Stories of the Day
Sleep well America. President Obama and the rest of his Leftist travelers are in charge. They’ll surely keep us safe. “(Reuters) – The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said on Thursday. “They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon.” Islamic State threat ‘beyond anything we’ve seen’: Pentagon
“It’s amazing how quickly those Sunni fanatic “jayvees” went from a local nuisance to an “imminent threat.” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel offered that conclusion yesterday in a whiplash-inducing reversal by the same administration that had claimed to have settled the Iraq question once and for all. [Snip] In fact, it’s so much of a threat that the Pentagon isn’t talking about stopping its ability to threaten the US, but merely containing it — and even then, probably for only a temporary period, unless we get serious about actually defeating ISIS. Dempsey also points out that the “open borders and immigration” makes the threat more immediate to NATO nations. [Snip] Perhaps. But what happened after that? Obama went back to the golf course, even while Hagel and Dempsey explained that the supposed “jayvees” have grown into a global imminent threat to the West on Obama’s watch. To paraphrase Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, I’ll believe that this administration takes the threat seriously when they start acting like they take it seriously.” Hagel: ISIS beyond “just a terrorist group … imminent threat”
“Utter madness. What kind of sick joke is this? It’s an open invitation to terrorists to avoid being identified on a terrorist watch list by manufacturing this document. Nothing is going to be done about border security until a terrorist attack wakes up the American public to the dangers of an undefended border. Even then, as long as TSA and other government officials continue to implement policies that encourage fraudulent immigration documentation – drivers licenses, notice to appear forms, etc. – the problem of illegal immigrants avoiding the law will continue.” Illegal aliens can fly without verifiable ID
“Most of us, even many Democrats these days, are beginning to acknowledge the complete foreign policy failure of our president (for an overview see Bret Stephens’ The Meltdown in Commentary), but we still have to deal with over two years of Obama and we have a serious problem that needs to be handled immediately. We could die. Not all of us but a lot of us. And our society as we know it could be destroyed. Sound apocalyptic and a little overwrought? Well, it is apocalyptic, but not so overwrought. Surely you saw the Islamic State video with that journalist’s head being lopped off, not to mention other videos with people being shot in the back and dumped in open pits. You know too that the jihadi who beheaded the journalist was British. And indeed the Islamic State is comprised of violent religious fanatics from all over the planet who are well armed, virtually a terror army, and rich. They have explicit instructions to return to their home countries and wreak havoc for the glory of a coming global caliphate. Also, they have allies from North Africa to the Philippines who more or less seek the same thing under various names.” Build the Border Fence Already!
“Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Oklahoma City FOX affiliate KOKH 25 that because of the threat of groups like ISIS “we’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation.” “[ISIS], they’re crazy out there, and they’re rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major US city” he said. Inhofe also criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of the ISIS threat, saying “he’s going to have to come up with something that we’re going to do, because they’re holding another hostage in place, and the problem is, the president, quite frankly, he says all these things and he never does them.” And expressed support for the NSA’s surveillance programs, arguing ‘you have to have an intelligence process going on to stop attacks on America.’” INHOFE: ISIS ‘RAPIDLY DEVELOPING A METHOD OF BLOWING UP A MAJOR US CITY’
Written by Joseph Miller, which is a “pen name for a ranking Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked in strategic planning.”
“On Wednesday, the White House leaked a classified special forces operation to rescue American hostages in Syria. The reason: political cover. The cost: so far, unknown. But this much, we know: The politicized leak of this operation cut through the fog of war to let our enemies know exactly what happened that day in the desert, and because of that, future attempts to free American hostages will be more difficult to plan, farther between, and more dangerous to carry out. [Snip] Wednesday’s selfish, politically motivated leak has reduced the chances for a successful second rescue attempt, and has likely increased the risk to the lives of the hostages still in the Islamic State’s possession. For that, someone should be fired.” Pentagon Official: White House Foley Leak Endangers Future Operations, American Hostages
More on a story from a couple of days ago. “What is driving sentiment in favor of a tougher, rather than a more lenient, approach to illegal immigration. Fairness is, of course, one consideration. However, Conway’s findings suggest that the desire to protect the American worker is paramount. 74 percent agreed with the following proposition: “The government has a responsibility to adopt immigration policies that protect. . .unemployed or low-wage American workers from competition with illegal immigrants for job.” 85 percent of “blue collar workers” agreed with this. Even a majority of those identifying themselves as liberals concurred. The same sentiment is evident in the response to this question: “If U.S. businesses have trouble finding workers, what should happen? They should raise wages and improve working conditions to attract Americans OR more immigrant workers should be allowed into the country to fill these jobs.” WHAT DO AMERICANS BELIEVE ABOUT IMMIGRATION?
