By John Ruberry

While “the betters” on the Sunday talk shows were praising John McCain, who died from brain cancer Saturday, Mrs. Marathon Pundit turned to me and asked, “Why isn’t anyone talking about the number of houses he owned?”

The TV talking heads weren’t.

In his laudatory statement about the Arizona senator’s passing, of course Barack Obama didn’t bring up the houses. But in 2008, when a Politico reporter asked the Arizona senator how many houses he owned, and in a awkward manner, McCain replied that he didn’t know. He suggested that the reporter check with his staff.

Watch Obama–the pertinent section begins at 1:38–mock McCain for being an out-of-touch elitist over the houses gaffe.

The correct number was eight, if you include the homes owned by McCain’s wife.

Obama’s campaign used the McCain houses remark in television ad. Which, in one of the McCain campaign’s better moments, led a spokesperson to retort, “Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses?”

Obama still owns that mansion, purchased with guidance from Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko. And he now owns a second mansion, this one with–wait for it–a wall, in Washington.

McCain was tortured by his North Vietnamese jailers during his five years as a prisoner of war. Those injuries made it very difficult for him to type and use a computer. Which led the Obama campaign to run this sneering ad against McCain:

CNN didn’t begin its piling-on against prominent Republicans with the rise of Donald Trump, its Jeanne Moos sardonically reported on the McCain computer kerfuffle during the ’08 campaign.

When asked a town hall in 2008 about a George W. Bush statement that American troops might be serving in Iraq for 50 years, McCain musingly replied that they could there for “maybe 100.”

Let’s add some context here. Over seven decades after the defeat of the Axis powers there still are American troops stationed in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Only extremists from both sides of the political aisle are calling for their removal.

Obama pounced on McCain for the 100-years remark. “Instead of offering an exit strategy for Iraq” Obama said a month later, “he’s offering us a 100-year occupation.”

A lie.

McCain never spoke of an “occupation.” Obama pulled out our troops from Iraq in late 2011 and bragged about it in during his reelection campaign. Three years later ISIS seized nearly one-third of Iraq. Then Obama dispatched combat troops to Iraq again. About 5,000 of them remain.

Obama, as he is about so many other things, was wrong about Iraq.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

As some of you might I have a “day” job that covers the bills since the finances of the blog have been a tad weaker than in the past. At said job the majority of the workforce was born outside the United States and English is not their first language.

With Immigration a huge issue these days I thought I’d take advantage of this situation. Last Thanksgiving I spoke to several people asking them what they were thankful for, and now over the past two months I’ve been arranging audio interviews with various people who have come here.

The subjects vary based on the people but there are several general questions that I ask about both their home countries about coming to America and the circumstances that caused them to come, what they expected, what they saw, etc etc etc.

Today I am posting the first two (technically three) of these interviews for your viewing pleasure. The first is with Philippe from Haiti. he is 70 year old former member of the Boston Teachers union who came to the US in the 70’s. He sat for two audio interviews that loaded consecutively onto a single youtube file.

Of the interviews I’ve conducted so far Philippe is the most political in nature and he is anxious to follow-up so don’t be surprised if we have another half hour or more in the future.

My second interview was with Hanna from Iraq. You might remember her from this Thanksgiving video:

That gave you a hint of what was coming and believe me you’ll find the story of a girl who started out in a land where she was basically property to being a “lead” at an American company at age 23 fascinating.

I have one more interview in the bank with another young man named Alvin from El Salvador and am scheduled to conduct another with a middle-aged woman named Maria from the Dominican Republic but be aware I’m not confining these interviews to my co-workers. I’ll be speaking to an immigrant from England living in New Hampshire and am actively seeking out others from various countries to get their perspective on life in America.

My plan is to conduct 2-4 of these done per month and upload them first to youtube and then put them out here at the blog. I hope to build a large library of people from as many countries as I can to get a feel of how and why people come and what their perception of America was and is. Occasionally a translator will be necessary but I’m less worried about the logistics as I am getting the information and the various perspectives from different people, different cultures and different backgrounds.

I hope you find this work interesting and informative. I suspect it won’t be as sensational as what the MSM is feeding you, but it will have the virtue of being unrehearsed and unspun, which is why it will likely not have anywhere near the reach.


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A few days ago amid reports that there was cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia the kingdom felt compelled to make the following statement

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Moday denied any ties between the kingdom and Israel.

“There are no relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel,” Jubeir told Egypt’s CBC television, according to a translation by the Ynet news website.

