Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
Under DFL domination, the percentage of active military personnel serving overseas has dropped from 15% to a pathetic 5%. Despite the DFL’s claims that their policies increase voter turnout, America’s patriots don’t seem to benefit from the DFL’s policies.
Less than 3 weeks from now, Minnesotans have the opportunity to rectify that by electing Dan Severson. Severson has a plan to make it easier for military personnel serving overseas to vote:
Dan Severson says delays in mailing ballots and lack of awareness has brought military voter participation to as low as 5%. Severson proposes creating a secure online voting network for soldiers. A similar system has been used in Arizona.
Steve Simon, Severson’s opponent for Secretary of State, has a less efficient plan:
Simon says military members benefit from the new, no-excuse absentee voting law he shepherded through the Legislature last session. He says Severson’s online voting proposal is worth exploring.
Simon isn’t accurate. No-excuse voting isn’t that big of a benefit because it still takes tons of time to get ballots from war zones back to Minnesota. The online system that Severson is proposing eliminates the mailing of ballots. Ballots wouldn’t have to be mailed to our service personnel. Our service personnel wouldn’t have to worry that the military’s post office would get the ballots back before the deadline, either.
Fill out the ballot. Hit enter.
That’s about as simple a procedure as you’ll find.
Steve Simon didn’t insist on making voting easier for our military, which indicates it isn’t a priority for him. That’s unacceptable. Severson’s commitment to service personnel guarantees that military turnout would be taken seriously. Our heroes deserve nothing less.
As long as we don’t hire the people who designed MNsure or HealthCare.gov, we should be fine.
True to his 1970s-style anti-war activist days, Rick Nolan is still a pacifist:
In a statement issued to KBJR, Rep. Rick Nolan said U.S. intervention in “thousands-year-old Middle East war” has cost the U.S. trillions in blood and treasury.
“The arms we supply to any one of these groups inevitably end up being used against us, because we have no friends in this conflict,” Rep. Nolan said. “Our involvement is bankrupting us and making us a target for retaliation, and it’s time to put an end to it. These monies are needed for deficit reduction and rebuilding America.”
That’s frightening. ISIL is definitely a threat to the United States. Similarly, there’s no question that Stewart Mills’ assessment is right:
“He (Rep. Nolan) is advocating for us not to have involvement in Iraq or in Syria,” Mills said in an interview in late September. “But the consequences of us not having involvement in there is that we create a vacuum. And that vacuum is filled up with bad people doing bad things and eventually that will wash up on our shores, probably sooner rather than later.”
That isn’t just Mills’ opinion. It’s an opinion he shares with Leon Panetta, President Obama’s former Defense Secretary:
By not pressing the Iraqi government to leave more U.S. troops in the country, he “created a vacuum in terms of the ability of that country to better protect itself, and it’s out of that vacuum that ISIS began to breed,” Panetta told USA Today, referring to the group also known as the Islamic State.
Being a pacifist in the 1970s helps inform Rick Nolan’s views on national security. We’re living in a totally different world, especially after 9/11. If Rick Nolan doesn’t want to fight terrorists before they reach America’s shores, then he isn’t qualified to be in Congress.
Nolan’s type of thinking is what helped create the conditions for 9/11 and for ISIL to take over much of Iraq and Syria. We can’t afford not to pay attention to ISIL. In fact, we can’t afford not to do everything we can to utterly demolish ISIL and other terrorist groups.
Whether Nolan will admit it, the truth is that ISIL and al-Qa’ida are at war with us. The only question left is whether we’ll wage war with them. If Stewart Mills is elected to Congress, he’ll vote to fight terrorists. If Nolan is re-elected, God forbid, he’ll vote for taking a pre-9/11 position.
Bruce Braley just made a major mistake during his debate with Joni Ernst:
Braley tried to be tough on the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), saying he voted to authorize the airstrikes Obama ordered in Iraq and Syria.
