President and Commander In Chief Barack Obama missed 6 of 10 daily intelligence briefings

The President of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, receives live, in-person Presidential Daily Briefs (PDB) that allow the Commander-in-Chief the chance for critical followup, feedback, questions, and the challenging of flawed intelligence assumptions.

An alarming report by the Governmental Accountability Institute (GAI) says that, in the 2,079 days (1/20/2009 thru’ 9/29/2014) since he became President and Commander-In-Chief, Barack Obama has attended a total of only 875 PDBs for an overall 42.09% attendance rate.

That means he missed 57.91% or 6 out of every 10 of his daily intelligence briefings.

Even worse, his attendance rate has worsened in his second term (41.26% attendance rate) as president than in his first term (42.43% attendance rate).

Obama & James ClapperObama (l); James Clapper (r)

Wynton Hall reports for Breitbart, Sept. 29, 2014, that the GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s comments on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, saying:

“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”

But Obama’s scapegoating of Clapper is directly contradicted by an Obama national security staffer who told the Daily Mail, yesterday that the PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election. The unnamed security staffer says, “It’s pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009. He gets them in writing. Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate predictions about ISIL have been showing up in the Oval Office since before the 2012 election.”

Daily Beast’s Eli Lake reports that other members of the Defense establishment are also “flabbergasted” by Obama’s attempt to shift blame. “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting,” a former senior Pentagon official “who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq” told the Daily Beast.

This is not the first time questions have been raised about Obama’s lack of engagement and interest in receiving in-person daily intelligence briefings.

On September 10, 2012, the GAI released a similar report showing that Obama had attended less than half (43.8%) of his daily intelligence briefings up to that point. When Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen mentioned the GAI’s findings in his column, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dubbed the findings “hilarious.” The very next day, U.S. Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American staff members were murdered in Benghazi. As Breitbart News reported at the time, the White House’s very own presidential calendar revealed Obama had not received his daily intel briefing in the five consecutive days leading up to the Benghazi attacks.

chris-stevens1Clockwise from top left: Amb. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods.

Ultimately, ABC News reported, the White House did not directly dispute the GAI’s numbers but instead said Obama prefers to read his PDB on his iPad instead of receiving the all-important live, in-person briefings.

Now, with ISIS controlling over 35,000 square miles in its widening caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and with Obama pointing fingers at his own Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for the rise of ISIS, the question remains whether a 42% attendance record on daily intelligence briefings is good enough for most Americans.

See also:

~StMA

Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2014

O's UN chairObama at the UN General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2014

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by President Barack Obama
Address to the United Nations General Assembly
September 24, 2014
New York City, NY

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: we come together at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope.

Around the globe, there are signposts of progress. The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution has been lifted; the prospect of war between major powers reduced. The ranks of member states has more than tripled, and more people live under governments they elected. Hundreds of millions of human beings have been freed from the prison of poverty, with the proportion of those living in extreme poverty cut in half. And the world economy continues to strengthen after the worst financial crisis of our lives.

Today, whether you live in downtown New York or in my grandmother’s village more than two hundred miles from Nairobi, you can hold in your hand more information than the world’s greatest libraries. Together, we have learned how to cure disease, and harness the power of the wind and sun. The very existence of this institution is a unique achievement – the people of the world committing to resolve their differences peacefully, and solve their problems together. I often tell young people in the United States that this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, and to be free to pursue your dreams.

And yet there is a pervasive unease in our world – a sense that the very forces that have brought us together have created new dangers, and made it difficult for any single nation to insulate itself from global forces. As we gather here, an outbreak of Ebola overwhelms public health systems in West Africa, and threatens to move rapidly across borders. Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition. The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness.

Each of these problems demands urgent attention. But they are also symptoms of a broader problem – the failure of our international system to keep pace with an interconnected world. We have not invested adequately in the public health capacity of developing countries. Too often, we have failed to enforce international norms when it’s inconvenient to do so. And we have not confronted forcefully enough the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds violent extremism in too many parts of the globe.

Fellow delegates, we come together as United Nations with a choice to make. We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress, or allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability. We can reaffirm our collective responsibility to confront global problems, or be swamped by more and more outbreaks of instability. For America, the choice is clear. We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs; we choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.

There is much that must be done to meet the tests of this moment. But today I’d like to focus on two defining questions at the root of many of our challenges– whether the nations here today will be able to renew the purpose of the UN’s founding; and whether we will come together to reject the cancer of violent extremism.

First, all of us – big nations and small – must meet our responsibility to observe and enforce international norms.

We are here because others realized that we gain more from cooperation than conquest. One hundred years ago, a World War claimed the lives of many millions, proving that with the terrible power of modern weaponry, the cause of empire leads to the graveyard. It would take another World War to roll back the forces of fascism and racial supremacy, and form this United Nations to ensure that no nation can subjugate its neighbors and claim their territory.

Russia’s actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order. Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt President fled. Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into Eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands. When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days. When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border.

This is a vision of the world in which might makes right – a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might – that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future.

These are simple truths, but they must be defended. America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy. We will reinforce our NATO allies, and uphold our commitment to collective defense. We will impose a cost on Russia for aggression, and counter falsehoods with the truth. We call upon others to join us on the right side of history – for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and peoples to make their own decisions.

Moreover, a different path is available – the path of diplomacy and peace and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold. The recent cease-fire agreement in Ukraine offers an opening to achieve that objective. If Russia takes that path – a path that for stretches of the post-Cold War period resulted in prosperity for the Russian people – then we will lift our sanctions and welcome Russia’s role in addressing common challenges. That’s what the United States and Russia have been able to do in past years – from reducing our nuclear stockpiles to meet our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to cooperating to remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons. And that’s the kind of cooperation we are prepared to pursue again—if Russia changes course.

