[VIDEO] REWIND, 2007: President Bush Warns What Would Happen if the U.S. Withdrew from Iraq Too EarlyPosted: November 18, 2015
Screening outposts to be set up in Iraq, Lebanon as U.S. urges Arab nations to do more.
The Obama administration is moving to increase and accelerate the number of Syrian refugees who might be admitted into the United States by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon, administration officials told Reuters on Friday.
The move comes after President Barack Obama pledged in September to admit an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, torn by four years of civil war and disorder.
The U.S. State Department confirmed the plans to open a refugee settlement processing centre in Erbil, Iraq, before the end of 2015, and to resume refugee processing in Lebanon in early 2016, said spokeswoman Danna Van Brandt.
The White House would not say how many additional refugees it may take in beyond the 10,000, but two senior administration officials said they are seeking ways to increase the number.
“We want to be in a place where we can push out really ambitious goals,” said one of the officials, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.
The State Department runs nine screening centres worldwide that serve as meeting points for refugees and U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees who have to decide who is suitable for resettlement in the United States.
The additional centres will double the number available to refugees in the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »
The More You Politicize Guns, The Weaker Your Case Becomes.
David Harsanyi writes: After the horrific mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, President Obama made an impassioned case that gun violence is “something we should politicize”—and why should this be any different:
“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”
Everything in that statement is wrong. What happened in Oregon is tragic, and the nation should comfort families and look for reasonable and practical ways to stem violence, but there is only one murderer. Now, if government somehow bolstered, endorsed, or “allowed” the actions of Chris Harper-Mercer—as they might, say, the death of 10,000-plus viable babies each year or the civilian deaths that occur during an American drone action—a person could plausibly argue that we are collectively answerable as a nation.
“For the liberal, every societal problem has a state-issued remedy waiting to be administered over the objections of a reactionary Republican. But just because you have a tremendous amount of emotion and frustration built up around a certain cause doesn’t make your favored legislation any more practical, effective or realistic.”
Then again, when the president asserts Americans are collectively answerable, what he really suggests—according to his own broader argument—is that conservatives who’ve blocked his gun-control legislation are wholly responsible. The problem with that contention, outside of the obvious fact that Republicans never condone the use of guns for illegal violence (in fact, these rampages hurt their cause more than anything) is that Democrats haven’t offered a single bill or idea (short of confiscation) that would impede any of the mass shootings, or overall gun violence. This is not a political choice, because it’s likely there is no available political answer.
For the liberal, every societal problem has a state-issued remedy waiting to be administered over the objections of a reactionary Republican. But just because you have a tremendous amount of emotion and frustration built up around a certain cause doesn’t make your favored legislation any more practical, effective or realistic. It doesn’t change the fact that owning a gun is a civil right, that the preponderance of owners are not criminals, or that there are 300 million guns out there.
And if it’s a political argument you’re offering—and when hasn’t it been?—you’ll need more than the vacuousness of the “this is bad and so we have to do something.” That’s because anti-gun types are never able to answer a simple question: what law would you pass that could stop these shootings?
“When this first happened, I assumed Obama was duped. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think he cares if the clock looks like a bomb. He saw #IStandWithAhmed trending and decided he’d like to be part of it. It’s like black people still wearing T-shirts that say ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot.’ They don’t care about the truth. They just like the story.”
I remember on September 12th, 2001, in NYC’s Union Square there were people holding signs that said “Justice Not Revenge.” The first instinct for much of the country seemed to be avoiding Islamophobia. To this day we have a crippling fear of it. Islamophobiaphobia is so severe, any Muslim circus clown can send his kid to school with a fake bomb and instead of charging the father with child endangerment, we invite the boy to the White House.
When this first happened, I assumed Obama was duped. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think he cares if the clock looks like a bomb. He saw #IStandWithAhmed trending and decided he’d like to be part of it. It’s like black people still wearing T-shirts that say “Hands Up Don’t Shoot.” They don’t care about the truth. They just like the story.
In case you’re not familiar with the story (it’s already dying on the vine), Mohamed El-Hassan Mohamed is a Muslim prankster and publicity hound who is constantly harping about Islamophobia. His daughter was suspended for making bomb threats at school. His brother started a company last year called Twin Towers Corporation. He has made very public campaigns about running for president of Sudan even though it’s a dictatorship.
“When the police arrived, Ahmed was so elusive they were forced to detain him. The crime they were accusing him of was creating a fake bomb to cause a disturbance. This is a misdemeanor, and I haven’t seen any evidence he’s innocent. Despite the case being a no-brainer, the entire country screamed ISLAMOPHOBIA and lay prostrate before the Mohamed family.”
