Lawmaker Calls On President To Mobilize National Guard In Response To Youth Immigration Nightmare

Congresswoman Candice Miller, a Michigan Republican, sent a letter to the White House this week urging President Barack Obama to send National Guard troops to the Nation’s southern border to deal with the unprecedented influx of underage illegal immigrants.

“I strongly urge you to call upon the National Guard to assist our overwhelmed border agents in not only addressing the unfolding humanitarian crisis, but also to assist our agents in defending our border against the violent drug cartels who are increasing smuggling operations as a result of this crisis,” Miller wrote in the letter released Monday. “Vital to the success of the National Guard along the border is providing them authority to not only patrol the border but to also enforce our laws and assist in arresting those illegally crossing the border.”

The Congresswoman, who serves as the chair of a top border security subcommittee, believes that tying up Border Security agents with paperwork needed to comply with Administration policies related to underage illegals is severely weakening patrols along the border.

“The Department of Homeland Security expects more than 60,000 migrant children to illegally cross the border this year alone and estimates could reach over 127,000 children in 2015. Such massive influx of Unaccompanied Alien Children is causing significant strain on border security resources along the southern border,” the lawmaker wrote. “Rather than carrying out their regular duties, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents are put in the position of providing basic child care. This diversion away from normal patrol responsibilities will result in an increase of drugs and migrants illicitly crossing our border.”

Miller also told the President that his decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is sparking a wave of illegal immigration caused by “the rise of rumors throughout Central America that if parents send their children to United States they will be allowed to stay.”

For that reason, the lawmaker argued, the White House should immediately embark on a public relations campaign to make clear to the United States’ southern neighbors: “if parents send their children to our border unaccompanied they will be sent home.”

U.S. Ignored ISIS Threat, Homeland Could Be In Danger

As Americans continue to try to understand how Iraq, a nation the U.S. occupied for more than a decade, is so rapidly becoming a playground for brutal Islamic extremists, defense and intelligence experts say that an American response to the extremist threat will be difficult to formulate because the necessary intel is lacking.

U.S. officials realize that the Islamic threat currently growing in Iraq could have direct implications for U.S. security, a notion demonstrated by the Navy’s mobilization of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush and two other U.S. Navy ships to the Persian Gulf Sunday. But as lawmakers and pundits discuss the prospect of a U.S. airstrikes with the goal of stalling the forward advances of brutal militants in the nation aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), top defense experts say that the recent rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from key Iraqi assets makes it almost impossible to discern where the strikes are needed the most.

If forces inadvertently strike areas of Iraq where large-scale collateral damage is possible with minimal success in weakening the ISIS threat, there is a risk that the bombing could make matters worse in the country by making it easier for ISIS to radicalize Iraqis who were formerly possible U.S. allies.

“We don’t have boots on ground providing intelligence and we don’t have confidence in information that the Iraqi government provides, because they’ve [been] so heavy-handed in the use of force against Sunni villages,” Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained to The Daily Beast.

One fact that officials in the U.S. have not been overly excited to note, however, is that the United States’ national security apparatus has been aware of the growing ISIS threat for years.

Via The New York Times:

With just a few thousand fighters, the group’s lightning sweep into Mosul and farther south appeared to catch many Iraqi and American officials by surprise. But the gains were actually the realization of a yearslong strategy of state-building that the group itself promoted publicly.

The Times’ article goes on to note the existence of several pieces of ISIS propaganda, including a 2007 pamphlet that cited “trends in globalization as well as the Quran in challenging modern notions of statehood as having absolute control over territory.”

In other words, ISIS leaders believe that the actions they’re currently carrying out in Iraq could be similarly reproduced throughout the entire world. And reports indicate that the brutal extremists are already laying the groundwork to challenge the Western world’s power to defend itself.

Police in Spain on Monday said that they have detained as many as eight people in connection with an ISIS-linked terror cell led by a former Guantanamo detainee.

“It should be highlighted that the leader of this cell lived in Spain after passing through the Guantanamo military base, having been arrested in Afghanistan in 2001,” the Spanish ministry said, according to AFP.

The danger that similar cells are being formed in the United States is real, according to many officials watching the situation unfold in Iraq.

White House On Missing Lerner Emails: Haven’t You Ever Heard Of A Computer Crash?

After the Internal Revenue Service claimed last week that it conveniently “lost” two years of former employee Lois Lerner’s emails— some of which were likely directly related to the agency’s targeting of conservatives— everyone from conservative members of Congress to liberal political pundits cried foul. Now, the White House is labeling anyone who doesn’t buy its “computer crash” story as a conspiracy theorist.