The authorization to go to war is one of the toughest votes a congressman will ever cast. That’s why neither party whips the vote. Each congressman and each senator is left to make up their own minds. It’s a solemn event to the point that there’s very little in the way of conversations during the vote.
It’s difficult to think Braley didn’t notice that this wasn’t a vote to authorize military strikes. Politifact rated Braley’s statement during his debate with Joni Ernst as false:
On Sept. 17, less than two weeks before the debate, the House took two votes relevant to this question. The first was whether to attach an amendment, one related to the situation in the Middle East, to a broad spending bill. The House voted, 273-156, to attach the amendment to the bill.
The second was on passage of the bill itself, including the amendment. The bill passed, 319-108. In both cases, Braley voted in favor, along with a bipartisan majority. However, in the debate, Braley misstated what he was voting on.
Here’s the relevant text from the amendment that passed along with the rest of the spending bill:
“The Secretary of Defense is authorized, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals. … Nothing in this section shall be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.”
Perhaps Braley thought he had to embellish because Ernst is a war veteran. Perhaps, it’s because he thought that’s what people wanted to hear. Undoubtedly, it’s because he isn’t an honest person. Frankly, I think it’s at least partially because he isn’t that bright. Did he think candidates didn’t verify their opponents’ statements?
Braley’s put his foot in his mouth too many times to win. He isn’t a top tier candidate. That’s why he’s trailing in the RCP average of polls. In 2 polls, they were tied. In 2 other polls, including the latest Des Moines Register poll, Ernst had a 6-point lead. The PPP poll, which is definitely a Democrat-leaning poll, showed Ernst with a 2-point lead. If things don’t change quickly for Braley, he’ll definitely have an uphill fight heading into the stretch drive.
This article talks about Mark Udall’s latest campaign ads. Either Udall has found the special elixir to fix his failing campaign or he’s just desperate. Here’s one of Udall’s ads:
Here’s the intro into the ad:
“There’s a reason women and families are front and center in this campaign,” Udall says in the ad, in which he attempts to pivot to other issues of importance to women.
There’s a reason why “women and families are front and center” in Sen. Udall’s campaign but it isn’t the what he says it is:
“It’s not just about respecting every woman’s fundamental rights and freedoms. It’s that everyone deserves a fair shot at success…with affordable student loans, equal pay for women in the workforce and equal treatment when it comes to what men and women pay for their health care.”
Talk about a focus group-tested line. That’s the first time I’ve heard that people were worried that men and women weren’t getting “equal treatment” for what they “pay for their health care.” That’s what you call contrived.
The truth is that Sen. Udall doesn’t want to talk about how dysfunctional HealthCare.gov is or how expensive health insurance premiums are or how much premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are going up each year. Sen. Udall certainly doesn’t want to talk about how networks have gotten restricted.
I can’t imagine Sen. Udall wants to talk about the economy either, especially considering how a major manufacturing company left the state after Gov. Hickenlooper signed Colorado’s gun grab laws.
I can’t imagine Udall’s other ad playing that well in Colorado:
Here’s the transcript:
NARRATOR: A barbaric terrorist threat met by a respected national leader on national security, Colorado’s own Mark Udall. Intelligence Committee member, chair of the subcommittee on strategic forces. Determined to defeat ISIS with full support for airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. No wonder military leaders call him a champion of an effective, common sense approach to fighting terrorism. Mark Udall, Colorado’s senator.
Colorado has tons of retired Air Force personnel. It’s also home to the Air Force Academy. They know that you can’t defeat ISIS with just air power. This is what it sounds like when a dovish senator panders for military votes.
I don’t know if Sen. Udall is a “respected leader on national security” but I’m certain that he isn’t serious about defeating ISIS or he isn’t telling Coloradans that ISIS can’t be defeated without ground troops before the election.
That’s what it sounds like when you’re caught betwixt and between.
