July 17th, 2014
The Wallstreet Journal / DARRELL DELAMAIDE'S POLITICAL CAPITAL
It’s one thing if hardened critics like Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly ask whether the Obama presidency is “imploding,” as she did last month , citing a string of foreign policy debacles and domestic scandals.
Or if Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers says Obama “seems to have taken something like an early retirement,” as he did in his Washington Post blog earlier this month, finding that the president’s recent speeches reveal “a state of mind that suggests he has checked out.”
It is another, however, if the chief U.S. commentator for the Financial Times, Edward Luce, takes Obama to task, as he did this week, in an op-ed titled “Farewell to trust: Obama’s Germany syndrome.”
Luce takes the flap over the CIA spying on an ally like Germany as symptomatic of an administration that has lost the trust of the public both at home and abroad.
The British journalist notes that Obama dismisses such charges as cynical, but Luce rejects that label for himself and other critics in the press.
“Most reporters are better described as skeptical,” Luce says. “A cynic believes there is nothing new under the sun. A skeptic resists gullibility. On the basis of the latter, Mr. Obama does not appear to relish being chief executive.”
Kelly dismissively refers to Obama’s response to crisis as “smiling, golfing and at this very moment partying,” but Luce, too, notes that Obama has played golf 179 times while in office, much more than avowed golf lover George W. Bush, and headlined 393 fundraisers, more than double his predecessor’s total.
“If Mr. Obama put half as much effort into co-opting or wrong-footing his opponents as he does raising cash from the wealthy, people might be less skeptical,” Luce writes.
Veteran journalist Patrick Smith, who has written for liberal publications like The Nation and the New Yorker, also takes Obama to task for the German spy scandal and the insufficient response by American officials.
“I can think of two names for this,” Smith wrote this week in Fiscal Times. “One is ‘outmoded arrogance.’ The other is ‘asleep at the wheel.’ Whatever the moniker, some measure of incompetence lies behind it.”
When MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski interviewed Obama last month on the subject of Iraq, network commentator Donny Deutsch, an avowed Democrat, said, “I’ve never seen a less-engaged look in his eyes.”
Deutsch added: “He almost seemed — I don’t want to say checked-out because that is not the right thing — but watching him, his cadence was different. He feels like he almost wants to go home at this point.”
Another commentator on that program, Mark Halperin, said that Obama’s answers on the Syrian situation were nuanced and accurate, but people expect more from a president than great analysis of problems.
“It’s up to the president of the United States to take some bold action to try to address them,” said Halperin, co-author of “Game Change,” the bestselling book on the 2008 presidential campaign, “and not just sit and say here’s why this is hard, here’s why this is hard.”
The White House rejects this criticism as unfair, and no doubt some of it is. They say Obama is now jetting around the country to escape Beltway “cynicism” and connect with real Americans.
That may be, but no matter how many cheering crowds he addresses, it doesn’t seem to be helping his approval ratings.
The average of current polls at Real Clear Politics shows Obama’s approval rating sinking to 41.6, from above 44 two months ago. More significant, perhaps, is that the gap between those who disapprove and those who approve has widened to 12 points from just 7.
July 17th, 2014
The Jerusalem Post
After days of waiting and deliberation, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday night directed the IDF to send ground troops into Gaza to strike the terror tunnels into Israel.
A statement put out by the Prime Minister's Office said that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon Netanyahu directed the IDF to prepare to expand the ground operation.
The statement said that the security cabinet approved the operation after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal on Tuesday, which Hamas rejected. In addition, the statement said, Hamas even fired rockets during the Thursday's five-hour humanitarian cease-fire.
“In light of Hamas' continuous criminal aggression, and the dangerous infiltration into Israeli territory, Israel is obligated to act in defense of its citizens,” the statement said.
The statement said that Operation Protective Edge, now in its 10th day, will continue until its goals are reached: restoring quiet for an extended period of time,and delivering a significant blow to Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza.
Prior to the commencement of the ground invasion, the IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night.
The ground invasion comes hours after a Hamas assault squad of thirteen highly armed terrorists attempted to carry out a massacre of civilians at Kibbutz Sufa, near the border, before being blocked by the IDF.
Infantry, Armored Corps, Engineering Corps, artillery, and intelligence units are taking over various areas in Gaza, and are all working with one another and the air force. They are operating in northern, central, and southern Gaza, where Hamas has dug an extensive terrorist tunnel network.
The IDF's Southern Command is overseeing the ground offensive.
July 17th, 2014
KIEV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian official said a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country.
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.
Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed that it “has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.
According to Wikipedia, the Buk missile launcher was developed by the Russian Federation, as follows:
The Buk missile system (Russian: "Бук"; beech, /bʊk/ book) is a family of self-propelled, medium-rangesurface-to-air missile systems developed by the former Soviet Union and Russian Federation and designed to engage cruise missiles, smart bombs, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Buk missile system is the successor to the NIIP/Vympel 2K12 Kub (NATO reporting name SA-6 "Gainful").The first version of Buk adopted into service carried the GRAU designation 9K37 and was identified in the west with the NATO reporting name "Gadfly" as well as the US Department of Defense designation SA-11. Since its initial introduction into service the Buk missile system has been continually upgraded and refined. With the integration of a new missile the Buk-M1-2 and Buk-M2 systems also received a new NATO reporting name Grizzly and a new DoD designation SA-17. The latest incarnation "Buk-M3" is scheduled for production.
