Election 2016: Biden fuels ’16 talk with New Hampshire visit
For those of you who were under the radar and missed this horrifying news from earlier this week:
In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley – and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. Even so, the U.S. military pressed ahead, conducting nearly a dozen airstrikes in Iraq since Tuesday.
Foley, 40, from Rochester, New Hampshire, went missing in northern Syria in November 2012 while freelancing for Agence France-Presse and the Boston-based media company GlobalPost. The car he was riding in was stopped by four militants in a contested battle zone that both Sunni rebel fighters and government forces were trying to control. He had not been heard from since.
The beheading marks the first time the Islamic State has killed an American citizen since the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011, upping the stakes in an increasingly chaotic and multilayered war. The killing is likely to complicate U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Obama administration’s efforts to contain the group as it expands in both Iraq and Syria.
The group is the heir apparent of the militancy known as al-Qaida in Iraq, which beheaded many of its victims, including American businessman Nicholas Berg in 2004.
The video released on websites Tuesday appears to show the increasing sophistication of the Islamic State group’s media unit and begins with scenes of Obama explaining his decision to order airstrikes.
It then cuts to a balding man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in the desert, next to a black-clad militant with a knife to his throat. Foley’s name appears in both English and Arabic graphics on screen. After the captive speaks, the masked man is shown apparently beginning to cut at his neck; the video fades to black before the beheading is completed. The next shot appears to show the captive lying dead. The video appears to have been shot in an arid area; there is no vegetation to be seen and the horizon is in the distance where the sand meets the gray-blue sky.
At the end of the video, a militant shows a second man, who was identified as another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warns that he could be the next captive killed. Sotloff was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013; he had freelanced for Time, the National Interest and MediaLine.
I was on Twitter when news of Foley’s murder broke. The expressions of outrage towards his killers, the condolences posted to his family – all were understandable. For a brief moment, I joined in with the calls for people to always remember how he lived, and to put out of mind how he died. It seemed fitting at the time. But as the week went on, and the more I thought about it, the more I concluded that – while it is indeed important to remember Foley’s work as a photojournalist, something he felt called to do in war-torn countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq, it was also vitally important to keep his murder fresh in people’s minds as a reminder of just how radicalized the “religion of peace” has become, and how we simply cannot continue the policy of appeasement towards Islamofascists that has taken place under the Obama administration.
Like many, I have not been impressed AT ALL with the “official response” communicated by the Obama administration to Foley’s brutal murder, because there is a continued insistence by them and other dangerous liberal moral relativists that terrorists like ISIS simply “pervert” the Islamic faith. There’s the implication that if we stop and try and “understand” these inhumane swine who behead innocents in the name of “Allah” and bury alive rape victims as punishment in countries like Iran then maybe we could all just “get along”, sing “Kumbaya” and all that.
No. I wrote this in 2010, and I still believe it to this day:
For a brief time long ago, I used to subscribe to the belief that there was a “moderate” element to Islam. I don’t anymore. Yes, there are Muslim Islamists out there who are not hateful, who are respectful of the religious beliefs and faiths of others, etc, but my opinion is that these Muslims are not full-fledged Islamists – and that’s a good thing. There is hope for that minority of Islamists that they can turn away from the evil “religion” we know as Islam.
That is, if they’re not murdered first.
No, Mr. President – I will not be “tolerant” of this religion, not in any way, shape, form, or fashion. Doesn’t mean I’ll get violent, but it DOES mean that I will speak out strongly against it, loudly and often. Islam, which is the law of the land in many Muslim countries via the use of the Koran as their “standard,” stands for everything we’re supposed to be against. Secularists and non-secularists alike can see this. It’s a crying, outrageous shame that you and so many of your fellow “enlightened” liberals do not.
If Foley’s sickening, torturous death does not wake people up as to the horrors of radical Islam, perhaps the ongoing persecution of non-believers by ISIS will:
Reports coming in from Sinjar, a small town that was once home to Iraqi minority community, Yazidis, suggest that the Islamic State militants are carrying out a “genocide” in the town.
For the Sunni militants, the Yazidis are a race of “devil worshipers” and killing them would only amount to a “holy act.”
The 4,000-year-old religious group has faced persecution for centuries for its unique belief and practices.
Earlier on Sunday, the Islamic State captured the town after driving away the Kurdish forces in the region. Witnesses claim that the militants are executing dozens of Yazidis for refusing to convert to Islam.
