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Showing posts from July, 2013

Green energy a poor investment for German company

IBD:
The CEO of Siemens AG, the German manufacturing giant, has been sent packing. Seems the board had it with his stewardship. Instead of making solid gains, he took the company down a green energy hole.

Peter Loescher was picked from Merck & Co. in May 2007 to lead Siemens out of a troubling time. What they got was an executive who made a bet on a trendy interest and didn't get the results that were expected of him.

"This weekend," Bloomberg News reported Monday, the company "lost patience after Loescher's expansion into green energy and expensive acquisitions led to a fifth profit-forecast cut."

Loescher was then dismissed on Wednesday.

He can't say he wasn't warned. He needed only to look at Spain, where attempts to create a green economy failed miserably.

Researcher Gabriel Calzada Alvarez at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos looked at the Spanish effort and found that for every green job that was created, 2.2 jobs were destroyed. Alvarez also dis…

NSA data 'screeening'

Guardian:
A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian's earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisasurveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden's most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

"I, sitting at my desk…

If they want to stop settlements they need to make a deal with Israel

Telegraph:
Palestinians say more settlements could derail Middle East peace effort The Palestinians could have stopped new settlements in the past is they had been willing to say yes to a deal with Israel.  I think thye are not all that interested in a deal with Israel.

FEC uses IRS in pushing case against conservatives

Eliana Johnson:
Embattled Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner and an attorney in the Federal Election Commission’s general counsel’s office appear to have twice colluded to influence the record before the FEC’s vote in the case of a conservative non-profit organization, according to e-mails unearthed by the House Ways and Means Committee and obtained exclusively by National Review Online. The correspondence suggests the discrimination of conservative groups extended beyond the IRS and into the FEC, where an attorney from the agency’s enforcement division in at least one case sought and received tax information about the status of a conservative group, the American Future Fund, before recommending that the commission prosecute it for violations of campaign-finance law. Lerner, the former head of the IRS’s exempt-organizations division, worked at the FEC from 1986 to 1995, and was known for aggressive investigation of conservative groups during her tenure there, too.

“Several m…

Paying dead farmers?

NY Times:
Millions in U.S. Subsidies Go to Dead Farmers
A report by the Government Accountability Office found that the Agriculture Department lacked the proper controls to make sure the money it sent was going to the right people. Like the post below, it appears the government is incapable of doing basic management functions.  It is the kind of work that should show up in routine checks and audits.  They should be able to catch most of these by tapping into reports of deaths to Social Security.

Homeland Security lost track of a million people who showed up in US

Washington Times:
The Homeland Security Department has lost track of more than 1 million people who it knows arrived in the U.S. but who it cannot prove left the country, according to an audit Tuesday that also found the department probably won’t meet its own goals for deploying an entry-exit system.

The findings were revealed as Congress debates an immigration bill, and the Government Accountability Office’s report could throw up another hurdle because lawmakers in the House and Senate have said that any final deal must include a workable system to track entries and exits and cut down on so-called visa overstays.

The government does track arrivals, but is years overdue in setting up a system to track departures — a goal set in a 1996 immigration law and reaffirmed in 2004, but which has eluded Republican and Democratic administrations.

“DHS has not yet fulfilled the 2004 statutory requirement to implement a biometric exit capability, but has planning efforts under way to report to Congr…

Sen. Cruz 'Wacko like a fox'

Doyle McManus:
Ted Cruz is on a roll.

The tea party firebrand from Texas has been in the Senate all of seven months, but he's already looking like a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Last week, Cruz won a straw poll at a major gathering of the party's conservative wing in Denver with an impressive 45% of the votes, far ahead of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Before that, he wowed social conservatives in a campaign-style visit to Iowa, whose caucuses are the first stop on the long trail that leads to the nomination.

"I saw a lot in Ted Cruz, and I liked what I saw," said Bob Vander Plaats, an Iowa evangelical leader whose endorsement has carried weight in earlier caucuses. "If he proves to be the real deal, he will be a phenomenon."

