Monday, January 26, 2015

THE MORNING after President Obama's State of the Union address, Politico had a story on how Republicans had responded to one contentious issue. The headline: "Priebus struggles to explain GOP immigration messages."

That would be Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chairman. His "struggle" was to clarify why Iowa's new senator, Joni Ernst, said nothing at all about immigration in her 10-minute reply to the president, whereas Florida Representative Carlos Curbelo, in a Spanish-language version of the GOP response, urged Obama to work with Republicans "to create permanent solutions for our immigration system, to secure our borders, [and] modernize legal immigration." Good thing Priebus wasn't asked about the formal Tea Party response to the president's speech, delivered by another Florida Republican, Rep. Curt Clawson, or he'd have had still more reason to squirm. Speaking in English and Spanish, Clawson called pointedly for "embracing … legal immigrants, and the millions waiting in line legally to begin their own American Dream."

Then there was Iowa Representative Steve King's rude Twitter slam against Obama for inviting "a deportable" to sit in the House gallery as a guest of the First Lady. That was a reference to 20-year-old Ana Zamora, a Texas student who was brought illegally to the United States as an infant, and who benefited from Obama's 2012 executive order indefinitely extending legal status to thousands of similarly situated immigrants.

Though King's tweet wasn't an official GOP statement, it created some instant awkwardness for the Republican presidential hopefuls heading to Iowa for a Saturday "freedom summit" hosted by … King. When one of those hopefuls, Senator Marco Rubio, was asked about King's nasty tone, his answer was careful: "We have to always remind ourselves that we're talking about human beings with hopes and dreams and families."

Plainly, the clearest element of the GOP message on immigration is that the GOP has no clear message on immigration. The subject was barely mentioned in the president's address, but that didn't stop the loyal opposition from once again getting into an intramural tangle over it.

But is that a bad thing?

For any large political party, a boisterous battle over policy and principle is a sign of fitness, not feebleness. While "diversity" is a sacred cow on the left, it is on the right where real diversity — diversity of ideas and viewpoints — has most often been showcased. In the 1970s, Ronald Reagan famously debated William F. Buckley Jr. on whether the United States should relinquish the Panama Canal. In the 1980s, Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich fiercely clashed over supply-side tax cuts. More recently, Republicans have gone at each other over war in Iraq, education reform, and "enhanced interrogation."
According to a new Pew Research Center survey, Americans have little trust in the government as a whole, but have high favorability ratings for several individual agencies. Seventy percent surveyed approve of the Centers for Disease Control, and 68 percent approve of the job done by NASA. The IRS and the NSA had the lowest favorability ratings, with 45 and 51 percent, respectively, having a favorable view of those agencies.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 7-11 among 1,504 adults, finds that 70% have a favorable view of the CDC, which came under criticism last fall for its handling of the outbreak of the Ebola virus. Nearly as many (68%) have a favorable view of NASA, and 65% hold a favorable view of the Department of Defense.
While overall favorable ratings for most of the agencies tested have changed little over time, there has been a sharp decline in positive views of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Currently, 52% have a favorable view of the VA, down 16 points since October 2013. The agency has been widely faulted for delays in health care for veterans; the scandal led to the ouster last year of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Among Republicans, the agency viewed most favorably was the Department of Defense, followed by the CIA and NASA. The CIA was the only federal agency that Republicans favored more than Democrats.

While the CDC got a bad rap late last year when the Ebola virus was discovered in Dallas, there has been no major outbreak of the disease and the agency did its job well containing diagnosed cases, and I'll give them credit for that. NASA has had its budget slashed, yet they've still accomplished some pretty amazing feats and made important discoveries.

Lindsey Graham: Obama's Foreign, Domestic Policies Disappointing 


President Barack Obama's foreign and domestic policies are failures despite his positive words in Tuesday's State of the Union address, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday on "The Cats Roundtable" on AM 970 in New York.

"The war he described on the foreign policy front doesn't exist," Graham said, noting that al-Qaida has not been decimated and, "We did not roll back ISIL (the Islamic State) in Syria."

Story continues below.

Graham just met with members of the Free Syrian Army a week ago, and was told that the Islamic State is "stronger than ever, selling oil and wheat to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, Graham said.Graham said Obama's failure to call the war on terror a religious war is "a huge mistake," he said.

