General McInerney, “Radical Islam is Not Dead but ISIS is Done!

Posted by Tina

Just saw General MaInerney on Fox Business News reporting on the state of efforts to defeat ISIS and he said that although “radical Islam is not dead, Isis is done.” Victories in Iraq and Syria have been reported in recent days, see here, here and here.

McInerney also indicated the Trump administration has pressed for Arabs in the region to take the initiative to tackle the problem of radicalization.

The effort to defeat Isis has included diplomacy as well as military operations with our allies in the region:

US-backed militias have completely taken Isis’ de facto capital, Raqqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Tuesday, in a major symbolic blow to the jihadist group.

The fall of Raqqa, where Isis staged euphoric parades after its string of lightning victories in 2014, is a potent symbol of the movement’s collapsing fortunes. The city was used as a base for the group to plan attacks abroad.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias backed by a US-led international alliance, has been fighting Isis inside Raqqa since June.

It’s been only 9 months since President Trump took on the responsibility of Commander-in-Chief. He promised to defeat Isis and he, along with his generals have done an amazing job so far.

Posted in Foreign policy and affairs, Military, Terrorism | 9 Comments

FBI Has Evidence of Bribery and Kickbacks In Iran Nuclear Deal

Posted by Tina

Remember back in 2010 when Russia obtained control over more than 20% of America’s uranium supply? Buckle up, this could turn into a wild ride!

According to The Hill the FBI used a confidential US witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to make secret recordings, gather financial records and intercept emails. The gathered information shows that Russia had compromised an American trucking company in 2009 with bribes and kickbacks and that Russian nuclear officials “routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow”.

The FBI chose to continue it’s investigation for four more years rather than bringing charges immediately. In 2010 the Obama administration made two decisions:

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply. …

… In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.

A January 2017 headline in Israel News, “Russia Will Sell 130 Tons of Uranium to Iran,” suggests a possible motive beyond the Clinton Foundation cash injections:

The Obama administration and the rest of the signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have approved a shipment of 130 tons of natural uranium from Russia to Iran, rewarding the Islamic Republic for shipping 44 tons of heavy water it sent to Russia after exceeding the limit it could legally produce under the deal. Experts have told US media outlets the amount of uranium to be shipped is enough to produce 10 nuclear bombs.

The announcement of the new shipment is seen as one more last-minute jab from the Obama White House at incoming President Trump, who probably would have vetoed the shipment, even though, according to US diplomats speaking to the Associated Press and Fox News, the amount of uranium is within what’s allowable under the 2015 deal. Republican lawmakers have almost uniformly opposed that nuclear deal, arguing it awarded Iran too many concessions. The same lawmakers – which included the current Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (NY) – also argued the deal does not provide reliable verifications of Iran’s compliance.

Last month the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned that at current production levels Iran is going to exceed its cap on low-enriched uranium. Also, just a few days before the IAEA sounded the alarm, President Hassan Rouhani ordered Iran’s nuclear agency to develop nuclear engines that would use uranium enriched to 20 percent – a clear violation of the 2015 deal allowing Iran to enrich only to 3.67 percent.

I asked then and I ask now, “whose side were they on?” They certainly weren’t looking our for America and American interests.

The Clintons and the Obama administration insisted nothing untoward or illegal had gone on after Peter Schweitzer’s book came out exposing this scandal. It appears Mr. Schweitzer is now vindicated. And in the end it may explain the left’s rabid attempt to stop Trump and make him the star in the “Russian collusion” story:

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered. …

… The investigation was ultimately supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, an Obama appointee who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, now the deputy FBI director under Trump, Justice Department documents show.

Both men now play a key role in the current investigation into possible, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election cycle. McCabe is under congressional and Justice Department inspector general investigation in connection with money his wife’s Virginia state Senate campaign accepted in 2015 from now-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at a time when McAuliffe was reportedly under investigation by the FBI.

The connections to the current Russia case are many. The Mikerin probe began in 2009 when Robert Mueller, now the special counsel in charge of the Trump case, was still FBI director. And it ended in late 2015 under the direction of then-FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired earlier this year.

The plot thickens. We await action from the current justice department and a final satifactory roll to a complete stop in this carnival ride.

Posted in Business and Industry, Constitution & The Law, Foreign policy and affairs, Government Fraud and Corruption, Political Intrigue | Leave a comment

Coincidence? Wildfires Rage In Spain and Portugal!

