On Monday, February 13th, Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was assassinated in the shopping concourse at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. Allegedly, two women accosted him briefly and attacked him with VX nerve agent or a close derivative, which is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.
One of the suspects was apprehended shortly after the incident, and claimed that she thought the whole thing was a “prank” organized by a TV station, and that she thought she was spraying “baby oil” on Nam:
Aisyah thought the substance she rubbed on Kim’s face was “a kind of oil, baby oil, something like that,” said Andreano Erwin, Indonesia’s deputy ambassador to Malaysia. But Malaysian police said Friday that tests on Kim’s eyes and face revealed the presence of the VX nerve agent.
And if she really expected the authorities, or anyone else for that matter, to believe that VX could be confused with baby oil, she was clearly mistaken.
The city of Philadelphia recently implemented a “soda tax” at the start of the calendar year. As Philly.com recently reported, it hasn’t gone exactly as planned:
Two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting a 30 percent to 50 percent drop in beverage sales and are planning for layoffs.
One of the city’s largest distributors says it will cut 20 percent of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring.
“People are seeing sales decline larger than anything they’ve seen up to this point in the city,” said Alex Baloga, vice president of external relations at the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.
The failure of this tax is about as surprising as seeing the sun rise in the morning. The Burning Platform in particular has covered the tax on many occasions: here, here, here, and here, and they’ve been excellent at demonstrating the lunacy of the tax itself:
A Zerohedge article posted this morning contained a clip from MSNBC, where co-anchor Mika Brzezinski said to control exactly what people think is the media’s job. I’m paraphrasing a bit, so below is the exact quote:
SCARBOROUGH: “Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, ‘Yeah you guys are going crazy. He’s doing — what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do.'”
BRZEZINSKI: “Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”
I thought it might have been hyperbole… then I watched the clip for myself:
If you thought the last round of protest idiocy was counterproductive, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Just when you think they’ve hit rock bottom, the liberal protests hit new lows. The Guardian recently published an article detailing a revival in “tax resistance,” which is a practice of not paying your taxes to “resist” government:
Andrew Newman always pays his taxes, even if he hates what the government is doing with them. But not this year. For him, Donald Trumpis the dealbreaker. He’ll pay his city and state taxes but will refuse to pay federal income tax as a cry of civil disobedience against the president and his new administration.
Newman is not alone. A nascent movement has been detected to revive the popularity of tax resistance – last seen en masse in America during the Vietnam war but which has been, sporadically, a tradition in the US and beyond going back many centuries.
“My tax money will be going towards putting up a wall on the Mexican border instead of helping sick people. It will contribute to the destruction of the environment and maybe more nuclear weapons. I think there will be a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy elite and Trump’s campaign for the working man and woman was an absolute fraud. If you pay taxes you are implicated in the system,” said Newman, an associate professor of English and history at Stony Brook University on Long Island, part of the State University of New York.
It is quite amusing that an educator from SUNY academia, which is in part financed by federal funding, managed to list everything he had issue with, while at the same time omitting everything the state does that he does not object to… notably paying his salary.
Early this morning, the FT leaked news of a takeover bid to be launched by the American food conglomerate Kraft Heinz to acquire the British-Dutch Unilever. Unilever quickly rejected the proposal, as seen below:
But as Zerohedge covered, the news from the deal already had a profound impact on the share prices of both companies, sending Unilever shares up 11%, and Kraft Heinz shares up 4% in pre-open trading.
Yesterday, it was revealed that the Russian military (secretly) deployed the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile. Of course, the mainstream media attempted to spin this as a “major test” for President Trump:
Russia has secretly deployed a new cruise missile that American officials say violates a landmark arms control treaty, posing a major test for President Trump as his administration is facing a crisis over its ties to Moscow.
The new Russian missile deployment also comes as the Trump administration is struggling to fill key policy positions at the State Department and the Pentagon — and to settle on a permanent replacement for Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser who resigned late Monday. Mr. Flynn stepped down after it was revealed that he had misled the vice president and other officials over conversations with Moscow’s ambassador to Washington.
The NY Times made sure to lead with the Trump-bashing, and gave scant details and/or commentary on the specifics of the system, or its significance. Reuters filled in the key blank from the administration that the NY Times left out:
James Baker, George Shultz, And Hank Paulson
Last week, it was reported that a carbon tax was back on the table. I expected it to be from Democrats, as part of a “proposal” that would never pass muster under a Trump administration that all but squashed the idea during his campaign. However, I was in for a shock, when I saw who was actually proposing it – a group of allegedly anti-tax (neocon) Republicans:
A group of prominent Republicans and business leaders backing a tax on carbon dioxide were taking their case Wednesday to top White House aides, including chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The group, including former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and James Baker, is pressing President Donald Trump to tax carbon dioxide in exchange for abolishing a slew of environmental regulations. They unveiled their plan with a press conference in Washington and an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
“We know we have an uphill slog to get Republicans interested in this,” Baker said before heading to the White House. But “a conservative, free-market approach is a very Republican way of approaching the problem.”
I actually had to do a double take when I read that last sentence. What is exactly conservative and/or free-market about a regressive, useless tax that hurts the working class (whom elected Trump) the most?
Shortly after Trump took office, and before Rex Tillerson was even confirmed as Secretary of State, a slew of State Department officials were removed from their positions (or were forced to resign) as part of an effort to “clean house” at the State Department. The whole affair was haphazardly covered by the media, especially by Jeff Bezos’s blog, which insinuated that the departures were “an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.”
Further analysis revealed that the officials were actually removed from their positions shortly after Tillerson visited the State Department office in Foggy Bottom prior to his confirmation:
“Any implication that that these four people quit is wrong,” one senior State Department official said. “These people are loyal to the secretary, the President and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to dis the President. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House cleaning house.”
And, just a few weeks after the fact, it appears we know why Tillerson was so quick to purge existing staffers: he just didn’t trust them. It also appears his mistrust was more than justified.
Yesterday, President Trump met with the National Sheriff’s Association at the White House. Like so many Trump comments, this one took a strange turn when Trump (jokingly or not) threatened to “destroy the career” of a Texas state Senator:
During the meeting, Rockwall County, Texas, Sheriff Harold Eavenson told President Trump about a piece of asset forfeiture legislation he believes would aid Mexican drug cartels…here’s the full conversation:
Eavenson: “There’s a state senator in Texas that was talking about legislation to require conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money.”
Trump: “Do you believe that?”
Eavenson: “And I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed.”
Trump: “Who is that state senator? I want to hear his name. We’ll destroy his career…”
Though the major point of conversation was about Trump’s threat to a state legislator, the bigger story should be the implicit support Trump gave to civil asset forfeiture, whether he realized it or not. And if you are not aware what civil asset forfeiture is, it is (surprisingly) something that is agreed by both sides of the aisle to be unjust and unconstitutional, and rightfully so.
These days, the “climate change” movement is constantly looking for ways to justify taking fossil fuel power plants offline, via any means necessary. Whether it’s over-regulation or the ubiquitous “carbon tax,” the global warming team has deemed that fossil fuels are a plague that must be eliminated from the planet (but really just western nations) at any cost.
While they might not ultimately be entirely wrong, they sure are blind to the people harmed the most – those who are local to fossil fuel generated power, NOT the global scale of “carbon pollution” that is constantly mentioned. For instance, China’s smog is as bad as it is not just because of transportation-fueled pollution, but because of how prolific coal-fired power is in China. As MishTalk points out, the Paris Accord was ultimately useless and irrelevant: