U.S. Launches Airstrikes on ISIL + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Fri 08/08/2014 by


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“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” –John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 1780


U.S. Launches Airstrikes on ISIL

The U.S. Navy began tushy-whooping the Islamic State of Syria and Levant this morning, one laser-guided, 500-pound bomb of shock and awe at a time. ISIL began shelling Kurdish forces defending the city of Erbil, where a U.S. consulate operates. Yesterday, Barack Obama said, “We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad. We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.” It’s a good feeling, knowing that finally, Obama Okays a strike – even if it is limited – against the group threatening genocide and spreading violence in Iraq. Yet the deteriorating situation is a crisis of Obama’s own making. More…

Find the Missing Emails – Round Two

Remember how fun it was when the House and IRS played Find the Missing Emails? The game went something like this: Congress asked to see Lois Lerner’s emails, but they weren’t in her inbox. Wherever could they be? They’re not on her hard drive; that went to the recycler! Oh wait, those tapes there were supposed to be destroyed months ago? There they are! Whee! The Obama administration liked the game so much, it wants to play it at the Department of Health and Human Services. Marilyn Tavenner, who oversees the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, seems to have also mismanaged her emails during the rollout of ObamaCare, pressing the delete button a little too often. Rep. Darrel Issa (D-CA) said more than 20 Obama administration officials have emails lost or destroyed. “It defies logic that so many senior Administration officials were found to have ignored federal record-keeping requirements only after Congress asked to see their emails. … Yet again, we discover that this Administration will not be forthright with the American people unless cornered.” More…

Most Transparent Admin Ever Can’t Locate $600 Billion

The “most transparent administration in history” can’t track down more than $600 billion dollars in federal expenditures, and most of its other expense data contain enormous errors. USA Today reports, “A government website intended to make federal spending more transparent was missing at least $619 billion from 302 federal programs, a government audit has found. And the data that does exist is wildly inaccurate, according to the Government Accountability Office, which looked at 2012 spending data. Only 2% to 7% of spending data on USASpending.gov is ‘fully consistent with agencies’ records,‘ according to the report.” Interestingly, the article concludes with this little tidbit: “The administration is … transferring responsibility for the website from the General Services Administration to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service in the Department of the Treasury.” The former would be the same agency caught partying and excessively wasting taxpayer dollars two years ago. Need we say more? More…

Poll Reveals Major Discouragement Among Voters

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has Obama’s approval rating now pegged at 40%. According to the Journal, this is down “from 41% in a June survey, and he notched a disapproval rating of 54%, matching a previous high. Meanwhile, 36% approve of Mr. Obama’s handling of foreign policy, compared with the 60% who disapprove – his worst-ever marks.” The poll also found that “71% of adults think the country is on the wrong track, a leap of 8 points from a June survey, and 60% believe the U.S. is in a state of decline.” Politico’s Manu Raju tells CNN these numbers represent a “very ominous sign for Democrats.” He added, “You know, anytime a president’s underwater like this, his party suffers in midterm elections. We’re looking at that probably in the House, and the chance that Republicans take control of the Senate.” Bottom line: All that Hope & Change™ Obama promised has not come to fruition, and Republicans have a great opportunity to change this nation’s course – if they play their cards right and formulate a coherent message. More…

The Democrats’ Impeachment Obsession

As we recently pointed out, it’s Democrats, not Republicans, who are talking incessantly about impeachment. The Hill found that “Congressional Democrats have talked about the impeachment of President Obama 20 times more than Republicans have on the House and Senate floors. Since the start of the 113th Congress last year, Democrats have used the word ‘impeach’ or ‘impeachment’ regarding Obama 86 times, according to a review of the Congressional Record by The Hill.” Senate Republicans on the other hand have remained completely silent on the issue, and just three GOP representatives have mentioned impeachment. Democrats have exploited the issue by rousing their constituents with scaremongering, raising millions of dollars for incumbents in the process. Republicans can’t appear to be seeking impeachment, which gives Obama even greater latitude to force his will. Their endgame marginalizes the GOP while advancing their agenda. For Republicans, that makes winning the Senate even more critical. More…

