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THEY DON’T WANT TO VOTE YES OR NO. THE GOP SHOULD MAKE THEM: Obama war request puts congressional Democrats in a tight spot.

WHEN I MENTIONED PRESIDENT OBAMA’S DECLARATION OF NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH A WHILE BACK, A READER COMMENTED: “I need to put together a full on prep kit. I’ve got some essentials, but nothing for a long period. But looking at that Amazon page makes my head spin.”

Well, M.D. Creekmore has advice for easy disaster prep. And, as with exercise, something is better than nothing. If you’re prepared to hold out for two weeks without outside help, you’re in much, much better shape than most. If you’re prepared for a month, then you’re way ahead of the game, and, in fact, able to make it through pretty much anything that’s hit the North American continent since the last time Yellowstone let go.

Plus, was I ahead of the curve or what?

THE HILL: Obama Clings To Air Power.

President Obama is solidifying his legacy as the air war president with his strategy for taking on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The escalated use of airstrikes in Iraq and potentially Syria is just the latest example of the president finding it strategically and politically expedient to choose missiles over manpower when fighting enemies abroad.

So if there are no boots on the ground in our war, does that make it a bootless struggle?

UPDATE: From the comments: “Why are folks surprised that an emperor without clothes fights wars without boots?”

Matt Drudge called it a while back:

allhatnocattledrudge

IN OBAMA’S ECONOMY, there will be plenty of people happy to take a job at Chipotle.

WELL, THAT’S COMFORTING: Chinese See War With Japan as Inevitable. If Obama hadn’t flushed the Pax Americana, this would be much less of an issue.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S POSTRACIAL AMERICA: Black People And Asian Men Have A Much Harder Time Dating On OKCupid. More here.

IT JUST GETS FUNNIER: Obama Sees 2002 Iraq War Resolution As A Legal Basis For Airstrikes.

PAUL RAHE: Is Obama a War Criminal? “Is killing people via bombing strikes a war crime if it serves no larger strategic purpose, if it is a feckless act apt only to enrage against us those Sunnis who desperately fear the Shia, if it is a cynical maneuver aimed solely at improving the President’s standing in the polls? It is, after all, one thing to seek victory and another to engage in aimless mayhem.”

Plus: “The war in Iraq and Syria really is a war of Barack Obama’s making. Had he kept a body of troops in Iraq to encourage Maliki to honor the arrangements he had worked out with the Kurds and the Sunni, Al Q’aeda in an even more malevolent form would not have made a comeback. Had he vigorously backed the secular reformers in Syria, Bashar al-Assad would have been ousted some time ago, and ISIS would never have secured a foothold. His fecklessness in the past is now, however, going to be compounded by his fecklessness in the present.”

HMM: Sarah Palin: I owe America an apology because John McCain should be president. See, I don’t think so. McCain polled his highest — the only time he was ahead of Obama — after the Palin pick. He lost his lead when the financial crisis struck at a crucial time, and when he pulled that idiotic “campaign suspended” stunt.

SO HOW’S THAT GOING FOR YOU NOW, CHAMP? Read this 2008 op-ed by candidate Obama on Iraq. Then laugh, or cry.

WAR? JOHN KERRY SAID IT WASN’T A WAR. Roll Call: How Obama Will Pay for His War. “The White House doesn’t know yet how much the new war with ISIS will cost, but it knows how it will pay for it: the all-purpose war funding credit card. Officially known as Overseas Contingency Operations, it’s the catchall account used to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that is now funding the war against the group also known as the Islamic State or ISIL.”

Remember when Obama was criticizing Bush for “two wars fought on the credit card?” That was a lie. This isn’t.

JUNIOR VARSITY DIPLOMACY: War/Not War?: Is John Kerry as Stupid as He Sounds? You Be the Judge.

Related thoughts from Tom Maguire: “The Times noted that our Arab allies seem a bit tentative. No kidding – Obama and Kerry were wrong about the surge in ’07, wrong about the Iraqi troop withdrawals in ’11, wrong to walk away from post-Qadaffi Libya in ’11, wrong not to arm the moderate Syrian rebels in ’11, wrong to draw a faux red line in 2013, and now no one will get behind him? The headless chickens have come home to roost.”

UPDATE: Pejman Yousefzadeh doubts the Administration’s competence.

OUR JUNIOR-VARSITY ADMINISTRATION: James Foley’s mother ‘appalled’ by U.S. government handling of case. “I think our efforts to get Jim freed were an annoyance.”

UPDATE: Hmm. I was thinking about this and remembered a comment from InstaPundit reader Shivan V. Mahendrarajah almost ten years ago: “I live in NYC: limousine liberals hated Guiliani publicly, but voted for his reelection because they trusted him to keep them safe. I think the same phenomenon exists with GWB, and he reminded voters why they should vote for him.” The flipside of that is, I think Obama is reminding people why they shouldn’t have voted for him. . . .

MICHAEL BARONE: Large government out of place in a society based on small technology.

Civilian technology, Joel Mokyr notes, has also gone “small” — nanotechnology, genetic engineering, custom-engineered materials, “mass customization” through 3-D printing. If the Rouge plant looming over Dearborn was the iconic symbol of the industrial age, the iconic symbol of our information age is the smartphone in your pocket.

