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Putin Weighs in on the Fight Against ISIS

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Saudi Arabia, where he announced that 10 Arab nations including Iraq have signed on to support the fight against the Islamic State. Kerry’s announcement comes a day after President Obama announced that the US would build a coalition for the fight, but would not seek congressional approval and apparently will not seek any authorization from the United Nations.

President George W. Bush sought both congressional and UN approval, and won both, and built a coalition of some 40 nations for the war to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Kerry and Obama, then in the Senate, described Bush’s actions as “going it alone.”

Russia has reacted to Obama’s speech, with a warning, according to the BBC.

Russia has warned that US air strikes against militants in Syria would be a “gross violation” of international law.

A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said any such action, without the backing of the UN, would be “an act of aggression”.

“The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against Isil (IS) positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich was quoted as saying.

“This step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law.”

Syria also repeated its warning that the US had to co-ordinate with the Syrian government before launching air strikes on its territory.

“Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria,” National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said on Thursday.

If anyone knows about acts of aggression and violations of international law, it would be Russia.

Russia’s announced position all but forecloses any UN Security Council action on ISIS, as Russia holds a permanent seat and veto power. Russia is one of Syrian dictator Assad’s few allies.

China has yet to weigh in one way or the other.

Kerry is working on plans to train the Free Syrian Army rebels on Saudi soil, despite the fact that the FSA is working with ISIS.

Posted at 9:53 am on September 11th, 2014 by

Obama at 9/11 Memorial: Americans Have Love ‘That No Act of Terror Can Extinguish’

President Obama said at the Pentagon memorial this morning that the strength and perseverance of the 9/11 families is the “ultimate rebuke to the hatred of those who attacked us that bright blue morning.”

“They sought to do more than bring down buildings or murder our people. They sought to break our spirit and to prove to the world that their power to destroy was greater than our power to persevere and to build,” Obama said.

“But you and America proved them wrong. America endures in the strength of your families who through your anguish kept living. You kept alive a love that no act of terror can ever extinguish. You, their sons and daughters, are growing into extraordinary young men and women they knew you could be.”

American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 in the building as it slammed into E Ring.

“Our thoughts also turn to others whose lives were forever changed that day. The first responders and survivors whose heroism and resilience we celebrate. The Pentagon personnel who came to work the next day with a greater sense of determination than ever before, and the men and women in uniform who have stepped forward to defend our country over 13 long years of war, bearing incredible sacrifices, along with their families,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said at the morning ceremony. “We live at a time of many complicated challenges, but America has always faced challenges and we have always responded as a nation united in purpose, woven together in a fabric of strong character and resounding commitment to each other and to our country.”

“To lead our nation at such a defining time requires not only the courage and the vision to lead, but the humility that recognizes this unique privilege,” Hagel said. “These traits are embodied in our commander in chief.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey acknowledged to the families and friends of the fallen  that “these memorial ceremonies, and we know you’ve been through many, are especially tough, emotion-filled moments for you.”

“Today offers us, all of us, the opportunity to rededicate our own lives to the causes of our great nation and its great future,” Dempsey said. “For as one of our nation’s leaders said, we could easily allow our time and energy to be consumed by the crisis of the moment, of the day, but we must also lay the groundwork to help define our future.”

The Pentagon leaders were to hold another remembrance ceremony for Pentagon employees in the courtyard at 1 p.m.

Posted at 9:28 am on September 11th, 2014 by

[Audio] Re-Writing News of the Past: What If the 9/11 Attacks Never Happened?

The other day, it occurred to me that most of my children have no memory of a pre-9/11 world. This is my attempt to imagine a “no 9/11 world.” (Click the play button below to listen.)

Transcript of the audio above…

[October 2000] We are getting word just now that Osama Bin Laden, the Muslim terrorist leader who declared war on the United States two years ago, has been killed by U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. President Bill Clinton reportedly gave the order to take out bin Laden after viewing a live CIA video feed from a Predator drone. While some of his friends on the Left had urged Clinton’s Justice Department to indict bin Laden, and bring him to trial, the president said today, “This evil man declared war on us, had a track record of slaughter, billions of dollars in funding and a global network of slavishly-devoted suicidal soldiers. You don’t send lawyers after a man like that — you send Seals, Marines and Green Berets.”

—–
[October 1991]  Immigration and Customs Enforcement today announced it had permanently deported Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and a number of his associates. Rahman, a radical Islamist preacher who used three New York City mosques as a base to raise money, and to distribute recordings, has called on Muslims to rise up and slaughter the infidel. President Bush said today, “I personally requested the deportation of the blind sheik, in shackles, handcuffed if necessary, to his ACLU lawyer.”

[May 1991] President George H.W. Bush, in a triumphant speech from downtown Baghdad, Iraq, today announced the unconditional surrender of Saddam Hussein’s government and his Baathist Army. The president said that nothing short of total surrender can save Iraq. Bush added that the coalition that conquered Saddam, would stay on the job until Iraqis build a constitutional republic, under the rule of law.
—-
Good evening, it’s April 4, 2013, and today New York City threw a massive party to mark the 40th anniversary of the ribbon-cutting of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The day started with the mayor and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes performing a rousing version of “Happy Birthday” on the roof of Tower One. The festivities wound up with a ticker-tape parade down Liberty Street past the skyscrapers, as New Yorkers cheered their police, firefighters and emergency responders.
[April 15, 2013] The one hundred seventeenth running of the Boston Marathon went off without a hitch today…
Posted at 8:52 am on September 11th, 2014 by

Did President Obama Signal that the Islamic State Is Here to Stay?

President Barack Obama delivered his strategy to defeat ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State — choose the name you prefer — Wednesday night. The four-pronged strategy includes the use of American and allied air power; partnering with the Iraqis, the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army; counterterrorism operations; and humanitarian aid.

The Free Syrian Army alliance is problematic for two reasons. The FSA is weakened by years of war against both Syrian dictator Assad and against ISIS. It is also infiltrated with Islamists who are more sympathetic to radicals, and who may have sold American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff to ISIS. Patrick Poole reports that the FSA is working with ISIS.

