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Tags: Barack Obama

Obama’s Law Professor: ‘I Wouldn’t Bet’ on Obamacare Surviving Next Legal Challenge



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President Obama’s old Harvard Law professor, Laurence Tribe, said that he “wouldn’t bet the family farm” on Obamacare’s surviving the legal challenges to an IRS rule about who is eligible for subsidies that are currently working their way through the federal courts.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Tribe told the Fiscal Times. “But I wouldn’t bet the family farm on this coming out in a way that preserves Obamacare.”

The law’s latest legal problem is that, as written, people who enroll in Obamacare through the federal exchange aren’t eligible for subsidies. The text of the law only provides subsidies for people enrolled through “an Exchange established by the State,” according to the text of the Affordable Care Act. Only 16 states decided to establish the exchanges.

The IRS issued a regulation expanding the pool of enrollees who qualify for the subsidies. Opponents of the law, such as the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and Jonathan Adler, argue that the IRS does not have the authority to make that change. (Halbig v. Burwell, one of the lawsuits making this argument, is currently pending before the D.C. Circuit Court; the loser will likely appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.)

“There are specific rules about when and how the IRS can deviate from the plain language of a statute,” Cannon explained to National Review Online, arguing that the subsidies regulation fails to comply with those rules.

The IRS can deviate from “absurd” laws, in theory, but the subsidies language is not absurd. “It might be stupid, but that’s not the test for absurdity,” Cannon says. Similarly, the IRS can deviate in the case of scrivener’s errors — typos, basically — but this is not a typo, Cannon says, because the language was written into repeated drafts of the law.

“They not only keep that language in there, but they even inserted it, this same phrase again, right before passage while the bill was in [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid’s office,” Cannon says. “So, it’s not a scrivener’s error, either.”

Keep reading this post . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Obamacare , Supreme Court

Our Chronically Relaxed President Approaches Vacation Time



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The morning’s news:

The White House late Wednesday confirmed that President Obama and his family will return to Martha’s Vineyard for two weeks of vacation in August.

I’m sure everyone who has griped and will gripe about folks on therRight griping about the president’s vacation denounced this cinematic scene, right?

Does the president really need to relax these days? As mentioned in the Jolt . . . 

President Obama was offered weed in that pool hall in Colorado. Kind of superfluous, isn’t it? Does this look like a guy who needs to relax more?

Forget the relaxants, does anyone have any stimulants to offer him? Sure, caffeine might make him jittery, but right now the guy with the highest-pressure, biggest-consequence job in America is showing all the stress of a late-night radio DJ. He’s got less anxiety than a mid-decade Matthew McConnaughey character. If only the country was doing “alright, alright, alright.”

We know why the president turned down the pot he was offered, of course: Michelle won’t let him have the brownies. The choom’s fine, but she draws the line at the sugar and calories.

There’s a humanitarian crisis on the border, the Middle East is burning down, the midterms look set to be disastrous for Democrats, and Obama’s still convinced he’s LeBron James. If he means cramping when everything is on the line, then yes. Congressional Democrats would probably say LeBron is the better teammate. Ironically, LeBron James is feeling more pressure than the president of the United States right now. But LeBron probably spends more time worrying about the future. President Obama isn’t LeBron James. He’s the Brazilian goalie.

Obama’s got two and a half years left in office, and he’s got high school senioritis. He’s doing more fundraisers than Jerry Lewis.

This morning Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Sheldon Adelson call for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Finally, the little guys are making the case that amnesty can work for them! You know, the day the Gates Foundation says to its founder, “Sorry, clean out your office — Carlos Slim is willing to do your job for less” then we can talk about the cost-benefit analysis of legalizing those who came here illegally.

The Daily Mail apologized to George Clooney for false reporting . . . and Clooney rejected the apology. The poor guy, such a victim. He’s got it rough. He lectured the newspaper “the coverup is always worse.” Then he went to another Obama fundraiser.

Tags: Barack Obama

The United States Never Volunteered to Be the World’s Orphanage



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From the Thursday Morning Jolt:

Glenn Beck’s Charity is the Best of America. It’s Also No Substitute for a Coherent National Immigration Policy, nor a Secure Border.

Glenn Beck is a big-hearted man:

Glenn Beck on Tuesday announced that he will be bringing tractor-trailers full of food, water, teddy bears and soccer balls to McAllen, Texas on July 19 as a way to help care for some of the roughly 60,000 underage refugees who have crossed into America illegally in 2014.

[Note from Jim: Notice the use of the term "refugee." Is that term really accurate for all of these children? Aren’t refugees usually fleeing a war, anarchy, or a natural disaster? Do you get refugee status if you’re leaving an area with a high crime rate?]

Beck said he will be joined by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), and a number of pastors and rabbis.

“Through no fault of their own, they are caught in political crossfire,” Beck said of the children. “And while we continue to put pressure on Washington and change its course of lawlessness, we must also help. It is not either, or. It is both. We have to be active in the political game, and we must open our hearts.”

“Everybody is telling me I’m seeing subscriptions down; I’m seeing Mercury One donations down,” Beck said, growing emotional. “I’m getting violent emails from people who say I’ve ‘betrayed the Republic.’ Whatever. I’ve never taken a position more deadly to my career than this — and I have never, ever taken a position that is more right than this.”

“We sure could use your help,” Beck continued. “I would like to ask you to donate to MercuryOne.org. If you don’t want to be involved in this, you don’t have to be. You can donate and earmark your money to be for preserving American history; we have a museum to build. . . . You could do it to help education. . . . We’re building hospitals. . . . But all the things that we do, they’re not about politics, because politics is turning us ugly. Politics is the vehicle that is driving us to the fundamental transformation of America.”

