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Showing posts from March, 2015

What is behind the left's flip flop on religious freedom laws?

James Taranto:
...
Narrowly speaking, that is, the left’s hatred of RFRA is about preserving the authority of the cake police—government agencies determined to coerce bakeries, photo studios, florists and other small businesses to participate in same-sex weddings even if the owners have eccentric conscientious objections.
... The laws do not command discrimination as the Jim Crow laws did.  They give people a choice whether they will participate in activities they may disagree with.  It is not about people but objections to activities that the liberals are trying to coerce.

Israeli company develops vaccine that prevents the return of 90 percent of cancers

Israel National News:
An Israeli biotech company is developing a vaccine for cancer that it says can help prevent the return of the lethal disease for 90% of the different types of cancer.

Vaxil BioTherapeutics based in Nes Ziona has been developing ImMucin for more than five years, and already has seen strong success in testing indicating it can be a vital tool in combating cancer. The disease kills eight million people worldwide per year, and sees 14 million new cases diagnosed annually according to the World Health Organization.

"Vaxil is developing a drug to keep the cancer from coming back," Vaxil's CFO Julian Levy told NoCamels. "We are trying to harness the natural power of the immune system to fight against cancer by seeking out cancer cells and destroying them."
... This is great news for everyone who is not boycotting Israeli companies.  But the Israeli have developed other drugs for the treatment of diseases  that are widely used  perhaps unwittingly by…

Tax cuts in Kansas lead to job growth and wage growth

IBD:
...
Back in 2012, Brownback cut the highest income-tax rate from 6.4% to 4.8% with the goal of eventually eliminating the state income tax entirely. The tax on small business income was zeroed out. It was denounced as "trickle-down economics," though the state's unemployment rate is now down to 4.5%.

"The number one complaint I'm hearing now," Brownback tells us, "is we can't find the workers. That's a good problem to have."

Where the jobs are really showing up is on the Kansas side of Kansas City. Because tax rates are lower in Kansas than in Missouri, the Kansas side of the metro area produced twice as many jobs as the Missouri side from 2012 to 2014.

The Kansas Policy Institute ran the numbers and found that "over the last two years — post-tax reform — private-sector jobs increased by 5.6% on the Kansas side of the metro and only 2.2% on the Missouri side." KPI president Dave Trabert notes: "You can observe firsthand bus…

A death penalty offense?

Daily Mail:
Ohio woman 'repeatedly stabs her boyfriend because he ate all the salsa' I don't know what her potential punishment might be, but she certainly showed no mercy to the guy who ate all the salsa.

Iran has been working with Norks on nukes

Daily Beast:
In October 2012, Iran began stationing personnel at a military base in North Korea, in a mountainous area close to the Chinese border. The Iranians, from the Ministry of Defense and associated firms, reportedly are working on both missiles and nuclear weapons. Ahmed Vahidi, Tehran’s minister of defense at the time,denied sending people to the North, but the unconfirmed dispatches make sense in light of the two states announcing a technical cooperation pact the preceding month.

The P5+1—the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany—appear determined, before their self-imposed March 31 deadline, to ink a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding its nuclear energy program, which is surely a cover for a wide-ranging weapons effort. The international community wants the preliminary arrangement now under discussion, referred to as a “framework agreement,” to ensure that the country remains at least one year away from being able to produce an atomic devic…

Iraq claims victory in Tikrit operation

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Washington Post:
Iraqi forces drive Islamic State forces from Tikrit, prime minister says
But military officials said some areas suspected to be rigged with explosives remain out of reach. The operation was not particular smooth and it demonstrates how unprepared the government is for a much bigger operation in Mosul.

This is a smart move by the President

NY Times:
Obama Lifts Weapons Freeze Against Egypt
Trying to patch up relations with a longtime ally at a time of unrest in the Middle East, President Obama ended the freeze, imposed after Egypt’s military takeover in 2013. Egypt's new leaders are clearly an upgrade of the Muslim Brotherhood thugs he replaced.   Sisi is an intelligent many who looks like a good ally in the war being waged against us by radical Islam.  I suspect Egypt can use the arms aid in the Arab coalition operating in Yemen.

Media uses invalid comparison of conservatives and Iran

Rush Limbaugh:
NBC's Ann Curry Compares Iranian "Hardliners" to American Conservatives While there are many differences including the fact that conservatives don't want to kill those who disagree with their religious views.  But one of the most glaring difference sis that Obama is willing to negotiate with Iran and he will not with conservatives.

Hillary Clinton misled on using only one device for emails

Katie Pavlich:
Surprise: Hillary Clinton Lied About Using Only One Device For Email Some emails from Clinton have been traced to her iPad.  It appears she was trying to rationalize her using of a private account by making up a reason other than her control freak tendencies.

Her secrecy and her misleading statements are doing serious damage to her credibility.  Voters in two key states now see her as untrustworthy.

