The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming [UPDATED, BUMPED]

October 5th, 2015 - 3:00 pm

As I was saying…

[Original post below]

You might have read the headline about Russia’s violation of Turkish airspace, but the NYT report buried the real lede seven grafs down:

But Russia, which began its air campaign in Syria last Monday, showed no sign that it was backing down. In fact, Adm. Vladimir Komoyedov, the head of the armed forces committee in Russia’s Parliament, told news services that pro-Russian veterans of the conflict in eastern Ukraine side will most “likely” start showing up as a volunteer battalion in Syria.

300,000 Chinese “volunteers” crossed the Yalu River in 1950 to save North Korea — and they did. Those People’s Liberation Army soldiers weren’t any more volunteers than these Russian troops, but up against thugs and terrorist (and without restrictive ROEs), they’ll probably do more than their bit to save Assad.

Then there’s this piece I found elsewhere this morning:

The real question here is where would Russia[n ground forces] strike first? Undoubtedly, Russia’s first targets would be in already-bombed locations. Analysts at the Sentinel Analytical Group believe Homs could very well be Russia’s first major objective. The fact that Homs is completely isolated from other rebel-led areas makes it an ideal target for al-Assad and its Russian ally, affording Russian forces an opportunity to get the measure of the operational environment quickly.

A viable strategic location due to the petroleum refinery, a ground operation in Homs would also deal a huge blow to the American effort in arming and supporting anti-Assad rebel groups.

Boom. That target kinda picks itself.

Keep an eye on Homs.

News You Can Use

October 5th, 2015 - 1:34 pm
Career counselor. (Image courtesy AVN/Wikipedia)

Career counselor.
(Image courtesy AVN/Wikipedia)

A Rockland County Christian college softball coach is being sued for trying to turn his female players into porn stars:

Kurt Ludwigsen, 44, was arrested in April for improper sexual conduct with his Nyack College players, but lawsuits filed by three of his players reveals scandalous new information about his cocky coaching.

“The outrageous conduct of Ludwigsen includes, without limitation, routinely licking his players’ ears, kissing their lips and faces, slapping their buttocks, grabbing their breasts, [and] directing them to sit on his lap,” the Manhattan federal court lawsuits state.

Ludwigsen also harassed and assaulted the young co-eds by, “inviting a pornographic actress known as Allie Haze to practice and directing students to life counselling sessions with her, [and] directing an underage drinking outing where his players were instructed to dress in cocktail dresses and dance with male strangers and offering to assist players to attain employment in the adult entertainment industry.”

Please tell me you know you’re not supposed to do even one little bit of that.

Nice Arms Embargo You Have There

October 5th, 2015 - 12:20 pm
You'd be smiling, too. (Mikhail Klimentyev, RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

You’d be smiling, too.
(Mikhail Klimentyev, RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

What else did Obama give up to keep Iran at the negotiating table long enough to work out a bad deal? The arms embargo:

Addressing concerns that a landmark nuclear deal reached this year could boost Iran’s military power, the Obama administration reassured critics that it would maintain and enforce its remaining tough sanctions against the country.

Yet the U.S. government has pursued far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years, according to a review of court records and interviews with two senior officials involved in sanctions enforcement.

The sharp fall in new prosecutions did not reflect fewer attempts by Iran to break the embargo, the officials said. Rather, uncertainty among prosecutors and agents on how the terms of the deal would affect cases made them reluctant to commit already scarce resources with the same vigor as in previous years, the officials said.

The more relaxed enforcement raises questions over how strictly the arms embargo and other remaining sanctions will be applied in future, since the nuclear deal still needs to be implemented and Iran will likely remain sensitive to a tough sanctions regime.

As I was forced to conclude back in March, Obama wants Iran armed to the teeth — “he wants it.”

