Did Patraeus Throw the WH Under the Bus?

Petraeus: I Said Al Qaeda Behind Benghazi — But Line Was Removed

Former CIA director David Petraeus spoke behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee.  According to committee member Peter King (R-NY), Patraeus’ testimony challenged the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the attack was a “spontaneous” protest over an anti-Islam video and conflicted with his own statements to lawmakers earlier in September.

Fox News: “His testimony today was that from the start, he had told us that this was a terrorist attack,” King said, adding that he told Petraeus he had a “different recollection.”

Still, the claim that the CIA’s original talking points were changed is sure to stoke controversy on the Hill.

“The original talking points were much more specific about Al Qaeda involvement. And yet the final ones just said indications of extremists,” King said, adding that the final version was the product of a vague “inter-agency process.”

Further, King said a CIA analyst specifically told lawmakers that the Al Qaeda affiliates line “was taken out.”

If it’s true the Petraeus changed his original story could it be that he was under some sort of duress due to his illicit affair? Did someone with power threaten to break the story of the married four star general’s relationship with another woman? Did Patraeus decide to bring the story into the open thus removing it as a possible object for blackmail?

No matter what the truth finally reveals this tale is not only fodder for gossip mongers but has all the makings of a best seller…and non fiction at that.

Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxnews.com”>video.foxnews.com</a>

Border Patrol Seizes more than $2.25 Million in Narcotics

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents of San Diego Sector arrested a woman with more than 140 pounds of narcotics hidden inside her car last week.

 

On January 24, at approximately 5:50 p.m., Border Patrol agents assigned to the San Clemente Station were conducting highway interdiction duties on Interstate 5 when they conducted a vehicle stop on a gray 2016 Nissan Versa.

 

The driver consented to a search of the vehicle by a Border Patrol K-9 team.

 

The Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the vehicle.  Agents conducted a search of the interior compartments and discovered multiple packages of suspected narcotics concealed under the floorboard.

 

Agents removed a total of 57 packages of suspected narcotics.  The substances in the packages tested positive for cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin.  There were 34 packages of cocaine weighing approximately 87 pounds, 19 packages of fentanyl weighing approximately 44 pounds, and four packages of heroin weighing approximately nine pounds.  The narcotics have a street value of more than $2,250,000.

 

Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott commended the agents on their historic drug seizure, indicating, “The fentanyl seizure in itself was the largest in San Diego to date.  This preceded the Nogales Port of Entry’s 254 pound fentanyl seizure yesterday, the largest in CBP history.  These two seizures alone had the potential to kill millions of Americans.”

 

The driver, a 23-year-old Mexican citizen, was arrested.  The narcotics and subject were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The vehicle was seized by the Border Patrol.

Since October 1, 2019, San Diego Sector agents have seized over 300 pounds of cocaine, 79 pounds of fentanyl, and 975 ounces of heroin.

Anti-Semitic Vandalism Surges Across Eastern France

Vandals defaced a former synagogue in eastern France with swastikas in the latest of a series of anti-Semitic desecrations recently plaguing the region.

Staff at the synagogue-turned-sports facility in the town of Mommenheim discovered the swastikas on the building’s door and facade, which still bears Hebrew lettering, Monday, according to The Associated Press. The anti-Semitic incident came hot on the heels of the Saturday vandalism of a monument honoring a synagogue ransacked and burned by Hitler Youth in Strasbourg. The culprits knocked the memorial stone off of its base and left it lying on the ground.

Strasbourg deputy mayor Alain Fontanel lamented the vandalism of the monument on Twitter, saying that it was the third time a synagogue had been attacked in the city.

“Sadly, history repeats itself,” Fontanel said, according to DW.

The act of destruction likely involved more than one person, as the memorial stone weighed “300 or 400 kilograms,” according to mayor Roland Ries.

Vandals also spray-painted swastikas on 96 Jewish grave stones in February in the town of Quatzenheim, a little over 12 miles away from Strasbourg.