This speaks to a central question of our global age: whether we will solve our problems together, in a spirit of mutual interests and mutual respect, or whether we descend into destructive rivalries of the past. When nations find common ground, not simply based on power, but on principle, then we can make enormous progress. And I stand before you today committed to investing American strength in working with nations to address the problems we face in the 21st century.

As we speak, America is deploying our doctors and scientists – supported by our military – to help contain the outbreak of Ebola and pursue new treatments. But we need a broader effort to stop a disease that could kill hundreds of thousands, inflict horrific suffering, destabilize economies, and move rapidly across borders. It’s easy to see this as a distant problem – until it isn’t. That is why we will continue mobilizing other countries to join us in making concrete commitments to fight this outbreak, and enhance global health security for the long-term.

America is pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as part of our commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and pursue the peace and security of a world without them. This can only happen if Iran takes this historic opportunity. My message to Iran’s leaders and people is simple: do not let this opportunity pass. We can reach a solution that meets your energy needs while assuring the world that your program is peaceful.

America is and will continue to be a Pacific power, promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations. But we will insist that all nations abide by the rules of the road, and resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law. That’s how the Asia-Pacific has grown. And that’s the only way to protect this progress going forward.

America is committed to a development agenda that eradicates extreme poverty by 2030. We will do our part – to help people feed themselves; power their economies; and care for their sick. If the world acts together, we can make sure that all of our children can enjoy lives of opportunity and dignity

America is pursuing ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions, and we have increased our investments in clean energy. We will do our part, and help developing nations to do theirs. But we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every major power. That’s how we can protect this planet for our children and grandchildren.

On issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule-book written for a different century. If we lift our eyes beyond our borders – if we think globally and act cooperatively – we can shape the course of this century as our predecessors shaped the post-World War II age. But as we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail such progress: and that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world.

Of course, terrorism is not new. Speaking before this Assembly, President Kennedy put it well: “Terror is not a new weapon,” he said. “Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example.” In the 20th century, terror was used by all manner of groups who failed to come to power through public support. But in this century, we have faced a more lethal and ideological brand of terrorists who have perverted one of the world’s great religions. With access to technology that allows small groups to do great harm, they have embraced a nightmarish vision that would divide the world into adherents and infidels – killing as many innocent civilians as possible; and employing the most brutal methods to intimidate people within their communities.

I have made it clear that America will not base our entire foreign policy on reacting to terrorism. Rather, we have waged a focused campaign against al Qaeda and its associated forces – taking out their leaders, and denying them the safe-havens they rely upon. At the same time, we have reaffirmed that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace. Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them – there is only us, because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country.

So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations. Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate. And it is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along fault lines of tribe or sect; race or religion.

This is not simply a matter of words. Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and the trends that fuel their recruitment. Moreover, this campaign against extremism goes beyond a narrow security challenge. For while we have methodically degraded core al Qaeda and supported a transition to a sovereign Afghan government, extremist ideology has shifted to other places – particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where a quarter of young people have no job; food and water could grow scarce; corruption is rampant; and sectarian conflicts have become increasingly hard to contain.

As an international community, we must meet this challenge with a focus on four areas. First, the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed.

This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves. Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world.

No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.

In this effort, we do not act alone. Nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands. Instead, we will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities. We will use our military might in a campaign of air strikes to roll back ISIL. We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground. We will work to cut off their financing, and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region. Already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition. Today, I ask the world to join in this effort. Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can. Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone. For we will not succumb to threats; and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build – not those who destroy.

Second, it is time for the world – especially Muslim communities – to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIL.

It is the task of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world. No children – anywhere – should be educated to hate other people. There should be no more tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they are Jewish, Christian or Muslim. It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source: the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.

That means cutting off the funding that fuels this hate. It’s time to end the hypocrisy of those who accumulate wealth through the global economy, and then siphon funds to those who teach children to tear it down.

That means contesting the space that terrorists occupy – including the Internet and social media. Their propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad to fight their wars, and turned students into suicide bombers. We must offer an alternative vision.

That means bringing people of different faiths together. All religions have been attacked by extremists from within at some point, and all people of faith have a responsibility to lift up the value at the heart of all religion: do unto thy neighbor as you would have done unto you.

The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day. Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies – Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose: “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.” Look at the young British Muslims, who responded to terrorist propaganda by starting the “notinmyname” campaign, declaring – “ISIS is hiding behind a false Islam.” Look at the Christian and Muslim leaders who came together in the Central African Republic to reject violence – listen to the Imam who said, “Politics try to divide the religious in our country, but religion shouldn’t be a cause of hate, war, or strife.”

Later today, the Security Council will adopt a resolution that underscores the responsibility of states to counter violent extremism. But resolutions must be followed by tangible commitments, so we’re accountable when we fall short. Next year, we should all be prepared to announce the concrete steps that we have taken to counter extremist ideologies – by getting intolerance out of schools, stopping radicalization before it spreads, and promoting institutions and programs that build new bridges of understanding.

Third, we must address the cycle of conflict – especially sectarian conflict – that creates the conditions that terrorists prey upon.

There is nothing new about wars within religions. Christianity endured centuries of vicious sectarian conflict. Today, it is violence within Muslim communities that has become the source of so much human misery. It is time to acknowledge the destruction wrought by proxy wars and terror campaigns between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East. And it is time that political, civic and religious leaders reject sectarian strife. Let’s be clear: this is a fight that no one is winning. A brutal civil war in Syria has already killed nearly 200,000 people and displaced millions. Iraq has come perilously close to plunging back into the abyss. The conflict has created a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists who inevitably export this violence.

