The unemployment rate is down, gas prices and inflation are low, and the president notched some major accomplishments. But Obama remains a polarizing figure, and Americans are feeling insecure.
by George E. Condon Jr. • NationalJournal
By almost all traditional metrics, the White House should be celebrating his 2015 instead of offering the subdued and measured defense seen from President Obama at his end-of-the-year press conference. After all, the usual numbers are good—unemployment rate down, job creation up, inflation low, GDP up, gas prices declining. Only the stock market, which will end the year slightly down, is in negative territory.
To add to a bullish appraisal for the president’s agenda, the year saw him prevail on some of his top priorities—protecting Obamacare, achieving a nuclear deal with Iran, reaching an international climate agreement, and pushing through his rapprochement with Cuba. The president can also point to the lowest “Misery Index”—adding unemployment with inflation—since Harry Truman was president. The current 5.3 Misery Index would normally guarantee high approval. Continue reading
The refugee crisis exists because America has indulged foolish foreign policies. To get out of this mess will require wisdom, not more of the same.
by Luma Simms • The Federalist
I was neither born nor bred in this country. I don’t have Ivy League credentials. Unlike elitists and pundits informed as much by cocktail parties as they are by polls and studies, I’m informed by blood, kin, and culture.
I was born in Baghdad to Christian parents who emigrated the old-fashioned way—legally—and for an old-fashioned reason: The treatment of Christians, like my family, by Muslims in the surrounding culture.
I cry at the “Star Spangled Banner,” and I cry when my naturalized home wages war against my birth home. I am an American. I am also Iraqi, and a Moslawii down to my dialect and my cooking. Continue reading
By Patrick Goodenough • CNSNews.com
Since the Paris terror attacks on November 13, the State Department has admitted 132 Syrian refugees into the United States, and all 132 are Sunni Muslims.
No Christian, Druze, Shi’ite, Alawite, or member of any other religious minority in Syria has been admitted over that period, according to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center.
The majority of the 132 Syrian refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. since November 13 (72) are male, the minority female (60). Of the 132 total, 39 (29.5 percent) have been men between the ages of 14 and 50. Continue reading
by Mac Thornberry • RealClearPolitics
The ISIS attack on Paris has been a wake-up call for the world. A network of terrorists exploited weaknesses in Western intelligence networks, border controls, and law enforcement to savagely attack soft targets and inflict devastating casualties. To protect America, Congress has rightly acted on one of these weaknesses and strengthened the screening of Syrian refugees. Paris has more lessons to teach. Increased vetting of refugees is a good first step, but to stop an attack in the United States there are other lessons we must learn, and learn quickly.
First, there are many avenues by which ISIS operatives can come from their training grounds across the globe, including Iraq and Syria, to carry out attacks against the West. Approximately, 30,000 individuals have traveled from other countries to join ISIS, with as many as 5,000 of them from Europe and the United States. Those from Europe do not need a visa to enter the United States, and our northern and southern borders may be a route fighters use to enter the United States. Continue reading
by Charles C. W. Cooke • National Review
In the last days, obviously, that has been particularly put to the test. There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration. It was to assault all sense of nationhood and nation-state and rule of law and decency, dignity, and just put fear into the community and say, “Here we are.” And for what? What’s the platform? What’s the grievance? That we’re not who they are? They kill people because of who they are and they kill people because of what they believe. And it’s indiscriminate.
When I first saw the key line here — “there was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale” — I thought that Kerry had likely been misquoted. Alas, he had not. In fact, his words are even worse in context.
There really is no way of reading these comments other than as a craven ranking of outrages. Forget Kerry’s brief flirtation with the word “legitimacy” and assume that he said “rationale” from the start. That changes precisely nothing. The top diplomat in the United States just publicly argued that because the victims at Charlie Hebdo had spoken risqué words but the victims at the Bataclan had not, the violence against the former was more comprehensible than the violence against the latter. Has he lost his mind?
