Thursday, December 31, 2015
Casey-pops predictions for 2015 had mixed results -- 5 right, 4 wrong and 2 split 50% right and wrong. So I'll try my best to do better for 2016. ~~~~~ Here are Casey-pops predictions for 2016. (1). The US Congress will figure out how to use its independent sanctions authority against Iran to slow down the Obama nuclear deal and more effectively prevent the uncontrolled Iranian ICBM / nuclear warhead program, and Iran will demand UN Security Council action to rein in Congress, threatening to pull out of the deal. (2). Taliban advances in Afghanistan will threaten a collapse of the Kabul government, forcing President Obama to raise the US troop level there to double its current 9,800 and to re-deploy them into combat situations. (3). The inability of ISIS to hold onto major Iraq cities will lead Iran, seeing its opportunity to consolidate its shiite crescent from Teheran to Damascus, to take a more public role in both the Iraq al-Abadi government and beside Russia in Syria's al-Assad regime. This will leave President Obama with a double Iran problem -- seeming to be soft on Iran's shiite terrorist activities and its nuclear deal, while America and Congress demand action to tamp down Ayatollah / Qum agression. (4). Oil will slide down to US$ 30/barrel, giving Saudi Arabia such serious budget deficit problems that it will finally agree with OPEC to begin to reduce petroleum supplies. This will allow the US to fully recommence its shale oil program and it will help Russia's economy -- neither of which is favorable to OPEC or the Saudis. Thus, 2016 will see a new instability in world oil supplies and prices and will prove that OPEC can no longer totally dictate oil supply and pricing. ~~~~~ There is really only one prediction that matters in 2016 -- who will be elected US President on November 8? So, let me give you my very early bird prediction. (5). On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will fight to a dead heat in the primaries. This will lead to the 2,000+ super delegates -- chosen because of their Party positions -- becoming king makers. They will choose a compromise ticket of Joe Biden as President and Elizabeth Warren as VP, breaking the jugular grip of the Clintons on the Democratic Party. (6). The Republican primaries will settle on a candidate by April. It will be Donald Trump. After much hand wringing, the GOP pro's will acquiesce, and negotiations will focus on making Trump choose a suitably establishment Vice President running mate. True to his independent style, Trump will resist by choosing another outsider as his running mate - Ted Cruz. (7). And, on November 8, 2016, America will elect Donald Trump as President. ~~~~~ That's it, dear readers. And to all of you, all over the world, I send my wishes and prayers for a more peaceful world and for personal joy and success. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 !!!!!
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Last week, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump said former President Bill Clinton's past with women is "fair game" in the 2016 presidential race where his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is the presumptive Democratic candidate. Then, on a Fox Sunday TV show, Trump said : "I think he is fair game because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled, to put it mildly, because of all the things she's talking to me about. I mean, she's actually mentioning sexism." ~~~~~ The skirmish began when Trump used a Yiddish word to describe her 2008 defeat by Obama. The media accused Trump of using a vulgar word for a part of the male anatomy, but Trump has since said the word means a bad defeat or loss and is not vulgar. Hillary hit out at Trump for using the word, saying he has a "penchant for sexism." Trump responded on Twitter, warning Clinton not to play the "woman card, saying he might have something to say about Bill Clinton's past with women if she did. ~~~~~ Things heated up even more after Hillary announced she is letting her husband out to campaign. Trump tweeted : "HE'S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate! I turned her words against her from that standpoint. And she's got to be careful. You know, it's got to be fair!" ~~~~~ His assault on Bill Clinton continued Tuesday. Trump insisted he wasn't calling Bill Clinton a racist in a tweet attacking him, but that it was the 2008 Obama campaign that called him racist. "He was called that by the Obama campaign, he was called it loud and clear," Trump told NBC's Savannah Guthrie. In the earlier tweet, Trump had said : "Remember that Bill Clinton was brought in to help Hillary against Obama in 2008. He was terrible, failed badly, and was called a racist!" Guthrie pressed Trump, asking why he would have posted the tweet if he didn't believe it. Trump replied : "They said it. I didn't say it. I didn't call him a racist." Guthrie said : "You circulated it to 5.4 million followers, so that would suggest you approve of it." But Trump had the last word : "All I said was what they said, Savannah. That's what they said -- called him a racist. I don't believe he is a racist, if you want to know the truth, but they called him a racist. It was a miserable campaign. They did very poorly, and they are bringing him out again. He's being wheeled out, and we're going to see what happens, but frankly he did very, very poorly. He was not good for her, and obviously she lost to Obama, and that was the end of that." Then, Trump brought up the former President's scandals with women, telling Guthrie "there was certainly a lot of abuse of women, and you look at whether it's Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them, and that certainly will be fair game, certainly if they play the woman's card with respect to me." Wednesday, Trump raised the stakes, calling former President Bill Clinton “one of the great abusers of the world." Trump said he had “no choice” but to attack the Clintons : “You can’t let people push you around. You can’t let people tell lies...nobody respects women more than Donald Trump. She’s hitting me really hard with the women card....She’s not going to win.” Trump then turned to Hillary's female base : “Women don’t like Hillary. I see it all the time,” saying she bullied Bill Clinton’s accusers into silence. ~~~~~ Dear readers, Donald Trump's attacks on the Clintons, including reports of Bill Clinton’s adulterous relationships, show he is looking toward the general election. Trump's theme is clearly one he thinks will undermine Hillary Clinton’s support with women while hurting the image of Bill Clinton, who is her most powerful campaign surrogate. We can also expect Trump, a businessman who understands financial matters, to raise the issue of the Clinton Foundation's alleged international influence peddling while Hillary was Secretary of State. It always pays to let your opponents believe you are less capable than you really are. Donald Trump is a past master at the art, and so far, his opponents just keep taking his plain-talk bait.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
An Associated Press article revealed yesterday that ISIS fears just one country. A German journalist who spent 10 days in ISIS-controlled territory told Jewish News, a British newspaper, that the country is Israel. Jurgen Todenhofer -- the author of the book, "My Journey Into the Heart of Terror: Ten Days in the Islamic State" and the only western journalist ever allowed to enter territory under ISIS control -- returned from his 10 days saying that ISIS is "preparing the largest religious cleansing in history," but has a healthy fear of the Israeli army : "They think they can defeat US and UK ground troops, who they say have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies. But they know the Israelis are very tough fighting against guerrillas....they are scared of the Israelis and told me the Israeli army is the real danger. 'We can't defeat them with our current strategy. These people [the IDF] can fight a guerrilla war.'" ~~~~~ ISIS recently issued a warning to Israel, saying that "not one Jew will be left in Jerusalem or around it. We will continue until we eradicate this disease from the world." Todenhofer said ISIS considers all other religions except their own to be enemies : "They say Jews and Christians are accepted but must pay the Jizya, a special tax, something like $600 per year....They told them they could stay in Raqqa and Mosul, but more than 100,000 Christians preferred to leave." At the same time, ISIS soldiers kill all the shia Moslems they can, he said. When Todenhoder asked them if they were prepared to kill every shia Moslem, they laughed : "150 million or 500 million, we don't care, it's only a technical problem for us. We are ready to do that." Todenhofer says ISIS is seeking to take over the Middle East, except for Israel, in its first stage, and then move on to the West : "They are a very strong danger for Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Libya, while the West will be subjected to big acts of terrorism instead of a full blown ISIS war because they say they don't want too many battles at the same time." Todenhofer said he built special relations with ISIS through Skype for six months before his trip, but now vows : "I will never go back." ~~~~~ In a just-released audio message, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi warned nations taking part in the war against ISIS : "We promise you, God permitting, that whoever participates in the war against the Islamic State will pay the price dearly." He directly threatened Israel : "we haven't forgotten you...we are getting closer to you every day." To Israeli Jews, he said that they "will hide behind trees and stones" from ISIS. Al-Baghdadi made reference in the audio to the end of days and said the US-led alliance does "not scare us...nor do they scatter our resolve because we are the victors in any event....America and its allies dream of destroying the caliphate through their proxies and henchmen, and whenever an alliance of theirs fails or a tail is cut, they hasten to establish another, they recently declared the Salouli (Saudi) alliance that was falsely called Islamic. If the Saudi-led alliance was truly Islamic, then it would fight the Syrian army and its Russian "masters," as well as shiites and Jews, al-Baghdadi said. ~~~~~ Dear readers, we often focus on protecting Israel from terrorists like Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas and the West Bank Palestinian Authority. At the same time, the UN and the Obama administration often heavily criticize Israel for using its IDF to protect itself -- accusing Israel of heavy-handed attacks even while promising to protect it -- which gives a distorted picture of the presence of Israel in the Middle East. Yes, Israel is the homeland for Jewish peoples persecuted by the Nazis and other anti-semitic regimes. Yes, Israel is uniquely protected by all ethical human beings. But, Israel is also in the point position in the Middle East for the West and democratic ideals. ISIS is right to fear the Israeli Defense Force, and Europe, the UN and America should fully support it and Israel. They are civilization's front line.
