Colorado Sen. Mark Udall (D) has invoked the names of James Foley and Steve Sotloff to argue for a more cautious approach to dealing with the Islamic State — which he says is not an imminent threat to the United States.
Udall made the comments during a recent debate with his Republican challenger, Cory Gardner, reports Eliana Johnson at NRO. Udall says he stands by invoking the Islamic State’s victims to argue for a slower approach to them.
“I can tell you,” Udall said during the debate, “Steve Sotloff and James Foley would tell us, don’t be impulsive. Horrible and barbarous as those executions were, don’t be impulsive, come up with a plan to knock ISIL back.”
Udall’s use of the dead brings up memories of former Democrat Sen. John Edwards, who invoked a dead child in a courtroom during one of his cases as a trial lawyer. Edwards also told a rehearsed story about his dead son that his running mate, then Sen. John Kerry, found “chilling.”
Gardner, the Republican challenger, has issued a statement on Udall’s comments: “Americans have watched in horror in recent weeks as two of our fellow countrymen have been brutally executed by terrorists, and it’s outrageous that Senator Udall would put words into the mouths of dead Americans. Furthermore, it’s deeply troubling that he views a terrorist organization like ISIL as not an imminent threat to America.”
USA Today reports on the latest IRS emails to see the light of day. In them, IRS officials gloat that they may have headed off the investigation into the agency’s illegal targeting of conservative groups.
Most disturbing, the inspector general’s office — which had been investigating the targeting — approves of how Lerner made the scandal public in the first place.
Remember, the scandal came to light when Lerner used a planted question on a conference call to apologize for it, May 2013. Up to then, some in Congress had been asking questions and the Treasury Inspector General had been investigating. Lerner issued the “apology” to get out ahead of the IG report.
The IG was fine with that, even calling the tactic “brilliant.”
The apology sparked an avalanche of questions from reporters and members of Congress.
The IRS wanted to tell The Washington Post‘s editorial page that “organizations from all parts of the political spectrum received the same, evenhanded treatment.” Lerner insisted that line come out of a draft statement because that would imply that the IRS kept track of the ideology of groups applying for exemptions. “It sounds like we track it, and we don’t,” she said.
Over at the inspector general’s office, officials were annoyed that Lerner had “jumped the gun” with the apology, spinning the contents of the audit report before it was released.
“This is a brilliant pre-emptive strike by the IRS,” wrote David Holmgren, the deputy inspector general for Inspections and Evaluations. “When we release next week, it will be old news.”
In response, the inspector general worked to move up the release of the audit.
This raises so many questions with regard to the IG and its own investigation. Were they colluding with the scandal’s central figures during the active investigation? Why did the IG’s Holmgren cheer Lerner on? She has emerged as the central figure in the scandal.
This is like the FBI tipping and working with mob figures it’s working to bring down.
Congress should expand the investigation, but even that is unlikely to get anywhere until a special prosecutor is appointed.
Our friends at RCP caught this exchange between CBS’ Major Garrett and White House spokesman Josh Earnest today.
On Sunday, President Obama announced that he will delay taking unilateral action on immigration until after the election. Obama’s announcement followed stories about vulnerable Senate Democrats fretting that Obama’s action would be unpopular and hurt their re-election chances.
Obama’s action followed those stories, leading to reasonable inferences that Dem worries forced Obama’s hand.
But the White House denies that. Obama says that he is delaying action because he doesn’t want to inject it into the election, or something.
Major Garrett isn’t buying that for a second.
WREG-TV reports that scores of teenagers ran riot across a Memphis, TN shopping center and injured at least three. Two of those injured were black, one was white.
The video shows the white victim, a young man, being beaten and kicked while he lies on the ground. The woman capturing the wilding on video laughs at first, and continues to laugh that “they have a white dude,” but later seems to be disgusted by the violence she sees. She calls for security, and a security guard arrives and disperses the crowd.
So far just one person, a juvenile, has been arrested in connection with the crime.
On Sunday, President Obama appeared on Meet the Press and denied calling ISIS “jayvee” terrorists.
On Monday, PolitiFact rates that claim a lie.
Todd then remarked that Obama’s response was a “long way from when you described them as a JV team.”
“Was that bad intelligence or your misjudgment?” Todd asked.
“Keep in mind I wasn’t specifically referring to (Islamic State),” Obama replied. “I’ve said that, regionally, there were a whole series of organizations that were focused primarily locally, weren’t focused on homeland, because I think a lot of us, when we think about terrorism, the model is Osama bin Laden and 9/11.”
Is Obama editing his remarks or did Todd misrepresent what Obama said? We decided to take a look.
Yada yada yada. Here’s the transcript of the interview in which Obama used the “jayvee” analogy.
Remnick: ”You know where this is going, though. Even in the period that you’ve been on vacation in the last couple of weeks, in Iraq, in Syria, of course, in Africa, al-Qaeda is resurgent.”
Obama: ”Yes, but, David, I think the analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”
Remnick: “But that JV team just took over Fallujah.”
Obama: ”I understand. But when you say took over Fallujah –”
Remnick: ”And I don’t know for how long.”
Obama: ”But let’s just keep in mind, Fallujah is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology is a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”
It’s obvious that Remnick asks about ISIS, and Obama answers about ISIS. We now know that Obama’s Presidential Daily Briefings had kept up to date on the growing ISIS threat for at least a year — if he had been reading those briefings.
Rating, both from PolitiFact and Glenn Kessler at the WaPo: False. Lots of Pinocchios. Obama is lying to the nation about his own take on national security and terrorism.
The Baltimore Ravens have severed ties with running back Ray Rice today, after new video surfaced that shows him punching his then fiancee in an elevator.
