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Showing posts from 2015

Germany shuts down train station because of terror threat

Guardian:
Police in Munich are asking people to stay away from the city’s main railway station and a second station in the city’s Pasing neighbourhood because of the “serious, imminent threat” of a terror attack.

Munich police said on Facebook that according to “serious information, there will be an attack tonight”.

German police also used Twitter to warn of a planned New Year’s Eve attack.

“Actual lead that in Munich a terror attack is planned. Please avoid crowd gatherings as well as the central train station and the Pasing train station,” read a translation of the German tweet.

It added: “Pasing and central stations have been evacuated. Trains are no longer running. Please follow police instructions.”
... The planned attack appears similar to the recent mass murders in France where groups of terrorist struck.  It appears that terrorists planned to take advantage of New Years crowds in order to increase their mass murder count.

Terrorist plot in New York to uses knives and machete?

NY Times:
A 25-year-old man in Rochester has been arrested and charged with preparing to stage a New Year’s Eve machete attack on diners at a local restaurant on behalf of the Islamic State.

The man, Emanuel L. Lutchman, is accused of gathering knives, a machete, ski masks and zip ties as part of his plan to raid the restaurant and possibly kidnap someone, taking advantage of what a self-identified Islamic State member overseas described as his position “behind enemy lines.”

Mr. Lutchman appeared in federal court in Rochester on Thursday on a charge of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as he pursued a goal of joining the terrorist organization overseas.

“This New Year’s Eve prosecution underscores the threat of ISIL even in upstate New York but demonstrates our determination to immediately stop any who would cause harm in its name,” William J. Hochul Jr., the United States attorney in Buffalo, said in a statement.

Ea…

Immigration issue turning into a political disaster for Democrats

Politico:
Hillary's border crisis

The president's deportation plan traps Clinton between Hispanics and swing-state whites. There are several layers to the problem.  The failure to deter illegal immigration is leading to another glut of refugees at the border.   That is one of the reasons why DHS is ordering a round up of some of the past illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported.

In fact, the failure to act on the court ordered deportations puts the administration in a bind on their appeal of the state suits against Obama's amnesty order.  They are already having to deal with the fact that by their own admission Obama has tried to unilaterally change the law.

Add to that the fact that they have not been deporting people that have been ordered out of the country and they are facing a real dilemma in their attempt to appeal the 5th Circuit decision upholding the lower court's injunction against the amnesty order.

Caution narcissist in charge of ISIL strategy

Washington Post:
Obama thinks his Syria strategy is right — and folks just don’t get it

Ordering an “uptick in our communications tempo,” the president insists that the administration needs to do a better job of explaining the U.S.-led strategy against the Islamic State. The problem is his strategy is inexplicable.  It is a mish-mash of too little, too late tactical responses and an inadequate operational tempo in attacking the enemy.  It is a policy that worries about the lives of the enemy logistics team more than the lives of those threatened by the enemy.  Ir is a strategy that is bogged down by decisions made on the tactical level by amateurs in the White Hosue rather than professionals in the military.  It takes a narcissist to believe that everyone but him is wrong about it.

Support growing for opposition to ethanol subsidies

NY Times:
Ted Cruz Finds Support for His Opposition to Corn Subsidies
Ted Cruz, already under attack in Iowa for opposing government support for ethanol, has won the support of an out-of-state conservative leader, Ken Cuccinelli II. I have been an opponent of the ethanol program for some time and have received positive feedback from Iowa readers on the issue.  It should be noted that Cruz's plan would also do away with other energy subsidies such as those for oil and gas.  The ethanol program was a product of a perceived scarcity of oil and gas.  That scarcity has disappeared because of the shale revolution.

There are other reasons for opposing the ethanol requirement.  Its use damages engines especially for tools like chain saws and garden equipment.

The Trump voter demographic

NY Times:
Trump’s Strongest Supporter: A Certain Kind of Democrat
A survey found that Donald J. Trump is popular among the less affluent and less educated, while his strongest supporters are self-identified Republicans who are nonetheless registered as Democrats. This description sounds like Reagan Democrats.  They seem to have some of the same complaints about liberal policies that have negatively effected their lives.  It also suggests that if Trump can get sufficient GOP support he could win.  Alternatively, they could be Democrat trolls trying to pick a weak candidate.

Refugees caught lying about their nationality

Independent:
Austria has sent hundreds of refugees back to Slovenia for lying about their nationality, a police spokesman said.

"We assume that some are trying to take advantage of the situation, knowing very well that they have little chance of being granted asylum in Austria and Germany," the police spokesman said.

While carrying out spot checks on the 3,000 daily arrivals, translators and police apparently noticed an increase in people whose nationalities and language skills did not match.
... The UK is threatening criminal prosecution of those making bogus claims of nationality.  This is another aspect of the failure to impose a military solution in Syria that has led to the mass migration.

Chicoms build replica of US drones

Bill Gertz:
China’s armed drones appear built from stolen data from US cyber intrusions China's claim that the government is not involved in the cyber attacks is belied by this revelation.

Congress wants answers to questions about administration snooping on Iran deal

Washington Examiner:
The House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the National Security Agency on Wednesday asking for information about its reported policy of eavesdropping on phone calls between Israeli government officials and members of Congress, as well as why the federal agency forwarded these records to the White House.

"These reports raise questions concerning the processes NSA employees follow in determining whether intercepted communications involved members of Congress, and the latitude agency employees have in screening communications with members of Congress for further dissemination within the Executive Branch," wrote Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and National Security Subcommittee Chairman Ron DeSantis.

