Posts

Showing posts from February, 2014

Treaty obligates US, UK to come to the aid of Ukraine if Russia invades

Daily Mail:
A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin's troops cross into the country.

Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine - agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.

Putin installed 150,000 troops along Ukraine's borders after the overthrow of Moscow ally Viktor Yanukovych by pro-European protesters.

On Friday, as pro-Russia gunmen patrolled Crimean streets in armored vehicles and took over airports there, President Obama delivered a blunt warnings to Moscow.

"We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine," he told reporters at the W…

Big plans for big plane

Image
Telegraph:
World's largest aircraft unveiled and hailed 'game changer' The world's longest aircraft, consisting of part airship, part helicopter and part plane, has been unveiled and could be the key to greener more efficient planes in future as developers predict one day there could be as many of the hybrids as there are helicopters todayThe HAV Hybrid Aircraft ... There is much more.

It is designed to stay aloft for three weeks and carry tons of cargo.  While the say it could also be used for surveillance, I think it would be noticed.

The return of the evil empire

Fox News:
Ukraine official: Russian troops have launched an 'armed invasion' of Crimea The report appears to confirm my speculation on the reason the Russians took over the two airports to facilitate the invasion.

Media bashing has not killed the Tea Party movement

Dan Gainor:
Tea Party birthday -- movement survives 5 years of outlandish, offensive media attacks
the attacks keep coming and they have driven up the negatives of the group, but it has not stemmed their determination to stop the growth of government and to fight back against the evils of liberalism.

Japanese companies invest over a billion dollars in Texas LNG plant

Bloomberg/Businessweek:
Osaka Gas Co. (9532) and Chubu Electric Power Co. (9502), utilities serving central and western Japan, will invest $600 million each for half the equity of the first unit of a U.S. liquefied natural gas plant.

The companies will each get 25 percent in Train 1 of a plant in southeast Texas operated by Houston, Texas-based Freeport LNG Development LP, the Japanese utilities said in a joint statement today. The LNG plant’s first unit will produce about 4.4 million metric tons a year and is scheduled to begin operating in 2018, according to the statement.

The investment, which will be finalized in the second half of the year after the project wins a construction permit, follows a 20-year supply contract Freeport signed with the Japanese firms in 2012. Converting gas into liquid was scheduled to begin in 2017, the partners said at the time.
... The deal should also benefit from the widening of the Panama Canal.  This should keep Texas in the forefront as the state with…

Russians seize two Ukraine airports?

AP/NY Post:
A top Ukrainian security official says two airports in Crimea are under Ukrainian control despite attempts by gunmen to “seize” them.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister earlier Friday said Russian navy troops were blocking access to the airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol, describing it as a “military invasion and occupation.”

But Ukraine’s Security Council Chief Andriy Parubiy insisted later Friday that the airports were still under Ukrainian control, according to the Interfax news agency.

Parubiy said the gunmen had set up checkpoints outside the airports. “But de-facto the airports are controlled by the law enforcement bodies of Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service said about 30 Russian paratroopers from the 810th brigade of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet had taken up position outside the Ukrainian Coast Guard base in the Sevastopol area. It said the paratroopers said they were there to prevent any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists.

Russia’s defense ministry…

Why not punish those who threatened racial violence?

Washington Times:
Officials at a Northern California high school acted appropriately when they ordered students wearing American flag T-shirts to turn the garments inside out during the Mexican independence celebration Cinco de Mayo, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the officials’ concerns of racial violence outweighed students’ freedom of expression rights. Administrators feared the American-flag shirts would enflame the passions of Latino students celebrating the Mexican holiday. Live Oak High School, in the San Jose suburb of Morgan Hill, had a history of problems between white and Latino students on that day.

The unanimous three-judge panel said past problems gave school officials sufficient and justifiable reasons for their actions. The court said schools have wide latitude in curbing certain civil rights to ensure campus safety.

“Our role is not to second-guess the decision to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration or the precautions put …

Evidence that IRS planned crackdown on nonprofit before abuse was disclosed

Washington Times:
The IRS’s new proposal to crack down on nonprofits was in the works a year before the tea party targeting scandal broke, according to a Treasury Department official who told congressional investigators it was spurred by pressure from outside parties.