The "What? Me worry" approach to Iran negotiations

Jonathon Wiesman:
It was always the “don’t worry about it” clause, says Representative Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee:

Don’t worry that Iran will get to keep so many centrifuges. The Iranians will be shipping almost all their enriched uranium to Russia for reprocessing, so there won’t be any nuclear material to put in the centrifuges.

Don’t worry about allowing Iran to keep open its once-secret nuclear site at Fordo. Without the uranium, what good is it?

Iran doesn’t want to come clean on past weapons-development efforts? Don’t worry. We’ll have its enriched uranium.

Iranian statements that the country would hold on to its fissile materials, after all, have bolstered Republican criticism of the negotiations.

“The shipping out of Iran’s uranium stockpile was to be the key administration win in this agreement,” Mr. Royce said in an interview on Monday. “It was presumed they were going to win on that point because they were giving in on …

The left's lies about religious freedom laws

Washington Examiner Editorial:
From the furor, the boycotts, and the threats launched at the state of Indiana last week, one might get the impression that Gov. Mike Pence, R, had just signed a law that effectively legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians. After all, as the New York Daily News headline put it, the law "effectively legalizes discrimination against gays, lesbians."

This is nonsense and a cardinal example (pun intended) of the lack of respect for the truth among certain crusading liberal journalists and editors.

In the real world, Pence signed a religious freedom law that is similar to those of 19 other states, some of which also ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That should have been the first clue. The second is that the law Pence signed is not very different from the one in Illinois that Barack Obama voted for as a state senator.

The new Indiana law is modeled after the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which requires…

With world awash in oil, why is there any eagerness to get back into Iran?

Bloomberg/Fuel Fix:
Iran riches coveted by Big Oil after decades of conflict I don't buy the premise of this story.  The big competition now is to find a way to story all the current excess capacity, not add to it.  Putting increased Iranian production on to the market will only further depress prices.  The only potential eagerness will probably come from the oil service companies who have seen their work cut back because of the drop in the price of oil and the cut backs in drilling.

What will Congress do about the Hillary Clinton coverup?

Byron York:
On September 20, 2012, just nine days after the terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, the House Government Oversight Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting that she turn over "all information … related to the attack on the consulate."

About two weeks later, on October 2, 2012, Clinton responded, saying she would cooperate fully with the investigation into what went wrong in Benghazi.

"We look forward to working with Congress and your committee as you proceed with your own review," Clinton told committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. "We are committed to a process that is as transparent as possible, respecting the needs and integrity of the investigations underway. We will move as quickly as we can without forsaking accuracy."

We now know that that statement was not true. We know because Hillary Clinton herself told us.

Beginning with that September 20, 2012 letter, House investiga…

Cruz getting a boost from those wanting to confront Obama's bad policies

Phillip Klien:
GOP Congressional leaders are inadvertently helping Ted Cruz presidential run ...
... More than anything, Cruz's popularity among conservatives is rooted in the feeling that he's the only one willing to take the fight to Obama. To the extent that conservative voters feel disillusioned with Republican leaders who they see as largely ineffective, Cruz will stand to gain by promising to fight liberals tooth and nail. The more frustrated conservatives become with Congressional Republicans, the more they'll find Cruz's brand of confrontational conservatism appealing.
... He has been moving up in the polls since his announcement.  I think the rout of the Democrats in 2014 was based on the feeling of many, that Republicans were needed to fight Obama's policies and the evils of liberalism.

Pakistan may join Saudi led coalition in Yemen fight

Bloomberg:
Senior Pakistan leaders will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif weighs how much support to provide the kingdom in its battle against Shiite rebels in Yemen.

“Pakistan holds Saudi Arabia in very high esteem and considers the security of the holy land of utmost importance,” Sharif’s office said in a statement on Tuesday. “Any violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Saudi Arabia would evoke a strong reaction from Pakistan.”

Sharif chaired a ministerial meeting on Tuesday and sought an early evacuation of any Pakistanis in Yemen, according to the statement. Opposition leaders have warned that taking sides could fan sectarian violence in a nation that’s home to the most Shiite Muslims outside of Iran.
...

“If Pakistan sends its troops to Yemen, or Pakistan gets involved in the Yemen conflict, it would prove to be a divisive development within Pakistan’s domestic context,” Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a Lahore-based analyst who used to teach at…

Rogue state targets US with ICBM

UPI:
North Korea developing ballistic missile capable of reaching U.S.

North Korea’s advancements in deploying a long-range, intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, known as the KN-08, was highlighted in a testimony in James Clapper's address to Congress. Democrat opposition to missile defense has made the US more vulnerable and their reliance on negotiations with rogue states like North Korea and Iran has been a failure.

Democrats high cost energy strategy has been holding back US economy

AP/Fuel Fix:
A business economics group has boosted its outlook for U.S. economic improvement this year and next, particularly for job growth.

