The Pennsylvania Avenue Refugee Showdown + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Fri 11/20/2015 by


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“It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.” —Thomas Paine, 1776


The Pennsylvania Avenue Refugee Showdown

By Michael Swartz

Despite intense lobbying by the administration, the House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a measure stiffening oversight requirements for those seeking refugee status. The 289-137 margin was enough to stave off Barack Obama’s veto threat, particularly when 45 Democrats went against him and supported the House bill, dubbed the American SAFE Act. Those going against Obama said to vote otherwise would be “radioactive.” (If it were up to the Islamic State, the vote wouldn’t be the only thing that’s radioactive.)

In a refreshingly powerful and coherent message from the House speaker, Paul Ryan said, “Let me comment about his veto threat: It baffles me. I just for the life of me don’t understand why his veto threat came as it did, especially given the fact that his own law enforcement top officials came to congress and testified that there are gaps in this refugee program.” He continued, “ISIL is already telling us that they are trying to infiltrate the refugee population. When we have indications that some of the Paris bombers … may have come through the refugee routes, don’t you think that common sense dictates that we should take a pause and get this right?”

As with most conservatives, Ryan’s concern isn’t with all or even most refugees; it’s with the few who pose a threat.

But never mind common sense. Obama says, “The idea that somehow [refugees] pose a more significant threat than all the tourists who pour into the United States every single day just doesn’t jive with reality. So my expectation is after the initial spasm of rhetoric, the people will settle down, take a look at the facts, and we’ll be able to proceed.” His reality is an alternate utopian one.

Our morning Obama administration email briefing defended his Syrian immigrant plan, noting, “7,014 — The number of Syrians the Department of Homeland Security has interviewed since FY 2011; 2,034 — The number of Syrian refugees who have been admitted since FY 2011; 0 — The number of Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. that have been arrested or removed on terrorism charges.”

Memo to Obama: Give them some time. And he should tell that to the hundreds of American soldiers killed by “vetted allies” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He’s certainly got Senate Democrats ready to circle the wagons. When Obama told Harry Reid to jump, the “how high” response from the Senate minority leader came in a press conference. “Don’t worry, [the American SAFE Act] won’t get passed,” snapped Reid. “Next question.” Senate Democrats will unveil their plan after Thanksgiving, aimed at tightening up security gaps in the visa waiver program. In reality, their plan boils down to, once again, saving Obama from an uncomfortable veto.

But while Senate Democrats seem tone-deaf, a handful of Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions, thought the House bill wasn’t stringent enough. Sessions favors defunding the process, which may make for another budget showdown.

A majority of the nation’s governors expressed opposition to Obama’s Islamic Trojan horse in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. But it’s a partisan split. Of the Republican governors, only Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has indicated these refugees would be welcomed. On the other hand, only one Democrat governor has joined the Republicans — and that’s because Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire may be just as interested in her 2016 Senate campaign as she is the safety of her residents. While states are largely at the mercy of the federal government as far as accepting refugees, they can certainly slow-walk the process.

But even those Democrats willing to take refugees question how the federal government will conduct the vetting process. Considering known terror suspects have slipped through the cracks before, FBI Director James Comey admitted, “There’s no doubt that was the product of a less-than-excellent vetting.”

“I don’t … put it past the likes of [the Islamic State] to infiltrate operatives among these refugees,” added Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. That’s exactly the point, particularly when the vast majority of Syrian refugees are Islamic, not the truly persecuted Syrian Christians.

Out of 351 Syrian refugees admitted since October 1, 346 of them were Sunnis while just five were from Christian sects. That’s not a recent trend, either: Since 2012, less than 2% of Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. have been Christian, yet as a nation about one in 10 Syrians are thought to be Christian. (A century ago, that number was estimated to be three in 10, and Christians are in danger of eradication.)

Despite Obama’s caterwauling about how “shameful” religious tests would be, U.S. law requires religion to be a consideration for refugee status. While Syria certainly qualifies as a war-torn country, given the risk of jihadi infiltration via the refugee route, many Americans delivered a loud and clear message to their representatives: Now is not the time for an influx of Islamic Syrian refugees.

