The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Congress can’t even begin to speculate what it can do to aid the fight against ISIS until President Obama comes up with a strategy to “destroy” the Islamic State.
“ISIS is a clear and present threat to our allies across the Middle East and to the United States. There is no negotiating with ISIS or deterring it. It must be defeated and destroyed,” chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a statement today. “Doing so demands a comprehensive strategy combining diplomatic, political, and military efforts, and the contributions from a broad coalition of countries. Such a strategy will require time, commitment, and leadership that America is uniquely suited to provide.”
“This comprehensive approach may well require additional authorities from Congress, but speculation about that before the president has even offered a strategy is putting the cart before the horse,” he continued. “We need the president to explain to the American people what is at stake, what our objectives are, and the strategy for how to achieve them. Only after we understand all this can we contemplate what new authorities might be needed.”
McKeon, who is retiring at the end of this term, challenged Obama “to engage Congress.”
“I’m willing to work with him, and I would offer a few factors for him to keep in mind,” the chairman continued. “First, ISIS is an urgent threat and a minimalist approach, that depends solely on FY15 funding or pinprick strikes that leave fragile forces in Iraq and Syria to do the hard fighting, is insufficient to protect our interests and guarantee our safety in time.”
“Second, good strategies keep options on the table and keep an adversary guessing, instead of telegraphing what we won’t do. No leader ever won a conflict by first declaring what steps he was unwilling to take – or, for that matter, leaking details about steps he actually is taking.”
Third, McKeon stressed, “the ISIS threat was allowed to build and fester over a period of time.”
“They are not likely to be decisively defeated quickly, but will have to be faced by this president and his successors,” he said. “Therefore, strategy and decisions made by the president now should preserve future options, not foreclose them. Finally, this enemy must be defeated, but if we are not going to adequately resource our effort, we will only make a very complex security situation worse.”
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner…the titular leader of Republicans on Capitol Hill…the man who in negotiations must stare steely-eyed across the table at the reptilian-blooded House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and at the Commander in Chief, his chill-ness, President Barack Obama…this man…this force of nature has released a video likening himself unto a wind-up clanging toy monkey.
I have now watched the video — dubbed “The Monkey in the Room” — several times, pondering after its perplexing purpose — searching for the deeper meaning that might escape my public-school-molded mind. It’s presented as an official video the Speaker of the House, with “Speaker.gov” prominently displayed. Therefore, “we, the People” picked up the tab for the staff time required to film, edit and post it.
Perhaps Rep. Boehner released “The Monkey in the Room” in order to bond emotionally with people who think the House Speaker should be an affable sot, frittering away his days as the remote-controlled automaton of his sophomoric staff.
The most humanizing take might be that John Boehner and his staff have inside jokes, just like the folks in the cubes at your office.
But just like those jokes, they rarely play elsewhere.
The title of the video provides an extra measure of absurdity, apparently combining the clichés “elephant in the room” with “get this monkey off of my back” to spawn “The Monkey in the Room.”
After enduring his video and his tenure as Speaker, I’d suggest a better title: “Get This Elephant Off Of My Back.”
And it looks like a government job. The hackers hit JP Morgan Chase and another unidentified US bank, according to Bloomberg News. The FBI is investigating.
The attack, which occurred in mid-August, resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, and authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.
In one case, the hackers used a zero-day vulnerability in one of the banks’ websites, then plowed through layers of elaborate security to steal the data, a feat several security experts said appeared far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers. The incidents occurred at a low point in relations between Russia and the West, as Russian troops continue to mass on the Ukrainian border and the West tightens sanctions aimed at crippling Russian companies, including some of the country’s most important banks.
Rogue retaliatory sanctions?
By now you’ve undoubtedly seen and read Democrats getting in a high dudgeon over Burger King’s purchase of Tim Horton’s, a Canadian donut company. After the $11.4 billion acquisition, Burger King will move its headquarters to Canada. The King will be a Canuck in the eyes of the law.
Democrat backer Warren Buffet is financing the deal. Democrat officeholders and pundits are outrageously outraged about it. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is being outrageously opportunistic, using Burger King’s move north to promote burger chains based in his home state.
His complaint: the merger could be an ‘inversion,’ in which a corporation shifts its profits abroad to avoid U.S. taxes.
“Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers or White Castle sliders. Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers,” Brown said. Read the rest of his release here.
Following suit, I’ll be outrageously opportunistic and promote Texas-based Whataburger. Which has better burgers anyway. And spicy ketchup if you ask for it.
Burger King’s smoothies, though…not bad. Not bad at all.
The subject of “inversions” has come up in direct relation to US corporate taxes being hiked to the point that they’re the highest in the developed world. This should not be.
In an age of multinational corporatism, it’s counterproductive to tax corporations too hard. They can, and will, move their operations to more favorable locations. Canada under its Conservative government has become one of the more favorable countries to do business.
If Democrats really wanted to do the economy some good, they would look long and hard at sweeping tax reform, including corporate taxes.
For what it’s worth, Burger King says re-locating to Canada isn’t about taxes. It’s about not ripping Tim Horton’s, which is apparently in icon north of the border, from Canada and making it another grubby Yank operation.
Is the Burger King move an “inversion” or just another decision made by one of those things that are made up of people, but the left refuses to recognize as artificial people for the purposes of perpetual existence and organization?
I don’t know. But I do know that the Democrats have a direct avenue to retaliate against Burger King if they want. And that’s through the US armed forces.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Services has existing contracts with a number of vendors of Americana. Burger King is one of them. There are Burger King (and Popeye’s, and a few other) restaurants at US bases all over the world. At home bases, they’re convenient stops for military personnel and their families to grab a cheap bite. Overseas, they’re little slices of America in foreign lands. They’re also nice ways to introduce the local citizens to a little bit of American culture.
I doubt that I’m giving the Democrats any ideas here. Anyone on any of several congressional committees, and staffers of course, has to be aware of the AAFES contract with Burger King. I wouldn’t put it past them to be looking into the contract right now, seeking a way to strike the King off US bases.
It wouldn’t actually hurt Burger King’s bottom line. The base restaurants are surely a tiny fraction of the chain’s overall spread. It would be symbolic. Democrats like nothing better than symbolic strikes.
The Daily Beast’s anti-Second Amendment crusader Cliff Schecter is full of praise for Microsoft founder, billionaire Bill Gates, because Gates wants to force every gun transaction in Washington State to go through a government check.
It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.
Gates is only the latest Washington billionaire to give to the effort, with original Amazon investor Nick Hanauer providing crucial early funding, and more recently upping his overall donation to $1.4 million. Additionally, Gates’s Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, has provided $500,000 for the cause.
But Gates’s fame brings more attention and further legitimizes the initiative in a way that almost nobody else could. Once the Gates Foundation made it a priority to combat malaria around the world in 2000, it brought down deaths due to the insect-borne disease by 20 percent in 11 years, saving the lives of 1 million African children in the process.
Gun ownership is a civil right, at least if you respect the Constitution.
Universal background checks won’t stop criminals. Universal checks, like the related “gun show loophole,” is a red herring to combat a problem that is decreasing.
Overall gun-related violence is down, and it is sharply down in Chicago — after concealed carry permits were forced on the state’s Democratic leadership. More guns, less crime, because criminals can no longer count on their victims being disarmed.
Bill Gates, like Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and George Soros, is a special interest kingpin. But he’s the right kind of one-percenter special interest donor, so the Beast praises him.
