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Donald Trump’s acceptance speech last night has been characterized as being scary or dark by Democrats. Mo Elleithee, a former Hillary campaign spokesman, said that this was a dreadful week for the GOP. That’s spin but not very good spin.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s pollster, said that she expects Trump and Hillary to be tied in all of the major swing states when the swing state polls start coming out. While it’s wise to take anything from a candidate’s pollster with a grain of salt, I’ve watched Mrs. Conway since she was Ms. Fitzpatrick. She isn’t a spinner. She’s earned the benefit of the doubt with me.

As for Trump’s speech, it was different in important and profound ways. He stripped away the façade that the Obama administration has hidden behind for 8 years. It started when Mr. Trump said “It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation. I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore. So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths, the Democrats are holding their convention next week. Go there.”

Think of that as Trump’s way of telling the elitists in the media and in the Democratic Party (pardon the repetition) that America would hear the truth. Here’s an example of that truthfulness:

These are the facts:

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.

In the president’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And almost 4,000 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office. The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year.

Democrats say that the speech was dark. Let’s ask this question: Are those the type of statistics that should make us feel happy? Or are they the type of statistics that make your heart ache? If that wasn’t enough information to make a decision on, this will help thoughtful people make the right decision:

One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years old and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 grade point average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law. I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family. But to this administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.

There’s no spinning that story. If I were to put it in tennis language, that story would be “Game. Set. Match. Championship.” Thoughtful people can’t hear that story and think we need to continue this administration’s immigration policies.

This is a powerful indictment of Hillary’s incompetence:

In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map. Libya was stable. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq had seen a big reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was somewhat under control.

After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. After 15 years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.

This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: Death, destruction and terrorism and weakness.

That’s a devastating and accurate before and after portrait of Hillary’s incompetence. Think of it as the indictment the Justice Department didn’t attempt to get.

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The Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi is one of the most consistently liberal columnists in the nation. That’s her persona. Think of this morning’s column as the literary equivalent of Vennochi taking a wooden spoon to Mrs. Clinton’s political backside.

It didn’t take long for Ms. Vennochi to break out the punishment, saying “One man driving a truck, 84 people dead. Donald Trump wants to declare war on that. It isn’t real policy. It’s rhetoric, a direct appeal to the gut, to the anger and fear people experience when they watch the reports from Nice. Hillary Clinton wants us to be smarter, talk to our allies, and maybe hold a summit. Her typically wonky response reflects little understanding of what average Americans feel when they see bodies, strollers, and a stuffed animal strewn along a beach promenade.”

I haven’t been a fan of Mr. Trump but I’d be intellectually dishonest if I didn’t say that, when it comes to terrorism, Donald Trump gets it. Hillary’s litany of foreign policy mistakes is proof that she doesn’t get it. Ms. Vennochi wasn’t done. A couple paragraphs later, she wrote “Statistically, the likelihood of a terror attack may still be small, but at a certain point, statistics don’t matter. After terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Istanbul, such violence feels possible in any major city. And attacks at home, in San Bernardino and Orlando, instill fear of the lone wolf terrorist next door, making us suspicious of each other. Last week’s murders of five Dallas police officers were not inspired by any foreign terrorist cause, but elevate the fear and suspicion.”

Dissertations aren’t in order when terrorists hit a soft target. That’s for the professors to deal with a year later. Leaders need to lead. One of President Bush’s highest moments came while standing on a pile of rubble at Ground Zero:

That’s what leaders do. They rally their citizens to a cause bigger than themselves. They don’t issue 5,000-word dissertations on where terrorists start. They don’t explain why we need to understand the terrorists. They tell people that terrorists are evil and, like with other evil people, they need to be destroyed ASAP.

That doesn’t require a 2-year commitment of 250,000 ground troops in a distant country. That’s Iraq, not ISIS. To win this war, we need to listen to people like Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and others who think like him. ISIS is constantly morphing and transforming itself. It’s essential that we do the same to keep them at bay and prevent their attacks.

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CNBC’s Larry Kudlow has earned the reputation of being pro-immigration reform. That’s why Mr. Kudlow’s NRO op-ed is startling. Mr. Kudlow admits that we’re at war with Islamic terrorists and that “there should be no immigration or visa waivers until the U.S. adopts a completely new system to stop radical Islamic terrorists from entering the country.” If that sounds like Trump’s plan, it’s because it’s similar but it isn’t the same.

Kudlow explains “Let me emphasize that my support for wartime immigration restrictions is not based on religion. I think Donald Trump made a big mistake here. Instead, I agree with this Rupert Murdoch tweet: ‘Complete refugee pause to fix vetting makes sense.'”