That incident, in tandem with increasing expressions of anti-Semitism from certain factions within the “yellow vest” protest movement, prompted French President Emmanuel Macron on February 19 to decry what he and others see as a resurgence of anti-Semitism throughout Europe and to promise legal reforms intended to combat Antisemitism.

Such reforms included banning particular hate groups and adopting a legal definition of anti-Semitism created by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

“Our country, and for that matter all of Europe and most Western democracies, seems to be facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II,” Macron said according to DW.

A crowd of approximately 20,000 French citizens rallied in Paris day earlier to protest anti-Semitism, with an estimated thousands of others rallying in other locations throughout France. The rallies came partly in response to recent anti-Semitic incidents like the desecration of Jewish graves, and in response to a report from France’s interior ministry that showed a 74 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in France from 2017 to 2018.

Rural America Is Going Bust As Farm Bankruptcies Soar

U.S. farmers are filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy at the highest rate in at least a decade as agriculturists feel pressure from trade wars and low commodity prices, The Wall Street Journal reported in February.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals processed twice as many bankruptcy files from farmers in 2018 than it did in 2008. Bankruptcy filings in the Eighth Circuit grew by nearly as much, and the 10th Circuit saw bankruptcy filings increase 56 percent in 2018 from a decade before. The states covered by those three circuit courts accounted for nearly half of all U.S. farm products in 2017.

The Department of Agriculture estimated that the average American farm household lost $1,548 in 2018. U.S. farm debt hit $409 billion, a level not seen since the 1980s when Chapter 12 bankruptcy was created to help farmers devise plans to pay off a limited amount of debt in three to five years, according to WSJ.

“I’ve been through several dips in 40 years,” Nebraska farmer Kirk Duensing, who is $1 million in debt after selling off some land and farm equipment, told WSJ. “This one here is gonna kick my butt.”

Prices for crops such as corn and soybeans are down under a worldwide glut in farm commodities. Farmers are struggling to make a profit selling their products in domestic and foreign markets, made even more difficult by foreign tariffs, a byproduct of President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with countries such as China.

Other countries such as Brazil and Russia are increasing their agriculture production, competing with American farmers in foreign markets and overall driving prices down even further.

“We send [China] a lot of soybeans,” Aron Carlson, who farms corn and soy in Indiana, told Bloomberg in January. “They’re basically buying every other bushel in the world and we’re the last invited to the table, and I don’t like to be last. I want to be front and center, as far as that stuff goes.”

“I hope he can get the whole trade thing with China figured out. I think we need to quit picking some fights,” Carlson said.

The Trump administration has taken steps to insulate the U.S. agriculture sector from Trump’s trade wars, promising to dole out billions worth of aid to farmers impacted by higher tariffs and lower access to global markets.

Marine Identified In Fatal Shooting In DC Barracks

The Marines Corps has identified Lance Cpl. Riley S. Kuznia, 20, as the Marine who was fatally shot inside the Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. on Jan. 1.

“We are truly saddened by this terrible loss. Riley was a highly driven and goal-oriented Marine whose positive attitude set the example here at the Barracks,” Col. Don Tomich, the commanding officer of Marine Barracks said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Riley’s family and friends, and our priority continues to be taking care of them during this tragic time.”

Authorities from the Metropolitan Police Department responded to the incident Tuesday, in which Kuznia, of Karlstad, Minnesota, was fatally shot while on duty.

The Marine’s mother, Markelle Kuznia, posted photos of her son on Facebook and asked others to add “all the amazing memories you shared with this goofy kid.”

“With broken hearts, we have lost a loving son, cherished brother and dedicated Marine,” she wrote.

Kuznia was shot at 5 a.m., and the Marine Corps declared there is no threat to local residents.

The shooting was not self-inflicted, according to Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Jackson, and the investigation is still underway. No other information is releasable until the investigation is complete.

Kuznia served as a team leader for Guard Company and had many decorations, including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, according to the statement.

