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‘Miracle’ Wind Saves Tel Aviv from Hamas Rocket

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
irondometelaviv

Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over Tel Aviv, July 12, 2014 via Haaretz

The IJReview picked up a story from the UK Daily Mail that featured the eye witness testimony of an Israeli Iron Dome commander responsible for protecting Tel Aviv, Israel’s business center, from incoming rocket attacks:

A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.

We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.

Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!”

The story, originally circulated in Israeli media, was translated into English by the Jerusalem-based news agency Israel TodayThe commander’s testimony continued:

“I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”

Israel Today noted that earlier unconfirmed reports circulating around the Internet had Hamas fighters have attributed the success of Iron Dome to the ability of Israel’s God to move Hamas rockets in mid-air. This is not the first report of Divine intervention in the midst of Operation Protective Edge. Following the Biblical terms of a pre-Jubilee year harvest, Orthodox farmers took enough wheat from their fields to reveal terrorists hiding in their midst. Most recently, it was reported that an Israeli soldier’s well-timed recitation of the Shema saved a Hamas female suicide bomber in Gaza.

Israel Today ended their Iron Dome miracle report by detailing another report of miracles in the midst of combat:

Also last week, Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, described a mysterious fog that favorably covered he and his troops as they advanced on an enemy position in morning light, after their nighttime raid was postponed.

Col. Winter labeled the covering as “clouds of glory.”

Earlier in the Gaza war, Col. Winter sparked heated national debate when he encouraged his troops to lead the charge against an enemy that “curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel.” Col. Winter concluded his letter by praying that the “Lord your God go with you, to fight for you against your enemies and to save you.”

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Jesse Jackson Pivots from Ferguson Riots to Bigger Government

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

As you might expect, it didn’t take long for political opportunists and race-baiters to rally to Ferguson, Missouri, looking to leverage unrest over a teen killed by police into a platform for advocating their policy agenda. Writing at USA Today, Jesse Jackson would have been well-served to stop after calling upon protestors to refrain from further violence. Alas, he just couldn’t help himself:

Since President Lyndon Johnson, there has been no significant urban, suburban, small town or rural policy to rebuild America. Thus we should not be surprised that urban and rural communities, and all points in between, have significantly deteriorated during the past 46 years of neglect. Republicans are the party of “no” and Democrats are the party of “don’t know” because it hasn’t fought for bold ideas, policies or plans to turn us in a new direction. Policies of community development are being replaced with policies of community containment. The absence of a domestic Marshall Plan is being replaced with martial law.

Such rhetoric suggests that Jackson views America as a ravaged battlefield, laid waste by a destructive force on par with a major natural catastrophe or act of war. By what means has this devastation been wrought? “46 years of neglect” by government.

What a low view of humanity. In Jackson’s mind, without pervasive government activism, human beings are lost to destitution and despair. He goes on to lament “inadequate investments being made in our infrastructure… outdated public transportation… denial of capital investment for entrepreneurs,” and so forth. Apparently, government – an institution defined by its capacity to lawfully wield force against individual lives – is the only power capable of providing for people’s needs.

Conspicuously missing from Jackson’s consideration is the one place in the nation which best models his vision for “community development,” Detroit, Michigan. Once home to a peak population of 1.8 million, and now languishing at around 700,000, Detroit crumbles as a manifestation of precisely the kind of “investment” and “development” Jackson speaks of.

Such is the price of Jackson’s prescribed “equality,” a condition where individuals are actually treated differently under the law depending upon how productive they are. Such is also the price of Jackson’s prescribed “justice,” a condition where promises of provision are made by government on the backs of the most productive and successful, because nothing proves more “just” than seizing people’s property. In the final analysis, it appears Jackson supports looting after all.

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Britain: If Hamas Causes Enough Trouble, We’ll Cut Off Aid to Israel

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Cowards. And possibly, maybe, anti-Semites.

“Figures seen by the BBC show recorded hate crimes against Jewish people living in London have doubled compared with the same period last year, while police in Manchester said they had seen an increase in anti-Semitic crime over the last month,” the BBC reported.

In totally unrelated news, the British government revealed on Tuesday that they are suffering from a terminal case of moral equivalency and are prepared to cut off military aid to Israel if “significant hostilities” resume in Gaza.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills and Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable announced this week that the United Kingdom would suspend the export licenses of 12 British firms which send Israel arms like radar systems, aircraft, and tanks if any new hostilities in Gaza restart.

The Huffington Post U.K. reported that the British left is incensed by how “weak” this move is against Israel.

That’s from Noah Rothman at Hot Air.

 

The Conservatives lead the current government, but it’s a coalition government that includes the Liberal Democrats.

Between how the UK is behaving now, and how American millennials can be expected to behave in the future, the time for Israel to totally destroy Hamas — root and branch — is right now. Get it done and none of this aid business will matter nearly as much.

Unfettered immigration is changing the character of what was Britain. Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher would barely recognize the place. That lesson isn’t lost on today’s Democrats here in the U.S. Obama regularly tells us conservatives that we’re the problem, we’re the greatest threat to the country. We would be less of a problem, of course, if our votes were canceled out.

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Hillary Goes from Attacking Obama to Wanting to ‘Hug It Out’ with Him

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Aww. Or, gross.

In the interview, Clinton dismissed the Obama administration’s self-described foreign policy principle of “Don’t do stupid stuff.”And while she also praised Obama several times, Clinton nonetheless called his decision not to assist Syrian rebels early on a “failure.”

The statement from Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill stressed that although the two have had “honest differences on some issues” including “the wicked challenge” of Syria, she has discussed these differences publicly before, including in her new memoir, “Hard Choices.”

“Some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues,” Merrill said. “Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night.”

Here are our options.

1. Hillary meant what she said when she criticized Obama’s “Don’t do stupid stuff” principle.

2. Hillary did not mean what she said.

If 1 is true, then her walking it back today is the result of:

A) cowardice

b) loyalty to something other than the truth

c) having to walk back something that she had no idea would blow up the way it has

If option a is the case, Hillary Clinton is unfit for the presidency.

If option b is the case, Hillary Clinton is unfit for the presidency.

If option c is the case, Hillary Clinton is, at the very least, still not ready for the presidency.

If option 2 above is the case, Hillary Clinton is unfit for the presidency.

None of that means that she won’t actually win the presidency. Barack Obama was and is unfit for the presidency. Yet he has the presidency.

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Think Progress Uses Robin Williams’ Death to Make a Point About…Global Warming

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Like they do.

Robin Williams, who died Monday of an apparent suicide, was a brilliant comedian who had a progressive bent.
He was not known for being an activist environmentalist the way some in Hollywood are — but he appeared in a lot of movies with ecological themes, including “Happy Feet” 1 and 2 and “FernGully: The Last Rainforest.”
Williams took global warming seriously in the way only a great comic can. Back in 2002, he did this riff:
… And they say there is no global warming, but right now the North Pole is a pool. There’s things just floating away….
It is beyond global warming at this point. It is cooking.
It is 105 in the middle of the country and people come up going “Is it hot enough for you?”
“No I like sweat to be rolling down the crack of my ass like Niagara. I like my old man titties to lactate.”
And you see people in shorts and you’re going, “Please don’t wear those…. Oh please don’t put those on.”

A rational, compassionate human being doesn’t use a tragedy like this to make a political point. As many of us have pointed out over the years, climate change is a religious cult. These people know nothing but preaching their warped gospel.

I tweeted the following in response to something stupid that the Minnesota deputy GOP chair said last night, but it applies here as well:

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Critics Of Florida’s Congressional Map Still Whining After Changes

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

And your point?

Leaders of a voter coalition contesting Florida’s congressional district boundaries are vowing to continue a court battle claiming that a new map approved on Monday fails to meet the state’s anti-gerrymandering rules.