That’s the point I’ve made from the start. Let me outline the principles I’d use to prevent the next Paris or the next San Bernardino. First, I’d establish a tiered list of countries to accept refugees from. The first tier would be countries that we’d never accept refugees from. Basically, any nation whose government exists in name only would be on that list. Syria, Somalia, Mali, Libya and Yemen would be on that list.

I’ve nicknamed the second list the Procto list. Refugees from these countries would be given a full proctology examination. Each refugee would be given a full examination including everything up to the person’s tonsils. Twice. I picture nations like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Greece on that list. It isn’t that there are many Greek terrorists. It’s that a bunch of ISIS terrorists stopped in Greece on their way to the west from Iraq and Syria. Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan are marginal allies but they’re terrorist hotbeds, too.

I wrote this article to highlight the corruption within the Obama administration, especially in the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Tashfeen Malik, the terrorist bride, didn’t “slip through the cracks” like the administration is spinning it. They all but rolled out the red carpet for her by shutting down a program that likely would’ve put her terrorist husband, Syed Farook, on the federal government’s no-fly list because he attended a radicalized mosque.

FYI- That likely would’ve meant Malik’s visa being rejected, too.

Larry Kudlow should be applauded for changing his very public stand. The late economist John Maynard Keynes was once asked why he’d changed his policy. His epic reply fits here:

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

Exactly right.

Daniel Greenfield’s article provides a worthwhile teaching moment on what’s constitutional and what isn’t. Greenfield’s article starts with him saying “Trump is a monster, a madman and a vile racist. He’s just like Hitler. Or Jimmy Carter. During the Iranian hostage crisis, Carter issued a number of orders to put pressure on Iran. Among these, Iranians were banned from entering the United States unless they oppose the Shiite Islamist regime or had a medical emergency.”

Later in the article, Greenfield wrote “Now unlike Muslims, Iranians were not necessarily supportive of Islamic terrorism. Many were and are opponents of it. Khomeini didn’t represent Iran as a country, but his Islamist allies. So Trump’s proposal is far more legitimate than Carter’s action.” That’s a non sequitur defense of Trump’s bombastic statement. It’s illegal to exclude people based on their religious beliefs.

Kimberly Guilfoyle explained, saying that “[we] are signatories to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are international laws and treaties that we are bound by. You can not ban people based on their religious beliefs.”

Treaties that the president signs and that Congress approves in its advise and consent responsibilities are then treated as equal in legal strength as a US statute passed by Congress and signed by the president. Further, treaties that’ve been signed by the president, then ratified by Congress, can’t be repealed by executive order. Just like repealing statutes, Congress has to pass a bill calling for repeal of the law.

The repeal isn’t complete until the president signs the bill calling for withdrawing from the treaty.

Greenfield finishes by saying “Maybe the professional conservatives running around shrieking their heads off can calm down now long enough to have a rational conversation on the subject.” I’d prefer Mr. Greenfield taking a closer look at the laws that apply to banning people based on their religious beliefs. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights says signatories can’t deny people rights based on their religious beliefs. It doesn’t say that the US can’t ban people from specific nations, presumably because of the United States’ right to defend itself.

Thanks to Sean Davis’ article for the Federalist, President Obama’s credibility problem is growing. Davis has collected some of President Obama’s most laughable statements on ISIS and al-Qa’ida in the article. Davis’s article starts with President Obama’s quote that “ISIS is contained,” which Davis calls the new “American tanks are not in Baghdad.”

During his 2012 re-election campaign, President Obama insisted that al-Qa’ida was “on the run.” Wednesday, President Obama insisted that “The American people should feel confident that, you know, we are going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that, you know, we have a good holiday and go about our lives.” Later that day, 2 terrorists killed 14 Californians in San Bernardino while they attended a holiday celebration.

Yesterday, President Obama said that the massacre might have been a terrorist attack but then quickly said that “it might be workplace violence.” This morning, the FBI confirmed that Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS. So much for the San Bernardino terrorist attack possibly being workplace violence, though that doesn’t mean President Obama will admit that it isn’t an option anymore.

If I wasn’t exceptionally polite, I’d say that President Obama is full of s—. Thank God I’m exceptionally polite.

When President Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that ISIS was contained hours before ISIS’ sophisticated terrorist attacks in Paris, it was done in response to people’s concerns that President Obama’s strategy wasn’t working. What it revealed, however, is how dishonest the administration is.

When Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, was interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Rhodes said “What we’ve been able to do is stop that advance and reclaim territory, going on offense with our partners on the ground, most recently retaking the strategic town of Sindjar, which cuts off the supply line between Raqqa, Syria and Mosul in Iraq.”

Let’s be clear about this. While the US military has performed valiantly, this administration has tied their hands with counterproductive restrictive rules of engagement. Further, it’s dishonest to hear Deputy Rhodes distract attention away from the important consideration of whether ISIS terrorists have the capability of conducting sophisticated terrorist attacks anywhere in the world. It’s nice to hear that ISIS is contained geographically. It’s important that we know that ISIS can’t inflict mass casualty terrorist attacks in Paris or Washington, DC.

