Showing posts from November, 2011

Monday blast in Iran hit nuclear facility

AN IRANIAN nuclear facility has been hit by a huge explosion, the second such blast in a month, prompting speculation that Tehran's military and atomic sites are under attack. Satellite imagery seen by The Times confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran. The images clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction, negating Iranian claims yesterday that no such explosion had taken place. Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was "no doubt" that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was "no accident". The explosion at Iran's third-largest city came as satellite images emerged of the damage caused by one at a military base outside Tehran two weeks ago that killed about 30 members of the Revolutionary Guard, including General Hassan Moghaddam, the head of the Iranian missile defence program. ...On Monday, Isfahan reside…

Whoa!--Gingrich 45 %, Obama 43%

Rasmussen Reports:
The Newt Gingrich surge has moved him to the top of the polls in Iowa, big gains in New Hampshire and now a two-point edge over President Obama in a hypothetical general election match-up. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters finds Gingrich attracting 45% of the vote while President Obama earns support from 43%. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording,click here.) Last week, Gingrich trailed the president by sixTwo weeks ago, he was down by twelve.... ...  Other candidates have briefly led Obama, but this is a good sign of Gingrich's current momentum and a sign of the dissatisfaction with Obama.

Senate bill would force approval of Keystone pipeline

Fox News:
A group of senators led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), and Sen. John Hoeven, (R-N.D.) presented new legislation Wednesday on Capitol Hill that gives the Obama administration 60 days to approve the production of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  If passed, the Secretary of State must issue a construction permit for the $7 billion pipeline that will bring Alberta crude oil to refineries on the U.S. gulf coast, unless the president determines that it is "not in the national interest."  "If the administration would simply get out of the way and allow it to go forward, it would create jobs almost immediately - lots of jobs," said Sen. McConnell.  The Administration was widely expected to approve the project by year's end, but environmental activists voiced strong objections to the construction of a project that would involve a potentially-vulnerable pipeline traversing multiple states. The White House recently announce…

Iran attempts to intimidate backfire

Washington Post:
Iran faces increased isolation from Western nations after embassy attack The Brits have closed their embassy and kicked out the Iranian embassy and other European countries are reducing or closing their operations in Iran.  There is also a movement for increased sanctions.

Fox News appearances shapes primary campaign

NY Times:
The aspiring Republican presidential candidates have logged countless hours in the living rooms of voters, pitching their platforms and firing jabs at President Obama. Yet there is one difference this election season. The contenders, even here in the early-voting states, are far more likely to make their visits on television than to ever drop by in person. In what is shaping up as a profound change in American politics, the living room stops and the cafe visits where candidates offer a handshake and make an appeal for support are creeping toward extinction. The onetime fixtures of the campaign trail are giving way to the Fox News studio and televised debates. It has been five decades since television began to transform presidential races, but never before have the effects of cable television been so apparent in the early stages of a campaign. The latest sign can be found in the resurgence of Newt Gingrich, who is now trying, with little more than a month before the voting starts,…

Gingrich has 20 point lead in Florida

Newt Gingrich leads Mitt Romney by more than 20 points in the important early-voting state of Florida, according to a new Insider Advantage poll. Gingrich has 41 percent support while Romney has 17 percent. Businessman Herman Cain, who is fading in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity, sits in third place with 13 percent. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has 7 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul has 4 percent, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has 3 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum rounds out the field with 1 percent. ...The Florida poll comes on the heels of an Insider Advantage poll released Tuesday that showed Gingrich leading by 15 points in Iowa. And a Rasmussen Reports pollalso released Tuesday showed Gingrich moving closer to Romney in the former Massachusetts' governor's stronghold of New Hampshire. Nationally, Gingrich holds a narrow 2.5 percentage point lead in the RCP Average....  Gingrich appears to be building on his surge in recent …

Warmist 'weathering' the lack of storms

Walter Russell Mead:
Those Via Meadia readers old enough to remember Hurricane Katrina can no doubt remember the many moralizing predictions of smug and condescending green climate hacktivists that followed: global warming was going to mean more hurricanes and bigger ones.  Our coasts were toast; it was baked in the cake.  The rising sea level combined with the inexorably rising number of major hurricanes were going to knock the climate skeptics out of the park. Well, no.  Andrew Revkin has called attention to this post fromRoger Pielke’s blog which shows that as of today it has been 2,226 days since the last major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) hit the US mainland.  Unless a big hurricane hits this winter, it means we are on track to break a 100 year record for the longest gap between major hurricanes hitting the coast.  (The last Big Calm was between 1900 and 1906.) For those of you who are confused, let me remind you: the only meteorological phenomena that count are the ones that co…

