[VIDEO] Obama Defense Dept. Forced Soldiers to Sign Non-Disclosure Statements on Turncoat Bowe Bergdahl’s Behavior

General Mullins told Bowe Bergdahl’s closest comrades to sign non-disclosure statements on Bergdahl’s behavior before he deserted his platoon.

 


[VIDEO] Is Immigration Reform Dead in the Water? Michelle Malkin on the #KellyFile

“This order sent a very clear message to the Imperial dictators at the Obama White House, In Your Face!”

Michelle Malkin, on Fox News’ The Kelly File, responding to Federal Appeals Court’s decision rebuking President Obama’s Immigration Order, delivering another defeat for the White House.


[VIDEO] 5 Rifles that won World War II

Thank you to all who have served and those currently serving in the Armed Forces. In honor of Memorial Day, Jim discusses 5 iconic rifles used in battle by the United States Military.

 


French Ambassador: Risk of Nuclear Arms Race Will Remain After Iran Deal

Frances-U.N.-Ambassador-Gerard-Araud1

Gerard Araud, the French ambassador the United States, says an emerging nuclear deal with Iran will impose tough restrictions on the Islamic Republic and improve regional security across the Middle East. frenchmanBut on Tuesday, Arnaud acknowledged that it could also pose a potential risk: spurring an array Arab countries to develop their own civilian nuclear programs.

“For me, that’s one of the major weak points of the agreement we are negotiating because let’s be frank: the agreement is not perfect,” Araud said at an Atlantic Council event in Washington. “It’s a compromise. Any agreement is a compromise.”

Araud, joined by his British and German counterparts, insisted that Western negotiators in Switzerland wrested the maximum amount of concessions from Iran as possible. Their joint appearance was the latest indication that a final nuclear deal with Tehran is likely to happen this summer, though perhaps not by the June 30 deadline.

“It’s very likely that we won’t have an agreement before the end of June or even (right) after,” Arnaud panic-bettysaid, citing the difficulties of fleshing out technical details and possible delaying tactics by the Iranians. “We could have a sort of fuzzy end to the negotiation,” he said.

In their remarks, the diplomats said the benefits of such an accord far outweigh the risks. But as the June 30 deadline looms for world powers to make an agreement, Araud differed with his fellow European ambassadors about the unintended consequences a final deal might produce.

Namely, Araud said that allowing Iran to maintain enough enrichment capacity for a one-year breakout time could cause Arab adversaries such as Saudi Arabia to seek a similar capability, resulting in more countries becoming nuclear threshold states. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Hey America, Get Off Your High Horse’

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At The Corner, Jim Geraghty has this:obama-BW

Via Walter Russell Mead, here’s a comment from the president in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg:

Obama responded to this theory by saying the following: “Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders—and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country—”

tiny-head-left-obama

He really needs to point out America’s past sins and flaws whenever anyone points out vile behavior overseas, doesn’t he? Read the rest of this entry »


POLL: 81% Of Al Jazeera Arabic Poll Respondents Support Islamic State

ISIS-yelling

GLOBAL PANIC POLL RESULTS: We told You So

Jordan Schachtel reports: In a recent survey conducted by AlJazeera.net, the website for the Al Jazeera Arabic television channel, respondents overwhelmingly support the Islamic State terrorist group, with 81% voting “YES” on whether they approved of ISIS’s conquests in the region.

The poll, which asked in Arabic, “Do you support the organizing victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?” has generated over 38,000 responses thus far, with only 19% of respondents voting “NO” to supporting ISIS.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 1.04.29 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 1.04.15 PM

Al Jazeera Arabic’s television audience is largely made up of Sunni Muslims living in the Arab world. Its biggest viewership numbers come from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, along with a large amount of satellite
television viewers in the United States, according to research estimates.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart]

AlJazeera.net is most popular in Saudi Arabia, the United States, Egypt, Morocco, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Alexa webpage analytics site. Al Jazeera claims that it has over 40 million viewers in the Arab world.