How (Not) to Make War

October 5th, 2015 - 10:55 am

Here’s what American friendship is worth now:

U.S.-backed rebels in Syria appealed to the Obama administration Friday for anti­aircraft missiles to defend their positions against relentless Russian airstrikes that have so far mostly targeted the moderate opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

A joint statement issued by the United States and other Western allies who have collectively aided moderate rebel units urged Russia to stop targeting moderate rebels and “to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL,” the acronym referring to the Islamic State.

U.S. officials indicated that there is no immediate plan to offer additional assistance to the rebel units that have been armed and trained under a covert CIA-led program aimed at supporting moderate groups and weakening Assad’s hold on power.

This is a tricksy position Putin has put Obama in. Obama can continue to support our “friends” in the Syrian opposition and risk allowing them to shoot down Russian jet. Or Obama can cut and run (which is what he’s doing) and show to the world that the US is not a trustworthy ally, but that the Russians are.

More accurately, Obama put himself in this situation by drawing red lines which weren’t, and by pledging just enough support to keep our “allies” dragging the conflict on, but not enough to topple Assad.

Run, Joe, Run!

October 5th, 2015 - 9:35 am
"YES!" (AP photo)

(AP photo)

Hillary Clinton is losing some fundraisers to Joe Biden — and they aren’t all being quiet about it:

A few of the fundraisers have gone public with their presidential preference. Others have quietly decamped and signaled their intentions to the Draft Biden 2016 super PAC that is working to prod the vice president into the race for the White House.

“Instead of being ready for Hillary, we’re waiting for Joe,” said Bill Bartmann, the founder and chief executive of CFS2 Inc., and onetime donor to Mrs. Clinton’s friendly super PAC. Mr. Bartmann’s switch in allegiance prompted one Clinton campaign official to contact him and ask: “Why are you doing this?” he said.

Clinton fundraisers say they don’t expect many supporters to switch teams, should Mr. Biden enter the presidential primary race. Her campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Biden’s growing support base demonstrates the threat he could present in chipping away at Mrs. Clinton’s donor ranks, and her campaign is taking steps to stave off high-profile defections.

Taking steps, hmm?

I imagine those steps start at asking for a public pledge of support, and rising all the way to “Bill has photographs.” But money can’t buy you love, which is Hillary’s real deficit. That, and her comically expensive campaign.

She’s going to need to keep all the fundraisers she can.

Fifteen for Thee But Not for Me

October 5th, 2015 - 8:27 am

From the Department of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up:

The labor union that led the charge for a $15 minimum wage hike in cities across California is now moving to secure an exemption for employers under union contracts.

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor buried the exemption on the eighth page of its 12-page proposal for the Santa Monica City Council to review Tuesday while deciding whether to follow Los Angeles and increase the minimum wage.

The loophole would allow employers with collective bargaining agreements to sidestep the wage hike and pay their union members below the proposed $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Nice work if you can get it — pricing everyone but themselves out of the entry-level labor market.

Clinton vs the Teamsters, Part II

October 5th, 2015 - 7:18 am

Last week Queen Cacklepants attempted to shore up her union support by coming out against the ♡bamaCare!!! Cadillac tax. Daniel John Sobieski noticed something I’d forgotten from the week before — Clinton’s “Pope News Dump” announcement that she would oppose Keystone XL and, as a consequence, all the union jobs the pipeline would support.


The oil will be extracted whether Keystone XL is built or not. The pipeline itself, which will also carry via a link Bakken crude from North Dakota, will create tens of thousands of high-paying union jobs. According to the American Economic Forum, the seven-year delay on Keystone has already cost the American economy $175 billion in lost economic activity.

That unions want Keystone XL was seen in the testimony before Congress of a key union leader in the under-employed construction trades:

Testifying on behalf of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Legislative Director David Mallino recently appeared before the House subcommittee on energy and power.

“The unemployment rate in the construction industry reached over 27% in 2010, and joblessness in construction remains far higher than any industry or sector, with over 1 million construction workers currently unemployed in the United States,” he testified. “Too many hard-working Americans are out of work, and the Keystone XL Pipeline will change that dire situation for thousands of them.”

