Two FBI special agents were shot at a barricaded home just miles from the protest-wracked St. Louis suburb of Ferguson early Wednesday, police said. One was struck in the shoulder and the other in the leg while assisting the University City Police Department in serving an arrest warrant in north St. Louis County, the FBI said in a statement. Their injuries were non-life threatening.

The incident occurred at 2:53 a.m. local time (3:53 a.m. ET). The shooting was “not directly related to the Ferguson protests,” according to the FBI. It was unclear whether it was linked to the shooting of a University City police officer on Monday. Authorities in St. Louis County have been dealing with violent demonstrations protests after a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson over the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.


American policy toward Iran, with the failure of the just concluded talks on Tehran’s nuclear program, now centers in large part on two issues. Without Iran coming clean about the dimensions of its nuclear program, we remain uncertain whether Tehran is seeking to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons, similar, for example, to what North Korea has accomplished. But if we believe Iran is in fact pursuing a nuclear weapons program, we either (1) work with our allies to end such a program or (2) we decide we will eventually have to live with an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.

That in turn puts on the table a serious question: what is the deal that works to achieve our goal of eliminating Iran’s nuclear weapons program activity as well as precludes Iran from moving quickly in that direction should it decide to do so? If such a deal is possible, why have not the Iranians grasped it? Versions of it have been repeatedly laid on the table.

Prospects for a deal remain elusive, to say the least. The US has made most of the concessions in the talks with Iran including major ones during this last round of negotiations. What Iran has agreed to are steps that are largely reversible and have not in any significant manner rolled back Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, according to top American experts who laid out the landscape in a JINSA Gemunder Center Iran Task Force conference call.

Given the grave implications of concluding Iran has no desire to negotiate a reasonable deal on its nuclear program, many will once again shy away from such obvious implications and again grab hold of the lever of American diplomacy to convince Tehran not to go forward with and negotiate an end to whatever nuclear program they have.

Perhaps it might be useful to examine our own assumptions as to why might Iran be seeking nuclear weapons. Too often we concede that while Iran may indeed have or is pursuing nuclear weapons, they are doing so largely in reaction to a hostile US policy. Others supportive of continued diplomacy–ratcheted up of course as newly as “energetic” or “aggressive”– assert Iran has not decided to build a nuclear weapon–yet–but if we don’t pursue a diplomatic solution they surely will.

McCulloch’s Decision Not to Recuse Himself Was Appropriate By Andrew C. McCarthy

The claim that St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch should have recused himself from the investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown is legally meritless, even if it fits the race-charged narrative urged by many who wanted Officer Darren Wilson to be indicted for murder.

McCulloch’s detractors call his motives and thus his professionalism into question by citing the fact that, when he was 12, his father, a police officer, was shot and killed by an African American kidnapper. By this logic, the county prosecutor should recuse himself from just about every county prosecution: (a) the police, to whom he is said to be too close, are involved in virtually every criminal case, and to do their jobs objectively, prosecutors must be able to pressure them to get the truth and ensure that defendants get due process; and (b) black people, against whom he is (baselessly) said to harbor a ill will, are involved in many criminal cases in St. Louis.

The actual recusal rules are not built on ancient history and implied racism. They encourage the prosecutor to do his job unless there are specific, concrete reasons to question his professionalism in a particular case. McCulloch had no particular connection to either Mr. Brown or Officer Wilson. The fact that he did not see a racialist narrative of the case as dictating his participation in the case is a sign of mental health, not a basis for his removal.

More specifically, McCulloch, a Democrat, has been overwhelmingly elected county prosecutor seven times since 1991 – in St. Louis County, the population of which is nearly one-fourth African-American. It is standard operating procedure for county prosecutors to investigate allegations of police misconduct or public corruption in their own counties. That is a not-insignificant part of what they are elected to do.

Besides, as Missouri’s attorney general, Chris Koster, pointed out, Governor Jay Nixon, another Democrat, had the power to remove McCulloch. He chose not to because there was no compelling legal basis for it. McCulloch, furthermore, did not handle the case directly; it was assigned to at least two of his subordinates (one of whom, AG Koster explained, is African American). Obviously, this does not mean McCulloch recused himself — he was still the boss, and how the case was handled was ultimately his call.