The revelation follows earlier testimony from former IRS Commissioner Steve Miller, who told investigators that they started “brainstorming” ways to crack down on nonprofits while under pressure from a senior Democratic senator who was “complaining bitterly to us” about the way groups were engaging in politics while organized as social welfare nonprofits.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan recounted the testimony in a letter sent this week to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who now must decide what to do about the proposed crackdown.

The two lawmakers said the evidence proves the IRS crackdown was under way well before the revelation last May that the tax agency had improper…

Funny how these people never objected to sexist remarks about Sarah Palin

Image
NY Times:
Outrage Over Sexist Remarks Turns Into a Political Fund-Raising Tool Stephen Crowley/The New York Times Donations flowed in for Senator Claire McCaskill after Todd Akin compared her to a dog playing “fetch” in Washington. With a record number of women in Congress and dozens more on the ballot, attacks on figures like Wendy Davis, Claire McCaskill and Hillary Rodham Clinton can instantly generate contributions. The party of perpetual outrage knows how to gen up an excuse to raise money over perceived criticism of the policies of its women candidates, but has no trouble with similar remarks aimed at conservative women.  That double standard suggest it is opportunism and an attempt to silence criticism at work.   The left just can't seem to handle it.

In the case of Wendy Davis, she has turned out to be a poor candidate who claims to be both "pro life" and for abortion on demand.  She seems to be both for and against gun control.  The bottom line is that she is a l…

Endangered Feces Act hinders US development

Ron Arnold:
'Obamacrats' threaten America's energy boom with Endangered Species Act The act needs to be repealed as an anti Darwin, anti science vehicle for obstructing development of US resources in favor of critters of dubious value.

Law to protects unions leaves the East Coast cold

Bloomberg/Fuel Fix:
As freezing weather drained stockpiles of propane to their lowest seasonal level in two decades on the U.S. East Coast this month, shivering New Englanders couldn’t tap abundant supplies sailing out of Texas. They had to look 4,000 miles away to more-expensive heating fuel from Europe.

The reason? The Jones Act, a 94-year-old law that prohibits non-U.S. ships from transporting cargoes between the country’s ports. With pipelines full and not a single eligible propane tanker to deliver fuel from Houston to states such as New York, consumers have had to pay more than $100 a metric ton extra for propane from across the Atlantic.

“It’s kind of a crazy thing, where we’re sending ships to Europe and then in return, at some point in time, Europe is sending propane cargoes back to us,” Peter Fasullo, a principal at energy consultant EnVantage Inc. who has been following the natural gas liquids market for over 30 years, said by phone from Houston. “You have to think, isn’t the…

IRS abuse has gotten worse

Kimberley Strassel:
Few presidents understand the power of speech better than Barack Obama, and even fewer the power of denying it to others. That's the context for understanding the White House's unprecedented co-option of the Internal Revenue Service to implement a political campaign to shut up its critics and its opponents.

Perhaps the biggest fiction of this past year was that the IRS's targeting of conservative groups has been confronted, addressed and fixed. The opposite is true. The White House has used the scandal as an excuse to expand and formalize the abuse.

About a month after the IRS inspector general released his bombshell report about IRS targeting of conservative groups last May, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel unveiled a "plan of action" for correcting the mess. One highlight was that targeted groups would be offered a new optional "expedited" process for getting 501(c)(4) status.

The deal, which received little public attention, boil…

Harlem pastor says Obama has released 'homo demons'

Harlem pastor says Obama has released 'homo demons': Harlem pastor says Obama has released 'homo demons'

It looks like Obama's change of heart on gay marriage has upset some of his base.  The link is to a video about the church sign.

Tesla to build autos in Texas?

CNBC:
How's this for a trade: 6,500 manufacturing jobs and an investment of more than $4 billion in exchange for the right to sell cars in a particular state.

That's one of the intriguing story lines surrounding the decision of where Tesla Motors will locate a massive Gigafactory for producing lithium-ion batteries and electric storage applications.

Texas is one of four states named as a finalist for the massive plant, along with Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.

So why is Texas such an intriguing candidate?

It all stems from the contentious relationship Texas lawmakers have had with Tesla in keeping the electric car maker from selling cars in that state.