Even if Kerry’s assumptions were all correct, the moral problem here would be obvious. We hear a great deal about “blaming the victim” in our domestic debates, especially as it relates to sexual assault. Does this not apply to other realms? In essence, the American Secretary of State just announced before the world that he could grasp why the woman in the short skirt was raped but that he had been left scratching his head by the attack on the woman in the pantsuit and the overcoat. “Sure,” he said, “I get why they knocked off the hate speakers, but why would they go after progressive kids at a concert? Now things are really serious.”
In and of itself, this assessment is abhorrent. But he also screwed up the facts. Implicit in Kerry’s reasoning is the assumption that the perpetrators of the attacks against Charlie Hebdo had a clear purpose whereas the perpetrators of last week’s abomination did not. Or, as he put it, that in one case the killers were “really angry because of this and that,” but that in the other they were not. But this isn’t true. In fact, both set of attackers gave reasons. With Charlie Hebdo, the killers’ purported motive was revenge against ”blasphemous” expression; in Paris last week, it was disgust at Paris’s reputation for “obscenity.” In consequence, there are only two choices here: Option 1) That John Kerry believes that killing people for speaking rudely is more understandable than killing them for being secular; or Option 2) That John Kerry doesn’t actually know what the most recent attackers used as their justification (and also doesn’t remember that at the same time as the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, associated gunmen targeted a market simply because its owners were Jews).
by Michael Goodwin • New York Post
That eternal truth is so obvious that it should not need to be said. Yet even after the horrific slaughter in Paris, there remains a distressing doubt about whether America’s commander in chief gets it.
President Obama has spent the last seven years trying to avoid the world as it is. He has put his intellect and rhetorical skills into the dishonorable service of assigning blame and fudging failure. If nuances were bombs, the Islamic State would have been destroyed years ago. Continue reading
by Josh Gelernter • National Review
Since the Paris attacks last week, a lot has been made of the Muslim world’s overwhelming disapproval of terrorism. Let me toss in my two cents:
There are 3,500 Muslims in the U.S. military. Muslims have fought for our side in all of America’s major wars. There are decorated Muslim soldiers buried in Arlington.
There are Muslims in the Israel Defense Forces — all of them volunteers. An Israeli Muslim officer, Major Fehd Fallah, says he became a Zionist after visiting the death camps in Poland as a teenager. Now in his 30s, he is described by an Israeli colonel as “one of the best officers in the IDF.” Continue reading
by Kevin Sullivan • Washington Post
Mizanur Rahman sat in a coffee shop in Palmers Green, wearing a court-mandated electronic ankle bracelet beneath his long, black Muslim robe. British authorities consider him an Islamic State recruiter, so they closely monitor his movements and have taken his passport.
He is banned from meeting with more than two people at a time and must spend his nights under curfew at his home here in north London. Most difficult for Rahman, he is not allowed to touch any Internet-connected device.
Rahman is known for his loud and passionate online speeches extolling the Islamic State. He openly advocates for a global caliphate, a homeland ruled by Islamic law, which he says is a superior political, legal and economic system to democracy. He wants Britain to adopt Islamic sharia law, and he says the Islamic State’s black flag will one day fly over the White House. Continue reading
by Matt Barber • Townhall
What was President Obama’s immediate and instinctive response to this month’s Islamic terror attacks in Paris? Did he offer prayers for the families of the slaughtered and vow to wipe out the global cancer that is Islamic Jihad? Did he pledge to come alongside France and work with our wounded European ally until every last Islamic State barbarian is wiped from the face of the earth?
No, America’s eunuch-in-chief preened like a petty peacock, mocking and berating the very Americans he’s sworn to protect and serve. He stated – vomiting the word “Christians” with sanctimonious disgust – that there will be no “religious litmus test” on Syrian refugees, while hypocritically employing a religious litmus test of his own that favors Muslims over Christians by a rate of 97 to 3 percent. Continue reading
by Tim Kane • National Review
Understand that the debate about Syrian refugees in the United States is a political sideshow. It has nothing to do with ending the crisis in Syria itself, nothing to do with helping France and Lebanon fight Jihadi terror, and nothing to do with xenophobia. Should the United States offer refuge to Syrians fleeing the war? Absolutely. But let’s get some perspective.