This article presents this year’s vulnerable Democrats as hawkish:
Democrat Kay Hagan didn’t mince words about the Iraq War during her 2008 Senate campaign against Republican Elizabeth Dole. “We need to get out of Iraq in a responsible way,” Hagan declared in May of that year. “We need to elect leaders who don’t invade countries without planning and stay there without an end.”
Hagan is striking a different chord these days. Locked in a tough reelection battle, the first-term senator boasts that she’s more strongly supportive of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants than her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, and says she’s been pressing the Obama administration to arm Syrian rebels since early last year.
“This is the time for us to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to confront the challenges that are facing our nation,” she said this month.
What’s interesting (noteworthy?) is that the terrorists haven’t changed their belief that the infidels must be killed or put into servitude. I’m confident that these doves haven’t changed their opinion of war, either. I’m certain that they’re acting hawkish now…to an extent.
Al Franken still doesn’t want boots on the ground, though he wants ISIL defeated. That’s what a focus grouped response sounds like. That isn’t a substantive answer. It’s a political answer aimed at getting him through this election. Without angry men with rifles, ground can’t be take and terrorists can’t be defeated.
We don’t need idiots in the Senate fulfilling faux advise and consent responsibilities. That’s what the Democrats are providing and it’s disgraceful. I’m betting that Sen. Hagan couldn’t have explained the definition of getting out of Iraq “in a responsible way” meant then. I’m positive that Sen. Franken can’t explain how to decapitate ISIL without putting boots on the ground. Sen. Franken is a policy lightweight and a political rubberstamp.
The only thing more frightening than getting lectured about national security by President Obama is the thought that Al Franken and Kay Hagan are giving President Obama advice on how to decapitate ISIL.
Brit Hume’s commentary of the Obama administration’s dismissing of ISIL’s threat ridicules the administration and their apologists:
Here’s the transcript of Brit Hume’s commentary:
BRIT HUME: An American Muslim convert with a Facebook page that could have been written by Osama bin Laden himself chops off the head of a former coworker. Workplace violence, says the FBI. American warplanes bomb a previously little known terror group called Khorasan. The raid is carried out under the president’s legal authority to attack on his own when there is an imminent threat. And who is this suddenly imminently threatening Khorasan? It turns out to be an al Qaeda cell populated by people who belong to what the administration likes to call core al Qaeda. You remember core al Qaeda? That’s a group Mr. Obama has claimed was decimated.
The president says America underestimated the threat from ISIS, formerly known as al Qaeda in Iraq. And who did the underestimating? Why it was National Intelligence Director Jim Clapper and his colleagues. Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes Clapper has acknowledged as much. Today, though, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest, as you heard, says the president was not trying to blame Clapper. How did we ever get that idea?
What is happening here is simple. President Obama badly misjudged the strength and resilience of America’s terrorist enemies and has adopted a foreign and military policy that has allowed them to regroup and resurge. Now we can see the chickens coming home to roost. The administration would like us to think we are seeing something else.
Here’s the transcript of his brief back-and-forth with Bret Baier:
BAIER: What do you make of this intelligence failure that the President talked about on 60 Minutes?
HUME: Well, let’s assume that there was a monstrous intelligence failure and all of the intelligence agencies failed, although they didn’t, to warn the President about ISIS. By February of this year, ISIS had captured Ramadi and Fallujah…
BAIER: Two big cities in Iraq…
HUME: Two big cities in Iraq that had formerly been the focus of our activities in the past, especially Fallujah. So you think it might’ve dawned on someone in the White House, especially the President, that, gee, this little terrorist group is turning out to be much more of an army than we’ve ever seen before, doing things that usually only armies can do, that is, capturing and holding territory, maybe we ought to worry about them.
