Froma Harrop - Clean energy & dollars are both green

Some of the nation's fiercest winds tear across the 100-odd miles separating Casper and Rawlins, making Wyoming a potential colossus of wind power. So why is Wyoming the only state to tax wind power? Ask the politicians representing America's biggest producer of coal. Or simpler, check their donor list.

"There is a real feeling that Wyoming is not open for business for wind," a frustrated economic development official from Casper told a conference in Laramie.

Despite the tax on wind power, there are plans to build enormous wind facilities in Wyoming. Imagine the business possibilities if the state stopped taxing what other places pay subsidies to build.

Promoters of fossil fuels have long argued that wind and solar power are just too expensive and unreliable to serve as major sources of energy. But if that's the case, why fight them? Why not sit back and let market forces sink them as pipe dreams?

Because that is no longer the case. Renewable energy has become competitive, and the fossil fuel producers know it.

In Colorado, the big electric utility Xcel Energy just received "shockingly low bids" from developers of renewable energy, The Denver Post reports. Bids from solar and wind power companies, energy storage included, undercut even coal-generated power in price.

Believe it or not, some Wyoming lawmakers recently tried to raise the wind tax by 400 percent. It was killed in committee, leaving the $1 per megawatt-hour tax — itself nuts — in place.

Where is the Trump administration on renewable energy? Where do you think it is?

President Trump currently wants to slash the Energy Department's $2 billion energy efficiency and renewables programs by 72 percent. China, meanwhile, is showering tax credits on foreign solar companies that move there.

China's single-minded crusade to dominate solar energy has slashed the world's prices for solar panels. This has put American manufacturers at a disadvantage, and not always fairly. But the cheaper panels have boosted a domestic solar industry, now employing about 250,000 Americans to assemble, install and maintain the panels.

Trump's new 30 percent tariff on Chinese solar panels will make solar energy more expensive and kill many of these jobs. New utility-scale solar construction will be hit hardest in California, Texas, Florida and Georgia.

The five states getting the largest percentage of their power from wind are Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Texas is now the biggest producer of wind power in volume. Note that all these states voted for Trump.

Their interest in renewable energy centers on jobs and dollars, not necessarily concern over global warming. Farmers and other big landowners are all in on it. Congress tried to go after subsidies for electric vehicles, wind energy and solar power in the tax bill. These states are why it failed.

The cards are on the table. The European Parliament is pushing for a target of 35 percent renewable energy by 2030. In Norway, a major oil exporter, over half the cars sold are now electric or hybrid.

California lawmakers are trying to mandate that 100 percent of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2045. Hawaii enacted a similar law in 2015. (It has already saved the state a reported quarter-billion dollars.) Tesla will be soon selling solar panels and the batteries to store the energy they produce at Home Depot — not far from the screwdrivers and plumbing pipes.

Back in Wyoming, investors plan to build transmission lines that could carry energy from up to 1,000 turbines being erected south of Rawlins to electricity markets in California, Nevada and Arizona. Or perhaps the people of Carbon County, Wyoming, would rather scratch coal from their surface mines. They decide.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

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Pat Buchanan - Never-Trump press in near panic

"All the News That's Fit to Print" proclaims the masthead of The New York Times. "Democracy Dies in Darkness," echoes The Washington Post.

"The people have a right to know," the professors at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism hammered into us in 1962. "Trust the people," we were admonished.

Explain then this hysteria, this panic in the press over the release of a four-page memo detailing one congressional committee's rendering of how Trump-hate spawned an FBI investigation of Republican candidate and President Donald Trump.

What is the press corps afraid of? For it has not ceased keening and caterwauling that this memo must not see the light of day. Do the media not trust the people? Can Americans not handle the truth?

Is this the same press corps that celebrates "The Post," lionizing Kay Graham for publishing the Pentagon Papers, top-secret documents charging the "Best and the Brightest" of the JFK-LBJ era with lying us into Vietnam?

Why are the media demanding a "safe space" for us all, so we will not be harmed by reading or hearing what the memo says?

Security secrets will be compromised, we are warned.

