theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Obama’s Failure


Barack Obama wants us all to simmer down about Iran. He wants Senator Bob Menendez, a fellow Democrat, and the donors he represents to butt out of the sanctions debate. He wants Republicans to quit crying wolf about Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He wants the media to stop hyping terror threats. He wants the American people in the dark about the secret correspondence he’s had for years with Iran’s supreme leader. He wants John Boehner to be mindful of protocol. And most of all, he wants Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop questioning his accommodationist approach to Tehran.
Military parade in Tehran
With the breezy confidence that is his trademark, the president has repeatedly delivered a reassuring message on Iran to the country and the world: Trust me.
With respect, Mr. President: No.
From the earliest moments of his first term, Obama sought to convince the country that threats from our erstwhile enemies were overblown. He forged an approach to jihadist attacks and rogue regimes meant to be a stark contrast from that of his predecessor. He ended the war on terror, quietly sought rapprochement with radical Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban, and ostentatiously undertook a more conciliatory approach to terror-sponsoring regimes like Syria and Iran.
Notwithstanding periodic drone strikes on bad guys, Obama has demonstrated repeatedly that his instinct is to ignore, dismiss, or downplay threats to the United States and its interests and allies. The record over six years is a long list of mistaken judgments, awkward euphemisms, and false assurances.
So when Nidal Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood it wasn’t a terrorist attack but “workplace violence.” And when Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit, he was an “isolated extremist.” And when Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate an SUV in Times Square five months later, it was a “one-off” attack. And when jihadists attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, it was a simple protest gone awry.
The problem in each of these instances wasn’t just that the descriptions were incorrect. It’s that the administration knew they were wrong and made the false claims anyway.
Numerous eyewitnesses reported that Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he shot. According to court documents in the case of the Christmas Day bomber, Abdulmutallab confessed that he’d been trained and dispatched by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula a full three days before Obama publicly labeled him an isolated extremist. The administration was aware that the Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for Shahzad even before he attempted his bombing. And top intelligence officials on the ground in Libya repeatedly reported that al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists participated in the attacks and that there was no demonstration.
In the year before the 2012 presidential election, the Obama administration and campaign officials routinely claimed that al Qaeda was “on the run” or “on the path to defeat” or “decimated.” But top analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency were regularly providing Obama detailed assessments showing that the opposite was true. “When asked if the terrorists were on the run, we couldn’t respond with any answer but ‘no,’ ’’ said Lieutenant General Mike Flynn, former director of the DIA, after he was forced out of his job a year early. “When asked if the terrorists were defeated, we had to say ‘no.’ Anyone who answers ‘yes’ to either of those questions either doesn’t know what they are talking about, they are misinformed, or they are flat-out lying.”
Or all three. There’s little question that the administration misrepresented what it knew about our jihadist enemies. It’s equally clear that the administration chose to set aside information that contradicted its campaign narrative.
The U.S. government captured more than one million documents during the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Top administration officials initially described it as “a treasure trove” of intelligence on al Qaeda and its affiliates. But more than three years later, the senior DIA official who ran the project, Colonel Derek Harvey, says the intelligence community has fully analyzed less than 10 percent of the collection. Top DIA officials were told directly to stop providing analyses based on the bin Laden documents. The administration had decided to end the war on terror, and no amount of new intelligence about threats from al Qaeda was going to change their minds. So they chose ignorance.
A central element of the efforts to “end the wars” was peace talks with the Taliban. Initially, top officials said the Taliban must satisfy certain preconditions—disavow al Qaeda, recognize the Afghan constitution—before talks could proceed. The Taliban never agreed to the preconditions, so the administration dropped them. Mullah Omar’s men simply demanded that the United States free their top five commanders held at Guantánamo. In May 2014, the administration did just that, releasing the Taliban Five in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Top intelligence officials testified that the five Taliban commanders were almost certain to return to the fight against the United States. President Obama portrayed the exchange as potentially opening the door to “reconciliation” talks. Indeed, this was the first reason the Obama administration wanted to release the Taliban Five—as a confidence-building measure to jumpstart negotiations with one of al Qaeda’s strongest allies. This desperate attempt at diplomacy—preemptive capitulation—has failed. On February 24, the Taliban rejected press reports saying they were willing to negotiate with the Afghan government and decried the “occupation” of Afghanistan, a reference to the U.S.-led international presence in the country. They had simply wanted their leaders freed—and they have been.
In early 2011, the Obama administration formalized its hopes for improved relations with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad by restoring a diplomatic presence in Damascus. Ambassador Robert Stephen Ford presented his papers to Assad on January 25, 2011. Four months later, even as the Syrian regime was engaged in the slaughter of its own people, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that Assad was a “reformer.” As the U.S. government accumulated evidence of Assad’s role in the widespread killing, Obama called for him to go and warned that the movement or use of chemical weapons would be a “red line.” But when the United Nations and the U.S. government confirmed reports that the Syrian regime had repeatedly used chemical weapons, the administration balked. Top Obama officials acknowledge that Assad was a puppet of the Iranian regime. In spite of that fact—or more likely because of it—Assad was allowed to cross the red line and continue the carnage. Although Assad agreed to ship some of his chemical munitions out of Syria, his regime has continued to slaughter Syrians with conventional weapons and barrel bombs. In the four years since the United States sent its ambassador, more than 200,000 people have died in the civil war.
