Chelsea Clinton is officially getting into the game. The former first daughter has sent out a campaign fundraising pitch on behalf of her mother's presidential campaign.
"My mom is my hero. From helping cut the uninsured rate for children in half as First Lady to later becoming the first female senator from New York and then running for president, she's kept fighting for families -- while also being a great mom," reads the pitch.
"I hope my daughter grows up to be as proud of me as I am of my mom.
"That she's remained committed to making life better for women and children while being attacked by the other side for more than two decades is incredible and inspiring. I'm proud to stand with her in everything she does.
"Tuesday is the first debate of the Democratic primary, where my mom will continue talking about her plans and ideas to make life better for American families. Here’s one way to let her know you have her back before the big day: Chip in $1 or more to stand with her and become a Debate Donor.
"It's going to take a campaign as strong as my mom is to fight back against everything the other side is throwing at her, and to help us become the country we want to be. I can't tell you how much she'll appreciate your support at this critical moment.
"Donate $1 or more to become a Debate Donor before Tuesday."
Russian warplanes have been conducting strike in Syria. As have U.S. fighter-bombers. And, lest we forget, France has been doing a little bombing there as well. As Reuters reports:
France launched a new air strike overnight in Syria against an Islamic State training camp and further strikes will follow, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday. "France hit Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria last night in Raqqa... It is not the first time, nor will it be the last time," Le Drian said on Europe 1 radio.
The U.S. seems less committed than France, however. This morning, we learn from Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt at the New York Times that:
The Obama administration has ended the Pentagon’s $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels, administration officials said on Friday, in an acknowledgment that the beleaguered program had failed to produce any kind of ground combat forces capable of taking on the Islamic State in Syria
And, as Josh Rogin and Eli Lake write at Bloomberg:
A week into Russia's military intervention in Syria, some top White House advisers and National Security Council staffers are trying to persuade President Barack Obama to scale back U.S. engagement there, to focus on lessening the violence and, for now, to give up on toppling the Syrian regime.
There was a time when getting rid of Assad was the United States’ objective in Syria. A time when we warned him about “red lines” and how he was on the wrong side of the magisterial force known as “History.” But, then, who needs History when you have Russia on your side. To paraphrase Stalin, “How many divisions – or fighter bombers – does History have?"
Obama's foreign-policy team no longer doubts that Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to prop up President Bashar al-Assad and primarily target opposition groups other than the Islamic State, including those trained by the Central Intelligence Agency.
There has been speculation that John Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif would be selected for the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, today it was announced that the prize will instead go to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011."
The Nobel committee explains:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 is to be awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011. The Quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 when the democratization process was in danger of collapsing as a result of political assassinations and widespread social unrest. It established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war. It was thus instrumental in enabling Tunisia, in the space of a few years, to establish a constitutional system of government guaranteeing fundamental rights for the entire population, irrespective of gender, political conviction or religious belief.
The National Dialogue Quartet has comprised four key organizations in Tunisian civil society: the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA, Union Tunisienne de l'Industrie, du Commerce et de l'Artisanat), the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH, La Ligue Tunisienne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme), and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers (Ordre National des Avocats de Tunisie). These organizations represent different sectors and values in Tunisian society: working life and welfare, principles of the rule of law and human rights. On this basis, the Quartet exercised its role as a mediator and driving force to advance peaceful democratic development in Tunisia with great moral authority. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 is awarded to this Quartet, not to the four individual organizations as such.
The Arab Spring originated in Tunisia in 2010-2011, but quickly spread to a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. In many of these countries, the struggle for democracy and fundamental rights has come to a standstill or suffered setbacks. Tunisia, however, has seen a democratic transition based on a vibrant civil society with demands for respect for basic human rights.
All is fine and well in the House GOP conference, according to to the Republican rank-and-file.
“We just had a great conference,” said Tennessee’s Marsh Blackburn as she left the Friday morning meeting in the Capitol. “We’ve got a great conference.”
“There’s a lot of communication,” said Jackie Walorski of Indiana.