The Irony of Saudi Arabia, the keeper of the most sacred site in Islam’s, need to continue to openly declare Israel unsuitable for open contact and the Arab world’s embrace of such an attitude is best illustrated by telling the story of two Mosques.

In 705 AD the Al Aqsa Mosque was built in the City of Jerusalem at the site of the Temple Mount which was the location of the Temple of Solomon the holiest site in Judaism. Other than for a 200 year stretch during the 11th & 12th centuries it has continued to function as a Mosque. Even after Israel conquered Jerusalem during the six day war, the Jewish state, rather than demolishing the Mosque and rebuilding the sacred temple not only allowed the Mosque to continue to function as a place of worship for Islam but has left its administration to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf an Islamic religious trust. Furthermore they have severely punished attempts by both Christian and Jewish fanatics to demolish or destroy the Mosque and to this day Muslims continue to worship there.

Four hundred years after the building of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jersualem the Great Mosque of al-Nuri was built in the city of Mosul. It was famous for its leaning minaret. The World Monuments fund, an international non-profit dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture, describes the minaret:

Known by locals as al-Hadba’, or the hunchback, because of its pronounced tilt, the minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri was a prominent landmark of the old city of Mosul. Built under the Seljuk ruler Nur al-Din, it was part of a religious complex that included a mosque and a madrassa and was named after its patron. The minaret, built in 1172, was 45 meters tall, decorated with ornamental brickwork along its cylindrical shaft and square base. Five times a day a muezzin would ascend the spiral stairway and sing the call to prayer from the balcony. By the time the famous Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta visited the city in the fourteenth century, the minaret was already listing noticeably and had been given its nickname, which remained ever since. In the 1940s, as part of a renovation campaign sponsored by the Iraqi Department of Antiquities, the mosque and the madrassa were dismantled and rebuilt according to a new plan. But the minaret remained as one of the few original elements of the medieval complex, a landmark of Mosul, towering over the low cityscape. So iconic was the minaret that since 2003 its figure has adorned the Iraqi 10,000-dinar banknote.

In fact it’s significance was such that its preservation was an international cause:

In 2012, UNESCO and the Governorate of Nineveh agreed to collaborate on a project to study and conserve the al-Hadba’ Minaret. The launch of a project that would have resulted in the stabilization of the minaret was announced in 2014,

It was as Austin Bay’s piece on the defeat of ISIS in Mosul a symbol of Islam in the city

For eight centuries, the building symbolized Mosul, which is why, in June 2014, ISIS senior commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the ISIS caliphate from a Grand Mosque balcony. Speaking freely in the great house of worship demonstrated Al-Baghdadi’s control of Mosul. As an internet propaganda tool, video of his declaration confirmed he was a caliph, the religious-political ruler of an expanding militant Islamist territorial state.

I say “was” because on June 21st one of the final acts of the Islamic state occupation was the deliberate destruction and demolition of this landmark Mosque.

On Wednesday night, with the terrorist group on the cusp of losing control of Mosul and with it its claim to a caliphate straddling the border of Iraq and Syria, Islamic State fighters packed the building with explosives and took it down.

Now mind you, the Mosque wasn’t taken down by indirect fire or reduced while being defended by fighters using it as a fortress or even accidentally blasted away by aired bombing. It was deliberately targeted and destroyed by supposedly devout Muslims Austin Bay again:

In retrospect, the mosque’s obliteration was indisputable evidence of terrorists’ political nihilism. ISIS leaders really worship power and if they cannot seize power and hold it, then they will destroy Muslim shrines and cities as well as murder human beings en masse.

Now granted that the Islamic state is an enemy of the Saudis and few if any arab governments support it but the obvious question is this.

If Israel is, as Arab governments, BDS campaigners and leftists all over the west claim, the great foe and oppressor Islamic people in general and “Palestinians” in particularly, how is it that they treat an Islamic holy site and those who worship there with more care and reverence than devout Muslims?

by baldilocks

Gaddafi and Hussein are dead.

It’s said that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un doesn’t want to give up his nukes because of what happened to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

After the US invaded Iraq, which resulted in the deposition and execution of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi gave up his country’s nukes, only to be abandoned by the succeeding US administration – which resulted in Gaddafi’s deposition and execution. If the reports about Kim’s reasoning are true, it’s cogent piece of reasoning.

I’m Old Enough To Remember WhenTM Gaddafi publicly gave up his clandestine nuclear program and Syria’s Bashar Assad promised to pull his troops out of Lebanon, both saying, in effect: “I am not Saddam Hussein.”