Yet, we also see signs that this tide could be reversed – a new, inclusive government in Baghdad; a new Iraqi Prime Minister welcomed by his neighbors; Lebanese factions rejecting those who try to provoke war. These steps must be followed by a broader truce. Nowhere is this more necessary than Syria. Together with our partners, America is training and equipping the Syrian opposition to be a counterweight to the terrorists of ISIL and the brutality of the Assad regime. But the only lasting solution to Syria’s civil war is political – an inclusive political transition that responds to the legitimate aspirations of all Syrian citizens, regardless of ethnicity or creed.

Cynics may argue that such an outcome can never come to pass. But there is no other way for this madness to end – whether one year from now or ten. Indeed, it’s time for a broader negotiation in which major powers address their differences directly, honestly, and peacefully across the table from one another, rather than through gun-wielding proxies. I can promise you America will remain engaged in the region, and we are prepared to engage in that effort.

My fourth and final point is a simple one: the countries of the Arab and Muslim world must focus on the extraordinary potential of their people – especially the youth.

Here I’d like to speak directly to young people across the Muslim world. You come from a great tradition that stands for education, not ignorance; innovation, not destruction; the dignity of life, not murder. Those who call you away from this path are betraying this tradition, not defending it.

You have demonstrated that when young people have the tools to succeed –good schools; education in math and science; an economy that nurtures creativity and entrepreneurship – then societies will flourish. So America will partner with those who promote that vision.

Where women are full participants in a country’s politics or economy, societies are more likely to succeed. That’s why we support the participation of women in parliaments and in peace processes; in schools and the economy.

If young people live in places where the only option is between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground – no counter-terrorism strategy can succeed. But where a genuine civil society is allowed to flourish – where people can express their views, and organize peacefully for a better life – then you dramatically expand the alternatives to terror.

Such positive change need not come at the expense of tradition and faith. We see this in Iraq, where a young man started a library for his peers. “We link Iraq’s heritage to their hearts,” he said, and “give them a reason to stay.” We see it in Tunisia, where secular and Islamist parties worked together through a political process to produce a new constitution. We see it in Senegal, where civil society thrives alongside a strong, democratic government. We see it in Malaysia, where vibrant entrepreneurship is propelling a former colony into the ranks of advanced economies. And we see it in Indonesia, where what began as a violent transition has evolved into a genuine democracy.

Ultimately, the task of rejecting sectarianism and extremism is a generational task – a task for the people of the Middle East themselves. No external power can bring about a transformation of hearts and minds. But America will be a respectful and constructive partner. We will neither tolerate terrorist safe-havens, nor act as an occupying power. Instead, we will take action against threats to our security – and our allies – while building an architecture of counter-terrorism cooperation. We will increase efforts to lift up those who counter extremist ideology, and seek to resolve sectarian conflict. And we will expand our programs to support entrepreneurship, civil society, education and youth – because, ultimately, these investments are the best antidote to violence.

Leadership will also be necessary to address the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. As bleak as the landscape appears, America will never give up the pursuit of peace. The situation in Iraq, Syria and Libya should cure anyone of the illusion that this conflict is the main source of problems in the region; for far too long, it has been used in part as a way to distract people from problems at home. And the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace. But let’s be clear: the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable. We cannot afford to turn away from this effort – not when rockets are fired at innocent Israelis, or the lives of so many Palestinian children are taken from us in Gaza. So long as I am President, we will stand up for the principle that Israelis, Palestinians, the region, and the world will be more just with two states living side by side, in peace and security.

This is what America is prepared to do – taking action against immediate threats, while pursuing a world in which the need for such action is diminished. The United States will never shy away from defending our interests, but nor will we shrink from the promise of this institution and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the notion that peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of a better life.

I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within our own borders. This is true. In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri – where a young man was killed, and a community was divided. So yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear.

But we welcome the scrutiny of the world – because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems and make our union more perfect. America is not the same as it was 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or even a decade ago. Because we fight for our ideals, and are willing to criticize ourselves when we fall short. Because we hold our leaders accountable, and insist on a free press and independent judiciary. Because we address our differences in the open space of democracy – with respect for the rule of law; with a place for people of every race and religion; and with an unyielding belief in the ability of individual men and women to change their communities and countries for the better.

After nearly six years as President, I believe that this promise can help light the world. Because I’ve seen a longing for positive change – for peace and freedom and opportunity – in the eyes of young people I’ve met around the globe. They remind me that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what God you pray to, or who you love, there is something fundamental that we all share. Eleanor Roosevelt, a champion of the UN and America’s role in it, once asked, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places,” she said, “close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.”

The people of the world look to us, here, to be as decent, as dignified, and as courageous as they are in their daily lives. And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done. We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s.

Source: Washington Post

~StMA

The enemy within: Somali refugees in Minnesota drawn to welfare and Jihad

Somalia is a war-torn country in east Africa.

Over the course of two decades, the federal government’s Refugee Resettlement Program has left Minnesota, especially the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, with 30 mosques and the largest population of Somalis in the United States. Many of the Somali refugees remain dependent on welfare, while the young men become radicalized by unscrupulous imams.

Leo Hohmann reports for WND, Sept. 5, 2014, that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said that while many of the Somali transplants in Minnesota have been hard-working citizens, the experiment has been costly for her state. Too many Somalis remain dependent on public assistance. Somali youth are also being radicalized into jihad.

She described Somalia as “a failed state . . . based on piracy for ransom and fraud,” with an economy that more closely resembles the stone-age than the information age. “And so tens of thousands of Somalis have been lifted out of a completely different situation and dropped into Minnesota. They have been brought here in many cases by Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services and made homes here, but the problems of radicalization have come to Minnesota as well.”