“Large” technology requires the standardization of masses of people, centralized command-and-control, conformity to social norms. Massive work forces and massive armies cannot operate optimally otherwise.

“Small” technology enables individuals to make personal choices, fashion their world to their own dimensions, deploy their own talents and pursue their interests in ways of their own choosing. Standardization yields to customization.

President Obama doesn’t seem to get this. He sees history as a story of progress from minimal government to ever-larger government. He’s only sorry that he hasn’t taken us farther on that track.

But history doesn’t proceed in a straight line; it moves around. “Large” technology made big government seem necessary in 1914. “Small” technology requires something different, something more adaptive today.

Indeed. You could almost write a book about that.

HI FOLKS. YOU’RE KINDA LATE TO THE PARTY. TRY NOT TO BE SO EASILY FOOLED NEXT TIME. Women, Hispanics, Youth Losing Confidence In Obama.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: GOP Majority In Congress Could Stop Unlawful President. Yep. GOP control of Senate in 2015 is vital for limiting lame-duck chicanery, especially as the Dems will surely go nuclear-option on the filibuster if there’s a Supreme Court vacancy.

IT’S COME TO THIS: “You’re still a superpower . . . but you no longer know how to act like one.”

ANDREW SULLIVAN AFTER 9/11: This Is A Religious War.

My question is, now that Obama’s going all-in, will the “flight of the intellectuals” reverse? Also, was I really “wobbly” in 2004? I don’t think so. But if I’m wobbly now, it’s not because I don’t want to see ISIS and all Islamist terrorist utterly destroyed, but because I lack confidence in Obama’s ability to execute.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Senior Obama official makes terrible geography error.

Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria.

Er, no they don’t.

UPDATE: From the comments: “If you don’t study in college, you may get a job in the Obama Regime talking about the Middle East, working for John Kerry. Which is similar to getting stuck in Iraq, I think.”

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Health Care Takes Bigger Bite out of Americans’ Shrinking Budgets.

Health care took a bigger bite out of Americans’ budgets in 2013 than in 2012, even though Americans spent less overall as their incomes decreased. A new report from the Department of Labor found that, in 2013, overall U.S. consumer spending declined .7 percent, after a 3.5 percent rise in 2012. Many constituent areas saw big drops (for example: clothes, 7.6 percent and entertainment, 4.7 percent), but spending in two areas rose despite the overall decline. . . . Policy makers must make choices that will make health care cheaper, and some tools for lowering costs already exist. Clinics are cheaper places to receive care than emergency rooms and nurse practitioners provide care at a lower cost than doctors do. Laws that restrict the scope of NPs’ practice could, therefore, be relaxed. Price transparency all on its own can lower spending; state governments can be much, much more proactive in collecting and disseminating that information. Hospitals could do a better job adopting technologies that lower costs instead of technologies that increase costs.

Related: Obamacare Premiums Are Magical Mystery Tour.

The important thing to keep in mind is that when the “benchmark rate” goes down, that doesn’t mean that the cost of the old benchmark plan has fallen. It just means that whatever plan is now the second-cheapest “silver” plan on the exchanges is cheaper than whatever was the second-cheapest plan last year.

Uh huh.

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF WE-TOLD-YOU-SO: Surprise: Post-Obamacare Deductibles Going Through The Roof.

REVOLVING DOOR UPDATE: The Great Obamacare Cashout: Medicare overhaul chief cashes out to CareFirst.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN. I THINK IT DEFINES OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY: “Jobless claims unexpectedly rise 11,000 to 315,000 last week.”

YES. ALSO BARACK OBAMA. NEXT QUESTION? Is Eric Holder Trying To Protect The IRS?

YEAH, THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” STUFF ISN’T LOOKING SO GOOD: Becoming secretary of state could be Hillary’s biggest political mistake. “Hillary Clinton enjoyed remarkably high approval ratings during her time as secretary of state under President Obama, but those numbers have evaporated as the Middle East burns and Moscow continues its expansion westward — leaving her legacy in tatters. This development is occurring at a terrible time for Clinton, months before she is expected to announce her 2016 presidential ambitions.”

ROLL CALL: Stalled Georgia Judicial Nominee Presents a Dilemma for Senate Democrats.

The troubled judicial nomination of Michael P. Boggs is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee as the days grow short for congressional action this year, and the panel is moving other nominations ahead of his.

The committee added a slate of 10 judicial nominees to its agenda for votes this month, likely next week. That agenda does not include Boggs, one of President Barack Obama’s nominees to a federal district court in Georgia.

A vote now on Boggs’ nomination would unnecessarily risk a potentially awkward intraparty conflict among Democrats, Senate aides and nominations experts familiar with the nomination said. Committee Democrats either could reject one of Obama’s judicial picks for the first time. Or the nomination could advance to the full Senate with opposition from many Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. . . .

Most Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee, however, oppose Boggs’ nomination based on positions Boggs took on abortion and same-sex marriage as a Democratic state lawmaker in Georgia in the early 2000s. Reid voiced opposition to Boggs, and so did progressive groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America.

They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney. . . . Oh, Hell, you know the rest.

