Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast – The Washington Post

Who's side is he on?

Who’s side is he on?

President Obama has never been one to go easy on America.

As a new president, he dismissed the idea of American exceptionalism, noting that Greeks think their country is special, too. He labeled the Bush-era interrogation practices, euphemistically called “harsh” for years, as torture. America, he has suggested, has much to answer given its history in Latin America and the Middle East.

His latest challenge came Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Some Republicans were outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (R). “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

Obama’s remarks spoke to his unsparing, sometimes controversial, view of the United States — where triumphalism is often overshadowed by a harsh assessment of where Americans must try harder to live up to their own self-image. Only by admitting these shortcomings, he has argued, can we fix problems and move beyond them.

“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith,” he said at the breakfast.

But many critics believe that the president needs to focus more on enemies of the United States.

Read complete article via Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast – The Washington Post.

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House Passes Bill To Repeal Obamacare | The Daily Caller

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Lawmakers in the House passed a bill Tuesday evening that would repeal President Obama’s health care law. But don’t be fooled: the legislation faces certain death.

A symbolic move to follow through on a promise made by Republican candidates on the campaign trail last year, the GOP-led House approved the legislation that repeals Obamacare and directs House committees to submit “an alternative, patient-centered solution.” The body voted 239 to 186.

The Senate is expected to take up repeal legislation at some point too, but Democrats there have enough votes stop it. Even if it made it onto the president’s desk, Obama has said he would veto it and the Senate doesn’t have enough votes to override.

In a statement, the Obama administration said: “If the President were presented with H.R. 596, he would veto it.”

“I don’t believe Obamacare can be fixed through piecemeal reforms,” Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne, the bill’s sponsor, said on the floor before the vote. “I think the only way to truly get rid of this harmful law is to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.”

Read complete article via House Passes Bill To Repeal Obamacare | The Daily Caller.

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Nearly 1 MILLION border-crossing illegal immigrants have received US work permits during Obama’s presidency, shocking documents reveal | Daily Mail Online

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More than 957,000 immigrants who crossed the U.S. border illegally have received work permits since Barack Obama became president, a shocking report revealed on Monday.

The Center for Immigration Studies uncovered documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, showing that more than 5.5 million new work permits were issued to aliens overall from 2009 to 2014.

That was more than the number of green cards – lawful permanent residence authorizations – and temporary worker admissions in those years.

The organization called it ‘a huge parallel immigrant work authorization system outside the limits set by Congress that inevitably impacts opportunities for U.S. workers, damages the integrity of the immigration system, and encourages illegal immigration.’

The 5.5 milliion number also includes 1.8 million work permits given to to immigrants with temporary visas or visa waivers. And two-thirds of those held visas that did not permit employment in the United States.

Read complete article via Nearly 1 MILLION border-crossing illegal immigrants have received US work permits during Obama’s presidency, shocking documents reveal | Daily Mail Online.

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Open Jihad Declared in Egypt Following State Dept. Meeting with Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders | Washington Free Beacon

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The Muslim Brotherhood called for “a long, uncompromising jihad” in Egypt just days after a delegation of the Islamist group’s key leaders and allies met with the State Department, according to an official statement released this week.

Just days after a delegation that included two top Brotherhood leaders was hosted at the State Department, the organization released an official statement calling on its supporters to “prepare” for jihad, according to an independent translation of the statement first posted on Tuesday.

The statement also was issued just two days before a major terror attack Thursday in Egypt’s lawless Sinai region that killed at least 25.

“It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom,” it states.

Preparation for jihad is a key theme of the Brotherhood’s latest call for jihad.

An image posted with the statement shows two crossing swords and the word “prepare!” between them. Below the swords it reads, “the voice of truth, strength, and freedom.” According to the statement, “that is the motto of the Dawa of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The statement also invokes the well-known Muslim cleric Imam al-Bana, who founded the Brotherhood and has called for the death of Jews.

“Imam al-Bana prepared the jihad brigades that he sent to Palestine to kill the Zionist usurpers and the second [Supreme] Guide Hassan al-Hudaybi reconstructed the ‘secret apparatus’ to bleed the British occupiers,” the statement says.

The Brotherhood’s renewed call for jihad comes at a time when current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is cracking down on the group and imprisoning many of its supporters, who notoriously engaged in violence following the ouster of Brotherhood-ally Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt experts said the timing of this declaration is an embarrassment for the State Department.

Read complete article via Open Jihad Declared in Egypt Following State Dept. Meeting with Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders | Washington Free Beacon.

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Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials said to say | The Times of Israel

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The White House’s outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to speak before Congress in March — a move he failed to coordinate with the administration — began to seep through the diplomatic cracks on Friday, with officials telling Haaretz the Israeli leader had “spat” in President Barack Obama’s face.

