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Bryan Preston

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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Ferguson Police Chief Names Officer Involved in Michael Brown Shooting (Updates)

Friday, August 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Ferguson, MO police Chief Thomas Jackson held a press conference moments ago.

Jackson took no questions, but did identify the officer involved in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown as Darren Wilson.

Jackson said that Wilson has been on the Ferguson police force for six years, and has had no disciplinary actions taken against him during that time. He said that Wilson was treated for injuries sustained Saturday, but did not specify the nature of those injuries.

More: Jackson also released a packet of information, including an incident report for a strong-armed robbery shortly before Brown’s shooting, at about noon Saturday. The suspect was apparently stealing a box of Swisher Sweet cigars, and was identified as Brown. Officer Wilson was investigating that robbery. He stopped Brown. The shooting happened after that.

Update: Police also released security camera photos taken during the robbery. They alledgely show Brown pushing the clerk as he and Dorian Johnson rob the store. Johnson was walking with Brown when the altercation with police occurred. Now we learn that both he and Brown were suspects in a robbery.

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Here is the police report from the robbery. A video is also expected to be released today.

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Troops, Cartels Clash In Reynosa Today

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Reynosa is right across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas. This afternoon the city’s downtown and northwest side were disturbed by armed clashes between government forces and drug cartel gunmen, according to ValleyCentral.

Authorities are asking Reynosa residents to be careful following reports of a series of shootouts between armed men and soldiers.

Reynosa residents turned to the social media network Twitter to report the first rounds of gunfire in the Colonia Rodriguez around 1 p.m. Thursday.

Many residents reported gunfire as well as soldiers and armed men clashing in the streets in neighborhoods in and around downtown Reynosa.

The northwest side is the side closest to McAllen.

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Obama Admin Halts Transfer of Key Weapon to Israel

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

According to YNet News, the Obama administration has halted shipment of Hellfire anti-armor missiles to Israel.

The administration blames the decision on Israel:

The Journal reports Israel requested money for more Iron Dome interceptors from the US Defense Department mere days after the ground incursion into Gaza began. While Israeli officials told the Americans Israel had enough interceptors for the current Gaza operation, they said it wanted to replenish its stocks.

According to the Journal, the Obama administration, with Israel’s consent, decided not to seek emergency funding, and instead hold the Congress vote on the $225 million military aid proposal in the fall.

While the White House had no qualms about supplying Israel with the defensive, non-lethal Iron Dome interceptors, the Journal reports Israel took another route to secure $3 million worth of lethal munitions, including 120-mm mortar shells and 40-mm illuminating rounds.

The request, made by Israel’s Defense Ministry to the US military, was approved without needing or seeking the approval of President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry, officials told the Journal. At the same time, the standard review process was properly followed.

After the shipment of the 120-mm and 40-mm rounds caught the White House by surprise, the Pentagon was instructed to put another arms shipment to Israel – a large number of Hellfire missiles – on halt and the administration instructed all of its defense agencies to consult with the White House and State Department before approving any additional arms requests from Israel, the Journal reported.

The halt puts future shipment approvals high up in the administration, with the president and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Both Obama’s and Kerry’s relations with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are severely strained. Hamas, a terrorist group according to the US government, started the war and has broken several cease-fires, yet US policy under Obama has not been to give Israel the benefit of the doubt. Kerry drew criticism in Israel in June when he attempted to broker a cease-fire with Hamas patrons Qatar and Turkey, while ignoring a better cease-fire offered by Egypt, which would have marginalized Hamas.

Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu has never been good. Obama and the Israeli PM are reported to have had a “particularly combative” phone call over Israel’s operations against Hamas just yesterday.

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After a Quick Statement on Iraq and Ferguson, It’s Back to Golf for Obama

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Within minutes of the end of his brief statement on Iraq and the riots in Ferguson, MO, President Obama was back on the links.

