The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/29607
Oct. 1, 2014
“Speculation – peculation – engrossing – forestalling – with all their concomitants, afford too many melancholy proofs of the decay of public virtue; and too glaring instances of its being the interest and desire of too many, who would wish to be thought friends, to continue the war.” –George Washington, letter to James Warren, 1779
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
First Case of Ebola Confirmed in Dallas
Ebola is here. CBS Dallas reports1, “Officials with the Centers for Disease Control have confirmed that a person in Dallas definitely has the Ebola virus. Tuesday’s official determination makes the patient, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, the first diagnosed Ebola2 case in the United States.” The patient left Liberia on Sept. 19, showing no symptoms at the time. CDC officials say there’s no risk to anyone on the flight because he wasn’t symptomatic, but they will follow up with all contacts he made since arriving in the U.S. Sept. 20. Also according to CBS3, “This is by far the largest and deadliest outbreak of Ebola since the disease was first identified in 1976. More people have died in the last six months than in all other Ebola outbreaks combined.” For more, view the CDC’s Ebola fact sheet4, as well as The Patriot Post’s resources for emergency preparedness5.
How’s That Anti-ISIL Campaign Going?
Airstrikes in Iraq and Syria are going swimmingly. Or not. First, the “moderate” rebels in the Free Syrian Army aren’t exactly trustworthy with their intelligence, in part because they often work closely with the Nusra Front (a.k.a. al-Qaida/ISIL) against Bashar al-Assad. So closely, in fact, that we almost mistakenly bombed6 an FSA headquarters virtually next door to an al-Qaida camp. Second, Iraqi pilots inadvertently dropped7 food, water and ammunition for ISIL forces instead of the Iraqi soldiers for whom they were intended. Finally, Yahoo! News reports8, “The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq.” In other words, Barack Obama’s strategy is working about as well as ObamaCare.
Obama Makes Unaccompanied Alien Children Protected Class
In 2015, the unaccompanied alien children from Central America crossing into the United States will be eligible for refugee status, the first time this designation has been given to those leaving nations in North or South America. In a memorandum9 to the State Department, Barack Obama said he will allow 70,000 refugees into America, 4,000 of whom will come from Latin America and the Caribbean. Obama also said people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador may receive the status even while they reside in their home countries. The 4,000 slots is a trickle compared to the flood of tens of thousands of children who crossed the border earlier this year. Yet Obama’s plan10 is to create a protected class of Central American immigrants, a group on par with the people fleeing violence in the Middle East. He then makes the political question for Republicans difficult: How is attacking a flood of refugees morally defensible? More…11
Second Judge Rules Against ObamaCare Subsidies
It’s likely the Supreme Court will once again rule on the legality of ObamaCare after a U.S. District Judge in Oklahoma ruled12 the doling out of subsidies on the federal exchange is an abuse of IRS power. In a statement13, Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt said, “Today’s ruling is a consequential victory for the rule of law. The administration and its bureaucrats in the IRS handed out billions in illegal tax credits and subsidies and vastly expanded the reach of the health care law because they didn’t like the way Congress wrote the Affordable Care Act.” This is strike one-and-a-half against ObamaCare, as the DC Court of Appeals initially ruled14 against the federal exchange, but then agreed to re-hear the case15 en banc. Seeing how the Left is writhing every which way to protect ObamaCare, expect a slimy move or two in the future. More…16
Astrologers Weigh in on Chelsea Clinton’s Daughter
Politico is covering the really important things: Astrological forecasts for Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, the daughter of Chelsea Clinton and Mark Mezvinsky. After she was born, Politico checked in with “leading astrologers” to see what significance the stars might have for this daughter of American royalty. “She may not follow her family’s politics, but she will follow the family’s activism and social justice and finding a way to serve the world, following in that community organizing path and picking up the roots of her grandparents,” said Ophira Edut, co-author of the book “Momstrology: The AstroTwins’ Guide to Parenting your Little One by the Stars.” Several other stargazers also weighed in, providing what will no doubt be a completely accurate picture of the infant’s life. And they call themselves the Party of Science™. More…17
For more, visit Right Hooks18.
Gonzalez the Amazing Fence Jumper Highlights Shift in White House Values
On Sept. 26, Omar Gonzalez jumped the fence of the White House – now one of the most secure facilities in the world – and made a fool of the Secret Service, the model for diplomatic protection agencies. Gonzalez was finally stopped by an off duty19 agent, who just happened to pass through the East Room.
After James Garfield was assassinated in 1881, the next president, Chester Arthur, did nothing to boost security at the White House, which was almost nonexistent at the time. Once, to travel to the Washington Navy Yard, Arthur walked from the White House and used public transportation to get there.
Much has changed between the times of Chester Arthur and Barack Obama. The threats against the executive office have grown, and so has the role of the Secret Service. After several high-profile security failures, it’s evident the Secret Service needs reform. And the answer to how it will be reformed will further define the role of the presidency and the Secret Service.