Bloomberg is worth $33 billion, but if that’s not enough, Gates is worth well over two times that amount. Who knows, with that kind of dough, maybe even measures that “only” enjoy 56 percent support like bans on assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines could pass via direct voting by uncorrupted American citizens. Or perhaps state legislators and members of Congress who bend easily to the will of these Lords of War could be swapped out for those who live in a closer neighborhood to the best interests of the American populace.
That’s packed full of emotional nonsense. The “Lords of War” have nothing to do with the Second Amendment. The left’s “Lords of Cash,” on the other hand, keep attacking the Second Amendment rights of everyday Americans.
Likely the NRA will try to do to Gates what it has attempted to do to Bloomberg for a few years now, and seek to make this fight about him and not its right-wing radicalism in the service of avarice. He’s a billionaire trying to influence our political process, after all, unlike Manhattan resident David Koch, who along with his brother Charles has polluted our political process to no end, including funding the NRA.
See, Gates is just the right kind of special interest.
Bill Gates is welcome to waste his money on this. He might even succeed, in Washington State, and the failure of a universal check to have an impact on gun crime ought to serve as evidence that the entire effort is a ruse to disarm average non-billionaire Americans bit by bit.
At the same time, it should be pointed out that billionaires tend not to live by their own anti-gun rhetoric. Don’t expect the likes of Cliff Schecter to call them out on that.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor (AR) has the unenviable task of running for re-election as a Democrat in a red state against a very strong Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton.
A glance at the RCP average over at the Grid shows that the race is a toss-up, but Cotton has a narrow lead on any given day. Arkansas is a likely pick-up for the GOP, meaning that Pryor is likely to be looking for work on the Obama economy come January.
Pryor is desperate. So desperate that he has launched an ad blaming Cotton for not getting America ready for the Ebola virus outbreak.
That would be the Ebola outbreak that is currently underway in Africa, and for which a pair of American missionaries were recently brought back to the United States and treated successfully.
Even MSNBC isn’t buying what Democrat Mark Pryor is selling, in what may be the worst, most dishonest ad this cycle. Take a look on the next page.
In 1992, McDonald’s opened its first franchise in Beijing, Microsoft released Windows 3.1, AT&T released a video telephone that cost about $1500, Space Shuttle Endeavor completed its maiden voyage into space, and President George H. W. Bush signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Senate ratified that treaty as it was written at that time, as the Constitution specifies must happen for any treaty to be valid, and President Bush signed it on October 15, 1992 — just a couple of weeks before he would lose to Bill Clinton (and spoiler Ross Perot).
Decades later, President Barack Obama is seeking to use that treaty as a Trojan Horse to push his extreme environmental agenda onto an unsuspecting, and ailing, US economy, according to the New York Times.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.
In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
Our adjunct constitutional law professor in the Oval Office knows that. He has a plan to get around it.
“There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse,” said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. “There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate.”
American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.
That’s probably illegal, but our adjunct constitutional law professor in the Oval Office isn’t overly concerned about that.
Aware that the Democrats are likely to lose the Senate, Obama will pursue his agenda without the people’s representatives, and will knowingly set up a constitutional controversy, maybe even a crisis, for the sake of “climate change.”
The Obama administration’s international climate strategy is likely to infuriate Republican lawmakers who already say the president is abusing his executive authority by pushing through major policies without congressional approval.
“Unfortunately, this would be just another of many examples of the Obama administration’s tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard laws it doesn’t like — and to ignore the elected representatives of the people when they don’t agree,” Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, said in a statement.
Obama can do this because he’s a scofflaw who knows full well just how unlikely even a Congress under full Republican control is to discipline him, and because of that 1992 treaty that Bush signed in a futile attempt to burnish his own environmental credentials.
Obama will do this because he will never face the voters again, and because jobs and a strong US economy are the farthest things from his mind and his agenda.
In the days immediately following his indictment by a Travis County grand jury, Texas Gov. Rick Perry saw support rally to his side from all across the political world. Conservatives here and at National Review and everywhere else noted how weak and political the indictment is. Liberals like Jonathan Chait, the New York Times, David Axelrod, Lanny Davis and Alan Dershowitz questioned the indictment from the left. Perry became an unlikely unifying figure, and much of the early news about the indictment focused not on him but on Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg and her drunk driving arrest — the arrest that ended up getting Perry indicted for exercising his constitutional veto power over state funding for an office that Lehmberg controls.
Even Perry’s mugshot turned out to be a victory.
Gov. Perry built up a solid legal team that has pushed back against the indictment vigorously, a team that includes Texas defense attorneys and Mark Fabiani, as liberal a Democrat attorney and political strategist as there is. Fabiani’s hire signaled just how outrageous the indictment truly is.
But following that hire, Gov. Perry has added two Republicans strategists to his team and their additions are stirring up skepticism and opposition on the right — Steve Schmidt and Henry Barbour.
Schmidt is best known among the conservative grassroots for bashing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin years after her and Sen. John McCain’s failed run for the presidency in 2008. Both Schmidt and Nicole Wallace were 2008 McCain campaign advisers whose bashing of Palin and other conservatives in the years since has made them unpopular figures among Tea Party supporters and the GOP grassroots.
Wallace recently joined ABC’s The View. Wallace’s and Schmidt’s actions following the 2008 defeat have not been forgotten, not by a long shot. Both seem happy to resurrect problems from that campaign and blame them on others, either Palin or conservatives, not themselves for running a terrible, flaky, indecisive, and ultimately unsuccessful campaign.
Henry Barbour is known for a more recent transgression, smearing conservatives during the controversial Mississippi primary battle between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Breitbart, usually a Perry supporting conservative news operation, is reminding readers today of Barbour’s role in that race, and of efforts to get the Republican National Committee to censure Barbour.
Conservative leader Brent Bozell has called for Barbour’s censure.
“Mr. Barbour and his allies in the Mississippi political establishment smeared State Senator Chris McDaniel and his conservative supporters as racists and hired Democratic operatives to engage in scare tactics to turn out Democrats to vote for incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. These are the tactics of the radical left and must not be tolerated by the Republican Party.
“What was done to Senator McDaniel and Mississippi conservatives was dishonest and disgusting and must not stand. Using the tactics of the far left to wage a character assassination campaign against a Republican state senator and his supporters is unconscionable.
“Those who were involved in any way must be held accountable. We call on Chairman Priebus to remove Mr. Barbour to send a clear message that there is no place in the Republican Party for this kind of character assassination and smear campaign. Should further investigation uncover other accomplices, they, too, should be held accountable for their despicable actions.”
Conservative radio titan Mark Levin is also angrily questioning the decision to hire Schmidt, “conservative-attacker and Palin-hater?”
While Schmidt has been brought on board to help out with Perry’s indictment defense, Barbour has been hired to help with the burgeoning Perry campaign. Barbour has a direct political role at a time when conservatives are calling for the RNC to discipline him.
Fabiani’s hire made political sense, as it demonstrates that even many prominent Democrats believe that the Travis County indictment of Perry is outrageous and dangerous. But Barbour and Schmidt are causing Perry an unnecessary headache on the right, where up to now he has found strong support against the indictment while voters in key early primary states are taking a second look at him.
Adding Schmidt and Barbour to his legal team also exposes Perry to criticism on the right from potential presidential rivals, who up to now have been supportive as well.
The conservative right wing has risen to the defense of actress Sofia Vergara’s Emmys pun. I’m pretty sure they’re only doing this to annoy liberal feminists, which is a stupid reason to defend anyone’s bad joke. What conservatives fail to realize is that, by defending Vergara’s vapid display of beauty on the altar, they’re putting themselves in the same camp as those feminist liberals they claim to hate.