It’s a message the White House continues to ignore at Hillary Clinton’s peril, especially given her insistence that “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”


Hillary vs. Hillary on the Islamic State

In last weekend’s Democrat debate — the one in which the candidates repeated the warning that “climate change is the greatest threat to national security” — Hillary Clinton weighed in on the Islamic State. “It cannot be contained, it must be defeated,” she said in a clear reference to Barack Obama’s foolish “contained” remarks hours before the deadly attack in Paris. “But,” she added, “this cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential.” Whatever that means.

Maybe she ate her Wheaties Thursday because she sounded a much different note. The conflict with the Islamic State “requires sustained commitment from every pillar of American power,” she said. “This is a worldwide fight and America must lead it.” What a difference a few days, at this point, make.

Yet in the same speech she announced her “plan” to “defeat ISIS.” But it essentially boils down to this:

Step 1: “Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq and across the Middle East” (an actual quote)
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Win the White House.

Lost in translation is calling our enemies what they are: Radical Islamofascists, jihadis bent on death and destruction. Instead, she insisted, “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” Except for all the times they do, of course.

She also displayed an astounding lack of self-awareness, lamenting that despite the success in Iraq (without crediting George W. Bush’s surge) the Iraqis were later “betrayed and forgotten.” By whom? By Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

If Clinton can’t articulate who the enemy is or why the Islamic State was able to rise, there’s no hope she’ll be able to craft a strategy that secures America’s interests.

Just Who Are These ‘Gunmen’?

More tragedy struck Mali today, where reports indicate Confederate flag-wielding, Second Amendment-advocating white Christian bigots murdered several people and took scores more hostage. Not really, though that’s what the Leftmedia would like to say. Instead, it’s using a term that’s recycled when labeling people isn’t politically opportune. Take it away, Washington Post: “Gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital on Friday, killing at least three people and taking about 170 hostages in a city that serves as a logistics hub for French forces helping in a fight against Islamist insurgents.”

Scratch that. Let’s try again: “Gunmen Islamic terrorists stormed a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital on Friday…” In the sixth graph — strategically placed, no doubt — the Post notes, “Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore said at least 10 gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ — ‘God is great’ in Arabic — then fired on guards and began rounding up hostages.” The Islamists are said to have freed hostages “able to recite a Muslim profession of faith.” Hey, who says terrorists aren’t charitable?

It’s no coincidence that the attack comes just days after Boko Haram is suspected of killing 32 in a Nigerian bombing and a slew of other high-casualty attacks. The Islamic State recently bombed a Russian plane carrying more than 200 before going on a rampage in Paris, killing another 129. While no group has claimed responsibility for the Mali tragedy, that’s really beside the point, because all Islamic extremists fall under the same umbrella. It’s an ideology that won’t be changed by regulating carbon emissions, which is what the Left says drives these jihadis to carry out these gruesome assaults. But they’ll gladly accept Western leaders using it as a scapegoat. What lunacy.

Obama Fiddled as Islamic State Grew

The Islamic State exists in its current form essentially because Barack Obama withdrew completely from Iraq, leaving a vacuum to be filled. According to CIA Director John Brennan, al-Qaida in Iraq was indeed largely “decimated” — by George W. Bush. Brennan estimates “it had maybe 700 or so adherents left.” But after Obama abandoned the region and dismissed the Islamic State as the “JV team,” Brennan said it grew rapidly.

American Enterprise Institute scholar Marc Thiessen breaks down the statistics, noting, “[B]y the CIA’s own estimate, ISIS has grown on President Obama’s watch from just 700 fighters to between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters. That is an increase of between 2,700 and 4,400%.”

So much for having them “contained.”

That growth didn’t happen without warning, either. Obama’s own Defense Intelligence Agency warned in 2012 that the group could “declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.” Sounds like some key information, but running a re-election campaign in which Obama wanted to boast of having been the one to “decimate” al-Qaida (if you can’t blame Bush, at least steal his credit, right?), Obama ignored the report. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who ran the defense agency at the time, put it this way: “It was disregarded by the White House. … Frankly, at the White House, it didn’t meet the narrative.” Bingo.

Nation’s Biggest Insurer Puts ObamaCare on Notice

Faced with “a continuing deterioration in individual exchange-compliant product performance,” a.k.a ObamaCare, America’s largest insurer may abandon Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In a Thursday news release, UnitedHealth Group lowered revenue estimates and said it “has pulled back on its marketing efforts for individual exchange products in 2016.” But the report also hinted at the possibility of more drastic measures, as the firm “is evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment and will determine during the first half of 2016 to what extent it can continue to serve the public exchange markets in 2017.” In laymen’s terms, UnitedHealth Group is putting ObamaCare on notice.

