Former Obama official admits: We spied on Trump

Former Obama official admits: We spied on Trump, by Garth Kant.

A former Obama official appears to have inadvertently confirmed the former president’s administration spied on then President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team for political purposes.

Speaking on MSNBC Tuesday, Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense under Obama, confirmed that not only was the previous administration collecting intelligence on the Trump team, it was attempting to share it as far and wide as possible.

Farkas said the reason for that was, “We have very good intelligence on Russia,” and she “very worried because not enough was coming out into the open.”

However, intelligence chiefs who have seen the classified information in question, including Obama’s own former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as well as former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, have said they have seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump team and the Russian government.

That would appear to indicate the real reason the Obama administration was feverishly collecting and sharing the classified information was not for national security purposes, but for political reasons.

What is going on?

Here’s how talk-radio king Rush Limbaugh described the significance of the CIRCA story on his show Wednesday:

“What this story is about is how Obama changed the rules on incidental wiretapping. In other words, if NSA, CIA are targeting foreign actors, and that surveillance picks up Americans, such as (former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael) Mike Flynn, Obama changed the rules to share the transcripts of that intel with his political people.”

This is an enormous slip up by the theoretically non-existent “deep state.” This woman just admitted to a felony by the Obama administration, on international television. Recall that President Nixon had to resign for less (though he was Republican). What will be the outcome? Likely nothing. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the MSM to mention it.

hat-tip Stephen Neil, Scott of the Pacific

China’s Secret Plan to Crush the U.S. Space Program

China’s Secret Plan to Crush the U.S. Space Program, by Breitbart Tech.

“China’s breakneck economic expansion may be flagging, but the country’s ambitions in space show no signs of slowing down,” wrote CNBC. “Alongside ongoing efforts to rival NASA by placing robotic landers, and eventually astronauts, on the moon and Mars, China’s government is increasingly looking to its burgeoning space sector to rival U.S. companies like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is targeting March 30 for the latest launch of its Falcon 9 rocket.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil

California School Faces Budget Cuts Because It Has Too Many White Students

California School Faces Budget Cuts Because It Has Too Many White Students, by Andrew Kluga.

Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood is one of the schools expected to face budget cuts because the percentage of non-white students has fallen below 70 percent, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Monday. The cuts in funding could result in five teachers and one counselor being let go from the school, as well as the average class size increasing from 35 to 39 students.

The funding guideline comes from a 1978 Los Angeles Superior Court-ordered integration program, under which schools with a large minority student population receive additional funds. The funding model requires a school’s white-student population to be below 30 percent in order to receive the increase in funds.

For the past two years, the percentage of minority students at Walter Reed Middle School has fallen below 70 percent, according to a letter sent out to parents on March 22. The district has continued to give the school the additional funds, but in the coming school year, that will no longer be the case. The district will not categorize the school as being a predominantly minority one in the fall.

Government discriminating against the white folks again– lefties deny it is “racism.” Do they even have a term for their prejudice? “Social justice” maybe?

Whites over 30% is considered “bad” — is this the future of the US?

Theresa May signs Article 50 letter to trigger Brexit

Theresa May signs Article 50 letter to trigger Brexit, by Faisal Islam.

The Prime Minister will formally launch the process for the UK to leave the European Union in a letter that will be hand delivered to European Council President Donald Tusk at around 12.30pm. …

She will not comply with the wishes of her Brexiteer backbenchers who wanted to name the Article 50 date as a cut off for newly-arrived EU citizens to gain rights such as permanent residence. Some Conservative MPs are concerned about a surge in the number of EU migrants. However, on Tuesday the European Commission, Council and Parliament signalled that “EU law must apply until Brexit day” in two years’ time.

Brendan O’Neill comments:

What’s amazing is the patience and dignity of Brexit voters.

For nine months the political elite raged against them, ridiculed them, demonised them; branded them racist, destructive, “low information”; dragged their democratic choice to the courts in the hope that some clever judge would declare it illegitimate; took to the streets to call them idiots and buffoons and unwitting slaves of demagoguery; held them responsible for economic downturn and a return of fascism; declared them unfit for serious public life, which is apparently best left to experts.