The March report from the National Association for Business Economics forecasts more hiring, a lower unemployment rate, a lower inflation rate and more growth in consumer spending in 2015, compared to the group’s forecast in December 2014.

The report, released early Monday, also predicts more investment by businesses in both equipment and intellectual property, as well as modest growth in stock prices.

“Healthier consumer spending, housing investment and government spending growth are expected to make outsized contributions to the projected acceleration in overall economic activity. Accordingly, recent labor market strength is expected to continue,” John Silvia, the association’s president and the chief economist at Wells Fargo, said in a statement.

Other factors driving the improved forecast include an increased pace of activity in the housing sec…

Maybe he can meet with his poverty stricken brother

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Daily Mail:
Obama returns to his father's Kenyan homeland for first time since becoming President
Obama has visited Kenya three times in the past, including once as a U.S. senator, but never as president. In this 2008 story his brother is seen living in a hut on the outskirts of Nairobi.  He also has some other brothers.  I hope he has a safe journey.

Another reason not to go to Iran

Guardian:
Iran arrests Canadian resident for insulting supreme leader

Film-maker Mostafa Azizi also charged with spreading propaganda
Canada advises citizens and residents against visiting Iran I wonder if he is insulted when I call him an Islamic religious bigot?  I clearly do not have a high regard for the man or his point of view.  But it appears he does not take criticism very well.

Obama's Middle East foreign policy goes from incoherent to insanity

NY Daily News Editorial:
As the Arab Spring has been followed by a long, hot summer of Middle Eastern warfare, President Obama’s vision of stable, reasonably democratic states is increasingly preposterous. His boast that “the tide of war is receding” under his watch is laughable.

And his desperation to strike a nuclear deal with the Israel- and Western-hating mullahs of Iran increasingly seems a desperate push to claim any accomplishment in the region by ignoring the facts on the ground.
...

The President’s responses to the meltdown in the Islamic states have been incoherent. In the best light, he’s coping with unmanageable forces. But his offensive against Netanyahu, leader of a rock-solid island of stability and Western values, elevates Obama’s regional policy beyond incoherence into insanity. The editorial goes country by country in reciting the on going debacle.  If Obama is to salvage his foreign policy legacy he is going to have to fire Susan Rice and bring in some wise men like L…

Hillary Clinton tied to lobbying on behalf of billionaire from Georgia

Gawker:
Hillary Clinton says there is nothing to hide in her scandalous personal email account, now apparently half-deleted. But leaked emails from her longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal show that he and another former official from Bill Clinton's administration were secretly lobbying the secretary of state on behalf of a billionaire in the former Soviet state of Georgia who was seeking closer ties with Putin's Russia—seemingly in violation of a federal law designed to prevent foreign powers from covertly wielding influence within the United States.

As Gawker reported last week in collaboration with ProPublica, emails from Blumenthal's hacked account revealed that he was running what amounts to a private, off-the-books intelligence operation for Clinton, sending her detailed reports on goings-on in Libya, Europe, and elsewhere. Among these memos is one urging Clinton to consider re-examining the State Department's posture toward the opposition in Georgia.

In 2012, Geo…

Members of the cross dressing community tried to force their way into NSA facility

Washington Post:
Shooting at NSA headquarters leaves one dead
Shots were fired after two men in an SUV tried to ram a gate at Fort Meade, an installation outside Washington, according to officials. Preliminary reports say the men might have been dressed as women. Reports don't indicate whether they were wearing a hijab.  It is curious that they would try to disguise their appearance while attempting to make a forced entry.  There have been several reports of  men dressed as women engaged in attacks in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East where they were trying to take advantage of full covering required in that culture.

Democrats turn against religious freedom

Time: Indiana’s new religious-freedom law, which has prompted calls for a state boycott because it might permit discrimination against gays and lesbians, was made law by a Republican governor and Republican legislature. But the controversy could also ensnare leading Democrats like President Barack Obama, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who previously supported bills with similar effects years ago.

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago,” said Indiana Governor Mike Pence on ABC’s This Week, defending his state’s actions by pointing to similar federal legislation. “Indiana properly brought the same version that then state senator Barack Obama voted for in Illinois before our legislature.”

The Indiana law prohibits the state from enacting statutes that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Critics argue it could be used to …

Hillary Clinton's 'accomplishments' are mostly failures

George Will:
An abscess of anger seems to gnaw at Hillary Clinton, but the reasons for her resentments remain unclear. The world’s oldest party, which governed the nation during two world wars and is the primary architect of America’s regulatory and redistributive state, is eager to give her its presidential nomination, in recognition of . . . what?

The party, adrift in identity politics, clings, as shipwrecked sailors do to floating debris, to this odd feminist heroine. Wafted into the upper reaches of American politics by stolid participation in her eventful marriage to a serial philanderer, her performance in governance has been defined by three failures.
... She went from the Hillarycare debacle to a nothingburger Senate career to a Secretary of State who thought the problem was Russia was the absence of a reset button followed by a fiasco of epic proportions in Libya.