The Gulf News report claimed that 67 young men were shot dead by the militants. Besides executing the Yazidis, the Al Qaeda offshoot, is also reportedly taking Yazidi women for “jihad” marriage.
Mohammed al-Khuzai, an official with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society told NYTimes that ISIS took more than 100 Yazidi families to the airport at the nearby town of Tal Afar, where it executed the men.
“ISIS killed all the men,” Khuzai said, “and are planning to keep the women for jihad marriage.”
Reports have also come in claiming that the Islamic State militants have forcefully taken away a large number of children from the Yazidi town. A resident told McClatchy DC that militants were taking away young children from their families.
Several Sinjar local government and municipal workers also have been executed by the ISIS.
It’s time for world leaders to stop being silent, time to stop sitting back hoping the problem will just “go away.” Time for “leaders” here at home to stop largely ignoring the issue or downplaying because it’s “not happening here.” Time for dangerous left wing moral relativists like the President, Reps. Keith Ellison, and Sheila Jackson Lee to stop playing the religious equivalency games. Condemn it, call it out, STOP making excuses for it, stop rationalizing it. Stop putting it “in its proper context.” 9/11 wasn’t the first time radical Islam used its might to kill innocents in its quest to punish “infidels”, and James Foley’s beheading won’t be their last radical act of cold, sickening brutality, either. Pretending otherwise on all counts will only ensure that more will die.
Like everyone else on the planet, I was stunned and saddened to read the news last night of comedian Robin Williams’ death:
Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, who dazzled in such wide-ranging dramatic and comedic roles as alien, nanny, therapist and cartoon genie during a four-decades long career, was found dead in his northern California home in a suspected suicide Monday. He was 63.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that Williams was found unconscious and not breathing in his home around noon. The statement said the investigation into Williams’ death is ongoing, but the coroner “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.”
The Marin County coroner’s office said Williams was last seen alive at home at about 10 p.m. Sunday. An emergency call from his house in Tiburon was placed to the Sheriff’s Department shortly before noon Monday.
A representative for Williams said in a statement the actor had been battling “severe depression of late.”
“This is a tragic and sudden loss,” Mara Buxbaum said. “The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
Williams’ wife Susan Schneider said in a statement she is devastated and asked for privacy.
“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings,” she said. “I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
Williams publicly struggled with addiction during his career and most recently went to rehab in June to “fine tune” his sobriety, his rep said at the time.
The death of someone is never easy to handle, but when you read it’s from apparent suicide, your heart just absolutely breaks, and you wonder “what could I have done that maybe would have led to a different outcome?”
If you’re in a position in your life where you think hope is lost, IT ISN’T. Reach out and talk to someone. If you want it to remain anonymous, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You are never alone, and please always remember that people care about and love you.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Williams’ family. It goes without saying that although he is gone, he will not be forgotten.
Just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know that, starting tomorrow, yours truly will be taking the next three weeks off from blogging as a bit of a “summer break.” If anything super-hot breaks that I feel the urge to write about, I’ll check in but other than that I’ll be away from the blog. Phineas may post here and there but it will likely be light posting. As much as we’d both like it to, our writing does not pay the bills so we have offline responsibilities that must take priority. Because of that, sometimes the amount of content here isn’t what we’d like it to be.
I’ll be using my time away from the blog to, in part, consider its creative direction, and its future. I’ve been blogging consistently since October 2003, and while I appreciate loyal readers who keep coming back, readership is not growing, and it needs to grow if I want this to be a successful blog that generates ad revenue and tip jar contributions that can help me sustain it and perhaps one day turn it into something I can do on a more regular basis.
All that being said, I will not be totally off the radar. You can still catch me daily on social media (my Twitter / Facebook / Phineas’ Twitter account). For the time being, it’s just easier for me to partake in social media posting and commentary than it is for me to blog during the week.
Anyone who needs to contact me can do so via social media, or via the “contact” link at the top of this page. I appreciate, in advance, your understanding. Later, gators.
Enough is enough, they say. Via Fox News:
Dozens of government watchdogs are sounding the alarm that the Obama administration is stonewalling them, in what is being described as an unprecedented challenge to the agencies they’re supposed to oversee.
Forty-seven of the government’s 73 independent watchdogs known as inspectors general voiced their complaints in a letter to congressional leaders this week. They accused several major agencies — the Justice Department, the Peace Corps and the chemical safety board — of imposing “serious limitations on access to records.”