Really? Would the House Intelligence Committee majority vote to expose secrets that merit protection? Would Speaker Paul Ryan and White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, who have read and approved the release of the memo, go along with that? Is Gen. Kelly not a proven patriot, many times over?

The committee's ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, who earlier warned of a threat to national security, now seems ready to settle for equal time. If the majority memo is released, says Schiff, the minority version of events should be released. Schiff is right. It should be, along with the backup behind both.

This week, however, FBI Director Chris Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein slipped into the White House to plead with Kelly to keep the Republican memo secret. Wednesday, both went public to warn the White House against doing what Trump said he was going to do.

This is defiant insubordination. And it is not unfair to ask if Rosenstein and Wray are more alarmed about some threat to the national security than they are about the exposure of misconduct in their own agencies.

 Leaks suggest what the memo contends: That the Russiagate investigation of Trump was propelled by a "dossier" of lies and unproven allegations of squalid conduct in Moscow and Trumpian collusion with Russia.

Who prepared the dossier? The leading dirt-diver hired by the Clinton campaign, former British spy Christopher Steele. In accumulating his Russian dirt, Steele was spoon-fed by old comrades in the Kremlin's security apparatus.

Not only did the FBI use this dirt to launch a full investigation of Trump, the bureau apparently used it to convince a FISA court judge to give the FBI a warrant to surveil and wiretap the Trump campaign.

If true, the highest levels of the FBI colluded with a British spy digging dirt for Hillary to ruin the opposition candidate, and, having failed, to bring down an elected president.

Is this not something we have a right to know? Should it be covered up to protect those at the FBI who may have engaged in something like this?

"Now they are investigating the investigators!" comes the wail of the media. Well, yes, they are, and, from the evidence, about time.

In this divided capital, there are warring narratives.

The first is that Trump was compromised by the Russians and colluded with them to hack the DNC and Clinton campaign to destroy her candidacy. After 18 months, the FBI and Robert Mueller probes have failed to demonstrate this.

The second narrative is now ascendant. It is this: In mid-2016, James Comey and an FBI cabal, including Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, lead investigator Peter Strzok and his FBI paramour Lisa Page, decided Clinton must not be indicted in the server scandal, as that would make Trump president.

So they colluded and put the fix in.

This alleged conspiracy is being investigated by the FBI inspector general. His findings may explain last week's sudden resignation of McCabe and last summer's ouster of Strzok from the Mueller probe.

If true, this conspiracy to give Hillary a pass on her "gross negligence" in handling secrets, and take down Trump based on dirt dug up by hirelings of the Clinton campaign would make the Watergate break-in appear by comparison to be a prank.

Here we may have hit the reason for the panic in the media.

Trump-haters in the press may be terrified that the memo may credibly demonstrate that the "Deplorables" were right, that the elite media have been had, that they were exploited and used by the "deep state," that they let their detestation of Trump so blind them to reality that they made fools of themselves, and that they credited with high nobility a major conspiracy to overthrow an elected president of the United States.

Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.

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Susan Estrich - The sorry state of the union

"Tonight," Donald Trump said, "I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people."

Who is he kidding?

How dumb does he think we are?

Is this the same man who can't stop tweeting about how Hillary Clinton should be investigated and locked up? Is this the same man who embraces white supremacists? Is this the same man who refused to condemn anti-Semitism on Holocaust Memorial Day? Is this the same man who would destroy the First Amendment and freedom of the press? Is this the same man who walked away from a bipartisan deal on immigration because of his beloved but totally impractical wall, and who would deport those who were brought to this country as children?

That is the real Donald Trump. He writes those tweets. That's who he is.

This is a speech that he just read. Written by those who know better. Delivered — and to be forgotten moments later.

How dare he?

Trump's inaugural address — caustic, angry and divisive — might have been one of the worst in history, by any standard, but at least it was honest.

Donald Trump has never tried to unite this country. He has never reached out in a conciliatory fashion to those with whom he disagrees. He castigates them, calls them criminals, belittles them. That's Donald Trump.

 The man on the podium in Congress was an actor playing a part, a reality show star who realized that being booed for being hateful and divisive during the State of the Union address just wouldn't look good on television.

Best to do it in tweets instead.

Best to do it in meetings at the White House.