Naturally, Cruz responds to talk of a presidential candidacy with the obligatory aw-shucks: "My focus is entirely on the Senate." But he doesn't say no. So wat…

Sarah Palin was right about the 'death panels'

Brian Carey:
Back in 2009, during the early days of the national ObamaCare debate, Sarah Palin earned a “pants on fire” rating from PolitiFact for essentially using two words: “death panels”. PolitiFact went on to give her “death panels” statement the “lie of the year” award.

Fast forward to today, and it’s clear that PolitiFact was wrong. Don’t take our word for it, take the word of former Democratic Presidential candidate Howard “Screamin’” Dean:

One major problem is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board.The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them.There does have to be control of costs in our health-care system. However, rate setting—the essential mechanism of the IPAB—has a 40-year tra…

NBC's in kind donation to Hillary Clinton

Lachlan Markay:
Recent news that NBC, which is owned by the Comcast corporation, will produce a four-hour miniseries on the career of former senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has thrown new light on the communication giant’s long record of support for Democratic politicians and candidates.

David Cohen, Comcast’s executive vice president, raised more than $1.4 million for President Obama’s reelection effort. He also hosted a fundraiser for the president at his Philadelphia home.

The fundraiser reportedly brought in at least $120,000 for the campaign. Comcast employees chipped in another $135,000 to reelect the president, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

They also have donated $124,000 to Clinton’s prior senatorial and presidential runs.

The announcement of the miniseries has sparked criticism from some who say any film is likely to be friendly to Clinton, who is widely expected to run for president in 2016.

“I expect [NBC’s biopic] to cast he…

Surge in production of oil and gas for years to come

Fuel Fix:
Eagle Ford Shale production will jump 50 percent this year, hitting an average 844,000 barrels per day, according to an analysis by research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

And despite slumping natural gas prices, the northeast United States will double gas production by 2020, the researchers forecast.

In the report on North America energy production released Friday, Wood Mackenzie projects a healthy future for United States energy, with rapid growth led by tight oil, including oil from the Eagle Ford and other shale rock formations.

Even U.S. natural gas has a promising future, the researchers determined, finding that all current gas drilling in the United States is economic at prices above $4 per million British thermal units. U.S. gas closed Monday at $3.46.

“The Northeast shales have not experienced sharp gas drilling reductions due to low cost of development,” the report noted.

Wood Mackenzie estimates that $150 billion will be spent this year on developing onshore No…

Detecting pipeline leaks with 'bowling ball'

The video shows other leak detection methods.

Rookie shortstop pulls off rare moment in baseball

Your browser does not support iframes.
How many times have you seen someone do this?

Ted Cruz opposes preemptive surrender on Obamacare.

I think the alternative to fighting it is the more high risk strategy.

A satisfaction survey?

Image
The Brits National Health Service has its flaws.

Obama a bystander to his own economic policies

Ed Rogers:
Last night on Fox News’ “Special Report,” Charles Krauthammer eloquently exposed President Obama’s ability — or preference — to remain oblivious to the economic conditions he has created. Maybe the president is in denial, or maybe the bubble that he has constructed shields him from any unpleasant conclusions. Whatever the case, Krauthammer points out that as a direct result of Obama’s economic policies, “the median income of the middle class of Americans has declined by 5% in his one term,” and we are experiencing “growing income inequality, chronic unemployment . . . [and] the worst recovery since World War II.”

It is stunning that President Obama himself said “this growing inequality is not just morally wrong” but “bad economics,” as if he had nothing to do with it. In his recent “economic pivot,” which started with his speech at Knox College in Illinois on July 24, no one has mentioned that since Obama took office in 2009, he has created an economy of renters and part-tim…

Obama's strategic error in Iraq

Richard Fernandez:
The New York Times writes “Al Qaeda in Iraq Scores Big”. The piece is signed by the editorial board too. It describes the negative consequences of the President’s hasty abandonment of Iraq. But more properly considered, it is an indictment of a whole strategy. For the consequences of that failed plan are rippling not just through Iraq, but North Africa, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Before the end the consequences may spread to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
...

Well let’s not forget the breakouts in Libya or Pakistan either. That last paragraph– “but Iraq might have been better able to repel Al Qaeda if Mr. Maliki and the Americans had worked harder on a deal to keep a token number of troops in the country to continue helping with training and intelligence-gathering ” – is probably as close to eating crow as anything recently published by the Gray Lady. Time to re-excerpt my old post, the Ten Ships, published in May, 2010, which if read, might have made the NYT’s surp…

Houston suburbs rated tops for job seekers

Houston Chronicle:
Financial website NerdWallet just released a list from the list factory of the 10 best Texas cities for job seekers, and two Houston suburbs made the cut, with League City taking the top spot. Sugar Land came in at number three.