While any refugee entering a new country could be expected to need some temporary government aid, Bachmann said problems arise with the culture of dependency that many Somali families have settled into. “Minnesota has been extremely generous in terms of housing, food stamps, education, in addition to a plethora of social welfare programs. People in Minnesota are extremely generous and welcoming. But I also think most people in this state believe that anyone, whether they’re coming from Canada, Norway, or Somalia, most Minnesotans believe people should come into the country and learn to speak the English language and learn American history and the Constitution and our form of government and agree that they will not become a burden on the taxpayer and be able to provide for their families and all aspect of their lives. There can’t be an expectation of this continuing government aid throughout their lives.”

Bachmann said that up until the early 1960s when immigration laws changed, foreign nationals “had to prove they were healthy, that they had a bit of money in their pocket, that they would not be a burden to the taxpayer and that they had a sponsor, that they would follow American law, that they would learn the English language at their own expense and they had to be willing to abide by American values. Now is very different.”

Bachmann said too many foreign nationals today enter the U.S. from any number of countries and demand that the U.S. change and adapt itself to their cultures. “That is wrong. The U.S. takes in over 1 million foreign nationals a year. Every other country of the world added together would bring in fewer immigrants than the U.S. alone does in one year’s time. We are extremely generous in adding to our numbers, and that’s just through legal immigration. Anywhere from 1 to 2 million more come from illegal immigration.”

Bachmann, along with local activists in the state, say the federal government should not resettle refugees into communities without full disclosure of the costs to taxpayers. The feds should also receive permission from elected leaders before dropping refugees into communities.Bachmann said, “We’ve seen those problems before in Minnesota, we’ve had young men wielding machetes in the streets, we’ve had a number of demands for foot baths at community colleges and demands that food be changed at various public schools to be in accord with Islamic tradition. There’s just a real concern that the way of living of Somalia is being imposed on Minnesota as opposed to them adapting to the American way of life.

There have been ongoing issues with radicalization as well, as young Somalis have been targeted by preachers of Islamic jihad, drawing them into foreign terrorist networks such as al-Shabab in Somalia and ISIS in Syria.

Two Somali men from Minneapolis-St. Paul have died recently fighting for ISIS, and several Somali women have reportedly left their homes in the area to join ISIS. The FBI says up to 25 Somalis have left to fight with Islamic militants in the Middle East since 2007.

Saad Samatar, a Somali who serves as chair of the Horn Development Center, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, told Mint Press that the Somali “family structure is broken down. Single mothers are running the families, thus they can’t control the boys. [T]he father figure is missing in the equation of the Somali family.” Young Somalis “are part of this country [the U.S.], but fighting in other countries. For many of these teenagers, they are being indoctrinated and brainwashed by some of the extremist groups.”

The resettlement program gets its authority from the Refugee Act of 1980, sponsored by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and former Sen. Joe Biden, and is overseen by the U.S. Department of State. The act allows the refugees to become U.S. citizens within five years. Once here, the refugees are allowed to bring in extended family members through the State Department’s Family Reunification program.

The federal government chose Minnesota, along with Maine, Ohio and a few other states, as hotspots for Somali refugees fleeing civil war in their homeland following the fall of the Soviet-backed Somali regime in 1992.

But 22 years later, the civil war still rages in Somalia. And the Somali refugees keep coming to Minnesota, at an average rate of about 2,000 a year.

somali_refugeesThe federal government chooses places like Minnesota and Maine because of their generous social-welfare programs and strong network of Christian charities ready to help with everything from providing translators to lining up housing, education and Medicaid – all the things that are needed to begin a new life in a new country.

The charities – Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities and World Relief Minnesota – work with money largely provided by federal government grants.

Debra Anderson, a working mother employed in the health-care industry in Minneapolis, said she became concerned two years ago after she bought her house in the northeast quadrant of the city and found out a second mosque was proposed nearby.

“I basically live and work in the heart of the beast, and shortly after I moved in there was a proposal for another mosque in my neighborhood,” said Anderson, who is a member of American Congress for Truth. “There are parts of southern Minneapolis that look like Somalia. We have one district in south Minneapolis that was estimated to be 40 percent east African, and they have a pretty strong political hold here.”

She’d heard that Islam was a “religion of peace” but then also heard that many adherents believed in violent jihad.

Rather than pick one side or the other, she said she got a copy of the Quran and started reading. She also started reading the writings of Islamic scholars such as the late Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayyid Qutb, author of “Milestones” and other books before he was executed in 1966 for plotting the overthrow of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

“What I found was jaw-dropping,” she said of the Muslim teachings.

Then she discovered that the neighboring town of St. Anthony had rejected a mosque on zoning grounds and was being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice at the behest of the Council on American Islamic Relations, an organization with known ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

“We have a very aggressive CAIR chapter in Minnesota,” Anderson said.

The lawsuits and threats of lawsuits loom over city councils whenever a mosque or Islamic school is proposed, and Anderson described the climate as one that can, at times, border on intimidation. Socially, the Somali community makes little effort to assimilate, she said.

“Their doctrine tells them not to befriend the infidel because of their frame of mind. It’s described in Qutb’s book ‘Milestones,’ which gives great insight into their view of the Jahiliyyah (or those in a state of ignorance of divine guidance),” Anderson said. “I want to respect their freedom of worship, but at the same time, because I’ve read the text and I’ve read their luminaries, Islam is Islam and, if you read Milestones, he says if you’re not producing an Islamic society like the seventh century community that Muhammad created then you are apostate. So even though they may have more freedoms here at this time the text is still telling them to immigrate, to plant seeds of utopia and that is to create a global Islamic caliphate.”

Anderson sees those seeds as the mosques, Islamic centers and schools that have popped up all over Minneapolis-St. Paul and even in outlying areas such as St. Cloud and Bloomington. She looks at European cities that have slowly become majority Muslim and fears her city could be in for more changes as more Somalis pour in from the federal refugee program.

