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Democrats are turning their fire on Scott Rasmussen, the prolific independent pollster whose surveys on elections, President Obama’s popularity and a host of other issues are surfacing in the media with increasing frequency. The pointed attacks reflect a hardening conventional wisdom among prominent liberal bloggers and many Democrats that Rasmussen Reports polls are, at best, the result of a flawed polling model and, at worst, designed to undermine Democratic politicians and the party’s national agenda….
Democrats have lost yet another touted recruit, this time in Kansas. State Sen. Laura Kelly (D) just announced her withdrawal from the race to face Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.). She becomes the fifth formidable recruit to bow out in recent weeks. “I have been forced to make a decision between honoring the pledge I made to the people in my Senate district and my firm conviction that the people of the 2nd congressional district deserve a truly independent voice in Congress,” Kelly said in a statement. “This has been a very hard decision, but it is the right one”….
Top Obama counterterrorism adviser John Brennan says the Justice Department made the decision to handle the case of Detroit terror bomb suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the criminal justice system. Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Brennan was asked why the Obama administration did not choose to treat Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant. “He was arrested on U.S. soil,” Brennan answered. “The Department of Justice makes that determination about what is the best tool to use.” Pressed about reports Abdulmutallab stopped talking to investigators after he was given a lawyer and read his Miranda rights, Brennan said, “We have an array of tools that we will use” in the case….
Shortly before Thanksgiving, a concerned Nigerian banker warned the local U.S. Embassy about his missing son’s ties to Yemeni radicals and a possible terrorist threat. It wasn’t until Christmas that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab resurfaced – in seat 19A of a Detroit-bound airliner, his underwear loaded with enough explosives to kill all 289 people aboard. The 35 days between were rife with missed clues, missteps and miscommunication as authorities – in a 9/11 repeat – failed to connect the terrorist dots surrounding the Al Qaeda-trained bomber….
The explosive device smuggled in the clothing of the Detroit bomb suspect would not have been detected by body-scanners set to be introduced in British airports, an expert on the technology warned last night. The claim severely undermines Gordon Brown’s focus on hi-tech scanners for airline passengers as part of his review into airport security after the attempted attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day. The Independent on Sunday has also heard authoritative claims that officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office have already tested the scanners and were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation….
THERE IS, it seems evident, more than enough blame to go around in the botched handling of the botched Christmas bombing. Not for some Republicans. With former vice president Richard B. Cheney in the lead, they have embarked on an ugly course to use the incident to inflict maximum political damage on President Obama. That’s bad enough, but their scurrilous line of attack is even worse. The claim that the incident shows the president’s fecklessness in the war on terror is unfounded — no matter how often it is repeated. These critics have set up a straw Obama, a weak and naive leader who allegedly takes terrorism lightly, thinks that playing nicely with terrorists will make them stop, and fails to understand the threat that the United States faces from violent extremists….
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It evidently didn’t matter to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab that Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, is trying to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and has sucked up shamelessly to the Islamist regime in Iran. (SNIP) Brian Jenkins, a terrorism expert for the RAND Corp., said that of 32 terror-related “events” in America since 9/11, 12 occurred in 2009. This spike probably is due in part to the fact that security officials in the Obama administration think it more important to avoid hurting the feelings of Muslims than to take effective measures to protect Americans. Political correctness also is one reason TSA finds it easier to punish all innocent air travelers rather than to focus on the handful of potential threats….
It speaks eloquently to the Obama administration’s priorities that it took the White House four days to acknowledge the “catastrophic breach of security” that led to the failed bombing of a US-bound jet on Christmas Day — but a scant four hours to accuse Dick Cheney of coddling terrorists. The former vice president Wednesday harshly criticized the administration’s efforts — or non-efforts —against terrorism. Whereupon, Team Obama went ballistic. But Cheney’s take was spot-on: “We are at war” against terrorism, but President Obama “pretends we aren’t.” This, warned Cheney, “makes us less safe.” Precisely….