OPEC KO’d : American Oil and Natural-Gas Production Have Shot Ahead in the Last Decade. By Robert Bryce

Tomorrow in Vienna, the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet once again to jawbone about oil prices.

But here’s the reality: OPEC is no longer a price maker, it’s a price taker. The price of oil is no longer being set by the cartel, it’s being set by U.S. drilling companies producing oil from shale deposits. And those drillers are thriving largely because of three key advantages, ones that I call the three Rs: rigs, rednecks, and rights.

Before I explain how the three Rs have neutered OPEC, let me state the obvious: The oil produced by the organization’s members still matters. OPEC supplies about 30 million barrels of oil per day, or about one-third of global demand. But OPEC today consists of Saudi Arabia and the eleven dwarves.

Sure, the now-bankrupt Venezuela is agitating for production cuts. (It always is.) And Iran, which needs to have oil sell for about $140 barrel to balance its budget, wants higher-priced petroleum. But Saudi Arabia is the only OPEC member with significant spare production capacity. And the Saudis appear happy with a price of about $75 per barrel.

They can afford to be content. Saudi Arabia is flush with cash, with over $1 trillion in the bank, according to various estimates. Further, Saudi Arabia owns refineries with a total capacity of 2.5 million barrels of refined products per day, and it recently announced a major expansion. By owning refineries, the kingdom can exploit the crack spread — the difference between the price of crude and that of refined products, like gasoline, diesel fuel, and Jet A fuel — and in doing so, more easily monetize its own sour crude (which sells at a discount to the Brent and WTI markers).


Henry Waxman’s Republican Heir Jason Chaffetz hopes to land the kind of blows that Darrell Issa hasn’t been able to. By Eliana Johnson

Jason Chaffetz, with his mop of curls, warm demeanor, and broad smile, has sold himself to colleagues and to the press as a strong conservative, sure, but one with a softer side.

The incoming chairman of the House’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who lobbied aggressively for the position for months, has said his committee would be different from the one run by his predecessor, California representative Darrell Issa. He’s fond of telling reporters that the committee’s ranking member, Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, is a friend. Unlike Issa, he says, whose hearings were often punctuated with dramatic shouting matches between Issa and Cummings, he won’t let business get personal. He also says he’ll do oversight on less-controversial issues, rooting out “bad apples” in the bureaucracy and reforming the U.S. Postal Service.

Or that’s how Chaffetz’s pitch went. But his Democratic counterparts and future targets should know this: He’s been preparing for this role for years under the tutelage of one of Washington’s most formidable investigators, former Oversight chief Henry Waxman.

During his term atop the committee, the irascible Democrat from California used knowledge and savvy accrued over decades in Washington to redefine congressional oversight in the modern era. In fact, it was Waxman who added the term “Oversight” to the committee’s name and responsibilities — it had previously been the Committee on Government Reform.

As the chief investigator of the Bush administration between 2007 and 2009, Waxman’s tenacity won him grudging respect even from his political opponents. His success was, even to his critics, undeniable, while investigations in the Obama years have been high on drama and lower on results. If Chaffetz manages to emulate his mentor, that’s about to change.

Chaffetz, who is now entering his fourth term in Congress, says he sought out Waxman when he arrived in Washington in 2009. “I just proactively went up and shook his hand and said I care about this and I admire what he’s done,” Chaffetz says. “Although I disagree with him on just about everything,” Chaffetz says, Waxman is “passionate about [Congress as an] institution, the process by which you do oversight, and the elements and keys to success.”


Illegal executive orders reward illegal immigration.

Like many Americans, I appreciate the plight of billions of people throughout the world who would like nothing more than to find themselves in the United States, where they could enjoy a much higher standard of living and wonderful opportunities for advancement.

It certainly seems like a compassionate thing to offer them legal status in America and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. It should first be considered, however, that we have millions of people already mired in dire poverty in our inner cities, rural townships, and places such as Appalachia who would certainly appreciate a helping hand before we extend one to foreigners. The same principle is seen when you board an airplane and hear the announcement, “In case of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Put yours on first, and then administer help to those around you.” There are many around us already in need of help.