And yet Brexit voters didn’t go mad or riot or crumble. They stuck to their principles (an amazing 96% say they’d vote for Brexit again) and patiently waited for their political choice to be acted upon. They kept their faith in democracy.

They behaved liked the free-willed, autonomous adults that democracy needs in order to work and thrive.

World Oil Production

World Oil Production, by David Archibald.

Most oil producing countries are in well-established long term decline or plateau at best. …

Saudi Arabia used to be the world’s swing producer. That role has been taken by the shale drillers of the United States.

Russian production has held up well and, combined with fields in development, it is assumed that Russian production remains in plateau. …

Iranian production peaked in 1974 at 6.1 million barrels per day as the Shah tried to overtake Saudi production. It is assumed that Iranian production is geologically limited. Iraqi production continues rising despite the civil war in that country. Currently at over 4.0 million barrels per day, Iraq’s geological endowment should see production continuing to rise towards 9.0 million barrels per day. …

Asia Pacific production projection — Australia at the bottom

Adding all those production profiles results in production in 2022 that is five million barrels per day lower than world production, per BP’s statistics, in 2015.  That could be offset by a faster rise in Iraqi production combined with increased shale oil production.

From all of the above comes an unoriginal conclusion: US shale oil is likely to buffer the oil price for at least the next five years.

Read it all for the details and more glorious graphs.

Scotty, Say It Isn’t So

Scotty, Say It Isn’t So, by David Archibald.

Despite being based in London, James Delingpole seems to be well informed on what is happening at the highest ranks of the EPA. Right now he is saying that Scott Pruitt is backpedaling on the Endangerment Finding with the reason being that Scott Pruitt wants to increase his chances of being elected as a senator for Oklahoma rather than undertake one of President Trump’s main campaign promises. Few people write better than James Delingpole so his article does not need restating here.

But he ends with these words, “If Scott Pruitt is not up to that task, then maybe it’s about time he did the decent thing and handed over the reins to someone who is.”

Myron Ebell

Now who might that be? My pick is Myron Ebell who headed up Trump’s transition team for the EPA and who, at one stage, looked like he would be the one appointed to run it. He is now back at his role as Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

In Delingpole’s words, Mr Ebell is “cultured, fearsomely intelligent” with “erudition, sweet politeness, and crushing one liners”.

With Help from France’s Elite, Le Pen Tries to Steer Far-Right Party Into Mainstream

With Help from France’s Elite, Le Pen Tries to Steer Far-Right Party Into Mainstream, by Stacy Meichtry.

For more than a year, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, representing the once-ostracized National Front, met with influential bankers, corporate executives and government officials to get advice on the radical changes vowed by her campaign. Now the group is helping plan what she hopes will be her first 100 days in office. …

Under Ms. Le Pen, National Front’s goal is to move from a xenophobic protest movement founded by her father into a mainstream party espousing economic nationalism. That effort centers on tapping a long-submerged vein of Gaullist traditionalism, which regards the European Union and euro as infringements on French national sovereignty. …

Ms. Le Pen, 48 years old, has called the euro a “knife in the ribs” of France that allows the EU to inflict “its views, its inept directives and its millions of migrants.” She wants higher taxes on foreign workers and a lower retirement age. Ms. Le Pen blames the common currency for France’s chronically high unemployment and has said she would bring back the franc if elected. …

Winning the second-round runoff in May looks harder because supporters of candidates knocked out in the first round are likely to coalesce against her. … Even if she loses, though, the growth of Ms. Le Pen’s ardent following means she is likely to help keep shaping French and European politics. …

Some National Front loyalists thought the party was straying too far from the beliefs of its base. In 2013, Ms. Le Pen refused to attend a march against the legalization of gay marriage. Her absence was seen by party hard-liners as an act of deference to Mr. Philippot [her right-hand man for party strategy], who is openly gay. Instead, they rallied behind her niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who marched at the protest.

Trump signs order undoing Obama climate change policies

Trump signs order undoing Obama climate change policies, by the BBC.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order rolling back Obama-era rules aimed at curbing climate change.

The president said this would put an end to the “war on coal” and “job-killing regulations”.

The Energy Independence Executive Order suspends more than half a dozen measures enacted by his predecessor, and boosts fossil fuels.

