US special forces soldiers have killed a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group during a raid carried out in eastern Syria, the US secretary of defence said.
Pentagon chief Ash Carter said in a statement on Saturday that the raid in al-Amr had killed Abu Sayyaf when he “engaged US forces”.
Al Jazeera’s Omar al-Saleh, reporting from the Bekaa valley in neighbouring Lebanon, said two US helicopters had taken part in the operation at an oil field east of the city of Deir Az Zor.
“Activists from the area say at least six people from ISIL were killed, including at least two of Arab nationalities; a Saudi and an Iraqi,” Saleh said.
“We believe the operation may have taken place overnight or early Saturday.”
The US put the number of ISIL deaths at about a dozen, and said no US soldiers were killed during the incident.
Normally, most of what Alan Keyes says isn’t worthy of discussion because it’s so out there and crazy that many conservatives dismiss him as a whackjob. Nevertheless, this column in World Nut Daily exceeds even the lofty standards of whacky and kooky that Dr. Keyes has spent decades establishing.
Because even though the main topic of this column is the lack of true constitutional conservatives in the present Republican field of candidates for 2016, Dr. Keyes begins it by suggesting that President Obama is a serial killer:
When people who approach me as fellow “conservatives” ask me who I support or might support for president in the GOP primaries I immediately feel a mingled sense of irritation and anger. It reminds me of the way I felt in 2008 when media types asked me whether I felt proud to see Obama occupy the Oval Office. Would I feel proud to see a serial killer elected president just because his skin wasn’t white (or, more accurately, pink)? In that case I would regard even the temptation to feel pride as duress, which threatened the life of my soul.
Bridle if you like at the effrontery of comparing Obama to a serial killer. The 20th century offers ample proof that government officials who conform themselves to evil ideologies are more than likely to produce death tolls so massive that no word or phrase truly expresses the enormity of their crimes. What I learned about Obama as I prepared to run against him for the U.S. Senate in 2004 convinced me that he was a hardline socialist ideologue, in the ruthless, self-worshiping mold Hitler and Stalin had in common.
I thought then that opportunity was all he lacked to be their equals in atrocity. I am even more certain of it now. For he and all those who collaborate with him have been working hard to supply that deficiency, and they are close to their goal. His facile tolerance for the extermination of Christians and other non-Muslim populations in the Middle East (like the Yazidi) lends credibility to the suspicion that the fatal Benghazi debacle came to pass in the course of covert efforts to supply arms to anti-Syrian Muslims, including the religiously genocidal mass murderers in ISIS.
I survey the evidence of Obama’s years in office, and the pattern of activity that emerges confirms my longstanding premonition that, like the hardline socialists of the 20th century, he is a harbinger of death, including the tragic death of the conscience, prosperity and just premises of my country. The touted leaders of the GOP are supposed to be his opponents. When it suits their ambition for power, they make shift to sound like it. When it is likely to be of no effect, they even support bits and pieces of legislation they can point to as proof of their commitment to the things they were elected to champion and defend.
Hat tip - Right Wing Watch
Amidst the rioting in Baltimore, Glenn Beck and his sidekicks had time to speculate on whether or not President Obama would leave office on January 20, 2017 when his term expires, and in the course of the conversation, they managed to bring up the old and deeply stupid conspiracy that the Clintons had people murdered while they were in office.
Now of course he was just speculating, he doesn’t actually think Obama will refuse to leave office, or that the Clintons had people whacked, however:
“I do believe this president, the last president, the next president, we’re in the territory where, if somebody wants to do this, oh, he’ll kill you,” Beck said. “He’ll kill you because nobody is going say anything. You’ll get away with it if the press likes you.”
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson is notable for two reasons - he was the only high profile right winger to offer a full-throated defense of “Barack, the Magic Negro,” and for being the 65th most influential conservative in the United States.
