Was his instruction do everything you possible can at every junction to embarrass the United States? Check David Cameron giving him the stink eye.
HT: Daily Mail
Was his instruction do everything you possible can at every junction to embarrass the United States? Check David Cameron giving him the stink eye.
HT: Daily Mail
President Obama on Monday condemned a weekend shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, Mich., calling it a stark example that more needs to be done to prevent gun violence in America.
The president said he phoned the mayor, police chief and sheriff in Kalamazoo to offer federal assistance in the investigation.
“Their local officials and first responders did an outstanding job in apprehending the individual very quickly,” he told a meeting of the National Governors Association at the White House. “But you’ve got families who are shattered today.”
Obama cited a series of executive actions he took last month designed to expand background checks on gun purchases, but he added that “it’s clear we’re going to need to do more to keep innocent Americans safe.”
An Über driver allegedly killed six people and injured two others during a Saturday shooting spree in Kalamazoo. The man, identified as police as Jason Brian Dalton, reportedly picked up passengers between shootings.
Obama cited last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria sympathizers as an incident that terrorized the nation, adding “here’s a hard truth, we probably lost even more Americans than that this weekend alone.”
“I’ve got to assume that all of your are just as tired as I am of seeing this stuff happen in your states,” the president continued.
“So that’s an area where we need to partner and think about what we can do in a common-sense way, in a bipartisan way, without some of the ideological rhetoric that so often surrounds that issue.”
The shooting in Kalamazoo was just the latest mass incident of gun violence that has occured in Obama’s presidency.
Obama has delivered forceful, emotional calls for new gun laws after shootings in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 and Charleston, S.C. in 2015.
But the president has repeatedly been stymied by Republicans in Congress in passing new gun laws, such as universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.
In January, Obama issued a new executive actions clarifying which gun sellers are required to conduct background checks on buyers.
President Obama spoke warmly about Islam during his speech at a mosque today, highlighting the contributions that Muslims had made to the fabric of American society.
“Islam has always been part of America,” he said, detailing the beginnings of the religion among African slaves brought to America. He also pointed out that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Virginia statute for religious freedom that the “Mohammedan” should have his faith protected in the United States.
Obama met with Muslim leaders during a visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, before delivering a speech there. This is Obama’s first visit to a mosque as president – although George W. Bush also visited a mosque in New York City after the attacks of 9/11.
During his speech, he praised the religion for being a religion of peace – not the hate preached by groups like ISIS.
“The very word Islam comes from ‘Salam’ – peace,” he said. “The standard greeting is ‘As-Salaam-Alaikum’ – ‘Peace be upon you,’” he explained. “Like so many faiths, Islam is rooted in a commitment to compassion and mercy and justice and charity. “Whoever wants to enter paradise, the prophet Mohammad taught, let him treat people the way he would love to be treated,” he said as the audience applauded.
“For Christians like myself, I’m assuming that sounds familiar,” he continued.
Obama has frequently defended Muslim Americans – even meeting with leaders at private event at the White House last year. This is the biggest public display of support for the Muslim American community – cited by White House aides as a response to the anti-refugee and anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail from Republicans like Donald Trump.
Obama reminded the audience that political opponents of Thomas Jefferson accused him of being a Muslim. “So I was not the first,” he said lightly as the audience laughed. “It’s true. Look it up. I’m in good company.”
Obama pointed out that the founding fathers also supported the religion of Islam.
“Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran,” he said. “Benjamin Franklin wrote, that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”
He also recalled the history of mosques in America – pointing out that the oldest surviving mosque was in Iowa and that the first American mosque was built in North Dakota.
Obama also urged Christians to defend Muslim-Americans when their religion was under attack.
“If we’re serious about freedom of religion – and I’m speaking now to my fellow Christians, who remain the majority in this country – we have to understand, an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths,” he said.
He demanded that Americans stop profiling Muslims and treating them differently because of their faith – criticizing political rhetoric for inflaming hatred against the Muslim community.
“We have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias and targets people because of religion,” he said.
He specifically addressed young Muslim Americans, urging them not to grow cynical.
“Let me say it as clearly as I can, as President of the United States, you fit in here. Right here. You’re right where you belong. You’re part of America too,” he said.
According to photos on Twitter of the speech, the audience in the mosque was segregated – men in one section and women in a special balcony.
As Obama concluded his speech, he said, “May God’s peace be upon you and God Bless the United States of America.”
This is how Iranian President Hassan Rouhani describes the diplomatic swindle, known as the “Iran nuclear deal.”
The Koranic term (in Arabic Fatah al-Mobin) refers to one of Prophet Mohammed’s successful guerrilla raids on a Meccan caravan in the early days of Islam.
Rouhani claims the “deal” represents “the greatest diplomatic victory in Islamic history.” Leaving aside the hyperbole, a fixture of the mullahs’ rhetorical arsenal, Rouhani has reason to crow.
If not quite moribund as some analysts claim, the Islamic Republic had been in a rough patch for years.
For more than a year, the government was unable to pay some of the 5.2 million public sector employees, notably teachers, petrochemical workers and students on bursaries, triggering numerous strikes.
Deprived of urgently needed investment, the Iranian oil industry was pushed to the edge with its biggest oil fields, notably Bibi Hakimeh and Maroun, producing less than half their capacity.
Between 2012 and 2015, Iran lost 25% of its share in the global oil market.
Sanctions and lack of investment also meant that large chunks of Iranian industry, dependent on imported parts, went under. In 2015 Iran lost an average of 1,000 jobs a day.
