Obama Mulls Increased Involvement Against Islamic State + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Tue 10/27/2015 by


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“Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 34


Obama Mulls Increased Involvement Against Islamic State

Days after Barack Obama vetoed the Pentagon’s budget, he’s considering moving U.S. troops closer to the fight against the Islamic State. The Washington Post reports Obama’s military advisers are suggesting he order U.S. Special Forces and other military assets closer to the front lines, increasing the chance of another American combat death. For months, Obama has insisted that he was only providing the training wheels for the Iraqi army’s effort to retake its nation’s land. His strategy was to provide advisers and air support, but that has stalled. An offensive to retake a major Iraqi city — any Iraqi city — is months away. So Obama mulls mission creep. It’s a similar situation to Obama’s decision to keep troops in Afghanistan for a longer time than he previously promised. Obama thought his Middle East policies caused the region to be on the up and up. But the situation has deteriorated to the point where even Obama sees a problem. To be clear, Obama’s war is not ultimately about the Islamic State; it’s about political calculation here at home. The Washington Free Beacon’s Aaron MacLean wrote Obama is waging “war for the media and for public opinion. Actual progress against the Islamic State is a purely secondary concern.” That’s why he vetoed a routine defense bill to leverage for more domestic spending while trying to send Mr. U.S. Super Soldier to wage a PR campaign. Chances are he will not do what he should have done months ago and ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force. That scrutiny would be a PR disaster.

The New York Times’ Pitiful Anti-Gun Propaganda

The New York Times is out with its latest anti-gun screed of an editorial. This one is about the supposed “fantasy” that carrying a concealed weapon makes you safer. “This foolhardy notion of quick-draw resistance … is dramatically contradicted by a research project showing that, since 2007, at least 763 people have been killed in 579 shootings that did not involve self-defense,” the Times editorial board (mis)informs us. “Tellingly, the vast majority of these concealed-carry, licensed shooters killed themselves or others rather than taking down a perpetrator. The death toll includes 29 mass killings of three or more people by concealed carry shooters who took 139 lives; 17 police officers shot to death, and — in the ultimate contradiction of concealed carry as a personal safety factor — 223 suicides. Compared with the 579 non-self-defense, concealed-carry shootings, there were only 21 cases in which self-defense was determined to be a factor.”

The “research” was conducted by the Violence Policy Center (VPC), a vehemently anti-gun group masquerading as a serious policy organization. (Beware anti-gun leftists wielding statistics on guns.) Even the Times acknowledges that VPC’s research is “necessarily incomplete” — but blames the “gun lobby.”

What’s incomplete is the analysis. First, suicides should be considered separately. Second, the study had to cover a period of seven years to get numbers that sounded scary enough. Third, given the millions of concealed carry permit holders in the country, we’d be surprised if the murder rate was higher than that of the general population. According to the FBI’s crime stats — which the VPC says it uses — nearly as many people were killed by hands and feet in one year as by concealed carriers over seven years. Fourth, would the VPC be satisfied if there were more deadly defensive gun uses? They don’t seem concerned with the number of incidents in which the mere presence or brandishing of a firearm is enough to deter the crime, or the number of times the good guys simply wounded the bad ones. Finally, how would the Times explain the 30% drop in all gun-related deaths over the last two decades coinciding with a huge increase in the number of people who concealed carry?

The Times is correct that “concealed carry does not transform ordinary citizens into superheroes,” but that’s a false choice. Carrying a firearm does give ordinary citizens a fighting chance — unless they’re in a Times-approved “gun free zone.” More to the point, the Second Amendment is the “palladium of liberties” and isn’t rendered moot by crime statistics.

Where Are the Left’s Concessions in Budget Agreement?

Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner and Barack Obama have reached a budget deal. The agreement — which still needs to pass Congress — will keep the government running for two years and raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion. The agreement will raise the budget $80 billion over two years, which will give money equally to defense and domestic expenditures. For the bill to pass, Boehner may have to rely on Democrat support, as many Republican lawmakers remain undecided.