The news that an overwhelming majority of respondents to the Al Jazeera Arabic poll strongly support ISIS may not surprise long-time trackers of the controversial network. The news outfit, which is run by Qatar’s ruling family and headquartered in Doha, has a track record rife with allegations that the organization supports the narratives of Sunni terrorist groups. Read the rest of this entry »


Defense Secretary Defense Secretary Ash Carter Signals Possible Iraq Strategy Shift

Iraq-Ramadi-WSJ
Jon Hilsenrath and Janet Hook report: Defense Secretary Ash Carter held open the possibility of a strategy shift by the White House on Iraq, a few days after recent setbacks in Iraq and Syria revived sharp criticism of the Obama administration’s approach in combating extremist groups there.

Islamic State forces last week captured the key Iraqi city of Ramadi and also expanded their reach in Syria. Critics and even allies of the administration took to Sunday television talk shows to call for a strategy change by the administration to stem the advance of Islamic State forces.

Michele+Flournoy+Gen+Patraeus+Testifies+Senate

“We have under-resourced the strategy. We need to provide more firepower support…ISIS is a threat not only to Iraq and Syria. It is a threat to us.”

— Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense from 2009 to 2012

Among the calls: More aggressively arming Sunni tribes and Peshmerga forces who oppose Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS.

“If there comes a time when we have to change the kinds of support we give we will make that recommendation.”

Mr. Carter said in an interview with CNN aired Sunday.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R., Texas) said on ABC’s “This Week” that the battle in Ramadi was among the many reasons why he doubted the Obama administration’s claim that U.S. efforts have succeeded in degrading the strength of ISIS.

jDefense-Carter

“The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force and yet they failed to fight and withdrew from the site…We can give them training, we can give them equipment. We obviously can’t give them the will to fight.”

— Defense Secretary Ash Carter

“I don’t see evidence of that,” said Mr. Thornberry. “I see ISIS gaining territory in Iraq and Syria.” What is more, he said, “their ideology, their approach, their brand is growing faster than their territory.”

The administration has scaled back its near-term ambitions by delaying plans for an offensive to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. It has agreed to expand and speed shipments of military equipment to Iraqi security forces and step up training for fighters from Sunni tribes.

Mr. Carter offered a withering critique of the will of Iraqi defense forces in the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State. Read the rest of this entry »


Putin Enacts Law Banning ‘Undesirable’ NGOs

Poutine-m-afp

Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country

Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning “undesirable” non-governmental organisations, the Kremlin said Saturday, in a move condemned by human rights groups and the United States.

“We are concerned this new power will further restrict the work of civil society in Russia and is a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.”

— State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf

The law allows authorities to bar foreign civil society groups seen as threatening Russia’s “defence capabilities” or “consitutional foundations” and go after local activists working with them, the Kremlin statement said.

Supporters presented the law as a “preventative measure”, necessary after the wave of Western sanctions put in place over the Ukraine conflict.

Grand_Kremlin_Palace,_Moscow

Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country.

It also allows them to block the bank accounts of the organisations until the NGOs “account for their actions” to the Russian authorities.

Lawmakers cited the need to stop “destructive organisations” working in Russia, which could threaten the “value of the Russian state” and stir up “colour revolutions”, the name given to pro-Western movements seen in some former Soviet republics over the last several years.

Critics have said that the vague wording of the law—which gives Russia’s general prosecutor the right to impose the “undesirable” tag without going to court—could allow officials to target foreign businesses working in Russia. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Senate Blocks House Bill on NSA Surveillance, 2-Month Extension

NSA headquarters. Image: Wikimedia Commons

BREAKING NEWS –  The Republican-led Senate blocked a House bill early Saturday that would have ended the National Security Agency’s bulk of collection on domestic phone records.

The vote was 57-42, short of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead. It leaves the fate of the key provisions in the Patriot Act in doubt with a June 1 deadline less than two weeks away.

Francisco Seco/AP - In this October 2013 file photo, a man looks at his cellphone as he walks on the street in downtown Madrid. The NSA’s ability to crack cellphone encryption used by the majority of cellphones in the world offers it wide-ranging powers to listen in on private conversations.