Last month, the nation’s currency, the rial, fell to an all-time record low while negative economic growth was forecast for the third consecutive year.
Having increased the military budget by 21%, Rouhani was forced to delay presentation of his new budget for the Iranian New Year starting March 21.
Against that background that Obama rode to the rescue by pushing through a “deal” designed to ease pressure on Iran in exchange for nothing but verbal promises from Tehran. Here is some of what Obama did:
* Dropped demands that Iran reshape its nuclear program to make sure it can never acquire a military dimension. As head of Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Ali Akbar Salehi has said: “Our nuclear project remains intact. The ‘deal’ does not prevent us from doing what we were doing.”
* He suspended a raft of sanctions and pressured the European Union and the United Nations to do the same.
* He injected a badly needed $1.7 billion into Iranian economy by releasing assets frozen under President Jimmy Carter and kept as possible compensation for Americans held hostage at different times. The cash enabled Rouhani to start paying some unpaid salaries in Iran while financing Hezbollah branches and helping the Assad regime in Syria.
* Obama released another tranche of $30 billion, enabling Rouhani to present his new budget with a reduced deficit at 14% while increasing the military-security budget yet again, by 4.2%.
* Banking sanctions were set aside to let Iran import 19,000 tons of American rice to meet shortages on the eve of Iranian New Year when consumption reaches its peak.
* Obama’s lovefest with the mullahs helped mollify the Khomeinist regime’s image as a sponsor of international terror and a diplomatic pariah.
What is the rationale behind Obama’s dogged determination to help the mullahs out of the ditch they have dug?
Some cite Obama’s alleged belief that the US has been an “imperialist power,” bullying weaker nations and must make amends.
Others suggest a tactic to strengthen “moderates” within the Iranian regime who, if assured that the US does into seek regime change might lead the nation towards a change of behavior.
Whatever the reasons, what Obama has done could best described as appeasement-plus.
In classical appeasement you promise an adversary not to oppose some of his moves, for example the annexation of Czechoslovakia, but you do not offer him actual financial or diplomatic support.
Obama has gone beyond that.
In addition to saving Iran from running out of money, on the diplomatic front he has endorsed Tehran’s scenario for Syria, is campaigning to help Iran choose the next Lebanese president, and has given the mullahs an open field in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Secretary of State John Kerry talks of Iran as “the regional power,” to the chagrin of Washington’s Middle East allies.
What if the “deal” actually weakens the “moderates” that Obama wants to support, supposing they do exist?
Obama’s imaginary “moderates” are not in good shape. The Council of Guardians that decides who could run for election next month has disqualified 99% of the so-called “moderate” wannabes, ensuring the emergence of a new Islamic parliament and Assembly of Experts dominated by radicals as never before.
Meanwhile, the annual “End of America” festival, Feb. 1 to 10, is to be held with greater pomp.
With more resources at its disposal, Tehran is intensifying its “exporting the revolution” campaign. Last week it announced the creation of a new Hezbollah branch in Turkey and, for the first time, made the existence of a branch in Iraq public. Tajikistan was also publicly added to the markets where Khomeinist revolution should be exported.
There are no “moderates” in Tehran, and the Islamic Republic cannot be reformed out of its nature. For the remainder of Obama’s term least, expect a more aggressive Islamic Republic.
Did the mullahs deceive Obama? No, this was all his idea.
The Obama administration on Thursday eased visa rules for certain European travelers who have visited terror hotspots in the Middle East and Africa, a move certain to rile congressional lawmakers who sought the restrictions.
The revised requirements announced Thursday pertain to changes in the Visa Waiver Program passed by Congress. Lawmakers had sought new restrictions to tighten up the program – which allows visa-free travel for residents of eligible countries – in order to prevent Europeans who have joined ISIS from entering the U.S.
The administration implemented the changes Thursday – but with some changes of its own.
As called for by The Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, the administration is mostly excluding nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan as well as travelers who have visited the countries since Mar. 1, 2011 from the program. Instead, they’ll have to apply for a visa in order to travel to the United States.
But under the revised requirements, some Europeans who have traveled to those four countries in the last five years may still be allowed to travel to the United States without obtaining a visa if they meet certain criteria.
The administration announced Thursday that it will use its waiver authority – granted to it in the legislation – to give waivers to travelers who traveled to the terror hotspots as journalists, for work with humanitarian agencies or on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations and sub-national governments on official duty.
Likely to cause ire among congressional Republicans is an additional waiver for people who have traveled to Iran “for legitimate business-related purposes” since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal in July. The administration also offers waivers for individuals who have traveled to Iraq for business as well.
Citizens of 38 countries, mostly in Europe, are generally allowed to travel to the United States without applying for a visa. But they still have to submit biographical information to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.
The Homeland Security Department said waivers for some ESTA applicants will be granted on a “case-by-case” basis. Those travelers who are denied visa-free travel can still apply for visa through a U.S. embassy in their home country.
Republicans reacted angrily to the waivers, saying the Obama administration had exploited the limited authority and has compromised national security.
“President Obama and his administration’s decision to abuse their limited waiver authority and allow scores of people who have traveled to or are dual nationals of countries like Iraq and Syria flies in the face of reason and congressional intent,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement.
“The Obama Administration is essentially rewriting the law by blowing wide open a small window of discretion that Congress gave it for law enforcement and national security reasons,” Goodlatte said.
The new restrictions had previously been criticized by the Iranian government that the U.S. is violating the nuclear deal by penalizing legitimate business travel to the country.
Free to rejoin the fight.