What made Vergara’s 360 on prime time acceptable? Her beauty and the fact that she was fairly modest in her presentation. Vergara’s is the safe, 1940′s glamour style that conservatives love, equal parts nostalgic, respectable, and most importantly, tantalizing tease for those strapping young American boys in bluchers and madras ties. Beyonce, villified by conservatives for her lascivious performance at the VMA’s, is everything right wing men loathe, despise and even fear from the feminist left. She is dangerous, grotesquely sexual, and lusts after deviance. Instead of addressing this, conservatives simply sought an alternative goddess to fit their metaphorical and sexual needs. In truth, there is nothing different from Beyonce and Vergara’s respective performances, except for the fact that Vergara kept her legs closed, abiding by that age-old Bible belt bit of advice: Who’s going to buy the cow when you give the milk away for free?
Even the strongest of conservative analyses of the Beyonce/Vergara dispute includes:
As for the examples being set for young women: if you have a choice between wearing a tasteful, expensive dress and standing on a turntable to make a joke, or doing whatever Beyonce is singing about, I believe most American mothers would join me in strongly urging their daughters to choose the turntable.
The subject of our newest caption contest is a photo tweeted by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee on Sunday, August 24, in New Mexico. The first tweeted message that accompanied the photo was:
Then, a few hours later the DNC Chairwoman followed up with this tweet:
Let’s first analyze these two tweets and then your mission for the caption contest will be revealed.
“This pic says it all -…”
Yup, it says that the DNC Chairwoman is living in an alternative universe where sad, defeated, distraught, bored New Mexico Democrats are seen as “motivated and ready to win!”
If these people are what Democrats consider “a fired-up crowd” then Wasserman Schutz’s party will drown in a November election
wave tsunami. No kidding, at my mother’s nursing home I’ve seen a more fired-up crowd during music hour then was exhibited by these foot soldiers in Debbie’s Democrat army. (Must be draftees.)
So, all you need to know about the Democratic Party and their Chairwoman is that they lie, she lies. (If you like your party you can keep your party. Period. If you like your fired-up crowd, you can keep your fired-up crowd. Woo-hoo!)
Now, here is your mission should you dare to enter this contest.
What was the DNC Chairwoman saying at this moment?
Why was the gentleman wearing the blue shirt in front of Ms. DWS holding his neck?
What was the older man wearing a light green shirt to the right of Mr. Neck Holder thinking?
Was that an American flag to the right of Ms. DWS? If so, why was it so low to the ground?
What should be the overall caption for this photo?
Have fun and stay “fired-up” at the prospects of defeating this DNC Chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman in November. And yes, you can caption her too. But, as usual, all entries must be classy and in good taste. I mean it! (Don’t make me regret this part of the contest.)
Hat tip to BizPac Review for DWS tweet.
President Obama spoke to the American Legion’s annual convention today. Bridget Johnson wrote up the president’s remarks, which were notable for a couple of things. Obama seems determined not to use the US military against the Islamic State, no matter what. He told the veterans group that no US troops would be involved in ground combat against the Islamist force.
The speech was also notable for the tepid response that the president received from the group. Grabien has compiled a montage of the polite applause that Obama received.
The American Legion is a veterans group, and as such, tends to be conservative. Obama could not rely on his usual applause lines in which he turns insult comic against Republicans. The Legion is not a group that is impressed by celebrity. Obama was obviously far out of his element today.
In introducing [Mexico President] Peña Nieto on Monday, Brown spoke about the interwoven histories of Mexico and California and nodded to the immigrants in the room, saying it didn’t matter whether they had permission to be in the United States.
“You’re all welcome in California,” he said.
Brown nonverbally called all legal immigrants “suckers” at the same time. They’re suckers for respecting American law, paying the fees, standing in line and raising their hand to swear loyalty to their new home. Those who broke the law are just as welcome as those who respected it.
Suckers. According to California Gov. Jerry Brown, Democrat.
Governors do not have the power to abrogate federal immigration law, anymore than presidents do. And they don’t.
Gov. Brown is both a scofflaw and a racist, favoring Mexican immigrants over immigrants from anywhere else in the world. But the left won’t indict him for the former, and won’t excoriate him for the latter. The left will praise him for both.
We live in scofflaw times, when the President of the United States considers granting unilateral amnesty outside the law to 5 million illegal aliens, a few years after his government sued Arizona for attempting to enforce immigration law.
California is running out of water and is all but out of jobs. Yet its governor welcomes a deepening of the labor pool, and an increase in the population.
You’re reading that correctly. The percentage of Frenchmen who rate the Islamic State is higher than the percentage of Palestinians who rate them, in a different poll. By a decent three points.
France is about 10% Muslim. So some of those who favor the child-murdering, sex-slave-selling, head-chopping thugs who literally power their war against the 21st century on stolen oil are not jihadists. They’re ordinary Frenchmen.
The French dropped out of NATO ages ago just to be a pain, but they got back in in 2009. They’re supposed to be a member of the western alliance.
Younger French support ISIS even more strongly, up to 24% of French ages 18 to 24.
As is their wont, Vox tries blaming the rise of pro-ISIS sentiment on the rise of “far right” politics in Europe. That makes no sense. Anti-Semitism, which is probably related to pro-ISIS beliefs, is mainly on the far left both in Europe and the US. It’s the far left that tends to coddle Palestinian terrorism while blaming Israel for defending itself, while the right supports Israel. And the younger generations tend to be more left than right. Why would young Frenchmen be left left left left left on the issues and then go “far right” on this one thing?
Whatever the cause, if the poll is accurate, it’s alarming — even more alarming than polls showing that younger Americans tend not to support Israel.
President Obama lauded the U.S. for being a leading force for peace and security in the world while assuring that pulling out of Afghanistan wouldn’t let the country become a haven for terrorists.
Obama told the American Legion convention that “the United States is better positioned to lead in the 21st century than any nation on Earth.”
“It’s not even close. We have the most powerful military in history. That’s certainly not close. From Europe to Asia, our alliances are unrivaled. Our economy is the most dynamic. We’ve got the best workers. We’ve got the best businesses. We have the best universities and the best scientists,” he said.
“…Nobody else can do what we do. No other nation does more to underwrite the security and prosperity on which the world depends. In times of crisis, no other nation can rally such broad coalitions to stand up for international norms and peace. In times of disaster, no other nation has the capabilities to deliver so much so quickly. No nation does more to help citizens claim their rights and build their democracies. No nation does more to help people in the far corners of the Earth escape poverty and hunger and disease and realize their dignity.”
The president continued by noting “even countries that criticize us, when the chips are down and they need help, they know who to call.”
“They call us. That’s what American leadership looks like. It’s why the United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world,” he said. “Now, sustaining our leadership, keeping America strong and secure means we have to use our power wisely. History teaches us of the dangers of overreaching and spreading ourselves too thin and trying to go it alone without international support or rushing into military adventures without thinking through the consequences.”
“And nobody knows this better than our veterans and our families, our veteran families because you’re the ones who bear the wages of war. You’re the ones who carry the scars. You know that we should never send American sons and daughters into harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary and we have a plan and we are resourcing it and prepared to see it through.”
He added the U.S. “has to lead with strength and confidence and wisdom.”
“And that’s why after incredible sacrifice by so many of our men and women in uniform, we removed more than 140,000 troops from Iraq and welcomed those troops home. It was the right thing to do,” Obama said.