"The [American] friends in the region told me to my face it’s better to be an American enemy than it is to be her friend, because you [America] respect your enemies," he said.

Both Arabs and Israelis told him that if the United States makes the nuclear deal with Iran that the White House is working on, there will be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Israel already has a nuclear weapon, but none of its Arab neighbors felt threatened or sought their own weapon, Graham told host John Catsimatidis. A nuclear Iran does make them feel they'll need their own nuclear weapons, he said.

The current low oil prices are aimed at hurting Iran, Graham said, to force them to negotiate a deal the Saudis like better, he said.

"The Saudi Arabians told us in no uncertain terms that they will not sit on the sidelines and watch Iran get a nuclear capability without matching it — and that they are very disappointed in American leadership," he said. The Saudis have volunteered their army to go into Syria to fight the Islamic State and Assad, but they want the United States to go with them, he added.

Turning to House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the Iran deal, Graham said he "couldn’t think of a better person" to explain the situation.

The invitation reportedly angered the White House because Boehner did not advise President Barack Obama ahead of time.

Graham said Obama's State of the Union was "a liberal’s dream and an average American’s nightmare," because of his big plans to fund community college education and offer tax cuts while raising taxes on upper incomes, including the inheritance tax.

Graham called Obama's domestic plans "unsustainable" and proves he didn't pay attention to the midterm elections, which gave both chambers of Congress Republican majorities.

Obama says he wants to work with Republicans, but threatened multiple vetoes on GOP initiatives, he said. Graham told Catsimatidis that it is himself who has shown the ability to reach across party lines to get things done.

He noted that he faced six Republicans in the 2014 primary because he worked with Democrats on immigration. He also said he voted for Obama's liberal Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan "because I thought they were qualified Supreme Court nominees."

Graham has said he is considering a run for president in 2016, and will make that decision soon.

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84% of “Palestinians” believe Israel was behind Paris jihad massacres

charlie-hebdo-officesIslamic supremacists never, ever take responsibility for the evils done by Muslims in the name of Islam and in accord with Islamic texts and teachings. It is always the non-Muslim’s fault.

“Israel was behind terror attacks in France,” by Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, January 25, 2015:
Following the terror attacks against the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish store in which Muslim terrorists killed 17 people in France earlier this month, columnists writing for the official Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida have claimed that Israel was behind the attacks.
This view is shared by the vast majority of Palestinians, according to a poll conducted by Ma’an (an independent Palestinian news agency). The poll  found that 84.4% support the claim that “the operation (i.e., terror attack) was suspicious, and that Israel may be behind it,” while “only 8.7% believed that the murder of the French [citizens] in Paris was a natural result of the spread of Islamic extremism in Europe.” [Ma’an, Jan. 19, 2015]
The writers of the official PA daily have argued that Mossad, the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service, planned the attacks because Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders want to encourage Jewish immigration and take “revenge on European governments… because of their… support for… an independent Palestinian state.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 15, 2015] (Longer excerpts of all quoted articles appear below)
One regular columnist, Muwaffaq Matar, argued that because Netanyahu “wishes to realize the myth of the ‘Jewishness of Israel'” and encourage immigration, the attacks against Jews in France and elsewhere in Europe were “no coincidence, but a carefully executed and fully controlled plan.” He further argued that these claims were true because “‘Netanyahu’s Jewish State’ was the only one to benefit” from these attacks. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 15, 2015]
Netanyahu “trades with the blood of the 17 victims of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and of the supermarket,” wrote another regular columnist, Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul. He pointed out that Netanyahu wanted to “exploit the terrorism that struck some French Jews” to encourage them “to immigrate to Israel.” The writer claimed that “Turkish sources, including intelligence and the mayor of Ankara” determined that the attacks were “planned by the Israeli Mossad.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 14, 2015]
Similarly, a journalist, Akram Atallah, interviewed on official PA TV claimed that “in the past, the Israeli Mossad carried out operations (i.e., terror attacks): It bombed synagogues in order to force the Jews to emigrate,” and that “the operation (i.e., the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo) served Israel’s demographic [interests], for the Israeli media and government bodies predicted yesterday that 10,000 French Jews would immigrate to Israel.” [Official PA TV, Jan. 12, 2015]
Another writer, Yahya Rabah, claimed that Israel is behind “all the terrorist groups in the region,” trains them and provides them with weapons, and hinted that Israel, therefore, was behind the attacks in France:
“We have seen how Israeli terrorism in all its forms… is what grants patronage to all the terrorist groups in the region. Eventually, we have seen that terror[ists] have begun to receive training, weapons and perhaps [even] intelligence from Israel. Therefore, many believe that there was more to the last wave of terrorism in France than [just] two young Muslims. This was an [attempt to] target the role of France… [which voted] in favor of the Palestinian-Arab proposal at the [UN] Security Council last month!” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 11, 2015]…