First, the terror attacks in Paris (and Beirut) represent a global war on Western civilization, not on all humanity. Second, one study found that 13 percent of Syrian refugees have a positive view of ISIS. That fact should chill you. Third, there should be no doubt that ISIS is using the refugee crisis to infiltrate the West (including our allies, France, Germany, and Turkey). That explains fact number four: 53 percent of Americans are opposed to accepting any Syrian refugees here. This is a commonsense response, even if you and I believe it is incorrect. It is shameful for politicians to call this a racist reaction, which is the lowest, commonest trick in the Left’s political playbook. Continue reading
by Pam Key • Breitbart
Wednesday on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show,” veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson said her sources have told her that President Barack Obama does not want and will not read intelligence reports on groups “he does not consider terrorists,” despite being on a U.S. list of designated terrorists.
Attkisson said, “I have talked to people who have worked in the Obama administration who firmly believe he has made up his mind. I would say closed his mind, they say, to their intelligence that they’ve tried to bring him about various groups that he does not consider terrorists, even if they are on the U.S. list of designated terrorists. Continue reading
Director of Texas Department of Public Safety says individuals have been captured from countries known to have a “terrorism presence”
by Adan Salazar • Info Wars
Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, which supervises the Texas Highway Patrol and State Troopers, warned Sunday at an annual Texas Border Coalition meeting that vulnerabilities at the southern border may leave Americans open to a possible terrorist attack.
“[I]ndividuals that come across the Texas/Mexican border from countries with a known terrorism presence and the answer to that is yes,” McCraw stated over the weekend when asked if any suspected ISIS terrorists had yet infiltrated the border.
“We have individuals that we’ve needed to debrief in Pashto/Dari,” the director said, referring to two languages spoken in Afghanistan. “Not a lot of Pashto and Dari speakers around.” Continue reading
It’s happening again. A White House fumbling with the violent mess of Iraq finds itself surrounded by mounting accusations that it’s played dirty games with intelligence. A Pentagon facing charges that its analysts have skewed assessments on Iraq to tell top policymakers what they want to hear, rather than what is really happening in that troubled country.
If this sounds terribly familiar, it should. Only a dozen years after the George W. Bush White House was buffeted by allegations that it had “cherry-picked” intelligence to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq, Barack Obama is facing similar accusations. Intelligence Community analysts alleged that, in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, they were pressured to exaggerate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Now, analysts claim that they have been pushed to present Obama’s war against the Islamic State as more successful than it really is. Continue reading
The Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (Syria) is the largest and most gratuitously and viciously violent armed terrorist organization in the world and headed by a man who is enthusiastic for murder, death and destruction. His name is Abdullah Ibrahim, and his nickname is Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi. Interestingly, Ibrahim was previously detained at Bucca Camp American prison in Iraq and holds a PhD in Islamic history from the Islamic University in Baghdad.
This man, who called himself Caliph of Muslims, leads today an advisory council of military and political experts, and another council which consists of dozens of Emirs who are responsible for Sunni areas, in addition to hundreds of senior officials who run and lead ministries of the so-called the Islamic Caliphate State. Leaders of this organization consist of senior Iraqi officers with high military discipline and tough intelligence training where their methods of governance depend on the sword, shedding blood and killing anything in the way. It may not pass for enlightened leadership, but so far it has been an effective approach to grabbing control of vast regions and exercising iron-fisted control. Continue reading
Obama admin sides with Palestinians in landmark terror case
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
The Obama administration has intervened in a landmark legal case brought by the American victims of Palestinian terrorists, urging the court to limit restitution for the victims out of fear that a sizable payout could collapse the Palestinian government, according to a copy of the court filing.
Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken argued in a filing to a New York City court that a hefty payout to the victims of Palestinian terror crimes could burden the Palestinian Authority (PA) and interfere in Obama administration efforts to foster peace in the region.
The victims are entitled to as much as $655 million from the PA following the conclusion of a decade-long lawsuit that exposed the Palestinian government’s role in supporting and paying for terror attacks in Israel. Continue reading