Best to avoid talking about "s—-hole countries" — sorry, his word not mine — on national television.

Leave it for the next day, or the day before.

If you think anything has changed because of a pretty speech written by a speechwriter somewhere in the executive office building then you are going to be sorely disappointed. Interviews the morning after the speech with leaders on both sides confirm the reality: Nothing has changed.

There is only one reason President Trump sounded anything approaching a conciliatory tone in his first State of the Union: Because his approval rating is in the toilet and his party stands an excellent chance of losing control of the House, which could easily lead to the impeachment of a president who seems bent on obstructing justice in every way he can.

Trump has no one but himself to blame for his problems. The speechwriters may craft his addresses before Congress, but he writes and shares the ugly tweets and retweets that reveal the dark side of his character.

Even his wife didn't want to ride in the same car with him to the State of the Union. Seems she's figured out what the rest of us already knew: that he is not a man of his word; that he cannot be trusted; that he thinks the rules that apply to everyone else just don't apply to him.

These are terrifying characteristics for a man who is the president of the United States. He has embarrassed us in the eyes of the world. Maybe in reality TV, one good performance can erase all the bad ones.

Not in real life. The real state of the union is divided and troubled, polarized and afraid. And nothing Donald Trump said on Tuesday night even begins to change that.

Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.

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Jim Hightower - Why the American majority despises Trump's Washington

Donald Trump, never lacking in self-esteem, bragged in 2016: "I know words — I have the best words."

Well, sometimes he does put together a coherent sentence, using some very fine words that convey great promise, such as this one: "I'm going to fight for every person in this country who believes government should serve the people — not the donors and special interests." And, if those words are too highbrow for you, Trump made the same promise with some punchier words, declaring he would "drain the swamp" to rid Washington of those creepy, crawly corporate lobbyists.

Excellent words! But words only matter if the speaker actually means them, backing their rhetorical promise with action. As we've seen though, far from draining the swamp, this president proceeded immediately to convert the White House itself into a fetid cesspool of self-serving corporate executives, lobbyists, and banksters.

His transition team was almost exclusively made up of those swamp critters. His $100 million glitzy inaugural celebration was bankrolled by Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Pharma and other Bigs that attached their legislative and regulatory demands to the checks they donated. Most of his cabinet members, agency heads and top aids came straight out of Wall Street and corporate suites, turning Trump's government into a gold-plated sump pump that's routinely funneling trillions of our dollars and thousands of special favors to the moneyed elite.

Asked why he appointed only multimillionaire Wall Street hucksters to design and administer his economic policy, he offered this scramble of words that inadvertently revealed his true, plutocratic soul: "I love all people, rich or poor. But in these positions, I just don't want a poor person."

Really? Not even one official who understands poverty from firsthand experience, rather than from the bias of right-wing ideologues? And what about those hard-hit middle-class workers Trump always talks about? Nope. He's not appointed even one to a top policy position. So, forget Trump's words. If the poor and middle class aren't in his government, they're neither in his heart nor in his policies.

It's odd that Washington Republicans are so publicly high-fiving each other and loudly crowing about their strictly partisan passage last December of the Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax law. Odd, because the people outside of Washington hate that law.

Yes, hate. With a dismal public approval rating of only 30 percent, the GOP's trillion dollar Christmas present to multinational corporations and multimillionaires has been tagged by a top surveyor of public opinion as Congress' second-most disliked domestic bill in the past quarter-century. Second only to the Trump-McConnell-Ryan trio's attempts last year to take away the healthcare coverage of 23 million Americans - a mingy move that only 23 percent of the public supported.

Why do these doofuses keep trying to shove such wildly unpopular measures down people's throats? Because, as The Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky succinctly explained, "They are serving their mega-rich donors and the most extreme elements of their base." In today's rigged, convoluted political system, the special interests of the narrow minority trumps the will of the great majority.

That is where America's fast-expanding, socially destructive inequality comes from. The tax giveaway to the corporations, for example, guts our public treasury, so the Republican Congress, White House, and army of corporate lobbyists are now demanding cuts in the Social Security, Medicare, and other essential programs the majority of us need.