We’re fools if we criticize Glenn for his massive act of charity . . . but I also think we as Americans need to loudly proclaim that we are not set up to be, nor have we volunteered to be, the orphanage for the rest of the world. We may help out these kids because we’re kind-hearted souls; some will say it’s the Christian thing to do. But we’re not obligated to do this. This isn’t our responsibility and this isn’t our fault. The parents of those kids are the ones who should be taking care of them — feeding them, clothing them, sheltering them and educating them. And I don’t think it’s cold-hearted to ask whether our immediate effort to take care of these kids — because they so desperately need care — is setting us up to be their long-term caretaker.

We, the citizenry, did not make the choices that led us to this point.

Okay, a few of us did. Businesses, big and small, made the decision to employ illegal immigrants in violation of the law. A generation of Washington politicians made the decision to under-react to a largely open border with Mexico, even after 9/11. That same generation of politicians, running a government infrastructure capable of reading all of our e-mails and vacuuming up the metadata from all of our cellular phones, also shrugged as millions of visitors overstayed their visas and disappeared from the system. Local governments that will nail you for an expired parking meter announced they were “sanctuary cities” that would not cooperate with efforts to deport those here illegally.

Most of us had nothing to do with all of that. We lived our lives, periodically expressing the view that our immigration laws ought to be enforced, our borders ought to be secure, and legalizing an illegal immigrant is unfair to those who were willing to go through the (too-long, too-complicated, too-bureaucratic) process of naturalization — the ones who should be welcomed with open arms. For this view, we were called racist, hateful, and xenophobic.

And now we’re stuck with a humanitarian crisis on our border, one driven in part by the perception in some Central American countries that the United States is offering “permisos” for children who cross the border illegally — a rumor that picked up steam after President Obama announced he would not deport children who had come into the country illegally with their parents.

Some of the folks labeled “restrictionists” — I’ll let you decide whether that’s the fairest or most accurate description of that side of the debate — argued that just publicly discussing an amnesty creates new waves of illegal immigration, as foreign citizens rush to get over here to be in place to enjoy the amnesty. Give them credit for their ability to foresee the consequences of policy options.

President Obama could have mitigated, if not resolved this issue early on with a clear statement from the Oval Office declaring, “There are no ‘permisos.’ There will not be an amnesty. You have been lied to, or misinformed, by smugglers who want to take advantage of you. U.S. immigration law is still in effect. You will not be allowed to stay. Turn around and return to your homes. If you wish to live in America, begin the process of applying for a green card and be prepared to be patient.”

President Obama will never say things that simply because he wants to enact an amnesty — or at least a “comprehensive immigration reform” with “a path to citizenship” for those who entered the country illegally.

Last night’s presidential statement was sort-of, kind-of in the neighborhood when he said that the children were “unlikely” to be allowed to stay. But are poor families in Central America going to hear that? Or do they perceive that as “there’s a chance your children will be allowed to stay?”

So give those kids soccer balls and teddy bears, hot meals and fresh water, real cots, real blankets, and real clothes. And then give them a plane ticket back to their own country.

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration , Border Security , Glenn Beck , Barack Obama

Obama’s Approval Rating Today Matches Bush in September 2006



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Reminder: This is not a popular president.

 

Back in September 2006, heading into a midterm election cycle as President Obama is today, on the same RCP average, President George W. Bush was . . . around 41 percent approval, around 55 percent disapproval.

But hey, you know . . . maybe President Obama will win back Americans’ hearts by going out for burritos.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush

President Obama, Hard at Work Again



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No time for a presidential trip to the border, but time for three fundraisers and a trip to a brewery to shoot some pool!

Was it too hot to golf?

Then again, once you’ve run out to a campaign rally the day after a terror attack that kills a U.S. ambassador, it’s clear you don’t care about “optics” anymore.

Tags: Barack Obama

Let’s Show Some Compassion at the Border . . . for American Citizens, Too!



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From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

Let’s Show Some Compassion at the Border . . . for American Citizens, Too!

Of course:

President Obama is holding off for now on seeking new legal authority to send unaccompanied migrant kids back home faster from the Southern border, following criticism that the administration’s planned changes were too harsh.

The Acela Corridor Establishment’s conventional wisdom is that “comprehensive immigration reform” ought to legalize the 11 million or so in the country illegally. The same crowd now insists any proposal involving sending the kids back to their home countries is insufficiently compassionate.

How about some compassion for the communities currently trying to deal with the tsunami of unattended children? Here’s how the AP describes one stretch of our border in Mission, Texas:

The influx of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has grown so large that it now requires its own transportation system: government buses that spend each night idling on a Texas roadside, awaiting the latest arrivals . . . 

Just since October, the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector has made more than 194,000 arrests, nearly triple that of any other sector. In the first week of June alone, agents in this area south of Mission arrested more than 2,800 people, most from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, making it the highest-volume arrest zone on the entire U.S. border. More than 60 percent were children . . . 

Across the river is a garbage dump and a Reynosa slum that reaches nearly to the bank. Smoke from burning garbage sometimes drifts across the river so thick it’s difficult to see. At the river’s edge, discarded pieces of clothing, orange life vests and deflated inner tubes litter the sand.

A few days earlier, as a reporter in a kayak approached a hairpin bend in the river, a cartel sentry on a bluff 20 feet above the river slammed a magazine into his assault rifle. He asked where the paddler had come from and who gave him permission to be there. A radio squawked at his waist. The cartel controls what crosses the river.

That’s part of why Napoleon Garza doesn’t bring his kids here to fish like he did as a child. Garza recently drove through one of the many gaps in the border wall to cut a tree stump from property owned by his uncle.

“When they built the border wall, everything ended because they left a big old gap right here that so happened to be where our land is,” said Garza, 38, who sells firewood for a living.

How about some compassion for the U.S. Border Patrol personnel trying to humanely deal with a problem they were never trained to address? Suddenly they have to do the job of the Centers for Disease Control as well:

Approximately 40 immigrants in detention at one center in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s San Diego Sector have active cases of scabies, a source tells National Review Online, and they could soon be spreading it to the general public.

