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Showing posts from January, 2015

The false spin of the left on when Obama was told about Netanyahu visit

Ed Lasky:
A correction appearing in the New York Times quietly unravels what has become a major story as phony agitprop, intended to discredit the leaders of Israel and the House of Representatives.  Of course, the story is still believed by many, and has well served those in the White House and media who created and disseminated it.Omri Ceren spotted the correction and explained on Twitter: NYT tries to promote anti-Netanyahu talking point that #Israelblindsided Obama. They got just 1 tiny detail wrong.http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/30/us/politics/benjamin-netanyahu-is-talking-to-harry-reid-and-leading-democrats-to-little-effect-so-far.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=2Correction: January 30, 2015 An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before. ... There is more.

With this White House i…

European cops outgunned by the terrorist?

Breitbart:
Police armed with pistols in heavily gun-controlled European countries are realizing a hard lesson fast–jihadists with no respect for the law are side-stepping gun control and stockpiling weapons that will give them the upper hand in confrontations with officers.

Europol chief of staff Brian Donald says there were two “large seizures” of firearms–particularly “assault weapons”–over the last two weeks and more seizures are expected as investigations and tracking continues.

According to TIME magazine, this is indicative of the reality European police face. Regardless of the gun control laws passed/implemented, jihadists are able to arm themselves just as those who attacked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters on January 7 were armed.

Cherif and Said Kouachi “were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and could easily outgun the police officers who tried to apprehend them with pistols,” not to mention the police officers who weren’t armed. The third attacker, Amedy Couliba…

Brit new battle helmet looks like that of Star Wars stormtroopers

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Daily Mail on Sunday:
It may look more like something out of the Star Wars films - but this is the new face of the British infantryman.

The revolutionary robotic anti-ballistic helmet weighing under 3lbs provides unprecedented protection for soldiers and will be in service on the battlefields for UK troops this September.

It replaces the old ‘pudding bowl’ style helmet and will feature a mouth protector and ear protection to shield the user from explosions while allowing human voices to be heard clearly.

A video camera capable of sending images from the frontline back to commanders, allowing them to monitor tactics and powerful torches, feature on either side.


+3 Stormtroopers: The new state-of-the-art helmet will give British soldiers greater protection on the battlefield, and will be made available to troops from this September. 
The development of the helmet over four years of trials comes after greater protection of the head and neck was made a priority following the high level of…

The high cost of academics living like the one percent

Washington Post:
Tuition rates at public colleges skyrocketing
It used to be that students could attend a public institution and incur little to no debt. But as states cut funding and tuition rises, many scramble to cover the costs. They have been covering this high life by pushing unaffordable loans on unsophisticated borrowers.  The academic  left is made up of a large group of predatory lenders on students who may never be able to repay and many of which will not be able to get jobs in their field of study.  That is why you have PhD's driving taxis in some cities and people with Masters Degrees waiting tables.  They are having to postpone setting up a household, and buying cars and other items because they are paying too much for a degree.

Obama administration attempts to cover its retreat with semantics

Andrew McCarthy:
...
1. Under federal law, there are only three requirements for a group to qualify as a “foreign terrorist organization”: It has to be (a) foreign, (b) engaged in “terrorist activity” (bombings, assassinations, etc., carried out to intimidate people and change policy), and (c) a national-security threat to the United States. The law that covers this is Sec. 1189(a) of Title 8, U.S. Code, from the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. It’s here, and it’s just the first few lines — even a president who routinely ignores the laws he is sworn to execute faithfully should be able to make some time for it, maybe on the plane ride between the golf course and the Saudi palace.

2. Obviously, even if it were true, as posited by Messrs. Schultz and Earnest (speaking for President Obama), that the Taliban is concerned only with Afghanistan, not with the global jihad, that would be irrelevant. They easily fit the definition of a foreign terrorist organization.

3. Of course, it is …

Russian hacker caught in Amsterdam extradited to US

Washington Post:
At noon on June 28, 2012, Vladimir Drinkman, targeted as one of America’s most wanted cybercriminals, and his wife hustled into a cab pulling away from their Amsterdam hotel. They had just been tipped off that the police were on to them, but an unmarked police car blocked their getaway. The Russian was handcuffed and arrested on charges of helping to mastermind what has been called the largest criminal hacking scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.

