Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid paid compliments on Thursday to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — but deferred to President Barack Obama on her future as the head of the party.
Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic congresswoman from Florida, is under increasing scrutiny by top Democrats in Washington for her stewardship of the party since 2011. Reid called her a “friend” but skirted answering a reporter’s question on whether she’s became a liability for Democrats as they head into a pitched battle to keep the Senate this November.
“I’m always so impressed with her appearances on television. She’s very, very good. But the ultimate decision regarding her is made by the president of the United States, not the three of us,” said Reid, flanked by fellow Senate Democratic leaders Dick Durbin of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York.
Reid is forever offering strong opinions on subjects about which he knows nothing. His deflection on a matter that he’s certainly discussed speaks volumes. Cutting Wasserman-Schultz loose now doesn’t do the Democrats much good though, they’re still going to need a fall guy/gal after the midterm elections.
Perhaps the most telling part of this piece about Wasserman_Schultz’s fate is Politico noting that Reid, Schumer and Durbin weren’t “particularly pleased” that the question about her job performance came up at all.
During today’s hilarious Democrat Twitter townhall meltdown, one House Democrat piped up to brag about something.
— Mark Bowen (@MarkJohnBowen) September 18, 2014
— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) September 18, 2014
Rep. Steven Horsford’s (D-NV) tweet links to this page on his own website. On it, Horsford has posted his own attempt to get the IRS to go past what the law allows in regulating/oppressing conservative groups, during a hearing about the IRS targeting scandal on Wednesday.
Early on in his questioning, Horsford establishes that he is IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s friend, not adversary or interrogator:
I think that that’s more the tone that we should be working from, not the abusive tone that we continue to have from the Chairman of the Subcommittee or the full Committee that turns this something into that it’s not.
Rep. Horsford makes it clear: The IRS targeting of conservatives is not a scandal at all, to him.
Horsford then gets into more detailed questioning about IRS functions with respect to 501(c)(4) groups. Horsford explicitly connects his query to the Citizens United decision. That’s the decision that President Obama denounced in front of the Supreme Court during his 2010 State of the Union address.
The IRS’ illegal and biased scrutiny of conservative groups followed Obama’s remarks by a couple of months.
Emails revealed during the House investigations show that IRS staff including Lois Lerner were obsessed with the Citizens United ruling.
According to the report, as early as September 2010, Lerner forwarded to her colleagues an EO Tax Journal blog advising the IRS to “keep track of new c4s” and “be more pro-active” about catching groups created solely for political activities. One quote in the story specifically calls out the “educational organizations woven by the fabulously rich Koch Brothers to foster their own financial interest by political means.”
“I’m really thinking we need to do a c4 project next year,” Lerner said in the email.
Horsford questioned Koskinen on how the IRS interprets a 1959 regulation on 501(c)(4) groups. Horsford makes it clear that he wants the IRS to take a more expansive view of the original language, to allow for more scrutiny of some groups and less freedom for them to operate and speak on issues.
Rep. Horsford: I want to ask you, Commissioner, about a letter that I and 25 of my other colleagues sent to the acting commissioner, Mr. Werfel, relating to the discrepancy between the agency’s regulatory interpretation of the law dealing with 501(c)(4)’s, and what the U.S. code actually enumerates in statute.
Are you familiar with the request I made along with 25 of my colleagues on June 6, 2013?
Commissioner Koskinen: I’m not familiar with the specific language but I do know a number of people that have been encouraging us when we look at the regulations under the 501(c)(4) to start with the statute which says that social welfare organizations under 501(c)(4) should be exclusively involved in social welfare.
Rep. Horsford: And the regulation states ‘primarily.’
Commissioner Koskinen: The regulations established in 1959 have said ‘primarily.’
Rep. Horsford: Isn’t that problematic?
It wasn’t problematic until the Obama administration came along. Koskinen notes that now, the IRS is looking into a new interpretation of the 1959 statute.
Commissioner Koskinen: Well it’s been around for a long time and we have over 150,000 comments about how to deal with that issue, which we are seriously taking a look at. But it is the issue that the spectrum is: one end of the spectrum is it should be exclusive, i.e. no activity. The other end of the spectrum is that there shouldn’t be any limitations at all. And a third spot in the middle, is well primarily, some percentage close to 50 would be a good number. And we’re looking at that entire range of possibilities.
Horsford wants the tightest interpretation, to push so-called “dark money” away. He aims straight at Citizens United.
Rep. Horsford: Until you make that final determination this ambiguity remains. And because of the recent Citizens United decision, which created the huge influx of the number of organizations that were applying for tax-exempt status, has contributed to this problem, has it not?
Citizens United is settled law, in the same way that Democrats claim Obamacare is “settled law” — the Supreme Court has ruled.
As for Horsford, he is not interested in any further pursuit of the IRS targeting scandal. Because in his mind, it is not and never was a scandal at all.
I believe that there are certain staff, including Ms. Lerner, who have not served this administration well. That due to poor management, poor decision making, we are in a position to have to have these types of hearings.
And I’m not going to defend every action or decision that certain former staffers of the IRS have taken; but I also think it is inappropriate for members of this Committee to apply such a broad brush to all staff or all management of the IRS or other federal agencies.
I also think it takes a lot of gumption of certain members of Congress to question the request for critical pay authority, when this is the least productive Congress in the history of Congresses.
Hard-working people can’t get a raise, but members of Congress continue to get paid whether they do their jobs or get anything done around here or not.
At the same time that we’re having this hearing, which is the fifteenth hearing, there is a debate going on the floor right now that is crucial to our country’s safety, to international relations, and is one of the most serious issues that this Congress is being confronted with.
But instead, this Chairman has decided to have the fifteenth hearing on the same issue trying to assert the same allegations and never getting to the point of action on anything.
So, Mr. Chairman, either we get on with the business of the American people that they have sent us here, or we need to stop wasting time and taxpayer resources.
There are important issues that we need to be tackling. But unfortunately this Committee’s time has been wasted in large part.
Nothing to see here, say the Democrats. Other than their own desire to weaponize government against Americans who disagree with them.
I still blame it on radical Islam.
The number of people in West Africa who have contracted the Ebola virus and died from the hemorrhagic fever that it causes has doubled in the past month, the World Health Organization reported on Thursday.
In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak, a total of 5,335 people have been infected and 2,622 have died, the organization reported. The tally a month ago was 2,458 infections and 1,346 deaths.
Liberia accounts for more than half of the cases. The first of 13 aircraft delivering American medical aid to the country is expected on Friday, carrying equipment for a military field hospital to treat medical workers who contract the disease.
Opinions are all over the place as to what the United States should do in response but one thing is certain: in the part of the world where it is a huge problem, it’s not getting any better. I’m in the “let’s do whatever we can to keep it far away” camp at the moment. Most people I know aren’t worried at all, but I do know a few health professionals who see the potential for this to get out of hand.
Democrats Hold #AskDems Twitter Townhall. It Goes About as Well As a Savvy Twitter User Would Expect.
The Democrats are holding a Twitter townhall using the #AskDems hashtag.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) September 18, 2014
Democrats like Rep. Steny Hoyer are taking the opportunity to dish out party lines and propaganda.
— Steny Hoyer (@WhipHoyer) September 18, 2014
One tweep isn’t buying that.
— Matt (@Mattley_Crue) September 18, 2014
Another questioned the Democrats’ clear prioritizing of illegal immigrants over citizens.
#askdems why do Democrats allow people who have no rights to vote in America more ability 2 dictate policy than Americans they r 2 represent
— Heather Jo (@heatherjo40) September 18, 2014
Another wants to follow the money.
#AskDems What the heck have you done with all the money that we already sent you?
— Soquel by the Creek (@SoquelCreek) September 18, 2014
Democrats aren’t running on Obamacare, but they can’t run away from it.
If ACA is so great, why does it have to be enforced by law? #AskDems
— Baldwin (@baldwin100) September 18, 2014
— ✩ Megan ✩ (@MeganSmiles) September 18, 2014
MeganSmiles was just getting started “asking Dems.”