The president’s speech included this strange passage. The president touted two nations in which he believes counterterrorism has worked against al Qaeda, and similar strategies can be deployed against IS.

“This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order,” the president said.

Successful? Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab controls territory in Somalia and regularly launches attacks.

Counterterrorism in Somalia, essentially, is Whack-A-Mole. It works to some extent against terrorist leaders and cells, but IS is a very different prospect. It is a terrorist army numbering in the thousands, powered by stolen oil and robbed banks, mechanized by abandoned American tanks and HUMVEES, which is now building a capital city and gunning to bring about Armageddon. It has carved out a large territory and it is recruiting fighters from all over the world, including American and European citizens. Whack-A-Terrorist, as the Obama administration has done in Yemen, is unlikely to make much of an impact on IS.

The U.S. effort in Somalia is a particularly disturbing one for Obama to turn to. The United States has been involved in one way or another in Somalia since December of 1992.

President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. forces into that chaotic failed east African territory as the main component of an international force dispatched to restore its government and provide food to the impoverished people there. The American military made shore along Somalia’s coast in a nighttime operation made bright by the glare of media TV lights. The cable news networks were tipped and were literally waiting onshore for the Americans to land and walk up the beach.

Not a shot was fired that night, and the Somalis initially greeted America as liberators. Operation RESTORE HOPE looked like it would be a peaceful humanitarian mission, and nothing more. The warlords who had replaced Somalia’s central dictatorship with feudal local power centers even cooperated with the international force and each other, at first. I was in the Air Force, stationed in Japan, when Somalia operations got into full swing. One of my co-workers volunteered and deployed there. Many of us, including myself, considered volunteering. I ended up staying put in Tokyo.

This is not ancient history. We all know what happened eventually. Mission creep. The hunt for Aidid. The Battle of Mogadishu. Black Hawk Down. American troops killed in a hyperviolent urban battle, and their bodies dragged through the streets of Mogadishu for all the world to see.

Americans quickly lost interest in the Somalia mission and President Bill Clinton was not inclined to continue it. Our swift exit encouraged Obama bin Laden to see us as a paper tiger. He attacked us on our soil 13 years ago today.

Posted at 7:39 am on September 11th, 2014 by

VIDEO: McCain Smacks Down New CNN Analyst Carney for ‘Sayings Facts That are Patently False’

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“BREAKING: Man who was Obama’s chief spokesman like two seconds ago still thinks he’s doing a good job,” the Huffington Post sarcastically tweeted of CNN’s newest political analyst, recent White House press secretary Jay Carney.

But Carney’s TV baptism was going to be even harsher than that.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), linked in from the Capitol rotunda after President Obama’s speech, was paired with Carney in a segment and beat him down to the ground.

Long story short: McCain calls out Carney for “saying facts that are patently false.” Carney says they can respectfully agree to disagree. McCain says, “It’s not a matter of disagreements, it’s a matter of facts, and you have yours wrong, and you have distorted them.”

And on and on. “Facts are stubborn things,” McCain schools Carney.

 

Posted at 5:09 am on September 11th, 2014 by

‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

As President Obama laid out his “strategy” last night for dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and as bipartisan leadership in Congress pushes to approve as much as $4 billion to arm Syrian “rebels,” it should be noted that the keystone to his anti-Assad policy — the “vetted moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA) — is now admitting that they, too, are working with the Islamic State.

This confirms PJ Media’s reporting last week about the FSA’s alliances with Syrian terrorist groups.

On Monday, the Daily Star in Lebanon quoted a FSA brigade commander saying that his forces were working with the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate — both U.S.-designated terrorist organizations — near the Syrian/Lebanon border.

“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” said Bassel Idriss, the commander of an FSA-aligned rebel brigade.

“We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice,” confirmed Abu Khaled, another FSA commander who lives in Arsal.

“Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values,” he added.

In my report last week I noted that buried in a New York Times article last month was a Syrian “rebel” commander quoted as saying that his forces were working with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in raids along the border with Lebanon, including attacks on Lebanese forces. The Times article quickly tried to dismiss the commander’s statements, but the Daily Star article now confirms this alliance.

Among the other pertinent points from that PJ Media article last week was that this time last year the bipartisan conventional wisdom amongst the foreign policy establishment was that the bulk of the Syrian rebel forces were moderates, a fiction refuted by a Rand Corporation study published last September that found nearly half of the Syrian “rebels” were jihadists or hard-core Islamists.

Another relevant phenomenon I noted was that multiple arms shipments from the U.S. to the “vetted moderate” FSA were suspiciously raided and confiscated by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, prompting the Obama administration and the UK to suspend weapons shipments to the FSA last December.

In April, the Obama administration again turned on the CIA weapons spigot to the FSA, and Obama began calling for an additional $500 million for the “vetted moderate rebels,” but by July the weapons provided to the FSA were yet again being raided and captured by ISIS and other terrorist groups. Remarkably, one Syrian dissident leader reportedly told Al-Quds al-Arabi that the FSA had lost $500 million worth of arms to rival “rebel” groups, much of which ended up being sold to unknown parties in Turkey and Iraq.

At the same time U.S.-provided FSA weapons caches were being mysteriously raided by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the senior FSA commanders in Eastern Syria, Saddam al-Jamal, defected to ISIS. In March, Jabhat al-Nusra joined forces with the FSA Liwa al-Ummah brigade to capture a Syrian army outpost in Idlib. Then in early July I reported on FSA brigades that had pledged allegiance to ISIS and surrendered their weapons after their announcement of the reestablishment of the caliphate. More recently, the FSA and Jabhat al-Nusra teamed up last month to capture the UN Golan Heights border crossing in Quneitra on the Syria/Israel border, taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

But the Free Syrian Army is not the only U.S.-armed and trained “rebel” force in Syria that the Obama administration is having serious trouble keeping in the “vetted moderate” column.

Earlier this week I reported on Harakat al-Hazm, which was the first of the “vetted moderates” to receive U.S. anti-tank weaponry earlier this year. Harakat al-Hazm is reportedly a front for the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Turkey and Qatar, its Islamist state sponsors.