Committee members have requested copies of all guidance, including formal and informal policies and procedures, for determining if phone data involves a House member or senator. The letter also asks for conditions by which NSA would share intell…

Obama's immigration policy is harming America

Rep. Sam Johnson:
Fighting back against Obama's lawless immigration amnesty

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His unconstitutional amnesty undermines the rule of law. It leaves our nation less secure. It hurts law-abiding, American taxpayers. It overwhelms Border Patrol agents who are doing their very best to protect our homeland. It leaves Texans and other folks in border cities to fend for themselves as cartels smuggle drugs, weapons and people over the border for profit. And it's unfair to those who have played by the rules to legally call America home. It's no wonder that a majority of folks oppose the president's action.
... The case filed by several states against the amnesty plan make this point too, and I suspect that the recent announcement that DHS would begin deporting illegals who have been ordered out of the country maybe tied to that case.  One of the arguments made to the court is that the administration is ignoring the law and the fact that thousands who have been ordered out of the …

Obama's bogus claims about Gitmo as a recruiting tool

Politifact:
Supporters of closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, including President Barack Obama, often refer to the military prison’s existence as a major recruitment tool for terrorist groups.

The theory is that terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) can rally potential followers by highlighting alleged human rights abuses against suspected terrorists held at the prison.

But Weekly Standard senior editor Stephen Hayes said this is flat-out wrong.

Guantanamo has "never been a key component of ISIS or al-Qaida propaganda, and yet the president is insisting on moving forward and closing it," Hayes said on Fox News Sunday Dec. 27.

We decided to get to the bottom of this question.

When we reached out to Hayes, he said there’s no question that Guantanamo features in some terrorist propaganda, but he emphasized that it’s not a "key component." Experts we spoke with generally agreed.

Hayes pointed us in the direction of Thomas J…

Race is on to be first to export US oil after lifting of ban

Fuel Fix:
ConocoPhillips and NuStar claim they have taken the lead in the race to export the first U.S. crude oil since Congress lifted the 40-year-old ban.

The two companies said they plan to finish loading the Eagle Ford crude cargo on Thursday at the Port of Corpus Christi. The announcement seemingly puts them in the lead over Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners, which said just last week that it will load 600,000 barrels of domestic light crude oil to Houston and load it onto a tanker in the first week of 2016.

Houston-based ConocoPhillips said it will sell the crude oil to Switzerland-based Vitol, which is an international trading company also buying the crude from Enterprise. San Antonio-based NuStar was contracted to transport and load the crude oil in Corpus Christi.
... Where the oil may be headed is still a mystery, but the ports are certainly competing to see who can leave with the first load.

Muslim man charged with starting fire at mosque he attended

NBC News:
The suspect in a "suspicious" fire at a Houston mosque is an adherent who attended services there, officials said Wednesday.

Gary Nathaniel Moore, 37, of Houston, was arrested Wednesday morning for the Christmas Day blaze, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told NBC News.

Moore told investigators he had attended the mosque for five years, coming five times a day to pray, reported The Houston Chronicle. MJ Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, confirmed at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that Moore did attend prayer services there, but added, "I wouldn't call him a regular."

The fire at the mosque in the city's southwest started around 2:45 p.m. CT, about an hour after services ended. No one was injured, but the mosque sustained significant damage.

Moore told investigators he had prayed at the mosque earlier on Christmas Day, and said he was the last one to leave, but saw no signs of f…

Pakistanis with terror ties caught at US border with Mexico

Washington Times:
The Border Patrol nabbed two Pakistani men with ties to terrorism at the U.S.-Mexico border in September in the latest instance of illegal immigrants from so-called “special interest countries” using the southern border as a point of entry to the U.S.

Muhammad Azeem and Mukhtar Ahmad, both in their 20s and from Gujrat, were caught Sept. 20 by agents south of San Diego and just over the international border from Tijuana. When agents checked their identities through databases they got hits on both of them: Mr. Ahmad popped up as an associate of a known or suspected terrorist, while Mr. Azeem’s information had been shared by a foreign government for intelligence purposes.

Both men had been processed two months earlier by immigration officials in Panama, suggesting they took advantage of smuggling networks or other routes increasingly used by Central American illegal immigrants to sneak into the U.S.

It comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill are increasingly worried about po…

Muslim biker gang suspected in Belgium New Years plot

CNN:
Belgian authorities have arrested two people on suspicion of being involved in a plot to attack "emblematic sites" in Belgium's capital during New Year's celebrations, the country's federal prosecutor's office said Tuesday.

The men are members of a Muslim biker gang called the Kamikaze Riders and are suspected to have discussed attacking Brussels' Grand Place square and other places where crowds gather as well as police and military facilities, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official told CNN on condition of anonymity.

The plot appears to have been inspired, but not directed, by the ISIS terror group, the counterterrorism official said.

Because the investigation is in its early stages, a possible connection between suspects and ISIS cannot be excluded, André Vandoren, the head of Belgium's coordinating body for threat analysis, told CNN on Wednesday.
... How many motorcycles are manufactured in Muslim countries?   Probably none.  It is another…

Florida and Texas big winners among those voting with their feet

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California joins the Northeast and Midwest as the biggest losers.  The blue state model appears to be driving population away.