If you watched the State of the Union address, you know that closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay is still a top priority for President Obama. Despite signing a closure order way back in January of 2009, the Commander in Chief has failed to follow through and the facility remains open. Now, the clock is ticking and Obama has stepped up the release of Gitmo inmates. In just the last two weeks, he’s unshackled another four prisoners.
Among those recently set free is 40-year-old Muhammad al Rahman al-Shumrani. According to his file, he was born in Saudi Arabia, he’s in good health, and oh! This is interesting: He’s vowed to kill as many Americans as possible – in multiple countries – if he’s ever released from his cell.
On 14 October 2007, detainee stated, “When I get out of here, I will go to Iraq and Afghanistan and kill as many Americans as I can. Then I will come here and kill more Americans.” 35 ? (S//NF) Detainee stated, “I love Usama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar and if I ever get out of Guantanamo I will go back to fight the Americans and kill as many as I can.” Detainee stated he hated all Americans and will seek revenge if ever released from Guantanamo. 36 ? (S//NF) Detainee said that if he is released, he would again participate in jihad against the enemies of Muslims, to include the United States. Detainee is proud of what he has done and what he is willing to do anything to fight against enemies of Muslims. 37 ? (S//NF) Detainee stated he decided to become more religious because of his dislike of the US and its citizens.
Super. He definitely sounds like a guy we want to put back into circulation. What could possibly go wrong?
His file goes on to state that
“If released without rehabilitation, close supervision, and means to successfully reintegrate into his society as a law-abiding citizen, it is assessed detainee would immediately seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities at home and abroad. Since being transferred to JTF-GTMO, detainee has threatened the guard staff, has preached extremist ideology to other inmates, and has indicated his intent to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan if released.”
We’re sure the administration has properly rehabilitated this fine, upstanding, gentleman. Likewise, we’re positive they’ve guaranteed his new outlook through their standard, highly-effective, vetting process. After all, it’s not like they have a track record of letting 116 former detainees return to the battlefield.
The builder of the Keystone XL oil pipeline company is suing the Obama administration in federal court over its refusal to approve the project.
TransCanada, which proposed the pipeline project to connect Canada’s oil sands in Alberta with U.S. refiners on the Gulf Coast, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court in Houston, “asserting that the president’s decision to deny construction of Keystone XL exceeded his power under the U.S. Constitution,” according to the company.
The administration squashed the project after a record seven years of review, saying the project would increase greenhouse gas emissions and worsen climate change.
“TransCanada’s legal actions challenge the foundation of the U.S. administration’s decision to deny a presidential border crossing permit for the project,” the company says. “In its decision, the U.S. State Department acknowledged the denial was not based on the merits of the project. Rather, it was a symbolic gesture based on speculation about the perceptions of the international community regarding the administration’s leadership on climate change and the president’s assertion of unprecedented, independent powers.”
The company says as a result of the U.S. permit denial, it is reviewing the total sunk cost in the project at $3.1 billion. It is also making a separate claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement to recoup $15 billion in “costs and damages that it has suffered as a result of the U.S. administration’s breach of its… obligations” under the agreement.
President Barack Obama says his administration will continue releasing terrorists from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, so long as those released are less dangerous than the jihadists currently fighting against the U.S. and its interests.
The bizarre argument comes in a new interview with Olivier Knox of Yahoo! News and is one of several comments in their discussion that reinforces the president’s stubborn nonchalance on issues related to jihad. Obama also shrugs off concerns about recidivism of former Guantanamo detainees, suggesting that only a “handful” of former detainees have returned to the fight and claiming that only “low-level” terrorists have been released from the detention facility. Both claims are demonstrably false.
In the interview, Knox asked Obama about Ibrahim al Qosi, a Guantanamo detainee transferred by the Obama administration to Sudan in July 2012, who recently resurfaced as a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, often described as the most dangerous al Qaeda branch. Al Qosi appeared in a propaganda video disseminated by the group last week. Knox asked Obama whether having someone return to the fight “in a big way,” like Qosi, has caused the administration to revisit its vetting procedures.
“I am absolutely persuaded, as are my top intelligence and military advisers, that Guantanamo is used as a recruitment tool for organizations like ISIS,” Obama began. “And if we want to fight ’em, then we can’t give ’em these kinds of excuses.”
There is no reason that Obama would need to be “persuaded” of something that can be easily demonstrated. Either Guantanamo is a major recruitment tool or it’s not.
Administration officials have been making this claim for years and it’s not true.
Guantanamo rarely appears in jihadist propaganda, whether ISIS or al Qaeda, and reviews of recent propaganda materials from ISIS and al Qaeda – online videos and audio recordings, glossy magazines, etc. – found very few mentions of the facility.
“Keep in mind that between myself and the Bush administration hundreds of people have been released and the recidivism rate – we anticipate,” Obama said. “We assume that there are going to be – out of four, five, six-hundred people that get released – a handful of them are going to be embittered and still engaging in anti-US activities and trying to link up potentially with their old organizations.”
A handful? Obama is woefully ill-informed or he’s being dishonest. According to the most recent report on Guantanamo recidivism, prepared in September 2015 by James Clapper’s office, Obama’s own Director of National Intelligence, 196 former detainees are either confirmed (117) or suspected (79) of returning to the fight. That’s a recidivism rate of more than 30 percent. Intelligence officials tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that those numbers are almost certainly low, as they do not include jihadists the United States and its allies are no longer tracking.
(Obama’s formulation there is odd, too, using “embittered” as if the reason the jihadists would once again take up arms against the United States is their time in detention.)