“They’ve done this in a crafty way, to make sure the political result is not changed,” Tom Zehnder, an attorney for Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of Florida and some voters who challenged the current congressional districts, said of boundaries approved by state lawmakers along party lines on Monday.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, who threw out the existing map last month, has a hearing set for Aug. 20 to consider the new boundaries.

The Republican-run legislature made relatively minor adjustments to the districts of U.S. Representatives Corrine Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat, and Daniel Webster, a Republican from Winter Garden, whose districts Lewis ruled were in violation of the state’s constitutional ban on gerrymandering to protect incumbents or favor either party.

The leadership ignored a much different map submitted by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, which would have reduced minority voter concentration in Brown’s Jacksonville-Orlando district, while adding many more Hispanic and black voters to Webster’s district in the Orlando area.

What they are really unhappy with is that the map wasn’t redrawn exactly to their specifications. This will probably go on until it does get done, which is ridiculous. However, in the age of judicial activism, what say do the people or their representatives really have in anything.

I’ll be in Iceland.

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A Certain Young Senator Would’ve Made a Fine President. Too Bad He Never Really Existed.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

IJReview pulled this video out of the 2008 memory hole. It’s astonishing.

In it, young Sen. Barack Obama tells America that as president, he will “give himself” to the job.

His leisure time will go away. His interests will go away. His vacations will go away.

YouTube Preview Image

His leisure time would go away.

obama-bball

 

His interests would go away.

obama-bracket

His vacations would go away.

obama-vac

That’s what he said.

Question: Was he lying then, or merely hopelessly clueless and naive?

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Obama on Missouri Shooting: ‘We Should Comfort Each Other… Not in a Way That Wounds’

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama released his first statement on the shooting of Missouri teenager Michael Brown, urging calm in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after two nights of rioting.

“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time,” Obama said. “As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed.”

Brown, 18, was shot to death in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday afternoon. Police say the teen attacked an officer and tried to take his gun, while witnesses counter that the unarmed teen had his hands up in the air.

On Monday, Holder said in a statement that his department’s investigation “will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities.”

“At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right,” Holder said.

A group of lawmakers from the Congressional Black Caucus asked Holder today to expand the DOJ’s investigation toward the Ferguson police as a whole, studying their past background of incidents in addition to the shooting of Brown.

“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding,” Obama continued. “We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”

“Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”

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World Health Organization OKs Experimental Ebola Drug

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Why not?

A panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization has unanimously endorsed the idea of offering unproven vaccines or treatments to help combat the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

This outbreak is unusual not just because it has spread to four countries and involves so many people, says Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General at the World Health Organization. It is also the first Ebola outbreak that could possibly benefit from a range of potential experimental treatments and vaccines.

“If these treatments can save lives, as the animal studies suggest, should we not use them to save lives?” Kieny asked.

Many caution against panicking but this isn’t really a panicky response given the fact that there is an outbreak in the part of the world where this will be offered. There are times when standing on procedure needs to get tossed out of the window. If people are willing to consent to the treatment after thoroughly being briefed about its experimental nature they should be allowed to proceed.

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Suffering and Sobriety

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s a heavy day around here. But here’s a story of overcoming.

True fact: I knew the writer of this piece when he was going through his addiction. We were university classmates.

While I knew him at the time in the sense that I knew who he was and had had conversations with him, clearly I didn’t actually know him at all, because I had no idea what he was going through. None whatsoever.

To me, a naive and optimistic young college guy, he was just this mysterious figure on the edge of the class, always quiet, usually detached. We didn’t run around in the same circles.

It turns out, he was dogged by a shadow. But –SPOILER– 19 years later he is the victor.

I didn’t start out with the intention of being an alcoholic and an addict. One day, I stood before a mirror no longer able to recognize who I had become. “How did I get here?” I wondered. Surely, nobody decides to be like this.

Somewhere, something inside me is different than it is in some of you. I’m missing a switch or at the very least, it’s stuck in the “on” position. You have a drink, you stop, and you’re ok. I have a drink and say let’s have a few more. A few more quickly turns into too many. You can take a toke or pop a pill and be satisfied. I’m thinking of how I can score more. After all, the more the merrier, right? Somewhere, you and I arrived at the same point and you said “Stop, I’ve had enough.” I stepped on the gas, full throttle ahead.

Some of you reading this won’t be able to relate to what I’ve written here at all. You won’t understand that it’s not simply a matter of will power or making better choices. You won’t grasp that this isn’t a lifestyle choice or a matter of self-control, but a disease. I’m okay with that because I’m not really writing it for you. Besides, I had to quit worrying about what other people think of me a long time ago. I’m glad that today, by God’s grace, I can say yes to life and living it abundantly. Every day and every moment isn’t perfect. But this too shall pass.

If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with alcohol, addiction or depression, I’m writing this for you. Know that you are not alone. There are plenty of people who are in this fight with you. Reach out. Get help. Speak up. Don’t slip away in the silence, succumbing to the darkness. Choose life. There is a light. There is a way. When the darkness tells you “No, you can’t”, know that “Yes, you can.”

Read the rest.

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Chasing Shadows in the Death of Robin Williams

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I hate writing about this. You have no idea how much I hate writing about this.

Here at the Tatler, I tend to avoid writing anything about celebrity deaths. It’s not a policy, just a preference. Others cover them as news, but I generally avoid them.

We all die. It’s the human condition. Celebrities aren’t worth any more than the rest of us. That’s just a fact. Writing about their deaths feels ghoulish to me, as if I’m going for hits off their demise.

When we write about celebrity deaths, we just tend to get it all wrong. They are not worth any more than the rest of us, just because they happened to have become famous in life. But to some extent, their deaths become milestones in our lives because we enjoyed what they brought to us, or we appreciated something about them at some point in our lives. Their passing takes a little of us with them, because they made us laugh, wrote and sang our favorite songs, made that movie or wrote that book that had such an impact on our lives. Without ever meeting us, they touched us in some way, so we will miss them.

But with Williams’ apparent suicide after battling depression, some things need to be said.

First, I didn’t know him. Never met him. I’m not sure we were ever even in the same state. I had no idea he was battling depression. All I knew is that he was a man with almost alien talent and a mind that must have whirred at a billion RPMs. That had to be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

From Mork and Mindy to Aladdin to his more serious work, as an actor he had an incredible range. The same maniac who spun up on Johnny Carson played the wise, unruly teacher in Dead Poets Society. I identified with his Good Morning, Vietnam character both because that character, Adrian Cronauer, and I went to the same military tech school (DINFOS, then at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana), and because he played something I was for a while — a military broadcaster deployed overseas. I don’t think anyone else on earth could have played that role. It certainly wouldn’t have been the same film with anyone else in that role.

After news of his death broke, the Academy tweeted this.

 

On a first glance it’s touching, and for that reason it has gone viral. But it’s wrong.

Williams is free of his depression now, and as a Christian he is in a better place, but the message it sends is that suicide is a way out, a way to freedom. That is a terrible message to send. Many who may be contemplating suicide right now are not clinically depressed. For them, suicide is still very much a choice. No one should provide any encouragement to make the wrong choice. That isn’t what the Academy intended, of course. They had the best of intentions.

Matt Walsh writes that Williams did not die from suicide, but from choice. He chose suicide, says Walsh.

It’s surely true that some — most? I have no idea — who commit suicide choose it. I once found myself talking a friend out of taking his own life. It was a long time ago, practically a lifetime. I’m hardly even the same person I was then. That friend chose wisely and did not take that final, horrible act. He was not clinically depressed. He suffered from self-importance and angst, was angry with a God he claimed not to believe in, and a whole lot else, but clinical depression wasn’t part of the equation.

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Obama, Iran Agree: It’s Time for Maliki to Go

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During his odd Facetime address Monday, President Barack Obama demanded an inclusive government in Iraq, and backed Iraq’s newly appointed prime minister over Nouri al-Maliki, who has been the country’s divisive, sectarian PM for eight years.