— ✩ Megan ✩ (@MeganSmiles) September 18, 2014
A couple of polls came out today showing that Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is now trailing to his GOP challenger. That’s probably not what the Democrats wanted to be asked about.
#AskDems What will Udall do after November?
— Call me the Breeze (@Rem870P) September 18, 2014
MeganSmiles was just getting warmed up.
— ✩ Megan ✩ (@MeganSmiles) September 18, 2014
Here’s another question that Democrats will not answer. Ever.
#AskDems If you had your way – your complete wish list granted – how much of my income would I be allowed to keep?
— Drew Belsky (@DJB627) September 18, 2014
Why was dissent “patriotic” when Bush was in office but it’s “racist” when Obama is in the same chair? #AskDems
— Drone Bait (@BigRMV) September 18, 2014
The Democrats lost control of their own Twitter townhall. So Hoyer decided to just exit, stage left.
— Steny Hoyer (@WhipHoyer) September 18, 2014
That’s all folks!
But it wasn’t the last word, as you’ll see on the next page.
Voters still show a negative view toward both parties, but favorable ratings for Republicans have rebounded since the low in October, 2013 following the government shut down.
Gallup reports nearly identical favorable numbers for both parties; 40/57 favorable/unfavorable for Republicans and 42/54 for Democrats.
There are encouraging and discouraging signs for both parties in the latest poll, conducted Sept. 4-7, just two months before the important midterm elections.
Americans have typically rated the Democratic Party more positively than the Republican Party since the question was first asked in 1992, so the current parity between the two is a positive sign for the GOP and a negative one for the Democratic Party. Indeed, current opinions of the Democratic Party are among the worst Gallup has measured in the past 20 years. The only time Gallup measured a lower favorable rating for the Democrats was 41% in late March 2010, just after Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.
At the same time, Democrats can take some solace in the fact that Americans are not rating the GOP any more positively than they rate the Democratic Party, even at a time when Americans believe the Republican Party is better than the Democratic Party both at keeping the U.S. prosperous and at keeping the U.S. secure from international threats.
The situation is similar to what occurred in 2010. Even as Republicans were making large gains in federal and state offices nationwide, Americans did not view the GOP any more positively than the Democratic Party. As such, the Republicans may have merely benefited from public frustration with Obama and the Democrats in 2010, rather than having been truly embraced by Americans. Thus, if Republicans do well on Election Day this year it does not necessarily equate to a voter mandate for the party and its policies.
All Partisan Groups More Positive toward GOP
The gains, or perhaps recovery, in the GOP’s image over the past year are evident among Democrats, independents, and Republicans. Notably, Republicans’ favorable views of their own party are still not back to pre-shutdown levels.
As would be expected given the stability in overall views of the Democratic Party, the ratings of it by respondents’ political identity are also generally steady over the past 12 months. However, Democrats and independents are less positive toward the Democratic Party than they were in late 2012, after Obama’s re-election.
That “public frustration” of voters in 2010 with Democrats may have turned into something even more dangerous for Democratic prospects in November; fear. The threats we face around the world are causing a lot of concern among voters and given the Republican edge in which party can keep America safer, that may play a significant role when voters make up their mind.
Peter Beinart of the Atlantic writes of the return of the “security moms” and how that favors the GOP:
In August, white women favored a Democratic Congress by four points. Now they favor a Republican Congress by eight.
As in 2002, Democrats are responding by becoming more hawkish. In October 2002, most Democrats in competitive Senate races voted to authorize the Iraq War. Last week, Obama announced a multi-year air campaign against ISIS.
But it doesn’t work. Almost all the imperiled Democrats in 2002 lost anyway. And there’s no evidence that Obama’s new hawkishness is helping him politically either. One reason is that although women are more worried about terrorism than men, they’re actually less supportive of responding with military action. In 2002, women were somewhat more skeptical of invading Iraq. Today, they’re more wary of going after ISIS.
Fundamentally, the Democrats’ terrorism problem with women—especially married white women—isn’t about policy. It’s about trust. In 2002, at a time of heightened anxiety, women trusted a Republican president to keep them safe. In 2014, with that anxiety heightened again, they don’t trust a Democratic president to do the same.
Rather than wondering if “foreign policy” will play a larger role in the campaign, perhaps it’s more accurate to talk about “security” as a general issue where Republicans appear to have the advantage.
In as many close Senate races as we are likely to have, the security issue may be a difference maker in at least some of them.
Oh, Tingles. The essential flaw with leftists when it comes to foreign policy is that they never grasp that the enemies of freedom in the modern world always have the United States in mind for their end game.
New York writer and self-proclaimed kink (NTTAWWT!) Jillian Keenan says in Slate that “spanking is great for sex,” which makes it “grotesque for parenting.” Here’s more:
I have a spanking fetish. In my case, that means I like to be spanked, usually with a hand, belt, hairbrush, wooden spoon, switch, or paddle. It sexually gratifies me. I’ve had submissive fantasies for as long as I can remember, and it’s part of my identity. I consider my kink to be my sexual orientation.
To be clear—because apparently I have to be—I am an adult. My husband, who is not kinky, is an adult. My first boyfriend (the only other sexual partner I’ve had) was an adult, too. Everyone is an adult. Everyone consents.
So I have a question: If it’s “somewhat pedophilic” when my adult husband consensually spanks me in a simulated “punishment,” what should we call it when parents do the same physical thing to actual children in an actual punishment?
I make no judgements about what consenting adults do for enjoyment, so I’ll leave it to you, gentle (or not-so-gentle) reader, to make your own judgement, if you must, about Keenan’s little hijinks.
But the flaw in Keenan’s thinking lies in that single word “consensually.” Punishment is not consensual, or it wouldn’t be punishment. Sex is consensual, or it isn’t sex — it’s rape.
On the flip side, spanking a child without cause isn’t discipline or punishment — it’s abuse. And I’m sure Keenan would agree that if her husband spanked her without her consent or past her safe word, that would be abuse, too.
But spanking a child with cause is not abuse (to a point), and nor is it remotely sexual. It’s not fun for the child, and it certainly shouldn’t be any fun for the parent. Any parent getting any sort of sexual thrill out of discipling their child is no longer a parent, but a molester.
Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she bit his lip to stop his sexual advances, and he punched her in the face the next day, according to a police report made public Thursday.
Dwyer later threatened to kill himself in front of their 17-month-old son if the wife alerted the police, according to the report, which detailed the latest domestic violence allegations against an NFL player. Dwyer was arrested Wednesday and benched by the team.
The police report describes two altercations between Dwyer and his wife, on July 21 and 22. In the first, Dwyer tried to kiss her and take off her clothes, according to the report. She told him to stop and bit his lip when he wouldn’t, the report said. Dwyer then head-butted her, it said. Police were called to the home by someone who heard arguing.
“Publicist for the National Football League” would now be a candidate for the old “Dirty Jobs” show if it were still on the air.
While it isn’t statistically an epidemic yet, it is now a problem that seems to be spiraling away from the previously cool, collected, and always in charge Roger Goodell. He is now in a difficult position where he has to be extremely proactive all the while avoiding turning the league into one that operates on a “guilty until proven innocent” policy.
Very often in large organizations, the best way to regain control of a situation is for some management heads to roll, even if management isn’t directly responsible. Goodell, however, isn’t removed from these actions anymore. His awful handling of the Ray Rice situation carries over to each new case now, despite his admission that he was wrong.
In the question of what the group that calls itself the Islamic State should be called, France has decided to officially use “Daesh” — an insulting Arabic acronym used by Kurds and others in the region.
Secretary of State John Kerry has his own moniker for the terrorists that the administration formally refers to as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
“What would you call — I call them ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) asked Kerry today at a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on the administration’s strategy.
“What would you tell the American people? OK, we are doing this support. We are at war. We are a counter-terrorism operation. Whatever you want to call it,” Poe said, referring to Kerry’s insistence on “war” terminology not being important. “Who is the enemy? Define the enemy for me. What would you call them?”