Posted by Tina

The Daily Mail reports that wildfires driven by strong winds are responsible for at least 39 deaths and many injuries.” Authorities suggest

Portugal’s civil protection service said as of Monday morning, firefighters were fighting 145 separate blazes across the country, dozens of which are considered to still be serious. …

… Authorities in both countries said that the strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia in the Atlantic Ocean and high temperatures fanned the fires.

Investigations were also focusing on human and criminal causes, with political leaders accusing ‘terrorist arsonists’ of starting the blazes. …

… Houses, factories and other infrastructure had been destroyed in more than 440 forest fires, 33 of them considered to be major.

Conditions can explain wildfires but so many and all at the same time? Something doesn’t smell right and it isn’t just the smoke.

8 Comments

2016 Bill Blamed for Opioid Crisis in US

by Jack

The Washington Post just completed an in depth article on the prescription drug overdose problem in the US.   They are calling it, without a doubt, this is the worst drug epidemic our country has ever seen–even worse than the crack cocaine epidemic.

According to 60 Minutes and the WP article, at the height of the opioid crisis, Congress passed a law that may have allowed the epidemic to worsen. The bill, introduced in 2015, was promoted as a way to ensure patients had access to the medication they needed. But a former DEA official said the law made it hard to stop distributors from sending prescription drugs to “bad pharmacies and doctor’s offices.”

Drug manufacturers have not been reporting suspiciously large orders to the DEA for investigative follow up as required.   Why they have not remains a mystery, but it could be a multitude of problems.   It  could be they just aren’t geared up to track all these pill shipments, could be a profit incentive not to report it, who knows?  But, it doesn’t matter what the reason, they are required to do it and that’s still the law.

The bill that loosened the tracking of large drug shipments passed by unanimously by Congress and was signed into law by President Obama.  It prevented the DEA from blocking shipment of suspicious amounts, and mostly these shipments were opioids which are at the center of the overdose problem.  Millions of these pills are somehow finding their way onto the street.

According to a study by the New York Times, drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States, according to preliminary data compiled by The New York Times.

The death count is the latest consequence of an escalating public health crisis: opioid addiction, now made more deadly by an influx of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and similar drugs. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.

Although the data is preliminary, the Times’s best estimate is that deaths rose 19 percent over the 52,404 recorded in 2015. And all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017.  Drug overdose deaths have risen about 600% since 1980.

 

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Santa Rosa Fire – How Could it Happen?

by Jack

This is the tail end of the fire season in Washington state.  Only two air tankers protect the entire state and luckily there was only fire this entire year.   For those aerial firefighters this was a boring time to be stuck in WA.   But, back in California, it’s another story, especially in the area of Santa Rosa.   This was a historic fire season, grim and tragic.  17 fires erupted in the Napa-Sonoma region (this includes Santa Rosa) between midnight and 2 a.m. Monday.

By Friday, at least 31 people had been killed, more than 100 had been treated for fire-related injuries, and more than 3,500 homes and businesses had been destroyed.

How could so many fires start and spread so fast and do so much destruction?   The worst of the fires in Northern California were less than 4-5 hours apart by car and there were 21 of them all erupting at about the same general time.  Coincidence, perhaps?  But, it’s a stretch to think 100% of the them were purely accidental?

So how did they start?  That is the question that Cal Fire arson investigators will be trying to solve and right now they are looking for clues in many places.

We know the fires were pushed along by high winds and fueled by a lot of combustible material on the ground.  We know that caused fires to spread quickly, moving faster than firefighting units could keep up with, mostly because masses of burning embers sometimes rained down a mile and half from the fireline.  In the Napa-Sonoma region, what we don’t know is how did it happen and exactly where did it start?

Was it a campfire that got out of control, was it a downed powerline due to wind or something else?   But, 17 fires in one concentrated area?  That’s weird.   Right now, nobody knows the original cause or if they do, they’re not talking.  But, the answers are likely to be discovered in the coming weeks.     Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

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Busy Day at the Airport

by Jack

The aircraft coming and going at the airport is really something to see. Sadly, it is because of the fires, but if you want to see air tankers in action, now is the time.

The planes arrive every 30-40 minutes from the firelines and quickly taxi over to the CalFire filling station on the tarmac.

