Krauthammer: The Emerging Iranian Empire (5)

Tehran’s growing hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies in the Middle East.

While Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb has provoked a major clash between the White House and Congress, Iran’s march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked. In Washington, that is. The Arabs have noticed. And the pro-American ones, the Gulf Arabs in particular, are deeply worried.

This week, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized control of the Yemeni government, heretofore pro-American. In September, they overran Sanaa, the capital. On Tuesday, they seized the presidential palace. On Thursday, they forced the president to resign.

The Houthi have local religious grievances, being Shiites in a majority Sunni land. But they are also agents of Shiite Iran, which arms, trains, and advises them. Their slogan — “God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel” — could have been written in Persian.

Why should we care about the coup? First, because we depend on Yemen’s government to support our drone war against another local menace, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It’s not clear if we can even maintain our embassy in Yemen, let alone conduct operations against AQAP. And second, because growing Iranian hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies and interests in the entire Middle East.

[More]

See Also:

#1 — Saudi King Abdullah passes away

#2 — The Next King of the Saudis: Salman, the Family Sheriff

#3 — Yemen’s turmoil exposes Mr. Obama’s crumbling ‘partners’ strategy

#4 — Fox: Abdullah’s Death, Yemen Chaos Raise Mideast Threat

Watch!

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Afternoon Update January 23rd, 2015 (10)

CANADA

#1 — CNews | If ISIS terrorists fire on Canadian troops, ‘we’ll kill them': Harper

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it clear that if ISIS terrorists fire at Canadian troops, “we’re going to kill them.”

[…]

#2 — CTV | Winnipeg mayor gets choked up after magazine calls city ‘Canada’s most racist’

After a national magazine said that Winnipeg is “arguably Canada’s most racist city,” its mayor is promising to address the problem.

[…]

#3 — Globe | Harper says there’s more to the Canadian economy than oil

Stephen Harper is playing down the impact of energy on the overall Canadian economy, noting that other sectors will help keep growth strong during hard times for the oil patch.

[…]

#4 — Postmedia | New Canadian warships to be built over 30 years

Canada’s new warships will be designed and built over 30 years – a period requiring the government and its contractor to foresee changes in the economy, the threats the country faces and improvements in naval technology if they are going to be successful, according to documents obtained by the Citizen.

[…]

#5 — Sun | Regimental funeral for slain RCMP officer to be held Monday

EDMONTON — The regimental funeral for RCMP officer David Wynn, who died after being shot at a casino in St. Albert, Alta., on Saturday, will be held Monday.

[…]

WORLD

#6 — BBC | Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz dies

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was the fifth of his brothers to take the throne and became king in 2005, reports Caroline Hawley

[…]

#7 — CNN | Two more bodies retrieved from burned Annapolis mansion

(CNN) — Two more bodies were retrieved Thursday from the ruins of a burned Maryland mansion, where six people are thought to have died. Relatives of the family released the names of the four youngest victims, authorities said.

[…]

#8 — Fox | GOP lawmakers face pressure from base to target ObamaCare – or else

WASHINGTON – Republican lawmakers are facing rising pressure from conservative groups and activists to go big – or potentially go home – in their fight against ObamaCare.

[…]

#9 — DM | Doomsday Clock reads 11.57

The Doomsday Clock’s minute hand has been moved two minutes closer to midnight as experts warn we are closer than ever to a global catastrophe.

[…]

#10 — WT | Benghazi branch of central bank seized by Islamic fighters; almost $100B inside

Libyan fighters are sitting on almost $100 billion in oil revenue and foreign currency after seizing control of the Benghazi branch of the country’s central bank.

[…]

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McInstry: A vote for EU exit that will cause alarm in Brussels (10)

JOHN MAJOR, the former Tory Prime Minister, and Vince Cable, the current Business Secretary, were both born in 1943.

That is not all they have in common.

They both see themselves as the reassuring voices of political moderation.

Yet in reality they are the miserable clones of the pro-European establishment, spouting the language of surrender to Brussels, dressed up as “common sense”.

In keeping with their disdain for our true national interests, both of them have been sneering this week at Euroscepticism while peddling the usual mix of deceit, delusion and defeatism that characterises pro-EU propaganda.

Major, who in 1997 presided over the Conservatives’ biggest defeat of modern times, gave an interview in which he claimed that the mood of the British public is now “more European” and that the case for remaining under the rule of Brussels “is more attractive than the negativism of anti- European sentiment.”

In the same vein, Vince Cable told a gathering of European policy-makers that a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU would be “dangerous” and “utterly unrealistic”, remarks that hardly show much faith in the capacity of our people to govern ourselves.