The Senate also failed to advance a two-month extension of NSA programs as well. The vote also needed 60 votes to get to the Senate floor. The vote was defeated 54-45…(read more)

developing…

Fox News

 

 


[FLASHBACK] One Year Ago Today, May 22, 2014: White House Contacted YouTube During Benghazi Attack, Darrell Issa Says

“The e-mail shows the White House had hurried to settle on a false narrative — one at odds with the conclusions reached by those on the ground — before Americans were even out of harm’s way or the intelligence community had made an impartial examination of available evidence.”

— Darrell Issa

For ABC NewsJohn Karl reports: A still-classified State Department e-mail says that one of the first responses from the White House to the Benghazi attack was to contact YouTube to warn of the “ramifications” of allowing the posting of an anti-Islamic video, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

[Issa’s full statement can be read here]

The memo suggests that even as the attack was still underway — and before the CIA began the process of compiling talking points on its analysis of what happened — the White House believed it was in retaliation for a controversial video.

[Sean Smith Condolence Memo Mentions Video]

The subject line of the e-mail, which was sent at 9:11 p.m. Eastern Time on the night of the attack, is “Update on Response to actions – Libya.” The was written hours before the attack was over. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] This Day in History: Tragic Launch of President Johnson’s Titanic “Great Society”

“In 1964, 76 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing “just about always or most of the time”; today, 19 percent do. The former number is one reason Johnson did so much; the latter is one consequence of his doing so.”

— George F. Will

Source: The Washington Post – The slow decline of America since LBJ launched the Great Society” 

 


BREAKING: Court Affidavit Reveals Suspect in DC Quadruple Murder ‘Did Not Act Alone’

Four people died in a house fire near Vice President Joe Biden's home in Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon, and the police are still searching for the reason why.

An court affidavit released Friday says the suspect in the slayings of a northwest D.C. family and their housekeeper was not alone in carrying out the murders

The document says Daron Dylon Wint and “others” were involved in the murders of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper, according to MyFoxDC.

The news comes as Wint awaits a court arraignment on Friday afternoon after leading cops on a massive manhunt.

“Wint is accused of storming a Washington mansion…he allegedly held the family while ordering them to summon a courier with $40,000, then killed all four, dousing them with gasoline before setting the home on fire.”

The multi-state search for the suspect in the horrific murders of a Washington businessman’s family and their housekeeper ended late Thursday when police grabbed suspect Daron Dylon Wint and four associates in the nation’s capital.

“Just got him,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said shortly before 11:30 p.m.

The arrest capped a day that began with the revelation Wint had been identified in last week’s murders of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife Amy, 47; the couple’s 10-year-old son Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57, by DNA left on pizza crust during what may have been an extended home invasion. Police traced Wint, a 34-year-old ex-con from Maryland, to Brooklyn, N.Y., and then back to Washington in the afternoon.

wint-DC

“Sources told WTTG that Savvos and Amy Savopoulos, as well as Veralicia Figueroa, were found in chairs and doused with gasoline. Philip Savopoulos was found in his bed, covered in lacerations and burned beyond recognition.”

Federal marshals had been tracking Wint Thursday night from College Park as he traveled in a white Chevrolet Cruze occupied by two unidentified women, police said. The car was following a white box truck, reportedly driven by Wint’s brother and with another man inside. Both vehicles were stopped by marshals near 10th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE, the official said. Police found at least $10,000 in cash in the box truck, and all of the occupants were taken into custody, according to police.

Quadruple-murder-suspect-Daron-Dylon-Wint-arrested-jpg

“The arrest capped a day that began with the revelation Wint had been identified in last week’s murders of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife Amy, 47; the couple’s 10-year-old son Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57, by DNA left on pizza crust during what may have been an extended home invasion.”

Wint is accused of storming a Washington mansion near Vice President Biden’s residence and owned by Savopoulos, the CEO of an iron works company. There, he allegedly held the family while ordering them to summon a courier with $40,000, then killed all four, dousing them with gasoline before setting the home on fire.