Until now, there has been little reason to believe Texas' ban on direct auto sales would be lifted, but the Gigafactory could change that assumption.

The Tesla Gigafactory, wherever it's located, will provide a huge boost to the local and state economies.

There are few major manufacturing plants that bring in two or three th…

Where we would be without the growth in energy jobs

Image
You can see more on these statistics here.  Obama's job performance has been a disaster and if the private sector energy business that is keeping this economy afloat and yet he is still blocking drilling on most federal sites.

Obamacare cuts to Medicare will cost seniors $900 a year

The Hill:
The health insurance industry fighting proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage payments argued they will raise seniors' out-of-pocket costs next year.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a trade group, blasted the reductions with a report Thursday finding that beneficiaries could pay as much as $900 more in 2015 if the cuts take effect.

The report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman concluded that Medicare Advantage (MA) plans could see a 5.9 percent total cut to their payments next year as a result of changes proposed by federal health officials.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) floated a 2015 cut of roughly 2 percent on Friday. The number was less than many insurers expected, causing major gains for several insurance stocks this week.

Still, AHIP President Karen Ignagni said the CMS is putting seniors' well-being on the line.

"Many seniors have experienced fewer benefits and higher out-of-pocket cuts as a result of last year's cuts,&qu…

FBI's al Qaeda mole killed in Bosnia in 1995

NBC News:
An FBI mole who provided valuable intelligence on al Qaeda and met with Osama bin Laden was lured away from the FBI to work for the CIA, but was killed by al Qaeda operatives in Bosnia who suspected he was an informant, NBC News has learned exclusively.

The informant, a Sudan-born driver and confidante to “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, the radical Muslim cleric who allegedly masterminded the first attempt to take down the World Trade Center, had been the sole human asset providing first-person information about al Qaeda in the mid-1990s as the terror group gained strength around the globe.

According to sources familiar with the management of the mole, the FBI recruited him in 1993 because he was a known associate of the Blind Sheikh.

The Egyptian-born Sheikh had been an FBI target since at least Nov. 5, 1990, when one of his followers, El Sayyid Nosair, shot and killed radical Rabbi Meir Kahane in a Manhattan hotel. After the shooting, boxes of information were found in Nos…

Austerity for the military so Obama can throw money at political cronies

Rich Lowry:
The Obama administration says that we need to end what it calls “the era of austerity” in Washington. Notably excluded from this admonition is the one department of government that is actually experiencing austerity worthy of the name.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a military budget that will reduce the US Army to pre-World War II levels. The spin is that this will be a smarter force better suited to 21st-century challenges, but everyone knows that it is all about accommodating the trillion dollars in defense cuts adopted during the recent Beltway budgetary wars.  ... There is more.

The contrast in the austerity for our national defense and  spending on liberal policies is stark.  It is what has made Europe weaker and poorer and it is what Obama and Democrats want for the US.

The Sinaloa cartel 'time bomb' in the US

CBS News:

Last year, CBS News correspondent Armen Keteyian interviewed a Chicago drug trafficker who worked closely with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa cartel. The man, who we will call "Señor X," knows the methods, operations, and cruelty of the Sinaloa cartel, first hand. Only part of Keteyian's interview with Señor X was aired on 48 Hours "War in Chicago" program in May 2013. Señor X had more to say about the Sinaloa cartel.
...
According to Señor X, "In California, Chicago, (Sinaloa) is very strong... they know Chicago well. They know it's a good market for drugs. The people that they have here, they have a lot of trust in them. And they're a part of the organization.... The heroin is coming to Chicago, they're transporting it in small quantities... five, seven kilos."

Keteyian asked Señor X just how powerful is the Sinaloa cartel's influence is in Chicago? Señor X answered, "It's very strong and it's g…

Evidence of who is behind IRS abuses is obvious

Bradley A. Smith:
Connecting the Dots in the IRS Scandal
The 'smoking gun' in the targeting of conservative groups has been hiding in plain sight. Smith provides a detail list of events with many of them pointed toward the President and Democrat Senators.