“I want to respect people to have their freedom to worship but once they gain numbers, the text directs them,” Anderson said. “All we have to do is look to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan to see what Shariah law brings, and to me it is like the mirror, the exact opposite of the Judeo-Christian realm [...] I’d rather lose my head than ever have to surrender to Shariah law.”

Anderson said she was further perturbed when she found out that faith-based organizations are getting paid by the federal government to provide their “charity” work for the Somalis. The organizations include Catholic and Lutheran churches, World Relief Minnesota, and evangelical Transform Minnesota and Immigrant Hope. They host all-day training sessions for church volunteers, teaching them how to complete paperwork in anticipation of an amnesty declaration from President Obama.

Anderson says Marxist ideas are deeply embedded in some of the church-led charities, and names noted Christian socialist Jim Wallace, editor of Sojourner’s magazine. “It’s redistribution of our wealth on a global scale. We’re still sending money there (to Africa), but it’s being redistributed here as well, big time.”

Another alarm bell went off for activists like Anderson earlier this year when Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges showed up for a meeting with Somali Muslims wearing a full hijab (see pic below).

Mayor Betsy Hodges in hijab

See also:

~StMA

A drone that can turn door knobs

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that were first developed for military use.

Increasingly, however, drones are used for domestic police work in the United States, which led former Texas Department of Agriculture commissioner Jim Hightower to warn about potential privacy abuses from aerial surveillance.

Add to this the news that they’ve now developed a drone that can use its arms to turn a valve, which also means the drone can turn door knobs.

Some facts about drones from Wikipedia:

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle.

An armed UAV is known as an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV).

Drones are usually deployed for military and special operation applications, but also used in a small but growing number of civil applications, such as policing, border patrol, forest fire detection and firefighting, and nonmilitary security work, such as surveillance of power lines and pipelines. Other uses include aerial surveying of crops, acrobatic aerial footage in filmmaking, search and rescue operations, counting wildlife, delivering medical supplies to remote or otherwise inaccessible regions, search & rescue missions, detection of illegal hunting, land surveying, large-accident investigation, landslide measurement, illegal landfill detection, and crowd monitoring.

The birth of U.S. UAVs began in 1959 when Air Force officers, concerned about losing pilots over hostile territory, began planning for the use of unmanned flights. On 26 February 1973, during testimony before the House Committee on Appropriations, the U.S. military officially confirmed they had been utilizing UAVs in Vietnam.

There are two prominent UAV programs within the United States:

  • Military: The government’s overt UAV program that only operates where US troops are stationed.
  • CIA: The government’s clandestine drone program that conducts missions also in places where US troops are not stationed. The CIA’s UAV program was commissioned as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This clandestine program is primarily being used in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

In February 2013, it was reported that UAVs were used by at least 50 countries, several of which made their own: for example, Iran, Israel and China.

As of 2008, the United States Air Force employed 5,331 UAVs, which is twice its number of manned planes. Out of these, the Predators are the most commendable, with the following capabilities:

  • The Predator is armed with Hellfire missiles so that it can “terminate” the target that it locates.
  • The Predator is capable of orchestrating attacks by pointing lasers at the targets, thereby putting a robot in a position to set off an attack.
  • From June 2005 to June 2006 alone, Predators carried out 2,073 missions and participated in 242 separate raids.

As of August 2013, commercial drones (unmanned aerial system – UAS) licenses were granted on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The agency expects that five years after it unveils a regulatory framework for UASs weighing 55 pounds or less, there will be 7,500 such devices in the air.

~StMA

U.S. military does not support Commander-In-Chief Barack Obama

On September 10, 2014, 13 days after he had admitted not having a strategy on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, aka ISIS or IS), President Barack Obama finally spelled out the U.S. policy toward ISIL. (Watch and read his speech here.)

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Note: Levant consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and southern Turkey.

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Vowing the U.S. will increase its support to the Iraqi government fighting ISIL, Obama proclaimed an additional 475 servicemembers will be sent to Iraq. But he emphasized that “these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.

As reported by The Washington Post, Obama had ignored the advice of the military on how to deal with ISIL. 

Gen. Lloyd Austin III

Gen. Lloyd Austin III

Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, had recommended sending a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants. Austin’s recommendation was conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But the advice was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role. (See “Reaction to Obama’s ISIL counterterrorism policy speech“.)

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff

On September 16, Gen. Dempsey contradicted what his commander in chief had said six days ago. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Dempsey laid out several examples of how U.S. troops could take part in combat operations against ISIL, including:

  • “if the Iraqi security forces and [Kurdish Peshmerga] were at some point ready to retake Mosul”.
  • if a U.S. pilot is shot down over Iraq.
  • “if there are threats to the United States”.
Former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie

Former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie

On September 18, 2014, Former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that Obama is experiencing “a global failure of his foreign policy.”

Higbie had served two tours in Iraq — in 2007 and 2009 — and is the author of Battle on the Homefront: A Navy SEAL’s Mission to Save the American Dream, 2012.

Higbie was critical of Obama sending 3,000 troops to Africa “to combat Ebola,” instead of sending troops “to combat an actual enemy [ISIL] that’s threatening America.”

When asked what the military “really thinks” of their commander in chief, Higbie says, “Most of the troops, probably over 90% do not support the president.

On how to combat ISIL if he were president, Higbie says, “It’s gonna take a massive message. I would say to these people, ‘Look, you chop two Americans’ heads off, I’m coming to get you.’ That’s what it’s going to take — massive bombs, surge of troops, unfortunately, and really send a message home. They need to be in fear of us.”

Higbie also says he believes “our troops will go over there [Iraq]. They want to fight this fight. They joined the military to fight a war, to combat the problem, to combat something that’s threatening our homeland. These troops will go over there. They will fight with all their heart, and we’re the most lethal fighting force the world has ever known and history has ever known. Let us go over there, take away the rules of engagement. I talked about it in my book Battle On the Homefront. Let us fight this battle. Take our handcuffs off.”