“Another favorite talking point was that the government’s low administrative costs for Medicare proved that private insurance, with their higher overhead, were inefficient profiteering price gougers, etc. That was one reason for Obamacare’s mandate that insurance companies had to deliver at least 80 percent of premiums in health services. That’s why I’m surprised the front page story in last Saturday’s New York Times hasn’t made a bigger splash: “Pervasive Medicare Fraud Proves Hard to Stop.” How much fraud? The story reports that it is as much as $60 billion a year. That’s 60 with B. A one with nine zeros after it. Times sixty. (As Sterling Archer might explain the math.)
Fraud and systematic overcharging are estimated at roughly $60 billion, or 10 percent, of Medicare’s costs every year, but the administration recovered only about $4.3 billion last year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is responsible for overseeing the effort, manually reviews just three million of the estimated 1.2 billion claims it receives each year.
And now the final Jeopardy question: anyone think there might be a similar problem with fraud in Food Stamps, Medicaid, unemployment, disability, and so forth? Wait, I forgot; you’re a racist if you ask this.” FRAUD? DID YOU SAY FRAUD?
“Mike McFadden is the GOP nominee to take on Al Franken in Minnesota, and the race, while a reach, is winnable. Recall that Franken “won” the race in the big Obama year of 2008 by a handful of disputed votes and while Franken has worked to be invisible, he remains a polarizing, greatly disliked figure in a year when all of the political wind is in his face, not at his back.” Mike McFadden For Senate In Minnesota
“How unpopular are Democrats this cycle? This unpopular.
Last month, Brown trailed Shaheen in the WMUR Granite State Poll by 12 points. The new poll shows Shaheen leading brown by 2 points, 46 percent to 44 percent.
While Barack Obama’s unpopularity is cited as one reason for the huge swing, Brown has also been hammering Shaheen on immigration. Mitt Romney’s recent trip to endorse Brown may not have hurt, either. Whatever the factors, Brown has now moved from long shot, to within the margin of error. That’s not good news for a Democrat Party struggling to retain control of the Senate for Harry Reid.” Brown Erases Double Digit Gap With Shaheen
While things are looking good for the Republicans this election cycle. Don’t get cocky, as Glenn Reynolds from instapundit.com likes to say. Here’s a run down on all the big money being spent to save the Democrats. Who says there’s no big money on the Democrat side? “Super PACs spent July beefing up for the fall campaign. Many groups filed new disclosure reports this week, leaving a paper trail littered with big checks from big names. Democrats dominate the list of notable July donors, as there have simply been more Democratic dollars flowing to that type of outside group this year. There’s still plenty of conservative money out there; it’s just that more of it is going toward nonprofits, which don’t have to disclose their donors. Here are a handful of July super PAC donations that stood out.” Soros, Steyer Spend Big in Bid to Rescue Democrats’ Majority: Financial reports filed this week detail the people—almost all of them men—who gave the most money to super PACs last month.
“The NRSC is on track to clear $70 million in 2014—a fundraising record for the organization. Yet Democrats are raising more. As of the June 30 financial reporting deadline, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had raised $25 million more than the NRSC—cashing in on Obama events and on the party’s Hollywood and Wall Street patrons. The same is true for the House, where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has consistently outraised its Republican counterpart this year. Of more concern to Republicans is the money that Democrats are funneling into their outside Super PACs, the campaign vehicles best positioned to damage Republican candidates. The heavyweight in this field is Mr. Reid’s Senate Majority PAC, which—thanks in part to Mr. Reid’s Koch agitation—is landing windfall donations that have turned it into the second-largest spender this cycle after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. [Snip] Some GOP insiders believe that Republican donors also remain somewhat depressed about the millions that were flushed in past failed attempts to take back the Senate or to elect Mitt Romney. Whatever the reason, total Democratic spending is outpacing Republicans spending by millions in states that could spell the difference to Senate control in November: North Carolina, Colorado and Michigan. This financial mismatch could also hold down GOP gains in the House. The Democratic Party for years has waged a campaign to cow and silence Republican donors—pushing the IRS to target GOP groups, advocating legislation to clamp down on free speech, and publicly harassing private citizens for engaging in elections. Mr. Reid is betting that this campaign will save a majority mired in failed Democratic policy. Republican donors, having dreamed so long of this opportune midterm moment, risk getting outmatched by Mr. Reid again.” Those Koch Attacks Are Working: Democratic Super PACs and party campaign committees are outraising the Republicans.