THE HILL: Cheney points finger at Obama’s ‘indifference’ for rise of ISIS.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday said there is a connection between the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and President Obama’s disengagement abroad, accusing him of “principled indifference.”

“The terrorists who threaten this country and our friends are on the wrong side of civilization,” he said during prepared remarks at the American Enterprise Institute. “They will be on the wrong side of history only if we put them there. We must deal with threats before they become grave dangers and dangers before they become catastrophes.”

I think that the only danger Obama has paid any attention to was the danger of a Republican electoral victory.

NAH, HE’LL BE REMEMBERED FOR BEING A FUCK-UP, TOO: Michael Moore: A hundred years from now, Obama will only be remembered for being the first black president.

Also, although — as I predicted — Obama’s portrayal has gotten steadily “blacker” as his problems have mounted, I expect a post-term revisionism that will stress his privileged white background, concluding that he wasn’t a “real” black President at all. Expect this to peak around 2025-2030.

HEH:

“Knock knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“ISIL.”
“ISIL who?”
“ISIL have no idea what to do about this $#!+.”
– @BarackObama to WH Press Corps, 9/10/14

Jim Treacher, trenchant even on vacation.

BECAUSE HE KNEW IT WOULD BE POLITICALLY UNPOPULAR? Why didn’t Obama pass immigration reform when he had the chance?

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Army officer is told not to enter his daughter’s high school because he’s wearing his uniform. “Before he was allowed in, the security guard stopped him and said sorry you’re not allowed in the school. Security told him men and women in uniform weren’t allowed because it may offend another student.”

Also: Firefighters Say They Were Sent Home for Refusing to Remove Patriotic Stickers.

ON THE UPSIDE, IT WOULD STILL DO LESS DAMAGE THAN OBAMA HAS: Stephen Hawking Fears Higgs Boson Doomsday, and He’s Not Alone. “The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100 [billion] gigaelectronvolts (GeV). … This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.”

THE FRACKING BOOM: DOING WHAT THE “STIMULUS” FAILED TO DO: Boom in Energy Spurs Industry in the Rust Belt.

Related: Data on $800 billion in stimulus spending will disappear this year. How convenient. Certainly an excellent contrast between the America that works and the one that doesn’t, a comparison I’ve noted before.

Plus, unlike the stimulus, the fracking boom provides politically incorrect jobs for burly men.

AUSTIN BAY: Barack Obama’s Revived War On Terror. You know, we should have just elected Cheney in ’08. It would have saved a lot of wasted motion.

Related: Two Administrations In One! “Huh — it was just a month and a half ago when the Obama administration begged Congress to prevent it from going to war in Iraq.”

UPDATE: For extra comic relief: Obama Will Fight ISIS With George W. Bush’s Legal Theories.

A haiku:

Frowning at Isis
Obama tries old tools
Dick Cheney smiles.

Okay, not a great haiku. But still . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: From the comments:

New War on Terror,
I evolved on Gay Marriage,
I’m now Dick Cheney

Well, more like Dick Cheney’s slower little brother or something.

RON FOURNIER: ISIS: Is Obama Leading or Being Led? Fournier offers some reasons why Americans don’t approve of Obama on this issue:

He doesn’t seem to be taking the threat seriously enough.

His assurances are habitually wrong.

He stubbornly clings to his views.

I’d say “bitterly clings,” but that’s just to make a funny.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN MITT ROMNEY, WE’D HAVE A PRESIDENT ADDICTED TO UNILATERAL WARMAKING. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Obama tells leaders he doesn’t need their vote for ISIS campaign.

President Obama told congressional leaders at a White House meeting on Tuesday he doesn’t need their authorization to expand his military campaign against Islamic terrorists.

The president offered the assurance one day before a prime-time address he’s scheduled to give to the nation. . . .

While Obama told the House and Senate leaders he would welcome congressional action that demonstrates a unified front, the president told the bipartisan group “he has the authority he needs to take action against (ISIS) in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address,” according to the White House.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called on Obama to better clarify his strategy this week, and the White House has said the president will offer a frank “assessment of this critical national security priority.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest cautioned that the address would not provide a timeline for the military campaign, nor was Obama expected to outline costs for the operation.

Plus: “Polls show that confidence in Obama’s foreign policy is eroding just as anxiety over the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has peaked.”

NEWS FROM OBAMA’S POST-RACIAL AMERICA: Police: Women Force Tenants out of Apartment at Gunpoint: ‘Tired of White People Moving In.’

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH: The Fall Of The Obama Administration. “Remember when this crowd was going to fix everything that was supposedly wrong with American foreign policy? Boy, those were the days.”

THE HILL: Dems do damage control on immigration.

UPDATE: Sorry — had the wrong link before. Fixed now. And bumped.

OPERATION I-TOLD-YOU-SO: What Is Mitt Romney Up To?

My reading of Romney is that he’s a man who doesn’t lack an ego, but that he has far less ego than most politicians. I think he actually is interested in public service, and that right now he’s been casting about—after over a year of laying low and thinking, and recovering from his defeat—for the role he can take on to best serve the nation and even the world.

If that’s grandiose, so be it. And the conclusion I think he may have come to is that he can serve as a guide to the party and as a symbol of solidity, a “what might have been” for the American people to compare and contrast to Obama and other Democrats. As such, he can remind them that the current decline and chaos weren’t inevitable, and needn’t be inevitable for the future, if they are smarter next time and elect a more conservative candidate than Hillary Clinton or whoever will be the Democratic nominee.