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Russia Imposes More Western Sanctions

Russia announced this week it is placing a ban on all U.S. and EU agricultural imports for up to one year. The move is in retaliation for heightened U.S. and European sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine. In 2013, Russia imported $1 billion in U.S. agricultural products, accounting for about 10 percent of total U.S. exports to the country, so the move is unlikely to cause any serious economic damage to U.S. farmers. But Russia will probably be more hard hit by president Vladimir Putin’s petulant actions, as food prices will rise (though the Russian government claims the damage will not be long lasting). In Soviet Russia, nations’ sanctions hurt you. Russia is currently the world’s second largest agricultural importer behind China.

If it is true that Russia would experience more hardship by banning food imports, then why would the country essentially sanction itself? Putin wants to send a signal that Russia does not have to rely on Western nations for its continued growth. Instead, he wants to demonstrate that his country is indeed a powerhouse on its own that commands respect. Russia acts like a pugnacious teenager on the global economy stage, and the U.S. needs to act with conviction in the face of a country whose reasoning facilities are not all there. His recent weeklong trip to Latin America set up a series of economic development deals with Nicaragua, Argentina, Brazil and Cuba. After several years in which Cuba was basically abandoned by its former Soviet client state, Russia has reemerged as a much-needed partner for the island nation. This is considered to be a strategic move that would once again give Russia a military foothold in the Western Hemisphere, using Cuba as a port for naval vessels. Russia will also be working with these countries to develop its GLONASS positioning system, a global tracking network similar to our GPS.

Russia is clearly working to reestablish itself as a global military power, and it has been moving toward this goal on several fronts over the last few years. Military adventures in former Soviet republics like Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine demonstrate Putin’s desire to bring these nations back under the Russian umbrella. The Russian government has made substantial investments in military technology and the development of better rockets and military hardware.

In fact, the U.S. is now claiming that Russia violated the 1987 IMF Treaty by testing intermediate range rockets that were banned by the agreement. There have also been at least 16 incursions into the U.S. northwestern air defense zones in the last 10 days by Russian nuclear bombers and intelligence gathering aircraft. American military officials categorized the flights as tests of U.S. air defense response and not simple training missions. And NATO now believes Russia is preparing for a ground invasion of Ukraine, with some 20,000 Russian troops massed along the border. All it will take to send them in is a statement from Putin claiming humanitarian concerns. And the fighting in the rebel-held areas remains fierce.

There is not a lot of consensus on just how to contain Russia as it settles into a new era of imperialist adventures. American sanctions and the claim that Russia has violated the IMF Treaty are a step in the right direction, but American military power is at an historic low. An independent panel appointed by Congress and the Pentagon noted last month that Barrack Obama’s downsizing of the military has left America too weak to combat the multitude of global threats we currently face. Several years of budget cuts and reductions in weapons and personnel have weakened the nation’s military, and has forced allies to question American commitments overseas.

Obama’s long string of foreign policy blunders started with the so-called reset of U.S.-Russian relations when no such reset was needed. The only thing it accomplished was to let Putin think the American president was not serious about maintaining strength overseas. Obama’s canceling of a European missile defense battery was another step in that direction. And even after notifying Russia that it violated the IMF Treaty, Obama maintains that he will continue making cuts to U.S. nuclear forces, unilaterally if necessary.

The West’s credibility is at stake here. Putin has not demonstrated any desire to dial back his saber rattling in spite of American and European fist shaking. What America needs, and currently does not have, is a policy of how to deal with Russia. “Sooner or later we are going to have to have a negotiation with the Russian government about the future of its territories,” said former ambassador to Russia James Collins. Currently, both sides are merely taking tit for tat actions without any direction or sense of how this all ends, according to Collins.

The U.S. also needs to reorient its military strategy to include a serious missile defense policy and reverse the downsizing of forces that has taken place since Obama took office. Russia, and all nations, needs to believe we are serious about maintaining world order. They will only believe that if we have the tools to make it possible.