The four were found dead in the Savolpoulos family’s burning home in a wealthy Northwest Washington neighborhood on the afternoon of May 14.

No other suspects have been identified, but police have not ruled out the possibility that other people were involved in the murders.

wint-dc

“While it does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city. We are blessed to live in a community comprised of close circles of friends who have supported us and grieve with us.”

— Savopoulos family statement

Wint is expected to make his initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court Friday afternoon, according to the Washington Post.

Following Wint’s capture, the Savopoulos family released a statement, saying, “We are thankful to law enforcement who have worked so diligently to bring about an arrest in this case.”

“During the family’s final hours, someone called Domino’s from their house and ordered pizza. The Washington Post reported that the DNA was found on a pizza crust. At a Domino’s about 2 miles away, a worker told the AP that a pizza was delivered from there to the mansion that day.”

“While it does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city. We are blessed to live in a community comprised of close circles of friends who have supported us and grieve with us,” the statement said. “Our family, and Vera’s family, have suffered unimaginable loss, and we ask for the time and space to grieve privately.”

Authorities said Thursday that Wint, a certified welder, worked for Savopoulos’ company American Iron Works in the past. Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, a construction-materials supplier based in Hyattsville, Maryland, that has been involved in major projects in downtown Washington. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Rock & Roll: Memorial Day Tribute to the U.S. Navy

Tribute to the United States Navy in honor for all that have served, and as a tribute to all those currently serving, and those who will soon serve duty in the United States Navy..

via US Navy Tribute – Hell Yeah (Music Video) – YouTube


In Praise of the Dying Art of Civil Disagreement

Jefferson-Memorial-998x665

Carl R. Trueman writes: I spent the first half of last week at a seminar at an Ivy League divinity school, where a friend and I gave a presentation on ministry and media. I had resolved before speaking that I would refer early on in my presentation to the fact that I belong to a denomination which does not ordain women. My discussion of ministry would be incomplete if I didn’t mention this subject, though I knew my comment would draw fire at a seminar with ordained women present.

“If we no longer have a university system which models ways of civil engagement on such matters, then the kind of civic virtues upon which a healthy democracy depends are truly a thing of the past.”

Sure enough, one of the women ministers present challenged me with some vigor on my position. For a few minutes we exchanged trenchant but civil remarks on the subject.We each spoke our minds, neither persuaded the other, and then we moved on to the larger matter in hand: The use of modern media in the church. The matter of my opposition to women’s ordination never came up again in the remaining two days of the seminar.

[Read the full text here, at First Things]

Later that evening, a young research student commented to me that it was amazing to see such a trenchant but respectful disagreement on an issue that typically arouses visceral passions. He added that he and those of his generation had “no idea” (his phrase, if I recall) how such things should be done. Later in the week, my youngest son confirmed that he too had never seen civil disagreement on a matter of importance in the university classroom. This is an ominous, if fascinating, indictment, for I had simply done what I had seen modeled when I was an undergraduate: Vigorous disagreement in the classroom followed by friendly conversation in the pub. Read the rest of this entry »


Is This ‘International Flag of Planet Earth’ the One We’ll Plant on Mars?

mars-planet-earth-flag

For Space.comElizabeth Howell writes: A Swedish university student has created a design for an “International Flag of Planet Earth” that could be planted on alien worlds during future human exploration missions.

“The scientific study of flags is called vexillology, and the practice of designing flags is called vexillography. Both of these are an outcome of heraldry. In these practices there are different unofficial design rules/customs, about colors, placement, proportions, typography and aestethics in general. This proposal is accurate according to the regulations regarding flags.”

The student project, which Oskar Pernefeldt undertook for a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, features several interlocked white circles on a blue background. (See more views of the International Flag of Planet Earth.)The flag is intended to remind people that we all share planet Earth, regardless of nationality, Pernefeldt said.

planet-earth-flag

“Current expeditions in outer space use different national flags depending on which country is funding the voyage. The space travelers, however, are more than just representatives of their own countries. They are representatives of planet Earth,” Pernefeldt wrote on his project’s website.