He praised his administration’s drive against “al-Qaeda’s leadership in the tribal regions in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” and stressed that the war would be coming to a close for the U.S. in four months with the pullout from Afghanistan.
“And now, as Afghans continue to work towards the first democratic transfer of power in their history, Afghan leaders need to make the hard compromises that are necessary to give the Afghan people a future of security and progress. And as we go forward, we’ll continue to partner with Afghans so their country can never again be used to launch attacks against the United States.”
He waited for applause after this line; he got a smattering of claps after the pause.
Obama said he’s “always made clear” that “the blows we’ve struck against al-Qaeda’s leadership don’t mean the end to the terrorist threat.”
“Al-Qaeda affiliates still target our homeland. We’ve seen that in Yemen. Other extremists threaten our citizens abroad, as we’ve seen most recently in Iraq and Syria. As commander in chief, the security of the American people is my highest priority, and that’s why, with the brutal terrorist group ISIL advancing in Iraq, I have authorized targeted strikes to protect our diplomats and military advisers who are there,” he continued.
“And let me say it again, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq. We’ll not allow the United States to be dragged back into another ground war in Iraq. Because ultimately, it is up to the Iraqis to bridge their differences and secure themselves.”
The president referenced the parents of American journalist James Foley, stressing prayers were with them.
“But our message to anyone who harms our people is simple: America does not forget our reach is long. We are patient. Justice will be done. We have proved time and time again we will do what’s necessary to capture those who harm Americans to go after those who harm Americans. And we’ll continue to take direct action where needed to protect our people and to defend our homeland. And rooting out a cancer like ISIL won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick,” Obama said.
“But tyrants and murderers before them should recognize that kind of hateful vision ultimately is no match for the strength and hopes of people who stand together for the security and dignity and freedom that is the birthright of every human being.”
Since We’re So Flush with Cash, the Federal Government is Funding a Study of ‘Misinformation’ on Social Media
Remember “AttackWatch,” the Obama campaign meme to get friends and families to rat each other out for the sake of politics?
Well, it’s back. Only, this time you and I are paying for it, as it has been brought inside the federal government.
The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.
The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”
The university has received $919,917 so far for the project.
“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”
“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”
“This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate,” the grant said.
“Subversive memes”…? Who gets to define what’s subversive, what is “hate speech” and what is and is not “propaganda?”
There’s a big clue in the name — Truthy — which is taken from Stephen Colbert’s leftwing parody of Bill O’Reilly.
There’s another big clue in what the government wants people to do with Truthy.
The government-funded researchers hope that the public will use their tool in the future to report on other Twitter users.
Pretty much everything that comes out of Barack Obama’s mouth is subversive propaganda. Some of his more acerbic attacks on Republicans can qualify as “hate speech.” But it doesn’t sound like that’s what Truthy is looking for.
The New York Post reports that last night, a young Jewish couple were assaulted in New York City. The assailants made it clear that the attack was racially motivated.
A gang of anti-Semitic thugs roughed up a Jewish man and his wife on the Upper East Side on Monday evening before fleeing in cars flying Palestinian flags, police sources told The Post.
Two cars and multiple motorcycles pulled up to the couple on East 63rd Street near Third Avenue just after 8 p.m., and the assailants began yelling “anti-Jewish statements,” the sources said.
There were no serious injuries. There have been no arrests so far.
Last week, someone hung a gigantic Palestinian flag off of the Brooklyn Bridge. That flag had “Boycott,” “Divest,” “Sanction,” and “Gaza in our Hearts” written on it. There have been no arrests in this breech of security at the bridge.
One of the Senate Republicans in the gang of eight who forged a bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the upper chamber last year urged President Obama to not take unilateral action in the face of House inaction.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote in a letter to Obama today that he hoped “Senate action on this matter could serve as a catalyst for a humane but responsible reform that could ultimately achieve bicameral, bipartisan support,” but acknowledges the effort is now at a stalemate.
“After the experience of the last 18 months, I have become convinced that there is no realistic path forward on comprehensive reform for the foreseeable future. Instead, it is clear to me now that the only approach that has any chance of success is one that addresses our immigration problems in a series of sequential pieces of legislation,” Rubio wrote.
Those components, he said, would have to address the problems of illegal immigration and a guest-worker program.
“It is my sincere belief that if we can bring illegal immigration under control and modernize our legal immigration system, then the American people and a majority of their representatives in Congress would be willing to reasonably and responsibly address the issue of millions of people currently in this nation illegally. It will not be easy. And it will not be unanimous. But if we can make real progress on stemming the tide of illegal immigration, I am convinced we will have the support necessary to address this serious issue once and for all,” the senator continued.
“All of this is why I have grown increasingly alarmed by news that your administration is considering sweeping executive action to give work permits to millions of people here illegally. If indeed you move forward on such a decision, I believe it will close the door to any chance of making progress on immigration reform for the foreseeable future.”
Rubio offered as example Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) decision in 2012, which “was a major impediment to passage of the kind of immigration reform our nation needs.”
“No matter what we tried to do to institute meaningful enforcement measures in the Senate bill, opponents pointed to DACA as evidence of your unwillingness to enforce the law. They argued that no matter what we wrote into law on enforcement, your administration would simply ignore it,” he said. “Furthermore, your pursuit of unilateral action in the midst of an election year, without any concern for the policy ramifications, has played a significant role in the humanitarian and security crisis that has been occurring on our border with Mexico.”
Rubio said he understood Obama ”inherited a broken system created after years of poor decisions made by both political parties in Washington.”
“But the cumulative result of six years of your administration’s approach on immigration reform is that, for all intents and purposes, America no longer has an immigration system. Instead, we have unsettling chaos,” he added. “I know you are receiving tremendous political pressure from certain activists to grant another unilateral, temporary and uncertain legal status to millions of additional undocumented immigrants. But to do so, without first taking any serious steps to address the border or protect American workers, will increase the perception of ambiguity in our laws, incentivize more people to immigrate here illegally, and significantly set back the prospects of real reform.”
Rubio stressed that “it saddens me that a nation of immigrants is divided by the issue of immigration.”
“At the heart of this issue are the people who are affected by it: the American worker whose wages are undercut by illegal workers. The rancher who lives in fear from the cartels and the coyotes. The brilliant young chemist who got her Ph.D. but can’t get a green card. The young mother risking everything to give her child a chance at a better life. The ‘dreamers’ who graduated at the top of their class but face an uncertain future. The Border Patrol agent who brought diapers and formula from his home to care for the children that have been pouring over the border. And the men and women across this country who ask, ‘If Washington can’t get this right, can they get anything right?’” he wrote.
“As someone who believes sincerely in the need for reform, is the son of immigrants, and lives in a community of immigrants, I still reserve some optimism that you’ll reject the politics of the moment and remember that the decisions you make will impact the people at the heart of this issue long after your duty to serve them has come to an end.”
You know campaign season has started in earnest when an incumbent accuses his challenger — Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) vs. Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — of leaving us all vulnerable to Ebola:
After Monday’s bombshell about the federal government’s system-wide email back-up system broke, there was yet another bombshell.
The IRS “recycled” — destroyed — Lois Lerner’s hard drive in June 2011, just 10 days after Rep. Dave Camp had sent a letter to the IRS inquiring about the targeting of conservative groups that Lerner knew about and may have orchestrated.
The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry device, too. Even though there is no suggestion that it ever “crashed,” as the agency claims about her hard drive.
