- A Taliban suicide bomb killed six American soldiers near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Two other Americans and an interpreter were wounded.
A U.S. Army veteran turned Afghan aid worker, Lisa Akbari, was murdered by a mullah as she left her apartment complex’s gym in Kabul.
Paul Ryan’s 2016 omnibus spending bill included a provision requiring people who have visited Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Sudan to apply for a visa before visiting the U.S., even if they hold a passport from a country that’s normally exempt from visa requirements. Iran claims that violates the terms of its nuclear deal with President Obama, and Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to Iran claiming Obama will bypass the law.
As a reward for helping with the Iranian nuclear deal, the U.S. State Department glossed over human rights abuses in Oman that otherwise would have been reported in its annual Trafficking in Persons report:
In a highly unusual intervention, the department’s hierarchy overruled its own staff’s assessments of Oman’s deteriorating record on forced labor and human trafficking and inflated its ranking in a congressionally mandated report, U.S. officials told Reuters. The move, which followed protests by Oman, suggests the Obama administration placed diplomatic priorities over human rights to pacify an important Middle East partner.
- The U.S. government is negotiating with Bashar al-Assad’s government for the release of four or five Americans held captive in Syria.
President Obama pocket vetoed a bill that repealed the EPA’s CO2 emissions regulations for power plants. I’m surprised he didn’t spike the ball and veto it outright.
Jeffrey Lord writes that Marco Rubio has a problem with the truth:
There are few things worse in American politics than gaining a reputation for being a serial liar. There is that now famous poll from last summer in which the pollster asked voters to free associate and provide their own one-word description of candidates. When it came to Hillary Clinton the number one term chosen by these voters was “liar”. Number two was “dishonest.”
Senator Rubio is on his way to gaining a reputation as the Hillary Clinton of the right: a man for whom truth-telling is a more than frequent stranger in his public life.
- John Daniel Davidson makes an excellent point about claims that Islamism is not Islam:
If reform-minded Muslims in the year 2015 don’t have a vocabulary or a theology to explain why Islamism is a distortion of a religion founded in the seventh century, Islam has a serious theological problem right at its heart, and it’s intellectually dishonest for men like [Maajid] Nawaz not to say so plainly.
Likewise, it’s dishonest for our own political elites to pretend that large swaths of the Muslim world hold views that are compatible with democratic societies.
Earlier this month China tested a mechanism for ejecting its new DF–41 intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile from a rail car. The DF–41 is believed to support up to ten warheads. China is reportedly building a network of tracks and tunnels in the central part of the country that will be devoted to missile trains.