To pretend that they give a damn, the plutocratic powers are presently pulling a trickle-down PR trick on us. The GOP's bill drastically reduced their taxes and increases many of ours, so to dodge public fury, they're making a show of awarding a tiny portion of their bonanza to workers — not as pay raises, but as one-time "bonus" payments. Bank of America, for example, is doling out about $130 million in worker bonuses, while keeping $2.6 billion it will get next year alone from Trump's tax bill.

If the corporate-GOP syndicate wonders why they're so despised, there it is.

Populist author, public speaker, and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.

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Michelle Malkin - 'Dreamers' and Demons

Xinran Ji, 24, had big dreams. But demons demolished them.

The bright hopes of young Xinran Ji, a University of Southern California engineering student from Inner Mongolia, died in 2014 at the hands of a then-19-year-old "Dreamer" and his thug pals. Mexican illegal alien Jonathan DelCarmen, who first jumped the southern border at age 12, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last summer in the savage robbery and fatal beating of Ji — who was walking home from a study group after midnight.

No, it wasn't President Trump, ICE agents, Republicans or conservative talk show hosts who racially profiled Xinran Ji. It was "Dreamer" DelCarmen and his partners in crime: Alberto Ochoa, 17, Andrew Garcia, 18, and Alejandra Guerrero, 16. The gangsters targeted Ji because he was Asian and assumed he "must have money." Guerrero had sent Facebook messages about wanting to "flock" (rob) white and Chinese people. Off-campus neighborhoods around USC are dominated by Mexican Mafia affiliates that target foreign students and shake down local businesses owned by law-abiding immigrants.

"Dreamer" DelCarmen and his friends stalked Ji on a street corner in south central L.A. before bashing him in the head with a baseball bat and a wrench. The attack was caught on multiple security cameras. Ji managed to stagger home to his apartment, leaving a quarter-mile trail of blood behind him.

Sometime during the night, Xinran Ji died in his bed. And the aspirations of his family, who sacrificed everything to send him to America to pursue his studies, perished with him.

"Dreamer" DelCarmen and his friends drove off to a nearby beach to rob two more innocent people in a city and state that have defiantly declared themselves "sanctuaries" for people in the United States illegally — not for the best and brightest like Xinran Ji, but for lawless barbarians like Jonathan DelCarmen.

"It's like heaven fell down," Ji's father told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli at Garcia's sentencing hearing.

"His life was taken by these demons," Ji's aunt added. "They robbed and killed an innocent youth with very vicious means, and this was inhuman."

Garcia received life in prison without the possibility of parole. Ji's parents' sentence was far worse: a brutal, violent and permanent separation from their only child. In Washington, D.C., however, some families matter more than others. And victims of indiscriminate open borders, like Xinran Ji, don't exist.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, proud promoter of sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants, led more than two dozen Democrats in turning the State of the Union address into "Take an Illegal Alien to Work Day."

Platitudes whitewash bloody reality.

"I want to be clear: DREAMers are Americans," declared Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who invited an illegal alien from El Salvador who now works at Apple. "They contribute to our economy, our communities and our strength and stability as a nation."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., brought a Mexican illegal alien, Cesar Montelongo, now enrolled in the M.D.-Ph.D. program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

"I hope Cesar's presence reminds President Trump what's at stake in the debate over DACA: the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent young people who want to contribute to our country's future."

Democrats and pro-amnesty radicals protest any glint of sunlight shed on the destructive consequences of not enforcing our nation's immigration laws. They claim it's unfair to focus on single cases or "anecdotes," even as they promote DACA recipients as a holy, unassailable class of "honor roll students, star athletes, talented artists and valedictorians."

This propaganda, to which open-borders Republicans have fecklessly capitulated, is an offense to decency and truth. Xinran Ji was an innocent young person pursuing his educational dreams in America. He planned to return to China to use his knowledge to secure a better future for himself, his family and his community.

The blind beatification and elevation of illegal immigrant "Dreamers" above law-abiding native Americans, naturalized Americans, legal immigrants and their families will be the ruin of us all.

Michelle Malkin is host of "Michelle Malkin Investigates" on CRTV.com. Her email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To find out more about Michelle Malkin and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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