Finally, the truth is that President Obama hasn’t contained ISIS geographically. ISIS has temporarily chosen not to expand geographically, devoting more of its resources to killing western infidels than on expanding its geographic footprint.

That isn’t a soothing final thought.

I just finished watching Shepard Smith talking about the US strategy in Iraq. Actually, we don’t have one but that’s another story for another day. Smith said that he agrees that ISIS wins if the US sends in more ground troops. That’s foolish. If a substantial number of US troops go into Anbar Province with a clearly defined assignment of destroying ISIS, ISIS won’t be the winner. They’d get their butts kicked like they did during the Anbar Awakening.

This isn’t speculation. History provides the proof. The Anbar Awakening happened because a) we surged a ton of troops into Anbar Province and b) Sunnis trusted us because we fought alongside of them. The Obama administration won’t do either thing for ideological, aka political, reasons. When our troops supported the Iraqi troops, they fought well. They weren’t put in the impossible situation of picking between ISIS Sunnis and Iranian-backed Shiites.

That’s a head-Iran-wins-tails-I-lose situation. It’s a lose-lose situation for the Anbar Sunnis.

Further, it’s insane to say we should pull out of Iraq because the Iraqis aren’t fighting. While that’s aggravating, that isn’t what’s most important. Pulling out of Iraq means ISIS a) will establish its caliphate and b) will bring a major terrorist attack to the United States sooner rather than later.

To the idiots that want to pull out, here’s my question: Are you willing to have American blood on your hands when the next terrorist attack hits our homeland? I’m tired of idiots like Shep Smith and Bill O’Reilly arguing that we should pull out if we aren’t in it to win it. That’s the wrong argument.

My argument is simple. Let’s change our strategy to accepting only victory. That means demolishing the ISIS caliphate ASAP. It’s time we started thinking about winning. Period.

During Scott Walker’s appearance on ABC’s This Week, Jonathan Karl played a clip of President Obama’s cheap shot about Scott Walker’s foreign policy. Here’s the partial transcript of that exchange:

SOT OBAMA: Perhaps Mr. Walker, after he’s taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel the same way.

KARL: President Obama said you needed to bone up on foreign policy. And I guess you’ve been doing it? I mean you’ve been traveling, you’ve been talking to foreign policy experts.

WALKER: Yeah. I thought it was interesting for the president to say that, the guy who called ISIS the JV squad and Yemen a success story somehow suggesting that someone else should bone up on foreign policy. But we have. We’ve been to Israel, I’ve talked to David Cameron in the UK, we’ve been elsewhere. My belief is if I’m gonna even think about running for president of the United States, it’s not about preparing for debates, it’s about being prepared to be the president of the United States.

Now that’s a zinger. It’s great to see that Gov. Walker isn’t putting up with President Obama’s flippant statements. It’s wonderful to see Republicans throwing this stuff back in President Obama’s face. President Obama is the worst foreign policy president in the last 100+ years and it isn’t even close.

Before ISIS, President Obama decided that it was more important to pull troops from Iraq than it was to stabilize the region. That wasn’t unwise. That was stupid. It led to the vacuum that ISIS and Iran are fighting over. That’s a heads, they win, tails, we lose scenario.

President Obama’s decision to abandon its allies in the Middle East is causing regionwide instability, which is being fomented by Iran. Our allies don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us. If I got paid $10 each time that sentence was repeated on TV, I’d be as overpaid as the Clintons.

KARL: Okay, you’ve been very critical about how the president handled ISIS. Some are out there like Lindsey Graham saying we should send 10,000 U.S. ground troops right now to Iraq to help with this fight. Do you favor that?

WALKER: I think we shouldn’t rule anything out. It’s a big mistake this president has made here and elsewhere about saying how long we would go or how much we would invest.

KARL: I’m not talking about ruling it out, I’m saying would you do that, would you send…

WALKER: No, I’m not arguing that’s the first approach. But I’ll tell you three specific things I think we should do in Iraq. First we should re-engage the strength of the American forces that are there. Once you do that, you empower our allied forces that are there on behalf of Iraq to reclaim the territory that ISIS has taken. And third, you just need to do it in a way that doesn’t provide safe haven in the places like Syria as you push them out.

The Obama administration sends weapons to the Kurds through Baghdad. That’s a mistake because the Iranians don’t want the Peshmerga to get the weapons. They want to eventually overtake Kurdistan. They don’t want a strengthened Kurdish nation.

The Peshmerga are skilled, willing fighters that’ve gotten starved by the Obama administration.

If Gov. Walker gets elected president, he would be a dramatic upgrade in terms of foreign policy over President Obama.