A naval version of the system, designed by MNIIRE Altair (currently part of GSKB Almaz-Antey) for the Russian Navy, according to Jane's Missiles & Rockets, received the GRAU designation 3S90M1 and will be identified with the NATO reporting name Gollum and a DoD designation SA-N-7C. The naval system is scheduled for delivery in 2014.
Update at 3:43 pm from Fox News
The Boeing 777 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam was shot down at cruising altitude about 35 miles from the border, according to Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister. He said all 280 passengers and 15 crew members were killed. A Reuters correspondent near the scene reported seeing burning wreckage and bodies strewn across a nine-mile debris field. A Ukrainian Emergency official told the news agency body parts and at least 100 bodies were seen in the area.
"It wasn't the separatists, although Russia will try to blame them, or blame the Ukrainians."
- Retired Army Lt. Col Ralph Peters
The flight manifest reportedly included the names of 23 Americans, though State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing Thursday, "we don't have any additional details at this point on American citizens" aboard the plane.
"Obviously, we're seeking that information as we speak," Psaki said.
An AFP journalist at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport – where the plane had taken off -- said distraught family members were in tears, according to The Telegraph.
The incident touched off immediate finger-pointing between Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government. Eastern Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai told Reuters that Ukrainian military forces shot the jet down, but Kiev denied involvement and labeled the incident a "terrorist act."
"The President of Ukraine on behalf of the State expresses its deepest and most sincere condolences to the families and relatives of those killed in this terrible tragedy," said a statement released by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's office. "Every possible search and rescue effort is being made."
Separatist groups reportedly blocked Ukrainian officials from the scene, and later said the "black box," or flight data recorder, had been sent to Moscow.
KT McFarland, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, and a Fox News national security analyst said the attack was most likely the work of Russian separatists, not the Russian or Ukrainian armies.
“I think it’s far more likely it was rebel forces in eastern Ukraine trying to get the Russian back involved," McFarland said.
But retired Army Lt. Col Ralph Peters, also a Fox News contributor, said it is unlikely the Russian military would have put missile batteries capable of knocking a plane out of the sky at such an altitude in the hands of rebels.
"It wasn't the separatists, although Russia will try to blame them, or blame the Ukrainians," Peters said. "The Russians have not given the separatists complex, high-altitude air-defense systems. If this airliner was flying at 34,000 feet or any altitude close to that, it was shot down by Russian military air-defense systems perched on the Ukrainian border."
July 15th, 2014
- Enormous crater appears suddenly in part of Russia whose name translates as 'the end of the world'
- Teams of scientists are rushing east to fathom the cause of this unusual - and rare - geographical occurrence
- One especially outlandish theory talks about a UFO landing as a possible cause of this colossal chasm in the earth
An urgent expedition will leaves tomorrow to probe a giant crater that has appeared in gas-rich northern Siberia.
Extraordinary aerial images show a mysterious hole which experts say may be up to 262 feet wide, in the Yamal Peninsula of northern Russia.
'A scientific team has been sent to investigate the hole and is due to arrive at the scene on Wednesday,' The Siberian Times has reported.
The cause of the hole's sudden appearance in Yamal - which translates as 'the end of the world' - in the far north of Siberia is not yet known.
There has been web speculation about the crater indicating 'the arrival of a UFO craft'.
But one Russian expert says the cause is more likely to be global warming releasing gases under the surface, which then explode like a champagne cork.
Experts say that the darkening around the inner rim of the crater indicates 'severe burning' which scorched its edges.
Another theory is that the hole was formed by a meteorite striking this lonely spot in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, some 20 miles from the Bovanenkovo gas field.
'There is agreement that soil around the hole was thrown out of the crater, large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into it,' The Siberian Times reported - before adding 'not that they have.'
The expedition organised by the Yamal authorities includes experts from Russia's Centre for the Study of the Arctic, and also the Cryosphere Institute of the Academy of Sciences.
Global warming may have caused an 'alarming' melt in the under-soil ice, released gas and causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, Ms Kurchatova suggests.
Yamal, a large peninsula jutting into Arctic waters, is Russia's main production area for gas supplied to Europe.
Related at CR:
July 15th, 2014
NewsMax / Allen West
My older brother served in Vietnam and needless to say, his return home from the combat zone was hardly celebrated. I remember him hanging up his Marine Class Alphas, the green uniform, way back in the closet. I used to take it out and look at it, dreaming of the day when I could possibly wear a military uniform. Today we take the time to express our gratitude to our combat veterans, but as you look at this video, remember, it is never too late.
When you see a Vietnam veteran, look them in the eye, and simply say, “Welcome home.” Those were the two words many of them never heard years ago. Have your moment of truth.
Welcome home, brothers and sisters!