“Well, I call them the enemy of Islam, because that’s what I think they are, and they certainly don’t represent a state, even though they try to claim to,” Kerry replied.
“So, officially, we should refer to them as the enemy of Islam?” Poe asked.
“Well, I do,” said Kerry. “I don’t know if there’s an official whatever. But I hope you join me in doing that, because that’s what I think they are, and [they] don’t they deserve to have a reference in their name that gives them legitimacy.”
“Are they the enemy of the United States?” Poe continued.
“They are an enemy of humanity,” Kerry responded. “…Definitively, it is in the national security interest of our country, with Americans over there with passports learning how to fight and taking part in this.”
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said he thought “many” people were “shocked” when Obama “emphasized that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was in fact not Islamic.”
“They now simply refer to themselves as the Islamic State. You know, they don’t call themselves the Methodist State or the Episcopalian State or the Baptist State. They’re the Islamic State, and I think for good reason,” Chabot said.
“You know, when Christians, for example, are told to convert to Islam or die, that would seem to fly in the face of the president’s insistence that the Islamic State is not the Islamic State. And an indication that he may not fully accept that radical Islam is indeed something that does exist and in fact is growing.”
Kerry said the U.S. “shouldn’t compound the sin by allowing them to get away with” calling themselves the Islamic State.
“Now religious leaders, Islamic leaders are reclaiming legitimate Islam. And they’re separating it, too. So I wouldn’t compound the crime by calling them a state whatsoever. They’re the enemy of Islam. That’s what they are,” Kerry said. “And as the 21 clerics yesterday said in Saudi Arabia, they are in fact the Order of Satan. And there’s nothing in Islam that condones or suggests people should go out and rape women and sell off young girls or give them as gifts to jihadists, and you know, cut people’s heads off and tie people’s hands behind their backs, and put them on their knees and shoot them in the head.”
“These are war crimes. And they’re crimes against humanity. And we need to make clear that that is exactly what is the reality here.”
“It’s clear to me that their motivation is their religious fervor, this fanaticism, however misguided it is,” Chabot interjected. “I mean, that’s their motivation here.”
“Well, I don’t know. They use that,” Kerry replied. “I don’t know if that is in truth — it’s part of it. The caliphate is certainly on the minds of many. But I think a lot of them are thugs and criminals and people who simply want to go out and maraud and take part in the success of — vanquish and be opposed to modernity and a whole bunch of other things.”
Did the mullahs do this because of some “grievance,” or because they’re totalitarians who base their rule on the Koran?
A group of seven Iranian men and women who created and starred in their own version of a video for Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy’ have each been given suspended sentences of prison time and 91 lashes.
The fun-loving friends were arrested in May after posting their homemade music video ‘Happy in Tehran’ to YouTube.
They were forced to publicly confess and apologise on national television before being released on bail, with police chief Hossein Sajedinia warning others that the video was “a vulgar clip” which “hurt public chastity”.
The suspended sentences mean that the “Happy” seven won’t go to prison immediately, but the possibility of prison time hangs over their heads if they step out of line again.
“We wanted to tell the world that the Iranian capital is full of lively young people and change the harsh and rough image that the world sees on the news,” said Neda, one of its stars.
The end credits of the video – which can still be viewed online though the original has been made private – reads: “We have made this video as Pharrell Williams fans in 8hrs with iPhone 5S. ‘Happy’ was an excuse to be happy. We enjoyed every second of making it. Hope it puts a smile on your face.”
Instead, Iran’s harsh image has been reinforced. The only ones smiling are the mullahs who control everything.
And probably drink liquor and listen to “Happy” on their iPhones when they think no one is watching them.
There they go again.
The New York Times Book Review, which has a history of belatedly recognizing conservative bestsellers, has banished conservative legal author David Limbaugh’s latest, Jesus on Trial, from its upcoming best seller list despite having sales better than 17 other books on the list.
According to publishing sources, Limbaugh’s probe into the accuracy of the Bible sold 9,660 in its first week out, according to Nielsen BookScan. That should have made it No. 4 on the NYT print hardcover sales list.
Instead, Henry Kissinger’s World Order, praised by Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post, is No. 4 despite weekly sales of 6,607.
As Secrets wrote about a similar banishment early in the sales of conservative Dinesh D’Souza’s America, the Gray Lady is mysterious in how it calculates its list. A spokeswoman said, “We let the rankings speak for themselves and are confident they are accurate.”
The September 28 list of the top 20 print hardcover best sellers includes one book that sold just 1,570 copies.
It must be galling for the Times to have to constantly deal with the fact that, year in and year out, conservative authors dominate the Best Seller list. This, despite their nonstop marginalizing of conservative thought. Now if only we voted as well as we bought books.
J. Christian Adams posted a review of the book on PJ Media earlier in the week, and I just taped an interview with David that will be up soon on PJTV.
You can purchase “Jesus On Trial” here.
While many have rightfully criticized U.S. President Obama’s recent assertion that the Islamic State “is not Islamic,” some of his other equally curious but more subtle comments pronounced in the same speech have been largely ignored.
Consider the president’s invocation of the “grievances” meme to explain the Islamic State’s success: “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’s logic, of course, is fortified by an entire apparatus of professional apologists who make the same claim. Thus Georgetown professor John Esposito — whose apologetics sometimes morph into boldfaced lies — also recently declared that “The “primary drivers [for the Islamic State’s violence] are to be found elsewhere,” that is, not in Islam but in a “long list of grievances.”
In other words and once again, it’s apparently somehow “our fault” that Islamic State Muslims are behaving savagely— crucifying, beheading, enslaving, and massacring people only on the basis that they are “infidels”: thus when IS herds and slaughters “infidel” and/or Shia men (citing the example of the prophet)—that’s because they’re angry at something America did; when IS captures “infidel” Yazidi and Christian women and children, and sells them on the sex-slave market (citing Islamic teachings) — that’s because they’re angry at something America did; when IS bombs churches, breaks their crosses, and tells Christians to convert or die (citing Islamic scriptures) — that’s because they’re angry at something America did.
Although the “grievance” meme has always flown in the face of logic, it became especially popular after the 9/11 al-Qaeda strikes on America. The mainstream media, following the Islamist propaganda network Al Jazeera’s lead, uncritically picked up and disseminated Osama bin Laden’s videotapes to the West where he claimed that al-Qaeda’s terror campaign was motivated by grievances against the West — grievances that ranged from U.S. support for Israel to U.S. failure to sign the Kyoto Agreement concerning climate change.
Of course, that was all rubbish, and I have written more times than I care to remember about how in their internal Arabic-language communiques to fellow Muslims that never get translated to English, al-Qaeda and virtually every Islamist organization make it a point to insist that jihad is an Islamic obligation that has nothing to do with grievances.
Consider Osama’s own words in an internal letter to fellow Saudis:
Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue — one that demands our total support, with power and determination, with one voice — and it is: Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually?
Yes. There are only three choices in Islam:  either willing submission [conversion];  or payment of the jizya, through physical, though not spiritual, submission to the authority of Islam;  or the sword — for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live. The matter is summed up for every person alive: Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die. (The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 42)
Conversion, submission, or the sword is, of course, the mission of the Islamic State — not alleviating “grievances.”
Worst of all, unlike al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, from day one of its existence, has made it very clear — in Osama’s words, “with power and determination, with one voice” — that its massacres, enslavements, crucifixions, and beheadings of “infidels” are all based on Islamic law or Sharia — not silly “grievances” against the West… Keep reading
Addressing a joint session of Congress this morning, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he’s willing to negotiate to bring peace to his country but draws the line at anything that compromises Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“Over the last months, Ukrainian have shown that they have courage to stand up to the most powerful enemy. We will never obey or bend to the aggressor,” Poroshenko said. ”We are ready to fight, but we are people of peace, and we extend the hand of peace to Russia and the Russian-inspired separatists.”
“I am ready to do my utmost to avoid the further escalation and casualties, even at this point when the war has already started feeding on itself. Sooner or later, I’m absolutely sure peace will return to the Ukrainian homes.”
