This Week in the World Affairs Brief:

HILLARY VERSUS THE INCREASINGLY CROWDED GOP FIELD

Hillary Clinton finally announced what has been a given for the past eight years: that she is running for president... again. It was almost anticlimactic. The media’s reaction was not particularly overwhelming either, other than to revel in the liberal knee-jerk prospect of electing “the countries first woman president.” The press is spending most of its time covering the latest republican candidates which are surfacing almost weekly. This week, I’ll also cover new entrants Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio which bring the total GOP candidates to an almost even dozen. You can request a one-time free sample of the briefs by sending an email to editor@worldaffairsbrief.com.

Also:

  • NORAD Moving Back into Cheyenne Mountain
  • California Water Shortages Due to Environmental Restrictions
  • Keeping a Muzzle on China Critics in the US
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Daily News

Sold: Russian S-400 Missile Defense Systems to China

posted by askousen - Friday, April 17 2015
Russia may have just lifted its ban on supplying Iran with S-300s, but it has also reached a deal to supply China with the S-400 Triumf missile defense system. The S-400, an upgraded version of the S-300, had previously only been available to the Russian Ministry of Defense. China will be the first foreign buyer. The S-400, which is manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russia since 2007. The sophisticated air defense system is capable of firing three types of missiles, creating a layered defence, and can simultaneously engage 36 targets. The system is able to shoot down aircraft–manned and unmanned–and missiles–ballistic and cruise–within a range of 400 km (248.5 miles). — The Diplomat

House quietly passes tax exemption for megadonors

posted by askousen - Friday, April 17 2015
The House on Wednesday with little fanfare passed legislation that would protect major donors like the Koch brothers and Tom Steyer from having to pay gift taxes on huge donations to secret money political groups. The legislation, which now heads to the Senate, is seen by fundraising operatives as removing one of the few remaining potential obstacles to unfettered big-money spending by non-profit groups registered under a section of the tax code – 501(c) – that allows them to shield their donors' identities. — Politico

Military Bulletin Labels Patriot Groups, Militia 'Domestic Terrorists'

posted by askousen - Friday, April 17 2015
A military bulletin called patriot groups and the militia "domestic extremists" who may launch terrorist attacks, a claim which follows a trend by the government to demonize libertarians and constitutionalists. The bulletin, an e-mail from a U.S. Coast Guard command security officer which was leaked to Infowars, lumped militia members and patriots with "white supremacists" and claimed they may launch terror attacks on April 19th because it is a "significant date to domestic extremists." — Infowars.com

Hillary Clinton: Distancing from Obama while courting his supporters

posted by askousen - Friday, April 17 2015
Once Hillary Rodham Clinton's charismatic rival, then her unpopular boss, President Obama was bound to pose a bit of quandary for Clinton as she once again pursues the presidency. The conflict between remaining loyal to a Democratic president and staking out her own turf was front and center this week as Clinton opened her campaign in Iowa - and particularly when she spoke about the economy. — LA Times

'Man-made disaster': Critics say California drought caused by misguided environment policies

posted by askousen - Friday, April 17 2015
The blistering drought that has Californians timing their showers, driving dirty cars and staring at brown lawns and empty swimming pools is a "man-made disaster," according to critics, who say the Golden State's misguided environmental policies allow much-needed freshwater to flow straight into the Pacific. In an average year, California gets enough snow and rain to put 200 million acres under a foot of water, but environmental opposition to dams over the last several decades has allowed the majority of the freshwater to flow into the ocean, even as the state's population exploded to nearly 40 million people. The current drought has left farms parched and residents under strict water consumption orders, but some say it didn't have to be that way. — Fox News

US Navy Muzzles a China Critic

posted by askousen - Friday, April 17 2015
American naval officers who publically raise concerns about China's military capabilities and intentions can find themselves sidelined, their careers stunted. That is the case of Capt. James Fanell, formerly the chief of naval intelligence for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Fanell was recently reassigned from his sensitive intelligence post. His remarks at several forums that China is preparing for war with Japan were embarrassing to the navy's leadership, which is focused on building ties with a newly assertive China's military. — Asia Sentinel

Former TSA Agent: Groping Scandal Is Business as Usual

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 16 2015
There are far too many federal hands on people's private parts in airports The recent story of two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport manipulating full-body scanners in order to grope men's crotches is disturbing, but it came as no surprise to me. — Time

Former TSA Agent: Groping Scandal Is Business as Usual

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 16 2015
...Amid all the jokes in comment sections, it's easy to forget that the groping of these dozen or more male passengers by two conspiring TSA screeners is sexual assault, plain and simple. And while it's easy to focus all the blame on the two unsavory screeners who are now no longer with the agency, perhaps the bigger issue here is a systemic one: There are far too many federal hands on people's private parts in airports. — Time

