is turning out about as you’d expect
Libya has descended into its deadliest fighting since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi, pushing the country to the brink of collapse and creating a “giant black hole for security” in the region, experts warn.
Nearly 100 people have been killed, 400 others wounded, and much of the main airport has been destroyed in the recent battles that have gripped key cities. Violence has spiraled amid a power vacuum left by the removal of longtime dictator Gadhafi, with many placing the blame on shifting Western priorities.
…At the time, President Barack Obama hailed Gadhafi’s ouster as “the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya.”
Chris Stevens was unavailable for comment.
…when there are no voices left to be raised?
Iraq’s Christians are begging the world for help. Is anybody listening?
Since capturing the country’s second largest city of Mosul in early June, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered Christians to convert to Islam, pay jizya taxes levied on non-Muslims, or die. The extremist Sunni group is also persecuting and murdering Turkmen and Shabaks, both Muslim religious minorities.
Human rights lawyer Nina Shea described the horror in Mosul to me: “(ISIS) took the Christians’ houses, took the cars they were driving to leave. They took all their money. One old woman had her life savings of $40,000, and she said, ‘Can I please have 100 dollars?’, and they said no. They took wedding rings off fingers, chopping off fingers if they couldn’t get the ring off.”
…For the first time in 2,000 years, Mosul is devoid of Christians.
“This is ancient Nineveh we are talking about,” Shea explained. “They took down all the crosses. They blew up the tomb of the prophet Jonah. An orthodox Cathedral has been turned into a mosque. They are uprooting every vestige of Christianity.” University of Mosul professor Mahmoud Al ‘Asali, a Muslim, bravely spoke out against ISIS’ purging of Christians and was executed.
But it’s Christians, so…meh.
“Default is not mine” says Cristina
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina risks financial default unless it reaches an agreement with a group of holdout bondholders by Wednesday. Here are the issues at stake:
In 1998, Argentina fell into recession and faced crushing payments on its international debt. As it tried to avoid default in 2001, it arranged a “debt swap,” asking investors to trade in bonds coming due for longer-term ones. The swap, however, failed to resolve Argentina’s troubles. In December 2001, the country declared it would stop making payments on about $100 billion of debt.
Argentina’s government lined up two more swaps in 2005 and 2010, offering existing creditors new bonds worth much less than the old ones. Critics described Argentina’s negotiating style as “take it or leave it.” Most investors accepted — something is better than nothing — and traded in roughly 93 percent of the defaulted bonds.
Hedge funds began buying Argentina’s bonds as the country slid into crisis and kept adding to their holdings after it defaulted. Some, like NML Capital, refused to participate in the exchanges and held out for a better deal.
These holdouts then turned to U.S. courts, seeking to force Argentina to pay up under terms agreed to when the bonds were first sold, before 2001.
Argentina’s government demonizes the investors as “vulture funds.” ”The vultures feed on carrion, and these fund groups are circling around countries in default or close to default,” said Matthias Carugati of the Management & Fit consulting firm in Buenos Aires.
At least two of these groups are in litigation with Argentina: Billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital Ltd., and Aurelius Capital Management.
HOW MUCH DOES ARGENTINA OWE?
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan ruled in 2012 that the creditors who rejected Argentina’s earlier debt-swap offers deserved to be paid in full — a figure he put at $1.33 billion. With interest, that amount has risen to about $1.5 billion. The creditors say they are due $1.6 billion.
In this puffed-up bubble of a global economy it will be ‘interesting’ to see what happens if both Argentina and Espirito Santo default at the same time.
…it just confirms what we already knew about the President. But it still makes me squirm in embarrassment and disgust, like I just overheard a snot-nosed punk talking down to a vet on the street.
Come to think of it, that’s exactly what happened…
In Leaked Tape, Hostile Obama Tries to Force PM to Accept Truce
US president markedly unfriendly, interrupted prime minister as he attempted to push unfavorable truce on Israel.
