H.A.M.A.S. (Hides Amongst Mosques And Schools), Self-Loathing Jews, And The Only Hope For Peace

In 2005 Gaza was unconditionally given to the Palestinians. They quickly handed it over to Hamas, made it a terror fortress, and smuggled in all the weapons of war that they could (which brought about a blockade). All efforts of peace since then have been met with “Massacre all the Jews!”

There is one very vital thing that must be said to all the Arabs of Palestine, as well as their supporters and defenders around the world. If you want to have peace and co-exist with Israel without war, violence, and death then stop voting in and supporting fundamentalists and extremists who’s pastime is strapping bombs onto  innocent women and children and launching rockets at Israel. And stop excusing such bloody actions when they occur.  Leave Israel alone and you will soon have both peace and harmony with the Jew. If you are a peaceful Muslim then you must reject murder and terrorism in the name of Allah. If you are rational Westerner, you must do the same. It’s that simple.

One must wonder why such focused and massive worldwide attention is spotlighted on this decades long conflict every time Israel finally decides to stand up for itself against those seeking its national destruction and the extermination of its people. Far worse death and destruction is being perpetrated nearly daily in both Syria and in ISIS controlled Iraq. Do you have any idea of the number of horrendous honor killings perpetrated every single year throughout the Muslim world? Yet I hear only selective complaining from Progressives, the Left, and a few shrill voices of the conspiracist, racist Right when it comes to the Gaza conflict.

Often the very people suddenly all concerned about the plight of the poor Palestinian Arabs are the exact same people the inhabitants of Gaza would eliminate from the face of the earth under Sharia law if given the chance. As a Westerner, if you find that your chosen ideology ends up leading you to align yourself with Islamists and terror groups against a Westernized, civilized, and modern democratic nation-state then perhaps it is time to seriously reexamine your current belief system. Making common cause with militant Muslims rarely turns out well.

Even more disturbing is that there are so many progressive Jews who appear to be so self-loathing as to support and defend the very people who seek the extermination of their own people and race. It is almost beyond comprehension that those who advocate a second holocaust are extended such sympathy by the people they seek to eliminate.  I, for example, would not shed a tear for those who would seek the extermination of my race while waving blood-stained hands in the air. That just wouldn’t happen. I would instead be proud to defend my people from such as those. In Islam, the infidel is offered three choices; death, conversion, or subjugation. In modern times the Jew is offered only death. If there is one thing Israel is very good at, it is protecting it’s own. Those hostile to the existence of  the state of Israel continue to learn that lesson the hard way.

The ultimate irony is that most Westerners who defend Hamas and attack the right of Israel to exist or defend itself would be persecuted and even executed under Sharia law because of their life choices, racial heritage, and beliefs. How they cannot see that is impossible to understand or fathom. For otherwise supposedly intelligent members of Western Civilization to stand up and defend Muslim fanatics and terror groups just because they oppose Israel is a sad and pathetic thing so see. It should be disturbing to all those who value the concept and values of civilized man and the West over the barbarian peddling only death and destruction.

Here is some footage of Hamas shooting rockets next to crowded hotels, apartment complexes, and even right next to a UN flagged building.

From NDTV’s accompanying article: 

Israel has argued that that [Hamas’] rockets are fired from civilian areas, and this is why its retaliatory strikes can result in civilian casualties…this morning, NDTV witnessed one such rocket silo being created under a tent right next to the hotel where our team was staying. Minutes later, we saw the rocket being fired, just before the 72-hour ceasefire came into effect. It began with a mysterious tent with a blue canopy that bobbed up yesterday (August 4) at 6:30 am in an open patch of land next to our window. We saw three men making a multitude of journeys in and out of the tent, sometimes with wires. An hour later, they emerged, dismantled the tent, changed their clothes and walked away. The next morning – today – we woke to news of the 72-hour ceasefire but just before it was to take effect, the rocket next to our hotel was fired. There was a loud explosion and a whooshing sound. The cloud of smoke that rose was captured by our cameraperson. This report is being aired on NDTV and published on ndtv.com after our team left the Gaza strip – Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired. But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones.