Major and Cable couldn’t be more wrong-headed.

[“Heh!”]

See Also:

#1 — Yes, the Greens Are a Joke – But Not a Funny or Harmless One

#2 — Cameron flies to Scotland to meet Sturgeon after row erupts

#3 — ECB unveils landmark trillion-euro stimulus

#4 — Merkel praises EU, criticizes Russia at Davos

#5 — IMF says it will stay engaged with any Greek government

Afternoon Update:

#6 — Can Syriza reduce Europe’s debt?

#7 — Stock markets rally, euro hits lowest level against dollar in 11 years after ECB plan

#8 — Greek Elections 2015 | LIVE

#9 — ECB pulls QE trigger on deflation

#10 — EU wants internet firms to hand over encryption keys

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O’Reilly: Honesty and Islamic Terror

As any recovering alcoholic or drug addict will tell you, the first step on the road to sobriety is honesty. It can be excruciatingly difficult, but it’s essential to admit your problem.

The same is true in politics and punditry.

As just one example, those of us who supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq should now admit that it was not wise to fight two wars at once, and that we misjudged the tenacity of the resistance.

Now, a dozen years later, we are faced with a truly bizarre situation in which an entire administration dishonestly refuses to acknowledge the danger of Islamist terrorism, and can’t even utter the word “Islamic.” Earlier this week Martha MacCallum pressed State Department spokesperson Marie Harf about the weird determination to avoid calling Islamic terror by its name. “We’re going to focus on all the different kinds of extremism,” Harf replied. What on earth is she talking about? Presbyterian extremism?

It has become very clear to any fair-minded American that there is something sorely wrong with the Obama team’s view of the threat from radicalized Muslims. From the moment the president took office, there has been a child-like view that certain words, even certain thoughts, must be avoided at all costs. As if that will make the hate-filled jihadists eventually like us.

[More]

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Johnson: The Attkisson File

The reporter’s computer was hacked, possibly by the feds, but the DOJ and the media turn a blind eye.

Sharyl Attkisson was one of the most distinguished investigative journalists in television news, covering everything from the dangers of certain prescription drugs to mismanagement at the Red Cross to TARP to K Street. Over a career that spanned more than 20 years at CBS News, she received numerous awards for her work, including multiple Emmys.

In her memoir Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington, Attkisson looks back on the final years of her network career. One concludes from her book that Attkisson encountered more difficulty practicing her profession at CBS News during Obama’s tenure than at any other time. She reached an agreement for her departure from CBS News in March 2014, well before her contract was to expire.

The book’s subtitle refers to the difficulties Attkisson encountered in “Obama’s Washington.” The term is in part a euphemism for the Obama administration, but it also reflects the support for the administration within CBS News. The head of CBS News is David Rhodes, brother of Obama national-security adviser Ben Rhodes.

[More]

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Income splitting not passed in legislation but Canadians eligible to claim it when filing taxes this year

‘It is the CRA’s longstanding practice to ask taxpayers to file on the basis of proposed legislation,’ says Canada Revenue Agency.

PARLIAMENT HILL—A Commons vote on legislation to implement legislation for a controversial government plan for an income-splitting “family tax cut” has not yet taken place and might not until after the April 30 filing deadline for 2014 income tax returns, but the Canada Revenue Agency has already included the provision in its online and printed tax forms for the year.

A spokesperson for the agency told The Hill Times forms and schedules to claim the tax break was included because of longstanding protocol that allows the agency to incorporate tax changes once the government presents legislation it plans to use to implement measures.

But, even though the government moved and passed notice of a “ways and means motion” last November containing the proposed changes to the Income Tax Act, it has not yet tabled and moved the legislation contained in the motion, which would normally follow passage of a budget.

A Commons procedural expert, former senior committee clerk Thomas Hall, told The Hill Times, however, that the legislation could be moved and passed by the government at any time in the Commons, which is currently in a winter recess that ends next Monday.

[More]

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Hepburn: Toronto’s Bogey Man Hangs In

Let’s be clear right from the start — Rob Ford and John Tory aren’t friends now, never were and likely never will be.

Their distaste for each other was on full display during much of last year’s mayoral campaign before Ford was forced to drop out barely two months before voting day to battle cancer.

But now, with Tory’s mayoral tenure barely 50 days old, it’s become obvious that their mutual dislike will play a critical role in Toronto politics over the coming months and likely right up to the 2018 mayoral election.

That’s because — like it or not — Rob Ford’s back and itching for a fight.

[More]

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Justin Trudeau: federal government must support auto industry ?? (1)

Justin Trudeau knows his audience.