Will it work? I don’t know. But I think that’s his plan, and so far he’s executed quite nicely.

Plus, it’s always fun to say “I told you so.”

SAVE YOUR TIME, LAURA — OBAMA’S TAKING CARE OF THAT ALL ON HIS OWN: Laura Bush’s latest role: Booster of her husband’s legacy.

THE HILL: Support For ObamaCare Continues To Fall.

IS THERE ANYTHING OBAMA HAS GOTTEN RIGHT? Marc Thiessen: George W. Bush was right about Iraq pullout. “In the summer of 2007, Bush warned of the dire consequence of pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq against the advice of our commanders on the ground.”

REMEMBER WHEN ONE OF OBAMA’S SELLING POINTS WAS THAT HE’D GET ALONG BETTER WITH THE EUROPEANS THAN THAT DUMB COWBOY BUSH? US efforts to track Islamic extremists reportedly hampered by disputes with Europe.

WHY IS IT WORSE THAN VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN? Obama spokesman: Violence against women ‘cannot be tolerated.’

Plus, from Jezebel, thoughts on beating up your boyfriend. “According to a study of relationships that engage in nonreciprocal violence, a whopping 70% are perpetrated by women. So basically that means that girls are beating up their BFs and husbands and the dudes aren’t fighting back. With Amy Winehouse busting open a can of whupass on her husband last week, we decided to conduct an informal survey of the Jezebels to see who’s gotten violent with their men. After reviewing the answers, let’s just say that it’d be wise to never ever fuck with us.”

THE HILL: Tech’s Frustration With Congress Boils Over. Frankly, a lot of the tech agenda looks kinda protectionist. Then there’s this:

Immigration reform — a key demand for a sector struggling to bring in skilled foreign developers and techies — has died a slow and painful death since the 2012 election, when congressional action seemed imminent.

They should hope nobody cracks down on their abuse of H1 visas as it is. But the new oligarchs need to realize that Congress — much like Obama — is much happier to take your money than it is to do anything in particular on your behalf.

FLASHBACK: Obama campaign’s open door to China. “It’s illegal for foreign nationals to contribute to US elections. Yet the Obama campaign practically invites foreigners to give.”

IT MUST BE PARTICULARLY FUN FOR MITT ROMNEY, WHOM THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN RIDICULED AS OUT OF TOUCH, TO SAY STUFF LIKE THIS: Romney: Obama ‘out of touch’ on Islamic State, other global threats.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIALIZES: Why Democrats Packed the Court: The new liberal D.C. Circuit intervenes in a big ObamaCare case.

Exactly as President Obama and Senate Democrats planned, the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has moved to suppress a major challenge to ObamaCare. The gambit is no less remarkable for its nakedness.

Last week the full D.C. Circuit vacated the July decision that some insurance subsidies violate the law’s plain language and agreed to rehear Halbig v. Burwell en banc. ObamaCare’s text authorizes subsidies only through exchanges “established by the State,” so a three-judge panel ruled that the Internal Revenue Service was dispensing them illegally across the 36 exchanges established by the federal government.

Such straightforward statutory interpretation fails the D.C. Circuit’s own high standards for en banc scrutiny. As Washington attorney Adam White recently explained in these pages, since the 1990s the full D.C. Circuit has chosen to rehear merely one or two—and sometimes zero—of the 500 or so cases heard every year. The court’s standard for en banc hearings has been that a panel has overturned a D.C. Circuit precedent, which Halbig does not, or if a matter of “exceptional importance” is implicated, historically meaning some constitutional principle. Reading a statute does not rise to constitutional review.

The difference now is that Harry Reid last year packed the D.C. Circuit with three of President Obama’s nominees, so liberals now outnumber conservatives by eight to five not counting senior judges. The Senate Majority Leader nuked the filibuster rule for judges, allowing them to be confirmed with 51 instead of 60 votes, precisely so the court would become the garbageman to dispose of unpleasant legal challenges to the President’s regulatory decrees. ObamaCare is Exhibit A.

As Kurt Schlichter warns, Democrats are going to miss the rule of law after they’ve killed it.

SO, PRETTY MUCH LIKE HIS OTHER DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICIES, THEN? Obama’s immigration train wreck.

REMINDER: In 2009, Barack Obama “Joked” About Auditing His Enemies.

OOPS: Less Than 3 Weeks After Declaring Syria Chemical Weapons Free, Obama Admin Says They Hid Weapons.

I thought we had “smart diplomacy” covering this.

MATT RIDLEY: Whatever Happened To Global Warming: Now come climate scientists’ implausible explanations for why the ‘hiatus’ has passed the 15-year mark.

On Sept. 23 the United Nations will host a party for world leaders in New York to pledge urgent action against climate change. Yet leaders from China, India and Germany have already announced that they won’t attend the summit and others are likely to follow, leaving President Obama looking a bit lonely. Could it be that they no longer regard it as an urgent threat that some time later in this century the air may get a bit warmer?