 

Hamas and similar groups need to be hunted down and destroyed. War is never pretty and the collateral damage is always very regrettable, but sometimes wars need to be fought. And one should always use overwhelming force if possible to make sure you win. That’s how it’s done. It’s how one assures themselves of victory. One never heard the rhetoric of proportional response when it came to Pearl Harbor and defeating Imperial Japan in WWII, and such bizarre arguments are only trotted out like a one trick pony when it comes to Israel fighting its enemies. Muslim terrorists of all stripes deserve no mercy as they will never compromise or change and show no mercy themselves. They seek only to kill and destroy and we see that all across the Middle East right now. The evidence is the news and headlines we see every single day.

Home Value Appreciation Slowed in Most Major Markets

Seattle and San Jose saw the biggest declines in appreciation over the year, but Indianapolis and Atlanta accelerated.

  • Home value appreciation was slower this December than it was a year ago in 19 of the 35 largest housing markets
  • The typical U.S. home is worth $223,900, 7.6 percent more than it was a year ago
  • The median rent increased 1.4 percent over the past year, the biggest annual increase since June 2018
  • Inventory declined 0.4 percent after three straight months of annual increases

Annual home value growth slowed in more than half of the nation’s largest housing markets since this time last year, according to the December Zillow® Real Estate Market ReportiSeattle and San Jose, Calif., saw the biggest declines in appreciation over the past year.

In December 2017, home values in Seattle were growing at a 12.4 percent annual pace. They continued to appreciate at a double-digit pace through early 2018, but slowed to 5.0 percent in the seven months leading into December. San Josesaw a similarly steep drop in appreciation – from 16.8 percent in December 2017 to 9.9 percent in December 2018.

The median U.S. home value is $223,900, up 7.6 percent from December 2017, when national home value appreciation was 7.4 percent. Home value appreciation across much of the country has been fairly steady over the past year.

In several more affordable Southern markets, home value appreciation accelerated over the past year. In Atlanta, for example, appreciation increased from 8.1 percent at the end of 2017 to 13.2 percent in December 2018.

Even as appreciation slowed in 19 of the nation’s 35 largest housing markets, national home value growth is faster than it was when the market was coming out of the Great Recession. The fastest home values grew in the earliest years of the recovery was 7 percent in early 2014.

“Looking at the nation as a whole, housing appreciation seems stabilized at an arguably aggressive pace,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow Director of Economic Research and Outreach. “The exceptions to the rule are the metros that saw the fastest appreciation over the past few years, where home values far outpaced incomes. Employment growth continues, but that kind of extreme home value growth isn’t sustainable, and home buyers’ willingness and ability to outbid each other is falling back fast. We expect continued slowdowns in those expensive coastal markets. A three-month trend in increasing inventory ended, telling buyers that the pendulum hasn’t fully swung in their favor for this year’s home shopping season.”

The median rent increased 1.4 percent from the previous December to a Zillow Rent Index of $1,460. This was the biggest annual increase in rents since June 2018Orlando rents saw the biggest jump, up 6.4 percent over the past year to $1,496. Rents fell 1.3 percent in Portland, Oregon.

Inventory fell slightly over the past year, down 0.4 percent since December 2017. This came after three consecutive months of gains in the number of homes for sale, suggesting that national sustained inventory growth is not here yet. Still, several major markets that were starved for homes for sale are seeing big gains, led by San Jose (up 47.6 percent), Seattle (up 32.9 percent) and San Diego (up 32.2 percent).

Mortgage rates on Zillow ended December at 4.30 percent, which was also the lowest rate of the monthii. Rates were highest at the beginning of the monthiii, at 4.56 percent. Zillow’s real-time mortgage rates are based on thousands of custom mortgage quotes submitted daily to anonymous borrowers on the Zillow Mortgages site and reflect the most recent changes in the market.

