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.