This week, after a protracted extradition proceeding, a Dutch court ruled that Drinkman will be sent to the United States to stand trial.

Drinkman, 34, is accused of taking part in a string of marquee hacks: the penetration of the electronic stock exchange Nasdaq, the theft of more than 130 million credit card numbers from Heartland Payment Systems, and cyber-­heists that victimized 7-Eleven, the Hannaford Brothers supermarket chain, Visa Inc., Dow Jones Inc. and Jet Blue, among others.

If convicted, he could face up to …

A good hit on an evil murderer

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Washington Post:
CIA, Mossad killed senior Hezbollah figure in bombing


Hezbollah’s international operations chief was killed on a street in Damascus.
The U.S. and Israeli spy agencies used a bomb in the spare tire of a vehicle in Damascus to kill Imad Mughniyah in 2008, former officials say.
This is the guy responsible for murdering Marines in their barracks in Lebanon in the 1980's. Finding him before he could kill even more people and stopping him was a major accomplishment. That the Iranian government still revered him which shows how little these Islamic religious bigots have changed over time.

Anti vaxxers put public health at risk compounded by uncontrolled immigration

NY Times:
Surge in Measles Puts Vaccine Critics on the Defensive
As officials in 14 states grapple with a measles outbreak, the parents at the heart of America’s anti-vaccine movement are being blamed for a public-health crisis. Both the anti vaxxer movement and the  open borders crowd have created a combustible mix that endangers the public health.  People are flowing across the borders without being screened for diseases are receiving proper vaccinations at the same time there is a group that has a paranoid fear of vaccinations.  The results is a public health crisis in some areas of the country where people congregate.

Netanyahu lacks trust in Obama's judgment, negotiation skills

NY Times:
Rift Between Netanyahu and Obama Slowly Grew
The diplomatic break touched off by Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to negotiate an address to Congress without first telling President Obama reflects their fundamentally different world views. Obama earned that lack of trust by pushing for deals with Palestinians who have nothing of value to offer the Israelis.   The so called "land for peace" bargain is worthless because there are too many Palestinians who would not honor the deal and what passes for a government cannot and will not control them.

Then there is Iran which is the crux of the current disagreement.  They are an untrustworthy government who have not given up their desire for a genocidal attack on Israel.  Obama has shown himself to be one of the world's worst negotiators.  Just look at the Bergdahl fiasco and the latest Cuba deal and you see a pattern where he gives away the store to our adversaries getting nothing in return while he steadfastly refuses t…

$50 oil want meet long term demand

Fuel Fix:
The CEO of oil giant Chevron Corp. said Friday that $50 crude oil wouldn’t be enough to meet the global economy’s longer-term energy needs.

Crude oil has fallen by more half since highs reached this summer as global supply has outpaced demand. But on fourth-quarter earnings call with investors, Chevron CEO John Watson said that long-term prices would have to be high enough to support the kinds of billion-dollar projects his company – and other majors – pursue.

For the quarter, the news was bleak: Chevron reported falling profits, slashed its budget and hinted at layoffs on the way. Longer-term, Watson was more optimistic for big oil.

“It’s very clear that the incremental barrels are coming for more complex developments over time,” Watson said. ”With all the enthusiasm around shale, I think it’s important to remember, it’s 4 million barrels a day out of a 92 million barrel base.”

The majority of the barrels produced still come from conventional fields, he said, many of which cont…

ISIL launches major offensive on oil town of Kirkuk in Iraq

Wall Street Journal:
Islamic State militants launched their biggest offensive yet outside Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk and tried to penetrate the city itself, part of a spate of brazen attacks by the extremist group against Kurdish forces across Iraq on Friday.

A senior Kurdish commander, Brig. Gen. Sherko Fatih, was among at least six Kurdish forces killed in the surprise attack just after midnight outside the northern Iraqi city, officials said.

As fighting raged outside the city, fighters from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, tried to break into the Kirkuk Palace Hotel after detonating a car bomb in front of the hotel, a rare incursion into the city center, officials said.

Kirkuk Gov. Najmaldin Karim said Kurdish forces and local police halted the hotel break-in, killing three militants. The Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, “foiled today a break-in operation by ISIS toward oil and gas installations from three directions that aimed at reaching the center of Kirkuk,” Mr. Karim said.