Metropolitan Area

 Zillow Home Value Index, December 2018

ZHVI Year-over-Year Change

 Zillow Rent Index, December 2018

ZRI Year-over-Year Change

Inventory Year-over-Year Change

United States

$223,900

7.6%

$1,460

1.4%

-0.4%

New York, NY

$437,300

5.2%

$2,408

-0.3%

4.5%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

$650,200

3.9%

$2,804

2.4%

28.9%

Chicago, IL

$224,200

4.5%

$1,672

1.0%

1.2%

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

$240,200

11.3%

$1,626

1.6%

11.9%

Philadelphia, PA

$231,800

3.6%

$1,593

0.7%

-10.0%

Houston, TX

$204,300

6.8%

$1,572

1.5%

3.5%

Washington, DC

$404,100

3.5%

$2,157

0.5%

-18.9%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL

$282,700

7.9%

$1,894

1.9%

4.1%

Atlanta, GA

$216,600

13.2%

$1,426

2.6%

-2.4%

Boston, MA

$463,600

6.0%

$2,385

0.4%

10.3%

San Francisco, CA

$962,300

7.0%

$3,433

0.7%

28.1%

Detroit, MI

$159,400

9.0%

$1,218

1.6%

7.9%

Riverside, CA

$365,400

6.0%

$1,951

5.3%

15.0%

Phoenix, AZ

$263,200

7.6%

N/A

N/A

-7.5%

Seattle, WA

$488,400

5.0%

$2,213

0.1%

32.9%

Minneapolis-St Paul, MN

$266,000

6.1%

$1,678

2.9%

-1.7%

San Diego, CA

$592,700

4.8%

$2,606

2.5%

32.2%

St. Louis, MO

$166,500

6.3%

$1,149

0.4%

-7.1%

Tampa, FL

$212,900

10.1%

$1,417

4.3%

3.5%

Baltimore, MD

$267,600

4.0%

$1,747

0.5%

-12.3%

Denver, CO

$403,600

5.6%

$2,090

2.4%

18.3%

Pittsburgh, PA

$143,800

6.5%

$1,096

4.1%

-11.9%

Portland, OR

$395,700

4.9%

$1,857

-1.3%

15.4%

Charlotte, NC

$205,100

11.2%

$1,323

2.2%

-2.3%

Sacramento, CA

$406,900

4.8%

$1,885

2.4%

16.0%

San Antonio, TX

$191,800

7.2%

$1,351

0.5%

6.9%

Orlando, FL

$235,300

9.6%

$1,496

6.4%

0.4%

Cincinnati, OH

$167,700

8.1%

$1,296

1.4%

-1.0%

Cleveland, OH

$145,000

6.5%

$1,154

0.4%

N/A

Kansas City, MO

$190,500

10.0%

$1,286

1.0%

-14.2%

Las Vegas, NV

$278,000

13.0%

N/A

N/A

-9.4%

Columbus, OH

$188,400

7.2%

$1,350

2.2%

0.4%

Indianapolis, IN

$162,700

12.8%

$1,222

0.7%

N/A

San Jose, CA

$1,253,500

9.9%

$3,536

0.7%

47.6%

Austin, TX

$306,600

7.0%

$1,694

0.5%

3.8%

Watch: Ready Player One [trailer]

From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon.

The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.

Spielberg directed the film from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline. The film was produced by Donald De Line, Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Dan Farah; with Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris DeFaria and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.

“Ready Player One” stars Tye Sheridan (“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Mud”), Olivia Cooke (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” “Bates Motel”), Ben Mendelsohn (“Rogue One – A Star Wars Story,” “Bloodline”) and T.J. Miller (“Deadpool,” “Silicon Valley”), with Simon Pegg (the “Star Trek” movies, the “Mission: Impossible” movies) and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” upcoming “Dunkirk”).

Behind the scenes, three-time Oscar winner Spielberg (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”) reunited his creative team from “Bridge of Spies,” including Oscar-winning director of photography Janusz Kaminski (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”), Oscar-winning production designer Adam Stockhausen (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Oscar-winning editor Michael Kahn (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”) and Sarah Broshar (“The Post”), and costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone (“Moonrise Kingdom”). The music is by Oscar-nominated composer Alan Silvestri (the “Back to the Future” films, “Forrest Gump”).