According to President Obama, only those 5 million or so illegals who have been in America for five years or more will benefit from his largesse. He indicates that they will not be eligible for health care and other benefits. Obviously, this fits right into the same category as his promise: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

Once illegals have legal status, it will be difficult to deny them any of the multitudinous entitlements that are freely distributed throughout our society. Also, we must remember that illegals who have been here for less than five years only have to claim that they have been here longer than that in order to collect goodies. In effect, instead of helping 5 million people, we probably will be aiding at least twice that many.

Even this would not be a problem if we had plenty of money, but the sad fact is our national debt is approaching $18 trillion. If you paid that back at a rate of $1 billion per day, it would take nearly 50 years. Many powerful nations before us have met their fate through fiscal irresponsibility. What makes our leaders think we are immune from the destructive forces of a shaky financial foundation?

Jonah Goldberg-The President’s Real Goal With Immigration Executive Order Was to Enrage Republicans.


Maybe President Obama is just trolling?

For those who don’t know, in Internet parlance, trolling is an effort to elicit outrage from a specific group or the public generally. As the always useful — but not always G-rated, or spell-checked — Urban Dictionary explains, “Trolling requires deceiving [sic]; any trolling that doesn’t involve decieving [sic] someone isn’t trolling at all; it’s just stupid.” (Pro tip: When spelling “deceiving,” remember it’s “i before e except after c.”) The definition continues: “As such, your victim must not know that you are trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccesful [sic] troll.”

I don’t like the president’s executive action on immigration. I think it’s constitutionally dubious — for exactly the reasons Obama has insisted more than 20 times in the past. “I’m not a king. My job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law,” Obama told Telemundo in 2013. “When it comes to enforcement of our immigration laws, we’ve got some discretion. We can prioritize what we do. But we can’t simply ignore the law.”

If all King Obama was doing was opting not to deport some immigrants here illegally, he’d be on safer ground. But his new proposal would allow an estimated 3.5 million “undocumented Americans” to get all sorts of documents — Social Security numbers, work permits, drivers licenses, etc. That’s not prosecutorial discretion, that’s a rewrite of existing law.

Still, the fine print of what Obama is doing is far less dramatic than many of his defenders and critics claim. Some are comparing it to the Emancipation Proclamation, which is ridiculous. People who voluntarily come to America illegally are in no way comparable to poor souls kidnapped abroad and forced into eternal bondage. Moreover, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t have a two-year time limit or require slaves to fill out paperwork and pay back taxes.

Others claim it’s no big deal and perfectly consistent with executive orders taken by Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. This goes too far the other way. Reagan and Bush were mostly cleaning up problems with laws passed by Congress. In the other instances, they were responding to specific foreign crises.

How Jerusalem Became Islam’s ‘Third Holiest City’ By Jonathan F. Keiler

“Were it not for Jewish interest in what is legitimately their holiest site, Muslims would hardly notice the city, as was the case for centuries before and after the Crusades. That the mostly Christian West elevates this cynical game of power politics to the level of holy status, co-equal or superior to Jewish (and even Christian) concerns, is but another example of the growing tendency toward subservient dhimmi status regarding Islam in the West. Which is of course is largely what Umar had in mind when he set out to build the Dome of the Rock in the first place.”

Recent Palestinian Arab attacks on Jews in Jerusalem have focused attention on the status of Israel’s capital – and in particular the Old City, home to Judaism’s sacred Temple Mount – and the Islamic shrine and mosque that currently sit atop it (respectively the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque). As reported by the mainstream press, “militant” Jews provoked Palestinian Arab violence by protesting the ban on prayer by Jews and Christians atop the Temple Mount. The Waqf (the Muslim authority that oversees the area at the sufferance of the Israeli government) is responsible for the ban.

The fact that this ban is even tolerated by the Israeli government is remarkable. That the ban it is either openly or tacitly supported by Western governments, the mainstream Western press, and Euro-American intelligentsia is due to historical ignorance, cowardice, and hypocrisy.

Typically, the Temple Mount is referred to as the “third holiest site” in Islam, behind the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Sometimes, that formulation is balanced by reference to the Mount’s status as Judaism’s holiest site (and also of immense importance to Christians), sometimes not at all, and sometimes with bogus formulations like CNN’s “one of the holiest sites in Judaism and Islam.”

But just how “holy” is the Temple Mount to Muslims historically? The answer is that its “third holiest” status is more a matter of political calculation and circumstance than an accurate statement of theology.