Obama, the bystander on debt crisis

Michael Goodwin:
The words cut like a knife. “What the hell are we paying you for?” Gov. Chris Christie asked of President Obama.  The New Jersey Republican has a gift for getting to the heart of things, and his broadside against the president over the debt bomb is Exhibit A. His assertion, framed as a question, makes the case against Obama better than anything heard from the actual candidates.  Christie’s decision not to run remains a disappointment, but he is a valuable player who can help sharpen the fuzzy aim of Mitt Romney, the man he supports. Christie’s consistent theme is that Obama has defaulted on the responsibility to provide presidential leadership during a national crisis.  On Monday, the GOP heavyweight called Obama “a bystander in the Oval Office” for ducking the congressional committee charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years.  “I was angry this weekend, listening to the spin coming out of the administration about the failure of the super commi…

The nuclear weapons tunnels of China

Washington Post:
The Chinese have called it their “Underground Great Wall” — a vast network of tunnels designed to hide their country’s increasingly sophisticated missile and nuclear arsenal.
For the past three years, a small band of obsessively dedicated students at Georgetown University has called it something else: homework.  Led by their hard-charging professor, a former top Pentagon official, they have translated hundreds of documents, combed through satellite imagery, obtained restricted Chinese military documents and waded through hundreds of gigabytes of online data.  The result of their effort? The largest body of public knowledge about thousands of miles of tunnels dug by the Second Artillery Corps, a secretive branch of the Chinese military in charge of protecting and deploying its ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads.  The study is yet to be released, but already it has sparked a congressional hearing and been circulated among top officials in the Pentagon, including th…

How do they know they are students?

Washington Post:
Hard-line Iranian students storm British Embassy in Tehran They have only the word of the religious bigots who rule Iran and as far as we know the invaders were not detained.  They are most likely part of the Basji, a fascist element used by the government for intimidating opponents of this evil regime.

Senate defies Obama on handling of terrorist cases

NY Times:
Defying the Obama administration’s threat of a veto, the Senate on Tuesday voted to increase the role of the military in imprisoning suspected members of Al Qaeda and its allies — including people arrested inside the United States. By a vote of 61 to 37, the Senate turned back an effort to strip a major military bill of a set of disputed provisions affecting the handling of terrorism cases. While the legislation still has several steps to go, the vote makes it likely that Congress will eventually send to President Obama’s desk a bill that contains detainee-related provisions his national-security team has said are unacceptable. The most disputed provision would require the government to place into military custody any suspected member of Al Qaeda or one of its allies connected to a plot against the United States or its allies. The provision would exempt American citizens, but would otherwise extend to arrests on United States soil. The executive branch could issue a waiver and …

NLRB lawyer given more power to screw employers

Phil Kerpen:
Lafe Solomon is one of the most powerful bureaucrats in America and is about to get much more powerful. He is the acting general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), best known for suingBoeing Co. over the opening of a billion-dollar manufacturing plant that created thousands of jobs in South Carolina. He also is suing four states - Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah - for enacting state constitutional protections for secret ballot voting. He is about to inherit broad powers intended to be exercised by the NLRB itself, effectively making him President Obama’s newest czar. Perhaps he’ll be called the “no new jobs czar.” The NLRB is presently operating with three board members, two of whom are left-wing union lawyers. One of those union lawyers, Craig Becker, is a recess appointee whose term will expire at the end of this year. TheSupreme Court has said the board cannot legally function with only two members. However, Mr. Obama is not inclined to…

Anti energy left tries to thwart Shell Alaska drilling

Houston Chronicle:
Environmentalists have opened a new front in their campaign to block Shell’s planned drilling in Arctic waters near Alaska, by challenging the government’s decision to issue the company essential air pollution permits for some of the work. At issue are Clean Air Act permits the Environmental Protection Agency issued last month for Shell Oil Co.’s Kulluk drillship and support vessels, which the firm plans to use while working on exploratory wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas starting next summer. Ten Alaskan and environmental groups appealed those permits before the EPA’s administrative Environmental Appeals Board on Monday. That builds on a similar appeal of the Clean Air Act permits issued for Shell’s Noble Discoverer that was filed in October. The latest challenge was mounted by Earthjustice, representing another nine groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Alaska Wilderness League. The group highlights the risks associated wi…

Who knew?

