If you thought that the Iran deal couldn't possibly get any worse for Americans, it's probably because you were confident that the public deal, released by the Obama Administration last month, gave the outside boundaries of the deal. Perhaps you were confident that the Obama Administration, which has yet to make much headway on its agenda, despite being only a short 18 months from exiting power, would be loathe to get such a bad deal past Congress, or you had a bizarre and unwavering faith in the International community, which while not entirely opposed to wiping Israel off the map, would be concerned that "more valuable" countries (like the ones that produce the majority of our alcoholic beverages) might find themselves on the receiving end of a pretty nasty nuclear accident.
The Office of Personnel and Management was hacked by China recently in what some are calling the worst security breach in American history, bigger it seems than the metric ton of NSA secrets that Edward Snowden piled on The Guardian.
To catch you up, the Chinese apparently wormed their way into the OPM's personnel files and stole, well, everything, from social security numbers to basic personal information files, from pretty much anyone who has ever presented the information to the Federal government, including all employees and applicants. In other words, the Chinese now have the sensitive information of possibly millions of Americans. Now, they've already said that they intend to use that to try to turn certain Americans into spies, which seems inordinately difficult given how much information we already share about ourselves on social media, but the OPM seems relatively unconcerned, and the President has even expressed confidence in how she's managing this ridiculous situation.
He was America’s original lone wolf.
It is 1989. Twenty-one years after the assassination of New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy on the night in 1968 that he won the California Democratic primary, sending him into a real battle for the party’s presidential nomination.
Sitting across from the famous British television interviewer David Frost, Bobby Kennedy’s assassin — America’s first “lone wolf” inspired by hatred of Israel — made it plain why he had done what he had done. Sirhan Sirhan said this to Frost, as reported by the New York Times:
In the interview, Mr. Sirhan, who is a Jordanian immigrant, said that when Mr. Kennedy gave a speech in support of sending United States fighter jets to Israel, ''that seemed as though it were a betrayal.''
'His Sole Support of Israel’
“My only connection with Robert Kennedy was his sole support of Israel and his deliberate attempt to send those 50 bombers to Israel to obviously do harm to the Palestinians.”
No one has yet confirmed that the North Koreans have fired an underwater ballistic missile in the general direction of the United States just yet, but suffice it to say, everyone is super sure it happened. After all, when you consider that Kim Jong Un once "launched" a full on nuclear assault with an Atari control panel that wasn't plugged in, it's easy to believe that they've both set sail in a seafaring vessel that can operate with impunity in local waters, and managed to send a warhead careening into the great beyond, no doubt terrifying entire schools of underwater creatures.
It is, of course, entirely possible that this all happened in an elaborate Playmobil landcape set up in Kim Jong Un's third bedroom. But for now, at least, the world is standing up and taking notice.
North Korea has carried out a successful underwater test of a ballistic missile, the North Korean state news agency reported.
Leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test himself, KCNA reported on Saturday (Friday evening, ET).
Reports on this are unconfirmed and the United States is denying, but British media (including the Telegraph and the BBC) is reporting that a US cargo vessel was fired on and then seized by Iranian officials this morning, and has been taken to an Iranian port. The Iranians maintained that the ship was trespassing in the Persian Gulf.
Iranian forces have reportedly fired at and seized a US cargo ship with 34 sailors on board, according to Saudi Arabian state TV.
The vessel has been directed to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the southern coast, Al-Arabiya has reported.
It remains unclear why or if the ship was captured, and whether the shots injured anyone on-board, as neither US nor Iranian officials have confirmed the allegations. The US Fifth Fleet off the coast of Bahrain had no immediate comment on the report, according to Reuters.
Iran's semi-official Fars news agency suggested that the ship was trespassing in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranians aren't quite at the same point the United States is when it comes to inking a deal over their nuclear ambitions, to put it mildly. They see this nuclear agreement as a way to end economic sanctions against their country, promoting their domestic economic stability, while giving them an exceptional harassment-free period in which to concoct a plan that would wipe most of the Eastern world off the face of the planet. The United States sees this as the only way Barack Obama can successfully navigate his way to deserving a Nobel Peace Prize and a global post-Presidency speaking tour.
Fortunately, it seems that the State Department has found a way to bridge the gap and bring Iran to the table to at least sign the agreement, even if they rip it up almost immediately: if Iran inks on the dotted line, John Kerry will show up to the signing ceremony with one of those oversized novelty checks, made out to Ayatollah Khomeini, in the amount of $50 billion.
This morning the Washington Post carried an interview with John Jenkins, former British ambassador to Iraq, in which he enunciated the view of the “international community” that a nuclear deal with Iran was the key to stemming the chaos in Yemen. “The negotiations are one of the guarantees that things won’t blow up,” opined the Ambassador.
That would be the very chaos that Iran ignited in the first place by backing the Houthi rebels who have forced Yemeni President Hadi to flee the country in the wake of the very real threat of imminent assassination.
But what accounts for Iran’s interest in Yemen? Why all of the weapons, training, boots-on-the ground, and intelligence pouring in to the Houthis from Iran? Reports ynetnews.com:
Fox News strategic analyst, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, has scored a bull’s-eye with his recent thoughts on the real problem facing America in the conduct of foreign policy.
In a piece in the New York Post titled “Why our prep-school diplomats fail against Putin and ISIS,” Peters more than effectively makes the case as to why the U.S. keeps getting its lunch eaten in dealings with tyrants. Writes Peters:
Why do our “best and brightest” fail when faced with a man like Putin? Or with charismatic fanatics? Or Iranian negotiators? Why do they misread our enemies so consistently, from Hitler and Stalin to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph?
The answer is straightforward:
Social insularity: Our leaders know fellow insiders around the world; our enemies know everyone else.
The mandarin’s distaste for physicality: We are led through blood-smeared times by those who’ve never suffered a bloody nose.
Sad news from Kayla Mueller's family: the 26 year old aid worker who was snatched by ISIS a year ago on her way out of Syria and held for over a year is dead.
We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life,” Mueller’s parents said in a statement. “Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.”
The statement did not elaborate on how it had learned of Mueller’s death or the circumstances of her death.
ISIS claimed last week that Kayla had been killed in Jordanian airstrikes, undertaken after ISIS killed a Jordanian pilot it had held hostage, but ISIS isn't the world's most reliable narrator, to say the least. ISIS notified her parents of Kayla's death this week, apparently, including, because they're barbarians, pictures of her body.
There's lots of news circulating this week about Bowe Bergdahl, the American solider we traded five high-ranking Taliban officials for, who may (or may not, depending on who you ask) face a court martial over his alleged desertion. It seems that, while senior Army officials are keen to tell news organizations, off the record, that Bergdahl will be brought up on charges, the White House is avoiding the question like it was Lindsay Lohan at court ordered community service.
But that's not to say that the White House's dance around the Bergdahl question hasn't, itself, produced a few gems. Like this one, from today's press conference with rookie comms guy Eric Schultz, who has never heard of the Taliban, why do you ask?
In Wednesday’s White House Press Briefing, John Karl asked press briefing rookie Eric Schultz whether the Jordanians’ trading a prisoner for one of the hostages held by the Islamic State was similar to the United States’ trading five high-ranking Taliban members for Bowe Bergdahl.