In effect, this is all that’s left of the global-warming emergency the U.N. declared in its first report on the subject in 1990. The U.N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades. Last September, between the second and final draft of its fifth assessment report, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietly downgraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3).

Even that is likely to be too high. The climate-research establishment has finally admitted openly what skeptic scientists have been saying for nearly a decade: Global warming has stopped since shortly before this century began. First the climate-research establishment denied that a pause existed, noting that if there was a pause, it would invalidate their theories. Now they say there is a pause (or “hiatus”), but that it doesn’t after all invalidate their theories.

Alas, their explanations have made their predicament worse by implying that man-made climate change is so slow and tentative that it can be easily overwhelmed by natural variation in temperature—a possibility that they had previously all but ruled out.

When the climate scientist and geologist Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia wrote an article in 2006 saying that there had been no global warming since 1998 according to the most widely used measure of average global air temperatures, there was an outcry. A year later, when David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London made the same point, the environmentalist and journalist Mark Lynas said in the New Statesman that Mr. Whitehouse was “wrong, completely wrong,” and was “deliberately, or otherwise, misleading the public.”

We know now that it was Mr. Lynas who was wrong. Two years before Mr. Whitehouse’s article, climate scientists were already admitting in emails among themselves that there had been no warming since the late 1990s. “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998,” wrote Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2005. He went on: “Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.”

If the pause lasted 15 years, they conceded, then it would be so significant that it would invalidate the climate-change models upon which policy was being built. A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) written in 2008 made this clear: “The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more.”

Well, the pause has now lasted for 16, 19 or 26 years—depending on whether you choose the surface temperature record or one of two satellite records of the lower atmosphere. That’s according to a new statistical calculation by Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.

What’s funny is that I see stories by “science journalists” all the time attributing all sorts of new events to “climate change” even though the global warming pause is now widely acknowledged, without ever addressing the contradiction.

Meanwhile, had the science here been more, well, scientific and less politicized and arrogant, I’d feel more sympathy.

NOT UNTIL AFTER THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS, I’D SAY, SINCE EVEN HIS OWN BASE OPPOSES IT: When Will Obama Take Unilateral Immigration Action?

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: While the Rich Rebound, the Poor Sink. “The biggest area of concern is among nonwhite families, who saw much bigger declines in both income, and wealth, than did white non-Hispanic families.”

How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?

ANNALS OF “SMART DIPLOMACY.” A Sunni Intervention in Libya?

Related: Xi Jinping Cancels Trip to Pakistan Due to Political Unrest.

Well, I doubt it’s Obama’s strategy, but I can’t help but be amused at the way Islamic terrorism has gone from America’s problem to everyone’s problem.

ON CHUCK TODD’S BARACK OBAMA INTERVIEW: “The only question is going to be, who has the softest balls.”

HOW WASHINGTON’S REVOLVING DOOR Spurred Obama Administration’s Anti-Inversion Push. “If you were wondering why the White House suddenly took an interest in the consequences of tax inversion deals last spring, here is the reason – a pair of Wall Streeters with ties to the Obama administration made some calls on behalf of AstraZeneca which, you may recall, was trying to fend off an unwanted bid from Pfizer. Pfizer cited a tax inversion as one reason for its offer.”

So it was all about the Obama Administration taking a side in corporate maneuvering, and not about what was good for America. Color me shocked.

Hey, how about enacting my revolving-door surtax?

UPDATE: Oh, hey, and for bonus hypocrisy points, while blathering on about “economic patriotism,” the Obama Administration was actually backing a foreign company (AstraZeneca, which is British/Swedish) against an American company, Pfizer.

IN THE MAIL: From Jim Geraghty, The Weed Agency: A Comic Tale of Federal Bureaucracy Without Limits.

Plus, today only: The West Wing: The Complete Series Collection. This fantasy of a Democratic presidency worked out better than the reality we’re experiencing now.

And, also today only: $70 off a Certified Refurbished Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ Tablet.

UPDATE: From the comments:

To be fair, the fantasy president Martin Sheen played was much smarter than what we have now.

To be even fairer, Martin Sheen is much smarter than what we have now.

To be even fairerer, Charlie Sheen is much smarter than what we have now.

Ouch. Also: “Everything worked well in West Wing because the fictional President Bartlett was really brilliant, whereas the real President Obama is only fictionally brilliant,”

HOPEY-CHANGEY: Under Obama, only the richest 10 percent saw incomes rise. “Under President Obama, the richest 10 percent were the only income group of Americans to see their median incomes rise, according to a survey released this week by the Federal Reserve. . . . The survey also found that family in the middle income bracket (40th to 90th percentiles) saw “very little” change in average real incomes and still have not recovered losses from 2010 and 2007. Families at the bottom of the income distribution continued to see ‘substantial declines’ in average real incomes.”

ROLL CALL: House, Senate Laying Groundwork for War on ISIS.

As President Barack Obama weighs U.S. options for confronting ISIS, the insurgent group in control of parts of Iraq and Syria, lawmakers in both the House and Senate are moving to ensure that the administration has the authority to take military action if necessary.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., said in a statement Wednesday he will introduce legislation when Congress reconvenes next week that would authorize the use of military force against ISIS and other terror groups around the world, including al Nusra, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab and Boko Haram.