Af…

Special ops to get laser air support?

Washington Times:
Air Force wants AC-130 gunships armed with laser weapons The gunships are already an awesome weapon and the directed energy weapon could make it even more lethal.   Why not also look at getting a version of the Navy's new rail gun?

DOJ a department of shakedowns under Holder

John Fund:


It is well known in legal circles that Eric Holder’s Justice Department has become so politicized, so unprincipled, and so ethically shoddy that Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s appointee to replace Holder, had to assure senators at her confirmation hearing that she was not Eric Holder.

Lynch was properly grilled on her views on immigration enforcement, executive orders, and terrorist prosecutions. But so far no senator has dug deep into some of the most abusive cases that Justice has filed, and asked why lower-case justice hasn’t been done.

One of the most notorious is Justice’s role in California’s “Moonlight Fire,” a conflagration on Labor Day 2007 that burned 20,000 acres of state forest in the Sierra Nevada along with 45,000 acres of federal forest. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection decided that Sierra Pacific Industries, a family-owned company that is the nation’s second-largest timber supplier, was responsible for the damage. Government investiga…

Romney bows out of 2016 race

Perry doing the right things his second time around

Scott Conroy:
Rick Perry doesn't care if you think he's dumb. In fact, he kind of likes it that way.

Without blushing, the former governor of Texas and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate will tell you all about how he'd gone to Texas A&M wanting to be a veterinarian until a run-in with organic chemistry left him with a bruised ego and an academic change of course.

In phys ed class, he managed only a gentleman's "C."

"All I wanted to do was get out and fly airplanes, so anything over a 2.0 was gravy," as he puts it now.

Rather than lashing out at a media narrative that has at times turned him into a caricature, Perry embraces his reputation for not being the sharpest knife in the Republican Party’s jam-packed drawer of White House aspirants.

Why? It’s because he knows there is only one way for him to go in the public’s esteem: Up.

Ever since his chastening performance in 2012, which came after a hurried decision to enter the presidential rac…

Layoffs hit the oil patch

Texas is also seeing its share of layoffs in the oil and gas business.  I don't think the Obama administration realizes just how much it owes to the energy business for the economic recovery in the US.

Clinton's argument for Libyan overthrow was not supported by intelligence

Washington Times:
The intelligence community gathered no specific evidence of an impending genocide in Libya in spring 2011, undercutting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s primary argument for using the U.S. military to remove Col. Moammar Gadhafi from power, an event that has left his country in chaos, according to officials with direct knowledge of the dispute.

Defense officials, speaking in detail for the first time about their assessments of the Libyan civil war four years ago, told The Washington Times that Mrs. Clinton’s strong advocacy for intervention against the Libyan regime rested more on speculative arguments of what might happen to civilians than on facts reported from the ground.
...

“It was an intelligence-light decision,” said one senior U.S. intelligence official directly familiar with the Libyan matter, who spoke to The Washington Times only on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The official’s sentiments were ech…

Obama directs spending away from the red states

Reuters:
As Washington has tightened its belt in recent years, the budget cuts have sliced most deeply in states where President Obama is unpopular, according to an analysis of federal spending by Reuters.

Between the 2009 and 2013 fiscal years, funding for a wide swath of discretionary grant programs, from Head Start preschool education to anti drug initiatives, fell by an average of 40 percent in Republican-leaning states like Texas and Mississippi.

By contrast, funding to Democratic-leaning states such as California and politically competitive swing states like Ohio dropped by 25 percent.

Though Congress sets overall spending levels, the Obama administration determines where much of that money ends up. Lawmakers also have curtailed their ability to direct money to their home states when they adopted a ban on spending in 2011 known as "earmarks."

That has given administration officials more power to steer money to places that might return the favor with votes, said John Hudak,…

Obama credibility suffers with his use of the politics of fraud

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Washington Post:
Administration earns 4 Pinocchios for fishy math on 650,000 new jobs
FACT CHECKER | The Obama administration claims an Asian trade deal will create that many jobs. The Post fact checker finds fault with more of Obama's job claims.  More and more he seems like a guy who seems to think that just saying something makes it so.   It is like he is living in a fantasy world of his own creation.  Of course, that assumes he actually believes his statements that are not true and he is not just a con man.