Despite “the insanity of this war,” he said, “I am convinced that peace can be achieved sooner rather than later, and I’m ready to offer the separatists more rights than any part of Ukraine had ever had in the history of nation.”
“And I’m ready to discuss anything except one thing: Ukrainian independence, Ukrainian territorial integrity, Ukrainian sovereignty,” Poroshenko stressed, garnering applause from the U.S. lawmakers. “And I am confident if this war is about the rights and not about the geopolitical ambition, the solution must and I am sure, will be found.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, in 1991, independence came to Ukraine at a very low cost and peacefully. Yet the more real this independence become, the higher grew its cost. Today, the cost is as high as it gets.”
The president said Russia’s invasion has taught his country to “learn the value of independence and to recognize the true friends.”
His country needs “to root out the seeds that drain Ukraine’s potential,” Poroshenko said, including those problems “largely inherited from the era of Soviet Union — decay, corruption, bureaucracy and the self-preserving cynicism of political elites.”
He asked Congress ”to create a special fund to support investment of American companies in Ukraine and to help us with the reforming of our economy and our justice system,” a request met with applause. “And I assure you that all aid received from the west will be utilized by non-corrupt institution and that the new generation of official will make sure that the funds are distributed effectively.”
“By supporting Ukraine, you support new future of Europe and the entire free world. By supporting Ukraine, you support a nation that has chosen freedom in the most cynical of the times. In Ukraine, you don’t build a democracy. It’s already exist. You just defend it.”
Poroshenko reference New Hampshire’s motto: “Live free or die.”
“Live free or die was the spirit of the revolutionary on the Maidan during the dramatic winter months of 2014 with a significant presence of the member of United States Congress,” he said. “And we thank you for that.”
“Live free or die are words of Ukrainian soldiers standing on line of freedom on this war. Live free must be the answer with which Ukraine comes out of this war. Live free must be the message Ukraine and America send to the world while standing together in this time of enormous challenge.”
Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged at Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Islamic State is “pumping oil and selling it to the tune of a million dollars a day to fund its brutal tactics.”
But he was evasive when Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Kerry who was buying the oil. “Who are they selling it to? Which countries are transiting…”
“We have raised with a number of countries in the region the question of how they could possibly be getting oil out of the country. It’s being smuggled out. And what — that’s part of the approach here is to deal… ” Kerry replied before Durbin interjected, “Through which countries do you believe it’s being smuggled out?”
“Well, it’s being smuggled out from the border countries of Syria, obviously, which means either through Turkey or through Lebanon or south…”
“Now, are they joining us in the effort to stop this smuggling?” Durbin asked.
“They are, but, obviously, Turkey has difficulties right now, has 49 hostages that are being held, and they’ve talked about that publicly,” Kerry responded. “And Turkey is — you know, we’ve had some conversations with them, and those conversations will continue.”
In January, the Telegraph reported that Bashar Assad was buying ISIS’ oil and funding the terrorist group. Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra already admitted last year that Assad was buying their oil from Deir Ezzor province.
And an opposition lawmaker in Turkey said his government is buying ISIS’ oil
Ali Ediboglu, a Republican People’s Party member of parliament representing a border region, told Taraf, “$800 million worth of oil that ISIS obtained from regions it occupied this year [the Rumeilan oil fields in northern Syria — and most recently Mosul] is being sold in Turkey.
“They have laid pipes from villages near the Turkish border at Hatay. Similar pipes exist also at [the Turkish border regions of] Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep,” Ediboglu said. “They transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into cash. They take the oil from the refineries at zero cost. Using primitive means, they refine the oil in areas close to the Turkish border and then sell it via Turkey. This is worth $800 million.”
President Obama has had a close working relationship with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the former priem minister who recently became president.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) asked Kerry at today’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing if we could bomb the oil fields or refineries to help deprive ISIS of its $1 million-per-day revenue.
“Um, I haven’t heard any objections,” Kerry responded before Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said he’d run out of time and could submit a more detailed answer to the committee in writing.
Kerry did hint, though, at the Assad-ISIS alliance: “We have evidence that Assad has played footsie with them.”
An Islamic State supporter in Australia had grisly plans.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the plan involved kidnapping randomly selected members of the public off the streets in Sydney and Brisbane, beheading them on camera, and releasing the recordings through Islamic State’s propaganda arm in the Middle East.
Later Thursday, Attorney General George Brandis confirmed that a person born in Afghanistan who had spent time in Australia and is now working with the Islamic State group in the Middle East ordered supporters in Australia to behead people and videotape the killings.
“If the … police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened,” Brandis told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The plan was disrupted.
But, why Australia? They’re not leading the coalition of the unwilling to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
One possible reason that Australia was chosen — handguns are banned there. ISIS operatives there would know that they would be extremely unlikely to face an armed opponent, instead of a hapless victim.
The raid has smoked out another potential problem for Australia.
Uthman Badar, a spokesman for the Islamist group Hizt ut-Tahrir, warned of a growing unrest within Australia’s Muslim community.
“We are tired of being made scapegoats. The government is the terrorist,” he said in front of supporters wearing anti-government placards, according to News.com.au.
“We would be fools to think we can now wake up and feel safer,” he added. “We are not fools to be deceived. There is anger in the community. We have been victimized for years and years.”
Here’s Uthman Badar’s Twitter feed. He apparently engineered the “snap protest” that has run interference for ISIS.
— Manny Tsigas (@mantsig) September 18, 2014
— Matthew Snelson (@matthewsnelson7) September 18, 2014
Badar justifies “honor killings,” despite the chant above about keeping women safe.
His group is already banned in many countries for its radicalism. It’s time for Australia to follow suit.
MarketWatch reports today that President Barack Obama will exert tight personal control over U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential sign-off for strikes in Syrian territory, officials said.
The requirements for strikes in Syria against the extremist group Islamic State will be far more stringent than those targeting it in Iraq, at least at first. U.S. officials say it’s an attempt to limit the threat the U.S. could be dragged more deeply into the Syrian civil war.
So far, Obama has handled the ISIS threat as primarily a political, not a national security, matter. He only spoke to the American people to reveal his strategy to deal with the group once the beheadings of two Americans enraged the public. Obama himself merely offered a brief statement after the beheading of James Foley, and then went straight out to play golf.
Thus far, Obama is publicly limiting the U.S. military role against ISIS to air power and “advisers” on the ground. Those “advisers” will assist the Kurdish peshmerga, the Iraqi military, and even Syrian rebels. Those American “advisers” are said to have no combat role. But the number of those advisers has already grown, from a few dozen early on to nearly 3,000.
Yet the war against the Islamic State shows no sign of progress. Overnight, ISIS captured 16 villages in Syria.
Ever since the 1970s, every time U.S. forces have engaged in any overseas conflict on the ground, Democrats and the media have warned that America could be entering “another Vietnam.” When President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Panama to capture dictator Manuel Noriega, some Democrats warned of “another Vietnam.” At the beginning of the 1990-91 Gulf War and at the outset of the 2003 Iraq war, many Democrats warned that America was blundering into “another Vietnam.”
But none of those wars ended up resembling Vietnam. Panama and the first Gulf War featured overwhelming U.S. force that won those wars quickly, with very few U.S. casualties. The 2003 Iraq war versus Saddam Hussein’s military was actually over quickly too, but Islamist insurgencies (some of which were backed by Iran) dragged out the military action and the country’s recovery. By 2009, Iraq was relatively stable and quiescent. More than 3,000 American troops died in the second Iraq war, but that number is dwarfed by the 59,000 killed in Vietnam.
Obama inherited that stable Iraq, and withdrew U.S. forces too quickly. The Islamic State has arisen out of the Syrian civil war and the vacuum of power that Obama left in Iraq.
Now Obama is slow rolling America’s entry into the war versus the Islamic State. His strategy of limiting U.S. forces’ role to “advisers” mirrors how U.S. presidents from Harry Truman to Lyndon Baines Johnson slowly increased America’s military role in Vietnam, especially following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Within two years of that defeat, a small number of American military “advisers” were on the ground in Vietnam training the South Vietnam military. In 1962, there were 12,000 American troops in Vietnam, officially in non-combat roles. Two years later, there were 15,000 American troops in Vietnam.