Separately, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Wednesday in Virginia that Congress should not leave town in September without considering an authorization to use force against ISIS.

Wolf’s proposal comes one day after Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., announced a similar bill for the Senate as lawmakers from both chambers and both parties expressed anger and frustration over Tuesday’s release of another video showing the beheading of an American journalist by the jihadi insurgents.

“This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria,” Nelson said in a release.

ISIS has released two videos showing the executions of Americans — and threatened more — since U.S. forces interceded last month in northern Iraq, bombing insurgent positions in support of Kurdish fights and Iraqi government forces.

Stay tuned.

SMART DIPLOMACY: Obama Absent For Start Of NATO Meeting.

WHO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION REGARDS AS THE REAL ENEMY — FOX NEWS! State Dept.’s Marie Harf Issues Firm Rebuke To … Bill O’Reilly. Well, ISIS rapes, murders and decapitates. O’Reilly gets people to vote Republican.

OBAMA’S WAR OF CHOICE, WHERE HE LOST THE PEACE, ISN’T DOING SO WELL: Missing Libyan planes raise 9/11 terror fears.

SMART DIPLOMACY: “We Didn’t See This Coming.” Commitments on Three Fronts Test Obama’s Foreign Policy.

UPDATE: From the comments: “That is so funny. Sarah Palin saw it coming from her front porch.”

JAMES TARANTO: ISIS and the ‘Bitter Clingers:’ Why Obama can’t understand the threat.

Amid all this incoherence, there is one point on which Obama has been remarkably consistent. In that 2002 speech, he said: “Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.”

Last Friday, he struck the same theme, though without bad-mouthing our so-called allies: “We have seen, frankly, in this region, economies that don’t work. So you’ve got tons of young people who see no prospect and no hope for the future and are attracted to some of these ideologies.”

Compare these quotes with candidate Obama’s notorious 2008 remark: “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” . . .

It bears emphasis that the problem here is not Obama’s conjectural lack of faith or insincerity. It is, rather, his utter incomprehension of religious sentiment. How does one develop a strategy against an enemy one cannot understand?

Obama can’t imagine people worshipping anything bigger than him.

YEAH, AS IT TURNS OUT NOT SO MUCH, CHAMP: Obama told a friend of mine before he was elected, “Wouldn’t it be great for the world if I were president?” “It could be that O really did believe his election marked a historical turning point in which the diminution of retrograde forces abroad was inevitable. And maybe that’s why a year’s worth of briefings on ISIS didn’t penetrate. Don’t they know they’re going to lose? Haven’t they seen his face?”

SO I GUESS WE’RE STILL IN THE WAR ON TERROR, IT’S JUST THAT OBAMA HAS SWITCHED SIDES: US-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly With ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra.

MICKEY KAUS: The Mystery of the Shutdown Scenario has seemingly been solved. “Why would Dems publicize their secret troll plan in such a self-defeating way so far in advance? It now appears the Shutdown Scenario was a desperate late gambit by advocates of pre-November executive action who were losing the internal White House debate. After all, it was never really logical for Obama to amnesty millions of illegals (and give them work permits) before the election — 2014′s key Senate races are mainly in states with low Hispanic populations but lingering job and wage insecurity.”

AUSTIN BAY: Putin Has A Strategy, Obama Doesn’t.

Related: Howie Carr: John Kerry goes kiteboarding while the world burns.

HOMELAND SECURITY: ISIS fighter worked at Minneapolis airport. “He was the second known American killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria, and the second from Minnesota — and a Fox 9 exclusive uncovering his employment history is raising a few eyebrows. An airport is probably the last place anyone would want a suspected terrorist to work, but before he died overseas, that’s exactly what Abdirahmaan Muhumed did in the Twin Cities. In fact, he may have cleaned your plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.”

Obama spin: See, this ISIS thing is making America safer by luring domestic terrorists overseas and killing them! It’s like flypaper for terrorists!

WELL, THIS IS COMFORTING: Missing Libyan Jetliners Raise Fears of Suicide Airliner Attacks on 9/11. “Mekkaoui said the jets are being held by the Libyan group called Masked Men Brigade, which was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in December.”

And this seems poorly timed: Obama Lifts Ban Barring Libyans from US Flight Schools and Nuclear Studies. “In a recent interview with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, Obama admitted he never thought much about what would follow the U.S. air campaign in a post-Gaddafi Libya.”

THE HILL: Lawmakers Want Obama To Hit ISIS.

Lawmakers from both parties on Tuesday exhorted President Obama to broaden the military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after the group released a second video that appeared to show the beheading of an American journalist.

While the authenticity of the video has not been confirmed, lawmakers said the presumed execution of 31-year-old Time journalist Steven Sotloff demands a forceful American response.

“Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in a statement.

Nelson announced he would offer legislation next week that would give Obama clear authority to strike ISIS in Syria.

“This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs,” Nelson said.

Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Eliot Engel (N.Y.), the committee’s ranking Democrat, similarly said the threat posed by ISIS warrants an air campaign in Syria.

“Target them and target the terrorist training camp where they’re bringing thousands of fighters from around the world, putting them through training over a period of weeks to teach them how to conduct terrorist activities,” Royce said on CNN. “Those camps and the munitions should be targeted as well.”