The inspectors general are now appealing to Congress to help them do their jobs uncovering waste, fraud, and mismanagement.
“Agency actions that limit, condition, or delay access thus have profoundly negative consequences for our work: they make us less effective, encourage other agencies to take similar actions in the future, and erode the morale of the dedicated professionals that make up our staffs,” they wrote.
The letter to the chairmen and ranking members of relevant oversight committees in the House and Senate claimed agencies are withholding information by calling it “privileged.”
In the letter, they said this interpretation poses “potentially serious challenges to the authority of every Inspector General and our ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”
Gotta hand it to IG’s willing to put their name to the complaints in this letter. After all, we’ve seen what happens to inspectors general in this administration when they run afoul of the President’s do as I say, not as I do agenda.
“Transparency” you can believe in! At least many in the mainstream media aren’t even falling for it anymore. Baby steps ….
**Posted by Phineas
That’s the unavoidable conclusion of a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which, if I recall correctly, has been friendly towards the ACA. Byron York reports:
According to new polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has closely tracked Obamacare for years, 37 percent of those surveyed have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, while 53 percent have an unfavorable view. That’s an eight-percentage-point jump in unfavorability over last month, and a two-point drop in favorability over the same time.
Why the shift? It’s not because millions of Americans have suddenly become conservative Republicans. Kaiser found that disapproval of Obamacare has risen across the board. Among Democrats, for example, the law’s unfavorable rating jumped six points in July, while its favorable rating fell four points. A similar thing happened among independents and — it hardly seemed possible — among Republicans who already hated the law.
Obamacare’s unfavorables also rose among all income groups — people who make less than $40,000 a year, those who make between $40,000 and $90,000 a year, and those who make more than $90,000. The same among all age groups. And the same for race and ethnicity: Disapproval rose among whites, blacks, and Hispanics.
Rather than a shift among some identifiable group, Obamacare’s rising unpopularity seems to be a product of the simple fact that, several months into its implementation, more and more people are having personal experience with the law.
Remember how Democrats swore people would love the law, once they got some experience with it? Critics suspected that was wishful thinking, and we seem to have been right.
Read the rest of York’s article for the details, but this is really the result of two things: 1) monumental progressive arrogance in seizing control of a health insurance system that a majority of the nation was satisfied with, substituting their judgement for that of their constituents and face-slapping the constitutional order in the process; and 2) doing a crappy job of writing the actual legislation, causing all sorts of problems for people across the nation. After the disruption of doctor-patient relationships, shrunken provider networks, increased deductibles, and massive cancellations of policies people were happy with –and the savaging of large group plans is still to come!– after all that, is it any wonder more and more people hate this thing, the more they get to know it?
Obamacare has been pushed into the background somewhat, as other crises du jour have taken it’s place on the front pages. But it’s still there, and it is still going to annoy the heck out of people, especially as the rate increases hit this summer and group policies start getting cancelled. And you can bet that surveys like this one fill Democrats with dread as we approach November.
As they should.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
A fantastic column from Ron Christie in today’s Daily Beast regarding the disgusting racist attacks being waged by Democrats in Kentucky against former Secretary of Labor (and wife of KY Senator/Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) Elaine Cho (hat tip):
But Democrats who imagine racist slights and “dog whistles” at every turn would be wise to look at the vicious anti-Asian bigotry on display in Kentucky, which is being fomented by supporters of their so-called progressive party.
This past weekend, as Senator McConnell spoke to supporters at the Fancy Farm event in Kentucky, he sought to confront the “War on Women” rhetoric of his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, by noting his wife’s accomplishments. “And the biggest asset I have by far is the only Kentucky woman who served in a president’s cabinet, my wife, Elaine Chao,” he said to applause from the crowd.
It didn’t take long for Kathy Groob, the founder of the pro-Democrat PAC Elect Women, to start mocking Chao’s heritage on Twitter. “She’s not from KY…She is Asian and [President George W.] Bush openly touted that,” Groob said. In other tweets, Groob referred to Chao as McConnell’s “Chinese wife,” and said McConnell is “wedded to free trade in China.”
She later deleted her offensive tweets and deactivated her Twitter account. National and Kentucky Democrats, to their credit, quickly denounced her remarks.