Warner Bros. Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, an Amblin Production, a De Line Pictures Production, a Steven Spielberg Film, “Ready Player One.”

Slated for release on March 30, 2018, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

Navy to Commission Littoral Combat Ship Wichita

The Navy will commission its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Wichita (LCS 13), during a 10 a.m. ceremony Saturday, Jan. 12, at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., near Jacksonville, where the ship will be homeported.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Kate Lehrer, author and wife of Wichita native Jim Lehrer, the former anchor of “The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour” on PBS, is the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Lehrer gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

“This commissioning represents USS Wichita’s entry into the active fleet and is a testament to the increased capabilities made possible by a true partnership between the Department of the Navy and our industrial base,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “This ship honors the citizens of Wichita, Kansas for their longstanding support of the Navy and Marine Corps team and I am confident USS Wichita and crew will make our Navy and nation stronger.”

The future USS Wichita is the third naval vessel to honor Kansas’s largest city. The first was a heavy cruiser in service from 1939 to 1947. Active during World War II, Wichita supported amphibious landings during Operation Torch in November 1942 in the European Theater. She later participated in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf and the invasion of Okinawa in 1944 in the Pacific Theater. Wichita earned 13 battle stars for wartime service. The second USS Wichita (AOR 1) was a first-in-class replenishment oiler in service from 1969 to 1993. During her first three deployments, the ship made numerous trips to replenish ships on “Yankee Station,” earning four battle stars for service during the Vietnam War.

The future USS Wichita is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments as well as the open ocean. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin, Marinette, Wis., (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

The ceremony can be viewed on the Navy Live blog at http://navylive.dodlive.mil.

Putin Wants New Monitoring Posts in United States; Obama Administration May Allow

Russia wants to place electronic posts on United States soil and the Obama Administration’s State Department officials don’t see it as a threat.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has been requesting permission to place a number of fence-protected dome-topped, antenna-bristling buildings across the United States. What could go wrong?

The CIA and other national defense agencies have been urging the Obama administration to prevent these facilities from being built, but according to reporting in the New York Times there’s nothing to worry about.

The facilities are being proposed as a way for Russia to combat America’s lead in global positioning technology. The United States has a significant advantage over other countries due to the satellite technology that America has invested in and chosen to deploy. Now Russia and other nations are hoping to equal the playing field with much less of an investment. All they need is our President’s permission.

The buildings are part of Vladimir Putin’s Glonass initiative which, on its face, appears to be a ground based location alternative to Global Positioning Satellite technology offered by the United States.

The concern is that giving Russian national agencies property within the borders of the country will allow them to deploy espionage technologies without much effort.

A key question is what advantage is there for the United States to allow a foreign government to deploy these stations? Why would Americans want to help a foreign power compete with a technology that United States citizens tax money was spent to develop?

Of further concern, although the New York Times fails to mention it, is that Glanoss is a space-based technology. Why would Putin need electronically-laden stations across our country for a satellite technology? The United States didn’t require stations across Russia and China to deploy its location technology.

The Russians are seeking to place a half dozen or more of these “monitoring stations” on American soil. Why would we allow it?

According to the New York Times, a White House State Department official said that “It doesn’t see them as a threat.”

America’s newly weak position on the world stage has consequences. Bring on the Jimmy Carter analogies.

 

Top Obama White House Lawyer Made False Statements To DOJ About Manafort-Related Work

The Justice Department is alleging that the former Obama White House general counsel made ‘false and misleading’ statements regarding consulting work done for Ukraine.

  • Greg Craig was lead partner for the law firm Skadden Arps on its Ukraine work, which was done in partnership with Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. 
  • Skadden Arps agreed Thursday to settle with the Justice Department by registering as a foreign agent of Ukraine and paying a $4.6 million fine.
  • Craig’s fate remains uncertain.

The former general counsel for President Obama made “false and misleading statements” to the Justice Department regarding work he did for the Ukrainian government that has come under scrutiny in the special counsel’s probe.

