The Syria Question
“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness.” –George Washington
The Syria Question
“[W]e have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these [chemical weapons attacks] out,” says tough-talking Barack Obama. Yet there is some doubt that Bashar al-Assad himself actually ordered the chemical attacks. U.S. intelligence officials call the evidence “not a slam dunk,” while British intelligence concludes that there is “a limited but growing body of intelligence which supports the judgement that the regime was responsible for the attacks.” The alternate theory is that a possible rogue commander ordered the attacks. However, the practical effect of whether it was such a rogue official or Assad himself is of little import.
Either way, action against Assad’s regime is not a sure thing at the moment, despite Obama’s naive and ill-advised “red line” threat, and his current insistence that he can go it alone if need be. In the UK, an ally Obama hoped to “lead from behind,” Parliament rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s appeal to follow Obama to war, leaving France as the president’s only possible ally.
Obama, meanwhile, isn’t worrying about Congress – whatever he does will be on his own there too. Unfortunately, the administration has telegraphed its punches, and an unnamed U.S. official noted that Obama wants a strike against Syria “just muscular enough not to get mocked.” Now there’s a bold foreign policy. U.S. military action in service of Obama’s ego is not in our national interest.
The former community organizer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate is trying desperately to look presidential with his proposed “shot across the bow,” but the reality is that the deterioration in the Middle East is in large measure thanks to his failed foreign policy, which has given rise to the “Arab Fall.” Wasn’t this the man who bragged in 2009 that he’d “restored America’s standing in the world”?
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
More Gun-Grabbing Executive Orders
Shamelessly exploiting the nation’s grief-stricken state last December after the murder of 20 children and seven adults in Newtown, Connecticut, Barack Obama announced that he would bypass Congress and sign 23 executive orders to “do something” about “gun violence.” At Thursday’s ceremonial swearing-in of new ATF director Todd Jones, the White House announced two new orders.
One order closes the “loophole” that allowed the registration of a firearm to a National Firearms Act (NFA) trust or corporation, which the White House claims provided a way for “felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns [to] easily evade the required background check and gain access to machine guns or other particularly dangerous weapons.” By “machine guns,” of course, they mean semiautomatic rifles. But when was the last time an inner city thug went to the trouble of securing a firearm through an NFA trust before perpetrating a drive-by shooting?
The second order prevents anyone save museums from buying firearms previously exported from the U.S. to allied military forces. “This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets,” the White House said. The Left continually complains about guns “on our streets” in order to scare people, though the White House “fact sheet” didn’t point to a single crime committed with these guns. What it does mean is that ex-military M1 Garands – not exactly the gang banger’s weapon of choice – will be even harder to come by. No word on how this order will affect illicit government sales to Mexican drug cartels.
Hope ‘n’ Change: Euphemisms and Delays
Another week means yet another major delay for ObamaCare. This week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was postponing signing agreements with insurance plans to be sold on the federal exchanges starting Oct. 1. HHS claims the delay will only be a couple of weeks and that it won’t affect the open enrollment period that begins in October. The reason for the holdup may have to do with technical difficulties in coordinating the display of insurance information on the federal online system. The delay reaches all 34 states that opted to let the federal government maintain exchanges for them.
Meanwhile, the IRS issued final rules this week regarding the individual mandate. The rules define what constitutes minimum essential coverage, the level of responsibility individuals hold for family members, and how the mandate applies to employees on union-sponsored plans and in other unique employment situations. Interestingly, the agency, which will be responsible for making sure people comply with the new insurance rules, was careful to avoid the word “tax” when describing the penalty people face for not maintaining minimum coverage. The new euphemism of choice is “shared responsibility payment.” Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ruled in 2012 that the individual mandate was constitutional only if it was in fact a tax. But that’s a politically inconvenient word and it disproves Barack Obama’s claim that he isn’t raising taxes on the middle class. So, “shared responsibility payment” it is.
Finally, according to the president, we have nothing to worry about. He told reporters this week, “For a lot of people, [ObamaCare] will be cheaper than your cell phone bill.” And probably just as effective at helping you obtain health insurance, too.
A Half-Century Later, Still a Dream
Fifty years ago on the National Mall, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told a diverse audience that he had a dream of a nation where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” On the Aug. 28 anniversary of that iconic address, an audience marked by its lack of ideological diversity heard a succession of speakers bemoan the lack of economic progress attained by blacks – this despite all the “advantages” that feel-good liberal government could dole out.
In 1963, King thundered about the injustice that “the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” Today, that island of poverty is the Democrats’ poverty plantation. Government handouts and a cynically played party loyalty system have yielded nothing more than slavery for many. They just don’t see it.