Democrats optimistic about Obama's push for crappy policies people do not want

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NY Times:
House Democrats, Facing Long Odds, Take Inspiration From the Top Jabin Botsford/The New York Times Democrats are eager to embrace President Obama's latest economic plans, hoping they will be seen by voters as the party of the middle class. Democrats have been encouraged in recent weeks by the administration’s aggressive use of executive authority and President Obama’s decision to push a robust progressive agenda in his State of the Union address. What this shows is that they maybe as detached from reality as Obama is.  He is pushing an agenda that lost overwhelming in the most recent election.  It looks like they may be weilling to follow him down the road to defeat again.  That has to be good news for Republicans, but bad news for the country over the next two years.

Castros demand even more for a Cuba deal

streiff: ...
So in exchange for giving Cuba access to US markets and exchanging ambassadors we have to stop broadcasting the truth to the Cuban people, evacuate the naval base that we hold under treaty at Guantanamo Bay, end economic sanctions against a state sponsor of terrorism, and pay reparations.

This is a great offer and is only made to us because of the mad negotiating skilz exhibited by the administration. If you want proof, just ask yourself which other American administration has ever received this offer. From these demands it is hard to tell who is nuttier, the people making them or those who take them seriously.  What is really scary is that Obama is such a ridiculously bad negotiator, he is likely to go along with some of this nonsense.

Senate Iran sanctions vote close to override of Obama's veto threat

Red States:
Senate support for Iran sanctions are gathering steam There could be as many as 69 votes in favor of the sanctions legislation.  Despite what Obama is saying, this should give him some leverage in dealing with the Iranians if they are serious about getting a deal.  My own feeling is that Irtan is just trying to buy time to build its nukes and postpone further sanctions.

Afghanistan becoming a new haven for terrorist driven out of Pakistan

Wall Street Journal:
Arab and Central Asian Islamist militants have moved into Afghanistan after a military offensive by Islamabad largely eliminated havens in Pakistan’s tribal areas, Afghan officials and local residents say, posing a potential new threat to the country’s already tenuous security.

At least 400 families affiliated with militant groups—including members of al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan—crossed into Afghanistan in December and now live in the homes of locals in lawless parts of the country, Afghan officials say.

Afghan officials say these fighters aren’t engaging in combat, but their arrival comes as a robust Taliban insurgency confronts the government in Kabul. Islamic State, which occupies swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, has also sought a foothold here.

Haji Abdul Azizi, a tribal elder from Helmand’s district of Sangin, said he hosted a family of Arabic speakers for a night last week who said they were loyal to Islamic State.

“They were six men, s…

Logistics of Obama's retreat from Afghanistan overwhelming

Gizmodo:
NATO formally ended combat operations at the end of 2014, but the U.S. military couldn't just...leave. No, pulling out of Afghanistan was a massive operation in itself, one that took three years of planning and cost an estimated $28 billion—just to get out.

Over at Fast Company, E.B. Boyd has written searing account about the logistics of leaving Afghanistan, putting the scale of the war in stark perspective.

After 13 years, the U.S. military had 62,000 shipping containers worth of gear spread out over 500 bases across the country. Just packing up everything would have been hard, but this was still an active combat zone, where IEDs still lurked and enemy fighters still attack. The equipment we didn't take we couldn't just abandon. Consider the MRAPs ("mine-resistant, ambush protected" trucks), many of which had to be dismantled by hand.
In yards elsewhere, the doomed MRAPs were torn down further. Workers pulled off their thick, blastproof windows. They remo…

Buses more convenient and efficient than high speed rail

Michael Barone:
President Obama and California Gov. Jerry Brown are enchanted with high-speed rail projects. They argue that it is the transportation mode of the future (though Japan’s Shinkansen, the bullet train, went into operation in time for the 1964 Olympics, more than 50 years ago), that it will save energy (even though it uses electricity, which California is currently importing from high-carbon-emitting coal-fired electric plants) and that it will be convenient to users (who, though residents of spread out metro areas, are expected to flock to high-density and low-parking-facility station areas).