A Border Patrol agent who helped process illegal immigrants at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station on Sunday tells NRO that the 40 immigrants infected with scabies arrived on a plane that landed July 4, carrying about 140 immigrants total.

The agent says the people at FEMA who are responsible for doing the medical screening of the immigrants before they’re transferred to California should be fired. “Management’s more concerned about processing and getting rid of them as quickly as possible than looking at decontamination,” the agent says. “And [the released illegal immigrants] go out in the community, get on the public transportation, go where they need to go, and it could result in another infestation of scabies being spread everywhere.”

But the San Diego Sector was already dealing with a scabies outbreak when the latest batch of illegal immigrants arrived. Two agents at the Brown Field Border Patrol Station developed rashes on July 3 after processing illegal immigrants from Texas, according to a letter obtained by NRO written by Ron Zermeno, health and safety director of National Border Patrol Council Local 1613. Zermeno confirmed the veracity of the letter and the facts contained therein to NRO.

How about a proposal that anybody who wants these kids to stay in the United States has to open their home to them? The loudest Acela Corridor advocates of “comprehensive immigration reform” live their lives far from sustained contact with any actual illegal immigrants. Perhaps there’s an outside chance that they employ some illegal immigrants as gardeners or housekeepers. Perhaps they bus or wait the tables at their favorite restaurants. But they live very far from the problems that mass illegal immigration brings. They certainly don’t face downward pressure on wages from illegal immigrants getting paid under the table. They don’t encounter gangs. They live far from the violence and their only encounter with a drug cartel is a secretive encounter with their smuggled product.

Here’s another proposal: If Obama gets the $2 billion he wants to build the infrastructure to process these illegal immigrants, the holding facilities have to be built in places like Hyde Park in Chicago, the Upper West Side in Manhattan, Billionaire’s Row in San Francisco and Marin County in California, Burlington, Vermont . . . 

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Texas , Border Security , Barack Obama

With Midterms Four Months Away, Dashboard Is Blinking Red for Democrats



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Big week ahead! The first Morning Jolt of the week kicks off with “Reform Conservatives” getting the rock-star treatment, a prescription and a forecast for a Conservative Insurgency, a 1980s-minded pep talk for the Right, and then this look ahead to November . . . 

With Midterms Four Months Away, Dashboard Is Blinking Red for Democrats

John Couvillon of JMC Enterprises in Louisiana examined the turnout in states that had contested primaries for both Democrats and Republicans in statewide races this year and four years ago — 14 states so far.

Here’s what he found, compared to four years ago:

Republican enthusiasm (percentage-wise) is stronger than it was in 2010, and (2) overall turnout volume is lower than in 2010, although Democratic turnout volume has deceased far more than Republican turnout.

Republicans made up 55 percent of the turnout four years ago; this year they’re 63 percent of the turnout. Of course, Democrats may have a particularly boring or lopsided set of primaries this cycle.

Politico concludes:

With four months until Election Day, Republicans are as close to winning the Senate as they’ve been since losing it in 2006. They’ve landed top recruits to take on first-term senators in New Hampshire and Colorado, nominated credible female candidates in open-seat contests in Michigan and Iowa, protected all of their incumbents from tea party challenges and thwarted more conservative candidates that could have hurt the GOP’s chances in states like North Carolina and Georgia.

You notice how it feels like Obamacare dropped out of the news, right? Don’t worry. You’ll be hearing about it again in the fall:

Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms.

. . . With Democrats looking to hang on to Senate seats in many Republican-leaning states, they’ll be hoping that the final numbers don’t come in anywhere near the 24.6 percent hike that report from the anti-Obamacare Heritage Foundation projected for a family of four in Arkansas, or even the 13.1 percent increase in Alaska or 12.4 percent in Louisiana.

So far, although no state has finalized its rate, 21 have posted bids for 2015. Average preliminary premiums went up in all 21, though only a few by double digits.

We know the Democrats will want to change the discussion to a new set of issues — climate change! Infrastructure spending! Workplace inequality!

But the “shiny object” strategy may not work well with so many worsening crises at home and abroad, as Da Tech Guy notices:

It’s hard to fathom now, but one of the major issues of the 2012 presidential campaign was Mitt Romney’s 15-year leadership of the Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital, which he co-founded.

Two years later President Obama, who of course defeated Romney in ’12, faces multiple crises, including scandals involving IRS targeting of conservative groups, deadly waiting lists at VA hospitals, as well as a collapsing Iraq, Russia’s seizure of Ukraine, a still stagnant economy, and 300,000 illegal alien children crossing over our lightly watched southern border.

None of these hotspots have anything to do with Bain Capital, other than, remotely, the rotten Obama economy.

Above, the rabbit that attacked President Jimmy Carter
in his canoe on April 20, 1979
, is pardoned by President Obama

at the White House Fourth of July ceremony.

Tags: Barack Obama , Senate Democrats , Midterm

Obama: Republicans Need More ‘Economic Patriotism’



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House Republicans need more “economic patriotism,” President Obama suggested while making another call for Congress to pass his preferred policy initiatives.

“[W]e can make even more progress if Congress is willing to work with my administration and to set politics aside, at least occasionally, which I know is what the American people are urgently looking for,” Obama said Thursday at 1776. “It’s a sort of economic patriotism where you say to yourself, how is it that we can start rebuilding this country to make sure that all of the young people who are here but their kids and their grandkids are going to be able to enjoy the same incredible opportunities that this country offers as we have.  That’s our job.  That’s what we should be focused on.  And it’s worth remembering as we go into Independence Day.”

House Speaker John Boehner’s office has pointed out that the Republicans are doing things — 40 things, currently pending in the Senate — they just aren’t passing the bills that Obama wants.