Obama continued, describing the process officials use to determine whether a detainee can be released or transferred. “The judgment that we’re continually making is: Are there individuals who are significantly more dangerous than the people who are already out there who are fighting? What do they add? Do they have special skills? Do they have special knowledge that ends up making significant threat to the United States?”
It’s an odd set of criteria for evaluating threats unless your main objective is emptying the detention facility. These are standards set up to allow the administration to claim that the knowledge base and skill sets of Guantanamo detainees are outdated. But former Guantanamo detainees return to the fight with elevated status and often assume leadership roles in the groups determined to attack the U.S. and its interests. Just like Ibrahim al Qosi.
Obama went on to suggest that those released don’t present much of a threat anyway. “And so the bottom line is that the strategic gains we make by closing Guantanamo will outweigh, you know, those low-level individuals who, you know, have been released so far.”
Again, Obama’s claim is false. Many of the 653 detainees transferred or released from Guantanamo as of September 2015 were much more significant than “low-level individuals.” It’s a group that includes al Qaeda operatives who worked directly for Osama bin Laden, senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban, and veteran jihadists with decades of experience fighting.
According to assessments provided by Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the original population of Guantanamo was 43 percent “high risk,” and 36 percent “medium risk.” Only 20 percent of those ever detained at Guantanamo were deemed “low risk.” The Bush administration transferred many of the detainees found to present minimal risks to the U.S. and by the time Obama took office, 98.7 percent of those remaining were considered medium risk (23.8 percent) or high risk (74.9 percent).
Consider the Taliban Five, released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl. Although Obama administration officials initially downplayed the significance of these detainees, intelligence and military officials made it clear that they were high-risk transfers. Michael Leiter, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center under Obama, said it was “very, very likely” that the five Taliban leaders would return to the fight. Rob Williams, the national intelligence officer for South Asia, who briefed Congress shortly after the transfer, testified that there was a high likelihood that at least four of the five freed detainees, and possibly all of them, would rejoin the fight.
And what about Ibrahim al Qosi? He’s the Guantanamo recidivist that triggered Knox’s question to the president. Was he a “low-level” fighter, as Obama suggested?
He is not. Qosi is now a senior leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the group’s public spokesman. AQAP has repeatedly attempted to attack the U.S., while taking over large parts of Yemen. The dossier compiled by U.S. officials for Qosi demonstrates that he served bin Laden in multiple roles because he was so trusted.
A threat assessment of al Qosi prepared by the intelligence officials on the Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) reported that he would present a “high risk” of taking up arms against the United States or its allies if he were freed from the detention facility. “Detainee is an admitted veteran jihadist with combat experience beginning in 1990 and it is assessed he would engage in hostilities against US forces, if released.”
Virtually everything Obama said in his Yahoo interview about Guantanamo is false. Guantanamo is not a leading recruitment tool for jihadists. From the earliest days of the facility, many of those detained there were deemed more than the “low-level” fighters the president would have us believe. And far more than a “handful” of released detainees – nearly 200 suspected or confirmed – have returned to the fight.
We are left with this uncomfortable but incontrovertible fact: Barack Obama is releasing jihadists known to present a serious threat to the United States and he’s misleading the country about it.
President Obama has appointed second-generation anti-Israel activist, and former Iran deal negotiator Robert O. (Rob) Malley as his ‘senior adviser on the counterinsurgency campaign against ISIL.’ Malley knows much about terrorism as his dad was close friends with Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat (they both were born and raised in Egypt and each was funded by the USSR).
While the sins of the father are not normally visited on the son, this son has chosen to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
CAMERA reported that Malley grew up in France, where his Egyptian-born father, Simon Malley, and New York raised mother, Barbara (Silverstein) Malley, were radical publishers of a controversial magazine about Africa and the so-called Third World. Malley’s parents were rabidly anti-Israel and counted Yasir Arafat as a personal friend. Indeed, Arafat was among those “leaders” (for want of a better word) who had intervened with the French government to readmit the Malley family to France after they had been expelled for their radical activities.
At the time Malley’s dad (whose work was funded by the Soviet Union, Romania, Libya, and Algeria) was expelled from France, the Associated Press wrote:
Some of his articles are a veritable incitement to the assassination of foreign chiefs of state. The French government cannot tolerate them,” [a French official said].
The bi-monthly magazine Afrique-Asie is published in Paris and regularly attacks Western policies in all parts of the world. It claims to be non-aligned, but has supported the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, the Cuban intervention in Angola and Ethiopia, the seizure of American hostages in Iran, the Algerian-backed guerrilla war in southern Morocco, and the Arab opposition to Israel and the Camp David agreements.
In an editorial, the magazine said Malley’s expulsion proved the French government’s collusion with “imperialist, neo-colonialist and racist forces seeking to destabilize and overthrow revolutionary regimes”
(…) The Algerian, Libyan and Angolan governments have publicly defended Malley and warned that his expulsion could damage their relations with France. Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat said it would undermine France’s prestige throughout the Arab world.
The younger Malley’s personal pedigree not only includes a host of anti-Israel articles, but the former aide to Bill Clinton is the only American privy to the Clinton peace efforts to blame Israel for their lack of success. Everyone else, including the former President, said that Yasser Arafat walked away from a “sweetheart” deal. Malley was also believed to be the chief source for an article by Deborah Sontag that whitewashed Arafat’s role in the collapse of the peace process, an article that has been widely criticized as riddled with errors and bias.
Malley appealed to candidate Obama because of his anti-Israel stance as demonstrated by some of his greatest hits:
* Making the Best of Hamas’ Victory: which called for international aid to be showered upon a Hamas-led government and for international engagement with Hamas (a group that makes clear in its Charter, its schools, and its violence its intent to destroy Israel). Malley also makes an absurd assertion: that Hamas’ policies and Israeli policies are mirror images of each other.