President Obama tried to push Iraq’s power-hungry prime minister off the stage Monday — unreservedly throwing his support to a possible successor.

But a defiant Nouri al-Maliki gave no sign he was about to yield to American pressure, and special forces loyal to him continued to fan out across Baghdad — raising fears of a possible coup even as the government fights Islamic extremists in the north and west of the country.

Complicating Obama’s stance are the fact that he left Iraq prematurely, leaving barely any American influence, and his own record of running a rather divisive, even sectarian government here at home. He isn’t much for leading by example.

So Obama said what he said. The big, maybe bigger question hanging out there, was, what would the Iranians do? They have been backing Maliki as a fellow Shiite. They have more influence over Iraq than the United States does.

Tehran dropped him today.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary and representative of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, made the announcement in Tehran.

“We congratulate Haidar al-Abadi on his nomination as prime minister, for him personally and for religious dignitaries, the Iraqi population and its political groups,” Shamkhani said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Shamkhani had earlier been quoted as saying that Iran backed the legal process which led to Maliki being replaced, following the nomination of Abadi as premier.

But congratulating Abadi was a step further and signalled that Tehran was no longer willing to fight in Maliki’s corner.

With Maliki still controlling some of what’s left of Iraq’s army around Baghdad, we still have the makings of a second civil war kicking off amid the civil war that ISIS has already created.

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George Clooney’s Fiancee Declines Appointment to Gaza War Crimes Probe

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The fiancee of the world’s former most eligible bachelor has said that she will not run a United Nations probe into alleged war crimes in the Israel-Gaza war. Which, by the way, is still going on.

GENEVA (AP) — The British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, who is engaged to George Clooney, on Monday pulled out of an appointment to serve on a U.N. commission on possible violations of the rules of war in Gaza.

The president of the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council announced in a statement Monday that Alamuddin had been appointed on the commission, but the increasingly high-profile British-Lebanese lawyer later said she could not accept the role.

“I was contacted by the UN about this for the first time this morning,” she said. “I am honoured to have received the offer, but given existing commitments — including eight ongoing cases — unfortunately could not accept this role.”

Teasing out which way Alamuddin leans politically isn’t a straightforward thing. She is apparently Druze, which is an offshoot of Islam, or a re-interpretation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Druze are not associated with Islamism or terrorism. In Israel, they are defined as Arab but have been known to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. They don’t proselytize.

The United Nations has no business probing the Israel-Gaza war for war crimes at any rate. Hamas started the war, but the UN has played its usual role of pestering Israel while it defends itself from terrorists who are, by definition, war criminals.

UNRWA facilities have been used by Hamas to store rockets, which Hamas launches at Israeli citizens. UNRWA supplies have been found inside Hamas’ terror tunnels. If the UN must investigate, it should start by allowing an outside investigation of its own activities.

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ISIS Appears in New Jersey and New York

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Mark Liebowitz caught sight of an ISIS flag flying in suburban New Jersey today.

 

A man believed to be sympathetic to ISIS was arrested at John F. Kennedy airport in New York Monday afternoon.

A North Carolina man was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on weapons charges earlier this month, a law enforcement official told CBS News.

The man, identified as Donald Morgan, is suspected of being sympathizer of the Islamic militant group ISIS, the official said.
“I talked to the FBI this morning. This arrest was a precautionary arrest. They’ll interrogate him and find out what’s happening. We have to be really vigilant,” Sen. Charles Schumer said.

Morgan was arrested upon his return from Lebanon, the official said.

Morgan was ordered held without bail after being arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn.

An ISIS flag turned up in London this week, too. A journalist went to the site to photograph the flag, and soon found himself surrounded by about 15 very angry young Muslims, who yelled “F*** off Jew!” at him and threatened him.

I asked them to explain the black flag. They said it represented their Muslim faith.

Then they asked for £5. “It’s our flag, we charge people for taking pictures,” they said.

I tried to keep it light-hearted: I joked I was a good photographer; they should be paying me £5.

A few more youths, all of them mid-late teens, a couple a little older, joined the group.

Then one stared at me.

“Are you a Jew?” he asked.

I’m not. I have a large nose; I fitted his stereotype.

I glared back at him. “What if I were? Would that be a problem for you?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “F*** off Jew, you’re not welcome here.”

ISIS supporters have previously posted a flag-selfie of themselves standing right outside the White House.

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Lawmakers Ask Holder to Expand Investigation Into Shooting of Missouri Teen

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who represents St. Louis, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), and Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to expand the Justice Department’s probe into the police shooting of a teenager in Ferguson, Mo.

Michael Brown, 18, was shot to death in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday afternoon. Police say the teen attacked an officer and tried to take his gun, while witnesses counter that the unarmed teen had his hands up in the air.

“The shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri this weekend deserves a fulsome review. In addition to the local investigation already underway, FBI agents from the St. Louis field office, working together with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and US Attorney’s Office, have opened a concurrent, federal inquiry,” Holder said in a statement on Monday. “The federal investigation will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right.”

“I will continue to receive regular updates on this matter in the coming days. Aggressively pursuing investigations such as this is critical for preserving trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

The members of Congress asked Holder in a letter today to examine “both the facts of the specific incident as well as the potential for any pattern or practice of police misconduct by the Ferguson Police Department.”

“We understand that the St. Louis County Police Department is investigating the matter in order to have some level of independent investigation take place, but this arrangement is insufficient for at least two reasons,” the lawmakers continued. “First, the St. Louis County Police Department may not be the most objective or credible body to investigate civil rights matters involving law enforcement given evidence of racial profiling by that department in the recent past, which Congressman Clay had asked the Department of Justice to investigate.”

“Second, only the federal government has the resources, the experience, and the full independence to give this case the close scrutiny that the citizens of Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area deserve,” they continued. “Moreover, to the extent that a pattern or practice of police misconduct may exist, such misconduct would be a clear violation of federal law, including 42 U.S.C. § 14141, which makes it unlawful for State or local law enforcement officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Such conduct would include the use of excessive force by police.”

GOP Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) said a in statement that he stands with “all Missourians in remembering the family of Michael Brown and the Ferguson community as they grieve the tragic loss of this young man.”

“His recent high school graduation should have been a beginning of better things,” Blunt added of the teen, who was supposed to start school at a technical college on Monday.

“Everyone deserves a transparent understanding of what happened here,” the senator added. “I am fully supportive of County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar calling for DOJ and the FBI to take a careful, open review of the events that led to this tragedy for everyone involved.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said “as a mother, I grieve for this child and his family.”

“I pray that the wonderful, hardworking, and God-loving people of Ferguson will find peace and patience as we wait for the results of what will be numerous and thorough investigations of what happened,” McCaskill added in a statement. “I, like so many other Missourians, will not be satisfied until we have a complete and transparent understanding of all the facts and circumstances that led to this young man’s death.”

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Graham Slams Obama for Thinking Defeat of ISIS Hinges on Iraq Political Reconciliation

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) criticized President Obama’s latest vacation speech on Iraq as “yet another” address “without a strategy or vision to protect the homeland against an increasingly lethal ISIS threat.”

“ISIS has repeatedly expressed its intent to kill Americans and they are gaining increased capability. President Obama should make it clear – ISIS is not just a threat to the Middle East, it is very much a threat to the American people and the homeland,” Graham said in a statement.

“It’s time we go on offense and hit ISIS where they reside. We need a sustained air campaign to slow momentum and diminish ISIS capability.”

Obama’s brief statement at Martha’s Vineyard focused on the ongoing airdrops and airstrikes in northern Iraq and the selection of a new prime minister designate, Haider al-Abadi.

“The United States stands ready to support a government that addresses the needs and grievances of all Iraqi people. We are also ready to work with other countries in the region to deal with the humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge in Iraq. Mobilizing that support will be easier once this new government is in place,” said Obama, who had dragged his feet on authorizing action against ISIS after the fall of Mosul because he insisted on Iraq putting an inclusive government in place first.