I have another nominee for the transportation mode of the future — or actually the present: buses. As this article by Wendell Cox at Joel Kotkin’s newgeography.com website shows, there has been a significant increase in intercity bus lines in recent years. And not just in the Northeast Corridor, but in Texas as well. Cox argues that buses make economic sense on trips of 350 miles or l…

Senate forces Obama's hand on Keystone XL

Fuel Fix:
The Senate passed legislation to authorize Keystone XL on Thursday, ending a nearly four-week debate over the fate of the pipeline and veering closer to a confrontation with President Barack Obama over the project.

The measure aims to immediately permit the TransCanada Corp. pipeline, six years after the Calgary-based company first asked U.S. regulators for permission to build it.

But White House officials reiterated Thursday that President Barack Obama will veto the measure. And while Republicans pushed the bill through the Senate on a 62-36 vote — with backing from nine Democrats — they fell short of securing a veto-proof majority.

Obama’s opposition is pegged to an ongoing State Department review of whether the proposed border-crossing pipeline is in the national interest.
... His opposition is ridiculous.  The State Department has already found it to be in the national interest on numerous occasions.   If he were capable of doing some strategic thinking he would realize that…

Obama's bad deal with the Taliban gets worse

Washington Times:
Taliban member swapped by Obama for Bergdahl tried to return to terror: report For them the war is not over despite Obama's fantasies.  CNN has more on the story.

Angry leftist unhappy with Israel's fight for existence and distrust of Obama

Bill Kristol:Obama’s Israel Problem ...
Why has Obama been lashing out? Because he had a dream. He was to be the American president who would preside at, and take credit for, the founding of a Palestinian state. Obama would be to Palestine what Harry Truman was to Israel. Now it's clear that's not going to happen during his presidency. Obama's frustrated that it's not going to happen. So he lashes out.

But Obama is still pursuing another dream: to be the American president who goes to Tehran, who achieves with Iran what Richard Nixon achieved with China. And he thinks Israel, and Israel's friends in the United States, stand in the way of achieving that dream. So he has another reason to be angry.

Of course, it's not Israel but reality that stands in the way of Obama's dreams. His Cairo speech, and the policies that followed from it, have crashed on the shoals of reality. Obama said in Cairo in June 2009, that he hoped that his administration would end the &…

California struggles with layoffs and joblessness

Washington Free Beacon:
Tens of thousands of workers in California have been impacted by permanent or temporary layoffs in the past six months alone, and despite the governor’s economic development efforts more than 1 million Californians remain unemployed.

A report released Wednesday by the rating agency Standard and Poor’s indicated the state’s finances were balanced, but questioned how sustainable the state’s recovery will be.

“California’s finances are roaring back,” the report stated. “History would suggest, however, that any fiscal renaissance will be temporary—the result of several favorable developments occurring simultaneously.”

The report indicates the state’s fiscal recovery was due to lowering its spending, not in earning higher revenues.

“A cruder characterization would be that the state is only better off now because it obtained voter consent to raise taxes in the midst of a long-lived bull market for equities. Once the tax increases expire, or if market sentiment turns bear…

Man jailed for trying to pass nuclear bomb secrets to Venezuela

BBC:
A former scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US has been sentenced to five years in jail for attempting to pass nuclear bomb-making secrets to Venezuela.

Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni pleaded guilty in 2013 to delivering secrets to an undercover FBI agent, who he thought was a Venezuelan official.

Pedro Mascheroni, who is 79, is originally from Argentina.

His wife was also sentenced to one year in prison.

Mascheroni was under investigation for about a year before he was charged.

The US intelligence agency, the FBI, seized computers, letters, photographs and book from his home.

According to court documents, Mr Mascheroni told the undercover FBI agent that he could help Venezuela develop a nuclear bomb within 10 years.

He said the country would be able to set up a secret underground nuclear reactor to produce and enrich plutonium.

Venezuela would also be able to build a plant to produce nuclear energy, he said.

Mr Mascheroni worked for around a decade in a nuclear weapons des…

The Obamacare penalties on the poor kick in

The Hill:
Feds: Up to 6 million will face ObamaCare penalty Many of these people have determined that it is cheaper to pay the penalty than to buy overpriced healthcare policies full of things they do not want or need.

Middle class hardest hit in blue states

Oklahoman Editorial:
... The results will likely surprise the redistributionist wing of the Democratic Party. Seven of the 10 states where the middle class has experienced significant challenges have been reliable votes for Democratic presidential candidates for a generation.