What Erickson is not notable for, however, is the ability to speak about race with nuance, clarity, or self-awareness, his latest ‘gem’ notwithstanding:
“”If only President Obama weren’t black, maybe he would realize that people don’t dislike him because he is black, they dislike him because he is a self-absorbed ass.”“
A self-aware person is capable of self-censorship, an acquired immunity to ‘foot in mouth’ disease, and usually, a hedge against falling victim to irony. Not so, for Erickson, who has, in the past provided such quotables as:
“A while back, Glenn Beck called Barack Obama a ‘racist.’ Given all the terrorists, thugs, and racists Barack Obama has chosen as close personal friends (see e.g. Rev. Wright), it’s not a stretch to say it.”
“Gay Rights Proponents Act Like the Third Reich.”
“Is Obama Shagging Hookers Behind the Media’s Back?”
“The nation loses the only (David Souter) goat fucking child molester ever to serve on the Supreme Court.”
“At what point do the people … march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp?”
To name but a few. So, while obvious he has no natural nor acquired immunity from ‘foot in mouth’ disease, he appears also immune to recognizing irony - without Barack Obama, Erick Erickson would likely not be the ‘65th most influential conservative in the U.S.” :
Erickson’s “Morning Briefing” e-mails grew from 498 subscribers when they began in February 2009 to nearly 70,000 by January 2010.
If Barack Obama were not ‘Barack Obama’, it is fair to surmise, Erick Erickson would not be ‘Erick Erickson’. That stunning lack of irony, then, to lament an immutable fact of the man who made the ‘manboy’, is delicious in it’s lack of any awareness at all.
However, irony is not Erick’s greatest personality deficit: racism is.
So - why you ask, is Erickson wishing Obama not be African American? Well, simply put, in his desire to not be criticized for racism for criticizing Obama, he in fact makes the fact that Obama is black, an inherent and immutable fact, the problem.
To wish away a foundational characteristic of a person, such as race is, is to place the issue unavoidably on that very foundational characteristic. If one were, in a moment of insanity perhaps, to wish your adversary were not female, so you could strike her, makes the fact that you want to strike her part and very parcel of the fact that she is in fact a woman. More-so, the fact that you hesitated to strike her, is also inseparable from the fact that she is a woman.
And so it goes.
Which brings me to another what if:
What if, Erick Erickson, were not a polysemetic homophone???
Led by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), 47 Republicans used the letter to inform Iran’s leaders that such an agreement would be “nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.” They said the “next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
Conspicuously absent among signatories to the letter is Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who says he’s working to build a veto-proof majority for his legislation restricting President Barack Obama’s negotiating options with Iran and ensuring congressional approval before any deal is struck. He hinted that the Cotton letter wouldn’t help advance the cause.
“I knew it was going to be only Republicans on [the letter]. I just don’t view that as where I need to be today,” Corker told Politico. “My goal is to get 67 or more people on something that will affect the outcome.”
Corker needs 13 Democrats to reach a veto-proof 67 votes, and the letter hasn’t earned him any favors. Senate Democrats are rallying to Obama’s side and attacking the Republicans for what they describe as an extraordinary act of openly undercutting a president during sensitive foreign policy negotiations.
The gambit is earning attention well outside traditional foreign policy circles. As of Tuesday morning, the hashtag #47Traitors was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States.
Cotton is unfazed by the criticism. He stood by his letter in appearances Monday on CNN and Tuesday on MSNBC, saying that he wants Iran to dismantle its nuclear program “forever” — not for the 10 or 15 years that reportedly make up the duration of the deal that the Obama administration is closing in on.
“The point we’re making to Iran’s leaders, who, if you talk to many of the Iran experts, will say don’t understand our Constitution, is that if Congress doesn’t approve a deal, Congress won’t accept a deal,” Cotton said on MSNBC. “Now or in the future.”