In 1965 Johnson authorized Operation Rolling Thunder, a massive bombing campaign against the north. That same year, Johnson’s advisers determined that bombing alone would not be enough to win the war. Operation Rolling Thunder, though, was never intended to achieve victory. Its aim was to disrupt supply lines from the north into the south, by North Vietnam to the Vietcong guerillas. Operation Rolling Thunder slow rolled across two years, to including bombing more strategic targets in North Vietnam.
Operation Rolling Thunder was closely controlled by the White House and at times targets were personally selected by President Johnson. From 1965 to 1968, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North Vietnam. A total of nearly 900 U.S. aircraft were lost during Operation Rolling Thunder. The operation continued, with occasional suspensions, until President Johnson, under increasing domestic political pressure, halted it on October 31, 1968.
President Johnson escalated the U.S. role in Vietnam once it became clear that the advisory role plus U.S. air power would never defeat Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces. By the end of 1965, Johnson had sent 184,000 troops into Vietnam, and the “advisory” role was changed to combat.
The slow-rolled war dragged on until U.S. withdrawal in 1973, and the final defeat of South Vietnam in 1975. The victorious communists hunted down, imprisoned, tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands in South Vietnam, sparking a refugee exodus in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
During the Vietnam air war, President Johnson even personally selected bombing targets. President Obama, according to the MarketWatch report, is set to repeat that in selecting targets in Syria.
There are many obvious differences between Vietnam and the fight against the Islamic State, with Islam being the most obvious. The differences in the terrain — jungles in Asia, desert in the Middle East — is another.
But the similarities even at this stage of the ISIS fight are haunting, as we’ll explore on the next page.
During Wednesday’s House Select Committee on Benghazi testimony, one witness dropped a major revelation.
The bombshell came during discussion of just what the facility in Benghazi, Libya actually was. Was it a consulate? Was it something else? Its actual status has never been clear.
Former Homeland Security official Todd Keil told the panel that the the State Department classified it as a “Special Mission Compound.”
Under questioning from Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Keil revealed something startling about “Special Mission Compounds.”
Namely, that according to the State Department and government security nomenclature, there is no such thing as a “Special Mission Compound.”
Rep. Roskam asked Keil, “What’s a Special Mission Compound?”
Keep in mind, Mr. Keil has a career spanning 27 years in global security, and 22 years serving in various positions in State Department diplomatic security.
Keil replied to Rep. Roskam, “I don’t know. To be honest, from our review, Under Secretary Kennedy, in authorizing that, made up that term in order to avoid the OSPB security standards.”
Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy is a career State Department official. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security answers to him. The OSPB is the Overseas Security Policy Board. It is charged with helping the State Department comply with a 1986 law.
Kennedy was among the high-level State Department officials who signed off on creating the facility in Benghazi, and who repeatedly denied requests for more security there. In 2013, Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom testified before the House that the Benghazi facility never met the department’s security standards. Keil’s revelation explains that: Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy made up a new term to avoid having to meet security standards. The question is, why?
Kennedy answered directly to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He also supervised the selection of the staff for the Accountability Review Board, which Clinton convened in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 attack. The ARB never interviewed Clinton, and kept its focus below Kennedy’s level.
Another State Department official, former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, has alleged that prior to the ARB’s investigation, Hillary Clinton loyalist Cheryl Mills led a basement team in scrubbing documents to remove anything that could implicate or embarrass Clinton and other high-level officials.
Four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, died in the terrorist attack on the facility in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
ISIS released this morning what it said would be the first in a video “series” featuring another British hostage — not being executed, but delivering a case against the “Western media” portrayal of the Islamic State and the U.S.-British refusal to pay ransom.
Titled Lend Me Your Ears, the first video reveals veteran photojournalist John Cantlie, who has worked for the The Sunday Times, The Sun the Telegraph and more. He was first captured in Syria in July 2012, was shot trying to escape (“every Englishman’s duty,” he later wrote), and was rescued within a week by the Free Syrian Army.
Cantlie extensively talked about his experience after that, detailing between 10 to 15 British captors among the al-Qaeda-linked cell and threats that he would be beheaded, including “mock executions” where captors would torture prisoners and sharpen their knives.
In today’s video, Cantlie sits at a desk in an orange jumpsuit, and says he was abducted in November 2012.
Previous videos of ISIS have include hostages delivering statements criticizing their countries before they were beheaded, but have given indications that the statements were coerced. For example, Miami journalist Steve Sotloff spoke of “what little I know about foreign policy” in his video — but he wrote for Foreign Policy magazine, among others, and deeply covered the Arab Spring countries.
ISIS appears to have heard the skepticism and makes Cantlie address it directly.
Cantlie notes in the video that “many things have changed” since his kidnapping, including the “expansion of the Islamic State… a land mass bigger than Britain and many other nations.”
“Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, he’s only doing this because he’s a prisoner. He’s got a gun at his head, and he’s being forced to do this, right?” Cantlie says, making a gun-firing gesture toward his head with his fingers.
“Well, it’s true. I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny. But seeing as how I’ve been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State I have nothing to lose. Maybe I will live, and maybe I will die.”
He says that “over the next few programs” he will lay out facts that can “save lives.”
He then makes a pitch against “another conflict” in Iraq and says he’ll show how the news organizations he used to work for “twist and manipulate the truth.”
Cantlie also said he’d detail what really happened when “many European prisoners” were released by ISIS “and how they British and American governments thought they could do it differently than every other European country” — a clear reference to the hefty ransoms paid by other nations. “They negotiated with the Islamic State and got their people home, while the British and the Americans were left behind.”
“It’s very alarming to see where this is all headed,” Cantlie adds, “and it looks like history repeating itself yet again.”
“There is time to change this seemingly inevitable sequence of events, but only if you, the public, act now.”
Cronyism. Or Crony Capitalism. It’s actually Crony Socialism – because it actually has nothing to do with capitalism.
Crony Socialism is not an unfettered free market where the best ideas and companies win. It’s the government warping and distorting the market: favoring with absurdly tilted policies some ideas and companies – and thus inherently dis-favoring everyone else in said sector.
How much you pay to watch TV has been a Crony Socialist nightmare mess since basically the creation of cable TV. Thanks to government meddlesomely messing with the market.
The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (also known as the 1992 Cable Act) is a United States federal law which required cable systems to carry most local broadcast channels and prohibited cable operators from charging local broadcasters to carry their signal.
Get that? Cable companies are required by law to deliver all local broadcast stations in every channel package. Cable companies must then sit down with broadcasters and pretend to negotiate a “free market” deal for how much they pay for those stations.
If you and I sat down to negotiate a price for my widgets – after the government has mandated that you purchase my widgets – don’t you think I’m going to inflate the price of my widgets?
And broadcasters are thanks to government a monopoly – in the sense that they alone carry the product cable companies are mandated by government to purchase. And thus their prices are perpetually on the rise.
Of course the more cable companies pay for these local stations – the more we pay for them.
And cable companies—and thus you—are required by government to pay rigged prices for a product that you used to get for free with a rooftop antenna or a pair of rabbit ears.
Government mandates rarely go well. Government is now mandating that everyone buy health insurance – how’s that going?
ObamaCare will increase average individual-market insurance premiums by 99% for men, 62% for women; ObamaCare will raise premiums for 65% of small firms; ObamaCare taxes add billion to rising premiums.
And broadcasters know: when your cable bill goes up, you don’t get mad at the broadcasters for overcharging for their channels – you get mad at your cable company for having to pass those costs on to you.
As sweet as this broadcasters’ deal is – it ain’t anywhere near all.
The Broadcasters are actually the beneficiaries of decades of government good grace – well beyond the uber-tilted Cable Act.
They received free from government charge their spectrum – the airwaves they use to broadcast. Surely something the cellular phone companies have eyed as they’ve paid the government tens of billions of dollars for their spectrum.
