We’re in the midst of crazy season:

James O’Keefe finds anarchists planning to commit felonies in order to disrupt the Trump inauguration on Friday, including

an actual plot to release acid at events, chain up DC subways, and assault people at the inauguration

Because that’s how anarchists show their respect for Americans.

There’s the Washington Post covering Marla Maples’s hairdresser, instead  of covering O’Keefe’s investigation. Because that’s how you show journalism worthy of a national newspaper.

Then there are the Code Pink women doing a flashmob dance at Union Station while wearing “pussy hats.” Because flashmobs and silly hats are how you show you are a serious woman of substantive standing on the issues.

And let’s not forget the Congresspeople saying they’ll boycott the inauguration. Because that’s how you show your standing on partisanship, an issue you decry only when you accuse Republicans.

In the midst of all this, at least we get some comic relief. Last night Tucker Carlson opened his show with this, which was actually funny, especially the Peyton Manning line:

A man using the alias “Dominic Tullipso” said Tuesday on Fox News Channel — well, it was hard to figure out what he was trying to say, but it was also clear that he wasn’t running a business that involved spending thousands on hiring activists.

“It’s pretty darn easy these days to just say whatever the heck you want on national TV and have it pass off as truth,” he told host Tucker Carlson. “I don’t know, it’s pretty incredible to me how easy it was to get the coverage we got.”

The unidentified prankster then added, “By the way, I’m not saying that anything of this a hoax and any of this isn’t true.”

At least the Washington Times realized they had been had.

With all this circus going on, is anyone surprised that Ringling Brothers is shutting down?

Why go to the circus when the circus comes to you?

UPDATE
This one promises to be a humdinger: Anthropologists and other scholars plan read-in of Michel Foucault to mark inauguration of Donald Trump

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Legal Insurrection, one of the best conservative websites, had hundreds of videos deleted (emphasis added):

YouTube took down Legal Insurrection’s Channel without any prior notice based on “multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement,” but we never received any claims of infringement.

We have lost hundreds of videos, including a lot of original content on important news subjects. You now will see disabled videos in hundreds of our posts.

Legal Insurrection’s creator, William Jacobson, is a law professor. After inquiring, he found out

that the copyright claims were filed by the Modern Language Association based on excerpts of audio of pro- and anti-Israel speakers at the MLA Annual Meeting we reported on in this post, Massive DEFEAT for BDS at Modern Language Association.

What is BDS?

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

The Modern Language Association doesn’t like it when someone posts videos of what their members actually say at their conferences. They complain to YouTube, which dutifully follows their order to censor without telling the person who posted the video, in effect attacking Legal Insurrection’s reputation as a source of facts.

YouTube recently removed dozens of Prager University videos, among them:

  • Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women?
  • Who’s More Pro-Choice: Europe or America?
  • What ISIS Wants
  • Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?
  • Is America Racist?
  • Israel: The World’s Most Moral Army
  • Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology
  • The Most Important Question About Abortion
  • Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?
  • Pakistan: Can Sharia and Freedom Coexist?

If by now you don’t realize we’re fighting a culture war, you haven’t been paying attention.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Back in 2001, Urinetown premiered on Broadway,

Urinetown is an hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself! is an hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself!

Of course, sophisticated New Yorkers loved it and it won three Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards and two Obie Awards. (You can watch the whole thing on YouTube, but I don’t recommend it.)

Fast-forward 15 years and Buzzfeed’s version of Urinetown premieres shortly before President Obama’s farewell address: Buzzfeed releases a document alleging kinky sexual behavior by Donald Trump on a trip to Russia (which involved hiring prostitutes to urinate on a bed Pres. Obama had slept on), and that Trump has a close relationship with Russia due to that compromising information. Ian Miles Cheong has a pretty good summary of the allegations.

Which brings to mind The Big Lebowski,

I just want to understand this, sir. Every time a rug is micturated upon in this fair city, I have to compensate the owner?

Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith also tweeted this at the time,

In Smith’s own words, his organization released an “unverified” report, of which “there is serious reason to doubt the allegations.”