In a January 2014 interview with David Remnick of the New Yorker, Obama famously suggested that the radical Islamist group amassing territory in Syria and Iraq and brutally killing those trying to stop it was nothing to worry about. Remnick asked Obama about the implications of the Iraqis’ losing Falluja to the Islamic State. Said the president, “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”
But ISIL was not jayvee. And by early summer, the Iraqis were urgently asking Washington for help. The State Department casually responded by noting that the United States would be training some Iraqi soldiers later in the summer. Even as vast swaths of Iraq were falling to ISIL— including Mosul, the country’s second-largest city—Obama continued to boast that he had “ended the war in Iraq.”
By September 2014, it was no longer plausible for the administration to downplay ISIL. The group had become such an urgent threat that Obama delivered a prime-time address to the nation to describe his efforts to address this “cancer.” After months of dithering, Obama said: “I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. .  .  . We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.” But even as Obama finally acknowledged the threat from the Islamic State, he sought to portray it as just another violent group: “ISIL is not Islamic.”
In his speech that night, Obama pointed to Somalia and Yemen as models of successful U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Five months later, Iran-backed Houthi separatists had overthrown the Yemeni government and the United States shuttered its embassy in Sanaa. And just last weekend, homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson warned Americans against visiting the Mall of America, just outside Minneapolis, in response to a video threatening attacks by al Shabaab, the al Qaeda franchise in Somalia. Models no more.
Today, senior administration officials speak of a campaign against the Islamic State that will take decades, and top intelligence officials testify that attacks from members of the Islamic State potentially represent an immediate and grave threat to the homeland. FBI director James Comey said last week that the “siren song” of ISIL’s call for jihadist warriors has led to FBI investigations in each of the 50 states. The president is now calling for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force for a group he dismissed just a year ago as terrorist poseurs.
The administration’s efforts have reached new levels of absurdity in recent weeks. When the president of Uruguay agreed to accept high-risk Guantánamo detainees on humanitarian grounds because they’d been the victims of “a heinous kidnapping” by the United States, not only did the Obama administration fail to rebuke him for the slander, it expressed gratitude. White House spokesman Josh Earnest argued strenuously that the Taliban, which provided safe haven for al Qaeda before 9/11 and has fought alongside it against the United States ever since, isn’t a terrorist group but merely “an armed insurgency.” The president claimed that the victims of the attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris were “randomly” shot, despite the fact that the attacker himself said he’d chosen the target in order to kill Jews.
Obama claimed in an interview with Vox in late January that the world was transitioning to a new, more peaceful era. “The trajectory of this planet overall is one toward less violence, more tolerance, less strife, less poverty.” But in recent months, his top defense and intelligence officials said the opposite. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said: “The world is exploding all over.” The assessment from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was even more alarming. “Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence, I have not experienced a time when we have been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.”
To call Obama delusional at this point seems generous because it implies that the president is unaware of the reality he is so determined to ignore. But as these many examples make clear, he is not.
Perhaps nowhere is this willful self-deception more obvious than Iran. The very framework of the administration’s approach to Iran—“decoupling” diplomacy over its nuclear program from the many other troublesome aspects of the mullahs’ regime—exemplifies this approach. And once again, the problem isn’t just that the administration is ignoring reality. It’s that it is creating and selling an alternative, fantastical world that bears little relation to the real one.
For much of the decade before Obama took office, Iran was at war with the United States. The targeting of American military and diplomatic personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan was approved at the highest levels of the Iranian government. Iran is responsible for more than one-third of all U.S. troop deaths in the region, according to a retired general with vast experience there.
But two months into the Obama administration, top officials made clear their willingness to set aside that history. The Iranians were invited to a conference on Afghanistan, and State Department officials repeatedly claimed that the Iranians could play a “constructive” and “positive” role in Afghanistan and the region. Six years later, administration officials still say the same thing despite a steady stream of evidence that the opposite is true.
“Iran is mounting an aggressive campaign to fuel anti-American sentiment here and convince Afghan leaders that a robust, long-term security partnership with Washington would be counterproductive,” theWashington Post reported in 2012, noting “the Iranian initiative involves cultivating closer relations with the Taliban” and buying off politicians and media outlets.
More striking is Iran’s support for al Qaeda. Last week, for the first time in nearly three years, the public saw new information from the bin Laden raid. Documents released as part of a terror trial in New York City show, in the words of the al Qaeda leaders themselves, Iran’s availability for training and safe haven. One letter from a senior al Qaeda operative to bin Laden in June 2010 lays out the plans of a core al Qaeda leader to travel to Iran. The letter notes that “Sheikh Yunis” is ready to travel and “the destination, in principle, is Iran. And he has with him six to eight brothers that he chose. I told him we are waiting for final complete confirmation from you to move and agree on this destination (Iran). His plan is: stay around for three months in Iran to train the brothers there then start moving them and distributing them in the world for their missions and specialties.”  