The piece is worth reading in full.  It is Will at his best.

Arizona's bright new Congresswoman

NY Times:
Second Time’s a Charm for Martha McSally in Arizona
After a narrow loss in 2012, a rematch gives a Republican, who spent time as an Air Force fighter pilot, the seat once held by Gabrielle Giffords. The former A-10 pilot shows a real sense of strategic and tactical thinking in dealing with the enemy.  I think she would also be an excellent replacement for John McCain in the next Senate election if he chooses not to run.  She is really good.

Senator finds backing for his position on Iran and Israel

NY Times:
Jewish Leaders Support Menendez Amid Inquiry
As Senator Robert Menendez battles to keep his standing in the Washington as a corruption investigation unfolds, he has found backing in the pro-Israel community. The charges against Menendez were revived when he took a strong stand against Obama's policies on Iranian nukes and for Israel's position.  This should be another sign that the administration is  in trouble with Jewish voters.

It just got harder for the Obama administration to defend a deal with Iran

NY Times:
Iran Backs Off Key Point in Nuclear Energy Negotiations
With a negotiating deadline on Tuesday, Iranian officials have backed away from a critical element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to ship their atomic fuel out of the country. Because shipping their fuel out of the country means loss of control when it comes to using it to produce a weapon which is their real objective.

The arrogance of Hillary Clinton

Democrat animosity toward Israel comes from the top

Matt Brooks:
...
Openly declaring an ally's leader as "chickenshit" or calling him racist is typically left for the most provocative members of each party's fringe. Instead these comments have come from administration officials and elected Democrats, most likely echoing sentiments expressed higher up in the White House.

We need to get past this playground name-calling and get back to the issues. We need to ensure Israel's and America's security through bipartisan support across this country. We need to help maintain Israel as a bulwark of Democracy in a region plagued by failed states and terrorism.
...
Judging by this administration's rhetoric and actions it seems that policy is being dictated by personal emotions in the White House, and sadly rank and file Democrats are choosing to remain silent. Here at the Republican Jewish Coalition we will not stand by and remain silent without offering those Jewish Americans who care about Israel a home.
... I thin…

Why Democrats are sticking with Hillary Clinton

Moe Lane:
...
... There are two things that we know about the next election, more or less: first, the Democrats [are] tanking among white voters. Second, black voters aren’t going to come out for a non-black Presidential candidate with the same intensity that they did for Barack Obama. Add those two together, and the end result looks verybad for the Democratic party.

And that’s why Hillary Clinton is still being propped up by the Democratic establishment: she’s the most prominent female politician that they have right now. I personally don’t think that she’s going to be able to recreate Barack Obama’s 2012 performance when it comes to white women voters, but former Secretary Clinton has a better shot at it than pretty much anybody else. …And that is, as they say, pretty much it. The appeal to women voters is even narrower because it is mainly single women who are still voting for Democrats.  So they are looking for single women in blue states to keep them in power.  The numbers Lane…

Arabs frustrated by Obama's support of Iran

Hanin Ghaddar:
Obama’s Harvest of Violence

A pact with Iran sends a clear message to Arab liberals: No one will help you. Obama is clearly in over his head when it comes to the Middle East.  Against all reason he and his Secretary of State think that the key to unrest in the region is a Palestinian State, but Arabs see Iran as an existential threat to the whole region and Obama is siding with the bad guys.

The origin of Obama's phantom 'red line' in Syria

Michael Barone:
Where the red line came from -- before it was crossed He was apparently trying to preempt an attack by Mitt Romney  and went farther than he intended.  But words carelessly used can have consequences and one of them has been the loss of credibility of the US under Obama's presidency.

In an attempt to defend a feckless foreign policy he wound up looking more feckless.

Congress has little trust of Iran regime

Guardian:
Iran has “no intention” of keeping its word on an agreement being negotiated in Switzerland over its nuclear programme, House speaker John Boehner said on Sunday.

The top Republican’s comments came as negotiations in Lausanne approached the 31 March deadline for the drafting of a framework for a deal, under intense criticism from Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

Speaking on CNN, Boehner said he had serious doubts about the talks.

“We’ve got a regime that’s never quite kept their word about anything,” he said. “I just don’t understand why we would sign an agreement with a group of people who have no intention of keeping their word.”

If there was no agreement, Boehner said he would move “very” quickly to impose new sanctions on Iran.
...

“I think the animosity exhibited by this administration toward the prime minister of Israel is reprehensible,” said Boehner. “And I think the pressure they have put on him over the past four or five years frankly pushed him to the point…

Putin letter gets a rebuke from Arab leaders

Reuters:
Saudi Arabia accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of hypocrisy on Sunday, telling an Arab summit that he should not express support for the Middle East while fuelling instability by supporting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

In a rare move, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that a letter from Putin would be read out to the gathering in Egypt, where Arab leaders discussed an array of regional crises, including conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya.