The Democrats' minimum wage problem

Moe Lane:
Shocking. Why have they hidden their light under a bushel for all these years?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday delayed action on legislation raising the minimum wage, the centerpiece of the Democrats’ 2014 agenda.  [snip]  Reid has not yet unified his caucus on the issue, which is a constant in the Democrats’ election-year playbook. Of the 55 senators who caucus with the Democrats, only 32 have signed on as official co-sponsors of Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) bill.
(H/T: Hot Air) The ostensible problem was a CBO (a org that the Left can never decide is good or bad these days) report promising that this measure would lose half a million jobs. But the real problem is that Democratic politicians have never been able to gently explain to their more activist members that business owners do not have Scrooge McDuck swimming pools full of gold coins. I know that this sounds unbelievable, but trust me: many progressives really do think that prices are high simply because ca…

Pro Russian forces seize Crimean parliament in Ukraine

AFP:
Dozens of pro-Russian gunmen in combat fatigues seized parliament and government buildings on Ukraine's volatile Crimea peninsula Thursday as the country's ousted leader won assurances that Moscow would protect him. Government buildings seized in Ukraine's CrimeaAssociated Press
Ukraine parliament convenes to approve new government AFP
Ukraine names pro-Western cabinet as US warns Russia AFP
Yanukovych says still president, his security 'ensured in Russia' AFP
Ukraine leader warns Russia after armed men seize government HQ in Crimea Reuters

The dawn raid in Crimea came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered snap combat readiness drills to be held near the Ukrainian border, raising fears the Kremlin might use force to sway the outcome of a three-month crisis that has pitted Moscow against the West in a Cold War-style confrontation.

Ukraine's interim president Oleksandr Turchynov told a boisterous session of parliament that any movement of Russian tr…

Offshore wind turbines reduce hurricane wind and storm surge damage

It is an interesting study that contradicts some of what the anti energy left has been arguing about their usage.  If they can reduce the damage caused by the storms, they may actually help pay forthemselves and provide some electricity.

Anti energy left fails to stop Canadian oil from reaching Texas on Keystone XL

Fuel Fix:
The Keystone XL southern leg has delivered its first barrels of Canadian oil to the Texas coast, even though the project still lacks its planned northern leg into Canada, TransCanada CEO Russell Girling said in an interview Wednesday.

The crude moved through TransCanada’s existing pipelines, including the original Keystone pipeline that began operation in 2010.

The oil then made its way from Cushing, Okla., to Nederland, Texas, on the recently completed $2.3 billion southern portion of Keystone XL, also called the Gulf Coast Project, he said. It arrived at the end of the line last week. TransCanada began moving oil into the pipeline on Jan. 2 and made its first deliveries to refiners on Jan. 22.

The movement of Canadian crude illustrates the capabilities of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline system, even without the controversial northern leg that would extend from Hardesty, Alberta, and traverse the Bakken Shale region of North Dakota and Montana before connecting with other line…

Senators who embrace dilatory tactics on exploring Atlantic for oil just practicing artificial scarcity

Fuel Fix:
The Obama administration’s Interior Department is on track this week to release a final environmental analysis that would help pave the way for the first seismic studies in decades to pinpoint oil and gas off the East Coast, as well as potential drilling in the 2020s.

But marine scientists, conservationists and some lawmakers are pushing back against the environmental study even before its expected Friday release, saying the analysis is fundamentally flawed — and legally vulnerable — if the Interior Department doesn’t wait for a separate federal agency to finalize new guidelines on how much sound marine mammals can tolerate.

Going forward without considering the acoustic guidelines still being developed by the National Marine Fisheries Service could mean underestimating the auditory injuries to dolphins, whales and other sea life from the blasts of compressed air used in the seismic studies, 102 scientists and biologists said in a letter to President Barack Obama.

“If the progr…

Ukraine's black hole economy

Guardian:
Events in Ukraine are accelerating fast. On Wednesday, there were skirmishes in Crimea between pro-Russian demonstrators and Muslim Tartars. Over in Moscow, meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, ordered his military to conduct exercises in Russia's western district, a region which – coincidentally or not – borders Ukraine.

The rhetoric has grown more heated, too. Russian officials have claimed the rights of Russians in Ukraine are being severely infringed. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed opposition protesters in Kiev who turfed out president Viktor Yanukovych as ultra-nationalists and "pogromists". Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has said Ukraine's new rulers are not legitimate.