This time the GOP 'moderates' are in a fight with each other

Washington Post:
GOP’s establishment candidates begin taking aim at each other

Many believe the Republican presidential race will come down to a one-on-one contest between an “outsider” who channels the angry base and a candidate more in line with the wishes of the party hierarchy. But those establishment hopefuls must first deal with one another. Right now they appear to be attracting a minority of the party votes collectively and they are fighting with each other over who is ignoring their day job or who has the least energy.  Meanwhile the party's base is much closer to Trump and Cruz who together are attracting a majority of the voters in early polling.  This is different from the previous two elections where the conservatives split the votes and left an opening for the moderates.

Texas argues against Supreme Court review of decisions blocking Obama amnesty plan

NY Times:
Texas Urges Supreme Court to Reject Appeal on Obama’s Immigration Program
In a brief filed Tuesday, the state’s attorney general argued that lower courts had properly rejected an “unprecedented assertion of executive authority.” If the court decides to hear the appeal, I think the chances are remote that they will reverse the lower court rulings.  The Obama administration is trying to rewrite the immigration laws for political purposes.

Student visa abuse at two California schools

Center for Immigration Studies:
Some would-be F-1 students from India have been shipped home, and others barred from taking flights to the U.S., in what may be another visa mill scandal in California's Bay Area.

The two educational institutions involved are Silicon Valley University (SVU), and the somewhat bigger Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU). Both institutions are run largely by Chinese Americans, and both are largely attracting students from India – the same basic pattern as was found a couple of years ago in the ICE-closed Tri-Valley University and in Herguan University, whose founder, owner and former CEO has been sent to jail for immigration fraud.

Tri-Valley and Herguan are also in the Bay Area. Yet another Chinese-run, Indian-attended visa mill, the University of Northern Virginia, was closed by state authorities and subsequently de-listed by the slow-moving Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a subset of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to T…

Brits foil husband-wife terror team

Independent:
A potential suicide bomber and his wife have been found guilty of planning a massive terror attack in London designed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in the capital.

Mohammed Rehman, 25, and his wife, Sana Ahmed Khan, 24, were discovered to have been days away from committing an act of terrorism in the capital before they were arrested by anti-terrorism police.

Rehman, who had been going by the name of "Silent Bomber," used money from his wife to buy chemicals needed to make a huge bomb from eBay and stockpiling them at his family home in Reading.

He had taken to Twitter in May to ask people for suggestions as to which target he should choose for the attack - Westfield shopping centre or the Tube - and had been found to have filmed himself setting off a small explosion in his back garden.

The prosecution said Rehman had been just days away from completing the bomb that would have caused multiple casualties in the capital before he wa…

Kurds defy Turkey in move against ISIL

Business Insider:
A Kurdish militia with ties to an organization waging an insurgency in Turkey's southeast region violated Turkey's "red line" in Syria over the weekend by crossing the Euphrates River during an anti-ISIS operation.

The operation to take back Tishrin Dam from ISIS was staged by the Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG — the military arm of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

It served as a huge blow to ISIS, which had relied on the dam to move weapons and fighters between its de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria and the cities of Manbij and Jarablous it controls in the northern countryside of Aleppo Province.

But ISIS was not the only loser. The operation was also a major affront to Turkey, which declared the Euphrates a "red line" for Kurdish territorial expansion over the summer. Indeed, Turkey struck the YPG twice in October after it defied Ankara's warning not to cross the river.

So far, howev…

Obama goes to extreme to protect his bad deal with Iran

Erick Erickson:
Barack Obama Used the Government to Spy on Congress He was also spying on Israeli communications with members of Congress who opposed his bad deal.

The anger of the Trump voter at Obama

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Trump's willingness to say things others will not say makes him their choice.  Ted Cruz is the only other candidate they are willing to consider.

Robotic mule lacks stealth

Washington Times:
Marines shelve Google’s $42M robot ‘AlphaDogs’ because they are too noisy That is what I said the first time I saw a video of the robot in action.  It was just hard to imagine going on a patrol with that much racket.

Trump gives voice to the disquiet caused by Islamic terrorism

Washington Post:
Trump’s effect on Muslim migrant debate reverberates in the heartland

Heated rhetoric, world events and a fire at a North Dakota restaurant have left Somali refugees and their neighbors increasingly fearful of each other. The Somali community has its share of people who have joined the jihad and it has become a disruptive force in the Minnesota area which is near North Dakota.  Many of the Somalis just are not assimilating.   Pretending it is not a problem has not stopped the attacks.

Air strike kills ISIL leader tied to Paris mass murders

CNN:
The U.S.-led coalition killed multiple figures within ISIS senior leadership over the last few weeks, including an operative closely linked to the ringleader of the November attacks in Paris, the spokesman for the coalition said Tuesday.

Col. Steve Warren said 10 senior ISIS leaders operating in both Iraq and Syria, "including several external attack planners," with designs on attacking western targets, had been killed in airstrikes.

Charaffe al Mouadan, a Syrian-based member of ISIS with a "direct link" to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgian-born ringleader of the terror attacks in Paris, was killed in a December 24 airstrike, and was "actively planning additional attacks against the West," Warren said.

Abaaoud was killed in a police raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis last month and had direct contacts, the coalition said, with al Mouadan before the attacks took place, which killed more than 120 people.

In addition to al Mouadan, nine other figures foc…

Climate models loaded with invalid assumptions?

