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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

‘I Defer to the President’s Judgment..’



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With President Obama briefly returning to the issue of veterans’ care this week — very briefly — it’s good to remind the voters of Georgia that Michelle Nunn, aspiring Democratic senator declared during the heat of the VA scandal: “I defer to the president’s judgment about the leadership that will be necessary to ensure that accountability and that transparency, and that we actually change the system.”

She defers judgment to the guy who only learned about the problem from media reports. (Remember, the Obama administration is the “greatest threat to press freedom in a generation, according to a New York Times reporter who covers the government. Thus, the Obama administration is cracking down on the institution that most frequently informs the White House about scandals and problems within the federal government.) 

Tags: Barack Obama , Michelle Nunn

Another Day, Another White House Effort to Ignore the Constitution



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Another Day, Another White House Effort to Ignore the Constitution

How many Democrats are beginning to realize what they’ve done, and what kind of man they’ve put in the Oval Office?

Both political parties are in a state of high anxiety about the possibility that President Obama will allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the country, fearing that White House action on the issue could change the course of November’s midterm elections.

In the past few days, Democratic candidates in nearly every closely fought Senate race have criticized the idea of aggressive action by Obama. Some strategists say privately that it would signal that he has written off the Democrats’ prospects for retaining control of the chamber, deciding to focus on securing his legacy instead.

Keep in mind, by assuming that he, alone, has the power to legalize millions of people who entered the country illegally, he’s taking another hatchet to the concept of checks and balances in the Constitution.

Just yesterday we learned this White House asserts it can join international treaties that the U.S. Senate will not ratify.

Don’t take it from me; take it from the New York Times staff:

A New York Times reporter who has been fighting off a US government demand that he reveal a confidential source has described the Obama administration as “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

James Risen, who has been ordered to testify in the criminal trial of a former CIA official Jeffrey Sterling, was speaking at a New York conference, “Sources and secrets” .

He argued that he administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” and that its prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act.”

Or all nine justices of the Supreme Court: “The Supreme Court has ruled in Noel Canning v. NLRB, No. 12-1115, and found that President Obama had indeed violated the constitution in his recess appointment. The decision was unanimous.”

In fact, some of these coming changes come in policy areas where the administration has already lost, 9-0, at the Supreme Court. Let Ted Cruz explain:

The defeats include cases such: as Judalang v. Holder, when the court faulted the Obama team for making an “arbitrary and capricious” attempt to rewrite the rules governing who is eligible for relief from deportation; Henderson ex rel. Henderson v. Shinseki , in which Obama’s lawyers argued wrongly “that the Department of Veterans Affairs can wholly ignore a veteran’s appeal of a VA regional office’s benefits ruling when the appeal was not filed within the 120-day deadline”; and Bond v. United States, in which the “DOJ argued that an international treaty gave Congress the power to create federal criminal law for wholly local conduct.”

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the president’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation,” Cruz explained.

“When President Obama’s own Supreme Court nominees join their colleagues in unanimously rejecting the administration’s call for broader federal power nine times in 18 months, the inescapable conclusion is that the Obama administration’s view of federal power knows virtually no bounds,” he concluded.

 

Tags: Constitution , Barack Obama

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How Many Unaccompanied Minors Did HHS Release to Sponsors in Your County?



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Also in today’s Jolt:

How Many Unaccompanied Minors Did HHS Release to Sponsors in Your County?

Here’s a nice way to localize a national issue:

Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA) denounced the Obama Administration’s practice of sending illegal immigrants to Louisiana. The Obama Administration released state-by-state and county-level breakdowns of the number of illegal immigrants, showing there were 1,275 UAC released to sponsors in Louisiana between January 1 to July 31, 2014.

Parish-level breakdown of UAC in Louisiana:
East Baton Rouge Parish (Baton Rouge) — 173
Jefferson Parish (Southwest of NOLA) — 533
Lafayette Parish (Lafayette) — 51
Orleans Parish (New Orleans) — 237
St. Tammany Parish (Slidell, N. of NOLA) — 54
Total in Louisiana — 1,275

Cassidy released the following statement:

“The Obama Administration announced that more than 1,200 illegal immigrants have been placed in Louisiana. This highlights how President Obama’s failure to secure the borders and properly enforce our immigration laws has impacted Louisiana. This crisis has further highlighted the inability of President Obama to lead on important issues. Senate Democrats are equally responsible. They left Washington without taking action. We must secure our borders and stop President Obama’s executive amnesty.”

