The American official coordinating the international coalition fighting the Islamic State said on Friday that the Iraqi military would not be ready for a campaign to retake Mosul, the largest Iraqi city under insurgent control, for as much as a year.
Mosul has become a symbol of the strength of the Islamist insurgency, which has made the city its stronghold, and of the failure of the Iraqi security forces, which wilted in June as militants swept across the Syrian border and overran the city as they pushed toward Baghdad.
The broad timeline given by the official, retired Gen. John R. Allen, seemed to reflect the immense challenges facing the Iraqi military command and its international partners, including about 1,200 American military advisers deployed by President Obama, as they seek to rebuild the Iraqi security forces.
“When it’s undertaken, the right kind of planning and preparation will have been done to make sure the outcome will favor the Iraqis,” said General Allen, a retired Marine who served in the Iraq War and was the top American commander in Afghanistan.
So we have to take time to rebuild the security forces we just spent a decade building and training, got it?
If there has been a huge outcry from the anti-war left about a QUAGMIRE I’ve missed it. Google “george bush quagmire” to see what a popular word it was back when it wasn’t a Nobel Peace Prize winner committing us to long-term military action.
With peace like this, who needs enemies?
As Thomas Eric Duncan remains in isolation at a hospital in Dallas, and American journalist Ashoka Mukpo prepares to be transported home, many are wondering: Will they receive an experimental drug like other Ebola patients treated in the United States?
Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol received an experimental serum called ZMapp, engineered from antibodies harvested in mice. Questions remain about the extent to which ZMapp was responsible for the patients’ recovery, but demand for the drug has skyrocketed.
Unfortunately, the process used to make the doses given to Brantly, Writebol and a few other patients is costly and time-consuming. Public health officials are now looking for ways to develop more of this experimental drug quickly.
Tobacco plants may hold the key.
In the world of health and medicine, the word tobacco usually brings to mind cancer, emphysema and heart disease. But in recent years the plant’s tarnished reputation is getting a makeover from the development of pharmaceuticals through an effective, swift and cost-cutting technique that has been dubbed “biopharming.”
It would be deliciously ironic if tobacco staves off becoming illegal (you know that’s the real end game) by roaring back as a pharmaceutical darling. Apparently, the demon leaf can greatly speed up the vaccine manufacturing process, which then saves money.
Drugs and vaccines are manufactured in a variety of ways. Flu vaccines, for example, are most commonly produced by injecting fertilized hen eggs with the virus. The virus is incubated for days so it can replicate, be harvested, inactivated or weakened, and then made into either a flu shot or nasal spray.
The process can cost around $150 million each year, using $600,000 eggs each day. Tobacco plants can produce antibodies in much less time for a fraction of the cost, advocates say.
Let’s get this done while the free market is at least peripherally involved in pharmaceutical research and “free” health care has a chance to kill it.
Tedious, wrong and pathetic. Travel restrictions do not equate to “turning our backs” on the country to which we’ve already committed resources to battle this outbreak.
Hillary Clinton has mapped out much of her political schedule through Election Day, an itinerary that focuses on helping Senate candidates and includes trips to a half-dozen states, including Kentucky and presidential early states Iowa and New Hampshire, according to details obtained by POLITICO.
The plan, which could see adjustments and additions as races hit critical points in the coming weeks, was the product of close work between Clinton chief-of-staff Huma Abedin and the Democratic campaign committees.
The final stretch of the midterms will mark Clinton’s most extensive political activity since she left the State Department early last year and requests for her to appear began pouring in from all corners of the country.
A major goal has been to navigate the former secretary of State’s concerns about spending time with her daughter and newborn granddaughter Charlotte, other commitments she’s made like book signings and some political commitments put in place weeks ago, along with her desire to help candidates facing tough races this fall, people close to her said.
This probably isn’t the way Team Lightbringer scripted this. The president is sitting on the sideline while his party’s candidates pretend they don’t know him while the former member of his administration with whom he had the least in common is being sought after for campaign help.
In typical Clinton Media Machine fashion, Her Madameship’s infant granddaughter is being used as a campaign pawn in an effort to paint Hillary as an oh-so-concerned family values candidate. This brings up a new battle front for 2016: the Democrats will try to remake the exceedingly unlikable Mrs. Clinton as a doting grandmother but her opponents will be taken to task for mentioning her age.