According to the analysis, California was the worst state for the middle class. Between 2009 and 2013, California’s middle-class household income fell 6.9 percent while the top 20 percent of households’ income increased 1.3 percent. The top 20 percent of California earners accounted for more than 52 percent of the state’s aggregate income by 2013, the third-highest share nationwide.

Yet California has one of the nation’s most Democrat-dominated state governments. The state has embraced a liberal governing agenda similar to the one Obama seeks to impose nationwide. Strict environmental regulations have led to the dumping of fresh water into the ocean even as drought hammers California’s agricultural region, generati…

Iraqis like 'American Sniper'

Washington Times:
‘American Sniper’ thrills Baghdad crowd: ‘Shoot him! He has an IED!’ That reaction is probably as surprising to the anti war left in Hollywood as the reaction of American audiences.

Defeating Hillary should not require Elizabeth Warren

NY Times:
Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren Could Delight Republicans
Many Republicans see a challenge by Ms. Warren as their party’s best hope to weaken, and potentially defeat, Mrs. Clinton in a contentious Democratic primary. Hillary Clinton was a grossly incompetent Secretary of State who was unable to restrain Obama's worst tendencies and added her own level of bad policy.  She seem to think getting on a plane was the ultimate in state craft.  Where Obama thought the answer to every political problem was to give a speech, Clinton thought jumping on a plane and showing up was her job.  Her Libyan policy was a fiasco long before the Benghazi attacks.

The only thing a Warren candidacy would demonstrate is that  like Obama she has an overrated intellect of half baked ideas about the economy and how it works.  Her goofy ideas about finance and the economy might even make Hillary look smarter than she really is.

Biofuels boondoggle exposed

NY Times:
Report Questions Focus on Biofuels in Energy Policy
An environmental think tank says turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand. While I am far from an environmental think tank, I have been attacking the biofuels push for some time.  It is creating inefficient energy at great cost and was the product of a time of perceived scarcity of more efficient fuels.  It is time for Congress to repeal biofuel requirements and let a market based system determine the source of fuel.

EPA cooked the books to push for greater restrictions

Daily Caller:
The Environmental Protection Agency inflated the monetized benefits of a major air quality rule to justify imposing a harsher smog standard on U.S. counties,according to a new report by Energy In Depth (EID).

“EPA’s ozone rule could very well be the costliest regulation in U.S. history,” said Steve Everley, spokesman for the petroleum industry-backed EID. “If a rule of this magnitude is to be imposed, then the EPA should consider providing a far more scientifically robust ‘public health’ basis — one that doesn’t rely on inflated health benefits or a lack of appreciation for the very real economic costs.”


The EPA proposed its costly smog, or ozone, standard the day before Thanksgiving 2014. The agency mandated that ambient smog levels be lowered from 75 parts per billion (pbb) to levels between 70 ppb and 65 ppb. The EPA also solicited comments for an even lower standard at 60 pbb — one which could put almost the entire country out of compliance with the rule and cost $3.4 …

Evidence of Venezuela acting as a narco state

Foreign Policy:
With its economic woes multiplying by the day, the last thing the Venezuelan government needs is another blow to its international reputation. But that’s exactly what it got yesterday, when the Spanish newspaper ABC reported that an ex-bodyguard of Diosdado Cabello, the speaker of the Venezuelan parliament, has provided information to U.S. authorities implicating his former boss as a kingpin in the drug trade. According to the report, Leamsy Salazar, a well-connected officer within the Venezuelan armed forces, has defected to the United States, and is set to serve as the star witness in an American investigation into ties between the Caracas government and powerful narcotics syndicates.

Given his background, Salazar certainly ought to be in the know. Prior to turning state’s witness, he spent over a decade as the head of Hugo Chávez’s personal security detail and sometime personal assistant; a YouTube videocurrently making the rounds on Venezuelan social media even show…

Chicom double speak on weapons development

Jonathon Ray:
Why does China develop weapons systems that it opposes? China criticizes U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems, but conducted three BMD tests of its own from 2010 to 2014. China regularly supports a treaty to ban space weapons, but has repeatedly tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) system. It is also unclear how China’s nascent hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), reportedly designated the WU-14, might fit into its military doctrine. In general, China’s rapid military modernization and opaque defense budget only exacerbate concerns over the compatibility between China’s stated views and actual practice in developing strategic weapons.

