The FBI paid a non-governmental third party over $1 million for technology that allowed the agency to unlock an iPhone 5C that belonged to San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook, according to a remark made by FBI director James Comey at a moderated discussion in London on Thursday.


The bureau’s top official added that the purchase of third party tools for the purpose of unlocking encrypted devices is not the preferred road the FBI would like to travel in investigating crimes and terrorism cases.

Who Enrolls in Obamacare?

What’s the effect of that on costs under Obamacare?  The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association rudely conducted a study of the matter, and they found

  • New enrollees in individual health plans in 2014 and 2015 had higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, depression, coronary artery disease, HIV and Hepatitis C than those enrolled before ObamaCare.
  • New enrollees received significantly more medical care, on average, than those with individual or employer-based plans.
  • New enrollees had more inpatient admissions, outpatient visits, prescriptions filled and emergency room visits.

American Exceptionalism

seen from the other side of the world.  Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has a perspective.

Every one of America’s important trading partners in Asia, he points out, now has China as its “biggest trading partner.”  These nations know they will have a freer and more open trading system if America, not China, is writing the rules.


What makes it all so twisted [the debate over the TPP], says Mr Lee, is that no one in Asia is rooting for an American retreat.  To the contrary, Asian leaders are eager to make America great again….

Climatistas, Again

From Watts Up With That we get the latest internal inconsistency of the climate panic-mongers.

Including gas, oil and coal, they [the UN’s IPCC] estimate a total fossil fuel reserve of nine hundred to two thousand gigatonnes of carbon (GtC).  I decided to apply those numbers to both the Bern Model and the simple exponential decay model.

Willis Eschenbach, the author of the linked-to article, asked:

My interest was in finding out what would happen, according to the two CO2 models, if we burned all of the fossil fuels by 2100.

Another Bill Did Pass

I wrote earlier about the National Football League’s apparent attempt to extort Georgia into not enacting a bill that didn’t suit the NFL’s pleasure.

North Carolina did enact a bill in the same tenor, and now the National Basketball Association is threatening to pull its next year’s All-Star game from Charlotte in retaliation.

When can we expect the NBA to mandate an inclusive environment to all who attend our games and event[s] and safe spaces of equality and mutual respect in its clubs’ arena rest rooms and to ban Men’s and Women’s rest rooms as unacceptably discriminatory?


Now the Bill Must Pass?

The Georgia legislature has passed a bill and put it in front of the governor that would

protect pastors from performing same-sex marriages and give “faith-based” organizations permission to deny use of their business for anything they find “objectionable.” Businesses wouldn’t have to hire anyone whose religious beliefs are different from theirs[.]

The NFL doesn’t like that.

“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”

Central Management

China is having a harder time managing a property market that is diverging, the country’s housing minister said Tuesday.

“The differences are severe, and it is worsening,” Chen Zhenggao said at a news conference on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress on Tuesday.  “The situation in the first-tier cities and the third- and fourth-tier cities are different, which brings about challenges to our regulatory work, and is a major issue.”

[emphasis added]  And this:

Another Reason

…to reduce investments in the PRC: it’s getting harder to get the money back out, this time from foreign exchange controls designed to be limits on how much money in yuan can be exchanged for other currencies, like the US dollar, the British pound, and the Japanese yen.

China’s foreign-exchange regulator in recent months has deployed a new system to monitor individual purchases of foreign funds and has asked banks to reduce foreign-currency transactions. It has summoned bankers to its offices to give guidance and has grilled them when foreign-exchange activity spikes, according to executives at Chinese and foreign lenders.

Stability vs Prosperity and Sovereignty

It appears that Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, prefers stability at the expense of British prosperity and national sovereignty. He said last Tuesday that

uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the coming referendum on Britain’s future in Europe is already being felt in financial markets, and that a vote in favor of leaving could cause a short-term hit to the wider economy.

A possible departure represents “the biggest domestic risk to financial stability,” Mr. Carney said, with potential consequences for Britain’s balance of payments with the rest of the world, its housing market, foreign investment and its banks.

Trump’s Plan for Replacing Obamacare

Republican Party Presidential candidate Donald Trump finally has made public his plan for eliminating and replacing Obamacare. His plan consists of the following seven points:

  1. Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.
  2. Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. As long as the plan purchased complies with state requirements, any vendor ought to be able to offer insurance in any state. By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.