In his brief statement, the president downplayed the ongoing crisis in Iraq, only allowing that the US will conduct future airstrikes there to protect American personnel, not roll back Islamic State forces.

On Ferguson, Obama called for calm and for the local police to be “transparent.” Coming from anyone else such a call might carry some weight, but Obama’s record on transparency is terrible.

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Nearly Everything Wrong with Modern Journalism In One Tweet

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Two reporters, one from the Washington Post and one from the Huffington Post, were arrested in Ferguson, MO last night. Neither were doing anything wrong. Both were apparently just recharging the phones and computers in a McDonalds when police arrested them, and slammed one reporter’s head into a glass door and sarcastically apologized.

Reporter Stefan Becket thought the crime so severe that he carved out a new journalist privilege in the Constitution.

He deleted the tweet and admitted that it was stupid.

Police have been crossing all sorts of lines for several days in Ferguson. So have the rioters. If there was ever a “cycle of violence,” we’re seeing it spiral up in Ferguson.

But no, the two reporters’ arrests didn’t attract extra attention just because a line was crossed. They attracted attention because they’re reporters and have platforms to protest apart from marching in the streets, and they have editors and fellow journalists who will write about them.

Now, if we could just get mainstream media reporters to admit that they’re all in the tank for the Democrats, and that they’re all left of center in their worldview…

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Islamic State Threat May Force Obama to Do the Unthinkable

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Does President Barack Obama have a plan to deal with the Islamic State in Iraq? If he does, he has yet to tip his hand.

In recent statements on the world’s most recently declared country, an Islamic caliphate that Obama’s own advisers said was never going to happen, the president has acknowledged that IS is a threat, but has repeatedly and forcefully declared that no matter what, no American troops will be sent back into combat in Iraq to fight against the IS or anyone else.

But the US is already engaged in Iraq. US air forces have conducted air strikes and humanitarian air drops to relieve the siege of the Yazidis, who have been encircled at Mt. Sinjar in Iraq. According to the Pentagon, those missions have been successful, and the crisis on Sinjar was not as severe as initially reported.

While the siege at Mount Sinjar may have been lifted, the crisis in Syria and Iraq has not abated at all. The United Nations on Wednesday declared that the Islamic State is creating a “level 3″ humanitarian crisis in Iraq — the UN’s most severe rating.

This Vice News documentary on the rise and spread of the Islamic State explains just how much of a threat, now and in the long term, the IS may turn out to be. IS is proudly brutal and is already recruiting the region’s Muslim children into its ranks. IS is killing and dispersing the region’s Christian and other minorities at the same time. If this continues, IS will be unchallenged in its territory. The 2014 caliphate is better armed than al Qaeda ever was in Afghanistan. Its existence threatens Iraq, Syria and every other state in the region.

Warning: Graphic images.

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IS is enforcing sharia, publicly crucifying people, beheading people, murdering children, staging pogroms against religious minorities, all while carving its territory out of Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State has declared its intention to attack non-Muslims around the world.

From the same documentary, this is probably the best map produced to date that shows the reach and limits of the Islamic State’s territorial gains.

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The Kurdish Peshmerga, even armed with American and now French weapons and even Iranian assistance, are not likely to be strong enough to defeat IS on their own. In the unlikely event that the Kurds do defeat IS, what is to stop them from carving their own state out of the husk of Iraq?

That’s a worry for another time at the moment, and given the Kurds’ pro-American outlook, might not be all that much of a worry, at least for the West. It will be a greater worry for Turkey, which has a large Kurdish population and has become more Islamist over the past few years.

The immediate worry is the Islamic State caliphate. Baghdad is in no position to defeat it. The Kurds probably cannot do it on their own. The Syrians still have their civil war, of which IS is a part.

IS is attracting fighters to its cause from all over the Middle East, indeed all over the world. Many — no one knows for sure how many — of IS’ fighters have western passports. They are fighting in Iraq/Syria now, but if they can consolidate their territory, IS can export those fighters to conduct attacks globally. IS has already declared its intention of doing that. IS sympathizers have already turned up in Malaysia, London, and the United States.

