The Council on American-Islamic Relations reacted to Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation announcement by calling on him to do more before he leaves office.
Holder said he will stay until a successor is confirmed.
“The American Muslim community will remember Holder’s tenure as a period in which the civil rights of Muslims and other minorities were either defended with the greatest vigor in some arenas, or completely disregarded in others,” CAIR said in a statement, adding that Holder’s DOJ “forcefully confronted discrimination of Muslim employees in the workplace, challenged neglect or bullying of children in schools, upheld the right of communities to build mosques and cemeteries, and prosecuted perpetrators of hate crimes and acts of vandalism.”
“Mr. Holder also oversaw the FBI’s purge of hundreds of anti-Muslim training materials used in counterterrorism trainings as well as the banning of biased instructors.”
CAIR also lauded Holder for his “vigorous defense of the nation’s immigrant community from overreaching state immigration laws and from state laws restricting ballot access.”
“Unfortunately, the DOJ under Mr. Holder’s watch did very little to address frequent reports of FBI harassment of Muslim communities, profiling, intimidation, warrantless surveillance, use of ex-convicts as community spies, informant driven plots of entrapment, coercion to speak without legal representation, purposeful misapplication of terrorist watch lists — including the extrajudicial exile of American citizens traveling abroad — inappropriate religious questioning at the U.S. border and ports of entry, acts of wrongful detention, and lethal use of force,” the statement continued.
“Mr. Holder also failed to respond to the request of more than 120 civil rights, religious and community groups calling on the DOJ to investigate the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) sweeping surveillance of American Muslim institutes including houses of worship, student groups and businesses that cater to the Muslim community. While the NYPD unit that conducted the spying was disbanded in April, the city has not assured community members that it will put a permanent end to mass surveillance or other forms of biased and predatory policing.”
CAIR notes “reports indicate that Mr. Holder’s update to the guidance will still include exceptions for federal law enforcement agents to profile in cases of national security and border enforcement – an exception that will negatively impact Hispanic and Muslim communities.”
“As Mr. Holder prepares to make his exit, CAIR strongly urges that he issue guidelines on racial profiling that protect the rights of all Americans without any exceptions.”
Tablet Magazine is giving press to one of the Jewish world’s most truly feminist causes, the right of a woman to obtain a divorce decree, known in the Rabbinic world as a get. Rivky Stein has spent the past 2 years attempting to obtain a get from her husband Yoel Weiss who simply refuses to appear in court (a Rabbinic beit din) in order for the decree to be issued. Sick, tired, and more than ready to move on with her life, Rivky took to social media to publicly shame her husband into relenting.
A surge of news reports followed, adding to an ongoing saga that had been chronicled by publications ranging from The Daily Mail to Haaretz. A call to action was posted on a website devoted to Stein’s cause. Donations poured in to a crowd-funding website that has raised over $22,000 so far.
The coordinated use of publicists, Facebook, Twitter, donation sites, and rallies is becoming common for women like Rivky Stein who seek religious divorces from their husbands. Many Jews give little thought to the get, but in traditional Judaism only men can grant a divorce. Without one, a woman cannot date or remarry without carrying and passing onto her children what is widely considered in the Orthodox world to be a tremendous stigma. So, with few options in Jewish law, more agunot—Hebrew for “chained wives”—are embracing contemporary and high-tech tools to publicly shame men.
Rivky is far from the first woman to take her divorce demand to the court of public opinion. Statistics indicate that there are 462 agunot in North America, but due to the insular nature of the Orthodox Jewish community those numbers are far from reliable.
Rivky Stein’s case is a he-said, she-said story. She claims mental, physical and sexual abuse. He says she’s “a sham”. Still, the history of Orthodox men abusing their wives and refusing to grant divorces doesn’t bode in his favor. Get detectives rake in the bucks in Israel “…where all Jewish marriages and divorces must be made in rabbinic courts,” and in America, of course, we have the “Prodfather”:
While shame and exclusion have worked for centuries, another tactic has raised a great deal of attention: violence. A recent article in GQ details allegations against Rabbi Mendel Epstein, who is referred to as the “Prodfather” for his use of electric cattle prods to coerce reluctant husbands. At 69 years old, Epstein faces 25 years to life in federal prison after an elaborate FBI sting operation led to his arrest and indictment on multiple counts of kidnapping.
The power of social media can only go so far, and the women who do take their case to social media are internet-shamed in turn, orphaned by their own religious communities.
Although agunot may be better-equipped than ever, with the ability to instantaneously reach out to thousands of followers through social media, or bankroll an attorney through crowd-funding, the power of divorce is ultimately given to the husband, according to Jewish law. If Weiss is bent on staying married, there is little Stein can do.
…As for Stein, much of her effort at this point goes into prayer. “I feel like I did everything,” she said. “I don’t know what to do anymore, honestly.”
Streams of Judaism that require religious approval for a divorce have largely adopted the Lieberman clause in the ketubah (wedding contract) that give the wife the option to petition a reluctant husband through a secular court. Despite being promoted by some Orthodox rabbis, most Orthodox groups refuse to include the clause in wedding contracts.
Evoking the shooting death of Michael Brown and the subsequent unrest in Ferguson, President Barack Obama focused on the intersection of race relations and law enforcement at a Sunday awards dinner hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Fox News reports:
Obama addressed the matter carefully but firmly, saying the young man’s death and the raw emotion that sprang from it had reawakened the country to the fact that “a gulf of mistrust” exists between local residents and law enforcement in too many communities.
“Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement — guilty of walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness,” he said.
He said significant racial disparities remain in the enforcement of law, from drug sentencing to applying the death penalty, and that a majority of Americans think the justice system treats people of different races unequally.
Real leadership on this issue would call for progress on two fronts. First, we should promote objective analysis of these perceived disparities. Far too often, raw statistics are cited as prima facie evidence of institutional bias without regard for case-by-case context or mitigating factors. The Ferguson case stands out as an instance where the community’s prejudice against the police fueled demands for “action” without due process. When we presume that a cop must be a racist, we prove no less prejudicial than when assuming a black man must be a criminal.
The second area where much progress remains to be made is the law itself. We need to take a hard long look at the drug war in particular. Why do we continue to pursue a legal crusade against acts which do not violate individual rights? We have the historical example of alcohol prohibition, which demonstrates the fiscal and cultural folly of criminalizing stupid behavior.
If the laws we commissioned officers to enforce dealt only with violations of rights, that would go a long way toward restoring trust, since all would know that police are there to protect us instead of bust us.
Note: More thoughts on the drug war and racial disparities in law enforcement on the next page.
Not his fault. How was he supposed to know that ISIS was a growing threat?
In fact, U.S. intelligence agencies received information from Kurdish officials early this year that ISIS was on the march.
Kurdish officials on Tuesday revealed more details about the warnings they gave to U.S. officials about the threat from Sunni militants now rampaging across Iraq with their eyes on Baghdad.
As far back as six months ago, Kurdish intelligence operatives were receiving troubling reports from along the border between Syria and Iraq, officials told NBC News.
There was a suspiciously large amount of men gathering in makeshift camps and staging areas that were accumulating weapons and vehicles. They appeared, according to Kurdish intelligence, to be preparing for battle.
The men were made up of mostly fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS), which has taken control of several cities in Iraq in the past couple of weeks — but Kurdish Intelligence operatives also noticed the fighters’ ranks had grown.
Joining were young men from local Iraqi tribes not known to have previous affiliation with ISIS, an organization aimed at establishing an Islamic caliphate militarily and imposing their strict interpretation of Islamic Law, or ‘Sharia’ in Iraq and greater Syria. Kurdish intelligence also learned that former officials from Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party and ex-military officers were communicating with the fighters.
Then, in April, large convoys of vehicles carrying militants were spotted moving across the Syria-Iraq border. Only this time, after years of moving to the Syrian battlefield, they were now returning to Iraq.
The intelligence, according to Kurdish security sources, also revealed that ISIS had shifted its sights away from Syria and onto Iraq to tap into a groundswell of resentment among Sunni communities in the west of the country — who are underrepresented by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s Shiite-dominated central government in Baghdad.
As was their job, the intelligence agencies passed this information along to senior officials at the White House:
The U.S. intelligence community warned about the “growing threat” from Sunni militants in Iraq since the beginning of the year, a senior intelligence official said Tuesday — a claim that challenges assertions by top administration officials that they were caught off guard by the capture of key Iraqi cities.
Earlier Tuesday, in an interview with Fox News, Secretary of State John Kerry said “nobody expected” Iraqi security forces to be decisively driven out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, as they were earlier this month in Mosul.
But in a separate briefing with reporters Tuesday afternoon, the senior intelligence official said the intelligence community had warned about the ISIS threat.
“During the past year, the intelligence community has provided strategic warning of Iraq’s deteriorating security situation,” the official said. “We routinely highlighted (ISIS’) growing threat in Iraq, the increasing difficulties Iraq’s security forced faced in combating (ISIS), and the political strains that were contributing to Iraq’s declining stability.”
Asked who failed to act, the official did not explain.
Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told Fox News this morning that “we don’t know” if the beheading of a woman by a Muslim co-worker in Oklahoma last week was terrorism.
Alton Nolen, 30, a recent convert to Islam, reportedly tried to convince co-workers at the Vaughn Food processing plant in Moore, Okla, to convert before last week’s murder. His Facebook page was under the name Jah’Keem Yisrael and included images of jihadists and Quran citations.
After being notified he was being let go from his job, he went to the front office of the plant and attacked 54-year-old Colleen Hufford with a knife, beheading her. He then stabbed 43-year-old Traci Johnson, who survived, multiple times before being shot by the company’s CEO, Mark Vaughn.
“The FBI has an active investigation. I’m not going to get ahead of it. Let’s see what they find,” Blinken told Fox.
“But as we all now with Nidal Hasan, when he shot up and kill the number of American soldiers, the administration labeled it workplace violence,” host Chris Wallace asked the White House official. “Are you willing to call this an act of terror if, in fact, that’s what it is?”
“I don’t want to get — of course if that’s what it is, absolutely,” Blinken replied. “But I don’t want to get ahead of the facts. Let’s let the FBI investigate.”
A New York Democrat told MSNBC on Friday that he suspects Nolen was at least “influenced” by ISIS.
“There are copycats out there. We see it happen when we see mass murder here in the United States. We always fear about a copycat incident,” Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) said. “And I don’t think anything — I don’t think we can expect anything less on the world stage when someone like — what is so depraved and really baseless that ISIL has been involved with in terms of beheading. That if someone is vulnerable, mentally disturbed, that it may have an influence on them.”
“I think that may be what happened here. I hope it’s not the case.”
Members of Congress have been relatively quiet about the murder; neither of Oklahoma’s GOP senators, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, have issued statements about the attack.
NBC terrorism analyst Evan Coleman said “it certainly looks like him being fired was a predicating factor in what he did.”
“But nonetheless, if you look at the facts that occur here, in the absence of other evidence, it’s very difficult to imagine that the events of the past few weeks did not influence this man somehow. You don’t just go and behead a co-worker. That doesn’t happen very often,” Coleman said.
“Now, if this does prove that this has been inspired by ISIS, and I doubt it was something, you know, coordinated by ISIS, but if it was something inspired by what ISIS did in Iraq, it illustrates exactly the problem we have with lone wolves. It is that you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to murder someone, you don’t have to be sophisticated, you don’t have to operate on somebody else’s orders. And even as someone unsophisticated, someone who’s a crank, you can still hurt a lot of people. And I think this is exactly evidence for why this is such a problem.”
Adam Soltani, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, told KFOR that “it’s really unfortunate that there’s a lot of attention on Muslims these days for actions of people who are either part of extremist groups or who have extreme ideas.”
“However, Islam is clear on what it stands for. Islam stands for peace, Islam stands for justice, Islam stands for love for humanity, compassion and mercy,” Soltani said. “What this gentleman did in Moore, which is inhumane and barbaric, is definitely not a representation of what our faith teaches and we hope and pray that justice will be brought against the perpetrator soon, so that the victims and their families can find some sort of solace in that justice,”
The highest-ranking Vatican official ever to be investigated for sex abuse is now accused of storing tens of thousands of child porn videos and images on his computer.
Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who served as a papal envoy in the Dominican Republic, had been arrested earlier this week at the Vatican and will be charged with sexually abusing minors and child porn possession. He may spend up to 7 years in the Vatican prison.
Vatican detectives analysed the PC Wesolowski used in his office in Santo Domingo, where he served as Holy See envoy from 2008 to 2012 as part of an investigation into the alleged sexual abuse of underage boys.
The probe reportedly revealed a collection of horrors. The Polish native held more than 100,000 sexually-explicit files, Il Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.
ome 160 videos showing teenage boys forced to perform sexual acts on themselves and on adults and more than 86,000 pornographic photos were meticulously archived in several category-based folders, the paper said.
Investigators said that at least another 45,000 pictures were deleted, while a second stash of material was found on a laptop Wesolowski used during his trips abroad.
The former clergyman was placed under house arrest in a pre-trial detention at the Vatican earlier this week. He has been detained in a small room in the basement of the Collegio dei Penitenzieri, a convent located in the same building hosting the Vatican’s court and military police in the famous Santa Marta square.
Investigators are also probing whether there was a network of people who helped him to set up sexual encounters and if he committed other abuse during his previous posts around the world.
Before arriving in Santo Domingo, Wesolowski served as apostolic nuncio in Bolivia and Central Asia – covering Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirghizstan and Uzbekistan – after holding less prominent roles in Southern African, Costa Rica, Japan, Switzerland, India and Denmark.
He was recalled to Rome last year, after Dominican Republic media alleged he hired “rent boys” and was subsequently banished from the clergy, after a canonical court found him guilty of sex abuse.
His trial is expected to start in January.
This may be the apex of the sex scandals that have done so much to damage the Catholic Church. The loss of trust among ordinary Catholics because of an organized effort at the highest levels of the church hierarchy to sweep even the most egregious sex abuse cases by priests under the rug has angered and saddened tens of millions around the globe.
It may be that only 3% or so of priests are guilty, although how many priests have gotten away with their crimes is unknown. But beyond the numbers of abused children, there stands the dioceses, the archdioceses, and the Holy See itself who knew of the abuse and quietly paid off victims and covered up the criminal activity by transferring offending priests from parish to parish, thus giving them new children to victimize.
Many Catholics have left the church in disgust over the sex scandals. Many others have had their faith tested. Pope Francis appears to acknowledge the errors, but it will take more than one good-hearted pope to restore the people’s faith in this 2000 year old institution.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrov was present at the first “reset” between the US and Russia when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously presented him with a button that said “Reset” in English but something less friendly in Russian:
Clinton presented Lavrov with a gift-wrapped red button, which said “Reset” in English and “Peregruzka” in Russian. The problem was, “peregruzka” doesn’t mean reset. It means overcharged, or overloaded.
And Lavrov called her out on it.
“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked Lavrov.
“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said. “This says ‘peregruzka,’ which means overcharged.”
There’s a YouTube clip of this unforced error. Do you think the GOP will use it against her in 2016?
Not likely. Hillary got a pass from the media then for this towering stupidity in 2009 and the entire incident has gone down the rabbit hole never to be brought up again.
But Lavrov may be tweaking Hillary a bit with this call for a “reset” of US-Russia relations, putting the onus squarely on the United States to improve ties.
Sergei Lavrov, who was minister during the 2010 “reset” of relations, said the current US administration had “wrecked much of the co-operation structures”.
“It is absolutely in our interests to normalise relations but we didn’t wreck them,” he told a Russian TV channel.
The US led sanctions against Russia this year over its actions in Ukraine.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March and has since been accused of fuelling the bloody insurrection in its eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, a charge it denies.
It has also differed sharply with the US and its Western allies over the conflict in Syria.
In June 2010, US President Barack Obama cemented the original “reset” at a summit when the then Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, visited the White House.
That initiative came after years of poor relations, notably after Russia’s summer war with Georgia, an aspiring Nato member, in 2008, when George W Bush was president.
“Now there’s a need for what the Americans might call a ‘reset’,” Mr Lavrov told Russia’s Channel Five (in Russian).
“The current US administration is today wrecking much of the co-operation structures that it created itself along with us. Most likely, something more will come up – a reset No 2 or a reset 2.0.”
Mr Lavrov said the situation was improving on the ground in Ukraine, where a shaky ceasefire has been in place for several weeks.
Nato reported this week that there had been a significant withdrawal of Russian conventional troops from inside eastern Ukraine, although many thousands remained just over the border.
Moscow has never acknowledged the presence of any Russian troops in Ukraine.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, President Obama accused Russia of pouring arms into the region but he also praised the recent ceasefire agreement between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels.
He promised to lift sanctions if Moscow worked through diplomatic means to secure a lasting peace.
It’s clear the Russians have given up on Obama. He never panned out to be quite the pushover they hoped and expected — and probably would have been if they hadn’t gone off half cocked and annexed Crimea. Their naked aggression forced Obama to reluctantly cancel the reset and treat them as an opponent rather than a partner.
That “reset” gimmick was probably forced on Hillary. She’s one of the few Democrats who never had any illusions about Putin or the Russians. What worries Lavrov — and American liberals — is that Clinton possesses a harder edge to her foreign policy outlook than most leftists, and that a Clinton presidency wouldn’t be burdened by Obama’s nonsensical naivete that led to the belief that America’s enemies can be our friends.
Clinton will almost certainly position herself to the right of Obama on foreign policy if she runs. Lavrov’s offer of a “reset” can be seen in the context that the next American president won’t have much of an opportunity to improve relations unless they accept the new Russian sphere of influence that includes the Ukraine as well as the Baltic states and former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe.
An article appearing in a Liberian newspaper by an American professor teaching at a taxpayer-funded university accuses the U.S. Department of Defense of deliberately infecting Africans with the Ebola virus.
Cyril Broderick, a Liberian-born professor teaching at Delaware State University, believes that the Ebola outbreak was an international plot that included the injection of the Ebola virus into human test subjects just weeks before the outbreak began in Africa.