Asked about the mood in the meeting, Alabama freshman Gary Palmer said, “There’s a lot of good humor.”
It’s a far cry from the confusion that Republicans were expressing just a day earlier, after House majority leader Kevin McCarthy made a surprise announcement that he was withdrawing from the race for speaker. McCarthy’s bid looked increasingly difficult, more challenging than it looked when he had announced his run 10 days before, but no one expected him to drop out. His decision brought immediate chaos to House Republicans as they scrambled to figure out how to move forward. Twenty-four hours later, members at least sounded calmer.
“I think people see this not as a challenge but as an opportunity,” said Texas Republican Blake Farenthold.
“Everybody was in shock yesterday,” said Palmer. “I think everybody’s kind of settled down. We’re going to have a week back in the district. It’s going to clear up some of the thinking.”
Emotions may be settled, but the question of who will ultimately become the GOP conference’s pick for speaker is not. Paul Ryan is the clear favorite among members, including McCarthy and outgoing House speaker John Boehner. CNN reports Ryan has repeatedly said he doesn’t want the job, and a spokesman for the Wisconsin Republican continues to say he “is not running.” But CNN also reports that Ryan is "telling House Republicans privately he is considering running for speaker."
And there's been an outpouring of support for Ryan among House members, including one candidate for speaker, Utah’s Jason Chaffetz.
"If Paul Ryan got into the race, of course I’d support him,” Chaffetz told reporters outside the conference meeting. “One of the reasons I got into the race is because people like Paul Ryan weren’t stepping up to do it. We need to have some solution, and I just offer myself as part of that solution.”
“I would not run against Paul Ryan,” he added.
But after Ryan, members aren’t offering up many more potential candidates—Minnesota’s John Kline and Texas’s Jeb Hensarling are among those being mentioned. There’s still declared candidates Chaffetz and Florida congressman Daniel Webster, who is the choice of some 30 or 40 Freedom Caucus members, but neither are gaining ground outside their already declared supporters.
So far in this campaign, Jeb Bush hasn’t said anything particularly memorable (if, that is, memory serves) but now he has come out with something pithy and quotable and certain to please one half the electorate and infuriate the other.
As reported by Jesse Byrnes at The Hill, in a radio conversation with Hugh Hewitt that somehow meandered into the matter of the Washington D.C. professional football team, which some media operations are refusing to identify by its full name, Bush said,
"There was a big argument about the Washington Redskins, the 'Redskins' being a pejorative term. I think 'Washington' is the pejorative term, not the 'Redskins.’”
Marco Rubio is standing up for Israel after a series of Palestinian terror attacks targeting Jews in Israel.
Rubio writes in a blog post on Medium, "This terrorism follows weeks of growing violence against Israel, from firebomb attacks on Israeli security forces at the Temple Mount to Palestinian rock throwers, who stoned a Jewish driver in Jerusalem, forcing him off the road and killing him. Reminiscent of the days when Yasser Arafat talked peace in English and jihad in Arabic, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — a man President Obama regularly hails as a peacemaker — is inciting the bloodshed."
The Republican presidential candidate continues:
And what has been the Obama administration’s response to weeks of official Palestinian incitement, anti-Semitism, and violence? President Obama refuses to criticize Abbas or demand that he stop the incitement and violence. Instead, the administration plays the moral equivalence game. “All sides,” it says, must “restore calm,” as if Israel is somehow to blame for being the victim of terrorism. Secretary of State Kerry this week cautioned “everybody to be calm, not to escalate the situation.” For her part, Hillary Clinton has been silent. This is not surprising given that as Secretary of State she led many of the Obama administration’s attacks on Israel.
Indeed, the indifference that President Obama and Hillary Clinton display toward incitement and violence against Jews fits a long-running pattern of callousness and neglect toward the Jewish state. In June 2009, President Obama reportedly told American Jewish leaders that he wanted to put daylight between America and Israel. He went on to demand a full settlement freeze to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations — an extraordinary precondition that even Abbas himself never made.