Even worse, the IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry after it knew of the crash, and while the congressional investigation was underway.
The Blackberry would have contained all of Lerner’s emails.
The New York Observer picks up the story:
In two elusive and nebulous sworn declarations, we can glean that Ms. Lerner had two Blackberries. One was issued to her on November 12, 2009. According to a sworn declaration, this is the Blackberry that contained all the emails (both sent and received) that would have been in her “Outlook” and drafts that never were sent from her Blackberry during the relevant time.
With incredible disregard for the law and the Congressional inquiry, the IRS admits that this Blackberry “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.” This is a year after her hard drive “crash” and months after the Congressional inquiry began.
The IRS did not even attempt to retrieve that data. It cavalierly recites: “There is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this investigation,” according to Stephen Manning, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Strategy & Modernization.
Lerner was issued another Blackberry for Valentine’s Day 2012—also after she came under fire for her targeting of conservative groups.
The IRS was engaged in criminal destruction of evidence. It is engaged in a game of running out the clock and extending the investigation as long as possible now. Lerner’s current Blackberry is apparently in the possession of the Inspector General of the Treasury. Even that Blackberry might have access to Lerner’s old emails. If she used “ghost” accounts, as the head of the EPA did, the Blackberry may show evidence of that too.
We’re learning all of this not because of any congressional investigation, by the way, but because Judicial Watch has gone to court and gotten a judge, Emmet Sullivan, who is not taking the Obama administration’s spin at face value.
No Big Deal. But 66% of Democrats Support Prosecuting Rick Perry for Doing What Governors Are Constitutionally Allowed to Do.
Two out of three Democrats apparently have no idea what constitutional powers a governor has, and have no idea what the legal system is for (and what it’s not for).
It’s not for jailing people because you do not like them.
I blame the teachers unions.
YouGov’s latest research shows that the public is far more divided over the prosecution of Rick Perry than commentators. 40% of Americans approve of the decision to persue criminal charges against Perry, while 37% disapprove. Opinions on the man himself are similarly split, though opinions tend to be unfavorable (39%) rather than favorable (31%).
Most Democrats (66%) support prosecutors charging Perry with abuse of power, while only 13% disagree. Independents tend to disapprove (42%) rather than approve (32%) of the charges, while Republicans overwhelmingly (67%) oppose the prosecution.
Looking at these numbers, the wrong person could come along and as long as they have a D attached to their name, they could get away with just about anything…
The Islamic State may have achieved something that no terrorist group before them has managed — they may be a fully fledged combined-arms capable fighting force powered by the use of indigenous natural resources it controls.
Over the past few months, as if to defy President Barack Obama’s characterization of them as “jayvee,” ISIS spread swiftly from Syria deep into Iraq, sweeping through territory that had been controlled or at least patrolled by the Iraqi army.
That army proved to be so weak that its personnel fled their posts. ISIS scooped up American vehicles and weapons left behind by the Iraqi security forces. By July, the Islamic State had reportedly taken 52 155mm M198 Howitzer artillery guns. They have a range of up to 20 miles and can be used in conjunction with GPS for fine targeting. US airstrikes in recent weeks have focused on ISIS artillery, among other things, suggesting that US airmen are targeting some of those former US guns.
It’s also possible that in addition to picking up US vehicles and weapons, ISIS picked up some undeclared Syrian chemical weapons.
Over this past weekend, ISIS attacked and took over a Syrian air base in Raqqa. That has been widely reported. What has not been widely reported is that leading up to the assault, ISIS used drone aircraft for surveillance of the base. Whether or not ISIS captured any usable aircraft at the base (and apparently, they did), and whether they have any trained pilots to operate them or not, the Islamic State already has drone aircraft at its disposal.
The success of the mission in Syria shows that ISIS can coordinate the movements of its ground troops on foot and in vehicles, and its airborne drones. That is a combined-arms capable force. They only thing they’re missing is a navy, but they don’t need that where they are currently operating. If things continue on their current path, ISIS could steal a navy either from Iraq or Syria.
In addition to all of that, ISIS now controls an area that is larger than Britain. It is sparsely populated compared to Britain — about 4 million in ISIS territory versus about 64 million in Britain — but ISIS territory is oil-rich.
A Businessweek article compares ISIS to the “Taliban with oil fields.” The Islamic State may be raking in $2 million a day in revenue from oil sales alone, making it a self-financed and largely self-sufficient terrorist entity that happens to be armed chiefly with captured American-made weaponry. Additionally, ISIS is not as vulnerable to sanctions as previous terrorists groups have been.
“The Islamic State is probably the wealthiest terrorist group we’ve ever known,” said Matthew Levitt, a former U.S. Treasury terrorism and financial intelligence official who now is director of the counterterrorism and intelligence program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “They’re not as integrated with the international financial system, and therefore not as vulnerable” to sanctions, anti-money laundering laws and banking regulations.
In contrast, the late al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was from a wealthy family and enjoyed a network of foreign patrons, and his funding sources were squeezed by financial intelligence officers. The Islamic State “makes their money primarily — if not entirely — locally,” said Patrick Johnston, a counterterrorism specialist at the Santa Monica, California-based Rand Corp.’s Pittsburgh office and co-author of a forthcoming analysis of declassified documents on the Islamic State’s finances.
In addition to all that, an unknown number of ISIS fighters are citizens of the West and carry western passports.
In what many are viewing as a walkback from last week’s comments warning of ISIS’ “apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told reporters en route to Afghanistan over the weekend that he would recommend military action against the group only when a threat to the U.S. is substantiated.
Dempsey said, according to the Associated Press, that U.S. officials have seen no ”active plotting against the homeland, so it’s different than that which we see in Yemen.”
“I can tell you with great clarity and certainty that if that threat existed inside of Syria that it would certainly be my strong recommendation that we would deal with it,” said Dempsey. “I have every confidence that the president of the United States would deal with it.”
This morning, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told Fox that Dempsey wasn’t told by the White House to soften last week’s tone about the threat.
“There’s been no direction from — from the White House or anybody else to tone down the way we’re speaking about ISIL. And I think we’ve all been very consistently talking about the very real and growing threat that ISIL poses,” Kirby said.
“ISIL is a growing network. They are well resourced. They’re well led. They do pose a regional threat. And to the degree that they are supported by foreign fighters from nations all over the world, including the United States, there is an immediacy to the threat that they pose,” he said. “While, you know, while I think the general feeling is they’re not capable of a 9/11- like-style attack on the homeland right now, they certainly could through the use of foreign fighters impact Western targets, including American targets, if they so choose.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused President Obama of ”becoming derelict in his duties as commander in chief to protect our homeland by not aggressively confronting ISIL wherever they reside, including Syria.”
“The White House is trying to minimize the threat we face in order to justify not changing a failed strategy,” Graham said in a statement this afternoon. “I fear their foot dragging in confronting increased radical Islamic threats is setting the stage for the creation of an even more powerful ISIL which further terrorizes the region and poses even graver threats to the American homeland.”
“I also fear political pressure is being applied to the military and others to justify President Obama’s reluctance to aggressively confront the threat.”
Graham stressed that Dempsey’s change in tone is “demoralizing to our friends and allies in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel who are worried about the continued strengthening of ISIL.”
“The case has been made. ISIL is a direct threat to the American homeland,” he said. “They must be defeated and they cannot be beaten without attacking their safe haven in Syria. To do otherwise is ignoring reality and placing the American homeland at risk. The stronger they grow over there, the more in danger we are over here.”
