CFL Rally – 01/13/16; Tonight: O’Keefe talks about Common Core!
NKOREA/IRAN: WASHINGTON EXAMINER – Today, tomorrow; PODHORETZ – Follow the leader; KRAUTHAMMER – Free shots @ USA.
LEADS: NAPOLITANO – Guns; NOONAN – GOP war; HANSON – BO’s last year; CROWLEY – Voter rampage; HENNINGER – Revolt of the incorrect; NIMMO – Ryan’s war; MARTOSKO – IG REPORT on Hillary’s server; SIMON – Hillary’s Watergate.
PA: TOBIN – Dems & sanctuary cities; SNYDER – PoliticsPA.
END NOTES: LEVIN – 01/07/16; JOHN BATCHELOR – 1/7/16
Citizens for Liberty
January 13, 7-9 PM
170 Allandale Rd, Volunteer Fire Dept., KOP, 19406
PA State Rep. Dr. Rick Saccone
“Citizens for Liberty is hosting another free event with guest speaker PA State Representative Doctor Rick Saccone who will honor us with his nationally acclaimed presentation on restoring America to our Founding Father’s values. “Doctor Saccone was elected to the PA House of Representatives in 2010, representing Allegheny and Washington Counties. He is a retired Air Force Counter Intelligence Special Agent, A former South Korean TV news Anchor, the Doctor volunteered as a civilian in the army as a senior counter intelligence agent in Iraq, received his PHd from the University of Pittsburgh, and was a professor at the same university. He has visited 72 countries, and is traveling 5 hours to meet US! Let us show him a HUGE PA support. www.ingodwetrustpa.org – We will also have a free potluck dinner buffet to kick off the new year
James O’Keefe – Common Core
“James O’Keefe, president of Project Veritas, will be releasing the first of a set of videos pertaining to Common Core next week. Much like he did with the ACORN and NPR stings, journalists went undercover and interviewed some of the key textbook manufacturers who are raking in a lot of money selling Common Core textbooks and testing materials. These videos will shed an important new light and angle on the Common Core debate throughout the country.
“In order for these videos to be successful in adding to the Common Core debate – and saving our children’s future – it’s important for us to circumvent the gatekeepers in the traditional media. With the help of grassroots supporters like you, we can make a big difference on this very important issue.
“To help energize a new level of national debate about Common Core, you are invited to join James O’Keefe on a teleconference Friday at 6PM EST. Here are the details:
Friday, January 8, 2016 6PM EST
Dial-in Number: (641) 715-3580
Access Code: 343-626#
Feel free to forward this email to other people in your network who are willing to put in effort to help stop Common Core.
Director of Special Operations and Senior Media Strategist
1214 West Boston Post Road
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
N. KOREA/IRAN . . .
Washington Examiner: “Yesterday North Korea, tomorrowIran”
“. . . Whatever happened on Tuesday night, the reanimated North Korean nuclear threat holds a lesson about what happens when Washington makes agreements with regimes that are, to their core, untrustworthy. It often extends the lives of those regimes and facilitates the crisis it is intended to avert. That, of course, is why the rogue regime is interested in achieving a deal.
“In 1985, North Korea signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty so it could openly share in the world’s advances in peaceful nuclear technology. Among the obligations it incurred in doing so was a requirement to disclose its nuclear progress (for example, the amount of weapons-grade plutonium it had produced) and submit to international inspections.
“But in 1992, when the regime made its first declaration of what it had produced to date, the International Atomic Energy Agency found substantial evidence that the regime was cheating, hiding plutonium, probably to build nuclear weapons. North Korea reacted in spring 1993 by threatening to withdraw from the treaty altogether.
“President Bill Clinton responded by negotiating a new deal with the rogue regime. Under what would be known as the Agreed Framework, Pyongyang was to stop producing plutonium in exchange for some economic aid and American help in building two light-water nuclear reactors (harder to use for plutonium production than the research reactors they had at the time).
“This agreement was criticized by many commentators and by nuclear inspectors as far too lenient, giving the North Koreans too much time before they had to make honest disclosures. What’s more, the framework came at an awkward time. Immediately after it was announced, famine and economic crisis struck North Korea, such that western powers might have actually intervened at just the right moment to save the world’s worst regime.
“In any event, the agreement bought nothing for the civilized world. In 2002, the North Koreans first admitted that they had been running a secret, parallel uranium-based nuclear enrichment program. Then they retracted their admission. Then they expelled IAEA inspectors and dismantled their monitoring equipment. They withdrew from the NPT in 2003 and persisted in their characteristic belligerent behavior until they finally conducted their first test of a nuclear bomb in 2006, their second in 2009, and their third in 2013.