The Keystone pipeline is safe, certainly safer than the oil trains that carry oil and are involved in frequent explosive derailments. It doesn’t threaten the planet and the Alberta oil will be extracted anyway. The only thing that may be in jeopardy if it isn’t built is Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

It’s a miracle Clinton can remember who she’s supporting in what way at any given moment, and who she just screwed over by doing so.

But there’s always tomorrow, and another promise to make or break, and another position to reverse or adopt.

Advisor to Clinton: Lawyer Up

October 5th, 2015 - 6:39 am
"Higher, like baby we couldn't get much?"

“Higher, like baby we couldn’t get much?”

A “trusted” legal adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton has told the New York Post that they have urged Hillary to hire a criminal defense attorney in the wake of Emailgate.


The adviser, who has been a Clinton confidant for more than 30 years, laid out his concerns about Hillary’s legal exposure in a wide-ranging interview.

“This e-mail thing is spiraling out of control,” he said. “To paraphrase John Dean of Watergate fame, it’s a cancer on her candidacy.

“Frankly,” he continued, “I am used to my advice on legal matters being taken very seriously and acted upon by the Clintons. I’ve told them repeatedly that this FBI e-mail investigation could go in a very dangerous direction very quickly.

“I think Bill takes the matter seriously. But Hillary is still acting as though it’s a political smear job by right-wing zealots.”

It’s a very short list of candidates for the Post’s “oldest and most trusted” source within the Clinton camp.

Anyone here care to take a stab at who it might be?

In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

It’s amazing how effective warfare can be when it’s actually waged:

The Russian air force began strikes in Syria on Wednesday. In the past 24 hours, it has carried out 20 flights targeting 10 ISIS positions in Idlib province, the Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement Sunday.

Since 2011, Syria has been torn apart by a brutal civil war that has seen the rise of extremist groups including ISIS. Moscow supports the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and says it is targeting ISIS, al Nusra and “other terrorist groups.”

The non-Russian anti-ISIS coalition, feckless as ever, isn’t pleased with civilian casualties or with Russia’s choice of targets, but it’s safe to say that their cries will be ignored in Moscow and laughed at in Tehran.

Friday Night Videos

October 2nd, 2015 - 10:10 pm

You might have seen that Telegraph story from a week or two ago, detailing how Keith Richards “became everybody’s favourite Rolling Stone.”

I read the story, but there was really no need to — I know exactly when Keith became my favorite Stone.

Fall of ’88, sophomore year at Mizzou, I picked up his just released solo* album, Talk Is Cheap, on a whim. The album is a solid effort with tons of big names performing on it, including Ivan Neville, Steve Jordan, Mick Taylor, Bootsy Collins, Patti Scialfa, and more.

I got hooked by the opening of the first track, “Big Enough,” just as soon as I’d pressed play on the cassette deck. That funk-reggae-rock sound — not sure I’d ever heard anything like it before, and it was good. Halfway through the song I might have paused just long enough to wonder, “Mick who?”

“Big Enough” has more hooks in it than a Bass Pro Shop, and it maybe never sounded better than when Keith and the X-Pensive Winos played it live on the album’s promotional tour — and so that’s what you’re getting tonight.

P.S. Charlie Watts is also a perfectly acceptable choice for your favorite Stone.

Thought for the Day

October 2nd, 2015 - 4:47 pm

Russia Hits ISIS

October 2nd, 2015 - 1:36 pm
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015 a bomb explosion is seen in Syria. Pentagon officials urged the Russian military on Thursday to focus its airstrikes in Syria on Islamic State fighters rather than opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, U.S. administration officials said. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015 a bomb explosion is seen in Syria. Pentagon officials urged the Russian military on Thursday to focus its airstrikes in Syria on Islamic State fighters rather than opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, U.S. administration officials said. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

At least that’s the claim after Russian warplanes hit Raqqa yesterday:

The strikes were carried out against an Islamic State training camp and a command post near the city of Raqqa, expanding the scope of a three-day old air campaign that had previously focused on attacking rebel groups opposed to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Defense Ministry official spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the Raqqa strikes took place overnight Thursday and were among 18 sorties conducted over the previous 24 hours, bringing to 30 the total number of raids since Moscow launched its air campaign in Syria Wednesday.