Anyone who has watched Obama’s genteel response to his Republican tormentors shouldn’t be surprised at his delicacy about Islam. He resists generalizations and looks for common ground, whether the context is terrorism or domestic politics. No matter what Republicans do—heckle his speeches, impugn his patriotism, shut down the government, threaten a credit default, stage countless votes to repeal his health care law—he refuses to categorically condemn them. The classic Obama line is “That’s not just my opinion,” followed by a bouquet to some Republican who thinks Obama is the devil. “That’s not just my opinion, that’s John McCain’s opinion,” says Obama. Or: “This isn’t just my position. … It’s a position that’s been taken by every Democratic and Republican president,” including “Ronald Reagan.” Or: “That’s not just my view; the majority of Republicans agree with that view.”
Please. If we’re going to start calling out religious and political groups for extremism, we could start at home with Republicans. Too many of them spew animus. Too many foment sectarianism. Too many sit by, or make excuses, as others appeal to tribalism. If Obama were to treat them the way they say he should treat Islam—holding the entire faith accountable for its ugliest followers—they’d squeal nonstop about slander and demagogy. They’re lucky that’s not his style.
Oh the supreme court forcing states to allow gay people to marry is so “tyrannical,” just like when they made them allow people of different “races” to marry. Oh to make it even worse, he thinks they’re going to take our guns! OMG the horror! Oh and off course Steve Deace claims he doesn’t advocate violence, even through he clearly says a violent revolution maybe necessary to stop the “evil” gays. Man, gun control and the near inevitable future of legalized same sex marriage is driving religious right wingnuts over the edge! Miranda Blue reports,
Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, who now heads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, told Steve Deace yesterday that although he is a “pacifist,” states and counties need to enforce their “sovereignty” in areas like marriage equality and gun control, or else “we will lose liberty in America, and we will not get it back unless there’s bloodshed.”
Mack, who argues that county sheriffs are not accountable to federal authority and so should not enforce laws that they believe violate the Constitution, told Deace that America has been losing liberty for a long time, but “it took a tyrant and communist in our own White House to wake a lot of people up.”
“And I will tell you this, if we do not, if the counties and cities and states do not exercise their proper constitutional authority, known as state sovereignty and the 10th Amendment, if they do not enforce their own state sovereignty and secure their state sovereignty, then America will die,” he said. “If we do not exercise the 10th Amendment and state sovereignty, we will lose liberty in America, and we will not get it back unless there’s bloodshed.”
HOST: …on a couple of occasions now during the course of this interview, you’ve identified President Obama as a “secular humanist.” Perhaps you want to tell us a little more about what you mean by that, and in the minute that remains, how does the President’s seeming nonchalance about the nature of the anti-semitic attack - how does that affect our relationship with Israel…?
PARKER: I believe that [Obama’s comment] builds the resolve in the American people that Israel’s values are our values, the core fundamental beliefs of America, our exceptionalism, our national allegiance, our limited role of government, our free markets, and our tradition - This is what we have in common, and this is what secularists don’t like, and Barack Obama’s a secularist. And, in fact, it’s what he and the Muslims have in common, the radical extreme of Muslims and this president and all secularists have in common is they hate that biblical worldview, so therefore they hate America and they hate Israel.
The comment she was referring to was this, in response to a terrorist attack on a kosher market in Paris:
Do you think the media sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism and this kind of chaos, as opposed to a longer-term problem of climate change and epidemic disease?
Absolutely. And I don’t blame the media for that. What’s the famous saying about local newscasts, right? If it bleeds, it leads, right? You show crime stories and you show fires, because that’s what folks watch, and it’s all about ratings. And, you know, the problems of terrorism and dysfunction and chaos, along with plane crashes and a few other things, that’s the equivalent when it comes to covering international affairs. There’s just not going to be a lot of interest in a headline story that we have cut infant mortality by really significant amounts over the last 20 years or that extreme poverty has been slashed or that there’s been enormous progress with a program we set up when I first came into office to help poor farmers increase productivity and yields. 7 It’s not a sexy story. And climate change is one that is happening at such a broad scale and at such a complex system, it’s a hard story for the media to tell on a day-to-day basis.
7 The little-noticed “Feed the Future” initiative has reached about 7 million people already, and introduces farmers in poor countries to more advanced technologies and management practices to boost crop production.