David French finds all of it disturbing

This is ridiculous. How can “Americans make up their own minds” when they have no ability to fact-check the allegations? The public knows nothing about the sources, nothing about the underlying claims, and has no means of discovering the truth. Buzzfeed admits that “there is serious reason to doubt the allegations.” It’s been using its journalistic resources trying to verify the claims for “weeks” and hasn’t been able to. But “Americans” can somehow do what Buzzfeed can’t? This isn’t transparency; it’s malice.

John Podhoretz, hardly a Trump supporter, asserts that Buzzfeed’s Trump report takes ‘fake news’ to a new level (emphasis added)

There is literally no evidence on offer in these memos or from BuzzFeed that any single sentence in these documents is factual or true. What’s more, we know most major news organizations in America had seen them and despite their well-known institutional antipathy toward Trump, had chosen not to publish them or even make reference to them after efforts to substantiate their charges had failed.

BuzzFeed tells us that “the document was prepared for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligence agent.” Indeed, the memos are designed to read as though they were cables sent from the field to the home office. And they should set off the bull detector of every rational person who reads them.

I’ve been a newspaper and magazine editor for 31 years, and like many in my profession, have had occasion over the course of four decades to work with people linked to intelligence agencies both domestic and foreign when they are retailing stories injurious to one or another politician or cause.

In my experience, there is no source of whom you need to be more skeptical, and whose information you need to verify to the letter before you can even begin to think of publishing it, than an “intelligence” source.

Now we’ll see the effects of Buzzfeed’s micturition of a seriously doubtful “report:” The discrediting of a President-elect, the waste of taxpayer money on investigations, hearings, and whatnot, and continued attacks from Dem sore losers; worst of all, a possible undermining of the electoral process.

Welcome to Buzzfeed’s Urinetown.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Last Wednesday I was Thinking Solar, and stated that investor confidence may become solar’s highest hurdle.

By that I meant investor confidence not only in the local utility (which may be vulnerable to corruption scandals), but also investor confidence in the viability of solar energy itself.

When I was researching Wednesday’s post I came across many stories describing the disastrous damage done to fragile desert habitats. The Mojave Solar Plant is not the only one, but it certainly stands out. The Green Corruption Files has a lengthy post describing how  the taxpayer-subsidized California Mojave Solar Plant is a massive green disaster:

New “informants” (those that worked for ABEINSA EPC and Abengoa Solar, which are both subsidiaries of Abengoa the holding corporation, and/or those that worked at the Mojave Solar project in other capacities), whom have spoken on condition of anonymity, among other serious issues found at this California solar plant that included violating California State Seismic codes, came forward with startling revelations that will be disclosed in today’s blockbuster Green Corruption File.

  • The Mojave Solar Plant doesn’t meet the minimal life safety standard of California Tile 24
  • There was an unreported large toxic spill at the Mojave Solar Plant: “Hundreds of gallons of Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF) was spilled and they just dispersed into the ground
  • The underground Heat Transfer Fluid tunnels were not ventilated
  • Despite California’s dreadful drought, “the Mojave Solar Plan is using 1,709,985 gallons of water per day
  • Abengoa continues to abuse America

The post, which you should read in full, explains in detail each of these charges.

Underwriting it all are massive amounts of U.S. government money going to Spanish Conglomerate Abengoa:

it’s hard to say how much free money that Abengoa scored from the U.S. or if it came from the stimulus-created 1603 Grant Program, of which, as of August 3, 2015, has dished out $24.5 billion of free taxpayer cash.

However, we do know that Abengoa received plenty of money from the United States Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), which is another avenue where favored firms are awarded hundreds of millions of taxpayer-backed loans. Besides the fact there are some serious “conflict of interest” that involve the Bank and Abengoa, I found three Ex-Im Bank “green” transactions benefiting this foreign firm that transpired in 2011, 2012 and 2013, exceeding $267 million, which are chronicled in my June 2015 Green Corruption File.

Abengoa has projects in Mexico and Chile, all heavily subsidized by the governments of those countries.

So far, solar energy development relies in government-down policies, where the funding effectively  is involved in creating a command economy. Command economies have failed everywhere they have been tried. In the solar industry specifically, Solyndra’s collapse left taxpayers holding the bag to the tune of $535 million in federal guarantees.

The green dream of solar energy so far has failed to be “clean,” “good for the environment,” or cost effective. Until it meets those three criteria, investor confidence (which in turn generates competition and innovation) will remain low.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on US and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Bloomberg headline today:
Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth

Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it’s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.