He drove to Florida after Pastor Terry Jones threatened to burn the Koran and represented the book as its lawyer (he failed—the Koran burned). The guy is a complete idiot who debates like a teenager lying to his dad. A week and a half ago, Mohamed’s son Ahmed brought a clock to school that had been torn out of its case and put in a new case in such a way, it resembled a bomb. The first teacher he showed it to told him to put it away. Then, in English class, he either plugged it in or affixed a battery so the alarm would go off.
“I think this kid’s father used his own son as a ploy to garner sympathy for Islam. This is an old trick in the Muslim world. They constantly use children as soldiers to detect mines or simply take bullets. They know it kills us to kill kids and they prey on our morality. Ahmed’s school is trying to tell the world that they are innocent, but El-Hassan refuses to release the records.”
[Also see – THE INCREDIBLE MELTING CLOCK STORY]
September 22, 2015: National Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger joins Hugh Hewitt and MSNBC‘s Morning Joe to talk about his new book “Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators“.
What’s it like to be the son or daughter of a dictator? A monster on the Stalin level? What’s it like to bear a name synonymous with oppression, terror, and evil?
Jay Nordlinger set out to answer that question, and does so in this book. He surveys 20 dictators in all. They are the worst of the worst: Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on. The book is not about them, really, though of course they figure in it. It’s about their children.
Some of them are absolute loyalists. They admire, revere, or worship their father. Some of them actually succeed their father as dictator—as in North Korea, Syria, and Haiti. Some of them have doubts. A couple of them become full-blown dissenters, even defectors. A few of the daughters have the experience of having their husband killed by their father. Most of these children are rocked by war, prison, exile, or other upheaval.
Obviously, the children have things in common. But they are also individuals, making of life what they can. The main thing they have in common is this: They have been dealt a very, very unusual hand. Read the rest of this entry »
Kabul (AFP) – From ridiculing warlords to poking fun at the political elite, a crop of covertly run Afghan satirical outlets are resonating widely with disenchanted citizens — and provoking the ire of officials.
Afghanistan’s spy agency last month rounded up journalists suspected of running “Kabul Taxi“, accusing the satirical Facebook page of imperilling national security.
“You can try to restrict satirists, even imprison them, but you cannot stop the flow of satire.”
The crackdown, which catapulted the little-known page to fame, triggered outrage and defiant Internet memes such as “I am Kabul Taxi!”, spotlighting a new generation of clandestine political satirists.
A blend of humor and scathing wit, the page launched by an unknown Afghan in April depicted a yellow Toyota taxi with its motto scrawled on its rear windscreen: “Life is bitter and the future uncertain”.
It tapped into widespread angst over corruption and political dysfunction.
“The booming genre of political satire has a special place in Afghanistan, where all major problems plaguing the country — militancy, warlordism and corruption –- seem linked to what many describe as the venality of politics.”
Posts depicted high-profile politicians and bureaucrats squeezing into the back seat and descending into petty bickering and mocking conversations.
“Politicians are widely berated as insincere, power hungry and concerned only about the welfare of their own ethnic groups.”
Passengers have included President Ashraf Ghani and his ally in the national unity government, Abdullah Abdullah. But the Facebook page invited trouble when it targeted Hanif Atmar, the powerful national security adviser.
A Kabul Taxi post describes picking up Atmar and his 27 children, who are introduced as part of an oversized entourage of advisers hired on hefty salaries.
“The role of satire in Afghanistan is to keep influential people, especially politicians, on their toes. It is to make them aware that they are being watched with an eagle eye — if not by corrupt authorities then by the public who can expose them.”
— Anonymous co-founder of Afghan Onion, a new English-language satirical website that pays tribute to the US website of the same name.
The post mocks a recruitment process seen by Afghans as nepotistic and prone to favouritism.
Atmar was not amused, ordering the grilling of journalists rumoured to be behind Kabul Taxi on suspicion of exposing state secrets by naming his advisers.
“The crackdown on Kabul Taxi has raised concerns over free speech in Afghanistan, which ranks 122nd out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.”
Defenders in the Afghan media pointed out the names of Atmar’s staff were already posted on a government Facebook page — along with their photos.
“The government considers satire as terrorism,” Kabul Taxi wrote in the aftermath of the controversy, which sent its fan base soaring with the number of “likes” nearly doubling to 60,000 and provoking an outpouring of public support before it was suddenly taken down. Read the rest of this entry »
Israel will not survive the next 25 years, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, making a series of threatening remarks published online.
“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists.”
In a quote posted to Twitter by Khamenei’s official account, Khamenei addresses Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and adds that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed.
The quote comes against a backdrop of a photograph apparently showing the Iranian leader walking on an Israeli flag painted on a sidewalk.
“Khamenei’s statements also reaffirmed his view that the US is a “Great Satan” and that there would be no detente with Washington beyond the nuclear talks.”
“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” the quote from Iran’s top leader reads in broken English.
