IN BELL FLORIDA, DON CHARLES SPIRIT ALLEGEDY SHOT DEAD HIS DAUGHTER AND HER SIX CHILDREN (HIS GRANDCHILDREN).
REACHED FOR COMMENT TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE, FADED CELEBRITY BARRY O BARELY LOOKED UP FROM HIS ANGRY BIRDS GAME AS HE DECLARED, "MICHELLE AND I ARE DEEPLY SADDENED BY THE LOSS. HE COULD HAVE BEEN OUR SON OR DAUGHTER. YADA YADA YADA AND GOD BLESS AMERICA."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Yesterday in the US, the House of Representatives voted to approve funding for the training and arming of so-called 'rebels' in Syria. Today it was the Senate's turn.
And they also passed funding more war and destruction and a 'plan' that just isn't there.
22 members of the Senate voted against it:
Senators Tammy Baldwin, Bernie Sanders, Mark Begich, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Barrasso, Sherrod Brown, Tom Coburn, Joe Manchin, Mike Lee, Patrick Leahy, Dean Heller, Ron Paul, Jeff Sessions, James E. Risch, Pat Roberts, Elizabeth Warren, Ted Cruz, Mike Crapo, Ed Markey, Jerry Moran, Chris Murphy and Mike Enzi.
The other 78 US senators voted for it -- no one abstained.
Senator Sanders' office issued the following statement:
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday voted against the United States training and arming Syrian rebels. Sanders said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “is a brutal and dangerous extremist organization which must be defeated, but this war cannot be won by the United States alone. There needs to be a real international coalition led by the countries most threatened – Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Iran. The worst thing that we can do now is allow ISIS to portray this struggle as East vs. West, as Muslim vs. Christian, as the Middle East vs. America. That is exactly what they want and that is exactly what we should not be giving them.”
The senator faulted wealthy Middle East nations for doing too little to protect their own interests, especially when Saudi Arabia has the fourth largest military budget in the world. He also questioned why American taxpayers are footing the bill when royal families that rule those Mideast nations are worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
“This is not just a question of whether young men and women in Vermont and across America should be putting their lives on the line in another Mideast war. It is not just about whether the taxpayers of our country should once again pay for a war in the Middle East. It is about the reality that, long term, this struggle will never be won by the United States alone. It must be won with the active participation of the Muslim countries in the region,” Sanders said.
Sanders said he supports President Barack Obama’s judicious use of airstrikes which already have shown some success, but in opposing the resolution Sanders said, “I fear very much that supporting questionable groups in Syria who will be outnumbered and outgunned by both ISIS and the Assad regime could open the door to the United States once again being dragged back into the quagmire of long-term military engagement.”The provision to fund forces battling the ISIS terrorist group was included in a stopgap spending bill to fund the government through Dec. 11. The measure, approved by the Senate, had passed the House on Wednesday.
US President Barack Obama insisted the vote demonstrated that Americans were united, Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney (Reuters) report..
Uh, no, it didn't. America didn't get to vote. Members of Congress voted.
And AFP reports:
For the first time since President Barack Obama took office, more Americans disapprove than approve his handling of terror threats, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing a new poll.
The slide in the president’s approval ratings on terrorism comes as the White House ramps up its fight against the Islamic State group that recently beheaded three Westerners, including two US journalists. The New York Times-CBS poll found that 50 percent hold a negative view of how Obama is generally dealing with terrorism, while only 41 percent approve.
US Senator Rand Paul got to vote and he voted against the measure while declaring "make no mistake arming Islamic rebels in Syria will only make it harder to destroy ISIS." We'll close the snapshot with Rand Paul's remarks in full but it's much too long to drop in at the start of the snapshot.
Sharif Nashashibi (Information Clearing House) notes:
Like Bush, Obama is accused of abusing executive authority by saying he does not need the approval of Congress. The White House cites the 2001 Authorisation for Military Force against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, which was passed by Congress after the 9/11 attacks.