* Rebuilding a Damaged Palestine: which blames Israel’s security operations for weakening Palestinian security forces (absurd on its face: terrorists filled the ranks of so-called Palestinian security forces-which, in any case, never tried to prevent terrorism) and calls for international forces to restrain the Israelis.
* Avoiding Failure with Hamas: which again calls for aid to flow to a Hamas-led government and even goes so far as to suggest that failure to extend aid could cause an environmental or health catastrophe-such as a human strain of the avian flu virus!
* How to Curb the Tension in Gaza: which criticizes Israel’s for its actions to recover Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped and is being held hostage in the Gaza Strip. He and co-writer Gareth Evans call Israel’s actions ‘collective punishment” in “violation of international law.”
While a member of Obama’s campaign staff Malley was “supposedly” fired by the campaign for having secret meetings with Hamas, but he was a willing sacrificial lamb to make Obama look good. Until he rejoined Obama as part of his administration Malley served progressive puppet-master George Soros as he is currently Program Director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, an international think tank funded by the “dude of spooky” himself.
In 2011 Malley wrote a piece in the Washington Post pushing Hamas as an important peace partner where he showed himself to be an apologist for Palestinian terror.
Twice before the world has sought to prevent the Islamists from governing – after Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections and, a year later, when it formed a coalition with Fatah. Twice, the world made a mess of things. The balance sheet is unequivocal: Hamas remains entrenched in Gaza; Fatah is no stronger; and, without elections or genuine pluralistic political life, democratic institutions in the Palestinian territories have rusted.
Sometimes facts are just inconvenient things. What Malley refused to mention was it Hamas that threw out the “democratic institutions” with a military operation that threw Fatah out of Gaza. And the major reason Hamas and Fatah hadn’t reconciled (and still haven’t) was Hamas’ desire to perpetuate its violence against Israel – something it has done very well.
Malley’s continued protection of Hamas has paid off for the terrorist organization, one of the planks removed from the 2012 Democratic platform (and never put back), it read:
The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.
Malley officially joined the Obama administration in Feb 2014 as senior director of the National Security Council on Persian Gulf policy (where he helped to negotiate the anti-Israel Iran deal). He was promoted to Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region, effective April 2015. And now the Hamas supporter is Obama’s ISIL Czar.
Malley get credit for one thing. In 2008 when he was an adviser to the Obama campaign, NY Times columnist Helene Cooper cited my criticism of Malley (along with that of Ed Lasky at American Thinker) as an example of right-wing bloggers lying about Obama’s dislike of Israel. I guess you really nailed that one down Helene.
Robert O. Malley has had a storied career as an anti-Israel, and pro-terrorism activist. And now he gets to advise Obama about the war on terrorism. I bet Uncle Yasser would be so proud.
President Obama arrives Sunday in Paris to finalize a global climate-change pact that if completed would be a legacy-defining part of his presidency. But he awaits challenges at home and abroad, including questions about who will pay for the changes and whether terrorism is a more imminent concern.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans suggested last week that the GOP-led chamber must approve the Paris deal, or it will withhold billions that the U.S. has pledged, as part of the pact, to help poor countries reduces their carbon output.
“Congress will not be forthcoming with these funds in the future without a vote in the Senate on any final agreement as required in the U.S. Constitution,” Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and 36 other GOP senators said in a letter to Obama.
They also made clear that any deal including taxpayer money and a binding timetable on emissions must have Senate approval. And they argue that Obama has already pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund “without the consent of Congress.”
The United Nations talks will take place on the outskirts of Paris, where 130 people were killed roughly two weeks ago in terror attacks, which has also sparked concerns about whether world leaders should now be more focused on stopping terror groups.
Obama said Tuesday at a White House press conference with French President Francois Hollande that the summit will be a “powerful rebuke” to terrorists, including the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.
“The world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children,” Obama also said.
Still, Paris and the surrounding area will essentially be locked down for the 12-day summit. And climate-change activists have reportedly agreed to cancel a march Sunday, after an appeal from French leaders.
“I have to salute the responsibility of the organizations who would have liked to demonstrate but who understand that if they demonstrate in a public place there is a security risk, or even a risk of panic,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told The Guardian.
About 150 heads of state are set to join Obama for talks on Monday and Tuesday as the deal nears the finish line. The goal is to secure worldwide cuts to emissions of heat-trapping gases to limit the rise of global temperatures to about another 2 degrees from now.
The concept behind a Paris pact is that the 170 or so nations already have filed their plans. They would then promise to fulfill their commitments in a separate arrangement to avoid the need for ratification by the U.S. Senate.
Such dual-level agreement could be considered part of a 1992 treaty already approved by the Senate, said Nigel Purvis, an environmental negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
But it’s not just about whether or not to ratify.
Latin America countries attending the negotiations reportedly will demand that the wealthiest countries and those that pollute the most pay for the reduction of carbon emissions.
In the United States, the talks are entangled in the debate about whether humans really are contributing to climate change, and what, if anything, policymakers should do about it. Almost all Republicans, along with some Democrats, oppose the steps Obama has taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions, arguing they will hurt the economy, shutter coal plants and eliminate jobs in power-producing states.
Half the states are suing the administration to try to block Obama’s unprecedented regulations to cut power plant emissions by roughly one-third by 2030. The states say Obama has exceeded his authority and is misusing the decades-old Clean Air Act. If their lawsuit succeeds, Obama would be hard-pressed to deliver the 26 percent to 28 percent cut in overall U.S. emissions by 2030 that he has promised as America’s contribution.
