Obama at a ‘Dead Point’ : “Weak Abroad, Frustrated at Home, and Looking at a Brutal November” Rich Lowry

When the Washington Post–ABC News poll at the end of March showed a very slim plurality supporting Obamacare, Democrats hoped the health-care law had finally turned the proverbial corner.

Then came the Post–ABC poll in April. It had the law underwater again, with 44 percent supporting it and 49 percent opposed, right back to where it was in January.

This is consistent with a new Wall Street Journal–NBC News poll that has 36 percent of people considering the health-care law a good idea and 46 percent a bad idea, and consistent with the Kaiser poll that has had support for the law at 38 percent to 46 percent the past two months.

The more Obamacare’s standing with the public changes, the more it stays the same. Democrats always want to insist that the debate over the health-care law is over. If so, they have lost it — at least the debate over whether the law is worthy of support.

The March Obamacare enrollment surge hasn’t brought springtime for President Barack Obama, just the soggy reality that he stands to be about as much of a drag on his party in November as anyone would have expected a few months ago. He ticked up to a 44 percent job-approval rating in the Wall Street Journal–NBC News poll, while he is at 41 percent, his lowest showing ever, in the Post–ABC News survey.

According to every indicator, the public is sour, the economy lackluster, and Republicans much more motivated to vote than Democrats. The general environment looks to be November 2010 all over again, except it hasn’t been preceded by an interlude of historic Democratic accomplishments.



Our latest congressional polling suggests the issue is pressing.
As Republicans discuss the policy alternative to replace Obamacare, the political benefits are clear and decisive.

Our April national poll of 1,000 likely voters showed the same majority job disapproval for the president, 47 percent approval to 52 percent disapproval, similar to the findings of many other polls.

The same is true for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, with 45 percent approving to 51 percent disapproving. (For PowerPoint slides of the poll numbers, see here.)

However, despite the majority disapproval for the president and Obamacare, the Democrats hold a thin lead in the generic ballot for Congress, 43 percent to 41 percent, with 16 percent undecided:

The Disappearing Free-Speech Panic: Jonah Goldberg

After 9/11, the Left worried about Americans’ free-speech rights. After the Benghazi attack, not so much.

After the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, members of the American Left found one thing they could all agree on: Our First Amendment rights were in peril.

The American Prospect insisted on September 12, when the rubble was still burning and the dead had not yet been retrieved, that “a number of government agencies and their cheerleaders would be clearly tempted to lock the Bill of Rights away in some basement dustbin of the National Archives.” Two weeks later, novelist Barbara Kingsolver warned, “Patriotism threatens free speech with death.” She bravely attacked the claim that “free speech is un-American.” Author Richard Reeves penned an op-ed for the New York Times under the headline “Patriotism Calls Out the Censor.” Conferences were rapidly convened; vows to fight the crackdown on free speech were issued.

The fact that this response was elicited by no actual crackdown on free speech seemed irrelevant. It was a classic example of “Fire, ready, aim!”

Later, when there was at least some theoretical basis to be concerned about lost liberties, the reaction from prominent liberals was nonetheless unhinged. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, goaded by the press to respond to a bigoted comment from a Republican congressman and a typically stupid comment from “comedian” Bill Maher, said such statements are “reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.”

Then–New York Times columnist Frank Rich spent much of the next five years treating this comment as the end of liberty in America. He even said Fleischer’s comment was as significant as the terror attack itself. “Even as we’re constantly told we’re in a war for ‘freedom’ abroad,” Rich wrote, “freedom in our culture at home has been under attack ever since.”

Benghazi: American ‘Liberalism’ and the Mainstream Media on Trial By Roger L Simon

A couple of weeks ago, the prime minister of South Korea resigned over a tragic ferry accident in his country for which he had no personal responsibility whatsoever.

In the USA, he exact opposite has been happening. Going on two years now, our administration has done nothing but attempt to lie, obfuscate and shift the blame concerning the events in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, during which four Americans were murdered.

But as information dribbles out — most recently the long-hidden email from Ben Rhodes — the extent of this prevarication is reaching a tipping point with even a few representatives of the mainstream media (notably Jonathan Karl of ABC [1]) stepping forward to challenge the administration.

What seems clear at this point is that the administration blamed the Benghazi attacks on a video no one saw in order to distract public attention from the growing militance of al-Qaeda and related groups. That militance would have been of great embarrassment to a president during an election when his vice president was running around bragging bin Laden was dead and General Motors alive.