The NFL had suspended Rice for two games, the first of which was Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
At the time the first domestic violence video surfaced, back in May, the Ravens struck a note that struck many as far off-key.
Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) May 23, 2014
The Ravens have scheduled an announcement for later today. Word is that Rice is finished.
— Ainsley Earhardt (@ainsleyearhardt) September 8, 2014
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 8, 2014
Terminating him now does raise more questions about the NFL’s lenient treatment of him in the first place. In the first video, it was clear that he had been hitting his fiancee.
Yes MT: @TheFix One thing with Ravens: Is the fact Rice knocked his wife unconscious the issue? Or that footage came out? I worry the latter
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) September 8, 2014
Rice has married Janay, the woman he is seen punching in the video.
In all seriousness though, Ray Rice has a scary temper, and given that he probably sees this firing as his wife’s fault, I fear for her.
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) September 8, 2014
Update: The NFL has suspended Rice indefinitely, so no other NFL team can sign him.
Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter goes weapons free, blasts the NFL for claiming that today is the first time the league has seen the new tape.
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, President Obama admitted that he doesn’t really want to meet the press. In fact, he’d like for them to go away when he goes away for vacation.
On the show, Chuck Todd asks Obama if he’d like a do-over on making his statement about the beheading of James Foley and then heading directly to the golf course.
“You know, it is always a challenge when you are supposed to be on vacation,” Obama replied, “because you’re followed everywhere and what I’d love is a vacation from the press.”
He continued: “Because the possibility of a jarring contrast, given the world’s news…there’s always gonna be some tough news somewhere.”
This wasn’t “tough news somewhere,” an earthquake in a far-flung country most Americans can’t find on a map or an obscure trade agreement falling apart.
An American had just been beheaded by terrorists, and the video uploaded to the Internet, to portray American impotence and to mock and blame Obama.
He gave a little statement and then gallivanted off to the golf course, and only weeks later is even coming up with a half-baked strategy to stop IS — after a second American was beheaded.
But the media are the problem.
Apparently they don’t fawn over Obama enough. Sometimes they even give him a hard time. There is always so much “tough news somewhere” that the man who campaigned to be president twice has to answer for.
The poor guy.
What he really wants is for all opposition and all negative reporting to go away, along with all the world that doesn’t fulfill his wishful thinking and narcissism.
It’s not much of a surprise that Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, wants to play Robin Hood and tax the rich to squelch free speech. It’s some surprise that a more mainstream Democrat, Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, is joining him.
Both write of their desire to undo settled campaign finance law and impose a “wealth tax” to “level the playing field” and work in as many other lefty cliches as they can.
No single issue is more important to the needs of average Americans. If we cannot control billionaires’ power to buy elections, the people elected to office will be responsive to the needs of the rich and powerful, rather than the needs of everyone else.
If either has a problem with billionaires Tom Steyer or George Soros “buying elections,” they don’t express it.
They’re also not good at math.
Americans’ right to free speech should not be proportionate to their bank accounts. This is why we have introduced a constitutional amendment to reform our broken campaign-finance system.
The American people clearly agree with us. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia, along with more than 500 cities and towns, have passed resolutions calling on Congress to overturn Citizens United.
Sixteen states plus DC? There are 50 states — 16 + the Democrat-gripped district is nowhere near a majority. 500 cities is nowhere near a majority of the thousands of cities in the US. Not even close.
Most Americans aren’t fans of super PACs, that much is true. But the settled law — that’s the phrase Democrats use to defend Obamacare, a law that has never enjoyed majority support — is that super PACs exist. Thanks, McCain-Feingold!
Democrats could have some credibility on the role of billionaires in politics when they disavow the work of Steyer, Soros, Warren Buffett, on down the line to the unions and to the millionaires like trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, who is trying to buy Texas elections for the Democrats. There are versions of Mostyn in just about every state.
Until they take such a step, their wealth tax will be seen for the partisan garbage that it is.
Heavy fighting does tend to threaten ceasefires. Funny, that. The headline is from a story in the International News.
The Islamic State’s military force currently numbers a few thousand — maybe 15,000 tops. It is armed with American and other military hardware. It lacks an air force, despite having captured a Syrian airbase in August. The aircraft that IS captured are mostly out of date, and some do not function. There is no evidence that IS has the pilots to fly those aircraft. At any rate, American pilots are far better trained. Any IS pilots that might take to the skies would not stay there for long.
The Obama administration is not planning a decisive move to crush IS quickly, according to the Washington Post.
The Obama administration is reportedly preparing a campaign to destroy the Islamic State militant group that could outlast the president’s remaining time in office, according to a published report.
The New York Times, citing U.S. officials, reported late Sunday that the White House plan involves three phases that some Pentagon officials believe will require at least three years of sustained effort.
The first phase, airstrikes against Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is already under way in Iraq, where U.S. aircraft have launched 143 attacks since August 8. The second phase involves an intensified effort to train, advise, and equip the Iraqi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and any Sunni tribesmen willing to fight their ISIS co-religionists. The Times reports that this second phase will begin sometime after Iraq forms a new government, which could happen this week.
The third, and most politically fraught phase of the campaign, according to The Times, would require airstrikes against ISIS inside Syria. Last month, the government of Bashar Assad in Damascus warned the Obama administration not to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Syria without its permission.
This might work over time — airstrikes did work, over the course of years, in Bosnia.
But do we have the time? IS is gathering western recruits through its social media campaign daily. It is subjugating Iraqis and Syrians to brutality, sex slavery, mass murder and crucifixions daily. IS is threatening the west and its western recruits could travel to the US, UK and Europe at any time to begin conducting terror strikes.