Good times ahead.
Under a proposed law, New York City would decline requests by U.S. immigration authorities to detain immigrants for deportation proceedings unless a federal judge issues a warrant.
Even with a warrant, the city’s police department and Department of Correction would only honor a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention request if the immigrant had been convicted of a violent or serious crime in the past five years.
“By further limiting ICE’s role in the detention and deportation of immigrant New Yorkers, we set the national standard for the treatment of our immigrant population,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “Families will no longer be needlessly torn apart by ICE’s dragnet enforcement efforts.”
An ICE detainer request usually asks a jail, prison, sheriff or police force to continue holding an immigrant in their custody for up to 48 more hours until he or she can be picked up by ICE
Translation: “We know you think he’s a criminal but our PC heart tells us he’s not so we’re gonna let him go and hope for the best.
Let’s clarify the progressive approach to illegal immigration in the last four years: Municipalities that flout federal immigration law and officials (Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and soon New York) are left alone while a state (Arizona) that passed a law to reinforce the federal statutes (SB1070) was sued by the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.
If all goes according to plan, The Idiot King will soon wave a wand (HE’S A WITCH!) and make millions of lawbreakers legal pseudo-citizens.
So you see kids, it’s important to obey the la…oh, never mind.
President Barack Obama tried on Thursday to turn the spotlight on the economy, the issue U.S. voters care about most ahead of November midterm elections, making the case that his policies have steered the country away from the brink of collapse and laid a foundation for growth.
It’s the second take for a strategy that the White House rolled out in June, only to have its optimistic message drowned out by crises in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and western Africa.
While he said his speech was not political, Obama sought to contrast Democratic policies with those of Republicans, arguing he needs the Senate to stay in Democrats’ hands in November elections to accomplish economic goals like raising the minimum wage, retraining workers for better jobs and spending more on infrastructure projects.
By all means, in the midst of the Ebola and terrorism concerns, let’s focus on miring workers in low-paying jobs by making them slightly less low paying.
Does this guy have any adults working for him?
Manipulated jobs numbers are all he’s got at the moment. He can’t, however, do any crafty accounting to make ISIS or Ebola go away, so it makes sense he wants to shift the narrative away from the pressing problems.
It is also rather pathetic that he thinks he can.
Another book from a former Obama administration official, and more potential heartburn for the White House.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta writes about how he and other Pentagon officials tried to persuade the White House that it need to keep a U.S. residual force in Iraq after combat operations ended in 2011.
“My fear, as I voiced to the President and others, was that if the country split apart or slid back into the violence that we’d seen in the years immediately following the U.S. invasion, it could become a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.,” Panetta writes in Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace.
The book comes out Tuesday.
Time magazine is running excerpts from the book by Panetta, who also served as CIA director for Obama.
Panetta writes that “the president’s team at the White House pushed back” on requests to retain some U.S. troops in Iraq, and “and the differences occasionally became heated.”
One didn’t exactly need insider access or a crystal ball to see that this would go sour, so Panetta probably knew while writing the book that his remarks would be timely upon publication.
How curious that an Obama administration alum whose loyalties are to the Clintons would have a book criticizing the president coming out now…
At this point in his presidency, Barack Obama has an opportunity to build consensus. With Eric Holder’s resignation, he should consider taking this opportunity to mend fences and revive a Cabinet once billed as a “team of rivals.” So how about a Republican for attorney general? I have a candidate in mind: former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who will probably curse me for making the suggestion.
No one can argue seriously that Olson lacks the bona fides to serve as attorney general: His name was considered during the tail end of George W. Bush’s second term, and he was shortlisted on several occasions as a possible nominee to the Supreme Court as well. At the time, Olson was blocked from the AG post because, in the words of Sen. Harry Reid, “He’s a partisan, and the last thing we need as an attorney general is a partisan.”
Harman then goes on to praise Olson’s “bipartisan” work on gay marriage and a few other things, then mentions that he is now “married to a card-carrying Democrat,” as if that matters.
The bottom line is that Harman finds Olson acceptable because he isn’t in lock-step with Republican positions on everything. Democrats demand political purity from the those they promote through the ranks of the judicial system and they don’t quite grasp that our lawyers are more interested in-get this-the law.