“I’ve stayed out of the Ferguson controversy. These racial conflagrations are awful, and I learned long ago that any conservative who wades in, even with the best intentions, is eviscerated by the political left. Liberals have decided that all conservatives in their ideological universe need to be racists, and they passionately resist letting anything convince them otherwise. I don’t know enough to know who, exactly, is to blame in Ferguson. That said, here is something I do know, and that I think would benefit readers as they assess the growing animosities in Missouri: I’ve long studied the antics of the American Communist Party, from literally the very beginning. I’ve sat in archives and stared at the first documents that American communists excitedly sent from their offices at 1219 Blue Island Avenue in Chicago to Soviet Comintern headquarters in Moscow. I’ve spent hundreds of hours reading old copies of the Soviet-funded and Soviet-directed Daily Worker. I’ve read countless memoirs by communists who joined the Party, ran it, or even spied for Moscow. I daily check the websites of Communist Party groups. All of that is background to this fact — well-known to anyone who has carefully watched the Communist Party: Communists have long vigorously targeted black Americans for their causes and interests. Adequately laying that out here is impossible, but in my book on Obama’s mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, titled The Communist, I show this at length. Let me restate a few relevant examples.” Communists Descend on Ferguson
“-TV crews making small talk and laughing at the spot where Mike Brown was killed, as residents prayed, mourned [Snip] -One reporter who, last night, said he came to Ferguson as a “networking opportunity.” He later asked me to take a picture of him with Anderson Cooper.” “There are now hundreds of journalists from all over the world coming to Ferguson to film what has become a spectacle. I get the sense that many feel this is their career-maker. In the early days of all this, I was warmly greeted and approached by Ferguson residents. They were glad that journalists were there. The past two days, they do not even look at me and blatantly ignore me. I recognize that I am now just another journalist to them, and their frustration with us is clear. In the beginning there was a recognizable need for media presence, but this is the other extreme. They need time to work through this as a community, without the cameras. We should all be ashamed, and I cannot do it anymore. I am thankful for my gracious editors who understand that.” I WILL NOT BE RETURNING TO FERGUSON
“I don’t think you’re smarter than anybody else, but you’ve convinced a lot of us you are,” Reid said, deploying an Asian stereotype with batting an eye. “One problem that I’ve had today is keeping my Wongs straight,” he added, noting that the common Asian surname has apparently made it difficult for him to distinguish one Asian-American from another. LOL. Oh, gosh. That’s just Harry being his precocious self, the press implied. “My comments were in extremely poor taste and I apologize,” he later said. “Sometimes I say the wrong thing.” All is forgiven. But this is not the first time Reid has stepped in it with his blunt racial talk. In the book Game Change, Reid was quoted as backhandedly praising Barack Obama saying that he was especially well-suited to a national campaign because he was “light skinned” and spoke “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” What a scamp. It’s hard to play everyone’s favorite game, “What if a Republican Said it!” with this one, because so few Republicans are as imprudent as Reid was here. Republicans know all too well that they will be savaged in the press for indulging in even mildly insensitive racial humor. The reality is that Reid’s jokes were, while mildly insensitive, essentially harmless – far more harmless, in fact, than what Colbert and O’Donnell said. The reaction to Reid’s line has, however, been conspicuously muted. While the senator’s “jokes” were not intentionally hurtful and are relatively innocuous, the double standard applied to everyone who is not a key Democrat is not.” Let’s play ‘What if a GOP’er Said It’ with Harry Reid’s racially insensitive jokes
“Courage,” C.S. Lewis wrote, “is the form that every virtue takes at its testing point.” James Foley demonstrated that in his work and his efforts to bring us those stories. While we debate how to respond to the barbaric evil of ISIS, we should also reflect on the courage it takes to do what Foley did. [Snip] Foley worked for GlobalPost as a foreign correspondent, and NBC News and GlobalPost collected Foley’s best work from the field in Syria and Libya before his abduction:
- Aleppo Reaches a Boiling Point
- Syria: Rebels Losing Support Among Civilians in Aleppo
- At the Heart of a Rebellion, One Family Fights for Survival – and Freedom
- Without International Help, a Disorganized and Ill-Equipped Rebellion Would Have Little Hope
- In Libya, a Young Rebel Army Struggles to Fight Back
- Rebels Say No-Fly Zone Not Enough to Stop Gadhafi
- Despite String of Defeats, Rebels Remain Defiant” Remembering James Foley and his work
“It is as much a letter from ISIS to America as it is to the Foley family. The Global Post decided on Thursday to publish this letter in full:
HOW LONG WILL THE SHEEP FOLLOW THE BLIND SHEPPARD?