Putin is likely to see this campaign as half-hearted, less than adequate, and ultimately subject to mission creep that resists putting troops on the ground in Iraq now, only to be forced to do so later, once IS simply morphs and finds ways to either avoid airstrikes or turn them into propaganda wins for itself and defeats for the west.
The Obama administration is in the process of cutting US military forces down to a level not seen in roughly 100 years. The United States once had a strategy in which it could fight two wars in separate parts of the globe simultaneously. We can no longer do that, not with our current force size. The whole world knows this.
Putin will see this air campaign as indecisive, and one that is likely to bog US and allied forces down in the Middle East, again, while he moves with a freer hand against Ukraine and then other former Soviet states. The United States military is the heart of the NATO deterrent. Without it, NATO is hollow.
If the plan is to defeat IS, it would be better to build a strong coalition including US, European and regional forces and go in and crush them swiftly, destroy their brand, kill or capture their leadership, and let IS’ destruction serve as a warning to other challengers.
James O’Keefe’s latest video may seem flip at first glance. He suits up a “terrorist” and boats him across Lake Erie into Cleveland, Ohio. But when you consider the fact that there are an estimated 500 British passport holders currently fighting for the IS, along with over 100 Americans and an untold number of Europeans fighting alongside the terrorists, the subject of border security takes on a greater urgency.
The fact that this could happen, as O’Keefe films it, is a grave concern.
The founder of Chick-Fil-A, whose orthodox views on marriage made his family and his business a figure of hate on the left, has passed away.
S. Truett Cathy, the billionaire founder of the privately held Chick-fil-A restaurant chain that famously closes on Sundays but also drew unwanted attention on gay marriage in recent years because of his family’s conservative views, died early Monday, a company spokesman said. He was 93.
Chick-fil-A spokesman Mark Baldwin told The Associated Press that Cathy died at home surrounded by members of his family. The company said in a statement that preliminary plans are for a public funeral service at 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Jonesboro in Jonesboro, Georgia.
Cathy built Chick-Fil-A up from nothing in the post-war years. He always observed the sabbath, keeping all of the chain’s hundreds of stores closed on Sundays so workers could rest or go to church.
Cathy always gave substantially to church and charity, mainly through the WinShape Foundation, yet became a figure of hate on the left when his son, Dan, stated his opinion that marriage is between one man and one woman. That hatred led to a boycott of Chick-Fil-A, to Democrats trying to block the restaurants from doing business in Chicago and Boston, and also to the chain’s highest revenues ever.
Truett Cathy never retired from a job that he loved, and never retired from his charitable work. He set Chick-Fil-A up to remain in the family, and never to go public.
Former Bush administration deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo writes that President Obama delayed his unilateral immigration amnesty because even he realizes that he’s on shaky constitutional ground.
If only that were the case. If only President Barack Obama cared about the constitutional grounds, or lack thereof, for anything that he does. If only he had the principles required to see the line he is about to cross and, for the good of the republic, decide not to cross it.
The fact is, Obama’s delay is purely political. It has nothing to do with any other principle than that.
Last week, several vulnerable Democrats came out of the woodwork to oppose Obama’s plan. I wrote then:
The way to bet right now is that Obama makes more promises to placate the immigration groups, and delays moving until after the election, while he continues not securing the border. At that time, probably the day or two after the election, he hits with an even bigger power grab than he has threatened before. Or, he does nothing at all. It’s a go big or go home moment for him. Chances are, he goes big. The Republicans will have taken both houses of Congress, and Obama will want to get going on the constitutional crisis early.
If Obama moves now, he scrambles the mid-terms, which he wants to do, but may end up costing the Democrats even more seats than they currently stand to lose. The party shares the blame for what is a deeply unpopular action.
After the election, Congress will be in a lame-duck session. The new Republicans will not be seated yet, and will not control Congress yet. The defeated Democrats will be on their way out, and will not care.
That’s the perfect moment for Obama to strike, claim all of the credit from the far left, and set up the Republicans to open up the next Congress weighing whether to discipline Obama or not. He loves the optics of a Republican Congress going after the first black president. He also loves the optics of the Republicans electing to do nothing, to avoid those optics created by going after him. Obama is setting up a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation.
It has nothing to do with constitutional principle. It has everything to do with politics.
Eulogies for Joan Rivers continue to pour in. I’ll confess I was never really a fan of most of her comedy and I could not have cared less about her fashion chatter, but her self-mockery was just incredible. She was brutal, but seldom more brutal to anyone else than she was to herself. That made people like her even if they didn’t want to.
And she did have a knack for saying what people were thinking but never would say themselves.
She goes into one of those self-mocking riffs in this clip from 1982.
It’s usually funnier to see someone mocking themselves than trashing someone else. We’re laughing with them, not just at them, and it doesn’t feel harsh because they said it themselves. Rivers knew that and she was ninja-skilled at both.
She stood up for Israel recently. She stood up for Reagan back in the day. She ripped every celebrity, the famous and the infamous, of the past 50-odd years. So Joan Rivers had something for everyone. But no one would ever mistake her for any of the classic beauties over the years, not in decades that included everyone from Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn to Cindy Crawford, Kathy Ireland, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.
For some reason, Rivers’ “friend” Barbara Walters used her obit of Rivers to bring that up.
But there are a few things that are important to know about Joan Rivers; and she would not be shy about me saying so.
She wasn’t a great beauty and she didn’t have great success with men. She had a disappointing marriage to a man who almost ruined her career and then, sadly, committed suicide.