Daily Caller:
Climate Models Have Been Wrong About Global Warming For Six Decades

...
The Cato scientists argue “climate sensitivity” estimates are too high and are causing climate models to over-predict how much warming will happen with increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Climate sensitivity refers to how much warming would occur with a doubling of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

Climate scientists typically put climate sensitivity at 3 degrees Celsius, but a slew of new studies suggest that’s way too high an estimate based on how much warming has been observed in recent decades. One estimate put together by the U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation last year found climate sensitivity may be as low as 1.75 degrees Celsius — almost half what mainstream climate models use. The fact that the projections have been so consistently flawed is evidence of an invalid assumption.  That they keep making the same mistake over and over suggest something other than scientific in…

A flaw in Obama's plan to relocate the poor into the suburbs

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Washington Post:
When the poor are forced to the suburbs, getting to work becomes a huge challenge
For the poor in the Deep South’s cities, simply applying for a job exposes the barriers of a particularly pervasive and isolating form of poverty. It is going to be a problem in any city where there is an attempt to displace the poor into more affluent neighborhoods.  It tends to create pockets of poverty without addressing the cultural issues.   I saw it in the 70's and 80's with the building of Section Eight housing projects in middle-class areas of Houston.

Weather hampers Cruz opponents

NY Times:
Ted Cruz’s Rivals Are Hindered by Storm in Trying to Cut His Lead in Iowa
With Senator Ted Cruz is spending the week effectively off the campaign trail, but his rivals seemed to sense an opening in the state. Then it started snowing. That is what it does in Iowa in the winter.  Perhaps they should have hired dog sleds for their campaign appearances.

Al Qaeda not on the run anymore?

NY Times:
As U.S. Focuses on Taliban and ISIS, Al Qaeda Re-emerges
Training camps have sprouted up in Afghanistan, leading to questions on whether they could again become breeding grounds for attacks on the United States. This is what happens when you take your foot off their neck and try to quit the war before the enemy is defeated.  Obama's retreat from Afghanistan and reality is becoming more costly everyday.  To defeat an enemy like al Al Qaeda, it is necessary to make it clear that their cause is hopeless.  Instead, Obama keeps doing things that give the enemy hope.

Cruz battle with media is helping him win votes

Stephen Miller:
Cruz Is Playing the Media Perfectly

...
He did not respond with bomb-throwing tweets or statements that generate page clicks or mentions on cable news, and the Post’s attempts to anger Cruz enough so he’d hulk out into The Incredible Trump failed. He responded simply by defending his daughters, then by posting a cartoon of his own that portrayed the Washington Post and the New York Times as Hillary Clinton’s leashed lapdogs. It’s perfect red meat for his supporters, and the media fall into their own trap.

This has to be painfully frustrating for pundits and personalities who are attempting to goad Cruz into a fight that would prove he’s not as culturally savvy as Buzzfeed and IJ.com are making him out to be.

This is becoming a pattern for Cruz. Whether he’s halting the debate antics of an obnoxious moderator, responding to the incoherent Twitter rant of a pop star, or debating a Hollywood actress attempting to ambush him with cameras for her own show, Cruz is proving …

Thousands of Cubans in Central America headed for US border with Mexico

Miami Herald:
Central American nations have reached a deal to let the first of thousands of stranded Cuban migrants continue their journey north toward the United States next month, officials said Monday.

The humanitarian transfer will airlift an unspecified number of Cubans the first week of January from Costa Rica to El Salvador, from where they will continue by bus toward Mexico, Costa Rica's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Guatemalan government, which hosted a diplomatic meeting earlier in the day to consider the issue, described it as a "pilot" program and said a work group has been tasked with coordinating logistics.

The two governments did not immediately release further details, citing some nations' desire for discretion on what has become a diplomatic flashpoint between Costa Rica and neighboring Nicaragua.

The number of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica has reached at least 8,000 since Nicaragua closed its border to them weeks ago. The islanders say t…

Trust in administration to protect US is at new low

Leon Wolf:
CNN has conducted a poll which shows that the Democrats might have a long, hard slog ahead of them in the Presidential elections, pretty much no matter who the Republican opponent is. At the end of the day, people want government to do a lot of different things for them, but the baseline for success for any government is protecting the citizenry from foreign invaders. Americans, by and large, have felt more or less secure from foreign threats for a relatively long time, due to our fortuitous global position and our excellent military. Polling on the question, “Do you trust the United States government to keep you safe?” were thought to reach a nadir in 2006 when Iraq was in full scale meltdown, and only 59% of respondents answered this question “Yes.” This, of course, is one of the things that led to the Republicans getting trounced in both the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Turns out, the nadir of Bush’s presidency was no match for Obama’s recent run of indifference and incompete…

Diplomatic delusions at the Obama State Department

Politico:
State Dept. counts 'bringing peace' to Syria as a 2015 win Wishing and hoping are not the same as "bringing peace."

OPEC's strategy is not working anymore

OiljobsND:
U.S. Shale Oil Industry Will Bankrupt Saudi Arabia And Claim Victory Against OPEC

...
It won’t be long before Saudi Arabia shoots themselves in the foot and goes broke due to their refusal to decrease oil production. They may have started the oil war, but the US Shale Oil Industry is going to finish it. Saudi has gone from a budget surplus of 12% of GDP in 2012 to a projected deficit of 21.6% or roughly US$150 Billion in 2015. They can only keep their heads above water for so long at this pace. Saudi needs crude at US $106 a barrel to balance its budget, way higher than a once needed $69 a barrel back in 2010.

What the US operators need to do to bury OPEC 6 feet under the ground is ramp up production to further flood the market and drive the price of oil down. This could be done very quickly. And it just may happen now that we’ve all of a sudden discovered that there is a huge market for the oil we have here. Before the ban was lifted, everybody said it would do us no good b…

ISIL employs thousands of foreign oil workers

Fuel Fix:
According to an Iraq Oil Report story published Monday, the Islamic State militant group at one point employed thousands of workers to keep crude pumping from rudimentary wells captured in the oil fields of Iraq and Syria.