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

In his address the Israeli leader is expected to speak about stalled US-led nuclear negotiations with Iran, and to urge lawmakers to slap Tehran with a new round of tougher sanctions in order to force it to comply with international demands. The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday went to the rare length of issuing a press statement to deny claims, cited by Kerry, that its chief Tamir Pardo had told visiting US politicians that he opposed further sanctions.

Haaretz reported that Obama had personally demanded that Netanyahu tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric in a phone call between the two last week. The president has said a sanctions bill would cripple negotiations with Iranian leaders at a critical stage, and has threatened to veto such a bill should it come through.

Read complete article via Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials said to say | The Times of Israel.

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Romney and Jeb Bush to Meet in Utah – NYTimes.com

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WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are scheduled to meet privately this week in Utah, raising the possibility that the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns that would split the Republican establishment next year, two prominent party members said Wednesday night.

The meeting was planned before Mr. Romney’s surprise announcement two weeks ago to donors in New York that he was considering a third run for the White House.

Mr. Bush proposed the meeting, according to one of the party members familiar with the planning, who did not want to be quoted by name in discussing a secret meeting.

The original idea was for Mr. Bush, who announced his presidential ambitions in December, to show his respect for Mr. Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee. The meeting stayed on both men’s calendars even as Mr. Romney took steps to test the presidential waters, moves that could make the meeting awkward.

Aides to Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush did not reply to requests for comment.

Both men have been making a flurry of phone calls to Republican donors and officials to sound them out and gather commitments ahead of what could be a bruising primary race.

Read complete article via Romney and Jeb Bush to Meet in Utah – NYTimes.com.

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Jindal’s Brilliant Take on Radical Islam | Human Events

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA)

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA)

“Let’s be honest here. Islam has a problem.”

Those are key sentences in an incredibly hard-hitting speech that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will give in London on Monday. It is the toughest speech I have read on the whole issue of Islamic radicalism and its destructive, murdering, barbarous ways that are upsetting the entire world.

Early in the speech Jindal says he’s not going to be politically correct. And he uses the term “radical Islamists” without hesitation, placing much of the blame for the Paris murders and all radical Islamist terrorism on a refusal of Muslim leaders to denounce these acts.

Jindal says, “Muslim leaders must make clear that anyone who commits acts of terror in the name of Islam is in fact not practicing Islam at all. If they refuse to say this, then they are condoning these acts of barbarism. There is no middle ground.”

Then he adds, specifically, “Muslim leaders need to condemn anyone who commits these acts of violence and clearly state that these people are evil and are enemies of Islam. It’s not enough to simply condemn violence, they must stand up and loudly proclaim that these people are not martyrs who will receive a reward in the afterlife, and rather they are murderers who are going to hell. If they refuse to do that, then they’re part of the problem. There is no middle ground here.”

I want to know who in the Muslim community in the United States has said this. Which leaders? I don’t normally cover this beat, so I may well have missed it. Hence, I ask readers to tell me if so-called American Muslim leaders have said what Gov. Jindal is saying.

And by the way, what Bobby Jindal is saying is very similar to what Egyptian president el-Sissi said earlier in the year to a group of Muslim imams.

Read complete article via Jindal’s Brilliant Take on Radical Islam | Human Events.

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Romney’s sudden move into 2016 talks a ‘conundrum’ for some former aides – Yahoo News

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney has stopped Jeb Bush from locking down a significant faction of deep-pocketed Republican donors and top presidential campaign staffers for the moment.

But money and talent won’t stay frozen for long. And multiple Republican insiders said Monday that Romney has a short window of time in which he has to make a decision about whether to mount a third run for the White House — or let the dream of the presidency go forever.

One 2012 Romney aide said the former Massachusetts governor might need to make up his mind in the next week. Most people who spoke with Yahoo News said Romney probably can wait a few weeks before the 2012 Republican presidential nominee starts losing support he’d need to mount a credible campaign. One GOP operative pegged Romney’s speech at Mississippi State University on Jan. 28 as a deadline of sorts.

Operatives who are being courted by both Romney and former Florida governor Jeb Bush have told Romney that the clock is ticking.

“I told him you can’t just sit out there and wait on this thing and expect people to stand pat,” said one Republican who worked for Romney in 2012. “He needs to pull the trigger in the next couple of weeks.”

“Bush is pushing hard. He’s running.”

Now, just as Bush was provoked by talk that Romney was considering a run and made a surprise mid-December announcement about actively exploring a run for president, Romney has been flushed out into the open by Bush’s flurry of activity over the past month.

In particular, Bush’s meetings last week with major GOP donors got the attention of Romney advisers.

Read complete article via Romney’s sudden move into 2016 talks a ‘conundrum’ for some former aides – Yahoo News.

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