Broderick’s conspiracy-laden Sept. 9 article is entitled “Ebola, AIDS Manufactured By Western Pharmaceuticals, US DoD?”
“Reports narrate stories of the US Department of Defense (DoD) funding Ebola trials on humans, trials which started just weeks before the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone,” Broderick claims. “The reports continue and state that the DoD gave a contract worth $140 million dollars to Tekmira, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, to conduct Ebola research. This research work involved injecting and infusing healthy humans with the deadly Ebola virus.”
In addition to the American military and the Canadian pharmaceutical industry, the nutty professor also implicates the United Kingdom, France, Tulane University, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders.
Richard Preston’s epidemiological thriller “The Hot Zone” rates a mention in Broderick’s rant as well.
The Washington Post describes the professor’s potboiler of an article as “semi-intelligible” and interviewed Broderick.
“There are many references to what was contained in my letter,” Broderick told the Post. “You may read the letter and double-check the sources listed. They are available and legitimate.”
ut actually the sources are questionable. They include several conspiracy websites such as Global Research, which seeks to counter “media disinformation” with “unspoken truth.”
As the Post also notes, Western government leaders, philanthropic givers and medical professionals who seek to fight against Ebola face a massive obstacle in the pervasive amount of misinformation that continues to spread in West African communities ravaged by (and soon-to-be ravaged by) the virus.
Bizarro rumors “become strengthened through mass dissemination and the credibility gained through publication,” explained international affairs blog Ramen IR, according to the Post.
Many conspiracy-loving readers who have found Broderick’s article believe the nonsense, at least to judge from the over 500 comments below it.
A fairly representative commenter charges that AIDS and Ebola are “biological weapons designed to ‘cull’ Africa’s populations.”
Meanwhile, the Post also notes that administrators at Delaware State have no plans to restrict Broderick’s ability to spew crackpot theories using his job as a credential.
“The university is not going to abridge his First Amendment rights to give his opinion about the issues of the day,” Carlos Holmes, a spokesman for the school, told the paper.
Broderick could be dismissed as a kook — except he won’t be by far too many people in Africa and here at home. For Africans, it’s much easier to accept the “hidden hand” theory of history that takes away their free will and mysteriously controls their lives. This way, nothing is ever their fault. They can blame anything and everything from natural disasters to political oppression on forces they can’t control.
There are plenty of Americans who suffer from the same paranoia. The black community seems particularly susceptible to these wild conspiracy theories, largely because there have been real conspiracies carried out against them over the centuries. The government really did carry out experiments with syphilis on poor blacks in Mississippi, deliberately not treating infected patients to measure the progress of the disease over 40 years. There really was a conspiracy by the FBI to not only monitor civil rights leaders, but place them in compromising positions to discredit them.
Perhaps the most pervasive conspiracy — supported by notable blacks like Dick Gregory and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright — is that the U.S. government created the AIDS virus to kill black people. Given the impossibility of any lab in the world creating a retrovirus — especially in the late 1970s when the disease first presented –i t’s amazing that this theory is still being touted.
Sadly, Broderick is only contributing to the spread of the disease in Africa. And the fact that his university won’t shut him up in the interest of saving lives makes his transgressions against rationality all the more tragic.
An evangelical Zionist friend of mine sent me a link to pro-life Catholic Lisa Graas’s response to Ted Cruz’s shock-speech at the IDC Summit held earlier this month. Her opinions are illustrative of exactly how theology continues to impact politics in America. Threatening Cruz with the loss of the Catholic vote, Graas writes:
In Catholicism, Israel doesn’t have to be a “Jewish state.” We can accept it as a Jewish state, but we are in no way bound to it being so because we see the Church as the New Israel, theologically.
Graas is a believer in supersessionism, a.k.a. replacement theology. Replacement theology is an old school church teaching that the Christian Church replaces Israel in God’s eyes, that after Jesus, God was done with the Jews and has summarily dubbed the Church his “New Israel” to be the recipients of all the blessings Biblically directed to Israel. It is a nasty idea that was used to defend Crusades, expulsions, and pogroms. Now, Graas is using replacement theology to defend what she defines as the “high church”/Muslim relationship at the sake of Catholic support for the Jewish State.
In saying “no greater ally than the Jewish state,” he [Cruz] stepped over into theology and insulted Catholics who see the Church as the New Israel theologically. We can, and desire to be, friends with Israel, even as a Jewish state, but we cannot pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state in the manner that people of Ted Cruz’s religion pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state. We cannot say that if suddenly everyone in Israel converted to Catholicism and turned Israel into a Catholic state, that this would be a “bad” thing. Protestants, of course, would be horrified if that happened because they have some deeply-held theological views that Israel MUST BE a Jewish state. We can take it or leave it as a Jewish state, but they can’t take it or leave it. Catholics can be your friend, Israel, even as a Jewish state, but we cannot pledge unfailing loyalty to “a Jewish state” like Ted Cruz and evangelicals do. You ask too much there.
Graas rambles on about the evils of Protestant ideology, him-hawing over whether or not Israel should be considered a Jewish state with arguments that boil down to a valley girl’s, “Uh, yeah, well, I guess…whatever,” in her theological defense of Catholic replacement theology. Then, oddly enough, she comes out with this whopper:
Another thing is that many Christians in the Middle East see his statement “Jewish state” as being bad not because it’s “Jewish,”, per se, but because it is a “sectarian” statement. They distrust the advancement of ideas that promote theocratic rule over religious minorities who are in disagreement with that particular theology.
An old-school, Pope is “lower than man, but higher than God,” replacement theologian Catholic decides that Cruz isn’t to be trusted because he’s the sectarian one in the room. Apparently there hasn’t yet been an edict issued against irony.
It’s been 48 hours since Jah’Keem Yisrael — AKA Alton Noel — perpetrated a horrific terrorist attack on 54 year old co-worker Colleen Hufford, stabbing her repeatedly and then sawing her head off with a knife, and we have yet to hear any acknowledgment from President Obama of this worrisome incident.
Why not? All the elements of an Islamic act of terror are present: the savagery, the shouting of Islamic verses during the act, the stated determination to carry out jihad, and a fanatical belief in Islam that, in his mind, justified everything.
From a political standpoint, it’s a bad idea to bring attention to the attack. But we don’t pay presidents to do what is politically expedient. We pay them to lead. And leadership — so sorely lacking in this and many other incidences — is what President Obama is unable to give.
Instead, our president could be found, for the 198th time, playing golf today.
Sometimes President Obama makes the right choice, and I think we try to note that here at White House Dossier.
Today was one of those times.
Obama analyzed the facts – 80 degrees, no humidity, and endless sunshine – and made the decision to go golfing.
He’s playing today at Fort Belvoir in Virginia with two junior White House aides and sports columnist Tony Kornheiser. It’s the 198th time he’s played as president and his 41st trip to the links this year.
Meanwhile, authorities continue to insist there is “no connection” to terrorism. It’s a useful fiction, but hardly the point.
Colin Clarke, a Rand Corp. terrorism expert, told Fox & Friends Saturday that the beheading was an act of terrorism and should be characterized as such.
“Calling it workplace violence is counterproductive,” he said.
Chad Sweet, CEO of the Chertoff Group and a former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff and CIA official, also appeared on Saturday’s Fox & Friends program. He said he expected the Obama administration to change its tune quickly and call it terrorism.
“You’ll see this change very shortly,” he said Saturday. “The only thing that is causing a pause I think is the fact that the triggering event was the termination of his employment.”
The police department issued a statement saying, “After conducting interviews with Nolen’s co-workers, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert several employees to the Muslim religion. Due to the manner of death and the initial statements of co-workers and other initial information, the Moore Police Department requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation on Nolan.”
Nolen, according to state corrections records, was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013.
Incredibly, the FBI is refusing to call this terrorist act an act of terror, and they also say that there is “no indication that Nolen was copying the beheadings of journalists in Syria by the Islamic State,” and “that they are treating this as an incident of workplace violence.”
Where else would Yisrael have gotten the idea to behead people? And “workplace violence”? I suppose if a Christian beheads a Muslim, we’ll get around to calling it “terrorism.”
It’s this kind of politically correct obtuseness that will only get more Americans killed. Trying to spare the sensibilities of American Muslims by refusing to state the obvious and connect this terror attack to the thousands of others carried out by Islamic terrorists since 9/11 is dangerous myopia.
No doubt authorities worry about a violent response against Muslims for this act of terror. And this is an excuse to hide the truth from the American people? We are not to be treated as frightened children, with adults telling us soothing fairy tales to mask the horrors of the world. If we are really going to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, it’s not going to be accomplished by sticking our head in the sand and ignoring the reality of what’s happening in the world.
How many more of these lone wolf terrorist attacks will occur before our leaders begin to treat Islamic terrorism with the seriousness it deserves?
More than 2,000 flights across the country were canceled on Friday and another 700 on Saturday after a contractor set a busy air traffic control center outside of Chicago on fire and tried to take his own life.