While I remain dubious (to say the least) about Russia’s intentions, it’s impossible to argue with hitting ISIS, and hitting ISIS hard.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

October 2nd, 2015 - 12:00 pm

Ed Morrissey took note of Hillary’s retreat from her previous support for ♡bamaCare!!!’s “Cadillac tax,” and says that’s just the beginning of a “long torturous retreat” for Democrats from the Totally Settled Law of the Land™.


Delaware announced approval for premium hikes of 22.4 percent, while AIS’ Health Business Daily reported last week to its subscribers on a long list of approvals by states for double-digit premium increases.

The list includes key swing states such as Florida (16.2 percent for UnitedHealth, 13.9 percent for Aetna), Iowa (19.8 percent for an Aetna subsidiary), and Michigan (average increase of 11.4 percent across all 14 plans). The Street’s Brian O’Connell reported that insurers “are just now starting to get a firm grip on costs,” which has been complicated by “the underlying growth in health care costs,” and premiums may rise again by as much as 40 percent in some states.

Remember when President Obama promised that Obamacare would “bend the cost curve downward,” and that the exchanges would broaden consumer choice? Instead, consumers have seen premiums repeatedly skyrocket, and choices for less expensive coverage evaporate. AIS notes that Blue Cross Blue Shield will pull out of New Mexico, cutting 35,000 individual-market customers after losing over $19 million in 2015.

Related: Obamacare—Still Failing and Picking Your Pocket

Why? The company was denied an application for a 51.6 percent average increase for its plans. Other insurers have shut down operations in state exchanges as well, or blinked out of existence altogether. O’Connell also points out that Obamacare has resulted in a series of mergers among insurers, noting, “Less competition means higher prices.”

So it’s really no surprise to see Democrats backing away from Obamacare.

That Means It’s Working™

First VW, Now… Samsung?

October 2nd, 2015 - 11:16 am
Smarter than your average eco-regulator? (Shutterstock image)

Smarter than your average eco-regulator?
(Shutterstock image)


Independent lab tests have found that some Samsung TVs in Europe appear to use less energy during official testing conditions than they do during real-world use, raising questions about whether they are set up to game energy efficiency tests.

The European commission says it will investigate any allegations of cheating the tests and has pledged to tighten energy efficiency regulations to outlaw the use of so-called “defeat devices” in TVs or other consumer products, after several EU states raised similar concerns.

The apparent discrepancy between real-world and test performance of the TVs is reminiscent of the VW scandal that originated in the US last week.

If First World governments weren’t on a crusade to impoverish the middle class by making everything conform* to ridiculous energy requirements while also making energy impossibly expensive, then this wouldn’t be a problem.

News You Can Use

October 2nd, 2015 - 10:35 am

Differently abled,” my left foot:

A North Carolina woman says she is happier than ever after she fulfilled her lifelong wish of becoming blind.

Jewel Shuping, 30, has Body Integrity Identity Disorder, according to Barcroft TV.

BIID is a condition in which able-bodied people believe they are meant to be disabled.

“By the time I was six I remember that thinking about being blind made me feel comfortable,” she said.

Shuping says that when she was a teenager, she started wearing thick black sunglasses, and even got her first cane when she was 18.

By the age of 20, Shuping says she was fluent in braille.

“I was ‘blind-simming’, which is pretending to be blind, but the idea kept coming up in my head and by the time I was 21 it was a non-stop alarm that was going off,” she told Barcroft TV.