In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. Now, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico are planning auctions and tenders for this year, aiming to drop prices even further. Taking advantage: Companies such as Italy’s Enel SpA and Dublin’s Mainstream Renewable Power, who gained experienced in Europe and now seek new markets abroad as subsidies dry up at home.

Since 2009, solar prices are down 62 percent, with every part of the supply chain trimming costs.

Some ten years ago, when remodeling my Princeton, NJ, house, we looked into solar energy.

The panels were very expensive.

They will not work when covered by snow.

They needed to be kept clean, which would be yet one more house maintenance chore, considering that the driveway was regularly coated by pollen for most of Spring.

A couple of trees would have to come down, adding to the cost.

And in that part of New Jersey, there is a significant number of cloudy/rainy days.

In brief, solar energy was not cost effective. The neighbor down the street had a solar house, but that was because he owned a solar business.

The countries mentioned in the above article – Chile, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia – have vast expanses of arid land where solar panels could be more cost effective now that solar prices are down due to “every part of the supply chain trimming costs.”

But there is an added component: investor confidence. The government of Puerto Rico experimented with solar energy, but, as Jeffrey Karp said,  “the reason for the lack of solar development is likely due to poor investor confidence in the local utility as offtaker.” With corruption scandals involving government-owned utilities in Mexico, and in other countries like Brazil and Venezuela, investor confidence may become solar’s highest hurdle.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on US and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Steve Green, posting at Instapundit, sniffs,

SIGN ‘O’ THE TIMES: Garbage trucks to be a fortress of security in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

In the article, you’ll find the following (emphasis added):

Massive 20-ton sanitation trucks, weighted with an extra 15 tons of sand, will surround the iconic New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, officials said Thursday, describing a security measure meant to stop deadly truck-driving attacks into crowds like those in Germany and France.

The placement of the 65 trucks, along with 100 patrol cars, at intersections surrounding Times Square is a new element to an already heavily policed event that will include 7,000 officers, specially armed counter-terrorism units and bomb-sniffing dogs

Steve in Colorado of course gets paid to snark, but NYC authorities have not forgotten the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt:

On May 1, 2010, an attempted terrorist attack occurred in Times Square in Manhattan, New York. Two street vendors alerted New York City security personnel after they spotted smoke coming from a vehicle, and a car bomb was discovered.[1][2] The bomb had been ignited, but failed to explode, and was disarmed before it caused any casualties.[1][3][4] Two days later, federal agents arrested Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistan-born resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who had become a U.S. citizen in April 2009.[5] He was arrested after he had boarded Emirates Flight 202 to Dubai at John F. Kennedy International Airport.[5][6][7][8][9] He admitted attempting the car bombing and said that he had trained at a Pakistani terrorist training camp, according to U.S. officials.[10]

Add to that the terrorists who plowed trucks through crowds in Nice and Berlin, and you have cause for concern when your city is hosting an event that normally brings in a crowd of one million people.

Sure, the lowly garbage truck is not glamorous, but what alternatives are there when you need something portable, easily loaded  and unloaded, that can stop any vehicle of similar weight and size? A Bradley Fighting Vehicle weighs 40 tons or so, making a 35-ton humble garbage truck a practical alternative.

Of course all of this is a distraction from the real issue: A death cult which the Left refuses to identify by name.

Happy New Year.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Anyone on social media has seen thousands of posts blaming 2016 for all and sundry events: Weather, election results, break-ups with girlfriends/boyfriends, and of course, celebrity deaths.

It’s come to the point that stating that 2016 Is Not Killing People is an unpopular opinion, no matter than the writer correctly notes that addictions cut lifespans.

I must admit that blaming 2016 for weather events is a refreshing change from the global warming cacophony. As to election results, books are being written. Romantic relationships sometimes end bitterly, but, if two months after the fact you are still carping about it on Facebook, may I suggest that you seek counseling?

As for grieving celebrity deaths, it’s sad that talented people whose art delighted us and shed insight on the human experience have passed away. It’s also worthwhile to keep in mind that many times we project onto celebrities our emotions, our foibles, regardless of whether that person shares them or not.