“So North Korea, a state sponsor of terrorism, has nuclear weapons 20 years after negotiating a deal (with former President Jimmy Carter) that was intended to prevent just that.
Which brings us to Iran. . .”
Also: John Podhoretz, NY Post: “North Korea follows Iran’s lead in the nuclear-blackmail game”
“So the first unexpected foreign-policy crisis of 2016 is upon us with news that North Korea may have detonated a hydrogen bomb in a successful test.
“But really, this isn’t a 2016 crisis. It’s actually a 2015 crisis. It should be on the list of the many, many negative consequences that have already begun to flow from President Obama’s nuclear-weapons deal with Iran.
“How so? Say you’re Kim Jong-un. You see Iran, the nation with which you have been secretly collaborating on nuclear matters for a decade, is going to get its hands on $100-plus billion from the United States and the West for agreeing to slow-walk its way to nukes.
“Now, you already have nukes, so you can’t get baksheesh for not making them. But you’ve seen that the West is willing to strike a deal with a nation it loathes (or ought to loathe) for agreeing to some form of self-restraint. The only way you can broach the subject is to do something unrestrained — and see if America is willing to buy you off.
“This might sound crazy, but it’s not. . .”
Also: Charles Krauthammer, WaPo: “Defy America, pay no price”
“. . . Here’s the story. In October, Iran test-fires a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in brazen violation of a Security Council resolution explicitly prohibiting such launches. President Obama does nothing. One month later, Iran does it again. The administration makes a few gestures at the U.N. Then nothing. Then finally, on Dec. 30, the White House announces a few sanctions.
“They are weak, aimed mostly at individuals and designed essentially for show. Amazingly, even that proves too much. By 10 p.m. that night, the administration caves. The White House sends out an email saying that sanctions are off — and the Iranian president orders the military to expedite the missile program.
“Is there any red line left? First, the Syrian chemical weapons. Then the administration insistence that there would be no nuclear deal unless Iran accounted for its past nuclear activities. (It didn’t.) And unless Iran permitted inspection of its Parchin nuclear testing facility. (It was allowed self-inspection and declared itself clean.) And now, illegal ballistic missiles.
“The premise of the nuclear deal was that it would constrain Iranian actions. It’s had precisely the opposite effect. It has deterred us from offering even the mildest pushback to any Iranian violations lest Iran walk away and leave Obama legacy-less.
“Just two weeks ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards conducted live-fire exercises near the Strait of Hormuz. It gave nearby U.S. vessels exactly 23 seconds of warning. One rocket was launched 1,500 yards from the USS Harry S. Truman.
“Obama’s response? None. . .”
LEADS . . .
Judge Andrew Napolitano, Townhall: “The Constitution, the President and Guns”
“. . . ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” — Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
“In 2008, the Supreme Court laid to rest the once-simmering dispute over the meaning of the Second Amendment. In an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court articulated the modern existence of the ancient right to keep and bear arms as a pre-political right.
“A pre-political right is one that pre-exists the political order that was created to protect it. Thus, the court held, the origins of this right are the ancient and persistent traditions of free peoples and their natural inclinations to self-defense.
“The court also characterized the right as fundamental. That puts it in the highest category of rights protected by the Bill of Rights. Though the origins of this right are from an era well before guns existed, the textual language in the amendment — “Arms” — makes clear, the court ruled, the intention of the Framers that its continuing purpose should be to recognize the right of people to keep and use the same level of technologically available arms that might be used against them.
“That, in a nutshell, is the history, theory and purpose of the amendment as the modern Supreme Court has found them to be. But as we have seen, the constitutional guarantees that were written to keep the government from interfering with our rights are only as viable as is the fidelity to the Constitution of those in whose hands we have reposed it for safekeeping.
“In our system, principal among those are the hands of the president; and sadly, today we have a president seriously lacking in this fidelity. And that lack is salient when it comes to the Second Amendment.
“Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced that he will sign executive orders that expand the size and scope of federal monitoring of the acquisition and use of guns — traditionally a matter left to the states — and he will interpret the laws in novel ways, establish rules and impose obligations that Congress rejected, and prosecute those who defy his new system. . .”