Monday, December 28, 2015
In a strange mix of news yesterday, successful Iraqi forces shared headlines with a cornered President Obama. ~~~~~ Iraq Prime Minister al-Abadi said Monday that in 2016 his forces will defeat ISIS, after his military achieved its first major victory since collapsing in the face of ISIS fighters 18 months ago. Iraqi forces raised the national flag at the main government complex in Ramadi, declaring they had "liberated" the city west of Baghdad that fell to ISIS fighters in May. Al-Abadi was euphoric : "2016 will be the year of the big and final victory, when Daesh's presence in Iraq will be terminated. We are coming to liberate Mosul and it will be the fatal and final blow to Daesh," al-Abadi added. Mosul, northern Iraq's main city, is the largest population center in the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi army's capture of Ramadi is a milestone for US-trained forces that collapsed when ISIS ripped through Iraq in June 2014. Until this victory in Ramadi, since 2014 Iraq's armed forces operated mainly as support beside Iranian-backed shiite militias -- and we might ask how much al-Abadi is indebted to Iran, not the US, for the Ramadi victory. ~~~~~ President Obama, on vacation in Hawaii, received an update on the Iraqi forces' progress in Ramadi, according to the White House, which issued a statement : "The continued progress of the Iraqi Security Forces in the fight to retake Ramadi is a testament to their courage and determination, and our shared commitment to push ISIL out of its safe-havens." Baghdad has said for months that its forces were rebuilding and would halt ISIS advances in Anbar, a sunni province reaching from Baghdad's outskirts to the Syrian border. After encircling Ramadi for weeks, Iraqi forces launched an assault to retake it last week and made a final push on Sunday. Progress was slowed by explosives planted in streets and booby-trapped buildings. ~~~~~ Al-Abadi is a shiite, but he has said Ramadi will be handed over to local police and a sunni tribal force once it is secured, in an attempt to encourage sunnis to help resist ISIS. If al-Abadi follows through on this strategy, it would mimic the US military "surge" campaign of 2006-2007 that recruited and armed sunni tribal fighters against an ISIS predecessor. Anbar, including Ramadi, was a major focus of that surge campaign at the height of the 2003-2011 US war in Iraq. It was the President George W. Bush surge that brought Iraq under control -- until Obama unilaterally withdrew all US troops in 2011. ~~~~~ But, dear readers, President Obama and his White House advisors, even if they try to take credit for a GW Bush strategy, will still have to contend with the fact that Americans are not satisfied with how the war on terror is progressing. A new CNN/ORC poll finds that more Americans are now saying the terrorists are winning than at any point since the 9/11 attacks. The poll, conducted between December 17 and 21, found that 75% say they're dissatisfied following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, surpassing a high point of 61% in August 2007. However, only 40% of Americans say the terrorists are actually winning. In other findings, 59% of Democrats are dissatisfied with how the Obama White House fights terrorism, as well as 79% of independents, and 86% of Republicans. Yet, Americans hold out hope, CNN reports : 53% of Americans say the US can absolutely repel attacks, and 58% of Republicans say all attacks can be prevented, while 45% worry they or a family member will be a victim of terrorism. And, although 51% have at least moderate confidence in the White House's ability to protect citizens from terrorism, only 17% say they have a great deal of confidence. The dissatisfaction is reflected in Obama's approval ratings : 52% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the presidency, 60% disapprove of his handling of terrorism, and 64% disapprove of how he's handling ISIS. So, the retaking of Ramadi gives Obama little reason to brag about his 'non-strategy' in Iraq.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Washington is on vacation. But, early in 2016 the US Senate will face the next decision point in the Iran nuclear deal, needing to decide whether to extend sanctions against Iran that expire in 2016. The Iran Sanctions Act includes provisions targeting Iran’s nuclear program, ballistic missies, and energy sector. Senator Ben Cardin, ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told The Hill that Senators suggested during a December briefing they were looking at an extension as early as January or February, and are trying to get Stephen Mull, Obama’s point person on the Iran deal, to comment on the potential timeline. Democrat Senator Chris Coons said during a December Foreign Relations hearing that "in January many members of Congress will call for the swift renewal" of the sanctions law. The problem with a January/February timetable is that it could coincide with the deal's "implementation day," putting the administration in the awkward position of trying to lift sanctions against Iran while Congress tries to extend them. ~~~~~ Congress members who support extending the sanctions law say it’s needed so this or a future administration has the ability to “snap back” sanctions into place if Iran violates the nuclear deal. They argue that two recent ballistic missile tests - which have frustrated lawmakers in both parties - underscore the worry that Iran will cheat on the nuclear deal. They'!re pressing Obama to send a clear message that he’s prepared to hold Iran accountable, including leaving the sanctions law on the table. Democrat Senator Robert Menendez wrote to Obama in December : “How you respond to this challenge will send a message to the Iranian regime about its compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action." Menendez asked the President to use existing authority to target individuals - including freezing their assets - if they support Iran’s ballistic missile program. Menendez also urged Obama to publicly support legislation drafted by Menendez and GOP Senator Mark Kirk that would provide for a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act. The proposal, supported by Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, has been stuck in the Banking Committee, even though committee chairman Senator Richard Shelby says he backs extending the sanctions : “Anything to tighten up on Iran,” he said in December. And, Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, suggests that his panel will focus on Iran and the sanctions law, as he and Cardin pledge “rigorous” oversight of the deal. Corker said recently : "Now we’re going to begin to look at steps we want to take legislatively. I’m certain that will be one of the steps.” ~~~~~ But it is unlikely that congressional action to renew the sanction law would be supported by the Obama administration, or some of Obama's staunch allies in Congress, because of concerns that new sanctions could be seen by Iran as a violation of the agreement. Democrat Senator Tim Kaine told The Hill he disagrees with the idea that the ballistic missile tests should change the focus of the debate on extending the Iran Sanctions Act : “I don’t think activity on the non-nuclear side should change the schedule on the JCPOA,” he said, but added that the administration should “go fervently” after Iran if it doesn't comply. Obama officials argue there's no need to extend the sanctions law because they have other means to hold Iran accountable if it violates the deal. To get an extension through the Senate, Republicans will need the votes of the four Democrats who opposed the Iran deal, and at least two more Senate Democrats who supported the nuclear agreement when it was before the Senate last summer. ~~~~~ Dear readers, Democrats often say one thing but vote differently after White House pressure. Democrats refused to allow the Iran deal to go to the Senate floor for a vote last summer, after Senator Corker's compromise with Obama was reneged on by the President. This time, we all need to contact our Senators to make clear that extending the Iran sanctions is vital and non-negotiable.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Dear readers, thank you so much for your fidelity this year. I am truly grateful. We've been through a lot together in 2015 and there is no sign of an easing as the presidential election year approaches. But, one of the blessings of Christmas is the pause it gives to a battered world to remind us that as Christians and as human beings we are all children of God, Who loves us and wants us to find in our hearts the peace and love He offers us. So, as every year, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, because whatever your relationship with God may be, the joy and peace of Christmas are God's gift to you. May we open our hearts to Him and receive His blessing on this sacred day. ~~~~~ And as always, I offer you my favorite telling of the Christmas message, in Chapter 2 of Saint Luke. ~~~~~ "8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
The United Kingdom declared the Moslem Brotherhood a terrorist group after an 18-month study ordered by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Immediately, the Obama administration decried the report as flying in the face of the Brotherhood's history as a "nonviolent Islamist group." ~~~~~ The report described the Moslem Brotherhood as anti-democratic, openly supportive of terrorism, dedicated to establishing an Islamist government - and opposed to the rule of law, individual liberty, and equality. Cameron's statement saying : "Aspects of the Moslem Brotherhood's ideology and activities...run counter to British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, equality and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs....I have made clear this government's determination to reject intolerance, and to counter not just violent Islamist extremism, but also to tackle those who create the conditions for it to flourish. The main findings of the review support the conclusion that membership of, association with, or influence by the Moslem Brotherhood should be considered as a possible indicator of extremism." Therefore, Cameron said, the UK government will continue to refuse visas to Brotherhood members and associates and take other steps that include increasing surveillance on the group's activities and whether these actions could be prosecuted. Britain will continue to uphold the EU's freeze on the assets of Hamas, a terrorist group with ties to the Brotherhood, Cameron said. ~~~~~ Here are key statements from Cameron's report : **"The founder and first Supreme Guide, Hassan al Banna, called for the religious reformation of individual Moslems, the progressive moral purification of Moslem societies and their eventual political unification in a caliphate under sharia law." **"There is little evidence that the experience of power in Egypt...has caused a rethinking in the Moslem Brotherhood of its ideology or conduct." **"Material still being promoted by the UK Islamic Mission as of July 2014 continued to explicitly claim that it is not possible for an observant Moslem to live under a non-Islamic system of government."~~~~~ Cameron's position fits well with that of many Americans, but President Obama disagrees. His administration quickly condemned the report, saying the Moslem Brotherhood has a history of nonviolence. The Obama statement said : "The political repression of nonviolent Islamist groups has historically contributed to the radicalization of the minority of their members who would consider violence. The de-legitimization of non-violent political groups does not promote stability, and instead advances the very outcomes that such measures are intended to prevent." ~~~~~ As President, Barack Obama has long embraced the Moslem Brotherhood and has defended and promoted Islam. Last February, the White House refused until pressured to reveal the names of the people who attended a meeting of American Moslem leaders with President Obama. The Oval Office issued a statement saying the meeting covered "a range of domestic and foreign policy issues." In 2011, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress the Moslem Brotherhood has "pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt. In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Moslem Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally." In a 2009 interview with Saudi TV, Obama said: "My job is to communicate to the American people that the Moslem world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives....My job to the Moslem world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy." ~~~~~ Dear readers, we don't know how many Moslems Obama has placed in the White House or key agencies because their biographies are scrubbed. But if words and acts have meaning, they work for a President with serious affinities to Islam. Can the US be safe under Obama? The perceived 'enemy within' makes it impossible to trust that we're safe.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Six US troops were killed near Bagram air base in Afghanistan yesterday when a suicide bomber on a motorbike struck their patrol. It was the deadliest attack on US forces this year. The victims included New York City Detective Joseph Lemm, a 15-year veteran of the NYPD who also volunteered in the US Air National Guard and was on his third deployment to war zones. New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said : "Detective Joseph Lemm epitomized the selflessness we can only strive for: putting his country and city first." Statesboro, Georgia, media identified another victim as serviceman Chester McBride, Jr. The other dead US soldiers included Serviceman Michael Anthony Cinco of Rio Grande Valley, Texas, Staff Sergeants Peter Taub, whose family lives in the Washington, D.C., area and whose wife is pregnant, and Louis Bonacasa from New York. ~~~~~ The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the strike, is still a force 14 years after the beginning of US military operations in Afghanistan. It has increased attacks this year, inflicting heavy casualties on Afghan security forces. European media have reported that the Afghan government is frightened and not sure how it will hold off the Taliban. Last week, the Pentagon warned of deteriorating security in Afghanistan and assessed the performance of Afghan security forces as "uneven and mixed." Predictably, Pentagon data show there have been 10 so-called "hostile" deaths of US service members in Afghanistan this year, as well as 10 non-hostile deaths, largely from aircraft crashes. ~~~~~ Also yesterday, the UK rushed a deployment of British military to Helmand province in Afghanistan. The new deployment comes as reports suggest the Taliban is close to overrunning Sangin town. A small number of personnel were sent in an "advisory role," the Ministry of Defense said, adding that they will not be in combat and are part of a larger NATO team. UK combat operations in Afghanistan ended in 2014, but 450 troops remain in mentoring and support roles. The Taliban surge, in Helmand and a number of other provinces, has highlighted the dysfunction in the Afghan government and the continuing problems of the Afghan military. In addition, the Taliban is suffering from a lack of unified leadership and the resurgence is partly a reflection of different factions vying for power. And, ISIS is slowly infiltrating Afghanistan because of the unstable Taliban and government, adding a new dimension to the conflict. The BBC also quoted Major Richard Streatfield, who spent seven months in Sangin in 2009 and 2010, as saying : "I won't deny, on a personal level, it does make you wonder - was it worth it? Because if the people we were trying to free Afghanistan from are now able to just take it back within two years, that shows that something went badly wrong at the operational and strategic level." ~~~~~ The Taliban are very close to overrunning the strategically important town of Sangin and all of Helmand province. Helmand Governor Rahimi says the authorities are still in control, but his deputy says the Taliban control most of Sangin and the main administrative building has been abandoned. Some reports say the Afghan forces are trapped without food or weapons and with no replacements on the way. There are 12,000 foreign soldiers deployed in the NATO-led Resolute Support international coalition, meant to underpin Afghanistan's own security forces. But, the head of Helmand's provincial council told AP that "around 65%" of Helmand is now under Taliban control. ~~~~~ Dear readers, it feels like Afghanistan is going down the same road to chaos as Iraq. And President Obama's shifting decisions lead the way. In May, he was praising a war to be soon over for America. In October, he changed his mind and said he would keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan indefinitely. Why do we even bother to listen to him anymore? Only because we care greatly about the young American and allied lives he is toying with.