Taliban may have lured US into attack on Pakistan

AP/Washington Times:
NATO forces may have been lured into attacking friendly Pakistani border posts in a calculated maneuver by the Taliban, according to preliminary U.S. military reports on the deadliest friendly-fire incident with Pakistan since the Afghanistan war began. The NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers over the weekend in an apparent case of mistaken identity, the Associated Press has learned. A joint U.S.-Afghan patrol was attacked by the Taliban early Saturday morning. While pursuing the enemy in the poorly marked border area, the patrol seems to have mistaken one of the Pakistan troop outposts for a militant encampment and called in a NATO gunship and attack helicopters to open fire. U.S. officials say the reports suggest the Taliban may have deliberately tried to provoke a cross-border firefight that would set back fragile partnerships between the U.S. and NATO forces and Pakistani soldiers at the ill-defined border. Officials described the records on condition of a…

Afghans say Pakistan is in the wrong on border skirmish

Washington Post:
The Afghan police general watched on television as Pakistani soldiers solemnly saluted the coffins of 24 of their comrades who were killed in a U.S. military airstrike Saturday.  The general stood up in disgust. “That’s the best thing America has done in 10 years here,” he said.  While U.S. officials from the war zone to the White House offered contrite condolences to the families of the dead and scrambled to repair the tattered relationship with Pakistan, Afghan officials have taken a tougher line. Frustrated by a Taliban insurgency they are convinced is supervised by and stationed in Pakistan, they have expressed little remorse, even accusing Pakistan of exaggerating the gravity of the situation to deflect attention from its own meddling in Afghanistan.  Afghan officials said the airstrike — which followed an operation carried out by U.S. Special Operations forces and Afghan army commandos — was justified because the troops came under fire first from a Pakistani bor…

Warcraft and relationships

It is a pretty cute ad.

Pakistan paranoia unhinged

LA Times:
Pakistan general calls NATO airstrike deliberate  Of course, it was deliberate in the sense it was in response to a perceived attack from Pakistan's side of the border.

 However, to suggest that NATO would see some benefit in deliberately attacking some ineffective border guards is absurd.  Pakistan needs to get a grip and start thinking rationally or it is going to look very foolish to the rest of the world.

Run Sarah Run

Some still want Sarah Palin to get into the race for the GOP nomination.  I think she would make a good President, but I think it is too late this year for her to get the nomination.

What are we paying Obama for?

Chris Christie takes Obama to task for acting as a bystander while things do not get done.

Pakistan's new game

Washington Post:
Pakistan bows out of key conference on Afghanistan, citing deadly U.S. raid Pakistan has always wanted a seat at the table when it comes to the status of Afghanistan.  Perhaps we should put India in their seat and let Pakistan stew.   Pakistan has really come unglued since we found bin Laden hiding under their noses.  Their anger over the incident on the border looks contrived to me.  It makes me suspect they were giving sanctuary to Taliban fighters to attack US and Afghan forces and they are angry about the response.

Another blow to Cain

NY Times:
Cain Reassessing Candidacy Amid New Allegations With all the allegations flying around, the Cain Campaign is sounding more like the many loves of Herman Cain than 9-9-9.  It is enough to make anyone reconsider.

Iranians attack UK embassy

NY Times:
Dozens of Iranian protesters screaming “death to England!” stormed the vast British embassy compound in central Tehran on Tuesday, tore down the British flag, smashed windows and ransacked the offices in what appeared to be an officially sanctioned protest of Britain’s particularly tough economic sanctions against Iran over its suspect nuclear energy program. The embassy assault, reported by Iranian news services and broadcast on Iranian television, was the most serious breach between Britain and Iran in more than 20 years, and the images evoked memories of the siege of the American Embassy following the Iranian revolution of 1979. There were conflicting accounts of whether any hostages had been taken by the embassy assailants. There was no word on the whereabouts of the embassy staff. Britain’s Foreign Office, apparently caught off guard by the assault, called it “utterly unacceptable” and said British officials had spoken to Iranian diplomats in London “to urge the Iranian au…

Explaining explosions in Iran

Michael Ledeen:
Another week, another explosion at or near an Iranian military installation (or is it a nuclear research facility?).  As usual, the regime doesn’t know what to say.  The mullahcracy is so intensely divided that different “spokesmen” from different ministries/news outlets/cults/mafias put out different versions.  There was an explosion, or at least “the sound of an explosion.”  This goes out on the wires.  Then, no, there was no explosion, it was just the sound of our fierce military training.  Then again, yes, there was something, but not to worry, just go home and shut up.  And so it goes in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as our president so loves to call his intended international partners. I’ve been reporting for many months about the ongoing sabotage of pipelines, refineries, military sites, Revolutionary Guards’ aircraft and trains, and groups of regime thugs. and have received the usual cold shoulder from publications “of record,” which is to say silent sneers.  But…

Aussie special ops in Afghanistan

Going after Taliban commandos and using US air support.  It gives a good idea of combat operations for the special ops.

