BY HARRY HIBBS
Over the past few years, we’ve seen any expression of Christianity painted as a violation of the freedom of religion. If liberals are so concerned with the separation of church and state, why is that they allow President Barack Obama to continue to publicly praise and endorse Islam?
Obama claims that he is a Christian, but there is no religion that he has talked more emphatically about than Islam. In pieces, it might be easy to overlook, but when you put all his comments together, you’ll see that Obama is very determined to push the “religion of peace.”
Thankfully, Sean Hannity has made it easy to view these pieces as a whole, by posting a four-minute supercut of all of President Obama’s most outrageous comments.
“We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world,” he is shown saying, before he continues on to say that “Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”
“Since our founding, Muslim Americans have enriched the United States,” he argues.
These arguments are not just one-sided. We’re not even sure if they’re historically accurate. And they are affecting his views on foreign policy—which in turn is putting our nation at risk.
Following the bombing attacks over the weekend in New York City and New Jersey by a naturalized citizen originally from Afghanistan who became a radical Islamic jihadist, concerns over the federal government’s refugee resettlement program and Muslim asylum seekers have been renewed.
To this point, the state of Texas just served notice to the Obama administration that unless certain changes to the program are made swiftly, it would no longer take part in the resettlement of any refugees in the state through the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.
According to a news release from the office of Gov. Greg Abbott, the ORR program was given until Sept. 30 to approve the plan put forward by Texas regarding the resettlement of refugees in the state, which specifically required national security officials to ensure that none of the refugees scheduled for resettlement in the state posed a threat to their state or its citizens.
A statement from Abbott read, “The federal government’s refugee settlement program is riddled with serious problems that pose a threat to our nation. The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence have repeatedly declared their inability to fully screen refugees from terrorist-based nations.”
“Even with the inability to properly vet refugees from Syria and countries known to be supporters or propagators of terrorism, President Obama is now ineptly proposing a dramatic increase in the number of refugees to be resettled in the U.S.,” Abbott’s statement continued.
“Empathy must be balanced with security. Texas has done more than its fair share in aiding refugees, accepting more refugees than any other state between October 2015 and March 2016,” he stated. “While many refugees pose no danger, some pose grave danger, like the Iraqi refugee with ties to ISIS who was arrested earlier this year after he plotted to set off bombs at two malls in Houston.”
“Despite multiple requests by the State of Texas, the federal government lacks the capability or the will to distinguish the dangerous from the harmless, and Texas will not be an accomplice to such dereliction of duty to the American people,” he said.
“Therefore, Texas will withdraw from the refugee resettlement program. I strongly urge the federal government to completely overhaul a broken and flawed refugee program that increasingly risks American lives,” he added.
Everyone knows that there is a dangerous risk inherent in bringing lightly vetted refugees into the country, particularly when ruthless terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group have repeatedly expressed their intentions to infiltrate the refugee population with their own militant jihadists.
Nevertheless, President Barack Obama and his would-be successor, Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, have made it equally as clear that they had no concerns about the potential risk for terrorists to infiltrate the refugee program in order to carry out attacks inside the homeland, and plan to bring in tens of thousands more refugees from terrorist hot spots around the globe.
Texas will have no part in that though, and has put its foot down with the administration, letting it know in no uncertain terms that refugees will be thoroughly vetted and proven to be a non-risk, or they won’t be accepted into the Lone Star State.
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The incident, which was not immediately commented on by the Pentagon, happened “in recent days,” according to General Farzad Esmaili, as cited by Iranian state television on Friday.
The general didn’t disclose any details of the alleged attempted violation of Iranian airspace.
Last week Tehran accused the US of provocatively testing Iranian air defenses by flying within a mile of its border. Iran reportedly threatened to shoot down American surveillance aircraft, should they cross into Iranian airspace, with the Pentagon allegedly wanting to test the Iranians’ reaction to a close flyby.
Tehran regularly voices irritation over the US military presence close to its borders. In August Iranian gunboats intercepted a US destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz, in what Washington described as an “unprofessional maneuver.”
BY ELI LAKE
One might think President Barack Obama would have asked his top military officials to weigh in on his administration’s decision in January to send $400 million in cash to Iran. After all, Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and terrorists prefer cash to wire payments because it’s so difficult to track. And its armed forces have both directly and indirectly threatened the U.S. military in the Middle East.
But Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry did not consult Secretary of Defense Ash Carter or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford.
This news came out of a hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In response to a question from Republican Senator Ted Cruz about the cash payment to Iran, Carter made it clear that he had been out of the loop.
