Failures Of Obama Foreign Policy Not Confined Only To Russia, Ukraine: US Failures Also Leading To ggressive Russian Moves In Latin America

Failures Of Obama Foreign Policy Not Confined Only To Russia, Ukraine: US Failures Also Leading To ggressive Russian Moves In Latin America

Putin and Russia are on the march. Do not let anyone tell you differently. Remember that Vladimir Putin grew up in the shadow of Russian and Soviet Communism. He is still a throwback to a bygone era. The problem is that he sees the break up of the old Soviet Union as a horrible consequence of the West and their attempts to force Russia into a weak position. He does not want to repeat that. In fact, he intends to work on re-unifying the old Soviet Union.

I have said this before. We have already seen him make a start of this back in 2008 with the invasion of Georgia (another former Soviet Republic) and parts of the Caucuses region. Now we are seeing him move into Ukraine. Chances are he will likely take all of the eastern half of the country, unless the West can come up with something that actually is effective. So far, neither Obama nor any of our European allies have been able…or willing to do what is really needed.

If you take a closer look at things, Putin is also projecting Russian power much closer to the US. Take a look at what is happening in Latin America these days. A number of military leaders point out the fact that Putin is trying to surround the US, like the Russians tried in the past. In fact, he is sending naval ships and long-range bombers to Latin America for the first time in years. The Russian defense minister has announced they are planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Just last week, Putin held a meeting with his hand-picked national security team to discuss increasing military ties with Latin America.

Even a number of US lawmakers have noticed this trend. Senator Joe Donnelly (Dem, IN) said at a Senate hearing that “they’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.” General James Kelly, who is the commander of the US Southern Command has also noted that there is a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America recently. This is the first time that we have such levels of Russian global power projection in three decades, since the Reagan era.

China has also been establishing a presence in the region. There has been an influx of Chinese capital that is being used to prop up Maduro as the leader in Venezuela. Before him, they were also helping to keep Chavez afloat. It would certainly seem that the old Communist goal of surrounding the US is still alive and well and being played out by China and Russia.

Part of the problem is that Obama has allowed all of this to happen on his watch. He has been too weak to really bother with paying much attention to Latin America as a whole. In fact, there are currently 10 countries in Latin America without a US Ambassador. This is due to the fact that they either have not yet been nominated or confirmed. This is certainly a very clear sign to Russia, China, and the rest of the world that this region continues to be seen by the US and Obama as a very low priority.

This is just another example of Obama’s weak, inept foreign policy. It almost seems like he feels too important to be bothered. If the US does not move quickly and decisively to correct this situation, it will become a major problem. We will lose the ability to influence developments in a region that is very important to us. Not to mention that it is close enough for Russia and China to conduct attacks on us and other regional allies.

What do YOU think? Are we ignoring Latin America due to Obama’s ineptness? How bad has Obama been in terms of his foreign policy? What should be done to correct the situation?

Issa tells Holder to give him information about Lois Lerner’s private DOJ interv

Issa tells Holder to give him information about Lois Lerner’s private DOJ interv

House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Darrell Issa has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to provide information about the interview ex-IRS official Lois Lerner gave to the Department of Justice (DOJ) about her role in the IRS targeting scandal.

Issa and Oversight member Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to Holder, obtained by The Daily Caller, requesting “All documents and communications referring or relating to the scope, timing, and scheduling of the DOJ’s interview of Lois Lerner” and “All documents and communications between or among the DOJ, or other federal law enforcement agencies, and Lois Lerner or her counsel referring or relating to immunity for Ms. Lerner.”

Issa and Jordan also asked Holder whether Lerner tried to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights during the interview with DOJ attorneys, and whether she refused to answer any questions.

TheDC reported a March 5 revelation by Lerner’s attorney Bill Taylor that the ex-IRS official gave a private “Q&A” with the DOJ that was not under oath.

“We haven’t heard anything back” from the DOJ regarding the meeting, Taylor said. “I don’t expect we will.”

Obama political donor Barbara Bosserman is leading the DOJ’s investigation, which has been roundly criticized by people close to the case.

“For over eight months, the Committee has sought to carry out its oversight obligations in concert with the Department of Justice’s law-enforcement duties,” wrote Issa and Jordan. “At every stage, the Department has refused to fully cooperate with the Committee.”

Rep. Jordan previously told TheDC that Oversight is “moving” toward holding Lerner in contempt after she refused to answer questions at a March 5 hearing. Though Democratic Oversight ranking member Elijah Cummings claimed that Issa could not hold Lerner in contempt, Issa shot back with a letter explaining exactly how Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and can still be held in contempt to compel her to testify.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/21/issa-tells-holder-to-give-him-information-about-lois-lerners-private-doj-interview/#ixzz2wdRiBYuE

​Malaysia flight riddle: How can a passenger plane go missing in the age of universal surveillance?