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson told20 the House Oversight and Reform Committee Tuesday, “I take fully responsibility. What happened is unacceptable and it will never happen again.”
She told the committee she has worked for the last 18 months to reform the service. But the scandals continue to roll. In 2012, Secret Service agents romped with prostitutes in Cartagena and stumbled into their hotel drunk in the Netherlands. The Washington Post reported21 the Secret Service bungled its response in 2011 when a man took aim with a semiautomatic rifle and hit the White House seven times. On Sept. 16, unbeknownst to the Secret Service, Obama took an elevator ride with an armed felon22.
When Gonzalez, sprinted onto the White House lawn, about five layers of security should have snapped into place. The Secret Service should have released an attack dog. It should have locked the front door. Instead, the White House’s equivalent of a good guy passerby with a gun stopped the intruder.
The recent history of the Secret Service shows an organization in dangerous dereliction of duty. Trust in the organization has broken. To fix the problem, the service may ask for more money or boost the show of security around the White House. But the heart of the organization, its people and its discipline, will still be rotten.
White House security will always have its challenges because of tourism and the historical nature of the building, according to former Secret Service Director W. Ralph Basham23. It wasn’t until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 that political urgency led security to close Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the building. Basham said the White House fence presents a similar security weakness.
The White House could have more security, but at a cost of the very values it symbolizes. “The Service has to ensure that the President, other protectees, and the facilities in which they work and live are safe and secure,” Basham said, “but they do so in the context of important American values like freedom and openness. … [T]hat security must be accomplished in a way that does not jeopardize the very values that we seek to protect and that these buildings themselves indeed symbolize these beliefs.”
Until the turn of the 20th century, presidents were considered the “first citizens of the Republic” and had little protection. A 1965 report24 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy recounts a short history of presidential protection. The report tells how Andrew Jackson – even though an aspiring assassin fired a brace of pistols at him in 1835 – would send the threatening letters he received to the Washington Globe so they could be published.
The Secret Service began to officially protect the president in 1902, as a wave of anarchist terrorism was creeping into the United States. On Sept. 2, 1901, anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot and killed William McKinley.
The report recorded both the escalating danger and the reluctance of Washington to protect the president. Abraham Lincoln was evidently “reluctant to surround himself with guards and often rejected protection or sought to slip away from it.” In fact, according to the report, “This has been characteristic of almost all American Presidents. They have regarded protection as a necessary affliction at best and contrary to their normal instincts for either personal privacy or freedom to meet the people.”
In response to Gonzalez’s fence breech, the Secret Service erected a second fence25 they say is “temporary.”
“Absent a comprehensive understanding of the foundational issues that led to systematic failures,” Todd Keil, former special agent for the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, told the House26, “throwing more money and people at the problem will only exacerbate existing management weaknesses and compound and magnify rather than correct management challenges.”
Keil called for an independent review of the fence-hopping incident and organization as a whole, free from internal bias. And such a review is appropriate. This organization protects visiting dignitaries, keeps presidential candidates from harm, and is the last line of defense against an assassin bent on striking the leader of the free world.
But it’s hard to imagine what the Founders would think of the world today, where the first citizen of the Republic needs a second fence and snipers on his roof.
Anyone Up for a Romney Rerun in 2016?
Most Republicans outside the Beltway would probably be surprised if Mitt Romney made a third run at the presidency in 2016, but inside the Beltway, those in the know believe another Romney run is a distinct possibility.
The former GOP presidential nominee gives no obvious sign of wanting to make another attempt, but his most earnest devotees think he doth protest too much. During an interview with radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt, when asked why he’d decided against another run, Romney added one of those “well, maybe” comments at Hewitt’s prodding: “Circumstances can change.” Romney’s wife Ann, appearing on Fox News, told Neil Cavuto27, “Well, we will see, won’t we, Neil.”
Romney has been acting like other testing-the-water types in the past. He appears on TV – but not too often. He campaigns for Senate candidates in several states, trying to help Republicans gain control of the Senate. And he hasn’t been shy about commenting on politics, especially foreign policy. In a recent Washington Post op-ed28, he blasted Obama’s downsizing of the military as “ludicrous.”
He remains close to almost all the members of “Team Romney 2012,” regularly discussing topics likely to be issues in the next election. “Virtually the entire advisory group that surrounded Mitt in 2012 are eager for him to run,” offers a source close to the Romney camp. And a number of Romney’s contributors are hedging their bets, waiting to see how the race shakes out before they decide to commit to other candidates. They believe he’s implicitly asking them to.
The key question for Romney seems to be whether former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush decides to run. Romney apparently believes that, besides himself, only Bush can defeat Hillary Clinton. (Let’s just say for the record that Bush v. Clinton II is not what this country needs.) But even should Bush decide to run, Romney’s supporters won’t quit easily.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York writes27, “Whatever happens, this group of Romney loyalists – a significant number of people with a significant amount of money to contribute – will not move ahead without his OK.”