And now we have the looming spectrum incentive auction. Where Broadcasters get to sell their spectrum – that they, again, received for free – to the cell phone companies (via the government middle man).
I’m sure a company like Verizon - a cell phone company who with Fios is also a television Provider – is thrilled to pay Broadcasters for spectrum the latter received for free, while also having the government tilt the Retransmission rules against them, in the Broadcasters’ favor.
The Broadcasters have a pretty sweet omni-directional Crony Socialist deal going. Little wonder they are fighting so hard against any changes to it.
If we can get an injection of Free Market (Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval-pending) anywhere into this Crony Socialist organism – we should absolutely take it. The “Local Choice” bill now before the Senate would do just that.
Taking a novel approach to broadcast retransmission consent, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) joined forces with ranking committee member John Thune (R-SD) in unveiling a proposal that would allow subscribers to multichannel video program distribution (MVPD) services to select the local broadcast channels they want while permitting MVPDs to bill subscribers directly for licensing fees connected with the broadcast channels of their choice.
Any roll back of any Crony Socialism is a turn in the right direction.
Once upon a time, Slate got very upset by any hint of a Jewish stereotype. But that was before Vice President Joe “Archie Bunker” Biden’s latest doozy complaining “unscrupulous bankers” were a bunch of “Shylocks.”
There is not a mention (so far) of Biden’s latest gaffe to be found at Slate today.
That wasn’t the case when George Lucas introduced us to the slave trader Watto in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
In a piece headlined “The Merchant of Menace,” Slate was quick to attack Watto:
There, they attempt to repair their broken spaceship but are stymied by the hook-nosed owner of the local parts shop–Watto–who also happens to have a thick Yiddish accent! (To hear an example, click “Great.”) Psychological manipulations that work on almost everyone fail with Watto–”Mind ticks don’ta work on me … only money! No,” he cries–and the heroes get what they want only through the bravery of a gifted slave boy (Anakin Skywalker). At the end of the desert planet sequence, Anakin is emancipated but separated from his mother, who still belongs to Watto. Even in a galaxy far away, the Jews are apparently behind the slave trade.
By now the hypocrisy of the legacy and left-wing (but I repeat myself) media is no surprise. When a Democrat vice president brazenly uses “Shylocks” as a slur to condemn bankers, and thereby conjures the most sinister anti-Semitic narrative of the last 500 years, Biden gets a pass. Perhaps if he had added that the “Shylocks” also ”control the media” or have horns, there might have been some attention paid at the once vigilant Slate. Perhaps not.
The same sort of hypocrisy is on display at Talking Points Memo. TPM features an attack on a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate for website plagiarism. Just a month ago, TPM was busy defending Fareed Zakaria. Thanks, guys, you make posts like this one so easy to write.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Julio Pino, a tenured Kent State professor who openly supports Hamas on his Facebook page and calls for the destruction of Israel. The convert to Islam also wrote, “MESSAGE MY WAY FROM ZION: While we were educating the world your parents and their ancestors were giving BLOW JOBS to apes!! THAT’S A FACT jack!!” and vowed that he would not work with his fellow professors who support Israel saying, “Collaborate with no one who collaborates with Israel, and let her or him know why. I have started with the head of our ‘Religious Studies’ program, who sends student-dupes to Israel every year.”
Kent State did not respond to my request for a comment about the Facebook posts and Adam Hirsh, Assistant Director of Hillel at Kent State declined to comment on the posts, instead referring me to a statement the group made earlier in the month about Dr. Pino’s “repeated hate rhetoric.”
Basically, the incendiary Facebook posts were met with a yawn. Just more bigoted rantings from Kent State’s resident anti-Semitic scholar.
But, oh, the outrage at Kent State this week when Urban Outfitters tried to sell a vintage Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to be blood-spattered! Many students were upset, saying it reminded them of the May 4, 1970 shootings of four students by members of the National Guard. In fact, the Plain Dealer reported that Kent State students were “collectively disgusted” by the shirt.
“I was just appalled,” said Marvin Logan, president of Undergraduate Student Government. “As a member who represents the entire student population, I felt for our community. May 4 is a sensitive topic. It’s a part of our legacy and should not be taken lightly.”
“How could somebody be so insensitive?” asked Jerry Lewis, a professor emeritus of sociology at Kent State who witnessed the Kent State shootings. “Even if you don’t know the parents like I do or you don’t know the wounded students, 13 people were shot protesting, legally protesting. (That) should be enough to make you outraged by the sweatshirt.”
Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents Kent, even felt the need to weigh in on the controversial sweatshirts. ”It is deplorable for Urban Outfitters to exploit the pain and suffering of this national tragedy for their gain,” Ryan said in a press release. “May 4th was a seminal and transformational moment in American history and we should never lose sight of its immense impact. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,” said Ryan (or was it Santayana?)
Likewise, the university was outraged at the insensitivity of Urban Outfitters. ”We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit,” the university said in a statement Monday. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”
Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield said he has been contacted by media from around the world about the shirts. Urban Outfitters also called to let him know the company was posting an apology on Twitter. “Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused,” the company posted on Twitter. “It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such.”
Mindy Farmer, who was leading freshman students through the May 4 Visitor Center as part of their First Year Experience class this week said, ”There was nothing but outrage,” about the sweatshirts. “May 4 was a sad event and we are seeing nothing but support (for the university). They have a sense of history and for that we are grateful.”
Farmer told the Plain Dealer that the Urban Outfitter sweatshirt incident is a teachable moment for students.
“We are the right place to combat ignorance,” she said.
Activists who organized the dormant Occupy Wall Street movement are suing another activist for control of the main Twitter account, and one of the plaintiffs says there was no other option but to turn to litigation to solve the dispute.
The conflict centers around @OccupyWallStNYC, one of the main Twitter feeds that distributed information during the movement’s heyday in 2011. The OWS Media Group filed a lawsuit against organizer Justin Wedes on Wednesday, which is also the third anniversary of the beginning of Occupy Wall Street. The group, led by activist Marisa Holmes, is seeking control of the Twitter account as well as $500,000 in damages.
Back in the days when Occupy Wall St. was stinking up public spaces from coast to coast, we were treated to narrative onslaught about the organic nature of the movement. It was supposed to have sprung from nothing more than the frustration of some college youth, all of whom seem to have been homeless rather than in school. It was often contrasted with the Tea Party movement, which the MSM and Occupy people were forever saying was astroturfed by, you guessed it, THE KOCH BROTHERS.
As with most things having to do with progressives, reality was the opposite of what they were saying. I had the chance (lucky me!) to travel around the country and encounter more than one Occupy group. Some had a heavy union presence in charge, others were run by professional organizers/agitators. I met one in Madison, WI (I’d infiltrated the camp with the Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft. We didn’t lie but we weren’t terribly open about who we were.) who rolled her eyes and laughed when I asked if she ever spent the night at the camp.
It faded out as quickly as it came into being, because it was fake. But think back and remember that almost everyone in the media, as well as the highest ranking Democrat in the House, and the President lied to us about the group.
Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday his use of the term “Shylocks,” which some consider anti-Semitic, was “a poor choice of words.”
His statement came a day after the national director of the Anti-Defamation League issued a mild rebuke of the vice president’s use of the word, saying Biden “should have been more careful.”
At a Tuesday conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation, Biden recalled anecdotes from his son’s experience serving in Iraq and meeting members of the military who were in need of legal help because of problems back at home.
“That’s one of the things that he finds was most in need when he was over there in Iraq for a year,” Biden said. “That people would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being … I mean these Shylocks who took advantage of, um, these women and men while overseas.”
I’m just playing by their rules here. If a Republican had said the exact same thing MSNBC would have it on a 24/7 loop and the Hitler comparisons would be on. Biden’s history, especially since becoming Vice President, is one huge body of evidence that he doesn’t think before, during or after speaking. Sure, he’ll get around to an, “Oops, shucks…” insincere apology like this when his handlers have point out his latest gaffe, but he is held to absolutely no standard whatsoever by the media or the Democrats. Conservatives and Republicans barely hold him to one. Most I talk to dismiss him or say they find him “amusing”.