USMC Gen. James Mattis (ret.)

USMC Gen. James Mattis (ret.)

The Washington Post reports that on September 18, 2014, retired U.S. Marine Corps general James Mattis, who had led U.S. forces in the Middle East as head of the U.S. Central Command, told the House Intelligence Committee that it is unwise and “creates problems” for the United States (i.e., Barack Obama) to say in advance that the U.S. won’t send combat troops.

Mattis said, “Specifically, if this threat to our nation is determined to be as significant as I believe it is, we may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American ‘boots on the ground’.” Citing Jordan and the United Arab Emirates as examples, Mattis also said the United States has allies in the Middle East who will likely send troops to assist in Iraq if “we put ourselves out there and lead.”

See also:

~StMA

Japan’s demographics spell doom

Ups and downs: Working age population projection by Japan's National Institute of Population and Social Security ResearchJapan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research

International investor and entrepreneur Simon Black of Sovereign Man writes, Sept. 15, 2014:

One in eight Japanese is aged 75 or older. People over 65 will reach 33 million, the largest ever, roughly 25.9% of the population.

The thing about demographic trends is that they’re like a huge oil tanker—once they’re on their course it’s very hard to steer them around in another direction.

These are monumental, generational changes that are very hard and slow to reverse.

By today’s trend, Japan’s population will dwindle from 127 million today to around 100 million by 2050. It’s the worst possible demographic nightmare.

People stopped having as many babies decades ago. It was too damned expensive.

Then the big collapse came in the late 80s, and the economy has been dragging it heels ever since.

When prosperity is low, people consequently delay having children. They have fewer children. Or they don’t have them at all.

This has enormous long-term implications for the country and its fundamentals. Fewer people of working age means fewer jobs, less productivity, less consumption and less government tax revenue.

On the other hand, a bulging group of older people means more spending for medical care and pensions.

In the recently proposed budget for fiscal year 2015, the Japanese government earmarked 31.7 trillion yen for social security, welfare and health spending.

This is the largest item in the budget, consuming 31.2% of all planned government spending.

And it’s only getting larger.

It doesn’t help that Japan is essentially already bankrupt.

The second largest item in Japanese government’s budget is interest.

While social security, welfare and health spending has increased by 3% from the current budget, debt servicing is up by 11% and now amounts to 25.8 trillion yen, or an incredible 25% of Japan’s budget.

So just between pensions and interest, they’re spending 57.5 trillion yen. Last year they only collected 50 trillion in tax revenue.

So before they spend a single yen on anything else in government… anything at all… they’re already 7 trillion yen (about $70 billion) in the hole. They have to borrow the rest.

Bear in mind, this is coming at a time when interest rates for 10-year Japanese bonds are 0.5%, and even closer to zero on shorter notes.

If interest rates rise to just 1%, which is historically still very low, Japan will spend almost all of its tax revenue just to service the debt!

You can’t make this stuff up. It’s a screaming indicator that this system can’t possibly last.

Europe, the US and Japan, three of the biggest economies in the world, are all on a similar inevitable trend—they’re in debt up to their eyeballs, with absolutely no arithmetic possibility of ever getting out of the hole unscathed.

Japan is just worst of them all.

And history is so full of examples of what governments do when countries get into this position: as reality beckons, they become even more careless and destructive.

Meanwhile, researchers found that young Japanese not just shun the idea of marriage and having children, they increasingly are asexual. More than 25% of unmarried men and women in their late 30s have never had sex.

Add to all this the following doleful statistics from Wikipedia:

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Japanese under 30. In 2009, the number of suicides exceeded 30,000 for the twelfth straight year.

~StMA

Reaction to Obama’s ISIL counterterrorism policy speech

On Sept. 10, 2014, thirteen days after admitting he had no strategy to deal with the Islamic Caliphate or State (IS, aka ISIL, aka ISIS), President Barack Obama finally unveiled his “counterterrorism” policy against the IS from the State Floor of the White House.

(For a summary and video of his speech, see “Obama announces U.S. ‘counterterrorism’ policy against ISIL“.)

Below is a sample of reaction to his speech. Note that my words are colored green.

~StMA

obama-horns

writes in the Washington Post, Sept. 10, 2014:

[...] Although Obama promised a “steady, relentless effort” in a nationally televised address Wednesday night, he also said that “it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL,” using a common acronym for the Islamic State.

Such a mission was not the U.S. military’s preferred option. Responding to a White House request for options to confront the Islamic State, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants, according to two U.S. military officials. The recommendation, conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly opposed by the White House. Instead, Obama had decided to send an additional 475 U.S. troops to assist Iraqi and ethnic Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.

Recommitting ground combat forces to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission.

Investigative Project on Terrorism writes, Sept. 11, 2014:

President Obama’s assertion Wednesday night that the Islamic State terrorist group “is not ‘Islamic'” is drawing derision from a number of quarters.

The claim, also made by Obama’s predecessors, is “preposterous,” Daniel Pipes wrote for the National Review Online. “To state the obvious: As non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not.”

Author Sam Harris, an atheist who challenges all religions, went further, dismissing Obama’s argument as a “scrim of pretense and delusion.”

“Which will come first, flying cars and vacations to Mars, or a simple acknowledgment that beliefs guide behavior and that certain religious ideas—jihad, martyrdom, blasphemy, apostasy—reliably lead to oppression and murder?” Harris wondered in an essay. “It may be true that no faith teaches people to massacre innocents exactly—but innocence, as the President surely knows, is in the eye of the beholder. Are apostates ‘innocent’? Blasphemers? Polytheists? Islam has the answer, and the answer is ‘no.'”

But Obama’s argument echoes statements made by Muslim American leaders during a news conference Wednesday morning. “All of this is against the foundation and teaching of Islam,” former Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Mohamed Magid told reporters. He also is a member of the president’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.

