If your neighborhood is anything like mine (or any other neighborhood, frankly), there’s a Starbucks in it, and that Starbucks was crowded with a line of cars around the block a week or two ago. That’s when the coffee chain rolled out its popular pumpkin spice latte drink.
I’m not a fan of that drink, but evidently everyone else who lives within about five miles of a Starbucks is. There were huge lines.
The pumpkin spice latte even got its own official Twitter feed.
Twitter: “We can’t verify you.” Me: “I came out here to have a good time and honestly I’m feeling so attacked right now” #VerifyTheRealPSL
— Pumpkin Spice Latte (@TheRealPSL) September 17, 2014
The “verify” crack comes courtesy of Vani Hari, aka the “Food Babe.”
When Starbucks rolled its seasonal pumpkin spice latte out, Hari was ready with a damning infographic to attack the drink and you, if you drink it.
Geez, didn’t Basher Assad just declare a bunch of these things chemical weapons and ship them out to be destroyed?
Look, it is a little problematic that the pumpkin spice latte doesn’t contain any actual pumpkin. I’ll even side with the Food Babe that a lot of this artificial stuff is bad. High fructose corn syrup is nasty stuff, in my opinion, and I avoid it as much as possible. By the way, it’s in pretty much everything.
But HFCS isn’t in that latte. It has 50 grams of sugar, which Hari describes as “toxic.” See the graphic above.
50 grams of sugar is a lot for one grande drink, but it’s a sweet drink. The grande is also a fairly big drink — about 16 ounces. So the grande pumpkin spice latte’s 50 grams tracks with the 39 grams of sweetener that’s in a 12-ounce can of Coke.
And 50 grams of sugar is nowhere near “toxic.” It’s about 3.5 tablespoons. Many, many people put nearly as much in a regular sized cup of coffee without thinking twice about it.
I suppose if someone did the Super Size Me thing and drank nothing but grande pumpkin spice latte drinks every day every time they got the urge, they wouldn’t feel very good. It would be bad for them. But no reasonable person is going to do that. So the sugar in the drink is not, in any way, “toxic.”
Healthy eating and living are good things. I’ve changed my own diet recently to get more nutrients and fewer processed items into my body. Nothing to do with the Food Babe or any fad, I just want to lose a few pounds and be healthier. Fewer meats, more fruits and vegetables, more grains, you probably have heard the drill by now. If you haven’t, look into it. Yes, quinoa can be made edible. So far, about a month in, the results are inconclusive. But I’m sticking with it, with only an occasional dabble into a sweet item like a seasonal latte. And my grill is standing out back neglected. I need to rectify that soon.
This Food Babe is verging on becoming a Food Nazi, though. Hari makes her way through life being hot, and throwing out hyperbole. I get it, that’s how the Internet works. Hot gets you gigs on networks even if you don’t really know what you’re talking about. But Hari twists facts on ingredients when she lacks any sort of scientific background.
But before anyone enlists with the #FoodBabeArmy (yes, that’s a real thing), it’s worth pointing out that Hari is not a chemist or a scientist in any way. She’s an activist. More power to her, Army of Davids and all that, but reader beware. Now that she is a public figure and a known crusader, her livelihood will depend on her ability to “uncover” more things like non-toxic doses of sugar in a coffee drink. Having already successfully launched her “quackmail” campaigns against beer, Chick-Fil-A, Kraft, Panera, Subway and now Starbucks, who’s next?
It’s fair to say that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver is a critic of President Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. He voted against the plan, and then he appeared on MSNBC to trash the plan.
Cleaver called the congressional vote authorizing arming the rebels a vote “to arm semi-bad buys to kill some barbarically-bad buys to teach all the world that bad guys should not kill.” Cleaver pointed out that we don’t even know who many of the rebels are or why they’re fighting.
Having said that, Cleaver says he has no plans to spend the next month “bashing” Obama because the president “had no good options.”
Plus, the president is a Democrat and there is an election on.
Cleaver didn’t say that last part. It was implied.
Democrat strategist Bob Beckel warned Republicans that the Democrats have a surprise coming, during yesterday’s episode of The Five.
“I’ll tell you: I would expect an October surprise,” Beckel said on Thursday. “I think I know what is — I’m not going to say it, but I think I know what it is — and it is going to shake things up, and it has to do with national security.”
Video at the link.
What could it be?
The Democrats’ base no longer vote on national security, or at least they don’t vote in favor of national security. What could the Democrats come up with that would help motivate their base and bring moderates around to their side?
I can’t think of much. Perhaps the capture of Mullah Omar or a major ISIS leader. But if that’s a planned “October surprise,” unveiling it at some strategic point means the actual act has already been accomplished — and it’s being kept under wraps for political reasons. That will backfire.
If it’s Obama’s amnesty, we already know all about that. It’s baked into the election now. It’s not helping the Democrats.
So what could it be?
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) offered some common sense during the debate over whether the US should arm and train the so-called moderate rebels in Syria.
Gohmert notes that despite more than a decade of working alongside the US, Afghanistan jihadists keep killing Americans. They just killed four more.
Are we smart enough to separate moderates from radicals in the Syrian rebel groups, supposing that there even are any moderates?
Scotland voted against leaving the United Kingdom Thursday. The vote wasn’t even that close — 55-45 voted for Scotland to reject going its own way.
But the Russians showed up and are behaving boorishly, according to the Guardian.
Russia has said the conduct of the Scottish referendum “did not meet international standards”, with its observers complaining the count took place in rooms that were too big and that the procedure was badly flawed.
In an apparent attempt to mirror persistent western criticism of Russia’s own elections, Igor Borisov – an accredited observer – said the poll failed to meet basic international norms.
Among their objections, the room where votes were counted was too big.
He said the room where he watched the count on Thursday night was a cavernous “aircraft hangar” next to an airfield. It was difficult to see what was going on, he said, adding: “The hangar is approximately 100m by 300m. There are tables, with voting papers stacked upon them, but the observers are stuck around the perimeter. Even if you want to, it’s impossible to tell what’s happening. It’s also unclear where the boxes with ballot papers come from.”
Borisov said the US state department, the UK and other western countries loudly hectored the Kremlin about Russia’s supposed democratic deficiencies. But in this instance, he said, London and Edinburgh had not “fully met” the requirements of a proper referendum.