Nothing funny about a guy who never thinks being that close to the nukes if you ask me.
The House today passed an amendment to train and equip Syrian rebels, with more Democrats than Republicans opposing President Obama’s request.
The House vote was 273-156 after more than six hours of debate that revealed no party-line divides. Eighty-five Democrats were opposed along with 71 Republicans. (See the yeas and nays here.)
“The amendment to the continuing resolution, according to a summary by the office of sponsor and House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), allows the Defense Department ‘to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals.’ Additionally, this amendment would strengthen Congressional oversight by requiring detailed reports, including progress reports on the plan, vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment. It would also require the President to report on how this authority fits within a larger regional strategy.”
McKeon lauded the bipartisan vote after the amendment’s passage.
“This authority would allow those forces to fight ISIL terrorists. The president requested this authority and — after we shaped it to include robust oversight mechanisms — the House gave it to him. I hope the Senate quickly follows suit,” McKeon said.
“While we voted to approve the authority in large numbers, none of us believe that this program alone can achieve the president’s objective to ‘degrade and destroy’ ISI,” he added. “A more robust strategy will be required from the president to do that. I hope that, with the support of Congress and the American people, he adopts one.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), past chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, voted for the amendment while stressing it still doesn’t present a comprehensive strategy against ISIS.
“I am afraid that this misguided approach will preempt many to acquiesce and take a deal that would undermine our national security and leaves Iran with enrichment capabilities,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who’s locked in a tight race to unset Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), voted for the amendment as “ISIL is an imminent threat to the safety of our nation and our interests.”
“They have kidnapped and murdered Americans, threatened attacks on American soil, and are actively pursuing recruits in the United States,” Gardner said. “We must not sit back and watch while this terrorist organization continues to threaten our citizens, our government, and our way of life. Today’s action by the House of Representatives sends a clear message that we will not stand idly by while terrorists attempt to intimidate us.”
Some of the GOP “no” votes came from Tea Party conservatives such as Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.).
“The only choice I was given was to approve (or disapprove) a plan that would arm groups we know very little about,” Mulvaney said in a statement. “…The Administration has been completely incapable of defining what ‘victory’ looks like. I think ‘when will we know it will be over?’ is a reasonable question to ask. The answers have been frighteningly ambiguous to, worse, completely unreasonable.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), another “no” vote, said Obama’s “failure to convince the American people, coupled with turning a blind eye to this ongoing conflict, has once again left the United States without any good options.”
“President Obama has the right conclusion – defeating the Islamic State – but a flawed strategy filled with half-measures to reach it,” she continued. “The Islamic State declared war against the United States, and President Obama has asked the U.S. Congress to follow him in a Vietnam-style slow walked response. I will not.”
“Either the United States chooses to decisively defeat this brutal evil with all available resources, or we will have to answer the next generation’s questions regarding why we failed to defeat the totalitarian evil of our day.”
Upon returning from Vietnam, Secretary of State John Kerry testified before Congress about the war and chucked his medal at the U.S. Capitol the next day.
Today, Kerry told antiwar protesters they should be against ISIS in part because of the lack of social services they offer to women.
Kerry began his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee backdropped by Code Pink protesters seated in the gallery rows. They held signs including “There is no military solution” and “No beheading. No bombing.”
“You know, as I came in here, obviously, we had some folks who spoke out and I would start by saying that I understand dissent. I’ve lived it. That’s how I first testified in front of this country in 1971. And I spent two years protesting a policy,” Kerry said. “So I respect the right of Code Pink to protest and to use that right. But you know what, I also know something about Code Pink.”
“Code Pink was started by a woman and women who were opposed to war, but who also thought that the government’s job was to take care of people and to give them health care and education and good jobs,” he continued.
“And if that’s what you believe in — and I believe it is — then you ought to care about fighting ISIL because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women. And they believe women shouldn’t have an education.”
Kerry noted that the Islamic State sells off girls “to be sex slaves to jihadists.”
“There’s no negotiation with ISIL, there’s nothing to negotiate. And they’re not offering anyone healthcare of any kind. You know, they’re not offering education of any kind,” he said. “For a whole philosophy or idea or a cult, whatever you want to call it, that frankly comes out of the Stone Age, they’re cold-blooded killers, marauding across the Middle East, making a mockery of a peaceful religion.”
“And that’s precisely why we are building a coalition to stop them from denying the women and the girls and the people of Iraq the very future that they yearned for. And frankly, Code Pink and a lot of other people need to stop and think about how you stop them and deal with that.”
At this point a protester began chanting, “The war invasion will not protect the homeland!” She was led from the room by security.
“There’s no invasion. The invasion was ISIL into Iraq,” Kerry retorted. “The invasion is foreign fighters into Syria. That’s the invasion. And it is destructive to every possibility of building a state in that region. So even in a region that is virtually defined by division and every member of this committee understands the degree to which these divisions are deep in that region.”
It’s known colloquially as “Who Hit John,” “The ‘Crature’,” and “John Barleycorn.” It’s name is derived from the Gaelic for “Water of Life” — for which those of us who imbibe the elixir from time to time (or more often) heartily agree.
Whatever you want to call it, Scotch Whiskey is Scotland’s proudest achievement. In a nation of 5 million people, $6.5 billion in Scotch is exported annually. That accounts for fully 20% of all exports in the country. It’s the third biggest industry in Scotland behind financial services and oil.
But the industry operates in a global marketplace where more mundane concerns than achingly smooth taste and a complex bouquet are of paramount importance. Cheap credit, trade barriers, and a reliance on the UK to help promote their product have most distilleries in Scotland worried about the vote on independence.
Members of Scotland’s best-known industry are watching the vote for independence with serious trepidation.
Lack of certainty about Scotland’s currency, interest rate levels and membership in the European Union—which eliminates trade barriers in its largest market—all compete for the top of the list of worries.
Mike Younger, one of the few Scotch executives who will speak to the media, is finance director for Macleod Distillers, makers of Glengoyne Single Malt. He is solidly in the “no” camp. “I’m nervous,” he said, “because the results could be quite difficult for business.”
Scotch whisky is the third-largest contributor to Scotland’s GDP after the oil industry and financial services. And it acts as perhaps the No. 1 ambassador for Scottish culture. Nine out of 10 bottles are sent overseas.
Scotch can only be made in Scotland, just as Champagne can only be made in the Champagne region of France. In Scotland, it’s officially called Scotch Whisky (no “e” at the end!).
And precisely because it is an export, Scotch is particularly vulnerable to the unknowns that will come about if the Scots vote yes for independence.
David Williamson is the spokesperson for the Scotch Whisky Association. Officially, the group is not taking a side, but Williamson said that “At the moment, the consensus within the Scotch industry is that the potential risks outweigh the advantages.”
Back on the factory floor of Macleod, Younger said he’s worried because he thinks credit will become less available, and more expensive, in what will be a much smaller country, “simply because the full scale of the Scottish banking system at that point will be much smaller and less well defined and less capable than the much richer system that we have across the UK in its entirety.”
The potential rise of trade barriers is another concern. Currently, Scotland, as part of the United Kingdom, is part of the European Union, and faces no trade barriers in member states. The leaders of the “Yes” campaign have promised that Scotland would remain in the European Union, but just today, Spain said it would block Scotland’s membership.
The US imbibes more than twice as much Scotch as any other nation — $1.32 billion to France’s $600 million. If the distilleries are worried, so should be Scotch drinkers. There’s not much danger of an interruption in supply, as much as there may be significant price increases and availability issues for some of the more popular brands.
In its latest report, “Going Scot-free”, the bank notes that while many have argued independence has the “potential” to boost sales of Scotch, it believes the “overall short-term impact on the industry will be negative.”
The bank highlighted five key areas which will be impacted, one of which would be the industry’s ability to access EU export markets, which currently account for 37% of Scotch sales, as a result of its temporary loss of EU membership and free trade agreement with member states.