“It’s clear President Obama is hopelessly out of touch – claiming House Republicans are ‘not doing anything’ just doesn’t fit reality,” Matt Wolking wrote at Boehner’s website. ”Surely by now he’s heard about our jobs bills ‘on the news’? After all, dozens of them are sitting in the Senate, being blocked by Democrats like Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.).”

 

Tags: Barack Obama , House Republicans

Why Americans Want Politicans to Push Around Their Employers



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There’s a thread that ties the Democrats’ arguments on the employer-covered contraceptive coverage mandate and their push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour: We’re going to make your employer give you something you want.

People rarely turn down things that they’re offered for free.

Before those of us on the Right commence fuming about “makers” and “takers,” we probably ought to think about why swaths of the electorate are so receptive to this message, and so eagerly buy into a narrative where they are the victims of their miserly bosses, and the heroic white knight of Democrat-run big government must come in and give them what they deserve.

Throughout the past three decades, without any real national debate or referendum, American workers found themselves in an era of fierce foreign competition. Goods are easily imported, and services increasingly can be handed elsewhere as well. First your telemarketer or help line was serviced from Bangalore, then it became an electronic voice menu. (“I’m sorry. I did not understand your answer. Please try again.”) Companies periodically embraced “outsourcing” and “offshoring,” utilizing cheaper labor in other countries. Mass illegal immigration increased the supply of labor, particularly manual labor.

“Chainsaw Al” Dunlap, a corporate executive who built a notorious reputation for mass layoffs at Scott Paper and then Sunbeam, helped create the modern iconic villain of a corporate executive willing to throw away his own workers in pursuit of a higher stock share price. The perception of callous and greedy corporate executives long outlasted Dunlap, who was tossed out at Sunbeam in 1998. American workers feel that their employers aren’t loyal to them, so they feel no need to reciprocate that loyalty.

Wage growth is “down from the end of 2008, broadly flat over the past decade, and on an inflation-adjusted basis, wages peaked in 1973, fully 40 years ago. Apart from brief lapses, like in the late 1990s, wages have been falling for a generation.”

There are times when those thriving the most will observe the difficult time that those once considered “middle class” are having, and rather openly say that they don’t care or that it reflects some meritocratic punishment for Americans who have grown too entitled:

The U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds told me that his firm’s investment committee often discusses the question of who wins and who loses in today’s economy. In a recent internal debate, he said, one of his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter. “His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade,” the CEO recalled.

I heard a similar sentiment from the Taiwanese-born, 30-something CFO of a U.S. Internet company. A gentle, unpretentious man who went from public school to Harvard, he’s nonetheless not terribly sympathetic to the complaints of the American middle class. “We demand a higher paycheck than the rest of the world,” he told me. “So if you’re going to demand 10 times the paycheck, you need to deliver 10 times the value. It sounds harsh, but maybe people in the middle class need to decide to take a pay cut.”

Easy for him to say!

Note that a striking percentage of Americans don’t like their jobs: “Approximately 70 million Americans either hated their jobs or were simply ‘checked out,’ according to a recent Gallup survey of America’s workforce.”

That Gallup survey found that one of the biggest factors in an employee’s engagement is the opinion of the boss – more consequential than pay level, hours, benefits, and workload. “Managers from hell are creating active disengagement costing the United States an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually,” wrote Jim Clifton, the C.E.O. and chairman of Gallup.

Obviously, these things are subjective, but maybe Americans really have worse bosses than a generation ago. Mocking the boss has always been a comedy staple — Office Space, Dilbert, Horrible Bosses — but maybe people laugh because they relate all too well. They feel like their hopes, dreams, and life’s path are blocked, indefinitely, by the pointy-haired micro-manager. No wonder they cheer a Democratic officeholder who pledges to make the boss give you more stuff.

Mitt Romney and other Republicans spent a good portion of 2012 singing the praises of “entrepreneurs,” and perhaps many Americans heard that as singing the praises of their bosses — or more likely, the founder of the company that hired them, whom in most cases they’ve never even met.

Of course, you won’t get very far in life if you see your boss as your enemy. Ideally, it’s a partnership. But that requires a positive, flexible, mature attitude on the part of the employee — and the boss as well.

Companies will argue that no one sets out to hire a bad manager — true enough — and that they’re giving their workers the best deal that they can, setting their wages at the market rate. Still, some of America’s businesses are sitting on piles of cash — $1.64 trillion among U.S. non-financial companies at the end of 2013. If America’s businessmen are worried about the growing atmosphere of resentment, populist anger, demonization of the wealthy, then throwing that money around — whether it’s on higher wages, new hires, new product research and development, or plant expansion — might persuade frustrated, increasingly cynical Americans that the companies that employ them aren’t such bad guys.


Is this the face of America’s employers?

Tags: Economy , Business , Office Space , Barack Obama , Hobby Lobby , Minimum Wage

Plurality of Registered Voters: We Would Be Better Off With Romney



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Good morning, Mr. President. Quinnipiac polling has some news that may depress you:

President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush.

Ronald Reagan is the best president since WWII, 35 percent of voters say, with 18 percent for Bill Clinton, 15 percent for John F. Kennedy and 8 percent for Obama, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.

Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, 39 percent of voters say, while 40 percent say he is worse. Men say 43 – 36 percent that Obama is worse than Bush while women say 42 – 38 percent he is better. Obama is worse, Republicans say 79 – 7 percent and independent voters say 41 – 31 percent. Democrats say 78 – 4 percent that he is better.

Voters say by a narrow 37 – 34 percent that Obama is better for the economy than Bush.

America would be better off if Republican Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election, 45 percent of voters say, while 38 percent say the country would be worse off.

Wait, Mr. President, don’t go back to bed! There’s more!