“Nobody was interested in who was bringing in the voting slips. There were no stamps or signatures as the bulletins were handed over,” he said.
The Russians wanted Scotland to vote for independence. Evidently they saw that as somehow justifying their annexation and fake vote in Crimea this past spring.
That, plus the fact that Scotland National Party leader Alex Salmond, leader of the independence movement, admires Russia’s Vladimir Putin a little bit. So an independent Scotland might have become friendly to the Russians, right on the rest of the United Kingdom’s doorstep.
President Obama has wanted to arm Syria’s rebel groups all along. Now, thanks to the ISIS threat, he has his wish.
Do we even know who many of the Syrian rebels are, and what their long-term goals are? Not really. But Congress has voted to arm them anyway.
WASHINGTON — Legislation requested by President Barack Obama authorizing the military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State militants in the Middle East is headed for his signature after a sweeping Senate vote.
The bipartisan 78-22 tally Thursday blended support from Obama’s close Democratic allies and some of his fiercest GOP critics, including top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. It put leading contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination on opposite sides. Some of Obama’s liberal allies defected.
Best-case, it will take five or six months to get them trained. During those five or six months, our border will remain as open as it is right now.
Best-case, the Syrian rebels help drive ISIS out of Syria. But given how many of them are allied with ISIS, as Patrick Poole has reported here, the best case isn’t the way to bet.
The Free Syrian Army has been working with ISIS.
The Syrian Revolutionaries Front has been working with ISIS.
Just one more reminder — Sen. John McCain quickly hired Syrian rebel apologist Elizabeth O’Bagy after she was busted for faking her credentials. McCain has been the leading GOP voice for arming the Syrian rebels. The Syrian Emergency Task Force that O’Bagy worked with up to a year ago had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots.
Both John Kerry and John McCain failed to vet her and the SETF before using them as experts. What are the odds that the two Johns’ vetting of rebel groups in Syria is any better?
So, best-case scenario, the Syrian rebels defeat ISIS. Then what? These rebels will now be armies in the field equipped and trained by the US military, and they will be armed with US weapons. They won’t be a state security force like the useless Iraqi military. They won’t be a cohesive pro-American force like the Kurds.
I hope Congress included a very generous buy-back program in its legislation authorizing arming them.
Those weapons will stay in the field after ISIS is beaten, even in the best case scenario. And then what?
CNN, please never stop being CNN.
And some wonder why trust in the media is at an all-time low…
*I wish I could claim credit for the headline, but I borrowed it from a friend. Because it’s perfect.
During today’s hilarious Democrat Twitter townhall meltdown, one House Democrat piped up to brag about something.
— Mark Bowen (@MarkJohnBowen) September 18, 2014
— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) September 18, 2014
Rep. Steven Horsford’s (D-NV) tweet links to this page on his own website. On it, Horsford has posted his own attempt to get the IRS to go past what the law allows in regulating/oppressing conservative groups, during a hearing about the IRS targeting scandal on Wednesday.
Early on in his questioning, Horsford establishes that he is IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s friend, not adversary or interrogator:
I think that that’s more the tone that we should be working from, not the abusive tone that we continue to have from the Chairman of the Subcommittee or the full Committee that turns this something into that it’s not.
Rep. Horsford makes it clear: The IRS targeting of conservatives is not a scandal at all, to him.
Horsford then gets into more detailed questioning about IRS functions with respect to 501(c)(4) groups. Horsford explicitly connects his query to the Citizens United decision. That’s the decision that President Obama denounced in front of the Supreme Court during his 2010 State of the Union address.
The IRS’ illegal and biased scrutiny of conservative groups followed Obama’s remarks by a couple of months.
Emails revealed during the House investigations show that IRS staff including Lois Lerner were obsessed with the Citizens United ruling.
According to the report, as early as September 2010, Lerner forwarded to her colleagues an EO Tax Journal blog advising the IRS to “keep track of new c4s” and “be more pro-active” about catching groups created solely for political activities. One quote in the story specifically calls out the “educational organizations woven by the fabulously rich Koch Brothers to foster their own financial interest by political means.”
“I’m really thinking we need to do a c4 project next year,” Lerner said in the email.
Horsford questioned Koskinen on how the IRS interprets a 1959 regulation on 501(c)(4) groups. Horsford makes it clear that he wants the IRS to take a more expansive view of the original language, to allow for more scrutiny of some groups and less freedom for them to operate and speak on issues.
Rep. Horsford: I want to ask you, Commissioner, about a letter that I and 25 of my other colleagues sent to the acting commissioner, Mr. Werfel, relating to the discrepancy between the agency’s regulatory interpretation of the law dealing with 501(c)(4)’s, and what the U.S. code actually enumerates in statute.
Are you familiar with the request I made along with 25 of my colleagues on June 6, 2013?
Commissioner Koskinen: I’m not familiar with the specific language but I do know a number of people that have been encouraging us when we look at the regulations under the 501(c)(4) to start with the statute which says that social welfare organizations under 501(c)(4) should be exclusively involved in social welfare.
Rep. Horsford: And the regulation states ‘primarily.’
Commissioner Koskinen: The regulations established in 1959 have said ‘primarily.’
Rep. Horsford: Isn’t that problematic?
It wasn’t problematic until the Obama administration came along. Koskinen notes that now, the IRS is looking into a new interpretation of the 1959 statute.
Commissioner Koskinen: Well it’s been around for a long time and we have over 150,000 comments about how to deal with that issue, which we are seriously taking a look at. But it is the issue that the spectrum is: one end of the spectrum is it should be exclusive, i.e. no activity. The other end of the spectrum is that there shouldn’t be any limitations at all. And a third spot in the middle, is well primarily, some percentage close to 50 would be a good number. And we’re looking at that entire range of possibilities.
Horsford wants the tightest interpretation, to push so-called “dark money” away. He aims straight at Citizens United.
Rep. Horsford: Until you make that final determination this ambiguity remains. And because of the recent Citizens United decision, which created the huge influx of the number of organizations that were applying for tax-exempt status, has contributed to this problem, has it not?
Citizens United is settled law, in the same way that Democrats claim Obamacare is “settled law” — the Supreme Court has ruled.