Her need to lose her sight increased as she got older, and by 2006, she claims she found a psychologist who was willing to help her.

Shuping says the psychologist put numbing eye drops into her eyes, and then a couple of drops of drain cleaner.

“It hurt, let me tell you. My eyes were screaming and I had some drain cleaner going down my cheek burning my skin,” she said. “But all I could think was ‘I am going blind, it is going to be okay.”

Can you imagine permanently disfiguring yourself in order to feel okay?

Required Reading

October 2nd, 2015 - 9:11 am

Meet Shin Dong-hyuk, who survived 24 years in one of North Korea’s “total control zone” death camps — and is the only known escapee:

He said: “There was a room, a chamber type. It’s like a cell within the prison camp where these tortures take place.

“When I first entered it. I immediately felt that the atmosphere itself was terrifying.

“When I was brought in, without saying a word the proceeded to tie my ankles and wrists together and hung me from above.”

Showing shocking burn marks on his back, he spoke of how he was placed over a charcoal fire until he ‘smelled his skin burning’.

He said: “As the fire started rising up toward my back, I could feel that it was scorching hot and I could even smell my own flesh burning.

“I begged for my life to be spared but it was completely useless. It was just so hot and I kept squirming.”

Shin was born in a North Korean prison in 1982 and made a daring escape in 2005.

His crime was being born in a concentration camp.

Read the whole thing — and give due consideration to a liquid lunch immediately after.

Christian Killing Spree

October 2nd, 2015 - 8:08 am

Yesterday’s shooting in Oregon was even worse than I could have imagined:

A gunman singled out Christians, telling them they would see God in “one second,” during a rampage at an Oregon college Thursday that left at least nine innocent people dead and several more wounded, survivors and authorities said.

“[He started] asking people one by one what their religion was. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and if you’re a Christian stand up. And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,” Stacy Boylen, whose daughter was wounded at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., told CNN.

A twitter user named @bodhilooney,” who said her grandmother was at the scene of the carnage, tweeted that if victims said they were Christian “then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”

Overall, violent crime continues it’s long, slow decline — including mass shootings like this one. What is it that drives our modern psychopaths to seek their wretched glory by singling out specific groups for mass murder?

Sign “O” the Times

October 2nd, 2015 - 7:15 am

Whatever life had finally been breathed into the jobs market by years and years of free money seems to have died:

U.S. hiring slowed sharply in September, and job gains for July and August were lower than previously thought, a sour note for a labor market that had been steadily improving.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added just 142,000 jobs in September, depressed by job cuts by manufacturers and oil drillers. The unemployment rate remained 5.1 percent, but only because more Americans stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.

All told, the proportion of Americans who either have a job or are looking for one fell to a 38-year low.

It’s easy to joke about the downward revisions — lord knows I’ve made more than my share — but try and keep one thing in mind. Every single one of those imaginary jobs represents a fellow American who couldn’t find work, but whose imaginary employment was abused to show how well Obamanomics is “working.”

And each drop in the participation rate (can you remember even one month that it’s gone up since the recovery began?) represents thousands of your fellow Americans who have simply given up, possibly never to find, or even hope to find work again.

That’s the truth about Obama’s recovery.

A War for Oil — And So Much More

October 2nd, 2015 - 6:31 am
This image taken in Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015 posted on the Twitter account of Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, a volunteer search and rescue group, shows the aftermath of an airstrike in Talbiseh, Syria. Russia on Wednesday carried out its first airstrikes in Syria in what President Vladimir Putin called a pre-emptive strike against the militants. Khaled Khoja, head of the Syrian National Council opposition group, said at the U.N. that Russian airstrikes in four areas, including Talbiseh, killed dozens of civilians, with children among the dead. (Syria Civil Defence via AP)