If you want to reach him, have them take a phone to the 19th hole.

RING OF FIRE: Richard Fernandez On The Failure Of Obama’s Minimalist Approach In The Middle East.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Obama Sends 350 More Troops To Iraq. Add a couple of zeros and they might do some good.

IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE ABOUT A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL: “This past weekend, the American Political Science Association (ASPA) held its annual meeting in Washington, DC. It was a huge affair, involving 53 ‘divisions’ and 60 ‘related groups,’ and featuring more than one thousand separate panels. Here is the kicker: this year, there were no sessions at all devoted to an assessment of the foreign policy of Barack Obama, and not one panel was dedicated to an examination of Obama’s domestic policy. . . . The fact that there was nothing on the program of this year’s APSA pertaining to the Obama administration is a sign that there is nothing good to say on the subject, nothing to celebrate, and nothing to take pride in. Left with no recourse, the academy turns silent. It was eerie. It was as if there has been no Obama presidency. If I am right in my analysis, the complete absence of panels assessing Obama’s record is an indication that the academy now regards Obama as an indefensible embarrassment.”

ANOTHER FAILED PROMISE: NBC: Deep Racial Divide Remains Under Obama. Unsurprising, given that he’s seldom missed an opportunity to deepen it.

PRESIDENT SUB PAR: Byron York: Amid crises, Obama’s busy social schedule means double duty for Air Force One.

MICHAEL BARONE: Would black voter turnout matter in key Senate races?

Jonathan Martin of the New York Times reports on how Democratic Party strategists are hoping to maximize black turnout in order to preserve their Senate majority. One might question whether this really counts as news, given that black Americans have been voting overwhelmingly Democratic for a half-century: It always makes sense for Democrats to mobilize black turnout. But the fact that Democratic spinmeisters are evidently pitching this line carries a whiff of desperation. For the fact is that there are relatively few blacks in most of the states with seriously contested Senate races. . . .

It’s apparent that even the most vigorous black turnout effort in the eight states with low black percentages is not going to make much difference. Democrats there must hope that their candidates can maintain levels of support from whites at or above the levels achieved by Obama in 2008 and 2012. In addition, Democrats in Colorado must hope they can maintain something like the 75 to 23 percent margin Obama won among Hispanics there in 2012 according to the exit poll. . . .

In the five states with above-national-average black percentages, there’s obviously good reason for Democrats to try to bolster black turnout. But to win a Democratic candidate must also do significantly better than Obama did among whites in Arkansas, Georgia and Louisiana and somewhat better than in North Carolina. Black turnout was very robust in North Carolina, thanks to both the Obama organization and to spontaneous enthusiasm. And it was robust in the three other states as well, due to spontaneous enthusiasm and despite laws requiring voters to show photo identification, a measure which some have likened to the police dogs and fire hoses that Democratic National Committeeman Bull Connor unleashed on peaceful blacks in 1963.

No hyperbole there. . .

NICK GILLESPIE: If Democrats Seek to “Rally Blacks” Against Police Militarization, They Might Start with the Congressional Black Caucus. “Among the African-American members of Congress voting against the amendment (and thus in favor of continued federally aided militarization of police): Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who represents Ferguson.”

Expect absurd new highs in race-and-gender theater between now and November, as the Democrats desperately try to motivate their base in the face of massive Obama failure.

JOEL KOTKIN & RORY COHEN: When patrimony trumps political preference.

Jews, despite their above-average affluence and their entrepreneurial bent, have long been among the most loyal constituencies of the Democratic Party. Half of American Jews earn more than $100,000 annually, three times the national average and far more than typical members of mainline Protestant churches. The only real competition, economically, comes from another outsider group: Hindus.

In 2008, President Obama received roughly 80 percent of the Jewish vote and, four years later, his percentage remained just under 70 percent, even though the alternative candidate was clearly more pro-Israel and enjoyed the support of some Jewish billionaires.

Some Republicans point out that Mitt Romney’s show of support among Jews was the strongest since Ronald Reagan ran against Walter Mondale in 1984. They suggest that Jews may finally be shifting toward the center and even to the Right.

Changes in attitudes toward Israel, and Jews, could hasten this process. After all, it is painfully obvious that opposition to Israel has now shifted from the traditionally anti-Semitic Right to the multicultural Left, and its various offshoots in the media and on campuses. The growing disconnect between left-leaning Jews, such as Peter Beinart, Jon Stewart, Max Blumenthal and Ezra Klein, and Israel makes such a shift easier.

This reflects a growing change in the nature of opposition to Israel, and anti-Semitism, in the West, from the old Right to the liberal-dominated media and the academy. Universities, for example, serve as ground zero for powerful boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel. The campaigns’ purpose is not only to hurt Israel’s economy, or protest its sometimes-unwise policies (such as expanding settlements), but also to cast her as a pariah state.

This is intriguing, indeed, since there seems to be no academic campaign to rein in such huge human-rights abusers – whether against Christians, females, gays or other minorities – as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Egypt. Only crimes by the Jewish state seem to qualify.

So many Jews seem to fear and dislike Christian Evangelicals. But that’s who’ll be standing beside them as anti-semitism grows. Maybe some people are starting to notice.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, THE WHITE HOUSE WOULD BE A CESSPIT OF OLD-STYLE SEXISM. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! No Men Need Apply: Michelle Obama’s Staff 100% Female.