As for Horsford, he is not interested in any further pursuit of the IRS targeting scandal. Because in his mind, it is not and never was a scandal at all.
I believe that there are certain staff, including Ms. Lerner, who have not served this administration well. That due to poor management, poor decision making, we are in a position to have to have these types of hearings.
And I’m not going to defend every action or decision that certain former staffers of the IRS have taken; but I also think it is inappropriate for members of this Committee to apply such a broad brush to all staff or all management of the IRS or other federal agencies.
I also think it takes a lot of gumption of certain members of Congress to question the request for critical pay authority, when this is the least productive Congress in the history of Congresses.
Hard-working people can’t get a raise, but members of Congress continue to get paid whether they do their jobs or get anything done around here or not.
At the same time that we’re having this hearing, which is the fifteenth hearing, there is a debate going on the floor right now that is crucial to our country’s safety, to international relations, and is one of the most serious issues that this Congress is being confronted with.
But instead, this Chairman has decided to have the fifteenth hearing on the same issue trying to assert the same allegations and never getting to the point of action on anything.
So, Mr. Chairman, either we get on with the business of the American people that they have sent us here, or we need to stop wasting time and taxpayer resources.
There are important issues that we need to be tackling. But unfortunately this Committee’s time has been wasted in large part.
Nothing to see here, say the Democrats. Other than their own desire to weaponize government against Americans who disagree with them.
Democrats Hold #AskDems Twitter Townhall. It Goes About as Well As a Savvy Twitter User Would Expect.
The Democrats are holding a Twitter townhall using the #AskDems hashtag.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) September 18, 2014
Democrats like Rep. Steny Hoyer are taking the opportunity to dish out party lines and propaganda.
— Steny Hoyer (@WhipHoyer) September 18, 2014
One tweep isn’t buying that.
— Matt (@Mattley_Crue) September 18, 2014
Another questioned the Democrats’ clear prioritizing of illegal immigrants over citizens.
#askdems why do Democrats allow people who have no rights to vote in America more ability 2 dictate policy than Americans they r 2 represent
— Heather Jo (@heatherjo40) September 18, 2014
Another wants to follow the money.
#AskDems What the heck have you done with all the money that we already sent you?
— Soquel by the Creek (@SoquelCreek) September 18, 2014
Democrats aren’t running on Obamacare, but they can’t run away from it.
If ACA is so great, why does it have to be enforced by law? #AskDems
— Baldwin (@baldwin100) September 18, 2014
— ✩ Megan ✩ (@MeganSmiles) September 18, 2014
MeganSmiles was just getting started “asking Dems.”
— ✩ Megan ✩ (@MeganSmiles) September 18, 2014
A couple of polls came out today showing that Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is now trailing to his GOP challenger. That’s probably not what the Democrats wanted to be asked about.
#AskDems What will Udall do after November?
— Call me the Breeze (@Rem870P) September 18, 2014
MeganSmiles was just getting warmed up.
— ✩ Megan ✩ (@MeganSmiles) September 18, 2014
Here’s another question that Democrats will not answer. Ever.
#AskDems If you had your way – your complete wish list granted – how much of my income would I be allowed to keep?
— Drew Belsky (@DJB627) September 18, 2014
Why was dissent “patriotic” when Bush was in office but it’s “racist” when Obama is in the same chair? #AskDems
— Drone Bait (@BigRMV) September 18, 2014
The Democrats lost control of their own Twitter townhall. So Hoyer decided to just exit, stage left.
— Steny Hoyer (@WhipHoyer) September 18, 2014
That’s all folks!
But it wasn’t the last word, as you’ll see on the next page.
Did the mullahs do this because of some “grievance,” or because they’re totalitarians who base their rule on the Koran?
A group of seven Iranian men and women who created and starred in their own version of a video for Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy’ have each been given suspended sentences of prison time and 91 lashes.
The fun-loving friends were arrested in May after posting their homemade music video ‘Happy in Tehran’ to YouTube.
They were forced to publicly confess and apologise on national television before being released on bail, with police chief Hossein Sajedinia warning others that the video was “a vulgar clip” which “hurt public chastity”.
The suspended sentences mean that the “Happy” seven won’t go to prison immediately, but the possibility of prison time hangs over their heads if they step out of line again.
“We wanted to tell the world that the Iranian capital is full of lively young people and change the harsh and rough image that the world sees on the news,” said Neda, one of its stars.
The end credits of the video – which can still be viewed online though the original has been made private – reads: “We have made this video as Pharrell Williams fans in 8hrs with iPhone 5S. ‘Happy’ was an excuse to be happy. We enjoyed every second of making it. Hope it puts a smile on your face.”
Instead, Iran’s harsh image has been reinforced. The only ones smiling are the mullahs who control everything.
And probably drink liquor and listen to “Happy” on their iPhones when they think no one is watching them.
An Islamic State supporter in Australia had grisly plans.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the plan involved kidnapping randomly selected members of the public off the streets in Sydney and Brisbane, beheading them on camera, and releasing the recordings through Islamic State’s propaganda arm in the Middle East.
Later Thursday, Attorney General George Brandis confirmed that a person born in Afghanistan who had spent time in Australia and is now working with the Islamic State group in the Middle East ordered supporters in Australia to behead people and videotape the killings.
“If the … police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened,” Brandis told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The plan was disrupted.
But, why Australia? They’re not leading the coalition of the unwilling to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
One possible reason that Australia was chosen — handguns are banned there. ISIS operatives there would know that they would be extremely unlikely to face an armed opponent, instead of a hapless victim.
The raid has smoked out another potential problem for Australia.
Uthman Badar, a spokesman for the Islamist group Hizt ut-Tahrir, warned of a growing unrest within Australia’s Muslim community.
“We are tired of being made scapegoats. The government is the terrorist,” he said in front of supporters wearing anti-government placards, according to News.com.au.
“We would be fools to think we can now wake up and feel safer,” he added. “We are not fools to be deceived. There is anger in the community. We have been victimized for years and years.”
Here’s Uthman Badar’s Twitter feed. He apparently engineered the “snap protest” that has run interference for ISIS.