Brian Howard, a 36 year old resident of Naperville, IL left his intentions on his Facebook page:
“Take a hard look in the mirror, I have. And this is why I am about to take out ZAU and my life,” Howard posted, using the call letters for the Aurora center, the FBI said. “April, Pop, love you guys and I am sorry. Leaving you with a big mess. Do your best to move on quickly from me please. Feel like I give (expletive) for the first time in a long time again … but not for too long (haha!) So I’m gonna smoke this blunt and move on, take care everyone.”
That was posted at 5:36 a.m. Friday, about 30 minutes after Howard entered the center, the FBI said.
At 5:42 a.m., a control center employee called 911 to say the center was on fire.
It was the responding paramedics from the Aurora Fire Department who found Howard, the FBI said.
After sabotaging the center, Howard tried to slit his own throat:
In federal court documents, investigators say they found Howard at the Aurora center Friday morning, not far from a gas can and lighter, burned towels and exposed telecommunications cables and wires that had been set on fire.
A floor panel had been pulled away to reach the wires, officials said.
Paramedics followed a blood trail near the fire and found a knife and a lighter on the floor. Another knife was found on the blood trail — and then a pair of feet were seen sticking out from under a table, authorities said.
It was Howard, they alleged, in the process of slitting his throat with another knife. He also had knife wounds on his arms, authorities said.
A paramedic pulled the knife away from him and set it on the table. Howard told the paramedics to “leave me alone,” the FBI said.
The FBI said the investigation revealed Howard posted to Facebook just before the fire was set:
Since Chicago is a major air hub, the flight disruptions rippled across the country on Friday, bringing some airports to a standstill:
Lines remained long on Saturday at O’Hare, a major hub for the nation’s air network. Many travelers stranded overnight slept on cots provided by the airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration facility in Aurora, about 40 miles west of downtown Chicago, handles planes cruising at high altitudes through the airspace as well as those just beginning to approach or completing a departure from airports in the Chicago area. During the shutdown, its responsibilities have been transferred to centers in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Minneapolis.
The widespread disruption left some aviation analysts, travelers and politicians calling for a smoother backup plan and wondering how one person could be in a position to wreak so much havoc.
“As the busiest airport in the world, Chicago O’Hare International Airport cannot be brought to a screeching halt,” said Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, of Illinois. “I want to see not only an immediate review by the FAA of the screening process at the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora, but also a report within 30 days outlining changes the FAA will make to prevent any one individual from having this type of impact on the heart of the United States economy.”
An FAA spokeswoman didn’t immediately have a response, but an agency statement on Friday’s fire emphasized that airspace management was immediately transferred to other facilities.
It’s not like these air traffic control sites are top secret. You can probably find the address in the phone book. Unless you believe terrorists like ISIS are complete idiots, you have to wonder what lessons were drawn from Howard’s sabotage by those who seek to strike America any way they can.
Imagine if the entire facility had been blown up or a better job done of destroying equipment? Then imagine multiple similar targets all attacked at the same time. How long would air travel be disrupted? The 9/11 attacks forced the closure of US airspace for 2 days, with the fallout from the hijackings costing the industry $22 billion in lost revenue. It’s easy to see what would happen if several of these FAA facilities were to go offline at the same time; mass cancellations and chaos.
While we have no idea how secure these facilities were before the fire, you would hope that they will be improved in the aftermath.
Both authorities in More, Oklahoma, and legions of social media watchers have been busy ferreting out information on the man accused of stabbing and beheading Colleen Hufford, a 54-year-old grandmother, at a food distribution warehouse.
The picture that is emerging of Alton Noel, who took the Islamic name Jah’Keem Yisrael, is of a violent criminal with no history of mental illness, who converted to Islam in prison and wished to bring Sharia law to America.
The American Thinker’s Jeannie DeAngelis looked at Yisrael’s Facebook page:
Judging from things he says on his Facebook page, Jah’Keem Yisrael was raised in a Christian home where, while getting ready to go to church, his mama sang along with the O’Jays to “Stairway to Heaven” (no, not that “Stairway to Heaven”).
Since coming out of prison, he spent his time offering Dawah to kids in Old Navy t-shirts and proselytizing on behalf of Islam while working at Vaughan Foods.
Nolen’s Facebook rants include preaching against non-Muslims, especially Jews, and features gun-toting Taliban fighters as his cover photo and a picture justifying beheading infidels, complete with a severed head. In addition, Jah’Keem lauds Osama Bin Laden, displays the smoking Twin Towers, and has numerous photos starring himself as was a proud member of the Islamic Mosque community in Oklahoma City.
According to Breitbart, that Oklahoma City mosque attended by Yisrael had connections to terrorist imam Anwar al-Awlaki, a former leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula:
Suhaib Webb, an Imam with ties to former Al Qaeda mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki, had also previously been the leader of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, which had been attended by Alton Nolen — the man who on Thursday beheaded a former coworker after recently converting to Islam, Breitbart News has learned. Webb now serves as Imam of the sister organization of the mosque attended by Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Imam Suhaib Webb has a history of ties to radicalism. FBI surveillance documents found that he was a known confidant of Al Qaeda mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki. Just two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, Webb spoke at a fundraiser with Awlaki with hopes to raise funds for Atlanta-based H. Rap Brown, a man that shot and killed two police officers. The FBI documents also found that “Webb and Awlaki may be associated with the Muslim American Society,” which is a group described by the Investigative Project on Terrorism as being “founded as the United States Chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Nolen took a picture of himself (above) September 5th, just three weeks before he brutally murdered an innocent woman, standing in front of the gates of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.
The caption read: “At The Masjid (Mosque)Today For Jumar 9/5/2014 & Peforming Wudu!!!”
Writing in the Jewish Advocate last year, columnist Charles Jacobs described Imam Webb as someone who “teaches vicious hatred and calls for young Muslims to engage in Jihad against non-Muslims in order to establish a global Islamic state.”
Ben Shapiro’s Truth Revolt blog has been extensively reporting on Yisrael, and tracked down a story in the terrorist’s hometown newspaper (no online edition) that sheds more light on his termination from Vaughan Foods:
A classmate of Nolen’s, who didn’t wish to be identified, told this newspaper that he spoke to a close family member of Nolen’s today.
He told this newspaper that according to the family member, Nolen was telling coworkers Thursday of an Islamic teaching that said women should be stoned for an offense, and that an argument followed the mark, Nolen was later fired and returned later Thursday, when he beheaded Colleen Hufford, the family member said.
Truth Revolt also delved into Yisrael’s police record:
The Gazette reports that Nolen has a long history with the local police department. He has been arrested at least 10 times by Idabel police between 2004 and 2009, on “allegations ranging from assault, burglary, obstructing an officer, resisting arrest, drug possession, and larceny,” among other unlisted charges.
Nolan’s classmates state that he converted to Islam while in prison in 2011. Records indicate he was incarcerated for, among other things, assaulting a police officer.
The website also reports on the violent friends Yisrael hung out with growing up:
Tucker points out that Nolen is not the only person accused of murder from their childhood circle of friends. Mutual friend Eric Blandon was found guilty of murder in 2013, having killed his boss at a Sonic restaurant in nearby Broken Bow. He shot her multiple times, starting with a point blank shot to the back of her head, and then stole the day’s deposits she was carrying with her. He plead guilty and was sentenced to life.
Tucker saw Blandon after he was convicted, when Tucker was working as a corrections officer at the country jail in Idabel, where they reminisced about their childhood days playing football and baseball together in the neighborhood.
Another mutual friend, Corey Lewis, murdered a woman in her bathtub. He and an accomplice stabbed her multiple times. Tucker reports that Lewis, too, was from the same neighborhood and grew up in the same situation.
Members of Yisrael’s mosque say that the recent convert apparently was fairly ignorant of some Islamic protocols:
A man accused of beheading a woman and stabbing another after he was fired from a food-processing plant “exhibited odd and bizarre behaviour” at a local mosque, according to a religious leader.
Imad Enchassi, senior imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, told local media that Alton Nolen’s conduct had raised eyebrows among worshippers.
He said the 30-year-old had improperly handled Islam’s holy book, the Quran, slept on the prayer floor, and worshipped in an unconventional manner.
The imam said mosque members had been shocked by Thursday’s attack at Vaughan Foods.
Mr Enchassi told the Oklahoman newspaper: “He’s as far away from Islam as he could be.”
Yisrael was yelled at by several worshipers when he placed the Koran on his prayer rug. Muslims believe that to be a serious transgression against the sacredness of the Koran.