“We weren’t involved in this,” Carter said, adding that it was part of the settlement of a decades-long legal dispute between Iran and the U.S. over arms sales. “I don’t know all the details of it, and the chairman and I were not involved in that. It is a decision that was taken by the law enforcement and diplomatic and I would refer you there.”
When Dunford was asked about the cash payments, he responded: “I am not trying to be evasive but I don’t know the details of that arrangement and it really was a political decision that was made to provide that money and I don’t think it’s appropriate that I comment on that.”
Christopher Sherwood, a press officer at the Pentagon, later told me pretty much the same thing. “It was worked out through the administration. The Department of Defense had nothing to do with that.”
All of this is important for a few reasons. For starters, in response to repeated questions about the cash payment, which coincided with an intricate deal to release Americans detained in Iran, the State Department defended the decision by saying it went through an inter-agency process. At an August 4 briefing, State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner was asked about whether the payment was a form of ransom. Toner began by saying, “There’s always an interagency discussion around any decision like this, and every relevant agency weighs in.”
The disclosure that the Pentagon did not participate in the decision-making process also comes after reports that at least some lawmakers were not consulted about other payments to Iran. This week, the Weekly Standard reported that key members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including its chairman Senator Bob Corker, were not told about wire payments to Iran, even after Obama last month said the U.S. had to send cash because such wire payments were not possible. Politico reported this week that the U.S. had been wiring cash to Iranian banks long before the cash payments were flown to Iran.
The disclosure is also the latest example of how U.S. military leaders have been distancing themselves from Kerry’s Middle East diplomacy. Senior military leaders could barely disguise their opposition to Kerry’s latest cease-fire plan for Syria, which would have resulted in the U.S. cooperating with Russia to select bombing targets had a cessation of hostilities held for a week. It didn’t. At the hearing Thursday, Dunford said the Pentagon had no plans to share any intelligence with Russia.
Most important in all of this, though, is that the fissures between the military and the White House, which have been growing since Obama’s first term, are coming out in the open in his presidency’s final months. Since leaving office, all three of Obama’s prior defense secretaries have talked publicly about their frustrations with the White House.
Robert Gates, who was Obama’s first secretary of defense, wrote a scathing memoir where he complained about being ordered around by senior White House staff. Leon Panetta, who headed the Pentagon between 2011 and 2013, told the New York Times Magazine earlier this year that he never saw the letters Obama sent to Iran’s Supreme Leader, when he served as CIA director or secretary of defense. Panetta’s successor, Chuck Hagel, told Foreign Policy last December that he believed the White House had set out to destroy him.
We’ll have to wait, but if recent public testimony is any indication Ash Carter will write a lively memoir once he leaves office.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
They’re just so generous and compassionate, that they’re not even bringing the refugees into their own district!
Robert Gehl reports that Nancy Pelosi has been pushing Barack Obama’s plan to let in as many refugees as we can.
With the end of the fiscal year just days away at Sept. 30, their plan to let in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees this year has proved successful (they managed to place 12,000). Plan on many, many more next year if they get their way.
But there’s something odd in those numbers that Pelosi is pushing – specifically where the refugees are actually going.
The House Minority leader’s district has yet to see a single refugee resettled there.
Her district – San Francisco – hasn’t taken in any refugees this year, last year or the year before.
And while her district hasn’t had the burden of taking in one single refugee she’s still a strident supporter of the program, Breitbart reports.
After the November 2015 Paris attacks, Republicans introduced a bill that would have mandated stricter scrutiny for refugees coming from Syria. Pelosi spoke out against the bill, accusing Republicans of “slamming the door on mothers and children,” arguing instead for stricter gun control measures.
“It is outrageous that we would be slamming the door on mothers and children while we still allow people on the terrorist watch list to walk in the door of a gun store and buy a gun,” Pelosi said at the time.
She went on to say, “As it is a proud American tradition, we can both ensure the security of our country and welcome desperate women and children and seniors facing ISIS’s brutality.”
California has let in its share of refugees. Most have gone to San Diego, Sacramento has resettled 250, and the city of Turlock has seen 115.
They’re being resettled near Pelosi’s district too – just not in the district. In Oakland, 28 Syrian refugees have been resettled, San Jose has taken 9 in and Los Gatos and Walnut Creek have seen 7 and 5 respectively.
Once they arrive, Syrians are given “temporary protected custody” status, a designation that permits foreign nationals to live in the U.S. without immigration approval because returning home would put their lives in danger.
So what gives, Nancy? When are you – and the voters in your district – going to let their doors swing wide and take in all those refugees you so clearly want to help?