​Malaysia flight riddle: How can a passenger plane go missing in the age of universal surveillance?

Debris about 79 feet long has been spotted off the coast of Australia. Whether it belongs to missing Flight MH370 remains a mystery so far.

In the post-9/11 world, a jetliner with 239 people on board cannot simply “disappear,” not least because the American secret services have made universal surveillance the order of the day. And the longer the search continues, the more questions arise. Are the secret services indeed as powerful as they assure people?

CNN tried to allay the Americans’ concerns by showing them that the search area is way too vast and inviting them to lend a hand to the official investigation. But it didn’t work out.

No less than 26 countries, 43 ships, 58 planes, the FBI, Interpol, and special services are all looking for the missing Boeing – a situation which looks increasingly like a crime series.

Experts from China and Colorado reportedly found the debris but were told it didn’t belong to Flight MH370. Courtney Love (@Courtney) spotted what looked like a plane on the surface of the water, but her discovery was ridiculed as fantasy. The search operation looks more and more bizarre by the day, as the media portray it in an absurdist light, generating questions from the public.

The Malaysian PM posts regular updates on the missing plane search on his Facebook page. But what looks like a detailed report at first glance provides no proof and no results whatsoever, and now families of the Chinese passengers are threatening to go on hunger strike, unless the investigation comes up with some hard facts.

The hard facts

What have we learnt over the last few days? The plane set off on a regular flight from Malaysia to China on the morning of March 8, carrying 227 passengers and a crew of 12. One hundred and fifty-three passengers were Chinese, including a delegation of 19 well-known Chinese artists. Forty minutes into the flight, the aircraft disappeared from radar screens.

Fourteen minutes later, the pilot switched off all the identification and communication systems aboard.

“All right, roger that,” was the last message to be heard from the cockpit, but the media somehow transformed it into “All right, goodnight.”

A Reuters source says the tracking systems recorded the plane dropping from 10,000 to 3,500 meters. AP’s military source stated that the plane had changed direction by 110 degrees. Malaysian officials denied both assertions.

The public was also told that the plane had stayed in the air for four, maybe even eight more hours. In this time, it could have made it all the way to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Vietnam, Russia, or some ocean island. All states reported that the plane didn’t land on their territory.

Experts say that such a plane requires a 3.5 km long strip to land. So the theory that it flew to Taliban controlled tribal areas is not valid – there are no such landing strips there.

India was the only country to stop the search, but later resumed it. Everybody else, the public is told, is still searching.

Iranians?

A terrorist attack was the first theory. It was the working theory for several days, based on the fact that the two Iranian passengers (aged 18 and 29) on board had fake European passports.

They bought those passports in Thailand. At first, the media thought that Russians were behind the fake travel documents, but it was soon discovered that some man had stolen them, leaving his Russian girlfriend’s passport behind. Then the media reported that it was not his girlfriend, the Russian woman’s passport had also been stolen, and that its holder had filed a report with the police.

The Iranian terrorism theory was later denied, because the two illegal immigrants were trying to get to their relatives in Europe by flying through Beijing.

Americans?

Six days after the plane disappeared, The New York Times published an interesting blog entry.

Parliamentarian Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Policy Committee, wrote that there were no Iranian terrorists on board and accused the USA of hijacking the plane. He also accused the US of finding such questionable characters and using them to distract the media and blame everything on Muslim countries.

“Documents published by the Western media about two Iranians getting on the plane without passports is psychological warfare. Americans recruit some people for such kinds of operations so they can throw the blame on other countries, especially Muslim countries,” the Iranian diplomat said, as quoted by The New York Times.

Children write well-wishes on a banner for the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at a viewing gallery in Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 19, 2014.(Reuters / Edgar Su)
Children write well-wishes on a banner for the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at a viewing gallery in Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 19, 2014.(Reuters / Edgar Su)

Interestingly, no other media have quoted the Iranian diplomat. But somehow they stopped looking for the Iranian terrorists. There was some information about the 18-year-old Iranian and absolutely nothing about his 29-year-old friend. Ironically, American social media users expressed concern about the plane maybe flying to Vietnam. Israeli media promoted the idea of Iran and the Taliban being behind the possible terrorist attack.

Conspiracy?

The Malaysian PM thinks the whole incident was planned by some group.

Malaysian investigators ran a thorough check on the pilots. They searched the house of the 53-year-old captain. He had a flight simulator in his house and he also supported an opposition figure – a father of six, who was recently accused of homosexual relations.