What a weird thing to say. Everybody knows this. Rivers was 81 when she passed away, and she never kept her own life a secret, especially if she could get a laugh out of it. Joan Rivers tried to get a laugh out of everything, and she usually succeeded.
Rivers’ love of plastic surgery and her passing have now become a joke that she would appreciate: Joan Rivers died at the age of 81, but her face was just 25. Her breasts were a youthful 15.
Whatever Walters’ aside is, it’s not exactly hard-hitting journalism to observe that Joan Rivers was not a supermodel. Rivers succeeded by knowing she wasn’t a classic beauty and played that up for far more than it was worth. She lived by her wits, and her wits had the power of a hydrogen bomb.
It’s Friday, and we already have a classic news dump a little earlier than usual. The IRS says that it has lost the emails of five more employees who were involved in the targeting scandal, AP reports.
On Friday, the IRS said it has also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.
But no one is hiding anything! “The agency blamed computer crashes for the lost emails. In a statement, the IRS said it found no evidence that anyone deliberately destroyed evidence,” AP dutifully reported.
You can’t find what you’re not looking for.
The nation already knows that none of the emails were actually lost. DOJ has admitted that there is a national email backup system that has every one of the “lost” emails. But the DOJ doesn’t want to look for them.
The Obama administration’s strategy all along has been to drag this out past the election, keeping Congress at bay and making sure that there is no special prosecutor appointed. That strategy is working.
During the Russia-Ukraine and ISIS crises, President Obama has shown that he is very uncomfortable being commander-in-chief.
But attention-whore-in-chief is a role that he was born to play.
Here’s today’s group leader photo from the NATO summit.
— US Mission to NATO (@USNATO) September 4, 2014
Let’s zoom in.
Yep. He’s waving and blocking others. Just like he did in 2011.
For a guy who says he isn’t interested in photo-ops, he sure knows how to get attention at photo-ops.
During today’s NATO summit, the alliance agreed to create a rapid reaction force to respond to threats to member states.
That force is being formed specifically to deal with threats in eastern Europe. It is a direct response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
The Russians responded swiftly. The Foreign Ministry suggests a larger NATO conspiracy is at work.
The summit adopted a line towards NATO’s eastward expansion and build-up of its presence near Russia’s borders. These plans were nurtured for a long time and the Ukrainian crisis became merely an excuse for the start of their implementation.
Russia also accused NATO of “escalating tensions.”
The gist and tone of statements on the situation around Ukraine and the announced plans of NATO countries to conduct a joint drill with Ukraine on its territory before the end of this year are bound to escalate tensions, threaten the start of progress regarding a peaceful settlement in Ukraine and contribute to the deepening of the split in Ukrainian society. Moreover, they testify to NATO’s unreserved support for Kiev’s neo-Nazi and extremist forces, including the Right Sector.
Having Godwined themselves, the Russians hint that they might withdraw from the 1997 NATO-Russia Council.
We will analyse in detail the summit’s specific decisions. In part, we will review them to establish if they correspond with the provisions of the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act and other fundamental agreements on European security.
According to reports, the US military and the Federal Aviation Administration are traking a small aircraft that has deviated from its flight plan. It was supposed to land in Naples, FL but has passed that destination and has approached Cuban airspace.
NORAD said two F-15s were following the plane but pulled off as the plane entered Cuban airspace. The Tocata TBM-700 turboprop has remained “unresponsive” to radio calls, NORAD said. On Twitter, NORAD said the pilot might have passed out at the controls.
“Possible hypoxia,” NORAD said.
According to FlightAware.com, the plane took off from Rochester, N.Y., at 8:26 a.m. and was due to arrive in Naples, Fla., at 11:59 a.m. A flight track posted on the website indicates the plane had not made a planned turn toward Florida and had, instead, veered off into the Atlantic.
FlightAware’s tracking is here. The F-15 pilots report that the windows on the craft have iced over, which indicates a loss of pressurization in the cabin.
Update: Fox just reported that Jamaican officials say that the plane has crashed there.
They’re making this too easy.
The Democrats are offering this Obama car magnet. It’s the easiest thing in the world to mock.
Here’s a blank version to get you started.
Here’s my first run at it.
If you make one, upload it to the image service of your choice and link in comments, or send it to us here at PJ.
Update: Chris has posted a few in the comments. They’re all funny. Here’s my favorite of the bunch.
Update: If you don’t have Photoshop or another image editor, here’s GIMP. It’s free and runs on PC and Mac.
Reuters reports that France’s president is ready to go to take down the Islamic State.
That puts France ahead of President Obama, who called for an international coalition to take on IS but has shown little interest in actually forming such a coalition.
The American people are also ahead of Obama, according to a pair of Rasmussen polls.
One shows that 73% of Americans are worried that Obama has not been strong enough on IS so far.
Voters regard the radical Islamic terrorist group ISIS as a major threat to the United States and are very worried that President Obama doesn’t have a strategy for dealing with the problem. They remain reluctant to send U.S. troops back to Iraq to take on ISIS, but support is growing.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters consider the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a serious threat to this country. Just 13% disagree, while another 20% are not sure. (To see survey questions wording, click here.)
Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters are concerned that the United States does not have a strategy for dealing with this military group, with 47% who are Very Concerned.
Another Rasmussen poll says that voters are becoming more likely to support US military action in Iraq to combat IS, if there is an international coalition engaged in the fight.
Voters show even more support for continued airstrikes in Iraq against the radical Islamic group ISIS despite a second public beheading of a U.S. journalist in retaliation for those strikes. Nearly half now support sending U.S. combat troops to fight ISIS as part of an international coalition but are less enthused about U.S. troops fighting alone.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of Likely Voters believe the United States should continue its airstrikes against the radical Islamic group ISIS.
