Just how badly has Barack Obama and his administration damaged relations with our allies in the Middle East? NBC’s Richard Engel reports that the Sunni nations in the region have begun to fear that the Obama administration leaks intel to Iran as part of its efforts at rapprochement with the mullahs, which is why the US got blindsided by the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen. The White House’s “incoherence” in policy, Engel reports, has most of them losing confidence in American leadership, according to Engel’s contacts (via Free Beacon):
ENGEL (1:58): I know several people in the US military who were taken by surprise by this [action in Yemen]. Senior officials who would have been expected to know that there was going to be an operation in Yemen, they didn’t. They were finding out about it almost in real time.
And they believe, and some US members of Congress believe, that the reason Saudi Arabia and other states didn’t tell the US that it was going to launch this war against Shi’ite backed, or Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, is because Saudi Arabia and other countries simply don’t trust the United States anymore, don’t trust this administration — think the administration is working to befriend Iran to try and make a deal in Switzerland, and therefore didn’t think that the intelligence frankly would be secure.
I think that is a situation that is quite troubling for US foreign policy, where traditional allies — like Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, like the United Arab Emirates — don’t know if the US is reliable at this stage to hold onto this information when it comes to Iran.
Category Archives: Entitlement
Bureaucrats from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will weigh and measure children in daycare as part of a study mandated by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
The agency published a notice in the Federal Register on Friday proposing data collection on what meals are served in professional and home daycare facilities and how much physical activity children perform.
Aside from assessing how healthy the food in daycare is, the USDA will also check the weight and height of roughly 3,000 children.
“Children will be asked to cooperate with study staff who will weigh and measure them for the Standing Height and Weight Form,” the notice said.
The study is required by section 223 of Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by Mrs. Obama and passed in 2010. The main aspect of the law implemented new standards for school lunches.
A lesser-known requirement of the law is the “Study on Nutrition and Wellness Quality in Childcare Settings (SNAQCS),” which the USDA announced Friday. The public will have 60 days to comment.
The USDA said the data collection is important since more than 30 million kids are in daycare.
And if by “nation” they mean “this White House,” it’s probably true. Here’s a refresher on the administration’s moral calculus these days:
Out: Standing by the only democratic Middle East ally.
In: Entering into deals with theocratic terror-sponsoring regimes that will destabilize the entire region, without the consent of the American people.
Sure, Iran’s top ally may be dropping chlorine gas on civilians, but the real problem in the Middle East is the Israel electorate. “The Price Israel Must Pay: We no longer have a Netanyahu problem. We have an Israel problem”—not a Hamas problem, or Fatah problem, not a random-criminals-shooting-folks-in-markets problem, or a lack-of-a-civil-society-in-the-Middle-East problem, but an Israel problem—writes William Saltean over at Slate. If you turn on Obama—which is the only real “problem” here—there is always a steep price.
It is true, for many Democrats this is about Israel, not any one politician. But the irrational hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu sure does propel things
But the reason the president is facing such bipartisan backlash is that an overwhelming number of voters are deeply worried about the direction of the negotiations. Think about how rare, in these polarized times, mobilizing a veto-proof majority of congressional Republicans and Democrats is for any significant legislation. Yet despite all the distractions, Congress is close to achieving that goal: requiring the administration to go to Congress for approval of any deal.
The administration is so focused on process and protocol in attacking the opposition because it’s a useful distraction from how unpopular the administration’s eagerness to strike any deal with Iran has become.
Being so dismissive of public opinion is a dangerous game to play, especially when it comes to foreign policy. For all his mistakes in conducting the Iraq War, former President George W. Bush secured a bipartisan congressional authorization for declaring war against Iraq, working to rally public support in 2003 to win that approval.
Obama views that equation backward: Getting the outcome he wants, and then attacking his opponents for not going along with him. It certainly hasn’t proved to be a healthy process domestically. Now he’s trying to extend that approach to the international stage.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Wednesday that it’s possible the Secret Service erased surveillance tapes of two supposedly intoxicated agents driving a vehicle through an active bomb-scene investigation site.
Speaking to CNN and CBS News, the House Oversight Committee chairman said the revelation was made known to several lawmakers during a closed-doors meeting with Secret Service Director Joe Clancy.
“We inquired if there were additional tapes and angles and the director informed us that there may not be because it’s their policy to erase them 72 hours after they record, which is just unfathomable,” Chaffetz told CNN. “I can’t think of any good reason to do that.”
“This is not your local 7-11. This is the White House,” he added.
The Republican lawmaker told CBS News that the news left the entire room in astonishment.
“I don’t think anyone in that room could believe it,” Chaffetz said. “That’s just a stunning revelation that 72 hours after they make a tape they destroy it? That doesn’t make any sense to us.”
Chaffetz also questioned why some tapes would be destroyed, when others were preserved.
“If it’s regular policy to destroy them after 72 hours, why did they have two of the tapes, and where are the rest of the tapes? And so far the Secret Service has not been able to answer the question,” he told CBS News.