The economy and jobs are the most important problems facing the country today, 35 percent of voters say, with 12 percent listing politicians/campaigns/corruption, 6 percent each for healthcare and foreign affairs, 5 percent for the budget and 4 percent each for education and immigration.

Obama gets negative grades for his handling of most key issues:

• Negative 40 – 55 percent for handling the economy;

• Negative 37 – 57 percent for foreign policy;

• Negative 40 – 58 percent for health care;

• 50 – 40 percent for the environment;

• Negative 44 – 51 percent for terrorism.

The poll was conducted from June 24–30, surveying 1,446 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points, and used live interviewers to call land lines and cell phones.


Don’t worry, Mr. President. Tee time gets closer every minute.

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney

Ted Cruz: Obama’s 20 Unanimous Supreme Court Losses Outpace Bush and Clinton



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President Obama has seen 20 unanimous defeats before the Supreme Court during the five and a half years of his presidency, a pace that outstrips former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, according to a review of his record since 2009 by Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas).

“President Obama’s unanimous Supreme Court loss rate, for the five and half years of his presidency, is nearly double that of President Bush and is 25 percent greater than President Clinton,” Cruz notes in a survey of how Obama’s lawyers performed before the high court. Bush lost 15 cases unanimously, while Clinton lost 23 — but those defeats came over an eight-year period. When Cruz released his first report on the topic in April of 2013, he pointed out that Obama had lost nine cases unanimously since January of 2012. This latest installment takes account of the four most recent unanimous rulings against Obama, and the seven handed down by the court before 2012.

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.”

“This tally does not capture all of the Obama Administration’s losing arguments, as it does not include unanimous rejections for more governmental power made in the Obama Administration’s friend-of-the-court (amicus) briefs supporting non-federal parties, which would put the Obama Administration’s losses much higher,” Cruz wrote.

The Texas freshman detailed the significance of Obama’s more recent defeats in his April 2013 report.

“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.

You can see the whole Cruz series here.

Tags: Ted Cruz , Barack Obama , Supreme Court

More U.S. Troops to Iraq, but Don’t Call It ‘Mission Creep’!



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President Obama, June 19:

I think we always have to guard against mission creep, so let me repeat what I’ve said in the past: American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again.

The news this morning:

. . . Another 100 troops, who had been on standby in the Middle East since mid-June, also will move into Baghdad to provide security and logistics support.

That raises to about 470 the number of U.S. troops providing security in Baghdad.

Those forces are separate from the teams of up to 300 U.S. military advisers that Obama authorized for deployment to Iraq earlier in June. Of those 300, about 180 had arrived as of Monday, the Pentagon said. They are assessing the state of Iraqi security forces and coordinating with Iraqi authorities.

The U.S. also has a permanent group of about 100 military personnel in the Office of Security Cooperation, at the U.S. Embassy, to coordinate U.S. military sales.

That adds up to about 870 U.S. military personnel in Iraq.

How many times can the president send another couple hundred troops before it starts becoming “mission creep”?

UPDATE: Another thought — when President Obama declares, “American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again,” has ISIS gotten that memo? What happens if (when?) ISIS starts taking shots at our embassy or other Americans in the area?

Tags: Barack Obama , Iraq

We’re Back to ‘Crumbling Roads and Bridges’ Again



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From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

Boy, That’s New! Another Call for More Infrastructure Spending!

Hope you didn’t need to use the Key Bridge today, Washington-area commuters:

WH offl: Tomorrow, the President will make remarks at the Key Bridge in Washington, DC

— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 30, 2014

WH offl: Obama will call on Congress to act to invest in America’s infrastructure to create good jobs across the country.

— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 30, 2014

You may have forgotten President Obama touted the stimulus as “the largest new investment in our nation’s infrastructure since Eisenhower.” The current fight on Capitol Hill is about renewing “MAP-21,” the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012. That bill funded surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

Back in 2009, Congress made “the largest new investment in America’s infrastructure since the Interstate Highway System” and then spends about $52 billion per year, and yet we’re still hearing the same complaints about “crumbling roads and bridges.”

A Google search shows 111 news articles in recent weeks using the phrase, “crumbling roads and bridges.” (Overall on the web, 321,000.)

No matter how much we spend, we keep getting told that our infrastructure is crumbling like a stale doughnut and we absolutely must spend more. What, have we been building bridges out of balsa wood? Are we resurfacing our roads with graham crackers?

It’s easy to suspect that this spending isn’t really driven by physical demands but by a desire to keep the money flowing. As for those fantastic jobs, as the president later acknowledged, “Shovel-ready was not as . . . uh . . . shovel-ready as we expected.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Infrastructure , Highway , Roads and Bridges

A Well-Founded Loss of Confidence in American Government



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Today from Gallup: “Americans’ confidence in all three branches of the U.S. government has fallen, reaching record lows for the Supreme Court (30 percent) and Congress (7 percent), and a six-year low for the presidency (29 percent). The presidency had the largest drop of the three branches this year, down seven percentage points from its previous rating of 36 percent.”

Considering the state of the economy and economic opportunity, health care, the Middle East ablaze, scandals, screw-ups and corruption at the IRS, NSA and VA with a crackdown on whistleblowers, chaos on our southern border with a deluge of unattended children, and gas prices hitting a six-year high despite a boom in domestic oil production… that lack of confidence appears spectacularly well-founded.

This is not a good environment to be a longtime government official — say, a former senator and Secretary of State asking Americans to see you as the right person to clean up the mess. As stated in today’s Jolt, “the problem for Hillary is that acknowledging the obvious would showcase her as the anti-populist candidate of 2016. She became immensely wealthy because of her political power, which smells a lot like cashing in on one’s elected office — toxic at a time when Americans feel like their elected officials don’t listen to them and don’t understand their struggles in this persistently lousy economy.”