Also: Mona Charen, RCP: “Guns: Bad Journalism and Bad Politics”
“. . . Are we in the grip of an epidemic of gun violence? Writing in Reason magazine, Brian Doherty notes that the gun homicide rate in 1993 (when there were approximately 192 million guns in circulation) was 7 per 100,000 Americans. In 2013, the gun murder rate had declined to 3.8 per 100,000, by which time there were approximately 300 million guns in private hands. More guns do not seem to equal more gun murders.
“If we’re not awash in gun violence, we are certainly in the grip of bad journalism about gun violence. As a 2015 survey published in Preventive Medicine magazine showed, only a tiny percentage of criminals purchase their guns from shops. Most obtain them through informal networks or gangs. Is the “gun show loophole” responsible for lots of guns in the hands of bad actors? Doubtful. A 2001 survey of federal prisoners found that only 1 percent had purchased their weapons at gun shows, and as Charles C.W. Cooke has patiently explained, the “gun show loophole” is a misnomer in any case. FFLs (federal firearms licensed sellers) must perform background checks no matter where they transact business, and private sellers are under no obligation to perform checks whether they sell from their kitchen or at a gun show. . .”
Peggy Noonan, WSJ: “The GOP Establishment’s Civil War”
“I do not understand the inability or refusal of Republican leaders to take Mr. Trump seriously. They take his numbers seriously—they can read a poll—but they think, as Mr. Bush said, that his support is all about anger, angst and theatrics. That’s part of the story, but the other, more consequential part has to do with real policy issues. The establishment refuses to see that, because to admit it is to implicate themselves and their leadership. Political consultants can’t see it because they don’t think issues matter—not to them and certainly not to the dumb voters.
“But issues do matter, and Mr. Trump has functioned this year not as a great communicator or great compromiser but as the great disruptor. He brags that he has brought up great questions and forced other candidates to face them and sometimes change their stands—and he has. He changed the debate on illegal immigration. He said he’d build a wall and close the border and as the months passed and his competitors saw his surge, they too were suddenly, clearly, aggressively for ending illegal immigration.
“Mr. Trump touched an important nerve in opposing the political correctness that has angered the American people for a quarter century. He changed the debate when he asked for a pause in Muslim immigration until America “can figure out what’s going on.” In the age of terror, that looked suspiciously like common sense. Americans do not want America to become what Europe is becoming. . .”
Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: “Look for America’s Enemies to Take Advantage of Obama’s Last Year”
“. . . China, with impunity, has fortified seven newly created artificial islands located in the hotly disputed Spratlys archipelago, a strategic pathway positioned in the heart of the South China Sea. Has China now set a precedent that any nation can build artificial but sovereign islands in the Pacific, replete with automatic territorial claims to surrounding waters?
“If so, will Iran or Russia in 2016 create new islands out of thin air in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, or the Atlantic? Or will the next president have to warn the Chinese that no nation can in godlike fashion birth permanent fortified islands in the middle of international sea lanes?
“Will Beijing seek to push the envelope even more in 2016, fearful that the next president in 2017 — whether Hillary Clinton or a Republican — could be more like Truman or Reagan than Carter or Barack Obama?” www.nationalreview.com/article/429331/obama-2016-foreign-policy-challenges
Monica Crowley, Washington Times: “The real reason voters are on a rampage”
“Elites turned on Americans and now Americans are turning on them
“Happy new year. If you thought 2015 was an unpredictable political year, wait until you see what 2016 has in store. The political dynamic that has brought us to this point has been unprecedented, which means the coming months will continue to deliver wildly unforeseen outcomes.
“There is one thing we do know for sure. American voters are doing something they haven’t done in a very long time: showing the political elites the door. . . .”
Daniel Henninger, WSJ: “Revolt of the Politically Incorrect”
“Donald Trump and Ben Carson popped the valves on decades of pent-up PC pressure.
“Soon we’ll all be camped in the fields of primary politics, as that great threshing machine called the American voter methodically separates the contender wheat from the candidate chaff. Let’s not go there, though, without recording 2015 as the year that political correctness finally hit the wall.
“Many thought political correctness lived on in our lives now as permanently annoying background noise. In fact, it has been more like a political A-bomb, waiting for its detonator.
“On Dec. 7, Donald Trump issued his call for a ban on Muslim immigration into the U.S.—“until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” It’s hard to recall a statement by a public figure that was met, instantly, with almost universal condemnation, including from most of the Republican presidential candidates.
“Between that day and the end of 2015, Donald Trump’s support in the national opinion polls went up to nearly 37%, a substantial number by any measure.
“Welcome to the revolt of the politically incorrect.