That’s aspiring senator Cassidy, of course.

See how many unaccompanied border children HHS released to sponsors in your county here. For example, HHS announced they released 1,023 unaccompanied border children to sponsors in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Morning Jolt reader William Perry Pendley, an attorney and president of Mountain States Legal Foundation, writes in to point out that the government is not actually legally obligated to provide a free education to children who come here illegally.

The administration contends it is simple:

Under Federal law, State and local educational agencies (hereinafter “districts”) are required to provide all children with equal access to public education at the elementary and secondary level. Recently, we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status.

Not so, says Pendley:

“The Obama administration is asserting that a Supreme Court decision in 1982, Plyler v. Doe, mandates that all schools in the country educate kids who are here illegally free of charge,” he said. “They’re taking it a step further and saying you can’t even ask about a student’s citizenship. They are also saying the Civil Rights Act says we have to educate people regardless of their citizenship, but that’s untrue, what the Civil Rights Act says is that we cannot discriminate on the basis of national origin, but what that means is ethnicity.”

Pendley said times have changed drastically since the Plyler decision, and government policies should reflect that.

U.S. taxpayers pay taxes to create public-school systems to educate American children. While it may be nice or generous or charitable to educate children here illegally, it is hard to conclude that it would be criminal for a school system to bar children who entered the country illegally. A school system does not have unlimited resources. (There are more than a million children on the wait lists for charter schools nationwide.) Our lax border-security policies are adding tens of thousands of children — most of whom are ESL — to America’s school systems.

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Public Schools , Border Security , Bill Cassidy

Obama Unveils New Plan to Work with Foreign Governments to Ignore the Constitution



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

President Obama’s a big NBA fan, right? What if he’s tanking this year of his presidency because he thinks he gets a better lottery pick in the draft next year?

Obama Unveils New Plan to Work with Foreign Governments to Ignore the Constitution

You know why Obama seems so disconnected and disinterested in the presidency? Because he doesn’t want to be president, he would rather be king:

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

“If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.

Look at how these people speak. If you cannot get the Senate to ratify a treaty (technically, passing a resolution of ratification), then the United States is not a party to that treaty. Period. Full stop. The Constitution is not iffy on this. This part is not a suggestion. There is no wiggle room.

There are a lot of nonsensical or highly exaggerated chain e-mails accusing the president of working with foreigners to subvert the U.S. Constitution. But this time you’ve got the foreigners and administration officials themselves confirming it on the front page of the New York Times!

“There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse,” said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. “There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate.”

“The difficulties of the U.S. situation” is a reference the fact that we have a Senate that opposes the treaty.

The Times casually notes that President Obama ignored the legislative process in his domestic climate-change agenda, too:

In seeking to go around Congress to push his international climate change agenda, Mr. Obama is echoing his domestic climate strategy. In June, he bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions. That regulation, which would not be final until next year, already faces legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed on behalf of a dozen states.

“ . . . days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America . . . ”

Tags: Barack Obama , Climate Change , Constitution , Global Warming , United Nations

Democratic Senate Candidates Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . Like Israel, Iraq, the Border . . .



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Running for Senate is difficult. Sooner or later, you’ll get asked a question about an issue you haven’t researched. So you can try to wing it, as Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes did, and suggest that Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system protects the country from Hamas tunnels . . . 

. . . or you can try the approach of Montana Democrat Amanda Curtis:

When asked her position on the situation in Iraq, Curtis told CNN, “Give me a little more time.” On the border crisis, “I’ll need more time, you know only 11 days ago I was painting my storm windows.”

Or, as that campaign memo for Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn described her position on Israel, “TBD” (To Be Determined).

Shifting to Curtis’s preferred topics, how did the storm windows turn out?

Tags: Michelle Nunn , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Amanda Curtis

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‘He’ll Give Everything He’s Got for New Hampshire.’