It doesn’t really matter how Harman got to this point but we all know that Olson has to be better than whomever The Idiot King has on his short list.
Hundreds of U.S. lawmakers pressed Secretary of State John Kerry to lean harder on Iran in talks over its nuclear program in a letter released on Thursday after Israel warned Washington not to go easy on Tehran.
Three hundred and fifty-four members – four-fifths – of the U.S. House of Representatives signed the letter sent to Kerry on Wednesday night, expressing concerns that an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program might not require sufficiently strict inspections of its nuclear facilities.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Sept. 5 that Iran had failed to address concerns about suspected atomic bomb research by an agreed deadline.
Finally, something with overwhelming bipartisan support. Whether that will be enough to get Kerry to stop his laser-like focus on climate change as our greatest threat remains to be seen. Once someone has slipped into that kind of detachment from reality it’s often difficult to bring him back.
It is comforting to see so many U.S. lawmakers paying attention to Benjamin Netanyahu, a leader who does attend his security briefings.
Piers Morgan swears he doesn’t miss CNN, but the network is still very much on his mind.
“I’ve never looked back, because I never feel negative,” Morgan said in his first interview since leaving the network in September. “The problem is when you go into a deep decline and start believing what other people are saying about you, like, ‘I’m a terrible dimwit British failure who’s been sent home packing in the goat class, and we’re never going to see him again.’”
Morgan certainly has a lot of ideas about what the network should and should not do for a guy who isn’t looking back:
Still, Morgan faults Zucker and CNN for being overly preoccupied with ratings.
“I’ve always felt that CNN should be more resilient to media criticism about monthly or quarterly ratings,” Morgan says. “Ted Turner once described CNN to me as The New York Times of television. We don’t care about chasing ratings or chasing readers. We care about having a brand that is so trusted that whenever anything important happens in the world, people turn us on.”
“If I was running CNN, if I was Jeff Zucker, I would come out and do an interview with someone like you, and I would say, ‘I’m not going to discuss ratings again,’” Morgan continues. “Our business proposition is not predicated on ratings, our global brand is not dependent on how we rate at 9 p.m. in America.”
So, don’t just shift the goal posts, dig them up, throw them away and then every field goal is good, right?
This is obviously a dig at Fox News, which has already proven that ratings can be had in the cable news game. Morgan’s assertion that CNN can be a “trusted” brand implies that FNC is not. The ever-simplistic Morgan doesn’t understand that ratings and trust are a tandem in the television news business.
But then he doesn’t understand a lot of things.
Even so, Ebola fears helped bring down airlines’ stock prices Wednesday, contributing to a 200-point drop in the Dow Jones average. Stock prices for American Airlines, United, Southwest and Delta Air Lines all fell around 3 percent.
So far, U.S. authorities show no signs of escalating their response by barring flights from countries where Ebola is rampant. While the Federal Aviation Administration has broad latitude to limit the travels of U.S. airlines, it has less clear-cut authority over foreign carriers — and in dealing with
Ebola, the agency would most likely follow the lead of the CDC or the White House.
An FAA spokeswoman declined to say Wednesday whether the agency could ban flights to or from certain regions based on health concerns, saying she could not get into “hypothetical situations.” She repeated that the CDC is the lead agency but that the FAA “will make decisions as appropriate.”
I don’t know why the FAA spokeswoman said should couldn’t get into “hypothetical situations,” as this whole things seems rather real, what with the people dying and all.
It’s comforting having the bureaucracy being bureaucratic in a potential health crisis situation, isn’t it? Hey, and we’ve got government health care and stuff now too!
I’m staying in.
Unless the airlines offer some “Come On, Take A Chance!” fares, of course.
A plagiarism scandal surrounding Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke may be affecting Wisconsin voters.
The latest Marquette University Law School poll, released Wednesday, shows incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker has opened up his lead against Burke by 5 percent among likely voters.
Of the 585 likely voters who participated in the Marquette poll between Sept. 25-28, 50 percent said they would vote for Walker; 45 percent said they would be voting for Burke. The poll’s margin of error is 4.1 percent.