At last week’s press conference, Dempsey said they think ISIS “can be contained, not in perpetuity.”
“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated. To your question, can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border,” Dempsey continued.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that the Islamic State is “beyond anything that we’ve seen.”
“ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded,” Hagel said. “…So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it and– and — and get ready.”
In the days following ISIS’ beheading of American journalist James Foley, rumors that President Obama dragged his feet on the military mission to rescue him have surfaced. Well, those rumors surfaced once the administration leaked the mission itself.
The mission failed, according to the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a briefing last week, because the terrorists had moved their captives.
Toby Harnden reports that the US had developed good intelligence regarding where ISIS was holding Foley. But President Obama delayed the mission by a month.
Pentagon sources said Foley and the others might well have been rescued but Obama, concerned about the ramifications of US troops being killed or captured in Syria, took too long to authorise the mission.
Anthony Shaffer, a former lieutenant-colonel in US military intelligence who worked on covert operations, said: “I’m told it was almost a 30-day delay from when they said they wanted to go to when he finally gave the green light. They were ready to go in June to grab the guy [Foley] and they weren’t permitted.”
Another US defence source said: “The White House constantly goes back and forth on these things. These people are a bunch of academics who endlessly analyse stuff and ordering up another deep-thinking paper but can’t decide what to order for lunch.”
According to Harnden’s report, when US forces arrived they did find a swarm of terrorists there. The captives themselves had been moved to another location.
ISIS emailed a threat to Foley’s life on August 13, five days after President Obama ordered airstrikes on ISIS positions in Iraq. The emailed threat said that Foley would die in retaliation for the airstrikes.
Harnden also reports that President Obama has not viewed the video of Foley’s beheading. Obama was “briefed on its contents” as he flew to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation and several rounds of golf. Obama did make a public statement on the brutal murder, minutes before he made his way to the golf course again.
Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit wonders why Obama would drag his feet on this mission for a month. Obama wasn’t facing re-election, and unlike the bin Laden mission, the mission to rescue Foley would have been in enemy territory — meaning that it carried fewer potential diplomatic downsides. True enough.
Obama reportedly dragged his feet on the bin Laden mission, too. This president seems to be very uncomfortable with command, and with authorizing missions that showcase the power and prestige of the US military. Plus, as the military types note above, Obama is an academic and not a leader. He voted “present” by habit in the Illinois Senate and was a partisan backbencher in the US Senate. Barack Obama is much more comfortable ordering verbal strikes on Republicans than he is ordering air and SEAL strikes on our actual enemies.
Late last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team signaled its intent to file a formal challenge to the August 15th indictment against him. They made good on the promise today, filing a writ of habeas corpus.
A press release from the governor spells out the nature of the challenge:
AUSTIN — Today, Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team filed a pretrial application for writ of habeas corpus seeking to bar the prosecution of Gov. Perry on multiple constitutional grounds.
“Thus, for reasons of constitutional magnitude, including the separation of powers doctrine fundamental to our democratic system of government, Governor Perry should have the same opportunity for relief through habeas corpus in this case if the provisions are merely void as applied as he would have if they were facially unconstitutional,” Governor Perry’s legal team noted in the writ. “Subjecting any sitting Governor to a criminal prosecution and injecting the judiciary into a political dispute would be an unprecedented assault on this cherished separation of powers, and would impose an intolerable and incalculable chilling effect on the free exercise of legitimate constitutional powers by future governors.”
The Texas Tribune has more, including this line from the lawyers’ brief: “This court should not hesitate to dismiss both counts of the indictment and bar the prosecution, immediately if not sooner.”
The Perry team is cashing in on last week’s mugshot. RickPAC is selling this brilliant mugshot T-shirt in its online store.
Pew Research has released numbers today on the topic of libertarians. The numbers are not current– the survey was conducted April 29-May 27, 2014 among a panel of 3,243 adults but they provide an insight into an alarming misunderstanding of political ideology.
The survey asked respondents to identify what political ideology fits the following definition: “someone whose political views emphasize individual freedom by limiting the role of government.”
Looking just at the first question, which Pew has used to determine whether people who say they are libertarians actually know what the term means, 57% correctly identified the definition of “libertarian” with the proper corresponding ideological label. Looking at the other answers, an astonishing 20% say that someone who emphasizes freedom and less government is a progressive, 6% say that is the definition of an authoritarian and 6% say that is the definition of a communist.
The total number of people who say that the emphasis on individual freedom by limiting the role of government with a label that involves more government regulation and greater involvement (which only comes at the expense of individual freedom) is 32% or 1 out of 3 adults.
Some may argue that the definition of a progressive does involve individual freedom and less government interference in life choices. While that might be claimed in theory, it is certainly not the case in practice. Progressives want to use government force to ensure the outcomes they want, be it proper politically correct thought or larger government programs and redistribution of wealth to ensure equal outcomes. Perhaps the 20% who assume progressivism involves more individual freedom with less government involvement aren’t paying close attention to current legislation and restrictions being advocated by self-proclaimed progressives.
Going back to the Pew survey, 14% of adults identify as a libertarian, but only 11% identify as a libertarian and also correctly define the term. An other interesting finding is that men are twice as likely to identify as libertarian than women: 15% of men compared with 7% of women. Education level also plays a role in identification: adults with at least a college education (15%) are more likely to say they are libertarians than those with some college (12%) or those with less than a high school education (7%). Most notably, both whites and Hispanics are four times as likely to say they are libertarians than African Americans.
Hardly any commentary is needed for this headline:
More White House officials at Michael Brown’s funeral than Thatcher’s
The story is here at Fox News.
This is more than an oversight. This headline carries significance beyond a headshake.
It is a raw example of the moral depravity in the White House under Obama. It is an example of the administration’s celebration and promotion of the lawless. It is a testament to Obama’s personal hostility toward the greatness of the British role in preserving the rule of law, the foundations of liberty, and Margaret Thatcher’s willingness to stare down the Soviets alongside Ronald Reagan and St. John Paul II.
The headline is not an accident. It is a deliberate slight to the era of Reagan, Thatcher, and the moral clarity they brought to the world. Thatcher and Reagan spoke with moral clarity about the evil of redistributive policies and the damage they do to civilization. John Paul spoke with moral clarity about the evil of governments restraining the free exercise of faith. The three renewed the face of the earth.
Michael Brown was caught on video committing felony strong armed robbery. That Obama administration officials at his funeral would outnumber Obama administration officials at Thatcher’s funeral says absolutely everything you need to know about the last six years. Policy after policy advanced by President Obama in some way shares a relation to that headline, and the ideas behind it.
According to a press release, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has added a very big — and very Democratic — name to his legal team.
AUSTIN – Today, lead attorney Tony Buzbee announced the addition of Mark Fabiani to Governor Rick Perry’s legal team. Mark Fabiani joins Buzbee, Ben Ginsberg, Justice Tom Phillips, Bobby Burchfield and David Botsford.
“I’m proud to join Gov. Perry’s outstanding team which has been assembled to fight back against this attack on the rule of law,” Mark Fabiani said. “As we move forward to protect the Texas Constitution and the First Amendment rights of any governor, I am confident this prosecution will be revealed to be contrary to the law and wholly meritless.”
Mark Fabiani is arguably one of the most partisan Democrats in the country. He was on President Bill Clinton’s legal team, and was also on Vice President Al Gore’s legal team during the Florida recount. He is partners with Democrat operative Chris Lehane in a strategic communications company.