Still, President Putin's latest war games do not mean Russia is planning a military intervention in Ukraine. Such a scenario is unlikely, but the Kremlin has plenty of other options short of full-scale invasion to stir up trouble for Ukraine's new European-leaning interim tea…

Obama's weird priorities

Fox News:
As military faces cuts, Obama wants $300 billion for roads and railways He is also pushing the military to waste money on alternative energy projects and boondoggles.  He is weakening the military and wasting money on big government spending.

How socialism is destroying Venezuela

Juan Carlos Hidalgo:
MILTON Friedman once said that, if you put the government in charge of the Sahara desert, there’ll eventually be a shortage of sand. No wonder that, after 14 years of socialist government, Venezuela – the country with the world’s largest oil reserves – is currently importing gasoline. This fact highlights Venezuela’s painful descent into chaos, as the economy crumbles and the nation’s social fabric unravels.

Venezuela is now witnessing its largest protests in a decade. The government of President Nicolas Maduro has cracked down on demonstrations with unprecedented force, using the National Guard and armed paramilitary gangs. At least 14 people have been killed, with hundreds detained – including Leopoldo López, one of the most emblematic leaders of the opposition – and over a dozen cases of torture reported.

Driving the unrest is a large segment of the population that is fed up with the country’s rapidly deteriorating economy. Despite receiving over $1 trillion in o…

It is time to speed up the approval process for energy development

Diana Furchtgott-Roth: The economy is stumbling along at 2 percent annual GDP growth and employment growth continues to disappoint. One bright spot is energy, which is booming despite government obstacles. With more efficient regulation America could increase energy production, and next week Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) will release a bill to do just that.

A soon-to-be-released report by my Manhattan Institute colleague Mark Mills shows that even though U.S. employment is still below prerecession levels, jobs in oil and gas industries have grown by 40 percent since 2007, the start of the recession. With oil and gas adding $300 billion to $400 billion every year to the economy, Mills suggests that the United States might still be in a recession if not for oil and gas.

About 1 million Americans work directly in oil and gas, and another 10 million work in jobs linked to the industry, producing steel for pipelines, supertankers, and railcars. This job creation is not the result of "Big Oil,…

Another dissatisfied Obamacare customer

So is Harry Reid going to call all of these victims of his legislation liars even though it was Obama 's false statements that were used to sell the mess?

Food stamps used at pot shops in Colorado

Using the food stamps to get cash from ATM's in pot shops is going to be an issue.  They are not allowed to use the cards at liquor stores, but pot shops are OK?

In a time of gutting the military ...

Christian Science Monitor:
Why the US Army is spending billions on clean energy While the article seems to think these boondoggles are a good idea, I find them appalling.  There is probably a place for solar and wind energy on remote bases where we can avoid exposing fuel convoys to enemy attacks, but large scale alternative energy projects for large US bases are a colossal waste of money on inefficient energy.   If we are cutting troops strength to engage in this folly that is a mistake that could lead to a lot of people getting killed.

Blue State Madness

The Republican Governors' Association ad hits Democrat governors' record.

FBI had source on al Qaeda terror plots in 1993

Washington Times:
In a revelation missing from the official investigations of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI placed a human source in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and ascertained that the al Qaeda leader was looking to finance terrorist attacks in the United States, according to court testimony in a little-noticed employment dispute case.

PHOTOS: FBI documents

The information the FBI gleaned back then was so specific that it helped thwart a terrorist plot against a Masonic lodge in Los Angeles, the court records reviewed by The Washington Times show.

“It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al Qaeda, directly involved,” Edward J. Curran, a former top official in the FBI’s Los Angeles office, told the court in support of a discrimination lawsuit filed against the bureau by his former agent Bassem Youssef.

Mr. Curran gave the testimony in 2010 to an essentially empty courtroom, and thus it escaped notice from the media or ter…

Why is Russia putting troops near Ukraine on alert?

Washington Post:
Russian troops near Ukraine put on high alert As Ukraine disbands the security force that spearheaded most of the attacks on protesters in Kiev, neighboring Russia has launched surprise military exercises to test the readiness of its forces. Ukraine is not a threat to invade Russia, but the reverse is a possibility, and this administration needs to make sure the Russians understand that such an invasion would not go unchallenged.