Nine Colorado children have experienced “muscle weakness” and paralysis after becoming ill with a mystery virus that may be connected to a respiratory infection that has been detected in 19 states. The paralyzed children all carry the enterovirus 68 — a virus first detected in 1962 — and experienced respiratory sickness within a couple of weeks of falling victim to the paralyzing disease. The CDC is investigating the virus, but doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Associated Press:
The virus can cause paralysis but other germs can, too. Health officials don’t know whether the virus caused any of the children’s arm and leg weaknesses or whether it’s just a germ they coincidentally picked up. “That’s why we want more information,” and for doctors to report similar cases, said the CDC’s Dr. Jane Seward. The cases occurred within the last two months. All nine children are being treated at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, and most are from the Denver area. A hospital spokeswoman said the patients’ families didn’t want to talk to the media. The nine children had fever and respiratory illness about two weeks before developing varying degrees of limb weakness. None seems to have a weak immune system or other conditions that might predispose them to severe illness, but the cases are still being investigated, Seward said. Investigators don’t think it’s polio – eight of the nine children are up to date on polio vaccinations. It’s not known whether the limb weakness or paralysis is temporary or will be long-lasting. The cases come amid an unusual wave of severe respiratory illness from enterovirus 68. The germ is not new – it was first identified in 1962 and has caused clusters of illness before, including in Georgia and Pennsylvania in 2009 and Arizona in 2010. Because it’s not routinely tested for, it’s possible the bug spread in previous years but was never distinguished from colds caused by other germs. This year, the virus has gotten more attention because it has been linked to hundreds of severe illnesses. Beginning last month, a flood of sick children began to hit hospitals in Kansas City, Missouri, and Chicago – kids with trouble breathing, some needing oxygen or more extreme care such as a breathing machine. Many – but not all – had asthma before the infection. The CDC has been testing a limited number of specimens from very sick children around the country, and as of Thursday reported 277 people in 40 states and the District of Columbia with enterovirus 68. So far no deaths have been attributed to the virus, but Seward said 15 still are being investigated.
There have been efforts to tie the virus to illegal aliens flowing into the country from Central America, but that’s clearly not the case. Since the virus has been in the US since 1962, it may be that better detection methods are responsible for the spike in cases this year. The CDC also points to similar outbreaks in the past. As for the paralysis, the CDC says that enterovirus 68 has been the suspected culprit in other cases of limb weakness and paralysis. What they don’t know is why there has been an apparent increase in the number of cases involving paralyzed children. The CDC’s medical detectives are the best in the world, so they are likely to eventually come up with some answers.
The good news is that Ohio saw a reduction in medical costs for prison inmates in FY 2014. The bad news is that the cost reduction was a result of cost-shifting smoke and mirrors as inmates in Ohio prisons were moved onto the federal dole after Republican Governor John Kasich signed the state up for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion program. The worse news is that the most vulnerable in Ohio and other states that have expanded Medicaid — including at least six states that have included prison populations in their expansion — will bear the brunt of burgeoning Medicaid rolls during a time of shrinking state budgets.
The Ohio Legislative Services Commission (LSC) reports that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) saw a reduction of $10.3 million in medical service expenditures “as a result of implementing Medicaid coverage for inmate hospitalizations.” According to the LSC, the bulk of the reduction comes in the form of a net savings to the state “since the federal government reimburses the state for the majority of Medicaid expenditures.” Beginning March 17, 2014, Medicaid coverage was extended to nearly all Ohio inmates. Prior to that Medicaid covered only inmates who were either under the age of 21, over 65, or pregnant and who were hospitalized for more than 24 hours.
For inmates and others who became eligible for Medicaid through the ACA (including those with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or nearly $32,000 for a family of four), the federal government will pay 100% of the costs through calendar years 2016. For inmates and others in Ohio who were eligible for Medicaid pre-expansion, the federal government only pays around 64%, leaving the state to pick up the balance.
Policy experts say this creates a perverse incentive for the state to add inmates, able-bodied adults, and those who refuse to work to the Medicaid rolls at the expense of the most vulnerable populations. According to a report from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA),
Able-bodied, working-age adults; almost all of whom (82 percent) have no children to support, nearly half of whom (45 percent) do not work, many of whom (35 percent) with a record of run-ins with the criminal justice system. ObamaCare has picked this population as the winner of its Medicaid expansion. The losers? Low-income children, poor moms, the elderly, the blind, the disabled. The very people Medicaid was created to protect. And what do these ObamaCare losers have in store for them? States that previously expanded Medicaid had to eliminate coverage for life-saving organ transplants, overload waitlists for services, cap enrollment and raise patient costs, all because promises were broken and costs exceeded projections.
Alicia Keys’ timing on this probably couldn’t be worse. She strips down and paints a peace sign on her belly at the same time an Islamist army threatens the world and a monster beheaded an innocent woman in Oklahoma. Only a good guy with a gun stopped him.
Yet here she is, being all empowered. Naked, to push for gun control.
Try confronting an Islamist madman like this.
Body armor and a powerful firearm would be the smarter way to go.
The New York Times praises Keys, without noticing something awful.
ALICIA KEYS is a superstar singer who has mostly kept her clothes on and gossip off. So what is she doing in this photo, dressed only in a peace sign?
Her answer has to do with the purpose of life. Last month, as she was sickened by grim news — from the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to the toll in Gaza and Syria — a friend of hers lobbed a provocative question about the meaning of our existence: Why are you here?
“Nobody had asked me that question before,” Keys recalled.
Alright, I doubt that that’s true. Surely someone, somewhere asked Alicia Keys what her purpose in life is. But that’s minor.
The awful thing that the Times notices and then fails to notice is that many celebrities take up some of the same causes that Keys is taking up. The Times hails Bono (who hasn’t really done gun control or gay marriage, but has done lots of other causes over the years) for being a cause-driven artist.
There is, of course, a tradition of socially conscious musicians, and Bono has done as much as anybody to highlight the challenges of global poverty. Keys seems less inclined to lobby at Group of 8 summit meetings; rather, she says, she wants to work with fans at the grass-roots level.
But Bono doesn’t have to get naked to support any of his causes. He has been pretty successful at his clothed activism, mostly because he chooses his issues carefully and he understands that offending and alienating people is counter productive. Too many artists just let their egos get in the way.
Keys feels the need to strip off. She and the Times see this as “empowering.”
Really? Is it empowering that an insanely successful woman and mother believes that getting naked before the entire world is the best way to draw attention to her cause?
Or is it just plain old attention-whoring from her, and sucking up to leftwing celebrities from the New York Times?
A young Muslim man is accused of beheading a co-worker in Oklahoma.
Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says the alleged suspect, 30-year-old Alton Nolen had just been fired when he drove to the front of the business, hit a vehicle and walked inside.
He walked into the front office area where he met 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and began attacking her with a knife.
Sgt. Lewis confirms the type of knife used in the attack is the same kind used at the plant.
Lewis confirms that Hufford was stabbed several times and that Nolen “severed her head.”
At that point, Lewis claims Nolen met 43-year-old Traci Johnson and began attacking her with the same knife.
Officials say at that point, Mark Vaughan, an Oklahoma County reserve deputy and a former CEO of the business, shot him as he was actively stabbing Johnson.
A good guy with a gun stopped a monster with a knife. This situation would have been far worse if Vaughan had not been carrying his firearm. Concealed carry permit applications will likely spike nationwide after this.
There’s no suggestion that Nolen targeted his victims personally. He was attacking the employees of the company “at random,” according to police.
There’s this for a possible motivation:
The FBI is now looking into Nolen’s background after his former co-workers said he tried to convert them to Islam after recently converting himself.
We’ll see if that pans out.
Nolen does have a history of violence.
According to the state corrections department, Nolen was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013. Neither woman had any relationship with Nolen.
And radical Muslims have a strategy of using prisons as places to proselytize. Radical mosques give these violent outcasts homes, many for the first time in their lives. ISIS has come along as the latest radical group to provide motivation for attacking infidels.
If the Nidal Hasan case is any guide, and it probably is, the official federal word will be that Nolen killed in a fit of “workplace violence.”
Rational Americans will see that and hear the horrible 9-1-1 call and rightly determine that the Obama government is unwilling to see the truth, and is unwilling to protect us.
Update: Nolen is at least a social media jihadist.
The Islamist State’s chief propagandist is believed to be a wealthy American. His name is Ahmad Abousamra, he is 32 years old, and he is the son of a Boston doctor. He is young and he is not poor, and he is not ignorant. He is also not unacquainted with western notions of individual freedom. He just rejects them.
He was born and raised in France and his formal education does not have Islamist overtones at all. He attended Xaverian Brothers Catholic high school and Northeastern University, where he made the dean’s list.
He is but one of thousands of westerners who are now fighting for ISIS — including 3,000 Europeans.
The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the EU’s anti-terrorism chief has told the BBC.
Gilles de Kerchove also warned that Western air strikes would increase the risk of retaliatory attacks in Europe.
US-led forces have launched more than 200 air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq since August and on Monday began targeting IS in Syria.
The UK parliament is due to vote on possible air strikes in Iraq on Friday.
IS – also known as Isil or Isis – has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months.
Mr de Kerchove said the number of 3,000 included all those who have been to the region, including those who have returned and those who have been killed there.
That’s about one-tenth of the total fighting force that the Islamic State is now believed to have in the field — western-raised Muslims who can freely travel to and from the battlefield, while journalist Stephen Hayes gets tagged on the terrorism watch list.
How did we get here? Let’s explore that question on the next page.