Smaller twin engine planes are tanked up in minutes, large planes like the DC9 could take about 20 minutes. It’s quite impressive to watch, in particular the old radial engine planes, which are mainly P2’s. The P2’s were supposed to be taken out of service days ago. Now they are back in service for at least the duration of the fires in Redding and Santa Rosa. This will be their last fire season, at least in the US, then no more P2’s due to frame and wing spar metal fatigue.

Maybe they will wind up in Mexico or South America ferrying American tourists?

While I was out to the A-P today I learned from one of the pilots that they couldn’t get into Santa Rose area due to the heavy smoke. Apparently the winds shifted and this obscured the fireline where they were supposed to drop retardant. Talk about bad luck. Meanwhile, according to the latest news reports, thousands of ground crews were becoming exhausted trying to defend homes against raging firestorm whipped up by winds.

Thanks to our museum computer app we are able to track the planes. We noticed one odd thing, a U2 from NASA flying over the fire scene. Not sure what that was all about, but mostly like it was a survey mission for a federal agency, possibly FEMA.

If you are interested in watching tanker aircraft and history in the making, you should come out to the Chico Air Museum. We have a safe area to watch planes and ground crews. There is no charge, but seating is limited to about 25 in the gallery area.

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Post Scripts

by Jack

I have received notice from our editor that Post Scripts is the last truly active blog, as started with NorCal blogs. Tina and I have had a lot of fun doing this thru the years, it’s been incredible. And the good part is, we’re not done yet!

Currently, our page views are about 10,000 per month. That’s pretty darn good. I’m not sure why we don’t have hundreds of commenters, but maybe I should not complain, because we couldn’t handle it if we did!

I believe we have endured and grown because of the quality and diversity of our readers and commenters…and that would be y-o-u. You J. Soden, RHT, Peggy, Joe, Jim, Soaps, Harold, Pie, Libby, Jim, Chris, Dewey and many others over the years. You are our co-writers and co-pundits and you make PS entertaining and thought provoking. On behalf of Tina and myself, we profoundly thank you all.

Oh, and a big PS – We would encourage anyone out here with a good topic that needs writing to do it here. We’re a free speech podium and we would love to see what you have to say!

12 Comments

Health Insurance in California Due to Rise 12.5% – Covered California to Slap Extra Surcharge on High End Plans – President Trump to the Rescue?

Posted by Tina

The California Health Insurance Exchange announced Wednesday that it has ordered insurers to add a 12.4% surcharge on silver-level health plans which will bring the increase in premiums on average to 25% in 2018 for those choosing silver plans. California is blaming Trump for the surcharge because he has yet to signal support for federal funding of certain portions of Obamacare:

Taxpayers, not consumers, will bear the brunt of the extra rate hike because federal premium assistance for policyholders, which is pegged to the cost of coverage, will also increase.

Statewide, rate increases will vary by insurer and region. What consumers pay depends on where they live, their income, what level of coverage they want and which insurer they choose.

Californians can get their first look at next year’s health plan prices and options on the state’s rate calculator, released Wednesday.

The state’s open enrollment period, which is longer than that for the federal exchange, runs from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31. About 1.4 million Californians buy their own coverage through the state marketplace and nearly 90% receive financial assistance that reduces what they pay.

90% get government subsdies!?!!! No wonder California’s lefty lawmakers are having fits!

But Californians will have another option soon. President Trump signed an executive order this morning allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines. The order also makes it possible for small businesses to join with others of like business, allowing them to purchase insurance as a group to get better rates.

Posted in Healthcare, politics, Tax Policy | 6 Comments

US Withdraws From UNESCO

Posted by Tina

Effective December 31, 2017 the United States will no longer be a contributing member of UNESCO, the UN body associated with educational, scientific and cultural issues. The US will continue as a “non-member observer state.” Concerns about institutional bias against Israel, the need for reforms and, as was the case with NATO, “mounting arrears” in funding were behind the decision to withdraw:

A fight over who will next run the organization highlighted the Trump administration’s concerns: one leading candidate, Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, has been openly accused of antisemitism by Jewish and Israeli groups.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” the State Department said.

“The United States indicated to the Director General its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.”