"We support the Arabs' aspirations for a prosperous future and for the resolution of all the problems the Arab world faces through peaceful means, without any external interference," Putin said in the letter.

His comments triggered a sharp attack from Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

"He speaks about the problems in the Middle East as though Russia is not influencing these problems," he told the summit right after the letter was read out.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia…

Obama's contribution to chaos in Middle East

Michael Goodwin:
If you’re confused about the Saudi Arabia-led air attacks against Islamist rebels in Yemen and can’t tell one group of head-choppers in Iraq and Syria from another, don’t despair. All you need is imagination.

Close your eyes and imagine that those countries and terrorists have nuclear weapons. Imagine their barbarism going nuclear as they blow up cities, wipe out ethnic and religious groups and turn the region into cinders.

Now open your eyes and realize you’ve seen the future, thanks to President Obama’s policies. It is a future that will be defined by Obama’s Wars. Yes, plural.

I’ve written frequently about the likelihood of a dystopian “Mad Max” scenario if Iran gets nukes. My thinking is guided by a belief among American military and intelligence officials
that a nuclear exchange would take place in the Mideast within five years of Iran getting the bomb. To judge from events, the future is arriving ahead of schedule.

The fact that a top Saudi official wouldn’t ans…

Israel says Iran deal worse than feared

Reuters:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned on Sunday the framework Iranian nuclear agreement being sought by international negotiators, saying it was even worse than his country had feared.

Israel has mounted what it terms an "uphill battle" against an agreement that might ease sanctions on the Iranians while leaving them with a nuclear infrastructure with bomb-making potential. Tehran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.

"This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that," Netanyahu told his cabinet in Jerusalem as the United States, five other world powers and Iran worked toward a March 31 deadline in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Noting advances made by Iranian-allied forces in Yemen and other Arab countries, Netanyahu accused the Islamic republic of trying to "conquer the entire Middle East" while moving toward nuclearisation.

"The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity, and…

Truck convoys near the border with Yemen suggest Saudi led invasion is imminent

CNN:
Oversized military trucks painted in desert beige hauled tanks in the same camouflage color down a dark highway late Saturday past glowing billboards in the Saudi Arabian town of Jazan.

With the border with Yemen little more than 20 miles away, the trucks captured on a video distributed by the news agency Reuters also carried a message: Suggestions of a ground incursion into Yemen, which is in the throws of a Houthi rebel uprising, may be more than just talk.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have both spoken about the possibility of putting boots on the ground before. And on Saturday, Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen said he expected coalition troops to be in Yemen within days.

Saudi leaders have said that if troops do go in, they won't leave until they have degraded the Houthis' ability to do battle, CNN's Ian Lee reported. The Houthis are apt guerrillas. A fight on the ground could prove bloody and lengthy.
... A ground invasion from Saudi Arabia is probably the most dir…

Arabs plan to send 40,000 troops to subdue Iranian backed rebellion in Yemen

Washington Post:
Yemeni warplane fleet destroyed in raids, Saudis say
Analysts said three days of strikes by Saudi-led coalition warplanes could pave the way for a potential land invasion even as Egypt announced that a joint Arab military of 40,000 will be created. Neither the war planes or the fleet were responsible for the Houthis takeover.  It was basically a general uprising that swelled into numerical superiority over the existing Yemeni forces.  Subduing that up rising is going to take several thousand troops and probably a counter insurgency operations once they are subdued.  That requires an adequate force to space ration to control the movement to contact.  The number of troops will also depend somewhat on the amount of support the Houstis get from Iran.

Imagine how dangerous that support could be when Iran gets nuclear weapons under the deal being negotiated in Switzerland.  That is exactly why the Saudis are considering getting their own nuclear weapon.  At a minimum they wo…

The best hope for Iran is more sanctions to topple the religious bigots in charge

Image
NY Times:
Photographs: Stress and Hope In Tehran As Iran and world powers including the United States try to reach a deal on nuclear controls in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, Iranians from all walks of life are watching and hoping for a new start. If there were no sanctions the people of Iran would still live a miserable life because of the religious bigots who control their lives.  It is why so many of them have left and why those who stay are in many cases seeking escape through drugs.  But this regime is attempting to spread its brand of misery to other countries in the region and no one would expect them to not try to build nuclear weapons to terrorize others regardless of what is done in the negotiations.  Their leader's word is no good, yet Obama is trading the lifting of sanctions for a pocketful of mumbles.

I like the Iranians who have fled to the US.  I find them friendly and honest.  That is probably why they felt the had to leave the oppressive environment impos…

Government losing ground to al Qaeda in Syria

Washington Post:
Al-Qaeda affiliate’s advance deals a blow to Syria’s Assad
The Nusra Front is leading an offensive to take control of a key provincial capital. The US efforts against this group have also had minimal impact.  It is more evidence of the failure of Obama's incoherent Middle East strategy.