This image taken in Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015 posted on the Twitter account of Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, a volunteer search and rescue group, shows the aftermath of an airstrike in Talbiseh, Syria. Russia on Wednesday carried out its first airstrikes in Syria in what President Vladimir Putin called a pre-emptive strike against the militants. Khaled Khoja, head of the Syrian National Council opposition group, said at the U.N. that Russian airstrikes in four areas, including Talbiseh, killed dozens of civilians, with children among the dead. (Syria Civil Defence via AP)

This morning’s column is a follow-on piece to yesterday’s, partly in response to criticism (some fair, some not) down in the comments. Many readers wondered why we should be bothered that Putin is killing jihadis and defending Syria, which has been a Russian ally for decades. I’ll get to why that’s going to haunt us in the second half of this column.

The first half is in response to New York University’s Burdin Hickok, and his belief that Putin’s War in Syria is all about oil. It is about oil, but only in part. So let’s go to Hickok for that angle:

With Russia and allied Iran increasing their presence throughout the Middle East, ostensibly to combat ISIS, Saudi Arabia stands with a large target on its back. Iran has been recognized by the Saudi leadership as an existential threat. Saudi Arabia’s principle tool to counter Iran adventurism has been increasing oil production, which pressures the price of oil and keeps the Iranian economy weak.

Iran, of course, has not been the only player hurt by lower oil prices. The Russian economy has been hammered by the one-two punch of sanctions imposed from their involvement in Ukraine and the drop in oil prices.

Now with Russia’s growing presence in Syria, a partnership with Iran and a retreating U.S., Saudi Arabia is faced with a new and unfriendly world. Without confidence that the U.S. will have its back, Saudi Arabia may feel compelled to bend to Russia and Iran’s inevitable pressure to reduce oil production. And this will lead to greater pressure for all OPEC countries to reduce production and support higher prices.

There’s more to it than just oil.

Israel’s ability to defend itself against Hamas is hampered by Russia’s growing presence in Syria, and her ability to strike at Iran’s nascent nuclear program is similarly contained by Russian overtures towards Iraq. If Saudi Arabia is forced to acquiesce to the Russo-Iranian Axis then Egypt, dependent on Saudi munificence to stay fed, will follow suit.

Israel would then be boxed in like at no time since before 1967′s Six-Day War — only this time with Russian troops right next door and a nuclear-armed Iran to contend with as well.

For Iran and Russia, this might be “merely” a war for economic advantage. But Israel’s very existence is threatened like never before.

Then there’s the threat to us.

While Obama was overcommitted to the wrongheaded “right war” in Afghanistan, Putin and Khamenei were preparing a much bigger play for the heart of the Arab Middle East — which will be pointed like a dagger, not just at Israel, but at the entire Western world.

Let me explain.

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Making Hillary Likable

October 2nd, 2015 - 5:19 am

Not even Steven Spielberg could do it.

Thought for the Day

October 1st, 2015 - 4:09 pm

Colorado Governor Backing Away from Hillary

October 1st, 2015 - 2:04 pm
"Blunt?  What, like a marijuana cigaret or something?"

“Blunt? What, like a marijuana cigaret or something?”

There’s daylight showing between Hillary Clinton and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper — who had quietly endorsed the former SecState back in July, but now feels the need for some blunt talk about her chances.

From the Denver Post:

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday became the latest Hillary Clinton supporter to express doubt about her candidacy for president, telling a Denver audience that the 2016 election is “kind of grim, to be blunt.”

Unlike most Republican candidates, Hickenlooper said he believes Clinton has the necessary background needed to run the country.

“But,” he added quickly, “I don’t know where this whole thing is going to go in terms of her … (e-mail) server and whether there is something in there that is really going to turn out to have broken the law — which I think would be the death knell.”

But Clinton did break the law, as Ken Cuccinelli explained earlier this week:

According to Cuccinelli, Clinton knowingly set up her e-mail system to route 100 percent of her e-mails to and through her unsecured server. And, although Clinton states that none of the emails were marked as “classified,” Cuccinelli argues that as secretary of state she knew that “the marking is not what makes the material classified; it’s the nature of the information itself.”