Barney Frank joins Chris Dodd in retirement

 Establishment media are swooning over the unexpected departure of ultraliberal Barney Frank. But this "champion of the little guy" actually helped cause the mortgage disaster, then kept the system broken. 'Congress will now be a little dumber," was the kind of nonsense we heard from the mainstream liberal media after Frank, D-Mass., former chairman of the House Banking Committee, said no to running for re-election next year. Formally reprimanded by a heavily Democratic House on a 408-to-18 vote in 1990 for ethics offenses regarding his financial relationship with a male prostitute, Frank has for decades been a fast-talking, acidic presence in House debates. But he wasn't smart enough to realize that the politically correct poisoning of mortgages would lead to a calamity rivaling the Great Depression. "I, like many others, did not see the crisis coming," Frank said Monday. He sure didn't. Back in 2003, what did he say when the Bush administration p…

Syrian war crimes

Syrian troops have killed hundreds of children – UN At least one was a toddler.  The Syrians are also accused of torturing the kids.

Colombian drug trafficker captured in Venezuela

Colombian authorities said that Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, also known as 'Valenciano', was captured on Sunday, information that was later confirmed by Juan Manuel Santos, the Colombian president. The US had offered a $5 million (£3.2 million) reward for information leading to the arrest of Bonilla, who was also on Colombia's most-wanted list. "He's one of the most recognised drug traffickers, who has caused terrible damage to our country," Mr Santos told Hugo Chavez, hisVenezuelan counterpart, who he was visiting, saying his capture "had become truly a very high-value objective" for Colombian authorities. "We know that your people, your authorities ... were after this individual for some time, and look how God is on our side, the coincidence that last night you captured him and today we can give this magnificent news," Mr Santos said. ...  Chavez called the arrest a "coincidence."  I suspect he has been operating in Venezu…

Salazar kills another Alaskan energy deal

Fox News:
North of the Arctic Circle, the tiny village of Nuiqsut, Alaska, has become the latest flash point in the struggle between oil drilling and environmentalism. The town, with a population of 400, nearly all Eskimos, sits on the edge of the Colville River and the National Petroleum Reserve, or NPR. How isolated is it? It takes four flights and eight hours to get there from Seattle. Conoco Phillips wants to build a road bridge and pipeline over the river to connect to the nearby Alpine development, which sits just outside the NPR. But the Army Corps of Engineers rejected the plan telling, the oil company it had to go under the river.  Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar supports the Corps' decision. "It has to be done the right way in the right place in making sure we’re taking into account environmental protections," Salazar said. Conoco Phillips said piping below the river is too expensive and risky. In its application, the company argued the oil comin…

Obama to focus campaign on college graduates

William McGurn:
Obama Abandons the Working Class The white working class already feel abandoned.  Obama and the Democrats have policies in place that will drive up the cost of living for the working class who have seen their traditional jobs leave places like Pennsylvania, while new jobs in the natural gas business are showing up as Obama continues his hostility toward traditional energy jobs.

Special ops and Afghan commandos called return fire into Pakistan

Washington Post:
The mission that resulted in the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers on Saturday began when U.S. Special Operations troops and Afghan army commandos launched a nighttime raid against suspected Taliban insurgents along the border in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province, according to Afghan security officials.  After the coalition unit came under fire from the Pakistani side of the border, the troops responded by calling in an airstrike, which resulted in the Pakistani casualties, the officials said. “They did come under fire from across the border first, before reacting,” said a senior Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue.  That account of the mission is disputed by Pakistani authorities, who say the U.S. launched an unprovoked attack on two of their border posts, a prolonged assault that continued for nearly two hours including after Pakistani officials asked coalition forces to stop. U.S. military spokesmen would not discus…

Conception to birth

You can see the many wonders of human life as it develops inside the woman's body.

Explosion rocks Iran nuke city

Conflicting reports have emerged from Iran over an explosion heard in the central city of Isfahan, close to the country's sensitive nuclear facilities. Iran's semi-official Isna news agency quoted a judiciary official in Isfahan, saying that an explosion had been heard. "We heard a sound similar to that of an explosion but we have received no reports about its causes and the consequences so far," said Gholamreza Ansari, in quotes carried by Isna. He said the explosion did not appear to be of any significance. According to Rajanews, a website affiliated to the country's elite revolutionary guards, the governor of Isfahan, Alireza Zaker-Isfahani, said the blast was part of a military exercise in the north-east of the city. Zaker-Isfanai denied reports that the explosion was related to the nuclear facilities, situated in the same area of the city. "There is no such a thing, the sound of the explosion was from the military exercise," he said. Iran's…