Monday, December 21, 2015
China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan. ~~~~~ What's the common thread in this list of countries? -- Wealth? Armies? Air quality? Energy use? None of these. They are the world's ten largest countries ranked by population. The giants are China and India with 35% of the world's people. The USA in third place has only 4.4%, twice as many people as fourth place Indonesia. Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries. Nigeria, Russia and Bangladesh are among the most corrupt. Japan has one of the world's most homogeneous populations. China is totalitarian. Three are Moslem (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh ), one is divided between Moslems and Christians (Nigeria), and three are Christian (USA, Brazil, Russia). Four are working democracies (India, USA, Brazil, Japan). The common thread - all except Japan have serious levels of social/political unrest. ~~~~~ This leads us to reflect on political stability as a function of culture and homogeneity. Homogeneity, as in Japan and Moslem countries, is often seen as reducing competition and economic change. ~~~~~ What do experts name as the elements that most often destabilize countries? Aristotle believed political instability results when the distribution of wealth fails to correspond with the distribution of political power, and concluded that the most stable political system is one based on a large middle class. Others regard the governing elites and their composition as critical, seeing the alienation of the elites from the mass as the major cause of revolutions and other violent political change. Other analysts focus on economic crises -- with pressures from product scarcity and deprivation, threats to individual social position, feelings of insecurity and uncertainty about the future, and aggravation of the relationships among social classes -- all create political instability because the competence of the existing leadership and regime are blamed. Many experts say political systems can undergo violent breakdown when channels of communication fail to function, when institutional structures and processes fail to resolve conflicts among the persistent demands of different citizen groups by implementing acceptable policies, and when the system ceases to be viewed as responsive by individuals and groups making demands on it, leading to revolution and other forms of violent collapse at the end of a process that usually climaxes when the system is most vulnerable - for example, during war or severe economic distress. But, political scientists often suggest that the presence in the population of widely shared attitudes toward the government and the existence of basic agreement on the legitimacy of state authority prevent collapse, even in severe crises. ~~~~~ Dear readers, that should remind Americans that their Constitution has been regarded for 220 years as history's finest example of a governmental system that remains true to its fundamental political and social principles while being flexible enough to accommodate social and political change. But, in the US, the culturally homogeneous majority is being forced to abandon, or repress, its social compact -- a compact made by its Christian democratic Founders -- because various minorities are banding together to destabilize and replace America's cultural majority. These minorities do not represent a "new majority" -- African-Americans, Moslems, atheists, LGBTs, abortionists, anti-free speechers, pro-welfare state partisans and Christian-baiters are not a homogeneous entity. Their agendas differ widely. They are not culturally related to those who drafted the US Constitution, or nourished it for 150 years. But, they are using the Constitution to turn America into a society whose majority can no longer rely on constitutional protection. It's time for the American cultural, economic majority to address these issues and perhaps call a Constitutional Convention to clarify their view of the constitutional boundaries that minorities must respect. The alternative could be social upheaval.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Reuters reports that left-wing parties came close to winning an absolute majority of parliamentary seats in Spain's general election Sunday. Preliminary results show it is unlikely that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's will win a second term for the People's Party (PP). The center-right PP got the most votes on Sunday but had its worst result ever in a general election as Spaniards, suffering what feels to them like a continuing recession because economic recovery hasn't helped them yet, abandoned the PP. And, the anti-austerity left-leaning Podemos party took third place in its first participation in a national election, beating fellow newcomer Ciudadanos whose market-friendly policies had been seen as a natural fit for a PP coalition. The unexpected Podemos surge tipped Spain to the left, with five left-wing parties led by the opposition Socialists and Podemos winning 175 seats, just one seat below the 176 needed for a parliamentary majority. A leftist alliance, according to Reuters, will not be easy to agree on as these groups differ on economic policy or on the degree of autonomy that Catalonia should enjoy. Ignacio Jurado, politics professor at York University, told Reuters : "The situation is highly complicated, I don't see an easy outcome. The PP will be the first to try and form a coalition but the left-wing bloc has more chances because they add up to more seats." The uncertain election result calls into question the EU economic reform program that helped pull Spain - the fifth-largest economy in the EU - out of recession but barely reduced a still +25% unemployment rate. Cobbling together a minority PP government is technically possible but not likely because of the strong showing of the leftist parties. And, the traditional PP and Socialists forcefully ruled out forming a grand coalition to form a government of national unity. ~~~~~ In Catalonia, the new left-wing Podemos party opposes a break-off of Catalonia from Spain, and the bad news for Catalonia separatists is that Podemos topped polls in the northeastern region in the Sunday election. Altogether, parties opposing a Catalan split from Spain won 30 seats. The separatists won 17 seats. Pro-independence parties in the Catalonia assembly have failed to agree on a joint regional government. This gives power to the fringe left-wing party CUP, which did not present candidates in Sunday's national election, and which rejects Catalan membership in NATO and the EU. CUP will soon decide if it will support the center-right so that the region can form a government. If not, fresh regional elections will have to be held by March. ~~~~~ Dear readers, the unprecedented fragmented vote in Sunday's Spanish general elections was similar to the situation in neighboring Portugal, where the incumbent conservatives won an October election, but a socialist government backed by far left parties was ultimately sworn in. The general elections in both Spain and Portugal are the latest examples of rising populist forces in Europe taking control of national government at the expense of mainstream center-right and center-left parties. Greece was the first to break the hold of traditional centrist governing parties for a move to the left. All three are in southern Europe -- examples of countries whose voters reject the unsucceasful German model of austerity to pull them into a northern-typevEU manufacturing-based economy. The opposite is happening in northern Europe, where conservative and far-right parties -- for example, the rise of the National Front in France and the British push to completely leave the EU -- reject the German migrant-immigration model because they fear not only jihadist terrorist infiltration but also the loss of their national cultural and Christian identities. The reasons are different but the forces for an EU collapse are gathering steam and challenging the right of the EU to override their national political, economic and cultural choices.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Saturday politics is sometimes like fantasy football. ~~~~~ Today, we learned that President Obama told journalists off-the-record this week that he was too slow to appreciate public alarm about the attacks in Paris and California. That a US President did not immediately realize that Americans would be frightened about domestic jihadist terrorist threats, especially after San Bernardino, is preposterous. The anxiety has been reported all week in polls and mainstream media. Is Obama the US President from another planet? ~~~~~ Not satisfied with one ridiculous statement this week, Obama held his year-end news conference, giving a fairytale summary of his "achievements." Obama touted his Cuba diplomacy (Obama 0 - Castro 100), and Iran deal (Obama 0 - Iran ICBM tests). He said his Obamacare law has reduced the number of uninsured people to below 10% of the population for the first time since records began. He said 6 million people signed up for Obamacare health coverage for 2016 and noted that in all, 17 million more people gained coverage (Obamacare 0 - all Americans more costly, less available healthcare). He took pride in job growth without uttering "part-time," which is where the new jobs are. Obama said these "successes" are a result of steps taken throughout his seven years in office. Let's review Obama vs reality, using ISIS as the example. ~~~~~ Obama said this week the US-led coalition is hitting ISIS targets "harder than ever," but critics say the hits don't adequately strike training camps turning out 1,000 ISIS fighters per month. An unnamed critic in the Obama administration told the Washington Free Beacon : "These camps give them a continuous, fresh flow of fighters. Little is being done to destroy them." Officials say 20 camps in Syria and Iraq have been hit since May. But, critics say ISIS has run 60 such camps since 2014. The military has not been able to attack the camps, officials say, because many are located near residential and population centers, and strikes could produce civilian casualties. ~~~~~ Obama this week said ISIS leaders are being targeted, and the extremist group has lost 40% of the territory it held in Iraq. But, new territory is being added and leaders can be replaced. Obama said more bombs were dropped in November than at any other time, destroying ISIS "fighting positions, bunkers, and staging areas; their heavy weapons, bomb-making factories, compounds and training camps. In many places, ISIL has lost its freedom of maneuver." But, Long War Journal editor Bill Roggio told the Free Beacon in June that the number of both ISIS and al Qaida training camps is rising : “It is unclear if US airstrikes have significantly set back the Islamic State’s training program. We may not be hitting the training facilities quick enough to make a difference.” Attacks between May and December included strikes near ISIS' Raqqa headquarters and against training camps and staging areas. A December 17 military statement said a training camp near the headquarters was hit. Army Colonel Steven Warren, a coalition spokesman, told the media : "we have struck training camps and will continue to do so.” But, Representative Mike Turner said during a House Armed Services Committee November meeting : "there’s great frustration in the American public....logistics, supply lines, sales of oil, other operations of ISIS are going without challenge.” Brigadier General Mark Odom, US military head in northern Iraq, said the coalition launched a 17-hour aerial attack against an ISIS offensive targeting Iraqi Kurdish security forces. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met with Iraqi Kurdish leaders Thursday and said the fighting shows how effective Kurdish forces are when backed by the US. ~~~~~ Dear readers, the more aggressive US airstrikes began after Russia started massive airstrikes. And, while Secretary Carter values the Kurdish forces, the US does not yet supply them directly, but via Baghdad, where 90% of the supplies are skimmed off for Iraqi shiite/Iranian militia. Obama cannot be so stupid as to believe what he says.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