Iran backed group continues to advance in Yemen

NY Times:
As Houthis Advance, Saudi Arabia Evacuates Diplomats
Saudi Arabia said its navy had moved Arab and Western diplomats out of the port city of Aden as Houthi-allied forces continued to advance, even under the pressure of the Saudi bombing. While the Saudis appear to be organized in using their air and naval assets, they are yet to stop the Houthis advance.  That is likely going to take troops on the ground and armored units as well.   It takes a little longer to organize a ground operation, and it will take some time to get the forces in place.  The rebels could probably be stopped with an amphibious assault behind their front lines which would cut them off from supplies and reinforcements.  I am pretty sure the Saudis have never conducted such an operation, although the Egyptians might have some experience in attacking from the sea.

Obama set to give Iran sanction relief in return for pocket full of mumbles

Politico:
Brits: Iran nuke deal would be vague, unwritten Why would any sane person agree to an unwritten unenforceable deal with known liars?

Iran's objective in Yemen--Control of access to Red Sea and Suez Canal

Ynet:

Yemen is just part of Iran's Mideast master plan

Analysis: Israel has spent five years warning that Iran seeks Shiite domination of the Muslim world, and the Gulf States know by now not to rely on the Obama administration. ...
"The ayatollahs of Iran seek to take control of the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb so they can determine who can cross the Red Sea to the Suez Canal," says Dr. Yasser bin Hilal, a political science lecturer at the University of Sana'a, who traveled to Washington in an attempt to shake up the administration and the intelligence agencies.
... Israel also has an interest in keeping its Red Sea port open.  I think this may also explain why Egypt and Saudi Arabia have sent their naval ships to the region.

The story indicates that the swiftness of the attacks by the coalition took the rebels by surprise.

This is a long piece, but it does give a pretty good idea of the strategic objectives of all sides.

Feminist worried about 'micro aggression' ignore abuse by Muslim extremists

Rich Lowry:
‘Wrong’ kind of hero: Why feminists diss Hirsi Ali It is really remarkable how little liberal women care for those who truly suffer at the hands of some Muslims.   They will demonstrate about phantom rape cases in college and ignore the treatment of women in Iraq and Nigeria taken as sex slaves.  They care little about the fight of Hirsi Ali against the real forces of oppression.  She is much braver than all of them.

This maybe one reason for Hillary Clinton's evidence destruction

Gawker:
Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal's account.

The emails, which were posted on the internet in 2013, also show that Blumenthal and another close Clinton associate discussed contracting with a retired Army special operations commander to put operatives on the ground near the Libya-Tunisia border while Libya's civil war raged in 2011.

Blumenthal's emails to Clinton, which were directed to her private email account, include at least a dozen detailed reports on events on the deteriorating political and security climate in Libya as well as events in other nations. They came to light after a hacker broke into Blumenthal's account and have taken on new significance …

The overt push back against Iranian aggression in the Middle East

Washington Post:
In Yemen crisis, risk of wider war between rivals
The meltdown is pushing the Middle East dangerously closer to a conflagration many long have feared would arise from the chaos unleashed by the Arab Spring. This has less to do with the "Arab Spring" than it does with Iran's power plays and meddling.  It also involves the lack of confidence in the US policy toward Iran and its attempt to push a bad deal on the Iranian nukes.  As the situation continues to unravel, it would not surprise me to see support within the new coalition for an Israeli strike against Iran's facilities.  There is no confidence anywhere in the region in the deal Kerry and Obama are pushing.  The tilt toward Iran has left the US with reduced influence in the area.

This Suni coalition is closer to Netanyahu than Obama when it comes to dealing with Iran.  It is also a bigger deal to them than any concern about a Palestinian state.

Hostility toward Israel not a winning Issue for GOP voters

NY Times:
For G.O.P., Support for Israel Becomes New Litmus Test
Party members like James A. Baker III have learned that anything but unquestioning support for the Jewish state can mean trouble. There is strong support for Israel among Republican voters and candidates who don't share that support will be hurt at the ballot box.  I think the anti Israel mood in the administration is also a mistake both politically and strategically.   It will hurt Democrats in the long run.

The Saudi response to Obama's incoherent Middle East policy

Amy Myers Jaffe:
...
... The battle lines are existential, and the kingdom is not likely to relent either militarily or on oil unless peace negotiations are substantive. In opting to raise the stakes through proxy wars, intimidation, and veiled terror attacks, Russia and Iran will have to assess the seriousness of a Saudi strategic coalition with Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt – and so will the United States. Moreover, Israel might find the chaos of a widening Sunni-Shia war as an opportunity for a sudden and rapid attempt to slow down the Iranian nuclear program by pin point bombing a key facility, rendering the chaos factor even greater.