27.49% of Everyone's Tax Bill Is Spent on Health Care

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 16 2015
While users can punch in their own tax liability and see dollar amounts assigned to each category, the figures are based on percentages from the prior fiscal year budget. Comparing those percentages from year to year, taxpayers can see that from 2012 to 2014, the percentage of their taxes going towards federal healthcare expenses has jumped 22 percent — The Weekly Standard

DHS to Purchase 62 Million More Rounds of AR-15 Ammo

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 16 2015
A posting on FedBizOpps.gov this week reveals that the DHS is looking to contract with a company to provide 12.6 million rounds of .223 Remington ammunition per year for a period of five years – totaling 62.5 million bullets. The solicitation explains that the purchase is intended, "to achieve price savings over the current .223 Rem duty ammunition." The bullets will be used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents nationwide for "training" purposes. — Infowars.com

Vladimir Putin Fields the Strangest Questions From Russians

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 16 2015
This year was maybe more remarkable for the odd questions and favors Russians asked of him than for his bullish comments on international politics. While some of the questions dealt with big issues like Russia's isolation in the world over the Ukraine crisis, most callers were concerned with problems closer to home -- in particular the economy, which has been battered by Western sanctions and falling oil prices. — ABC News

Christian Who Asked Gay Rights Bakery to Bake Anti-Gay Marriage Cake May Face Legal Action

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 16 2015
A bakery that has refused to bake a cake with an anti-gay wedding message has found itself at the centre of controversy. But unlike mirror image cases in which Christian bakers have been taken to court for refusing to bake pro-gay marriage cakes, this time, it is the Christian to tried to place the order who may face legal action. — Breitbart

Voting machine password hacks as easy as 'abcde', details Virginia state report

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 15 2015
Touchscreen voting machines used in numerous elections between 2002 and 2014 used "abcde" and "admin" as passwords and could easily have been hacked from the parking lot outside the polling place, according to a state report. — The Guardian

Issa Asked Hillary in 2012 About Private Email Address, Clinton Deleted Emails After Inquiry

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 15 2015
..."Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal e-mail account to conduct official business?" the first question reads. "If so, please identify the account used." The next two questions asked about whether she or other senior agency officials used text messages or alias email accounts to send or receive government work messages-and the fourth question asks for specific details on the agency's policies on such accounts — Breitbart

Lifting Ban, Russia to Supply Missiles to Iran

posted by askousen - Monday, April 13 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted a ban on supplying Iran with sophisticated S-300 air defense systems, just days after world powers reached an interim agreement with the Islamic Republic on restricting its nuclear program. Putin signed a decree lifting a September 2010 ban on providing Iran with the advanced surface-to-air missile systems, the Kremlin's website reported Monday. — Voice of America

Is World War III coming soon?

posted by askousen - Monday, April 13 2015
...Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen has long warned that North Korea could be the flashpoint for a global conflagration. "There has to be a reason why North Korea has been preserved.... — Leo Hohmann/World Net Daily

Deportations of illegal immigrants plummet on Obama's watch

posted by askousen - Monday, April 13 2015
...Ms. Saldana is likely to face a severe grilling over the troubles at her agency, as she defends Mr. Obama's immigration policies, which have neutered much of ICE's work. Republicans said it amounts to a "failure" on the agency's top priority. — Washington Times

Rubio jumps into White House race with jab at Hillary Clinton

posted by askousen - Monday, April 13 2015
...While Clinton's rollout could overshadow Rubio's, it could also play to his advantage by allowing him to draw a contrast with the former secretary of State, who has been a presence on the national stage for nearly three decades. ...Still, in order to win the nomination, Rubio will have to assure conservatives who were turned off by his involvement in the Senate's failed immigration reform effort in 2013. — The Hill

Office of Naval Intelligence Reveals Massive Chinese Naval Buildup

posted by askousen - Sunday, April 12 2015
...The Office of Naval Intelligence, in its first unclassified assessment of the Chinese navy in six years, revealed deployment of the new YJ-18 supersonic anti-ship cruise missile on warships and submarines that analysts say poses a major threat to U.S. and allied vessels. China's current naval force of 300 surface ships, submarines, amphibious ships, and missile-armed patrol craft is rapidly expanding, the report says. — Washington Free Beacon

New Mexico Ends Civil Asset Forfeiture

posted by askousen - Sunday, April 12 2015
Gov. Susana Martinez (R.) of New Mexico signed a bill into law Friday ending the state's civil asset forfeiture program, making New Mexico the latest state to rein in the practice. Asset forfeiture, a process by which police can seize property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, has come under fire from civil liberties groups who argue it is rife with perverse incentives for police and lacks safeguards for property owners. — Washington Free Beacon

Russian Fighter Jet Nearly Collides with U.S. Spy Jet Over Europe

posted by askousen - Sunday, April 12 2015
...A defense official said the Russian fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the unarmed reconnaissance jet in what the official called a "reckless" encounter that endangered the lives of the RC-135 crew. No details were available regarding the mission of the RC-135, which was in a position to monitor Russian military activities in western Russia and Kaliningrad. — Washington Free Beacon