Minnesota Governor-elect Tim Walz expressed his condolences Wednesday on Twitter, saying, “We are forever grateful for your service to our state and our country.”

The Marine Barracks are located at the corner of 8th and I Streets in Southeast Washington, D.C., and make up the oldest active post in the Marine Corps, according to their website.

Rep Ilhan Omar Urges Keith Ellison To Investigate USA Powerlifting For Barring Biological Males From Women’s Events

  • Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar wants Democratic Minnesota AG Keith Ellison to investigate USA Powerlifting because it won’t allow biological males to compete as women.
  • Omar sent a letter to USA Powerlifting on behalf of JayCee Cooper, a male athlete who identifies as a transgender woman.
  • Omar accused the powerlifting organization of violating Minnesota state laws against discrimination.

WASHINGTON — Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar recommended Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison investigate USA Powerlifting for barring biological males from women’s events, according to a Jan. 31 letter she sent USA Powerlifting.

Omar called it a “myth” that men who identify as transgender women have a “direct competitive advantage” and copied Ellison on the letter, “with a recommendation that he investigate this discriminatory behavior.”

Omar sent her letter on behalf of JayCee Cooper, a biological male who identifies as a transgender woman, and whom Omar identified as one of her constituents. She signed the letter on Jan. 31, though it only became public on Tuesday after Cooper posted a picture to Instagram, where it caught the attention of OutSports.

Omar’s office confirmed the authenticity of the letter to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Screenshot/Instagram

USA Powerlifting in late January announced that men who identify as transgender women aren’t allowed to compete as women. Female athletes who identify as men are allowed to compete, but are required to abide by the same bans on external androgens as other athletes.

“Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue and higher muscle density than women,” the weightlifting association notes in an online explainer. “These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away. While [male-to-female athletes] may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over that of a female.”

Omar’s letter accuses USA Powerlifting of violating the state’s human rights laws.

“Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, discrimination against anyone based on their gender identity is illegal. This includes in public accommodations, and in Minnesota, organizations such as USA Powerlifting. In fact, just last month a Minnesota jury awarded Ms. Christina Ginther $20,000 after the Independent Women’s Football League refused to allow her to participate because she is transgender,” Omar warned.

“I urge you to reconsider this discriminatory, unscientific policy and follow the example of the International Olympic Committee. The myth that trans women have a ‘direct competitive advantage’ is not supported by medical science, and it continues to stoke fear and violence against one of the most at-risk communities in the world,” wrote the congresswoman.

USA Powerlifting’s explainer states that the organization is in compliance with the guidelines, under which “each sport is given the latitude to determine how the guidelines are applied.”

Ellison, a Democrat, was Omar’s predecessor in Minnesota’s fifth congressional seat, which he left to run for state attorney general. Ellison previously called for a boycott of the NFL over its rules prohibiting protests during the national anthem.

Henry Rodgers reported from Washington, D.C., and Peter Hasson reported from Texas.

Why Do Americans Eat Corned Beef On St. Patrick’s Day?

Corned beef is a St. Patrick’s Day meal staple in the U.S., but how did this holiday tradition begin?

Irish immigrants began eating the salty beef dish while celebrating their nationality on St. Patrick’s Day in the 1800s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Beef was a luxury their ancestors in Ireland were likely unable to afford — Irish farmers exported beef to England but ate pork, which was cheaper, in their own homes.

No, corned beef does not contain corn. The “corns” that give the dish its name are large grains of rock salt, which were used to cure the product so it would last longer.

Irish immigrants made parades and meals of corned beef and cooked cabbage new traditions to celebrate their Old World roots. More than one million Irish immigrants arrived in the U.S. in the 19th century and settled in cities like Boston and New York City.

Today, more than 35 million Americans claim Irish heritage, according to Forbes. That’s nearly 12 percent of the U.S. population.