As we know, the premise for the invasion of Iraq was that Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), refused to give them up, and refused to allow UN inspection of those weapons. Following the invasion, however, no WMD materials were found in Iraq and the “Bush Lied” meme was born.

(Aside: for years that was the cudgel that Democrats – some of whom had access to the same domestic and foreign intelligence reports that George W. Bush’s intel advisers did and many of whom voted for intervention in Iraq — used to criticize Bush. These Democrat critics included former Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, along with current Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, all of whom voted “yea” for the Iraq Resolution.)

Bashar Assad

In the intervening years, various sources in-the-know have reported that Hussein sent his WMD materials to Syria. If this is true, then it was little skin off Assad’s nose to promise to pull back his troops; he had other many other plans brewing, thanks to Hussein, and at least one other source.

Then, in 2007, the Israelis bombed Syria, targeting what they said was a nuclear reactor under construction.

A video taken inside a secret Syrian facility last summer convinced the Israeli government and the Bush administration that North Korea was helping to construct a reactor similar to one that produces plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, according to senior U.S. officials who said it would be shared with lawmakers today.

The officials said the video of the remote site, code-named Al Kibar by the Syrians, shows North Koreans inside. It played a pivotal role in Israel’s decision to bomb the facility late at night last Sept. 6, a move that was publicly denounced by Damascus but not by Washington.

Sources familiar with the video say it also shows that the Syrian reactor core’s design is the same as that of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a virtually identical configuration and number of holes for fuel rods. It shows “remarkable resemblances inside and out to Yongbyon,” a U.S. intelligence official said. A nuclear weapons specialist called the video “very, very damning.”

Emphasis mine.

The Syrian government expressed outrage about getting bombed by the “Zionist Entity,” of course, and even used the “Bush Lied” rhetoric, but did little else about it. In 2011, the IAEA concurred with Israel’s claim about the facility.

It turns out that the nuclear connections between Syria and North Korea go back to about 1997. If you’re going read at least one of the links, read this one.

So maybe it’s true that Kim doesn’t want to end up like Gaddafi or Hussein — or even Assad — and is using the only leverage he has to stay in power.

This business will get out of control and we will be lucky to live through it.

There is also an Iran connection – naturally – and the Syrian Civil war, and the Russian involvement … but this post is long enough. I just wanted to point to the items, incidents, and connections that nearly every public commentator seems to have forgotten and/or discounted.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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This is Memorial Day Weekend.

You are going to see a lot of images of a lot of liberal Democrats laying wreaths at the graves of soldiers, speaking at events or  appearing on TV talking about the sacrifices of those who died defending our country.  You will also see many in the MSM talking about the troops as if they were their best buddies

When you do keep in mind what is now going on in Iraq and remember this.

All of these people were willing to throw away the sacrifice of the lives of every single soldier who died in Iraq that they pretend to honor for the sake of a Democrat talking point of “ending the war”.  Furthermore they will spend the next twelve month advancing the narrative they died in vain when in fact their mission was the difference between a population living in fear and a people getting a chance to live in a democrat self-governing state. Or have you forgotten this:

CIGARS IN THE SAND is photoblogging from the Baghdad polls. Here you see Iraqi men proudly displaying their inked fingers after voting. (Via Chester, who has lots of election coverage).

and this

CNN is reporting a 72% turnout. [Later: Some readers think that will turn out to be high, with the final number more like 60%. Still a lot, in the face of widespread death threats. We don’t to that well, very often, and the worst we have are long lines.]

Power Line: “Somehow, I had missed the fact that Iraqi expatriates are voting in Syria. Thus, Iraqis living in Syria can participate in a democratic process, but Syrians can’t. A bit odd, that, but it’s another example of the impact this election could have in the Arab world.” Yes, I imagine some Syrians are noticing.

Meanwhile, Robert Fisk appears in his usual role as punching bag. And he remains well-suited for it.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg is giving the media coverage a thumbs-down:

So far, I think the coverage has been moderately scandalous. This morning CNN kept its regularly scheduled medical show (though last night they were better, if mostly pre-taped). The major nets seemed to treat this like a fairly ho-hum story. I just walked over to my computer after seeing that the Today Show was offering viewers a segment on new shaving technologies for men.

If things were going badly, they’d be all over it, of course. More evidence that the elections are a success!

MORE: James Dwight:

The polls just closed, and there was 72% turnout with mimimal sporadic violence. The ball is now in the MSM’s court. Or, to use perhaps a more appropriate cliche, the Iraqi people have given the MSM plenty of rope.