The quote was apparently taken from a speech given earlier in the day.
The remarks came as US lawmakers began to debate supporting a recent nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers. Critics of the deal have pointed to fiery anti-US and anti-Zionist rhetoric as proof that the regime should not be trusted. Read the rest of this entry »
Misbehavior before the enemy violates Article 99 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and includes grotesquely dishonorable behavior, including running away, ‘shamefully’ abandoning any place that it is his ‘duty to defend,’ ‘cowardly conduct,’ or endangering the safety of his unit through his own ‘disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct.’
Military prosecutors have reached into a section of military law seldom used since World War II in the politically fraught case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan.
Observers wondered for months if Bergdahl would be charged with desertion after the deal brokered by the U.S. to bring him home. He was — but he was also charged with misbehavior before the enemy, a much rarer offense that carries a stiffer potential penalty in this case.
“The maximum penalty is death, but it’s highly unlikely that the Army will seek to execute Bergdahl.”
Misbehavior before the enemy violates Article 99 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and includes grotesquely dishonorable behavior, including running away, “shamefully” abandoning any place that it is his “duty to defend,” “cowardly conduct,” or endangering the safety of his unit through his own “disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct.” Read the rest of this entry »
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban suicide bomber struck the entrance to the Afghan parliament on Monday and gunmen tried to storm the heavily guarded compound, setting off a gunbattle with police that left two people dead as lawmakers were meeting inside to vote on the appointment of a new defense minister.
“Targeting innocent people in the holy month of Ramadan is a clear act of hostility against the religion of Islam,” his office said in a statement, adding that the perpetrators “are criminals who are bound by no creed or religion.”
Afghan security forces managed to repel the attack, killing all seven gunmen and ensuring that no members of parliament were harmed. But the audacious assault came as the Taliban captured two districts in as many days in the country’s north, displaying their ability to operate on multiple fronts.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the attack began with a car bomb explosion near the entrance to parliament. Gunmen then attempted to storm the compound but were pushed back by security forces and eventually corralled into a nearby building that was under construction.
Sediqqi later said all seven attackers were killed by police and that no members of parliament were harmed. “It is over now,” he said.
Sediqqi said a woman and a 10-year-old girl were killed. Health Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ismail Kahousi said 31 civilians were wounded in the parliament attack, including two women and two children.
Sidiqa Mubarez, a member of parliament, said the building was rocked by the large explosion and that some people were wounded by flying glass. She said the explosion happened shortly after Masoom Stanekzai had arrived to be confirmed as defense minister, a post that has been vacant for nine months. The vote was delayed by the attack.
The Taliban claimed the attack. The militant group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told The Associated Press by telephone that it targeted Stanekzai and the parliament itself. He said the assault showed the “capability of the mujahedeen, who can even attack the parliament in the capital.”
An AP reporter who witnessed part of the assault heard heavy gunfire outside parliament and saw black smoke billowing from the entrance as ambulances raced to the scene. The reporter later heard sporadic shooting from the building where the militants were said to be holed up. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON—Saying there were no other options remaining and that continued intervention would only prolong the nation’s suffering, experts concluded Tuesday that the best course of action is to keep the United States as comfortable as possible until the end.
“We need to accept the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have long—simply helping it pass that time in comfort is the humane thing to do.”
According to those familiar with its condition, the country’s long, painful decline over the past several decades has made it clear that the most compassionate choice at this juncture is to do whatever is possible to ensure America is at ease during its last moments.
“Attempting to stabilize the country in its current enfeebled state would not only be extremely expensive, but it would also cause unnecessary agony as it enters this final stage.”
— Economist Danielle Martin
“We need to accept the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have long—simply helping it pass that time in comfort is the humane thing to do,” said economist Danielle Martin, speaking on behalf of a large group of experts ranging from sociologists and historians to lawmakers and environmentalists, all of whom confirmed they had “done everything [they] could.” “Attempting to stabilize the country in its current enfeebled state would not only be extremely expensive, but it would also cause unnecessary agony as it enters this final stage. Read the rest of this entry »
The omnipresent power behind the throne some have called the president’s Rasputin had the power to call off three strikes against Osama bin Laden. She may have used that power again the night four Americans died in Benghazi.
The Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, came while America failed to mount a rescue mission despite sufficient time and assets.
“The biggest scandal of all, the biggest question is: What was the president doing in those eight hours?”
— Columnist Charles Krauthammer
Included in that disaster were the unaccounted whereabouts of President Obama during eight critical hours, the lack of Situation Room photos, the failure by the president to follow up with subordinates before his trip to Las Vegas and the fabricated story that the whole thing was prompted by an Internet video.
“I think there is a bigger story here … that will in time come out,” Krauthammer said. “The biggest scandal of all, the biggest question is: What was the president doing in those eight hours?”