Look, the point is this: my first job is to protect the American people. It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris. We devote enormous resources to that, and it is right and appropriate for us to be vigilant and aggressive in trying to deal with that — the same way a big city mayor’s got to cut the crime rate down if he wants that city to thrive. But we also have to attend to a lot of other issues, and we’ve got to make sure we’re right-sizing our approach so that what we do isn’t counterproductive. I would argue that our invasion of Iraq was counterproductive to the goal of keeping our country safe.
And despite the incredible valor of our troops — and I’m in awe of them every single day when I work with them — you know, the strategy that was crafted in Washington didn’t always match up with the actual threats that were out there. And we need to make sure that we’re doing the right things and doing those well so that we can also deal with future threats like cybersecurity or climate change or different parts of the world where there are huge opportunities, but [that] before I came into office, we had neglected for quite some time, Asia Pacific being a perfect example. Or our own backyard, the Western Hemisphere, where there’s been real progress in Latin America and we’ve got the opportunity to strengthen our relationships. But there are also some big problems like Central America where, with a relatively modest investment, we could really be making a difference and making ourselves safer.
The emboldened part is what Parker was referring to, and it caused an uproar because Obama seemed to be saying that the attack was not motivated by anti-semitism, which the White House moved to clarify.
Ten and a half years ago, at the Democratic convention in Boston, Barack Hussein Obama was introduced to America as a youthful, magnetic man who had burst suddenly and somewhat mysteriously onto the scene. This characterization—superficially appealing yet weightless, more symbolic than substantive—followed him throughout his presidential campaign, when Hillary Clinton cast him as an inspirational speechmaker like Martin Luther King Jr., as opposed to a viable contender for president, and John McCain’s campaign scathingly labeled him a “celebrity,” attractive but vacuous.
The lived reality of Obama’s presidency has unfolded as almost the precise opposite of this trope. He has amassed a record of policy accomplishment far deeper than even many of his supporters give him credit for. He has also survived a dismal, and frequently terrifying, 72 months when at every moment, to go by the day-to-day media, a crisis has threatened to rock his presidency to its core. The episodes have been all-consuming: the BP oil spill, swine flu, the Christmas underwear bomber, the IRS scandal, the healthcare.org launch, the border crisis, Benghazi. Depending on how you count, upwards of 19 events have been described as “Obama’s Katrina.”
Obama’s response to these crises—or, you could say, his method of leadership—has been surprisingly consistent. He has a legendarily, almost fanatically placid temperament. He has now spent eight years, counting from the start of his first presidential campaign, keeping his head while others were losing theirs, and avoiding rhetorical overreach at the risk of underreach. A few months ago, the crisis was the Ebola outbreak, and Obama faced a familiar criticism: He had botched the putatively crucial “performative” aspects of his job. “Six years in,” BusinessWeek reported, “it’s clear that Obama’s presidency is largely about adhering to intellectual rigor—regardless of the public’s emotional needs.”
Economists and political scientists will appreciate the scale of Obama’s successes over the long run, as many of them do already. But historians are storytellers, and the moody presentism that has rendered Obama an enigmatic failure will not automatically give way to quantifiable assessment. The president’s most irrational trait may be his inordinate faith in the power of reason itself.
There’s no perfect answer; eight years of policymaking and appointments provide ample fodder for almost any argument you want to make. But for all the time liberals have spent criticizing Obama for compromises and missed opportunities, a fair accounting seems to put Clinton far behind Obama when it comes to accomplishing liberal goals.
In many significant areas, Obama has already succeeded where Clinton failed. Clinton’s health care reform never even got to a vote in Congress; Obama passed his. Clinton tried to allow gays to serve in the military, and the result of the ensuing firestorm was the abominable “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, not to mention the Defense of Marriage Act, which Clinton signed. Obama undid DADT and stopped defending DOMA, which was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court. Was that because times had changed, and the space was open for Obama to make the moves Clinton wished he could have? Of course. But the fact remains that the Clinton presidency was regressive on gay rights in many ways, while the Obama presidency saw unprecedented progress.