You’ve heard of “attachment parenting” from moms like Mayim Bialik who breastfeed until the kid is out of high school. Now, thanks to Valerie Jarrett, we know what “attachment advising” truly means, via the headline:
You can’t make this stuff up.
President Obama ditched his uptown digs at the Waldorf Astoria to sample the offerings of downtown Manhattan.
With the First Lady and his trusty senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in tow, the presidential motorcade took over the Nolita neighborhood on Wednesday night for the first couple’s date night at Estela on E. Houston St.
They dined on burrata with salsa verde and bread, two endive salads, tomatoes and croquettes before they returned to their hotel shortly before 10:30pm, sources told Eater New York.
The restaurant said it was “humbled” by the presidential visit, posting an Instagram shot of the Obama’s order.
Apparently, the restaurant is “beverage driven,” so I guess Valerie Jarrett didn’t need to do a literal public feeding. But, have no doubt, Mommy was still very hard at work scanning the menu for healthy choices for the kids.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf appeared on MSNBC this morning to discuss the US airstrikes in Syria and the Khorasan group. That group, not ISIS, is President Obama’s stated reason for launching air strikes inside Syrian territory. The president’s letter to Congress doesn’t even mention ISIS at all, despite the fact that the group beheaded two Americans and has broadcast its intent to attack America itself on social media.
So Harf turns up on MSNBC to deal with two primary questions. The first, are the US airstrikes actually degrading ISIS?
The question is relevant, because the FBI director has said that he doesn’t think the airstrikes have degraded ISIS.
Watch as MSNBC host Kristen Welker seems to lose patience with Harf’s non-answer.
The second question, does the Khorasan group actually have the capacity to attack America? Pay close attention to how Harf answers.
HOST Kristen Welker: Are there any credible threats that you know of right now coming from that group that Americans need to know about?
Harf: Well, as many of us have said, we are watching that group. We know they have the intention to strike at the United States. that’s something that’s ongoing right now. That process of looking at what the actual threat is. But what I will say is the action we’ve taken against them already has had an impact.
The Obama administration’s spokespeople have their talking points: These groups have the intention of attacking America, and we have the intention of degrading them. Afghanistan, Yemem and Somalia are, according to Harf, examples of the success we’re aiming for in striking Syria.
If that’s really where we are strategically, then we have a recipe for endless, pointless war that will achieve nothing — other than to eventually bankrupt America.
The Guardian reports that North Korea admits that its portly little god suffers.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is suffering from “discomfort“, a state media report has said in the first official acknowledgement of ill-health after a prolonged period out of the public eye.
Kim, 31, who is frequently the centrepiece of the isolated country’s propaganda, has not been photographed by state media since appearing at a concert alongside his wife on 3 September, fuelling speculation he is suffering from bad health.
“Based on his gait, it appears he has gout – something [due to] diet and genetic predisposition that has affected other members of the Kim family,” said Michael Madden, an expert on the North Korean leadership and contributor to the 38 North website.
Kim had been seen walking with a limp since an event with key officials in July and in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast by state media on Thursday appeared to have difficulty walking.
“The wealth and prosperity of our socialism is thanks to the painstaking efforts of our marshal, who keeps lighting the path for the people, like the flicker of a flame, despite suffering discomfort,” a voiceover for the hour-long documentary said.
There’s nothing funny about gout. It can be excruciatingly painful, like a spike struck right through your foot. But since Kim has it, second look at gout?
Gout can be controlled, or at least managed, through medications and dietary changes. Kim is only 31, which is young for a serious gout sufferer. Gout has genetic connections, but Kim suffering from it at such a young age suggests his diet has a lot to do with it. Get the man a bowl of cherries, stat, and keep him away from the beer!
On second thought, if anyone deserves to have gout, it’s that toad. He’s holding an entire country under a form of house arrest, and thanks to decades of brainwashing, they love him for it. US foreign policy toward North Korea should consist of shipping Kim as much beer, red meat and crab legs as he can possibly consume.
Kim’s gout points to his personal excesses as he rules a country where starvation due to his and his family’s policies is the norm. The average North Korean is literally shorter and smaller than her cousins in the capitalist and robust South. Yet there’s dictator Kim, waddling across North Koreans’ TV screens, clearly suffering from a diet-related disease, while his subjects eat grass and/or grow thin in the many North Korean gulags.
Next, North Korean propaganda will come up with a divine explanation for Kim’s limp.
Attorney General Eric Holder told the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation this morning that he has “no intention of letting up” and “no intention of slowing down” in the time between his resignation announcement and when a successor is confirmed.
Holder lauded the administration’s “important reforms and evidenced-based strategies to make America’s criminal justice system both more fair and more effective.”
“With a national initiative for building community trust and justice which I announced earlier this month, we are striving to eliminate mistrust and to build strong relationships between law enforcement officers and the communities that they serve, so that we can diffuse tensions that simmer just under the surface in too many cities and towns across our great country and that too often give rise to tragic events like those that captured our national attention just last month in Ferguson, Missouri,” he said.
The administration’s new Smart on Juvenile Justice Initiative “will promote system-wide reform and bolster our efforts to end racial and ethnic disparities,” Holder added.
“My colleagues and I are acting aggressively to ensure that every American — that every American — can exercise his or her right to participate in the democratic process, unencumbered by unnecessary restrictions that discourage, that discriminate or that disenfranchise in the name of a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Holder listed several department actions related to voting, including Monday’s conclusion of arguments in the DOJ’s challenge to the Texas voter ID law, “which our experts found likely to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of eligible voters who lack the requisite identification.”
“We will continue to look to groups like the CBC for leadership to advance the Voting Rights Act amendments and to continue your efforts until all Americans can make their voices heard in the halls of the federal government,” he said.
“…Our cause is just. Our mission is clear. Our history propels us. So let us act together to make our nation, to make our union more perfect.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling on the Obama administration to oppose Venezuela’s effort to land a non-permanent, two-year seat on the UN Security Council.
A week ago, Reuters cited diplomatic and administration sources as saying they were resigned to Caracas securing a seat at the 15-nation table and wouldn’t oppose the bid. Venezuela is the only Latin American country in the running and needs a two-thirds vote from the General Assembly next month.
President George W. Bush led a campaign against a Venezuelan bid in 2006. That was during the reign of Hugo Chavez, but this Venezuelan bid comes after Nicolas Maduro’s violent crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators and other human right abuses.
“There should be no place for Venezuela at the UN Security Council. Nicolas Maduro and his regime have been the cause of instability in Venezuela and the Western Hemisphere region and allowing it a seat on the Security Council will legitimize and embolden this brutal regime and give it a platform from which it will attempt to undermine U.S. national security interests as well as global security,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).
“The world is facing many serious security threats, from ISIL in Iraq and Syria and the Iranian nuclear program to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere; a Venezuelan seat on the Security Council would allow it to advocate for its allies like Syria, Iran and Cuba at a time when we need a united approach to confront these challenges.”
Ros-Lehtinen was joined by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) in petitioning Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Ambassador Samantha Power to oppose the bid.
“We must object when tyrannical regimes, which constantly threaten our national security and undermine our foreign policy, use this opportunity to broadcast anti-American rhetoric and legitimize their oppressive tactics,” the letter reads. “The United States must take a decisive stand in this issue, provide a voice and a vote for those being oppressed, and promote our ideals of democracy, freedom, and the respect for human rights.”
Ros-Lehtinen said President Obama ”must oppose Venezuela’s bid for a seat at the Security Council, and Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Power must use the full weight, diplomacy and force of their offices to urge other nations to join the U.S. to vote against and defeat this maneuver by the Maduro regime.”
“We must take a decisive stand for the sake of U.S. national security interests, but also to provide a voice and vote for those being oppressed and to promote our ideals of democracy, freedom and the respect for human rights,” she said.
During his United Nations address, President Barack Obama went out of his way to heap praise on a particular Muslim cleric.
The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day. Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies – Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose: “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.”
A fine sentiment, but one that Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah probably does not mean in the way that Obama thinks he means it.
The Washington Free Beacon first noticed the reference to bin Bayyah. It turns out that President Obama’s exhibit moderate peaceful Muslim backed a fatwa in favor of killing American troops in 2004, in Iraq.
This isn’t even the first time that Obama’s government has promoted Bayyah. It promoted him back in May 2014, only to backtrack and apologize later.
Bayyah has recently released a fatwa against the Islamic State. That doesn’t make him a moderate.
His detractors say he’s anti-Semitic and that he has called the killing of American soldiers in Iraq justified. Those criticisms are linked to his role as a vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, an organization headquartered in Qatar and headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian theologian who has close links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
And while bin Bayyah has never formally broken with al-Qaradawi, he said he left the International Union of Muslim Scholars a year ago because he didn’t agree with many of the group’s positions. He added that he tried to change the group from the inside and decided he could be more effective starting his own organization to promote peace.
While Bayyah was a member, the group issued a 2009 fatwa against normalizing relations with Israel. Does he agree or disagree with that?
Bayyah visited the Obama White House in June 2013, while he was still working with Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Interestingly, in that meeting Bayyah called for the US to get more involved in arming the Syrian rebels. That’s what Obama is doing now, in response to the Islamic State.