A message to the American government and their sheep like citizens:
We have left you alone since your disgraceful defeat in Iraq. We did not interfere in your country or attack your citizens while they were safe in their homes despite our capability to do so!
As for the scum of your society who are held prisoner by us, THEY DARED TO ENTER THE LION’S DEN AND WHERE [sic] EATEN!
“Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS ALIKE! AND WE WILL NOT STOP UNTILL WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD,” the letter continued. “You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours!” [Snip] The video featuring the execution of James Wright Foley would be made public just six days after this letter was received. There are some who will object to the publication of this letter, perhaps in much the same way that so many were enraged by the New York Post’s decision to publish an image of Foley the moment before he was beheaded by an IS terrorist. That’s not an unjustified emotion, but it is sometimes better to look evil in the eye than to rage against those media outlets that refuse to sanitize reality. These people would like nothing more than to kill you and your family. No one is well-served by being shielded from that fact.” Want to go blind with rage? Read this letter from ISIS to the Foley family‘
“White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz was asked at today’s press briefing why the administration was unwilling to negotiate with terrorists in James Foley’s case, yet traded five Taliban for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “I think, again, what the president made clear at the time of the Guantanamo transfer was that his commitment to the men and women that serve overseas is a bedrock one, that we will leave no man or woman behind. That’s what he was keeping faith with, and that’s something that’s unshakeable for him,” Schultz said. ‘As we’ve made previously clear, the administration determined that it was lawful to proceed with a transfer in order to protect the life of a U.S. servicemember held captive and in danger for almost five years, notwithstanding that Congress did not receive the 30 days’ notice. Again, we disagree with GAO’s conclusion and we reject the implication that the administration acted unlawfully.’” House Explains Why It Swapped 5 Taliban for Bergdahl But Wouldn’t Consider Foley Ransom
“James Foley’s emotional younger brother used an interview on Friday morning to vent his anger and frustration that the US did not do more to help free the kidnapped journalist as it emerged his family have watched the gruesome video of his death. Michael Foley, 38, said he believes the United States let his murdered brother down and said that negotiating with terrorists should be considered, despite the White House refusing to. Clearly disappointed, Foley possibly alluded to problems with the White House behind the scenes as efforts to secure the release of his older brother all ended in failure. Initially hesitant to discuss the controversial issues, Michael Foley said he felt the US did not do everything in its power to save his brother and said watching his fellow hostages return home after European countries paid their ransoms was hard to bear. Michael Foley also appeared ambivalent about the Obama administrations much trumpeted ‘flawless’ rescue mission for the captive reporter, which failed when it assaulted the wrong base and which the Foleys were not informed of.” The US could have done more to free my brother’: Angry younger siblings of James Foley hits out at the White House for failing to prevent the execution – as parents reveal they watched the video
“In the 1990s, we heard about the all-night delivery-pizza brainstorm sessions in the Clinton White House. In the teens, we hear about the soporific, self-congratulatory gourmet dinner parties where Obama is the star. In May, the New York Times recently reported, the president “was up well past midnight” hosting Ken Burns and his wife, two business executives, and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer—Democratic donors all. “Previous dinners at the White House,” the Times said, “have drawn varied celebrities, including Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Morgan Freeman, and Bono.” When Obama travels overseas, he is more interested in organizing dinners of “interesting Italians” than in organizing the Free World, such as it is, against autocrats and Islamists. [Snip] This is the life: international travel, motorcades, sycophants and courtiers, tables at the best restaurants, round after round of golf, parties in a cool house, watching the best television shows, meeting all these renowned figures—and having them kiss up to you—ruminating over your legacy, over the causes of polarization, over the geopolitical situation, understanding other peoples’ motivations better than they do. Kramer has nothing on Obama. Politics, terrorists, Iran, Putin, Congress are all distractions. Best to enjoy the experience to the utmost. You are only president once. In the 1990s, America had a holiday from history. Today, it has a president on holiday. The boundary separating vacation from vocation has disappeared. The party won’t end for years. And the hangover will be severe.” 1,461 Days of Summer: Obama’s endless second-term vacation