A year ago, US President Obama and Cuba President Raoul Castro re-opened diplomatic relations after a 50-year hiatus. Yesterday, one year on, they agreed to resume commercial air travel. The State Department said : "This arrangement will continue to allow charter operations and establish scheduled air service, which will facilitate an increase in authorized travel, enhance traveler choices and promote people-to-people links between the two countries." But, US law still bars travel to Cuba for tourism. No one knows when flights will actually start, but members of the airline industry praised the deal. ~~~~~ Before cheering Obama's latest gift to Communist Cuba, consider how Obama's one-man show with Cuba has worked out so far. A year ago Obama said : “Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future - for the Cuban people, for the American people, for our entire hemisphere, and for the world." ~~~~~ Here are the shackles today. **Thursday wasn't a good day for the 53 Cuban dissidents whose “releases” were announced a year ago as part of the Obama-Castro normalization deal, some of whom have been rearrested and arbitrarily detained again, some several times. **On December 11, 2015, over 150 Cuban dissidents were arrested on International Human Rights Day. Castro regime Attorney General Dario Delgado said Cuba has no political prisoners, only jailed common criminals who "call themselves dissidents," the official Communist Party daily Granma reported. **Castro has not returned to the US any of the more than 70 fugitives harbored by Castro in Havana, some of whom the FBI has described as “domestic terrorists." **Between December 17, 2014, and October 2015, political arrests in Cuba increased by 500%, from 178 arrests to 1,093. According to the internationally recognized Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), the number of political arrests during the first ten months of 2015 was 6,239, more than the total arrests in 2010 (2,074 political arrests) and 2011 (4,123 political arrests). **At the August 15, 2015 flag-raising ceremony for the newly re-opened US Embassy in Havana, Secretary of State John Kerry, State Department officials, Castro regime thugs, American business interest leaders and anti-embargo lobbyists were present, but not a single Cuban dissident, pro-democracy leader or activist. Apparently, they were accidentally left off the invitation list. But, for 34 Sundays in a row, Cuban dissidents, including the Ladies in White, have tried to peacefully demonstrate after Catholic Mass under the slogan #TodosMarchamos (#WeAllMarch). And every Sunday, regime thugs violently beat and often arrest them. One Cuban dissident leader, Antonio Rodiles, had an emergency operation to repair his nose after a beating by state security agents during one of those peaceful Sunday marches. ~~~~~ US Senator Marco Rubio said Thursday : “The first year of President Obama’s Cuba policy has been like the rest of his foreign policy: a disaster that prioritizes legacy-shaping headlines over freedom and results, treats our enemies far better than our allies, and negotiates deals from a position of weakness - as if we are ashamed of our moral obligations as the world’s most powerful nation....President Obama's Cuba policy, the US has never been closer to the tyrants that rule the island or more alienated from the Cuban people working tirelessly to build a free and democratic future....cop killers, terrorists and other fugitives from US justice...enjoy greater freedoms in Cuba than average Cubans who are experiencing a historically relentless wave of repression and political arrests this year. American businesses have placed a risky bet to enrich themselves and...the Cuban military that controls the economy. The next US President should...send a clear message that betting against the Cuban people’s free and democratic future is a losing bet." ~~~~~ Dear readers, ignore Obama. Castro tyranny is endless. Listen to Marco Rubio. He is America's Cuba conscience.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Iran has violated sanctions related to the Obama nuclear deal. Iran fired a medium-range ballistic missile in October that violated international sanctions banning the Islamic Republic from launches capable of delivering nuclear weapons, according to a new UN experts' report submitted to the UN Security Council and seen by the Associated Press. The report said the launch used ballistic missile technology banned under a June 2010 resolution. It was the first Iranian test of a ballistic surface-to-surface missile since Iran and the P5+1 world powers reached a nuclear deal on July 14. The Security Council endorsed the deal in a July 20 resolution that also warned Iran not to undertake activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran says none of its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons. But, the AP says the report indicated the missile had a range of at least 1,000km with a payload of at least 1,000kg, and any missile with a range of 300km and a payload of 500kg is deemed capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. The investigation of the October 10 launch was requested by the US, France, Britain and Germany, who also asked the Security Council to take “appropriate action” against Iran. The December 11 report by experts of the Securiry Council committee monitoring Iran sanctions supports the four countries' assertion that the firing violated UN sanctions. ~~~~~ The Security Council has not yet decided on action against Iran, and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has accused unnamed Council members of refusing to take action against Iran for sanction violations. She said the US would keep pressing for enforcement. Power noted a lack of action on several Iran violations : the October 10 launch, a visit to Moscow by Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who is under a UN travel ban, and the interception off the coast of Oman of a banned shipment of arms from Iran in late September. “This Council cannot allow Iran to feel that it can violate our resolutions with impunity,” Power said, emphasing that sanction enforcement forges “a credible, enforceable nuclear deal.” The December 10 report stated that “ballistic missile launches would be covered” under the 20 July Security Council resolution. ~~~~~ Iran defense minister General Hossein Dehghan said when the missile was launched on October 10 that the Emad missile was a technological achievement for Iran that can be controlled until the moment of impact and hit targets “with high precision.” Dehghan said it “will obviously boost the strategic deterrence capability of our armed forces.” The UN panel said video footage of the October 10 launch identified the Emad delivery system as “the Ghadr-1 medium-range single stage liquid-fuelled ballistic missile.” It said the Ghadr-1 is an advanced version of Iran’s Shabab-3 ballistic missile system and the re-entry vehicle has a guidance system and steerable fins. ~~~~~ The UN panel said it has not yet investigated a later Iranian ballistic missile launch reported by the media on November 21 and so “cannot determine whether it was another Emad test.” There was also a committee investigation into an allegation that Iran attempted to procure titanium alloy bars that can withstand extreme temperatures and be used in military and space equipment. This would also be a violate sanctions, but the panel said it “could not reach a definitive conclusion on this being ‘a willful violation’ by Iranian authorities." ~~~~~ Dear readers, Obama's list of security failures grows : a troop withdrawal that destroyed Iraq, a chemical weapons redline crossed by al-Assad, a failure to stop ISIS early in Iraq, a refusal to confront Putin in Syria --- and now hiding behind the UN while Iran violates the nuclear deal by testing ICBMs. But, don't worry. Obama will visit the San Bernardino families of those killed by terrorists because of his inability to keep America safe. After San Bernardino, Obama is going on to Hawaii for a nice long Christmas holiday. American security be damned -- he takes his vacation.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The GOP presidential debate is underway. Here are some key points. ~~~~~ RUBIO : "We cannot continue to outsource foreign policy....the sunnis will work with us but this administration has aligned itself with shiite Iran....Elect me and together we will usher in a new golden age of America." CRUZ : "We need to use overwhelming air power. We need to engage the Kurds....And we need to carpet bomb where ISIS is...not destroy cities....We will secure the border....I do not support legalization, I never will." TRUMP : "We need toughness against ISIS. We need strength. And we need to get it back now, before we disintegrate....We have a country or we do not have a country. We have a border. People can come in but only legally....We don't win anymore. Elect me and we will win again." CHRISTIE : "Nobody cares about Senate bills; America wants action....Most of the people on this stage voted for sequester....We need to be trusted by the regional leaders; this President is not trusted....We need to focus on Iran because Iran feeds ISIS." BUSH : "We're at war and we need a strategy to defeat ISIS...We need someone who can lead us to safety and security....We have a lack of military readiness that is frankly scary." CARSON : "It's actually merciful to finish the job rather than give death by a thousand pricks. I would do what is necessary to protect the people of the United States....If we don't defeat the caliphate there, the boots on the ground will be theirs - here....I don't do a lot of talking, I do a lot of doing." FIORINA : "The government is hopelessly behind technologically. The private sector will help, but they must be asked....I would bring back the warrior class - Petraeus, McChrystal..." KASICH : "There is a major problem. It's called encryption. We need to solve this problem." PAUL : "Is Mr. Trump a serious candidate...because what he suggests goes against the Constitution and all we believe in....Regime change leads to the radical islamic terrorism that we want to defeat....A no-fly zone is a recipe for World War III." ~~~~~ Dear readers, what did we learn? That Trump is a master at live TV and audience-pleasing sound bites, but that for some unknown reason this brilliant man so far refuses to speak in detail. That Christie has a job-tested command of conservative government in all its branches far superior to that of the other candidates and has the most straightforward delivery of his ideas about the Middle East -- ideas which are precise and practical. That Jeb Bush can take it to the bank that he will not be the nominee unless there is a hog-tied convention that simply cannot agree on anyone else. That Fiorina, Kasich and Paul have made their points and should withdraw, support one of the big name candidates and wait to be called for VP or the Cabinet. That Carson's fifteen minutes of fame is well and forever over and that the longer he tarries on the 2016 stage, the more he will lose the respect we have for him as a truly concerned Christian citizen. That Cruz cannot be out-worded by anyone but Rubio, who is expert at putting conservative Constitution-based thoughts of all Republicans into clear, presidential phrases. My choice : Rubio, Cruz, Christie, Trump, Bush. All others...go home. My sixth sense -- just maybe we are seeing the beginning of a Trump - Cruz ticket for 2016. AND -- Donald Trump said he will remain a Republican, not run on a third party ticket and do everything he can "to defeat Hillary Clinton." Mr. Trump, you have made the day of absolutely every Republican. Thank you for putting America first.