Iran’s president brought an unsettling message to the United Nations on Thursday: Middle Eastern terrorism has been globalized, in part thanks to mistakes made by Western powers, and the threat cannot be eliminated by outside force alone.
President Hassan Rouhani, feted at last year’s U.N. General Assembly as a welcome change from his combative predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the world body that his part of the world is “burning in the fire of extremism and radicalism.”
He said the world now faces terrorism from “New York to Mosul, from Baghdad to Damascus … from al-Qaida to Daesh,” using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which calls itself the Islamic State.
The only thing the West has done to help spread terrorism is educate the terrorists and teach them to fly and funnel money internationally. The terrorism spreads through that, not because of it. It spreads because this is a religiously inspired hatred that will never stop spreading on its own. It has to be stopped by the people it seeks to destroy.
Here is hoping the world, especially the US, one day soon gets leaders who have to stomach for it.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is trailing his Democratic challenger by 20 percentage points in a poll released on Thursday, a slight improvement in the Republican’s showing since August.
The poll by Franklin & Marshall College shows Democratic businessman Tom Wolf favored by 54 percent of likely voters compared to 34 percent who favor the incumbent in November’s election. In August, the Franklin & Marshall poll showed Corbett trailing by 25 points.
“Corbett is losing in every major region of the state,” said Terry Madonna, a professor at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, college who runs the survey.
According to the poll, 60 percent of Pennsylvanians believe the state is “off on the wrong track.” Some 58 percent believe Wolf will win the election regardless of how they themselves plan to vote. Only 19 percent believe Corbett will win.
Hot Air noted last week that Republican governors aren’t looking at November with quite the enthusiasm that GOP candidates for the House and Senate are. Two of them, Scott Walker and Rick Snyder, are in trouble because they’ve made tough, but necessary, choices that have angered Big Labor. It’s understandable that those races are tight.
Gonna go out on a limb and say that this one is over, though.
A Houston lawyer is alleging the prosecutor handling the indictment against Rick Perry is over-charging taxpayers for his services, breaking the same law the governor stands accused of violating.
In a criminal complaint sent Monday to the Travis County district attorney’s office, Houston criminal defense attorney David Rushing says special prosecutor Michael McCrum is abusing his official capacity by billing the county $300 per hour, or more than three times the highest possible rate set by a state law.
Travis County’s guidelines for the law, however, make it possible for an attorney in McCrum’s situation to earn less or more per hour if the circumstances are unusual. Perry, who has characterized the case against him as politically motivated, is the first Texas governor to be indicted in nearly a century.
The smell of fish on this indictment can only start to stink more. However, as the those in the Drunk DA camp are finding out, Rick Perry has some lawyers of his own, and probably more support than they bet on.
As Tatler editor Bryan Preston has noted in several posts, this could still go sour for the governor because of the county in which it is being prosecuted.
Then again, the sober people might win.
As White House Democrats prepare to stump in Massachusetts for Attorney General Martha Coakley in the governor’s race, a new Globe poll shows that national political conditions may be hobbling her chances for victory.
Republican Charlie Baker holds a slender lead of 2 percentage points over Coakley, 40 percent to 38 percent, an inversion of last week’s survey, in which Coakley was ahead by 3 percentage points. Among voters who said they will “definitely vote,” Baker enjoys an advantage of 41 percent to 37 percent.
That dynamic hints that Baker could benefit from a low-interest election, a possibility Coakley is looking to avoid by trying to fire up Democratic voters.
Two percentage points for a Republican is generally meaningless, given the Democrats’ superior get-out-the-vote effort. However, almost everything about the president and the party right now are dragging candidates down and Coakley, as we have seen in the past, is a fairly awful campaigner.
So, while it may be a bit early to get the champagne on ice, there is some good deep blue state news for the GOP.
Famed chef Emeril Lagasse says that it’s becoming all but impossible to be a successful restaurateur in America today. The government just gets in the way too much. Lagasse specifically singled out the current president’s policies.
“It’s becoming a very challenging industry to become a very successful average restaurateur,” continued Lagasse. “I can’t charge $300 a person in my restaurant or I would not be in business. Am I using any different ingredients? Not really. Am I using any caliber of service staff? I don’t think so. I think our service is as good or better than most places.”
“And then you add all the Obama nonsense to what it’s become in the last several years. I don’t have anything against Mr. Obama. I’m just saying the way that, you know… the government should stay out of things. [...] Pretty soon, they’re going to wipe a lot of the middle restaurateurs and restaurant cooks. [...] If it continues, then watch: you’re going to have high-end, and you’re going to have fast food, and you’re going to have chain restaurants.”
Lagasse shared his thoughts on TNT’s On the Menu. He predicts that if the government doesn’t start getting out of the way, the American restaurant industry will split and leave entrepreneurs and start-ups behind. American restaurants will consist only of high-end establishments like the ones Lagasse owns, fast food and chain restaurants, because no one else will be able to succeed.
On 60 Minutes’ 47th season premiere last week, former CIA chief and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tossed President Obama under the bus on Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State. Panetta said that he wanted American troops to remain in Iraq longer than Obama did, arguing that the presence of US forces would have given the US more leverage over then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Panetta also said that he, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the entire national security team wanted to arm the Syrian rebels far earlier than Obama did. Obama rejected their advice, leading to the rise of the Islamic State.
Now 60 Minutes has landed Obama for this Sunday’s episode. The president’s interview is being conducted Friday at the White House.
Steve Kroft is conducting the interview, but tough questions may not be part of the plan. Kroft last interviewed Obama alongside Hillary Clinton in January 2013. That interview ought to have included a number of tough questions, especially on Benghazi. But it was mostly a three-way love-fest.
If Kroft is looking for questions to ask, how about asking Obama to address Panetta’s claim that Hillary Clinton really wanted to arm the Syrian rebels — when she was telling 60 Minutes that she opposed arming the Syrian rebels.
If Kroft is ever going to ask Obama any tough questions, this would be the time. The Democrats want some distance from the unpopular president, and so do the Clintons.
Speaking at the UN Climate Summit, President Obama made it clear he expected China to help the US lead the way on fighting global warming:
Just a few minutes ago, I met with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, and reiterated my belief that as the two largest economies and emitters in the world, we have a special responsibility to lead. That’s what big nations have to do. (Applause.)
And today, I call on all countries to join us -– not next year, or the year after, but right now, because no nation can meet this global threat alone.
Today, China gave their response to the president. It came in the form of a paper submitted to the Geneva-based U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in advance of a planned meeting next month.
Basically, the Chinese took 9 pages to tell the president to stuff it.
Carbon emission cutbacks by China and other developing countries, the document says, will be “dependent on the adequate finance and technology support provided by developed country parties” to any new climate accord.
In other words, only if Western nations pay for it.
More specifically, only if Western taxpayers ante up. Among other things, the Chinese communist regime insists that the incentive payments it demands must come from “new, additional, adequate, predictable and sustained public funds” — rather than mostly private financing, as the U.S. hopes.
In addition, the Chinese state:
– A promised $100 billion in annual climate financing that Western nations have already pledged to developing countries for carbon emission control and other actions by 2020 is only the “starting point” for additional Western financial commitments that must be laid out in a “clear road map,” which includes “specific targets, timelines and identified sources;”
–In the longer run, developed countries should be committing “at least 1 percent” of their Gross Domestic Product — much more than they spend on easing global poverty” into a U.N.-administered Green Carbon Fund to pay for the developing country changes;
–In the meantime, the $100 billion pledge to the same fund should be reached by $10 billion increments, starting from a $40 billion floor this year;
–Western countries also need to remove “obstacles such as IPRs [intellectual property rights]” to “promote, facilitate and finance the transfer” of “technologies and know-how” to developing countries in advance of any future climate deal;
China will fight climate change to the very last American taxpayer dollar.
Chinese recalcitrance to participate in a global climate convention is matched by India, whose new Prime Minister Narendra Modi just announced a major new campaign to bring massive numbers of factories to his country. Both countries rely on coal for a large percentage of their power generation and neither country is willing to stifle its economic growth when most countries in the west failed to reach the emission goals spelled out in the Kyoto accord.
Kyoto’s strictures expire in 2020, but there is already a move to replace it with even more draconian protocols. How about a climate mitigation fund — opening amount to be $100 billion — to be made available to some of the biggest kleptocrats in the third world? I’m sure bankers in Switzerland and the Caymans are salivating at the ill gotten gains that will be flowing into their coffers from various presidents-for-life in Africa and Asia.
Meanwhile, China’s communist dictatorship continues to build coal fired electric plants, whose particulate emissions are suffocating millions of people.
Photographs of a smog-wreathed Tiananmen Square and the iconic headquarters of China Central Television dominated reports of Chinese pollution last year, but analysis shows nine other Chinese cities suffered more days of severe smog than the capital in 2013.
The worst was Xingtai, a city of more than 7 million people south-west of Beijing, which was hit by 129 days of “unhealthy air” or worse – the threshold at which pollution is considered at emergency levels – and more than twice as many days as the capital experienced.