However, this applies to nations and organisations that "planned, authorised, committed or aided" the attacks. The IS did not exist at that time, and was disavowed by its parent organisation, al-Qaeda in February this year.
"It's preposterous to suggest that a congressional vote 13 years ago can be used to legalise new bombings in Syria and additional (non-combat) forces in Iraq," Bruce Ackerman, professor of law and political science at Yale University, wrote in the New York Times. Obama's "refusal even to ask the Justice Department to provide a formal legal pretext for the war on ISIS is astonishing."
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) points out that Secretary of State John Kerry also cited the 9/11 authorization and went further by insisting Article II of the Constitution provides Barack with all the authorization he needs:
Kerry’s invocation of Article Two is eerily reminiscent of the rationales offered by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their Justice Department lawyers, who claimed that the President in time of war could do anything he wanted abroad and even at home. (John Yoo, the White House is on the line…)
For liberals, it was an embarrassing day. Senator Barbara Boxer of California was there to defend the President and his misuse of the AUMF. And the most ardent defender of the Constitution and Congress’s power to declare war was not a Democrat but Senator Rand Paul.
John Kerry appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today and he declared:
Early this summer, the ISIL threat accelerated when it effectively obliterated the Iraq-Syria border and the Mosul Dam fell. And there are complicated reasons for why that happened. It’s not just a straightforward they-ran-over-them deal. It has to do with the kind of army that Prime Minister Maliki began to create. It has to do with Shia and Sunni. It has to do with a lot of other ingredients. But as a result of that, we further surged our ISR missions immediately over Iraq. We immediately set up joint operation centers in Baghdad and Erbil. And our Special Forces conducted immediately a very detailed assessment of the Iraqi Security Forces, because we needed to know in order to be able to answer your questions and the questions of the American people what might we be getting into here. Do we have an Iraqi army that’s capable of fighting? To what degree? What will it take to reconstitute it? So whatever judgments are coming to you now are coming to you as a consequence of that assessment. And in addition to that, I’m proud to say that thanks to American engagement, ISIL’s movement, which was rapid at that point in time and perilous, was stopped. Together with the Peshmerga and the brave, courageous souls, the Kurds who stood up, we were able to not only stop them there but to liberate Amirli, which had been under siege, liberate Sinjar Mountain, to begin to bring our efforts to bear on Haditha Dam and make a difference. And by the time ISIL had launched its offensive in the north, President Obama began airstrikes to begin with on a humanitarian basis to protect American personnel and prevent major catastrophes such as the fall of Haditha Dam or the maintenance of the Mosul Dam and also to bolster the Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish forces. To date, we’ve launched more than 150 airstrikes. And I know that sounds like – it doesn’t sound like – that’s very few compared to the 16,000 that was mentioned earlier. But it’s a different deal right now, because I believe we rightfully, absolutely needed to get in place a structured, clear, Iraqi-chosen Iraqi effort that provided a government with which we can work going forward. If you didn’t have a government with which you could work going forward, nothing that we tried to do would have had the impact necessary. So the platforms we put in place last June have enabled us to be able to do what we’ve done now, and there’s absolute clarity to the fact that we blunted ISIL’s momentum, created the time and space to be able to put together a comprehensive strategy, get the inclusive government, and build a broad coalition. And that’s the way we ought to go at this.
It's amazing how far they'll go to spin.
Reality, Barack's actions have led the Islamic State to more than double its membership -- and that's according to CIA figures.
All his attacks have done is act as a recruiting tool.
Tom Perry and Larry King (Reuters) report::
Islamic State has won new recruits in Syria since President Barack Obama signaled last week that air strikes against the group will be expanded from Iraq to its strongholds in northern and eastern Syria, a group monitoring the war said on Wednesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 162 people had joined Islamic State training camps in Aleppo province since Sept 10, when Obama said he would not hesitate to strike Islamic State in Syria.
Barack's very good at turning out new members for the Islamic State. He's yet to prove himself to be good at 'decimating' the Islamic State
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