An L.A. Times article was published this past Sunday from the battle lines in Syria. The reporter recounted a discussion with two Harakat al-Hazm fighters who admitted, “But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”

Despite a claim by the L.A. Times that Harakat al-Hazm had released a statement of “rejection of all forms of cooperation and coordination” with al-Nusra Front, I published in my article earlier this week an alliance statement signed by both Jabhat al-Nusra and Harkat al-Hazm forging a joint front in Aleppo to prevent pro-Assad forces from retaking the town.

As the Obama administration began to provide heavy weaponry to Harakat al-Hazm, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published an analysis hailing Harakat Hazm as “rebels worth supporting,” going so far as to say that the group was “a model candidate for greater U.S. and allied support, including lethal military assistance.”

Posted at 10:29 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

White House Strategy Includes PR Campaign to ‘Highlight ISIL’s Hypocrisy’

The White House says part of the administration’s strategy against the Islamic State will be a PR campaign to expose the “true nature” of ISIS.

“Clerics around the world have spoken up in recent weeks to highlight ISIL’s hypocrisy, condemning the group’s barbarity and criticizing its self- proclaimed ‘caliphate,’” says a fact sheet released to reporters just before President Obama spoke. “We will work with our partners throughout the Muslim world to highlight ISIL’s hypocrisy and counter its false claim to be acting in the name of religion.”

The fact sheet also stresses the need to keep “working aggressively” to choke ISIS’ “significant and diverse sources of funding.”

It also notes that intelligence on the group needs to improve.

“Continuing to gain more fidelity on ISIL’s capabilities, plans, and intentions is central to our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the group,” the fact sheet said. “Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance flights and other important efforts will strengthen our ability to understand this threat, as well as to share vital information with our Iraqi and other regional partners to enable them to effectively counter ISIL.”

The Sept. 24 “historic summit-level meeting” of the UN Security Council, which will be chaired by President Obama, will focus largely on stemming the flow of foreign fighters, the White House said.

“Foreign terrorist fighters are ISIL’s lifeblood, and a global security threat—with citizens of nearly 80 countries filling its ranks,” the fact sheet said. “Over 100 foreign fighters from the United States have traveled or attempted to travel to the conflict.”

“We will continue to use the criminal justice system as a critical tool in our counterterrorism toolbox.  Federal criminal laws provide a sound basis to prosecute those who provide material support to ISIL or who conspire with ISIL to plot attacks at home or abroad,” continued the strategy. “With respect to aviation security, we will work with air carriers to implement responsible threat-based security and screening requirements, and provide additional screening to individuals suspected of affiliation with ISIL. Finally, we will counter violent extremism here at home, including tailored domestic programs to prevent violent extremism and radicalization in order to intervene with at-risk individuals before they become radicalized toward violence and decide to travel abroad to Syria and Iraq to join ISIL.”

Posted at 7:11 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

Obama vs. the Islamic State: The Speech

Look, I have to be honest here. I had about as much interest in watching a Barack Obama foreign policy speech as I’d have in watching a 48-hour Young and the Restless marathon hosted by Rosanne Bahr and Carrot Top.

It’s not that Barack Obama has lost me on foreign policy. He never had me. He has always come off as the worst combination of rank opportunist and clownish amateur on foreign affairs. This is a man who went to Berlin and declared himself a citizen of the world, and he is the same man who sincerely believed that his mere election would sate the jihadists’ thirst for American blood.

When it comes to dealing with the Islamic State, I believe that we have to be swift, overwhelming and ruthless. But in Barack Obama we have a man who fills his gassy speeches with “Let me be clear, it’s all Bush’s fault,” and who believes that American power is more a force of bad than good. Any action he orders is unlikely to get the job done.

And so we arrive at the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. 9-11 is a twin mile marker now. There’s the original al Qaeda attack of 9-11-2001, and the follow-on attack in Benghazi on 9-11-12. About the second, we still do not know where Barack Obama was that night and what he was doing. We do know that he blamed a movie and refused, for weeks, to blame the terrorists. Most of the animals who attacked and killed four Americans that night are still at large.

On this eve of 9-11 memorials and remembrances, Barack Obama asked for network time to explain his strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

President Obama laid out a strategy that does the bare minimum. He wants to combine American air power with Iraqi boots and Free Syrian Army sandals on the ground, along with the courageous Kurds. IS probably laughed at two of those. It has defeated the Iraqi military already and has infiltrated the so-called “moderate” FSA. The Kurds are fighting IS bravely and have acquitted themselves well.

That leaves us with American air power, perhaps combined with the air forces of the British and the French.

Given enough time, air power might knock IS loose and might even defeat them. That’s not the way to bet, but air power did work in Bosnia during the Clinton years. IS is a different enemy, though, the best funded terrorist force in history, we’re told, and the most savvy social media terrorists around. They can fight air power with digital propaganda, with kidnappings, with beheadings, and with those attacks across the Texas-Mexico border that they’re threatening.

Syrian dictator Assad has already said that he views American airstrikes in his country as an act of war. That might complicate the picture.

President Obama had nothing to say about the US-Mexico border tonight, despite opening his speech with a claim that our national security is his “highest priority.” Skepticism of that claim, with an unsecured border and a president who downplayed the IS threat for months, is well justified.

“ISIL is not Islamic,” Obama claimed, despite the long history of Islamic terrorism and the fact that the first I in the name stands for “Islamic.”

Strange claim, that. ISIL ultimately derives its ideology from the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps they’re not Islamic too.

Stranger still, Obama touted Somalia and Yemen as models for the action to destroy IS. Somalia is a chaotic failed state, where the occasional droning of a terrorist leader seldom makes much strategic difference. Yemen is a longstanding haven of al Qaeda’s, where also, the occasional droning makes some, but not a great deal, of strategic difference.

The president was more energetic in tonight’s delivery than in his previous several speeches on terrorism. But his tone still contrasts with the passion, even power, he shows when speaking at party fundraisers and attacking Republicans. This is a president for whom foreign policy is a foreign language.

Posted at 6:26 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

In Other News: Chuck Schumer Is Still An Idiot

SURPRISE!

One of the main incentives driving a surge in U.S. corporations’ tax-driven overseas inversion deals would be pared back under a plan unveiled on Wednesday by two top Senate Democrats.