Damning evidence has emerged of US President Barack Obama’s dismissal of Israel’s position in favor of supporting the position of Hamas and its allies during ceasefire talks.
A “senior US official” leaked an audio recording of a telephone conversation between Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Channel One. In it the 35-minute conversation, which took place on Sunday, the US President appears downright hostile at points, and even cuts off Netanyahu in the middle of his protestations over a one-sided truce proposal which would have seen Hamas receive all its key demands, but that Israel ultimately rejected.
Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities – particularly airstrikes.
Netanyahu: What will Israel receive in return for a ceasefire?
Obama: I believe that Hamas will stop firing rockets – silence will be met with silence.
Netanyahu: Hamas violated all five previous ceasefires, it is a terrorist organization which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
Obama: I repeat and expect Israel to unilaterally stop all its military activity. The pictures of destruction from Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.
Netanyahu: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas the military and diplomatic advantage.
Obama: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas on the basis of the 2012 understanding [following the end of Operation Pillar of Defense – ed.], including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza,
Netanyahu: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It is impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
Obama: I trust Qatar and Turkey, and Israel is in no position to choose its mediators.
Netanyahu: I object, because Hamas is able to continue and to fire rockets and to use tunnels for terror attacks…
Obama – interrupts Netanyahu mid-sentence: The ball is in Israel’s court – it is obligated to end all military activities.
ths update: Whole lotta “It’s a fake! It’s a fake!” going around, with a healthy shake of “But…” on top. Could well be, as Allah speculates, SOMETHING got said, translated, re-translated and then again. I like that theory.
With some pretty interesting points to make.
Hillary Clinton: Hamas Uses Human Shields Because ‘Gaza is Pretty Small’
…In an interview with Fusion TV, Clinton said
“Hamas puts its missiles, its rockets in civilian areas; part of it is because Gaza is pretty small and it’s densely populated.”
I know what’s “pretty small” and it AIN’T Gaza…
…and sick. Just SICK.
— Andrew Stiles (@AndrewStilesUSA) July 29, 2014
— tree hugging sister (@treehuggingsis) July 29, 2014
y’all can thank me later.
And I really hope you win.
…if they’re gonna mess up your toney Cape Cod “experience”.
‘Send Them Back’: Wealthy Cape Cod Town Rejects Plan to House Immigrant Children
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has answered the call to shelter immigrant children, but Cape Cod residents aren’t having it.
Last week, the Democratic governor announced his offer to house up to 1,000 children at Camp Edwards military base on Cape Cod. Concerned for the children’s wellbeing, Patrick declared, “I think we are the kind of country and the kind of Commonwealth who can step up.”
The town of Bourne disagrees.
A wealthy and historic community at the mouth of Cape Cod, Bourne traditionally attracts vacationers and tourists, not refugees. Residents fear the influx of migrant children could change this forever.
And I have no problem with it at all, as long as the exact same answer from, say, Chumuckla is greeted with the exact same deference and respect for the right to scream “NIMBY”, regardless of social station, ZIP OR voting card.
Sorry for the lack of production.
…since Cover Oregon’s tweeting birds, mewling Kiera Knightly look-alike and rabid raccoons attempted to convince people in that state that Obamacare was tha bomb. It’s SO bad, I am inspired enough to be dusting off my vintage, late 1960’s Yamaha six-string and resurrecting my black marble composition book of pre-teen, hand-scribbled warbles/romantic lamentations (streaked by AUTHENTIC pubescent tears) for a shot at YouTube fame. Stand by, ‘Merica. It’s gonna be GOOD…
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: In the meantime, don’t eat before you watch.
…check just for spelling…
BREAKING: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash lands in Eindhoven.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 23, 2014
Somebody needs a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves…
Even with massive, rampant fraud they still couldn’t meet their enrollment targets
Eleven out of 12 fake applications for government-subsidized health insurance got through a verification process and the bogus beneficiaries are still covered, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday.