Venezuela shows the folly of weapons ban

Image
NY Times:
Crude Weapons Help Fuel Unrest in Venezuela
Protesters are using a variety of homemade weapons against troops, including miniature Molotov cocktails and Miguelitos made from hoses festooned with nails. During the Samurai period in Japan only those chosen by the government were allowed to have swords.  Those restrictions led to the innovations in weapons that show up in the martial arts films today.  People find creative ways to defend themselves when the government becomes an oppressor.  The welder and the blacksmith become weapons manufacturers.

Israel attacks Hezballah missile shipment from Syria

UPI:
Israeli warplanes have reportedly hit a convoy on the Syria-Lebanon border carrying anti-aircraft missiles from war-torn Syria to Hezbollah, amid growing Israeli concerns about a threat to its northern border.

But the most immediate threat the Israelis perceive from that quarter is not Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

The Lebanese Shiite group has committed thousands of its troops to support the embattled Damascus regime, a key ally of Iran, and is unlikely at this time to want to open another front against the Jewish state, its traditional enemy.

The biggest danger the Israelis see right now is the growing number of Sunni jihadist fighters linked to al-Qaida who have become the main rebel force battling to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.

The Israelis are only too happy to see these two enemies, Hezbollah and the jihadists, fighting each other. But the Jewish state cannot afford to let down its guard against a massive missile attack by Hezbollah militants or allow them to acqui…

Documents dumped in reservoir by fleeing Ukraine leaders recovered

VOA:
Someone wanted the records to disappear without a trace under the gray waves of the Kyiv Reservoir. Instead, they are ending up on the Internet for everyone in the world to see.

When ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage were fleeing the lavish presidential residence at Mezhyhirya, outside of Kyiv, on the night of February 21-22, they dumped hundreds of documents into the reservoir in an amateurish attempt to conceal the information they contain.

But journalists and scuba divers showed up on the scene just hours later and began recovering the soggy papers. Some were floating surreally along the edges of the water; others were recovered in stuffed file folders from the depths.

For the last three days, a group of journalists and criminal investigators from the post-Yanukovych government has been working to dry out the papers and the first 500 have now been photographed and placed on a special websiteYanukovychleaks.org for all to see.

According to the website, …

It is a mistake to gut the military

Washington Examiner Editorial:
Even a casual glance at the headlines from Ukraine and Venezuelawould indicate that the world is still a dangerous place and may turn even more dangerous in the future. Though President Obama no longer is heard to say that "the tide of war is receding" -- a favorite phrase from his first-term speeches -- his administration still holds an unrealistic view of how to keep the U.S. safe amid those dangers. That unrealistic view is what's guiding the Pentagon's plan for dramatic cuts in U.S. military forces.

The favored buzzword is "risk," as in "more of it." That's been a defining characteristic of Obama's defense strategy for more than two years, ever since he decided to slash $500 billion fromPentagon spending to protect entitlements and other Democratic sacred cows in the federalbudget.

The latest Pentagon budget proposal, outlined Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, stayed true to form, proposing to cut …

President telling governors that he does not trust them

Gov. Perry reflects on what Obama told the governors this year.

Turning the Democrats' favorite tactic against them

Noemie Emery:
Irked at the gall of Republicans in using the Democrats' votes for health care against them, liberals have discovered a plot that is even more sinister: the GOP is using "anecdotes" (i.e., the stories of people who have been hurt by the measure) in an effort to take the Left down.

By "anecdotes" they mean stories like the those of Edie Littlefield Sundby, the stage-four cancer patient who can't keep her old team of physicians; the parents who can't take children to the hospitals at which they were formerly treated; the people having trouble paying their premiums; or the story related in the Wall Street Journal on Monday by Stephen Blackwood, whose mother, also suffering from a rare form of cancer, can no longer get access to the medicines that have kept her alive.

This isn't quite what the Left had expected. Last year, Obamacare-a-war-on-bros.html">Jonathan Chait mocked the frustrated quest of the Right for Obamacare victims, as t…

Fuel exports up 55 % in 2013

Fuel Fix:
Growing production of U.S. oil and gas is helping to improve the nation’s trade balance, according to a federal report Monday.

