The Environmental Spectator

#COP21: We’ll Always Have Paris, Unfortunately

By 12.2.15

Paris is lovely in the autumn.

According to the attendees of the Conference of Parties, 21, however, by this time next year, Paris — along with every other major city — could be an abandoned ruin, smothered in smog, with lava floes running through the streets, burning out only where they meet the melted ice caps. Humans will have long since adapted to living at the poles, sunning themselves in the ozone hole, feasting off the last remains of polar bears, and bemoaning that moment when they failed to take notice of a five-day, five-star, 575-million-pounds-of-CO2 gathering of world leaders and “climate activists” that was meant to save us all. 

Obama’s Vacuum of Power Made Russian-Turkey Mess Possible

By on 11.24.15 | 1:40PM

It’s really going to hit the fan after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 fighter-interceptor jet for allegedly violating its airspace on Tuesday. Both the Russians and the Turks are madder than wet hens with Vladimir Putin calling it a “stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists” and other less-than diplomatic niceties, while Turkey rattles its sabers over the territorial integrity of its long border with Syria.

According to the Turks, the Russian aircraft repeatedly was warned by ground controllers that it was slopping over the border, but the warnings were ignored. As a result, two Turkish F-16s were sent up to take care of business.

Numerous reports have the two-man crew bailing out with their fate uncertain, although some say one crewman’s body was discovered by Syrian rebel forces operating in the area. ISIS does not control that portion of Syria.

Bibi Netanyahu Gives UN General Assembly His Death Stare of Silence

By on 10.1.15 | 5:02PM

Once again Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrated why he is the closest thing we have to a leader of the free world with his speech to the UN General Assembly in which he lambasted that body's indifference to the Iran nuclear deal.

The most powerful moment of the speech came when he declared the response of most countries present was one of "utter silence, deafening silence." Then Bibi went silent for 45 seconds and gave the UN General Assembly his death stare.

I suspect that President Obama has been the recipient of his death stare on more than one occasion.

When Netanyahu broke his silence he said, “Perhaps you can now understand why Israel is not joining you in celebrating this deal. If Iran’s rulers were working to destroy your countries, perhaps you’d be somewhat less enthusiastic about the deal. If Iran’s terror proxies were firing thousands of rockets at your cities, perhaps you’d be more measured in your praise.”

13 Dead, More Wounded in Shooting on Oregon Community College Campus

By on 10.1.15 | 4:50PM

This afternoon, a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseberg, Oregon, reportedly killing 13 students and wounding 20 or more. Emergency crews are now at the scene, and authorities are saying the gunman, who has not been named, is "neutralized" and in police custody.

The Oregon attorney general said 13 people are dead and another 20 injured.

A Douglas County official says that the shooter has been "neutralized" and is now in custody.

A school official told affiliate reporter Sara Mattison that shots were fired at Snyder Hall around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The official said the school was put into a lock down.

All of the dead are in one building that houses six to eight classrooms, the official said. He said there were "multiple patients in multiple classrooms."

Abbas Declares Palestinian Authority is No Longer Bound By Oslo Accords

By on 9.30.15 | 3:25PM

During his speech before the UN General Assembly today, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared he is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords because of alleged violations by Israel. The Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn 22 years ago this month with President Clinton, the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

Such talk is precious coming from Abbas, a man who is entering the second decade of a four year term as Palestinian Authority President. Let us remember that the Palestinian Authority has never meaningfully amended the PLO Charter, has never disbanded the militias like the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and never stopped inciting violence against Israel on its streets, schools, soccer fields and on its state TV. The Palestinian Authority has also violated Oslo by gaining observer status at the UN and full state membership in the International Criminal Court as a means around direct negotiations with Israel to gain de facto recognition as a nation state.

Iran Will Inspect Its Own Nuclear Site, Of Course

By on 8.19.15 | 7:07PM

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.

OPM Made It Very Easy for The Chinese To Hack Their Personnel Files

By on 6.19.15 | 11:31AM

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.

The War on Terror Spectator

Sirhan Sirhan: The First Lone Wolf

By 6.4.15

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.”

North Korea Fired an Underwater Missile, Probably.

By on 5.11.15 | 11:43AM

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).