[Construction of The International Flag of Planet Earth from Beckmans College of Design on Vimeo]

And international cooperation will likely be a big part of any future human missions to Mars and other farflung destinations, not least because of the high costs associated with such an undertaking, exploration advocates say. Read the rest of this entry »


ANTI-SNOOPER Rand Paul Filibusters Against Patriot Act, Data Collection, NSA Surveillance

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Stephen Dinan reports: Sen. Rand Paul announced Wednesday afternoon he’s attempting to filibuster the extension of the Patriot Act, vowing to use all his letape-recordinggislative powers to try to end the snooping law.

The Kentucky Republican’s speech, which began at 1:18 p.m., is not technically holding up any legislation because the Senate is actually currently debating a trade bill, but Mr. Paul said his move was a filibuster nonetheless, as he vowed to hold the floor until he couldn’t go any longer.

“It’s time to end the NSA spying,” his official Twitter account said in a post at 1:36 p.m., as he was on the floor.

drudge-rand
Mr. Paul is waging a lonely fight, demanding that the government stop snooping without probable cause or a warrant. That’s a step beyond even some of his other erstwhile civil libertarian allies who want to curtail the Patriot Act’s bulk collection, but would still allow government agents to go after the records of individuals without first seeking a warrant…(read more)
Washington Times

Martin Ford: Attention White-collar Workers: #Robots Are Coming for Your Jobs

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Interview: Martin Ford, Author Of ‘Rise Of The Robots’ 

From the self-checkout aisle of the grocery store to the sports section of the newspaper, robots and computer software are increasingly taking the place of humans in the workforce. Silicon Valley executive Martin Ford says that robots, once thought of as a threat to only manufacturing jobs, are poised to replace humans as teachers, journalists, lawyers and others in the service sector.

“As we look forward from this point, we need to keep in mind that this technology is going to continue to accelerate. So I think there’s every reason to believe it’s going to become the primary driver of inequality in the future, and things are likely to get even more extreme than they are now.”

“There’s already a hardware store [in California] that has a customer service robot that, for example, is capable of leading customers to the proper place on the shelves in order to find an item,” Ford tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies.

Robot-smokes

In his new book, Rise of the Robots, Ford considers the social and economic disruption that is likely to result when educated rise-of-robotsworkers can no longer find employment.

[Check out Martin Ford’s book “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future” at Amazon.com]

“As we look forward from this point, we need to keep in mind that this technology is going to continue to accelerate,” Ford says. “So I think there’s every reason to believe it’s going to become the primary driver of inequality in the future, and things are likely to get even more extreme than they are now.”

Any jobs that are truly repetitive or rote — doing the same thing again and again — in advanced economies like the United States or Germany, those jobs are long gone. They’ve already been replaced by robots years and years ago.

npr-link

So what we’ve seen in manufacturing is that the jobs that are actually left for people to do tend to be the ones that require more flexibility or require visual perception and dexterity. Very often these jobs kind of fill in the gaps between machines.

[Read the full text here, at NPR]

For example, feeding parts into the next part of the production process or very often they’re at the end of the process — perhaps loading and unloading trucks and moving raw materials and finished products around, those types of things. Read the rest of this entry »


Sean Penn’s $7 million Malibu Mansion

seans-apartment

At The Corner, Ian Tuttle has this: 

Sean Penn’s 1.4-acre estate overlooking the Pacific is on the market… 

Note what’s hanging on Sean’s wall.

Forbes has more photos.

In Sean Penn’s Household GodsJay Nordlinger writes:

…The fog of time and the strength of anti-anti-Communism have obscured the real Che. Who was he? He was an Argentinian revolutionary who served as Castro’s primary thug. He was especially infamous for presiding over summary executions at La Cabana, the fortress that was his abattoir. He liked to administer the coup de grace, the bullet to the back of the neck. And he loved to parade people past El Paredon, the reddened wall against which so many innocents were killed.