Fabiani’s addition to the Perry legal team sends a strong signal that, while Texas Democrats, the Democratic National Committee and some others are still touting the August 15th indictment of the governor, some national Democrats want to be seen fighting against it.
Gov. Perry has gotten very good at trolling Democrats during his 14 years in office. Fabiani’s addition to the legal team raises Gov. Perry’s troll level to master.
Illinois was the 50th state to grant concealed handgun permits. The state only allowed them because a court ordered it to.
So far, here’s the news: Concealed carry permits have surged, and crime has dropped, according to the Washington Times.
Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.
“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”
As of July 29 the state had 83,183 applications for concealed carry and had issued 68,549 licenses. By the end of the year, Mr. Pearson estimates, 100,000 Illinois citizens will be packing. When Illinois began processing requests in January, gun training and shooting classes — which are required for the application — were filling up before the rifle association was able to schedule them, Mr. Pearson said.
More guns, less crime. There’s even a book about that.
The congressman who represents Michael Brown’s district said at his funeral service this morning that lawmakers and activists should now focus as a whole on how law enforcement treats young black men.
Congressional attendees at the service, held at Friendly Temple M.B. Church in St. Louis, included Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Steve Horsford (D-Nev.), Al Green (D-Texas), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).
Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) was bumped off the speaking schedule because the service ran over on time, but his office released the remarks he intended to deliver.
He vowed that the members would stand by the Brown family “regardless of how long and difficult the road to justice may be.”
Clay quoted the book of Isaiah: “I will give you hidden treasures / Riches stored in dark places / So that you may know that I am the Lord.”
“We all favor the sunshine over the darkness, make no mistake about that,” Clay said. “But Michael Brown’s family and the good people of Ferguson — indeed, millions of good people across this great nation — have been in the throes of a dreadful darkness.”
“Michael Brown’s untimely and completely unnecessary death has unleashed a deluge of darkness that at times seems to envelop everything. Dr. King told us ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness, only the light can do that. And hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’ Perhaps the lesson from Isaiah means that even in the midst of our tears, there is a blessing to be revealed, even in the depths of our despair, God has promised to give us treasure from these tragic days.”
The congressman said the “treasure” might be “a great light of truth that Michael left for us to follow.”
“And if we truly want to honor his memory, we need to shine that light towards how local law enforcement deals with young black men and make meaningful changes that end sad, painful events like today,” Clay said. “And we need to shine that light towards the uneven scales of justice and inequality in this country.”
Clay stressed that Brown was his constituent, “bright, talented, full of hope, 18 years old, and ready to start college.”
“He was also male and black and, sadly, that made him a target,” he continued. “So I pray that his senseless killing will be elevated out of the darkness and into the light to finally become an urgent national priority.”
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House. Only sparklers this time! pic.twitter.com/QIDBQTBmmL
— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) August 24, 2014
The family of journalist James Foley revealed that a former prisoner of ISIS had smuggled out a letter from their son in June.
Because ISIS had been confiscating every letter that Foley tried to write, he asked his fellow hostage to memorize the letter and recite it to his mother, Diane, after being released.
The grisly video of Foley’s beheading was released last week by the Islamic State, with a warning to President Obama to stop airstrikes against the caliphate.
Foley wrote of remembering “so many great family times that take me away from this prison.”
“I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray,” he said.
“Eighteen of us have been held together in one cell, which has helped me. We have had each other to have endless long conversations about movies, trivia, sports. We have played games made up of scraps found in our cell…we have found ways to play checkers, chess, and Risk… and have had tournaments of competition, spending some days preparing strategies for the next day’s game or lecture. The games and teaching each other have helped the time pass. They have been a huge help. We repeat stories and laugh to break the tension.”
Foley admitted having “weak and strong days.”
“We are so grateful when anyone is freed; but of course, yearn for our own freedom. We try to encourage each other and share strength. We are being fed better now and daily. We have tea, occasional coffee. I have regained most of my weight lost last year,” he said.
He then had specific messages for family members, including his grandmother.
“Grammy, please take your medicine, take walks and keep dancing. I plan to take you out to Margarita’s when I get home,” Foley said. “Stay strong because I am going to need your help to reclaim my life.”
A Mass was held for Foley yesterday in Rochester, N.H. After his 2011 captivity in Libya, Foley wrote how his Catholic faith got him through that ordeal.
A Disturbing Pattern: Eight Times that Democrats Used Court Shenanigans Against Republicans They Couldn’t Beat at the Ballot Box
The indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry on August 15, 2014 has drawn criticism from pundits, politicians and papers all over the country. Some Democrats have disavowed the indictment, going as far as to claim that launching courtroom attacks against their opponents in the GOP is just not how Democrats operate.
But is that the case? Or have Democrats shown a disturbing pattern of using courtrooms to go after Republicans who pose a threat to them?
The following eight cases suggest that Democrats will wield ethics complaints and courtrooms as weapons against Republicans at strategic moments.
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle brought several charges against newly elected Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) in 1993. Hutchison had previously won statewide election as state treasurer, and was a rising star in Texas politics. She won a special election by landslide to replace Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D), who had been nominated to serve in the Clinton administration.
Even in 1993 there was talk that Hutchison was a future governor. As a woman with considerable poise in front the press, Hutchison represented a clear and present danger to the Democrats who hoped to build on Gov. Ann Richards’ success statewide. Hutchison came along at a time when Texas was shifting from a reliable Democratic state to a swing state, to becoming the Republican bastion it is today. A conservative, attractive woman who could even charm the hostile Texas media, Hutchison posed a grave threat to the Democrats at a pivotal moment.
Earle’s indictment, built through the Travis County Public Integrity Unit, alleged that Hutchison engaged in felony misconduct and ordered state employees to destroy evidence while she was state treasurer. Hutchison was essentially indicted over Christmas cards.
Hutchison’s attorneys won a change of venue out of heavily Democratic Travis County, to Fort Worth. The case fell apart at trial.
Result: Full acquittal. The change of venue pulled the flimsy case out of Travis County to Fort Worth, where Earle had to give it up. Hutchison won re-election in 1994 and would go on to serve as senator until she retired and Sen. Ted Cruz (R) replaced her in 2012.
The Democrats were by no means finished with legal shenanigans to try to keep their grip on Texas. Republicans finally won the state House in 2002 for the first time since Reconstruction. That empowered them to draw up the state’s electoral map for the very first time, and in the 2003 legislative session, they did just that, with the help of Rep. Tom DeLay. Democrats knew that they would lose the vote that would adopt the Republicans’ new map — a map drawn within the constraints of the law, but which no longer guaranteed the Democrats a majority in the state’s US House delegation.
Eleven Democrats responded by running off to Oklahoma to deny the House the quorum it needed to pass the map as long as they could.
Democrats would get around to punishing DeLay directly a few years later. Read on.
A bloody assault by Islamic State forces captured the Syrian government air base in Tabqa, today, acquiring “several warplane squadrons, helicopters, tanks, artillery, and ammunition bunkers.” An aviation “squadron,” according to Wkipedia, is “a unit of aircraft that consists of three or four flights with a total of 12 to 24 aircraft, depending on the type of aircraft and the air force, naval or army air service.”
Again, according to Wikipedia, the Taqba air base possessed 12 squadrons of the aging MIG-21 — both combat fighters and trainers. The base also housed about 20 Mi-8 helicopters, probably a mix of transport and gunship models.
So Islamic State possesses several dozen aging, but effective MIG-21 fighters, several helicopter gunships armed with anti-tank weapons, as well as an unknown number of tanks and a lot of ammunition.
