|8:44 AM, Sep 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
There's now a smaller percentage of American who believe pot should be legalized than there were a year ago.
As the Washington Post reports, "National support for legalized marijuana has slipped by seven percentage points in the past year, from 51 percent in 2013 to 44 percent today, according to the Public Religion Research Institute."
"PRRI asked 4,500 Americans about the intensity of their support for or opposition to legalizing marijuana. The year-over-year drop in overall support was concentrated among those who favored marijuana legalization last year, but not strongly. Opposition increased greatest among those who strongly opposed legal marijuana."
The Post includes this handy chart:
'It's almost impossible for the average American to understand how totally political Washington is today.'7:43 AM, Sep 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Bill Clinton was asked about Barack Obama's political situation by former aide George Stephanopoulos on ABC Clinton of course has some words for Republicans and "how totally political Washington is today" (as opposed to when Clinton was in the White House?). But surprisingly Clinton also claims a certain element of the media has always opposed Obama.
"I wonder, is there something to this, you know, second term curse? You look at modern presidents, you hit that sixth year, it's almost impossible for a president of either party to have much support that late in the game," Stephanopoulos said to his former boss.
Clinton replied, "I think his challenges are rooted in the fact that first of all, he had certain elements of the media and the Republican party who were always against him. It's almost impossible for the average American to understand how totally political Washington is today."
5:35 PM, Sep 23, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
“Last night’s strikes were only the beginning,” Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told the Pentagon press corps. More strikes can be “expected.”
Well, let’s hope so: the $64,000 question has been whether Barack Obama would take this war seriously, and whether the military means would match the mission of degrading and “ultimately destroying” the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. As Kirby’s only-the-beginning comment implies, the strikes carried out last night were more pinpricks than shock-and-awe. Indeed, 1998’s Operation Desert Fox – the Clinton-era cruise-missile raid that introduced the term “pinprick” to military punditry – was many times larger than last night’s as-yet-unnamed operation.
Even a cursory review of what’s known about the strikes reveals that they are more notable for what they weren’t than what they were. Begin at the level of international politics: announcing the strikes, President Obama stressed that the “broad coalition” against ISIL “makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.” But based upon the public reckoning from last night, the coalition is very narrow and small. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Bahrain “participated” militarily, while Qatar, host to the U.S. Navy’s regional headquarters, “supported” operations. In other words, the coalition consisted exclusively of “moderate” Sunni states. That’s not bad – these are our long-standing and most natural allies, and they represent the most “willing,” if only because they have no where else to turn even when they doubt us. But it leaves out Turkey and looks like (and in fact is) an anti-Iran, anti-Shi’a lineup. It also doesn’t mention Iraq, whose Kurds surely “supported” the strikes flown from bases near Irbil. We are intervening in a region-wide struggle for power, and the size and composition of the coalition reflect that fact.
Operationally the strikes were likewise a reflection of the unfocused nature of administration strategy. In additional to attacking ISIL headquarters – apparently vacated at the orders of ISIL leaders – other strikes went after elements of Jabhat Nusra, the formal al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria, and members of the “Khorasan Group,” a delegation of al Qaeda senior leaders and experts dispatched by AQ central. All these were worthy targets, but that reflects the diffuse and dispersed nature of the enemy and the costs of delayed action in Syria, and serves to divide and lessen whatever punitive effects the strikes may have had. Attacking in three directions at once with a relatively small force – and, to repeat: in what is a larger war – is indeed a recipe for a long campaign, if not necessarily for victory.
4:55 PM, Sep 23, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The attacks on ISIS targets in Syria will do damage. And the enemy may look for ways to retaliate. Troubling news, in that regard comes from Justin Sink who writes in The Hill:
Some of an estimated 100 Americans who have traveled to the Middle East and joined terrorist organizations like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have returned to the United States, a senior administration official said Monday.
And from Mitchell Prothero at McClatchy who reports:
The chief spokesman for the Islamic State has called on the group’s supporters throughout the world to act on their own initiative to attack Western civilian and military targets in retaliation for the U.S.-led coalition’s aerial attacks in Iraq.
It was always going to be a long, asymmetrical war.
3:54 PM, Sep 23, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A TV ad from a new super PAC targets Democratic congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters of Michigan. The 30-second ad's voiceover says that "for the last six years, we've had a president and a Senate who's divided us and fumbled foreign policy, leading from behind." The ad shows images of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, former IRS official Lois Lerner, and Islamist militants waving ISIS flags in the Middle East.
"This November," the ad continues, "we can send Gary Peters to Washington, and nothing will change. Or, we can elect Terri Lynn Land and start to fix what's gone so terribly wrong." The $300,000 buy will air the ad in Michigan's smaller markets of Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and the Upper Peninsula, targeting conservative leaning voters in those areas.
