7:09 AM, Jan 30, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Joe Biden kicked off 2015 leading a presidential delegation to Brazil for the inauguration of Dilma Rousseff as president of that country. The vice president was only in the country on New Year's Day, for the inauguration and an hour-long meeting with Rousseff before returning to St. Croix where he rejoined his family for vacation. However, documents show that vehicles for the vice president and the rest of the delegation and entourage for the duration of their stay cost an estimated $229,358:
Although contracts for foreign VIP trips are routinely posted at the government's contracting website, the documents for this particular trip provide a rare look at the breakdown of the cost. Contained within the Justification and Approval document for the Brazil trip is a listing of the types of vehicles needed, the quantity, and the cumulative number of days the vehicles were expected to be utilized. The list includes twenty-two sedans, twenty-seven 15-passenger vans, three "box" trucks, a cargo van, a 44-passenger bus, and an SUV. The prices for all the vehicles (listed in Brazilian currency) include drivers, as well.
The White House and State Department typically do not release details of the number of persons on such trips, nor the exact duration of the stay. Advance security teams and other staff who coordinate the trips arrive early and may stay after the principals have left. However, based on a daily use of twenty-two sedans and twenty-seven 15-passenger vans, the number seems likely to be in the hundreds. Since the cargo van was estimated to be in use for thirteen days, it seems likely some U.S. personnel were in the country for about two weeks surrounding the vice president's visit on New Year's Day.Details on the hotel contract for lodging for the Brazil trip were also posted. In another rarity, the vehicle cost exceeded that of the lodging. The estimated cost for lodging at the Royal Tulip in Brasilia was $191,689.The documents do not include the number of rooms required or the duration of the stay.
Feb 9, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 21 • By LEE SMITH
Last week, the Obama administration succeeded in pressuring Democrats to insist there not be a vote on the Senate floor in support of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 until after the March 24 deadline for negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear weapons program. Lacking the votes in the Senate to impose cloture, Republicans had little choice but to go along. But the delay is unfortunate.
Rep.: 'Completely unacceptable to use U.S. tax dollars to influence the elections in Israel.'6:01 PM, Jan 29, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a statement from Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas senator blasts the Obama administration for going after Israel instead of Iran.
11:37 AM, Jan 29, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Ever since March 2014 when President Obama referred to Russian aggression against Ukraine as an "invasion," administration officials have avoided that word in conjunction with the ongoing conflict. In fact, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R.
9:02 AM, Jan 29, 2015 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The Obama administration is angry with Israel. Here's the administration's house organ, the New York Times, this morning:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, after days of mounting tension, signaled on Wednesday how angry it is with Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Republican leaders’ invitation to address Congress on Iran without consulting the White House.
1:48 PM, Jan 28, 2015 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Two gunmen entered the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli Tuesday morning. When their shooting rampage was over, at least ten people had been killed. For jihadists in Libya, the hotel was an inviting target. Foreign diplomats, Western tourists and officials from Libya’s rival governments are known to frequent it. Indeed, the victims were five foreigners, including an American, and five Libyans.
2:14 PM, Jan 27, 2015 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Lt. General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, blasted the Obama administration’s approach to the War on Terror in a hard-hitting speech to a meeting of intelligence professionals. “The dangers to the U.S. do not arise from the arrogance of American power, but from unpreparedness or an excessive unwillingness to fight when fighting is necessary,” Flynn said, in an unsparing critique first reported by the Daily Beast.
3:26 PM, Jan 26, 2015 • By ADAM J. WHITE
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming address to Congress, at Congress's invitation, is drawing significant criticism -- that much is no great surprise. What does surprise, however, is one particular criticism: that the event will be not just bad policy, but even unconstitutional.
Cruz, Paul perform as well.12:12 PM, Jan 26, 2015 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Rancho Mirage, California
Three top Republican senators joined top center-right donors Sunday evening for a lively, informal discussion on politics and policy to cap off a weekend that effectively marks the kickoff of the 2016 presidential primary. In oversized white chairs on stage at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio fielded questions for nearly 90 minutes from Jonathan Karl of ABC News, who capably pushed the potential candidates for responses on a wide range of issues.
7:33 AM, Jan 26, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama is being knocked by local press for chewing gum today at the Republic Day parade in India.
'Obviously the biggest error that we could make would be to blame Muslims collectively for crimes not committed by Muslims alone.'1:19 PM, Jan 23, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry argued that, as the Associated Press phrased it, "violent extremism is not Islamic" in a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos:
"Today we are witnessing more than a form of criminal anarchy. A nihilism which illegitimately claims an idealogical and religious foundation," said Kerry.
11:40 AM, Jan 23, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Emergency Committee for Israel will host a reception for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits Washington, D.C. The reception for Bibi is because President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry refuse to meet with him.
Here's the statement from ECI announcing the event: