Business Insider has some photos of the police presence in Ferguson, MO. Here’s one of them.
Is this who we are now?
Ferguson is already in the throes of riots, maybe because of police brutality after the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Frankly, I haven’t seen enough to form an opinion one way or another.
You can’t trust the media to report accurately, not after so many fails including the Martin-Zimmerman case. They go out of their way to distort.
You can’t trust the race hustlers, who use every controversy to make a buck.
The Justice Department is involved. You can’t trust them to be fair. Eric Holder has politicized the whole department.
And look at the local police. Is that the posture of a force that seeks to inspire trust, or fear?
They have short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles based on the military M4 carbine, with scopes that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters. On their side they carry pistols. On their front, over their body armour, they carry at least four to six extra magazines, loaded with 30 rounds each.
The US sent 130 more troops to Iraq on Tuesday. But don’t call it a combat mission.
Another 130 US troops arrived in Iraq on Tuesday on what the Pentagon described as a temporary mission to assess the scope of the humanitarian crisis facing thousands of displaced Iraqi civilians trapped on Sinjar Mountain and evaluate options for getting them out to safety.Defence secretary Chuck Hagel announced the deployment in remarks to Marines at Camp Pendleton, Southern California base on the final stop of a week-long, around-the-world trip that also took him to India, Germany and Australia.
“This is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation,” Hagel said. “We’re not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in in Iraq,” he added, referring to the eight-year war that cost more than 4,400 US lives and soured the American public on military involvement in Iraq.
The more the administration keeps saying that, the more it signals either fear or indecision to ISIS — who, while we’re dithering over what to do, are advancing in Iraq and turning up here in the US.
ISIS is poised to give us the same choice that al Qaeda did — fight them over there, or fight them right here.
Another defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide additional details on the sensitive mission, said the extra troops were Marines and special operations forces whose mission was to assess the situation in the Sinjar area and to develop additional humanitarian assistance options beyond current US efforts there. Still another official said the mission for the 130 troops could last less than one week.
That official also said that while the troops were not being sent in to execute some type of rescue mission of the Yazidis on the mountain, they would assess the feasibility of a rescue or what one might look like. The also would assist in the ongoing effort to evaluate the use of airstrikes as part of the mission to protect the Yazidis from attacks by the Islamic State militants.
Hagel referred to the 130 as “assessors.”
President Barack Obama has said repeatedly he will not send ground combat forces back into Iraq.
He says lots of things. He actually means some of them.
Cowards. And possibly, maybe, anti-Semites.
“Figures seen by the BBC show recorded hate crimes against Jewish people living in London have doubled compared with the same period last year, while police in Manchester said they had seen an increase in anti-Semitic crime over the last month,” the BBC reported.
In totally unrelated news, the British government revealed on Tuesday that they are suffering from a terminal case of moral equivalency and are prepared to cut off military aid to Israel if “significant hostilities” resume in Gaza.
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills and Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable announced this week that the United Kingdom would suspend the export licenses of 12 British firms which send Israel arms like radar systems, aircraft, and tanks if any new hostilities in Gaza restart.
The Huffington Post U.K. reported that the British left is incensed by how “weak” this move is against Israel.
That’s from Noah Rothman at Hot Air.
BREAKING: British government announces that if “significant hostilities” resume in Gaza it would suspend 12 arms export licenses to Israel
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) August 12, 2014
The Conservatives lead the current government, but it’s a coalition government that includes the Liberal Democrats.
Between how the UK is behaving now, and how American millennials can be expected to behave in the future, the time for Israel to totally destroy Hamas — root and branch — is right now. Get it done and none of this aid business will matter nearly as much.
Unfettered immigration is changing the character of what was Britain. Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher would barely recognize the place. That lesson isn’t lost on today’s Democrats here in the U.S. Obama regularly tells us conservatives that we’re the problem, we’re the greatest threat to the country. We would be less of a problem, of course, if our votes were canceled out.
Aww. Or, gross.
In the interview, Clinton dismissed the Obama administration’s self-described foreign policy principle of “Don’t do stupid stuff.”And while she also praised Obama several times, Clinton nonetheless called his decision not to assist Syrian rebels early on a “failure.”
The statement from Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill stressed that although the two have had “honest differences on some issues” including “the wicked challenge” of Syria, she has discussed these differences publicly before, including in her new memoir, “Hard Choices.”
“Some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues,” Merrill said. “Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night.”
Here are our options.
1. Hillary meant what she said when she criticized Obama’s “Don’t do stupid stuff” principle.
2. Hillary did not mean what she said.
If 1 is true, then her walking it back today is the result of:
b) loyalty to something other than the truth
c) having to walk back something that she had no idea would blow up the way it has
If option a is the case, Hillary Clinton is unfit for the presidency.
If option b is the case, Hillary Clinton is unfit for the presidency.
If option c is the case, Hillary Clinton is, at the very least, still not ready for the presidency.
If option 2 above is the case, Hillary Clinton is unfit for the presidency.
None of that means that she won’t actually win the presidency. Barack Obama was and is unfit for the presidency. Yet he has the presidency.
IJReview pulled this video out of the 2008 memory hole. It’s astonishing.
In it, young Sen. Barack Obama tells America that as president, he will “give himself” to the job.
His leisure time will go away. His interests will go away. His vacations will go away.
His leisure time would go away.
His interests would go away.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 4, 2014
His vacations would go away.
That’s what he said.
Question: Was he lying then, or merely hopelessly clueless and naive?
It’s a heavy day around here. But here’s a story of overcoming.
True fact: I knew the writer of this piece when he was going through his addiction. We were university classmates.
While I knew him at the time in the sense that I knew who he was and had had conversations with him, clearly I didn’t actually know him at all, because I had no idea what he was going through. None whatsoever.
To me, a naive and optimistic young college guy, he was just this mysterious figure on the edge of the class, always quiet, usually detached. We didn’t run around in the same circles.
It turns out, he was dogged by a shadow. But –SPOILER– 19 years later he is the victor.
I didn’t start out with the intention of being an alcoholic and an addict. One day, I stood before a mirror no longer able to recognize who I had become. “How did I get here?” I wondered. Surely, nobody decides to be like this.
Somewhere, something inside me is different than it is in some of you. I’m missing a switch or at the very least, it’s stuck in the “on” position. You have a drink, you stop, and you’re ok. I have a drink and say let’s have a few more. A few more quickly turns into too many. You can take a toke or pop a pill and be satisfied. I’m thinking of how I can score more. After all, the more the merrier, right? Somewhere, you and I arrived at the same point and you said “Stop, I’ve had enough.” I stepped on the gas, full throttle ahead.
Some of you reading this won’t be able to relate to what I’ve written here at all. You won’t understand that it’s not simply a matter of will power or making better choices. You won’t grasp that this isn’t a lifestyle choice or a matter of self-control, but a disease. I’m okay with that because I’m not really writing it for you. Besides, I had to quit worrying about what other people think of me a long time ago. I’m glad that today, by God’s grace, I can say yes to life and living it abundantly. Every day and every moment isn’t perfect. But this too shall pass.
If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with alcohol, addiction or depression, I’m writing this for you. Know that you are not alone. There are plenty of people who are in this fight with you. Reach out. Get help. Speak up. Don’t slip away in the silence, succumbing to the darkness. Choose life. There is a light. There is a way. When the darkness tells you “No, you can’t”, know that “Yes, you can.”
Read the rest.
I hate writing about this. You have no idea how much I hate writing about this.
Here at the Tatler, I tend to avoid writing anything about celebrity deaths. It’s not a policy, just a preference. Others cover them as news, but I generally avoid them.
We all die. It’s the human condition. Celebrities aren’t worth any more than the rest of us. That’s just a fact. Writing about their deaths feels ghoulish to me, as if I’m going for hits off their demise.
When we write about celebrity deaths, we just tend to get it all wrong. They are not worth any more than the rest of us, just because they happened to have become famous in life. But to some extent, their deaths become milestones in our lives because we enjoyed what they brought to us, or we appreciated something about them at some point in our lives. Their passing takes a little of us with them, because they made us laugh, wrote and sang our favorite songs, made that movie or wrote that book that had such an impact on our lives. Without ever meeting us, they touched us in some way, so we will miss them.
But with Williams’ apparent suicide after battling depression, some things need to be said.
First, I didn’t know him. Never met him. I’m not sure we were ever even in the same state. I had no idea he was battling depression. All I knew is that he was a man with almost alien talent and a mind that must have whirred at a billion RPMs. That had to be a blessing and a curse at the same time.
From Mork and Mindy to Aladdin to his more serious work, as an actor he had an incredible range. The same maniac who spun up on Johnny Carson played the wise, unruly teacher in Dead Poets Society. I identified with his Good Morning, Vietnam character both because that character, Adrian Cronauer, and I went to the same military tech school (DINFOS, then at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana), and because he played something I was for a while — a military broadcaster deployed overseas. I don’t think anyone else on earth could have played that role. It certainly wouldn’t have been the same film with anyone else in that role.
After news of his death broke, the Academy tweeted this.
Genie, you’re free. pic.twitter.com/WjA9QuuldD
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 12, 2014
On a first glance it’s touching, and for that reason it has gone viral. But it’s wrong.
Williams is free of his depression now, and as a Christian he is in a better place, but the message it sends is that suicide is a way out, a way to freedom. That is a terrible message to send. Many who may be contemplating suicide right now are not clinically depressed. For them, suicide is still very much a choice. No one should provide any encouragement to make the wrong choice. That isn’t what the Academy intended, of course. They had the best of intentions.
Matt Walsh writes that Williams did not die from suicide, but from choice. He chose suicide, says Walsh.
It’s surely true that some — most? I have no idea — who commit suicide choose it. I once found myself talking a friend out of taking his own life. It was a long time ago, practically a lifetime. I’m hardly even the same person I was then. That friend chose wisely and did not take that final, horrible act. He was not clinically depressed. He suffered from self-importance and angst, was angry with a God he claimed not to believe in, and a whole lot else, but clinical depression wasn’t part of the equation.
During his odd Facetime address Monday, President Barack Obama demanded an inclusive government in Iraq, and backed Iraq’s newly appointed prime minister over Nouri al-Maliki, who has been the country’s divisive, sectarian PM for eight years.
President Obama tried to push Iraq’s power-hungry prime minister off the stage Monday — unreservedly throwing his support to a possible successor.
But a defiant Nouri al-Maliki gave no sign he was about to yield to American pressure, and special forces loyal to him continued to fan out across Baghdad — raising fears of a possible coup even as the government fights Islamic extremists in the north and west of the country.
Complicating Obama’s stance are the fact that he left Iraq prematurely, leaving barely any American influence, and his own record of running a rather divisive, even sectarian government here at home. He isn’t much for leading by example.
So Obama said what he said. The big, maybe bigger question hanging out there, was, what would the Iranians do? They have been backing Maliki as a fellow Shiite. They have more influence over Iraq than the United States does.
Tehran dropped him today.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary and representative of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, made the announcement in Tehran.
“We congratulate Haidar al-Abadi on his nomination as prime minister, for him personally and for religious dignitaries, the Iraqi population and its political groups,” Shamkhani said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Shamkhani had earlier been quoted as saying that Iran backed the legal process which led to Maliki being replaced, following the nomination of Abadi as premier.
But congratulating Abadi was a step further and signalled that Tehran was no longer willing to fight in Maliki’s corner.
With Maliki still controlling some of what’s left of Iraq’s army around Baghdad, we still have the makings of a second civil war kicking off amid the civil war that ISIS has already created.
The fiancee of the world’s former most eligible bachelor has said that she will not run a United Nations probe into alleged war crimes in the Israel-Gaza war. Which, by the way, is still going on.
GENEVA (AP) — The British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, who is engaged to George Clooney, on Monday pulled out of an appointment to serve on a U.N. commission on possible violations of the rules of war in Gaza.
The president of the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council announced in a statement Monday that Alamuddin had been appointed on the commission, but the increasingly high-profile British-Lebanese lawyer later said she could not accept the role.
“I was contacted by the UN about this for the first time this morning,” she said. “I am honoured to have received the offer, but given existing commitments — including eight ongoing cases — unfortunately could not accept this role.”
Teasing out which way Alamuddin leans politically isn’t a straightforward thing. She is apparently Druze, which is an offshoot of Islam, or a re-interpretation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Druze are not associated with Islamism or terrorism. In Israel, they are defined as Arab but have been known to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. They don’t proselytize.
The United Nations has no business probing the Israel-Gaza war for war crimes at any rate. Hamas started the war, but the UN has played its usual role of pestering Israel while it defends itself from terrorists who are, by definition, war criminals.
UNRWA facilities have been used by Hamas to store rockets, which Hamas launches at Israeli citizens. UNRWA supplies have been found inside Hamas’ terror tunnels. If the UN must investigate, it should start by allowing an outside investigation of its own activities.
Mark Liebowitz caught sight of an ISIS flag flying in suburban New Jersey today.
— Marc Leibowitz (@Marc_Leibowitz) August 12, 2014
A man believed to be sympathetic to ISIS was arrested at John F. Kennedy airport in New York Monday afternoon.
A North Carolina man was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on weapons charges earlier this month, a law enforcement official told CBS News.
The man, identified as Donald Morgan, is suspected of being sympathizer of the Islamic militant group ISIS, the official said.
“I talked to the FBI this morning. This arrest was a precautionary arrest. They’ll interrogate him and find out what’s happening. We have to be really vigilant,” Sen. Charles Schumer said.
Morgan was arrested upon his return from Lebanon, the official said.
Morgan was ordered held without bail after being arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn.
An ISIS flag turned up in London this week, too. A journalist went to the site to photograph the flag, and soon found himself surrounded by about 15 very angry young Muslims, who yelled “F*** off Jew!” at him and threatened him.
I asked them to explain the black flag. They said it represented their Muslim faith.
Then they asked for £5. “It’s our flag, we charge people for taking pictures,” they said.
I tried to keep it light-hearted: I joked I was a good photographer; they should be paying me £5.
A few more youths, all of them mid-late teens, a couple a little older, joined the group.
Then one stared at me.
“Are you a Jew?” he asked.
I’m not. I have a large nose; I fitted his stereotype.
I glared back at him. “What if I were? Would that be a problem for you?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “F*** off Jew, you’re not welcome here.”
ISIS supporters have previously posted a flag-selfie of themselves standing right outside the White House.
This story puts to rest the question of whether ISIS has ambitions beyond Iraq. They do. Of course they do.
Perhaps the news that the Islamists planned to strike a brewery will finally stir President Beer Summit to take some serious action against them.
Danish brewer Carlsberg was on the target list of the Islamist militant group Isis, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
The outlet reports that a Carlsberg facility in suburban Kuala Lumpur was among the attacks Isis planned to carry out in Malaysia.
The South China Morning Post reports that Isis, or the Islamic State (IS) as it is now known, has expanded into Malaysia and Indonesia, picking up local followers inspired by its declaration of an Islamic caliphate. At least 19 Malaysians suspected of being linked to the terror organization have been arrested this year.
“During questioning, they [the suspects] admitted one of their main objectives was to attack the government,” Ayub Khan, a senior official for Malaysia’s Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division, told the South China Morning Post. “They also discussed planning attacks against a disco, pubs in Kuala Lumpur and a Carlsberg factory in Petaling Jaya.”
Why Carlsberg? Well, they’re Danish. Remember the whole “Taqiyya” business?
It was in Denmark that the Mohammed cartoons were published a few years back, leading to a global Muslim outrage and death threats against the paper’s editor and the cartoonists that continue to this day.
Jihadists don’t believe in freedom, and they never forget a grudge.
h/t Jihad Watch
Hillary Clinton’s little grenade over “Don’t do stupid stuff” has hit its mark. Barack Obama’s brain man, David Axelrod, is hitting back.
Just to clarify: "Don't do stupid stuff" means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) August 12, 2014
We have some blue-on-blue here, which is always enjoyable as the Democrats tend to march in lockstep. Suddenly, they’re turning on each other.
But we also have some revealing thinking.
So Axelrod thinks that “occupying” Iraq qualifies as “stupid.”
His counter point to “occupation,” though, is what, exactly?
Libya — the war his president led from behind and then left to the tender mercies of jihadists afterward? Is that what Axelrod would prefer?
Going back into history a bit — always a risky proposition these days, since schools don’t actually teach history anymore — the United States waged a couple of very successful occupations in relatively recent times. Japan and Germany were our enemies, but they are our allies now. They started war with us. We defeated them. We occupied them. We turned them into stable democracies. Today, both are key players in our overall strategy to wage peace in their respective regions.
We still have troops in both countries, decades after the war with them ended. Decades.
The war in Iraq was won when Barack Obama took office. It is lost now. Obama swept into office only promising to “end” the war. That should have been warning enough to keep him out of the presidency. He had no interest in keeping that war won.
Compared to Iraq, both Japan and Germany were far more likely to become stable democracies. There is no way to get Iraq stable and keep it stable without an ongoing and forceful American presence. The ongoing war with ISIS, and its own internal political rifts, tell us as much. Without us there, Iraq has no chance. ISIS will chop off some of its territory, Iran will take its revenge, the Kurds will go their own way, etc. While both Japan and Germany had severe ideological issues to deal with, neither had the Islamic culture to contend with.
But our president and his brain want us to think that “Don’t do stupid stuff” involves cutting and running and leaving brutal Islamists to do whatever they want.
Christopher Stevens remains unavailable for comment.
“Don’t do stupid stuff,” from now on, ought to include not electing inexperienced, devious ideologues and their loyalist ideologues into the presidency. That has proven to have been a very stupid thing to do.
A Little Bit Vulnerable tells her story of everything — life in Hollywood with the megahit Northern Exposure, fighting addiction and heartbreak, being a Christian and a single mom, and more. The title comes from a conversation she had with her daughter, Juliette, after Janine finished writing the book.
Her daughter, by the way, is not yet 18 years old yet she has written two impressive books of her own, in addition to penning some columns for us here at PJ Media. Juliette Turner’s second book, Our Presidents Rock!, comes out September 30.
In A Little Bit Vulnerable, Janine Turner shares her poetry, her political writings, her thoughts on the crises in our culture and much more. “I share my knowledge [of sobriety] and that of my great, great grandfather about the cyclical aspects of the disease and how to cope with the stresses of the world in a sober way,” she tells me, and she closes the book with a chapter about her father, who graduated from West Point and became an Air Force pilot. Sadly, her father passed away while Janine was writing the book. The book includes blurbs from the late Andrew Breitbart, First Lady of Texas Anita Perry, Chris Wallace and many more.
A Little Bit Vulnerable, by Janine Turner, is available now on Amazon for pre-order. It comes out September 30. It’s on my Kindle devices now and I’m really looking forward to reading it. At first glance it looks fantastic.
The last 24-48 hours on earth have been pretty awful. Iraq is falling apart. ISIS is hunting and killing Christians and other non-Muslims there and only the Kurds, badly outgunned at this point, have the stones to stop them.
Russia is invading Ukraine.
Our commander-in-chief stirred himself to leave the golf course long enough to address the nation via Facetime and say little, other than to advocate for regime change in Iraq. That makes him the fourth or fifth US president in a row to publicly call for that, but this president lacks the geostrategic wherewithall to use Australia as a base to win at the board game Risk. His statement on Monday left much to desire. That Obama again called for the Iraqis to have an “inclusive” government when Obama leads America’s most divisive government — a government his own loyalists have weaponized against dissent — was just the perfect topper. Does the man even listen to the words that come out of his own mouth? Does he know what they mean?
Though not on the same scale of tragedy as the horrors in the preceding paragraphs, the shocking death of Robin Williams hits hard. That a man who made us all laugh for decade after decade — since he played the lovable alien Mork all those years ago — battled depression is just a bit much to take.
Robin Williams was as much a pillar of American culture as anyone. He was just always there, going off on stream-of-consciousness riffs and making us laugh without taking the lazy route of going political to get cheap laughs. He earned every single laugh he ever got. Robin Williams also spent a great deal of his time entertaining the troops serving overseas and never made a big deal about that. By all accounts he had it all, was a nice guy, and was unquestionably talented. And yet the demon of depression got him.
As it said, it’s just hard to take.
I just want to start the day on a positive, and soccer is one place I go to escape the bad things.
Texan Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders is one of a very few American players who can claim to be among soccer’s elite. He was the hero of the US effort at the World Cup this summer, Captain America, scorer of that goal against Ghana and that other goal against Portugal. He’s clutch.
The other night, his Sounders beat Houston and Dempsey came off at the end of the game. What he did next created a memory that some kid will carry with him for the rest of his life. Those of us of a certain age remember the old Mean Joe Greene Coke commercial.
Clint Dempsey did something like that.
I saw this flash by on Twitter, and decided to take a look for myself.
— April Thompson (@oddlysaid) August 11, 2014
So I went to Dictionary.com and looked up “homeschool” in the search window.
And if you look over on the right, it’s not an exact match for the tweet above. But two of the sentences she noticed showed up for me too — the two worst ones.
The middle two examples are strongly editorial, and critical of homeschooling.
That got me to wondering — is this typical? Does Dictionary.com often include an editorial point of view in its examples?
So I looked up Barack Obama.
The output delivers nothing editorial, pro or con.
How about something less personal, but possibly political, like “church”?
The output delivers a couple of questionable examples.
A sentence about “narrowness,” and a sentence about a scandal.
How about “Christian”?
Muslims don’t come out unscathed.
Most would be offended by being compared to Woody Allen.
Overall, though, an inconclusive result. So I emailed Dictionary.com and asked them about the offending sentences in the “homeschool” definition.
Here’s the reply I received.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We value the homeschooling community and education in all forms. These example sentences have been removed because they do not meet our editorial standards. Our 1,605,969 example sentences have been pulled programmatically from reputable publications online over the course of the last ten years, and our lexicographers are constantly reviewing them to ensure that our site is a reference source of the highest quality. As a small team, we appreciate you bringing this issue to our attention so that we could quickly fix this situation.
Would you be able to share with us where you first discovered this issue? We would like to inform them of this change also.
Several IRS officials gave sworn declarations today in federal district court. But their declarations were far from complete, according to Judicial Watch.
The government watchdog is seeking to use the discovery process to get to the bottom of how the lavishly funded agency has managed to “lose” the critical emails of so many figures in the IRS abuse scandal.
IRS officials Aaron G. Signor, John H. Minsek, Stephen L. Manning, Timothy P. Camus, and Thomas J. Kane all provided today’s declarations in the ongoing Judicial Watch v. IRS case.
After today’s declarations, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton delivered a scathing response:
These sworn declarations delivered to the court today were to discuss what happened to Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails and any other computer records reportedly lost by the IRS. This latest IRS filing seems to treat as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order requiring the IRS to produce details about Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails and any efforts to retrieve and produce them to Judicial Watch as required under law. Frankly, it seems the cover-up continues.
According to a statement from Judicial Watch, Judge Sullivan has authorized the group to submit a request for limited discovery to track down the “missing” IRS emails. That request will be expected after September 10.
That’s what Ron Fournier would like to know.
After dismissing ISIS as al-Qaida’s “JV” team last fall, the president has awakened to the bloodcurdling threat. Last week, he ordered air strikes and air drops in northern Iraq to prevent genocide and to protect U.S. assets. The CIA is reportedly arming Kurds to fight the emerging Islamic state. The world is focused on whether the United States needs to do more, despite the reluctance of Obama and most Americans to recommit troops.
But I can’t shake another, darker, question. What if we get hit again with a 9/11-sized attack?More to the point, hypothetically, would a crisis pull us together or drive us apart? It’s a morbid question worth asking before the worst happens, because there’s reason to worry about the durability of what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”
Fournier goes on to note that we’re more divided now than we were in 2001, that Bush and the GOP had a strategy to “defang” Democrats who criticized him after 9-11 (but Fournier does not explore what, if any, strategy the Democrats might have deployed to “defang” then then very popular Bush), and so forth.
The one player who all but escapes Fournier’s attentions is, incredibly, Barack Obama — the man who would have to do the rallying if we got hit again. Fournier devotes one paragraph — the following one — to Obama’s six years in the presidency.
Third, the Obama White House has proved to be self-generous and ruthless in its defense. When critics said his refusal to aid Syrian rebels helped embolden ISIS, Obama tartly called the analysis a “fantasy.” But it wasn’t just Republicans who made the case against him. Obama’s former secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, warmed up for a potential presidential bid by calling the Syria policy a failure.
The Obama White House, and Obama himself, has gone much farther than that. It began by running a DHS study positing that veterans and small-government activists might be terrorist threats. It moved from there to dividing the country neatly over its handling of Obamacare, and then added to the divisions by using Obamacare’s regulations to create the “war on women.” Along the way, Obama has told Hispanic voters to “punish” their “enemies,” by which Obama meant anyone who disagrees with him on immigration.
When his administration got caught in the IRS scandal, Obama at first expressed outrage, while fake-firing the acting IRS commissioner, and then declared the scandal “phony.”
Over the past day or so, the Trajectory of Blame for Iraq has gone like this: Hillary Clinton is blaming Barack Obama, who is blaming George W. Bush.
Here’s Hillary blaming Obama — her former boss.
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton blamed the rise of Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria on failures of US policy under President Barack Obama, in an interview published Sunday.
Clinton specifically faulted the US decision to stay on the sidelines of the insurgency against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad as opening the way for the most extreme rebel faction, the Islamic State.
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad —- there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle -— the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton told the Atlantic.
Vetting the Syrians to see who was and was not a jihadist was nearly impossible at the time, and was not aided at all by the likes of Sen. John McCain, who wanted intervention and didn’t appear to care whom he might find himself working with.
For its part, the Obama administration including Hillary Clinton was awfully quick to side with the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological fountainhead of Islamic terrorism. There were concerns early on in the Syrian civil war that the United States would intervene, perhaps decisively — on the wrong side.
Not that there’s really a “right” side in that war. Assad is a brutal dictator who sides with Iran and has waged proxy wars against Israel, but the Islamists who want to oust him are even worse. The “good” Syrians are caught between two evils, both of which are more powerful than they are.
The White House has pushed back against Clinton’s comments, noting that she was fully on board with what Obama wanted and didn’t want when she was secretary of state.
The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg teases out an interesting, possibly revealing, passage in this back and forth.
Of course, Clinton had many kind words for the “incredibly intelligent” and “thoughtful” Obama, and she expressed sympathy and understanding for the devilishly complicated challenges he faces. But she also suggested that she finds his approach to foreign policy overly cautious, and she made the case that America needs a leader who believes that the country, despite its various missteps, is an indispensable force for good. At one point, I mentioned the slogan President Obama recently coined to describe his foreign-policy doctrine: “Don’t do stupid shit” (an expression often rendered as “Don’t do stupid stuff” in less-than-private encounters). (emphasis added)
Did Hillary Clinton tell or even insinuate to Goldberg that Barack Obama does not believe that America is an indispensable force for good?
That would be quite a statement, coming from a fellow Democrat.
I was on board an Iraqi Army helicopter, and watched as hundreds of refugees ran towards it to receive one of the few deliveries of aid to make it to the mountain. The helicopter dropped water and food from its open gun bays to them as they waited below. General Ahmed Ithwany, who led the mission, told me: “It is death valley. Up to 70 per cent of them are dead.”
Two American aid flights have also made it to the mountain, where they have dropped off more than 36,000 meals and 7,000 gallons of drinking water to help the refugees, and last night two RAF C-130 transport planes were also on the way.
However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been “useless” because it was dropped from 15,000 ft without parachutes and exploded on impact.
The question here is not how good our pilots and crews are, it’s what rules are US airdrops being conducted under? The Pentagon’s DVIDS site isn’t posting about the new operations in Iraq yet. So the horse’s mouth, if you will, isn’t whinnying.
According to this, from DoD, we’re using C-17 Globemasters to drop the aid to the Yazidis.
The C-17 is an incredible aircraft, but like any system it does have its limitations.
According to Military Times, the C-17 was accompanied by two C-130s and a pair of F/A-18s (from the carrier George H. W. Bush, by the way) for escort. So, not a large or heavily armed force. Also, not a force that’s going to fly close to the ground. If you really want to be sure that your aid is getting where you want it, you’re going to have to a variety of aircraft, helos and fixed-wing, operating from a supply base somewhat near the siege. These C-17 and C-130 aircraft are apparently aiding the Yazidis from their base in Afghanistan.
Obama’s first and foremost goal in Iraq is to do something without doing anything that might put American boots on the ground. His prime interest is not necessarily to do anything effective. It’s just to be seen doing something.
That includes not engaging any talk of inserting ground forces to take on ISIS, as Obama has made clear, and it includes not having any of the humanitarian missions fly too close to any ISIS positions, running the risk of shootdown and then a search for the downed airmen and to retrieve the wreckage from the aircraft. ISIS has captured major caches of US weapons as the Iraqi army, for which the weapons were intended, melted away in the face of ISIS attacks. The question is, what are ISIS’ anti-air capabilities?
According to ISIS’ propaganda, they have captured some anti-aircraft guns.
The video also features ISIS fighters firing what appears to be an SA-7 Man Portable Air-Defense System, commonly known as a MANPADS, as well as some kind of wire-guided anti-tank guided missile, much like the U.S.-made TOW currently in use by moderate Syrian rebels. Both the Chinese HJ-8 and Russian AT-4 anti-tank systems have appeared in ISIS hands in Syria.
MANPADS are serious business. That wire-guided anti-tank missile is probably a TOW. They cost about $10,000 a pop last time I checked, which was admittedly a while ago.
Video footage also shows ISIS fighters with towed and mounted anti-aircraft guns, including powerful 12.7mm DShK machine guns and what appears to be either a Chinese-made Type 65 or Type 74 37mm twin-barreled anti-aircraft gun, raising the question of what risk Iraqi or U.S. helicopters and planes would face unless effective artillery missions were launched to suppress ISIS air defenses.
Whatever the risk is, I’m sure Obama has seen a readout of all the hardware that ISIS scooped from the Iraqi army. That’s sure to inform how he tells SecDef Hagel to set the rules for the aid flights to the Yazidis.
So, add that up plus the way Obama handled Libya, an air war led from behind in which Obama’s prime directive was again to conduct all operations from the air and to keep all US aircrews entirely out of range of the various enemies on the ground, and it’s entirely plausible that the rules of operation in Iraq have our pilots flying too high to drop aid to the Yazidis very effectively.
If a show is all you want, then that’s enough. It’s not like the media or Obama’s core supporters are going to wade into the details of this anyway.
Putin has been threatening to send in a “humanitarian” force into Ukraine over the past week or two. Now, according to the AP, he has done it.
The AP includes precious little detail, other than to note that Russia’s “humanitarian” force is going in “in cooperation with the Red Cross.” Putin has reportedly informed the European Union of the “humanitarian” mission.
Russia Today — funded by the Kremlin — says that Ukraine also agreed have the Russians come in.
That seems unlikely — Ukraine just yesterday accused Russia of trying to “sneak” “peacekeepers” into its territory.
Ukraine said it had stopped a column of Russian troops posing as “peacekeepers” traveling with a humanitarian convoy as they reached the border. Valery Chaly, deputy head of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko’s administration, said the peacekeepers were going to Ukraine to trigger unrest and provoke further conflict.
The Russian troops were part of a convoy that was reportedly part of an agreement with the Red Cross, Reuters reported. “A humanitarian column with ‘peacekeepers’ was to enter the territory of Ukraine, clearly to provoke a full-scale conflict,” Chaly said in a statement. Russia has denied Ukraine’s claims and Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Kiev “is more and more inventive in creating fairy tales.”