John Cole, meanwhile, says that the “Damning But” was shut down by Iraqi voters and offers a challenge to bloggers.

And RantWraith has four words, while Yellowdogblog notes that even Reuters is having trouble generating negative spin.

And tens of thousands have paid with their lives for the cancellation of that mission.

One final thought:  At the time I predicted that Democrats would crow about the success of iraq and claim it as their own (as they did during election 2012) but apparently the narrative of “We all did this together” is less attractive than “It’s George W Bush’s fault.”  Even if the latter meme requires tens of thousands of Iraqis dead & millions enslaved.

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I saw a tweet from David Axelrod that made me laugh

and not just because it prompted this excellent counter

I smiled for several reasons, first the spectacle of Jeb Bush jumping through hoops trying to say things in the way that the MSM wants him to is quite amusing when you have the establishment of the party & media that had been so determined to crown him the heir apparent.

Even funnier has been the media’s attempt to crown a teenage girl who was maybe 4 when we went into Iraq and was 11 when Barack Obama as the greatest expert on war in the middle east since Lawrence entered Arabia

But the 2nd thing that makes me smile   Is the answer is so simple, that Jeb should be ashamed that he did not think of it.

Let me remind those in the media and the masterminds suggesting candidates denounce our efforts in Iraq that  the war in Iraq was won before Barack Obama decided he wished to lose it. The power and success ISIS in Iraq is completely on him.

I was in favor of the Iraq war & still think George Bush did the right thing, but David Axelrod has a point.  If I knew that Barack Obama was going to give our victory away to ISIS & Iran leaving the Iraqis out and causing our sacrifices of blood & treasure to mean nothing  to dry I wouldn’t have invaded either.

That is such an obvious answer that Jeb Bush  & the rest of the GOP should be ashamed for not saying it and putting the secretary of state at the time on the spot to defend the policy of Barack Obama.

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Here is a story you might have missed

Sister Diana Momeka of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena was informed on Tuesday by the U.S. consulate in Erbil that her non-immigrant-visa application has been rejected.The reason given in the denial letter, a copy of which I have obtained, is:

You were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the classification of the visa.

Her rejection was a conspicuously singular event:

every member of an Iraqi delegation of minority groups, including representatives of the Yazidi and Turkmen Shia religious communities, has been granted visas to come for official meetings in Washington — save one.

Singular as the only one that happened to be Christian.  The Anchoress is not happy:

It is wholly unlikely that Sister Diana wants to come to America for sanctuary. Her community, the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena have had a presence in Iraq since the 13th Century. They have been on the frontlines amid the horror of ISIS’ advances and they have sent out communiques to let the world know what is happening. I doubt very much that this nun, who is dedicated to her mission, is seeking to escape.

Because I am sick I am having trouble being diplomatic; this refusal to permit entry to Sister Diana, and the excuse given sound like pure-d bullcrap to me.

This is from a piece titled:  Does The Obama Admin has Issues with Catholic Nuns?

The answer of course is no, as long as said nuns are willing to push abortion and Obamacare as opposed to Christ & the Catholic faith his people love them, the Anchoress again:

Because I am sick I am having trouble being diplomatic; this refusal to permit entry to Sister Diana, and the excuse given sound like pure-d bullcrap to me.

Why does this administration go out of its way to avoid noticing or mentioning what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere? Why are Catholic nuns too suspect to be allowed into the country? What is the problem, exactly?

My non diplomatic opinion as to the answer is this:  The Obama administration sees Christianity in general  faithful Christians in particular as the enemy.  Their extermination around the world in their minds is poetic justice for their opposition to abortion, gay marriage and every sin in history that they hold against us.

But most of all because liberalism & Christianity share the same first commandment:

Thou shalt have no other Gods but me

That’s what they can’t come out and say what they think, the American people have fallen far but not far enough to spin this as positive.

To those who think my opinion is extreme I ask:  How would an administration holding the opinion I suggest they do act differently than this one?

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If he can win the war on terror and turn the economy around he’ll be a winner in my book.

DaTechGuy on Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day Jan 20th 2009

In 2007 while Barack Obama was still a brand new Senator from Illinois President George Bush seeing a moment of crisis in Anbar Province in Iraq proposed a surge of troops to order to defeat the Islamists who threatened to derail the new Iraqi republic that replace the Saddam Hussein Regime.

