The Junior Varsity

The Junior Varsity that is Daesh is actively training with two other junior varsity teams at camps in Mauritania, nation of the western Sahel region of Africa. Those other two scrub teams are al Qaeda and Boko Haram.

At least 80 trainees, recruits from the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe, including France, are known to be training at the camps[.]

Hmm….

In parallel,

US counterterrorism strategy in Yemen has all but collapsed as the country descends into chaos, according to US and Yemeni officials.

The Democrats’…Budget

The House Democrats are showing their disdain for the American people with this thing (you have to drill to see what they’re burying).

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D, MD) published the House Democrats’ version of a budget, and it nearly doubles the Federal deficit over the next 10 years and increases the national debt by nearly a third over the same period to $25 trillion dollars. On purpose. Remember this as he gears up for his run for the Senate next year.

My Irony Meter

…is pegged.

It seems that Israel spied on the US’ nuclear weapons “negotiations” with Iran. From a “senior US official:”

It is one thing for the US and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal US secrets and play them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy.

It certainly is terrible that Congress should find out from an ally what the Obama administration is doing instead of finding that out directly from the administration.

Another carefully anonymous (secretive?) US “official” added this:

Too Little, Too Late

Responding to pressure from Congress and veterans groups, the Department of Veterans Affairs is relaxing a rule that makes it hard for some veterans in rural areas to prove they live at least 40 miles from a VA health site.

The relaxation consists of the VA using mapping facilities (vis., Google Maps) to measure actual driving miles rather than simply plotting straight line distances. Here’s Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald:

We’ve determined that changing the distance calculation will help ensure more veterans have access to care when and where they want it[.]

There’s More To It

…than this, or so it seems.

A wave of cash is leaving the eurozone, where returns on safe assets are infinitesimal, if they are positive at all, and headed to the US and other refuges such as Denmark and Switzerland.

Europe’s common currency has fallen 22% against the dollar in less than a year, from $1.39 to $1.08. The euro touched a 12-year low of less than $1.05 this month.

Returns on safe assets are infinitesimal in the US, too, with the Fed still actively suppressing interest rates (to the detriment of those Americans dependent on fixed income assets, but that’s another story). Why, then, would money come to the US at the expense of the eurozone—at the expense of the EU?

It Would Be All Right if He Did

President Barack Obama, in a Huffington Post interview, had this to say about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election remarks about a Palestinian state:

We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region[.]

It would be good if Obama really did take Netanyahu at his word; this is what the PM actually said:

On Israel

Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) gave a speech on the Senate floor. The video is here; it’s well worth the 15 minutes.

Here is the press statement that serves as transcript of that speech, from Rubio’s Senate Web site. It’s not indented and italicized like I usually do quotes because it’s the transcript of a 15 minute speech.

In advance: what he said.

Central Banks, Interest Rates, and Fear

The Fed is looking to start raising its benchmark interest rates “real soon now.” This is expected to inject fear into investors used for so long to being coddled and protected from uncertainty by an interventionist central bank.

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF,

warned Tuesday that markets could be heading for a repeat of the 2013 “taper tantrum,” in which stocks fell and interest rates rose around the world as the Fed considered winding down its “quantitative easing” bond-buying program.

She went on:

These Explain a Lot

Joseph Clancy, Secret Service Director, testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee, and this loose exchange between Clancy and Congressman Chris Stewart (R, UT) ensued:

Clancy: It’s going to take time to change maybe some of this culture. There’s no excuse for this information not to come up the chain. That’s going to take time because I’m going to have to build trust with our workforce. And the best way for me to work or earn that trust with our workforce is by my actions.

Of Course He Will

The National Labor Relations Board, the union arm of the Wagner Act, enacted a rule a few weeks ago that allows unions to hold organizing votes in non-union companies before company management has a chance to respond.

The Senate passed a resolution canceling the NLRB’s rule with a party line oriented vote. The House is taking up the bill and is expected to pass it as well, and with a party line oriented vote.

President Barack Obama, who succeeded in packing the NLRB for this sort of purpose, is expected to veto the resolution.