The site ranked the Texas cities by their rate of growth, average salary, and employment numbers by using numbers pulled from the U.S. census to tell us where you should go in Texas to land a job.

NerdWallet recently singled out League City as a great place for young families to thrive. League City's location to the Gulf, home prices, and family-friendly entertainment options clinched it, coming in fourth on that list.

The site noted that Sugar Land has the highest median income in the top 10, at $50,598. The unemployment rate was 4.7% as of April 2013, according to NerdWallet.
... If you like boating League City is right next to Clear Lake and its marinas with quick access to Galveston Bay.   Sugar Land has some of the most upscale neig…

Obama pushing partisan agenda in the name of voting rights

Greg Abbott:
The Obama administration’s interference in Texas’ redistricting and voter-ID litigation does not protect voting rights. It protects the Democratic Party. Recall that just a few months ago, high-ranking Obama operatives launched a campaign to “turn Texas blue.” The administration’s foray into Texas voting rights litigation is just another page in that political playbook.

In redistricting, the Obama administration has aligned itself with Democratic state representatives and Democratic members of Congress who already are suing Texas. It is no surprise then that the legal position of President Obama’s attorneys seeks to improve Democratic candidates’ prospects. Of course, Mr. Obama’s attorneys conceal this partisan agenda with lofty rhetoric about minority voting rights. But it is no coincidence that every change to district lines supported by the administration benefits Democrats. Behind the empty allegations of racial discrimination lies one goal — helping Democrats in 2014.

On moving to Texas

Heather Wilhelm:
In a few weeks, my family and I will be moving from the Chicago area to Austin, Texas. I realize this is not terribly original on our part. Apparently, everyone else in the country is moving to Texas, too -- according to the Census Bureau, eight of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. call the Lone Star State home -- and a sizable chunk of high-profile pilgrims, it seems, are moving to Austin.

In recent months, both Billy Bob Thornton and “Girls” star Lena Dunham have publicly declared their desire to move to Austin in the future. The series finale of “The Office” showed longtime Scranton residents Jim and Pam leaving for the Texas state capital. According to the latest reports, 150-200 people move to Austin each day. It’s gotten so ridiculous that residents who fear the city will lose its signature weirdness have created the following T-shirt: “Welcome to Austin. Please don’t move here. I hear Dallas is great!”


When I tell people in Chicago that I’m moving to Texa…

Republicans show they can attract Hispanic voters in California

Washington Times:
According to the logic of politics, Leticia Perez should have handily won the heavily Democratic and Hispanic district in California’s central valley, and her failure to do so has Republicans eager to develop a victory template for struggling GOP candidates elsewhere in the deep-blue state and across the country.

Fresno cherry farmer and cattle rancher Andy Vidak, who is fluent in Spanish, said he captured the state Senate seat in last week’s closely watched runoff vote by connecting with Hispanic voters with a “common-sense” approach that focused on job creation, affordable energy and opposition to big government. He even cooked menudo, a cow-stomach soup and a Mexican favorite, at a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event at the Bakersfield fairgrounds where 10,000 Hispanics turned out.

He got a big assist from other GOP officeholders and hundreds of Spanish-speaking Republican volunteers going door to door, making pitches in Spanish where necessary in the 60 percent Hisp…

China prepares for war in cyberspace

Bill Gertz:
China’s military is preparing for war in cyberspace involving space attacks on satellites and the use of both military and civilian personnel for a digital “people’s war,” according to an internal Chinese defense report.

“As cyber technology continues to develop, cyber warfare has quietly begun,” the report concludes, noting that the ability to wage cyber war in space is vital for China’s military modernization.

According to the report, strategic warfare in the past was built on nuclear weapons. “But strategic warfare in the information age is cyber warfare,” the report said.

“With the reliance of information warfare on space, cyberspace will surely become a hot spot in the struggle for cyberspace control,” the report said.