This comes on top of what we already know about Iran and al Qaeda. As Thomas Joscelyn reported here last week, at least three al Qaeda plots targeting Western interests were hatched in Iran since Obama took office. As the administration pined for Iran to rejoin the community of civilized nations, the Treasury was churning out reports showing Tehran had no such interest. In its designation of Yasin al-Suri, “a prominent Iran-based al Qaeda facilitator,” Treasury wrote in December 2011: “Operating under an agreement between al Qaeda and the Iranian Government, al-Suri moves money and al Qaeda recruits from the Middle East through Iran and on to Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
In February 2012, Treasury designated Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security a terror-sponsoring organization. “MOIS has facilitated the movement of al Qaeda operatives in Iran and provided them with documents, identification cards, and passports,” not to mention “money and weapons,” Treasury explained, “and negotiated prisoner releases of AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] operatives.” AQI, of course, would later become the Islamic State or ISIL.
The MOIS doesn’t just sponsor terrorism, it also protects Iran’s nuclear program. According to a profile of the ministry published by the Library of Congress Research Division in December 2012, it focuses on Iran’s internal affairs but plays an “integral” role in operations abroad as well. The MOIS identifies “external threats, specifically those aimed at Iran’s nuclear activity,” and specializes in “countering foreign intelligence agencies such as the CIA and [Israel’s] Mossad,” both of which have worked to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran even established an elite counterintelligence agency that “likely operates” as part of the MOIS and is “exclusively responsible for protecting all relevant information about Iran’s nuclear program, nuclear facilities, and the scientists working in nuclear facilities against threats, including threats from domestic opposition groups and foreign intelligence agencies.”
So the same agency responsible for Iran’s robust terror activities has crucial responsibilities in protecting and hiding its nuclear program. Obama may insist on “decoupling” Iran’s nuclear program from its terrorism. Iran doesn’t.
Iran’s centrifuges have been spinning throughout the lengthy negotiations over its nuclear program, and it has continued to make progress on its plutonium program. The administration has backed away from previous U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring Iran to suspend its nuclear activities. In the fall of 2014, the IAEA discovered that Iran was feeding hexafluoride gas into the IR-5 centrifuge at Natanz. When the State Department inquired about this prohibited activity, Iran stopped—a tacit acknowledgment that it had been caught red-handed.
And yet in his State of the Union, Obama claimed that the Iranian program had been “halted” and that the Iranians hadn’t violated the interim deal. What incentive do the Iranians have to abide by the terms of the deal if the American president will make excuses for them when they don’t?
The day after that speech, House speaker John Boehner invited Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. White House officials howled in protest, calling the invitation a breach of protocol. It was a rich argument from a White House that had enlisted British prime minister David Cameron to lobby members of Congress against additional sanctions on Iran and a president who had invited the president of South Korea to address a joint session of Congress before asking congressional leaders for their blessing.
White House officials aren’t concerned about protocol. They understand that Netanyahu will give Congress and the American people exactly what the Obama administration has worked hard to avoid for six years: a detailed assessment of the threat from Iran.
Consider this question: When was the last time a senior Obama administration official gave a speech devoted to laying out the threat from Iran? It simply hasn’t happened. Perhaps the most extensive comment on the subject from the president himself came in October 2009, after Iran’s secret uranium enrichment facility at Qom was exposed. Obama appeared at a press briefing with French president Nicolas Sarkozy and British prime minister Gordon Brown, both of whom condemned the Iranian violations in the strongest terms. “The level of deception by the Iranian government, and the scale of what we believe is the breach of international commitments, will shock and anger the whole international community, and it will harden our resolve,” said Brown.
Even Obama sounded resolute, saying, “It is time for Iran to act immediately to restore the confidence of the international community by fulfilling its international obligations,” and, “To put it simply: Iran must comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and make clear it is willing to meet its responsibilities as a member of the community of nations.”
But these flashes of rhetorical toughness were invariably paired with comedowns—Obama offering Iran a “clear path toward greater international integration if it lives up to its obligations.” Administration officials in briefings with reporters emphasized the “opportunity” the breach had given Iran.
An opportunity despite the fact that for the third time in a decade Iran had been caught lying about its nuclear program. An opportunity despite the regime’s crushing of the peaceful revolution four months earlier after the mullahs fixed the elections. And an opportunity despite our knowledge of Iran’s support for al Qaeda and its policy of targeting and killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was clear before he’d been in office a year that Obama would not seriously address the threat presented by Iran.
Netanyahu will. For that reason, and because of this context and the enormous stakes, John Boehner’s invitation was less a breach of protocol or partisan ploy than it was an act of statesmanship.
Long before he was elected president, Obama and his supporters complained bitterly about the lack of public debate before the Iraq war. It was a bogus claim on the particulars—that debate lasted well over a year, and the congressional authorization for war came nearly six months before the invasion. The principle they invoked, however, is a valid one and it ought to apply to Iran. If it’s important to have an extended debate about the threat from an aggressive rogue state before going to war, it’s equally important to have such a debate before deciding to capitulate.