The withdrawal would represent ObamaCare’s biggest loss to date. Chief Executive Officer Stephen J. Hemsley said, “In recent weeks, growth expectations for individual exchange participation have tempered industrywide, co-operatives have failed, and market data has signaled higher risks and more difficulties while our own claims experience has deteriorated.” He later told reporters, “We cannot sustain these losses. We can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.” Nor can others. And that causes a compounding effect. The Washington Examiner points out, “If UnitedHealth and other insurers decide to exit, remaining insurers will be forced to take on even more high-risk enrollees, prompting them to either raise rates further or exit themselves. That in turn would deprive individuals of choices and remove competition, a key purpose of the exchanges.” This death spiral was predicted by many cleared-eyed analysts even before ObamaCare was rammed through Congress without a single Republican vote. What’s more concerning is the “fix” that Democrats will no doubt prescribe next.



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Michael Barone: “Three days after the Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris, Americans were primed to hear their president express heartfelt anger, which he did in his press conference in Antalya, Turkey, at the end of the G-20 summit. And they did hear him describe ISIS as ‘this barbaric terrorist organization’ and acknowledge that the ‘terrible events in Paris were a terrible and sickening setback.’ But what really got him angry … were reporters’ repeated questions about the minimal success of his strategy against ISIS; Republicans’ proposals for more active engagement in Syria and Iraq; and critics of his decision to allow 10,000 Syrians into the United States. … In Antalya he accused [Republicans] of closing their hearts to victims of violence and of being ‘not American’ in suggesting prioritization of the Christian refugees who have been singled out for torture and murder. He could have acknowledged people’s qualms as legitimate and argued at greater length, as former Ambassador to Iraq and Syria Ryan Crocker did in The Wall Street Journal, that we have processes in place that would effectively screen out terrorists. Or have proposed, like Speaker Paul Ryan, a pause before accepting any. But that would have meant not taking cheap shots against the political opposition at home — the people who really make him angry.”


Upright: “Obama’s dithering sparked the refugee crisis. He’s now using a smattering of refugees as a cynical prop to prove he’s the hero of his own morality tale. The reality is that he’s a villain in his own theater of the absurd. And we’re the suckers in the audience falling for it.” —Jonah Goldberg

For the record: “Republicans are the ones incessantly pressuring political leaders to affix qualifiers such as ‘radical’ and ‘extremist’ to the word ‘Islam.’ It is the left that refuses to make those distinctions, but then it is also the left that turns around and accuses conservatives of waging war against all Muslims.” —David Harsanyi

Alpha Jackass: “I’ve been disgusted in recent days to see some of my Republican colleagues shunning the American tradition of sheltering those fleeing death, torture, rape and oppression. Frankly, I’ve been disappointed by Republican fear mongering and bigotry.” —Harry Reid deriding “what has become a disturbing pattern of Republican hatred toward Muslims”

Braying Jackass: “[Rejecting refugees] is despicable and cowardly and precisely the kind of reaction ISIS wanted! ISIS could not have written a better script. The free people of the world are turning their backs on people seeking safety and freedom. When we sent Jews back to Germany and when we sent Japanese to internment camps, we regretted it. And we will regret this as well.” —Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Non Compos Mentis: “Count me as a lioness. Anybody comes near my cubs, you’re dead.” —Nancy Pelosi (Naturally, she was explaining why she opposed the House bill blocking jihadi “refugees” from entering the country.)

Demo-gogues: “Since the beginning of the Bush administration when we were attacked, Sept. 11, we’ve not had any major terrorist attack in this country. We’ve had individual crazy people [who] look more like me than they look like Middle Easterners. They are generally white males who have shot up people in movie theaters and schools. Those are terrorist attacks, they’re just different kinds of terrorists.” —Sen. Sherrod Brown

Late-night humor: “Hillary Clinton recently decided to make her Myspace page ‘private’ so people can no longer see some of her old campaign ads. When somebody told her she can just delete it, Hillary said, ‘I’m not fallin’ for that again!‘” —Jimmy Fallon

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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