Here’s the way to bet: As the US ramps up involvement in Iraq due to ISIS’ rolling victories and the chaos in Baghdad, Putin is seizing the moment to poke Russia’s way into Ukraine to help its proxies, who have been taking a beating from the Kiev government lately. Who’s going to stop him?
At the least, the “humanitarian” force — about 20,000 strong and heavily armed as of last week — would be enough to consolidate the rebels’/proxies’ territory in east Ukraine, which they have been losing in recent clashes with the central government’s troops.
Over the weekend, Iraq pretty much unraveled. If it weren’t for the Kurds, ISIS probably would have massacred tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians. President Barack Obama headed off on vacation.
Ahead of his vacation, President Obama delivered remarks on the situation before a small group of reporters. One asked him if he regrets withdrawing all US troops from Iraq without securing a status of forces agreement.
Obama’s response: blame Bush, dodge responsibility.
“What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision,” Obama said. “Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government, and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.”
“…as if this was my decision.”
Barack Obama bragged about “ending” the war in Iraq, during his re-election campaign.
FACT: In 2008, Barack Obama said he would end the war in Iraq, and he kept his promise. http://t.co/V5wyw6uV
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 9, 2012
If it wasn’t his decision to leave Iraq, why was he bragging about it?
While the crisis in Iraq has built up, and chaos has increased around the world, Obama remains determined to stoke Americans’ anger with each other. He sat down for an interview with Thom Friedman, and suggested that the greatest threat to America is people who disagree with him.
“The president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us,” said the interviewer, Thomas Friedman.
“Our politics are dysfunctional… societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions,” said Obama, who repeatedly claims to be a moderate stymied by the GOP’s supposed obstructionism and radicalism.
Says the man who told Hispanic voters to view other Americans as “enemies” to be “punished.” Says the man who engineered the entirely phony “war on women” purely for the sake of taking a maximalist position on contraception — and of course, cementing the single women’s vote to the Democrats.
Having fired this parting shot at the majority of the country which disapproves of him, Obama headed off to vacation. Within one hour of arriving at Martha’s Vineyard, playground of the rich and famous, Obama was golfing again. “In record time,” according to ABC’s Jon Karl.
According to Karl, the image of a president playing around while chaos burned across the world leaves the president “entirely unconcerned.”
The man in the OBL disguise is James O’Keefe of Project Veritas. He traveled to the Texas-Mexico border in Hudspeth County, Texas, recently and slipped across, back and forth. More than once.
He even slipped across the unprotected international border in a full Osama bin Laden disguise. Watch.
No details yet, just this from the AP.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi official says hundreds of Yazidi women taken captive by Islamic State militants
— Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) August 8, 2014
The first thing that comes to mind from this news is Boko Haram and its kidnapping of all those girls. It’s still holding most of them, but has reportedly forced some to become suicide bombers.
If anything, the scale of evil that ISIS represents eclipses that of even Boko Haram. ISIS has been beheading Iraqis, mainly Christians, by the scores in recent days, including beheading children.
The Obama administration’s response is far from adequate, and appears to be driven by the idea that “Whatever you do, don’t help anyone under attack from Islam.”
More: Fox adds some details.
The spokesman for Iraq’s human rights ministry says hundreds of women from the Yazidi religious minority have been taken captive by militants from the Islamic State group.
Kamil Amin says the women are below the age of 35 and some are being held in schools in Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. He said the ministry learned of the captives from their families.
Update: Moqtada al-Sadr (remember him — “Mullah Atari?”) says he’s prepping his men to defend Baghdad from an ISIS offensive against the Iraqi capital.
NAJAF – One of Iraq’s most influential Shiite clerics, Moqtada Sadr, claimed Friday that jihadists were poised to attack Baghdad and he vowed to send his men to defend the capital.
“There are terrorist groups that have completed their preparations for a breakthrough into Baghdad,” the cleric said in a statement.
“We are ready to defend the city, we are ready to supply forces and coordinate with the authorities to face any scenario,” said Sadr, who announced the creation of the Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades) group in the aftermath of the jihadist offensive that began in June.
The force includes former fighters from his now dissolved Mahdi Army that fought US troops 10 years ago.
There’s a bear in the woods.
For the second time since June, Russian nuclear bombers escorted by fighter jets have flown near U.S. and Canadian airspace around Alaska in recent days, prompting precautionary intercepts by American warplanes.
The encounters come amid Russian war games along the border with eastern Ukraine, raising Western concerns that Moscow might invade to support pro-Moscow separatists battling the Kiev government since spring.
Russian bombers have regularly flown along thesensitive airspace between Russia, Alaska and Arctic Canada, but Smith called the latest missions “a spike in activity.”
Do we have a hunter in the White House who recognizes the threat?
Stop laughing, it’s a serious question.
As long as he’s not doing the cooking…
Former congressman Anthony Weiner wants to get back into the community — by opening a restaurant in Queens.
The eatery, which Weiner wants to open in the Rockaways, will be named The Rockaway Restoration Kitchen and will offer locally sourced food.
Weiner, who is married to Hillary Clinton confidante Huma Abedin, is designing the eatery as a social program, not a business. Because he’s a humanitarian? Or because he’s desperate for positive media attention for something? You make the call.
So, unless he gets sugar daddy (ahem, who could that be?) it’s gonna flop.
It will provide jobs to residents of the neighborhood, part of his former congressional district that is still recovering from Sandy.
Hey, if it keeps his hands busy, it can’t be a bad thing. Just keep him away from the food.
‘There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.’
See that headline? Sen. Barack Obama said it on July 20, 2007. So, he understood that his decision could lead to where we are now.
Of course, he followed it up by saying: “But a US presence there will make it even worse.”
“It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.
Shorter Obama: They hate us and they have a point.
It’s fair to say now that he got that assessment wrong. Iraq hasn’t become a “magnet” for terrorist activity, it is becoming a failed state in the south and a cruel and menacing Islamic caliphate in the north.
It’s good that America has gotten back to bombing terrorists. I didn’t think Obama really had it in him. Yes, he authorized — after several call-offs — the mission to get bin Laden, after he made it clear the he preferred to capture and try the terrorist rather than just take him out. But Obama also helped Islamists take Libya, he helped Islamists take Egypt, he wanted to help Islamists take Syria, and he keeps telling Israel to respond “proportionately” to Hamas rocket attacks.
Just what is a “proportionate” response to genocidal fanatics who don’t happen to have expert rocketeers? Should Israel respond to Hamas’ wild, indiscriminate rocket attacks with wild, indiscriminate rocket attacks of its own? The “international community” would sure love that.