Dramatic growth in the export of refined petroleum products, such as jet fuel and gasoline, has led the way. The value of net refined exports increased 55 percent in 2013 over the prior year, reaching $33 billion, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

U.S. refiners are finding cheaper domestic alternatives to overseas oil, causing a rally in the ratio of refined fuel exports to imports. Overall energy export values increased 8 percent in 2013 over the prior year.

Total energy imports to the U.S. fell by 11 percent for the same time period.
... We could do even better if we could break Democrat policies of creating artificial scarcity by keeping federal sites off limits for drilling.  Still the trade deficit was the lowest it has been in four years despite the Obama administration blocking drilling in offshore sites and the Western US a…

Muslim engage in mass murder in pursuit of ignorance

Guardian:
Gunmen from Islamist group Boko Haram shot or burned to death 59 pupils in a boarding school in north-east Nigeria overnight, a hospital official and security forces said on Tuesday.

"Some of the students' bodies were burned to ashes," police commissioner Sanusi Rufai said of the attack on the federal government college of Buni Yadi, a secondary school in Yobe state, near the state's capital city of Damaturu.

Bala Ajiya, an official at the Specialist Hospital Damaturu, said the death toll had risen to 59. "Fresh bodies have been brought in. More bodies were discovered in the bush after the students who had escaped with bullet wounds died from their injuries," he said.


Rufai, who had given an earlier estimate of 29 killed, said all those killed were boys. He said the school's 24 buildings, including staff quarters, were completely burned to the ground.

President Goodluck Jonathan called the attack "callous and senseless murder … by deranged te…

More bad news about Obamacare

Daily Caller:

Report: Two-thirds of small business employees to see Obamacare premium hikes
Small business will see its profits squeezed and will probably have to reduce employees.  It is another attack on small business that this administration seems to be at war with.

Windfall alert

NBC News:
California Couple Finds $10M in Gold Coins Buried in Yard The coins appear to be issued between 1847 and 1884 and uncirculated.  There were 1,427 coins in the buried treasure.

Will Pakistan sustain this campaign?

Washington Times:
Pakistan on verge of operation targeting Taliban The government is planning to launch a major military offensive in the North Waziristan tribal region following a series of brutal attacks in recent weeks, according to a senior Pakistani official. Pakistan has a history of not pushing these attacks more than a few weeks before agreeing to some kind of truce that allows the Taliban to survive and withdraw their troops.  This time they are using aircraft more than army units but that is basically a raiding strategy that does not control space for more than the trasitory mintes the planes are over their target.

Sen. Hagan struggles to explain when she knew people would not be able to keep their insurance

News-Observer:
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who has been under fire from conservatives over the federal health care law, refused on Monday to answer questions about what she knew about the laws limits.

Like President Barack Obama, Hagan said the Affordable Care Act would allow North Carolinians to keep their existing insurance plans if they liked them. The pledge proved false – and earned Obama PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year honors.

But the details about what Hagan knew about the law’s limits and when she learned itremains unclear. Asked about it again Monday at a press conference in Raleigh, after she made her re-election bid official at the State Board of Elections, Hagan avoided the question.

Pressed on the question two more times as reporters followed her outside to the parking lot, Hagan did not answer. She offered this explanation without further details: “it wasn’t clear that insurance companies were selling substandard policies.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest insurer, responde…

Obamacare medical devices tax kills 33,000 jobs

CBS-DC/AP:
A new study reveals that nearly 33,000 jobs have been impacted due to the Affordable Care Act’s medical device excise tax.

The report comes from the Advanced Medical Technology Association following an online survey of member companies last year.

“According to the report, the tax has led to employment reductions of approximately 14,000 industry workers and foregone hiring of 19,000 workers,” the study stated. “The total job impact of the tax on industry employment was approximately 33,000.”

Stephen J. Ubl, CEO of AdvaMed, said this tax needs to be repealed.