Of course everybody enjoyed Alan Rickman’s acting,

George Michael’s singing,

and of course every little girl (and a lot of big girls) wanted to be Princess Leia. But there are people closer to us who inspire is to become our better selves.

My mom, who died in October, at age 96, is one of them. Another one is a gentleman who was on the board of the Princeton studio of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (now Learning Ally). He was a pioneer in his field at work, a fun and witty guy who answered my five-year-old son’s questions about it, a leader in his religious community, a good friend, father and husband. We lost touch over the years, and I found out about his passing just two days ago. When I looked up his obituary I also found out he was a war hero, decorated with two Purple Hearts.

So let’s lift a prayer of thanks for those who inspire us to be our better selves.

And stop blaming 2016 for everything.

Related:
Christopher Harper on learning from failure.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on Latin America and thr U.S. at Fausta’s blog.

This good morning, after breakfast and a shower, I was browsing the Memeorandum trends looking for topics to write about, when this one popped up:

Why the white working class votes against itself

When you see a headline like that, you know it’s either at the New York Times or at the Washington Post; sure enough, it’s the WaPo.

It starts by asking,

Why did all those Economically Anxious™ Trump voters reject policies that would have helped relieve their economic anxiety?

The headline and the opening sentence are based on the following premises:

a. The white

b. working class

c. doesn’t know what’s good for them,

and

d. the Dems know better than the voters themselves.

‘m kay.

Having established points a-through-d above, the author, Catherine Rampell ventures into the speculative weeds,

Maybe they believed any Big Government expansions would disproportionately go to the “wrong” kinds of people — that is, people unlike themselves.

Again, Rampell takes for granted another premise: that all remedies, actions and initiatives must necessarily depart from

Big

Government

Expansions.

Munificent, paternalistic government raining manna down on the working, or not: the stuff that Dems’ dreams are made of.

I was going to do a fisking, but William Teach did a very good job already.

The article’s most revealing statement, and perhaps the most honest one, is this (emphasis added):

But there seems to be universal agreement, at least among the Democratic politicians and strategists I’ve interviewed, that the party’s actual ideas are the right ones.

In plain English, Democrats universally agree they’re right and everybody else is wrong.

Pauline Kael is attributed with having said in 1972, “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken.” Rampell joins Kael in the land of liberal provincialism, but at least forty four years ago Kael acknowledged her own provincialism.

No wonder Rod Dreher’s saying, ‘My Fellow Liberals, I’m Tired Of You’.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Almost exactly two years ago, on December 7, 2014, the Defense Department announced that it had transferred six Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay, after then-president José Mujica agreed to take them for humanitarian reasons.

Thomas Joscelyn described the group:

The four Syrians transferred — Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Husein Shaaban, Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj, and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab — were all allegedly members of the so-called “Syrian Group.” The JTF-GTMO files describe the “Syrian Group” as “comprised of dismantled terrorist cells that escaped Syrian authorities and fled to Afghanistan (AF) in 2000.”

For the past two years I’ve been following the story of the Gitmo alumni in Uruguay. They have refused to learn the language or to take job offers, and have been reported to the authorities for domestic violence after being reunited with their families.

Yes, Uruguay also brought in some 42-45 members of five families of the detainees.

The family of Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab , however, refuses to travel to Uruguay and insists on staying in Turkey. Turkey doesn’t want to take Jihad.

Joscelyn describes Jihad’s background,

as a “document forger who provided services to the network operated by” Abu Zubaydah, “supporting European, North African, and Levant extremists” by “facilitating their international travels.”as a “document forger who provided services to the network operated by” Abu Zubaydah, “supporting European, North African, and Levant extremists” by “facilitating their international travels.”

And travel he has.

Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, a.k.a. Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a.k.a. Jihad Ahmad Diyab, a.k.a. Abu Wael Dihab,  a.k.a. Jihad Diyab, after being relocated to Uruguay visited Argentina last February, and declared himself  “ready to fight“, just the thing to say when you want to make yourself welcome to a foreign country and your first name is Jihad.

After that, Diyab tried to enter Brazil three times but was turned away at the border. Authorities lost track of him, much to the alarm of the Brazilian authorities, who were preparing for the Summer Olympics. After a manhunt in six countries, he turned up in Venezuela, 4,600 miles away from Montevideo (a little under the distance from New York to Moscow), where he tried to petition the Uruguayan consulate – which he could do in Montevideo – to “ask for assistance to fly to Turkey or some other country to be reunited with his family.”