The Quran includes numerous passages encouraging violent jihad and inspiring hatred of non-believers, Harris notes. Robert Spencer offers specific examples here, and asks why the Islamic State has become such a magnet for wannabe jihadists if it was not seen as inherently Islamic.

But instead of acknowledging those verses and debating their modern application, the president used a nationally televised speech to act as if they do not exist. Harris blames “a large industry of obfuscation designed to protect Muslims from having to grapple with these truths.”

We saw that in action during Wednesday’s news conference at the National Press Club.

It’s a difficult sell, Pipes concludes, because of the clear theological statements and justifications Islamic State terrorists invoke for their brutality.

“Anyone with eyes and ears realizes that the Islamic State, like the Taliban and al-Qaeda before it, is 100 percent Islamic. And most Westerners, as indicated by detailed polling in Europe, do have eyes and ears. Over time, they are increasingly relying on common sense to conclude that the group is indeed profoundly Islamic.”

________________

Note from StMA: For those, like Obama, who insist that ISIL/ISIS/IS is not Islamic and that Islam is a “religion of peace,” here are just three sobering quotes from the Quran:

Sura 9:29– Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

Sura 9:5– “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

Sura 8:12: “When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”

Also, a London-based imam, Anjem Choudary, defended acts of terror, including the beheading of foreign journalists, as consistent with the teachings of the Koran. Choudary told Russia Today that “terrorizing the enemy is in fact part of Islam” and cited a passage of the Koran that calls for Muslims to use “steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah.” “So terrorizing the enemy is in fact part of Islam,” Choudary said. “I mean this is something that we must embrace and understand as far as the jurisprudence of Islam is concerned.”

________________

David Brooks writes in The New York Times, Sept. 11, 2014, comparing Obama to Moses (!):

Moses, famously, tried to get out of it. When God called on him to lead the Israelites, Moses threw up a flurry of reasons he was the wrong man for the job: I’m a nobody; I don’t speak well; I’m not brave.

But the job was thrust upon him. Though he displayed some of the traits you’d expect from a guy who would rather be back shepherding (passivity, whining), he became a great leader. He became the ultimate model for reluctant leadership. [...]

President Obama is the most recent. He recently gave a speech on the need to move away from military force. He has tried to pivot away from the Middle East. He tried desperately to avoid the Syrian civil war. [...]

Obama is compelled as a matter of responsibility to override his inclinations. He’s obligated to use force, to propel himself back into the Middle East, to work with rotten partners like the dysfunctional Iraqi Army and the two-faced leaders of Qatar. He’s compelled to provide functional assistance to the rancid Syrian regime by attacking its enemies. [...]

_____________

Note from StMA: Obama “tried desperately to avoid the Syrian civil war”? What is David Brooks smoking? Please see Pulitzer-award journalist says Obama admin made up intelligence for war on Syria.

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A. James Gregor writes for the Consortium of Defense Analysts, Sept. 12, 2014:

The President’s address was perhaps the most presidential of all his public speeches to date. The delivery was good and the sentiments inspiring. The difficulty lies in the elements of the strategy. To work, all the parts must function impeccably in mutual support. Unhappily that is not likely to happen.

(1) Every analyst recognizes that attacks from the air may degrade (to a certain extent) the enemy, but not destroy him.

(2) For that, ground forces will be necessary–and the President apparently has no clear idea how or from where they might be forthcoming. He has precluded U.S. troops. NATO will not supply such forces (both Britain and Germany have indicated their reluctance to participate–and Turkey has publicly refused any direct involvement). The Arab states do not have ground forces equal to the tasks of such a complicated asymmetrical conflict. To suggest that such a force might be equipped and trained (in Saudi Arabia?) taxes credulity. The U.S. spent about a decade (and multiple billions) attempting to train an Iraqi army for just such a conflict–which proceeded to immediately disintegrate with the first challenge. Still less plausible is the suggestion that the “Syrian opposition” might serve in such a capacity. There is no evidence that the anti-Assad opposition would serve as a “partner force on the ground.” against an Islamic insurgency. Assad has some credible forces at his disposal, but unless Washington is prepared to enter into some kind of political accommodation with him (rather than his opposition), it is very unlikely we will find any “partners” in Syria.

In effect, there is no “broad coalition” anywhere ready to support the “new” strategy–and given the limitations the President has imposed on the nation’s armed forces, it appears that we have been committed to a long, uncertain, and costly conflict in the Middle East with no visible outcome.

Sheila Liaugminas writes for MercatorNet, Sept. 12, 2014:

Democrats are crossing the aisle again, this time as they voice strong support for attacking Islamic State, though the overwhelming majority of lawmakers from both parties oppose the idea of sending in any U.S. ground troops…

Obama flatly said [...] he has the authority to do this. Period.

This reflects Obama’s contempt for all matters constitutional. [...] this blank “I have the power” talk telegraphs contempt for the intelligence of the American people [...]

Isn’t it time we had a president who says aloud the obvious fact that when you massacre a bunch of Christians, you’re making it that much more likely that the American public will demand that the U.S. attack you? Right now, this would be a useful thing for certain terror organizations in Africa to hear…

But that circles back to the question at the beginning, do we, or does the administration, know the enemy? [...]

If we are to defeat the violent Islamist radicals who are today threatening the world, we must shine the brightest of spotlights on this malignant idea at the heart of their ideology. And we must counter it, not just with the force of arms, but with a compelling defense of the anti-totalitarian idea of morally ordered freedom. [...]

The rise of this extremist ideology to prominence coincided with a deep crisis of faith that engulfed Europe after the carnage of World War I nearly a century ago. In response to this crisis, totalitarianism – initially in communist and fascist forms – rose to fill the void. Its vision amounted to the state’s replacing God as central to all things, while anointing certain people and their movements as humanity’s new leaders, deserving the ultimate powers once reserved for the deity.