Nerd Prom: Film shows how cozy reporters are with White House

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 11 2015
Reporters in the national press are all in bed with their powerful government sources, and that is proven each year during White House Correspondents' Dinner week. That's the conclusion of a new documentary directed by a former reporter at one of Washington, D.C.'s biggest news publications. Patrick Gavin, who most recently worked as a journalist for Politico until leaving in 2014, chronicles in his film the evolution of the White House Correspondents' Dinner from a small annual gathering of journalists and West Wing officials in the 1920s to the multimillion dollar week-long power-jockeying event it has become today. — Washington Examiner

Minneapolis police records shed light on 2014 military training

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 11 2015
...Frizell's message states that strict security protocols extended even to the Navy's initial, written solicitation. Frizell recounts that the Navy's letter was hand delivered, and that face-to-face planning conversations were required "because of the sensitivity of the training." The Navy's letter to Mayor Hodges expands on the security concerns surrounding the exercise, and explicitly requests that advance notice of the event be limited. "Due to the sensitivities of this training," the letter states, "we respectfully request that any information pertaining to this training be excluded from automatic public release." — Twin Cities Daily Planet

National Guard Blocks Infowars Reporters From Covering Dirty Bomb Exercise

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 11 2015
"...Therefore, we hold little confidence that granting you access to the exercise would result in a fair and responsible report for your audience." Martin is essentially saying that only media outlets who put a positive spin on the exercise or who regurgitate National Guard talking points will be allowed to cover the drill. It's not the National Guard's place to decide what constitutes a "fair and responsible" report on their activities. America is supposed to have something called the First Amendment and freedom of the press. The U.S. military does not have control over the Fourth Estate. — Infowars.com

Family of Walter Scott tells Rev. Al Sharpton to keep away

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 11 2015
..."We don't want another Ferguson type of circus here," a source close to the Scott family told The Daily News...In recent days, Sharpton has slammed Scott's fatal shooting by North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager as "senseless" and proposed nationalizing the country's police forces as a way to curb brutality against African-Americans. — NY Daily News

REPUBLICAN PARTY ELITES ABANDON TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 11 2015
Only six of 54 Republican members of the Senate signed a pro-traditional marriage legal brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that was submitted on Friday. USA Today noted, "By contrast, 44 Democratic senators and 167 Democratic House members filed a brief last month urging the court to approve same-sex marriage. The brief included the full House and Senate [Democratic] leadership teams." — Cliff Kincaid/News With Views

RAND PAUL: PROS AND CONS

posted by askousen - Friday, April 10 2015
On Tuesday of this week, Rand Paul made it official that he is a candidate for the office of President of the United States. As I did with Ted Cruz a few weeks ago when he announced his candidacy for President, I want to give readers a preliminary assessment of Senator Paul's pros and cons. Be mindful, again, that this is a preliminary assessment and is subject to change as more information becomes available....Noted political researcher and analyst Joel Skousen put this in perspective recently, saying, "Rand Paul has the same problem [as Ted Cruz]. ... — Chuck Baldwin/News With Views

China deploys new weapon for online censorship in form of 'Great Cannon'

posted by askousen - Friday, April 10 2015
China has moved beyond censoring Internet content seen by its own citizens to using a new cyberweapon researchers have dubbed "the Great Cannon" to silence critics around the world, according to a report released Friday. The first use of this capability was a weeks-long attack against Web sites that offer tools to help users evade Chinese censorship. By sending crippling amounts of Web traffic, the attacks attempted to knock offline the anti-censorship site GreatFire as well as GitHub, a San Francisco-based Web service that is popular with programmers. — Washington Post

FBI: Man Plotted Suicide Bomb Attack at Kansas Military Base

posted by askousen - Friday, April 10 2015
A 20-year-old man accused of planning a suicide attack at Fort Riley was arrested Friday while trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb near the Kansas military base as part of a plot to support the Islamic State group, federal prosecutors said. John T. Booker Jr. made his first federal court appearance later Friday in Topeka, his hometown. Prosecutors allege he told an FBI informant that he wanted to kill Americans and engage in violent jihad on behalf of the terrorist group. Court documents allege he told the informant that attack was justified because the Quran "says to kill your enemies wherever they are." — ABC News

Iran deal could stumble on sensitive nuclear monitoring

posted by askousen - Friday, April 10 2015
...As part of that deal, Iran and the powers agreed that United Nations inspectors would have "enhanced" access to remaining nuclear activity in Iran, where they already monitor key sites. But details on exactly what kind of access the inspectors will have were left for the final stage of talks, posing a major challenge for negotiators on a complex and logistically challenging issue that is highly delicate for Iran's leaders. — Reuters