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Here’s a new ad from Scott Brown’s campaign, featuring Senator Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican:

Notice the issues mentioned: the economy, the debt, and Obamacare. Ayotte says Brown stands for “fiscal responsibility, accountable government, a health-care plan that works for all of us.”

A few fans of Obamacare perceived/hoped that Republicans were starting to talk about the health-care plan less often . . . also note that while Brown has talked about immigration reform and border security in recent weeks, it’s not mentioned in this ad.

Tags: Scott Brown , Kelly Ayotte

Not Many Public Polls Released This August!



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Also in today’s Jolt, hitting e-mailboxes now . . . 

Hey, Pollsters, Can We Get Some Fresh Ones in These Key Senate Races?

Assessing the state of the midterm elections, in just a few sentences.

Larry Sabato: “In every single one of the Crystal Ball’s toss-up states, (Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina), the Republican Senate candidate has not yet opened up a real polling lead in any of them.”

(Number of public polls in August in Alaska: 1. Number of public polls in August in Arkansas: 1. Number of public polls in August in Iowa: 0. Number of public polls in August in Louisiana: 0. Number of public polls in August in North Carolina: 3, two of which have Republican Thom Tillis ahead.)

Nate Silver: “Since 2000, the average Senate poll has missed the final margin in the race by about 5 percentage points.”

Sean Trende: “Individual pollsters can easily find results suggesting that a race is opening up when, in fact, it is tightening, and vice-versa.”

Carl Cameron of Fox News: “Democrats who, earlier this year, thought they could defend their majority, now fear GOP momentum could cost them even more than six seats.”

Tags: Polling

Coming Soon to Syria: Some Sort of U.S. Military Action Against ISIS



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Do we do covert surveillance anymore? Do we really need somebody to announce every step we take to keep an eye on the bad guys?

U.S. surveillance flights over Syria have started with President Obama’s go ahead, a step that will provide potential targets if airstrikes against Islamic State militants are approved.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that an unnamed U.S. official said the flights had begun. USA TODAY reported Monday that the flights will provide information on potential targets for strikes in Syria if Obama approves.

What next, a formal announcement?

Dear ISIS,

You are cordially invited to air strikes on Syrian territory beginning Friday, September 29, just after dusk. Please keep all personnel, vehicles, command posts, artillery, and stockpiles of weapons in place until that time. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Courtesy, the United States of America

Meanwhile, the editorial board of the Washington Post calls for U.S. “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria:

No serious approach to the group can focus only on Iraq, as the United States has done thus far. The extremists treat Iraq and Syria as one area of operations, and the United States must do the same. In that theater, as Mr. Obama has said, the United States must find partners: Kurds in Iraq and Syria, Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq, the Iraqi government if it can become more inclusive, what is left of the Free Syrian Army. Aiding them does not require a U.S. invasion, but it will need “boots on the ground,” as Mr. Obama already has acknowledged by sending close to 1,000 special forces back to Iraq. They will be needed for training, to assist in air targeting and perhaps more. As The Post’s Greg Miller reported Sunday, the United States suffers from “persistent intelligence gaps” in Syria; these can be filled only with a human presence in the region, not by drones or satellite technology alone.

Peggy Noonan offered a wise thought that will probably be ignored by the administration: “Go to Congress for authorization of force, showing the world we have gained at least some semblance of unity.”

If President Obama asked Congress for authorization for expanded operations against ISIS, would congressional Republicans vote “yes”?

If President Obama asked Congress for authorization for expanded operations against ISIS, would congressional Democrats vote “yes”?

For President Obama, the easiest option, thought not the wisest, is to go ahead with any operations he deems necessary and ignore congressional complaints about the War Powers Act.

Tags: Syria , ISIS , Congressional Democrats , Congressional Republicans , President Obama

The Key Demographic of America’s Wrong-Information Voters



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From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

The Key Demographic of America’s Wrong-Information Voters

Liz Sheld, examining some Pew survey results and confirming our worst suspicions, that a significant minority of the electorate walk around believing that certain political terms mean the opposite of what they really do:

Looking just at the first question, which Pew has used to determine whether people who say they are libertarians actually know what the term means, 57% correctly identified the definition of “libertarian” with the proper corresponding ideological label. Looking at the other answers, an astonishing 20% say that someone who emphasizes freedom and less government is a progressive, 6% say that is the definition of an authoritarian and 6% say that is the definition of a communist.

