- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 24, 2014

An emphatic petition calls for the U.S. and the international community to stop the Islamic State now. The 11,000-plus signers hail from multiple disciplines and political persuasions; they include Dr. Ben Carson, Martin Peretz, editor in chief of the New Republic; Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family; Kenneth R. Weinstein, CEO of the Hudson Institute; and many others. The American Enterprise Institute is represented, as is the Southern Baptist Convention, the Manhattan Institute, plus Harvard, Stanford and Catholic University, among many institutions.

“It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities there is no time to waste,” the petition reads, underscoring support for a comprehensive plan that includes more airstrikes, significant humanitarian assistance and military aid to local forces opposing the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.

“We, the undersigned, are Democrats, Republicans and independents. We are conservatives, liberals and moderates. We represent various religious traditions and shades of belief,” the plea states.

“It is gratifying to see so many people uniting across historic lines of religious and ideological division to call upon our leaders to provide the support necessary for local forces in Iraq to defeat ISIS and end the genocidal atrocities it is committing against Christians, Yazidis, Shia Muslims and those Sunni Muslims who reject their violent extremism,” Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, tells Inside the Beltway. He launched the public petition 10 days ago.

“We believe that nothing short of the destruction of ISIS as a military force will suffice to protect these victims and prevent ISIS from conquering Iraq and Syria in its fanatical effort to establish a caliphate. That means increasing our airstrikes against ISIS forces and aiding the Kurds and other allies on the ground in Iraq with the strategic and intelligence support they need to get the job done. ISIS can be stopped, but the longer it survives as a military force, and the more victories it gains, the more dangerous it becomes — and not only in the Middle East,” Mr. George continues.

“One thing we’ve learned about ISIS is that these are people who do not threaten idly. They tell you want they are going to do, then they do it — unless you stop them. They have made clear their intentions not only in Iraq and Syria, but in Europe and the United States. They are coldblooded murderers. They are serious, and we would be fools not to take their threats seriously,” he concludes. See the petition here: IraqRescue.org.


“This young man personified what courage is all about. He showed us sacrificial service. He went into dangerous parts of the world to shine a bright light into dark places. It is a very important job that James Foley was engaged in. We all collectively mourn his death, and all America stands with the people of New Hampshire in remembering this hero. It’s times like these that we’re reminded that we’re not Republicans, nor are we Democrats. We are Americans.”

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry, remembering the slain journalist during a visit to Mr. Foley’s hometown of Rochester, New Hampshire, during a military veterans’ event on Saturday.


The White House summer vacation is finally over. President Obama has returned to the nation’s capital. But he has yet to escape the reviews of his intent to play golf through crises in Missouri and the Middle East, a topic that preoccupied all four Sunday morning talk shows, along with pollster John Zogby, who offers the president a weekly grade for his job performance.

“Overseas, the president is weighing several options — except boots on the ground — to deal with the growing and increasingly scary ISIS threat. Mr. Obama spoke strongly and compassionately following the ISIS beheading of American journalist James Foley, but ‘rushing off’ to play golf immediately afterward was simply bad form. Actually, very bad form,” says Mr. Zogby. “The grade: C-minus.”


Voters in yet another state are confronting the reality of marijuana legalization. Yes, it’s a little hazy. A new Quinnipiac Poll finds that 77 percent of New York voters say that if a candidate for governor had used weed in the past, it would not affect their vote one way or another. Sixty-two percent say if recreational use became legal, they still would not use it, however. And the breakdown: 44 percent approve of legalizing medical marijuana; 35 percent approve legalization for “personal use”; while 19 percent condemn decriminalization altogether.

There’s “little love for recreational marijuana in New York,” notes Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the poll.


It’s official: Bill 1965 from California Democratic Assembly member Mariko Yamada has been signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill allows pet dogs to sit with their owners in outdoor restaurant seating areas.

“It will soon be legal to take your beagle with you to dinner,” says Ms. Yamada, reasoning that it will actually help the restaurant business. Mr. Brown has granted an official state webpage to Sutter Brown, his Welsh corgi, who holds the formal office of First Dog, is described as a member of the Whig Party and is a “Zen Jesuit, though not burdened with dogma.” And about that aforementioned legislation: “No more doggie bags!” the canine Mr. Brown is quoted as saying.


Hillary Clinton isn’t simply dipping her toes into the 2016 presidential waters. It looks more like she’s sizing up for a somersault — with a full twist — off a diving board. But if she ends up deciding not to jump in, Democrats want an answer sooner rather than later,” observes Mark Murray, senior political analyst for NBC News, who notes it could get harder to just say no the longer she waits.

Some Democrats fear she’s “frozen” the presidential field for her rivals; others insist she won’t run.

“Polls have shown the former first lady and secretary of state crushing all other Democratic opponents. And that’s why, if she is going to pass on a presidential bid, Democrats want a clear signal sooner rather than later,” Mr. Murray reaffirms.


52 percent of Americans do not “wish” that Hillary Rodham Clinton had been elected instead of President Obama in 2008; 49 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

29 percent wish she had been elected president; 31 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent say Mrs. Clinton could not have handled the Islamic State militants better than Mr. Obama had she been elected; 52 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent say Mrs. Clinton could not have handled the Syria conflict better than Mr. Obama; 52 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

33 percent overall say Mrs. Clinton is a “hawk” on foreign policy; 22 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent say she is a “dove”; 41 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 21 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 16-18.

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