“Forget the controversy over Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. This unique political campaign is about more than that. Donald Trump and indeed Ben Carson popped the valves on pressure that’s been building in the U.S., piece by politically correct piece, for 25 years. . .”
Kurt Nimmo, Infowars: “House Leader Paul Ryan Hawks Neocon Version of War on the Islamic State”
“Republicans want an AUMF allowing boots on the ground
“It’s a partisan affair in the House. Republicans say rolling out a new AUMF would be tantamount to approving Obama’s take on foreign policy, not that there is significant difference between Republicans and Democrats on waging illegal wars.
“Undeterred, Ryan and his aides are “kicking the tires” in the House, busy trying to drum up Republican support for a more dedicated authorization short of a formal declaration as required in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution.
“This adherence to the Constitution long ago went out of fashion, as did apparently the War Powers Resolution, a half baked attempt by Congress to check the ability of a president to send troops overseas willy-nilly minus a formal declaration let alone congressional consultation.
“Some Democrats and a sprinkling of Republicans would like to see a new effort to limit the president’s ability to wage war without a formal declaration. . .”
David Martosko, UK Daily Mail: “State Department covered up Hillary’s private email server for years even though ‘dozens of senior officials’ knew about it, says scathing inspector general report”
- Critical report from State Department’s own internal watchdog details abuse of Freedom of Information Act while Clinton ran the agency
- 177 of the 240 FOIA requests lodged for information about Hillary while she was secretary of state are still pending three years after she left office
- State told a liberal group it had no information about Hillary’s emails in 2013 even
Also: Roger Simon, PJM: “Hillary’s Watergate Looms”
“Of all the welter of predictions for 2016, by far the most dramatic seems to have been given short shrift or swept under the rug — the possible indictment of Hillary Rodham Clinton while running for the presidency. Were such an event to occur, it would dominate our culture as nothing since Watergate. Yet most of us put it in the back of our minds, thinking it could never happen and focusing on the latest back and forth with Trump.
Nevertheless, as pointed out on PJM by Debra Heine, it very much could happen. Heine cited Laura Ingraham’s Tuesday radio interview with former U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Joe DiGenova, some of which went as follows in verbatim transcription (you can listen to the full interview here):
DiGenova: Hillary Clinton’s going to have problems because of what’s in the emails, but also the classifications. Her biggest problem right now is the FBI. They’re not going away. They have reached a critical mass in their investigation of the Secretary and all of her senior staff. And, it’s going to come to a head, I would suggest, in the next sixty days. And, I predict Hillary will not make it to the finish line. She’s not going to be able to complete her campaign. The criminal investigation must focus on her and all the people around her. And, if Jim Comey, the FBI director, is doing his job, which I expect him to do as an honorable man, she cannot be the nominee of the Democratic Party. She’s going to have to be charged with the crime. It’s going to be a very complex matter for the Department of Justice, but they’re not going to be able to walk away from it. She and her staff have committed numerous federal crimes involving the negligent and improper handling of classified information. They are now at over 1,200 classified emails. And, that’s just for the ones we know about from the State Department. That does not include the ones that the FBI is, in fact, recovering from her hard drives. (1:08)
PA . . .
Jonathan Tobin, Commentary: “Why Sanctuary Cities Threaten Dems”
“In his last month in office and apparently no longer in thrall to party activists and special interests, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter did the right thing. In May 2014, to the applause of influential Hispanic activist groups, the Democrat ended all cooperation with federal immigration authorities and instituted one of the most aggressive ‘sanctuary city’ policies in the country. Claiming that Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) had been “overly aggressive” in requesting that that city keep in its custody illegal immigrants who would otherwise be released from jail pending trial, Nutter had signed an order ending Philadelphia’ compliance with such requests. But in December, with weeks to go before his two-term reign on Broad Street ended, Nutter did the right thing and rescinded this particular form of sanctuary city madness. But on his first day in office, his successor Jim Kenney signed an order reinstituting the measure.
“From now on, Philadelphia law enforcement officials are officially barred from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Kenney says he will listen to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson when he comes to the City of Brotherly Love to beg him to rescind the rule, but unless he’s convinced that “immigration stakeholders” (i.e. advocates for illegal immigrants being granted complete impunity from law enforcement officials) believe they “have input into the process,” police in the city where the American republic began will treat the feds like a foreign power. From now on, even those illegals that are charged with murder, rape, robbery, domestic violence, illegal possession of a firearm, or involvement in terrorism won’t be held for ICE by the city and might, if they can somehow make bail, be free as birds with the feds none the wiser.