While it is possible for a private residence to be an “authorized” location, there are specific and severe requirements to achieve such status and Cuccinelli says that there is no known evidence that Clinton received the proper authorization.

The question remains whether Clinton will be charged or not.

At this point Hillary simply must win the White House, or the FBI might catch up with her before she has the chance to pardon herself.

Florida Heat

October 1st, 2015 - 12:58 pm

And it’s on!

Allahpundit has today’s best take on Jeb versus Marco:

Here’s the clip [above], the funniest part of which comes when Bush is challenged to say directly whether he thinks Rubio has the skills to fix things. For a moment he seems to grasp for a politic way of saying no without actually saying it, and then he just says it — and seems almost surprised that he did. You’d see the exact same look on the face of a “sensitive dad from a contemporary sitcom” upon getting into a fight and suddenly finding himself landing a hard right to his opponent’s jaw. He didn’t know he had it in him! That’s the first clip. The second is of Trump calling BS — really — on the Bush/Rubio friendship. Exit question: Should we start a pool on when Jeb drops out and endorses Rubio as the only man in the race with the skills to fix things? I’ll take the day after the Florida primary.

Not a chance I’ll take that bet against Allah, unless he’s willing to give me Jeb and 15 points. The latest poll still has Trump on top, but second place Rubio beats Bush by eight points — a number which seems likely to increase in a state where both men are already well known. And if Trump does end up slipping, Carson and Fiorina seem much more likely than Bush (or anyone else) to pick up the slack.

Rubio still worries me — has he learned his lesson on immigration, and has he grown up any since letting Chuck Schumer take his lunch money over it? But I’m certainly not going to weep over Jeb’s troubles.

Straighten Up and Fly Right

October 1st, 2015 - 11:27 am
(Shutterstock photo)

(Shutterstock photo)

China seems to be engaging in some wishful thinking — and some shady sales practices — with its new J-31 stealthy-ish fighter:

Recently someone in China anonymously posted performance data for the new Chinese J-31 fighter. This was in the form of a sales brochure (for trade shows) that had not been distributed to the public. So far the manufacturer has been vague about J-31 performance data. This despite the fact that the J-31 has been showing up at Chinese weapons shows. But so far this promotion has been all about looking at the impressive appearance of the J-31, not crunching any numbers.

It gets more interesting when you realize that the recently posted data ascribes better engine performance than actual engines the Chinese have in service or access to. There were also descriptions of J-31 electronics that sounded more like a Chinese wish list than anything the Chinese have or are known to be developing. Many in the industry see this as some kind of desperate publicity stunt. Efforts to sell the J-31 have not been very successful so far.

Countries buy Chinese when they can’t afford Russian, and they buy Russian when they care more about looking good on parade than performing well on the battlefield.

Still, give Beijing credit on the J-31 for making a crappy copy of our gear instead of a crappy copy of Russian gear.

Putin’s Middle East

October 1st, 2015 - 10:09 am
Bashar Assad sitting pretty because Vladimir Putin has his back. (AP file photo)

Bashar Assad sitting pretty because Vladimir Putin has his back.
(AP file photo)

It’s been more than two years since Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Readers™ were first warned of the Russo-Iranian Axis that would come to dominate the Middle East — and now here it is in action:

Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters.

“The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies,” said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict.

“It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside,” the source added.

The two sources said the operation would be aimed at recapturing territory lost by President Bashar al-Assad’s government to rebels. [Emphasis added]

Please pay particular attention to that last line as we venture back to the UN so that we might see the Obama administration’s reaction:

[Secretary of State John] Kerry told the United Nations Security Council that the U.S. would not object to Russians hitting Islamic State or al-Qaida targets, but airstrikes just to strengthen the hand of Syrian President Bashar Assad would be worrisome. Later, after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, Kerry said he had spoken about U.S. “concerns about the nature of the targets, the type of targets and the need for clarity with respect for them.