— Manny Tsigas (@mantsig) September 18, 2014
— Matthew Snelson (@matthewsnelson7) September 18, 2014
Badar justifies “honor killings,” despite the chant above about keeping women safe.
His group is already banned in many countries for its radicalism. It’s time for Australia to follow suit.
MarketWatch reports today that President Barack Obama will exert tight personal control over U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential sign-off for strikes in Syrian territory, officials said.
The requirements for strikes in Syria against the extremist group Islamic State will be far more stringent than those targeting it in Iraq, at least at first. U.S. officials say it’s an attempt to limit the threat the U.S. could be dragged more deeply into the Syrian civil war.
So far, Obama has handled the ISIS threat as primarily a political, not a national security, matter. He only spoke to the American people to reveal his strategy to deal with the group once the beheadings of two Americans enraged the public. Obama himself merely offered a brief statement after the beheading of James Foley, and then went straight out to play golf.
Thus far, Obama is publicly limiting the U.S. military role against ISIS to air power and “advisers” on the ground. Those “advisers” will assist the Kurdish peshmerga, the Iraqi military, and even Syrian rebels. Those American “advisers” are said to have no combat role. But the number of those advisers has already grown, from a few dozen early on to nearly 3,000.
Yet the war against the Islamic State shows no sign of progress. Overnight, ISIS captured 16 villages in Syria.
Ever since the 1970s, every time U.S. forces have engaged in any overseas conflict on the ground, Democrats and the media have warned that America could be entering “another Vietnam.” When President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Panama to capture dictator Manuel Noriega, some Democrats warned of “another Vietnam.” At the beginning of the 1990-91 Gulf War and at the outset of the 2003 Iraq war, many Democrats warned that America was blundering into “another Vietnam.”
But none of those wars ended up resembling Vietnam. Panama and the first Gulf War featured overwhelming U.S. force that won those wars quickly, with very few U.S. casualties. The 2003 Iraq war versus Saddam Hussein’s military was actually over quickly too, but Islamist insurgencies (some of which were backed by Iran) dragged out the military action and the country’s recovery. By 2009, Iraq was relatively stable and quiescent. More than 3,000 American troops died in the second Iraq war, but that number is dwarfed by the 59,000 killed in Vietnam.
Obama inherited that stable Iraq, and withdrew U.S. forces too quickly. The Islamic State has arisen out of the Syrian civil war and the vacuum of power that Obama left in Iraq.
Now Obama is slow rolling America’s entry into the war versus the Islamic State. His strategy of limiting U.S. forces’ role to “advisers” mirrors how U.S. presidents from Harry Truman to Lyndon Baines Johnson slowly increased America’s military role in Vietnam, especially following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Within two years of that defeat, a small number of American military “advisers” were on the ground in Vietnam training the South Vietnam military. In 1962, there were 12,000 American troops in Vietnam, officially in non-combat roles. Two years later, there were 15,000 American troops in Vietnam.
In 1965 Johnson authorized Operation Rolling Thunder, a massive bombing campaign against the north. That same year, Johnson’s advisers determined that bombing alone would not be enough to win the war. Operation Rolling Thunder, though, was never intended to achieve victory. Its aim was to disrupt supply lines from the north into the south, by North Vietnam to the Vietcong guerillas. Operation Rolling Thunder slow rolled across two years, to including bombing more strategic targets in North Vietnam.
Operation Rolling Thunder was closely controlled by the White House and at times targets were personally selected by President Johnson. From 1965 to 1968, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North Vietnam. A total of nearly 900 U.S. aircraft were lost during Operation Rolling Thunder. The operation continued, with occasional suspensions, until President Johnson, under increasing domestic political pressure, halted it on October 31, 1968.
President Johnson escalated the U.S. role in Vietnam once it became clear that the advisory role plus U.S. air power would never defeat Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces. By the end of 1965, Johnson had sent 184,000 troops into Vietnam, and the “advisory” role was changed to combat.
The slow-rolled war dragged on until U.S. withdrawal in 1973, and the final defeat of South Vietnam in 1975. The victorious communists hunted down, imprisoned, tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands in South Vietnam, sparking a refugee exodus in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
During the Vietnam air war, President Johnson even personally selected bombing targets. President Obama, according to the MarketWatch report, is set to repeat that in selecting targets in Syria.
There are many obvious differences between Vietnam and the fight against the Islamic State, with Islam being the most obvious. The differences in the terrain — jungles in Asia, desert in the Middle East — is another.
But the similarities even at this stage of the ISIS fight are haunting, as we’ll explore on the next page.
During Wednesday’s House Select Committee on Benghazi testimony, one witness dropped a major revelation.
The bombshell came during discussion of just what the facility in Benghazi, Libya actually was. Was it a consulate? Was it something else? Its actual status has never been clear.
Former Homeland Security official Todd Keil told the panel that the the State Department classified it as a “Special Mission Compound.”
Under questioning from Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Keil revealed something startling about “Special Mission Compounds.”
Namely, that according to the State Department and government security nomenclature, there is no such thing as a “Special Mission Compound.”
Rep. Roskam asked Keil, “What’s a Special Mission Compound?”
Keep in mind, Mr. Keil has a career spanning 27 years in global security, and 22 years serving in various positions in State Department diplomatic security.
Keil replied to Rep. Roskam, “I don’t know. To be honest, from our review, Under Secretary Kennedy, in authorizing that, made up that term in order to avoid the OSPB security standards.”
Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy is a career State Department official. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security answers to him. The OSPB is the Overseas Security Policy Board. It is charged with helping the State Department comply with a 1986 law.
Kennedy was among the high-level State Department officials who signed off on creating the facility in Benghazi, and who repeatedly denied requests for more security there. In 2013, Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom testified before the House that the Benghazi facility never met the department’s security standards. Keil’s revelation explains that: Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy made up a new term to avoid having to meet security standards. The question is, why?
Kennedy answered directly to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He also supervised the selection of the staff for the Accountability Review Board, which Clinton convened in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 attack. The ARB never interviewed Clinton, and kept its focus below Kennedy’s level.
Another State Department official, former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, has alleged that prior to the ARB’s investigation, Hillary Clinton loyalist Cheryl Mills led a basement team in scrubbing documents to remove anything that could implicate or embarrass Clinton and other high-level officials.