It isn’t that the intelligence community got it wrong. It’s that the things they told President Obama didn’t fit into President Obama’s script that “core al-Qa’ida” had been decimated and that the war on terror was coming to an end. Apparently, ISIL didn’t get the script. Apparently, they’re interested in establishing a nation of terrorists that’s funded with revenues from black market oil and equipped with American military equipment.
If President Obama had taken terrorism seriously, he wouldn’t have pulled all US troops from Iraq. He would’ve kept enough boots on the ground to a) prevent ISIL from re-taking Fallujah and b) gather intelligence on terrorists.
This wasn’t the intelligence community’s failure. ISIL is the product of President Obama’s willful ideological blindness. His fierce opposition to war and his insistence that the world was working out just as he’d predicted led to this predictable failure.
The latest Des Moines Register (DMR) poll isn’t the type of news Bruce Braley and Harry Reid were looking for:
The ground under Bruce Braley has shifted. The Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is 6 points behind his GOP rival, Joni Ernst, according to The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll of likely voters. Ernst leads 44 percent to 38 percent in a race that has for months been considered deadlocked. She leads nearly 4-1 with rural voters, and is up double digits with independents.
“Very interesting, and good news not just for Ernst but also for the GOP’s chances of taking the U.S. Senate,” said national political prognosticator Larry Sabato of “Sabato’s Crystal Ball.”
That’s the type of news that’ll give Joni Ernst an extra lift in her step. The horserace number isn’t the only part of the poll that should worry Braley’s campaign. Here’s another poll result that should frighten Braley:
And he’s suffering badly with rural voters. Only 15 percent support him compared with 58 percent for Ernst.
Losing farmers in Iowa by a 4:1 margin is the fastest path to defeat. That isn’t Braley’s only obstacle to overcome:
“I think he has an attitude about the voters and life in general which was indicated by what he said about Chuck Grassley,” said Democrat Dianna Fuhrmeister, a poll respondent who grows garden vegetables for a living in rural Iowa City. “He thinks he knows better than us.”
That’s why Ernst wins rural voters by a 4:1 margin. If there’s anything that’ll get a rural voter’s dander up, it’s being talked down to by a city slicker.
Fuhrmeister, who is registered as a Democrat but considers herself an independent, said her mind is made up to vote for Ernst, a state senator and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard. “She’s the veteran. She seems to have common sense,” she said.
Ernst’s lead isn’t insurmountable…if Braley finishes strong. I’m not holding my breath on that happening. Politico isn’t waiting for that to happen, either:
Braley’s remark, made at a private fundraiser in Texas last winter, seemingly disparaged Iowa’s popular 33-year senator for being a farmer, not a lawyer. Braley apologized to Grassley after the caught-on-tape remark was released in March. But that gaffe and others prompted the national political news outlet Politico last week to slot Braley’s campaign as No. 1 on its list of “the worst campaigns of 2014.”
Ernst has run a smart campaign that’s getting notice by the brightest lights in the conservative movement:
The Machine Shed restaurant, where the waitresses wear bib overalls and suggest a cinnamon roll the size of a loaf of bread as a breakfast appetizer, sells a root beer called Dang!, bandages made to look like bacon strips, and signs that proclaim, “I love you more than bacon.” For Joni Ernst, however, the apposite sign reads, “No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.”
She, nourished by a cinnamon roll, is preparing for a bus tour taking her Senate candidacy to all of Iowa’s 99 counties, and she seems to love campaigning even more than bacon, not that any proper Iowa farm girl, her description of herself, would publicly rank bacon second to anything.
As more Iowans tune into the Ernst-Braley race, the more they’ll gravitate towards Ernst, partially because of her farm girl image, partially because she’s a military vet and mostly because she isn’t Bruce Braley.
The DMR poll is the most respected poll in Iowa. If Joni Ernst finishes strong, she’ll replace Tom Harkin in the U.S. Senate.