GOLFER-IN-CHIEF: ‘You are not up to this job’: Parents of SEAL Team Six soldier killed in action call for President Obama’s resignation.

Absolute moral authority. Remember?

I PREDICT A GROWTH OF STRANGE NEW RESPECT: Obama: Bush-Cheney ‘Security Apparatus’ Makes Us ‘Pretty Safe.’

OUT: HOPE AND CHANGE. IN: PREPARE FOR ARMAGEDDON! Strategy irony: Obama declares ‘National Preparedness Month,’ ‘PrepareAthon.’

Well, you can start at . . . well, you know.

ROGER KIMBALL: Evolution Of The Obama Doctrine.

MICHAEL BARONE: Obama’s segue from constructive tax proposals to low-grade demagoguery. He used to at least manage the high-grade stuff.

LEADING FROM THE BACK NINE: Feinstein: Obama ‘too cautious’ on ISIS.

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that President Obama has perhaps been “too cautious” in confronting the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“I think I’ve learned one thing about this president, and that is he’s very cautious. Maybe in this instance, too cautious,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” when asked if Obama admitting the U.S. doesn’t have a strategy yet for battling the group inside Syria projected weakness.

The senior lawmaker said she understood the Defense and State department have been busy hammering out a strategy, “so hopefully, those plans will coalesce into a strategy that can encourage that coalition from Arab nations” such a Jordan and Lebanon who are “at jeopardy.”

“So there is good reason for people to come together now and begin to approach this as a very real threat, that it in fact is,” according to Feinstein.

She also strongly disagreed with the president’s assessment from earlier this year that ISIS is a “JV team.”

“I think it’s a major varsity team, if you want to use those kinds of monikers. But I see nothing that compares with its viciousness,” Feinstein said.

Well, it hasn’t been major enough to move Obama to action.

Related: Kerry: Allies must help ‘stamp out’ ISIS.

SMART DIPLOMACY: Why Obama Backed Off More ISIS Strikes: His Own Team Couldn’t Agree on a Syria Strategy.

I DUNNO, THIS SOUNDS A LITTLE DESPERATE: Obama: Social Media’s Fault Americans Think the World is ‘Falling Apart.’

Related: Reassurance From Alfred E. Obama.

WE DON’T HAVE A STRATEGY: ISIS’ Appeal Spreads to Jordan, Africa.

There are already more than 2,000 Jordanians among the ISIS fighters, and authorities fear that still more will cross the border or become “sleeper cells” inside the country itself. They have reason to suppose that some Jordanians may identify with the militants. As Reuters points out, it was a Jordanian who founded the branch of al-Qaeda that broke off to become ISIS. . . .

This, perhaps, is the greatest threat of ISIS: It may have heightened the zeal and ambition of jihadists everywhere, no matter their affiliation, location, or relative strength. Whether or not this group eventually evanesces, it may have already made its mark.

We should have moved swiftly to make an example of them. But we don’t have a strategy. Or, if we do, we’re not talking about it.

BILL WHITTLE: Afterburner: Early Check Out: The World Gets Crazier and Obama Goes Golfing.

AMNESTY: Top Judiciary Republicans Demand Answers on DACA Changes.

Top Republicans on the House and Senate Judiciary committees are asking the Obama administration to explain changes made this summer to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that they say loosen requirements and invite fraud.

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia and Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Charles E. Grassley of Iowa sent Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson a list of 25 questions Friday on revisions to the 2012 executive order.

The lawmakers zeroed in on a change made to the DACA website’s “Frequently Asked Questions” page that states officials “may verify information” submitted on applicant documents — imprecise language, Grassley and Goodlatte contend, that does not require the government to actually verify anything. . . .

Goodlatte took issue with the changes at the time, arguing that there would be no explicit requirement for the the administration to verify “documentary evidence” that an applicant submits to prove that he or she meets the standards for a stay of deportation. He also challenged what he deemed new “loosened” education requirements “to allow those who are enrolled in an ‘alternative program’ (without defining what this means) to benefit from [DACA].”

The letter from Goodlatte and Grassley comes as President Barack Obama, in conjunction with Johnson and other administration officials, is weighing broad executive action to expand DACA’s reach and grant stays of deportation to the families of DACA participants, the “Dreamers.”

It’s unpopular, so Obama will wait until after the elections to do anything.

SORTA LIKE WARREN BUFFETT AND BURGER KING: ObamaCare contract muddles Dem message on tax dodgers.

The Obama administration is employing an ObamaCare contractor that was once based in the tax haven of Bermuda, even as it assails corporations for lacking the “economic patriotism” to pay taxes.

Accenture was awarded a contract in January that’s now grown to well over $100 million to make improvements to HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment portal that has caused a slew of headaches for President Obama.

The company is currently incorporated in Ireland, where it moved in 2009. Before that, Accenture had set up shop in both Switzerland and Bermuda, a noted tax haven, and has been called a tax dodger by a variety of mostly Democratic lawmakers for more than a decade.

Yeah, but now they’re Obama-approved so it’s all fine.

SPENGLER: The trouble is that Obama DOES have a strategy.