Noah Rothman writes:
On December 28, 2013, The New York Times published a thoroughly researched review of the September 11, 2012 attacks on the American diplomatic and CIA facilities in the city of Benghazi. David Kirkpatrick, The Times’ Cairo bureau chief, traveled to Libya and personally conducted a series of interviews with witnesses and even the relatives of suspects in that attack. His exhaustive account of the events on that night was illuminating, but his conclusions about what sparked that deadly attack made the most waves.
Kirkpatrick found that there was “no evidence that al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.” The Times reporter added that he found more evidence that the attack on a CIA compound and a diplomatic outpost “was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
Though he gave credit to The Times for performing this investigation into the Benghazi attack, The Weekly Standard’s Stephen F. Hayes made short work of Kirkpatrick’s conclusions:
There is, in fact, evidence that terrorists linked to al Qaeda had a role in the Benghazi attacks. Indeed, there’s a fair amount of that kind of evidence. As Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence put it on Sunday when asked about the Times report: “The intelligence indicates that al Qaeda was involved, but there were also plenty of people and militias that were unaffiliated with al Qaeda involved.” Schiff who has defended the Obama administration on Benghazi and praised the Times piece as adding “valuable insights,” nonetheless pronounced it incomplete and hinted that signals intelligence contradicted the claims in the piece.…(read more in NYT)
It is a wonder that The Times did not credit Hayes or his Weekly Standard colleague Tom Joscelyn when The Grey Lady issued a report on Friday headlined, “Militants in Benghazi attack tied to a Qaeda affiliate.” Read the rest of this entry »
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 21, 2014
VIENNA— Adam Kredo reports: The U.S. Senate is warning the Obama administration that it is poised to veto a final nuclear deal with the Iranians and impose harsher sanctions on Tehran, according to a letter sent late Wednesday to President Obama.
Nearly half of the Senate has signed onto a letter promising to reject a “weak and dangerous deal” with Iran as final negotiations in Vienna approach their Nov. 24 deadline.
“Your negotiators appear to have disregarded clear expressions from the Senate emphasizing the need for a multi-decade agreements requiring Iran to fully suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities, to dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure, and completely disclose its past work on nuclear weaponization.”
The senators warn that the Obama administration is close to inking a deal that will permit Iran to continue the most controversial aspects of its nuclear program and enable Tehran to build a nuclear weapon in the near future, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon and signed by all 43 Republican senators who backed the Mendendez-Kirk sanctions legislation killed earlier this year by the White House.
“We will continue to seek to impose additional pressure on Iran in the months ahead unless Tehran abandons its nuclear ambitions and pursues a genuinely constructive path in its relations with the world.”
The letter was sent to the White House on the heels of forceful comments Wednesday by Iranian leaders insisting that the United States must bow to the country’s “inalienable nuclear rights.”
The senators lash out at Obama for completely ignoring congressional efforts to provide oversight of the deal. Read the rest of this entry »
Joel Kotkin writes: You are a political party, and you want to secure the electoral majority. But what happens, as is occurring to the Democrats, when the damned electorate that just won’t live the way—in dense cities and apartments—that you have deemed is best for them?
This gap between party ideology and demographic reality has led to a disconnect that not only devastated the Democrats this year, but could hurt them in the decades to come. University of Washington demographer Richard Morrill notes that the vast majority of the 153 million Americans who live in metropolitan areas with populations of more than 500,000 live in the lower-density suburban places Democrats think they should not. Only 60 million live in core cities.
Despite these realities, the Democratic Party under Barack Obama has increasingly allied itself with its relatively small core urban base. Simply put, the party cannot win—certainly not in off-year elections—if it doesn’t score well with suburbanites. Indeed, Democrats, as they retreat to their coastal redoubts, have become ever more aggressively anti-suburban, particularly in deep blue states such as California. “To minimize sprawl” has become a bedrock catchphrase of the core political ideology.
As will become even more obvious in the lame duck years, the political obsessions of the Obama Democrats largely mirror those of the cities: climate change, gay marriage, feminism, amnesty for the undocumented, and racial redress. These may sometimes be worthy causes, but they don’t address basic issues that effect suburbanites, such as stagnant middle class wages, poor roads, high housing prices, or underperforming schools. None of these concerns elicit much passion among the party’s true believers. Read the rest of this entry »
Last year, 274,439 Chinese students came to the U.S. to study, a 16.5% increase over the year before and nearly one third of the total international population
Douglas Belkin reports: Another wave of Chinese undergraduates pushed the number of international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities up 8% last year to a new all-time high of nearly 900,000, according to a new report.