American Muslim group attacks "American Sniper," demands Eastwood and Cooper denounce fictional "islamophobia"

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

One of the foundational principles of the Bush Doctrine was/is the oft-repeated dictum, "You are either with us or against us." Little did President Bush know that the American Muslim community was .... against us. George Bush believed that the moderates in the Muslim world would denounce/destroy the devout ("radical"), a war within Islam that never took place. Imagine Bush's dismay when he discovered that no one was behind him, like John Belushi in Animal House when he goes running out the front door shouting, "Who's with me?!?," only to discover that he is utterly alone. 

The faked hate narrative that Muslim groups and leaders use is now the default talking point any time that jihad or patriotism, for that matter, is being discussed. If...

Saudi Arabia at a Crossroads

By: Diane Sori

“His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 a.m. this morning.”
- Official Saudi government statement announcing the death of King Abdullah

Simply stated...longtime 'supposed' U.S. ally King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia has died, his half-brother Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, is now King, and his brother Prince Muqrin has been named the new Crown Prince and royal heir.

But in these times of muslim islamic terrorists... some funded by certain factions within the royal House of Saud itself * (remember too that Saudi Arabia helped fund the 9/11 terrorists**)...the death of King Abdullah...a strong leader more moderate in his political and religious leanings than any of his predecessors...can mean that some major policy changes are in the making, especially towards the West, and especially if Salman proves to be a weak leader.

And the King's death also raises serious concerns about stability in the entirety of the Middle East especially if Abdullah's move towards modernity now gets challenged by the leaders of a large segment of the populace still stuck in the 7th century...especially when Wahhabism (a strict form of islam) still dominates in regards to all things religious and social...and especially when King Abdullah was somewhat of a friend towards Israel as both were allied in opposing Iran's nuclear ambitions, stopping Iranian attempts to secure regional dominance, and shared disappointment with Obama’s Iran policy.

But in regards to the West, and most specifically with our still being dependent on foreign oil for a large portion of our energy needs, one has to wonder if the death of the King Abdullah and the ascension of Salman to the throne will have us seeing any changes in Abdullah's oil policies. Even with Saudi oil officials blaming weak global economic growth for the still plummeting prices...while oil executives here in this country claim the Saudis have purposely driven down the price of oil to slow and halt our current boom in oil shale drilling and production...Saudi Arabia remains the dominant Middle East oil producer and now King Salman has said he will continue with current oil policies.

And while Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi (who at the last November's OPEC meeting resisted calls by Algeria, Venezuela, and Iran to cut oil supplies) also sees NO reason to alter what currently works, the fact remains that too much crude oil and falling demand have driven down the price at the pump...have driven down the price per barrel. But know that even in Saudi Arabia everything is about profit so do NOT expect prices to remain low for long even with a new King.

And as expected, immediately after the announcement of King Abdullah's death, U.S. crude futures rose more than $2 per barrel but have since stabilized. And with Salman's trying to assure global energy markets that Saudi Arabia would work hard to assure that other top oil exporters maintain a high level of oil production to meet increasing global energy needs, hopefully Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia tomorrow to pay his respects will NOT throw a wrench into what they are doing, and hopefully John 'Swiftboat' Kerry will stay out of Saudi Arabia's affairs as well.

Besides the question of oil, other issues must be addressed by the new King...key among them being how will he address the ever-growing issue of terrorism...muslim islamist terrorism.

Expected to maintain the kingdom’s alliance with the U.S., Salman's judgment comes into question as it has been rumored that he suffers from dementia. So can he be trusted to rightly deal with today's all-important issue of terrorism and its ramifications...I truly do NOT know...but I do know that if good people like oil minister al-Naimi were to be forced out of their positions we could see Saudi Arabia making a hard to turn to the ISIS left which would then change the entire dynamics of the Middle East as it now stands, and know it will NOT be for the better.