“You’ve never heard of a computer crashing before?” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters who questioned the Administration’s story aboard Air Force One.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, host Joe Scarborough and his Obama-apologist co-host Mika Brzezinski discussed the Administration’s claims at length, concluding that that a computer crash is implausible.

“Mika, even you have to admit…how ridiculous is it?” Scarborough asked.

“Pretty ridiculous,” Brzezinski said. “The emails are out there.”

“I’m just saying it is ridiculous that the Internal Revenue Service, who will shake down people for a receipt 18 years old, are saying they can’t find emails from the person that’s at the center of a scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service,” Scarborough said. “I think taxpayers across America think this is absolutely preposterous.”

Scarborough noted that even he smashed his laptop to pieces, his emails would remain somewhere in cyberspace.

House Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) said that he is launching an investigation into whether the IRS has violated the Federal Records Act, a law that requires government agencies to keep records in some cases.

“I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the committee’s investigation,” Issa, who’s been repeatedly stonewalled by the agency in looking for answers, said.

He added, “For too long, the IRS has promised to produce requested – and, later, subpoenaed – documents, only to respond later with excuses and inaction.”

But the White House continues to ridicule Republican calls for further IRS transparency.

“I think it’s entirely reasonable, because it’s the truth and it’s a fact, and speculation otherwise I think is indicative of the kinds of conspiracies that are propagated around this story. And they’re propagated in a way that has left people with a very mistaken impression about what exactly occurred,” Earnest said, adding that the White House had already provided nearly 67,000 emails from Lerner’s office.

“The far-fetched skepticism expressed by some Republican members of Congress I think is not at all surprising and not particularly believable,” Earnest added.

Of course, we all know about those “vast right-wing conspiracies” about Administrations which are later proven untrue. Or… completely true.

Even if the IRS lost all of those Lerner emails, Representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas) said last week that he has a plan to help the agency comply with oversight requests.

“I have asked NSA Director [Mike] Rogers to send me all metadata his agency has collected on Lois Lerner’s email accounts for the period which the House sought records,” said Stockman today. “The metadata will establish who Lerner contacted and when, which helps investigators determine the extent of illegal activity by the IRS.”

Poll: Incumbents, Democrats Are Likely To Lose Big This Fall

If you were happy to see establishment Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor booted from his seat by underdog conservative David Brat, you’re going to love the predictions made in new polling data out from Gallup.

The polling agency predicts that voter frustration over lackluster performance from Congress combined with widespread dissatisfaction with the Obama Administration is going to cause problems for incumbents during the midterms this fall.

Gallup’s data show that fewer than one in four Americans are satisfied with the current state of affairs in the U.S. Based on the approval ratings recorded for President Barack Obama, 44 percent, and Congress, 16 percent, it’s clear who Americans are blaming for their dissatisfaction.

The polling agency notes that when Congressional approval is low during election cycles, incumbents tend to be sent packing. And Obama’s unpopularity spells particular danger for Democrats hoping to hold on to their districts.

“Although the president is not a candidate in midterm election years, his standing with voters is usually a significant predictor of election outcomes. When presidents are unpopular, their party typically loses a substantial number of seats in the House of Representatives,” Gallup says. “Conversely, in the 1998 and 2002 elections, when Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had approval ratings above 60%, their parties gained House seats, providing rare exceptions to the historical trend of midterm seat losses for the president’s party.”

Noting that President Obama’s approval numbers are more reflective of George W. Bush in 2006 and Ronald Reagan in 1982, Gallup suggests that the midterms could bring big losses for Democrats.

“In those years, the president’s party lost more than 20 seats,” the polling agency reports.

Gallup’s analysts predict that the chances of Obama, the Democrats and the overall Congressional incumbency turning the tide before this fall are low, adding that it’s more likely that approval ratings will plummet further.

Source: Gallup

Sunday News Show Roundup

Sunday’s political talk shows were focused on the ongoing crisis in Iraq, where the militant extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) undermined government control of large swaths of territory last week.

The news shows were dominated by Republicans, who called for swift action from President Barack Obama on both the military and diplomatic fronts.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senator Lyndsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that the U.S. should target ISIS-held positions in Iraq to weaken the terrorists and prevent them from advancing into the capitol city of Baghdad. The Republican lawmaker also squarely placed the blame for the terror group’s advances on Obama.

“Al Qaida in Iraq, the predecessor to ISIS, was on their back just about gone. Syria blows up. They get reinforcements from Syria into Iraq. Maliki withdrawals from the coalition, he becomes a sectarian leader, Obama’s administration completely hands off and we withdraw troops in 2011. That’s the perfect storm.”