“These have been difficult days in Iraq — a country that has faced so many challenges in its recent history. And I’m sure that there will be difficult days ahead. But just as the United States will remain vigilant against the threat posed to our people by ISIL, we stand ready to partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces,” the president continued. “Without question, that effort will be advanced if Iraqis continue to build on today’s progress, and come together to support a new and inclusive government.”

Graham said that “when it comes to Iraq, I agree with President Obama that the appointment of a new Iraqi Prime Minister is a step toward helping unify Iraq.”

“I fear Prime Minister Maliki is simply incapable of bringing Sunni’s back into a unified Iraqi government. It’s time for him to go. A new prime minister at least creates the possibility Sunni Iraqi’s will break from ISIS in Iraq,” he said.

“However President Obama is wrong in believing that political reconciliation in Baghdad will address the threat posed to the region and us by ISIS. Disorder in Iraq is a threat, no doubt. But ISIS has goals and objectives which extend far beyond Baghdad.”

The senator stressed that “from the American national security perspective, it is impossible to have a successful outcome in Iraq without hitting and diminishing ISIS.”

“That seems to be a fact President Obama is incapable or unwilling to address.”

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ISIS Planned to Attack a Beer Brewery in Malaysia

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This story puts to rest the question of whether ISIS has ambitions beyond Iraq. They do. Of course they do.

Perhaps the news that the Islamists planned to strike a brewery will finally stir President Beer Summit to take some serious action against them.

Danish brewer Carlsberg was on the target list of the Islamist militant group Isis, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

The outlet reports that a Carlsberg facility in suburban Kuala Lumpur was among the attacks Isis planned to carry out in Malaysia.

The South China Morning Post reports that Isis, or the Islamic State (IS) as it is now known, has expanded into Malaysia and Indonesia, picking up local followers inspired by its declaration of an Islamic caliphate. At least 19 Malaysians suspected of being linked to the terror organization have been arrested this year.

“During questioning, they [the suspects] admitted one of their main objectives was to attack the government,” Ayub Khan, a senior official for Malaysia’s Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division, told the South China Morning Post. “They also discussed planning attacks against a disco, pubs in Kuala Lumpur and a Carlsberg factory in Petaling Jaya.”

Why Carlsberg? Well, they’re Danish. Remember the whole “Taqiyya” business?

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It was in Denmark that the Mohammed cartoons were published a few years back, leading to a global Muslim outrage and death threats against the paper’s editor and the cartoonists that continue to this day.

Jihadists don’t believe in freedom, and they never forget a grudge.

h/t Jihad Watch

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David Axelrod Stands By His Man

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Hillary Clinton’s little grenade over “Don’t do stupid stuff” has hit its mark. Barack Obama’s brain man, David Axelrod, is hitting back.

We have some blue-on-blue here, which is always enjoyable as the Democrats tend to march in lockstep. Suddenly, they’re turning on each other.

But we also have some revealing thinking.

So Axelrod thinks that “occupying” Iraq qualifies as “stupid.”

His counter point to “occupation,” though, is what, exactly?

Libya — the war his president led from behind and then left to the tender mercies of jihadists afterward? Is that what Axelrod would prefer?

Going back into history a bit — always a risky proposition these days, since schools don’t actually teach history anymore — the United States waged a couple of very successful occupations in relatively recent times. Japan and Germany were our enemies, but they are our allies now. They started war with us. We defeated them. We occupied them. We turned them into stable democracies. Today, both are key players in our overall strategy to wage peace in their respective regions.

We still have troops in both countries, decades after the war with them ended. Decades.

The war in Iraq was won when Barack Obama took office. It is lost now. Obama swept into office only promising to “end” the war. That should have been warning enough to keep him out of the presidency. He had no interest in keeping that war won.

Compared to Iraq, both Japan and Germany were far more likely to become stable democracies. There is no way to get Iraq stable and keep it stable without an ongoing and forceful American presence. The ongoing war with ISIS, and its own internal political rifts, tell us as much. Without us there, Iraq has no chance. ISIS will chop off some of its territory, Iran will take its revenge, the Kurds will go their own way, etc. While both Japan and Germany had severe ideological issues to deal with, neither had the Islamic culture to contend with.

But our president and his brain want us to think that “Don’t do stupid stuff” involves cutting and running and leaving brutal Islamists to do whatever they want.

Christopher Stevens remains unavailable for comment.

“Don’t do stupid stuff,” from now on, ought to include not electing inexperienced, devious ideologues and their loyalist ideologues into the presidency. That has proven to have been a very stupid thing to do.

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In the Mail: Janine Turner’s ‘A Little Bit Vulnerable’

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

janine-turner-vulnerable-fullcoverActress and patriot Janine Turner is out with a new book. She emailed it to me this morning.

A Little Bit Vulnerable tells her story of everything — life in Hollywood with the megahit Northern Exposure, fighting addiction and heartbreak, being a Christian and a single mom, and more. The title comes from a conversation she had with her daughter, Juliette, after Janine finished writing the book.

Her daughter, by the way, is not yet 18 years old yet she has written two impressive books of her own, in addition to penning some columns for us here at PJ Media. Juliette Turner’s second book, Our Presidents Rock!, comes out September 30.

In A Little Bit Vulnerable, Janine Turner shares her poetry, her political writings, her thoughts on the crises in our culture and much more. “I share my knowledge [of sobriety] and that of my great, great grandfather about the cyclical aspects of the disease and how to cope with the stresses of the world in a sober way,” she tells me, and she closes the book with a chapter about her father, who graduated from West Point and became an Air Force pilot. Sadly, her father passed away while Janine was writing the book. The book includes blurbs from the late Andrew Breitbart, First Lady of Texas Anita Perry, Chris Wallace and many more.

A Little Bit Vulnerable, by Janine Turner, is available now on Amazon for pre-order. It comes out September 30. It’s on my Kindle devices now and I’m really looking forward to reading it. At first glance it looks fantastic.

In case you’re curious, I’m currently reading two books on my Kindles. They are Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You, by Michael Rittenhouse, and In and Out of the Moon, by Jeff McInnnis.

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Robin Williams’ Last Gift: Angering ISIS

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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The Islamic State is omnipresent on Twitter these days, so it was curious to see the jihadists weighing in on the death of Robin Williams just as the rest of the world was last night.

However, they weren’t as kind to the kafir, heavily citing the above hilarious sketch he did about jihad and the whole idea of getting 72 virgins upon martyrdom.

 

 

 

 

 

More: 

Kerry, Hagel Weigh in on Robin Williams

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Let’s Start a Terrible Day on A Positive

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The last 24-48 hours on earth have been pretty awful. Iraq is falling apart. ISIS is hunting and killing Christians and other non-Muslims there and only the Kurds, badly outgunned at this point, have the stones to stop them.

Russia is invading Ukraine.

Our commander-in-chief stirred himself to leave the golf course long enough to address the nation via Facetime and say little, other than to advocate for regime change in Iraq. That makes him the fourth or fifth US president in a row to publicly call for that, but this president lacks the geostrategic wherewithall to use Australia as a base to win at the board game Risk. His statement on Monday left much to desire. That Obama again called for the Iraqis to have an “inclusive” government when Obama leads America’s most divisive government — a government his own loyalists have weaponized against dissent — was just the perfect topper. Does the man even listen to the words that come out of his own mouth? Does he know what they mean?

Though not on the same scale of tragedy as the horrors in the preceding paragraphs, the shocking death of Robin Williams hits hard. That a man who made us all laugh for decade after decade — since he played the lovable alien Mork all those years ago — battled depression is just a bit much to take.