Government Mired in Deceit

theodore miraldi - editorial

The Obama Democrats that have successfully used every trick and lie to institute policies that have challenged our Constitutional System of government will not be silenced by mere debate. The near shutdown of DHS is again another result of their policy of deceit.

Republicans have every right in Congress to not fund Obama's Executive Memo on Immigration. The stay placed on this policy has not been lifted and will possibly take months, if not years to resolve in Federal Courts. So why are democrats willing to fund an Obama edict and move forward with an act that may be deemed unconstitutional?

At a time when Islamist Terrorists are threatening our very safety, crossing our Southern Border and committing Lone Wolf acts here, the democrats in some fool hearty mission are insisting to have it their way, and in doing so putting Americans at risk.

America needs to fund DHS and Obama and his supporters need to make sure a bill is signed without funding this additional Immigration folly.

This is how the democrats have been operating since Obama's election. Immigration Laws are selectively being enforced at Obama's will. It's time that the Law be enforced by the will of Congress and the people it represents.

Obama, Netanyahu on Collision Course 6 Years in the Making

For six years, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been on a collision course over how to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions, a high-stakes endeavor both men see as a centerpiece of their legacies.
The coming weeks will put the relationship between their countries, which otherwise remain stalwart allies, to one of its toughest tests.
Netanyahu is bound for Washington for an address to Congress on Tuesday aimed squarely at derailing Obama's cherished bid for a diplomatic deal with Tehran. At the same time, Secretary of State John Kerry and other international negotiators will be in Switzerland for talks with the Iranians, trying for a framework agreement before a late March deadline.
In between are Israel's elections March 17, which have heightened the political overtones of Netanyahu's visit to Washington.
The prime minister is speaking to Congress at the request of Republicans. His visit was coordinated without the Obama administration's knowledge, deepening tensions between two leaders who have never shown much affection for each other.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street, said Netanyahu was "crossing some lines that haven't been crossed before and is putting Israel into the partisan crossfire in a way it has not been before."
But the largest pro-Israel lobby in the U.S., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has tried to play down the partisanship.
"AIPAC welcomes the prime minister's speech to Congress and we believe that this is a very important address," spokesman Marshall Wittmann said. "We have been actively encouraging senators and representatives to attend and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from both sides of the aisle."
Nearly a dozen Democratic lawmakers plan to sit out Netanyahu's speech, calling it an affront to the president.
Stopping Iran from building a nuclear bomb has become a defining challenge for both Obama and Netanyahu, yet one they have approached far differently.
For Obama, getting Iran to verifiably prove it is not pursuing nuclear weapons would be a bright spot in a foreign policy arena in which numerous outcomes are uncertain and would validate his early political promise to negotiate with Iran without conditions.
Netanyahu considers unacceptable any deal with Iran that doesn't end its nuclear program entirely and opposes the diplomatic pursuit as one that minimizes what he considers an existential threat to Israel.
Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful and exists only to produce energy for civilian use.
U.S. and Iranian officials reported progress in the latest talks on a deal that would freeze Tehran's nuclear program for 10 years, but allow it to slowly ramp up in the final years of the accord.
Obama has refused to meet Netanyahu during his visit, with the White House citing its policy of not meeting with foreign leaders soon before their elections. Vice President Joe Biden and Kerry will both be out of the country on trips announced only after Netanyahu accepted the GOP offer to speak on Capitol Hill.
The prime minister is scheduled to speak Monday at AIPAC's annual policy conference. The Obama administration will be represented at the event by U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and national security adviser Susan Rice, who criticized Netanyahu's plans to address Congress as "destructive" to the U.S.-Israeli relationship.
The Iran dispute has heightened a relationship between the two leaders that has been frosty from the start. They lack any personal chemistry, leaving them with virtually no reservoir of goodwill to get them through their policy disagreements.
Within months of taking office, Obama irritated Israel when, in an address to the Arab world, he challenged the legitimacy of Jewish settlements on Palestinian-claimed land and cited the Holocaust as the justification for Israel's existence, not any historical Jewish tie to the land.
The White House was furious when Netanyahu's government defied Obama and announced plans to construct new housing units in East Jerusalem while Biden was visiting Israel in 2010. Additional housing plans that year upended U.S. efforts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The tension between Obama and Netanyahu was laid bare in an unusually public manner during an Oval Office meeting in 2011. In front of a crowd of journalists, the prime minister lectured Obama at length on Israel's history and dismissed the president's conditions for restarting peace talks.
Later that year, a microphone caught Obama telling his then-French counterpart in a private conversation that while he may be fed up with Netanyahu, "You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day."
Despite suspecting that Netanyahu was cheering for his rival in the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama tried reset relations with the prime minister after his re-election. He made his first trip as president to Israel and the two leaders went to great lengths to put on a happy front, referring to each other by their first names and touring some of the region's holy sites together.
The healing period was to be short-lived.
Another attempt at Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed. Israeli officials were withering in their criticism of Kerry, who had shepherded the talks, with the country's defensive minister calling him "obsessive" and "messianic." The Obama administration returned the favor last summer with its own unusually unsparing criticism of Israel for causing civilian deaths when war broke out in Gaza.
The U.S. and Israel have hit rocky patches before.
The settlement issue has been a persistent thorn in relations, compounded by profound unhappiness in Washington over Israeli military operations in the Sinai, Iraq and Lebanon during the Ford, Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations that led those presidents to take or consider direct punitive measures. Yet through it all, the United States has remained Israel's prime benefactor, providing it with $3 billion a year in assistance and defending it from criticism at the United Nations and elsewhere.
"We have brought relations back in the past and we will do it again now because at the end of the day they are based on mutual interests," said Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and informal adviser to Netanyahu. "The interests of Israel and the U.S. are similar and sometime identical and I think that is what will determine in the end and not feelings of one kind or another."