Beijing suffered 60 days of pollution above emergency levels, sparking reports of an “airpocalypse”, a boom in sales of air purifiers and masks and measures to tackle the problem including the destruction of open-air barbecues and a crackdown on fireworks for Chinese new year.
Last week, the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, “declared war” on pollution, saying it was “nature’s red-light warning against the model of inefficient and blind development.”
Do the Chinese really need a “red-light warning” from nature?
China is now the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Coal is the culprit and the Chinese burn almost 3 times as much as the US.
A few more stats on Chinese coal use:
Coal, the most carbon-intensive of the fossil fuels, accounts for 70 percent of energy used in China today and is responsible for about three quarters of electricity generation.
- In just 5 years, from 2005 through 2009, China added the equivalent of the entire U.S. fleet of coal-fired power plants, or 510 new 600-megawatt coal plants.
- From 2010 through 2013, it added half the coal generation of the entire U.S. again.
- At the peak, from 2005 through 2011, China added roughly two 600-megawatt coal plants a week, for 7 straight years.
- And according to U.S. government projections, China will add yet another U.S. worth of coal plants over the next 10 years, or the equivalent of a new 600-megawatt plant every 10 days for 10 years.
China also leads the world in the production of renewable energy. But despite fantastic growth in that energy sector, the Chinese use of coal will continue to skyrocket. Filling the boilers of 3 new coal fired electric plants a month will increase China’s coal use by up to 15% by 2020.
All of this means that any reduction in emissions by western industrialized nations will be futile. It won’t reduce worldwide CO2 emissions by one, single, molecule.
All of the speechifying by Obama and the other delegates to the climate summit amounted to a lot of unnecessary CO2 being emitted by blowhards who care less about saving the world than they do enhancing their power over the citizens of the world.
A choked-up Attorney General Eric Holder paid tribute to his longtime friends and confidantes in the Obama administration as the president announced his ally’s resignation this afternoon.
Holder received an extended standing ovation from family and co-workers packing the State Dining Room at the White House for President Obama’s announcement.
“Over the summer, her came to me, and he said he thought six years was a pretty good run,” Obama said, adding “this is bittersweet.”
“But with his typical dedication, Eric has agreed to stay on as attorney general until I nominate a successor, and that successor is confirmed by the Senate, which means he’ll have a chance to add to a proud career of public service, one that began nearly 40 years ago as a young prosecutor in the department that he now runs,” he continued.
Obama thanked Holder for showing “a deep and abiding fidelity to one of our most cherished ideals as a people, and that is equal justice under the law.”
“Eric’s proudest achievement, though, might be reinvigorating and restoring the core mission to what he calls the conscience of the building, and that’s the Civil Rights Division. He has been relentless against attacks on the Voting Rights Act because no citizen, including our servicemembers, should have to jump through hoops to exercise their most fundamental right. He’s challenged discriminatory state immigration laws that not only risked harassment of citizens and legal immigrants, but actually made it harder for law enforcement to do its job,” he said.
“Under his watch, the department has brought a record number of prosecutions for human trafficking and for hate crimes, as no one in America should be afraid to walk down the street because of the color of their skin, the love in their heart, the faith they practice or the disabilities that they live with.”
Thanks to Holder’s efforts, Obama said, “more Americans, regardless of race or religion, gender or creed, sexual orientation or disability… will receive fair and equal treatment under the law.”
Holder, who will stick around until his as-yet-unnamed replacement is confirmed by the Senate, said he had “very mixed emotions” about the moment.
“I want to thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity that you gave me to serve and for giving me the greatest honor of my professional life. We have been great colleagues, but the bonds between us are much deeper than that. In good times and in bad, in things personal and in things professional, you have been there for me. I’m proud to call you my friend,” he said.
“I’m also grateful for the support you have given me, and the department, as we have made real the visions that you and I have always shared. I often think of those early talks between us about our belief that we might help to craft a more perfect union. Work remains to be done, but our list of accomplishments is real… I hope that I have done honor to the faith that you have placed in me, Mr. President, and the legacy of all those who have served before me.”
Holder gave special thanks to “good friend” and senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, “whom I’ve been fortunate to work with from the beginning of what started as an improbable idealistic effort by a young senator from Illinois, who we were both right to believe would achieve greatness.”
“I want to thank the woman who sacrificed the most and allowed me to follow my dreams. She’s the foundation of all that our family is and the basis of all that I have become,” he continued after thanking his parents. “My wife Sharon is the unsung hero and she is my life partner. Thank you for all that you have done. I love you.”
Holder vowed that while he may leave the Justice Department, “I will never leave the work.”
“I will continue to serve and try to find ways to make our nation even more true to its founding ideals… I want to thank you all for joining me on a journey that now moves in another direction, but that will always be guided by the pursuit of justice and aimed at the North Star.”
Nine men, including the radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary, have been arrested in London on suspicion of being members of a banned organisation.
Officers are searching 18 premises in London and one in Stoke-on-Trent.
The Met Police said it was part of an ongoing inquiry into Islamist-related terrorism and not in response to any immediate threat to the public.
Mr Choudary is the former UK head of the Islamist group al-Muhajiroun or Islam4UK, banned in the UK in 2010.
The arrested men, aged between 22 and 51, are being held at police stations in central London.
Most recently, Choudary sided with the Islamic State, which has beheaded a British citizen. He has been preaching jihad while living on the British taxpayer’s dime for years now. He is a jihadist, straight up, no different than Anwar al-Awlaki or any other jihadist preacher.
If the west had sharper war teeth, Choudary would be dropped into Syria at an ISIS command post just ahead of an allied airstrike.
Noah Rothman keys on a WSJ report outlining what the allies are — and are not — striking in Syria. Namely, we’re avoiding hitting IS’ captured oil fields.
“[CBS News reporter David] Martin says 12 small-scale oil refineries were hit in the eastern desert of Syria,” a CBS report revealed. “According to the Pentagon, the refineries produced between 300 and 500 barrels of petroleum a day, which ISIS used to power its own vehicles and to sell on the black market, bringing in up to $2 million every day in revenue.”
So, one would expect that revenue stream to have been vitiated if not entirely destroyed, right? Not so fast.
“Officials said the strikes wouldn’t target fixed oil fields, a precaution intended to minimize the potential for environmental damage,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. “The U.S. instead targeted small capacity mobile refineries used by Islamic State around northeastern Raqqa province and other locations in eastern Syria, officials said.”
Which largely leaves ISIS’ major revenue stream intact. They are using the oil from those fields both for their own purposes and to sell on the black market — chiefly, Turkey — to raise funds. A lot of funds. About $2 million per day. ISIS is believed to have about $1 billion on hand. The current strategy amounts to kicking an ant hill but not putting any poison on it to kill the queen.
If we are avoiding destroying ISIS’ oil-basket, it would represent a decisive break from US strategy in previous wars. In both world wars, Vietnam and to a lesser extent in the two wars in Iraq, US forces targeted infrastructure in order to cripple the enemy’s economy. We bombed everything from highways to railways to power grids and fuel refineries and depots, to break the enemy’s ability to wage war. The more we focused on disrupting the enemy’s economy, the more damage we did to the enemy’s ability to wage war against us.
In Syria, we are apparently already counting the chicken before the egg has hatched.
US, Saudis & UAE, Kirby says, trying to blow up ISIS-held oil refineries w/o destroying a potential future $ source for post-Assad Syria
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) September 25, 2014
There is no guarantee that there will be a “post-Assad Syria.” It’s a near certainty that if there is, the lack of US forces on the ground means that we will have little to no say in who succeeds him. We’re heading for Libya 2.0 as a best-case scenario at this point. Obama’s promise not to ever put any American boots on the ground to fight ISIS means that others will determine Syria’s future should Assad ever fall. Our absence means that Iran or another Islamist group or power, perhaps Turkey, perhaps anarchy, will choose who follows Assad. But it won’t be the United States.
And if you’re an ISIS commander, the safest place for you to be is now one of the most strategically valuable spots on the map. Park yourself near an oil field and US forces won’t touch you.
The war against ISIS is a just war that is being run very stupidly.
The United States believes it has identified the masked militant thought to have beheaded two American journalists, FBI Director James Comey told reporters on Thursday.
NPR’s Brian Naylor reports that Comey declined to identify the man. The videos, released by the Sunni militant group Islamic State, show a masked man speaking English in a British accent. The video then shows the man beginning to cut the heads of the Americans.
The AP reports that Comey did not comment on whether the U.S. believes the man in the video also conducted the beheadings.
The Navajo Nation will mark history Friday when it officially announces a $554 million settlement from the U.S. government, putting an end to years of litigation.
The landmark agreement stems from a 2006 lawsuit in which the nation says the U.S. mismanaged trust fund assets dating back to 1946.
If only American taxpayers could sue the federal government for mismanagement of our money. Not for a settlement that we would have to finance anyway, of course, but to have the government’s grubby paws removed from our money. We not only don’t have that luxury, but we’re on the hook for the government’s fiscal incompetence.
But I’m an “extremist” for not liking this.