Robin Williams was as much a pillar of American culture as anyone. He was just always there, going off on stream-of-consciousness riffs and making us laugh without taking the lazy route of going political to get cheap laughs. He earned every single laugh he ever got. Robin Williams also spent a great deal of his time entertaining the troops serving overseas and never made a big deal about that. By all accounts he had it all, was a nice guy, and was unquestionably talented. And yet the demon of depression got him.

As it said, it’s just hard to take.

I just want to start the day on a positive, and soccer is one place I go to escape the bad things.

Texan Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders is one of a very few American players who can claim to be among soccer’s elite. He was the hero of the US effort at the World Cup this summer, Captain America, scorer of that goal against Ghana and that other goal against Portugal. He’s clutch.

The other night, his Sounders beat Houston and Dempsey came off at the end of the game. What he did next created a memory that some kid will carry with him for the rest of his life. Those of us of a certain age remember the old Mean Joe Greene Coke commercial.

Clint Dempsey did something like that.

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Kerry, Hagel Weigh in on Robin Williams

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The death of comedian Robin Williams drew tributes from the secretaries of State and Defense, with the latter praising the late actor for consistently supporting our troops.

Williams was found dead Monday at age 63 from an apparent suicide. His publicist said the Good Morning Vietnam star had been battling depression.

“The entire of Department of Defense community mourns the loss of Robin Williams. Robin was a gifted actor and comedian, but he was also a true friend and supporter of our troops,” Hagel said in a statement Monday night. “From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform.”

“He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DoD – so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.”

John Kerry issued his own statement this morning, stressing “there wasn’t anybody Robin Williams couldn’t touch.”

“His humor was just that expansive. He was an absolute genius, with an extraordinary zest for his profession. It’s safe to say that there was more going on in him in one minute than most people in a week,” Kerry said. “He loved people and he committed himself to any issue that concerned him. Robin wasn’t just a huge creative genius, but a caring, involved citizen. I’ll always be grateful for his personal friendship and his support for the causes that we both cared about deeply.”

“We will all miss Robin’s uncanny impressions, zany observations, and cutting-edge quips that found the truth as well as the humor. Teresa and I join the millions he inspired around the world in offering our deepest condolences to his family at this immensely difficult moment.”

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Dictionary.Com Removes Example Sentences Deemed Offensive to Homeschoolers

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I saw this flash by on Twitter, and decided to take a look for myself.

 

So I went to Dictionary.com and looked up “homeschool” in the search window.

Here’s what comes up.

And if you look over on the right, it’s not an exact match for the tweet above. But two of the sentences she noticed showed up for me too — the two worst ones.

dictionary-homeschool

 

The middle two examples are strongly editorial, and critical of homeschooling.

That got me to wondering — is this typical? Does Dictionary.com often include an editorial point of view in its examples?

So I looked up Barack Obama.

The output delivers nothing editorial, pro or con.

How about something less personal, but possibly political, like “church”?

The output delivers a couple of questionable examples.

dictionary-church

 

A sentence about “narrowness,” and a sentence about a scandal.

How about “Christian”?

Hm.

dictionary-christian

 

Muslims don’t come out unscathed.

dictionary-muslim

 

Most would be offended by being compared to Woody Allen.

Overall, though, an inconclusive result. So I emailed Dictionary.com and asked them about the offending sentences in the “homeschool” definition.

Here’s the reply I received.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We value the homeschooling community and education in all forms. These example sentences have been removed because they do not meet our editorial standards. Our 1,605,969 example sentences have been pulled programmatically from reputable publications online over the course of the last ten years, and our lexicographers are constantly reviewing them to ensure that our site is a reference source of the highest quality. As a small team, we appreciate you bringing this issue to our attention so that we could quickly fix this situation.

Would you be able to share with us where you first discovered this issue? We would like to inform them of this change also.

Sincerely,

Evelyn
Community Support
Dictionary.com

 

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Obama to Fundraiser: ‘No Doubt’ Administration Can ‘Guide the World Through Some of the Rockier Times’

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama told a crowd at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser this evening that the world universally recognizes “that our leadership is absolutely critical” when it comes to global crises.

“It’s fair to say that America has the best cards when you look at other countries around the world. There’s no other country you’d rather be than the United States. We are best positioned. And what will determine success in the 21st century is all the stuff that we’re best at — knowledge, innovation,” Obama said at a private home in Tisbury, Mass., near where he’s vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard. “For the first time in 10 years, international investors now say the number-one place to invest is no longer China again; it’s the United States of America. Because they recognize that when you combine our incredible natural resources with a system — an economic system as dynamic as ours, and the incredible talents of our people, nobody can compete with us when we’re making the right decisions.”

“But, obviously, our economy doesn’t work in isolation. And we also are seeing around the world incredible challenges, many of them all coming to a head at the same time. The Middle East is just one of the major challenges we have,” he continued. “And before I came here, I had a chance to speak to the prime minister-designate of Iraq. I’m hopeful that now we have the opportunity to form a government in Iraq that can be an effective partner for us, but, more importantly, can form the kind of broad, inclusive government that serves as a basis for them to repel the terrorist movement, ISIL, that has been sweeping across the country.”

Obama acknowledged that “at the same time, we also have problems in Ukraine that we’re having to deal with.”

“Obviously, the situation in Israel and Gaza is something that we’ve all been watching, and deeply concerned about and engaged with,” he said.

“I do want to point out, though, at a time when the news seems filled with news of Ukraine and Gaza and Ebola and you name it, that in every instance people are constantly interested in finding out how can America help solve these problems. And there’s a reason for that. Because despite the complaints and the second-guessing, and the anti-American sentiment that you hear sometimes on television around the globe, when there’s an actual problem they all recognize we’re the one indispensable nation. They all recognize that our leadership is absolutely critical. And that’s true both for challenges and opportunities.”

The president said “the truth of the matter is, is that as challenging as some of the problems are around the globe, what we’re also seeing is unprecedented engagement in Asia, and our alliances have never been stronger there.”

“What we’re also seeing is, in Latin America, when I came into office there was a sense that somehow Chavez and other demagogues were going to be setting the agenda there. No longer. Now they all recognize that partnering with us is best for their people and the future of their children and their grandchildren.”

After months of lobbying from lawmakers, the Obama administration last week finally imposed visa sanctions against some human-rights abusers in Venezuela — not including the country’s leader, Hugo Chavez’s handpicked socialist successor Nicolas Maduro.

Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez also just went on trial on charges of inciting protests last winter. The former Chacao mayor and charismatic pro-democracy activist could face 10 years behind bars, and has already been held for five months after handing himself in to authorities in February.

Nearly four dozen people died, hundreds were injured and thousands were arrested in the pro-democracy demonstrations early this year.

“In Africa, we just recently had an incredible summit — unprecedented — 50 world leaders who came. All of them just thrilled to be finding ways in which they can work with us to provide electricity to people who have never had it before; to grow crops that they haven’t been able to grow before; to feed themselves; to create commercial partnerships,” Obama continued.

“And so I guess the point is this — that in the same way that through persistence and a steady hand we’ve been able to guide ourselves out of the economic crisis that we were in five years ago, I have no doubt that we’re going to be able to guide the world, as a country, through some of the rockier times that we’re going through internationally. But all of that requires some seriousness in Washington.”

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Actor Robin Williams Found Dead in Apparent Suicide, Says Sheriff

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office has just reported that actor Robin Williams is dead. The full press release from the coroner’s office:

On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 am, Marin County Communications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at 12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63 year old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA.

An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office. Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates Mr. Williams was last seen alive at his residence, where he resides with his wife, at approximately 10:00 pm on August 10, 2014. Mr. Williams was located this morning shortly before the 9-1-1 call was placed to Marin County Communications. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made. A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted.

According to IMDb, Williams had wrapped up filming on a Night at the Museum sequel.

Williams’ publicist, Mara Buxbaum, released a statement saying the comedian “has been battling severe depression as of late.”