“During a time when there is bipartisan support for growing high-technology manufacturing jobs, these results should serve as a wake-up call. As a result of the medical device tax, we have seen an unprecedented impact on jobs and key investments in R&D (research and development),” Ubl said. “The findings of the report underscore the need to repeal this tax.”
... It is just more evidence of a poorly though out law that bec…

Conservatives challenge Republican leaders

NY Times:
G.O.P. Leaders Draw Re-election Challenges From the Right
Although upsets are unlikely, the long list of candidates trying to unseat high-ranking Republicans in the primaries reflects fissures within the party. There is real resistance to accommodating liberalism on the right.  Leaders who feel pressure from the media to compromise are having to defend those compromises in primary elections this year.   It is hard to get a feel for how effective those challenges are in the House races, but the Katrina Pierson challenge to Congressman Sessions in the Dallas area has attracted some attention and has gotten an endorsement from Sarah Palin.  Polling has shown Sen. Cornyn with a substantial lead over his challengers.  Both sides need to do a better job of explaining what there strategy is in dealing with a liberal President and a liberal media.

Protesters blocking traffic in Venezuela cities

BBC:
Anti-government protesters in Venezuela have erected barricades in the capital, Caracas.

They placed burning rubbish and furniture on main roads in an attempt to bar access to the city.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles had earlier asked his supporters not to follow a call for a "national blockade" circulated on social media.

The blockades are the latest in a series of opposition protests in which 13 people have died.

There have been reports of similar blockades in the cities of Maracaibo and Valencia.

Protesters also banged pots and pans in the early hours of the morning to show their opposition to the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

They say they will continue with their wave of protests, which started more than two weeks ago, until Mr Maduro resigns.
... Food is certainly an element of the discontent in Venezuela.  The attempts to control supply and prices with a heavy handed top down management have been disastrous.  Maduro is even more incompetent than Chavez.

Media misdirection on Obamacare ads

Washington Examiner Editorial:
Leukemia patient Julie Boonstra is the latest American to get caught up in the media fact-checking frenzy. Her offense: Appearing in an anti-Obamacare ad for Americans for Prosperity, in which she said her out-of-pocket costs had become "unaffordable" since her insurance was canceled because of President Obama's health care law. She also said Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who is running for Senate, "jeopardized my health" by voting for it.

Within hours of the AFP ad's initial broadcast, media fact-checkers pored over alleged inconsistencies between her comments in the ad and statements she'd made in interviews, then said her numbers didn't add up. Liberal pundits suggested they knew what was good for her better than she did. Peters sent a letter to television stations running the ad threatening their licenses if the "questionable claims" in the ad were not proven.

No one is arguing in favor of misleading politica…

Navy to cut build out of light coastal ships?

Stars & Stripes:
The lighter, faster surface fleet of the future may get heavier than Navy leaders have planned, as high-ranking skeptics at the Pentagon try to convince lawmakers that the service is relying too much on a new coastal warfare ship.

At the beginning of the year, the Navy was headed toward three decades of more speed in coastal areas and less slug-it-out strength on the high seas. By 2026, about one in six active-duty vessels would be a littoral combat ship, a light hull that can move upward of 50 mph, but one that carries less armament in comparison with some of the ships it would replace.

However, a disagreement within the Pentagon has made the scope of the LCS program uncertain, despite there being no clear replacement for a big chunk of the future fleet.

Last month, media reported that acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox, in an unreleased memo, directed the Navy to halt LCS productionafter 32 ships — 20 less than planned — and begin development of a “more …

Food prices and revolution?

Brian Merchant:
It's happening in Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand, Bosnia, Syria, and beyond. Revolutions, unrest, and riots are sweeping the globe. The near-simultaneous eruption of violent protest can seem random and chaotic; inevitable symptoms of an unstable world. But there's at least one common thread between the disparate nations, cultures, and people in conflict, one element that has demonstrably proven to make these uprisings more likely: high global food prices.

Just over a year ago, complex systems theorists at the New England Complex Systems Institute warned us that if food prices continued to climb, so too would the likelihood that there would be riots across the globe. Sure enough, we're seeing them now. The paper's author, Yaneer Bar-Yam, charted the rise in the FAO food price index—a measure the UN uses to map the cost of food over time—and found that whenever it rose above 210, riots broke out worldwide. It happened in 2008 after the economic collapse, an…