Though the plan was seen by analysts as unlikely to become law anytime soon, it draws further attention to the rising number of U.S. businesses moving abroad for tax reasons.

Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer, the No. 2 and No. 3 Democrats in the U.S. Senate, said their plan would deter a practice known as earnings stripping, in which companies avoid U.S. taxes by shifting U.S. profits to jurisdictions with lower tax rates.

“This bill curtails the incentive for companies to use shady accounting gimmicks to avoid paying their U.S. tax obligations,” Schumer said in a statement.

This has been a hot topic lately. Almost every conversation I have had with someone from the Left on this subject has gone the same way: I talk about the taxes and the need to look at that burden, they talk about the greedy companies who take legal steps to minimize said burden, which Schumer refers to as “shady accounting gimmicks”. It is always an argument about policy and economics versus an emotional argument.

Schumer and Durbin would rather spend every waking hour thinking of ways to make people pay more taxes than even consider ways to have them pay less, because that would require a conversation about spending.

And we know people who are spending money that isn’t theirs don’t care about such things.

Also, I’m fairly certain the Chuckster’s math skills aren’t top shelf.

Posted at 6:26 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

‘A Core Principle of My Presidency… If You Threaten America, You Will Find No Safe Haven’

Referring to the Islamic State as one of the “small groups of killers” that “have the capacity to do great harm,” President Obama announced tonight that “America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.”

That four-pronged campaign will include “a systematic campaign of airstrikes” and increasing “support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground.”

It will also include continuing “to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks” and “providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization.”

“In two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the UN Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort,” Obama said.

“As commander in chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al-Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year,” he said.

“Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL – which calls itself the Islamic State.”

Obama said he wanted to “make clear” that ISIL, or ISIS, is “not Islamic” and “certainly not a state.”

“If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region – including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks,” he said. “I know many Americans are concerned about these threats.”

“Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve…. Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

Obama called  ”a core principle of my presidency” the promise “if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

He also indicated that there won’t be any alliance with the dictator in Damascus. “In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost,” he said. “Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.”

The president said he “secured bipartisan support” for his four-pronged approach.

“I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL. But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger,” he said.

“This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.”

Obama veered toward job creation and energy independence, adding that “despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day.”

“American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America – our scientists, our doctors, our know-how – that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people – or the world – again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.”

Posted at 6:23 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

Airlines Slowly Switching From Paper To Tablets Because…IT’S THE 21st CENTURY

Financial incentives work.

American Airlines has won regulatory approval to swap flight attendants’ paper manuals for lighter Samsung tablets in a change that will save nearly $1 million a year, the company said on Wednesday.

The move, which does not yet affect attendants at American Airlines Group Inc’s (AAL.O) subsidiary US Airways, comes little more than a year after American’s cockpit went paperless, and is one of many strategies that airlines have pursued to reduce weight and fuel costs.

Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and United Airlines (UAL.N) have also distributed smart devices to their pilots, and Delta plans to roll out an e-manual for flight attendants starting in October.

American said its attendants already have the tablets, and those at US Airways will receive them after the combined company receives a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. The timing of that is uncertain.

Few technological advancements exemplify progress more than our ability to make journeys that used to take days, weeks or even months, in a matter of hours now. Yet even as the planes and the way we book travel have kept evolving, much of the airline industry has kept a lot of its business practices rooted in the 1960s, for a variety of reasons.

As someone who has been flying to work for a couple of decades, here is the change I would most like now: frequently travelers can take a test (annually, if need be) to prove that we understand the intricacies of the safety announcement, like how to use a seat belt buckle or recognize a door in a vehicle that doesn’t have many of them. Once we do, we’re given something that we can use to show the flight attendant that we have been cleared to listen to music during the announcements and spare ourselves one of the most tedious experiences known to modern man.

Sweet, sweet freedom.

Posted at 6:13 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

For Reasons Unknown To Sane People, McCain Is In Demand On GOP Campaign Trail

Ugh.

It’s general election season — and John McCain is back in demand.

With Republican primaries are over and Senate hopefuls in tough races no longer vying to outflank opponents on their right flank, the 2008 Republican nominee and infamous Senate “maverick” is being sought out on the campaign trail. He’s already stopped by purple Virginia and New Hampshire to stump for the GOP campaigns of Ed Gillespie and Scott Brown, and now the Arizona Republican is ready to go farther afield.

Nothing says, “We’ve learned our lessons!” like trotting out the fossil who is loathed more by the conservative Republican base than he is by Democrats these days. This is just another indication that the establishment GOP is woefully out of touch. Sadly, they probably won’t learn anything this year because the base will more than likely turn out and give them a big night in November because we don’t want President Obama running around completely unchecked during his last two years. That will have the unfortunate side effect of letting the old guard delude itself into thinking it can keep giving the finger to the base as it heads into the all important 2016 presidential election.

Get ready for President Warren if that ends up being the case.

Posted at 5:54 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

Admin Lobbying to Pass Training of Syrian Rebels from CIA to DoD

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) plans to give his response to President Obama’s full ISIS plan at a lunchtime speech tomorrow on the floor of the Senate.

More than two hours before Obama was scheduled to speak tonight, though, Graham said he would back authorizing under Title 10 the equipping and training of Syrian rebels through the Pentagon.

Administration officials led by top White House counter-terrorism adviser Lisa Monaco were reportedly lobbying lawmakers on the Hill today to support the move.

“There are risks associated with any decision, but today the biggest risk is to continue on the current path of doing nothing. ISIL now poses a direct threat to the American people and homeland and must be vanquished,” Graham said in a statement.

“For over three years, brave people in Syria have been fighting against a brutal tyrant, Bashar al-Assad.  Nearly 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives as Assad has unleashed his military on his own people. For three years, I have been calling to provide critical military assistance to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to stop the siege. Unfortunately, for three years, the president has rejected this strategy and Syria has descended further into chaos,” Graham continued.

“Seizing an opportunity, ISIL reconstituted itself from a diminished terrorist group in Iraq to become the largest, most well organized terrorist group on the planet, now headquartered in Syria. The ideal time to support the FSA was three years ago, at a time when it would have had the most return on investment.”