The GAO launched the sting to check to see how well the Obamacare process checks for counterfeit applications. The results were messy, GAO’s Seto Bagdoyan says in testimony prepared for a hearing Wednesday of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.
“The federal marketplace approved coverage for 11 of our 12 fictitious applicants who initially applied online, or by telephone,” Bagdoyan, who directs GAO’s Forensic Audits and Investigative Service, said in testimony obtained by NBC News.
I for one am comforted that these poor fictitious folks are still covered.
Worse and worse each day, actually
In a potentially crippling blow to Obamacare, a top federal appeals court Tuesday said that billions of dollars worth of government subsidies that helped 4.7 million people buy insurance on HealthCare.gov are not legal under the Affordable Care Act.
In its decision, a three-judge panel said that such subsidies can be granted only to people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia — not on the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov. Plaintiffs in the case known as Halbig v. Burwell argued that the ACA, as written, only allows that often-significant financial aid to be issued to people who bought insurance on a marketplace set up by a state.
The decision is certain to be challenged by the Obama Administration, and does not immediately have the effect of law. But if it is ultimately upheld, it would cause insurance rates for those people who lost the subsidies to dramatically rise.
HealthCare.gov serves residents of the 36 states that did not create their own health insurance marketplace. About 86 percent of its 5.45 million customers received a subsidy to offset the cost of their coverage this year because they had low or moderate incomes.
This shows again and again the hubris and arrogance of the Democrats in Congress, who continually insisted that they knew best (in their Super Genius way) and continually derided both the intelligence and motives of any and all who dared to question or disagree with their ideas. And so by allowing no debate on the specific details of this bill and thus eliminating any chance of free editing and logical review by their opponents they ended up “crafting” this monstrosity of complication and contradiction, and they own it.
And thank god we still have a few judges who hold the government to the laws as they are actually written, not as they “meant’ to write them.
— Steve Ganyard (@SteveGanyard) July 21, 2014
James Garner has died
NEW YORK (AP) — Few actors could register disbelief, exasperation or annoyance with more comic subtlety.
James Garner had a way of widening his eyes while the corner of his mouth sagged ever so slightly. Maybe he would swallow once to further make his point.
This portrait of fleeting disquiet could be understood, and identified with, by every member of the audience. Never mind Garner was tall, brawny and, well, movie-star handsome. The persona he perfected was never less than manly, good with his dukes and charming to the ladies, but his heroics were kept human-scale thanks to his gift for the comic turn. He remained one of the people.
He burst on the scene with this disarming style in the 1950s TV Western “Maverick,” which led to a stellar career in TV and films such as “The Rockford Files” and his Oscar-nominated “Murphy’s Romance.”
The 86-year-old Garner, who was found dead of natural causes at his Los Angeles home on Saturday, was adept at drama and action. But he was best known for his low-key, wisecracking style, especially on his hit TV series, “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files.”
One of the few shows I watched constantly.
Video shows organized raid on US Mexico border
The inference that Senator Paul’s major foreign policy mistake is that he’s against non-Congress sanctioned engagements is ignorant; purposefully or otherwise. One need only read the differences between his 2013 Platform to Revitalize America and the 2014 version to watch him stumble left and right on that issue, military funding as well, which still doesn’t show the issue that is Paul’s primary foreign policy flaw.
Sen. Paul, like his father, has been talking about downgrading, severely, the American presence overseas, all the while using our “strike anywhere” capabilities and prior demobilizations as primary premises for that debate. Unfortunately for Paul, that argument is innately fallacious: fast response with sufficient military assets is directly linked to a logistical supply chain that would evaporate with the degradation of forward bases throughout the world, both on allied and US territories. Sen. Paul seems to forget that there is a necessary logistical supply chain allowing these activities to occur. A prime reference for this was the materiel movement issues in the early years of Afghanistan for resupply, as our limited basing and restrictive airspaces of neighboring countries not favorable to the US put significant squeeze on the ability to project power into the area in the short term. His continuing wish to “scale back”, seeming code for “largely remove”, foreign allied or “friendly” operations would exponentially compound the initial supply difficulties in Afghanistan to worldwide dilemma at a near exponential level, instead of a limited AOR issue.