Or as Kevin Williamson puts it:

Political power outlasts political office: Hillary Clinton is no longer secretary of state or a senator or in any of the other positions she has held as a form of tribute paid to her husband; but she very well may be a future president. She has been paid an enormous advance on a book that almost certainly will not justify that expenditure, and collects speech honoraria that are, if not quite up at her husband’s stratospheric levels, nonetheless substantial. What is she being paid for? It is hard to see how economic value, strictly understood, explains that… Political power is worth investing in, and worth renting when it is needed.

Considering the evidence, why should Americans have confidence in their government?

Governing is a lot harder than it looks from the outside.

Tags: Barack Obama , Supreme Court , Congress , Gallup

Administration Fears ‘New Generation of Bombs’ Coming from Syria



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President Obama, speaking at the National Defense University, May 23, 2013:

That’s the current threat — lethal yet less capable al Qaeda affiliates; threats to diplomatic facilities and businesses abroad; homegrown extremists.  This is the future of terrorism. We have to take these threats seriously, and do all that we can to confront them.  But as we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11. 

The news today:

The Obama administration may ask overseas partners to enhance security measures at airports and is weighing whether to do the same here at home to address deepening concerns that terrorists in war-ravaged Syria are trying to develop a new generation of bombs that could be smuggled onto commercial planes, ABC News has learned.

“[This threat] is different and more disturbing than past aviation plots,” one source said. The issue was discussed this past week at the White House during a meeting of top-level officials from intelligence agencies, sources said…

Specifically, U.S. officials learned that associates of the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria — the Al Nusrah Front — and radicals from other groups were teaming up with elements of the Yemen-based group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which built such innovative devices as the “underwear bomb” that ultimately failed to detonate in a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

Bolstered by more recent intelligence, U.S. analysts believe the “subset” of extreme terrorists in Syria could be looking to down a U.S.- or European-bound plane, with help from one of the thousands of Americans and other foreign fighters carrying U.S. and European passports who have joined Al Nusrah Front and other groups in the region.

The scale of that threat doesn’t seem like pre-9/11 anymore, now does it?

Tags: Terrorism , Syria , Barack Obama

Rand Paul Defends President Obama From Dick Cheney



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Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) defended President Obama from former vice president Dick Cheney’s critiques of his policy in Iraq, saying that he faults Cheney and the rest of President George W. Bush’s team for launching an invasion of Iraq that ultimately strengthened Iran.

“What’s going on now, I don’t blame on President Obama,” Paul told NBC’s David Gregory. “But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who were for the Iraq war for emboldening Iran.”

Paul explained that “Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq war than they were before. Before, there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites; now, there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) made a similar point while dismissing Secretary of State John Kerry’s suggestion that the United States could collaborate with Iran on a response to the militants now storming Iraq. Pelosi, noting that Saddam Hussein’s regime was a counterweight to Iran in the region, said that Iran is now ”free and clear because we took out their main check.”

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly raked Cheney over the coals for the mistakes made in the lead-up and during the Iraq War.

“But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir,” Kelly told him.  “You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  You said we would greeted as liberators.  You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005.  And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’  Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?” 

Cheney responded that no one, in the lead-up to the invasion, doubted that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. “We had a situation where if we — after 9/11, we were concerned about a follow-up  attack, it would involve not just airline tickets and box cutters as the weapons, but rather something far deadlier, perhaps even a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Paul has hit Cheney over his support for the Iraq War before.  ”I think there’s at least the appearance and the chance of a conflict of interest,” Paul said of Cheney’s work with Halliburton. ”And in his case, there was a policy of thinking it was a bad idea to invade Baghdad — then going to work in private for a contractor, coming back and now saying it was good. I don’t know what his thought process is, and I’m not trying to say. I’m just saying there’s an appearance that there could be a conflict of interest.”

The comment was made in 2009, but didn’t receive much attention until Mother Jones published the video in April, at which point Paul emphasized that he didn’t believe Cheney supported the war in order to benefit his old company.

“The point I was trying to make is one similar to one Eisenhower made,” Paul told Business Insider. ”He said that the military-industrial complex — beware, because then they could be influencing policy by people who make money off government contracts. I wasn’t intending really to impugn his personal motives. I think he is a patriot as much as anyone else, and wants what’s best for the country. I don’t always agree with him, but I don’t question his motives.”

Charles Krauthammer explains how Obama bears responsibility for failing to secure a status of forces agreement that would have helped prevent the current instability by leaving United States forces in Iraq.

“David Petraeus had won the war. Obama’s one task was to conclude a status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to solidify the gains. By Obama’s own admission — in the case he’s now making for a status-of-forces agreement with Afghanistan — such agreements are necessary ‘because after all the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains’ achieved by war,” Krauthammer wrote. “Which is what made his failure to do so in Iraq so disastrous. His excuse was his inability to get immunity for U.S. soldiers. Nonsense. Bush had worked out a compromise in his 2008 SOFA, as we have done with allies everywhere. The real problem was Obama’s reluctance to maintain any significant presence in Iraq.”

 

Tags: Iraq , Rand Paul , Barack Obama , Dick Cheney

National Journal: ‘The Once-Soaring Avatar of Change Crashing Earthward’



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From the last Morning Jolt until June 30 . . . 

300 More U.S. Troops in Iraq. So . . . Are We At War With ISIS?

I’m not saying this move from President Obama is the wrong one

Obama said he would send up to 300 additional U.S. Special Operations troops to better assess the situation on the ground, where forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have moved ever nearer to Baghdad, and to determine “how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces going forward.”

But what do we do if some of those 300 guys get attacked? If ISIS ambushes some of our guys in a Black Hawk Down Mogadishu-style scenario . . . doesn’t that drag us into this war even further? I’m all for killing ISIS, but are we sure we want to pursue this path? Is the president sure?

We all know that our Special Operations guys are the best of the best, but they can’t win the war for the Iraqi government.