“This is a tragic and sudden loss,” Buxbaum said. “The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: President Obama issued a statement: “Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between.  But he was one of a kind.  He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.  He made us laugh.  He made us cry.  He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.  The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”

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Judicial Watch Rips Latest IRS Response to ‘Lost’ Emails: They’re Treating It Like a Joke

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Several IRS officials gave sworn declarations today in federal district court. But their declarations were far from complete, according to Judicial Watch.

The government watchdog is seeking to use the discovery process to get to the bottom of how the lavishly funded agency has managed to “lose” the critical emails of so many figures in the IRS abuse scandal.

IRS officials Aaron G. Signor, John H. Minsek, Stephen L. Manning, Timothy P. Camus, and Thomas J. Kane all provided today’s declarations in the ongoing Judicial Watch v. IRS case.

After today’s declarations, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton delivered a scathing response:

These sworn declarations delivered to the court today were to discuss what happened to Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails and any other computer records reportedly lost by the IRS.  This latest IRS filing seems to treat as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order requiring the IRS to produce details about Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails and any efforts to retrieve and produce them to Judicial Watch as required under law. Frankly, it seems the cover-up continues.

According to a statement from Judicial Watch, Judge Sullivan has authorized the group to submit a request for limited discovery to track down the “missing” IRS emails. That request will be expected after September 10.

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Now-Ex DIA Director: ‘Core Ideology’ of al-Qaeda ‘Spreading, Not Shrinking’

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency who stepped down last week told an online defense magazine that “we’re in a period of prolonged societal conflict that is pretty unprecedented” and stood by his assessment that the country is not safer today.

The Pentagon announced in April that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who took the reins of the agency in 2012, would be resigning. Last month, Flynn told the Aspen Forum “we understand that we’re not” safer than we were two, five, or 10 years ago. White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to Flynn’s comments by saying “there have been very devastating blows that have been leveled against al-Qaeda.”

Flynn told Breaking Defense that he has never seen so many global crises crashing down simultaneously.

“I will frankly tell you that what I see each day is the most uncertain, chaotic and confused international environment that I’ve witnessed in my entire career. There were probably more dangerous times such as when the Nazis and [Japanese] Imperialists were trying to dominate the world, but we’re in another very dangerous era. We rightfully talk about the last decade being the longest war in American history, for instance, but when we pull combat troops out of Afghanistan at the end of this year, it’s not going to feel like that war is over. To me, it feels like we’ll be facing a familiar threat and heightened uncertainty for a long time yet,” he said.

He stressed that the “explosion of social media” is accelerating the changing landscape, with everyone caught up in the rapid-moving events. “Even the president, I believe, sometimes feels compelled to just do something without first saying ‘Wait! How did this happen? Who made this decision?’”

On his Aspen Forum remarks? “In 2004, there were 21 total Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 18 countries. Today, there are 41 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 24 countries. A lot of these groups have the intention to attack Western interests, to include Western embassies and in some cases Western countries. Some have both the intention and some capability to attack the United States homeland,” Flynn said.

And “the core ideology and belief system” of al-Qaeda “is spreading, not shrinking.”

“Look at the unbelievably violent videos coming out of Iraq just in recent days. I’ve physically interrogated some of these guys, and I’ve had the opportunity to hear them talking about their organizations and beliefs. These are people who have a very deeply-rooted belief system that is just difficult for Americans to comprehend. Just think about the mindset of a suicide bomber,” Flynn continued.

“…When Bin Laden was killed there was a general sense that maybe this threat would go away. We all had those hopes, including me. But I also remembered my many years in Afghanistan and Iraq. We kept decapitating the leadership of these groups, and more leaders would just appear from the ranks to take their place. That’s when I realized that decapitation alone was a failed strategy.”

Flynn says he believes he accomplished his goal of “shaking things up at DIA.”

“Maybe it did get to the point where I was a little too far out in front of my headlights. I had a meeting with my boss and the message was ‘it’s time for you to go,’ and my reaction was to salute and say, ‘Okay, no problem.’”

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Pentagon Official: Airstrikes ‘Unlikely to Affect ISIL’s Overall Capabilities’

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

An official with the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters at the Pentagon today that U.S. airstrikes “have slowed ISIL’s operational tempo and temporarily disrupted their advances toward the province of Erbil” and Kurdish forces are holding territory near the imperiled city.

“However, these strikes are unlikely to affect ISIL’s overall capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria,” cautioned Lt. Gen. Bill Mayville, director of operations.

“ISIL remains focused on securing and gaining additional territory throughout Iraq and will sustain its attacks against Iraqi and Kurdish security forces and their positions, as well as target Yazidis, Christians, and other minorities,” Mayville said. “Our current operations are limited in scope to protect U.S. citizens and facilities, to protect U.S. aircraft supporting humanitarian assistance, and to assist in the breakup of ISIL forces that have laid siege to the Sinjar Mountain.”

That assistance has included “14 successful missions” over the past four nights between the US and UK “airdropping more than 310 bundles of food, water, and medical supplies, delivering almost 16,000 gallons of water and 75,000 meals.”

“To date, U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft, to include F-15Es, F-16s, F/A-18s, and MQ-1s have executed 15 targeted airstrikes,” Mayville said, and “over 60 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft are supporting our coalition efforts.”

He stressed that there are “no plans to expand the current air campaign beyond the current self- defense activities,” even though Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) ”a threat to the civilized world.”

“As for what we might do next, we’ll have to wait and see and get a better assessment on the ground before we can offer some options to the president,” Mayville said.

“We are, right now, gripped by the immediacy of the crisis. And our focus right now is to provide immediate relief to those that are suffering. We are looking at the effect that we’re having on those fixed sites, those ISIL sites, those ISIL sites that are laying siege, and we are trying to reduce that threat. And for the near term, that’s going to be our focus.”

Mayville stressed that “in the immediate areas where we have focused our strikes, we’ve had a very temporary effect.”

“What I expect the ISIL to do is to look for other things to do, to pick up and move elsewhere. So I in no way want to suggest that we have effectively contained or that we are somehow breaking the momentum of the threat posed by ISIL… The targeting in this is going to become more difficult.”

The Joint Chiefs ops director said he remains “very concerned about the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and in the region.”

“They’re very well-organized. They are very well-equipped. They coordinate their operations. And they have thus far shown the ability to attack on multiple axes. This is not insignificant,” Mayville continued.

“What happened last week was that Iraqi security forces simply did not have the equipment and the supplies and the ammunition to sustain their defensive positions around the Mosul Dam and in and around Mount Sinjar. And it is for that reason that the ISIL forces were as effective as they were.”

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‘Would We Rally Behind Obama After the Next 9-11?’

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

That’s what Ron Fournier would like to know.

After dismissing ISIS as al-Qaida’s “JV” team last fall, the president has awakened to the bloodcurdling threat. Last week, he ordered air strikes and air drops in northern Iraq to prevent genocide and to protect U.S. assets. The CIA is reportedly arming Kurds to fight the emerging Islamic state. The world is focused on whether the United States needs to do more, despite the reluctance of Obama and most Americans to recommit troops.

But I can’t shake another, darker, question. What if we get hit again with a 9/11-sized attack?More to the point, hypothetically, would a crisis pull us together or drive us apart? It’s a morbid question worth asking before the worst happens, because there’s reason to worry about the durability of what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”

Fournier goes on to note that we’re more divided now than we were in 2001, that Bush and the GOP had a strategy to “defang” Democrats who criticized him after 9-11 (but Fournier does not explore what, if any, strategy the Democrats might have deployed to “defang” then then very popular Bush), and so forth.

The one player who all but escapes Fournier’s attentions is, incredibly, Barack Obama — the man who would have to do the rallying if we got hit again. Fournier devotes one paragraph — the following one — to Obama’s six years in the presidency.