As E. Strobel notes, “The term ‘low-info voter’ is inadequate. . . . More like ‘wrong-info voter.’”

Perhaps when we’re trying to persuade the electorate as a whole, we have to toss out terms like “conservative” or “libertarian.” Not because they’re not accurate, but because they represent obscure hieroglyphics to a chunk of the people we’re trying to persuade.

If you’re one of these perpetually tuned-out voters, maybe words like “conservative” or “libertarian” are signals that indicate, Hey, this is that politics stuff that you don’t like to hear about, so you can stop paying attention now. This is frustrating, and I understand and feel the irritation that we have to water down or dumb down our arguments because some voters can’t be bothered to understand some concepts we find pretty basic.

We political junkies love political philosophies, and keep subdividing ourselves into smaller and more precise groupings. (Crunchy Cons! Neoconservatives! Libertarian Populism! Reform Conservatives! Eisenhower Anarchist!) We love these labels and terms, because we feel that they help explain a coherent way of looking at the world, government, the Constitution, human rights, society, etc. But to a lot of people, they might as well be Dungeons & Dragons character classes. They don’t know which political philosophy best matches how they see the world because they flat-out don’t understand the terms and, perhaps most maddeningly, are not convinced that they need to know them — nor much about anything else.

Recall Jonah Goldberg’s column to those self-proclaimed “socially liberal, fiscal conservative” types who are, in fact, actually “socially liberal and fiscally liberal”:

When George W. Bush added nearly $5 trillion in national debt in two terms you were scandalized. When Obama added more than that in one term, you yawned. When, in 2006, then-senator Obama condemned Bush’s failure of leadership and vowed to vote against raising the debt ceiling, you thought him a statesman. Obama, who wants to borrow trillions more, now admits that was purely a “political vote.”

A little while back, I talked about celebrities who are not closely identified with the Republican party or conservative movement, who can articulate a conservative approach to an issue, and enjoy widespread applause: Adam Carolla, HGTV host Nicole Curtis, CNN host/chef Anthony Bourdain, Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs,” Gene Simmons of KISS . . . They say what they think, directly, but they rarely if ever frame their arguments in terms of political philosophies.

Which argument is likely to be most effective?

A) School choice is a good idea because it is consistent with the conservative principles that the government that is closest to the people is most likely to make the best decisions, is most accountable for those decisions, and is easiest to correct those decisions.

B) School choice is a good idea because it is consistent with the libertarian principles that the power of the state should be limited and the power of the individual should be maximized.

C) School choice is a good idea because it puts decisions in the hands of parents, who know what is best for their children.

Tags: Polling , Political Philosophy

New Poll Gives GOP’s Sullivan Small Lead in Alaska Senate Race



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Rasmussen, with the first poll of Alaska’s Senate race since the August 19 GOP primary:

A new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Alaska Voters shows Republican Dan Sullivan with a 47% to 45% lead over incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Begich.

Some politics watchers contend Alaska is a uniquely difficult state to poll accurately, but this is disputed. Most previous polling of a then-hypothetical Sullivan-Begich matchup showed a close race, except for a July CBS News/New York Times poll putting Begich up 12.

Tags: Dan Sullivan , Mark Begich

Meanwhile, in Book News . . .



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The latest issue of National Review offers a review of The Weed Agency, written by A. J. Delgado, that is essentially every author’s goal — a reviewer who “gets” the book at every level intended.

Meanwhile, The Weed Agency is currently $9.81 on Amazon, $7.99 for Kindle edition. I’ve got 99 reviews on Amazon, but “kitsch” ain’t one.

Tags: Something Lighter

Who’s Saying Veterans Can’t Trust the Obama Administration?