Four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, died in the terrorist attack on the facility in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Pelosi Refuses to Say that We’re at War with ISIS, Has No Trouble Declaring that There Is a ‘War on Women’
Great stuff from the folks at CNS News. House Democrat leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi turned up on MSNBC today. Ronan Farrow asked her a simple question: Are we at war with ISIS?
The Obama adminstration has had trouble answering that one, but they have finally come around to admitting that yes, we are at war with ISIS.
Pelosi twists herself around words to stay away from calling it a “war.”
But other “wars” that the Democrats just made up…Pelosi has no trouble declaring that they’re real.
Today’s House Select Committee hearing on Benghazi was short of fireworks or revelations. But former Obama Homeland Security official Todd Keil was asked directly whether the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, which was hand-picked by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was as “fiercely independent as she and members of that board have claimed.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked Keil “What’s your overall impression of the ARB report?”
Keil replied, “Ambassador Pickering referred to the ARB as being ‘fiercely independent.’ In that same hearing, Admiral Mullen admitted to Oversight and Government Reform that he was reporting on ARB proceedings to staff of the State Department, outside of the precepts and requirements of being a member of the ARB.
“I don’t think that fits anyone’s definition of being ‘fiercely independent.’”
Keil is a 27-year veteran of global security operations and management, according to his bio. President Obama tapped him in December 2009 to serve as Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security. He also served in the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service for over 22 years.
The Daily Mail has new photos of the incident that led to Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts’ confrontation with police.
Watts initially claimed that police arrested her for kissing her white boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, in public. But then a tape of her confrontation with police came out — and it’s Watts who plays the race card, even saying that as a black actress she “raises awareness” of race issues.
The police officer simply told Watts that someone called the police about lewd activity taking place in a public area, so he had to investigate, and he had the right to ask for Watts’ identification. She refused to provide that, escalating the confrontation.
The photos in the Mail show Watts sitting on her husband, straddling him, with the car door open as it is parked on the street.
Eye witnesses have come forward to say that Watts was grinding on her boyfriend, and that she had her shirt up and her breasts exposed. See the photo on the next page and just for yourself.
A week ago today, President Obama touted Yemen and Somalia as examples of successful counterterrorism. He made the claim en route to offering his strategy for dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
US national security officials tell a different story about those two countries, according to The Hill. They are not successes.
“Al Qaeda’s official branches in Yemen and Somalia continue to remain extremely active,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen told lawmakers during a hearing.
Olsen said in prepared remarks that the Yemen-based group was the Al Qaeda affiliate “most likely to attempt transnational attacks” against the United States, according to Reuters.
“Of course, over the past five years Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has sought on three times to take down an airplane bound for the United States,” he said at the hearing.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson echoed Olsen’s remarks, warning that while ISIS was the “most prominent terrorist organization,” his Department has to stay focus on a range of terrorist threats.
“From my homeland security perspective we have to stay focus on a range of threats. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, for example, is still active,” Johnson said.
Obama overrode his generals in crafting the ISIS strategy he rolled out a week ago, just as he overrode them when he pulled US troops out of Iraq. Is he listening to his own national security officials?
The US energy industry has been warning for years that the Obama EPA’s caps on carbon emissions will lead to several bad outcomes for Americans, including skyrocketing energy prices and even brownouts and blackouts.
The EPA’s Janet McCabe was testifying in the House today on the agency’s plan to cap carbon emissions. And then the power went out.
Robert Gates was President Barack Obama’s first Secretary of Defense.
On CBS this morning, Gates made his first public comments on the Islamic State since Obama announced his strategy for “degrading and destroying” ISIS without putting any US troops in ground combat against them.
Gates said, ”The reality is, they’re not going to be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces or the Peshmerga or the Sunni tribes acting on their own. So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that [there won't be troops on the ground], the president in effect traps himself.”
After predicting that there will be US boots on the ground if we’re to defeat ISIS, Gates continued: ”I’m also concerned that the goal has been stated as ‘degrade and destroy’ or ‘degrade and defeat’ ISIS. We’ve been at war with al Qaeda for 13 years. We have dealt them some terrible blows, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, but I don’t think anybody would say that after 13 years we’ve destroyed or defeated al Qaeda. And so I think to promise that we’re going to destroy ISIS or ISIL sets a goal that may be unattainable. as opposed to devastating it or as the vice president would put it, following them to the gates of hell and dealing them terrible blows that prevent them from holding territory. Those are probably realistic goals.”
The Islamic State currently holds territory that is roughly the size of the United Kingdom. The UK itself might shrink if Scottish voters approve a referendum to secede from the union.
Watch Gates’ comments on Obama’s anti-ISIS strategy.
Gates’ comments come alongside a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing that Obama’s approval rating on handling terrorism is at a new low.
As a former Dallas Cowboys fan, I half want the Washington Redskins to win the Super Bowl this year — just so the media will have to twist themselves into knots avoiding using the name.
That will be fun to watch.
Demagoguing Democrats aren’t fun to watch. Sen. Maria Cantwell has figured out a new way to attack the issue. She is threatening to pull the NFL’s non-profit status, according to AP.
In a news conference that featured Native American, civil rights and religious leaders, Sen. Maria Cantwell took aim at the NFL’s pocketbook by announcing she will introduce a bill to strip the league’s tax-exempt status because it has not taken action over the Redskins name. While prospects for such a bill becoming law would be tenuous, the inevitable hearings before lawmakers would enhance the spotlight on a movement that has gained substantial momentum over the last two years.
I’d bet that most Americans don’t know that the NFL is a non-taxpaying non-profit. Should it be? The League, which by law is a “trade association” among the teams, rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars — apart from the teams’ earnings — every year. The NFL commissioner makes nearly $30 million per year. Now the NFL is embroiled in a whole bunch of scandals in addition to the Redskins’ name controversy. It’s the perfect time for politicians to threaten them.
Cantwell may have stumbled into something here.
The UK Guardian has published an editorial on how to deal with the Islamic State from Bradley/Chelsea Manning.
Manning is currently serving 35 years in Leavenworth for leaking classified intelligence during the Iraq war.
The strategy itself sounds like the one Obama first offered, between the lines, last Wednesday. That may be why it got past Manning’s jail cell and out to the Guardian.