“That this is immensely popular with local Democrats and the minority voters that made Kenney the first white mayor of Philly since Ed Rendell left office in January 1999 almost goes without saying. That’s the political rationale of sanctuary cities anywhere in the country. But it also explains efforts to forge bipartisan majorities to enact badly needed reforms to a broken immigration system are impossible for the foreseeable future. Liberals also shouldn’t be confused into thinking what works in Philadelphia will necessarily put another Democrat in the White House this November.
“While Kenney’s order makes local political sense, even the citizens of ultra-liberal Philadelphia ought to be shocked by the implications of what he has done. . .”
Sy Snyder, PoliticsPA: Ups & Downs
A new Mayor, a fallen idol and a man who holds two political offices. See who made this week’s list!
Jim Kenney. Kenney kicked off the week by being sworn in as Philadelphia’s 99th Mayor. After a short parade down Broad Street, the new Mayor proceeded to fill his Administration and make his mark on City Hall. Even when Sen. Pat Toomey went after him for turning Philly back into a “sanctuary city”, it only served as an example of how high profile the former long-time City Councilman has become.
Bill Cosby. What an awful story. A man once considered a proud son of Pennsylvania has been unmasked as a despicable individual. After decades of using his reputation to cover up for his actions, Cosby was arraigned and charged in a Montgomery County court. Normally we wouldn’t include such a figure on this list, but Cosby’s connections to the Keystone State are too deep and well-known. In fact, this particular case involves Cosby’s long relationship with Temple University. The only consolation is that perhaps some measure of justice can still be served.
Dwight Evans. The long-time State Representative decided to throw his hat in the ring and challenge Congressman Chaka Fattah after legal indictments dimmed the latter’s re-election prospects. Now, Evans is reporting a massive fundraising haul that outpaces his other big primary opponent, State Rep. Brian Sims. There’s plenty of time until April 26th and who knows how many twists and turns the race could take. Nevertheless, at this moment, Evans appears to be the favorite.
Lindy Li. Back in the summer, 25 year-old wunderkind Lindy Li announced that she would run in the PA-7 race. Then, seemingly on a dime, she switched over to the PA-6 contest. It’s easy to imagine that this decision will be a prominent part of Rep. Ryan Costello’s narrative against her. It’s entirely possible that ten months from now we’ll look back at this swap as a stroke of genius. It is much likelier, however, that this will turn out to be a huge mistake.
Thaddeus Kirkland. It’s been an odd start to 2016, but this might just take the cake. Last November Kirkland, who’s served as State Representative for the 159th district since 1993, won the office of Mayor of Chester. In December, he sent a letter of resignation for his seat in Harrisburg. All of a sudden, though, he rescinded that resignation and now wants to serve in both offices until the budget stalemate is solved (which, of course, could be quite awhile). Apparently, this is perfectly legal. It’s going to be an incredible year politicos.
END NOTES . . .
Mark Levin (1/7/16)
“On Thursday’s Mark Levin Show, Our conservative cause is liberty, faith and citizenship and what’s being discussed today has nothing to do with any of that. The plethora of Conservative writers should be advancing conservative principles more than ever instead of chewing up other conservatives over unimportant issues, like a Ted Cruz birther issue. Unfortunately, conservative news outlets are caught up in their own quicksand while the liberal agenda marches on. No one is going to knock Ted Cruz or any other candidate out of the election because of their citizenship. Also, Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee differ in some serious ways from conservatives but both support the Convention of States.
“In addition, the Convention of States is a process that Americans can use to take the country back. It may take time, but it’s still there and is an effective means to overrule big government and executive power plays. Instead of listening to all the conservative naysayers Americans need to realize the facts and effectiveness of Article V. The Founding Fathers had foresight when they put Article V in the Constitution and Americans need to use it.
“Later, Congressman Dave Brat of Virginia’s 7th District calls in to talk about his candidacy and confirms how the big government Republican machine in VA is gearing up to defeat him.