Monday, December 14, 2015
Tuesday's Republican presidential debate will be different than previous debates because Donald Trump is both well ahead of other candidates nationally and behind Ted Cruz in Iowa, where the first GOP primary caucases will be held on February 1. A Monmouth University poll released Monday shows Trump with 41% support. Senator Ted Cruz is second at 14%, followed by Senator Marco Rubio at 10%, and Ben Carson at 9%. The poll was conducted between December 10 and 13, after Trump made his call to temporarily ban Moslems from entering the United States. But, in Iowa, Cruz is the new front-runner at 31%, knocking out Carson and opening a wide lead over Trump at 21%, according to a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll. However, a Monday Quinnipiac poll shows Trump ahead of Cruz in Iowa, 28% to 27%, with Rubio at 14% and Carson at 10%. ~~~~~ Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich said this debate poses a real test for Rubio, Cruz and the others -- which candidate has the deepest understanding of global jihad and can best articulate their plan to inoculate an anxious nation against the jihadist “virus” : “We are in a world-wide campaign against a virus...which is spreading on the Internet It's a mortal threat to our survival." He said he hopes candidates demonstrate an understanding that ISIS is “just a symptom” of a much larger infection. ~~~~~ Recent terrorist attacks and Trump’s call for a ban on Moslems entering the US point to security as the key topic in this debate. Americans are driving the topic. They see the threat of terrorism as critical, more important than problems in the economy. ~~~~~ Security?? Today we learned of yet another secret Obama decision that puts America in danger. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson decided early in 2014 to continue a secret US policy that prohibits immigration officials from reviewing social media posts of foreigners applying for US visas, according to an ABC News report. Johnson decided to maintain the prohibition because he feared a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations,” said ABC. John Cohen, a former DHS acting undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, told ABC News : “During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process." Cohen said he and other US officials tried to get a policy change in 2014 but top officials at the DHS Office of Civil Liberties and the Office of Privacy opposed it. Cohen said : "The primary concern was that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly and there were concerns that it would be embarrassing," adding, "There is no excuse for not using every resource at our disposal to fully vet individuals before they come to the United States." Cohen said there were concerns over America's standing with civil rights groups and European allies after recent National Security Agency issues. A former senior counterterrorism official vouched for Cohen : "They felt looking at public postings [of foreign US visa applicants] was an invasion of their privacy." A DHS spokesman told ABC News that in autumn 2014 after Cohen left, DHS began three pilot programs to include social media in vetting, but officials say it's still not a widespread policy and a review is underway. ~~~~~ Dear readers, this mind-boggling revelation comes after US officials learned that Tashfeen Malik, one of the San Bernardino terrorists, posted a message on Facebook declaring allegiance to ISIS before she was granted a fiancee visa. Fourteen people were killed in San Bernardino. DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron said DHS is "actively considering additional ways to incorporate the use of social media review in its various program that is consistent with current law and appropriately takes into account civil rights and civil liberties and privacy protections." HELLO, WHITE HOUSE. We are dealing with islamic terrorists who want to destroy us. Embarassing?? Bad PR?? Civil rights?? Privacy protection?? Repeat after me : "FOREIGN ISLAMIC TERRORISTS."
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Donald Trump is taking heat for his call for a "total shutdown" on Moslems entering the US "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," but opinion is beginning to shift in his direction. ~~~~~ Former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told Newsmax he believes Trump is "onto something....Moslem or other people that travel to these terrorist states should be vetted more than any...we should have a moratorium on anybody that has set foot in any terrorist state or anywhere where they are housed." ~~~~~ Conservative media leaders support Trump. Rush Limbaugh said on his TV show that Trump's proposal may not be his real position : "It's all part of a negotiation. Trump supporters know - they're in on the gag, they're in on the deal. The opener is the most outrageous demand you can make." Anne Coulter, according to the Atlantic, said after the January Paris Charlie Hebdo massacre, "maybe you take a little pause in Moslem immigration for a while." When Trump announced his Moslem immigration freeze proposal, Coulter tweeted, "my best birthday gift." ~~~~~ Larry Kudlow, conservative financial/political analyst, said : "I have come to believe there should be no immigration or visa waivers until the US adopts a completely new system to stop radical Islamic terrorists from entering the country....ISIS and related Islamic terrorists are already here....Until FBI Director James Comey gives us the green light, I say seal the borders. Let me emphasize that my support for wartime immigration restrictions is not based on religion....I agree with this Rupert Murdoch tweet: “Complete refugee pause to fix vetting makes sense." ~~~~~ And, we now learn that a group of Senators recently asked the Obama administration for any new information about a security breach that led to a secret State Department six-month shutdown of the Iraqi refugee program in 2011, which was not revealed to Congress at the time. Congress also wants information on other suspected terrorists who may have used the refugee program to enter the US. A 2013 ABC News investigation revealed that two al Qaida terrorists were living as refugees in Kentucky in 2009. They admitted in court that they attacked US soldiers in Iraq, leading the FBI to check thousands of improvised explosive devices in its archives for fingerprints that could be traced to suspected terrorists in the US. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it randomly resettled the two men in the US, coordinating with the State Department and DHS Citizen and Immigration Services. The two men are in prison under a life and a 40-year sentence. They were videoed in 2010 in a Kentucky storage locker where they had heavy weapons, including a Russian-made machine gun and a Stinger missile launcher, that the FBI said the men intended to smuggle to Iraqi insurgents. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and FBI Director James Comey, the Senators said : “Our law enforcement and intelligence communities deserve great praise for stopping these terrorists....Yet the terrorists should have never been given the chance.” Now, Congress is deciding whether to curtail the refugee immigration program, while President Obama says he will accept 10,000 more Syrian refugees. ~~~~ Dear readers, the Daily Mail reports that "several serving officers" have confirmed that Trump was right to say, "We have places in London and other places that are so radicalized that police are afraid for their own lives." One officer said, "Trump's not wrong. He pointed out something that is plainly obvious, something which I think we aren't as a nation willing to own up to." Another officer said his bosses gave him and others a "dire warning" not to wear a police uniform on his way to work. "Islamification has and is occurring," said another officer. President Obama's assurances that America is secure are as ludicrous as his calls for the US to follow Europe and accept all refugees. Europe is a web of islamist terrorist cells and no-go zones. If the US takes unvetted refugees, the same will happen in America.