Graham added that it’s “clear to me the vast majority of Syrians don’t like Assad and sure don’t want to live under the thumb of ISIL.”

“It’s in our interests to support these Syrian opposition forces in their cause of defeating the ISIL terrorists who are reigning terror on them,” he said. “Therefore, if he makes the request tonight, I plan to support President Obama’s decision to allow the Department of Defense to take over training of the Syrian opposition in place of the CIA. I will also support funding requests for training and arming the Syrian opposition to enhance our chances of success.”

The administration has been reportedly training Free Syrian Army members at a camp in Jordan in a quiet CIA operation.

“Someone has to fight ISIL inside of Syria to keep America safe,” Graham said. “It is my hope that the House and Senate will support this request and provide the authorities and funding necessary to enhance our chances of success.”

“If we do not engage ISIL, the chances of being attacked here at home dramatically increase and I’d rather have willing Syrians do the fighting than have America go it alone.”

Shahid Hamid of the Brookings Institution tweeted that the original $500 million plan “could likely train only less than [a] single brigade of fighters over an 18-month period.”

“So key thing to watch for is whether Obama *explicitly* commits to more than the original $500 million for training/equipping Syrian rebels,” Hamid continued. “If Obama doesn’t commit to anything beyond the $500 million for Syrian rebels, that should be clear enough confirmation we’re not serious.”

The White House released a couple of excerpts from Obama’s address early.

“Tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” Obama will say, according to prepared remarks.

“But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”

Posted at 4:15 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

US Government Confirms: ISIS Is Planning to Infiltrate the Southern Border

Well, the border is largely unguarded, to the point that children can walk across. If they can, and if coyotes and drug cartel operatives can (and they can, and do), so can ISIS. The Free Beacon reports that ISIS has figured this out.

A senior Homeland Security (DHS) official confirmed to Congress on Wednesday that militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are planning to enter the United States via the porous southern border.

Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told senators during a hearing that ISIL supporters are known to be plotting ways to infiltrate the United States through the border.

“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in response to a question about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.”

“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said, explaining that border security agents are working to tighten measures that would prevent this from taking place.

Such as? The flood of illegal aliens across the border has slowed, but every time President Obama talks about amnesty or even speaks on the subject of “comprehensive immigration reform,” he attracts more people to cross illegally.

Prediction: Obama will ignore this reality in tonight’s speech. What will it take for him to recognize the border not as a political football, but as a serious national security issue that he as commander-in-chief must deal with?

Posted at 3:06 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

Did the NFL Really Not See the Ray Rice Punch Video Until This Week? (Update: NFL Denies)

The AP reports that the NFL had this week’s “new” video of Ray Rice punching his then girlfriend five months ago.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league executives have insisted they didn’t see the violent images until this week.

The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: “You’re right. It’s terrible.”

The law enforcement official, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, says he had no further communication with any NFL employee and can’t confirm anyone watched the video. The person said he was unauthorized to release the video but shared it unsolicited, because he wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.

The NFL has repeatedly said it asked for but could not obtain the video of Rice hitting Janay Palmer — who is now his wife — at an Atlantic City casino in February.

Did the NFL not take the Rice situation seriously at the beginning, or did the league engage in a cover-up?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has even more questions to answer now. This will end up defining his time at the NFL helm.

Update: The NFL denies:

 

Posted at 2:25 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

Will Obama Finally Promote ISIS from Jayvee to Varsity Tonight?

NBC phrases the question in the title a little differently:

ISIS Speech Offers Obama One Chance to Turn Bad Polls Around

I’m not so sure that they’re right. The Islamic State threat is not primarily a poll-driven problem. It’s a real-world security threat. Words and speeches will not solve it. Leadership and action are needed.

The situation that President Obama finds himself in is an uneviable one, but one that he could have avoided.

He called ISIS “jayvee,” and ignored their threat until it metastasized.

He ran for the presidency promising to end — but not win — the war in Iraq. He ended that war, so he thought, by withdrawing American troops prematurely. President Bush had warned him and others, explicitly, what would happen if U.S. troops were removed from Iraq too soon.  In 2007, Bush warned the following would happen if American troops were removed from Iraq too soon.

  1. Leaving too soon would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region, and for the United States.
  2. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda.
  3. We would risk mass killings on a horrific scale.
  4. It would allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq, to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.
  5. Leaving too soon would make it more likely that American troops would have to return to Iraq, to face an even more dangerous enemy.

And here we are. ISIS has carved out a territory the size of the United Kingdom. It is a threat worse than the one our troops faced the first time around in Iraq. ISIS has perpetrated mass killings. Its existence does put Iraq’s immediate future in the hands of a group that’s arguably worse than Iraq.

According to NBC, Obama’s new plan for dealing with ISIS will involve U.S. air power, the Iraqi military, and “moderate” Syrian rebels, but no more American boots on the ground than the 1000+ who are already there.

Of those three, U.S. air power is obviously far and away the most effective. U.S. air power alone can achieve a great deal, but probably cannot eliminate ISIS.

The Iraqi military melted in the face of ISIS months ago, which allowed them to gather up territory and scoop up the American weapons we had provided the Iraqi military. The “moderate” Syrian rebels may have sold the American hostages to ISIS that the terrorists beheaded recently. The extent to which they were ever moderate is debatable, but they are infiltrated with Islamists now.

This moment is a moment for an American president to lead — lead the American people in battling a threat, and lead the world in building a coalition to eliminate the threat. So far, Obama has shown no ability to do either. Tellingly, he has already told Congress that he doesn’t need them. That is a recognition that Congress does not trust him, and he has no ability to change that. It also puts the success or failure of the effort to remove ISIS entirely on his shoulders, even though most in Congress have been ahead of him in recognizing the ISIS threat.

Posted at 1:18 pm on September 10th, 2014 by

Millions of Gmail Account Passwords Were Released Online

I checked, and one of my gmail accounts had been compromised. If you use gmail it’s a good idea to check after this happened.

Time to change your password again. A database containing nearly 5 million Gmail user accounts and passwords was leaked on Bitcoin Security, a popular Russian website devoted to the cryptocurrency.