Opponents also are trying to gut the power plant rules through a rarely used legislative maneuver that already has passed the Senate. A House vote is expected while international negotiators are in Paris.
And Republicans running for president are unanimous in their opposition to Obama’s power plant rules; many say that if elected, they immediately would rip up the rules.
The administration mostly has acted through executive power: proposing the carbon dioxide limits on power plants, which mostly affect coal-fired plants; putting limits on methane emissions; and ratcheting up fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, which also cuts down on carbon pollution.
The Obama administration released thousands of illegal immigrant children to sponsors with criminal records, including arrests on charges of child molestation, human trafficking and homicide, a top senator charged Tuesday.
If true, it would be a stunning black mark on President Obama’s immigration record, according to analysts, who said the first job of the government was to protect the children from dangerous situations – and it apparently failed.
At least 3,400 children were placed in homes where sponsors had criminal records, said Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, citing information from a whistleblower.
“Allegedly, proper screening is not taking place and children are paying the price,” the Iowa Republican said in a letter demanding answers about the procedural breakdown from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.
HHS didn’t deny the numbers but said it does try to prohibit those with “serious” criminal records from sponsoring children and does conduct some level of background checks on all sponsors.
The accusations were made just as the Border Patrol confirmed another surge of illegal immigrant children along the southwestern border, with nearly 5,000 unaccompanied minors and 6,000 more women and children traveling together streaming across in October.
Those are huge increases over last October, when 2,500 unaccompanied children and fewer than 2,200 family members traveling together were caught at the border.
Customs and Border Protection officials said they were “closely monitoring this situation” and blamed smugglers for enticing would-be migrants to make the perilous journey by promising they can earn “permisos,” or free passes, once they reach the U.S. The permisos are the court appearance documents that the Border Patrol issues before releasing them into the interior of the U.S., where they can easily disappear.
In the case of unaccompanied children, the Border Patrol turns them over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of HHS. That office then houses the children in dormitories until sponsors can be found for them.
But the pressure to handle tens of thousands of children at a time overwhelmed the office last year. As a result, the office handed over children to sponsors who were not properly vetted, according to Mr. Grassley and other analysts.
“They were so overwhelmed with cases they were more interested in processing them quickly than in making sure it was done safely,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “They seemed to be operating under this delusion these were harmless kids being reclaimed by well-meaning relatives and there was nothing to worry about. And that is truly delusional.”
She said conducting background checks has become routine even for youth sports coaches and library volunteers and it’s stunning that the Obama administration doesn’t require that for someone who is taking full custody of a child.
HHS spokeswoman Andrea Helling said the department does try to vet the people it allows to sponsor children.
“It is not the practice of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to place unaccompanied children with sponsors who have serious criminal convictions. The safety of the children is our primary concern, and any allegation of even potential harm is taken seriously and will be investigated,” she said.
Under the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law, children caught crossing the border illegally without parents are deemed “unaccompanied alien children,” or UACs. They are supposed to be processed quickly by the Border Patrol and then turned over to HHS, which puts them in juvenile homes until they can be reconnected with relatives or placed in foster families.
That often meant placing them with relatives who themselves were in the U.S. illegally.
HHS, faced with nearly 10,000 children a month at the peak last summer, cut corners, including no longer requiring that all sponsors go through fingerprint checks. Fingerprints are required if a sponsor is not a parent or legal guardian, and in cases in which a child is considered particularly vulnerable.
HHS does conduct a background check that includes running a sponsor’s name through criminal databases, and they listen to see whether a sponsor “self-reports” a criminal history during the vetting process.
As of August, HHS also now conducts follow-up visits 30 days after a child is released to a sponsor. In May, HHS began accepting calls to its hotline for children or their sponsors to report on disruptions, including conflicts that could endanger the safety of a child.
Immigrant rights advocates involved in monitoring the children’s cases could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
But last year, at the height of the surge, one nonprofit estimated that as many as 10 percent of the children were sent to live in unacceptable or dangerous conditions.
Mr. Grassley said Tuesday that the whistleblower, whom he did not identify, raised his concerns with the Obama administration in August, yet the children identified as having been put in jeopardy have not been removed from those homes.
The whistleblower saw information on just a subset of 29,000 children, and 12 percent of them were placed in homes where sponsors had records. Extrapolating across the nearly 110,000 unaccompanied children caught at the border over the past two years, that could mean nearly 13,000 children may have been placed in dangerous situations.
While the courts have blocked President Obama’s sweeping executive amnesty programs, other aspects of Obama’s immigration edicts have served to shield more than 80 percent of the illegal immigrant population from deportation, the Washington Times reports.
According to reporting by Stephan Dinan, the implementation of other executive actions on immigration announced exactly a year ago Friday – specifically the administration’s changes to “priorities” for enforcement – has essentially served to order “agents not to bother deporting nearly all illegal immigrants.”
The changes saw the Department of Homeland Security revamp the immigrants it prioritizes for enforcement to include mainly just serious criminal aliens, gang members, national security threats and recent border crossers. As Dinan reports:
The changes are already having a major effect. Deportations, which peaked at nearly 410,000 in fiscal year 2012, dropped to about 230,000 in fiscal year 2015, which ended Sept. 30. But Mr. Johnson said more of those being deported are the serious criminals and safety threats he wants his agents to worry about.
Indeed, if agents adhere strictly to his priorities, some 9.6 million of the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the country have no real danger of being deported, according to an estimate this year by the Migration Policy Institute.
Dinan notes that the changes to enforcement priorities were not the only actions that have made life easier for immigrants in the U.S. and those seeking admission.