Despite the Opposition of High level Democrats like Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi low level Democrats like Barack Obama and even some republicans like Chuck Hagel the Bush Surge took place allowing George Bush to hand to his successor an Iraq where the forces of Al Qaeda had been largely defeated.

We have now had Six years of Barack Obama where he pulled troops out of Iraq, pulled American support from allies in Egypt, watch Russia advance in Ukraine and intimidate the Eastern block countries and now this weekend our chief of homeland security told America on three networks that if you are going to the Mall of America in Minnesota

“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” 

Think about that for a second, we went from fighting Islamic Terrorism, forcing the enemy to take on the best trained, best equipped and most effective army in the history of the world in their backyard, to the point where the head of the Department of Homeland security whose mission is to protect Americans in America is warning Americans that they have to be careful in a Mall in the United States.

Barack Obama is an abject failure whose policies have been costly to the American people but the responsibility for this failure has to be shared with that same American population who bought what he was selling not once but twice, the second time after he allowed a successful attack on Americans in Libya without attempting to stop them.

I regret to say we are getting the administration we deserve

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jackintheboxby baldilocks

Here’s what the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner is up to this time.

Obama’s War Authorization Limits Ground Forces

by Josh Rogin

I like how this Rogin guy/Bloomberg uses the verb “limits” as if it means something.

Almost six months after the president began using force against the Islamic State advance in Iraq and then in Syria, the White House is ready to ask Congress for formal permission to continue the effort. Until now, the administration has maintained it has enough authority to wage war through the 2001 AUMF on al-Qaeda, the 2002 AUMF regarding Iraq and Article II of the Constitution. But under pressure from Capitol Hill, the White House has now completed the text of a new authorization and could send it to lawmakers as early as Wednesday.

[…]

The president’s AUMF for the fight against Islamic State would restrict the use of ground troops through a prohibition on “enduring offensive ground operations,” but provide several exemptions. First, all existing ground troops, including the 3,000 U.S. military personnel now on the ground in Iraq, would be explicitly excluded from the restrictions. After that, the president would be allowed to deploy new military personnel in several specific roles: advisers, special operations forces, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers to assist U.S. air strikes and Combat Search and Rescue personnel.

The new AUMF would repeal the 2002 AUMF (Iraq; repealed for reasons which will become apparent), but not the 2001 AUMF (al Qaeda).

And here’s the kicker:

There are no geographic limitations, so the administration would be free to expand the war to other countries.

So does this mean that any amount of ground/other troops can go wherever the president directs in the name of engaging ISIS?

Our president is (further) laying the groundwork for World War. Joe Biden was right. Kinda.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

There are so many depressing stories to write about today I scarce know where to begin.

#1 The first Post american President continues his Post American program.

Obama had traded away concessions for “symbolic gestures,” and that Obama was “the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president…maybe in the modern history of the country.”

I really missing having a president who is on our side.

#2. Trauma at Harvard:

But while emotional pageantry in lieu of a logical contention may yield spectacular results in the political realm, it remains insufficient in the eyes of those trained to argue the law. At least, that is the impression one gets from reading the reactions to this sloppy effort by a third year Harvard Law School student and an editor on the Harvard Law Review who recently argued in favor of delaying exams because of his perceived and vicarious emotional trauma.

“Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness,” wrote William Desmond in The National Law Journal.

You know there was a Day that Harvard produced the type of men so strong that even having their ship cut in two under them in the dark of night didn’t paralyze them into inaction.

#3 Mass Murder in Pakistan

The Pakistani branch of the Taliban has attempted to justify its attack on a school on Tuesday in the city of Peshawar that left 132 children and nine staff members dead, calling it revenge for the army’s offensive against the group. The attack has been condemned by world leaders, including the government of Iran as well as by the Afghan branch of the Taliban.


Yes these are the terrorists this president is negotiating with.

#4 Cowardice in Hollywood:

The top five theater circuits in North America have decided not to play Sony’s The Interview.

Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film.

“Due to the wavering support of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theatres,” Regal said in a statement to THR Wednesday.


Oh for the days of when men like Leslie Howard defined the Nazis

#5 and finally courage in Iraq at a terrible cost both depressing and inspiring:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants rounded up the four under 15-children and asked them if they would followMohammed and live or chose any other religion and live. The courageous died hard Christians replied the militants saying, “No, we love Yesua (the Iraqi name for Jesus), we have always loved Yesua, we have always followed Yesua, Yesua has always been with us.”

According to the report by Orthodox Christian Network, the four boys were beheaded by the militants after refusing to accept Islam as their religion.

I would suggest that a cause for canonization begin at once.