Monday, December 7, 2015

Obama's Address: Breaking It Down (Abridged)

by J.R. Holmsted
Did you miss the President’s address? Read on for the highlights. *BONUS* 100% snark free commentary. Okay, that's not true. But who cares? Read anyway.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good evening. On Wednesday, 14 Americans were killed as they came together to celebrate the holidays. They were taken from family and friends who loved them deeply. They were white and black, Latino and Asian, immigrants, and American born, moms and dads, daughters and sons. Each of them served their fellow citizens. All of them were part of our American family.
Holmsted: Did he hit all the correct notes on diversity? Hope he didn’t leave out anyone because they might be uber offended.
Tonight I want to talk with you about this tragedy, the broader threat of terrorism and how we can keep our country safe. The FBI is still gathering the facts about what happened in San Bernardino, but here's what we know.
Which is to say, here’s what I’ve decided to tell you.
The victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their co-workers and his wife.
Workplace violence? At least he didn’t say it.
So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home.
Except the wife’s ties to extremism overseas and her pledge to ISIS on social media.
But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs.
Which obvs, increased gun control (in a state already rampant with it) and our various anti-explosive laws would have stopped.
So this was an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies have disrupted countless plots here and overseas and worked around the clock to keep us safe.
Did he say clock? How about that “clock” the kid in Texas made which resulted in the school being sued for millions because they took precaution. But “see something, say something,” right?
Over the last few years, however, the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase. As we've become better at preventing complex multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turn to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society.
Mass no longer means what you think it means. Forget the dictionary definition! Three or more now suffices as a “mass shooting” for political stats used as talking points.
It is this type of attack that we saw at Fort Hood in 2009, in Chattanooga earlier this year, and now in San Bernardino.
Do you finally consider Ft. Hood a terrorist attack?
And as groups like ISIL grew stronger amidst the chaos of war in Iraq and then Syria, and as the Internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the Boston Marathon bombers and the San Bernardino killers.
Radical Islam is the common denominator.
For seven years, I've confronted this evolving threat each and every morning in my intelligence briefing, and since the day I took this office, I have authorized U.S. forces to take out terrorists abroad precisely because I know how real the danger is.
Have you, though? Some suggest otherwise.
As commander in chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people.
But my AG may infringe on your 1A, 2A, 5A, and 14A rights to pretend like I can ensure it.
We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us. Our success won't depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values or giving into fear. 
Sounds mostly like tough talk.
Here's how. First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary. In Iraq and Syria, air strikes are taking out ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure.
Yet despite your efforts, we still see ISIS flourishing.
And since attacks in Paris, our closest allies, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, have ramped up their contributions to our military campaign which will help us accelerate our effort to destroy ISIL.
Paris was a crazy slap in the face. About time we had some help from our wishy-washy allies.
Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens.
To avoid putting U.S. boots on the ground, we will train and give weapons to those we have yet to be able to keep control of or secure allegiance from.
Third, we're working with friends and allies to stop ISIL's operations, to disrupt plots, cut off their financing, and prevent them from recruiting more fighters.
Hasn’t been very successful thus far.
Since the attacks in Paris, we've surged merged intelligence sharing with our European allies. We're working with Turkey to seal its border with Syria, and we are cooperating with Muslim majority countries, and with our Muslim communities here at home, to counter the vicious ideology that ISIL promotes online.
Try harder. Also, research Taqiyya. Be prepared there may be wolves disguised as sheep among our Muslim brethren.
Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has begun to establish a process and timeline to pursue cease-fires and a political resolution to the Syrian war.
While taking in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees we cannot ensure we will be able to properly vet. Tashfeen Malik slipped through several checkpoints, but totes trust us on these peeps!
This is our strategy to destroy ISIL. It is designed and supported by our military commanders and counterterrorism experts, together with 65 countries that have joined an American-led coalition.
We don’t have a freaking clue who we’re fighting, where to find them, or what the hell we’re doing.
That's why I've ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review the visa waiver program under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to this country.
Visa waiver program? Not exactly, Mr. President.
There are several steps that Congress should take right away. To begin with,Congress should act to make sure no one on a no- fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon? This is a matter of national security.
Who cares about due process?!? Congress must forsake the 5th and 14th amendments of the Constitution. Because “security.”
We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons, like the ones that were used in San Bernardino. I know there are some who reject any gun-safety measures, but the fact is that our intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, no matter how effective they are, cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual was motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology.
If you like your guns, you can keep your guns. Just kidding! We want your guns! But for now, we just want to limit the right to bear arms. Quit being heartless bastards and allow it!
Let me now say a word about what we should not do. 
Oh good! Here’s the lecture we’ve been waiting for!
We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That's what groups like ISIL want.
Here's what else we cannot do. We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs (wait—isn’t that racist?!?) and killers, part of a cult of death. And they account for a tiny fraction of a more than a billion Muslims around the world, including millions of patriotic Muslim-Americans who reject their hateful ideology.
If by tiny fraction, you mean millions, then yeah. Cool.
That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. It's a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse.
FINALLY. I can actually thank the President for saying what we all have wanted someone official to say.
But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans, of every faith, to reject discrimination. 
Quit being bigots, y’all. Stop having any prejudicial apprehensions just because a “tiny percentage” is radical.
My fellow Americans, I am confident we will succeed in this mission because we are on the right side of history. We were founded upon a belief in human dignity that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like or what religion you practice, you are equal in the eyes of God and equal in the eyes of the law.
Let's make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional.
Say what?!? I thought you believed America was NOT exceptional. Glad you realized it now, though.
Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.


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