The actions – often mislabeled by the press as executive orders – also included changes to the legal immigration system, such as making it easier for spouses of guest workers to also find jobs; allowing foreigners who study science and technology at U.S. universities to remain and work in the country longer; pushing legal immigrants to apply for citizenship; and waiving the penalty on illegal immigrant spouses or children of legal permanent residents so they no longer have to go to their home countries to await legal status.
President Obama’s effort to grant up to 5 million illegal immigrants work permits and amnesty from deportation suffered a major blow late Monday when a federal appeals court ruled it was likely illegal, in yet another move by the courts to set limits on this White House’s efforts to stretch presidential powers.
The 2-1 decision by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in New Orleans, instantly forces the issue to the fore of the presidential campaigns, where all three top Democratic candidates had insisted Mr. Obama’s actions were not only legal, but vowed to go beyond them and try to expand the amnesty to still more illegal immigrants. Republican candidates, meanwhile, had vowed to undo the moves.
The decision is a huge win for Texas and 25 other states who had sued a year ago to stop the president after he declared he was done waiting for Congress and announced he was acting to “change the law” on his own.
Writing for the majority, Judge Jerry E. Smith said that statement by Mr. Obama weighed heavily against him, since only Congress has the power to rewrite the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“The INA flatly does not permit the reclassification of millions of illegal aliens as lawfully present and thereby make them newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization,” Judge Smith wrote.
The ruling does not mean those illegal immigrants will be deported – indeed, the judges affirmed that the administration has a lot of leeway to decide who does get kicked out on a case-by-case basis. But the decision means that while leaving them alone, the Homeland Security secretary cannot proactively go ahead and grant them work permits, Social Security numbers and a prospective grant of non-deportation for three years into the future.
The ruling also does not alter Mr. Obama’s 2012 policy granting a similar deportation amnesty to so-called Dreamers, or young adult illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Texas did not challenge that policy.
But the decision does halt the 2014 expansion Mr. Obama announced, which would have lifted the age limit on the 2012 policy so it applied to all Dreamers, and would have extended the grant of amnesty to illegal immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent resident children. Estimates have placed the number of people who would have qualified at up to 5 million.
Mr. Obama had repeatedly insisted he was within the law, and pointed to smaller grants of “deferred action” taken by previous presidents.
The majority of the court, however, said this waiver went far beyond that scope, with Mr. Obama attempting to convert major classifications of illegal status.
Mr. Obama had argued his move, known officially as “Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals,” or DAPA, was not a major new policy, but rather a setting of priorities. He argued that Congress doesn’t give him enough money to deport all illegal immigrants, so he is within his rights to use discretion about whom to deport – and then to grant limited benefits to others who might eventually have a claim to legal status under existing laws.
Judge Carolyn Dineen King, who dissented, agreed with the president’s reasoning.
“Denying DHS’s ability to grant deferred action on a ‘class-wide basis’… as the majority does, severely constrains the agency,” she wrote.
She also agreed with Mr. Obama that the courts had no business even getting involved in the case, saying that the president alone has discretion to make deportation decisions and judges are not allowed to second-guess that.
The judges heard oral arguments in the case in July, calling it an expedited appeal because of the seriousness of the matter. That made the three months it took to issue the ruling all the more striking – and Judge King chided her colleagues for taking so long.
“There is no justification for that delay,” she said.
Courts have not been kind to Mr. Obama, a former constitutional law scholar at the University of Chicago. His move to expand recess appointment powers in 2012 was swatted down by a unanimous Supreme Court, while several environmental moves have also been blocked.
And a federal court in Washington, D.C., has ruled the House of Representatives has standing to sue over the president’s moves to try to spend money on Obamacare that Congress specifically withheld.
The immigration ruling joins those rulings as yet another instance where conservatives have turned to the courts to referee a dispute over Mr. Obama’s claims of executive power.
Immigrant-advocacy groups had been anxiously watching the case, and were devastated by the ruling.
“This is a huge setback,” said Voto Latino President Maria Teresa Kumar. “There is a shortage of justice as families live in constant fear of being torn apart from their loved ones and uprooted from their communities.”
She said she was “confident” the Supreme Court will overturn the ruling, if the case gets there.
Mr. Obama announced the amnesty as part of a series of steps last Nov. 20 designed to work around Congress, where House Republicans had balked at passing a legalization bill.
The president said that if they wouldn’t cooperate with him, he was going to take unilateral action to streamline legal immigration and to halt deportations for as many as 9 million of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. Those steps all remain in place.
But he also wanted to go beyond that and grant some tentative legal status and benefits to about half of those illegal immigrants – chiefly by giving them work permits, which allows them to come out of the shadows, hold jobs and pay taxes above board.
Granting work permits also entitled the illegal immigrants to driver’s licenses in every state in the county, and to Social Security numbers – which meant they were even able to start collecting tax credits. In addition, some states granted them in-state tuition for public colleges.
But the money states would have to spend on issuing driver’s licenses proved to be the plan’s downfall. Texas argued that meant it would lose money under the plan, which meant it had standing to sue.
Once the judges decided that, they turned to whether Mr. Obama followed the law in making the changes. The majority concluded that he because he never sought public review and comment, which is standard for major changes of policy made by agencies, he broke the Administrative Procedures Act.
Immigrant-rights advocates demanded the Obama administration fight to the Supreme Court, but also said they’ll force the issue into the political realm as well.
Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, called on Hispanics and other voters to punish Republicans at the ballot box over the lawsuit, saying “anti-immigrant conservative politicians… are to blame.”