“The fastest growing international student populations in the U.S. were from Kuwait, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, all countries whose governments are investing heavily in scholarships.”
But massive Chinese investment in that nation’s domestic universities, a flattening in the number of Chinese graduate students coming to the U.S. and the return to China of thousands of U.S.-trained Ph.D.s may portend a disruption in what has become a critical asset to U.S. university balance sheets.
“The majority of U.S. students study abroad for less than eight weeks, according to the report. The majority of international students who come to the U.S. to study come for either one or four years.”
“China as a country has seen a much faster expansion of its own higher education sector establishing many world class universities,” said Rajikla Bhandari, deputy vice president for research and evaluation at the Institute for International Education, which released its “Open Doors” report on Monday. They are ”successfully retaining some of the Chinese students who might have otherwise gone overseas.” Read the rest of this entry »
Howard Kurtz: I’ve been trying to figure out why the mainstream media has all but decided to ignore one of ObamaCare’s chief architects saying the administration played on the public’s stupidity in passing the law.
After all, the press usually loves when hidden video surfaces, as it did this week with MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, and we get unvarnished comments showing what someone really and truly believes.
And yet there hasn’t been a mention on the network evening newscasts. CNN’s Jake Tapper, to his credit, played the clip twice, asked two senators about it and wrote an online column on the subject, but that was about it for the network. Nothing in the Washington Post but for a couple of online items.
(Update: The Washington Post finally got around to covering the controversy today, three days after it broke.) Not a word in the New York Times, which in 2012 ran a puffy profile of Gruber (“It is his research that convinced the Obama administration that health care reform could not work without requiring everyone to buy insurance”).
This is utterly inexplicable, except as a matter of bias. No matter what you think of ObamaCare, on what planet is this not news? Maybe on that comet where the spaceship just landed.
I tried to think of the possible excuses. Too busy covering other stories? Hey, nobody in America has Ebola anymore! The only real competition is a big winter storm and Eminem disgustingly dropping F-bombs at HBO’s Veterans Day concert.
Was Gruber’s point about health care taxes and mandates too complicated? Then explain it. Besides, it isn’t that this argument never came up before; it’s that Gruber fesses up to the attempt at deception. Read the rest of this entry »
Nick Gillespie: Americans Trust Government Less and Less Because We Know More and More About How It OperatesPosted: November 16, 2014
Nick Gillespie writes: Fifty years ago, FBI operatives sent Martin Luther King, Jr. was has come to be known as the “suicide letter,” an anonymous note suggesting the civil rights leader should off himself before his private sex life was made public. The information about King’s extramarital assignations was gathered with the approval not just of the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover but Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson.
“There is but one way out for you,” reads the note, which appeared in unredacted form for the first time just last week. “You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”
Thus is revealed one of the most despicable acts of domestic surveillance in memory. These days, we worry less about the government outing our sex lives than in it tracking every move we move online. It turns out that President Obama, who said he would roll back the unconstitutional powers exercised by his predecessor, had a secret “kill list” over which he was sole authority. Jesus, we’ve just learned that small planes are using so-called dirtboxes to pick up cell phone traffic. One of the architects of Obamacare publicly states that Americans are stupid and that the president’s healthcare reform was vague and confusing on purpose. The former director of national intelligence, along with the former head and current heads of the CIA, have lied to Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Sheeler (American precisionism, modern artist and photographer, 1883-1965) – Conversation, Sky & Earth (1939, via Charles Sheeler’s Power series published in Fortune magazine, 1940). The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Forth Worth, Texas.
Jihadist Snuff Video Production Crew Claims Another Violent Murder: Islamic State Group Beheads U.S. Aid Worker Peter KassigPosted: November 16, 2014
BEIRUT (AP) — An Islamic State group video released Sunday purports to show extremists beheading a dozen Syrian soldiers and ends with a militant claiming to have killed U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig, the latest slaughter proudly broadcast by the group on the Internet.
“The Islamic State group has beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives — mainly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers — during its sweep across the two countries, and has celebrated its mass killings in extremely graphic videos.”