The president’s demand destroyed any hope of moving forward on peace, asking too much of Israel and giving Abbas no incentive to negotiate. The Palestinians refused to enter negotiations until the last month of the freeze, but Hillary Clinton reserved her anger for a 45-minute rant aimed at Prime Minister Netanyahu. Over the next five years, this pattern persisted — administration officials largely absolved the Palestinians of responsibility for incitement and terror while threatening to reassess relations with Israel and calling the leader of a close ally a “chicken — .”
By distancing the United States from Israel, President Obama has created an atmosphere that rewards the provocative behavior of the Palestinian Authority. Absolving the guilty, blaming the innocent, and ignoring Palestinian incitement is putting lives at risk. It is long past time for President Obama and Hillary Clinton to call on President Abbas — clearly and publicly — to work to stop the anti-Semitism and terror. And it is also long past time for President Obama and Hillary Clinton to pledge — clearly and publicly — to block the Palestinian campaign to bypass peace with Israel by unilaterally declaring statehood.
On Sunday, October 4, the Central Asian former-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan held national elections to its 120-member parliament. The main incumbent party, the reforming Social Democrats (SDPK) were returned to power, and the ruling president, Almazbek Atambayev, who is their leader, gained a second term. But the previous administration was replaced, and the polling was certified and praised enthusiastically by international observers.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors elections in many such countries, reported that the “lively and competitive elections were unique in this region.” The Financial Timesnoted that Kyrgyzstan had held “possibly the most competitive elections in the history of post-Soviet Central Asia.” The winning Social Democrats were credited with 27.4 percent of the vote, and 38 seats, while their leading rival, the Ata Jurt or Fatherland party, received 20 percent and 28 deputies. Twelve other parties competed with them. The Kyrgyz constitution forbids any party from electing more than 65 representatives.
Kyrgyzstan has 5.6 million people, 70 percent of them ethnically Kyrgyz. They are Sunni Muslims, as are about 20 percent more drawn from surrounding Central Asian Muslim communities. The rest are Russian. Kyrgyz, a Turkic language, and Russian, are the official languages, reflecting the heritage of tsarist and Soviet rule. Kyrgyzstan was conquered by the tsarist empire in 1876. Like other ex-Soviet states, Kyrgyzstan has a significant Jewish community and maintains good relations with Israel.
Kyrgyzstan is the most remote from Moscow, Berlin, and Washington of the former Soviet republics, but several factors make its political future important.
First, it is close to Afghanistan, with its capital, Bishkek, separated from Kabul by about 650 miles, across the territory of the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan. From 2001 to 2014, the U.S. military operated Manas Air Force Base, later retitled the Manas Transit Center, in Kyrgyzstan, as a hub for Afghan operations against the Taliban.
Radical Islam is weak in Kyrgyzstan, where local Turkic cultural traditions dominate. In the surrounding region, however, Islamist extremists have been recruited in Uzbekistan, and are said to be active in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Tajikistan, which is Persian-speaking but Sunni rather than Shia, is an under-the-radar satellite of Iran. On the eastern border of Kyrgyzstan sits China, with a restive minority of Turkic Uighur Muslims, some of them drawn into jihadism.
Today, Young America's Foundation (YAF) is marking the anniversary of Che Guevara's death with an anti-Che campaign.
As YAF notes,
For decades, the Left tried to glorify murderers and thugs like Lenin, Mao, and even Stalin. They are discredited today because people know about their evil deeds. Che is more obscure. He is one notorious figure who is idolized by the Left and hailed as a "hero," yet most students never learn the truth about his cult of violence.
President Obama will be heading to Oregon tomorrow to visit Umpqua Community College, the site of a shooting rampage last week. But Obama's not heading home directly after meeting with families of the victims. Instead, the president will attend a series of West Coast fundraisers immediately after.
In fact, Obama has three fundraisers lined up for tomorrow. Two in Seattle and one in San Francisco. He'll spend tomorrow night in San Francisco.