Information for Marquette’s previous poll, which had Walker ahead of Burke by 3 percent, was collected between Sept. 11-14, several days before Buzzfeed first reported Burke’s campaign had lifted word-for-word numerous passages in her jobs plan from other sources. Buzzfeed also found additional instances of plagiarism in other Burke policy proposals.
Scott Walker is the gift that keeps on giving for Republicans and is probably headlining the nightmares of every Big Labor activist within a thousand mile radius of him. This race had been tightening before his opponent was discovered to be Bidenesque. Let’s hope he pounces and keeps this outside of the margin of error. The forecast for Republican governors had been less than rosy in the past few weeks and is now turning for the better in a couple of states in this critical last month of the campaign.
Republicans plan to put approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline on a fast track early next year if they win a U.S. Senate majority in November, finally forcing President Barack Obama to make a tough call on the controversial plan.
The $10 billion Keystone project to connect Canadian oil sands with U.S. refineries will top the list of Republican energy priorities if they gain control of the Senate after the November 4 midterm elections. It could come as a stand-alone measure or attached to must-pass legislation such as a government spending or transportation bill, according to senators and congressional aides.
Republicans, along with some Democrats, have for years pushed for a bill that would allow Congress to approve Keystone, and reduce the role of the administration. However, with Democrats in control, the closest they have gotten in the Senate was a symbolic measure expressing support for the project.
President Obama is so in the grasp of Big Green that he has turned a deaf ear to Big Labor on this issue, which should give you an idea of just how much money the former has. He’s had to work hard to ignore all of the various factions that support Keystone XL. It may be the only real hard work he’s done off the golf course.
It’s good to see the GOP planning for a victory in November but complacency is a killer, especially with a weaker Get Out The Vote effort than the Democrats have.
Looks like MSNBC has finally found a topic that leaves them less than fond of the White House spin machine. Press Secretary Josh Earnest had a similar experience to this with the Morning Joe crowd today. What’s the over/under on the number of “ums” and “ahs” in a five minute interview before some room under the bus is cleared out?
Republican businessman Charlie Baker has pulled even with Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley in the race to be the next governor of Massachusetts, a series of new polls showed.
Coakley, who would be the first woman elected governor of Massachusetts, is in a statistical tie with Baker, according to a WBUR/Mass Inc poll released on Wednesday that was the third this week to show the two closely matched.
Forty-four percent of 503 likely voters polled by WBUR/Mass Inc Sept. 24-27 backed Coakley, compared with 41 percent who planned to vote for Baker, a gap within the survey’s 4.4 percentage point margin of error.
It’s still within “The Margin of ACORN” (an old favorite phrase of mine) as well but, if any blue state Democrat can completely blow what should be a cake walk of an election, it’s Martha Coakley. This is the woman who let Teddy Kennedy’s seat slip into the hands of the GOP, however briefly. Let’s hope she works some of her old hack magic again.
Priceless: Rep. John Mica Asks Secret Service Why They Don’t Install ADT Security at White House (VIDEO)
Sometimes the news is just so unsettling that you have to make light of it. Hey, it’s not an Ebola story!
Mexico is helping some of its citizens apply for a controversial immigration program in the U.S. called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Since the Obama administration created the program in 2012, more than 580,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors have received temporary relief from deportation and been given work permits that last for at least two years.
But 45 percent of those who are eligible for DACA have not applied, and the cost may be holding some back. Immigrants have to pay a total of $465 to the Department of Homeland Security for fees related to the work permit and for required fingerprinting.
Mexican consulates around the U.S. have been paying those fees for some applicants through a little-known program for Mexican citizens with financial need.
Here’s a radical idea: maybe Mexico should help Mexican citizens in financial need while they’re in Mexico.
This has been one of the bigger problems that is never addressed in the charade of an illegal immigration debate. Mexico does nothing to help its own people. It would prefer its poor come here rather than have to deal with them domestically. No recent American president takes them to task for this or presses the issue. They pal around with whomever is in office in Mexico at the time as if all is right with the world.
Until we have leadership who will secure the border AND get tough with the Mexican government, the rest of the discussion is just so much theater.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Barack Obama today at the White House in a bid to find common ground on Iran talks after a year of disputes over making peace with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu said he would stress to Obama the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, amid concern in Israel that the U.S. may lose focus on the issue because of its military campaign against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria.