The video ends with the militant standing over a severed head he says belongs to Kassig. U.S. officials said they were working to determine the video’s authenticity. Kassig’s family said it was awaiting the outcome of the investigation.
“The group has declared a self-styled Islamic caliphate in the areas under its control, which it governs according to its violent interpretation of Shariah law.”
“We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause,” the family said in a statement.
The Associated Press could not independently verify the footage, though it appeared on websites used in the past by the Islamic State group, which now controls a third of Syria and Iraq.
The video identifies the militants’ location as Dabiq, a town in northern Syria that the militant group uses as the title of its English-language propaganda magazine and where they believe an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and their enemies will occur. Read the rest of this entry »
Facing adversity, Obama has no idea how to respond
This came to mind when contemplating President Obama. After a devastating election, he is presenting himself as if he won. The people were not saying no to his policies, he explained, they would in fact like it if Republicans do what he tells them.
You don’t begin a new relationship with a threat, but that is what he gave Congress: Get me an immigration bill I like or I’ll change U.S. immigration law on my own.
“He had family challenges and an unusual childhood, but as an adult and a professional he never faced fierce, concentrated resistance. He was always magic. Life never came in and gave it to him hard on the jaw. So he really doesn’t know how to get up from the mat. He doesn’t know how to struggle to his feet and regain his balance. He only knows how to throw punches. But you can’t punch from the mat.”
Mr. Obama is doing what he knows how to do—stare them down and face them off. But his circumstances have changed. He used to be a conquering hero, now he’s not. On the other hand he used to have to worry about public support. Now, with no more elections before him, he has the special power of the man who doesn’t care.
“In the meantime he is killing his party. Gallup this week found that the Republicans for the first time in three years beat the Democrats on favorability, and also that respondents would rather have Congress lead the White House than the White House lead Congress.”
I have never seen a president in exactly the position Mr. Obama is, which is essentially alone. He’s got no one with him now. Read the rest of this entry »
Democrats’ policies have been pillaging their own political base
No. 1: It’s not us; it’s what’s his name, the unpopular president. (And that awful Valerie Jarrett. )
No. 2: It was a midterm election with a bad map; we’ll be back in 2016. Hillary to the rescue.
Official Obama Explanation : My ideas and policies are fine; I just have a messaging problem.
USS Democrat Captain Nancy Pelosi : “There was an ebbing, an ebb tide, for us.”
This all reminds me of the classic film satire, “I’m All Right, Jack,” about the dying days of the British trade-union movement. When an idealistic young factory worker shows the efficiency gains possible from actually using a forklift, the union steward calls a strike. Three guesses which Democrats in the U.S. version would play the roles of Peter Sellers, Terry-Thomas and Margaret Rutherford.
“The Democratic Party has become the Nickel-and-Dime Empire. Their compulsion to chisel money out of the population is collapsing the empire from within.”
A few Democratic voices, mostly party professionals whose job is winning elections, have said the donkey herd that just ran off the cliff needs to rethink its sense of direction. No one is listening to them. Most Democrats, especially the left that took control of the party in 2008, deny any problem. And well they might. There is no Plan B.
The Democrats’ standard political model is generally attributed to FDR confidante Harry Hopkins : “We will spend and spend, and tax and tax, and elect and elect.” Hopkins denied ever using these words, but the formula lived on.
Tax, spend and elect just slammed into the mountain.
In Wisconsin, the party’s armies not only lost to Scott Walker (twice!) but watched Republicans gain the most seats in the state’s legislature in 50 years. Read the rest of this entry »
On September 1, 2014 the US State Department published a report, in which it was stated that for first time since the collapse of the USSR, Russia reached parity with the US in the field of strategic nuclear weapons. Thus, Washington admitted that Moscow regained the status that the Soviet Union had obtained by mid-70′s of the XX century and then lost.
According to the report from the State Department, Russia has 528 carriers of strategic nuclear weapons that carry 1,643 warheads. The United States has 794 vehicles and 1,652 nuclear warheads.
It just so happens that today, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces (SNF) are even more advanced in comparison with those of the US, as they ensure parity on warheads with a significantly smaller number of carriers of strategic nuclear weapons. This gap between Russia and the United States may only grow in the future, given the fact that Russian defense officials promised to rearm Russia’s SNF with new generation missiles. Read the rest of this entry »