“It is one thing obviously to be targeting ISIL. We are concerned obviously if that is not what is happening,” Kerry said.

Anyone who can read a map — this definition would seem to exclude most senior members of Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom’s administration — isn’t at all surprised by Russia’s airstrikes. Senator John McCain “said he could ‘absolutely confirm’ that members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who had been funded and trained by the CIA, were among those targeted.” The Syrian rebels, our supposed allies, hold the areas closest to Damascus and the coastal regions still held by forces loyal to Assad. The ISIS-held areas mostly lie far to the east, closer to Iraq.

So of course Russo-Iranian forces are concentrating on defeating the rebels, who pose the most immediate threat to Assad. And yet Obama negotiated in good faith with Putin on Monday, with some sort of expectation that Putin would attack our enemies rather than his own.

Naiveté. Idiocy. Madness. As though anybody in the Middle East cares about Kerry’s “concerns” while Moscow and Tehran are actually taking strong action.

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Trump: Objectively Pro-♡bamaCare!!!

October 1st, 2015 - 8:43 am

Say it ain’t so!

Good lord:

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner claimed during the U.N. General Assembly on Monday that a former Obama administration official attempted to convince Argentina to “provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear fuel.”

Kirchner claimed Gary Samore, former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, visited Argentina and suggested the nation provide Iran with nuclear fuel in 2010, two years into Obama’s presidency.

However, after the government in Argentina requested the fuel transfer request in writing, in keeping with protocol, Kirchner said the Minister of Foreign Affairs never heard from Samore again.

I honestly don’t know what to add to this report, other than to tell you we can at least hope it isn’t true.

Or maybe that’s the most we can do.

Putin’s War

October 1st, 2015 - 6:16 am

I bet Vladimir Putin thinks it’s kinda cute when US officials try to act as forward air controllers for Russian warplanes in Syria.

Sooooo cute:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would have “grave concerns” if Russia used its airstrikes in Syria to support President Bashar Assad against groups other than Islamic State or al-Qaida.

Kerry spoke as Russia launched its first airstrikes in Syria targeting what it said were Islamic State positions. U.S. officials and others cast doubt on that claim, saying the Russians appeared to be attacking opposition groups fighting Syrian government forces. On Wednesday, some U.S.-backed rebel groups claimed they were hit by Russian airstrikes but those claims could not be confirmed.

At the White House, presidential spokesman Josh Earnest also expressed concern over the Russia’s actions.

The last Obama White House spokesmodel, Jay Carney, evidently thought it was cute to have Soviet propaganda posters in his house.

Speaking of cute, read how Obama is “adamant” that Assad must go:

A day after clashing with Russian President Vladimir Putin over how to handle the crisis in Syria, Obama hosted a counterterrorism summit at the United Nations to take stock of the one-year air war against IS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

‘In Syria … defeating ISIL requires, I believe, a new leader,’ Obama told the gathering, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

We have concerns, grave concerns, and wishful thinking. Putin has warplanes bombing the crap out of Assad’s enemies.

This is Putin’s War now.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

October 1st, 2015 - 5:11 am

I remember when people were called crazy or racist or whatever for believing that ♡bamaCare!!! benefits might be extended to illegal aliens.


Congress’s most vocal immigration reformer introduced legislation Wednesday that would extend ObamaCare to the millions of people who are in the country illegally.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez said his bill serves both a moral and economic purpose. Invoking the recent visit of Pope Francis, the Illinois Democrat said expanding the law’s health benefits would help the nation’s most vulnerable.

“Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you means moving forward with no restrictions on which brother and sister and neighbor we think of as ‘eligible’ or ‘deserving,’ ” Gutiérrez said on the House floor.

Incentives, how do they work?

Thought for the Day

September 30th, 2015 - 4:50 pm