“We all support the effort led by President Obama to stop and defeat ISIS,” Netanyahu told a gathering of American Jewish community leaders in New York yesterday, using an acronym for Islamic State’s former name. “But to defeat ISIS, and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power, is to win the battle and lose the war.”
World powers are negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program as a U.S.-led military alliance strikes Islamic State, an al-Qaeda splinter group that has seized parts of Iraq and Syria and gained notoriety for beheadings and crucifixions. Although Iran isn’t part of that coalition, it’s also helping its Iraqi and Syrian allies to fight the militant group, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said it has a role to play in defeating Islamic State.
Kerry didn’t clarify exactly what Iran was offering to combat climate change, which he still maintains is our most pressing threat.
The adults in the room, however, face quite the conundrum. ISIS and its antics have made it impossible for even a detached golfer who moonlights as president of the United States to ignore. ISIS is beheading Americans but Iran hates ISIS too, and we can be safe in assuming it is not because of the way they’re treating U.S. citizens. So, if you want to play “the enemy of my enemy…” here it gets confusing.
The protracted way we’re going about dealing with ISIS just gives the Iranians more time to dupe the rest of the world when it comes to the nuclear negotiations.
We might actually welcome Ebola soon.
Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean dictator, has become so fat while in office that his ankles have fractured under his own weight, it was reported on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old, who has looked increasingly portly since taking power, had to undergo a hospital operation after putting too much strain on his ankles during a gruelling round of official engagements.
The treatment has also been linked to his unexpected failure to attend a recent session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, according to a Pyongyang source who spoke to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper in neighbouring South Korea.
Unlike other members of North Korea’s political elite, for whom a sudden absence from public life often means they have been killed or imprisoned, in Kim Jong-Un’s case, in Kim Jong Un’s case it is said to be down to Elvis-style weight gain as a result of his unhealthy diet.
He is now believed to weigh at least 20 stone as a result of his fondness for heavy drinking and imported Swiss cheese, which he gained a taste for while at school in Switzerland.
Oh, the Swiss cheese eating commies are the worst, aren’t they?
Stay tuned here for more…um…breaking news on the dictator’s health.
Today, the World Health Organization concludes a two-day meeting to discuss a radical idea: bringing a vaccine into the field without having tested its effectiveness.
Traditional means of containing Ebola — such as isolating people who are infected with the disease and tracing the people they’ve come into contact with — aren’t working fast enough to get ahead of the epidemic. So the question is: Will giving an experimental vaccine to willing volunteers help contain the disease or put people at greater risk?
Dr. Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, says the urgency of the Ebola situation has led to throwing traditional timelines “out the window.”
Perhaps the announcement of a confirmed case in the United States will nudge them along. The situation in Liberia should be enough to make this almost a no-brainer, as the number of infected there are doubling every three weeks.
Of course, it’s not a no brainer because the gamble is with human life. A public health ethicist says the Liberian situation greatly changes things, however:
Nancy Kass is a public health ethicist at Johns Hopkins University. She says that the best way to study a new vaccine is to test it against a placebo. But the situation in West Africa complicates that decision.
“The problem is that all of our norms change when thousands of new cases of Ebola are happening all the time and 50 to 60 percent of these people are dying. That changes the rules about what we have to lose when we try something new.”
Following his performance Friday night (September 26) at the El Corazon as part of a benefit concert for 15 Now, the grassroots organization that successfully fought for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, Morello and his entourage allegedly tried to get “a special room” at The 5 Point Cafe even though the place was already “at capacity” and there was “a line” of people waiting to get in. The restaurant’s doorman apparently told Morello and his crew that he could not accommodate them, after which the guitarist took to his Twitter to blast the eatery, writing: “Five Point restaurant in Seattle is the WORST. Super rude & anti-worker. Sh****st doorman in the Northwest. P***k. Spread the word.”
Morello was one of the more vocal supporters of the Occupy Stink-in, and portrays himself as a real man of the people. Only in the diseased mind of a wealthy commie can being denied a place to sit where there aren’t any mean the person passing along that information is “anti-worker.”
Morello’s Twitter bio beings with: “Feed the poor.” That should obviously have an addendum that reads, “But feed me first, you peasant, because I’m a rock star.”