Still, the incident left me scratching my head. A prominent Democrat attacks a spouse of a Republican candidate based on the color of her skin, but the reaction from the national media has been largely muted. One can only imagine the reaction had a GOP operative made the exact same slur against the spouse of a Democratic candidate. There would be wall-to-wall coverage on MSNBC, disapproving editorials from The New York Times, and warnings from the DNC that Republicans are looking to bring us back to the days of internment camps and Jim Crow. Talking Points Memo, a liberal website that delights in highlighting the ramblings of obscure GOP statehouse backbenchers, would use a story like that to insinuate that conservatives are, by and large, racist.
And this isn’t even the first time Democrats in Kentucky have attacked Chao’s ethnicity. Last year, a Democratic super PAC called Progress Kentucky tweeted that McConnell’s marriage to Chao “may explain why your job moved to #China.”
Make sure to read the whole thing.
Double standards like this, which I’ve written about many, many times before, will never change – at least as far as the mainstream media is concerned. But all the same, they’ll always be worth pointing out. Sunlight is the best medicine, and all that …
It is to laugh, my dear readers. It is to laugh:
So you think that President Obama’s rise stemmed in part from media favoritism? Reid Cherlin, a former Obama campaign media liaison and later a White House spokesman, has different ideas, as outlined in a Rolling Stone piece:
No, Barack Obama never had reporters eating out of his hand the way that right-wingers love to allege — even though Obama’s intellectual approach made him seem like someone who could just as easily have been a columnist as a candidate. Appearing at his first Correspondents’ Dinner, in 2009, the president joked, “Most of you covered me; all of you voted for me.” But even as polite laughter settled over the black-tie crowd, there was ample evidence that the old way of the news business – in fact, the news business entirely – was falling away, and with it, the last shreds of comity between subject and scribe.
Time to book Cherlin on a conference panel with Mark Halperin. The co-author of “Game Change” and well-traveled pundit and reporter said after Obama’s 2008 victory: “It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war. It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.”
Halperin was, of course, correct. And several years later, unfortunately, not much has changed.
I’ll be chuckling over this one for a while:
Black Democrats in Congress are sharply criticizing their party’s leadership for supporting efforts to overturn the GOP-drawn congressional map in Florida and cut into Republicans’ House majority.
Last week, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) sent a sharply worded letter to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) complaining about the party’s support for a lawsuit that aims to throw out Florida’s congressional map — changes that could dismantle the gerrymandered seat of CBC member Corrine Brown.
“On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), I write to express our ongoing concern with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) support of lawsuits challenging the validity of minority Congressional districts,” Fudge wrote. “Per our prior discussion, we are extremely disturbed by the DCCC’s efforts to dismantle CBC districts in states that have historically proven to be difficult to elect minority members. Considering the history of discrimination through efforts such as gerrymandering, the recent actions reflect the discrimination of days past.”
On Friday, a Florida judge asked the Legislature to redraw the congressional map so that it conformed with the state’s constitution. He set a deadline for Aug. 15 so that the new map could be used for the 2014 election and left open the possibility that the election could be postponed to allow time for the new plan to be implemented.
Democratic-aligned groups, with funding from the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, have supported the lawsuit with an eye toward undoing a congressional map that is seen as GOP-friendly. But the CBC is unhappy because the judge has specifically pointed to Brown’s oddly shaped 5th District, which snakes from Jacksonville all the way down to Orlando, as a district that violated the state’s Fair Districts amendment.
OK. Let me break this down: Democrats, especially those in the South, have an – er, unsavory shall we say history on the issue of racism going waaaaaaaaay back. They’ve tried to make amends to it over the years, mostly by flipping the switch and (many times falsely) accusing their opponents of racism in an effort to scare voters. To a large degree, the despicable, desperate tactic worked. They often point to “gerrymandering” as a way Republican-dominated state legislatures demonstrate their alleged disdain and hatred for black people.
In this instance, the FL GOP drew up a revised Congressional map that a FL judge has asked them to redraw by the middle of this month. Naturally, the DCCC applauded the judge’s ruling because they believe it will give them an upcoming election advantage. But if the maps are redrawn the way the judge seems to think they should be, it could impact Corrine Brown’s seat which the CBC does not support. In effect, black Democrats here are saying that, though in the past redistricting has been used to “disenfranchise” black voters, in this situation it wasn’t. The (mostly white) members of the DCCC, on the other hand, are apparently willing to overlook at how this could negatively impact Congresswoman Brown because of the potential to pick up more desperately needed seats elsewhere.
You really can’t make this stuff up! #popcorn