Sticking with Rasmussen, overall, fewer Americans now believe that we’re winning the war on terrorism than at any time in the last 10 years.
They (I didn’t vote for him) elected a man who refused to declare that America would win wars on his watch. They elected a man with a 9-10 mentality, and who does not think the Muslim Brotherhood is a threat, and who has never demonstrated any actual leadership in his life.
What result did they expect from electing him?
More: Another American has joined the fight — for the IS.
Last night, Megyn Kelly aired this warning from President George W. Bush. He made the statement a few months after the surge in 2007, in response to critics such as then Sen. Barack Obama, who were demanding that US troops begin leaving Iraq immediately.
Bush warned what would happen. Specifically:
- Leaving too soon would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region, and for the United States.
- It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda.
- We would risk mass killings on a horrific scale.
- It would allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq, to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.
- Leaving too soon would make it more likely that American troops would have to return to Iraq, to face an even more dangerous enemy.
Did President Bush get any of that wrong? The Islamic State isn’t al Qaeda, so point two isn’t entirely accurate. But IS is arguably even worse than al Qaeda.
Politico has a fascinating story on Democrat nervousness over President Obama’s promise/threat to go around Congress and the law and grant unilateral action on about 5 million illegal aliens.
POLITICO sought comment in July from every Democratic senator facing reelection this fall, but only a handful took a position. In a follow-up survey this week of the full Democratic Caucus, more senators came out against the White House strategy.
“I have concerns about executive action,” said Franken, who had previously declined to comment, in a statement Thursday. “This is a job for Congress, and it’s time for the House to act.”
[Sen. Bill] Nelson said, through a spokesman, that Obama should use his executive authority to make fixes to the immigration system, but after the November elections.
What a profile in courage!
King urged Obama to reassess his decision to use his executive authority, saying “it would inflame the issue and I just think it would be a mistake.”
“I would oppose a unilateral action of a significant nature on immigration reform both on constitutional grounds and on policy grounds,” King said in an interview. “I hope the White House and the administration are reconsidering their statements on unilateral action.”
White House officials have privately expressed frustration with the timeline to decide by the end of summer, which was first suggested by Senate Democratic leaders back in February. As the chances for legislative action diminished, the leaders had demanded that Obama act on his own to fix the immigration system if Congress failed to pass a bill by August. After resisting the demands for months, Obama eventually agreed in June and announced the shift from a legislative strategy to an administrative one.
Angus King, the Independent, sounds like he has a principle or two left. None of the actual Democrats do.
Obama’s threat to go rogue before the end of summer was intended to put pressure on Republicans in the House to take up and pass the Senate’s bill. That didn’t work and was never likely to. House Republicans don’t take orders from Barack Obama.
Purely as political strategy, it was weak and is now backfiring. The hard left immigration groups are inflamed, the vulnerable Democrats are nervous, and the Republicans are poised to take the Senate.
The way to bet right now is that Obama makes more promises to placate the immigration groups, and delays moving until after the election, while he continues not securing the border. At that time, probably the day or two after the election, he hits with an even bigger power grab than he has threatened before. Or, he does nothing at all. It’s a go big or go home moment for him. Chances are, he goes big. The Republicans will have taken both houses of Congress, and Obama will want to get going on the constitutional crisis early.
Fox’s Brett Baier interviewed three American security operators who were on the ground in Libya on the night of September 11, 2012. Terrorists linked to al Qaeda stormed the US facility in Benghazi, Libya that night and killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The three security specialists tell Baier that a top CIA officer delayed responding to the assault three times, costing them 30 minutes during the firefight.
The security contractors — Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto, Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen — spoke exclusively, and at length, to Fox News about what they saw and did that night. Baier, Fox News’ Chief Political Anchor, asked them about one of the most controversial questions arising from the events in Benghazi: Was help delayed?
Word of the attack on the diplomatic compound reached the CIA annex just after 9:30 p.m. Within five minutes, the security team at the annex was geared up for battle, and ready to move to the compound, a mile away.
“Five minutes, we’re ready,” said Paronto, a former Army Ranger. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.”
But the team was held back. According to the security operators, they were delayed from responding to the attack by the top CIA officer in Benghazi, whom they refer to only as “Bob.”
“It had probably been 15 minutes I think, and … I just said, ‘Hey, you know, we gotta– we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,’” said Tiegen. “And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.’”
“We’re starting to get calls from the State Department guys saying, ‘Hey, we’re taking fire, we need you guys here, we need help,’” said Paronto.
After a delay of nearly 30 minutes, the security team headed to the besieged consulate without orders. They asked their CIA superiors to call for armed air support, which never came.
Now, looking back, the security team said they believed that if they had not been delayed for nearly half an hour, or if the air support had come, things might have turned out differently.
“Ambassador Stevens and Sean [Smith], yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes,” Paronto said. Tiegen concurred.
“It happened on the ground– all I can talk about is what happened on that ground that night,” added Paronto. “To us. To myself, twice, and to– to Tig, once. It happened that night. We were told to wait, stand– and stand down. We were delayed three times.”
Baier also asks the security officers whether the YouTube movie blamed by the Obama administration had anything to do with the attack. They say it had nothing to do with the attack at all.
The full interview airs tonight on Fox at 10 eastern.
Nice catch by JWF.
According to NBC’s Peter King, NFL officials called teams around the league to gauge their interest in signing former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, to their practice squads.
The Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad Wednesday. Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams but didn’t make the Rams’ 53-man roster.
King reported the news about Sam during the pre-game show before NBC’s coverage of the NFL regular-season opener between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.