Certainly no match for American jets. The biggest question is, do they have the pilots to fly the machines?
Christian Science Monitor describes the battle:
The jihadis launched their long-anticipated offensive last week to seize the sprawling Tabqa facility, located some 45 kilometers (25 miles) from the extremists’ stronghold in the city of Raqqa along the Euphrates River.
After several failed efforts to breach the walls in recent days, Islamic State fighters managed to punch through and storm the air base Sunday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Government warplanes carried out waves of airstrikes to try to beat back the attack, but those ultimately proved unable to stem the assault.
“Some of the Syrian regime troops pulled out, and now the Islamic State is in full control of Tabqa,” said Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman. “This makes Raqqa province the first to fully fall out of government hands.”
Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, also said the extremist group was in control of Tabqa.
The SANA state news agency confirmed that the government had lost the air base, saying troops “are successfully reassembling after evacuating the airport.” It said that the military was still “striking terrorist groups, inflicting heavy losses on them.”
The government had made significant investments in both weapons and manpower to try to hold onto Tabqa, making its fall a both a symbolic and a strategic blow.
Islamic State fighters had been closing in on the base for weeks. When the fight finally came, it was bloody.
The Observatory said that at least 100 Islamic State fighters were killed and another 300 wounded in the fighting, numbers that exclude casualties from the final assault. Abdurrahman said dozens of government troops also were killed Sunday alone.
Tabqa is the latest in a string of bases to fall to the Islamic State group as it strengthens its hold over a vast swath of territory in northern and eastern Syria. Last month, the extremists overran the sprawling Division 17 military base in Raqqa, killing at least 85 soldiers. Two weeks later, they seized the nearby Brigade 93 base after days of heavy fighting.
The group’s trademark brutality was on full display after those victories. They killed army commanders and pro-government militiamen, decapitating them before putting their bodies and heads on display. The Observatory reported similar acts following the fall of Tabqa Sunday.
Since the Syrian military is going to try and take the base back, they probably haven’t destroyed many of the armaments left behind. But the capture of the base is really bad news. IS has proved itself to be resourceful. If they don’t have men who can fly the jets, they can hire people who can train them. The same goes for the helicopters.
If Islamic State now possesses an air force, it could tip the balance their way in Syria and Iraq. The nightmare just got a little blacker.
The New York Post reports that British intelligence has identified the jihadist who beheaded American journalist James Foley.
British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, AKA “L Jinny,” is the prime suspect in the murder of Foley, according to sources in MI15. Bary’s father, Adel Abdul Bary, the terrorist charged with participating in the bombings of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in August 1998, is awaiting trial in New York after an 8 month extradition battle with the US.
Bary joins a list of three other Brits who were identified as possible leaders of the jihadist group nicknamed by former hostages as “the Beatles.”
That list includes the brother of a British doctor once charged with kidnapping two Western war correspondents and a former gang member who converted to Islam before traveling to Syria to wage jihad.
It is now being estimated that up to 20 British extremists a month are heading to Syria and Iraq to take up arms with the ISIS, according to The Sunday Times.
“It is horrifying to think that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been brought up in Britain,” British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond wrote in the Sunday Times.
In addition, Hammond referred to the actions of “John the Beatle” as “an utter betrayal” of everything the British stand for, The Sunday Times reported.
He added that Foley’s death would serve as a “reminder to us all that Islamic extremism in Iraq and Syria is not only causing huge suffering in those countries but is also a barbaric ideology threatening us at home.”
The “root causes” of Bary’s radicalism aren’t poverty and hopelessness. He grew up in a $3 million home in London, and had the best of everything growing up. His rap career never amounted to much but those who know him say he became radicalized when he began attending one of the many radical mosques in Britain. He is disciple of extremist preacher Anjem Choudary, who has expressed a desire to go to Syria and join Islamic State.
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 23, is the latest in a growing stream of young men to join militant groups in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.
He walked out of his family’s £1million home several months ago telling them he was ‘leaving everything for the sake of Allah’.
Friends said Bary – an aspiring rapper on the ‘grime’ music scene – grew increasingly radical and violent after mixing with thugs linked to hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
He has posted a series of photographs online, including shots of him masked and posing with guns under the title ‘soldier of Allah’.
In other messages he called on Allah to ‘grant us martyrdom’, and praised Osama Bin Laden. Bary, whose music has featured on Radio 1, is one of six children of Adel Abdul Bary, 53.
Bary probably won’t be able to come back to Britain. But his friends and other British, French, German and other European terrorists will. You can see why these governments are so worried. Potentially, dozens of trained terrorists dedicated to killing as many civilians as possible will be able to blend in with the population. Intelligence will no doubt identify many of them. But there going to be many who slip through and arrive home unnoticed, only to be heard from when they strike.
The grand jury considering whether to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown case is coming under pressure from politicians and residents of Ferguson, Missouri to do the “right” thing and indict the policeman for murder.
Otherwise…? The unspoken threat that violence would erupt if no indictment is returned isn’t very subtle.
Conditions calmed this week in Ferguson after nights of sometimes violent unrest stemming from the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer. But a delicate and crucial question lingers: What happens if the grand jury now considering the case doesn’t return a charge against the officer?
The fear among some local residents and officials trying to maintain peace in Ferguson is that failure to charge the officer could stoke new anger among a community profoundly mistrustful of the legal system. Many say they just hope the grand jury’s decision, whatever it is, has irrefutable facts to back it up.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill told The Associated Press she’s pushing for federal and local investigations to be completed around the same time so that all evidence in the case can be made public — a step many consider important should prosecutors decide not to charge the officer. Her office said Friday that the Department of Justice hasn’t given a timeline for the federal investigation, which centers on whether a civil rights violation occurred when officer Darren Wilson fatally shot the unarmed Michael Brown on Aug. 9.
McCaskill, a former prosecutor in Missouri, said she’s hopeful the physical evidence in the case — including blood spatter patterns, clothing and shell casings — will provide “incontrovertible facts” about what happened during the shooting. She said whatever local prosecutors decide, it will be important to explain the decision by providing that physical evidence, and that won’t be possible if the federal investigation is ongoing.
McCaskill said she urged Attorney General Eric Holder during a meeting earlier this week to speed up what is typically a lengthier federal process.
“What we want to avoid is a decision being made without all the information being available to the public also,” McCaskill said, adding that not being able to do so could “create more stress and certainly much more fear that we would be back to worrying about people being able to protest safely.”
It is not likely that the facts will be “incontrovertible.” They rarely are. It is reasonable to assume that some of the evidence will be ambiguous. Some of it may even be contradictory. Judging by the wild disparity in eye witness reports we’ve seen already, it is doubtful that a clear picture of guilt or innocence will be forthcoming.
And what’s the point of conducting a “secret” grand jury proceeding if you’re going to make their deliberations public? It’s another layer of intimidation that is being brought to bear on the grand jurors to do what the mob wants and indict Officer Wilson.
Residents of Ferguson made it clear what the grand jury must do:
“This officer has to be indicted. I’d hate to see what happens if he isn’t. The rioting, the looting, man …,” said resident Larry Loveless, 29, as he stopped at the memorial for Brown where he was killed.
The racial make up of the grand jury is another potential flash point. There are only 3 blacks on the 12-person panel, allowing a decision not to prosecute Wilson to play directly into the racialist’s hands.
The streets of Ferguson may be calm, but the pressure being placed on the grand jury to give into the mob will be hard to resist.