“We cannot control the courts, but we will have a say in political outcomes. It is now up to us – Latino voters and groups like ours that are working every day to grow our vote in the 2016 national election – to elect candidates who respect our communities and will commit to working on our issues and treating us fairly,” he said.
The Obama administration says Israel might be using “excessive force” and possibly committing acts of “terrorism” to deal with a string of violent stabbing attacks, drawing harsh criticism from senior Israeli cabinet ministers.
Rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions have led to a wave of violence in Israel, including multiple stabbing incidents in Jerusalem. The attacks have prompted the Israeli government to deploy troops to assist police forces countering the violence. Israeli police have also encouraged citizens to arm themselves to prevent further attacks.
The Obama administration on Wednesday sought to equate both sides in the conflict, telling reporters that Israel is guilty of terrorism.
“Individuals on both sides of this divide are – have proven capable of, and in our view, are guilty of acts of terrorism,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters following questions about the spike in violence.
Mr. Kirby added that the administration has heard “credible reports” of Israelis using excessive force to deal with the Palestinian attacks.
“We’re always concerned about credible reports of excessive use of force against civilians, and we routinely raise our concerns about that,” Mr. Kirby said.
The comments drew sharp criticism from Israeli officials.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon accused Washington of “misreading” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and he said shooting knife-wielding Palestinians was self-defense. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called the U.S. remarks “foolish,” Reuters reported.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to travel to the Middle East soon to try to calm the violence and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered cabinet members not to give any further public comment on the Obama administration’s remarks.
Seven Israelis and 32 Palestinians have been killed in the last two weeks of violence, including 10 assailants, as well as children and protesters shot in violent anti-Israeli demonstrations.
The violence has been partly triggered by Palestinians’ anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, which is also revered by Jews as the site of two destroyed biblical Jewish temples.
A federal judge Wednesday blocked the Obama administration from implementing new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, saying that the administration does not appear to have the statutory authority to do so.
The rule, finalized in March by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is the federal government’s first major attempt to regulate the innovative oil and gas extraction technique commonly known as fracking.
Fracking is generally regulated at the state level. BLM sought to impose additional restrictions on the practice for oil and gas wells on federal land.
Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming said that the agency appears to lack the statutory authority to do so and issued a preliminary injunction blocking BLM from implementing the rule.
“At this point, the Court does not believe Congress has granted or delegated to the BLM authority to regulate fracking,” Skavdahl wrote in his opinion.
In fact, BLM “previously disavowed authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” the judge noted.
The Environmental Protection Agency previously had the authority to regulate the fracking-related practices that the rule targets, but the 2005 Energy Policy Act stripped the agency of that authority.
“It is hard to analytically conclude or infer that, having expressly removed the regulatory authority from the EPA, Congress intended to vest it in the BLM, particularly where the BLM had not previously been regulating the practice,” Skavdahl wrote.
The ruling marks a major setback for Obama administration efforts to crack down on fracking, which has spurred unprecedented increases in U.S. oil and gas production since 2009.
The ruling does not scuttle the regulations, but rather prevents their implementation while a lawsuit brought by Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, and the Ute Indian tribe makes its way though the federal courts.
Two industry groups, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance, have also sued to block the rule.
“Today’s decision essentially shows BLM’s efforts are not needed and that states are – and have for 60 years been – in the best position to safely regulate hydraulic fracturing,” said IPAA spokesman Jeff Eshelman on the ruling.
Now who’s being the child?
Conservative YouTube sensation CJ Pearson, a 13-year-old black middle schooler from Georgia, revealed on Wednesday that he’s been blocked from following President Obama on Twitter. He’s also unable to view the president’s tweets.
11,040 Likes – 4,948 Comments – 5,410 Shares
“It’s an honor,” Pearson tells The American Mirror, insisting he did nothing to warrant being blocked, except his most recent video released last week.
In the video, he accuses the president of playing politics with the Texas student who was suspended for bringing a clock to school that appeared to be a bomb.
“He’s used this child as a political prop,” Pearson said. “This president has used this child to push his radical, leftward agenda. And I think it’s disgusting, and I think many, many people agree.”
Pearson’s video has been viewed over 1.8 million times on YouTube.
UPDATE – 10:23 p.m.:
CJ says the White House issued a statement saying the president didn’t block him on Twitter. CJ responds here:
Hundreds of children sick with cancer along with their parents were forced by President Barack Obama’s Secret Service to leave a park near the White House Saturday night after the group had planned a candlelight vigil.
The event was part of CureFest for Childhood Cancer, a two-day event to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer cures. The group of nearly 700 attendees received all the permits they needed to hold “A night of Golden Candles” in Lafayette Park, but were still forced to leave, The Washington Post reports.
The Secret Service said the park was closed down as a security precaution.
The children and their parents waited for several hours for the park to open back up, but it never did, and some of the cancer stricken children needed to receive medication and return to their hotel rooms after becoming fatigued by the wait.
“I cried last night in my hotel room because it was my first CureFest, and I couldn’t believe people were acting like they don’t care about children,” Natasha Gould, one of the children told the Post.
Security agents wouldn’t even let people back in to get the chairs and blankets they left when forced to leave earlier in the night.
According to the group, they only held the candlelight vigil because the White House refused to light up its outside in gold, to symbolize solidarity with cancer stricken children.
In June, the White House lit up with rainbow lights after the Supreme Court ruling to legalize gay marriage.
The group had permits to set up in the park from 7 to 9. Many had already left, but some stayed until around 10:30 to see if they might be let back in. The group never got to re-enter the park and eventually they all gave up.