One way to answer this puzzle is to look at history, specifically the history of China’s neutron bomb program. From 1977 to 1988 China developed a neutron bomb, more formally known as an enhanced radiation weapon. Neutron bombs are specialized tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) with reduced blast effects and enhanced radiation. Similar to the BMD …

House votes to speed up LNG exports

Fuel Fix:
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation to accelerate natural gas exports, despite muted opposition from the Obama administration and even as the Senate rejected a more aggressive plan.

The bill, passed 277-133, would force the Energy Department to decide whether to grant licenses to broadly export liquefied natural gas to pending projects within 30 days after they clear an environmental review.

Under the Energy Department’s current practice, there is no deadline for those decisions.

Instead, the timeline is open ended, with the department waiting until environmental reviews are completed before it takes up applications to export LNG to countries that aren’t U.S. free trade partners. For onshore LNG export projects, the environmental reviews typically happen while the ventures are under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s scrutiny.

But it can still take months after those environmental analyses are done — and even after a FERC approval — for the E…

Senate running out of amendments to Keystone XL bill

Fuel Fix:
The Senate knocked down more than a dozen amendments on energy and the environment Wednesday, as Republicans worked to finish a nearly four-week debate over Keystone XL.

The casualties included proposals involving liquefied natural gas exports, endangered species protections for the lesser prairie-chicken and hydraulic fracturing.

Only one measure was adopted — a modest proposal from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, — that would direct the Energy Department to coordinate programs for energy efficiency and retrofitting projects at U.S. schools.

Instead, for more than four hours, the chamber voted one by one to reject proposals that failed to secure a 60-vote majority needed for adoption under a Senate agreement.

The marathon helped pave the way for a final vote on — and likely passage of — the underlying legislation to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline as early as Thursday afternoon.
... The anti energy left has been exposed in these votes and it will be harder for Democrats to hide …

Hillary distrusted on Libya by Pentagon and Democrats

Washington Times:
Top Pentagon officials and a senior Democrat in Congress so distrusted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2011 march to war in Libya that they opened their own diplomatic channels with the Gadhafi regime in an effort to halt the escalating crisis, according to secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.

The tapes, reviewed by The Washington Times and authenticated by the participants, chronicle U.S. officials’ unfiltered conversations with Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s son and a top Libyan leader, including criticisms that Mrs. Clinton had developed tunnel vision and led the U.S. into an unnecessary war without adequately weighing the intelligence community’s concerns.

SEE ALSO: Listen to the tapes: Intel undercuts Hillary Clinton’s primary argument for Libya military action

“You should see these internal State Department reports that are produced in the State Department that go out to the Congress. They’re just full of stupid, stupid facts,” an American intermedi…

The 'limited resources' excuse for Obama's amnesty plan

AP:
Challenged by Republicans, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch on Wednesday defended President Barack Obama's decision to shelter millions of immigrants from deportation though they live in the country illegally.

She said that under the administration's policy, the Department of Homeland Security is focusing its efforts on the removal of "the most dangerous of the undocumented immigrants among us."

"It seems to be a reasonable way to marshal limited resources to deal with the problem" of illegal immigration, she said.
... What she should have been asked after making that statement is "What are the resources you need to enforce the law?"  That would be followed by asking her "If we provided you with those resources would this administration enforce the law?"

Jones Act restriction on use of foreign ships endangers US in a weather crisis

Daily Signal:
With the onset of another snowstorm hitting the Northeast, New Jerseyans are shaking their snow shovels at a federal law that causes them almost yearly fits. In 2014, New Jersey municipalities, in desperate need of salt to keep roads safe, wanted to buy the salt from willing suppliers in Maine. But thanks to a hundred-year old law, they could not find someone to legally ship the life-saving salt.