These Irish Americans were also responsible for transforming St. Patrick’s Day into the celebration of booze, leprechauns and all things green that it is now. The holiday was popularized back in Ireland by a 17th century Franciscan priest, who encouraged Irish Catholics to observe St. Patrick’s Day as a feast day. Irish Americans traded the hearty bacon they would eat on St. Patrick’s Day for beef in the New World.

More Democratic Governors Join Pledge To Uphold Paris Climate Agreement

Tony Evers of Wisconsin has become the latest of four newly-elected Democratic governors who have pledged to adhere to the goals set out in the Paris climate accord, bucking President Donald Trump’s opposition to the international agreement.

Evers will announce on Tuesday his plan to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, according to staffers who spoke with The Washington Post. Evers will be joining the ranks of Democratic Govs. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois — all of whom won election last year — in vowing to reduce to their states’ carbon emissions.

Formed in June 2017, the U.S. Climate Alliance is a “bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” according to the organization’s website. States in adherence to the terms must aim to lower their “greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.”

The group claims 21 sitting governors as official pledges, including three Republicans. The gains Democrats made in the midterm elections has padded the organization’s numbers.

“It feels new and like a sea change as we’re thinking about who is leading on climate change and identifying policies that really resonate across the country and not just with constituents in the more liberal states,” stated Julie Cerqueira, the executive director of the Climate Alliance.

The coalition is meant as a rebuke to the Trump administration, which announced its intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. Since before he entered the White House, Trump has long been a critic of the international agreement that calls on countries to reduce their carbon emissions.

While Democratic governors aim to buck the Trump administration on climate issues, others question if coalition membership is much more than a symbolic gesture.

“It doesn’t commit or obligate these states to anything; they don’t force any formal decision or commitment, and so I think for a newly elected governor they are relatively easy steps to take that are symbolic,” Barry Rabe — professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a noted expert on climate policy — stated to The Washington Post.

While Democratic governors look for ways to reduce carbon emissions, Democrats in Congress are also taking up the cause of the climate change.

Liberal lawmakers last Thursday introduced the Green New Deal on Capitol Hill. Led by New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the proposal calls for the country to transition to 100 percent renewable energy within ten years. The “deal” includes a number of other mandates, such as replacing every building in the country, installing charging stations and high speed rails across the country, and implementing government-run health care.

Watch: Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman spit a different song of ice and fire

For those boycotting the NFL and its championship Super Bowl game, you don’t have to miss out on the commercials.

Advertisers have found a way to leverage the Super Bowl advertising purchases – put them on YouTube as “Super Bowl Commercial” videos. That allows those of us not watching the game to see the most expensive, and sometimes the best, ads of the year.

In this Doritos vs. Mountain Dew battle, Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage and Hollywood star Morgan Freeman go head to head with songs of ice and fire.

Rebuttal of Tom Collina’s blatant lies about US nukes

Last week,the leftist Breaking Defense website published an utterly ridiculous screed by one of the most strident advocates of America’s unilateral nuclear disarmament, Tom Collina, the “research director” of the Arms Control Association, which advocates disarming the US unilaterally and foregoing the deployment of any missile defense systems. (The ACA is funded by several grant-awarding organizations which also advocate America’s unilateral disarmament.

In his screed, Collina makes a lot of lies, all of which, of course, are designed to smear nuclear weapons and mislead the public into supporting that treasonous goal.

Here’s his biggest lie:

“However, at a time of increasingly tight budgets, the more we spend on excess nuclear weapons the less will be available for what Ukraine and NATO need most: economic aid and conventional military assistance.”

Total garbage. Firstly, America does NOT have “excess nuclear weapons” – if anything, it has too few. Russia has a (slightly) BIGGER nuclear arsenal than the US, totalling 2,800 strategic and up to 5,700 tactical nuclear weapons. In fact, Russia has more nuclear weapons (8,500) than the US, Britain, and France combined (8,200). Sources: the Federation of American Scientists and SIPRI’s 2013 Military Balance.

Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal alone rivals America’s in size, and is complemented by “tactical” nuclear weapons, many of which (the warheads of Russian cruise missiles) can be delivered to the US (because the aircraft and nuclear-powered submarines carrying them can travel intercontinental distances). And these warheads are NOT subject to any arms limitation treaty.

Russia’s ICBM fleet alone can deliver at least 1,684 warheads to the US; Russia’s submarine fleet, another 1,400; and Moscow’s bomber fleet (Tu-95s, Tu-22Ms, Tu-160s), another 2,000 if need be.

On top of that, the US has to deter China, North Korea, and Iran. China alone has at least 1,600 nuclear weapons and continues to build that arsenal up.

Not to mention the fact that Russia, China, NK, and Iran are threats to many but protectors to nobody, while the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella to itself and to over 30 allies around the world, many of whom will go nuclear if the US fails to provide an adequate umbrella. (Already 66% of South Koreans want to do that; meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan and DF-21 ballistic missiles in China.)

No, Mr Collina, the US nuclear arsenal is not excessive at all – if anything, it is too small.

As for economic aid, that is an obsolete, socialist idea. Ukraine needs to revive its economy by implementing free market policies, NOT begging for handouts.

“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned recently that “tough, tough choices are coming” if the Pentagon is forced to make deep spending cuts, as required by law. He may slash about 30,000 soldiers and retire an aircraft carrier.”

Excuse me? Those are supposed to be “tough choices”? Are you kidding me? Reducing the active duty Army to levels roughly equal to those of 9/11 and retiring a single carrier is not tough – it’s a no-brainer. It’s like picking the low-hanging fruit. (After Hagel’s cuts, the Army will be just slightly smaller than on 9/11, and the American people will have NO appetite or stomach for any more ground wars for a long time to come.)

Aircraft carriers are hugely expensive and extremely vulnerable, and their a/c have very little range. Flattops essentially provide NO return for the huge taxpayer investment they cost. I have already submitted an article dealing with this issue to Proceedings; it awaits the Editorial Board’s review.

It would be far better for the DOD to invest seriously in the single most reliable deterrent against aggression – the US nuclear umbrella – instead of blowing money on oversized land armies and very vulnerable flattops.

“As Crimea shows, these priorities are backwards. We must not allow our increasingly important conventional military forces to be undercut by excessive investments in nuclear weapons.”

Utter garbage as well. America’s conventional forces are not being undercut by the nuclear arsenal, whose total cost (ca. $32 bn per annum) is only 6% of the total military budget (roughly $600 bn in FY2014). Even eliminating it altogether would NOT save America’s conventional forces from sequestration. Sec. Hagel is absolutely right to make the nuclear deterrent a priority for the above reasons. As for conventional forces – don’t make me laugh. The unilateral disarmament movement, of which Collina is an active member, opposes BOTH America’s conventional and nuclear forces. The US nuclear deterrent is merely their first target on their way to disarming America unilaterally.

“And we don’t have to. The United States can stay at nuclear warhead levels set by the 2010 New START treaty and still save billions over the next decade by scaling back and delaying new delivery systems.”

Utter nonsense again. Firstly, New START levels are inadequate to deter Russia and China; second, New START is a worthless and treasonous treaty obligating only the US (not Russia) to cut its arsenal while Moscow is allowed to increase its own; and thirdly, Russia has cheated on EVERY arms control treaty it has signed, INCLUDING New START, as Bill Gertz has recently revealed in the WFB.

And “scaling back and delaying new delivery systems” would be utterly suicidal and a recipe for a Russian nuclear first strike. It would mean having far fewer systems (and thus a much less survivable arsenal), and NO new systems coming online for decades – at a time when existing delivery systems are already reaching the end of their service lives! This means, in practice, complete unilateral disarmament!