The Liberal leader took to the Ciociaro Club stage Wednesday night and seized on a longstanding Windsor inferiority complex that politicians believe the province ends in London.

The speech in front of hundreds of supporters echoed his earlier comments during a meeting with Mayor Drew Dilkens. He said the federal government should help more with the struggling auto and manufacturing sector.

“As we look at what manufacturers and the auto industry are looking for, whether it be qualified workers or infrastructure support and a positive climate for making investments, the federal government absolutely has a role to play on that,” Trudeau told reporters after a half-hour meeting in the Windsor mayor’s office. “We’re facing a real challenge right now in the community because the prime minister put all his eggs in one basket — and with the falling prices of oil he’s now having to make it up as he goes along.”

[More]

See Also:

#1 — Trudeau says southwestern Ontario must ditch manufacturing

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Hall: The ‘Obama Debt’ in Context

On the day that President Obama took office in 2009, the Debt Held by the Public was $6.3T. On January 2, 2015 that debt was in excess of $13T. So during the first six years of the Obama presidency the hard debt of the federal government more than doubled.

One way to look at the immensity of the debt under Obama is this: the number of dollars that the publically-held debt grew by during first six years of the Obama presidency (6.7T) is more than the number of days since the advent of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, which is 5.037T.

The U.S. Treasury would need to collect about $1.33 for each and every day since the Dawn of Time to be able to pay off the hard debt racked up in just the last six years. A buck-thirty-three a day may not strike one as a lot of money, it’s considerably less than what some folks pay for their daily latte, but the payment schedule would be spread out over “eternity.”

[Interesting Read]

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Blatchford: Bewildering how no one ever even considered keeping Shawn Maxwell Rehn in jail

It was by just about any measure the sloppiest bail hearing imaginable, where the key participants in the justice system appeared to be merely going through the motions.

Shawn Maxwell Rehn, who killed himself after shooting two RCMP officers last weekend — one, Const. David Wynn, died in hospital of a gunshot wound to the head Wednesday morning — was making his first appearance in Alberta provincial court in Edmonton on Sept. 4 last year.

Rehn, who had just turned 34, was arrested the day before on a whole raft of new charges, and there were also outstanding warrants for his arrest on seven other criminal charges in the Redwater/Fort Saskatchewan area, northeast of the capital.

None of these were trifling matters.

[More]

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Morning Update January 23rd, 2015 (10)

CANADA

#1 — CNews | Kathleen Wynne ranks low for fiscal prowess

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has emerged near the bottom of a Fraser Institute ranking of premiers based on fiscal prowess.

[…]

#2 — CTV | ‘Not surprised’ by rate cut, Oliver sticks with balanced budget promise

DAVOS, Switzerland — Finance Minister Joe Oliver says he will not budge from his plan to deliver a balanced budget come April, even with the recent decline in crude oil prices.

[…]

#3 — Globe | Role of Canadian special forces in Iraq has ‘evolved,’ top general says

Canada’s top military commander has taken the unusual step of trying to clear up an apparent contradiction about when special forces began directing air strikes in Iraq.

[…]

#4 — Postmedia | Farmers feel trapped by government red tape: CFIB

REGINA — The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says one-third of its farmer-members are so “burnt out” by government regulations they’d tell their kids to stay out of that business.

[…]

#5 — Sun | Hillary finds common ground with Winnipeg, Canada

WINNIPEG – The possible next U.S. president visited to talk terrorism, trade and grandchildren in a rousing speech at the RBC Convention Centre on Wednesday.

[…]

WORLD

#6 — BBC | Argentine leader convinced Nisman death was no suicide

Argentine leader Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner says she is convinced the death of top Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was not suicide.

[…]

#7 — CNN | Hundreds left homeless in massive apartment fire in New Jersey

(CNN)– A massive fire at a New Jersey midrise consumed 240 apartments and permanently displaced up to 500 residents, according to Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland.

[…]

#8 — Fox | FBI: NY Assembly speaker arrested on corruption charges

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested Thursday on public corruption charges and accused of using his position as one of the most powerful men in Albany to obtain millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.

[…]

#9 — DM | When USBs attack

Leaked documents from the NSA recently revealed a covert USB stick that could be used to target secure, offline networks.

But the device costs a staggering $20,000 (£13,200).

Now, a team of hackers has created its own version of the surveillance kit using a cheap circuit board and other parts that total just $20 (£13).

[…]

#10 — WT | Obama assails Supreme Court

A day after snubbing liberal activists who were pushing for tougher campaign-finance regulations, President Obama took a swipe at the Supreme Court Wednesday for its “wrong” ruling five years ago on the issue.

[…]

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