It’s hard to see how the legislation advances conservative goals. Increased spending and larger borrowing limits don’t put the nation on the path to fiscal moderation. In negotiations, Obama had the upper hand. The deadline to raise the debt ceiling is Nov. 3, and Boehner is expected to resign his seat and be gone by the end of this week, so there was more pressure on him to give in to Obama’s demands. If passed, the budget deal would avoid a nasty election year budget fight, as well as remove the issue for soon-to-be Speaker Paul Ryan’s plate. With the nation’s fiscal course set, Obama has an excuse to play a few more rounds of golf.

According to Ted Cruz, Republicans should expect some concessions from Democrats — to fight like the Democrats. “Obama and the Democrats approach everything passionately committed to their principles,” Cruz told The Daily Signal. “They’ll crawl over broken glass with a knife between their teeth to advance their failed big government principles.” Precious little comparable determination exists among Republicans.

For what it’s worth, Ryan said, “The process stinks. This is not the way to run the people’s business, and under new management we are not going to do the people’s business this way.”

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Ryan, Trump and the Conservative Voter

By Paul Albaugh

Ever since House Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation, there has been much heated debate about who the next speaker should be. It has proven somewhat divisive, pitting conservatives against establishment Republicans, and one of the primary drivers of the debate is a single issue: immigration.

The House Freedom Caucus is supporting but not endorsing Paul Ryan to run for the position, but this has many conservatives fuming over the possibility of another person perceived to be of the GOP establishment taking on that role.

Ryan is a 17-year incumbent who has a history of supporting the kind of immigration reform some conservatives won’t accept. That is to say Ryan favors a comprehensive overhaul to immigration policy, including a path to legal status and perhaps citizenship for illegals. (Remember, a huge number of illegals got here legally but overstayed their visas — an entirely different thing than sneaking across the Rio Grande.) To some conservatives, Ryan’s position makes him a pro-amnesty RINO who ought to be put out to pasture, not given the speaker’s gavel.

Several weeks ago, conservatives were jubilant that Boehner was heading for the exit and that his deputy, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, had bowed out of the race for speaker. Yet with the news that Ryan would run for speaker, members of the House Freedom Caucus have, according to many conservative commentators and talk-radio hosts, betrayed their constituents by backing Ryan. Is this really the case or are there other reasons for this sudden shift?

According to Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), “It never was about the most perfect guy with the most perfect voting record; it’s about the person that’s willing to govern in a way that allows conservative ideas to at least come to the forefront, which he has said he is willing to do.”

Two other members from the House Freedom Caucus explain why there is support for Ryan amongst a supermajority of its members. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) notes that Ryan “has the kind of vision and is the kind of messenger that our party needs to accomplish the things we told the voters we’re going to accomplish.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who had formerly backed Webster and was key in ousting Boehner, states, “It’s not as much about the person as it is the process.”

And Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) says, “Look, I imagine that there’s theoretically a chance that [we] all went from being radical extremist crazies to Washington sellouts in 12 hours. But maybe a more likely narrative is that we really think that this is a good step for the conservative movement. And it’s up to us to try to explain that to people.”

By all indications, many representatives in the House believe that Ryan has what it takes to lead. They believe Ryan will listen to conservative voices in the House rather than ignore them like Boehner did. And they believe Ryan is conservative enough to achieve real reform in key areas.

On the issue of immigration, Ryan has promised no “comprehensive” reform until the GOP retakes the White House. Instead, he’ll push only border security measures. Still, some conservatives don’t trust him — not with Barack Obama in the White House.

To be sure, the issue of illegal immigration is a problem and the nation is much divided on what should be done. A recent Gallup poll shows that 65% of Americans and 50% of Republicans support a path to citizenship for those who are already here illegally. However, in the last decade, Republican support for deportation has risen from 20% to 31% today.

The second statistic partly explains why Donald Trump is still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and why 70% of Republicans now view him as the most electable. For now, it’s clear that many Republican voters are so tired of the GOP establishment’s stance on immigration that they are willing to vote for an outsider — even one that’s all bluster and no substance and is ideologically incoherent.