Romney responded to York’s article, “We’ve got a lot of people looking at the race. We’ll see what happens.”
Taking a different tack on the question of Romney’s maybe-candidacy, JJ Feinauer of the Deseret News suggests five reasons29 why Romney will probably run.
First, many important establishment Republicans want him to run again. “Romney … is known to practically every Republican voter and already has relationships with most of the party’s leading donors,” Vox’s Andrew Prokop explained30.
Among his most notable cheerleaders is former running-mate Paul Ryan. “I think he’d make a phenomenal president,” Ryan said. “He has the intellect, the honor, the character and the temperament to be a fantastic president.”
Second, Romney has name recognition, and that’s half the battle. Hillary Clinton reaps a huge benefit from her name, having been in national politics for more than two decades. Gallup Politics reports31, “Hillary Clinton is currently the best known and best liked of 16 potential 2016 presidential candidates … due to her 91% familiarity score and +19 net favorable rating.” Her net favorable reflects her 55% favorable minus her 36% unfavorable ratings. Take heart. Joe Biden scored -2% net.
In a USA Today/Suffolk University poll32 of general election voters in Iowa, of potential Republican candidates, only Rick Perry scored double digits (10%). But when Romney was added, he not only scored 34%, he also took support from every other candidate – and won half of the previously undecided voters. Borrowing a bit of panache from the Leftmedia, apparently, Romney has that ephemeral quality known as “gravitas.”
Third, Americans like him more than they used to. A widely trumpeted June CNN poll33 shows that Americans are feeling “buyers’ remorse” for re-electing Barack Obama. Fifty-three percent of respondents would vote for Romney if the election were held today. That’s likely because Romney was right in most of his predictions.
Ben Domenech of The Federalist commented34, “It’s hard to imagine better press for a candidate than ‘we wish we voted for you.’”
Fourth, foreign policy, Obama’s most glaring failure, could be the dominating issue of the next election. A great many Americans worry about a more dangerous world, and Obama is responsible for much of it.
Romney is far more knowledgeable about foreign policy than Obama, even given the latter’s near-six years in the White House. When Romney labeled Russia as America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe” during the 2012 election, he was largely ridiculed by the Left, but a July Pew poll35 indicates that most Americans now believe he was right. He was.
Finally, Republicans need a strong candidate. While the large Republican field features many strong personalities such as Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Perry, to name just a few, none performs close to Romney in polls. And insiders doubt that Jeb Bush will consider running at a time when the party has shifted significantly to his right.
Two years remain before the presidential election, and the most unlikely things happen in politics. Take the case of a no-name, no-record, no-accomplishment junior senator’s sudden rise from obscurity to win the presidency. To be clear: The Patriot Post is not endorsing anyone, Romney included. But at the moment, the nomination may be Romney’s to lose.
OPINION IN BRIEF
English poet William Cowper (1731-1800): “Freedom has a thousand charms to show, that slaves, howe’er contented, never know.”
Columnist Ben Shapiro: ”[Obama] uttered the most un-Obamaesque comment of his entire presidency with regard to ISIS: ‘The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force.’ This is eminently true. It is also so far out of Obama’s wheelhouse that he almost strained an oblique in making that statement. And, in fact, when polling doesn’t apply to him, Obama is happy to pressure other nations not to use the language of force – in the same speech, Obama pressured Israel to negotiate with its enemies, even though its enemies are of the exact same ilk as ISIS. If Obama does not bear a striking animus for the Jewish state, the best that can be said is that he wants Israel to be on the cutting edge of Western civilization’s rhetoric-first throat-cutting. After all, Obama tells Israel, too many Israelis are ‘ready to abandon the hard work of peace.’ Yes, the hard work of peace. With people who want to slit their throats.“
Columnist Walter E. Williams: “I would like to gather a news conference with our Army’s chief of staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno; Marines’ commandant, Gen. Joseph Dunford; chief of naval operations, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert; and Gen. Mark A. Welsh, the U.S. Air Force’s chief of staff. This would be my question to them: The best intelligence puts ISIL’s size at 35,000 to 40,000 people. Do you officers think that the combined efforts of our military forces could defeat and lay waste to ISIL? Before they had a chance to answer, I’d add: Do you think the combined military forces of NATO and the U.S. could defeat and eliminate ISIL. Depending on the answers given, I’d then ask whether these forces could also eliminate Iran’s capability of making nuclear weapons. … If our military tells us that we do have the capacity to defeat the terror threat, then the reason that we don’t reflects a lack of willingness. … Unfortunately for our nation’s future and that of the world, we see giving handouts as the most important function of government rather than its most basic function: defending us from barbarians.”
Twitter satirist @weknowwhatsbest: “The White House intruder made it all the way to the East Room, which technically means he spent more time in the WH in Sept than Obama. … The VP is now in charge of WH security. The next intruder will find Jillie Biden firing two shotgun blasts in the air from the porch.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.