The lawmaker went on to suggest that the President was so intent on being credited with ending the war that the Administration failed to take the appropriate steps to ensure the country’s continued stability.

“I was there on the ground at the request of Secretary Clinton. Maliki, Barzani, and the Sunnis were willing to accept an American force. We wanted the agreement to go through parliament, which would have been a disaster,” said Graham. “The Obama administration wanted to say I ended the war in Iraq, I‘m going to end the war in Afghanistan. This was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. I blame President Obama mightily for a hands off policy when it comes to Iraq.”

On Fox News Sunday, Representative Mike Rodgers (R-Mich.) said that ISIS’s growing strength poses a direct threat to Americans’ safety at home.

“We have to ask one single question: is al Qaida holding [territory] the size of Indiana a problem for the United States?Well, it certainly was when they were in Afghanistan and had time to plan the 9/11 event, and I guarantee you, this is a problem that we will have to face and we’re either going to face it in New York City or we’re going to face it here,” he said.

The lawmaker said that the U.S. can neutralize the threat without putting boots on the ground in Iraq.

“Doesn’t mean troops. Doesn’t mean the same kind of fight. It means you have to have a coordinated effort, but it has to be disruptive through tempo, meaning you can’t fire and release. You have to fire and continue the pressure so that you can dismantle and empower other Arab militaries to be successful,” Rogers said.

Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said that he is open to whatever military response is required as long as the Nation knows what it is getting into, on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“I’m open to … air strikes, technical support, drones, whatever it takes, but I want to make sure our intel is accurate before we start doing this, and I’m hopeful that they’re getting accurate intel on this,” he said.

Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that the U.S. must act quickly and, if military action is the answer, judiciously.

“When you look at the terrorist training ground operations in Syria and Iraq, I believe it is one of the biggest threats,” McCaul said on ABC’s “This Week”. “Hagel and Kerry need to be in the region, getting a regional strategy together with our allies to deal with this situation, because without their cooperation against the extremists this is not going to happen.”

While other lawmakers said Sunday that all options should be on the table in dealing with the situation in Iraq, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), an Iraq War veteran, said she is opposed to U.S. involvement.

“We have to … focus our great military on those direct and imminent threats rather than getting distracted by involving ourselves in another civil war that’s occurring in another country between religious factions that have been warring for generations,” she said.

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), also an Iraq veteran, disagreed.

“If the establishment of a caliphate by an organization that makes al Qaida look like a bunch of kitty cats is not in U.S. national interest to stop it, I don’t know what is,” he said on “State of the Union.”

Iraq Is Falling Apart

President Barack Obama said Friday that the United States is not planning to put boots on the ground in Iraq, where Islamic extremists backed by Sunni tribal leaders are violently seizing territory from the country’s fledgling government. Obama said the U.S. “will do our part” to help but won’t “allow ourselves to be dragged back into” war.

“Ultimately it’s up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign nation, to solve their problems,” the President said during a brief press conference on the White House’s South Lawn.

Obama said that the White House is currently considering what options the U.S. has in aiding Iraq beat back the threat of brutal terrorists fighting under flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Iraq is currently splitting apart in a way that will make it nearly impossible for the country’s government to regain control without help.

The terrorists already control significant swaths of territory throughout Iraq and parts of Syria. ISIS captured the city of Mosul on Monday with little response from the Iraqi army. And what was once a 900,000 strong army of Iraqi soldiers working maintain government control of the Sunni Arab regions in northern and central Iraq is quickly vanishing.

Meanwhile, the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk is currently under Kurdish control. A spokesman for the Kurdish forces said, “No Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk.”

On Friday, ISIS forces began marching toward Baghdad, which they have vowed to capture along with Shia holy cities to the south.

The ISIS advances threaten 9-years of Shia dominance in the region that was spurred by the overthrow of Saddam Hussein during the Iraq War. Even if the Shia leaders in Baghdad are able to protect the capitol city and other Shia provinces to the left, regaining control of the Sunni provinces that Iraqi forces have abandoned will not likely be an easy task.

Iraq’s most influential Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has urged Iraqis to fight the Sunni insurgents.

“People who are capable of carrying arms and fighting the terrorists in defense of their country … should volunteer to join the security forces to achieve this sacred goal,” he said in a statement.

While Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denied any involvement in Iraq, a top security official in Baghdad told CNN that the nation has sent at least 500 Revolutionary Guard units to aid Iraqi forces in the Diyala province. The Guardian also reported Friday that Iran was scrambling to help the Iraqi government to protect its own interests in the region by sending a top general to Bagdad to help organize Iraqi militia leaders and tribal chiefs to fight off ISIS.