The new report, which details ISIS oil operations that were previously reported to bring in as much as $50 million per month, says records obtained in a U.S. raid on the group show that close to 2,000 workers helped the militants pump cheap crude from more than 200 wellheads across the region.

About 1,600 of those workers came from other countries, with global layoffs in the oil industry and competitive salaries offered by ISIS helping the group’s recruiting efforts, U.S. State Department officials told Iraq Oil Report.

The records released by the U.S. government also show that despite a stepped-up air-strike campaign against ISIS oil infrastructure throughout 2014, the group was still able to keep the crude flowing. Some facilities targeted in air strikes wer…

Terror threat in Russia?

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Telegraph:
Kremlin orders New Year's Eve closure of Moscow's Red Square
Claims by officials that the square is to be shut for filming a TV program are denied by the TV company itself It seems like a very strange time to close such a public venue for filming a TV program.  It sounds more like a Russian equivalent of 24.

Energy cost for Saudis increase as government cuts subsidies

Bloomberg:
Confronting a drop in oil prices and mounting regional turmoil, Saudi Arabia reduced energy subsidies and allocated the biggest part of government spending in next year’s budget to defense and security.

Authorities announced increases to the prices of fuel, electricity and water as part of a plan to restructure subsidies within five years. The government intends to cut spending next year and gradually privatize some state-owned entities and introduce value-added taxation as well as a levy on tobacco.

The biggest shake-up of Saudi economic policy in recent history coincides with growing regional unrest, including a war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is battling pro-Iranian Shiite rebels. In attempting to reduce its reliance on oil, the kingdom is seeking to put an end to the population’s dependence on government handouts, a move that political analysts had considered risky after the 2011 revolts that swept parts of the Middle East.

“This is the beginning of the end of…

Americans do not think Obama is winning war with terrorists

The Hill:
More Americans believe that the world’s terrorists are beating the U.S. and its allies than at any point since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to a Monday poll.

About 40 percent say global extremists currently have the edge in that fight, according to the CNN/ORC survey, while only 18 percent say the same about the American-led coalition.

Another 40 percent pick neither side, and 2 percent have no opinion.

The previous high for those saying the terrorists are winning was 22 percent in August 2006.

Americans are also nervous about the possibility of terrorists hurting their families, with over 4 in 10 expressing that concern.

About 15 percent said they are “very worried” about terrorism hurting a family member, while another 30 percent said they are “somewhat worried.”

Monday’s results additionally found that Americans are skeptical President Obama can protect them from extremism.

Just 17 percent said they “have a great deal” of confidence the Obama administration can shield t…

Success against ISIL tied to more conventional warfare tactics

BBC:
...
Colonel Steve Warren, a Baghdad-based spokesman for the US Department of Defense, said in a BBC interview that the success is due in large part to conventional warfare tactics recently employed by the ISF, not the counter-insurgency style tactics they were trained by the Americans to use for several years.
...
But IS's strategy is different - working to seize and hold territory in an attempt to establish a state.

"You can't do that through insurgency, you have to do that through conventional warfare," Mr Warren said.

As an example, the colonel pointed to the strategic city of Ramadi, which has been in the hands of IS but Iraqi forces have this week advanced into the city centre.

There is one main road into Ramadi.

To protect the city, IS have littered the road and surrounding area with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in way that makes a sort of makeshift minefield. They then aimed machine guns and mortars at the field of explosives, to deter bomb disposa…

Obama and the anti energy left were wrong about oil

Stephen Moore:
Dead wrong on oil

The green doomsayers have repeatedly claimed the fuel is disappearing Obama has made s many false statements about oil production that it is hard to catalog all of them, but one of the worst was his repeated statements that the US could not drill its way to lower oil prices.  He could not have been more wrong, but then after the prices dropped he incredibly claimed credit for it.

Liberalism is driving people out of New York

NY Post:
Last one out, turn off the lights. And in New York, that might be sooner than anyone thought.

As the Empire Center noted last week, 153,921 more residents moved out of New York than moved in from other states over the 12 months through July 1, new US Census data show.

That brings New York’s total “net domestic migration” loss since 2010 to 653,071.

And here’s a dubious distinction for the state: That loss is bigger than in any other state for those years — in both absolute terms and per capita.

The outflow means an ever-smaller share of the nation’s population is choosing to live in New York. And that has consequences: The state is now on track to lose yet another congressional seat after the next 10-year census.

What’s driving folks out? Well, here’s a good guess: Jobs — or, rather, a lack of them. Especially in the economically comatose regions upstate. And especially after Gov. Cuomo nixed upstate’s one hope for an economic revival: fracking.

Fact is, businesses have been shunni…

Establishment anger toward Cruz a badge of honor in campaign

Wall Street Journal:
Sen. Ted Cruz is getting rock-star treatment at his 2016 presidential-campaign events. In Iowa, the state he has visited more than any other, a recent poll found more Republicans viewed him favorably than any other GOP candidate.

Among his fellow senators, by contrast, he is one of the most disliked men in Washington. He has been called “wacko bird,” “jackass” and “false prophet.” And that came from Republicans.

The gap between his reputation in Washington and his reception among primary voters isn’t a paradox. It is central to his campaign strategy.

With the GOP electorate riddled with disdain for the political establishment, Mr. Cruz relishes his reputation as the bad boy of the Senate, where he has dragged his party into a government-shuttering budget fight and defied party leaders ever since arriving on Capitol Hill in 2013.