Trump has appealed to conservatives because of his immigration plan. Never mind his past positions on the issue; he has capitalized brilliantly on voter angst now. And forget what his other policy goals are — all you need to know is, “It’s gonna be great! It’s gonna be the best!”

All of which leaves quite a challenge for Ryan, assuming he wins the speakership in the Thursday vote. His greatest challenge will be uniting Republicans around new, bold ideas for government reform in the midst of a near-revolt among grassroots conservatives. Ryan absolutely has a greater vision for America than that of the GOP establishment. Anything less will be unacceptable to voters, who are so exasperated with Republicans they appear to be headed for nominating Trump for president.



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Michael Barone: “Contrary to media narrative, the Benghazi committee did produce some news. As Rep. Jim Jordan noted, on Sept. 11, 2012, the night of the Benghazi attacks, Clinton emailed her daughter that ‘two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al-Qaida-like group.’ That’s also what she told the Libyan president that evening and the Egyptian president Sept. 12. But in a public statement on Sept. 11, she blamed a spontaneous protest of an anti-Islam video. She blamed the video again on Sept. 12 and Sept. 13. The father of one Benghazi victim relays how Clinton told him that the administration would arrest ‘the filmmaker who was responsible for the death of your son.’ She made no public protest when Susan Rice, then ambassador to the United Nations, blamed the video for the attacks on five Sunday interview shows Sept. 16. Nor did she demur when President Obama was still decrying the video in his speech to the United Nations Sept. 25. … Last week, Clinton had no plausible answer to Jordan’s question about the discrepancy between what she said privately and publicly except to unconvincingly cite ‘confusion.’ … Nothing is free in politics, but there is some question as to when you’ll pay the price. Obama paid no price in 2012: He was re-elected. But Hillary Clinton, rated dishonest and untrustworthy by most voters after the Benghazi committee unveiled her private emails and spotlighted her video lie, is paying a price now.”


Insight: “An unexamined idea, to paraphrase Socrates, is not worth having and a society whose ideas are never explored for possible error may eventually find its foundations insecure.” —Mark Van Doren (1894-1972)

Summing it up: “[Donald] Trump is vulgar, intemperate, ideologically unprincipled, all bluster and no substance.” —Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto

The BIG Lie: “The more that sensational gun violence afflicts the nation, the more that the myth of the vigilant citizen packing a legally permitted concealed weapon, fully prepared to stop the next mass shooter in his tracks, is promoted.” —New York Times editorial

Race bait: “I actually think Mr. Ryan is a great choice for [House Speaker]. But I want us to be super careful when we use the language ‘hard worker,’ because I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like.” —Melissa Harris-Perry

We don’t need no darn Constitution: “I am going to back and support what President Obama has done to protect DREAMers and their families, to use executive action to prevent deportation. … I will go as far as I can, even beyond President Obama, to make sure law-abiding, decent, hard-working people in this country are not ripped away from their families.” —Hillary Clinton

Upright: “[T]oo many Republicans have been hoping for some fateful intervention such as a federal indictment [of Hillary Clinton]. It’s wishful thinking: If there is one thing we know about the Clintons, it’s that where others might give up, they just keep moving. Better to keep in mind that Mrs. Clinton has had only two victories at the ballot box, both in blue-state New York against GOP lightweights: former House member Rick Lazio in 2000 and former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer in 2006. The only time Hillary Clinton ever faced a serious candidate — Barack Obama — she lost.” —William McGurn

And last… “Hillary has already broadcast that she’s going to wield her gender as an all-purpose argument for her candidacy. At the Democratic debate, she said she’s an outsider — because she’s a woman. She said she wouldn’t simply be the third term of Barack Obama — because she’s a woman. Hillary clearly doesn’t want anyone to be mistaken about what her gender is, as if we were living in 16th-century England when someone on the street exclaimed upon seeing Elizabeth I for the first time, ‘Oh Lord, the queen is a woman!’” —Rich Lowry

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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