Last night was Jay Carney’s first night as a senior political analyst for CNN. After watching this video, I hope CNN isn’t paying him much:
Frankly, Sen. McCain beat him like a drum. It was a flashback to the daily Carney fetal position daily briefings. This exchange is exceptionally decisive:
McCAIN: No, facts are stubborn things, Mr. Carney, and that is his entire national security team, including the Secretary of State said he want to arm and train and equip these people and he made the unilateral decision to turn them down. The fact he didn’t a residual force in Iraq, overruled all of his military advisers, is the reason why we’re facing ISIS today.
So the facts are stubborn things in history and people ought to know them. And now the president is saying basically that we are going to take certain actions, which I would favor, but to say that America is safer, and that the situation is very much like Yemen and Somalia shows me that the president really doesn’t have a grasp for how serious the threat of ISIS is.
CARNEY: Well, again, Senator, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. And I think on the question of the residual force, there was another player in that which was the Iraqi government. A, and B, it was the fulfillment of the previous administration’s withdrawal plan. And it was also the fulfillment of the president’s promise to withdraw from Iraq and not maintain a true presence, in perpetuity, which is pretty consistent with what the American people wanted and believed it was the right approach.
McCAIN: Mr. Carney, you are again saying facts that are patently false. The fact is because [Senator] Lindsey Graham, [former Senator] Joe Lieberman and I, we were in Baghdad, they wanted a residual force. The president has never made a statement during that or after that he wanted a residual force left behind. The Iraqis were ready to go. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the number cascaded down to 3,500. That was not sufficient to do anything but to defend themselves. And you in your role as a spokesperson bragged about the fact that the last American combat troop had left Iraq. If we had left a residual force the situation would not be what it is today. And there would be a lot more.
It’s worth repeating that President Obama took the position of I-know-better-than-my-national-security-team what’s needed in Iraq. That’s characteristic of a man with great hubris. That’s fine. History will judge him for that decision.
Further, Carney still sounds like the dishonest partisan hack that conducted the daily White House press briefings. He’s still peddling the BS that Iraq kicked the US out. That’s contrary to what President Obama said during a debate with Mitt Romney. In that debate, President Obamba bragged that he should get credit for keeping his promise of getting the US out of Iraq.
Carney hasn’t figured it out that a glorified desk jockey can’t argue with an eyewitness on the ground at the ‘scene of the crime.’ Sens. McCain, Graham and Lieberman talked with the Iraqi government. They don’t have to accept the Obama administration’s spin. They talked directly with the Iraqi government.
It isn’t a secret that I’m not Sen. McCain’s biggest fan. Still, if he says that he spoke with the Iraqi government and that they told him they wanted to negotiate a status of forces agreement, then I’ll trust him.
Finally, experts understand that ISIL wouldn’t have constituted itself had the US kept 20,000 troops on the ground. They would’ve been demolished before ISIL before they got to Fallujah.
At a DNC fundraiser in New York last night, President Obama said that the world isn’t falling apart, it’s just that social media is making him look bad:
President Obama on Friday said social media and the nightly news are partly to blame for the sense that “the world is falling apart.”
“I can see why a lot of folks are troubled,” Obama told a group of donors gathered at a Democratic National Committee barbecue in Purchase, N.Y. But the president said that current foreign policy crises across the world are not comparable to the challenges the U.S. faced during the Cold War.
There’s no question that social media spreads the news around quickly. That doesn’t explain away the multitude of crises that’ve started during President Obama’s administration or the threat posed by ISIL.
President Putin doesn’t take him seriously. At best, the Obama administration is an afterthought to Putin. America’s allies don’t trust us because of amateurish moves like dissing allies like Egypt in attempting to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians.
Egypt and the UAE hit Libyan targets without informing the Obama administration:
CAIRO — Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation of a regional power struggle set off by Arab Spring revolts.
The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied to American diplomats that their military played any role in the operation, the officials said, in what appeared a new blow to already strained relations between Washington and Cairo.