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You almost have to admire the opportunism of Senator Kay Hagan as she suddenly turns into a full-throated critic of the Obama administration, months from Election Day: 

Ahead of President Obama’s speech Tuesday before the American Legion, a vulnerable senator in his own party voiced skepticism about the commander in chief’s commitment to veterans. Sen. Kay Hagan, who is locked in a tight re-election race against Republican Thom Tillis in North Carolina, said in a statement that the Obama administration “has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans and implement real and permanent reforms at the VA.”

The American Legion is holding its convention in Charlotte this week; Obama is scheduled to speak there tomorrow. Hagan is scheduled to attend the event.

The CQ/Roll Call study found that Senator Hagan voted with the Obama administration’s position 96 percent of the time

Senator Kay Hagan, left, with an unidentified supporter.

UPDATE: Here’s Kay Hagan back in 2008, talking about how she’s heard first-hand about how veterans are having difficulty getting care at VA hospitals, and how, “we really need to honor them for their service and make it a seamless transition from the time they get out to when they get their care. And that’s one of the things that we’ve got to correct.”

How’s she doing on that, huh? 

Tags: Kay Hagan , Veterans , North Carolina

In Maine, GOP Governor Paul LePage Still Neck-and-Neck



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Only one pollster has released a survey of Maine’s gubernatorial race since June; the Maine People’s Resource Center found Democrat Michael Michaud ahead of Republican incumbent governor Paul LePage, 42.6 percent to 41.4 percent. (LePage won a four-way race in 2010 with 38 percent of the vote.)

This morning, the Republican Governors Association offers a new ad showcasing LePage’s record: cutting taxes, reforming welfare, paying off debt for hospitals, and presiding over an economic recovery:

Tags: Paul LePage , Michael Michaud , Maine

Are Democrats Set to Win the Get-Out-the-Vote Fight in 2014?



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Hmmm. The Atlantic’s Molly Ball takes a long look at the respective get-out-the-vote operations of Democrats and Republicans in Arkansas and sees a familiar disparity:

Republicans now have 11 offices open across Arkansas, party officials told me, all of them staffed by field organizers. They have recruited “hundreds” of volunteers, and the RNC has had staff here for almost a year. This effort is indeed bigger than anything the party previously built in this state. “We clearly have the largest mobilization we’ve had in my memory, which is pretty good,” the state GOP chairman, Doyle Webb, tells me, crediting the RNC for stepping up its game. “We’ve been waiting for the cavalry, and now it’s here.”

But the Republicans’ effort pales in comparison to what the Democrats have built: Democrats are spending more than five times as much money in Arkansas, and have four times as many field offices and triple the number of staff. In the month of July alone, the Arkansas Democratic Party reported nearly $900,000 in federal campaign spending, while Arkansas Republicans reported $155,000. (Most of the money the Democrats are spending has come directly from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.) Democrats listed 64 staffers on their payroll; Republicans listed 22. The RNC claims it has 50 people on the payroll in Arkansas, including some being paid by other GOP committees, but I could not find a record of them and staffers on the ground were not aware of them. According to public records, there are Democratic staffers in places like Cabot (population 24,000), Marion (12,000), Arkadelphia (11,000), and Dardanelle, Tom Cotton’s hometown, with fewer than 5,000 residents.

It’s possible that there’s a law of diminishing returns with field offices; after a while you’re renting space and hiring staffers for a smaller and smaller increase in the number of votes for your side. Or perhaps candidate quality and charisma matters; it’s probably a lot easier to get irregular or newly registered voters to show up to vote for President Obama in a presidential election year than for Senator Mark Pryor in a midterm-election year.

But if those aren’t true, and Pryor does better than expected on Election Day . . . the GOP will have relearned a hard lesson from 2012.

Why do Democrats win more? Because they want it more. And their donor class is willing to spend more money to insure that they win — at least in most cases:

The RNC has raised $11 million more than the DNC, but the DCCC has raised $37 million more than the NRCC, and in the race for control of the Senate, the Democrats are a whopping $27 million ahead of the Republican’s senatorial committee. Wasn’t winning the Senate the top GOP priority this year? Wouldn’t you think Republican donors would be flooding that committee with cash and resources?

Is it that Republicans prefer to give to the candidate’s campaign? In Arkansas, Pryor is handily outraising and outspending Cotton.