Greg Craig’s alleged false statements were revealed in a settlement announced Thursday by the Justice Department. The agency announced it was settling with Craig’s former firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on behalf of Ukraine beginning in 2012.

Skadden Arps agreed to register retroactively with the Justice Department as a foreign agent of Ukraine and to pay a $4.6 million fine, the same amount that the firm was paid for its consulting work.

Craig, who left Skadden Arps in April 2018, is not identified by name in the Justice Department announcement, but he has previously been identified as the lead Skadden Arps partner who worked on its Ukraine account. Other clues from the Justice Department settlement point to Craig as the lead partner referenced in case.

As part of the settlement, Skadden Arps acknowledged that it acted on behalf of the Ukrainian government “by contributing to a public relations campaign directed at select members of the U.S. news media in 2012.”

Craig and others at Skadden Arps helped promote a report that raised questions about Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister who was seen as a foe to Viktor Yanukovych, who served as prime minister through 2014.

The Justice Department says that it contacted Skadden Arps in 2012 and 2013 about registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) after the law firm released a report that defended Tymoshenko’s imprisonment.

But the firm ended up not registering under FARA based on false assurances provided by Skadden Arps’ partner.

“A partner then at Skadden made false and misleading statements to the FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] Unit, which led it to conclude in 2013 that the firm was not obligated to register under FARA,” the Justice Department said.

“The facts, when uncovered, showed that Skadden was indeed required to register in 2012, and, under the Agreement, it will do so retroactively.”

The Skadden Arps media outreach centered mostly on a report about Tymoshenko that was finalized in December 2012. According to the Justice Department, the Skadden Arps lead partner, seemingly Craig, contacted a major national newspaper on Dec. 12, 2012, to provide a preview of the report as well as a quotation.

The news outlet appears to be The New York Times, which quoted Craig in an article laying out Skadden Arps’ report regarding Tymoshenko.

The Skadden Arps report determined that some of Tymoshenko’s legal rights were violated during her trial in Ukraine. But it ultimately sided against Tymoshenko and with Yanukovych’s administration.

Craig, who contacted the newspaper, is quoted in the article, saying that “We leave to others the question of whether this prosecution was politically motivated.”

“Our assignment was to look at the evidence in the record and determine whether the trial was fair.”

According to the Justice Department, the Skadden Arps partner provided misleading statements about the dissemination of the Tymoshenko report and the interactions with the media.

“In both written and oral responses to the FARA Unit between February 6, 2013, and October 11, 2013, Skadden, in reliance on the lead partner, made false and misleading statements including, among other things, that Skadden provided a copy of the Report only in response to requests from the media and spoke to the media to correct misinformation about the report that the media was already reporting,” the Justice Department said.

The agency also asserted that the Skadden Arps’ partner’s “pre-release outreach” to the journalist “was consistent with Ukraine’s media strategy for the Report.”

That strategy involved “leaking the Report prior to its official release so as to ‘effectively set the agenda for subsequent coverage,’” according to the DOJ.

It is unclear whether Craig faces any legal jeopardy in the case or whether he concurs with the Skadden Arps settlement. The government’s agreement with Skadden Arps explicitly states that the settlement does not protect “current or former partners” from criminal liability.

CNN reported on Sept. 15, 2018, that the Justice Department was weighing charges against Craig, who left the Obama White House on Jan. 3, 2010.

An attorney for Craig responded, “no comment” to an inquiry by TheDCNF.

The settlement closes one chapter of the ongoing saga over the Ukraine lobbying effort. Two other lobbying firms, the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, are also reportedly the subject of an investigation into the Ukraine work.

Manafort has pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation to working as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukraine. He was convicted on Aug. 21, 2018, for money laundering and fraud related to money he made on the Ukrainian consulting gig.

U.S. Pulls Out of Nuke Treaty, Cites Russia’s ‘Unlawful Conduct’

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the United States will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty beginning Saturday, Feb 2 due to unlawful conduct by Russia.

“Tomorrow, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which will be completed in 6 months unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment,” President Trump said in a statement. “We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.”

While the United States has adhered to the treaty since its signing, Russia has continued to develop and test missiles in direct violation of the terms of the agreement and has used half-truths and other misrepresentations to hide their actions.