The new details of Chinese plans for cyber and space warfare were revealed in a report “Study on Space Cyber Warfare” by four engineers working at a Chinese defense research center in Shanghai.

The report presents a rare inside look of one of Beijing’s most …

So how is this 'wrinkle' different from what others using the exchanges will face?

NY Times:
Wrinkle in Health Law Vexes Lawmakers’ Aides
Thousands of Congressional staff members are required to get health insurance through new exchanges, with no obvious way for the government to keep paying its share of the premiums. If Congressional staffers are having problems with the monstrosity, isn't it more likely to be fixed?   It is hard to have empathy for the people who created the mess in the first place.

Mass jail break in Pakistan of Taliban fighters

Reuters:
Taliban fighters disguised as police and armed with bombs and grenades broke 250 prisoners out of a Pakistan jail in a brazen overnight attack that undermined the new government's ability to combat an escalating insurgency.

The assault on the heavily guarded Central Prison in the city of Dera Ismail Khan took place despite reports that regional officials had received intelligence a fortnight ago suggesting such an attack was imminent.

The carefully planned attack underlines the growing capabilities of the Pakistani branch of the Taliban, an offshoot of the Islamist insurgents of the same name in neighboring Afghanistan.

Despite promising peace talks with the insurgents during an election campaign earlier this year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appears to be accepting that the use of military force may be unavoidable after a series of high-profile attacks.

The Pakistani Taliban said they had sent a squad of 100 fighters and seven suicide bombers on a mission to free some of the…

Why it makes sense to kill Obamacare now rather than later

Byron York:
When Washington conservatives gather to talk among themselves, and the discussion turns to Obamacare -- it happens pretty frequently -- it's not unusual to hear predictions that the president's health care law will "collapse of its own weight." It's a "train wreck," many say, quoting Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. It's unworkable. It's going to be a big, smoking ruin.

Some predict chaos beginning Oct. 1, when the law requires Obamacare exchanges, the online marketplaces in which people will be able to shop for insurance, to be up and running. And maybe that will happen; the day is a little more than two months off, and the administration seems far behind schedule in the work that needs to be done.

On the other hand, a lot of thoughtful conservatives are looking beyond Oct. 1 to Jan. 1, the day the law (except for the parts the president has unilaterally postponed) is scheduled to go fully into effect. On that day the government will begi…

Iran shipping rockets to Hamas

Jerusalem Post:
Israeli intelligence satellites have spied the loading of rockets and other material in Iran believed to be destined for the Gaza Strip, the UK-based Sunday Times reported, citing Israeli officials.

According to the report, Iran began preparing the weapons shipment around the same time Israel and Hamas negotiated a cease-fire late last week.

The shipment is said to include Iranian made Fajr-5 medium-range rockets, the same model that was fired toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during Operation Pillar of Defense, the Sunday Times reported.

Last month, following an air attack on a weapons plant near Khartoum, the Defense Ministry’s director of policy and political-military affairs accused Sudan of acting as a transit point for weapons shipments to Gaza. Amos Gilad accused Khartoum of aiding and abetting terrorism, and said the Sudanese regime was “supported by Iran” and was used as a route to transfer weapons to Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip via Egypt.
... The Israelis als…

A boom in truck sales in Eagle Ford area

Chip Latcham:
...

“It’s just been incredible,” said one commercial sales and services manager for a Ford dealership in San Antonio. Other automakers report similar gains in new car and truck sales around SA and Houston, and local auto groups said their fleet business has surged alongside the Eagle Ford boom.

A quick check with Beeville auto dealerships revealed similar sentiments. Rick Smith, general manager of Dave Moore Ford, said sales indeed are revving up.

“We are tied for second in our region (Houston south) in truck sales (select dealers in smaller markets),” he said, bringing smiles to the owners and employees.

Multiple oil field companies are making regular purchases of work trucks, Smith said, adding that a “ton of trucks” have been sent to their dealership and are being sold off their lot.

At Aztec Chevrolet, sales manager Charlie Porter said, “Most definitely” there have been increased sales.