John Batchelor Show (1/7/16)
Lots of rich stuff! . . . Hour One Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block A: Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover, in re: We’re in a global storm – The Gulf, China, South China Sea, global markets, North Korea – but in the US we’re in perhaps the safest place. Essay on HateAmerica.com: do the constant critics of the US see that it’s because of the structure and ethos and principles of the US that they have the luxury of criticizing? No – they constitute a tiny elite – they’re not fixing plumbing all day or ploughing in the back forty – plus a small group of persons who have a personal fight against Americans. Not much of the world has as good a space as a constitutional democracy in a multiracial society that actually works. . . . Then, you borrow $10 trillion and don’t have much [elbow-room] left. Chickens come home to roost [quotation from Malcolm X]. Kids have $60,- 80,000 in school debts but are wholly inept in the real world, lack basic skills. The best alternative to the US is the EYU – and not great; the rest of the world is totalitarian, misogynist, opaque in governance. You’d think the La Raza profs would beat the border shooing immigrants back: “It’s horrible here – unfair, racist, ghastly.” But no; they encourage more immigrati0n. Why? I see the world disorder continuing. Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block B: Edward Hayes, Esq., criminal defense attorney par excellence, in re: Current NYPD Commissioner is Mr Bratton – Medal of Honor from Boston police dept); former is Mr Kelly, a Marine Corps Colonel. Bratton may be the best police leader in a century, r Kelly is totally excellent. Their current disagreement is ad rem, not personal. Criminality isn’t only shootings –it’s homelessness, which has massively increased under DeBlasio. Statistics records are ridiculous. Commissioner Bratton has advised women to travel in pairs or greater because of an increase in sexual assaults on women. What?? Kelly feels that he’s been treated with disrespect . . . “We have a mayor who will not speak facts about events.”–JB Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block C: Claudia Rosett, FDD, in re: we don’t know for sure if it was an H-bomb or not, but we don’t know that North Korea knows it can advertise that it has an H-bomb, and probably will sell it. Totalitarian state that mass-murders its citizens, steal everything, mfrs methamphetamine, prints foreign currencies, engages in human trafficking, closed down Sony Pictures for a spell last year. I think we’ll be lucky if we get through the next years without Iran breaking out of its very slight disguise of pretending not to have nuclear weapons. “Gee, if we break the nuclear deal, what happens to us? Nothing. / DPRK officials have been advertising an upcoming nuclear bomb test for years. What to do? Risky, but not as much as letting this continue: we cannot be safe as long as the North Korean regime exists. It’s an unstable regime; also with murder, mayhem, sadism. South Korea so far has been much to low-key. US could enter a resolution to kick DPRK out of the UN – where it does not belong. What’s the end-game of the sanctions? In the past, it’s to build terrible deals, but it should be to get rid of the regime. We probably have a bag of nasty tricks somewhere. The banker for the horrifying Kim regime is China (and partly Russia); China controls the ports. DPRK is becoming ever more adept at avoiding sanctions. What we really need is backbone in the US political leadership. Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block D: LouAnn Hammond, DrivingTheNation, in re: at consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, I was exhausted and needed Lyft, which GM just bought. GM makes its money in rural areas. A sideless mirror: a camera on the car’s outside, about 3″ long so it doesn’t whack you. Everything is becoming more sophisticated – “evolving mobility.” Toyota research Institute (one member just left Google Robotics to join Toyota). Truck-to-drone agreement: a DJI Drone hooks up with Ford and UN; can put a drone in ht back of afford truck, surveille an area, and return to the truck whithersoever the truck may have gone to. As for elders who can’t drive any more: can use an autonomous vehicle. Will be on the road in 2017 or 2018, won’t be in showrooms for an additional few years. Hour Two Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 2, Block A: Mark Dubowitz, FDD, in re: Iranian ballistic missiles sanctions. JB: “The Iran deal remains the overarching threat to the region”. Pres Obama has referred to sanctions – an odd delay, almost a cringing. Breakdown between State and NSC? Nope; State announced sanctions to Congress, then pulled the press release: the White House swiftly backed up after Iranian anger. Many Congresspersons initially supported the Iran deal on basis that there’d be sanctions if [dreadful things] happened; the WH has left them out to dry; Congress is furious. WH will probably reach yet another side deal with Iran, again give away the store. Iran’s economy barely exists: IRGC keeps everything that’s not private black-market. WH is about to give Iran not $100 bil but hundreds of bil! Invite Iran back into energy markets, every possible escape hatch from economic pressure to immunize themselves from future pressure and move forward with aggression. Payment schedule? Get most of the money quickly I a massive windfall. . . . WH has turned it s back on the Saudis, Emiratis, Kuwaitis, who now have to go their own way. The 2015 summer notion that the Iran deal would clamp down on sectarian warfare was delusional – has created the opposite. Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 2, Block B: Congressman Daniel Donovan (NY-11: Staten Island and part of Brooklyn); in re: Iran, terrorism, Capitol Hill. The Iran deal was bad for the entire world – and not Iranian leaders calling for death to America and Israel firing rockets at US aircraft carriers; holding Americans hostage – and this Administration has repeatedly come to he said f Iran. Bizarre Security of our own citizens at stake. I visited Israel or the first time this summer – it w3as astounding, I met leaders there, learned an enormous amount. Heard Israel’s concerns about why this WH couldn’t explain its position. WH has first to assess what it’s done. Secy Kerry said the sanctions have to be lifted because others were doing so. Odd. We’re to release $50nbil in the first go-round – Iran could just buy a nuke for that We haven’t restricted Iran’s ICBMs. Beyond belief what we’ve agreed to and in return received nothing. This Adm seems to believe that if you’re good to your enemy they’ll be good to your heart. We’ve been good to Iran and been slapped in the face. / New York is 48th or 49th least-business-friendly state. In Canada, Tim Horton bought Burger King with thereby saved billions in taxes. Yike. Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 2, Block C: Simon Henderson, Washington Institute, Baker Fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program; in re: The predator states: Teheran-Pyongyang connections. Some links are obvious – the missile link, where the Iranain Shehab 3 is a copy of DPRK Nodon missile. Variation of the Shehab was on Iranian TV this week in a tunnel complex somewhere in Iran, being inspected by Ali Larijani. North Korea has HEU from centrifuges, learned from Pakistan; Iranian eqpt also from Pakistan. Iran develops technology, DPRK works on praxis. Iranian missiles display on TV occurred a few hours before the North Korean test. In Saudi Arabia, where the elderly king suffers from mild dementia, affairs run by his son, Prince Salman. Saudis concerned about Iran’s intent to take over Saudia, and also Bahrain. Saudis executed 47 persons last weekend incl three Shia, of whom one was Sheikh Nimr – called him a terrorists, which he probably was not. Shi Iranians infuriated, so they burned down the Saudi embassy in Teheran. Even relations between the Pahlavi shah and the Saudi monarchy was a bit strained but sort of workable. Iran today is in deep competitions with Saudis, and detest the Sunni Saudis, and so on. Oil, missiles, nuclear capability. Saudis prosperity has just dipped with the lowered oil price ($37 Bbl). Iran ahs started a rebellion in Yemen, which also eats up Saudi financial reserves. Iran wants the US entirely out of the Middle East. Syria: nastiness will continue; diplomatic efforts going nowhere. Recent mtg where both Iraniams and Saudis were in the same room – but didn’t have to see each other. Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 2, Block D: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents; in re: Uyghurs, the ancient ethnic group in Xinjiang (“New Territories”) province of westernmost China; they’re Muslim with rather theological casual practices. Uyghurs seem to be joining Islamic jihadist in Indonesia, incl a Uyghur with a suicide vest. Meanwhile, China blames Saudis for Wahhabist support to the Islamist Uyghurs – the East Turkestan Independence Movement. Israel and Egypt so long have been at odds that it’s striking for Egypt now to send an ambassador to Egypt – arrived in Jerusalem this week. El Sisi’s new face; trying to change public opinion in Egypt. Recent attack in Egypt against a tourist bus: seems to have been not jihadist but criminal. The bus carried Israeli Arabs; targetted security people nearby. All not clear. Tension with ISIS in Sinai, as it grows very close to Hamas. Hour Three Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 3, Block A: Dr. Aykan Erdemir, FDD, in re: Turkey is going through a rough foreign policy period; increasingly isolated because of Pres Erdogan’s policies since 2002 – a cul-de-sac in foreign policy. Electorate divided almost down the middle, so he enjoys support of about 50% of the society. Turkey’s crisis with Russia is one of the most challenging matters Turkey has experienced – a major economic and energy challenge, as Turkey depends 60% on Russian gas, feels [alarm]; is why Turkey is trying to be friendly with Israel. Intl observers fixated on the last 14 years of Erdogan; but it was he first Muslim-majority country t recognize Israel and has usually had robust relations, Erdogan’s Ikhwan tendencies have generated anti-Semitism, crises on crises. Erdogan has taken over or at least censored almost all independent media. His designs on Syria have failed; Turkey feels alone in the matter. Probably sidelined, esp with Russian presence, returned Euro engagement post-Paris attacks. Erdogan arrested a score of generals; has started making amends with the military. In the instances of Erdogan and Israel, or Erdogan and Turkish military, trust is weak. Note current crackdown on dissidents [very violent]. Also big economic problems. Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 3, Block B: IDF Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall, expert on strategic issues focused on Iran, terrorism, and the Middle East; senior analyst, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and at Alcyon Risk Advisors; I n re . . . Israel sees a partial containment of Iran along its northern border, esp as Russia intervenes in Syria . . . . Granddaughter of the Prophet. Dip breakdown in the Gulf: heading to a major confrontation between Sunni and Shia, follows US lack of decisive action vis-à-vis Iran as it became a greater regional threat. Till now, fought by proxies; but today, Iran rockets Saudi oil installations from Yemen. Look for worse in the Gulf (where Iran also fires rockets vs US assets. Sunni –Shia is a repetition of history. Escalation. Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 3, Block C: Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WSJ, in re: Showdown in Caracas. Venezuelan President Maduro tries to steal the election his party lost in December. On Tuesday, Venezuela’s newly elected legislature, the national assembly, is scheduled to begin a five-year term. It’s not likely to be your run-of-the-mill inauguration. The country will be lucky to avoid violence brought about by desperate pro-government militias, aided by the Cuban intelligence apparatus. Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 3, Block D: Robert Zimmerman, BehindTheBlack, in re: Starliner schedule shapes up The competition heats up: The schedule and launch plans for Boeing’s manned Starliner spacecraft are now becoming solidified. For Boeing, Starliner will first launch on an uncrewed test flight to the Station via the “Boe-OFT” mission in April or May, 2017 – on a 30 day mission, ending with a parachute-assisted return. Should all go to plan, the second mission will involve a crew on a mission designated “Boe-CFT”, launching sometime between July and September, 2017, on a 14-day mission to the ISS. The article also outlines the launch procedures Boeing intends to follow, some determined by the company and some by NASA’s complex safety rules. One interesting tidbit about Starliner revealed here that I was unaware of previously is that the capsule is made of separate top and bottom units that are only fitted together late in the launch process, allowing for easier access.
Hour Four Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 4, Block A: Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs, in re: Saudi Arabia Throws Down the Gauntlet, But to Whom? Cui Bono and Cui Patitur? Saudi Arabia’s theater of mass executions on January 2, 2016, was designed to reinforce the authority of its leadership. It may bolster short-term objectives, but it also ended chances for an early end to the Yemen war; it further damaged relations with the US; and it bolstered Turkey’s and Iran’s prospects. But the tinder has been lit. Who benefits? And who suffers? Analysis. Saudi Arabia’s Sudeiri-line leadership of the House of Sa’ud began 2016 by a major push to save its position and control of the Kingdom. It was also a bid to solidify regional power as the Kingdom moved well beyond the shadow of the major power relationships which had dominated its existence since the creation of the State in 1932. Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shi’a cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, 56, on January 2, 2016, along with 46 other political dissidents also sparked a divide between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and several of its allies on the other.1 It was a salvo in a geopolitical war, which is far more deeply-constructed than the seemingly intra-Muslim sectarian war which the surface noise — or carrier wave — which is characterized by symbolic actions and rallying calls. (1 of 2) Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 4, Block B: Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs, in re: Saudi Arabia Throws Down the Gauntlet, But to Whom? Cui Bono and Cui Patitur? Saudi Arabia’s theater of mass executions on January 2, 2016, was designed to reinforce the authority of its leadership. It may bolster short-term objectives, but it also ended chances for an early end to the Yemen war; it further damaged relations with the US; and it bolstered Turkey’s and Iran’s prospects. But the tinder has been lit. Who benefits? And who suffers? Analysis. Saudi Arabia’s Sudeiri-line leadership of the House of Sa’ud began 2016 by a major push to save its position and control of the Kingdom. It was also a bid to solidify regional power as the Kingdom moved well beyond the shadow of the major power relationships which had dominated its existence since the creation of the State in 1932. Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shi’a cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, 56, on January 2, 2016, along with 46 other political dissidents also sparked a divide between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and several of its allies on the other.1 It was a salvo in a geopolitical war, which is far more deeply-constructed than the seemingly intra-Muslim sectarian war which the surface noise — or carrier wave — which is characterized by symbolic actions and rallying calls. (2 of 2) Thursday 7 January 2016 / Hour 4, Block C: Peter S. Behroozi, Space Telescope Science Institute, in re: On the History and Future of Cosmic Planet Formation. Peter S. Behroozi, Molly Peeples: Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3280786/Earth-one-habitable-planets-UNIVERSE-form-sun-burned-6-billion-years-say-scientists.html ; http://arxiv.org/pdf/1508.01202.pdf (1 of 2)