More on a story from the big story from yesterday. “A story in the New York Times this morning reveals that even the White House isn’t sure how to explain President Obama’s decision to golf immediately after his press conference denouncing Islamic State terrorists for beheading American journalist James Foley. [Snip] Even former Obama aides, such as David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor and Bill Burton who frequently use their freedom to defend Obama on Twitter, did not weigh in on the situation. On MSNBC, only Joe Scarborough appeared defensive of Obama’s position, even though he admitted that he wasn’t sure he was necessarily defending the decision. “I’m merely pointing out these are horrible, horrible optics domestically, but internationally… for terrorists, it’s basically like ‘screw you. Screw you, we’re not going to live by your rules,’” he said on his Morning Joe program. Other MSNBC anchors were willing to criticize Obama’s decision, such as Willie Geist. “You’d think out of respect just for the family even, forget what the press thinks about it, for the family maybe just take a step back and quietly go about your job,” he said. In response to criticism of Obama’s decisions, White House aides only cited Obama’s earlier call with Foley’s family.” EVEN OBAMA’S DEFENDERS CAN’T EXPLAIN OBAMA’S GOLFING DECISION
“Many factors conspired to make O’s golf outing seem distasteful — the brutality of the Foley video, the fact that David Cameron quit his own vacation in response to it, the contradiction in Obama’s vowing to be “relentless” against ISIS before proceeding immediately to the first hole. But the coda to the video showing Sotloff being menaced was the coup de grace politically, I think. Obama shouldn’t (and won’t) give in to ISIS’s demands to stop the bombing in order to spare Sotloff’s life but “fore” is not the proper response when you’re given an ultimatum that involves a man’s head being sawed off. And of course it reinforced the perception that this guy simply doesn’t much like his job anymore. If watching jihadis decapitate an American citizen isn’t enough to interrupt your recreation, what is? But listen: Precisely because there are so many low-information voters out there, I think he’s dead right in how he’s calculated the cost/benefit in all of this. Namely, there’s no cost. Most people won’t care, some who do will forget about it literally tomorrow, and the people who’ll remember it forever were stalwart Obama critics in the first place.” White House: That round of golf after the Foley video was released doesn’t show the depth of Obama’s grief
“But the spectacle of Obama guffawing on the golf course right after issuing a statement of warning to ISIS was not one that is likely to deter other terrorists or nations seeking to test America’s will. Arrogance is a characteristic that can trump all others when one is in the public eye. But what all politicians—be they smart or not so intelligent—eventually learn, is that in public life, sooner or later style becomes substance. The fact that President Obama has yet learned this or is simply too stubborn and arrogant to adjust to the realities of his office tells us all we need to know about what a flawed leader he remains.” The Consequences of Obama’s Arrogance
“The jihadists are building something. They call it the Caliphate, and in a remarkably short amount of time they’ve made enormous progress. If I had to bet, I’d guess that they will ultimately fail, but it will be because someone actually takes the initiative and destroys — as in kills — those trying to build it. Until that happens, there will be more beheadings, more enslaved girls, more mass graves. Obama has been very slow to learn this lesson. Perhaps this is because there’s a deep-seated faith within progressivism that holds that the mere passage of time drives moral evolution. As if simply tearing pages from your calendar improves the world. It is as faith-based as saying evil will not stand because God will not let it, and far, far less effective at rallying men of goodwill to fight. No doubt some people will face death to defend an arbitrary date, but not many. Sometimes lazy TV writers will resort to what is called a deus ex machina, a godlike intervention or stroke of luck that saves the day and ensures a happy ending. But in real life, as in Game of Thrones, that doesn’t happen. The good guys get beheaded while scanning the horizon for a savior more concrete than world opinion and more powerful than a date on the calendar.” Obama’s Made-for-TV Worldview: In real life, Mr. President, the good guys don’t automatically win.
“Obama failed to realize the little bits and pieces could take on a life of their own. When Obama glowered over Putin, treating him like a doorman, little did he imagine that Putin was plotting to turn the tables on him. When he decided to overthrow Khadaffy, planning to cast himself as the protector of the persecuted Libyan masses, the president didn’t really foresee Benghazi. And when he became best buddies with the Gulf States over the Arab Spring it was far from his mind that Foley might be decapitated. The same process was at work domestically. The ongoing recession has been particularly cruel to the black community. But so what, they would vote for him. They would always vote for him. But he needed to get in the good graces of the cops. So he gave them armored vehicles. Together recession and armored vehicles spelled F-e-r-g-u-s-o-n, but how could he anticipate that? But when they came together, he got something he couldn’t buy his way out of with a few Obama phones any more than he can put ISIS back in the bottle with a few airstrikes. So Hagel now realizes that ISIS “is beyond anything we have seen … They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well funded.” All the pieces were there. Obama just thought they were separately harmless and never come together. Can Obama still control all the forces he’s ‘separably’ unleashed? Maybe the reason he stays in the Vineyard is that he’s guessed the answer. It’s his psychological bunker, where he waits, hoping for a last minute reprieve from Steiner. He doesn’t know what comes next anymore and frankly, is afraid to look.” It’s Alive