“When we launched our campaign, the New York Times promptly opined, ‘Cruz cannot win because the Washington elites despise him,’ ” he sai…

Drones and special ops troops are Obama's weapons of choice

NY Times:
Special Forces Are Obama’s ‘Boots on the Ground’
While President Obama has repeatedly said he opposes sending Americans to fight overseas, his administration carves out exceptions for Special Operations. When it comes to the use of force, if it can't be done with drones, special ops or an air attack, Obama tends to say no.  That is why his fight against radical Islam has been such a failure.  He refuses to use the resources of the military in a way that actually destroys the enemy and makes the enemy come to believe that his cause is hopeless.  Instead he uses half measures and thinks you can end wars by withdrawing.

Cleric's claims of barely knowing Muslim killers looks suspect

NY Post:
The cleric acting as spokesman for the San Bernardino mosque where terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook worshipped claims he barely knew Farook and didn’t know his terrorist wife at all. But phone records and other evidence uncovered by federal investigators cast suspicion on his story.

The FBI has questioned the cleric, Roshan Zamir Abbassi, about his phone communications with Farook — including a flurry of at least 38 messages over a two-week span in June, coinciding with the deadly Muslim terrorist attack on two military sites in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Abbassi, a Pakistani, insists he had nothing to do with the shooting at a San Bernardino County government building five miles from the mosque. While he confirms the text messages with Farook, he claims they were merely discussing food donations for his Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamiya of America mosque.

Abbassi maintained at a press conference that he didn’t know Farook any better than he knew the reporters in the room. But members of the mosque …

Israel missile defense chief sacked for allegedly storing classified info on his computer

BBC:
The head of Israel's missile defence programmes has been sacked for a "grave breach of information security", the defence ministry has said.

The ministry gave no further details of Yair Ramati's offence.

However, Israeli media said he had stored classified information on his personal computer.

Yair Ramati had been in the post for four years, overseeing projects such as the Iron Dome and Arrow anti-missile interceptor systems.
... The Israelis appear more serious about the handling of classified material than the Obama administration which appears to be making an exception for Hillary Clinton.

ISIL resistance crumbles in Ramadi

AFP:
The Islamic State group abandoned its last stronghold in Ramadi Sunday, effectively handing Iraqi forces their biggest victory since last year's massive jihadist nationwide offensive.

There were still parts of the flashpoint government complex the elite counter-terrorism service could not enter, as jihadists had rigged the entire area with explosives before retreating.

And while pockets of jihadists may remain, Iraqi forces said they no longer faced any resistance, and officials were already congratulating them for liberating Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

"All Daesh (IS) fighters have left. There is no resistance," Sabah al-Numan, the counter-terrorism force's spokesman, told AFP.

"The operation is almost wrapped up", as a major clearing effort was still needed to allow forces to move in.

People waving Iraqi flags celebrated the Ramadi victory in several cities, including Baghdad and the holy Shiite city of Karbala.
... The combat engineers mu…

Obama administration does not want to admit it made a bad deal

Elliott Abrams:
WHY IS JOHN KERRY KOWTOWING TO IRAN? Iran sensed the US desperation for a deal and feels secure that under the Obama administration there is little chance that they will be rebuked or called on their perfidy.

Saudis intercept missile fired from Yemen

AFP:
Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile fired on its territory from Yemen's rebel-held capital, the Saudi-led coalition announced on Sunday, in the latest cross-border attack on the kingdom.

Saudi air defence forces intercepted "a Scud missile fired from Sanaa in Yemen towards the city of Najran" late on Saturday, said the coalition that has been battling rebels in Yemen since March.

Coalition jets "immediately destroyed the missile launch pad after identifying its location in Yemen," it said in a statement published by Saudi Arabia's official SPA news agency.

Yemen's Iran-backed rebels have intensified their rocket attacks across the Saudi border during the past week, prompting the coalition to threaten severe reprisals against them.

The Saudis have deployed Patriot missile batteries designed to counter tactical ballistic missiles.

In a statement published on their sabanews.net website, the rebels said they fired rockets at Jizan and Najran on the Saud…

Strategic dam captured by US backed troops near ISIL stronghold

Reuters/Arab News:
A US-backed alliance of Syrian Kurds and Arab rebel groups, backed by US coalition planes, has captured a dam from Daesh, cutting a main supply route of the militants across the Euphrates, an alliance spokesman said.

Col. Talal Selo said the seizure of the dam helps isolate the terrorists’ strongholds in northern Aleppo from their territories east of the Euphrates river, where Raqqa city, their de facto capital, is located.

Col. Selo said the rapid advance by thousands of troops from the Democratic Forces of Syria had brought the dam, 22 km upstream from Raqqa, under their control on Saturday afternoon.

Since the US-backed alliance was formed last October, its fighters have opened several major offensives against Daesh with the ultimate goal of capturing Raqqa.

Selo said the intensive aerial bombing by a US-led coalition was instrumental in rapid advances since the campaign started four days ago.
“The coalition jets participated in the previous campaigns and this on…

Do underwater drones threaten the boomer submarines

Independent on Sunday:
Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent could be torpedoed by an increasingly sophisticated breed of underwater drone, a leading defence expert has warned.

Rapid advances in underwater drone technology – autonomous underwater vehicles that can be controlled by ship- or land-based operators – threaten to make the controversial Trident nuclear submarines vulnerable, according to Paul Ingram, the chief executive of the British American Security Information Council (Basic).