Missouri Further Secures Right to Bear Arms

On Tuesday, Missouri voters pushed aside the concerns of law enforcement, particularly from urban areas, and approved a ballot measure revamping their state constitution to strengthen gun rights in the Show Me State. The measure passed with 61% of the vote, carrying all but three jurisdictions: St. Louis City and County, and Boone County, which encompasses the university town of Columbia. The move is a step towards changing how the right to bear arms is seen.

The ballot measure was important to legal analysts because it made Missouri just the second state to adopt the “strict scrutiny” standard for gun laws. When interpreting a law with “strict scrutiny” a court has to find that a law furthers a “compelling government interest,” is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest, and utilizes the least restrictive method to achieve it. It’s the highest standard among the three categories of scrutiny in legal doctrine. It is also how the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment are interpreted in the U.S. Constitution. Some argue the Supreme Court majority adopted “strict scrutiny” in its DC vs. Heller decision, even though it wasn’t specifically mentioned there. This could be the new trend in Second Amendment interpretation and a significant upgrade from the “rational basis” standard often used, the lowest of the three.

“Strict scrutiny is a big da– deal,” said St. Louis attorney Chuck Hatfield, an opponent of the ballot issue. “Right now, the law is that the state has the right to regulate guns and arms in a reasonable exercise of police power. Strict scrutiny is a whole other game.”

But the legislator who introduced the measure argued that his intent was to make the Second Amendment “just as viable as other constitutional rights.” The measure also extended the right to bear arms already in the state’s constitution and added ammunition and “the accessories typical to the normal function of such arms,” while eliminating a prohibition on concealed carry.

“The Missouri Constitution is now the gold standard for the protection of the individual right to keep and bear arms,” added state Senator Kurt Schaefer.

To most, the Missouri vote was just an extension of the common sense found in most areas of what’s called “flyover country” by denizens of the coasts. By further spelling out the open-ended provisions of the Second Amendment, Missouri has taken a step toward the founders’ intent by leaving the options for self-defense as open as possible.

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Chief Judge David L. Bazelon (1909-1993): “Nullification is not a ‘defense’ recognized by law, but rather a mechanism that permits a jury, as community conscience, to disregard the strict requirements of law where it finds that those requirements cannot justly be applied in a particular case.”

Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “When Obama pulled American troops out of Iraq, they were not serving as a magnet for terrorists; they were acting as a deterrent not only to terrorists but to ‘irresponsible’ Iraqi factions. … [A]s recently as last November, Obama dismissed ISIS and other al-Qaeda affiliates as nothing more than a jayvee squad. While interviewing Obama, The New Yorker’s David Remnick noted that ‘the flag of al-Qaeda is now flying in Fallujah, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria,’ and that ‘al-Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.’ The president shot back: ‘If a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.’ Now, that same junior varsity team controls more territory than any terrorist organization in history, has some 5,000 battle-hardened jihadists with Western passports, hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal, and is earning millions more every day by selling oil on the black market. … He remains as blasé about mass slaughter today as he was in 2007.”

Columnist Mona Charen: “The United Nations High Commission for Refugees provides humanitarian relief for those who flee their homes worldwide. … But the Palestinians get their own, separate refugee agency: UNRWA. … When five Arab nations attacked the nascent Jewish state in 1948, refugees flowed in both directions. About a half-million Arabs fled Jewish areas, and about the same number of Jews fled Arab lands. No separate U.N. agency was created to care for Jewish refugees. They were absorbed by Israel. The previous year, after the partition of India, some 14.5 million refugees fled in both directions between India and Pakistan. Their descendants are not, obviously, considered refugees, nor are the descendants of Ugandan, Cypriot, Hungarian, Ethiopian, Sri Lankan, Congolese, Bosnian, Angolan and countless other refugees over the past 60 years. Imagine if the American loyalists who fled to Canada after our revolution had been supported by an international agency whose charter specified that they and their descendants would remain refugees until they were able to return to an America governed from London?”

Fred Thompson: “A new report shows that President Obama’s downsizing of the armed forces leaves America too weak to deal with today’s global threats. In response, President Obama vowed to rebuild America’s stockpile of strongly-worded letters.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

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