“The Rams waived Michael Sam, the first openly gay player trying to make an NFL roster, he was unemployed for two days,” King said. “During that time a league official contacted multiple teams asking if they had evaluated Sam as a probable practice squad player.”
“Now Sam and the NFL avoided a nightmare situation when he signed with the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys.”
What’s this “nightmare situation”? Every team cut a whole lot of players during pre-season. They do that every pre-season. Cutting players who aren’t good enough is one of the purposes of pre-season. After the Cowboys signed him, owner Jerry Jones admitted that Sam “is not ready to go at all.” Yet the NFL called around, and the Cowboys signed him.
Is it standard practice for the National Football League’s office to call up teams to get one player who hadn’t made the grade picked up by another team? The fact that King reported it suggests that it’s unusual.
Now why would the homophobic NFL make such an effort for one player and not the hundreds of other players who were cut during pre-season?
Update: Exit question — did the NFL shop around to find a home for Tim Tebow?
There’s a reason that the Islamic State’s magazine looks so slick and reads like it was written for a young American audience. There’s a reason that IS’ social media appear to be designed to get their message out to the west, effectively.
The man behind the message is believed to be an American. And contrary to the left’s notions that poverty causes terrorism, he is not poor. He is also not uneducated.
A college educated American citizen with a knack for computers is believed to be one of the men running the brutally effective ISIS social media operation, which is helping to attract hundreds of fighters from across the world – including the U.S., Britain and Canada.
Ahmad Abousamra, 32, was born in France and raised in the upscale Boston suburb of Stoughton. His father is a prominent endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He attended the exclusive Xaverian Brothers Catholic high school and made the Dean’s List at Northeastern University.
He graduated with a degree in a technology field then took a job at a telecommunications company.
U.S. officials tell ABC News that he is now putting his skills to work for ISIS, the brutal terrorist organization that has been effectively using 21st century methods like Twitter memes, Facebook posts, selfies and YouTube videos to promote its radical 6th century Islamic ideals.
He originally left the U.S. to fight for al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004. He went into the media wing, returned to the U.S. in 2006, was questioned by the FBI, and then released again. Now he’s believed to be the man behind ISIS’ social media strategy.
Update: Some commenters have pointed out that this guy is far worse than Tokyo Rose. I’ve changed the headline.
Republican Greg Abbott is killin’ it in the Texas governor race, according to an internal campaign poll.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott leads Democratic rival Wendy Davis by 18 percentage points in his campaign’s latest internal survey, the attorney general’s pollster told supporters Wednesday evening.
The poll, which was completed last week, shows Abbott beating Davis 53 to 35 percent, Chris Wilson of WPA Opinion Research said on a conference call for people who gave $25 or more to Abbott’s campaign. He did not disclose the survey’s methodology or margin of error.
Democrat Wendy Davis’ campaign didn’t really question the poll, other than to claim that their own poll has them “within striking distance.” No numbers were provided to back that up, though.
So that’s Texas. Louisiana is red but not as deep a shade as Texas. Incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, Democrat, is sinking as the election draws near, according to Rasmussen.
Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy has edged ahead of incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu in Louisiana’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race.
A new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Louisiana Voters finds Cassidy with 44% of the vote and Landrieu with 41%. Nine percent (9%) like some other candidate in the race, while six percent (6%) are undecided.
That’s two Democrats not doing well. How about a third?
Gallup has President Barack Obama sinking to a new low in his approval rating, down to 38%. A solid majority of 54% disapprove. He is underwater on pretty much every issue — immigration, foreign policy, the economy, healthcare, you name it, he stinks at it.
I pretty much have nowhere else to post this next bit, because it’s totally unverified, yet it’s funny. This video — unverified — supposedly shows a bunch of captured Islamic State warriors blubbering and bawling, going sissy. It’s undated, and I don’t speak the lingo that those guys are speaking. But the wailing is obvious enough.
This video won’t help the IS brand. So verified or not, it deserves to be viewed by every person on earth.
Is America a theocracy? Secretary of State John Kerry seems to think so. He cites the Holy Bible to push Christians to take a particular policy action.
America’s chief diplomat is a secular officer in a secular government. Yet he calls the nations he is addressing in the clip “Muslim-majority,” identifying them not by their names or even their ethnicities, but by their dominant religion. Are they democracies, are they dictatorships, are they mullahcracies? It doesn’t matter. Kerry says that they’re all “Muslim” or “Muslim-majority,” and that’s what counts.
America is majority Christian, so according to Secretary of State John Kerry, we are a Christian nation. Therefore, according to Kerry, we must govern according to what the Bible says.
In the clip Kerry calls on other countries, presumably ones in which majorities respect the Bible, to protect those Muslim countries from climate change. He starts to cite specific scriptures, which he says “clearly” call for Christian countries to protect Muslim countries from climate change, and then appears to change his mind and settle on “Genesis.”
Who knew that John Kerry is such a hard core theocrat?
State Department New Media Field Marshal Marie Harf has opened up a new front in her war against Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly.
Harf launched her first attack on the cable titan earlier today, in a tweet that backed her colleague, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, after O’Reilly criticized Psaki’s response to a series of questions about President Obama’s confusing response to the Islamic State.
Harf was asked about her tweet at the State Department’s briefing today.
She ripped O’Reilly for using “sexist” language.
“I think that when the anchor of a leading cable news show uses––quite frankly––sexist, personally offensive language that I actually don’t think they would ever use about a man, against the person that shares this podium with me, I think I have an obligation and I think it’s important to step up and say that’s not okay.”