Friday, December 11, 2015
If you are weary with being called a bigoted racist Republican, let's consider the alternative. While mainstream media and Democrats have been vilifying the GOP, Hillary Clinton has been busy spending American taxpayer money. Recently, the Fiscal Times reported that in "costly campaign promises to appeal to her party’s liberal base, Clinton for now has made campaign promises costing slightly below $1 trillion." Some items : (1) increased spending on highways, bridges and infrastructure projects by $275 billion over five years, including funds for a national infrastructure bank to provide low-interest loans and other incentives to supplement overall federal spending on transportation; (2) $30 billion to rescue the economies of coal producing communities, including infrastructure, investment tax breaks and help for local schools and miners’ retirement and health benefits; (3) a college affordability plan to keep students attending public state colleges from having to borrow to pay tuition, and significant cuts in interest rates on student loans while enabling 25 million Americans with student debt to refinance at today’s rates, saving on average $2,000 over the life of their loans, at a cost $350 billion over ten years; (4) a childcare initiative to guarantee every four-year-old access to high quality pre-school education, similar to Obama’s universal childcare proposal estimated to cost $200 billion in subsidies over 10 years; (5) a target of a half billion solar panels installed in the US by the end of her first term as part of a major alternative energy initiative to generate enough renewable energy to power every home in the US, at a cost of $60 billion over a decade; and (6) $10 billion to treat addicts and attempt to limit the imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders. ~~~~~ Not satisfied with a trillion dollars in new spending, Hillary intends to present more big-ticket policies and programs tucked into her speeches and reported by the mainstream media without mentioning their cost. Here's how her campaign website puts it : “Hillary will invest in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research to create jobs and strengthen our economy....she’ll provide tax relief to working families and small businesses. That’s how we’ll move toward a full employment economy that creates jobs, pushes businesses to compete over workers, and raises incomes.” But, Clinton has not presented her tax reform package, which makes it impossible to calculate how much her spend-and-tax (maybe) policies would add to the long-term debt. In fact, Mrs. Clinton may actually be planning to follow in President Obama's progressive footsteps and simply keep raising the national debt until America collapses under its weight. Hillary boasted after the Democrat’s November 14 presidential debate : “I was actually the only one on that debate stage on Saturday who will commit to raising your wages and not your taxes. I can't see how you can be serious about raising incomes if you also want to slap new taxes on them, no matter what the taxes would pay for." ~~~~~ Dear readers, Hillary Clinton isn't content to spend a trillion US taxpayer dollars. Team Clinton now sees national security as a key 2016 issue. The deadly islamist jihadist terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino are being used by Clinton to tout her national security credentials. Clinton campaign officials believe she is well-positioned for a national security debate. But they don't mention that Hillary Clinton is joined at the hip to President Obama. The Obama-Clinton foreign policy led to Benghazi, the rise of ISIS, the collapse of Libya, the rise of Vladimir Putin and Iran as Syria/Iraq kingpins, a deal making Iran a nuclear power, and an historic low in US-Israel relations. Clinton cannot point to one foreign policy/national security success. If the Republican Party and GOP presidential candidates can stay calm and deliver their superior message without destroying each other, there is every reason to expect a Republican to move into the White House on January 20, 2017.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
We now know that San Bernardino terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik spent at least a year preparing for their attack, practicing at a gun range and getting money to take care of their daughter and her grandmother -- apparently by borrowing $28,000 from an online bank. The couple - married perhaps in a terrorist arrangement - lived with their baby daughter and Farook's mother, Rafia Farook, 62, leaving the baby with Rafia on the morning of the attack. FBI investigators have been told Farook talked about an attack in California as early as 2012, raising suspicions Farook - now suspected of having connections to a terrorist currently jailed in the US - was radicalized before he traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with Malik. ~~~~~ Meanwhile, Georgia police say two Afghan nationals probably do not pose a threat after they went missing from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. Valdosta police Chief Brian Childress said Wednesday federal, local and state agencies are working with the military to find the men, who were reported missing by officials on Tuesday morning, after they failed to report Monday to maintenance training with the 81st Fighter Squadron at the base, about 230 miles south of Atlanta. The two had been at Moody since February 2015 in training aimed at improving the Afghanistan air force and were screened before arriving in the US. A similar incident occurred in 2014 when a soldier in the Afghanistan army went missing during a training exercise at a US military base in Massachusetts. He was granted asylum by the United States in January. ~~~~~ Senator Ted Cruz Wednesday attacked Iran after Congress learned of reports that Teheran conducted ballistic missile tests in violation of the nuclear agreement. Critics say Iran could use the tests to finalize its nuclear weapons technology. Cruz said : "Nobody should be surprised that Iran is already breaking the agreement. They never intended to follow the agreement. Iran knew that. The Obama administration knew that. Israel knew that. Everyone knew it." Iran's reported test this week of a ballistic missile is the second since the nuclear deal was announced. Such tests are barred by the UN Security Council, which is investigating the first test. Obama has not commented. Iran has argued that it has not violated any UN resolutions. Cruz says Iran : "will continue breaking the deal, using the millions of dollars the Obama administration is trying to send them to fund radical Islamic terrorists across the globe who will murder innocent Americans, innocent Europeans, and innocent Israelis - and to accelerate their nuclear weapons-development program." He blamed the White House for refusing to better police Iran's adherence to the agreement and preventing missile tests : "Those are questions that the Obama administration is unwilling to ask. Because this deal was never about preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. On the face of it, the only consequence of this deal will be that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons." ~~~~~ Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday attacked President Obama's claim that Republican concerns about Syrian refugees being infiltrated by terrorists are simply a fear of "widows and orphans." Rubio called Obama's remark "baffling" : "We see the same intelligence the President does. For him to say something like that runs counter to information we know that he has." Rubio said evidence shows Islamic terrorists have tried to use drug trafficking networks from Mexico to get people into the country by posing as Syrian refugees, adding : "But it goes beyond that. People also try to use doctors' visas and fiancée visas to get into the United States." ~~~~~ Dear readers, Americans are more frightened of terrorism than at any time since 9/11. Does Obama care? Who can say. Is it any wonder a Wednesday Bloomberg poll shows 64% of likely 2016 GOP primary voters favor Donald Trump's call to temporarily ban Moslems from entering the US, and 37% of all general election likely voters also agree. As Trump said, we need to find out "what the hell is going on."
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
If you listened to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday, you heard troubling truths that demand action by the US President --- *Senator John McCain, Republican : "What encourages ISIS is success....I urgently fervently ask you for a strategy....We need to go in with a large allied-Arab force and end the caliphate....There are 30,000 of them. They are not giants." *Senator Jack Reed, Democrat : "We have all come to the conclusion that we need troops on the ground. The question is what type and how many." *Defense Secretary Carter : "We have not contained ISIS....The reality is we're at war." *Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican : "We need to know your plan for dealing with ISIS. We don't know, the American people don't know, our allies don't know what it is." ~~~~~ Secretary Carter told the Armed Services Committee the US is prepared to assist the Iraqi army with more personnel and equipment to help retake Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province. Earlier this week, Iraqi forces captured a military operations center and a neighborhood on the outskirts of Ramadi. ISIS fighters captured Ramadi in May in a major setback for Iraqi troops. Carter told the Committee tough fighting remains ahead to retake Ramadi and if requested by Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi, the US will provide attack helicopters and advisors to help "finish the job." ~~~~~ Senator McCain told Secretary Carter that American troops must join allies on the ground to destroy ISIS’s “caliphate in Syria,” noting the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino that have increased debate over US strategy. McCain said : “These attacks make it clear that ISIS’s threat against our homeland is real, direct and growing, that we are not winning this war and that time is not on our side.” Carter said a US-led ground effort would “Americanize the war in Iraq and Syria” without building the local forces needed to secure and govern reclaimed territory. Responding to McCain’s call for allies such as Saudi Arabia to play a bigger role, Carter said, “I too wish the Sunni Arab nations would do more.” Carter acknowledged that ISIS hasn’t been contained and that the US continues to accelerate its military effort. McCain rejected administration suggestions that its critics want to invade Iraq and Syria with 100,000 combat troops. He said he wants “several thousand additional US troops,” in addition to the 3,500 already in Iraq, to “embed with and advise Iraqi units closer to the fight” and “call in airstrikes from forward positions.” McCain said : “As long as ISIS can claim to possess its caliphate it projects an aura of success that remains its most powerful tool” for recruiting, McCain said. ~~~~~ And yesterday, former Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno said "You need a plan that goes after Iraq, that goes after Syria," telling MSNBC that crushing ISIS is impossible without boots on the ground. Odierno also said the United States has "to build trust in the Middle East," agreeing it's not there among Gulf States allies : "I get frustrated....we have boots on the ground. They're special operations forces, there are soldiers, and I think we have to have a short-term plan which allows our people to get on the ground....You can't defeat ISIS, or destroy ISIS without having people on the ground....The intelligence we're missing is the intelligence you gain on the ground. We need unit intelligence....Special ops can only do so much." Odierno said air strikes alone won't rein in the Islamic jihadists : "It's not going to happen, it's never happened in history, it's not going to happen now." ~~~~~ Dear readers, Obama's successor-in-chief, Hillary Clinton insists : "We’re not putting America combat troops back into Syria or Iraq....I cannot conceive of any circumstances where I would agree." No Democrat President will permit the US military to defeat ISIS, a ragtag islamist jihadist group terrorizing the Middle East, Europe and now America. The US does not need permission or allies to crush ISIS. It needs leadership.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called Monday for temporarily barring all Moslems from entering the United States : "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Moslems entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Trump confirmed on Fox News that the ban would not apply to Moslems now in the US. ~~~~~ Trump's press release, in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino by jihadist ISIS terrorists, came the day after President Barack Obama asked Americans not to "turn against one another" out of fear. Trump's proposal was endorsed by his supporters on social media, and at his Monday South Carolina rally. ~~~~~ Trump's call for a temporary ban has created a firestorm in the mainstream media that has, in turn, provoked the entire political establishment, both Democrat and Republican. The reactions have become fake constitutional debates over a religious test for US entry. ~~~~~ As expected, the Obama administration condemned Trump's proposal. Obama deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes called it "totally contrary to our values as Americans," pointed to the Bill of Rights' protection of religious freedom and to the "extraordinary contributions" Moslem Americans have made to the US. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said, without naming Trump, that Trump's comments put US national security at risk. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said : "...what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as President." Earnest said every President takes an oath to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution, and thus, Trump would not qualify. And Earnest attacked the whole GOP, saying all GOP presidential candidates who honor a pledge to support whoever is the eventual nominee would also be "disqualified" if they vote for Trump. ~~~~~ The GOP took the Democrat and media bait. Chris Christie slammed Trump : "This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they are talking about....We need to cooperate with peaceful Muslim Americans who want to give us intelligence against those who are radicalized." Lindsey Graham called Trump "a race-baiting xenophobic religious bigot." Ted Cruz said, "That is not my policy. I have introduced legislation...that would put in place a three-year moratorium on refugees coming from countries where ISIS or al Qaida control a substantial amount of territory." John Kasich said : "This is just more of the outrageous divisiveness that characterizes his every breath and another reason why he is entirely unsuited to lead the United States." Jeb Bush tweeted : "Donald Trump is unhinged." Ben Carson said he is opposed to placing a religious test on US visitors. Rand Paul didn't attack Trump's proposal, but his campaign said : "Senator Rand Paul has led on the issue of border security....he introduced legislation to block visitors and immigrants from nations with known radical elements." Marco Rubio said he disagrees with Trump's "habit of making offensive and outlandish statements [that] will not bring Americans together." ~~~~~ Dear readers, we are watching political hysteria. The GOP fears that Trump is taking over the Party. Democrats and mainstream media fear he will beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The hysteria has whipped up outlandish statements about religious tests for US entry -- tests Trump didn't propose and that have nothing to do with constitutional protection of citizens. Trump is forcing action to protect the US - which neither Obama nor Democrats are doing. An example : a House bill passed Tuesday (407 to 19) would prevent visa-free entry into the US of non-citizens who have visited Iraq, Syria or other countries deemed to be terror hotspots in the last five years, or who hold their passports, instead putting them through a stringent security process. Trump isn't fascist or Nazi. He is trying to force America to protect itself. He said America must be tough, smart and vigilant. Trump makes more sense than a bunch of hystical politicians.