[Read the full text of Jay Nordlinger‘s article here, at nationalreview.com]

Furthermore, he established the labor-camp system in which countless citizens–dissidents, democrats, artists, homosexuals–would suffer and die. This is the Cuban gulag. A Cuban-American writer, Humberto Fontova, described Guevara as “a combination of Beria and Himmler.” Anthony Daniels once quipped, “The difference between [Guevara] and Pol Pot was that [the former] never studied in Paris.”

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And yet, he is celebrated by “liberals,” this most illiberal of men. As Paul Berman summed up recently in Slate, “Che was an enemy of freedom, and yet he has been erected into a symbol of freedom. He helped establish an unjust social system in Cuba and has been erected into a symbol of social justice. He stood for the ancient rigidities of Latin-American thought, in a Marxist-Leninist version, and he has been celebrated as a freethinker and a rebel.”

[Sean Penn’s Household Gods]

Those who know, or care about, the truth concerning  are often tempted to despair. Read the rest of this entry »


Benny Avni: China, Russia Celebrate the Dawn of the Un-American Century

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during arrivals for the G-20 summit at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013.   Congress is stepping up pressure on the White House to confront Russia over allegations that it is cheating on a key nuclear arms treaty, a faceoff that could further strain U.S.-Moscow relations and dampen President Barack Obama's hopes to add deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals to his legacy.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Benny Avni writes: Supposedly “isolated” Russia’s bromance with China flourishes. No wonder: Both countries appreciate power politics and scoff at America’s display of global weakness.

President Obama pooh-poohed Moscow ever since his “reset” with Russia crashed and burned. He argued that under President Vladimir Putin Russia is an isolated country on the verge of bankruptcy.

That was then. On Tuesday, after months of snubbing the Kremlin, Secretary of State John Kerry came hat in hand to Sochi, Russia, where he tried to schmooze Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

The Kremlin signaled its disdain for Washington by declining to confirm Kerry’s meeting with Putin until the last minute. Afterward, Kerry sheepishly said the sides weren’t seeking a “major breakthrough.”

putin-buzz

While this haphazard attempt at diplomacy took place, the Russian and Chinese navies exercised together for the first time in the eastern Mediterranean — a symbol of a fast-gelling alliance between two growing military powers.

Beijing just invested $6 billion in a Russian rail project. Dozens of trade and other bilateral agreements address mutual interests in Central Asia.

[Read the full text here, at New York Post]

And to address Beijing’s never-satiated hunger for energy sources and Moscow’s need for cash, Russia just signed a pact to build a lucrative natural-gas pipeline to China. Annual trade between the two countries is estimated at $100 billion.

Xi-Xao

Meanwhile, as cyber threats to America grow, including, prominently, from Chinese and Russian hackers, the two countries just signed a cyber non-aggression pact, raising fears about the future of Internet freedom.

And in the world of global diplomacy (Obama’s supposedly strong suit), Beijing and Moscow unite on United Nations Security Council votes that could harm them or their allies, blocking and vetoing American and other Western resolution proposals on Syria, Ukraine and, of course, anything to do with Beijing land grabs in the East and South China Seas.

Then there’s Kerry. Read the rest of this entry »


How a Florida Shopping Mall Ended Up in the Hands of a Chinese Fugitive

chinese-florida-mall-wsj

The Fashion Mall hasn’t much lived up to its name. Already faltering a decade ago, the South Florida shopping mall has since been hammered by a hurricane, vacated by its tenants and put into bankruptcy, all the time, it turns out, being partially owned by a fugitive from China. As WSJ’s Esther Fung and Kris Hudson report:

Busted plans to redevelop the dilapidated mall have featured in a lawsuit between its Chinese investors. Du Zhenzeng, a steel baron from northern China, sued his naturalized American business partner, Wei Chen, for using their business “as his personal piggy-bank” to fund a flashy lifestyle that includes a Bentley and yacht trips, according to testimony in that lawsuit.