Watch the video below:
The ad has been produced on behalf of B-PAC, a brand new 527 super PAC that filed with the Federal Election Commission on September 4. A spokesman for the group says the PAC will be playing in other "key Senate races" by asking voters if they feel safer than they did six years ago.
That's the theme of B-PAC's first ad, which started running last week in Michigan. Peters will "vote with the Democrats and their magical thinking on everything from health care to the economy to national security," says the voiceover. Watch that ad below:
What's a conservative super PAC doing in the Michigan Senate race? Unlike some of the other races in blue-leaning states like Iowa and Colorado, Michigan has appeared to be a reach state for Republicans. Despite the open seat (Democrat Carl Levin is retiring), Republican nominee Terri Lynn Land hasn't quite caught fire against Peters. The state hardly ever elects Republicans to the Senate—since 1972, just one Republican, Spencer Abraham, has won a Senate race in Michigan.
But while Peters has led in every poll since May, Land has only trailed by single digits in the most recent polling. If 2014 is to be a wave year for the GOP, Republican candidates in states like Michigan will need enthusiasm among the conservative base to boost enough turnout. Ads like these appear designed to do just that.
1:29 PM, Sep 23, 2014 • By CLAUDIA ANDERSON
Christina Hoff Sommers, of Factual Feminist fame, continues to expose the feminist establishment’s war on truth. This jaunty five-minute video takes on the endlessly recycled pseudo-fact of the 23-cent wage gap between men and women. Watch it below:
12:05 PM, Sep 23, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria for the first time overnight. Much of the public discourse in the weeks leading up to the bombings focused on the Islamic State, a former branch of al Qaeda that has captured a significant amount territory across both Iraq and Syria. But the bombings are not just intended to weaken the Islamic State. U.S. bombers are also targeting positions controlled by Jabhat al Nusrah, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.
This is the right course for the Obama administration to pursue.
With its stunningly effective military tactics and mass killings, the Islamic State has garnered most of the headlines since earlier this year. The recorded beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff played no small part in shaping the American public’s opinion that something must be done.
But Jabhat al Nusrah, which has been openly at odds with the Islamic State since last year, is also a threat.
Consider all of the following.
Al Qaeda operatives embedded within Jabhat al Nusrah are tasked with targeting the U.S. and Western interests. The Obama administration says they were plotting “imminent” attacks.
In recent days, U.S. officials openly worried about al Qaeda operatives, known as the “Khorasan group,” who had been dispatched to Syria by al Qaeda’s senior leaders to plan attacks against the West. The Khorasan group, which is named after al Qaeda’s Khorasan shura, or advisory, council is embedded within Jabhat al Nusrah.
A statement released by CENTCOM notes that the U.S. airstrikes in Syria targeted "a network of seasoned al Qaeda veterans - sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group - who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations." The strikes are intended "to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests."
In an interview with ABC News, Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said, "We had very good indications that this group, which is a very dangerous group, was plotting and planning imminent attacks against Western targets to include the U.S. homeland and it was on that basis that we struck targets, Khorasan targets inside Syria."
Kirby continued, "We believe that the individuals that were plotting and planning it have been eliminated and we’re going to continue... to assess the effectiveness of our strikes going through today."
“Core” al Qaeda members are part of Jabhat al Nusrah and the “Khorasan group.”
11:22 AM, Sep 23, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new ad from New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown highlights the Republican's message of "restoring America's leadership in the world." The ad criticizes Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen and President Barack Obama for being "confused about the nature of the threat" from radical Islamist groups like ISIS.
"Not me," Brown says. Watch the 30-second spot below:
According to Real Clear Politics, Shaheen maintains about a five-point lead over Brown in the race. A recent CNN poll, though, showed the two candidates tied.
11:22 AM, Sep 23, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
"Mother Nature ... is screaming at us about" climate change, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the crowd at the opening event of Climate Week NYC 2014. While Kerry used a more measured tone than that which he attributed to Mother Nature, the apocalyptic nature of his warnings were in keeping with her purported sentiment. Using projections that appear hyperbolic, even compared to the worst case scenarios presented in the latest United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Kerry said that "we’re on track to warm at at least 4 degrees over the course of the next 20, 30, 40 years, and by the century, even more." Kerry linked the increase to more severe effects of "greenhouse gas levels" than scientists originally figured:
When we began this discussion a number of years ago, we were warned by the scientists that you had to keep the greenhouse gas levels about 450 parts per million in order to be able to hold to the 2 degree centigrade possible allowable warming taking place. Then, because of the rate at which it was happening, the scientists revised that estimate and they told us, “No, no, no, you can’t do 450 anymore. It’s got to be 350 or we’re not going to meet the standard.” And I, unfortunately, tell you that today not only are we above 450 parts per million, but we are on track to warm – having already warmed at 1 degree – we’ve got 1 degree left – we’re on track to warm at at least 4 degrees over the course of the next 20, 30, 40 years, and by the century, even more.