Is it that Republicans prefer to give to outside groups? How good are those outside groups at getting out the vote on Election Day? Or in absentee and early voting?

Tags: NRSC , DSCC , NRCC , DCCC , RNC , DNC , Arkansas

Are ISIS ‘External Operations’ Already Under Way?



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The ominous opening notes of the first Morning Jolt of the week . . . 

What Does ISIS ‘External Operations, I Believe, Under Way’ Mean?

Get ready for war:

The Islamic State presents the greatest terrorist threat to Americans since 9/11, and fighting it will take more than airstrikes in Iraq, according to a top member of Congress and a retired four-star general.

The Islamic State, also referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has vaulted in notoriety after the beheading of American journalist James Foley last week. On ABC’s This Week, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, called Foley’s murder a turning point.

“I do think they present the greatest threat we’ve seen since 9/11,” McCaul said. “This has been festering for the last year, and now it’s culminating with the killing and the beheading of an American journalist. . . . The American people — it has sort of opened their eyes to what ISIS really is, the true character of ISIS, how savage they really are and . . . their intent to harm Americans.”

Retired Marine general John Allen, who served in Iraq and commanded all allied forces in Afghanistan, said attacking militant support areas in Syria will be necessary. The limited U.S. airstrikes that have helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces retake a strategic dam near Mosul in northern Iraq are not enough, he said.

Another ominous comment from McCaul, which makes one wonder whether it is based upon intelligence reports or speculation:

Their focus right now is establishing the caliphate. But don’t kid yourself for a second, they are [sic] intent on hitting the West. And there are external operations, I believe, under way. . . . We have tens of thousands of foreign fighters from all over the world pouring into this safe haven that’s now been established, including hundreds of Americans with Western passports and legal travel documents, which would enable them not only to travel to Western Europe, but to the United States.

On Friday, local police received this generic warning from the Feds:

In a joint bulletin issued to local, state and federal law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security and FBI said that while they are “unaware of any specific, credible threats against the Homeland” and find most threats to the U.S. homeland by supporters of ISIS “not credible,” they cannot rule out attacks in the United States from sympathizers radicalized by the group’s online propaganda.

“[B]ecause of the individualized nature of the radicalization process — it is difficult to predict triggers that will contribute to [homegrown violent extremists] attempting acts of violence,” the bulletin states. Moreover, such lone offenders “present law enforcement with limited opportunities to detect and disrupt plots, which frequently involve simple plotting against targets of opportunity,” according to the bulletin.

I don’t want to alarm anyone. But somebody sympathetic to ISIS is taking pictures of U.S. landmarks and holding up a very clear ISIS message: we’re already here.

Maybe it’s just some nut. Or two nuts. Or a network of nuts.

But . . . 

If you’re ISIS, hitting the U.S. homeland is the jackpot, right?

We’re about three weeks away from an early September date that means a lot to Americans and Islamist extremists. Wouldn’t you figure the bad guys would want to do something that day?

Tags: ISIS

Forget the Pink Cookie Interdiction, Washington.



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Dear United States federal government, 

More of this

… and less of this: “New federal nutritional guidelines for school cafeterias has meant the end of a favorite — and locally famous — treat in one northeast Ohio school district. The federal government’s edict to provide healthier foods and cut fats and cholesterol put an end of the sale of the traditional Elyria pink cookie — a buttery sweet treat with pink icing.”

Public enemy number one. 

Tags: ISIS

A Freudian Slip from a South Dakota Democrat



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Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland accidentally refers to his Republican opponent as “Senator, er, soon-to-be” Mike Rounds.

It’s a bit early to concede defeat, but Weiland seems to be taking it well!

Tags: MIke Rounds , Rick Weiland

Romney and Ryan, Reunited Again



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Hey, remember when we were told how people couldn’t warm up to this guy?

 

Tags: Mitt Romney , Paul Ryan , Something Lighter

Obama, Standing Undaunted for the Unpopular Principle... of His Leisure Time



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From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

President Obama Doesn’t Care What We Think About His Golfing.

After that brutal New York Daily News cover Thursday afternoon, hitting him for going golfing right after his remarks about the beheading of American, President Obama  responded Thursday afternoon… by going golfing.