Submarines have traditionally been seen as capable of providing stealth and invulnerability to pre-emptive attacks. The current requirement for Trident replacement subs is for them to operate as near to silently as possible.

However, a revolution in underwater drones, as well as advances in sonar, satellite and other anti-submarine warfare systems, mean that even totally silent submarines are likely to become detectable. Some sensor technologies can detect large submerged objects by monitoring …

Lessons for Bernie Sanders and the Democrats

James Pethokoukis:
Poor nations are poor because of the lack of capitalism, not because of it A lack of capitalism has made Cuba and Venezuela poor.  The latter is blessed with natural resources that have been squandered on the evils of socialism.   Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system.

DC voter hatred

Michael Walsh:
Elites and media really hate Donald Trump’s voters Ted Cruz appears to be the only one in Washington wise enough not to alienate this rather large voting bloc.
To hear the patronizing wise men of the Republican Party tell it, anyone who would vote for Donald Trump for president must be deranged. “Trumpkins,” they call them, mental midgets and xenophobic troglodytes who’ve crawled out from their survivalist caves in order to destroy the Beltway Establishment.

How their resentful attitude galls the crack cadres of campaign consultants who brought conservatives halfhearted standard-bearers like John McCain and Mitt Romney to do sham battle against Barack Obama in 2008 and ’12, then return to the safety of the US Senate and a beachfront mansion in La Jolla.
... Trump has made his own share of mistakes insulting voters, but the professional politicians in Washington are supposed to be smarter than that.

You got the first hint of their reaction when they said Trump "unle…

Immigration not the winning issue media and establishment claimed

Washington Post:
Rubio’s past support for immigration reform haunts him on campaign trail

More than two years after the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” unveiled a comprehensive plan in the Senate, the Republican presidential candidate finds himself needing to justify his membership in the group to a skeptical conservative base. There is distrust of Rubio on this issue and his confrontation with Ted Cruz has exposed him further on the point.  His explanation for the failure to achieve his objective sounds eerily familiar.  It is the same one used by the Bush administration when they failed to pass it.  People do not trust the government to enforce the law whether it is changed or not. There are other issues.  The "reform" had no real deterrent to stop future illegal immigration.  Their border protection promises ring hollow especially in the hands of a Democrat administration that tends to see illegals as future Democrat dependencies and voters.

Europe under terror threat warning

CNN:
An unnamed "friendly" intelligence service has warned several European cities of possible terror attacks, according to a statement released Saturday by police in Vienna, Austria.

The attacks would involve explosives or guns and occur sometime between Christmas and New Year's Eve, according to the statement, which did not name the cities that have been warned.

The warning did include the names of several possible attackers the Vienna police have investigated without finding "concrete further results."

"Overall, this is a lead, which stipulates a higher than general abstract state of danger," the Vienna police said.

In response to the terror threat warning, Vienna and other police in Europe have heightened the security alert by increasing police observation and surveillance at public venues, especially at key events and high-traffic areas. Among the precautions, police will initiate more thorough security checks, ensure quick readiness in case of a…

The myth that we provoked Islamic terrorism

Andrew McCarthy:
Let me ask you a question.

Let’s say you are an authentically moderate Muslim. Perhaps you were born into Islam but have become secularist. Or perhaps you consider yourself a devout Muslim but interpret Islam in a way that rejects violent jihad, rejects the concept that religious and civic life are indivisible, and rejects the principle that sharia’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code must be imposed on the state. Let’s just take that as a given: You are no more inclined toward terrorism than any truly peaceful, moderate, pro-democratic non-Muslim.

So let me pop the question: Is there any insulting thing I could say, no matter how provocative, or any demeaning video I could show you, no matter how lurid, that could convince you to join ISIS?

Mind you, I am not asking whether, upon my insulting and provoking you, you would ever want to have anything to do with me again. I am asking whether there is anything that could be said or done by me, or, say, Dona…

ISIL leader issues taunts to rest of the world

Telegraph:
The leader of the self-declared Islamic State issued a defiant message to the West, warning “crusaders” not to dare fight on his turf.

In a rare public statement - his first in seven months - Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said Western countries had "learned from" previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Crusaders and Jews don't dare to come on the ground because they were defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said in a 23-minute long audio message released through an Isil-run internet account.

The message - dubbed an "alternative Christmas broadcast" on social media - appeared to be an effort to rally Isil followers against the growing number of enemies arrayed against them.

The leader, who has rarely been pictured and has not been heard from since he was believed to have been injured in an airstrike by Iraqi forces in October, Russian or US-led airstrikes had failed to weaken the group, which was only "expanding and getting stronger".

&quo…

The competition in the fight for Islamic bigotry

Washington Post:
Al-Qaeda steps up the fight to steal spotlight back from ISIS

As the two groups compete for attention, their rivalry has fueled conflicts, destabilized Yemen and Syria, and bred radicalism from Asia and Africa to Europe. The competition in the fight to expand mass murder for Allah attacks keeps growing.  Neither appears to be "on the run" despite what Obama has been saying.

Ted Cruz victories

Image
It is an interesting understated ad.  I suspect it will help him in Iowa.

Premature predictions of doom for Trump

Politico:
13 times Trump looked finished, and wasn't

Political pundits, GOP rivals and the media have all prematurely predicted the real estate mogul's demise over and over again. The misjudgments are because of a failure to understand the anger directed at the political establishment and the political correctness they demand.  Even now, Democrats are at their usual game of accusing him of trying to divide the country, which is Democrat code for opposing their agenda.  They just can't imagine why the rest of the country thinks they suck.