We still do not know why no attempt was made to rescue our people during the attacks since no one knew how long they would go on and why no one has been apprehended for these attacks. Those are only two of the ongoing mysteries about Benghazi. Where was the president that night [2]? What did he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talk about in their telephone conversation? We have heard rumors of gun running, MANPADs [3] and on and on.

But what remains is something tragically simple. The Obama administration and related entities (State, intelligence, etc.) were willing to lie about the murder of truly heroic American citizens in order to protect their behinds and, more importantly and scandalously, win an election. And people like Candy Crowley of CNN were all too willing to help them.



by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilbedik

Official PA TV recently broadcast a young child reciting a poem that calls to join a “war that will smash the oppression and destroy the Zionist’s soul.” Palestinian Media Watch has documented that at least three other children have been featured on PA TV reciting this same poem. This video shows a very young girl wearing a Palestinian traditional dress and a pendant shaped like the map of “Palestine” that includes all of Israel. She is seen reciting the poem in different locations – in a field, on the beach and in a market. One part shows her behind barbed wire with pictures of Palestinian prisoners in the background.

Needed: A Workable Nuclear Deterrent Strategy By Jed Babbin

The end of the Cold War 25 years ago essentially ended public discussion of nuclear weapons until the advent of the Obama presidency.

Obama has declared his intention to eliminate nuclear weapons, has entered into a treaty with Russia to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in each nation’s arsenal to 1,550 (which counts missiles and aircraft as warheads) and has called for a further reduction by one-third in the allowable number of weapons.
Last Sunday, CBS’ “60 Minutes” program started building a case for Obama’s cuts by raising doubts about the age, effectiveness and safety of our land-based missile force. According to the “expert” they interviewed, there wouldn’t be any harm in eliminating that force altogether. How they reach that conclusion without reference to the threats we face or the systems that make up our offensive and defensive systems is a mystery.

America dealt with the threat of Soviet nuclear forces through deterrence achieved by building a massive nuclear force of missiles and aircraft. Both sides knew that a nuclear strike by one would result in a nation-destroying counterstrike by the other. From 1961 to 2003, we had the “Single Integrated Operational Plan,” a strategy by which American nuclear weapons could be used only by direct presidential order. It defined how and when nuclear weapons could be used and aimed several missiles and aircraft at each target. It wasn’t designed as overkill but to reflect the realities that cause different weapons to fail to reach their targets.

The Soviet’s operational plans allowed military commanders far below their senior civilian leaders to order the use of nuclear weapons. That may still be their doctrine under the Putin government. But even in the worst of crises — such as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 — the U.S. and the Soviet Union didn’t resort to using nuclear weapons. Deterrence worked.

The dangers we faced then haven’t disappeared, though they are not mentioned in polite company. The Russian nuclear missiles are gradually being modernized. China, North Korea and Pakistan all have nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. Soon Iran will as well. The value of all of our adversaries’ forces is diminished by the other side of deterrence, our ballistic missile defense systems which are still being developed and deployed. (Loose language in Obama’s deal with Russia apparently counts missile defenses in the offensive weapons number.) Those defenses now are comprised of only 30 interceptor missiles stationed in Alaska and California. (The 30 Navy ships which have anti-missile capabilities are mostly tasked to defend the fleet, not our homeland, though four are detailed to NATO missile defense in Europe.)


Clayton D. Lockett has gained international attention for having taken 43 minutes to die in an execution he was sentenced to after being convicted of murder, rape, kidnapping, assault and battery, burglary and robbery. If you read The New York Times, you will see his crimes summarized in 7 brief words in an article that consumes almost a full page: “shooting a woman and burying her alive.” (NYT 5/1/14)

Before we shed more tears over the inhumanity of lethal injections as a death penalty, let’s pay some attention to what Clayton D. Lockett did in 1999 – fifteen years before he was fed, housed, medically treated and given all the attendant rights of a prisoner in Oklahoma; more importantly, fifteen years longer than Stephanie Nieman, the young high school graduate who was his victim was able to live. Lockett and two accomplices attempted to retrieve money they claimed to be owed from the home of another man by tying him up, pistol whipping and beating him. Miss Nieman and another friend who knew the robbery victim were dragged into the house during the course of this assault. Her friend was raped by all three thugs and when Miss Nieman refused to cooperate by handing over car keys, Clayton D. Lockett shot her twice and ordered one of his accomplices to bury her alive. It probably took a good deal longer than 43 minutes for Stephanie Nieman to finally die in her shallow grave. Her name is not mentioned once in the extensive coverage of the NYTimes. Her torture and execution by Clayton D. Lockett in 1999 did not arouse a single comment from the concerned citizens of European countries nor did any of their statements today even whisper her name.