IS is so well armed because the Iraqi army, trained and armed to fight Islamist insurgents by the United States, melted away in the face of IS’ less well armed attacks earlier this year. What’s left of the Iraqi army is currently a pawn in the political struggle between factions in the Iraqi government.

President Obama clearly does not want to put American forces back into Iraq. He has already inserted hundreds of troops there in the past few days and weeks, but they are not serving in combat roles. Yet he is on a slippery slope toward combat in Iraq.

Earlier in the Syrian civil war, Obama declared that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had to leave power. That was in August 2011. Even then it was far from clear who would replace Assad. Many of the rebels fighting him were Islamists and are now the Islamic State’s leaders and fighters. But fast forward to now, and while Assad is without question a brutal dictator, is he worse than IS? Does Assad present the same level of threat that IS poses?

Obama is dealing with two very serious international crises at the moment, Putin’s proxy war in Ukraine and the Islamic State. Obama clearly wants to do as little as possible about both and would prefer to conduct fundraisers and snipe at Republicans, but the Islamic State may force his hand.

Don’t be shocked if, in the near future, US troops join the fight on the side of both the Iraqi government, the Iranians and the Syrian regime — the very regime that Obama declared non grata three years ago.

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Obama Government Memo Orders Local Schools to Take in Illegal Aliens

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Hill reports that the Obama administration is telling local schools that they have to take in illegal alien kids, and cannot verify their eligibility to attend school in the U.S.

The Obama administration is preparing the nation’s schools to accept thousands of new students who illegally crossed the southwest border and are now awaiting trials on their possible deportations.

A fact sheet from the Department of Education sent to states and schools on Monday highlights the children’s right to attend public school.

It says all children in the United States “are entitled to equal access to a public elementary and secondary education, regardless of their or their parents’ actual or perceived national origin, citizenship, or immigration status.”

The prospect of tens of thousands of children mostly from Central American countries attending school as they wait for their immigration status to be decided has the potential to be explosive after this summer’s emotional public debate about the border.

The civil rights divisions of the departments of Justice and Education sent a letter in May warning districts to avoid enrollment practices that could “chill or discourage” children from signing up for school due to their perceived immigration status.

“These practices contravene Federal law,” the May 8 letter stated.

The letter pointed out that having children provide Social Security numbers or race and ethnicity data when enrolling must be only voluntary. It also said the age of the children could be proven using foreign records.

Schools may have to hire additional Spanish-speaking staff. And U.S. schools tend to be overcrowded already. Many schools have outgrown their permanent buildings and are using portable outbuildings to accommodate the numbers they already have.

Many of those who crossed during the surge are not children, of course.

Many of the kids will have to go through legal proceedings to determine whether they can stay permanently. Those proceedings take an average of 500 days. The average school year in the United States is just 180 days. America’s taxpayers will pick up the tab for all this.

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Cory Booker Tweets Poor Judgment, Spelling

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A US senator should be capable of sounder thoughts than a Hallmark card.

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Perry Rips Obama, Congress: ‘The narcoterrorists didn’t take a five-week vacation’

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Texas Gov. Rick Perry today spoke to group of National Guard soldiers who are deploying to the border.

The governor said that more than 2,000 Guard had volunteered for the 1,000-person mission, which he ordered to deal with the massive influx of illegal aliens crossing the border.

Perry lit into Washington for failing to deal with the crisis on the border before leaving town on the congressional recess, and the president’s trip to Martha’s Vineyard.

Weighing in on national politics, Perry praised House Republicans for their “good faith effort” to pass a border-security bill that would have allocated additional funds to the child immigrant crisis before leaving town for the August recess. The bill – which would have been a non-starter with the Democrat-controlled Senate because it was perceived as weakening due process provisions for Central American children — was passed after senators had left town without a fix of their own.