President Obama doesn’t care if the optics are bad. He doesn’t care if there’s an awful contrast because UK Prime Minister David Cameron canceled his vacation plans. He doesn’t care if he’s getting grief from once-stalwart fans like Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd. He doesn’t care if Congressional Democrats are openly griping about his disinterest and disconnect in the New York Times, and he doesn’t care if senior Democrats are declaring that he’s completely checked out of his presidency other than attending fundraisers.

He doesn’t care what any of us think.

There are times when resisting the cries of the crowd can be an act of courage. It is brave to stay true to your own conscience and judgment in the face of howls of outrage. Paraphrasing that old saying, “One man with a conviction is a felon New Jersey Democrat majority.”

But I’m not sure “I’m entitled to this time off, and I don’t care what anybody says,” is the right line in the sand to draw. And we’ve already seen what happens to President Obama’s other red lines.

(Speaking of red lines, next time you hear someone bragging that the U.S. forced Bashir Assad to destroy all of his chemical weapons, remind them that they only gave up their illegal chemical weapons and that there is such a thing as legal chemical weapons: “International weapons inspectors have issued preliminary findings that chlorine gas was used in a ‘systematic manner’ in Syria this year, long after the government of President Bashar al-Assad pledged to give up other toxic weapons such as sarin.”)

It’s not just the number of rounds of golf. It’s that his actions subsequent to his bold words demonstrate that he doesn’t really mean anything he’s saying.

Back when I came up with the “All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date, all of them” rule, my aim wasn’t quite to say Obama is a pathological liar. (Admittedly, you’re free to draw that conclusion from the record.) In many cases, Obama probably meant what he said when he said it… but then, at some future point, keeping his word became difficult. And he conveniently forgot about his pledge. For example, Obama was probably perfectly fine with the idea of accepting public financing and its attached spending limits in 2008 until the moment he realized or was informed he would be giving up one of his campaign advantages. So he came up with some nonsense about how his campaign’s fundraising success amounts to a “parallel public financing structure” and thus he didn’t need to accept the spending limits.

Most of us look at that and say, “hey, you broke your promise.” Obama would pat us on the head and tell us it’s complicated. He likes to tell us, and probably himself, that he’s a pragmatist. He’s just looking for what works, and keeping a promise that now looks disadvantageous just doesn’t “work,” or to use one of his hackneyed phrases, “just doesn’t make sense.” He’s got a country to fundamentally transform. Omelets, broken eggs, etc. He hand-waves away the little detail that he’s proven himself someone willing to break his word in order to get what he wants, and in fact is echoing all of the “cynical voices” he campaigned against his whole life.

You recall Obama’s exhausted, “we will not rest” pledge, deployed after every crisis. Even when he gives a decent delivery of his remarks, like he did Wednesday, talking about how relentless and determined the U.S. government is… then it’s back to the links. There’s no action that follows; No emergency meetings or summits, no new deployment of military resources to the region. Business as usual. Does anyone really believe his pledges of relentlessness anymore? Does ISIS?

I suppose someone will say, “the president golfing shows the terrorists can’t shake him out of his routine.” What’s so vital about that routine that an interruption of it constitutes a terrorist victory? 

Tags: Barack Obama

WhiteHouse.gov, Bringing You The Really Important Updates



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The lead item on WhiteHouse.gov right now: “Improving digital services across government.”

“The U.S. Digital Service is a small team of our country’s brightest digital talent that will work with government agencies to find more effective ways to use technology to improve the service, information, and benefits they provide.”

That’s great, can they provide HD-level images of ISIS goons getting blown to smithereens?

Ace, yesterday

Obama has his plans. His plans include pushing his various fake campaign positionings to gin up the left-wing base, and playing golf and attending jazz festivals.

No matter what happens in the world, or even in America, Obama is sticking to that plan.

He dismisses — either explicitly or implicitly, by his near-total lack of intellectual or emotional engagement with serious political events — all occurrences which are not in his List of Things to Do as “distractions.”

Thursday afternoon is U.S. Digital Service day, regardless of what’s going on in the world, the news, or is on the minds of the American people.

 

Tags: Barack Obama , White House

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