I suppose if there’s a chance you’ll run across Persians, 300 guys is a good number to have.

James Oliphant of National Journal acknowledges what so many in Washington have tried to deny for about six years now: the world doesn’t work the way Barack Obama thought it did.

[Sending 250 troops to Iraq to help secure the embassy] is a tacit acknowledgment that many of the assumptions that Obama and his foreign policy team made about the world have proven to be incorrect:   

• That without the leverage of U.S. military power in the country, Iraqi leaders would pursue political change that wouldn’t leave Sunnis alienated and antagonized and that its security forces could counter internal threats

• That Afghanistan would be stable enough for the U.S. to end that war and depart with confidence the government can keep the nation on a stable path;

• That the U.S. could pursue a “reset” with Vladimir Putin’s Russia — but then watched his troops take Crimea and threaten the rest of Ukraine;

• That the civil war in Syria could somehow be contained within its borders — and could reach a resolution without American intervention.

More than anything, these events and others have served as a rebuke to Team Obama’s worldview that a new generation of leadership could move on from both the Clinton-era and Bush-era policies. Both of those administrations were more hawkish and aggressive about the exercise of American power, whether it was to intercede in regional conflicts in the Balkans or take down Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

Disdainful of much of Washington’s foreign policy establishment, Obama and his close-knit circle of advisers, on the other hand, talked about engaging Iran diplomatically, using sanctions to punish bad actors, “pivoting” to Asia, and neutralizing the threat of terrorism more bloodlessly through the use of drones. They viewed American power in terms of limits. This was a president, after all, who opposed the U.S. “surge” that arguably stabilized Iraq to the point where Obama could pull the troops out.

Yet here was Obama on Thursday using the language of presidents past such as John Kennedy and George W. Bush, talking of sending “advisers” into a global hot spot and warning of the need to deny “safe haven” to terrorist groups. “Right now, this is the moment when the fate of Iraq hangs in the balance,” he said — something that sounded So 10 Years Ago.
That’s why Obama’s remarks had to have left such a bitter taste. Iraq was a box that his administration had checked. And already, the unrest there is casting fresh doubt on his decision to leave Afghanistan just a few years removed from calling for his own “surge” there. Americans are giving his handling of foreign policy the lowest marks of his presidency. With Syria on fire, Egypt and Libya in turmoil, and Russia meddling in Ukraine, the world has reached up and pulled the once-soaring avatar of change crashing earthward.
Icarus, we told you so.

The odds of President Obama’s drastically changing his foreign-policy worldview are slim . . . but even if he did change his approach to the likes of Russia, Iran, Assad in Syria and the rest . . . would the Democratic party’s base revolt against those changes?

Tags: Barack Obama , Iraq , ISIS , Foreign Policy

The Echo-Chamber Effect, Hobbling Obama as Much as the Right



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

The Echo-Chamber Effect, Hobbling Obama as Much as the Right

Conservatives sometimes lament that we can become our own echo chamber, convinced that we’re reaching a larger audience than we really are, unable to relate to or persuade those who don’t already agree with us. It’s a fair criticism. We need to address it.

But the same phenomenon does occur on the other side, and arguably with more severe consequences. Here’s the president, speaking at UC Irvine this weekend, discussing his climate-change and carbon-emission proposal:

It’s pretty rare that you’ll encounter somebody who says the problem you’re trying to solve simply doesn’t exist. When President Kennedy set us on a course for the moon, there were a number of people who made a serious case that it wouldn’t be worth it; it was going to be too expensive, it was going to be too hard, it would take too long. But nobody ignored the science. I don’t remember anybody saying that the moon wasn’t there or that it was made of cheese.

President Obama is really, really, really bothered by the fact that some Americans don’t believe that human activity can significantly impact the climate. To him, this is something to fume about in public. It’s a top priority to him — even if climate change ranks near the bottom of the electorate’s priorities.

Here’s a Tweet from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Monday morning:

Macintosh HD:Users:jimgeraghty:Desktop:Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 11.55.50 AM.png

The link is to an e-mail signup list for a U.S. State Department conference on oceans.

An audit of the Department of Veterans Affairs found that “more than 57,000 patients have been waiting more than three months for medical appointments at hospitals and clinics run by the VA, and nearly 64,000 others have been enrolled in the system for a decade but have still not been seen by doctors despite their requests,” and Monday brought new revelations of “dozens” of allegations of punishing whistleblowers who balked at falsifying records. One can reasonably argue that VA staffers ought to pay more attention to their actual jobs than to climate-change issues.

The U.S. State Department is currently evacuating nonessential personnel from Iraq, and by the time you read this, we may be evacuating essential personnel, too. They, too, may have more pressing concerns than promoting a conference on oceans.

But the Obama administration has set its agenda for 2014, and it’s not going to let little things like world events get in the way. Obama intends to run upon climate change, the minimum wage, the need for “common sense” gun control, and workplace equality.

He’ll campaign upon the need for “comprehensive immigration reform,” complete with a “path to citizenship,” even though we’re facing a humanitarian crisis on the border from a sudden influx of unattended children — an entirely predictable response to a policy change that provides a path to U.S. citizenship to children who enter the country illegally.

And he’ll spend the summer on his traditional golf and fundraising schedule.

If you ask a conservative what issues are on his mind, you might get a list that included the administration’s shameless dishonesty about the Benghazi terror attack, the national shame that is the VA scandal, and the sense that crises from Ukraine to Syria to Iraq to the South Pacific are spinning out of control. The border is unsecured. Obamacare is a mess, forcing people to buy coverage they don’t want, paying higher premiums than they expected, forced into narrow networks where they can’t keep the doctor they like. We’re letting the worst of the worst out of Guantanamo Bay for one imprisoned American.

You and I know those are legitimate concerns, but a lot of Americans don’t think about those topics much. If you asked those folks either in the middle or tuned out what worries them, and what they wish lawmakers would address, you would probably get a much simpler list.