The columnist noted: “He had a routine meeting at 5 o’clock. He never after, during the eight hours when our guys have their lives in danger, he never called the secretary of defense, he never calls the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he never calls the CIA director.”
One of the people Obama always talks to is Valerie Jarrett. She emerged from the same Chicago cauldron of radicalism where Obama got his ideological baptism.
The Iranian-born Jarrett (her parents were American-born expatriates) is the only staff member who regularly follows the president home from the West Wing to the residence and one of the few people allowed to call the president by his first name.
Her influence is shown by an account in Richard Miniter‘s book “Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him.” Read the rest of this entry »
With the Middle East engulfed by the flames of sectarian conflict, Europe’s borders menaced by the threat of war and China starting to flex its muscles in Asia-Pacific, it is clear the world has entered a new period of volatility.
Ian Bremmer, the American foreign policy guru who coined the phrase “G-Zero” to describe this new and unstable world, is the author of ‘Superpower’, a best-selling new book that explores America’s options as a superpower in the 21st century…..(read more)
[VIDEO] Obama Defense Dept. Forced Soldiers to Sign Non-Disclosure Statements on Turncoat Bowe Bergdahl’s BehaviorPosted: May 28, 2015
General Mullins told Bowe Bergdahl’s closest comrades to sign non-disclosure statements on Bergdahl’s behavior before he deserted his platoon.
Margherita Stancati reports: Afghanistan’s most prominent peace envoy held secret talks with former Taliban officials in China last week, accelerating regional efforts to bring the insurgency to the negotiating table, according to individuals briefed on the matter by the warring parties.
The two-day meeting, which took place in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi, was aimed at discussing preconditions for a possible peace process, those people said.
“These were talks about talks,” one diplomat said.
The meeting was significant for another reason: It was facilitated by Pakistan’s intelligence agency in an apparent show of goodwill aimed at a negotiated solution to the insurgency. Read the rest of this entry »
(WASHINGTON)—The United States is sending a disaster response team and $1 million in aid to Nepal following a devastating earthquake that shook three countries.
The White House and Secretary of State John Kerry are offering condolences along with pledging the support.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake outside the capital Kathmandu killed more than 1,000 people in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. It also toppled buildings and triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest.
Kerry says in a statement that the United States stands with the people of Nepal and sends heartfelt sympathies.
National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says the U.S. stands ready to provide further assistance in the region.
The debate over religious liberty has brought out some odd readings of American history
Fred Bauer writes: A number of forces are fueling the current debate about religious liberty in the United States: among them, good-faith efforts to promote the continued improvement of the Union, senses of cultural grievance, anti-religion paranoia, ignorance, self-righteousness, opportunism, partisanship, and new-wave authoritarianism. However, it might be helpful to see this debate as taking place against the backdrop of a clash between two different views of the role of religion in public life. On one side stand sectarian secularists, who want to remove religion from public life altogether, and on the other stand pluralists, who support a more open society.
“Leaving aside the religious and political beliefs of Americans before 1776, appeals to the divine suffuse American culture and politics. Many of the Founders — along with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless others — would have a bone to pick with those who say that our foundational rights do not come from God.”
Modeled in some respects on the French tradition of laïcité, sectarian secularism holds that appeals to religious ideas have absolutely no place in the public square, and its adherents will ridicule as out of bounds any appeal to the divine. This position goes well beyond a separation of church and state, which is about distinguishing the institutions of religion from those of governance, and instead suggests that the religious and the political should be entirely separate spheres. Unlike a more moderate and open-minded secularism, sectarian secularism seeks to police the bounds of public debate by rendering religious approaches to politics illegitimate.
“This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: ‘Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country’.”
This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: “Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country.” Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not “our country.” In a later Facebook post, Cuomo continued to insist that the language of the Declaration was not really part of American life: “Because the US does not draw on divine authority for recognition of rights.
“Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not ‘our country’.”
Founding documents were the beginning of course but the first amendment in that seminal constitution, which has infinitely more authority than the dec of indep obviously keeps faith out of government.” Cuomo is far from an outlier here. The past few weeks alone have offered numerous examples of attempts to stigmatize religious references in public debates. The sectarian secularists have defined once and for all what the U.S. is: a society where religion should be kept in the closet and not influence politics or policy-making.
“Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike.”
Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike. Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it. Indeed, pluralists believe that such a sealing off is practically and philosophically impossible.
“Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it.”
From a pluralist perspective, religion can perhaps never be fully separated from politics. Politics is shaped by broader philosophical principles about the ends of human existence, and one’s religious beliefs will undoubtedly influence one’s understanding of these principles. If one believes that all men and women are made in the image of a divine Creator, that will likely lead to a different set of principles from those that one would espouse if one believes that some people are innately better than others. Read the rest of this entry »