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, expressed “profound regret” in response to the US decision. I’ll bet…it’s tough to lose one of the few who actually meets it’s financial obligation. Bokova ignored the antisemitism issue in her remarks but it looms large given the supposed charter of the UN to promote peace and understanding among nations. According to the article in the Jerusalem Post, “In recent months, UNESCO members have pushed the body to recognize Jerusalem as a holy site exclusive to Muslims, without recognizing its Jewish roots.”

Prejudice and the re-writing of history cannot be tolerated by the United States of America, not within our own country and certainly not at the UN. This is a bold positive move by President Trump and Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Posted in Foreign policy and affairs, politics | 2 Comments

Chico Community Watch (An Interview with Trevor Skaggs)

by Jack

The Chico Community Watch group held a meeting last night to discuss issues with the homeless. After the meeting I had an opportunity to speak with Trevor Skaggs (see photo below on left).   Trevor has been a volunteer for over a month and has been active in Bidwell Park clean-ups even prior to becoming a volunteer.

I asked him what he sees at the long term solution with the trash, vandalism and other issues associated with Chico’s growing homeless population?

I am paraphrasing his reply, and using the exact verbiage whenever possible. However, some content has been omitted for the sheer sake of space and ease of readability:

Trevor: Ultimately our community has a responsibility for our community. That’s why we have volunteers that care, because local government can only do so much. We are part of this community, so it becomes our responsibility. You know, you have to be the change that you want to see in the world.

So, groups like this and individuals that advocate for going out there and picking up the trash and advocated for making our community stronger, those are the ultimate solutions, I feel.   Getting real people out in the community to do real things is ultimately what the solution is.”

Me: It was brought up that building tiny houses or some sort of low cost housing project might be a solution for the homeless, do you have an opinion on that?

Trevor Yeah, I have, I’ve reviewed quite a bit of solutions that have worked elsewhere.  The housing first model, the one that has been used in some fairly large cities, Salt Lake City is the best example.

The local government gave a piece a property to a homeless advocacy organization and they put up a bunch of very tiny houses, one room, a light and a power outlet with an address. They were given a physical address that wasn’t a communal address, they had their own address. Which really opens up a lot of doors, a bank account, being able to apply for a job…the structure on which our society is built on is you need to have a location because on the outside that will establish you as a citizen of the community.

So, it’s a pretty good solution, they’ve had really good effect. It’s not going to be a total solution to homelessness, but its going to be a group solution for the people who want it to work for them.

Me: Do you have a dollar cost figure per individual to do this?

Trevor: I think it’s going to be highly regionally dependent. I know Salt Lake City did it, I want to say for each unit was roughly $1400. The rent for the land was essentially free for them…. So as building it itself and part of the ongoing maintenance in SLC, and other cities, you pay an ongoing rent, very manageable, $150 to $200 a month and you also have to donate 4 hours a month of your time to keep the house up, gardening, mowing the lawn and picking up the trash. So a lot of the maintenance can be deferred to the community to make it self-sufficient in that way.”

Me:  What is going to stop people coming in asking for the very same service you just built for the last group of people? We can’t put a moat around Butte County.  Is there some sort of quota that we should be responsible for and how much does the community really owe to the people coming here from other states looking for our services?

Trevor; I completely agree with you, you kind of setup a slippery slope, you are providing services that make Chico an amenable place for individuals to migrate here from other locations. I don’t necessarily promote the housing first model that is just how the housing first model is sold and that is just the benefit of doing it.

A community is based on the model that we all have respect for each other. It’s not necessarily a fairness model, which is kind of a strange thing to say in our current day and age, but it’s about equality between individuals, not equality as a whole. And so realistically what we want to do is to incentivize people to become members of our society in the way the rest of us expect a society to be. .. the housing first model is a nice building block for the individual that wants to play by the rules. ” End

It should be noted that the previous day volunteers used their own vehicles and trailers to search the city for abandoned shopping carts. They collected 25 carts belonging to various stores. Shopping carts cost local businesses about $300 each. That would $7500 in recovered shopping carts. In addition they also located a large pile of bicycle parts. All of this property was turned over the city corporation yard for return to its owners.

The mission statement: Chico Community Watch is a citizen volunteer group dedicated to protecting the quality of life in the city of Chico and the surrounding area. Made up of street, neighborhood, project area, and project issue groups, we focus on issues negatively affecting our community. With a boots on the ground attitude, we take action to solve these negative issues in a peaceful and respectful way.

Posted in Homeless and Indigent, Life | Tagged | 2 Comments