For most commentators, President Barack Obama’s biggest achievement in his four-nation tour of Asia was the enhanced defense treaty he signed with Philippine President Benigno Aquino. The pact permits US forces to operate on Philippine military bases and sets the conditions for joint training of US and Philippine forces, among other things.

There are two problems with the treaty, however.

And they reflect the basic problem with US foreign policy generally, five-and-a-half years into the Obama presidency.

First, there is the reason that the treaty became necessary.

The Philippines has been under attack by China since 2012 when China seized the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines. Despite its mutual defense treaty with Manila, Washington did nothing.

This non-response emboldened China still further.

And today China is threatening the Second Thomas Shoal, another Philippine possession.

So, too, late last year China extended its Air Defense Identification Zone to include Japanese and South Korean airspace. The US responded to the aggressive move by recommending that its allies comply with China’s dictates.

The administration’s top priority in all these cases, as well as in the case of Beijing’s challenge to Japan’s control over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, has been to avoid conflicts with China.

But American timidity and refusal to abide by US treaty obligations to the Philippines and Japan have had the opposite effect.

By not responding to Chinese aggression, far from moderating China’s behavior, the Obama administration emboldened it. And in so doing, it destroyed the US’s deterrent posture in Asia. As China’s increasingly belligerent behavior has made clear, Obama’s attempt to appease China was perceived in Beijing as a green light for further aggression, because the Chinese correctly determined that Obama would never make them pay a price for seizing territory and otherwise harming America’s Asian allies.

Under these circumstances, Obama had no choice but to sign an enhanced defense treaty with the Philippines.

France Launches Anti-Jihadist Plan by Soeren Kern

Marine Le Pen told RTL Radio that the government’s plan to fight against French jihadists was “cosmetic” and will remain ineffective as long as border controls are not restored within the European Union.

Others are wondering who will control the data collected by the new website and hotline, and how the information will be used, especially when it involves young people who have not been convicted of a crime.

The French government has unveiled a new plan aimed at preventing French citizens or residents from waging jihad in Syria and other conflict zones in the Muslim world.

More than 700 French nationals and residents are now believed to be fighting in different parts of the Middle East and North Africa, including at least 500 in Syria alone, according to French intelligence estimates.

Senior French officials have voiced increasing concern over the potential threat that these radicalized “enemies within” will pose when they return to France. The government has also faced criticism for failing to take steps to prevent its nationals from traveling to Syria in the first place.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve presented the multi-pronged anti-radicalization plan at a French Cabinet meeting on April 23. The strategy includes more than 20 measures—those not requiring new legislation will be implemented immediately—aimed not only at preventing French citizens from joining the war in Syria, but also at combatting the radicalization of young French Muslims at the earliest stages of indoctrination.

One of the key provisions of the plan involves the creation of a counselling center and a dedicated website and telephone hotline for parents or family members who are seeking professional advice about how to handle children they believe are becoming radicalized.

The toll-free hotline—to be staffed by psychologists, social workers and experts in radical Islam—will also enable parents to secure immediate help from police in cases where underage children are trying to leave France without parental permission.

This provision comes in response to several recent attempts by French teenagers to become jihadists in Syria. In one instance, a 14-year-old girl from the southeastern French city of Grenoble was intercepted with a one-way ticket to Istanbul at the airport in Lyon on February 25, just as she was about to board a plane. Police were alerted after the girl sent her father a text message saying she was running away from home because she had been selected to “join the jihad” in Syria.

In another instance, two teenagers in Toulouse left for Syria on January 6, the first school day of 2014, after stealing credit cards from their parents to purchase plane tickets to Turkey. The youths—ages 15 and 16—were repatriated to France on January 26 and now face charges of conspiring with a terrorist enterprise.

In all, at least 15 French teenagers have tried to travel to Syria since the war there began in March 2011, according to French intelligence. In most instances, the parents say they did not suspect their children were becoming radicalized.

The Interior Ministry says it is urging parents to be more vigilant—especially about monitoring their children’s activities online. The Ministry is also encouraging parents to contact the hotline at the first signs of radicalization. The names of radicalized youths will be placed in a database of wanted persons, a system that would prevent them from boarding flights to destinations beyond the borders of France.

Cazeneuve also plans to pursue jihad recruiters online by means of a team of specialist investigators who will monitor jihadist chat forums and work undercover to infiltrate recruitment cells.


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