After being called out by many, Morello isn’t backing down. He does, however, have the gall to offer forgiveness with conditions (thus not really understanding forgiveness) instead of asking for it, which he should be doing. It’s also classic commie-achieving an end through coercion, which is all they’ve got.
Willing to forgive the Seattle Evil (Egg) Empire 5 Points Cafe doorman powertrip if good guy owner D Meinert fully embraces #15Now min wage
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) September 29, 2014
Voice-activated technology is so vulnerable to attack that users should immediately disable speech recognition on all their devices, a security researcher at AVG has warned.
Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at the anti-virus company, has carried out several experiments which revealed the new techniques hackers might use to gain control of voice-controlled devices.
He made the ominous prediction that a “thief outside the door” could take control of gadgets such as smart televisions or laptops from outside a target’s home, potentially burgling them without even smashing a window.
The vulnerability of technology which uses voice commands is likely to become an important issue in the coming years, as smartwatches and connected home devices grow in popularity and the technology becomes commonplace.
Just when you thought technology was making everything easier, now comes the potential for some creeper outside your window to give you a really embarrassing Netflix search history.
I admit, I love the new stuff and try everything when it first comes out, with very little thought about what new nightmare scenarios hackers might be working up. Voice activation was the sci-fi thing we all just expected to be a fact of life. Now I am ready to go to a stationery store and start writing letters to people again.
Still gonna need IMDB when I’m watching a movie though.
An Iranian woman sentenced to death for killing a man who tried to rape her told her mother goodbye and prepared to die, even as the Islamic republic’s president was meeting with world leaders at the United Nations.
Rayhaneh Jabbari, 26, is set to be executed Tuesday, according to reports from Iran. On Monday, her mother, Shole Paravan, recounted on her Facebook page an emotional farewell call her daughter made when a sympathetic guard loaned her a cellphone before she was taken to Rajaiy Shahr Prison to be hanged.
Gosh, it seems like just last year that the American media was hailing the election of a “moderate Muslim cleric” as president of Iran as a sign that the times they were a changin’.
Of course, anyone in the United States who possesses an IQ above forty knows that the notion of “moderate” in Islam is quite relative and in Iran it simply means, “Takes longer to kill you.”
The MSM here continues to pretend that the Islamists who want to blow you up are the fringe and that moderates are the norm.
Perhaps they should have found a better description for Rouhani, because he isn’t really helping their case.
He came to chew gum and kick you-know-what. And he never even brought any gum.
Germany’s defense minister warns that her country currently can’t meet its long-term NATO commitments because of a widespread grounding of German military planes and helicopters.
“At the moment, we are below the target numbers announced a year ago on airborne systems we would want to make available to NATO within 180 days in cases of emergency,” Ursula von der Leyen told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag over the weekend. “The reason is the delays in getting replacement parts” for planes and a recent grounding of German navy helicopters.
Scores of German military aircraft have been grounded, according to confidential reports recently leaked to the German media. Only 42 of 109 Eurofighters are considered airworthy, as are 38 of 89 Tornado fighters. Of Germany’s C-160 military transport planes, only 24 of 43 are in service and a delivery of replacement Airbus transportation planes is behind schedule.
This year, Germany reduced defense spending by more than $1 million, to $41.3 billion, which is far below NATO’s recommended level of 2 percent of the GDP.
Hmmm…I wonder if there is anywhere else that this kind of stuff is going on.
Step 1: Posit something that is demonstrably false.
Step 2: Run away before anyone can question it.
Blather, rinse, repeat.
The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident.
An alarm box near the front entrance of the White House designed to alert guards to an intruder had been muted at what officers believed was a request of the usher’s office, said a Secret Service official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The officer posted inside the front door appeared to be delayed in learning that the intruder, Omar Gonzalez, was about to burst through. Officers are trained that, upon learning of an intruder on the grounds, often through the alarm boxes posted around the property, they must immediately lock the front door.
After barreling past the guard immediately inside the door, Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife, dashed past the stairway leading a half-flight up to the first family’s living quarters. He then ran into the 80-foot-long East Room, an ornate space often used for receptions or presidential addresses.
The Secret Service hasn’t been getting press notices for favorable reasons in the last year or so and this incident raises all kinds of questions. Obviously, the biggest question is, “Why weren’t we told this from the beginning?”