“We will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions,” Trump said. “We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty.”

According to the statement, members of NATO support the president’s actions “because they understand the threat posed by Russia’s violation and the risks to arms control posed by ignoring treaty violations.”

The U.S. begins the process of leaving the treaty just 60-days after threatening to do so if Russia did not return to verifiable compliance with the agreement.

These Are The Greediest Most Sin-Filled Cities In America, Study Says

Las Vegas lives up to its notorious title of “Sin City” as the most vice-filled city in America, and many other cities are plagued by similar vices, according to a Monday study.

Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York rank as the top three most sinful cities in the U.S., respectively, according to a WalletHub study published on Nov. 26. Houston and St. Louis follow as the most vice-filled cities, respectively. St. Louis has a higher share of adult smokers than any other city, according to the study.

South Burlington, Vermont, and Pearl City, Hawaii, rank as the least sinful cities, respectively, according to WalletHub. Columbia, Maryland, and Burlington, Vermont, rank third and fourth, respectively.

The WalletHub authors conducted their study by comparing 182 cities across factors of anger, jealousy, excesses and vices, greed, lust, vanity and laziness. The cities selected for the study include America’s 150 most populated cities along with at least two of the most populated cities in each state, according to WalletHub.

The number of sex offenders, violent crimes, hate crimes, deaths by firearm and bullying rates were factored into WalletHub’s calculation of sin. The number of mass shootings, terrorist attacks, thefts — including of identity — and fraud were also included.

Cities were compared across obesity and high school dropout rates, as well as by number of fast food restaurants, smokers, DUIs, opioid prescriptions, adult entertainment establishments, active Tinder users, and beauty and tanning salons.

Irvine, California, has the lowest crime rate, according to WalletHub, where St. Louis has over 34 times that rate, according to the study. Yonkers, New York, also has the fewest thefts per 1,000 residents. Springfield, Missouri, has the highest rate at nearly 91 thefts per 1,000 residents.

New York, however, has the most beauty salons and spas per square root of population.

Las Vegas lives up to its notorious title of “Sin City.” Source: WalletHub

Fremont, California, has the lowest share of obese adults and Detroit has the highest, according to the study. San Jose, California, also has the lowest share of adult smokers.

Addiction to gambling causes roughly $100 billion in losses for U.S. consumers every year, according to the study. Identity theft and fraud also totaled $16 billion in 2017, according to WalletHub.

Smoking kills half a million people in America every year, and costs roughly $300 billion dollars in medical care and lost productivity, according to a January WalletHub report.

President Obama’s Broad Coalition of One

With great fanfare and a nationwide, prime time presidential address to the American people, President Obama announced the formation of a “broad coalition” that would wage war together to destroy the Islamic State also known as ISIS or ISIL. Although few other details were given about the coalition, a senior administration official said on Wednesday “we are very confident that this will be a broad-based coalition with countries from the Arab world, from Europe, but also other key allies around the globe, like, for instance, Australia, which has joined us in humanitarian airdrops already in Iraq; or Canada, which has already put advisers on the ground.”

From President Obama’s “ISIL isn’t Islamic” speech:

First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven. …

This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined some more of the possible participants. He suggested that a “core coalition” would include the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark. The 10 Arab “frenemy” states that committed on Thursday to the fight against ISIS included the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. The new coalition also includes Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. At the time of the publication of this article some 40 nations had supposedly joined this “broad coalition” to defeat ISIS. But does that mean anything other than the provision of some thin cover for a nation still perceived as Christian raining down death and destruction (complete with inevitable civilian casualties) on what are in fact, despite Obama’s protestations, Muslims?

But tough talk is often very cheap. It’s only been a few days and Obama’s “very significant counterterrorism operation” is already a disaster and falling apart before it ever got started.