[read the full story on WSJ.com]

In a court hearing in October in Fort Lauderdale, Mr. Du’s lawyers said he invested nearly $160 million in the mall development project. Mr. Chen said the funds Mr. Du promised never materialized…. (more)

WSJ


[VIDEO] Islamic State Senior Military Commander & Head of Oil Operations Killed, Wife Captured, in U.S. Raid in Syria

A senior Islamic State (IS) member has been killed and his wife captured in a raid in eastern Syria by US special forces.
Abu Sayyaf, who helped direct oil, gas and financial operations for IS, as well as holding a military role, was killed when he engaged US forces, according to a Pentagon statement.

The operation in al-Amr was authorised by President Barack Obama and was carried out by forces based in Iraq.
The BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan says Abu Sayyaf oversaw IS’s “illicit oil and gas operations” – a key source of the group’s funding.


[VIDEO] Reid Bemoans Lack of Dem ‘All-Stars': ‘We Have Hillary Clinton. And That’s It.’

reid1

Harry Reid doesn’t sound as enthusiastic about 2016 as he was about 2008, talking to MSNBC’s José Díaz-Balart today about the lack of Democratic “all-stars” this time around.

 


THE SMIDGEN REPORT UPDATE: How Congress Botched the IRS Probe

Koskinen-wsj

Top officials repeatedly misled investigators without consequences. Congress needs to get tougher.

Cleta Mitchell writes: Two years ago this week, a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Information confirmed what hundreds of tea party, conservative, pro-life and pro-Israel organizations had long known: The Internal Revenue Service had stopped processing their applications for exempt status and subjected them to onerous, intrusive and discriminatory practices because of their political smdg-tv2views.

“Lying to Congress is a felony. But the Obama Justice Department has not lifted a finger to prosecute anyone responsible for the IRS scandal, including top brass who repeatedly gave false testimony to Congress.”

Since the report, additional congressional investigations have revealed a lot about IRS dysfunction—and worse. But they’ve also revealed Congress’s inability to exercise its constitutional oversight responsibilities of this and other executive agencies.

Consider the repeated testimony and other statements to Congress subsequently shown to be false. The report issued in December by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.)—then chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform—details numerous instances in which senior IRS officials, including former Commissioner Doug Shulman, Acting Commissioner Steven Miller and Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lernerlied to Congress, denying and covering up the targeting of tea party and conservative groups before the inspector general’s May 2013 report.

Mr. Shulman told the Ways and Means Committee in March 2012 that there was no targeting of conservative groups. Congressional investigations, the Issa committee report notes, established that at the time of his denial Mr. Schulman knew there was “a backlog of applications, delays in processing, and the use of inappropriate development questions.”

Shulman, Lerner and Wolin take their seats to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status from by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington

In the early months of 2012, Ms. Lerner made multiple false statements to Congress. In personal meetings, telephone interviews and written communications with congressional investigators, Ms. Lerner denied there were any changes in the criteria for evaluating applications for exempt status. O-SMDGE-CONDENSEDShe stated, falsely, that the intrusive demands from her agency for proprietary information from grass-roots organizations were “ordinary”—a characterization the inspector general’s report specifically rebutted.

Ms. Lerner also told Congress that “nothing had changed” about the way her unit handled such applications. But at the very time she said that, the IRS, including Ms. Lerner, had already identified seven types of information that it had inappropriately demanded from conservative groups between 2010 and 2013. These included donor lists, transcripts of speeches by public officials to meetings, and lists of groups to whom leaders made presentations.

Between May 2012 and May 2013, Mr. Miller testified before Congress on at least six occasions, first as deputy IRS commissioner, then as acting commissioner. He withheld information from Congress each time about the targeting. In a November 2013 interview with congressional investigators—well after the targeting had been documented in the inspector general’s report—Mr. Miller admitted that he became aware of possible IRS misconduct in February 2012. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer Blasts ‘Greek God’ Obama For Attacking Fox Over Poverty: ‘He’s Letting Us Know His Arrogance Has No Limits’

On Wednesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC’s Charles Krauthammer slammed President Obama for attacking Fox News’ at an event on poverty at Georgetown University.


[VIDEO] White House Reportedly ‘Hitting Back Hard’ When Forced to Respond to Bin Laden Report Challenging Official Narrative

The White House is denying a reporter’s account accusing the Obama administration of lying about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.


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