Manning counsels “containment,” allowing ISIS to maintain the territory it currently holds. That will, in Manning’s reckoning, let them fail as a state, divide and disintegrate. It may take years, even decades. Manning doesn’t specify a timeline. It only took the Soviet Union more than 70 years to fail as a state. Caliphates have come and gone in the Middle East over the years, but some of them have lasted centuries.
The Islamic State has armor (ours), aircraft that it may or may not not be able to fly (Syrian) and it pulls in about $2 million a day from oil. Its presence also exacerbates the Kurdish issue: The longer Iraq’s central government remains weak and its territory divided, the longer the Kurds have to maintain their own security — and fosters their own feelings toward independence from Iraq, Turkey, etc.
Manning never lays out what to do if ISIS decides to outgrow its boundaries, or if Syria’s secular dictator falls, or ISIS’ presence crushes the Baghdad government, or Iran intervenes on the ground, or any number of other scenarios that are far from science fiction including ISIS launching strikes outside its territory. ISIS has threatened to do that. Manning does not address that.
Obama never came out for containment, in fact he said that his strategy would eventually “degrade and destroy” ISIS. But he did hold up Yemen and Somalia as examples of what he believes are successful counterterrorism fights.
Terrorists have had free or nearly free run in both for decades now. They are occasionally degraded in drone strikes, but never destroyed.
As for Manning, he (he was a guy at the time) took it upon himself to break his oath and the law in leaking sensitive information that the military had entrusted to him. Manning did this largely out of spite against the military’s gay policies (cluebat: ISIS’ gay policies aren’t friendlier).
Why does the Guardian believe that the opinion of such a person is worth printing? Why does such a person have the ability to communicate with media?
According to her Linked-In profile, Kazantsev interned at Planned Parenthood in Hempstead, New York. Her job duties at the company that snuffs out of the lives of young baby girls? “Assisted delivery of programs in local public schools, teaching children about mutual respect & self-esteem” and “Conducted research on Planned Parenthood Education.”
Kazantsev worked for the abortion giant just outside New York City proper for three months, from February 2013-April 2013. One month later, one of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in New York City botched an abortion. The incident occurred at the Margaret Sanger Center Planned Parenthood in New York City, New York.
Ambulances are usually only called to abortion clinics in the event of life-threatening medical emergencies. There has been a trend to bypass the 911 exchanges and call ambulance companies directly in order to keep pro-life groups from obtaining potentially damaging information about the abortion complications though open records requests.
In 2012, Planned Parenthood in New York City was also found to be willing to go along with arranging abortions for victims of sex trafficking.
That’s from LifeNews, and there’s more at the link.
Margaret Sanger was a Nazi-sympathizer who believed in eugenics and also believed in exterminating “human weeds” — working class people, racial minorities. Sanger was a segregationist who also wanted government to have control over who could and could not have children. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was a monster. The business/lobby that Sanger founded is built on aborting babies in substandard clinics. Right now Planned Parenthood is opposing over-the-counter contraception. Why? It’s bad for their business.
Over the course of the last week plus, the Obama administration’s story on the Islamic State has evolved — the put it kindly. Are we at war? Is it just counterterrorism? What would success look like? What would failure look like? Who’s in the coalition and what will they be doing?
If you’re seeking a straight answer, the Obama administration is probably the last place you’d go for one.
Back in my day, we rode our bikes far away from home and played all over the place without adult supervision.
But in this day, a mom in Austin, Texas, let her 6-year-old son play around a bench about 150 yards from his home’s front porch. The bench is visible from that porch. He knew how to get back home. The boy was never in any danger, until a neighbor and the busybody city got involved.
He’d been out there for about 10 minutes when Roy’s doorbell rang. She opened it to find her son —and a woman she didn’t know. As Roy wrote on her blog HaikuMama last week, the mystery woman asked: “Is this your son?”
I nodded, still trying to figure out what was happening.
“He said this was his house. I brought him home.” She was wearing dark glasses. I couldn’t see her eyes, couldn’t gauge her expression.
“Yes. He was all the way down there, with no adult.” She motioned to a park bench about 150 yards from my house. A bench that is visible from my front porch. A bench where he had been playing with my 8-year-old daughter, and where he decided to stay and play when she brought our dog home from the walk they’d gone on.
“You brought him home… from playing outside?” I continued to be baffled.
And then the woman smiled condescendingly, explained that he was OUTSIDE. And he was ALONE. And she was RETURNING HIM SAFELY. To stay INSIDE. With an ADULT. I thanked her for her concern, quickly shut the door and tried to figure out what just happened.
It didn’t end there. These things never do, as you’ll see on the next page.
Liberty Mutual is running a series of ads on their accident forgiveness program. The program itself makes sense — one accident doesn’t mean that you’re a risky driver and deserve to have your rates go up. “Nobody’s perfect,” says this ad which explains the program very well, in fact. It’s probably the best ad of the series. Solid writing, sound idea, very good delivery.
But the ad below… It’s terrible. It posits that you can be so bad at parallel parking that you can do extensive damage to someone else’s car and yet you won’t have to worry about your insurance rates going up.
The actress, whose flat delivery all but kills the brief ad, says “You’re good a lot of things, but parallel parking isn’t one of them.” In fact, you’re so bad that “it’s only a matter of time before you rip some guy’s bumper off.”
Really? “Rip some guy’s bumper off?” If you’re that bad at parallel parking, you might be a menace to society.
How much force does it take to rip the bumper off of a stationary car? The answer depends on a whole lot of variables, but it’s probably “a lot of force. More force than you should be using during any attempt at parallel parking, when you’re probably going a max of 5 mph.” Enough that a competent driver ought to feel a tug and hear noises before they give their own car enough gas to rip the bumper off of another car.
When you rip some guy’s bumper off, the ad gives you two alternatives: Take the bus, or get Liberty Mutual insurance. Because Liberty Mutual doesn’t care if you can drive competently at all, as long as you’re paying your premiums.
Might I suggest two more alternatives to this dangerous parallel parker? They are: Learn how to parallel park, because cars belonging to to other people, and others who are also insured with Liberty Mutual, will depend on you to be competent behind the wheel; or quit driving, because the lives of innocent people may depend on it.
