Pentagon admits weapons-drop fail as anti-ISIS operation hits $424mn

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The Pentagon has admitted that a chunk of its cache of weapons meant for Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants in Kobani has fallen into terrorist hands. The Turkish president has been voicing his frustration with Washington over this.

On Wednesday, the US defense body went against earlier government claims that American weapons always reach its intended destinations and had to concede that two bundles out of a total of 28 intended for the Kurds have indeed ended up with the terrorists.

The militants’ advances on the Syrian-Turkish border are what spurred Washington into action in the first place.

This comes as the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) posted a video showing off brand-new American hardware in boxes with English writing and a parachute splayed out just beside the windfall.

“Yesterday we announced that one resupply bundle went astray and was destroyed. We have since relooked at that and we have determined that a second bundle also went astray and probably fell into enemy hands,” Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren said.

One of the bundles was later destroyed in an airstrike.

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The video itself caused quite a stir on the social media landscape with users ‘thanking’ Washington for delivering the arms into the wrong hands, something the US has in the past vowed to avoid.

The previous day saw a much more optimistic White House, when Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes insisted to CNN that the administration feels “very confident that, when we air drop support as we did into Kobani… we’ve been able to hit the target in terms of reaching the people we want to reach.”

It was Washington which earlier maintained that the air drops were of the utmost urgency for the border town of Kobani to remain intact, and that it was high time to take a more drastic approach to “degrading and destroying” the IS, which outnumbered and outgunned the Syrian-Kurdish resistance.

The fight against IS terrorists has so far cost Washington approximately $424 million since the start of the operation on August 8, according to the Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby. He averaged the defense body’s spending to be around $7.6 million a day.

The Syria campaign has so far lasted about a month. American air strikes there have so far killed 553 people, including 32 civilians.

But the current failure to deliver lethal equipment into the right hands is not an isolated incident – merely the latest in a series of gains by IS terrorists rampaging through northern Syria and Iraq, where millions of dollars in American equipment had already been collected from abandoned military bases.

It has in some circles become common sense that the threat posed by the IS has been greatly facilitated by America, whose weapons manufacturers are now reaping the benefits of the destruction caused by the terrorists by advocating for more weapons exports.

“In terms of the companies’ interests, profit and revenue, surely war facilitates that if you’re a defense industry. The irony is that the US and the larger coalition is using these weapons oftentimes against Islamic State, which has been armed inadvertently by the US and these Sunni-coalition countries. Because we provided arms in the context of the Arab awakening to support the uprising against [Alawite (Shiite) Syrian President] Assad. And Islamic State ended up prying these weapons away from the so-called ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, as well as by scaring the Iraqi federal forces into submission. And the US had been arming to the teeth the Iraqi government,” Max Abrahms, an expert on terrorism at Northeastern University, told RT.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters / Umit Bektas)Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters / Umit Bektas)

Turkish frustration
“It has emerged that what was done was wrong,” came the reaction from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, as cited by Hurriyet Daily News, when word of the delivery failure broke.

Turkey was adamantly opposed to any deliveries – military or otherwise – to Kurdish forces, which it views as ‘terrorists’. It was in fact the PYD [the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party forces] that bore the brunt of the IS onslaught on the Syrian-Turkish border town, as Istanbul’s tanks kept a watchful eye from a distance.

When asked earlier if it would intervene to help repel the terrorist group that earlier promised to “liberate Istanbul,” the Turkish government said it would, only in the event of Turkish soldiers being endangered. It referred to the troops guarding a historical landmark inside Syria the Turkish believe to be rightfully theirs.

Now Erdogan also appears frustrated that the Kurdish forces were sent any weapons at all.

“We told [US President Barack Obama] that ‘Support that you will lend to the PYD and the PKK is not acceptable to us.’” He could have been referring to a weekend conversation with the US leader, who tried to implore him to reconsider the air drops.