People are having trouble finding jobs. The jobs don’t pay particularly well. It’s tough to find a good job with manageable hours and decent benefits. There’s no guarantee that your local public school will educate your kids particularly well. If your kids do make the grades they need to get into college, most schools are way too expensive. You can take out student loans, but you’ll spend half your life paying them back, and a college degree is no longer a guarantee of a well-paying job. Are young people able to start their lives, start their careers, get married, start families of their own? How long can young adults last in a perpetual adolescence? With all of these financial pressures coming at people from all directions, retirement seems like a more faraway goal.

It feels like a covenant with Americans, set a generation or two ago, is broken. Perhaps this is what Salena Zito is getting at when she describes the populist storm building in America’s heartland:

It is a cautionary thread — yet most people in Washington do not understand this moderate-in-tone populist wave. First, the wave is not going to take out every incumbent, so no “secret sauce” can “fix” it; second, it will have broad impact on both parties; third, it is relatively invisible because it has no name, no brand or party allegiance.

The problem is that while it’s easy to articulate what feels wrong about modern American life, it’s hard to put together a set of policy proposals that have a decent shot at fixing it. Ultimately, a lot of us would like to live in the America of the 1980s again — a booming economy capable of creating 500,000 new jobs in a month, a military buildup with no actual shooting wars going on, and Bill Cosby on our television screens.

It’s frustrating that the country’s middle or apolitical chunk of the electorate doesn’t share the concerns and priorities of the conservative grassroots. But they also don’t share the concerns and priorities of the progressive grassroots, either. President Obama is going to spend the next few months trying to get a country, beset by crisis after crisis, mess after mess, to ignore what’s worrying them and adopt the priorities of the Left.

Here’s the U.S. State Department home page right now:

Tags: Barack Obama , GOP , Conservatives

Irony You Can Believe In: Obama Sends U.S. Troops to Iraq



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In the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt . . . 

Irony of Ironies: President Obama Sends U.S. Troops to Iraq

This job is hard, isn’t it, Mr. President?

It’s hard to disagree with the decision to move troops to protect our people in country. It’s also hard to stifle a chuckle that the man whose entire rise in national politics was driven by the insistence that we had to get all U.S. troops out of Iraq, and that the fate of that country was no longer America’s concern, finding himself sending more troops into that country and realizing that control of Iraq is indeed very much an American concern.

As Islamic militants continue their murderous advance in Iraq, the Pentagon is moving more firepower and manpower into the region to prepare for whatever U.S. President Barack Obama orders.

Already at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, dozens of Marines and Army troops have moved in to beef up security.

The aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush and five other warships are now in the Persian Gulf. More than 500 Marines and dozens of helicopters are on standby.

A top priority: evacuate all Americans at the embassy if it comes to that.

It’s nice to see the Obama administration taking the security of American diplomats in an unstable, dangerous Muslim country seriously for a change, isn’t it?

Of course, we may see more than just embassy protection: “On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, in an interview with Yahoo! News, acknowledged that airstrikes on Iraqi targets are under consideration.”

To quote William Shatner in Airplane 2, “Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes.”

The scene in the Fox News Washington Bureau Green Room last night: A producer walks in: “General, we’re ready to take you to the set!”

Two men look up. “Which one?”

For what it’s worth, in the military community, there’s some skepticism that the several thousand guys of ISIS will be able to conquer Baghdad. Maybe it’s time for those guys to get bogged down in the nightmare of urban fighting.

But they are getting close:

Iraqi government forces are engaged in heavy clashes with Sunni insurgents who have made major advances in the past week.

Reports say parts of the city of Baquba — just 60km (37 miles) from Baghdad — were briefly taken over by the rebels.

Of course, sectarian killing may arrive in Baghdad before ISIS does:

The first recent sign of sectarian killing appeared in Baghdad late Monday when police found the bodies of four young Sunni men shot to death and left on a street in a mainly Shiite area of eastern Baghdad.

They were between 25 and 30 years old and had been shot numerous times, according to a police source in the Interior Ministry.

Iraq’s largest oil refinery is now shut down.

Oh, and bringing together all of our recent big War on Terror news together:

Spanish police are holding 10 people including a former Guantanamo Bay detainee for allegedly recruiting jihadi militants to fight abroad, mainly in Iraq and Syria.

Tags: Barack Obama , Iraq

Just How Long Can the U.S. Contemplate Its Response to ISIS?



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It’s easy to understand why a man elected president because of his opposition to the Iraq War would be extremely hesitant to commit military forces to help save the Iraqi government.

It’s a perfectly fair question as to whether U.S. military force could be decisive in the fight against ISIS, or whether that action would be delaying the inevitable, or whether any government headed by Maliki is destined to fall apart eventually.

But Obama began by saying . . . 

Over the last several days, we’ve seen significant gains made by ISIL, a terrorist organization that operates in both Iraq and in Syria. In the face of a terrorist offensive, Iraqi security forces have proven unable to defend a number of cities, which has allowed the terrorists to overrun a part of Iraq’s territory. And this poses a danger to Iraq and its people, and given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well.

and then he also said . . . 

We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq’s security forces. And I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead . . . We’ll be monitoring the situation in Iraq very carefully over the next several days.

At one point, Obama openly acknowledged the difference in speed between the events in Iraq and the decision-making of his administration:

. . . although events on the ground in Iraq have been happening very quickly, our ability to plan — whether it’s military action or work with the Iraqi government on some of these political issues — is going to take several days. So people should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight.

Isn’t the president worried that by the time he resolves how to react to the situation as it existed on, say, Saturday, it will change, and/or worsen? Doesn’t the president and his team need to speed up their OODA loop (“Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act”) if they want to have an impact on the situation?

Or is the slow, deliberate pace the point?

Tags: Barack Obama , Iraq

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