The text file was published on Tuesday night by user tvskit, according to CNews, the Russian news outlet that first broke the story. The leaker claimed that the majority of the accounts belong to users who speak English, Russian, or Spanish, and that approximately 60 percent are active. The passwords not only give access to Gmail, but a slew of other Google services such as Drive and the mobile payment system Google Wallet.

You can check your gmail account(s) here. You might have to be patient — people are flocking to the site to check their accounts.

Posted at 11:28 am on September 10th, 2014 by

Mourning in America: Gearing Up for the Post-Radio Shack World

We all paraded from the AMC Matador Ambassador station wagon into the Acme. Pop cashed his check from the Budd Company at the customer service window, bought a carton of Salems he’d share with Nan, and handed her a wad of cash to pay for the groceries. She steered the cart off among the aisles, for what must have been an island of sweet respite after a week trapped at home with four noisy, dirty, scuffling boys.

Then, most Wednesdays, if we didn’t need a haircut at the barbershop — a Princeton: tight on the sides, longer on top, looped over with a generous handful of Vitalis — it was off to one of three destinations in the Doylestown Shopping Center:

1) W.T. Grant: a five-and-dime, if we needed school clothes or supplies, or to look at the tropical fish, chameleons and pet rodents.

2) Sears: where my brothers and I played Pong, or fished through the discount 45′s bin while Pop shopped for tools.

3) Radio Shack: AKA Heaven for Boys

While the first two had their charms, it was Radio Shack that cast a spell on us, drawing us in at a dead run.

Gadgets and kits, lights and switches, buzzing and whirring and crackling — things that were cool before “cool” became “bad” or “sick” or “ridiculous” or whatever “cool” is now.

There was nothing like Radio Shack.

Today, I read that Radio Shack is sick — actually sick, perhaps dying — almost certainly headed for bankruptcy.

Troubled electronics retailer RadioShack Corp’s shares have lost nearly a third of their value since brokerage Wedbush Securities said on Tuesday the company could file for bankruptcy soon, making the stock worthless by the end of this year.

The stock fell as much as 20 percent to 76 cents on Wednesday, adding to a 23 percent plunge on Tuesday.

“Our price target reflects our expectation that creditors will force a reorganization and wipe out RadioShack’s equity,” Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter wrote in a note.

Oddly enough, I was just in a Shack in McKinney, Texas, on Sunday. Of course, it’s not really Radio Shack anymore…at least not the front half of the store. It’s a Frankensteinian amalgam of hipster brand names, competing for attention against a backdrop of their competitors’ products. It’s the Wal-Mart electronics department, in a third of the space with higher prices.

Cowling my eyes with my hands, I mumble to myself “not seeing anything, not seeing anything” until I reach the back of the store.

Here vestigial Radio Shack yet survives, like a pin-pithed dessicated frog with a faint heartbeat, but no will. My 18-year-old son asks what I’m looking for. It’s a logical question that not one of my brothers would have asked back in the day.

Posted at 11:10 am on September 10th, 2014 by

Former Obama Spokesmodel Jay Carney Joins CNN

Here’s what we have to look forward to in the next couple of years. Jay Carney opining on politics at CNN, where he will be joined for foreign policy commentary by Jen Psaki and Marie Harf.

And they and the network will get a big laugh pretending that none of them are partisan apologists. We’ll be seeing these people shilling and spinning on cable news for the rest of our natural lives.

Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney will join CNN as a political commentator, the network announced Wednesday.

He will start Wednesday night as President Barack Obama makes a prime-time statement about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief said in a statement.

“Jay’s unique experience as both a journalist and a White House press secretary make him an invaluable voice for the network as we cover the final two years of the Obama Administration and look ahead to the coming campaigns,” Feist said. “We’re fortunate to have Jay on our air tonight to provide analysis and insight surrounding the President’s address to the nation.”

Perfect timing.

Posted at 10:03 am on September 10th, 2014 by

America’s Most Infamous Drunk Driving DA Sets Up to Persecute Another Republican

University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall is a hero. He ought to be given a medal and there ought to be a parade through downtown Austin in his honor.

Hall was appointed regent by Gov. Rick Perry, and he soon found serious corruption in the admissions process at the UT Law School. He also found a slush fund and some large off-the-books sweetheart loans to faculty, which is a whole other story.

In the corrupt admissions case, politicians in both parties were using their clout to get their unqualified family members and others admitted to the school. Hall has fought against the university’s administration, against politicians and against the state media — who have repeatedly called for him to resign or for Perry to fire him or for the legislature to impeach him — to get the facts.

A week ago, the Dallas Observer published this thorough take on Hall’s exploits. Hall comes off as the hero that he truly is, and nearly everyone else in Texas who was involved comes off as corrupt or wagon-circling around the network of the powerful and connected. The university’s administration comes off as whiny and dishonest, along with shady and corrupt.

To his credit, Gov. Perry never once wavered in supporting Hall, even in the face of the university’s drive to impeach Hall via the legislature.

To their shame, just about every major newspaper in the state called for Hall to step down at some point. His crime, according to them, was that he asked for too much paperwork and information. This was the media lobbing that accusation — that Hall wanted too much information. Apparently the media can find a reason to oppose the freedom of information.

Their ears were being tickled by politicians who had things to hide, that Hall was bound to uncover. Meanwhile, Watchdog.org’s Jon Cassidy owned the story. That surely annoyed the drive-by media even more. He ran circles around the media, as they circled around and nuzzled up to the powerful.

Cassidy is back with another doozy. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, the nation’s most infamous drunk-driving DA, has convened a grand jury to criminalize Hall’s actions as regent. Actions, it’s worth pointing out again, that have uncovered real corruption at UT — and which were not illegal.

Lehmberg has found that Section 39.02 of the Texas Penal Code has a magic property. It turns the rest of state law— property code, education code, water code, etc.—into a vast extension of the criminal code. So long as Lehmberg can claim that the Republican was trying to “harm” someone, then just about anything can be turned into a crime. That’s how Perry’s exercise of his veto power became a crime (you can supply the air quotes). And that’s how a regent of the University of Texas System is facing actual jail time for supposed failure to “enhance the public image” of the university, or “nurture” it, or “achieve the maximum operating efficiency.”