Islamic terrorism that is not reported as such

Daniel Pipes:
America's Hidden Jihad ...
But what about the case of Yusuf Ibrahim? In early 2013, when he was 27, this Egyptian-born Muslim lived in Jersey City, when he allegedly shot, then cut off the heads and hands and knocked the teeth out of two Coptic Christians, Hanny F. Tawadros and Amgad A. Konds, then buried them in Buena Vista Township, New Jersey.

He is charged with two counts each of murder, felony murder, kidnapping, robbery, desecration of human remains, and other crimes. In addition, he haspleaded guilty to a Dec. 22, 2011, carjacking and a Sep. 20, 2012, armed robbery, both in Jersey City (in the latter, he shot his victim in the foot), and early in 2015 he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for these later crimes.

The twin beheadings are spectacular, gruesome, and replete with jihadi (or in police parlance, "terrorist") elements. Historian Timothy Furnish explains that "ritual beheading has a long precedent in Islamic theology and history," m…

ISIL online reach shows failure of administration cyber campaign

Washington Post:
Surge in terrorism charges a sign of ISIS’s online reach

The Justice Department charged an unprecedented number of people this year with terrorism-related crimes, an increase that came as the fast-rising Islamic State group used social media to inspire supporters to plot or attempt attacks. The US has not developed a counter to the online jihad of ISIL.  It is still relying on social media providers to help it police the appeal of the terrorists and is not aggressively going after the computers of the enemy with cyber attacks including malware.  It is not tracking the computers used in the appeal and targeting them for destruction by the military or arresting the users if they are in friendly countries.

The Trump irony--Taking big money out of politics

NY Times:
Donald Trump Scraps the Usual Campaign Playbook, Including TV Ads Mr. Trump has discarded the tactics that winning candidates have traditionally used, in spending, polling and advertising. Will that change moving into 2016? Not only has he not been soliciting donations, he is not spending much of his own money as he thrives on media attention, by saying things that would make the consultant class cringe.  Ted Cruz, the other top candidate in the GOP field has also relied more on organizing than ad buying as he stockpiles cash.

More charges filed against man accused of aiding Garland terror attackers

Reuters:
An Arizona man already accused of aiding two gunmen in an attack on an event in Texas drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed had also inquired about using pipe bombs and explosives during the 2015 Super Bowl in Phoenix, court documents said.

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, also known as Decarus Thomas, was charged on Wednesday with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, in addition to his indictment earlier this year on conspiracy and weapons charges in connection with the failed attack on the event in the Dallas suburb of Garland, according to the court papers.

His roommates Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi of Phoenix were killed by Garland police after they opened fire with assault rifles outside the May 3 cartoon drawing event. The original indictment said Kareem supplied the two gunmen with arms and helped them prepare for the attack.

The new charges accuse Kareem of showing support for the Islamic State militant group in social media posts, …

Syria strikes rebel command meeting killing top leaders

BBC:
The head and several leaders of one of Syria's most powerful rebel groups, Jaysh al-Islam, have been killed in an air strike east of Damascus.

Founder Zahroun Alloush, 44, was among those killed when rockets hit a meeting place, rebels and the Syrian army said.

The Saudi-backed Islamist group is one of the biggest factions and is dominant in the Eastern Ghouta countryside.

It recently joined an opposition summit in Riyadh which produced a framework for peace talks with the government.

Ten rockets struck as Jaysh al-Islam commanders met, Saudi-funded al-Arabiya TV reported. The group's deputy leader was also killed, al-Arabiya said.

he killing of Zahran Alloush comes days after the UN passed a resolutionendorsing a path to peace in Syria.

It sends a strong message as to whom the Russians and the Syrian government are willing to sit at the negotiating table with, when and if peace talks take place.

Russia, President Assad's strong ally, has presented a list of rebel groups it…

ISIL codifies more of its war crimes

NY Daily News:
Islamic State terrorists can eat so-called “apostates,” harvest their organs and rape sex slaves under ISIS clerical rulings revealed Friday.

The January “fatwas,” or religious rulings, come from a seven-terabyte trove of data seized by American special forces during the raid that killed senior ISIS money man Abu Sayyaf in May. Reuters published a U.S. government translation of one of the ISIS Research and Fatwa Committee rulings Friday.

“The apostate's life and organs don't have to be respected and may be taken with impunity,” according to Fatwa Number 68. The document cites “evidence from texts and Islamic principles and laws supporting the notion that transplanting healthy organs from an apostate’s body into a Muslim body in order to save the latter’s life or replace a damaged organ with it is permissible.”

The ruling doesn’t define “apostate” but gives ISIS terrorists sanction to remove organs from captives without regard to the captives’ lives and engage in ca…

The Palestinian stabbing offensive

Washington Post:
A ‘new kind of Palestinian terror’ threatens Israelis

Young Palestinians armed with kitchen knives are waging a campaign of near-suicidal violence that has been condemned by Israeli leaders. More than 100 attacks or attempted assaults have occurred since October, but Palestinian officials have been hesitant to address the violence. Hesitant is a gross understatement. They have been encouraging the assaults.
Songs about stabbing Jews to death -- including one by the winner of the Arab equivalent of "American Idol" -- are all the rage on West Bank airwaves, a year after the twisted hit parade featured calls for running down Israelis with cars.

The youth of the Palestinian territories are being bombarded with funky tunes and catchy lyrics about murder and martyrdom on government-controlled radio amid the ongoing wave of knife attacks plaguing Jerusalem. So far, a dozen Israelis have been killed and scores injured, while more than 70 Palestinians have been killed…