It was supposed to be the deal that never came to be. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea has been hotly disputed by 2, then 3, then 5 countries claiming rights to its resource-rich seabed and sturgeon-filled waters. Oil, natural gas, and caviar-producing fish are abundant, making it one of the most coveted landlocked bodies of water in the world.
Suddenly, a deal has apparently been reached.
Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – all bordering the Caspian Sea – have agreed in principle on how to divide it up.
Their leaders signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in the Kazakh city of Aktau on Sunday.
What changed? Why all of a sudden did Iran, the biggest roadblock in reaching a deal because they have the smallest coastline on the Caspian, have a change of heart and push the deal forward? The answer can be found in recent sanctions from the United States and a chance that others may sanction them as well.
Despite denials, Iran is in a deepening economic crisis. Little is known about how deep it really is, but they are feeling the heat and likely did not properly save the massive amounts of money released to them by the last U.S. administration. Now, they need friends and fresh commerce to mitigate the damage.
Russia knows this and are behind the scenes giving Iran just enough aid to stay afloat. They will exert as much control over the situation in the Middle East as they can and a desperate Iran is just the in they need. They’ve been partners in Syria until recently. Now, they have the upper hand.
While news of the Caspian Sea deal will go unnoticed by most, it’s a pretty big deal. It gets Iran a boost they need even if it’s not the deal they wanted. It also lets Russia creep closer and closer to being a real power in the Middle East.
Shafeeq Sheikh, doctor convicted of rape, should be in jail. He got probation instead.
Shafeeq Sheikh raped a heavily sedated patient while working at the Baylor College of Medicine. After a rape kit matched his DNA, the jury convicted him of 2nd degree sexual assault with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. For whatever reason, the jury decided to give him 10 years probation instead.
Sheikh will have to register as a sex offender. Unlike most states and the federal government, Texas grants juries the power to set criminal punishments.
The punishment has surprised defense attorneys, disappointed law enforcement and raised concerns from a victims advocacy group, according to media reports.
The jurors had recommended the sentencing, to which visiting Senior District Judge Terry L Flenniken was required to follow by law, according to local media report.
Generally, I like the way Texas handles criminal sentencing. Every now and then, justice is not served and this is clearly one of those cases. Here is a victim who has been permanently changed, having been raped by someone she should have been able to trust in a place where she should have felt safe. He is a predator who the victim believes has committed similar crimes before.
Violent criminals must be punished. While the maximum term may have been too much, to not serve at least a decade in jail after what he did is sickening.
ICE gets media beating for taking illegal immigrant into custody over Mexican homicide warrant
It’s the type of story the media craves. An illegal immigrant, Joel Arrona-Lara, who “hasn’t done anything wrong” was detained by ICE agents while transporting his pregnant wife to the hospital. She ended up having to drive herself the rest of the way before delivering their son.
The spin is predictable. They skim over the fact that he has an arrest warrant in Mexico for homicide while putting all the focus on his wife’s dilemma. They even attempt to cast doubt on the warrant because the lawyer for the family says he couldn’t find a record of the warrant. This last part is most peculiar because it would be simple for a major media outlet to confirm the existence of the warrant. They did, of course, but they won’t report that when they have a better quote from the lawyer denying its existence.
Eventually details will emerge about the warrant, but not until the media inflicts as much damage as possible on ICE and anyone in favor of legal immigration being the proper way to enter the country.
Here’s the story. If you click through, you’ll even get a link at the bottom to the family’s new GoFundMe page:
Her husband Joel Arrona-Lara was driving his wife to the hospital for a scheduled Cesarean section Wednesday afternoon when they had to stop to get gas. That’s when their car was approached by two SUVs. Maria said they were officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The mother of five was then asked to show her identification and complied. When the agents asked Arrona-Lara, the couple said he didn’t have the ID on him, but that they lived nearby and could go get it for them. The agents then asked Arrona-Lara to exit the vehicle, searched the car for weapons, and put Arrona into custody, leaving Maria alone at the gas station.
There’s no doubt the circumstances surrounding all of this are unfortunate. Pregnant wives should not have to drive themselves to the hospital for a scheduled C-section. On the other hand, suspected murderers shouldn’t be entering the country in the first place. That point won’t be mentioned by mainstream media.
ICE has a responsibility to take people like Arrona-Lara into custody so it can be determined whether or not they should be deported. There may have even been a certain degree of leeway given had there been no records other than his status as an illegal immigrant, but being a suspected murderer with an arrest warrant took away any chance at leeway. The ICE agents did the right thing.
As a legal immigrant, I have no sympathy for those who cheat the system and break our laws. Blaming the ICE agents for doing their job correctly in order to keep us safe is the type of insanity mainstream media loves to sell us.
The real reason Ocasio-Cortez is afraid of the press
For at least the second time, reporters were barred from covering an event featuring Socialist Democratic darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The campaign’s reason: we want attendees to feel comfortable since there’s so much national press covering her.
This is an absolutely ridiculous excuse, of course. Nobody goes to a campaign event without knowing the press will (should) be there. It doesn’t make them less comfortable and may actually give some a sense of security knowing the answers to their questions will be judged by more than the audience at hand. That’s one of the reasons for the press in the first place, to give information about an event to people who cannot attend.
Instead, the press is getting another roadblock:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic socialist star running for New York’s 14th congressional district, is facing criticism after her campaign banned journalists from covering a town hall meeting with voters this week.
The Queens Chronicle, a local news outlet, reported that the campaign for the 28-year-old progressive prevented reporters from attending a campaign event in Corona on Sunday, even though it was open to the rest of the public. The campaign reportedly barred reporters from a prior event as well.
It’s conspicuous that a local publication was barred because it runs contrary to the narrative the campaign is trying to sell. So why is she being hidden from reporters at these types of events?
It’s clear that her exposure is her best friend and worst enemy. Being talked about is a politician’s best friend on the campaign trail, but it also offers a risk of failure. This is most common in events like the town hall meetings she is holding because she’ll be forced to think on her feet.
What if she can’t think on her feet? What if her answers when placed in an unscripted situation the type of answers many would expect from an inexperienced socialist?
Until she’s ready to handle the pressure of having press cover these events, she won’t be ready to hold public office at this level. The House of Representatives isn’t for people who need to be protected from their own answers.