“Our service department has outgrown itself overnight,” he said, adding they have had …

There are no limits to Holder's disrespect for the rule of law

Washington Examiner Editorial:
It is hard to tell what is more disturbing about Attorney General Eric Holder's July 25 speech to the National Urban League in Philadelphia: That the nation's top cop openly vowed to do something the Supreme Court said just last month was unconstitutional or that the announcement elicited barely a peep out of the mainstream media. Holder said he would ignore the court's Shelby County v. Holder ruling on the Voting Rights Act, at least concerning Texas. That means the Lone Star State will continue to have to submit any changes to its voting procedures -- including everything from how districts are drawn to voter-ID requirements -- to Holder's Department of Justice for prior approval. That is, the very requirement the court ruled impermissible under the Constitution.

Technically, DOJ would employ a different provision of the Voting Rights Act that permits preclearance requirements if the department finds a state has violated the 14th or 15th…

Ethanol follies

Kathleen Hartnett White:
As the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee considers the many fiascos caused by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, let’s hope they deep-six the Domestic and Alternative Fuels Act (H.R.1959), co-sponsored by several conservative stalwarts from the Houston area typically more supportive of market dynamics than government mandates. The bill would add ethanol derived from natural gas under the renewable fuel standard established by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

A comprehensive congressional review of the renewable fuel mandates is welcome after almost six years of counterproductive consequences. Infamous for transforming corn — a staple among global food commodities — into an inefficient transportation fuel, the law is rooted in multiple miscalculations about the domestic fuel market and the viability of alternative fuels such as still commercially non-existent cellulosic biofuel. Unexpected in 2007, the historic upsurge in domestic oil…

Obama loses credibility on infrastructure jobs with his position on Keystone XL

Bloomberg/Fuel Fix:
Congressional Republicans criticized comments by President Barack Obama about the number of jobs the Keystone XL pipeline would create, saying the remarks undercut his own efforts to highlight policies to boost the U.S. economy.

Representative Lee Terry, a Nebraska Republican, said Obama, in a New York Times interview published July 28, ignored estimates from the U.S. State Department about the direct and indirect jobs the $5.3 billion project proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. would create.

“The president now has zero credibility when he speaks about infrastructure projects creating jobs,” Terry, whose home state would be crossed by Keystone, said in a statement.

In the interview with the Times, Obama said there was no evidence to back up claims that Keystone would be a “big jobs generator.”

He said “the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline — which might take a year or two — and then after tha…

Texas leads US oil production

Fuel Fix:
The growth in the energy sector is expected to continue to grow like gangbusters – led by Texas, according to Karr Ingham, a petroleum economist for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and creator of the Texas Petro Index, speaking at the Petroleum Club on the latest release of the index.

“We would be the 14th largest oil producing country on the planet, if Texas were a country,” Ingham said. “You have the Permian producing 925,000 barrels a day and the Eagle Ford escalating to 540,000 barrels a day – that is just extraordinary.”

The Texas Petro Index was established in 1995 and reflects growth in several elements that drive the energy industry, including crude oil and gas prices, the rig count, drilling permits, well completions, oil and gas production rates and employment in the industry.

Well count: New wells proliferate across the Eagle Ford Shale

The Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford have helped make Texas the producer of almost half of all crude oil and a quarter of natu…

IRS also abused conservative groups that already had tax exempt status

The Hill:
The IRS subjected conservative groups already granted tax-exempt status to additional scrutiny during the 2012 election cycle, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) charged on Monday.

Issa called on a Treasury watchdog already looking into the IRS to look into the matter, and signaled he would expand his committee’s probe into improper targeting of political groups given the new revelations.

He said the Virginia-based Leadership Institute was audited in 2011 and 2012 for activities it engaged in during the 2008 election year, even though it had functioned as a tax-exempt organization since 1979.

It faced “invasive questions” — including about its interns and where they went on to work — and ended up turning over to the IRS more than 23,000 pages of documents at a cost of roughly $50,000 to comply with the inquiry, Issa said.

“It has come to the attention of the committee that in addition to inappropriate treatment given to some applicants for tax-exempt stat…

Saudis looking to diversify their economy

Sky News:
A Saudi prince has warned that his oil-reliant nation is under threat because of fracking technology being developed elsewhere around the world.

Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said the Gulf Arab kingdom needed to reduce its reliance on crude oil and diversify its revenues.

His warning comes as rising shale energy supplies in the United States cut global demand for Saudi oil.

In an open letter to his country's oil minister Ali al Naimi and other government heads, published on Sunday via his Twitter account, Prince Alwaleed said demand for oil from Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) member states was "in continuous decline".

He said Saudi Arabia's heavy dependence on oil was "a truth that has really become a source of worry for many".

He added that the world's biggest crude oil exporter should implement "swift measures" to diversify its economy.

Prince Alwaleed, owner of international investment firm Kingdom Hol…

Only 23 percent of Young Americans meet Army standards for scervice

Washington Times:
Fewer than one-quarter of today’s youth can qualify for Army service, making the recruitment of women even more important, the Army’s chief of staff said Monday.

“One of the reasons, obviously, women are becoming more important in the Army is because … we want to make sure that we make the opportunity available to the available pool of qualified men and women, and we have to make the best use of that talent as we move forward,” Gen. Raymond Odierno said at the American Enterprise Institute. “So for us, it’s really important that we increase those opportunities so we maximize the talent that is available to us.”

About 23 percent of today’s 18- to 24-year-olds can meet the Army’s physical and educational requirements, the general said. The problem of finding qualified applicants is so acute that recruiters now conduct programs to help would-be recruits prepare to serve.
... That tells you something about current education in the US.  The Army has gone from being an employ…

From bad to worse at DHS?

Washington Times:
Just two weeks after Janet Napolitano announced her resignation as Secretary of Homeland Security, the Congressional Black Caucus has suggested Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston fill her spot.

A letter dated July 25 and signed by Rep. Marcia Fudge, Ohio Democrat and caucus chairwoman, urges President Obama to consider Miss Jackson Lee for the position, calling the Democrat a “voice of reason” that the agency could stand to gain, the Houston Chronicle reported.
... Sheila Jackson Lee has a reputation for being low functioning at best and her leadership skills are nil.  She is repeatedly described as the worse boss in Congress.  She has survived by being in a district that votes a pigment test rather than competency.

Detroit looks to Obamacare for back door federal bailout

NY Times:
Detroit Looks to Health Law to Ease Costs
As Detroit enters the bankruptcy process, officials say insurance exchanges could pare tens of millions from the $5.7 billion the city owes in retiree health costs. This looks like an attempt to get the government to subsidize the incompetence of Detroit politicians who created the mess.

Human Smuggling on the border

Breitbart:
Breitbart News’ Brandon Darby walks viewers from the Rio Grande River into a U.S. neighborhood, revealing just how unsecured the U.S./Mexico border really is. Darby walks viewers through the unfinished “Border Fence,” which had no gate or security of any kind. The location was west of Penitas, Texas.
Darby, who is on assignment along the U.S./Mexico border investigating cartels and public corruption, stated by telephone:

"The southeastern stretch of the Rio Grande river is where most of Texas' illegal immigration occurs. The area has many desolate regions and there simply aren't enough resources being applied to the issue.

"Cartels and street gangs control the human smuggling. The region where I took the video is currently heavily disputed between the Mexican Gulf cartel and the Los Zetas cartel, which is actually an armed insurgency," said Darby.

"Transnational crime syndicates usually have a stash house just on the other side of the wall. People cr…

Nothing phony about IRS scandal

Washington Examiner Editorial:
One thing is clear about the current state of play on the IRS scandal — President Obama and his top appointees have now moved to a new phase of their Nixonian defense: The scandal wrought by IRS intimidation and harassment of Tea Party, conservative and evangelical groups seeking tax exemption during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns is "phony" because, as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Fox News Sunday, "there's no evidence of any political decision maker who was involved in any of those decisions. And I think the attempt to try to keep finding that evidence is creating the kind of sense of a phony scandal that was being referred to there." In other words, Congress and journalists seeking facts about the scandal makes it "phony." Such logic makes Nixon's dismissal of Watergate as a "second-rate burglary" sound almost reasonable.

Lew's claim does not square with the known facts because, as was pointed out …

Al Qaeda's jail break bad news for US allies in region

Eli Lake:
A week after a dramatic jailbreak freed dozens of al Qaeda leaders captured during the Iraq surge at the end of President George W. Bush’s second term, America’s closest allies in that counterinsurgency are preparing for the worst.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, tribal leader Sheik Jassim Muhammad Suwaydawi said: “Of course I’m afraid of retribution. These people who escaped were put into jail because of those fighting al Qaeda in the awakening. Their first targets will be leaders in the awakening like me.”