The language that O’Reilly used never mentioned gender at all. He said that Psaki is “out of her depth” and that she lacks the “gravitas” to be the leading voice of US foreign policy. Gender never came up, other than the use of the personal pronoun, “she.” If that’s out of bounds now…
Mediaite has video of Harf’s latest salvo launched, not at the Islamic State, but at the Fox News Channel — which is and will always be the Obama administration’s enemy number one.
The Washington Post reports that former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) has been found guilty on 11 charges. His wife, Maureen, has been convicted on 8 counts.
RICHMOND — A federal jury Thursday found former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of public corruption — sending a message that they believed the couple sold the office once occupied by Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson to a free spending Richmond businessman for golf outings, lavish vacations and $120,000 in sweetheart loans.
After three days of deliberations, the seven men and five women who heard weeks of gripping testimony about the McDonnells’ alleged misdeeds acquitted the couple of several charges pending against them–but nevertheless found that they lent the prestige of the governor’s office to Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in a nefarious exchange for his largesse.
The verdict means that Robert McDonnell, who was already the first governor in Virginia history to be charged with a crime, now he holds an even more unwanted distinction: the first ever to be convicted of one. He and his wife face decades in federal prison, though their actual sentence will probably fall well short of that.
Sentencing is set for January 6.
Politico’s Dylan Byers reports that the Huffington Post has hired former NFL receiver Donte Stallworth to cover national security issues.
That’s questionable enough on its own.
As recently as November 2013, Stallworth Truther-tweeted this:
Oops, I sent that tweet a little too early like the young lady from @BBCNews on the collapse of building 7 on 9/11…
— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) November 25, 2013
Stallworth now says that he is not a Truther, and HuffPo is backing him up, claiming that his Truther views are from five years ago. Even though they’re clearly far more recent than that. What did HuffPo know about this, and when did they know it?
Let’s take Mr. Stallworth at his word. He is not a Truther, now. He was one within the past year. He was one for years, in fact. Let’s enter this quote into evidence.
“NO WAY 9/11 was carried out by ‘dying’ Bin Laden, 19 men who couldn’t fly a damn kite. STILL have NO EVIDENCE Osama was connected, like Iraq,” Stallworth tweeted in 2009. Stallworth also tweeted, “Gggrrrrrrrrrrrrr @ ppl who actually believe a plane hit the pentagon on 9/11… hole woulda been ASTRONOMICALLY bigger, God bless lost lives.”
Did any of Stallworth’s Trutherism come up in the Huffington Post’s job interview with him? What in Stallworth’s career suggests that he is any way informed and responsible enough to cover foreign policy? Is it his NFL career? Is it the DUI manslaughter charge he pleaded guilty to in 2009, when he killed a 59-year-old man? Or his gullibility on the worst terrorist attack ever committed on American soil? How will a (former) Truther cover, say, the Islamic State now?
Just how does the talent search work at HuffPo? It’s hard to imagine that the actual journalists who work there are happy to have such a hire for the company.
Among other reasons, this is why we must have voter ID. The Obama administration is doing its best to erase the US-Mexico border entirely.
(CNSNews.com) – At a signing ceremony on Friday, the U.S. government, through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), entered into aMemorandum of Understanding(MOU) with the Mexican government to allow Mexican Nationals – regardless of immigration status – to “exercise their workplace rights.”
The MOU is consistent with the “core mission of this commission,” Mexican Ambassador to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora Icaza said, adding “that regardless of national origin or immigration status all workers have rights and there are processes to safeguard them.
Employers who hire illegal aliens are breaking the law, as are the aliens themselves.
“This is what makes this country so great,” the ambassador said.
No it isn’t. We were once a nation of laws and liberty. That was what made us great.
This memo favors illegal alien workers over citizens, because employers can pay them less than Americans. That depresses wages, especially at the lower end of the pay scale. Those fast-food workers who are demonstrating for a minimum wage hike should look over their shoulders. Cheaper illegal labor, and robotic labor, will replace them soon enough.
The memo also sets up the possibility that illegal aliens will sue their employers over numerous workplace and business regulations. The EEOC told CNSNews that it does not check for immigration status when a worker files a complaint.
That’s what the Obama administration is doing with one hand. With the other, it is hiding the inflow of illegal aliens from Central America from Congress and the public.
Exit question: Are they being sent to swing states?
During Wednesday’s State Department press briefing, spokeswoman Jen Psaki took a little dig at the Fox News Channel before going on to toss a word salad in defense of President Obama.
Obama had just used an appearance in Estonia to give three different takes on what to do about the IS threat, one of which was to “shrink” the Islamic State so that it becomes a “manageable problem.” His own vice president didn’t buy that, and contradicted it almost immediately.
Psaki’s dig itself was petty and inappropriate for a government spokeswoman to deliver in a discussion of a serious national security threat.
Wednesday night, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly hosted a discussion with reporter James Rosen. Rosen had quizzed Psaki about the president’s “manageable problem,” eliciting the jumble of nonsense that Psaki came up with.
During that discussion, O’Reilly stated the perfectly obvious — that Psaki is “out of her depth” and lacks the “gravitas for the job.”
O’Reilly is by no means the first to make that observation. Psaki moved to the State Department straight from the hyperpartisan Obama campaign. She has proven unable to drop her partisanship even in US diplomacy, as evidenced by her cheap shots at Fox.
Today, State’s deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf declared WAR! But not on the Islamic State.
On a fellow American.
— Marie Harf (@marieharf) September 4, 2014
Reaction to Harf has been justifiably unkind.
