- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Press and public are aware that President Obama will appear at five Democratic fundraisers by the time Thursday rolls around, despite alarming events here and abroad. Initially, the White House reasoned that in times of unrest, business as usual rather than crisis management was the tactic of choice on the world stage. But that’s not quite good enough now.

“What about the president’s time? What about the fact that there’s five workdays this week, and three of them he’s fundraising?” demanded Fox News correspondent Ed Henry at the White House daily press briefing on Tuesday.

Yeah, about that. A more ornate deflection strategy is now in place for such inquiries, essentially framing Mr. Obama as the consummate modern guy on the go, pen and phone in hand, connections at the ready. Spokesman Josh Earnest replied that despite all the West Coast party-time hubbub, the president would still tend to his duties, get national security team updates and consult with world leaders.

“The president, like most professionals, has the capability to deal with more than one priority at a time — particularly somebody who has the trappings of the presidency alongside him. He’s got his own airplane. He’s got dedicated phone lines. He has senior advisers who will be accompanying him every step of the way to make sure that he has access to the information and technology necessary to represent American interests in the midst of these challenging international times,” Mr. Earnest explained.


The spokesman later added, “If it becomes clear that there is something that the president is not able to do from the road that is critical to advancing American interests, we will alter the schedule to ensure that the president can fulfill those responsibilities.”

All that aside, when this moneymaking round is over, Mr. Obama will have conducted 398 fundraisers since taking office. Early estimates also indicate that he could raise as much as $6 million on this particular jaunt to the state of Washington and California. So mission, uh, accomplished, perhaps.


It’s been a decade since the 9/11 Commission issued a comprehensive report about the terrorist attacks on American soil that “changed everything,” according to much of the public. The commission has a new follow-up. The 48-page report released Tuesday is grim, determined and factual, carrying warnings like “the struggle against terrorism is far from over — rather, it has entered a new and dangerous phase” and “counterterrorism fatigue and a waning sense of urgency among the public threaten U.S. security.”

The original commission, chaired by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, reconvened in recent months, refocused on emerging threats and received considerable input from the likes of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan from among a veritable constellation of luminaries in the intelligence community and beyond. But even as clandestine agencies seek a practical balance between public transparency and national security, the commission members fret the nation just doesn’t get it.

“Unfortunately, except for counterterrorism specialists in the government, most Americans did not see the connections among these events. The government did not effectively explain to the public the evil that was stalking us,” the report states.

But, of course, Americans can’t live in a constant state of alarm either. Judge for yourself. Download the new report here: Bipartisanpolicy.org.


Lawmakers are wrangling with such things, meanwhile. They are, in fact, all over it. The House Committee on Homeland Security examines the 9/11 report itself Wednesday, particularly the commission’s “unfulfilled” recommendations. Simultaneously, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs stages a hearing titled “Terrorist March in Iran.” The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations offers “Iraq at a Crossroads: Options for U.S. Policy” on Thursday. “In the past year, the Iraqis have urgently requested additional U.S. counterterrorism assistance in the form of drone or airstrikes against terrorist camps, and the Obama administration declined,” says Rep. Edward R. Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. “This hearing will examine the reasons behind the administration’s decision not to adequately address this problem months ago and what it plans to do going forward.”


“The typical bomb-sniffing dog in Afghanistan and Iraq saves as many as 150 human lives. But when they finish their tours of duty, what happens to them?” ask the organizers of an event on Capitol Hill meant to draw attention to truly heroic pups — the canine veterans.

Their deployments over, some dogs are adopted, some return stateside, and some end up alone, a fate that has drawn the attention of the American Humane Association and kindhearted activists. Their preferred alternative is to find suitable homes for the canine warriors or reunite them with their former handlers — perhaps the best option of all.

On Wednesday, humans and canines arrive in Congress to talk and, possibly, bark about it. On hand to help: Republican Reps. Gus M. Bilirakis and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Don Young of Alaska, plus Democratic Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada.

Then there’s the military working dogs Cila, Ryky and Thor, their respective handlers, U.S. Army Sergeant Jason Bos and Staff Sergeant James Harrington, plus Marine Corps Sergeant Deano Miller. Move aside, though. Carlos, the Military Hero Dog of the Year, will also attend, along with Robin Ganzert, Humane Association president and CEO, and Kristen Maurer, president of Mission K9 Rescue, a California-based nonprofit where the motto is “lending a hand to the paws that serve.” See more here: missionk9rescue.org.

“We believe that these hero dogs have a right to a good retirement, a loving home and lifelong care,” Ms. Maurer notes.


A new book is on the way from Rep. Paul Ryan, who is most certainly striking a presidential or at least a vice-presidential posture. “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea” parses the 2012 election and the Republican Party’s pesky identity crisis. The Wisconsin Republican ultimately seeks to show “how essential conservatism is for the future of our nation.” Yes, there’s a critique of both the White House and the progressive movement itself, “surely steering the country to certain ruin,” the author says.

The book will be in stores in mid-August. Mr. Ryan will appear with talk radio host Bill Bennett at a public book signing at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, later in the month, complete with a lecture, a sumptuous dinner and a $75 ticket price.


60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Israel; 67 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

57 percent say Israel was “justified” in taking military action against Hamas and the Palestinians in Gaza; 73 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent say the amount of force Israel has used is “about right”; 57 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

39 percent say the force was “too much”; 24 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent say the amount of U.S. military aid to Israel should be “kept the same”; 40 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,012 U.S. adults conducted July 18-20.

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