Wednesday, February 5, 2014

No Confidence

It is a good thing Barack Obama does not have to face the voters again. Americans have lost confidence in him.

This week CNN released the results of a poll conducted after Obama's State of the Union address. The public split in its overall reaction to the speech -- just 44% were "somewhat positive," while 38% were "somewhat negative."

By a 3-to-1 margin, the public felt Obama's policies were "too liberal" (41%) versus "not liberal enough" (14%). And 56% said they thought Obama's policies would fail, while just 37% thought they would succeed.

Of course, it seems every day brings more news about how his policies are failing, whether it's the jobless recovery, Obamacare or another foreign policy disaster.

Speaking Of Foreign Policy Disasters…

When Obama first won the presidency, many on the left and in the media assumed that having a president named "Hussein" who had lived part of his life in Indonesia would help cure our problems around the world. Think again.

Yesterday James Clapper, Obama's director of National Intelligence, told members of Congress, "Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence, I have not experienced a time when we've been beset by more crises and threats around the globe."

During his State of the Union address, Obama suggested that the power of his diplomacy was "why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated." There's just one problem: They are being "eliminated" like Iran's nuclear program is being "eliminated" -- they're not.

The deal Obama negotiated in October required Syria to surrender its chemical weapons by today. So far it has given up only 4% of its stockpiles. Syria is weeks behind schedule and few expect the Assad regime to meet its obligations.

In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry conceded in private meetings with members of Congress that Obama's Syria policy isn't working at all. For once it seems Kerry is right.

Many conservatives did not want to get involved in Syria under this president. As we have watched him fritter away gains in Afghanistan and Iraq, there was no reason to believe he would conduct a campaign in Syria with any more skill or wisdom. So, many cheered when Obama backed away from his own "red line" after Syria used chemical weapons.

That said, we warned then that to invite Russia into the Middle East cauldron thinking Putin would save the day was naive. The chemical weapons deal was a farce.

Meanwhile, top intelligence officials are warning that Syria is turning into a haven for radical Islamists. CIA Director John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, "We are concerned about the use of Syrian territory by the Al Qaeda organization to recruit individuals and develop the capability to be able not just to carry out attacks inside of Syria, but also to use Syria as a launching pad."

It gets worse. U.S. intelligence officials believe at least 50 American jihadists are fighting in Syria. The FBI is reportedly "trying to track U.S. veterans of the Syrian war who have returned home."

Who are these people? Where did they come from? How were they radicalized? How did they get back in?

These are urgent questions I hope someone is raising in every discussion of so-called "comprehensive immigration reform." Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has raised them in the past and was roundly condemned by the political left, including many congressional Democrats.

Terrorist Targeting Our Energy Grid

The Wall Street Journal reports today about a terrorist attack last year on a California power substation. Last April, snipers cut the telephone wires to the substation and took out 17 transformers that help power Silicon Valley.

I remember being struck by the initial reports of the incident when it happened because it took place a day after the Boston Marathon bombing. But it was largely dismissed as the work of local yokels out for target practice, and it got lost in the coverage from Boston.

But as I was reading the Journal report, it brought to mind comments by an Iranian general we mentioned in Monday's report. He said, "We have … identified centers in America [for attack] that will create a shock. We will conduct such a blow in which they [America] will be destroyed from within."

Was taking down the electrical grid in Silicon Valley the "shock" he was referring to? Was this the work of a Hezbollah unit? A Hamas unit? We don't know for sure, but there is every reason to believe these Islamic jihadists are operating in the U.S. given the unwillingness of political elites to control our borders, not to mention the fact that dozens of Americans are willing to go fight with Al Qaeda in Syria.

What is most disturbing about the incident is that the only reason we are even hearing about it is because Jon Wellingford, a Bush appointee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission who stepped down in November, is going public with the facts.

No arrests have been made and Obama's FBI doesn't seem that concerned. But in Wellingford's view, what took place at the California substation last year was "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred."

AT&T's "Proud" Announcement

With the Sochi Winter Olympics set to begin this week, AT&T issued a statement yesterday about a "subject that's important to all Americans: equality." Now when most Americans think about equality, I suspect the first thing that comes to mind is racial equality. But that's not what was on AT&T's mind.

AT&T felt compelled to condemn Russia's law against homosexual propaganda. It also wanted to make sure that everyone knew about AT&T's "long and proud history of support for the [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender] community." I'm sure the executives at AT&T feel good about themselves today. When it comes to promoting gay rights, they have found their voice.

But when I worked in the Reagan White House, I don't recall AT&T or other major corporations condemning the Soviet Union while Jews and political dissenters rotted in Siberian gulags. Sadly, while Ronald Reagan worked to rebuild pride in America and America's standing in the world, many corporate elites were eager to trade and "coexist" with the Soviets. And today most big corporations don't feel a need to condemn Christian persecution and human rights violations. Why does concern for homosexual rights trump all other issues? I smell a double standard.

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