Today, in the highly charged contest between Arabs and Israelis over the land of Israel, it behooves the Arab/Islamic side to maximize the “historic status” of “Palestine” to the Islamic world. The usual basis asserted by Muslims for the claim of Jerusalem as the religion’s tertiary sacred city is the Quran’s account of Mohammed’s night journey, during which Allah allowed Islam’s prophet to visit heaven. Mohammed’s ascension, according to the Quran, occurred from Islam’s “furthest precinct.” Perhaps that was a location known to Mohammed’s followers nearly 1,500 years ago, but it has been lost to actual history. Today, Muslims claim the reference is to Jerusalem, and specifically to the site of the Dome of the Rock.


When history remembers the Obama administration, the flames of Ferguson will light up our memories. It wasn’t just an AutoZone and Jade Nails burning up in the fires of Ferguson, it was also the “Hope” of 2008 going up in smoke.

Instead of hope, the age of Obama has been characterized by racial division and discord.

Obama and Holder commanded the police to behave themselves. The police behaved, and look what happened.

Last week, members of the New Black Panther Party were arrested by state officials for plotting to use pipe bombs against the St. Louis Gateway Arch and for purchasing guns in a plot to kill as many policemen as possible.

Notice it was state officials who made the arrests. The Washington Times had a no-longer-surprising quote from an Obama administration official characterizing the plot to blow up the arch and kill (presumably) white police officers as “not a serious threat.”

Why do avoidable subplots involving the New Black Panthers keep shadowing this president? From the time he marched with them in Selma in 2007, to this past weekend, there has been a strange ambivalence toward their racially soaked radicalism.

Why would an administration official say anything to downplay a gun and bomb charge against New Black Panthers? Better yet, why didn’t the Justice Department bring their own domestic terrorism charges against these New Black Panthers?

Critics will say all these questions about the administration coddling the New Black Panther Party are getting old and tiresome, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Obama and Holder stoked division, strife and anger in Ferguson, culminating in last night’s violence.

Sure, President Obama called for calm in Ferguson. But that was after the damage was done. Calls for calm came after Attorney General Eric Holder tripped the time bomb during his visit to Ferguson by meeting with activists and agitators and assuring them the administration was on their side against the police.


That the photograph of Walter Duranty — the New York Times Moscow correspondent who deliberately whitewashed Stalin’s 1930s forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians and won the Pulitzer for it — still is on the newspaper’s wall of fame with their other prize winners is apparently no aberration. The New York Times has no moral center. In fact, it’s despicable. On November 24, they published the home address of Officer Darren Wilson [1].

By now most of America knows who Wilson is — the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer exonerated for the murder of Michael Brown, the supposed 6′ 6″, three-hundred-pound “gentle giant” who was reportedly on his way to college, but it turns out was holding up convenience stores and trying to grab Wilson’s gun and bashing him in the face all while the officer was sitting in his police car. We also all know the reaction of some of the angrier members of the Ferguson community and those omnipresent “outside agitator” dime-store anarchists to the grand jury announcement — cars torched, minority businesses burned down, looting, gunfire, freeways blocked, etc., etc. A lot of out-of-control mayhem from L.A. to NY with racial hatred fanned at every turn. The NYT apparently doesn’t give a shit (excuse the French, but it’s merited). In the midst of all this, they print Wilson’s address. It was to them “all the news that’s fit to print.” Who cares what might happen to the cop and his family? He’s just a cop, after all, and a white one at that. Definitely not a member of the elite — not bon type, bon genre. (Maybe someone should do a country song — “Two thousand miles from Zabar’s.”)

So much for that newspaper. They’re cancer.

Not quite cancer but pretty bad is Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri. Not only did he attempt to prejudge the case, calling for Wilson’s head like some minor league Robespierre months before there was any evidence, but then, on the night of the grand jury announcement, after having brought in the National Guard, he goes completely AWOL and doesn’t use the Guards at all, leaving the poor store owners of Ferguson to fend for themselves, not to mention the police. Everyone got to watch the results on TV.

Peter Kinder, the vice governor of Missouri, wants to know what happened. Why no Guards, when they were all set to go? Did the word come down from the White House or the Department of Justice to keep the Guards out? Nixon didn’t answer, just accused Kinder of playing politics. (At least he didn’t play the race card, but that would be hard, white man to white man…. although it’s possible.) So we don’t know… yet