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Who’s Shutting Down DHS? Democrats!

With only hours to go before the deadline for a Department of Homeland Security shutdown expired, a last minute compromise attempt to continue the funding failed late Friday afternoon. After the Senate passed a temporary spending bill to fund DHS, the House took up a measure that would keep the money flowing for three weeks until a more permanent solution can be found. But though the White House and the rest of the Democratic Party have been citing Republican efforts to stop funding those parts of the DHS budget that enable President Obama’s executive orders granting amnesty to up to five million illegal aliens as the cause of the shutdown, when push came to shove it was the Democrats who voted overwhelming against the compromise that could have ended the standoff. Though efforts to try again may continue through the evening and the weekend, the House vote showed that the Democratic talking points about the GOP being the party of obstruction that has been endlessly repeated by the president’s liberal mainstream media cheering section is a transparent lie.
The vote on the compromise plan was a narrow defeat for the proposal put forward by House Speaker John Boehner. But while there were significant Republican defections from their leadership’s proposal, the reason the measure failed was due to the Democrats. Republicans supported the funding by a margin of 192 to 50. But Democrats opposed it by a 172-12 vote.
Why did the Democrats who have been accusing Republicans of playing politics with funding for DHS at a time when the terrorist threat from ISIS and its sympathizers is so great vote no? The answer is simple. They were playing politics.
Rather than accept a compromise that would have kept the department funded, they chose to grandstand in favor of a bill that would have extended throughout the fiscal year. That’s their privilege but if the goal here was to ensure that DHS is funded while the leaders decide on a permanent solution to a problem created by the president’s extralegal end run around Congress on illegal immigration, then their stunt failed miserably.
The point here isn’t to say that Republicans were not doing their own grandstanding as 50 GOP members also voted no because they want no funding of DHS so long as the executive orders stand. But with almost all the Democratic caucus decided to play “chicken” with the majority and thus run the risk of defunding DHS when a compromise was there to be passed, the mainstream media’s favorite theme about Republican obstructionism just became obsolete.
Neither side is without blame in this standoff. The notion that the Republicans who are standing on principle as they seek to use their power of the purse to defund the amnesty program are the extremists while the Democrats are the adults in the room has always been pure partisan bunk. By refusing to compromise on his executive orders, the president is just as guilty of pushing the nation to the brink over DHS funding as the Republicans.
But by torpedoing a measure that would have kept the money flowing to DHS — the thing that Democrats have been telling us is the only thing that matters — the president’s party revealed themselves to be just as cynical and mindlessly partisan as anyone on the other side of the aisle. If anything, they are far worse because they are hypocrites for decrying obstructionism while acting as the prime force behind today’s gridlock spectacle. If Republicans can be smeared as “terrorists” for holding the budget hostage to make their political points, what do we call Democrats who do the same thing?
This may not stop liberals from using the same tired meme about Congressional Republicans in the future. But if they do, honest observers will remember the DHS shutdown that illustrated just how specious Democratic claims of innocence truly are.

Pelosi lectures GOP on ‘legislative process’ over DHS bill

In this Feb. 27, 2015, photo, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., voice their objections to the Republican majority during a delay in voting for a short-term spending bill for the Homeland Security Department during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats didn’t get all they wanted in Congress’ struggle over Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a broader political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. "It’s a staggering failure of leadership that will prolong this manufactured crisis of theirs and endanger the security of the American people," said Pelosi.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Photo by: J. Scott Applewhite
In this Feb. 27, 2015, photo, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., voice their objections to the Republican majority during a delay in voting for a short-term spending bill for the Homeland Security Department during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats didn’t get all they wanted in Congress’ struggle over Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a broader political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. "It’s a staggering failure of leadership that will prolong this manufactured crisis of theirs and endanger the security of the American people," said Pelosi. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor on Friday to lecture Republicans for refusing to accept Senate language in the Department of Homeland Security funding bill.
“Do you not understand the legislative process?” Ms. Pelosi asked in a C-SPAN video posted by Mediaite Friday. 
The California Democrat blasted Republicans for letting “negative attitudes” towards the president impact DHS funding.
“Negative attitudes towards President Obama have so overwhelmed you that you are willing to jeopardize the national security of our country, the homeland security of our country,” the California Democrat said.
“You are standing in the way, and using immigration as the excuse,” Ms. Pelosi said. “For some of you it may be a reason, maybe it is or some of you. But for some of you it is an excuse and for all of you it is a shame.”
“Let us honor our responsibilities and stop, stop standing in the way of protecting the American people,” Ms. Pelosi said, according to Mediaite.
Lawmakers passed a short-term funding bill on Friday to keep DHS running for one more week while they continue to debate a more permanent funding solution.