Kerry then invoked Al Gore, the IPCC, and Mother Nature to back him up:
[I]t is absolutely imperative that we decide to move and to act now. You don’t have to take my word for it. You don’t have to Al Gore’s word for it. You don’t have to take the IPCC’s word and the Framework Convention, all those people who are sounding the alarm bells. You can just wake up pretty much any day and listen to Mother Nature, who is screaming at us about it.
The IPCC report, however, does not say that a four-degree increase is only 20, 30, or 40 years away. The scenarios emphasized in the IPCC report project an increase of 1.5 or 2 degrees, though some scenarios do project an increase as high as 4 degrees. But all of those projections are by the year 2100, not 2034 to 2054 as Kerry's words suggest. In fact, the summary of the report states that "globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature data as calculated by a linear trend, show a warming of 0.85 [0.65 to 1.06] °C, over the period 1880 to 2012." Kerry's numbers would require more warming in each of the next four decades than has taken place in the entire previous 130 year period.
An email inquiry to the State Department regarding the source of Kerry's claim, which was forwarded to the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs for a response, has gone unanswered.
11:00 AM, Sep 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaker of the House John Boehner supports President Obama's actions against ISIS.
"ISIL is a direct threat to the safety and security of the United States and our allies. I support the airstrikes launched by the president, understanding that this is just one step in what must be a larger effort to destroy and defeat this terrorist organization. I wish our men and women in uniform Godspeed as they carry out this fight," reads a statement from the speaker's office.
9:31 AM, Sep 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
This is a real New York Times correction:
An article on Sept. 11 about President Obama’s speech to the nation describing his plans for a military campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, gave an incorrect comparison between efforts by the president to seek allies’ support for his plans and President George W. Bush’s efforts on such backing for the Iraq war. The approach Mr. Obama is taking is similar to the one Mr. Bush took; it is not the case that, “Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners.”
8:43 AM, Sep 23, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
A.J. Lagoe and Steve Eckert of Military Times report that:
According to official medical records, a former Minnesota Marine apparently contacted the Minneapolis VA from his grave to cancel an existing appointment and reschedule it.
The victim (for that, surely, is what he was):
… died on November 26, 2012, after being told he would have to wait almost 70 days to get an appointment for a serious seizure disorder at the neurology clinic at the Minneapolis VA.
But VA records show that:
… four days after his death, [he] cancelled his scheduled December appointment and requested a later date.
Compounding the crime, is the fact that:
The VA's own policy says the goal for getting a patient into a specialty clinic like Neurology is 14 days.
7:31 AM, Sep 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The U.S. Navy released this video of airstrikes being launched against ISIS in Syria:
"The U.S. Navy released video early Tuesday of missile launches from sea toward Islamic State militant group targets in Syria," reads the Associated Press's description.
4:01 PM, Sep 22, 2014 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
EMILY's List, an organization dedicated to electing women who oppose legal restrictions on abortion and support taxpayer-funding of abortion, held a fundraiser in New York City today, but one notable name was dropped from the list of speakers: Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's Democratic senatorial candidate.
As the screenshot above (which was sent along by a Republican source) shows, EMILY's List had touted Grimes as a speaker at the event, but she is no longer listed as a speaker. A spokeswoman for Grimes did not reply to emails asking why the Democratic candidate canceled her appearance at the event.
According to a Marist poll released this year, "67% of Kentucky residents think abortion should be illegal." With Kentucky voters so strongly opposed to abortion in general, it's no surprise that Grimes wouldn't want to be at an event that would draw attention to her more extreme positions on abortion.
EMILY's List is known for demanding that candidates totally agree with their agenda in order to receive an endorsement. Former Democratic senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, for example, lost her endorsement when she supported a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Earlier this year, a spokeswoman for Grimes claimed that "Alison opposes late-term abortions," but Grimes herself later indicated that she opposes a ban on most abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy.
Though Grimes apparently doesn't want to be seen in public with EMILY's List, she seems more than happy to take their money. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, EMILY's List has given more money to Grimes than any other candidate this year.
Hosted by Michael Graham.2:21 PM, Sep 22, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with frequent contributor Steven F. Hayward on the protests by climate change activists in New York and in a few other locations, who they are, and why their protests don't matter.
This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.
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