In the age of Obama, all things are political. While Republicans such as House leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor reportedly declined invitations to the ceremony, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the nation’s sole black senator, was snubbed. King was not a politician, but his legacy has become a political football. “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom,” he once reminded his listeners, “by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” Yet bitterness and hatred seem to be all the leaders of today’s civil rights industry have to offer. Sadly, theirs is nothing more than a bald-faced betrayal of Dr. King’s dream.
For the Record
Columnist Arnold Ahlert: “Just recently, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit in New Orleans federal court to prevent Louisiana from implementing a voucher program at public schools that remains under federal desegregation orders. … The great irony here is that 90 percent of the  children who used the vouchers to get themselves a better education are black Americans. … There is no other alliance in the nation that could produce a half-century of consistent failure and remain as viable. Perhaps one day, black Americans will realize that an inferior education leading to government dependency is one of the primary ways Democrats, who promote such dependency, maintain their power base. Until then, black American families will continue to have their children trapped in the hellholes many public schools have become.”
Columnist Michelle Malkin: “A military jury sentenced unrepentant Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hasan to death on Wednesday. But if another murderous Muslim soldier’s case is any indication, Hasan may be sitting in the catbird seat for years to come. And our men and women in uniform will remain endangered by Islamic vigilantes in their own ranks. … The common thread tying these infiltrators together? Nidal Hasan spelled it out for his deaf, dumb and willfully blind military superiors: ‘We love death more then [sic] you love life!’ He recommended that the military allow Muslim soldiers ‘the option of being released’ to ‘increase troop morale and decrease adverse events.’ Hasan’s report was ignored by his superiors, excluded from his trial and goes unheeded at the Pentagon today. Political correctness is an American soldier of Allah’s best friend.”
Faith and Family
Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh: “This Miley Cyrus incident from Sunday night … continues to be discussed. … I want to be very judicious here. Let me ask this: Why, all of a sudden is it okay to be judgmental on this kind of stuff? … I thought we didn’t have the right to judge somebody else’s morality, and I thought we didn’t have a right to comment. I thought this was art, that it was performance art. I thought we were supposed to see the beauty and the innovation and the creativity…. Why does this upset these ‘progressive’ women? These are the women who send as many other women to Planned Parenthood as they can lasso and round up. These are the same women who have no problem with … with 1.7 million deaths – uh, sorry – abortions a year, but this has their backs up? What, because their daughters used to watch Hannah Montana, and that’s why they’re upset?”
For more, visit The Right Opinion.
Economist Thomas Sowell: “Like other truly talented phonies, Barack Obama concentrates his skills on the effect of his words on other people – most of whom do not have the time to become knowledgeable about the things he is talking about. Whether what he says bears any relationship to the facts is politically irrelevant. A talented con man, or a slick politician, does not waste his time trying to convince knowledgeable skeptics. His job is to keep the true believers believing. He is not going to convince the others anyway.”
Barack Obama: “[T]he broader set of issues that have to do with the economy and economic opportunity and the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, and the continuing barriers that African-Americans and Hispanics and increasingly, you know, working-class whites have in terms of living out the American dream – being able to get a job that pays a decent wage, and having health care, and making sure that their kids can get the education they need to compete – and on those issues it would be very helpful if Congress moved, but once again, we’re not going to wait for Congress.”
This Week’s ‘Braying Jackass’ Award
Barack Obama: “[I]f, in fact, people start thinking the government’s the problem instead of the solution, then what that leaves you is whatever the marketplace does on its own. And what we’ve seen is a marketplace that increasingly produces very unequal results. So it disempowers our capacity for common action to do something about poverty, to do something to help middle-class families.”
MNSBC’s Ed Schultz: “Thanks to Republican policies – and I don’t care if [Detroit’s] been under Democratic rule or not, it’s Republican policies that have come down from the state and the country that have put this city in a bad position.”
Even after five decades of continuous Democrat control, it’s still Republicans’ fault.
From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File
Radio show co-host Mike Papantonio: “[N]o one knows how troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are going to find work when they get home. That’s a big problem. … They can’t get a job in the United States, put ‘em in Syria. Immediate employment through troop deployment.”
Bill Clinton “[A] great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon.”
Comedian Jay Leno: “The secretary of the treasury told Congress that we will be out of money by October. And of course a lot of Americans are shocked by this. Didn’t you think we were already out of money? … Here’s my question. What happened to all that money we gave them last April 15? … Before we give the government any more money, show us some receipts.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team