"We will, with God's will and power, adhere to the straight path this country has followed since its establishment," Salman has said but does he have the means, support, and much need mental capability to do so.

Saudi Arabia has to date been somewhat of a stabilizing force in the region, but now with the entirety of the Middle East in turmoil one has to wonder if the 80-year old Salman can keep his country on that same track. Remember, Iraq daily battles ISIS militants, the Sunni-led government in Yemen has just been toppled, and Iran is again raising its ugly head...and all geographically surround Saudi Arabia.

And Saudi Arabia has always been rightfully distrusting of Iran and fears them becoming a nuclear power as much as we and Israel do. Abdullah was somewhat able to keep Iran in check but now with the U.S. on the verge of making yet another 'so-called' overture to Iran (thanks to our traitor-in-chief.) the Saudis have much to be concerned about. Always beating the drum of wiping Israel off the map and chanting death to the 'Great Satan' ad-nauseum, some are now being fooled by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani having toned down the rhetoric somewhat. And while we know clearly where Obama stands, we also thankfully know that Benjamin Netanyahu is NOT fooled by softer words, yet we still have to wonder if Salman is. So as Iran moves ever-closer to securing nuclear weapons behind everyone's backs while they talk softer words of peace, Saudi Arabia must NOT let its guard down, because Iran could hit them in the blink of an eye, and all their oil wells and money will do little if anything to stop them.

And what of Yemen and their relationship to Saudi Arabia now that their president and prime minister have resigned in what amounts to a coup...a coup some believe to have been orchestrated by Iran...the very country who stands to become the big winner from the goings-on in Yemen. A complicated situation in the making because that would mean that if the Houthis, whom Iran supports, were to take actual control of the government Shi'ites would be ruling a country that's mostly Sunni allowing for more instability than there already is, and could result in floods of people crossing over into Saudi Arabia as Yemen sits directly on Saudi Arabia's southern border. And with those people could come waves of terrorists, and one has to wonder if Salman can muster the loyalty and strength of the armed forces to if NOT repel them at least keep them in check.

Also remember, if the Houthis did control the government in Yemen, Yemen would then become the third pro-Iranian government ensconced in Arab countries (Iran, while islamic, is NOT an Arab country as Iranians are Persians), and that bodes very poorly where both Israel and a more moderate Arab country like Saudi Arabia are concerned. Also, just the establishment of yet another Shi'ite pro-Iranian government in the Middle East would ignite tensions NOT only in Yemen, but in most Sunni Arab states as well, thus opening the door for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)...which is based in and operates out of become even more of a danger than they already are.

NOT good folks...NOT good at all...and if the rumors about Salman's health are true and he becomes an ineffectual leader, Saudi Arabia could become next on Iran's hit list...right after Israel and before the U.S.

So while King Abdullah did let his guard down a bit when he became somewhat distracted by the goings-on of the Obama-led Arab Spring...a disaster that actually allowed al-Qaeda in Iraq to morph into the even more dangerous than al-Qaeda 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' otherwise known as ISIS...let's NOT forget that now King Salman must at all costs concern himself with stability and loyalty to the crown within his own country, because Saudi Arabia...much like Israel's on the way to becoming totally surrounded by those who wish them harm. And it's all because of Abdullah's ties to the U.S. and his push for modernization within the kingdom, which groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS believe undercut the moral authority of what should be a devout islamic monarchy...translation: which should adhere to the principals of strict islamic fundamentalism.

So only time will tell if King Salman can keep Saudi Arabia an ally of the U.S. or if they too will fall under the influence of those out to kill us all...and the ramifications of that happening are too sickening to even think about.

* In the past the royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had been the main financial supporter of Palestinian groups, including Hamas, fighting Israel, through the creation of two major committees identified as the Popular Committee for Assisting Palestinian Mujahideen and The Support Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada, as well as The Al-Aqsa Fund. And the Saudi government has been found to have been the principal financial backer of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement since at least 1996.
** The 9/11 Commission found that the Al-Rajhi Bank was directly implicated in conduiting funds to the hijackers through the International Islamic Relief Organization, which maintained accounts at Al-Rajhi. It was through those accounts that funds were wired to Abdulaziz Al-Omari, one of the 9/11 hijackers, just four days before the attacks.