The junior pilot apparently liked to flirt with female passengers, took pictures with them, and smoked in the cockpit. Police also found one of the girls he had flirted with. She saw their pictures together, remembered, and recognized him.

So the girl was found, but the jet is still at large.

Investigators found and restored deleted files on the pilot’s home flight simulator and discovered maps of four US bases. But none of them had a landing strip longer than 1 km.

English reason speaks out

After ten days of futile search by planes and ships, there was finally a voice of reason in the midst of all the media hype, calling on the capabilities of American intelligence services.

The Independent asked how, given 21st-century communication technology, a large passenger jet can simply vanish. Since every iPad and iPhone owner can get an app that allows them to trace their device if lost, it seems absurd that a £160m, 250-ton jet aircraft should be untraceable.

20 passengers from Freescale Semiconductor onboard

On March 14, The Epoch Times asked about the 20 employees from Freescale Semiconductor, who were on board of the plane.

The paper’s HQ is in New York, it is published in several languages and funds the Falun Gong group, which is outlawed in China.

The paper reminded us that the company’s technologies were used in the US mission to land a man on the moon, as well as the first two-way mobile radio that had a power supply and receiver for cars. However, there is no mention of the fact that the corporation split from Motorola and is now part of the Blackstone Group, which had acquired a mortgage for the World Trade Center.

The publication posted questions from its Facebook page: “Why were so many freescale employees traveling together? What were their jobs? Were they on a mission and if so what was this mission? Can these employees be the cause of the disappearance of this plane? Could the plane have been hijacked and these people kidnapped? Did these employees hold valuable information, and did they have any valuable cargo with them? Did they know company and technological secrets? With all the might of technology, why can’t this plane be located? Where is this plane where are these people?”

The corporation did not answer those questions and didn’t explain why 20 of its employees (12 from Malaysia and eight from China) were headed to Beijing. It only stated that there were no top managers among these people.

Deputy Commander of Vietnam 918 Air Brigade, Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Tri Thuc (R) looks for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, that disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, off Con Dao island March 12, 2014.(Reuters / Kham)
Deputy Commander of Vietnam 918 Air Brigade, Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Tri Thuc (R) looks for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, that disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, off Con Dao island March 12, 2014.(Reuters / Kham)

Lethal test flight?

Soon, social media began to discuss four particular employees.

Conspiracy theorists, whom we often consider crazy, were the first ones to bring them up.

But sometimes these groups can be helpful in clarifying certain things, although it is also true that some of their statements are simply absurd. Apparently four patent holders for a new technology – which could make the aircraft invisible – were on that plane.

According to the article, the company registered the patent on March 12. Four inventors and patent holders were on board:

Peid ong Wang, Suzhou, China, (20%)

Zhijun Chen, Suzhou, China, (20%)

Zhihong Cheng, Suzhou, China, (20%)

Li Ying, Suzhou, China, (20%)

Freescale Semiconductor, USA (20%)

Had the patent been registered on March 7, the individuals’ families would have inherited the shares, but now the company holds all the rights to the patent.

This information has been translated into many languages and is spreading through social media. Some even say that Israel may have been involved, or maybe the situation in Crimea is implicated somehow.

Military operation?

On March 9, a very interesting video investigation was posted on YouTube.

There is no mention of where the information came from, but it shows the movement of different planes over Malaysia on the night of March 7. The voiceover points out two planes, possibly military jets, moving faster than all civilian aircraft disappearing from the radar before our Boeing.

The search for the missing Boeing is somewhat reminiscent of the operation by the Boston police in their search for the two Chechens accused of the Boston Marathon bombing: lots of noise, lots of disinformation. And the older brother ended up dead, even though he was alive during the arrest. And nobody is explaining how it happened. The younger brother was shot in the neck, he appeared in court and pleaded innocent, but faces capital punishment charges. And nobody bothers to comment on the fact that the pictures that had been submitted as evidence were tampered with.

It’s probable that if an American plane disappeared in some part of the world, the US would claim special interests in that territory and take drastic action.

Whatever the results of the search are, many questions remain unanswered. Western intelligence services claim their satellites can read the newspaper held by anyone in any part of the world. They claim they can track down any criminal and that the massive spending on security doesn’t hurt the freedom of the people, but actually saves them. Those who oppose the practices say that we can all be tracked through our mobile phones and computers.

This story with the Malaysian Boeing can only mean two things: either US intelligence greatly overestimates their abilities, or they know what happened to the plane and are hiding the information from the public.

Pentagon database amasses millions of non-military police records

Pentagon database amasses millions of non-military police records

A rarely reported but highly extensive database managed by a Pentagon law enforcement agency that contains millions of details including criminal records and minor infractions alike is being called into question.