Monday, December 7, 2015
The Jewish Hanukkah began at sunset on Sunday, December 6, and continues until Monday, December 14. Hanukkah, called the Festival of Lights, commemorates the victory of the ancient Israelites over the Syrian-Greek army. The Hebrews -- defeated, forced to burn their Torahs, stop practicing their religion, abandon circumcism and eat pork -- were saved by the Maccabees' military victory. To celebrate the purification of the Jerusalem Temple, the menorah candles miraculously burned for eight days, although there was only enough sacred oil for one day. And so, Jewish people celebrate every year by lighting candles each night, singing special songs, reciting special prayers, exchanging gifts, and eating foods fried in oil, to honor their victory and the miracle of the menorah in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. ~~~~~ In addition, today is December 7, remembered by Americans for the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor that destroyed the US Pacific fleet, killed 2,403 and led America into World War II in Europe, Africa and Asia to rid the world of Hitler and his allies. The Pearl Harbor attack was called by President Roosevelt "a date which will live in infamy." ~~~~~ The 9/11 islamist attack on America 60 years later was brutal, killed 3,000 civilians, and resulted in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. President George W. Bush also initiated clandestine strikes against jihadist terrorists around the world. His objective was to crush terrorist power bases and keep the fight in their own lands. Bush addressed the nation on September 21, 2001, saying, "Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution....justice will be done....From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime....As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world." ~~~~~ But on Sunday night, a weak President Obama continued his political retreat from islamist jihadist terror. The San Bernardino attack, planned and carried out by two people radicalized "for some time," according to the FBI, killed 14 at an office Christmas party last week, just hours after Obama claimed, "ISIL is not going to pose an existential threat to us." It is aberrant that the BBC can call it "a Christmas party" while in America it is PC'ed into "a holiday party" as if being Christian were a disease rather than the backbone of American democracy. In his ongoing defense of Islam, Obama said : 'We have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home....Over the last few years, however, the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase." He could have added that the new phase began when he withdrew all US troops from a then under-control Iraq in 2011. As usual, Obama blamed Congress and Republicans for his own failures : "Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun." Charles Krauthammer pointed out that there are 300,000 people on that list who have no known connection to terrorism at all. Obama continued to berate those who know that guns are not the problem : "I know there are some who reject any gun-safety measures." But, as he and Democrats know, there are thousands of "gun-safety measures" on federal, state and local books now, mostly unenforced. ~~~~~ Dear readers, Senator Marco Rubio was clear about the threat: "These are people who know exactly what they are doing. They are motivated by...calls for global Jihad, the defeat of all non-Sunni, and the establishment of a global caliphate." Obama's attempt to say the San Bernardino attack was part of "a pattern of mass shootings in this country with no parallel anywhere else," is absurd. Even before San Bernardino, 53% of Americans wanted ground troops in the Middle East. Obama is the problem, not the solution.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Some common sense about terrorism and islamist jihadist terrorists : (1) Both exist in America. To argue that the US is somehow secure displays an inability or unwillingness to actually see and confront the world we live in. It would help enormously if President Obama would simply use the word "islamist" or "jihadist" because it would show that he is operating in the real world, and it would begin to build the political consensus needed to create a strategy to defeat islamist terrorism in the Middle East and at home. It would also empower US intelligence groups, giving them a voice in rooting out domestic terrorism instead of feeling, as many do now, that they are ignored by the President. (2) Self-radicalization cannot occur in a vacuum. Website use and/or discussions in infected groups of family or "friends" play a role. Effective surveillance of these linking points must include the use of metadata because that is the key to connecting the points, but surveillance must also include the immobilization of those who are encouraging radicalization or seeking it. In France, such people are put under house arrest, and there is a serious proposal to cancel the French passports of radicalized dual-passport holders so that they can be deported. The US needs to have the same serious discussion about arrest and deportation - uncluttered by misplaced notions about civil rights or appeals to America's openness to normal immigrants and minorities - if it ever hopes to root out its homegrown jihadist terrorism threat. (3) Surveilling and closing mosques where radical Islam is preached or taught - and the arrest and deportation of radical imams - should be part of the effort to eliminate the threat of US domestic jihadist terrorism. It is not a misuse of the First Amendment right to religious freedom to stop the cynical use of America's freedom of religion to wage a war of jihadist terrorism against America and its democratic Judeo-Christian institutions. (4) Burkas and other whole-face veils in public places and at workplaces should be made illegal and the law enforced. This would at least make it possible to link suspicious behavior to an individual, not to a non-identifiable black veil. (5) The constitutional right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment is now attacked as a solution to domestic jihadist terrorist attacks. It that were true, there would never be a terrorist attack in Europe where private gun ownership is practically non-existent. But the Paris attack with AK-47s led to search and seizure sweeps by French security forces in which everything from handguns to grenades to rocket launchers have been found and confiscated. Illegal underground weapons markets exist in Europe and everywhere. An illegal arms dealer was arrested in Germany last week; he had been in contact with the Paris terrorists. To confiscate or outlaw Second Amendment gun ownership will do nothing to halt these underground weapons markets or prevent the use of guns by jihadist terrorists in the US. ~~~~~ Dear readers, the mainstream media and Democrat Party is engaged in a massive, organized effort to smear and belittle Donald Trump, Republicans and Congress because they see terrorism for what it is - an attack on the American constitutional republic. They try to equate the GOP, as reflected in Trump because he leads in 2016 polls by wide margins, with a xenophobic know-nothing bunch of morons who don't understand 21st century America. But it is the GOP that does understand. The Republican Party and all conservatives are fighting to save America from jihadist terrorism determined to turn it into a religious caliphate with no rule of law or freedom for Christians, Jews and all "apostates." Call it by its rightful name -- islamic jihadist terrorism. Everything depends on defeating it. Do not be fooled. Stand up against terrorism - both jihadist and political. In 2016, we can take back t he Republic. Be counted with the patriots.