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My Gender Is 'Fill In The Blank'

Michael Brown

Now that Time Magazine has told us that transgender is the new black, I’m going to say something politically incorrect: Your gender is not whatever you think it is. Put another way, there is no such thing as, “My gender is ‘fill in the blank.’”
Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t get the memo, and so, according to AP’s Martha Mendoza, “Facebook users who don't fit any of the 58 gender identity options offered by the social media giant are now being given a rather big 59th option: fill in the blank.” (Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true.)
One year ago, I reported on Facebook’s new policy which offered American users 50 ways to describe their gender, including up to 10 different descriptions simultaneously.
Unknown to me, that number somehow increased to 58, as noted in the most recent report. But 58 “gender identity options” were obviously not enough. Some people needed another option, one they could quite literally make up themselves.
As Mendoza explains, “Facebook software engineer Ari Chivukula, who identifies as transgender and was part of the team that made the free-form option, thinks the change will lead to more widespread acceptance of people who don't identify themselves as a man or woman.”
Come again? By allowing people to describe their gender however they imagine it to be, this will lead to “more widespread acceptance” for them? And you can be a human being without having to identify “as a man or woman”?
In the vast majority of cases here, we’re not talking about someone with a serious, biological or chromosomal issue, because of which their gender identity is debatable.
We’re talking about people who are biologically male or female but are convinced in their minds that they are something other than their biological sex – either the opposite of their biological sex (and so, a man trapped in a woman’s body or vice versa) or some other variation (no fixed gender; alternating genders; multiple genders; no gender).
Now Facebook is making room for that option: My gender is “fill in the blank,” and so the sky is literally the limit.
But lest you think Facebook is introducing some cutting-edge innovation, they are actually late to the party.
According to a document dated February 5, 2005 – and so, more than 10 years old – the Los Angeles Unified School District Reference Guide stated that, “‘Gender identity’ refers to one’s understanding, interests, outlook, and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one’s biological sex.”
Your gender is whatever you perceive it to be, regardless of your biological sex, to the point that, if you believe you are both male and female or neither male nor female, that’s who you are.
And what if your perceptions change over time? So does your “gender identity.”
As explained in a 2013 NPR interview, one housing director “has clients who might be Jimmy one day, and Deloris the next,” because of which you have to “develop the habit of saying, oh, that person, that is a she, that's Delores. It doesn't matter that she looks rather like Jimmy or looks like she was called Jimmy by her parents” – unless, of course, today, she is Jimmy, in which case she is he.
In fact, I recently watched a video in which the speaker explained that one’s gender could actually change by the hour. I kid you not.
During the aforementioned NPR interview, one participant explained that some “high school students . . . said, I want you to call me Tractor and use pronouns like zee, zim and zer. And, in fact, I reject the gender binary as an oppressive move by the dominant culture.”
Facebook has now made room for that option: My gender is Tractor.
Why not? Who are we to argue? Who wants to be labelled transphobic and insensitive?
And what if your perceived identity is not even human, like those people who genuinely believe they are part animal? (That’s a whole other story for another article, but it’s a growing trend as well.) What if you genuinely believe you’re awerewolf or the like? How about “My gender is male werewolf”? Will that work?
I truly care for people who struggle with their gender identity, especially little children, who cannot possibly be accused of having some kind of sinister agenda, and I do hope we can get to the root of the very deep and significant issues that contribute to the feeling of disharmony they experience between their bodies and their minds.
But it is madness to have 58 ways to describe your gender or, worse still, to offer a “fill in the blank” option to describe your gender.
It needs to stop.