The Minuteman ICBM and air-launched cruise missiles will go out of service in the 2020s. The B-52 cannot operate in anything but friendly-controlled airspace. The Ohio class will start leaving service later this decade, and even under CURRENT funding projections, there will be a big gap in the SSBN fleet, with a low of just 10 boats in the early 2020s – unless the SSBN replacement program is hastened.

The cost of replacing them is not huge and will likely be far less than the $355 bn Collina falsely claims – but delaying it any further will significantly increase the price tag.

If a superior U.S. nuclear force did not restrain Moscow from annexing Crimea, how would an even larger force stop further Russian adventurism? It would not. The paradox of nuclear weapons is that they are too destructive to be used, so both sides are “deterred” from doing so.”

These are also blatant lies. The US nuclear arsenal, as proven above, is SMALLER and OLDER than Russia’s, and it was never intended or built to deter Russia from annexing… the Crimea, where it already had almost 30,000 troops and dozens of ships anyway. It was never intended to deter Russia from invading the Ukraine, which neither the US nor the EU had any intention of defending or supporting (and Putin knew it), a country the West has kept out of NATO and the EU and has essentially left to fend for itself.

Putin knew that the West would never offer more than verbal protests and tepid sanctions if he went into Ukraine. Which is why he did that. He knew that Ukraine was outside America’s security perimeter.

The US nuclear deterrent is intended to provide security for the US itself and for its NATO and non-NATO allies (e.g. SK, Japan) – and it has been doing that successfully, without any failure, ever since its inception in 1945.

And if nuclear weapons cannot deter Putin in the Crimea or elsewhere, conventional weapons – which have far less striking and thus deterring power – cannot do that, either. Is Collina suggesting the US deploy its soldiers in the Ukraine and used in a shooting war with Russia? Does he envisage US Army BCTs taking on Russian brigades? Because if he’s not, conventional forces are utterly useless in Ukraine.

As former US Strategic Command leader Gen. Kevin Chilton has stated, conventional weapons cannot replace nuclear arms as deterrents, because the former lack the overwhelming striking (and thus deterring) power of nuclear arms.

Collina also approvingly quotes former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, who has falsely claimed that:

“Nuclear-weapons enthusiasts seem to have an inexhaustible appetite for bad arguments.”

In fact, Western anti-nuke activists, the advocates of the West’s unilateral disarmament, seem to have an inexhaustible appetite for bad arguments, lying, and disarming their own countries unilaterally.

And while nuclear weapons might not be useful in Ukraine, there is little the US can do there anyway (who’s suggesting putting US conventional troops there?). But building up the US nuclear arsenal and accelerating missile defense deployment in Europe would do three good things:

1) Increase US and allied security by finally providing a bigger, more adequate, and modernized deterrent;

2) Finally showing strength to Russia after many years of appeasement and unilateral disarmament – which is what emboldened Russia to take one aggressive action after another, culminating in the invasion of Ukraine; and

3) Be a huge geopolitical, diplomatic, and prestige defeat for Russia, which strongly opposes both. It’s time to stop giving Russia what it wants. It would mean Russia has finally lost the veto on US and NATO security matters that Obama gave Moscow in 2009 by cancelling GBI missile defense deployment in Europe. Russia (and other aggressors and bullies) only understand the language of force, and they respect only those who are stronger than them. To deter Russia and have a better negotiating position vis-a-vis Moscow, the US needs to have stronger nuclear AND conventional forces.

BreakingDefense itself approvingly published Collina’s screed and falsely called him:

“Tom Collina, a respected expert in nuclear weapons and arms control…”

Balderdash. Collina is not a “respected expert” on anything, ESPECIALLY not nuclear weapons and arms control. He’s an ignoramus and an ideological advocate of America’s unilateral disarmament. Calling him an expert is an insult to every real expert out there. Being a longtime anti-nuclear activist does not make one an expert. And while I would not call myself one, I know far more about nuclear weapons than he ever will.

Shame on him for lying so blatantly and advocating America’s unilateral disarmament, and shame on BD for publishing his utterly ridiculous screed.