— Ben Aksar (@BenAksar) September 4, 2014
— Beatlegal09 (@Beatlegal09) September 4, 2014
— S D Winkler (@sdwinkler) September 4, 2014
— Sandy (@RightGlockMom) September 4, 2014
The State Department’s spokeschildren need a time-out.
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton have fired up their lawyers and managed to get most of their leaked nude photos off of the sites that were posting them. But E! reports that the photos will be coming back to public view anyway.
Los Angeles artist XVALA intends to create uncensored, life-sized versions of them, call them “art” and display them in a gallery in St. Petersburg, FL in October.
The exhibit’s publicist does what an amoral publicist does.
“XVALA appropriating celebrity compromised images and the overall ‘Fear Google’ campaign has helped strengthen the ongoing debate over privacy in the digital era,” said publicist Cory Allen. ”The commentary behind this show is a reflection of who we are today. We all become ‘users’ and in the end, we become ‘used.’”
In this case, used by the publicist and the artist he represents. Cha-ching!
XVALA has been gathering up leaked celebrity photos for seven years using Google, and intends to use that collection in his exhibit.
Being wary of Google and Facebook is wise. They are universal data-mining and privacy-deleting megacorporations.
But the “Fear Google” logic isn’t exactly sound in the recent leak case. The photos were posted on iCloud, which is Apple, and were posted on sites like 4chan after the hacker or hackers obtained them. Google was merely the means by which many Internet users found the photos once the media went into overdrive reporting on the leak.
On Friday before the Labor Day holiday, the third edition of the Islamic State’s glossy English-language magazine hit the Internet.
It’s called Dabiq, named after a small town in Syria where the Islamic State believes that the final battle for the world will begin. The third edition is titled A Call to Hijrah — “hijrah” means “the path to jihad.”
As we reported Friday, the magazine includes a lengthy statement said to be from James Foley, whom IS had beheaded in the days before A Call to Hijrah was released. It also calls President Barack Obama an “apostate,” which according to Islamic law marks him for death. IS may believe that Obama is a Muslim apostate because his father and grandfather were Muslims, or because he was educated in an Islamic school as a child in Indonesia, or both, and now states that he is a Christian.
In its opening chapters, Dabiq stakes the Islamic State’s claim that it is unique in all of history.
That is from page four, which includes an undated photo of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He is probably the “unknown man” that the text above refers to, because until the rise of the Islamic State he has not been the worldwide known figure that Osama bin Laden was for al Qaeda until his death.
Dabiq states if one were to travel to the Islamic State’s units on the front-lines in Syria and Iraq, they would see that the “soldiers and commanders [are] of different colors, languages and lands: the Najdi, the Jordanian, the Tunisian, the Egyptian, the Somali, the Turk, the Albanian, the Chechen, the Indonesian, the Russian, the European, the American, and so on. They left their families and their lands to renew the state of the muwahhidin in Sham, and they had never known each other until they arrived in Sham!”
The author goes on to state: “I have no doubt that this state…has become the largest collection of muhajirin in the world, is a marvel of history that has only come about to pave the way for al-Malhamah al-Kubra (the grand battle prior to the Hour).”
Part 2 of Dabiq, which begins on page 6, continues in this vein, extolling its jihadists. It connects Ibn Masud, who lived in the time of Mohammed, to al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who also praised foreign fighters who joined the al Qaeda cause in Iraq. Part 2 endeavors to put the Islamic State squarely into Islamic history, in the mainstream, as inheritors of the mantle left by Mohammed himself and carried out by Zarqawi and now al-Baghdadi.
As a propaganda and recruitment tool, Dabiq is impressive. It is well-produced and takes the time to explain many Islamic concepts that even Muslims who grew up in the West might not be familiar with. The magazine’s characterization of the Islamic State as a multi-national and multi-ethnic melting pot, coupled with photos of smiling IS warriors, is an overt pitch to westerners who have been steeped in multiculturalism in schools and media for decades. IS is pitching itself as the joyous fulfillment of the West’s ideal to bring all races, nationalities and cultures together to live side-by-side in harmony.
The Islamic State’s harmony depends not on voluntary assimilation and tolerance, but on exterminating everyone and everything that it deems haram — sinful.
Dabiq: A Call to Hijrah is embedded on the next page.
The United States under Barack Obama cannot manage its own southern border. But President Obama will host a meeting in New York later this month (feel the urgency!) that will center on a proposal to make it more difficult for radicalized Muslims to travel to Syria and Iraq from the West to join up with the Islamic State.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Obama is not exactly convening a new meeting. Obama will use the United Nations’ General Assembly Meeting later in September to pitch the plan. Ahead of that, the administration is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to drum up support.
The UN meeting is September 25, three weeks from now. The Islamic State is known to be holding a number of hostages, including a Briton that IS says will be the next beheading victim. IS has beheaded two American journalists in the past two weeks.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has already elevated the threat level in his country to “severe” because of the Islamic State’s rise. The Obama administration continues to dribble out happy talk that there is no credible evidence of a threat from IS on the American homeland, despite a report that they are operating in Mexico across the border from El Paso, Texas and are planning a strike.
The goal of the September 25 meeting for the Obama administration: a United Nations resolution on the subject of foreign fighters joining IS.
The travel of Americans and Europeans to join IS is undoubtedly a serious problem. An estimated 140 Americans are fighting for IS, and a few thousand Europeans are believed to have joined IS as well. But at this point, a resolution on foreign travel to join IS is a rearguard action. It is also unlikely to address the flow of fighters to IS from across the Middle East, Chechnya, and Africa — even if it is effective in stopping Americans and Europeans. Given the porous borders and the numerous dual citizens holding multiple passports in the United States and Europe, it’s difficult even to predict how effective any UN resolution can be.