According to reports, U.S. action against the ISIS threat will likely involve airstrikes on militant-controlled regions in Iraq and Syria, creating the possibility that the U.S. will be providing cover fire for its longtime Iranian adversaries. But, lingering tensions aside, leaders from both nations realize the terrifying threat of a fragmented Iraq heavily under ISIS control.

Iraq In Big Trouble, U.S. Poised To Make Situation More Volatile

As Iraq falls apart at the hands of an al-Qaida offshoot more extreme and well-organized than most of the Islamic bad guys Americans are accustomed to hearing about, the sale of 36 American-made F-16 fighters is set to move forward.

Last week, according to a Time report, Iraq’s ambassador to the U.S. visited Fort Worth, Texas, to take ownership of the first of the planes he referred to as “a clear sign to the world and the region that a stable and strong Iraq, in a partnership of choice with the United States, is what we are after.”

Unfortunately, a terror group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria (ISIS) didn’t get the memo about the stable, strong Iraq that officials claim exists after more than a decade of U.S. occupation.

Time’s Mark Thompson explains the situation currently unfolding in Iraq thusly:

It’s nothing short of tragic to see Iraq falling apart as the ancient battle between Sunnis and Shi’ites continues after the U.S. spent more than $1 trillion–and 4,486 lives–to overthrow Saddam Hussein in hopes of replacing him with someone better. Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit–cities where U.S. troops spent eight years dying to give Iraq another chance–are now in the hands of an al-Qaeda offshoot battling the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

An Iraqi named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi formed ISIS after disagreements over ideology and strategy with other jihad groups forced a split in the midst of the Syrian civil war. The group is said to be so extreme in its fundamentalist religious teachings and so ruthless punishment of anyone with whom it disagrees that even al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for ISIS to leave Syria and return to Iraq.

Muslim Syrian rebels in some regions have actively fought against ISIS forces at different points during the civil war, rebuking the extreme group’s calls for a unified Islamic state across the Middle East.

While the group’s reputation hasn’t earned it much favor among rebel factions in Syria, ISIS still controls a broad swath of territory that stretches from Aleppo to the recently overtaken Iraqi cities.

“This is a force that is ideologically motivated, battle hardened and incredibly well equipped,” Douglas Ollivant of the New America Foundation, and a former White House adviser on Iraq, told The Washington Post. “It also runs the equivalent of a state. It has all the trappings of a state, just not an internationally recognized one.”

ISIS’s territory holdings are bolstered by its financial resources such as oil field revenues and wealthy Sunni donors managed under its version of a terrorist governmental structure. The group has set up schools and other services in areas it controls. It also operates a court system, where harsh punishments like beheadings and amputations are inflicted upon anyone accused of violating Islamic law.

Poorly trained Iraqi soldiers reportedly fled Mosul when they learned Isis was coming, as staying to fight meant certain death, imprisonment or conscription.

Last month, Iraqi forces were becoming increasingly worried that Isis was preparing an offensive in the western portion of the country and, realizing that their forces were unprepared, asked U.S. officials to consider airstrikes. On Thursday, a report in The New York Times indicated that Washington declined — after all, President Obama has been claiming that the newly democratic country is in good shape since 2011.

On Thursday, the President said that all options were being considered to respond to the advancing ISIS threat. Vice President Joe Biden vowed that the U.S. is preparing to “intensify” support of the Iraqi security forces.

According to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, the Obama Administration has provided the Iraqi security forces with hundreds of Hellfire missiles, millions of rounds of ammunition for small arms, thousands of rounds of tank ammunition, helicopter-fired rockets, machine guns, grenades, flares, sniper rifles, M-16s and M-4 rifles.

The first of the F-16 fighters being sent to the nation are slated to arrive in September, with two planes being sent per month through 2015. But by then, Iraq may be largely overrun by ISIS which would make it easy for the equipment to fall into the wrong hands. Already, there are reports of ISIS seizing military equipment the U.S. handed off to Iraq in areas the terrorists now control.

Iraq’s top national security official Falih Al-Fayyadh said the planes would be “a weapon in the hands of all the people.”

Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more like the military assets will end up being a weapon in the hands of the wrong people.

Polls: Americans Increasingly Fed Up With Obama

As Americans wait to see how the President will respond to the situation in Iraq and his Administration continues to be plagued by various political scandals, a couple of new surveys show that Barack Obama is as unpopular as his predecessor and quickly losing the Nation’s trust.

A CNN/ORC poll out Thursday reveals that 51 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion about Obama’s handling of his job—the same number have an unfavorable view of Bush.