"In the morning, the President will travel to Roseburg, Oregon. The President’s departure from the South Lawn is open press and arrival at the Mahlon Sweet Field Airport is open to pre-credentialed media," reads the president's schedule.
"In the afternoon, the President will visit privately with families of victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting. These meetings are closed press. Following the meetings, the President will depart Eugene, Oregon en route Seattle, Washington. The departure from the Mahlon Sweet Field Airport and the arrival at the King County International Airport are open to pre-credentialed media.
"Later in the afternoon, the President will participate in a DNC roundtable at the Westin Hotel. The roundtable is closed press. Following the roundtable, the President will deliver remarks at an event for Senator Patty Murray and the Washington State Democratic Party. There will be travel pool coverage of the President’s remarks.
"In the evening, the President will depart Seattle, Washington en route San Francisco, California. The President’s departure from the King County International Airport and the arrival at the San Francisco International Airport are open to pre-credentialed media. Following his arrival, the President will participate in a DNC roundtable at a private residence. The roundtable is closed press.
"The President will remain overnight in San Francisco."
It was just over a week ago when House majority leader Kevin McCarthy first considered dropping out of the race for speaker.
The problems began on Tuesday, September 29, when the California Republican did a day-long media blitz as he campaigned to win support of the House GOP conference. The day ended with an appearance on Fox News’s Hannity, where McCarthy, pressed by Sean Hannity to show what House Republicans had done for conservatives, cited the Benghazi select committee’s findings on Hillary Clinton’s email and how those had hurt the Democrat’s presidential campaign. Democrats jumped all over the gaffe.
McCarthy calls it a “stumble” and says in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the backlash from House Republicans after the Hannity appearance was the first real indication that he would have a real fight for the speakership. He stayed in the race, but it became, in his words, an “uphill battle.”
McCarthy went on to meet with the Freedom Caucus, a rump group of dissatisfied right-wing Republicans who had been behind the effort to oust John Boehner from the speaker’s chair. He made his pitch, but most of the caucus decided to back one of their own, Florida congressman Daniel Webster. That was about 30 or 40 votes—not enough to deny McCarthy the majority within the GOP conference, but plenty to deny him the majority in a floor vote with the entire House of Representatives.
“At the end of the day, maybe I could have won,” McCarthy tells me. But the risk of going to the floor without the votes was too high. McCarthy wouldn’t say when exactly he made the decision to drop out, only that it was “a day or two” before his surprise announcement Thursday.
What about the rumor swirling around the Internet that McCarthy was having an extramarital affair? Some commentators claimed to have knowledge, through anonymous sources, of such an affair. And one anti-McCarthy congressman, Walter Jones, wrote a letter to the GOP conference chair requesting that any leadership candidates who had committed “misdeeds” since joining Congress withdraw from the race. Was this rumor part of the reason McCarthy decided to drop out?
“No,” he said, curtly. “It was not.”
McCarthy had been seen as a likely successor to Boehner, and perhaps more personally popular with the rank-and-file than the current speaker. After all, McCarthy had been the House GOP’s recruitment chair in 2010, the year Republicans took control of the House, and he’d recruited many of the people whose support he’d need for a speakership bid. What’s changed in the House conference since then?
A number of cruise missiles launched from a Russian ship and aimed at targets in Syria have crashed in Iran, two U.S. officials told CNN Thursday. Monitoring by U.S. military and intelligence assets has concluded that at least four missiles crashed as they flew over Iran. One official said there may be casualties, but another official said this is not yet known.
Evidently, Russian ordinance is not quite state the art and Putin’s weapons do not match up with his will. Hard to imagine that will deter him.
After Leader McCarthy’s announcement, members of the House Republican Conference will not vote today for a new Speaker. As I have said previously, I will serve as Speaker until the House votes to elect a new Speaker. We will announce the date for this election at a later date, and I’m confident we will elect a new Speaker in the coming weeks. Our conference will work together to ensure we have the strongest team possible as we continue to focus on the American people’s priorities.