Although the Law Enforcement Information Exchange, or LInX, contains police records pertaining to run-of-the-mill 911 calls and even mere traffic citations, millions of these records concerning harmless civilian activity are stored in a system run by the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the primary law enforcement agency of the US Navy that’s headquartered at the Quantico, Virginia military base.

On Friday this week, an article published in the Washington Examiner by senior watchdog reporter Mark Flatten offered a detailed look at the database, and dared to ask questions about the sparsely discussed system amid growing concerns about government-sanctioned surveillance.

“Those fears are heightened by recent disclosures of theNational Security Agency spying on Americans, and the CIA allegedly spying on Congress,” Flatten wrote.

Unlike the NSA’s conduct or the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities, though, the LInX system is a US military operation. The NCIS got the initiative off the ground in 2003, and says on their website that it is “designed to enhance information sharing between local, state, and federal law enforcement in areas of strategic importance to the Department of the Navy.”

“LInX provides participating law enforcement partner agencies with secure access to regional crime and incident data and the tools needed to process it, enabling investigators to search across jurisdictional boundaries to help solve crimes and resolve suspicious events,” the website reads.

Indeed, a brochure available online from Northrup-Grumman — the military contractor who created the system — acknowledged that the info exchange was first launched in the Seattle, Washington metropolitan region, and has since spread to include other places near “bases of strategic importance.” In just over a decade, however, LInX managed to also garner the cooperation from more than 900 customer agencies over a large chunk of the United States, involving in all over 40,000 trained law enforcement users across almost entire states. The Examiner’s reporting suggests that the number of agencies involved now has surpassed 1,300, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement groups across the country have all signed on.

According to that brochure, 99.97 percent of the Commonwealth of Virginia is now covered through LInX, in turn allowing police officers conducting operations outside the Pentagon in Arlington or at the beach near Norfolk to share information with one another — and with the Navy.

But that intelligence isn’t necessarily limited to what everyone would agree is information pertaining to bases of strategic importance. Incident reports and citations make up 40 percent of the database’s contents when combined, and traffic details, arrest information, pawn shop receipts and warrant into is included as well.

“It gives me the willies,” Eugene Fidell, a military law professor at Yale, told the Washington Examiner.

“Clearly, it cannot be right that any part of the Navy is collecting traffic citation information,” Fidell said. “This sounds like something from a third-world country, where you have powerful military intelligence watching everybody.”

“The history of these programs is that they tend to metastasize and that there is mission creep that involves gathering far more information than is needed,” added Cato Institute vice president and Examiner columnist Gene Healy. “In general, what you see in these programs is they start out very narrow and they expand beyond the limits of their original logic. Repeatedly throughout American history, what starts small becomeslarger, more intrusive,more troubling,” he said.

Obamacare and Health Insurance Premiums: Have You Saved $2,500?

Obamacare and Health Insurance Premiums: Have You Saved $2,500?

President Obama recently admitted that Obamacare will cause some Americans to lose their doctors. Some have suggested that his promise “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” should be 2014’s “Lie of the Year.” But what about his promise that Obamacare would lower premiums by $2,500 per family?

As we—what’s the opposite of celebrate?—the fourth anniversary of Obamacare’s passage this weekend, Americans have already seen their premiums double or even triple. And premiums aren’t finished going up.

Next year’s rates won’t be released until this summer, but The Hill recently spoke to insurance company officials and got a frightful preview of where they’re headed. One “insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the Obamacare exchange.”

This year’s pricing in the new Obamacare exchanges raised premiums for people buying in the individual market in at least 42 states. >>>See how much their premiums went up, by state

But none of this has been a surprise to Heritage’s health care experts.

Back in 2010, Heritage experts said that “one of the major impacts” of Obamacare was that “individuals and families will see higher health insurance premiums.” In fact, they listed 12 reasons premiums would be going up. Obamacare’s mandated benefits topped the list:

Obamacare mandates that insurance companies cover a minimum package of benefits. The more comprehensive and generous the insurance, however, the more expensive it will be.

At that time, Heritage’s Brian Blase and Rea Hederman cited the president’s promise of the $2,500 premium discount—and said sorry, this is merely wishful thinking.

Despite this promise, President Obama’s wishes do not trump basic supply and demand or common sense. If government requires that a product be made more generous and be available to more individuals, its cost will increase. There is no way around the fact that the vast majority of Americans will be paying higher prices for their insurance because of Obamacare.

The administration is still living in the dream of yesteryear’s promises. A White House set of frequently asked questions on “health reform” still assures visitors that their premiums and health care costs will not go up—and that they can keep their plans and doctors.