Susan Rice: Choking on a Gnat

Ken Blackwell

Even in a Senate then controlled by Democrats, President Obama’s National Security Adviser, Susan E. Rice, could not be confirmed as his second term Secretary of State. That’s because she notoriously went on five Sunday television news talk shows to claim that the September 11, 2012 attack on our diplomatic compound at Benghazi was provoked by an anti-Islamic video. It soon became clear that cover story was false. She was then our Ambassador to the UN.
Now, Amb. Rice is on TV making news again. She told PBS’s Charlie Rose that the address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress slated for next week“injected a degree of partisanship” into the U.S.-Israeli alliance that was “destructive to the fabric of the relationship.”
Let’s hope Amb. Rice goes on all five Sunday shows again to level that charge. That should certainly build the audience for the Prime Minister’s address. She needs a bigger audience than just those insomniac liberals who watch Charlie Rose.
Has there ever been a greater example of swallowing camels while choking on a gnat? The gnat, of course, is the invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress. President Obama’s supporters are furious, claiming it is a deliberate attempt by the Israeli leader to stick a spoke in the wheels of the U.S.-Iran negotiations over nuclear weapons. And, the speech to Congress has been dismissed by Mr. Obama’s backers as a partisan gesture by Netanyahu just days before Israel’s scheduled elections. Campaign operatives who helped Barack Obama win back-to-back victories here are known to be in Israel now, working for Netanyahu’s opponents.
If the Obama administration is so confident of the rightness of its position in the U.S.-Iran talks, why should it worry what Mr. Netanyahu thinks? If their position in the talks could clearly command the assent of the American people, President Obama could simply go on national TV and proclaim the final agreement as a victory for “peace in our time.”
This president, as Newsweek editor Evan Thomas famously said, “hovers over the nations like a sort of god.” Surely, President Obama would be more persuasive in selling a nuclear pact with Iran’s mullahs than Netanyahu might be in criticizing it. Mr. Obama—in his best professorial style—could simply take apart the Netanyahu speech, one paragraph at a time. He is so eloquent, the seas have ceased to rise at sound of his voice. Or so we were promised.
If Amb. Rice is choking on a gnat—the invitation to Netanyahu, its timing, its location, its appearance of partisanship—then what is the camel we are supposed to swallow? Let’s try this:
President Obama and Secretary Kerry are about to conclude an agreement with Iran’s mullahs to that will not allow them to develop a nuclear weapon now but will allow them to “phase out” strict limits on their nuclear program. This plan, if inked, and if ratified by the Senate, would permit Iran to move toward a nuclear weapon in the “out years” of the ten-year agreement.
Messers Obama and Kerry are working with an Iranian leadership that seized our embassy in Tehran in 1979. They held our 52 embassy staff hostage for 444 days. They subjected them to beatings and to psychological torture—like frequent mock executions before firing squads. The mullahs hold our embassy property—sovereign U.S. territory under international law—to this day. Messers Obama and Kerry want us to trust the mullahs who murdered 241 U.S. Marines and Navy corpsmen as they slept in their Beirut barracks in 1983. They want us to rely on the good words of mullahs who have equipped Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon with 50,000 missiles to fire at Israel. Our crack negotiators want us to wave away the regular “Death to America” rallies ginned up by the muillahs in Tehran. Their agent, Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah, welcomes the exodus of European Jews arriving in Israel because, as he says, “it will save us the trouble of hunting them down.”
President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Amb. Rice are not asking us to swallow a camel. They are asking us to swallow a herd of camels. While they fussily object to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress, they are lurching toward an agreement that leaves his country in mortal peril—and very possibly our own nation, too. That is what Netanyahu is likely to explain. Kerry has been wrong on every foreign policy issue of the last forty years. His presence at the negotiating table should give no one confidence.
On one point, however, I can agree with this administration. As a sign of their displeasure, the Obama administration is removing the Vice President from the evening’s proceedings during the Prime Minister’s speech. President Obama is right to pluck Joe Biden from his customary chair. Just the thought of Netanyahu’s presence in the well of the House, and Biden’s absence from the chamber, assures that the intelligence of Congress will be doubly enhanced.

Sheriff Joe warns amnesty judge on 'defiant' Obama

President's refusal to obey 'another affront to the rule of law'



An attorney for Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County is asking the judge who ordered federal bureaucrats not to implement President Obama’s amnesty-by-memo plan to order a hearing over the administration’s apparent refusal to abide by the order.