Third, the Obama White House has proved to be self-generous and ruthless in its defense. When critics said his refusal to aid Syrian rebels helped embolden ISIS, Obama tartly called the analysis a “fantasy.” But it wasn’t just Republicans who made the case against him. Obama’s former secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, warmed up for a potential presidential bid by calling the Syria policy a failure.

The Obama White House, and Obama himself, has gone much farther than that. It began by running a DHS study positing that veterans and small-government activists might be terrorist threats. It moved from there to dividing the country neatly over its handling of Obamacare, and then added to the divisions by using Obamacare’s regulations to create the “war on women.” Along the way, Obama has told Hispanic voters to “punish” their “enemies,” by which Obama meant anyone who disagrees with him on immigration.

When his administration got caught in the IRS scandal, Obama at first expressed outrage, while fake-firing the acting IRS commissioner, and then declared the scandal “phony.”

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What Is Hillary Clinton Really Saying?

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Over the past day or so, the Trajectory of Blame for Iraq has gone like this: Hillary Clinton is blaming Barack Obama, who is blaming George W. Bush.

Here’s Hillary blaming Obama — her former boss.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton blamed the rise of Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria on failures of US policy under President Barack Obama, in an interview published Sunday.

Clinton specifically faulted the US decision to stay on the sidelines of the insurgency against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad as opening the way for the most extreme rebel faction, the Islamic State.

“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad —- there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle -— the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton told the Atlantic.

Vetting the Syrians to see who was and was not a jihadist was nearly impossible at the time, and was not aided at all by the likes of Sen. John McCain, who wanted intervention and didn’t appear to care whom he might find himself working with.

For its part, the Obama administration including Hillary Clinton was awfully quick to side with the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological fountainhead of Islamic terrorism. There were concerns early on in the Syrian civil war that the United States would intervene, perhaps decisively — on the wrong side.

Not that there’s really a “right” side in that war. Assad is a brutal dictator who sides with Iran and has waged proxy wars against Israel, but the Islamists who want to oust him are even worse. The “good” Syrians are caught between two evils, both of which are more powerful than they are.

The White House has pushed back against Clinton’s comments, noting that she was fully on board with what Obama wanted and didn’t want when she was secretary of state.

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg teases out an interesting, possibly revealing, passage in this back and forth.

Of course, Clinton had many kind words for the “incredibly intelligent” and “thoughtful” Obama, and she expressed sympathy and understanding for the devilishly complicated challenges he faces. But she also suggested that she finds his approach to foreign policy overly cautious, and she made the case that America needs a leader who believes that the country, despite its various missteps, is an indispensable force for good. At one point, I mentioned the slogan President Obama recently coined to describe his foreign-policy doctrine: “Don’t do stupid shit” (an expression often rendered as “Don’t do stupid stuff” in less-than-private encounters). (emphasis added)

Did Hillary Clinton tell or even insinuate to Goldberg that Barack Obama does not believe that America is an indispensable force for good?

That would be quite a statement, coming from a fellow Democrat.

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Texas Tribune CEO Compares Texas Senate to USSR’s Communist Politburo

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Dwayne Horner

Evan Smith is the CEO and editor-in-chief of the avowedly non-partisan Texas Tribune.

During Sunday’s airing of WFAA-TV’s Inside Texas Politics, Evan Smith made the following statement when asked about the future make-up of the Texas Senate: “If anything Jason we’re going to have a more conservative Senate than we did last time. Now there are lots of people who probably think ‘How could you be more conservative than the senate last time?’ I am here to tell you that this senate is going to make the last senate look like the Politburo.”

As in, the rubber-stamp parliament ruled by the communists during the dark days of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Smith’s comment comes at the 8:30 mark in this video of Sunday’s show.

In other words: Because the already conservative Texas Senate will pick up a couple more “movement conservatives” and Dan Patrick is likely to be its next leader, it makes last year’s model look like communists. That’s how conservative it will be!

But don’t accuse Mr. Smith of engaging in any irresponsible partisan fear-mongering…

Seriously, Smith is not trying to damage Texas Republicans or Dan Patrick. He’s non-partisan.

For those of us who are old enough to remember the Cold War and the utter tyranny imposed on the Russian people during that time, hearing a so-called non-partisan journalist compare the conservative members of the Texas Senate to those who ordered people to gulags and ultimately their deaths crosses the line. We’ve gone from partisanship straight into callow, Vox.com-level “explaining.”

Just for reference, the original Politburo was created in 1917 and included Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin. We must remember that Stalin was “an amoral psychopath and paranoid with a gangster’s mentality [and] eliminated anyone and everyone who was a threat to his power – including (and especially) former allies. He had absolutely no regard for the sanctity of human life” as described by Palash Ghosh in an International Business Times article. Ghosh adds that “in February 1989, two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, a research paper by Georgian historian Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev published in the weekly tabloid Argumenti i Fakti estimated that the death toll directly attributable to Stalin’s rule amounted to some 20 million lives.”

While there are so many different problems with Smith’s analogy, his repugnant comparison is even worse when you are given it a second chance to think about it.

The leadership of the Soviet Union was never elected (they took power in a coup), was a group of atheists who killed and tortured people, and ensured there would be no independent thought nor allow individuals have liberty or freedom. Soviet rule was totalitarian. They controlled the media.

Conservative members of the Texas Senate are freely elected, tend to have a strong faith in God, and fight for individual rights and believe in liberty and freedom. They are fighting for the rights of the people over the increasing power of the state/government, and the media. So, pretty much the opposite of the Politburo, both in 2013 and 2015.

When I questioned Smith about his comment via Twitter, he doubled down.

Pretty much anyone will disagree with that. The analogy just doesn’t make a bit of sense. Unless Smith is just trying to scare people.

But that can’t be — he’s non-partisan!

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US Drops ‘Useless’ Aid on Stranded Yazidis

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I’m not sure that I share Allahpundit’s skepticism of this story. It’s written by Jonathan Krohn, for the Telegraph.

I was on board an Iraqi Army helicopter, and watched as hundreds of refugees ran towards it to receive one of the few deliveries of aid to make it to the mountain. The helicopter dropped water and food from its open gun bays to them as they waited below. General Ahmed Ithwany, who led the mission, told me: “It is death valley. Up to 70 per cent of them are dead.”

Two American aid flights have also made it to the mountain, where they have dropped off more than 36,000 meals and 7,000 gallons of drinking water to help the refugees, and last night two RAF C-130 transport planes were also on the way.

However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been “useless” because it was dropped from 15,000 ft without parachutes and exploded on impact.

The question here is not how good our pilots and crews are, it’s what rules are US airdrops being conducted under? The Pentagon’s DVIDS site isn’t posting about the new operations in Iraq yet. So the horse’s mouth, if you will, isn’t whinnying.

According to this, from DoD, we’re using C-17 Globemasters to drop the aid to the Yazidis.

c17-iraq

The C-17 is an incredible aircraft, but like any system it does have its limitations.

According to Military Times, the C-17 was accompanied by two C-130s and a pair of F/A-18s (from the carrier George H. W. Bush, by the way) for escort. So, not a large or heavily armed force. Also, not a force that’s going to fly close to the ground. If you really want to be sure that your aid is getting where you want it, you’re going to have to a variety of aircraft, helos and fixed-wing, operating from a supply base somewhat near the siege. These C-17 and C-130 aircraft are apparently aiding the Yazidis from their base in Afghanistan.

Obama’s first and foremost goal in Iraq is to do something without doing anything that might put American boots on the ground. His prime interest is not necessarily to do anything effective. It’s just to be seen doing something.

That includes not engaging any talk of inserting ground forces to take on ISIS, as Obama has made clear, and it includes not having any of the humanitarian missions fly too close to any ISIS positions, running the risk of shootdown and then a search for the downed airmen and to retrieve the wreckage from the aircraft. ISIS has captured major caches of US weapons as the Iraqi army, for which the weapons were intended, melted away in the face of ISIS attacks. The question is, what are ISIS’ anti-air capabilities?

