

Washington is where bad ideas go to achieve immortality.

IN THE MAIL: The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition.

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ERIC HOLDER: ‘Elections are Officially Rigged’ by Republicans, Not Voter Fraud.

HMMM: Trump Should Pocket Minor Healthcare Win and Move to Tax Reform Immediately, Roger Simon writes.

DAVID HARSANYI: So-Called Fact Checkers Keep Butchering The Facts About Obamacare.

“Fact checking” has evolved from an occasionally useful medium to an exercise in revisionism and diversion. Take The Washington Post writer Glenn Kessler’s recent article titled “President Trump’s mangled ‘facts’ about Obamacare.” Headline readers might assume it’s just Trump doing what Trump does most of the time. I almost passed myself. Yet it turns out that all these supposedly “mangled” contentions about Obamacare are, at the very least, debatable assertions.

Kessler, for example, doesn’t approve of this Donald Trump statement: “Americans were told that premiums would go down by $2,500 per year. And instead, their premiums went up to levels that nobody thought even possible.” Other than the hyperbole (“nobody thought even possible”), this statement is substantively true.

Kessler’s ostensive debunking of the “premiums are soaring” claim is really just a confirmation that premiums have indeed risen, augmented by an argument that it wasn’t Obamacare’s fault. Kessler blames the vagaries of modern life and demographics—because these things apparently didn’t exist when Democrats were making their big unrealistic promises in 2009.

Think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines, and you’ll have it exactly right.


Conscience is a flexible thing, so the authorities who blocked a desperate parental bid to risk an untested therapy that just might have helped their child are presumably sleeping soundly with no bad dreams.

But it was a wicked abuse of the state’s coercive power to prevent the parents from trying their best for their child, and it should strengthen the determination of everyone who cares about human liberty to fight the inexorable, gratuitous growth of states that fail at the most basic jobs (like educating children in public schools) but who endlessly seek to expand their ‘competencies’ into new and more challenging fields.

We need states that stick to their knitting: that perform a few core functions efficiently and well, rather than the current set up of slovenly, meddlesome government that fails at basic tasks (like keeping the drinking water safe in Flint) while interfering mindlessly in the most intimate dramas of family life.

The worse a government is at performing its basic tasks, the more energy it seems to spend on virtue-signalling and nannying.

QUESTION ASKED: How Cheap Does Geothermal Need to Be Before It Becomes the Next Solar?

“The next solar” is setting the bar awfully low — or considering the price, perhaps I should say “awfully high” instead.


USS THUNDERBOLT ON PATROL: The photo dates from 2015. On July 25 the Thunderbolt (PC-12) fired on Iranian speedboats manned by members of the Revolutionary Guard. The incident occurred at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, east of Kuwait. The Thunderbolt is a Cyclone-class patrol craft.

RELATED: The latest incident appears to be about 50 kilometers south of Iraq’s offshore oil ports. However, Iranian vessels have played similar “probe and disrupt” games in that area as well as in the Strait of Hormuz. This column dates from 2005. The column doesn’t mention it, but a USN Cyclone-class patrol craft was part of the surface force screening the Iraqi oil ports.

RUSSIAN STOOGES: House Passes Sanctions with Administration Rollback Restriction 419-3.

J. ROBERT SMITH: Fire Mueller.

Two words describe the Russian collusion accusations and investigation of President Trump: Sham and injustice. Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor, knows it. Rod Rosenstein, the Obama holdover Deputy Attorney General who appointed Mueller, knows it. Jeff Sessions, a decent man and attorney general who recused himself, knows it.

The Democrats know it. The left knows it. The mainstream media knows it. DC-owned and spine-free Republicans know it. Paul Ryan knows it.

Everybody knows it.

Well, yes. But this is about the Democrat-Media Complex trying to reestablish its dominance by taking down a President on the flimsiest of pretexts, and they do mean to take back what they’ve lost.

IT’S NOT SURPRISING THAT A LOT OF THE VICTIMS OF SHAME-MOBBING ARE ON THE SPECTRUM: College Speech Codes Discriminate Against People With Asperger’s, Prof. Argues. “Miller argues that campus speech codes are a violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”

Here’s the original essay.

THIS WILL END WELL: Erdogan urges Muslims to ‘visit’ and ‘protect’ Jerusalem.

“From here I make a call to all Muslims. Anyone who has the opportunity should visit Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa mosque,” Erdogan said in Ankara. “Come, let’s all protect Jerusalem.”

He was referring to a site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, which is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel installed metal detectors at entrances to the mosque compound, which also contains the Dome of the Rock, following an attack on July 14 that killed two Israeli police officers.

Palestinians viewed the security measures as an Israeli attempt to assert further control over the site, and large protests led to deadly clashes.

“They are attempting to take the mosque from Muslim hands on the pretext of fighting terrorism. There is no other explanation,” Erdogan said in a speech to ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers in parliament.

Erdogan’s line seems to be that the only real terrorists are the imaginary ones conspiring against his regime.

JULIETTE OCHIENG: Why KPFA Cancelled the Richard Dawkins Appearance.

WE NEED A SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE THIS ABUSE OF CIVIL RIGHTS: Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying.

HMM: Senate Judiciary Committee withdraws subpoena for Manafort.