The public obviously doesn’t need to know the details of presidential security but it has a right to know when something goes horribly awry like this. It’s terrifying to think that any random loon can get into the White House.
Any random loon who isn’t Vice President, that is.
Iran’s president brought an unsettling message to the United Nations on Thursday: Middle Eastern terrorism has been globalized, in part thanks to mistakes made by Western powers, and the threat cannot be eliminated by outside force alone.
President Hassan Rouhani, feted at last year’s U.N. General Assembly as a welcome change from his combative predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the world body that his part of the world is “burning in the fire of extremism and radicalism.”
He said the world now faces terrorism from “New York to Mosul, from Baghdad to Damascus … from al-Qaida to Daesh,” using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which calls itself the Islamic State.
The only thing the West has done to help spread terrorism is educate the terrorists and teach them to fly and funnel money internationally. The terrorism spreads through that, not because of it. It spreads because this is a religiously inspired hatred that will never stop spreading on its own. It has to be stopped by the people it seeks to destroy.
Here is hoping the world, especially the US, one day soon gets leaders who have to stomach for it.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is trailing his Democratic challenger by 20 percentage points in a poll released on Thursday, a slight improvement in the Republican’s showing since August.
The poll by Franklin & Marshall College shows Democratic businessman Tom Wolf favored by 54 percent of likely voters compared to 34 percent who favor the incumbent in November’s election. In August, the Franklin & Marshall poll showed Corbett trailing by 25 points.
“Corbett is losing in every major region of the state,” said Terry Madonna, a professor at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, college who runs the survey.
According to the poll, 60 percent of Pennsylvanians believe the state is “off on the wrong track.” Some 58 percent believe Wolf will win the election regardless of how they themselves plan to vote. Only 19 percent believe Corbett will win.
Hot Air noted last week that Republican governors aren’t looking at November with quite the enthusiasm that GOP candidates for the House and Senate are. Two of them, Scott Walker and Rick Snyder, are in trouble because they’ve made tough, but necessary, choices that have angered Big Labor. It’s understandable that those races are tight.
Gonna go out on a limb and say that this one is over, though.
A Houston lawyer is alleging the prosecutor handling the indictment against Rick Perry is over-charging taxpayers for his services, breaking the same law the governor stands accused of violating.
In a criminal complaint sent Monday to the Travis County district attorney’s office, Houston criminal defense attorney David Rushing says special prosecutor Michael McCrum is abusing his official capacity by billing the county $300 per hour, or more than three times the highest possible rate set by a state law.
Travis County’s guidelines for the law, however, make it possible for an attorney in McCrum’s situation to earn less or more per hour if the circumstances are unusual. Perry, who has characterized the case against him as politically motivated, is the first Texas governor to be indicted in nearly a century.
The smell of fish on this indictment can only start to stink more. However, as the those in the Drunk DA camp are finding out, Rick Perry has some lawyers of his own, and probably more support than they bet on.
As Tatler editor Bryan Preston has noted in several posts, this could still go sour for the governor because of the county in which it is being prosecuted.
Then again, the sober people might win.
As White House Democrats prepare to stump in Massachusetts for Attorney General Martha Coakley in the governor’s race, a new Globe poll shows that national political conditions may be hobbling her chances for victory.
Republican Charlie Baker holds a slender lead of 2 percentage points over Coakley, 40 percent to 38 percent, an inversion of last week’s survey, in which Coakley was ahead by 3 percentage points. Among voters who said they will “definitely vote,” Baker enjoys an advantage of 41 percent to 37 percent.
That dynamic hints that Baker could benefit from a low-interest election, a possibility Coakley is looking to avoid by trying to fire up Democratic voters.
Two percentage points for a Republican is generally meaningless, given the Democrats’ superior get-out-the-vote effort. However, almost everything about the president and the party right now are dragging candidates down and Coakley, as we have seen in the past, is a fairly awful campaigner.
So, while it may be a bit early to get the champagne on ice, there is some good deep blue state news for the GOP.
The United States believes it has identified the masked militant thought to have beheaded two American journalists, FBI Director James Comey told reporters on Thursday.
NPR’s Brian Naylor reports that Comey declined to identify the man. The videos, released by the Sunni militant group Islamic State, show a masked man speaking English in a British accent. The video then shows the man beginning to cut the heads of the Americans.