In less than a day after Obama’s speech, both the UK and Germany (despite their earlier saber-rattling and tough guy talk) announced they have no interest in actually actively participating in any Obama led coalition to go after ISIS’ main bases of power in Syria. France has announced that they will not participate in any land or air actions at all. NATO member Turkey abstained from even pretending to join the anti-ISIS coalition and will not let the US use their airbases to attack ISIS targets in Syria. And now the Saudi’s probably won’t either.

What Obama will get from the Arab League and the others will be some supportive talk, perhaps a trickle of funds and arms to the locals, and that’s about it. When Bush invaded Iraq three other nations provided troops for the invasion and 37 other nations of the “Coalition of the Willing” provided ground troops for occupation and nation building attempts afterwards. In stark contrast to that, Obama’s “Broad Coalition” in the end will basically be a “Coalition of One” with a few local forces thrown into the mix. All led by a Commander-in-Chief who doesn’t want to fight, doesn’t want to be there, and known for walking away from ‘red lines.’ One can already sense this may not go well. Chances are he’ll screw around with this for a couple more years without really accomplishing too much and then hand it over to his successor to deal with. We’ll see and time will tell. I hope he proves me wrong.

What does this quick collapse of his coalition say about Obama’s strategic preparation? Did he even bother to check in with the Brits, French, and the Germans before pledging his “broad coalition of partners.” Apparently not. It would  instead appear that The One simply assumed our European allies would quickly just fall in line with his newly proclaimed war on terror.

And what tactics does the President envision utilizing against The Islamic State? From the Washington Post:

[Campaigns in Somalia and Yemen]  have dragged on for years and involve far smaller and less-well-financed adversaries than the Islamic State. Although Obama promised a “steady, relentless effort” in a nationally televised address Wednesday night, he also said that “it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL,” using a common acronym for the Islamic State.
Such a mission was not the U.S. military’s preferred option. Responding to a White House request for options to confront the Islamic State, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants, according to two U.S. military officials. The recommendation, conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly opposed by the White House. Instead, Obama had decided to send an additional 475 U.S. troops to assist Iraqi and ethnic Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.
Recommitting ground combat forces to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission.

So, in effect, President Obama has rejected the “Afghan model” that was used to successfully drive the Taliban from power in 100 days. It consisted of front line Special forces  and CIA paramilitaries calling in pinpoint US airstrikes on targets as they moved and worked in tandem with local opposition forces to defeat the enemy. It’s a devastating strategy that’s proven to be extremely effective in the past. What a shame. It’s how we really should wage war from now on.  On top of that, an unnamed U.S. general also told WaPo the other day that defeating ISIS would be much harder than anything we’ve done in Afghanistan or Iraq. Great, just great.

If President Obama quickly waffles, loses interest, and walks away from this tough talking but shallow commitment as well, we can then rename it the “Broad Coalition of None.”

Trump praised for beef trade deal with China

A Montana newspaper published an article praising the Trump administration for having negotiated a deal that will result in about $2.5 billion in beef sales to China.

The Great Falls Tribune reported that starting in July “for the first time in about 14 years, U.S. cattle producers will have access to that market.”

China, along with many other countries, halted U.S. beef imports after cattle in this country tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which destroys the brain and central nervous system of infected cattle. Humans who eat nerve tissue of infected cattle can get variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, which is fatal.

While other countries lifted their U.S. beef bans, China has remained off limits, until now.

The Obama administration had tried, unsuccessfully, in 2012 to get beef into China. The US-China Agricultural Symposium was touted as a way to return America to being the breadbasket of the world.

The persistence of many paid off and now Montana ranchers and our state’s economy will benefit.

President Donald Trump is accomplishing much that team Obama was unable to complete. He brought home Otto Warmbier and now has opened China up to American beef. Those in the cattle industry are understandably thankful.

Trade deals are long and complicated. China’s ban on U.S. beef imports meant that the entire time former Montana Sen. Max Baucus was the Ambassador to China, from 2014 to earlier this year, he could not get a steak from a U.S.-raised cow in China.

The persistence of many paid off and now Montana ranchers and our state’s economy will benefit.

He’s making better trade deals, creating American jobs, getting better results from hostile regimes and dealing strongly with America’s enemies. In a sentence, he’s delivering on his campaign promises.