With a favorability rating of 47 percent, Obama has hit a new low.

To put the numbers into perspective, only 35 percent of Americans expressed a favorable view of Bush just days before he left the White House. After the Presidential election in 2008, 78 percent of Americans held a favorable view of Obama.

Obama’s falling favorability rating is likely related to the findings of a separate Gallup poll, which reported that a growing number of Americans do not feel that the current President is “honest and trustworthy.”

“Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each applies or doesn’t apply to Barack Obama. How about: Is honest and trustworthy,” Gallup asked respondents.

For the first time in the six years the question has been asked about the President, people who feel Obama is honest and trustworthy weren’t the clear majority. With a margin of error of +/- 4 points, as many as 55 percent or as few as 47 percent said that Obama is neither honest nor trustworthy.

Lawmakers Scramble To Make Sense Of Iraq Crisis

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) took to the Senate floor Thursday to advise President Barack Obama to fire the Administration’s entire national security team following reports that Iraq is under siege by Islamic extremists.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been working to exploit Iraq’s military weakness following the U.S. departure from the country along with ongoing unrest in Syria to further its goal of creating an Islamic caliphate across Sunni regions of the two countries.

“Everybody in his national security team, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ought to be replaced,” McCain told reporters on his way to a classified briefing on the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

On the Senate floor, McCain blamed ISIS’s gains in Iraq on the U.S.’s abrupt “withdrawal without victory,” warning that the situation in Afghanistan will soon be the same.

“I say to the President of the United States, get a new national security team in place. You have been ill-served by the national security team you have in place now, and the decisions you have made,” McCain said. “Have that new national security team come up with a strategy to do whatever we can to prevent this direct threat to the national security of this nation.”

McCain also said that a conflict doesn’t end just because the President said it did.

There were varied opinions among other lawmakers about how the U.S. should respond to the immediate threat in Iraq. McCain and with Senator Lyndsey Graham (R-S.C.) called for airstrikes.

“There is no scenario where we can stop the bleeding in Iraq without American airpower,” Graham said

Other lawmakers have argued for a more measured approach.

“It’s unclear how airstrikes on our part can succeed, unless the Iraqi army is willing to fight, and that’s uncertain given the fact that several Iraqi army divisions have melted away,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said in a statement. “While all options should be considered, the problem in Iraq has not been so much a lack of direct U.S. military involvement, but a lack of reconciliation on the part of Iraqi leaders.”

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi relied on a familiar Democratic tactic in discussing the Iraq situation: blame George W. Bush.

“I don’t think this is our responsibility, but I do think we were irresponsible going into Iraq for a variety of other reasons…,” she said. “I think this represents the failed policy that took us down this path eleven years ago.”

Texas Grandmother Claims Cop Tackled Her And Charged Her With Public Intoxication In Her Own Yard

A Texas grandmother is suing the City of Seabrook and one of its police officers after she alleges the officer tackled her as she watered flowers in her front yard and slapped her with a fraudulent public intoxication charge.

According to a lawsuit filed in a Southern Texas District Court, Barbara Nichols was watering flowers in her front yard on May 16 when she noticed uniformed police officers headed her way — a sight that, at least for a fleeting moment, made her feel safe.

But when officer Austin Schwartz barked an order that the elderly woman failed to comply with, her false sense of security was quickly shattered.

From the lawsuit: “Seeing that the officers were walking down the street, plaintiff perceived that there was no danger to her in her own yard and continued watering her plants and flowers. Defendant Schwartz instructed plaintiff to return to her home in a rude and abusive tone and stated that there was a ‘vicious dog’ on the loose that had ‘attacked a child.’

“Observing that there was no dog in the immediate vicinity of plaintiff s home, plaintiff again perceived that there was no danger to her in her own yard and refused to return to her home.”

Nichols says that Schwartz was unhappy with her decision to remain outside after determining for herself that she was not in danger of being attacked by the dog.

“Immediately and without warning, defendant Schwartz and another large male officer tackled plaintiff, an elderly grandmother with preexisting serious health issues, to the ground, handcuffed her hands behind her back, and forced her into the back of a police car,” the complaint states.

After being taken into custody, the elderly woman spent the night in jail. During her stint behind bars, she says the officer refused to provide her with a blanket or any pain medication for the injuries she sustained when she was tackled to the ground until she agreed to allow him to book her on a bogus public intoxication charge. Because she was in her own yard when the incident occurred public intoxication is a “legal impossibility,” Nichols claims in the suit.

The woman is suing for official oppression, illegal arrest and detention, assault and battery, trespass, infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, and civil rights violations to the tune of $3 million.