[...] The same totalitarian impulse that drove Nazism and communism has hijacked religion as its latest vehicle, creating radical Islamism.

From ISIL to Iran’s mullahs, and from al-Qaeda to the Taliban, these new totalitarians pose similar threats to freedom, dignity, and peace. Displaying characteristic contempt for the rule of law and the crucial distinction between combatants and noncombatants in the conduct of war, they have deliberately targeted civilians and resorted to mass murder, precisely as the Nazis and Communists did. [...]

In this struggle, Muslims have a duty to their faith and to humanity to stand resolutely against Islam’s hijacking by people driven by the same diabolical impulse that unleashed the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot on the world. They must rip away its religious mask and reveal its idolatrous soul before the world.

The religious ideology of this group must be understood to be addressed. But the president keeps sidestepping the Islamic factor in this battle of civilizations.

In a televised address on how to address the Islamic State this evening, President Barack Obama declared the organization variously known as ISIS or ISIL to be “not Islamic.”

In making this preposterous claim, Obama joins his two immediate predecessors in pronouncing on what is not Islamic. Bill Clinton called the Taliban treatment of women and children “a terrible perversion of Islam.” George W. Bush deemed that 9/11 and other acts of violence against innocents “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.”

None of the three has any basis for such assertions. [...]

The president and his spokesmen claim to not be at war with the extremists who declared war on the US. [...]

On its face, it seems like the administration is sending mixed signals. The president made a rather clear case for a long campaign aimed at rolling back the nascent Islamic State in Iraq and eventually confronting them in their Syrian stronghold. Sources have suggested that this is a mission which will likely outlast the Obama presidency. So why pull punches today?

Josh Earnest made the administration’s thinking clear during his press briefing on Thursday in which he went to tortured lengths to insist that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and al-Qaeda were synonymous. Why? Well, claiming these two groups are the same would mean that the administration does not have to approach Congress for a new resolution authorizing use military force. [...] Instead, the White House can point to the 2001 authorization targeting al-Qaeda, even though the White House had previously argued that the resolution was dated and should be repealed. [...]

[But] the White House’s insistence that the present campaign is merely a continuation of George W. Bush’s War on Terror is unlikely to quiet the increasingly loud voices in Congress demanding a vote on a new authorization.Okay, well, even if we’re playing legal games with the word “war” and are trying to avoid the politics of getting the people’s representatives to sanction military action abroad, at least there is a plan for victory, right?

“What does victory look like here?” Earnest was asked on Thursday. “What does destroy mean?”

“I didn’t bring my Webster’s dictionary,” Earnest replied.

Michael Goodwin writes in The New York Post, Sept. 14, 2014:

The rising clamor over the beheading of two Americans, and rapidly sinking polls, forced President Obama to reassure the nation last week he had a plan to deal with the Islamic State. [...] most military analysts believe the expanded airstrikes will not be a sufficient match for the size and weaponry of the terrorist army.

They miss the point. The disjointed speech wasn’t really about terrorism and launching a new war. It was about saving Obama’s presidency.

He is sinking fast and could soon pass the point of no return. In fact, it may already be too late to save the SS Obama.

The whole second term has been a string of disasters, with the toxic brew of his Obamacare lies, middling economic growth and violent global breakdown casting doubt on the president’s stewardship. Six years into his tenure, nothing is going as promised.

Earlier on, he could have trotted out his teleprompters and turned public opinion his way, or at least stopped the damage. But the magic of his rhetoric is long gone, and not just because the public has tuned him out.

They’ve tuned him out because they’ve made up their minds about him. They no longer trust him and don’t think he’s a good leader.

Most ominously, they feel less safe now than they did when he took office. Americans know the war on terror isn’t over, no matter what their president claims.

Those findings turned up in a tsunami of recent polls that amount to a public vote of no confidence. They shook up the White House so much that the plan to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants was put on hold to try to protect Democratic candidates from voter wrath in November.

That was a necessary tactical retreat, but it doesn’t change the ­basic calculation. The president’s problem is that he has been wrong about virtually every major issue.

His worldview, his politics, his prejudices, his habits — they’ve been a mismatch for the country and its needs. He has been a dud even in the one area where he seemed a lock to make things better, racial relations. Only 10 percent believe race relations have improved under him, while 35 percent said they are worse, according to a New York Times survey. The remainder said there wasn’t much change either way.

That’s shocking — but not surprising. Barack Obama was not ready to be president, and still isn’t. It is a fantasy to believe he’ll master the art in his final two years.

The lasting image will be his yukking it up on the golf course minutes after giving a perfunctory speech on the beheading of James Foley. It revealed him as hollow, both to America and the world, and there is no way to un-see the emptiness.

That means, I fear, we are on the cusp of tragedy. It is reasonable to assume the worst-case scenarios about national security are growing increasingly likely to occur.

Obama’s fecklessness is so unique that our adversaries and enemies surely realize they will never face a weaker president. They must assume the next commander in chief will take a more muscular approach to America’s interests and be more determined to forge alliances than the estranged man who occupies the Oval Office now.

So Vladimir Putin, Iran, China, Islamic State, al Qaeda and any other number of despots and terrorists know they have two years to make their moves and advance their interests, and that resistance will be token, if there is any at all.

Throw in the fact that Europe largely has scrapped its military might to pay for its welfare states, and the entire West is a diminished, confused opponent, ripe for the taking. Redrawn maps and expanded spheres of influence could last for generations.

Of course, there is a possibility that America could rally around the president in a crisis, and there would be many voices demanding just that. But a national consensus requires a president who is able to tap into a reservoir of good will and have his leadership trusted.

That’s not the president we have.