The two senior agents — including Mark Connolly, the No. 2 on Obama’s security detail — had been with other agents drinking at a bar last week when they returned to the White House in a government car, a U.S. official said. The vehicle entered an area already closed off by the Secret Service, who were investigating a suspicious package and had put the White House on lockdown. Officers on the scene saw the agents’ car, traveling slowly, make contact with a barrier, the official said.
After a bruising weekend handling ferocious backlash over his campaign to acquire a $65 million Gulfstream G650 airplane with planned donations of $300 or more from 200,000 people, controversial televangelist and founder of World Changers Church International, Creflo Dollar has completely abandoned the idea and will only consider acquiring one in the future if it’s “properly priced.”
“There is no campaign right now,” said Juda Engelmayer of 5W Public Relations, who represents Creflo Dollar Ministries, in an interview with The Christian Post on Monday. The website hosting the campaign page was deactivated last week and an option to donate to the G650 campaign through the Creflo Dollar Ministries website was removed Monday afternoon.
Dollar, who has an international ministry, was banking on raising enough money to buy the luxury jet to replace one owned by his ministry that was significantly damaged in an accident last November.
Maybe they should ask Al Sharpton to contribute…
Barack Obama has an obsessive animosity when it comes to Prime Minister Netanyahu, which he has demonstrated time and again. So much so that Obama and his aides did everything they could to influence the Israeli election, from smearing Mr. Netanyahu — referring to him as a “coward” and a “chickens***” — to childishly elevating a difference over Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress into a foreign policy crisis to perhaps illegally funneling money to oust the sitting leader of Israel. We know that Jeremy Bird, who served as Obama’s deputy national campaign director in 2008 and his national campaign director in 2012, arrived in Israel in January to help unseat Mr. Netanyahu. This is all quite astonishing, even unprecedented. Benjamin Netanyahu may have won without the outside interference by Obama — but what Obama & Company did certainly helped.
I’m reminded of the self-inflicted “stunning setback” Mr. Obama suffered in 2009, when he and Mrs. Obama put their prestige on the line — they both flew to Copenhagen to make an appeal to the IOC — to get Chicago the 2016 Olympics. Chicago was eliminated on the first ballot. This time, the stakes were much higher and the damage done to Mr. Obama’s reputation far greater. .
There’s quite a pattern Mr. Obama has established in foreign policy during his presidency. He has failed in almost every instance, from his efforts at personal diplomacy to his policies. Remember the “new beginning” with the Arab and Muslim world? That claim now seems risible. Indeed, our relations with nation after nation — Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Canada, Israel, India, Australia, Honduras, Brazil, Germany, and Great Britain, to name just a few — are worse now than they were when Mr. Obama was sworn in as president in 2009. As for Mr. Obama’s claim that al Qaeda was “decimated,” in congressional testimony recently, Mr. Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said that terrorism trend lines were worse “than at any other point in history.” And the terrorist group the president famously referred to as the “jayvee team” just last year is now the best-armed, best-funded terrorist group on earth, controlling “a volume of resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations.”
Mr. Obama’s clumsy and malicious mishandling of relations with Israel, then, is but one brick in a wall of failure and infamy. The fact that Benjamin Netanyahu emerged victorious in his confrontation with Barack Obama — a confrontation whose root cause can be traced to Obama’s hostility not just to Netanyahu but to Israel (a point I’ve elaborated on here) — is a heartening development in a world that is increasingly chaotic and violent.
In a remarkable turn of events, Virginia legislators reportedly have had to step in to protect animals from PETA, which runs a gulag-style animal shelter at its headquarters on the banks of the St. Elizabeth River that euthanized over 80 percent of the animals in its care in 2014.
Virginia lawmakers found that rate so abnormally high that they passed a bill in February to redefine a private animal shelter as “operating for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes.” The law will squeeze PETA whose primary service to animals in Norfolk has not been adoption, but rather a quick exit from the world.
The bill, put forward by Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin), passed the House of Delegates in a landslide 95-2 vote, after the Senate had approved the measure by 33-5. This despite the fact that PETA hired lobbyist Stephen Haner to try to kill the bill.
According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took in 3,017 animals in 2014. Of these, a mere 162 were adopted, while 2455 were “euthanized.” This rate of 81% was not exceptional, since in prior years the rate has risen above 90%. A website documenting PETA’s killing record claims that the organization has euthanized more than 33,000 animals since 1998.
“It’s just impossible to consider that they are making an attempt to adopt out animals with that failure record,” said Debra Griggs of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. She said that the new law codifies what “all shelters in Virginia are already doing — except for PETA.”
PETA’s shelter, in fact, stands alone in its draconian policy, with a kill rate more than three times that of other shelters in the state. Combined, Virginia animal shelters took in 210,599 animals last year, of which only 49,302—less than 25%—were euthanized.