The Anbar Awakening began in 2005, nearly two years before Bush sent more troops and empowered Gen. David Petraeus to execute an aggressive war strategy that decimated al Qaeda in Iraq and drove the group from its safe harbor in western Iraq.

Petraeus’s campaign would not have been possible if not for tribal leaders like Suwaydawi. Sheik Jassim, as he is known to his fellow tribesmen, was one of the first tribal leaders to rise up against al Qaeda in 2006, w…

IRS looking for exemption from Unaffordable Care Act

David Catron:
Among the most offensive features of the ironically titled “Affordable Care Act” is its designation of the Internal Revenue Service as the main enforcer of the law’s many mandates, taxes, penalties, and reporting requirements. It exponentially increases the power of a group of bureaucrats notorious for repeatedly abusing their authority. Now, highlighting the growing gulf between the government and the governed that has become the hallmark of the Obama era, these IRS enforcers are asking their congressional representatives to spare them the indignity of enrolling in Obamacare’s insurance exchanges.

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), whose members include most IRS employees, has launched a letter-writing campaign whose goal is to prevent Congress from passing legislation that would require all federal employees to enroll in the exchanges. And the NTEU is not only encouraging its members to write to their representatives expressing deep concern that they might be…

Shutdown Obamacare

Sen. Marco Rubio:
I didn’t come to Washington to shut down the federal government; I came to help bring it back to its proper role. This role should create an environment where America is the easiest and best place in the world to create better paying jobs by starting a business or growing an existing one. One way to do that is by ending failed programs like ObamaCare that hurt our people, waste their money and scare businesses away from opening or growing. The looming September debate on a short-term spending plan is the last best chance to do that. That’s why we must stand united to defund ObamaCare as a condition for supporting a short-term spending plan.

We know President Obama will resist. He will insist on shutting down government unless ObamaCare is fully funded. But we simply cannot continue to pour money into this rapidly imploding program.

It will hurt seniors by altering the health plans and doctors they’re happy with, and by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from Medic…

I blame the anti energy left for trying to generate hysteria

AP/Fuel Fix:
Some say industry arrogance fueled fracking anger The anti energy left was looking for any excuse to stop the use of fossil fuels in hopes of making alternative energy look more competitive and they were angry that we were finding ways to produce more oil and gas and defeat their scarcity arguments.

Spoofing GPS signals

This could disable many modern weapons.

Obama's anti growth agenda

Peter Ferrar:
The magician’s trick is deception, based on misdirection and distraction. He draws your attention over here, while he is carrying out the trick over there. President Obama’s economic policy speech last week at Knox College in Galesville, Ill. was a classic case of such misdirection, distraction, and deception.

He talked a lot about championing the middle class, a ploy he learned from Saul Alinsky, while all his policies have been trashing the middle class. He talked a lot about economic growth, while all his policies have been trashing economic growth. That is because the trick he is carrying out is to deceive you into supporting an Americanized version of his leftist ideology, which inherently trashes economic growth and the middle class.

For Barack Obama, the whole purpose of his public life is to foist the leftist ideology of his father on a mesmerized American public. He uses the middle class to achieve this goal like a cheap date, dazzling her with big talk of ec…

Obamacare becoming Nightmare Part II for Democrats

Pete DuPont:
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. The Obama administration and its allies in Congress are faced with the challenge of trying to convince Americans there are wide-ranging benefits to their 2010 takeover of our nation's health-care system, while at the same time working to delay it so as to minimize the negative consequences before the 2014 elections.

The last thing congressional Democrats want is a repeat of the drubbing their party took in 2010, courtesy of the ObamaCare backlash. But recent events have put ObamaCare and its outcomes front and center, adding to a growing fear on the left that Republicans not only will hold the House but could take the Senate.

Voters anxious for job growth cannot help but notice recent discussions about the law's detrimental effect on employment.The employer mandate, which requires entities with at least 50 full-time employees to provide costly federally approved insurance, acts as an incentive to keep payrolls at 49 …