If those don’t sound like crimes, it’s because they’re not. They’re bits of boilerplate from the state Education Code on the duties of a regent. But the magic paragraph makes a knowing violation of any “law relating to the public servant’s office” a crime if it’s done “with intent to harm or defraud another.”

The same law makes it a crime to knowingly misuse government property with intent to harm, which is the farfetched theory being employed against Perry’s veto of funding for Lehmberg’s office.

Read the rest. The potential indictment turns on some emails.

Hall found some emails between [UT President Bill] Powers’s office and the dean of the law school discussing whether or not to admit the son of the state House Appropriations Committee chairman, despite his poor scores on the Law School Admissions Test. (They admitted him; he’s flunked the bar three times since.) Hall showed the email to an official investigator from the state attorney general’s office, and to his defense attorney, who cited it in a letter to the legislative committee, naming no names. The name came out when a reporter bluffed the chairman into outing his son.

Those emails are the proverbial smoking gun in the corrupt admissions investigation. But –

The persecutors and prosecutors contend that the emails are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and by nearly identical state law as well, and that Hall committed some sort of crime in showing it to his attorney or the investigator. One theory is that this “leak” is the real “abuse of office,” rather than the whole non-enhancement of the public image theory. But that would involve proving that Hall “intentionally or knowingly” leaked FERPA-protected information, when the emails are almost certainly not FERPA-protected “education records” in the first place. The Supreme Court has ruled that “FERPA implies that education records are institutional records kept by a single central custodian, such as a registrar,” or that they’re “kept in a filing cabinet in a records room at the school or on a permanent secure database.” That wouldn’t include every last email or assignment that might include the student’s name. But that’s the sort of thing a motivated prosecutor never tells a grand jury.

Travis County grand juries don’t seem to be bothered with the implications of granting full felony indictments for, in Perry’s case, saying what he intended to do and then doing it using the constitutional power of his office, and in Hall’s case, seeking information from the university that he had every right to seek as regent. That the information Hall uncovered did point directly to actual corruption doesn’t seem to bother Lehmberg. She has not convened any grand juries to look into that. She is investigating Hall for investigating UT.

Perry’s speech and actions, both legal and protected, do not become a crime because he combined them. Hall’s actions, seeking information in accord with his duties as regent and consulting with investigators and his own lawyer, are not crimes either. Not separately, and not together. They just aren’t. And Lehmberg surely knows that, just as she surely knew that driving around with an open bottle of vodka in her car was, in fact, a crime.

The s0-called Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County DA is going to have to be removed from the county. Drunk-driving Rosemary Lehmberg is on a war path against the rule of law and common sense. In attacking Hall, Lehmberg is defending corruption at one of Texas’ most prestigious public universities. Indicting Hall is another way of attacking Perry and escalating the Democrats’ lawfare against Republicans.

The Texas legislature is going to have to take action, but it does not return to session until 2015. By that time, Lehmberg’s office may well have indicted every single Republican of note in the state.

Let’s take one last look at the media here, too.

Posted at 8:57 am on September 10th, 2014 by

Foreign Affairs Dem: ‘You Cannot Just Wave a Magic Wand and Have ISIS Disappear’

A leading national security Democrat said he’s hoping President Obama will present a strategy tonight that stresses “you cannot just wave a magic wand and have ISIS disappear.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a key Dem on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a notable critic of the Obama administration’s Iran strategy, said ISIS’ ”destruction doesn’t mean that truth and justice just emerges from the soil of the Middle East.”

“If you destroy one power in the Middle East, you empower the other side,” Sherman told C-SPAN. “And the four groups that are fighting ISIS now are, in many ways, nearly as evil as ISIS itself. And, in fact, those who are fighting against ISIS today on the ground have killed far more Americans than ISIS has.”

The congressman said Obama’s “cautious” approach ”has been a good one — when caution is called for.”

“I hope that the president will put Congress on the spot and ask for an authorization to use force because as important as it is to work for good governance in the Middle East, we’ve got to respect the United States Constitution,” he said. “It is not a given that our constitutional structure can be ignored and degraded and pulled apart and that somehow, the society will be able to face tougher times than we face now without — without it completely unraveling.”

That authorization should cover “air power and air power alone,” Sherman said, with boots on the ground only in instances such as rescuing a pilot.

“I think you authorize for two or three years with expedited procedures to reauthorize as this goes forward. And I think you have to explain to the American people, you can’t always get what you want immediately at a low cost,” the congressman continued. “And ISIS is not going to be destroyed in just a few weeks or a few months.”

Posted at 8:54 am on September 10th, 2014 by

Boxer: Republicans Will ‘Suffer’ if They Don’t Back Obama’s ISIS Strategy

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said President Obama has labored hard to “unite the world” against ISIS and Republicans need to get behind whatever strategy he presents tonight.

“The Congress has to hold together and back the president on this. I think the president has been working very hard to put together a coalition to go against ISIS,” Boxer told MSNBC. “Now, let’s — you know, we forget sometimes who ISIS is, and what they believe in. They believe, if you don’t see the world as they do in terms of this very strict interpretation of Islam, OK? That you either convert or they kill you, I mean, this is an incredible terrorist organization.”

“We’ve seen the way they act. The way they have treated people who are just innocent, freelance journalists, beheading two Americans. Our president is the commander-in-chief. ISIS is an imminent treat. We ought to be backing the president. He has got nine nations now to help us. He’s got NATO to help us. He’s going to the U.N. to get them to help us. The Arab League has said we have to take actions.”

With Obama “pulling together the world,” she continued, “you would think that the Republicans would be heart of that world coalition because no one will be left — faith in this world if we don’t bear down on this group.”

Boxer charged that all Republicans care about is making Obama look bad.

“Trying to defeat him in his last election. That’s what they care about and now, all they care about is taking back the Senate. That’s all they care about,” she said.

“So, if there’s one point in history — and it’s coming… when this president is going to go out to the American people and I can tell you, he has worked hard to get the world united here. The people of this country are going unite behind him, and frankly if [Republicans] don’t act as if they’re part of this fabric of this nation against ISIS I think they will suffer. I hope they will suffer because this is a time for us to put aside the D label, the R label, the I label, whatever label we hide behind and be Americans who want to stand up to this threat, but not do it the way we did Iraq, with walking into the middle of the civil war.”