According to ISIS’ propaganda, they have captured some anti-aircraft guns.

The video also features ISIS fighters firing what appears to be an SA-7 Man Portable Air-Defense System, commonly known as a MANPADS, as well as some kind of wire-guided anti-tank guided missile, much like the U.S.-made TOW currently in use by moderate Syrian rebels. Both the Chinese HJ-8 and Russian AT-4 anti-tank systems have appeared in ISIS hands in Syria.

MANPADS are serious business. That wire-guided anti-tank missile is probably a TOW. They cost about $10,000 a pop last time I checked, which was admittedly a while ago.

Video footage also shows ISIS fighters with towed and mounted anti-aircraft guns, including powerful 12.7mm DShK machine guns and what appears to be either a Chinese-made Type 65 or Type 74 37mm twin-barreled anti-aircraft gun, raising the question of what risk Iraqi or U.S. helicopters and planes would face unless effective artillery missions were launched to suppress ISIS air defenses.

Whatever the risk is, I’m sure Obama has seen a readout of all the hardware that ISIS scooped from the Iraqi army. That’s sure to inform how he tells SecDef Hagel to set the rules for the aid flights to the Yazidis.

So, add that up plus the way Obama handled Libya, an air war led from behind in which Obama’s prime directive was again to conduct all operations from the air and to keep all US aircrews entirely out of range of the various enemies on the ground, and it’s entirely plausible that the rules of operation in Iraq have our pilots flying too high to drop aid to the Yazidis very effectively.

If a show is all you want, then that’s enough. It’s not like the media or Obama’s core supporters are going to wade into the details of this anyway.

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It Begins: Russia Sends ‘Humanitarian’ Force Into Ukraine

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Putin has been threatening to send in a “humanitarian” force into Ukraine over the past week or two. Now, according to the AP, he has done it.

The AP includes precious little detail, other than to note that Russia’s “humanitarian” force is going in “in cooperation with the Red Cross.” Putin has reportedly informed the European Union of the “humanitarian” mission.

Russia Today — funded by the Kremlin — says that Ukraine also agreed have the Russians come in.

That seems unlikely — Ukraine just yesterday accused Russia of trying to “sneak” “peacekeepers” into its territory.

Ukraine said it had stopped a column of Russian troops posing as “peacekeepers” traveling with a humanitarian convoy as they reached the border. Valery Chaly, deputy head of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko’s administration, said the peacekeepers were going to Ukraine to trigger unrest and provoke further conflict.

The Russian troops were part of a convoy that was reportedly part of an agreement with the Red Cross, Reuters reported. “A humanitarian column with ‘peacekeepers’ was to enter the territory of Ukraine, clearly to provoke a full-scale conflict,” Chaly said in a statement. Russia has denied Ukraine’s claims and Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Kiev “is more and more inventive in creating fairy tales.”

Here’s the way to bet: As the US ramps up involvement in Iraq due to ISIS’ rolling victories and the chaos in Baghdad, Putin is seizing the moment to poke Russia’s way into Ukraine to help its proxies, who have been taking a beating from the Kiev government lately. Who’s going to stop him?

At the least, the “humanitarian” force — about 20,000 strong and heavily armed as of last week — would be enough to  consolidate the rebels’/proxies’ territory in east Ukraine, which they have been losing in recent clashes with the central government’s troops.

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Three Glimpses Into the Mind of Barack Obama

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Over the weekend, Iraq pretty much unraveled. If it weren’t for the Kurds, ISIS probably would have massacred tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians. President Barack Obama headed off on vacation.

Ahead of his vacation, President Obama delivered remarks on the situation before a small group of reporters. One asked him if he regrets withdrawing all US troops from Iraq without securing a status of forces agreement.

Obama’s response: blame Bush, dodge responsibility.

“What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision,” Obama said. “Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government, and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.”

“…as if this was my decision.”

Barack Obama bragged about “ending” the war in Iraq, during his re-election campaign.

If it wasn’t his decision to leave Iraq, why was he bragging about it?

While the crisis in Iraq has built up, and chaos has increased around the world, Obama remains determined to stoke Americans’ anger with each other. He sat down for an interview with Thom Friedman, and suggested that the greatest threat to America is people who disagree with him.

“The president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us,” said the interviewer, Thomas Friedman.

“Our politics are dysfunctional… societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions,” said Obama, who repeatedly claims to be a moderate stymied by the GOP’s supposed obstructionism and radicalism.

Says the man who told Hispanic voters to view other Americans as “enemies” to be “punished.” Says the man who engineered the entirely phony “war on women” purely for the sake of taking a maximalist position on contraception — and of course, cementing the single women’s vote to the Democrats.

Having fired this parting shot at the majority of the country which disapproves of him, Obama headed off to vacation. Within one hour of arriving at Martha’s Vineyard, playground of the rich and famous, Obama was golfing again. “In record time,” according to ABC’s Jon Karl.

According to Karl, the image of a president playing around while chaos burned across the world leaves the president “entirely unconcerned.”

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Senators Want Kerry to Investigate Hamas Rockets at Taxpayer-Funded UN Facilities

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) are demanding that Secretary of State John Kerry launch an independent investigation into at least three incidents where Hamas rockets were discovered at facilities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

The senators argued in a letter last week that the weapons were particularly troubling when coupled with anti-Israel statements and actions of the UN agency.

Their letter cites “multiple instances of weapons found at UNRWA schools as well one-sided statements from UNRWA leadership that unjustly condemn Israel,” including  UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl stating July 14 that Israeli security forces are acting “contrary to international humanitarian law” and conducting an “illegal” blockade of Gaza.

“As you know, UNRWA admitted on July 17th, July 22nd, and July 30th that it found rockets belonging to Hamas on its property. We commend UNRWA’s quick condemnation of these incidents, but are concerned with the ultimate fate of these rockets, which UNRWA claimed to have turned over to the  ’local authorities’ or have gone missing. We fear that this means these rockets may have found their way back into Hamas’ hands,” the senators wrote.

“We urge the State Department to launch an independent investigation into these incidents and to call on the United Nations leadership to hold UNRWA accountable, including by reprimanding or dismissing the UNRWA staff responsible as appropriate, as well as asking the U.N. to ensure that these incidents never take place again,” the letter continues. “In the course of your investigation, we ask you to examine the fate of these rockets, what measures the U.N. took to secure UNRWA property, and how the U.S. intends to work with the U.N. to make sure incidents like these are never repeated.”

“As you know, the United States is the largest donor to UNRWA and has contributed almost $5 billion to the organization since 1950. The United States taxpayers deserve to know if UNRWA is fulfilling its mission or taking sides in this tragic conflict.”

The 2013 U.S. contribution to UNWRA was $294 million. In September 2012 elections for UNRWA’s workers union board, Hamas-affiliated candidates won 25 out of 27 seats.

At the State Department last week, spokeswoman Marie Harf said “our folks are looking into” reports that UNRWA summer camps are teaching Palestinian kids to hate Jews and wage jihad.

“They didn’t have any clarity for me when I came out here, but I’ll follow up with them because obviously, look, any — any anti-Semitic language, any — any language like that really just has no place in the discourse about this or any other issue,” Harf told reporters.

“Given UNRWA’s ties to terrorism in the past, U.S. taxpayers deserve immediate answers and full transparency regarding their intentions and actions,” Kirk said in a statement. “The State Department must make clear to the U.N. that it needs to take all necessary steps to prevent Hamas from using taxpayer-funded property to launch terror attacks against our allies.”

“When leaders and organizations of the United Nations blur the clear distinction between a nation-state defending itself and a terrorist organization attempting to murder civilians, Americans take note,” said Cardin. “When an organization funded in part by the U.S. suggests that the two are morally equivalent, U.S. taxpayers take note.”

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