On Sunday, NBC’s Today show offered three tips if you find yourself subjected to a home invasion. A long-time New York City police officer serves as the subject-matter expert.
His three tips are:
- Keep your car keys handy where you sleep, and if there’s a home invasion, hit the horn button to create a lot of noise.
- Keep a can of hornet and wasp spray handy, and if the invaders enter your room, spray them with it to render them temporarily blind.
- Sleep with all your bedroom doors open so everyone in the house can hear everything that’s going on.
Notice what NBC’s expert leaves out: Firearms. Your Second Amendment rights never occur to NBC.
Here’s the video.
The first point might create lots of noise, but might also alert your invaders that you’re awake. A simple push of the button that you pushed will silence the car. The invaders might panic initially, but they’ll know that they can control the noise by controlling you. Americans are now so used to car alarms going off at all hours that we hardly ever respond to them, so pushing your car alarm button isn’t likely to bring the neighbors out and it won’t alert the police.
Let’s analyze the last two points on the next page.
During today’s often-interrupted Senate hearing on the rise and threat of the Islamic State, Gen. Martin Dempsey testified that ISIS’ fighters have taken up the fight over “grievances.”
Use of that word would seem to justify their actions, or at least give them some moral cover for them.
Gen. Dempsey testified: “The nature of the threat is such that, as I mentioned, it will only be defeated when moderate Arab and Muslim populations in the region reject it. And therefore, the way forward seems to me to run clearly through a coalition of Arab and Muslim partners, and not through the ownership of the United States on this issue. And so the strategy does that.”
“It seeks to build a coalition, encourage an inclusive government to address the grievances that have caused this in the first place, it applies U.S. military power where we have unique capability to do so, and over time it allows those populations to reject ISIL.”
What “grievances” have causes ISIS’ rise “in the first place?” Dempsey did not elaborate, and he was not asked to explain.
Dempsey has a checkered history when it comes to dealing with so-called “grievances.”
Just over two years ago, on September 12, 2012, Gen. Dempsey personally called Florida pastor Terry Jones and asked him to “withdraw his support” for Innocence of Muslims. That was the obscure YouTube video that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were blaming for the terrorist attack at the US facility in Benghazi, Libya on the day before.
Jones also planned to burn a Koran on video in 2010. It was Gen. Dempsey again who called Jones and asked him not to do it, so as not to offend Muslims.
h/t Weekly Standard
Hillary Clinton took her faux book tour/pre-presidential campaign to the Harkin Steak Fry Fundraiser.
There, she deigned to mix with the masses and sign her name on some books.
One subject wanted Hillary to personalize the autograph, just a bit.
The subject was still happy enough to grovel before the queen.
NN FEMALE: “Would you mind signing this to Jermane, please.”
CLINTON: “I just can sign my name.”
NN FEMALE: “OK. That’s fine.”
CLINTON: “You’re welcome.”
NN FEMALE: “Thank you. Thank you.”
The Islamic State has now beheaded another western hostage. The Mirror reports:
A new video has been released by militants purporting to show the 44-year-old aid worker being executed.
The second hostage to be executed was freelance journalist Steven Sotloff.
A video of the 31-year-old’s beheading emerged just weeks after his fellow captive James Foley was also killed.
In the footage, the executioner – again believed to be man nicknamed Jihadi John – said: “I am back, Obama, and I am back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings and … on Mosul Dam, despite our serious warnings.”
The executioner is believed to be the same London-accented British jihadist who butchered the two Americans, James Foley and Steve Sotloff.
These serial killer jihadists are cowards. They take journalists and aid workers hostage. They refuse to show their faces on camera while they taunt the free world. The fact that all three hostages have recited anti-American or anti-British statements before their murders indicates that the helpless hostages have been tortured and brainwashed for years in captivity.
British PM David Cameron reacts:
The murder of David Haines is an act of pure evil. My heart goes out to his family who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 13, 2014
We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 13, 2014
President Obama’s strategy is not going to stop ISIS. Two of our so-called allies in Obama’s strategy have now allied with ISIS. The Iraqi army is clearly not ready. The Arab states are only promising money and training for Syrian “rebel” troops, so far. Yemen and Somalia, the two countries Obama himself held up as models of successful counterterrorism, are terrorist playgrounds.
Raymond Ibrahim wrote recently about why these terrorists specifically choose to behead their victims. Beheading “infidels” and those cast as “enemies of Islam” has a specific origin in Islamic history.
The Democrats’ leader in the House, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is either dishonest, drunk, or losing her mind.
Soopermexican caught this tweet from Pelosi, which he calls “brutal stupidity.”
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) September 12, 2014
As the multimillionaire Pelosi surely knows, individuals and corporations (which are artificial people under the law) can change their addresses and thereby change their tax burdens. It happens every day. I know that from personal experience. I moved from high-tax Maryland to low-tax Texas a few years back and gave myself a very nice raise and bought a bigger house than I’d had up north even though my salary at the time didn’t change much. Dollars go farther in Texas than they do in California, in part because Texas doesn’t tax its citizens violently and with prejudice. That’s why so many of Pelosi’s fellow Californians and their companies are fleeing her state for Texas. It happens every day.
So, brutal stupidity. Or she’s just lying to her low-information voter base. Or she’s drunk or has lost her mind and is raving crazy loony tunes nuts. You make the call.
We’re not done yet, though, as you’ll see on the next page.
The Obama administration spent Thursday (the 13th anniversary of 9-11, by the way) arguing that the United States is not at war with the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL.
The White House spokesman said it wasn’t a war. Secretary of State John Kerry and his spokeswomen at the department also said that it’s not a war. Kerry, for his part, called it…what was that again?
Right — it’s a “heightened level of counter terrorism operation.”
Well, today, the White House and the Pentagon have finally come around. This thing we’re doing against ISIS is, in fact, a war. Take a look.
An old book that most people don’t pay much attention to these days says “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
CNN interviewed Diane Foley, mother of American journalist James Foley. ISIS beheaded him and posted the video online on August 19.
Foley is calling the Obama administration out:
“I think our efforts to get Jim freed were an annoyance” to the U.S. government, Diane Foley told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview that aired Thursday. “It didn’t seem to be in (U.S.) strategic interest, if you will.”