What is a “proportionate” response to ISIS/ISIL waging genocide against Christians, the Yazidis and even other Muslims in Iraq? If we’re being “proportionate,” should not Obama authorize enough force to wipe the Islamic State off the face of the earth?
Yes, it’s good that Obama ordered some airstrikes to go along with the humanitarian aid. Good, but hardly enough.
Now, for their next trick, watch the Democratmedia turn to accusing Republicans of wanting to re-invade Iraq. It beats holding Obama accountable for his unconscionable, callous decision to leave Iraq to the tender fates of the Middle East.
Serious you guys. This is not a photo op.
WH releases photo of POTUS meeting with his national security team today http://t.co/hTzH5P5bjo
— Jim Acosta (@JimAcostaCNN) August 7, 2014
Another classic from the “promise of hashtag” crowd.
During today’s State Department press briefing, deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf addressed the unfolding crisis in Iraq.
That crisis has many sources, but its chief source is ISIL. ISIL has taken hold of a large swath of northern Iraq and is killing anyone and everyone who gets in their way, or who refuses to bow to their take on Islam. Currently ISIL has about 40,000 men, women and children holed up on top of a mountain, starving them to death.
A reporter asked if there is a “confrontation to stop” ISIL’s spread.
Harf: “It’s not just a humanitarian crisis. I mean, that’s certainly a key piece of particularly what we’ve seen over the last 48 hours, certainly. But there’s a huge security challenge – if you talk about the Mosul dam, if you talk about other places. ISIL is a threat not just because they kill innocent civilians because of their religion, but because they’re a huge security threat to the stability of certain parts of Iraq. And that’s why throughout this conflict you have seen us continue to ramp up our support and continue to look very urgently at other things we could do to help fight this threat, because at the end of the day we can help the Iraqis, but the Iraqis also have to stand up, they have to pull themselves together, with our help, because this is a threat that certainly they but no one else in the region wants to see grow any more.”
Pull themselves together…
Like a lovable rogue who drinks himself to sleep on your couch every once in a while. “Pull yourself together, dude, I have to get to work and I’m not leaving with you here to eat up all of my food.”
At the moment, there’s barely anything for Iraq to pull together. That country has sectarian differences that go back more than 1,000 years. The army that we trained, and left on its own prematurely because Obama put his political priorities ahead of geopolitical realities, melts away in the face of ISIL attacks.
Should the Iraqis ISIL has blown up and beheaded pull themselves together too?
We’re looking at genocide.
Pull yourselves together.
From there, the briefing descended into a debate on reality and whether Harf is or is not a capable spokesperson.
Former USAID official and current Samaritan’s Purse vice president Ken Isaacs testified before a House subcommittee on the west African Ebola outbreak.
“We are starting to see panic now,” Isaacs said, “Around the world. People want to know. I don’t know about you folks. I look at the Drudge Report. It can drive a lot of panic.”
That might be a headliner quote, but the bulk of Isaacs’ testimony was very sobering.
Isaacs spent 26 years with various USAID efforts around the world before joining Samaritan’s Purse, the missionary organization to which the two Americans who are infected with Ebola belong. Samaritan’s Purse is a non-denominational Christian charity that helps the poor all over the world. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, is its founder.
Isaacs told the hearing that the situation in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone is dire. So dire, he said, that it “threatens the stability and way of life” of those countries.
Another missionary doctor, Dr. Frank Glover, explained why this outbreak is so much worse. Previous outbreaks occurred in rural areas, and essentially burned themselves out.
The current outbreak is happening in extremely densely populated cities. It is moving along the terrestrial transportation routes. The viral infection is never likely to burn out in such conditions.
I was watching the hearing while swooning in and out of awareness because I’m dealing with a flu-like virus myself, so I didn’t catch this quote near the end of the hearing, but Breitbart’s livebloggers did.
Isaacs ended the hearing with a somber tone, warning members of Congress to take the Ebola threat seriously.
“If you read the Ministry of Health status reports coming out every day from Libera, I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it has an atmosphere of ‘Apocalypse Now’ in it,” he said, referring to bodies lying in the street and gangs threatening to burn down hospitals.
“I believe that this disease has the potential to be a national security risk for many nations, and I think it will even have an impact on our national security,” he added.
Update: Reuters reports that Liberia’s health care system is collapsing because of the Ebola outbreak.
WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The health care system in Liberia is collapsing, hospitals closing down and medical workers fleeing from the Ebola epidemic, which is poised to worsen, Liberia’s foreign minister said on Thursday.
“People are dying from common diseases because the health care system is collapsing,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said in an interview with Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The Republicans’ chances of capturing the US Senate just improved.
Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) will soon drop out of the race to keep the seat that Sen. Max Baucus vacated to become ambassador to China. Republicans have not held that seat in 100 years.
Politico attributes Walsh’s decision to an unnamed source close to Walsh’s campaign.
Walsh already faced the Obama headwind that is dragging down Democrats all over the country, and was already behind in the polls when explosive allegations of plagiarism surfaced.
Walsh’s was just any garden-variety plagiarism. He is accused of plagiarism in his master’s thesis at the US Army War College. Walsh denied the allegations, and then tried to blame them on post-traumatic stress disorder.
Monday is the deadline to replace Walsh on the ballot. Democratic officials had been pressuring him behind the scenes to eject from the race, so that the party could field a replacement.
Republican Rep. Steve Daines enjoys a double-digit lead over Walsh in the RealClearPolitics poll averages. Only left-leaning PPP polls rate the race as competitive.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has re-kindled that old tingle. In an interview with journalist Perry Bacon, Matthews discussed the border crisis and brought up former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s line that one should “never let a crisis go to waste.”
Matthews believes that the border crisis should not go to waste.
Matthews told Bacon “It’s extraordinary that the president would do that [take executive action legalizing millions of illegal aliens]. This is like the Emancipation Proclamation.”
A public work can be turned into a weapon of mass destruction.
Sunni militants captured the Mosul dam, the largest in Iraq, on Thursday as their advances in the country’s north created an onslaught of refugees and set off fearful rumors in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital.
Residents near the dam and officials in the region confirmed that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, held the dam, a potentially catastrophic development for Iraq’s civilian population.
The dam, which sits on the Tigris River and is about 30 miles northwest of the city of Mosul, provides electricity to Mosul and controls the water supply for a large amount of territory. A report published in 2007 by the United States government, which had been involved with work on the dam, warned that should it fail, a 65-foot wave of water could be unleashed across areas of northern Iraq.