“We expect the Senate to get back into town. I don’t know why they took a five-week vacation without dealing with this issue. Because I’ll tell you one thing: the narcoterrorists didn’t take a vacation.”

As Texas’ longest-serving governor, Perry is far from new to the issue of border security.

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The Dude Will Not Abide in the US Senate

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

That was quick.

Some Montana-based Jeff Bridges fans recently launched a petition to get the Big Lebowski star to run for the U.S. Senate. But Bridges doesn’t think he’s the man for the job—or at least, his wife doesn’t think he is.

“I look down and I see this thing, ‘Jeff Bridges for Senate,’ and I say, ‘What?’” Bridges told Howard Stern on Monday. “Evidently, there’s a group of people that have called in and want me to run for senator of Montana, like 1,000 people, and so I say, ‘Sue?’ And she looks at me and goes, ‘Don’t even think about it.’”

Heh. The ads could’ve been fun.

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Bridges stars in The Giver, which I’m hearing interesting things about, coming out this weekend.

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Chicago Teachers Union Prez, Who Rails Against ‘The Rich,’ Owns Three Homes — Including One In Hawaii

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis is known for being a socialist who rails against the rich.

Lewis joined the “occupy” movement when it was in full bloom.

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Now she’s running for mayor against Rahm Emanuel, and leads according to a poll.

The Chicago Sun-Times is already having some fun reporting on what is sure to be one of the most ridiculous races in America.

She has ripped Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a tool of corporate Chicago, labeled him “Mayor 1%” and described herself as “not egotistical or rich.”

Lewis isn’t as wealthy as Emanuel, a multimillionaire who made his fortune during a short stint as an investment banker. But she makes more than $200,000 a year and has an ownership interest in three homes, records show.

That includes vacation homes in Hawaii and in the upscale “Harbor Country” area of southwestern Michigan, where Emanuel has a second home, property records show.

Not bad for a humble teacher. And right in line with a greedy union boss.

This race will pit two rich people who claim to be champions of the people, but who live off the people while subjecting the people to crushing yet incompetent big government, against each other.

It’s going to be quite a show.

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Wendy Davis’ Despicable Ad Disgusts the Daily Texan

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Daily Texan is the University of Texas’ newspaper. It is openly hard left, as many campus newspapers are.

Yet Democrat Wendy Davis’ first TV ad of her campaign for governor has managed to lose the patience of the DT.

The Davis ad, which leaves very little to the imagination, references an instance in which a woman was sexually assaulted by a Kirby vacuum salesman whom she had let into her home for a demonstration. She sued Kirby Vacuums because there was no background check conducted on the salesman, who was on probation for a sex crime. At the time, current Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is also Davis’ opponent, was an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court. When the case reached the high court, Abbott wrote a dissenting opinion because, according to him, the manufacturer was not responsible for the local distributor’s hiring process; the local distributor employed the vacuum salesman. The highly dramatized ad along with torrential winds, shows the salesman entering the home, the woman’s children sleeping, a door shutting and the salesman leaving the house.

In an effort to portray Abbott as someone who will relentlessly side with corporations even in the horrific case of sexual assault, the incompetency of the Davis campaign has yet again come to light by exploiting what I am sure is a painful memory for the victim. Additionally, it’s hard to believe that Abbott, who has spoken out against human trafficking and obscene photography, has the same nonchalant attitude toward rape as Clayton Williams. The ad does not show a candidate who fights for women and against sexual assault; all I see is a desperate campaign that would rather go deep down in the gutter than accept a likely defeat.

Competent campaigns tend to use their first broadcast ads to introduce and define their candidate positively to the voters. Davis’ campaign has been anything but competent though. It has been rife with hires, fires and shuffles, and thanks to its hiring of Zac Petkanas from the Harry Reid delusion factory, has been on one setting for months — attack!

That’s all it does.

That won’t win, but it may be that they’re not trying to win anymore. The Davis campaign may be just trying to tear everything down.