The AP reports that Comey did not comment on whether the U.S. believes the man in the video also conducted the beheadings.
The Navajo Nation will mark history Friday when it officially announces a $554 million settlement from the U.S. government, putting an end to years of litigation.
The landmark agreement stems from a 2006 lawsuit in which the nation says the U.S. mismanaged trust fund assets dating back to 1946.
If only American taxpayers could sue the federal government for mismanagement of our money. Not for a settlement that we would have to finance anyway, of course, but to have the government’s grubby paws removed from our money. We not only don’t have that luxury, but we’re on the hook for the government’s fiscal incompetence.
But I’m an “extremist” for not liking this.
Sensing an opening on foreign policy, the former Massachusetts senator delivered a scathing speech on Wednesday at a New Hampshire college accusing the incumbent Democrat of failing to stand up to President Obama or speak out while the threats facing the nation have long been clear.
“They seem only more confused on a daily basis as things unravel,” he said at Saint Anselm College. “It’s as if the Obama administration is maxed out, worn down, devoid of ideas, and now, guess what? All the bills are coming due. This is what foreign policy looks like without clarity and conviction.”
Brown went on to declare that Shaheen supports Obama “99 percent” of the time, a common refrain from the candidate, and so “if we’ve seen some bad calls at the White House, it’s a very safe bet that our senior senator has been right in line with that failed program.”
“For Senator Shaheen, it’s been nearly six years of just going along, with no questions for the president about his decisions — at least none that anybody remembers,” he said. “No expressions of disagreement … not a single sign of independent thinking.”
Brown has been unafraid to go after Shaheen on immigration too, but this issue seems to be giving him a little more traction. The RealClearPolitics rolling average still has Shaheen up by seven percent, but that is a four-point swing in Brown’s favor in just a week.
The post examines in detail the tactic’s merit, especially its potential to swing the same female voters whose national security concerns prompted them to vote for George W. Bush in 2004. What it doesn’t get around to is the most important part of the message: Brown is right.
There is no better, or easier, time to yoke an incumbent candidate to a president of the same party than in a midterm election. Obama’s weaknesses are the incumbent Democrats’ weaknesses, no matter how they try to avoid him this year.
Here’s another entry in the strange bedfellows political show, 2014 edition: As Election Day gets closer, some Republicans in battleground races seem to be moving to the center on a number of issues. Their latest sea change is the minimum wage.
Alongside pay equity, infrastructure investment and college affordability, raising the minimum wage is at the center of the Democrats’ election year economic agenda. President Obama has given numerous speeches on the minimum wage, excoriating Republicans in Congress for blocking a federal minimum wage hike. “Either you’re in favor of raising wages for hardworking Americans, or you’re not,” he said in April.
He makes it sound so simple — but this is politics.
As free-market conservatives, Republicans are philosophically opposed to raising the minimum wage. But a handful of Republican candidates in tight races have come out in favor of raising the minimum wage on the state level.
Bruce Rauner, running for governor of Illinois, has said in the past that he believed the minimum wage could be lowered, or even eliminated. But now, Rauner says, if Illinois passed tort reform and tax reform, he would support raising the state wage. He’s also come out in favor of raising the federal minimum wage.
Why the change? Illinois is one of five states this year that has a minimum wage hike on the state ballot. These propositions are hugely popular and usually pass with 60 or even 70 percent of the vote.
In Arkansas and Alaska, where there are also minimum wage referendums on the ballot, Republican Senate candidates Tom Cotton and Dan Sullivan say they’ll vote for them. In Sullivan’s case, he was previously opposed to the ballot proposition, but then, his spokesman said, “he had a chance to read the initiative.”
This is the problem with modern day Republicans: they’re timid, horrible long term strategists and end up making panicky pandering moves like this because they’re afraid of being called names by the press. So they continually sell out fiscal responsibility for what they believe is the short term, yet all that is accomplished is that they can never regain the high ground in the debate. Nobody believes that the GOP will overhaul the tax code anymore because they have been gleefully signing on to budgets that require ever more “revenue” to be hijacked from the wallets of hard working American citizens.
Given the choice between Democrat and Democrat Lite, the voter will always choose Democrat, because he knows he can get more “free” stuff from him/her.