The prior demobilizations, which Paul references repeatedly as a defense of his projected cuts, then oddly removed in 2014, resulted in training surges that left troops poorly fitted and prepared for mobilization in a conventional conflict. Spin up time was something the United States could afford when crossing international distances required quite a bit of time, like WWII and even into Vietnam. With increasing technological reliance, spin up time on the materiel end is increasing, rather than decreasing in time on the general scale; concurrent with troop and operator training. Scaling back on defense purchases would further increase both R&D and line production for the weapon systems, EO targeting, etc necessary for the modern warfighter. Sen. Paul also has a huge issue in that he tries to argue the military budget, ignoring that he calls for cuts in 2013 PRA, then argues for restoration of sequestered funds under the guise that they will now “keep the military complex of yesterday in check.” I’m personally left questioning how removing funds, then returning funds, keeps anything “in check”.
“The budget adds back more than $126 billion to defense, above the sequester amount, but it continues to keep the large military complex of yesterday in check…”
Sen. Paul, A Clear Vision to Revitalize America, http://www.paul.senate.gov/files/documents/FY2014Budget.pdf
Statements like these would rapidly raise eyebrows with our Marines serving at embassies, as their sole detail is not simply to secure TS documents and HDs. The entire detail does not simply fall in for destruction or securing of classified materials. The reasoning is simple: if you’re under attack, collecting documents without overwatch gets everyone killed. To quote the MSESG Mission Statement:
” The primary mission of the Marine Security Guard (MSG) is to provide internal security at designated U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities in order to prevent the compromise of classified material vital to the national security of the United States. The secondary mission of the MSG is to provide protection for U.S. citizens and U.S government property located within designated U.S. diplomatic and consular premises during exigent circumstances (urgent temporary circumstances which require immediate aid or action).”
The inane exercise of cross-analyzing the US military budget against the Chinese and broadly declaring the US budget is six times the size shows a callous misunderstanding of military funding. A simple example is the fact that the Chinese can more cheaply produce arms, due to state manufacturing infrastructure and lower pay, while paying a 3M strong active military force far less per capita than the US due to lower standards of living. Further, and more disturbing, is the fact that he makes an apples to apples comparison based on gross expenditure, while the Chinese budget does not cover R&D, acquisitions, their 1M strong paramilitary units and other huge categories of military expenditure.
As for the WMD bit, we found plenty of things in Iraq, simply no nuclear material. That is readily glossed over along with little to no interdiction on routes into and out of Syria, which we know were being used both during and after the buildup by our forces.
There are considerable other issues in his 2013/2014 documents alone, on the foreign policy front, but I’ve typed too long for my comfort.
Ebola on July 18, 2014 at 5:29 AM
…and not about peanut butter.
VIDEO: The Obama-Loving Teachers Unions Will HATE Deion Sanders After They See This
Proponents for school choice in America just got a huge ally and magnanimous voice to help in the quest to put the power of education back in the hands of parents, not teachers’ unions. NFL legend and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is a “Champions for Choice in Education” spokesperson. He is featured in a new public service announcement called “Educational Choice Now.” Along with other notable celebrities as the WNBA’s Lisa Leslie, the NBA’s Jalen Rose, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Lou Gossett, Jr., Vivica Fox, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Laila Ali, Mary Millben, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Christian artists “Mary, Mary,” Sanders is taking a stand alongside the American Federation for children and the Alliance for School Choice.
…before the morning edition of the WaPo hit Barack’s desk.
ABC: White House Appeared ‘Blindsided’ by Israeli Invasion of Gaza