America’s enemies don’t fear us. Iran and Russia laugh at the Obama administration. Putin keeps trying to rebuild the former Soviet empire and Iran continues on its path to a nuclear weapon.
Worst of all, ISIL is the biggest terrorist threat in history. They’re exceptionally well-financed. They have a military capable of dominating the Arabian Peninsula. They’re training fighters who have European and/or American passports.
No, Mr. President, it isn’t that social media is spotlighting the usual things. It’s that they’re highlighting your administration’s multitude of mistakes. Mr. President, there’s wide consensus that your administration is the worst foreign policy/national security administration since WWII.
Bill Burton’s op-ed about President Obama’s frequent golf outings is a nice attempt to distract from Americans’ chief complaint:
I thought that going on vacation with the president would be a real perk of serving as deputy press secretary in the Obama White House.
Don’t get me wrong: Some elements of it are amazing. When you do find some down time, you can find yourself in one of the most beautiful places on Earth enjoying its splendor with the leader of the free world and your buddies.
That is—when you can find some down time.
As Washington chews over yet another presidential “vacation,” and that most Washington of words—“optics”—let me take you behind the scenes of the last time President Obama took flack for supposedly being “disengaged” while world events marched on around him.
First, let’s dispatch with the word optics. It’s mostly used by liberal journalists who then ignore the problem. Yes, the optics are terrible when the supposed leader of the free world talks somberly about the beheading of an American journalist, then is seen joking and fist-pumping an hour later.
When those things happen, it’s natural for people to question President Obama’s sincerity and his commitment to ridding the Middle East of terrorists.
What actions did President Obama put into action from the sand trap on the 9th hole? Did he finally figure it out that ISIL is a real threat to the American homeland while putting on the 15th hole? If he didn’t figure that out on the 15th, did he get word of Gen. Dempsey’s statement that we’d need to take out ISIL’s command-and-control while driving up to the 18th green? By the time he got back to his compound, had he called Gen. Dempsey and told him to stop talking about ISIL as a threat more dangerous than al-Qa’ida?
It was Christmas Day 2009. Osama bin Laden was still at large. A 23-year-old Nigerian man was caught trying to bring down a passenger airliner headed for Detroit—which would have been the most devastating terrorist attack since 9/11. The day of, and the days that followed, the botched bombing saw the president and his staff, in Hawaii, at the White House and scattered across the country on their own family vacations – snap to attention and drop everything else to make sure we were doing all we could to keep Americans safe.
The president was not a passive bystander. He led America’s response to the apparent terrorist attack, soaking up new information as it came in, running meetings and issuing orders. As a regular matter of course, vacation or not, the president is briefed on intelligence every day. In this instance, he was receiving twice-daily updates on the situation in Detroit as well as three-times-daily updates on matters around the world from the Situation Room. As events developed, the president was directing his national security team—cabinet secretaries, intelligence officials and the military. He was awash in reports from the government and from the media.
Thank God for the Obama administration snapping to immediate attention. If only they hadn’t told law enforcement to read the failed bomber his Miranda rights.
While it’s true the optics have stunk all summer, the truth is that President Obama’s policies have been disastrous. That, Mr. Burton, is what Americans are most worried about. Russia annexes Crimea. President Obama proposes limited sanctions on a handful of Russian billionaires. When ISIL captured Fallujah, President Obama called ISIL a jayvee team. When ISIL threatened to capture Baghdad, President Obama talked about the need for Iraq to sing kumbayah.
When Hamas killed Israelis, President Obama criticized Israel for not being gentle enough on terrorists who then hid behind 5-year-old human shields otherwise known as children. When missiles were found in a UN-run school, he dispatched John Kerry to the region, where Kerry’s plan was immediately rejected by the responsible nations of the region.
Just once, it’d be nice if the administration would get a policy decision right.
Unfortunately for America, it’s more likely that President Obama will hit a hole-in-one on his next vacation than he’s likely to make a solid policy decision.