Officials told Foley family members “not go to the media,” and that the “government would not exchange prisoners,” or carry out “military action” to try to rescue her son, according to Diane Foley.
As we now know, the Obama administration did exchange five hard-core Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl. The administration was aware that Bergdahl may have deserted his post in Afghanistan prior to his capture.
And as we now know, the Obama administration did attempt a rescue of Foley. That rescue failed, because President Obama dragged his feet before greenlighting the mission.
Diane Foley says that the administration threatened the family.
She added that the family was told many times that raising ransom “was illegal (and) we might be prosecuted.”
Diane Foley could become to Barack Obama what Cindy Sheehan was to George W. Bush — if the media decided to do that. But we all know that that’s not going to happen.
Chris Matthews is skeptical. Tom Friedman wonders where the Chinese are.
And that’s just a start. Others in the mix include Chuck Todd, Ed Schultz, Tom Brokaw, and Jim McDermott.
For a mind-bender on a par with that Bill Maher clip we posted yesterday, some of the Democrats’ criticisms sound like some of ours — that the strategy that the president laid out is too wimpy, and is very unlikely to work.
Take a look.
On Thursday, the Greg Abbott campaign filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission. The complaint asks the Commission to look into state Sen. Davis’ (D) book tour, which she is running simultaneously with her campaign for governor against Abbott.
The complaint concerns a trip that Davis took to New York earlier this week, to launch her book. Her campaign paid for that trip, but Davis says the book was not launched now, timed to help her campaign.
Then why did her campaign pay for the trip? That’s what the TEC is being asked to look into.
Davis has dismissed the complaint as “frivolous.” Charges do tend to fly, and the TEC can find itself in the crosshairs, as elections draw near and we’re within two months of the Abbott-Davis showdown.
But do the charges have some merit? The Abbott campaign is forwarding comments by a trio of Texas election law specialists, which strongly suggests that the charge do have merit.
The first is from Tripp Davenport, a former TEC chairman. He says ”There’s definitely questions to be raised,” Davenport said. “The appearance of it, based upon what I know — I think there is some merit to it.” He even added that either Davis’ lawyers don’t know what they’re doing, or they let her “push the envelope,” knowing that any TEC action will not come until after the election.
The second is from another former TEC commissioner, Ross Fischer. He told reporter Karina Kling, “In Texas law you can’t use campaign funds and convert them to personal use.” He added that Davis may end up having to pay for the trip out of her own pocket.
The third is from election lawyer Roger Borgelt. He says that the violation is clear: “Given the facts and how things appear, with this trip being 95 percent about the book tour, I don’t know how it could be anything but a personal trip.” But her campaign picked up the bill.
The Davis campaign says that they were careful to follow the law, but the quotes above cast doubt on that. Davis, a Harvard-educated attorney herself, has already come under fire, and an FBI investigation, for other alleged ethical lapses.
Earlier this week, the left-leaning Austin American-Statesman editorialized that it’s time that Texas establish driver’s licences for illegal aliens.
In the editorial, the paper calls for Texas to join the 11 states plus the District of Columbia in granting driver’s licenses to those who are in the state illegally. This issue cost California Gov. Gray Davis his job a few years back, in that Democratic state. It’s fair to say that it would be a very controversial move in Texas as the Republican-controlled legislature gets set for its 2015 session, and presumed Gov. Greg Abbott (R) presides over his first session. Presumed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) would also be presiding over his first session, in the Texas Senate.
The Statesman avoids the politics and pitches a case for road safety.
While not everyone who drives without insurance is living in the U.S. illegally, allowing undocumented immigrants the option to drive legally would make Texas roads that much safer.
A bipartisan bill recognized that in 2013. HD 3206 would have allowed undocumented immigrants to drive legally in Texas and addressed concerns about voting, security and other rights reserved for legal residents.
Under that measure, undocumented immigrants living in Texas would have been issued a special “Texas resident driver’s permit” that looked different from a regular driver’s license. The permits wouldn’t have been used for any federal purposes, such as going through airport security. It would have allowed undocumented drivers, who are already on Texas roads, to drive legally and get quality auto insurance, a huge problem when you consider that currently more than 2.5 million, or 14.3 percent, of vehicles in Texas lack coverage. In Travis County, 120,125 vehicles (more than 13 percent) are not insured.
Not all of those uninsured cars belong to illegal aliens, of course, in Travis County or statewide.
HD 3206 did not fare well in the last legislative session. It got out of committee but died on the calendar. But its backers intend on bringing it forward again next year, even though the state legislature is likely to be even more Republican than the 2013 edition.
There is much to unpack in what the bill proposes, and the Statesman endorses.
The mere fact that the driver’s license for illegal aliens would look different from other state driver’s licenses and would not be used “for any federal purpose” means that the state will end up creating a database of all illegal alien drivers in the state, or at least of those who apply for this particular license. The federal government might become interested in that data, if it ever gets around to securing the border. Would the state of Texas refuse to provide that information to the federal government, if it is ever asked to?
It also means that any illegal alien holding such a license would still have a reason to flee the scene of an accident in many non-sanctuary jurisdictions. Police will recognize the license and might arrest the holder to process for deportation. The fact that it could not be used for “any federal purpose” is meant to assure Texans that they will not be used in voter registration. It also means that the license cannot be used as a form of ID for entering federal buildings, boarding aircraft or writing checks.
Illegal aliens will know all of this. They will also know that in order to obtain the special license, they will have to take a driver’s ed class. They will have to either fill out a special form identifying themselves as present in the country illegally, or they will have to check a box on a form that everyone fills out, that does the same thing. Along the way of getting this special license, they will have to identify themselves to government officials as breaking immigration law.
Or they could buy a fake license on the black market, as many have done for decades. Or they could take their chances and drive without a license at all, as many have done for decades.
The special new illegal alien license would also, according to the editorial, enable them to purchase car insurance to comply with state law. In that process, they will identify themselves to the insurers as illegal aliens. Insurers will be knowingly selling products to people who are breaking the law and who might pose flight risks. Besides that, illegal aliens can already purchase car insurance, if they choose to.
The Statesman gets into none of these weaknesses in the plan it supports. Neither do any of the plan’s persistent backers.