Calling Obama “deliberative,” Boxer then acknowledged the president “does wear a tan suit once in a while.”

“But let me tell you, he is decisive once he has all the facts on his plate and I want a deliberative president,” she added.

Posted at 8:01 am on September 10th, 2014 by

No ‘Go-Slow Strategy’: Armed Services GOPs Name Five Things Necessary to Destroy ISIS

The Republican majority on the House Armed Services Committee took preemptive action on President Obama’s address to the nation tonight on ISIS, releasing its five elements of a successful strategy to destroy the terrorist group:

1. Recognizes the Immediate Threat to US National Security

• ISIL is more than a regional threat, it poses a clear and certain threat to the United States, our interests, and our allies and partners across the globe.

• Waiting until a terrorist organization is planning an “imminent” attack will cost American lives, as we learned 13 years ago on September 11th.

• ISIL also poses an imminent and existential threat to our allies in a critical region within the world.  Their assistance is key to comprehensively and sustainably handling this threat.

2. Calls for Swift Action with a Clear Objective to Destroy ISIL 

• The window for targeting ISIL while it is still operating largely in the open and has not yet fully blended in with the populace is closing.

• A go-slow strategy gives ISIL the space and time to defeat potential partners, attract more foreign fighters, secure additional funding, and plot and plan for future attacks against the United States, Europe, and our interests in the region.

• Our allies recognize that now is the time to act and are seeking US support and leadership.  Missing the opportunity presented by this coalition will make the job harder in the long run and will not lead to a sustainable solution.

3. Embraces Simultaneous Operations In Iraq and Syria

• An Iraq first, or Iraq only strategy cannot sufficiently erode ISIL. Decisive simultaneous action in Iraq and Syria is required to deny ISIL a safehaven.

• Waiting until the political situation in Iraq becomes more clear fails to create the space for moderate Sunnis to reject ISIL.  Rather it allows ISIL to further radicalize the population and foment sectarian tensions.

• Actions in Syria can be tailored to reduce the risk that operations embolden Assad or Jahbat al-Nusra and other al Qaeda affiliates.

4. Establishes the US as a Leading Coalition Partner

• The US is uniquely able to build, lead, and support coalition operations.  There are military options available to us that leverage the capabilities of regional allies on the ground, with the US in a supporting role.

• It is a misleading to suggest that the use of any American forces on the ground is akin to “serial occupation.”

• There is a narrow opportunity to defeat ISIL that will not require American boots on the ground in “surge” level numbers, but anyone who suggests a minimalist approach will be successful is not being clear-eyed about the challenge and resiliency of ISIL.

5. Does Not Rely On a Counter Terrorism (CT)-Only Approach

• Air strikes alone will not defeat ISIL, or meaningfully degrade them.

• Our allies are willing to lead the fight, but they will not be able to succeed on the ground without US support in areas like command & control, intelligence, refueling, and special operations.

• A strategy that closely resembles the CT centric standoff operations of the last 5 years is one that cannot prevent this threat from growing.  Nor can it sufficiently roll ISIL back as a threat.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) will present his strategy to defeat ISIS tomorrow morning at AEI.

Posted at 7:45 am on September 10th, 2014 by

Robert Gibbs Offers Subtle Blame Bush Excuse For Obama’s ISIS Inaction (VIDEO)

But of course. He’s being cautious because “BUT BOOOOOOOOSH!” Gibbs also mentions a “decade” of the policy that’s driving The Idiot King’s caution. Um…Bush was president for eight years and Obama has almost a full six under his belt now so it’s unclear which ten Gibbsy is referring to here.

Posted at 7:45 am on September 10th, 2014 by

Brown Wins GOP Nomination to Try to Oust Shaheen

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown decisively beat two challengers to win the GOP nomination for New Hampshire’s Senate race.

Brown got 50 percent of the vote compared to 23 percent each for former New Hampshire state Sen. Jim Rubens and former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith, with 91 percent of precincts reporting.

Some conservative groups had endorsed Rubens, arguing Brown was too centrist to take on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

Shaheen started out with a double-digit lead over Brown in the polls, but that has narrowed to a Real Clear Politics average of 5.4 points.

“We worked hard to get this far, and we’re only halfway there.  Now I am ready to work even harder to earn the vote and win on the fourth of November,” Brown told supporters Tuesday night in Concord.

“Whatever comes next on the Obama agenda, whatever Team Obama asks of Senator Shaheen, there’s a 99 percent chance that she’ll vote yes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like those odds,” he continued.

“Here’s how I look at it. Just because she’s been throwing her vote away in the Senate, does not mean you have to throw your vote away in November. President Obama is not up for reelection this year… however, his No. 1 foot soldier Senator Shaheen is. New Hampshire voters have a unique chance to be a check and balance on six years of failed policies. If we’re ever going to hold this president accountable, we have to hold this senator accountable. The chance won’t come again, so let’s take it right now and turn this country around.”

Brown promised to be a ”vote for the independent spirit of our state 100 percent of the time.”

He noted that he submitted a bill to yank the citizenship and passports of Americans who join jihad — an idea introduced by some senators this week in response to citizens fighting abroad for ISIS — back when he was in the Senate.

“The president has been slow to move, and so far his foreign policy has been unsteady and incoherent. And how about we start with those American jihadists and their American passports?” Brown said.

“All of these jihadists need to be dealt with where they are. If it’s going to happen at all, then America has to lead. And for America to lead we need to stop all the careless cutting in defense, and start rebuilding the military power of this country.”

Shaheen made clear in her remarks Tuesday night that she’ll try as much as possible to pin the carpetbagger label on Brown.

“I didn’t just move here. I’ve been here, working to make a difference for New Hampshire. No matter where Scott Brown lives, he’s going to put Scott Brown first. Not you. Not your family. Not New Hampshire,” Shaheen told supporters.

“The fact is Scott Brown may have changed his address but he hasn’t changed his stripes. New Hampshire is not a consolation prize.”

On Friday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will endorse Brown at a unity rally in Durham.

Posted at 7:33 am on September 10th, 2014 by