Business groups have praised the Trump administration’s move but environmental campaigners have condemned it.

Outside the White House, a few hundred protesters gathered to vent their displeasure at the executive order.

Inside, the president was flanked by coal miners as he signed the order, saying: “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.

This order signed by President Trump is both a practical and a philosophical attempt to change the US narrative on climate change.

His supporters say it will create thousands of jobs in the liberated oil and gas industries. His opponents agree the new order will be a job creator – but they’ll be jobs for lawyers, not in the coal fields.

Front and centre is practical action on the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the Obama project to cut fossil fuels from energy production. Although it has long been tied up in the courts, the new administration will leave it to fester there while they come up with a much weaker replacement.

There will also be new, less restrictive rules on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and more freedom to sell coal leases from federal lands.

President Trump is signalling a significant change in the widely held philosophy that CO2 is the enemy, the main driver of climate change.

US environmentalists are aghast but also enraged. They will be queuing up to go to court. But in many ways that’s playing into the hands of President Trump and the fossil fuel lobby. “Delay is what they want,” one green source told me, “delay is winning.”

All that fuss and angst over a bad assumption in a 1950s era climate model, which led to the carbon dioxide theory of global warming. Book coming soon.

North Carolina School District Fights to Keep Pro-Transgender Message in First-Grade Curriculum

North Carolina School District Fights to Keep Pro-Transgender Message in First-Grade Curriculum, by Dr Susan Berry.

A teacher raised concerns about the transgender-validating book, Jacob’s New Dress, at a school board meeting. The book celebrates a young boy who wears dresses to school, and it stigmatizes boys who urge their peers to wear boys’ clothes.

After lawmakers in Raleigh heard the concerns, the book was removed from the “anti-bullying” curriculum — but it was replaced with Red: A Crayon’s Story, which focuses on a red crayon that believes itself to be blue.

Reality is whatever the PC elite say it is?

hat-tip Stephen Neil

High Court challenge risk for flawed 18C

High Court challenge risk for flawed 18C, by Chris Merritt.

Legal academics have warned that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is unconstitutional and needs to be repealed and replaced.

Academics Lorraine Finlay and Augusto Zimmermann ­believe the flaws in section 18C are so extensive the changes proposed by the government would merely reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of a High Court challenge. …

Dr Zimmermann said the ­implied freedom meant issues about race that were of a political nature should still be expressed, regardless of whether they are controversial. If 18C remained unchanged, he said it would indicate federal politicians did not understand the requirements of the Constitution. “No constitutional protection can be afforded to this legislation. There are no grounds on which this law can be constitutionally valid,” he said. …

At the moment, 18C makes it unlawful to do anything that leads to people feeling offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated because of their race, colour or national or ethnic background. …

They believe 18C should be replaced with a criminal law that targets the intent to incite racial hatred or contempt that creates an imminent danger of physical harm to people or property.

Exactly.

The Russian “Firehose of Falsehood” Propaganda Model

The Russian “Firehose of Falsehood” Propaganda Model, by Christopher Paul.

Since its 2008 incursion into Georgia (if not before), there has been a remarkable evolution in Russia’s approach to propaganda. The country has effectively employed new dissemination channels and messages in support of its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula, its ongoing involvement in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and its antagonism of NATO allies.

The Russian propaganda model is high-volume and multichannel, and it disseminates messages without regard for the truth. It is also rapid, continuous, and repetitive, and it lacks commitment to consistency.

Although these techniques would seem to run counter to the received wisdom for successful information campaigns, research in psychology supports many of the most successful aspects of the model.

Interesting article on how propaganda works in today’s media environment.

Turkey Warns of Incoming Three Million-Strong Migrant Surge

Turkey Warns of Incoming Three Million-Strong Migrant Surge, by John Hayward.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said on Sunday that a new wave of migrants is on its way from Iran to Turkey, three million strong, and they might not be planning to stop in Turkey.

“Unfortunately, they are mostly Afghans again from the further east of Iran,” Kaynak said of these new refugees …

“Europe and the world should think about it. They want to come to Turkey as a transit point and they do not want to stay in Turkey. They want to cross into the west and for them, Turkey is an important barrier and is enduring an important cost,” warned the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister.

hat-tip Charles