As the Wall Street Journal pointed out (emphasis added),

Mr. Dhiab’s travel plans may raise additional concern, given Turkey’s porous border with Syria and its use as an entry point for volunteers looking to join Islamic State.

The Venezuelans put him on a plane and he was returned to Uruguay where he went on hunger strike.

Last week the Uruguayans tried to send him to South Africa. South Africa turned him away at the airport. He’s back in Uruguay.

The Obama administration announced two days ago that it Intends to Transfer 17 or 18 Guantánamo Detainees to Italy, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Good luck with that.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, is hoppin’ mad about the alleged Russian plot to hack Hillary’s campaign, and wails that Something is deeply broken at the FBI.

Where was Podesta in July and in November when the campaign was touting that the FBI had cleared Hillary of wrongdoing by focusing on intent – that is, by essentially rewriting federal law?

Podesta’s op-ed in the WaPo alleges (emphasis added),

There are now reports that Vladimir Putin personally directed the covert campaign to elect Trump. So are teams of FBI agents busy looking into the reported meeting in Moscow this summer between Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy adviser, and the Putin aide in charge of Russian intelligence on the U.S. election? What about evidence that Roger Stone was in contact with WikiLeaks and knew in advance that my hacked emails were about to be leaked? Are thousands of FBI person-hours being devoted to uncovering Trump’s tangled web of debts and business deals with foreign entities in Russia and elsewhere?

I find it ironic that Podesta points to “tangled webs” with Russia, when the State Department, which his boss headed, approved hundreds of Bill Clinton’s speeches, which totaled millions of dollars for the Clintons’ foundation, including

In Russia, Bill Clinton gave two speeches for $625,000. One was to the Russian investment bank, Renaissance Capital, at a 2010 event titled “Russian and the Commonwealth of Independent States: Going Global.”

The State Department background memo described the bank as “focused on the emerging markets of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Regarding Podesta’s emails, Wikileaks has already asserted that (emphasis added)

Our source is not the Russian government,” Assange told “The Sean Hannity Show.”

“So in other words, let me be clear,” Hannity asked, “Russia did not give you the Podesta documents or anything from the DNC?”

“That’s correct,” Assange responded.

Let’s also not forget that Podesta and Hillary didn’t care that she used, during all her years of tenure as Secretary of State, an unsecured server, making all her communications  (and thereby the country’s national security) vulnerable to real hacking by not just Russia, but by anyone with enough talent and resources.

Rather than provide actual evidence that there was a) a Russian “covert campaign to elect Trump,” b) that was working in cahoots with the Trump campaign, and c) that Vladimir Putin personally directed the “covert campaign,” Podesta relies on links to the WaPo’s own articles on unnamed intelligence sources.

However, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey and CIA Director John Brennan were too busy to brief Congress on any of this. John Hinderaker asks,

Who in the United States intelligence community has created the hysteria about Russian hacking, and what is the evidence of means and motive? House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes sought a briefing by National Intelligence Director James Clapper with participation from FBI Director James Comey and CIA Director John Brennan in a closed session yesterday. They, however, would prefer not to. USA Today reports that they refused to appear for the requested briefing.

What’s happening here? Megyn Kelly sought an answer from committee member Peter King (video below). Concerned citizens looking for answers won’t get much satisfaction here. “It’s almost as if people in the intelligence community are carrying out a disinformation campaign against the President-elect of the United States,” King said. “It’s absolutely disgraceful.”

“Somebody had the time to leak it to the Washington Post, but they don’t have the time to come to Congress. It is the House Committee on Intelligence that absolutely has the jurisdiction over the CIA and the intelligence community,” he said. “It is their job to come. They don’t have any choice.”

Last but not least, Podesta says there are “teams of FBI agents busy looking into the reported meeting in Moscow this summer between Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy adviser, and the Putin aide in charge of Russian intelligence on the U.S. election,” while at the same time he bemoans that Something is deeply broken at the FBI.

If something is “deeply broken” at an organization, would you rely on “teams of their agents”?

Would it be much of a stretch, then, to ask whether Podesta would complain at all, had Hillary won? Obama certainly wouldn’t.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.