The “Merchant Marine Act of 1920,” better known as the “Jones Act,” effectively bans shipping between U.S. ports, unless the ship transporting goods is U.S. built, U.S. flagged and staffed by at least 75 percent U.S. crewmen. Irish, Canadians or Panamanians need not apply. As the U.S. merchant marine became concentrated into a handful of companies, the remaining shippers used their government-granted monopoly to drive up profits at the expense of other Americans. Though foreign companies already carry 80 percent of America’s international commerce shipping, at lower costs, Americ…

Graph of Obama's artificial scarcity energy policy

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Mark Green:

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Below, the areas in red (and the striped area) reflect vast offshore oil and natural gas resource potential – nearly 50 billion barrels of oil and more than 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. We say potential because these areas represent the 87 percent of America’s federal offshore acreage that has been closed to exploration and development, dwarfing the areas in blue where development is allowed. Nonetheless, what’s visible is the profile of an offshore energy giant, an offshore superpower. This is energy muscle waiting to be flexed. These are resources that could benefit Americans in terms of energy security, as more oil and natural gas is safely and responsibly produced right here at home, as well as job creation and economic stimulus.- ... This is a graphic demonstration of Obama's opposition to energy development that would make the US independent and becoem a major exporter of oil.

Pentagon worried about China's technical progress

Bill Gertz:


Pentagon Warns of Chinese Arms Dominance

'Alarmed' at PRC buildup over last 15 years That could be why they are now pushing for a sixth generation aircraft to replace the F-22 and F-35.

Rubio front runner with Koch large donors

Newsmax:
Donors to the Koch brothers' right-of-center political network prefer Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president, according to a straw poll taken at the network's just-concluded donor conference in California.

Rubio finished ahead of four other potential Republican candidates who were invited to the three-day meeting which ended Tuesday, after a long weekend of events at the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, California. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul came in last.

The informal poll, conducted by veteran GOP pollster Frank Luntz, provides an early glimpse into the pool of "megadonors" being courted by prospective White House candidates. Their checkbooks "could go a long way toward determining who emerges with the GOP nomination — regardless of whether the Koch network decides to formally back a candidate,"Politico reported.
... Rubio has been very strong on Iran and Cuba.  He will still have to overcome his participation in the Gang of Eight immigration r…

Defector confirms Venezuela and Cuba connection to dope trade

American Thinker:

High-ranking defector from Venezuela accuses regime of narcotics trafficking I have posted before about the Venezuelan connection to the dope trade as FARC's main exporter. The commies stick together to raise money for their failed economic policies.

The Miami Heraldhas more on the accusations.

Why negotiations with Iran are futile

Sen. Rubio explains the reasons to be sceptical about dealing with Iran and its radical Islamic cleric.

Obama determined to repeat Iraq withdrawal mistake in Afhganistan

The Hill:
Obama 'literally insane' for Afghan withdrawal, senator says When it comes to the use of force, Obama is just not very smart.

ISIL loses a lot of its foreign fighters in loss to Kurds at Kobani

AFP:
Large numbers of foreign fighters are among the jihadists killed in the battle for the Syrian town of Kobane, a senior US official said Tuesday, saying the concerted campaign was halting the militants' march.

The United States says Kurdish fighters are now in control of about 90 percent of the town on the Syrian-Turkish border.The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) announced the "liberation" of Kobane on Monday, depriving the Islamic State group (IS) of a strategic prize to add to its territory in Syria and Iraq.

"ISIL is now, whether on order or whether they are breaking ranks, is beginning to withdraw from the town," a senior State Department official told reporters.

But he warned that the militants, also known as ISIL, were "adaptive and resilient" and no-one was declaring "mission accomplished" yet.
... How long will it take for potential recruits to figure out they are expendable?  While some may see this fight as their ticket…

Hezballah attacks Israeli convoy

AP/NY Post:
The Lebanese Hezbollah group claimed responsibility for firing a missile that hit an Israeli military convoy Wednesday, an attack Lebanese officials said prompted Israel to fire at least 50 artillery shells into Lebanon in a significant escalation along the volatile border.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said there were Israeli casualties in the attack, but did not elaborate. The military said it was responding with aerial and ground strikes on Hezbollah positions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would respond “forcefully.”

In a statement, Hezbollah said its fighters destroyed a number of Israeli vehicles that were carrying Israeli officers and soldiers and caused casualties among “enemy ranks.”

It said the attack was carried out by a group calling itself the “heroic martyrs of Quneitra,” – suggesting it was retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on the Golan Heights on Jan. 18 that killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general.

The I…