In all this, the United States has lacked a coherent public articulation of its goals, choosing perhaps purposely, perhaps haphazardly, to hide behind tactical actions that have confused its allies in the Mideast. It is pinning all on the prospects of a historic deal with Iran, but this perhaps is unwise since even signing a deal might not be followed …

Hillary destroys evidence and refuses to produce server

Washington Times:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has refused to turn her email server over to an independent third party and claims she has wiped the server clean, dealing a setback to the special investigative committee looking into the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, the probe said late Friday.

Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said the whole House will have to decide what the next steps are in the push to pry information from Mrs. Clinton, but said she will likely have to appear and testify on her decision-making about her emails, setting up another dramatic showdown between the former first lady and her congressional critics.

“Not only was the secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest,” Mr. Gowdy said in a statement excoriating Mrs. Clinton’s actions.

Mr. Gowdy said Mrs. Clinton’s response to his subpoena was to re-trans…

The consequences of Obama's Iran 'deal'

Independent:
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
...
Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.
... This is just one more clue to how misguided Obama and Kerry's pursuit of a deal with Iran is.  And the deal they are proposing gives no comfort to those int he region who would be a target of Iran.

Allies no longer trust US not to give intel to Iran

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This is a devastating assessment of the situation created by the Obama adminsitrations inept attempt to do a deal with Iran that apparently only they and the Iranians want.

No political consequences for Bergdahl screw up?

Ed Rogers:
Well, we finally got a glimpse of what it takes to get fired at the White House these days. If you dare to arrange flowers — presumably roses included — in a fashion that doesn’t suit the powers that be, you get escorted from the building and kicked to the curb. But if you use the Rose Garden to make the president look foolish, you’re safe. That’s right: We learned the White House florist was unceremoniously kicked out of her job in February by a White House that obviously felt she had done some disservice to the president. However, the genius who approved and set up that Rose Garden news conference, in which President Obama stood by while Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s off-kilter father spoke Pashto in order to communicate unfiltered to the Taliban, seems to be secure in his or her job. And national security adviser Susan Rice doesn’t seem to be able to do anything bad enough to make the White House think she should be given any less responsibility. Rice went on ABC’s “This Wee…

Obama out of touch with new reality in the Middle East

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu:‘Arab-Israel Alliance’ Leaving Obama Isolated Obama's "two-state" phobia shows how much he and his experts do not understand the Middle East. The real irritant in the Middle East is Iran and its nuclear ambitions and that trumps any old refrain about a Palestinian state.   The deal that Obama and Kerry are trying to put together only makes those anxieties worse for both the Arabs and the Israelis.

It will take more than air strikes to stop rebels in Yemen

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Washington Post:
Despite Saudi-led airstrikes, Shiite rebels continue to advance in Yemen
Residents of the port city of Aden, where the embattled president had fled, say insurgents are closing in. Generally it takes infantry and armor to go along with the air strikes to be effective at stopping an enemy.  That is why it is important to Egypt and others to introduce ground troops in support of the Saudi coalition air attack.

Obama should listen to this former cabinet member

Real Clear Politics:
Panetta: "One Thing I've Learned At The CIA And As Secretary of Defense Is That The Iranians Can't Be Trusted" In the same interview Panetta also said that Obama should find a way to work with Israel.
...
"But, frankly, the relationship with Israel is extremely important, both from an intelligence point of view, military point of view, a diplomatic point of view. It's very important to maintain that strong relationship, particularly when we're dealing with all of these threats in that region," Panetta said.
... Obama has lost most of his wisest advisors like Panetta.  Instead he is relying on an intellectual lightweight like Susan Rice.  The results have been disastrous.

Egypt sending Naval forces to Yemen

Washington Post:
Egypt warships steam toward Yemen coast
Saudi Arabia continued its bombardment as Egypt prepared to join the Arab-led offensive against Shiite rebels in Yemen. It has been awhile since any warship used steam as a means of movement.  The fight in Yemen is not a naval one at this point unless Iran decides to make it one.   Egypt's contribution to the coalition against the Iranian backed Houthis is likely to be ground forces.  The Saudis and their coalition partners quickly got air superiority over the rebels, but taking and holding real estate is going to be much more difficult.  The ground forces must be prepared to deal with a long term insurgency.

Man responsible for much of Congressional dysfunction is retiring

NY Times:
Harry Reid Says He Won’t Seek Re-Election Good riddance.  Harry Reid has done more to thwart democracy than any leader in recent memory.

Nigeria's inconsistent dealings with Boko Haram

NY Times:
Chad’s President Says Nigeria Absent in Boko Haram Fight
Rather than showing triumphalism, President Idriss Déby was frustrated waiting for a sign that Nigerian forces would take over. The Nigerian military has not been an effective force in dealing with Boko Haram.  It seems to waiver between brutality and passivity.  It shows no aptitude for counter insurgency warfare and protecting the people.   It does not even show any aptitude for organizing local militias to defend against the Islamic religious bigots.