While Scotland would be expected to re-apply for EU membership, the country would likely to shut out until at least 2018, leaving the Scotch sector at risk of seeing higher import tariffs in its core markets for at least two years, competition from other spirits categories and its competitiveness in key EU markets.
“The Scottish government would also have a mountainous task in procuring new trade agreements with non EU export markets following independence,” warned the bank.
It has been suggested that Scotland could instead join the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), giving it full access to the EU market without required membership to the EU, however foregoing any influence on it which could prove uncomfortable for a newly independent country.
The loss of the British pound would also raise uncertainly with a change in currency likely to lead to an “increase in foreign exchange risk for Scotch exports”, according to the bank.
Should independence be established, the Rabobank warned it was likely interest rates would rise which could create a “serious challenge” within an industry built on inventories stored up for decades with smaller companies likely to be hit hardest.
The pro-independence leaders have dismissed the concerns of the distilleries, saying that Scotch has been around for at least 800 years and it’s not going anywhere. That may be true. But it looks like Scotch makers are in for a rough ride if the “yes” vote wins tomorrow.
Pelosi Refuses to Say that We’re at War with ISIS, Has No Trouble Declaring that There Is a ‘War on Women’
Great stuff from the folks at CNS News. House Democrat leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi turned up on MSNBC today. Ronan Farrow asked her a simple question: Are we at war with ISIS?
The Obama adminstration has had trouble answering that one, but they have finally come around to admitting that yes, we are at war with ISIS.
Pelosi twists herself around words to stay away from calling it a “war.”
But other “wars” that the Democrats just made up…Pelosi has no trouble declaring that they’re real.
Today’s House Select Committee hearing on Benghazi was short of fireworks or revelations. But former Obama Homeland Security official Todd Keil was asked directly whether the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, which was hand-picked by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was as “fiercely independent as she and members of that board have claimed.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked Keil “What’s your overall impression of the ARB report?”
Keil replied, “Ambassador Pickering referred to the ARB as being ‘fiercely independent.’ In that same hearing, Admiral Mullen admitted to Oversight and Government Reform that he was reporting on ARB proceedings to staff of the State Department, outside of the precepts and requirements of being a member of the ARB.
“I don’t think that fits anyone’s definition of being ‘fiercely independent.’”
Keil is a 27-year veteran of global security operations and management, according to his bio. President Obama tapped him in December 2009 to serve as Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security. He also served in the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service for over 22 years.
The Daily Mail has new photos of the incident that led to Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts’ confrontation with police.
Watts initially claimed that police arrested her for kissing her white boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, in public. But then a tape of her confrontation with police came out — and it’s Watts who plays the race card, even saying that as a black actress she “raises awareness” of race issues.
The police officer simply told Watts that someone called the police about lewd activity taking place in a public area, so he had to investigate, and he had the right to ask for Watts’ identification. She refused to provide that, escalating the confrontation.
The photos in the Mail show Watts sitting on her husband, straddling him, with the car door open as it is parked on the street.
Eye witnesses have come forward to say that Watts was grinding on her boyfriend, and that she had her shirt up and her breasts exposed. See the photo on the next page and just for yourself.
A week ago today, President Obama touted Yemen and Somalia as examples of successful counterterrorism. He made the claim en route to offering his strategy for dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
US national security officials tell a different story about those two countries, according to The Hill. They are not successes.
“Al Qaeda’s official branches in Yemen and Somalia continue to remain extremely active,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen told lawmakers during a hearing.
Olsen said in prepared remarks that the Yemen-based group was the Al Qaeda affiliate “most likely to attempt transnational attacks” against the United States, according to Reuters.
“Of course, over the past five years Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has sought on three times to take down an airplane bound for the United States,” he said at the hearing.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson echoed Olsen’s remarks, warning that while ISIS was the “most prominent terrorist organization,” his Department has to stay focus on a range of terrorist threats.
“From my homeland security perspective we have to stay focus on a range of threats. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, for example, is still active,” Johnson said.
Obama overrode his generals in crafting the ISIS strategy he rolled out a week ago, just as he overrode them when he pulled US troops out of Iraq. Is he listening to his own national security officials?
The US energy industry has been warning for years that the Obama EPA’s caps on carbon emissions will lead to several bad outcomes for Americans, including skyrocketing energy prices and even brownouts and blackouts.
The EPA’s Janet McCabe was testifying in the House today on the agency’s plan to cap carbon emissions. And then the power went out.
If there’s a unifying message Washington is trying to publicly send about the referendum that could split Scotland from the United Kingdom, it might be “c’est la vie.”
Administration officials have been stressing that it’s the UK’s business, refusing to give much of an opinion when asked about Thursday’s crucial vote.
The polling margin is decidedly toss-up. A Sunday Times poll from Sept. 9-12 found 46 percent yes, 47 percent no, and 7 percent undecided. A Telegraph poll conducted Sept. 12-15 found 43 percent in favor of secession, 47 percent saying no and 9 percent undecided. The video of ISIS beheading Scottish aid worker David Haines was released in the early morning hours UK time on Sept. 14.
A Scotsman poll conducted Sept. 12-16 found the “no” vote at 45 percent, with “yes” at 41 percent and 14 percent undecided. A Panelbase poll taken Sept. 15-17 found the “no” votes pulling head, at 50 percent to 45 percent on the “aye” side; five percent were still undecided.
By any measure, it’s too close to call.
When asked in Paris on Monday about the upcoming vote and its broader implications for Europe, Secretary of State John Kerry eschewed a characteristically verbose response.
“No, no. Honestly, I — anything I would say to that effect would be — become part of the campaign, and it’d be inappropriate for me to say anything at this point,” Kerry said.
“I will say this: that we’ve — just that the president has said — I think the president said in the past at various locations the strong and united and proactive United Kingdom has been an important player and an important contributor. But he and I and no one in our government are commenting on this vote.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest noted that President Obama was standing next to British Prime Minister David Cameron at the G-7 meeting in Brussels when he gave the definitive White House meme on the referendum.
“You recall that what the president said was he said that — that from the outside, the United States has a deep interest in ensuring that one of the closest allies that we’ll ever have remains strong, robust, united and an effective partner with the United States,” Earnest said Monday.
“So, this is a decision for the people of Scotland to make. We certainly respect the right of individual Scots to make a decision about the — along these lines. But, you know, as the president himself said, we have a — we have an interest in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united and an effective partner.”
“United” — so does that mean Washington does have a position on the vote?
“Flames of War,” coming soon! Complete with President Obama vowing no more Iraq war and the Mission Accomplished banner. ISIS ups its production value with its latest threats (Rambo-style explosions in the trailer, fake flames, no beheadings):
Robert Gates was President Barack Obama’s first Secretary of Defense.
On CBS this morning, Gates made his first public comments on the Islamic State since Obama announced his strategy for “degrading and destroying” ISIS without putting any US troops in ground combat against them.
Gates said, ”The reality is, they’re not going to be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces or the Peshmerga or the Sunni tribes acting on their own. So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that [there won't be troops on the ground], the president in effect traps himself.”
After predicting that there will be US boots on the ground if we’re to defeat ISIS, Gates continued: ”I’m also concerned that the goal has been stated as ‘degrade and destroy’ or ‘degrade and defeat’ ISIS. We’ve been at war with al Qaeda for 13 years. We have dealt them some terrible blows, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, but I don’t think anybody would say that after 13 years we’ve destroyed or defeated al Qaeda. And so I think to promise that we’re going to destroy ISIS or ISIL sets a goal that may be unattainable. as opposed to devastating it or as the vice president would put it, following them to the gates of hell and dealing them terrible blows that prevent them from holding territory. Those are probably realistic goals.”
The Islamic State currently holds territory that is roughly the size of the United Kingdom. The UK itself might shrink if Scottish voters approve a referendum to secede from the union.
Watch Gates’ comments on Obama’s anti-ISIS strategy.
Gates’ comments come alongside a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing that Obama’s approval rating on handling terrorism is at a new low.