When I wrote this post about Rand Paul’s foolishness about ISIS, I stuck mostly to highlighting why Sen. Paul’s opinion is dangerous. Today, it’s time to attack the beliefs that form the foundation for that wrongheaded thinking.

Like his lunatic father before him, Sen. Paul thinks that ISIS won’t hurt us if we just leave them alone. That’s projection based on their capital-L Libertarian beliefs. It’s also lunacy that isn’t based in facts.

ISIS’s beliefs are based on a messianic worldview. If ISIS didn’t use the U.S.’s presence in the Middle East as a rationalization for attacking us, then they’d find a different, equally dishonest, excuse to kill people who don’t agree with them 100% of the time.

The proof of this is the fact that hundreds and thousands of Muslims have been murdered because they didn’t subscribe to ISIS’s beliefs. Their crime wasn’t that they were an occupying force in the Middle East. Their ‘crime’ was that they weren’t, in ISIS’s opinion, Muslim enough. If it wasn’t that, ISIS would find a different excuse to rationalize their actions.

Rand Paul isn’t qualified to be the next commander-in-chief. He sees the world as he wants it to be. He doesn’t see the world as it actually is. That’s President Obama’s fatal flaw. That’s one of Sen. Paul’s fatal flaws, too.

Anyone watching this video has to wonder whether Tucker Carlson has paid attention the last 12 years:

Here’s the transcript that calls his analytic skills into question:

CARLSON: The question I would ask, and I’m not endorsing Rand Paul, but I do think you need a moment of national reckoning where we ask a simple question: what is the lesson from the last thirteen years of Iraq? Have we learned anything? How would we proceed differently based on what we just saw? And the other candidates, most of them I would say, are committed to this ‘We’ve learned nothing. The world’s exactly as it was on September 12, 2001. That is not…I don’t think that’s a recipe for success. I …
BRET BAIER: But do you think that this is a pathway to the GOP nomination?
CARLSON: I don’t. I absolutely don’t. Laura is absolutely right. He’s getting hammered. You’re pro-terrorist. Again, I’m not defending Rand Paul. I’m not an advocate for his campaign. But I think the question hangs in the air what have we learned?
LAURA INGRAHAM: There’s a big debate out there that has to be had. Will it be had? Will it be had when there’s just one person making the case and an entire field saying ‘Oh no. It has to be this way. It’s an interesting debate. We should have it.
CHARLES LANE: I listened to that soundbite of Rand Paul and was just reminded of why he’s not…of why he’s getting criticism. The things he says are sloppy and superficial. To literally blame the rise of ISIS on the hawks in the Republican Party is just ridiculous. Let’s face it. There are so many other factors that’ve gone into it and furthermore, it isn’t about how do we unring all the bells that were run in the past that may have led us to this point. The problem now is how do we deal with this menace?

If Carlson wants to re-litigate whether we should’ve invaded Iraq, he’s free to do so. It’s just that that’s a waste of time for policymakers. If historians want to debate it, fine. That’s their responsibility.

If Carlson wants to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes again, the big picture answer is exceptionally straightforward. Don’t elect a person who thinks that fighting terrorists is an afterthought. Don’t elect a person who isn’t committed to winning.

One straightforward lesson worth learning is that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton told us in 2007 and 2008 that they weren’t qualified to be commander-in-chief. President Obama has been a terrible commander-in-chief. If she got elected, Hillary would be just as terrible as commander-in-chief as President Obama is because they’re both committed, as they’ve said repeatedly throughout the years, to “ending wars responsibly.”

The biggest lesson Republicans need to learn is to a) trust their generals more and b) loosen up the rules of engagement, aka ROE, so that U.S. military forces can efficiently kill the terrorists as quickly as possible. The other shift that’s imperative is that they must make clear that the Sunnis and Kurds will be protected and that Iran’s generals won’t be permitted as military advisors to Iraq.

The biggest reason why the Sunnis didn’t fight in Ramadi is because they were stuck in a lose-lose situation. If they defeat ISIS, Iranian Shiites would wage war against the Sunnis. If the Sunnis waged war against the Shiites, then Iran and President Obama would persecute them.

During the Anbar Awakening, U.S. soldiers fought alongside the Sunnis. They established a trust with the Sunni soldiers. The result was the Sunnis running AQI, ISIS’ predecessor, into Syria. We don’t need to send 150,000 troops into Iraq to obliterate ISIS. Military experts say that 20,000-25,000 troops, combined with an aggressive bombing campaign, should devastate ISIS and restore Iraqi trust in the United States. This time, though, it’s imperative that we negotiate a status of forces agreement to keep a stabilizing force in Iraq. That stabilizing force would keep the troops and the Iraqi government in line, prevent the Iranians from spreading their influence in the region and prevent the return of ISIS.

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