“Two days passed, we are in the third/fourth day, Kobani didn’t fall. Moreover, I have difficulty in understanding why Kobani is this much strategic for [the US], because there are no civilians left in Kobani anymore; 200,000 people crossed into Turkey and we are hosting them. Only around 2,000 fighters are left in Kobani and they didn’t say ‘yes’ to Peshmerga first, but now, at the last moment, they said ‘yes’. And we told [Obama] we would be ‘helpful’ about this.”

“Such an operation cannot be defined and explained. That’s to say, a healthy comment cannot be made in regards to whether a result will be obtained through this or not. To whom and to where you are lending support, everything is obvious,” the Turkish leader claimed.

ISLAMIC STATE EARNS $1M A MONTH IN BLACK MARKET OIL SALES

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Group has taken in at least $20 million in ransom payments this year from kidnappings

The U.S. Treasury Department says Islamic State (IS) militants are earning about $1 million a day just from black market oil sales.

The official who leads the department’s effort to undermine the group’s financial strength says IS also has taken in at least $20 million in ransom payments this year from kidnappings.

David Cohen, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, says the group takes in several million dollars a month from wealthy donors, and from extortion rackets and other criminal activities, such as robbing banks.

Cohen says that except for state-sponsored terrorist groups, the Islamic State group is probably the best-funded terrorist organization the Treasury Department has ever confronted.

“It is difficult to get precise revenue estimates on the value to ISIL of these transactions in light of the murky nature of the market, but we estimate that beginning in mid-June, ISIL has earned approximately $1 million a day from oil sales,” Cohen said, using an acronym for the group.

The group wants to create a caliphate, or Islamic empire, in the Middle East. Led by Iraqi militant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State group initially tried to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, but other groups, including Al Qaeda central command, turned against IS because of its brutality.

IS has captured territory across Syria and northern Iraq.

“With the important exception of some state-sponsored terrorist organizations, IS is probably the best-funded terrorist organization we have confronted,” Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in prepared remarks for a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Unlike the core Al Qaeda terrorist network, IS gets only a relatively small share of funding from deep-pocket donors and therefore does not depend primarily on moving money across international borders. Instead, IS obtains the vast majority of its revenues through local criminal and terrorist activities, Cohen said.

“They rob banks. They lay waste to thousands of years of civilization in Iraq and Syria by looting and selling antiquities,” he said. “They steal livestock and crops from farmers. And despicably, they sell abducted girls and women as sex slaves.”

Ebola Czar’s First job Should Be — Explain His Own Appointment!

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In response to ‘Ebola Czar’ still not ready for prime time:

After all – he’ a “political fixer” and the negative perceptions people have about his appointment needs fixing sooner rather than later.

Folks on the right and the left can’t help but think that the appointment of a longtime Democrat political operative with no medical background whatsoever – might be a sign that the White House thinks of Ebola more as a political problem than a health problem. Some even have the impression that the “Ebola Czar’s” main function will be to quarantine the White House from criticism. Others suspect his job will be to stop the deadly spread of Ebola… stories in the news.

He needs to disabuse us of these wild notions.

Speaking of wild notions – conspiracy theories abound as to why the president refuses to call for a travel ban, or secure our borders. People feel like political correctness and reparations are taking precedence over their own health and well-being. Some on the fringe even fear that the Regime actually wants to “thin the herd,” so to speak.

His extensive background in Democrat messaging should go a long way toward shooting down these conspiracy theories. But first, he needs to explain why the president would appoint as his Ebola Czar someone who thinks “overpopulation” (especially in the third world) is the most important issue for leaders, today.

Finally, he needs to explain why Dr. Nicole Lurie, an HHS assistant secretary (whose job description -“Preparedness and Response” to Pandemics and All-Hazards – is one that most people would associate with the designation of “Ebola Czar,”) is no where to be seen, and has become so allergic to the press?

His experience as a “political fixer” may come in handy on that one.

Chicago Way: Voting Machines Changing Republican Votes to Democrat Blamed on a ‘Calibration Error’

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Cook County, Illinois and Obama’s political home of Chicago are famous for dirty politics, political greed and voter fraud and this year’s early voting shows that not much has changed.