The Obama administration has also been largely absent from the fight against Boko Haram at first not even designating them as a terrorist organization  and offering little assistance to Nigeria in training its troops for counterinsurgency operations.  There have been some hints that the reluctance to engage is because of the President's opposition to Nigeria's position on gays.  But it shows no such reluctance to engaging with Iran whose polices on gays is even …

Email scandal taking a toll on Hillary Clinton

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Her numbers are cratering.  At this point Republicans still have not coalesced on a candidate to challenge her, which makes some of the polling against individuals somewhat misleading.

The goal of the Saudi operations in Yemen

Arab News:
... “The military operations will continue till all objectives are achieved. The main aim of the first stage of the military operations was to destroy rebel warplanes. A number of rebels, who were heading toward the Saudi borders, were killed in the raids. The ultimate aim is to restore the legitimate government of Yemen to power.”
... The Saudis quickly got air superiority over Yemen.  Their other objectives are unlikely to be achieved with air power alone.  They need members of their coalition to send ground troops if they are to have any success in restoring the Yemeni government.  The Egyptians have offered ground troops and the Turks may also participate although the current Turkish government has been reluctant to use force.

College coddling of wimps

Chris Hernandez:
‘Microaggressions’ And ‘Trigger Warnings,’ Meet Real Trauma

I don't want to hear your whining about 'microaggressions' and 'trigger warnings.' Those aren't trauma. Besides, coming to terms with pain is part of growing up. It is a pretty good bet that those who complain about "microaggression" would never make it through boot camp.  People are better off if they learn deal with life as it is instead of trying to hide from it.

Bergdahl case shows Obama's shameless nonsensical Gitmo policy

Byron York:
The Bowe Bergdahl debacle — trading five senior Taliban commanders for one American prisoner now charged with desertion — has its roots in President Obama's determination to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay. If the president's past is any guide, there will be more Gitmo-related fiascos in the future.

Obama has exhibited an unmistakable pattern of behavior in recent years: When Congress fails to do what he wants, he does it himself, or threatens to.

When it comes to Guantanamo, a growing number of lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Congress is more determined than ever to keep the prison facility open. In coming months they are likely to strengthen current restrictions on Obama's ability to release inmates. Those restrictions will run head-on into the president's resolve to close Guantanamo — and his penchant for unilateral executive action. The result could be ugly.

Obama is already forbidden by law from transferring Guantanamo inmates to the United …

Obama administration will not admit that its Yemen strategy failed because it doesn't like alternative

Washington Examiner Editorial:
If only the Obama White House could bring itself to admit that its strategy in Yemen has failed. Then Obama and his mouthpieces would look substantially less foolish.

As matters stand, they cling to the myth that their "small footprint" strategy against terrorism in Yemen — cooperate loosely with local authorities and blow up terrorists with drones on occasion — is a successful one in the war against terrorism.

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said as much this Wednesday, even as the Yemeni state was collapsing and its president fled for his life. The so-called Yemen model, Earnest said, once singled out for praise by President Obama, "is a template that has succeeded in mitigating the threat that we face from extremists in Yemen and Somalia."

Yemen is now in the midst of sectarian violence between two sets of mutually-hostile Islamic paramilitaries, both of which are proven enemies of the United States. It appears likely to degenerate…

Cost cutting could spur increased drilling activity

Fuel Fix:
Drilling activity has slowed as companies have slashed budgets, but could return to boom-time levels next year as it becomes cheaper to hunt for oil, a new report finds.

Oil and gas companies are expected to curtail their spending by about 30 percent this year, prompting widespread speculation that the industry is headed for a dramatic slowdown, according to the study released Thursday by Wood Mackenzie.

But as companies pull back on spending, they are also forcing down bloated exploration costs, which could spur an uptick in drilling in the coming months, according to the study.

“They will definitely be spending less but that money will go further,” Andrew Latham, vice president of exploration at energy analyst firm Wood Mackenzie, said.

The number of wells will fall this year, but drilling should recover by next year as oil companies “seize their chance to drill at lower cost,” the report notes. Wood Mackenzie expects exploration costs to fall by one-third, correcting a long-s…

Democrats not having much success getting people to care about global warming

David Harsanyi:
If you want to understand why so many Democrats believe it’s okay to circumvent Congress and let international agreements dictate environmental policies—well, other than their newfound respect for monocracy—you don’t have to look much farther than the new poll by Gallup.

Since 1989, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming. To put this in perspective, note that the most expensive public-relations campaign in history—one that includes most governmental agencies, a long list of welfare-sucking corporations, the public school system, the universities, an infinite parade of celebrities, think tanks, well-funded environmental groups and an entire major political party—has, over the past 25 years or so, increased the number of Democrats who “worry greatly” about global warming by a mere four percentage points.

During this era, they’ve gone from gentle nudging to stern warnings, to fearmongering, to conflating the predictive abilities…