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Siri Snitches on Accused Roommate Killer

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

20-year-old Pedro Bravo of Florida is accused of murdering his roommate. The two, according to police, got into a fight after going to Best Buy to buy a Kanye West CD. The victim, Christian Aguilar, had also started dating Bravo’s ex.

Bravo’s iPhone does not enjoy the privilege of not being forced to testify against him, as a spouse can be allowed.

And Siri will sing.

Evidence collected from Bravo’s iPhone includes records of him using the phone’s flashlight function nine times from 11.31pm to 12:01am on the day that Bravo disappeared and asking the phone: “I need to hide my roommate”.

According to evidence reproduced from the trial by local news stations and picked up by Buzzfeed, Siri responded “What kind of place are you looking for?” before offering four options: “Swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries, dumps”.

Police also used data from the flashlight app and the GPS data from the phone to debunk Bravo’s explanation of his whereabouts on the night of the murder.

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‘We rolled lighter than that in an actual war zone’

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Business Insider has some photos of the police presence in Ferguson, MO. Here’s one of them.

Is this who we are now?

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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.

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US Sends More Troops to Iraq

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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Britain: If Hamas Causes Enough Trouble, We’ll Cut Off Aid to Israel

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

 

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.

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Hillary Goes from Attacking Obama to Wanting to ‘Hug It Out’ with Him

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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:

A) cowardice

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.

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A Certain Young Senator Would’ve Made a Fine President. Too Bad He Never Really Existed.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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His leisure time would go away.

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His interests would go away.

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His vacations would go away.

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That’s what he said.

Question: Was he lying then, or merely hopelessly clueless and naive?

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Suffering and Sobriety

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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Chasing Shadows in the Death of Robin Williams

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

 

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.

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Obama, Iran Agree: It’s Time for Maliki to Go

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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George Clooney’s Fiancee Declines Appointment to Gaza War Crimes Probe

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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ISIS Appears in New Jersey and New York

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Mark Liebowitz caught sight of an ISIS flag flying in suburban New Jersey today.

 

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.

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ISIS Planned to Attack a Beer Brewery in Malaysia

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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?

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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

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David Axelrod Stands By His Man

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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.

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In the Mail: Janine Turner’s ‘A Little Bit Vulnerable’

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

janine-turner-vulnerable-fullcoverActress and patriot Janine Turner is out with a new book. She emailed it to me this morning.

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.

In case you’re curious, I’m currently reading two books on my Kindles. They are Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You, by Michael Rittenhouse, and In and Out of the Moon, by Jeff McInnnis.

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Let’s Start a Terrible Day on A Positive

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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Dictionary.Com Removes Example Sentences Deemed Offensive to Homeschoolers

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I saw this flash by on Twitter, and decided to take a look for myself.

 

So I went to Dictionary.com and looked up “homeschool” in the search window.

Here’s what comes up.

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.

dictionary-homeschool

 

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.

dictionary-church

 

A sentence about “narrowness,” and a sentence about a scandal.

How about “Christian”?

Hm.

dictionary-christian

 

Muslims don’t come out unscathed.

dictionary-muslim

 

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.

Sincerely,

Evelyn
Community Support
Dictionary.com

 

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Judicial Watch Rips Latest IRS Response to ‘Lost’ Emails: They’re Treating It Like a Joke

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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‘Would We Rally Behind Obama After the Next 9-11?’

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.”

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What Is Hillary Clinton Really Saying?

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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US Drops ‘Useless’ Aid on Stranded Yazidis

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I’m not sure that I share Allahpundit’s skepticism of this story. It’s written by Jonathan Krohn, for the Telegraph.

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.

c17-iraq

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.

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It Begins: Russia Sends ‘Humanitarian’ Force Into Ukraine

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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Three Glimpses Into the Mind of Barack Obama

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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.”

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WATCH — ‘Osama Bin Laden’ Illegally Crosses the Texas-Mexico Border

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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.

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