A notice and recommendation was filed Friday in the Texas case, which was brought by 26 states, by attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch on behalf of Arpaio, who has his own lawsuit against Obama over amnesty but joined the Texas case in a friend-of-the-court filing.
“Several reports indicate that the executive branch under the Obama administration has not complied with this court’s temporary injunction, but continues full-speed to implement a grant of amnesty and related benefits to approximately 5 million citizens of foreign countries who are illegally in the United States under the defendants’ November 20, 2014, executive action programs implemented by several memoranda issued by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson,” the filing explains.
The suggestion is accompanied by a motion seeking “further leave” of the court to file the request.
It explains: “If the defendants have in fact halted implementation of the programs in compliance with the court’s temporary injunction, the opportunity to assure the court and other observers of this may be afforded by the court asking for a response on whether the reports of continued implementation are accurate and whether the injunction is being complied with.”
Two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen ordered federal agencies to stop implementation of the Obama amnesty plan because officials failed to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act.
He did not reach a determination of the constitutionality of Obama’s executive actions, a decision Klayman is hopeful will be delivered by a federal appeals court in Washington, where his case on behalf of Arpaio now is pending.
Since the issuance of Hanen’s temporary injunction, the White House has asked that it be overturned.
Klayman’s filing noted Obama’s statement at a town hall meeting in Miami on Feb. 25 that he won’t be deterred by “one federal judge” on immigration.
Obama, according to the Washington Times, “told a Miami crowd that he will move ahead with his executive action on immigration and vowed that his administration will become even more aggressive in the weeks and months to come.”
Klayman’s filing also noted Obama said: “This is just one federal judge. We have appealed it very aggressively. We’re going to be as aggressive as we can.”
Wrote Klayman: “The Obama administration is continuing to signal not only its disagreement with the court’s order, which is its right, but beyond that its non-compliance with the court’s order.”
The attorney also noted a report from Judicial Watch, a public interest organization, that said “a source within the U.S. government contracting industry” said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “is continuing at full speed to implement the ‘deferred action’ programs created on November 20, 2014.”
“In short,” Klayman told the court, “President Obama’s defiant pledge in Miami, Florida, on February 25, 2015, to move forward aggressively with implementation of his deferred action amnesty by executive over-reach …  more than suggests that the Obama administration is continuing to implement the executive action amnesty in defiance of the court’s temporary injunction.
“Given the strong reports that DHS is continuing to implement the programs that the court enjoined, the court should issue an order to show cause and call for clarification and assurance from the defendants that they are and will comply with the court’s temporary injunction, and if not take immediate remedial actions to [ensure] that the order is being complied with.”
The Obama administration’s action “to expend taxpayers money in violation of this court’s temporary injunction order would be another affront to the rule of law,” he wrote.
WND reported earlier this week that Obama’s amnesty plan took another step forward.
It came when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the extension of a program allowing spouses of certain visa holders to obtain work permits.
According to the Washington Times, the move will, in 90 days, allow some 180,000 immigrants to be eligible for the benefit “in the first year.”
“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” the newspaper quoted agency chief Leon Rodriguez saying. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents.”
The Texas lawsuit was filed when the states suddenly faced massive new demands for public services such as schooling and health care from foreigners who previously had been subject to deportation.
Hanen granted a preliminary injunction that prevents the government from enforcing the Obama administration’s immigration orders. The ruling also confirmed WND’s exclusive report that, contrary to popular perception, the order to delay deportation was not an executive order by the president. Instead, it was a memorandum issued by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson at Obama’s direction.
Klayman even noted that according to a Weekly Standard report, Obama was threatening “consequences” for federal employees who followed the judge’s order, instead of the amnesty memos from Johnson.
That report quoted Obama saying: “Until we pass a law through Congress, the executive actions we’ve taken are not going to be permanent; they are temporary. There are going to be some jurisdictions and there may be individual ICE official or Border Control agent not paying attention to our new directives. But they’re going to be answerable to the head of Homeland Security because he’s been very clear about what our priorities will be.”
He continued, “If somebody’s working for ICE … and they don’t follow the policy, there’s going to be consequences to it.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., described the administration’s action as “another program that has not been authorized by law.”
“There’s been no sense at all by President Obama, the Department of Home Security [Secretary] Jeh Johnson, the Democratic members of this Congress, no concern about the employment prospects of lawful immigrants, green card holders and native-born Americans,” Sessions told the Times. “The first thing we should do is be focusing on getting jobs for Americans that are unemployed. Are we going to keep Americans on welfare and benefits while we bring in more and more foreigners to take jobs when we’ve got Americans ready and willing to take those jobs?”
Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also raised the issue of compliance with the court order.
“Violating an unambiguous federal court order by defying its instructions to cease and desist a particular activity would represent a significant breach of your authority, and would be an escalation in abuse of our separation of powers,” Cruz wrote to administration officials. “For a president and his cabinet to telegraph intent to violate a federal court order requires additional scrutiny from Congress.”
But administration officials were unabashed in their intent.
The Washington Times said Cecilia Munoz, White House domestic policy director, addressed the issue: “It’s important to put [Hanen's order] in context, because the broader executive actions are moving forward. The administration continues to implement the portions of the actions that the president and the Department of Homeland Security took, which were not affected by the court’s ruling.”
But Hanen’s order said: “The United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees and Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of United States customs and Border Protection; Ronald D. Vitiello, deputy chief of United States Border Patrol, United States Customs and Border Protection; Thomas S. Winkowski, acting director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.”
And even Obama himself said he couldn’t do it alone.
House Speaker John Boehner has listed online 22 times when Obama has made such statements.
For example, in October 2010, Obama said: “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. … I’ve got to have some partners to do it. … If Congress has laws on the books that says that people who are here who are not documented have to be deported, then I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there’s a limit to the discretion that I can show because I am obliged to execute the law. … I can’t just make the laws up by myself.”
Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano has said unless an appeals court intervenes in the case, Obama’s amnesty program likely will fail.
He commented on the government’s request for that intervention.
“They basically said the government will be irreparably harmed if you don’t lift this injunction because we need to provide a service to the illegal aliens we promised we would help.”
Napolitano said the government “wants to break the law so it can help other lawbreakers stay here.”
WND also reported when yet another a federal judge in Pennsylvania declared the amnesty unconstitutional.
“President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause and, therefore, is unconstitutional,” said U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
The judge noted Obama “contended that although legislation is the most appropriate course of action to solve the immigration debate, his executive action was necessary because of Congress’ failure to pass legislation, acceptable to him, in this regard.”
“This proposition is arbitrary and does not negate the requirement that the November 20, 2014, executive action be lawfully within the president’s executive authority,” the judge wrote. “It is not.”