Friday, December 4, 2015
Sometimes Saturday politics is about what politicians don't do. ~~~~~ On December 3, the US Department of Justice unsealed a 92-count indictment in federal court against 16 new defendants in its growing corruption investigation of FIFA (International Federation of Football Associations). The new defendants are all current or former members of Concacaf (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) and Conmebol (South American Football Confederation), including top officials. All are charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering all in a scheme to enrich themselves. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said of the indictment : "The betrayal of trust set forth here is outrageous. The scale of corruption alleged herein is unconscionable. And the message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation: you will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus.” ~~~~~ JOD also announced that eight defendants arrested in May have entered guilty pleas, including Jeffrey Webb, Alejandro Burzaco and Jose Marguiles -- Burzaco pled guilty to racketerring, wire fraud and money laundering charges and will forfeit $21 million. Webb will give up $6.7 million and Margulies, $9.2 million. Other officials arrested include Concacaf executives Alfredo Hawitt, and from Conmebol, FIFA vice president Juan Angel Napout. ~~~~~ And, at 6 a.m. on Friday, US authorities made a surprised arrest of Hector Trujillo, general secretary of Guatemala's soccer federation and a judge on the country's constitutional court, by hauling him off a cruise ship to face criminal bribery charges. Customs and Border Protection agency officers arrested Trujillo on the ship at Port Canaveral, Florida, a popular departure port for Caribbean cruise ships. On Thursday, Swiss Police working with the FBI, arrested two top FIFA executives in a luxury hotel in Zurich before dawn. In all, 41 people from soccer's world governing body and associated marketing companies are facing charges in a sprawling criminal case that has thrown world football (soccer) into crisis. ~~~~~ We know that FIFA needs to be radically purged of its current practices and reformed. The DOJ investigation is part of that process, along with a broad Swiss investigation. ~~~~~ A busy DOJ. BUT, focus on Attorney General Lynch's comment : "The betrayal of trust set forth here is outrageous. The scale of corruption alleged herein is unconscionable. And the message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation: you will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus.” This statement of AG Lynch could have been made about : (1) Operation Fast and Furious concocted by DOJ and ATF in 2009-2010 to 'walk' guns into Mexico; it failed and a Border Patrol employee was killed with one of the guns, but nobody in ATF or DOJ has been terminated as a result of purposely losing 2,000 high-powered weapons in Mexico; the Obama administration intimidated agents to prevent testimony before Congress; Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama's appointee, stonewalled the oversight committee investigation and did not comply with congressional subpoenas to submit documents; no one has been prosecuted. (2) The IRS unit led by Lois Lerner unconstitutionally harassed conservative groups seeking tax exempt status - the apparent goal was to help Obama's re-election; Lerner pled the Fifth Amendment before Congress and was held in contempt but DOJ refused to prosecute and she retired at full pension; the IRS destroyed and hid evidence in Lerner emails subpoeaned by Congress; AG Lynch closed the file, refusing to prosecute anyone. ~~~~~ Dear readers, instead of using massive resources to clean up soccer, Attorney General Lynch and the DOJ could better use US taxpayer dollars to clean up corrupt practices inside the Obama administration. We hope the GOP Congress will investigate DOJ/Lynch priorities. Ask your congressperson about it.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Patriot Post noted yesterday that hours before the Islamist attack in Paris in November, President Obama was reassuring about the threat of ISIS terrorists : "We have contained them.” And then Paris was hit by islamist terrorists. A few days ago, Obama was asked in a CBS interview if an attack like Paris could happen here. He said : "We have to make sure that we keep a clear-eyed view about what needs to be done. ISIL is not going to pose an existential threat to us....[O]ur homeland has never been more protected by more effective intelligence and law enforcement professionals at every level than now. If you look at the number of successful terrorist attacks that have occurred, you know, we have disrupted a lot of them." And then San Bernardino was hit by islamist terrorists -- at an office Christmas party, killing14 people, wounding 21. ~~~~~ Media reports and sources provide some San Bernardino details : (1) 12 pipe bombs were found in their apartment in Redlands, a small college town 7 miles from the attack site; (2) their long guns were legally purchased; (3) the dead man visited Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and returned in 2013 and July 2014; (4) the woman entered the US on a Pakistani passport on a K-1 "fiancee" Visa; (5) smashed mobile phones and a tampered-with hard drive were found; (6) the Redlands apartment was apparently visited by Middle East men and women daily, possibly indicating a jihadist or supply cell for money, weapons, and bomb supplies; (7) the dead attackers were identified as Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik - Moslem and married - he was a health inspector for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health; (8) “He was very religious," Farook's father said. "He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Moslem.” (9) Farook began growing his beard, which may signify religious observance; (10) the couple left their six-month-old child with Farook's mother before the attack, saying they had a dentist appointment; (11) in their apartment, they had weapons, bombs, bomb making apparatus, thousands of ammunition rounds, and tactical gear like they used in the attack -- indicating planning, rather than Obama's favorite excuse, workplace violence. ~~~~~ Predictably, Obama wasted no time in blaming the Second Amendment, using the San Bernardino victims as another opportunity to sell his gun-control agenda, telling reporters : "There are some steps that we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don't happen as frequently -- common sense safety laws." ~~~~~ Hillary Clinton did the same thing. She was speaking during the attack. With the shooters still on the run, dead bodies and wounded victims not yet recovered, what did Mrs. Clinton, who says she's worthy to be President, do? She tweeted: “I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now.” Her Democratic rivals were equally unworthy : Martin O’Malley called for Americans to “stand up to the NRA” and Senator Bernie Sanders declared “gun violence must stop.” ~~~~~ Do Obama, Clinton and many other Democrats understand what America and the world face from ISIS-led islamist jihadist terrorism - or do they care. In a press conference Thursday morning, Obama insisted, "We don't know why they did it....We do not know their motivations. It is also possible this is workplace related....We see the prevalence of these kinds of mass shooting in this country." But, California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the US. And, the attack occurred in a "gun free zone." Finally, at noon yesterday, Obama said: "...we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred. It is possible that this was terrorist-related but we don’t know." ~~~~~ Dear readers, Republicans and California Democrat Governor Jerry Brown expressed sympathy for the victims and families, asking for prayers. But, the left is now mocking prayer, including the New York Daily News and the Daily Mail. Our answer : "Forgive them Lord. They know not what they do." At least we hope they don't.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Where are President Obama and Hillary Clinton's outraged demands for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s head? If the mayor had been Republican - in reality, impossible in Chicago - Democrats would be howling about GOP "sins" against African Americans. Yet, the party that represents a vast majority of African American voters is silent. Mayor Emanuel is a long-time Clinton family insider and former Obama White House chief of staff. That undoubtedly explains why only African American Chicagoans and Spike Lee are calling for Emanuel to resign. ~~~~~ Chicago, historically corrupt, with a police department known for hiding misconduct and brutality, was the scene on October 20, 2014, of the shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald by police officer Jason Van Dyke, who fired 16 times, killing the teenager as he ran away waving a knife. The next day, a police statement said the teenager was shot while approaching police officers - a lie. A dashcam video authorities had access to within hours of the shooting shows McDonald angling away from officers when he was shot. Why did the police department lie and withhold the video for a year? Why didn’t the city investigate the fact that 86 minutes of other crime scene video footage was "missing"? The logical conclusion is that police wanted to avoid accountability and Emanuel wanted to avoid losing a tight February 24, 2015 re-election bid. The mayor narrowly won a second term in an April 7 runoff. A week later, Chicago made public a $5 million settlement with the McDonald family, quietly agreed weeks prior to the election, including a clause that kept the video confidential. In a journalist’s lawsuit for release of the video, Emanuel argued that release might taint a federal investigation - a lie. The Justice Department has said it did not ask the city to withhold the video. A year after the shooting, a county judge ordered Chicago to release the video, and officer Van Dkye was charged with first-degree murder of a minor. ~~~~~ That's the fact timeline as of today. A New York Times editorial said : “That makes this whole episode look like an attempt by the city, the police and prosecutors to keep the video under wraps, knowing the political problems it would most likely create,” accusing Emanuel of “willful ignorance” in “the cover-up.” His response yesterday was to fire police superintendent Garry McCarthy -- not because an officer shot a teenager 16 times as he walked away, not because his department covered it up. Emanuel fired McCarthy because he was “a distraction,” and then promised to equip officers with body cameras and appoint a task force to investigate the police department. ~~~~~ Chicago is the epitome of Democratic machine politics. For a century, Chicago Democrats have corruptly misused massive support -- first of Irish and Polish immigrants, then of the Hispanic community and African American voters, who traditionally voted Republican until coaxed into the Democrat fold in the 1930s. For years, African Americans and their leaders have been openly angry with Chicago Democratic politicians, but the Chicago machine doesn't think reliable Democratic African American voters will bolt and run. Rahm Emanuel may have made this a possibility. ~~~~~ Dear readers, Columbia University Professor Bernard Harcourt wrote in the NYT that there's ample reason for an independent investigation because Chicago's political establishment cannot be trusted to perform a thorough audit of facts that led to burying evidence at a time of maximum political convenience for Chicago’s mayor. Emanuel police coverup 2014, Obama Benghazi coverup 2012 -- both men are products of the Chicago Democrat machine. Is it time for African American voters, who vote straight tickets, to ask why they are taken for granted by the Democrat party? Why Democrat lip service never produces results? Why they don't come home to the party of Lincoln...where they would be welcome and treated with respect.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday the US will deploy an elite special operations force to Iraq. The new force is separate from the earlier 50 US special operations troops deployed to Syria to coordinate with US-backed rebels. That force is not yet in Syria. Pentagon sources say the new force will be 200, including support personnel. Carter said the new force will aid Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish peshmerga. Carter told the US House Armed Services Committee : "These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders. This force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations into Syria." ~~~~~ President Obama is being pressured to accelerate US-led coalition efforts to combat ISIS, especially after the November Paris attacks. He has always been reluctant to deploy American ground troops, preferring small numbers of advisors and elite forces. Joint Chiefs of Staff head Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford says the new elite force will greatly accelerate the collection of intelligence, and : "will make our operations much more effective. We're fighting a campaign across Iraq and Syria so we're going to go where the enemy is, and we're going to conduct operations where they most effectively degrade the capabilities of the enemy." He should have added that the new mission describes combat in dangerous forward positions, and that means casualties. ~~~~~ On September 22, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, retired 4-star General David Petraeus, who oversaw the only successful war effort in Iraq and Syria, advocated increased military intervention in Syria. Petraeus said the US should establish refugee safe zones in Syria and demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stop dropping barrel bombs on military and opposition targets. If al-Assad fails to stop, Petraeus said the US should shoot down Syrian aircraft. Petraeus said protecting refugees, and allowing US-backed Syrian rebels to attack al-Assad forces as well as ISIS militants would help the US gain support from Syria’s sunni majority. But, Petraeus warned against an upfront overthrow of the al-Assad regime : “He has to go ultimately, but the keyword there is ultimately, underscored, in bold letters. Because until we have a sense of what will replace him, we need to be very careful not to push him out, because what comes after could actually be even worse.” Petraeus also urged embedding US advisors with Iraqi units at the brigade level and allowing US personnel to order airstrikes for the Iraqis, adding : “In my judgment, increased support for the Iraqi security forces, sunni tribal forces and Kurdish peshmerga is needed.” ~~~~~ But, in late November, after the Russian intervention, Petraeus told PBS he's against putting American troops on the ground in Syria now, saying the country “may be a Humpty Dumpty that can't be put back together again...One doesn't know what the various outcomes could be.” Petraeus said a large US ground force to establish order in Syria is not “sustainable” because there aren’t enough moderate sunni fighters to effectively counter ISIS or the forces of al-Assad, backed by the Russian military. “There are some there. We have been enabling them, supporting them and assisting them for some time,” he said, referring to moderate sunni fighters. "Clearly, if we really get behind them...protect them again from Bashar's air force...I think you would see a lot more....you need to have a hold force that has legitimacy in the eyes of people - that has to be sunni Arab forces." ~~~~~ Dear readers, Carter also told the House : "It puts Syria on notice. At night you won't know who's coming through the window." What a sorry excuse for an Obama strategy. It would be laughable if it weren't for the American soldiers being hung out to dry on Obama's clothesline of failure. If Obama and Congress would listen to General Petraeus, there would be an Iraq and Syria strategy and America's troops would have a real leader as they go into harm's way.