Chicago has always been a breeding ground and hotbed of political corruption and still is the home of the Communist Party USA, and was the home of Communist radical Saul Alinsky who taught that the “ends justifies the means.”

When Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote on Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library, his vote, which was naturally cast for himself, was changed by the voting machine to that of his Democrat opponent, reports Watchdog.org:

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Whenever Moynihan attempted to vote for a Republican, the voting machine registered the vote for the Democrat instead.

Cook County Board of Elections Deputy Communications Director Jim Scalzitti, told the Illinois Watchdog, that, “It was a calibration error of the touch-screen on the machine.”

Of course, it’s interesting that the so-called calibration error, was always in favor of switching the vote from Republican to Democrat, and not the other way around. Chicago politics have been dominated by the Democrat Party for decades.

Is this part of what is known as a “Chicago Way?”

Here’s How Obamacare ‘So Far Is an Expansion of Medicaid’

71% of Obamacare Signups Traced to Government’s Expansion of Medicaid

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The vast majority of Americans gaining health coverage under Obamacare actually qualified for Medicaid because of loosened eligibility —and that’s what boosted enrollment among those previously uninsured, according to a new report from The Heritage Foundation.

The Obama administration has boasted that the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, would allow those previously uninsured to purchase quality, affordable health care.

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“The inescapable conclusion is that, when it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is an expansion of Medicaid,” Heritage Foundation health policy experts Edmund F. Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski write in a research paper scheduled for release today.

Officials announced in May that more than 8 million Americans had picked a health plan on the Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov.

Haislmaier and Gonshorowski conclude that 8.5 million Americans gained coverage through Obamacare from January to July.

Commentary: The Real Story on How Much Obamacare Increased Coverage

However, their paper says, more than 70 percent of those signups can be traced to the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in 24 states:

Of the 8.5 million total individuals who gained health insurance coverage, 71 percent of that net coverage gain was attributable to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults.

In the states that adopted and implemented Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, enrollment skyrocketed as an additional 5.7 million Americans signed up for coverage.

In 21 states opting out of Medicaid expansion, however, enrollment was strikingly lower. The Heritage report finds that 355,674 Americans signed up for Medicaid in those states.

In all, Medicaid enrollment increased by 6 million individuals for the first half of 2014.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.

The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, loosened eligibility requirements for Medicaid, traditionally the government’s health program for the poor. The changes made it easier for individuals with an income of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line (roughly $16,000) to qualify for the taxpayer-funded health coverage.

>>> Report: Obamacare Will Add $131 Billion to Federal Deficits in Next Decade

As the Heritage experts note, many Medicaid-eligible Americans under the new requirements also don’t have dependent children.

States got an incentive–federal dollars–to adopt the requirements.

Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia opted to expand Medicaid. By July, however, 24 states had implemented the program.

The Affordable Care Act went into effect in October. Its implementation included the rollout of HealthCare.gov, the online marketplace where consumers can peruse and purchase insurance plans.

HealthCare.gov’s advent was accompanied by well-publicized malfunctions, glitches and failures. White House officials scrambled to fix the website as consumers experienced long delays. As a result, the Obama administration extended the close of open enrollment from March 30 until April 15.

>>> California Politician Claims Obamacare Contracts Went to Agency Director’s Cronies

Despite the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov, President Obama and then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted that enrollment in Obamacare insurance plans topped the original goal of 7 million.

According to reports from the Department of Health and Human Services, enrollment likely hovered around 7.3 million, as original estimates took into account those who selected a plan, but did not pay their first month’s premiums.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who in June replaced Sebelius as HHS secretary, said in a speech last month at the Brookings Institute:

Four years after President Obama signed the law, middle class families have more security, and many who already had insurance have better coverage. Fewer Americans are uninsured, and at the same time, we’re spending our health care dollars more wisely, and we’re starting to receive higher quality care.