- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Here’s one way to stay vigilant: House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul has just launched the “Terror Threat Snapshot” - a regular monthly feature that tracks the “escalating and grave threat environment” facing the U.S. The Texas Republican is very succinct.

The inaugural snapshot reveals that there have been 24 ISIS-linked plots or attacks against Western targets in the first half of 2015, up from 19 in all of last year. In addition, the number of homegrown terror plots since 9/11 has reached 116, tripling in just the past five years. But there’s much more.

Over 200 Americans are believed to have traveled - or attempted to travel - to fight in Syria, a 33 percent increase overall since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, foreign fighters continue to arrive in Syria and Iraq - an 80 percent increase of those traveling to the conflict zone since ISIS declared its “caliphate” one year ago. And this is just the first installment of the regular feature.

“Terror threats to the U.S. homeland have reached unprecedented levels. There have been 116 homegrown jihadist plots in America since 9/11 - more than half of those have occurred in just the past three years,” Mr. McCaul says.

“Violent extremism is going viral, but our response to it is moving at bureaucratic, sluggish speed. It is time for President Obama to admit that - in this new age of peer-to-peer terror - we need a real strategy to combat radicalization at home and destroy extremist safe havens abroad,” the lawmaker adds.

Mr. McCaul’s 6-page snapshot is published as an easy-to-read, but sobering document. Find it here.

THEY’RE READY FOR — SOMETHING

They were mighty eager to back Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a progressive presidential hopeful once upon a time - so eager that they launched Ready for Warren, an aggressive grassroots organization that made a lot of noise and got a lot of press until the Massachusetts Democrat announced she was not running for the White House.

What to do? Co-founder Charles Lenchner and campaign manager Erica Sagrans have quickly regrouped and launched something called Ready to Fight - to back Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, of course.

“The launch of Ready to Fight doesn’t mean the movement to draft Warren is over. Organizations don’t create movements, and they can’t end them,” the pair wrote in a CNN op-ed announcing their intent.

Mr. Sanders is all warm and fuzzy now.

“Elizabeth Warren is a good friend. Like millions of her supporters around the country, I have great respect and admiration for her. That is why it is so gratifying that so many people who wanted Elizabeth to run for president are now getting behind our campaign to restore America’s middle class and take on Wall Street and the big banks,” the Vermont independent says.

And here’s a pertinent new headline from Salon: Hillary Clinton is going to lose: She doesn’t even see the frustrated progressive wave that will nominate Bernie Sanders.”

KEVIN SPACEY, MEGYN KELLY AND ‘BELTWAY DRAMA’

Could this pair have something in common? Yes, indeed. Mr. Spacey, the star and producer of the Netflix blockbuster series “House of Cards” has joined forces with Ms. Kelly the Fox News anchor, and here’s what they’re up to.

Mr. Spacey’s Trigger Street production company has forged a deal with 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios to produce “The Resident,” deeded “a doozy” by The Hollywood Reporter, an industry source.

“The Resident, which reads like a cross between Downton Abbey and House of Cards, follows the relationships between White House residence staffers and the various First Families that come into the famous address over the course of several administrations. And, in her first scripted effort, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is on board as a co-executive producer,’ the publication says.

“Interest in Beltway drama is not waning. Should The Resident ultimately go to series, it would join a slew of Washington D.C.-set scripted fare on the air - House of Cards, Veep, Madam Secretary, Scandal and The Brink among them.”

The busy Ms. Kelly, incidentally, is currently on the cover of Variety; the publication suggests she is on the verge of becoming the Barbara Walters of her generation.

THE BUSY MR. CARSON

Beginning Wednesday, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson shows just how much credence he places in persistent media reports that suggest his campaign is going nowhere. It appears to be going everywhere, actually. In the next four days, Mr. Carson travels to four states on 10 stops.

He starts out in South Dakota, then it’s on to back-to-back appearances through Iowa - five on Thursday alone. How grassroots are some of these visits? The candidate meets with the We the People Tea Party of Southern Iowa in a community center in Lamoni - population 2,309 - on Friday. Big doings call in Colorado at the Western Conservative Summit 2015 where Mr. Carson is a keynote speaker, followed by a quick jaunt to Birmingham-Anniston-Tuscaloosa, Alabama for multiple media appearances.

BOLTON ON THE MOVE

When he is not vowing to prevent Hillary Clinton from reaching the White House, John Bolton is busy supporting national security candidates - those Republicans who agree that a strong and stable America is vital for the nation’s survival. So far in this election cycle, Mr. Bolton has endorsed and contributed to 15 GOP candidates through his political action committee, including the campaigns of Reps. Lee Zeldin, Will Hurd and Barbara Comstock plus Sens. Pat Toomey, Ron Johnson, Kelly Ayotte , Richard Burr and Rob Portman. Each campaign received $5,000, meant to see them through the pre-primary period.

“I am excited to endorse and support these eight candidates for reelection who understand the most demanding issues America is facing at home and overseas. It is my principle concern to ensure that these GOP senators and representatives win their upcoming elections so they can safeguard America’s security and prosperity in today’s fast-changing global environment,” Mr. Bolton says.

He’s got some might here. During the 2014 midterm elections, the John Bolton PAC and John Bolton SuperPAC collectively raised over $7.5 million, endorsed 87 Republican candidates and contributed more than $470,000 to candidates who demonstrated commitment to strong national security policy. Additionally, the Bolton SuperPAC was behind an extensive $5 million digital ad campaign in 14 states, including robust efforts in New Hampshire, Iowa, Arkansas, and North Carolina.

POLL DU JOUR

68 percent of Americans say former NAACP official Rachel Dolezal’s racial identity as a black woman when her biological parents are white is “unacceptable”; 73 percent of white respondents and 51 percent of black respondents agree.

57 percent of Americans agree that “people are born with a set identity” 76 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of Democrats agree.

27 percent overall agree that “people can identify as whatever or whoever they want”; 12 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

16 percent overall say Ms. Dolezal’s racial identity is “acceptable; 13 percent of whites and 32 percent of blacks agree.

Source:A YouGov poll of 996 U.S. adults conducted June 17-19.

Impatient remarks, nervous laughter to [email protected]

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