The top of a mountain can become a tomb.
Far away from the hotly covered regions of the world, there is an unfolding humanitarian crisis —others say emerging genocide — occurring on a dust-choked spit of earth called Sinjar Mountain. On Wednesday, reports The Washington Post’s Loveday Morris, Iraqi helicopters dropped supplies — but would they be enough?
The mountain is inhabited by tens of thousands of exiled residents, many who belong to a little-known but ancient ethnic group, the Yazidis. There, according to this harrowing report by Morris, they can’t dig into the earth, so dead children and elderly are buried under stones.
“There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads,” Marzio Babille, the Iraqi representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund, told The Post. “There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It’s a disaster, a total disaster.”
The Yazidis are just the latest minority group the Islamic State has targeted in its brutal campaign of religious persecution and killings. While many recent Iraqi conflicts have been framed as clashes between Sunnis and Shiites, this one is different. The Islamic State has declared war against anyone different, anyone unwilling to convert to the its ascetic brand of Islam. It’s worse, Iraqi religious leaders say, than Genghis Khan. Overnight, the BBC and others reported that thousands of Christians were fleeing the minority’s biggest town in Iraq, Qaragosh, after militants captured it.
ISIS is fast becoming a cancer state, threatening to gobble up and destroy everything around it. The world outside Iraq is showing little interest in stopping them. Obama won’t rally and lead. The UN is too busy picking on Israel for defending itself against an enemy that is similar to ISIS.
We lost a two-star general in Afghanistan this week, Maj. Gen. Harold Greene. He was murdered by one of the Afghan troops the US has spent mountains of treasure and lakes of blood to train. Greene died in another “insider” attack, one of many that suggest that our ongoing presence in Afghanistan is futile.
And yet if we leave, does ISIS or something like it just sweep everything and everyone aside and turn Afghanistan back into another cancer state?
Ann Coulter used her national megaphone to trash Dr. Kent Brantly Wednesday. Brantly is the American doctor who traveled to Liberia to use his medical skills and training to serve the poor there. He and Nancy Writebol served patients who have Ebola, and have now come down with the deadly virus themselves.
Coulter can be a genius one day and a fool the next. In this column, she takes the latter route.
Coulter’s basic argument is that Dr. Brantly should have stayed home and served in Texas instead of Africa, because it’s safer to serve here.
That’s not necessarily true on the border. But missionary service isn’t always about doing the safe thing. It’s about being obedient to God. Being obedient to God is often the riskiest thing a Christian can possibly do.
Coulter accuses Dr. Brantly of “Christian narcissism.”
Right there in Texas, near where Dr. Brantly left his wife and children to fly to Liberia and get Ebola, is one of the poorest counties in the nation, Zavala County — where he wouldn’t have risked making his wife a widow and his children fatherless.
But serving the needy in some deadbeat town in Texas wouldn’t have been “heroic.” We wouldn’t hear all the superlatives about Dr. Brantly’s “unusual drive to help the less fortunate” or his membership in the “Gold Humanism Honor Society.” Leaving his family behind in Texas to help the poor 6,000 miles away — that’s the ticket.
Today’s Christians are aces at sacrifice, amazing at serving others, but strangely timid for people who have been given eternal life. They need to buck up, serve their own country, and remind themselves every day of Christ’s words: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
There may be no reason for panic about the Ebola doctor, but there is reason for annoyance at Christian narcissism.
Coulter’s column makes me wonder whether she really believes in God or not, or if her God is actually a country and not a supreme being. That would be idolatry, of course.
The Christian missionary call crosses borders, and is as old as Christianity itself. It’s Christianity 101.
President Obama gave a press conference this evening.
He started a little over an hour late without explanation. Reporters stuck to asking questions that they evidently knew Obama would be comfortable answering. None of them asked him about any of his administration scandals. ABC’s Jon Karl, usually a tough questioner of Obama and his spokesmen, asked a rambling question that played right into the Democrats’ “economic patriotism” canard.
Despite the fact that the president showed a passionless, bloodless, disinterested face to the world, he still managed to do some damage.
Chris Jansing of CNN asked Obama if the sanctions against Russia are working. She asked this in the context of Russia massing 20,000 heavily armed troops on the Ukraine border, and Russia claiming a “humanitarian” need to send those troops in.
Obama said both that he doesn’t know if the sanctions are working, and that they’re working as they are intended to do. He allowed that he might consider arming the Ukraine military, if Russia invades. But not before. That will keep Putin up late fretting.
When asked about the Israel-Hamas conflict, Obama said that Hamas using civilians as human shields is “extraordinarily irresponsible.”
Actually, it’s a war crime. It’s terrorism. Obama reduced deadly crimes against humanity for the sake of perpetrating genocide to equal something a badly raised teenager does on a drunken weekend. If we’re to take his comments on torture last week into account, Hamas are just “folks” who are “extraordinarily irresponsible,” not genocidal fanatics and war criminals.
By the way, Obama refused to rule out taking unilateral action to grant about five million illegal aliens legal status. He also refused to rule it in. And he had the gall to talk about good governance, transparency and accountability in government.
It was a poor performance made all the poorer by the media’s lack of any detectable backbone.
Russia hosts the next World Cup tournament, in 2018.
But according to Eurosport, FIFA, the corrupt body that governs world soccer, may have new grounds to take a second look at the decision to hand the hosting duties to Moscow. A fan says that she was threatened with a strip search, and that she actually saw several female fans strip searched by male officers, on their way into a stadium to see a soccer match this week.
One fan Ekaterina Stepanova wrote a blog post about the “humiliation” suffered by her and fellow visiting female fans from Spartak Moscow before their match with local side Rubin Kazan.
Stepanova wrote that before the game: “girls were forced to strip, including the removal of their underwear.”
Kazan is in the Republic of Tatarstan, a federal subject of Russia, and there have been growing concerns in recent years about terrorism in the region.Stepanova was told by police that the searches were necessary as she “could have a bomb on her” but she refused to be searched in such a way.
Stepanova was told to strip after already scanning her ticket into the ground, but after refusing, she was then searched “in the usual way with dirty gloves over my t-shirt and gloves.”
At the next security point, she was again told that she had not been properly searched, but refused to be searched any further and eventually got into the stadium.
She said she saw other girls being “undressed completely, including underwear” and her blog post was a call to arms for them to seek justice.
The story is reportedly hitting front pages across Russia, but the president of Tararstan is defending the officers’ actions and even warning that strip searches can happen again at future soccer matches.