No one would pretend it is easy fighting the intelligence war against Al-Qaeda. With its loosely affiliated franchises, its dedicated core of jihadists and its ruthless obsession with blowing planes out of the sky, it is a formidable adversary. Like all effective terrorist organisations, it adapts quickly to every measure designed to thwart its malign intentions. Worse, its adherents are prepared — indeed happy — to die for its cause. Yet despite knowing Al-Qaeda had brought down the twin towers, flown a plane into the Pentagon and perpetrated numerous other acts of violence, the West seems curiously complacent….
A top counterterrorism official is warning that al-Qaida and other extremists are working to test U.S. defenses and launch an attack on American soil. National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter says the failed Christmas Day attempt to bring down a U.S. airliner is the starkest reminder of that threat. Leiter said in a statement Saturday that officials “know with absolute certainty” that al-Qaida and others are trying to refine their methods….
The asylum seeker from Somalia hung his head as an immigration judge grilled him about his treacherous journey from the Horn of Africa. By air, sea and land he finally made it to Mexico, and then a taxi delivered him into the arms of U.S. border agents at San Diego. Islamic militants had killed his brother, Mohamed Ahmed Kheire testified, and majority clan members had beaten his sister. He had to flee Mogadishu to live. The voice of the judge, beamed by videoconference from Seattle, crackled loudly over a speaker in the mostly empty courtroom near the detention yard in the desert north of Los Angeles. He wanted to know why Kheire had no family testimony to corroborate his asylum claim….
As we look back on the past ten years, it is clear that we are now entering a post-American decade. How did it all go so wrong so quickly? The year 2000 kicked off with the Democrat ruse of a “stolen election” — this from the racketeering party of ACORN — but thankfully, it was not stolen after all. George W. Bush took the reins, but soon thereafter came the culmination of all the Islamic attacks on the U.S. during the Clinton years. Islam’s fatwa on the West during the Clinton administration came home to New York and Washington on September 11th….
The U.S. closed its embassy in Yemen on Sunday, citing ongoing threats by the al Qaeda group linked to the failed Christmas Day bid to bomb a Detroit-bound flight. “The U.S. Embassy in San’a is closed today, January 3, 2010, in response to ongoing threats by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula … to attack American interests in Yemen,” the embassy said in a brief message on its Web site. The message did not say how long the embassy, which has been assaulted and threatened several times in the past decade, would remain closed….
Costa Mesa police have stepped up patrols near the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, the target of recent anti-Islamic acts including vandalism, hate mail and the burning of two copies of the Koran. Vandals also recently defaced part of an outdoor interfaith holiday display in Mission Viejo, according to the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which denounced both acts as “incidents of anti-Islam hate targeting the local Muslim community.” The two incidents are thought to be unrelated but appear to be part of a recent uptick in anti-Muslim acts nationally, especially since the attempted terrorist bombing of a jetliner headed to Detroit on Christmas, council spokeswoman Munira Syeda said Saturday….
Vicki Behenna has 10 minutes to plead her son’s case. Where does she begin? In the last few months, she has developed hours of arguments about why U.S. Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna was wrongly convicted of killing a suspected terrorist in Iraq in 2008, why his 20-year sentence for unpremeditated murder was too severe compared to other sentences for the same offense and why the military rules for detaining suspected terrorists make no sense in a combat zone. She will have to condense all that into a matter of minutes when she appears Thursday before the Army Clemency and Parole Board in Arlington, Va….
We are still two years from the end of the world based on the Mayan calendar, and for that I suppose we should be grateful. Or should we? Is it possible that the Mayans got it wrong? Could they be off by two years? Because 2010 looks an awful lot like “The Year of the Jackpot,” as science fiction author Robert Heinlein called the year when the wheels finally fell off — when everything that could go wrong did go wrong….
Federal oversight of American Airlines has been increased in the wake of three mishaps during landings in December, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Two incidents involved jetliners’ wingtips touching the ground during landings. The third occurred last week in Jamaica when a plane overshot the runway during heavy rain. “In situations where there may be several incidents involving a single carrier over a short period of time, FAA inspectors increase their oversight, which we’re doing now, and conduct a review of those events to determine whether they might be indicative of a larger issue,” FAA officials said in a statement released Friday….
Quote of the day.
However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.