What wars? Obama finally speaks out on that video of him dancing
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:00 AM ET
Many of you were no doubt busy at work these past 24 hours or seeking work or giving up seeking work. So we've thoughtfully assembled a quick update of the more important news during this period:
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his reply to President Obama's demand to rein in Russian insurgents scorching eastern Ukraine. Using Putin's Buk missiles, the rebels downed two more Ukrainian fighter jets; one pilot was killed, the other ejected over insurgents and his fate can only be guessed.
Crash investigators arrived in the same area to poke through what's left of the Malaysian passenger jet wreckage downed by a previous Russian Buk. Their work was hampered by continuous fighting.
The first few dozen victim's bodies arrived back in the Netherlands, the downed flight's origin, and thousands silently lined streets as hearses passed.
In Iraq, the last living Christians were ejected from Mosul, where people of their faith were living 600 years before Islam arrived. Last week, the terrorist army ISIS, consolidating control now over large regions of Iraq and Syria, said they all must leave, convert or die. Their homes and belongings were confiscated.
ISIS executions of Shiites, soldiers and others continued, while international experts predicted a full assault on Baghdad to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan next week.
In Syria, international observers said the civil war had seen the bloodiest 48 hours since 201with more than 700 dying.
In Gaza, heavy fighting continued between an Israeli incursion force bent on destroying terrorist tunnels into Israel and Hamas.
United Nations officials found a second cache of deadly Hamas rockets stored in a civilian UN school. As an international organization dedicated to peace, UN authorities returned the weapons to the Hamas fighter, who weren't busy parading wounded human shields for TV cameras.
More Hamas rockets were fired blindly into Israel, most of them met by anti-rocket fire. Secy. of State John Kerry took a break from talking fruitlessly to Iran's nuclear weapons negotiators to continue talking fruitlessly with Palestinian authorities about a proposed Egyptian ceasefire that Israel already accepted.
The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its strange two-day ban on U.S. commercial jets flying into Tel Aviv, where usual air traffic had continued.
On Capitol Hill, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee voted 14-0 to confirm Bob McDonald, a former Army officer and Procter & Gamble CEO, as secretary of the scandal-plagued Veterans Administration.
In Florida, Marine veteran Jeffrey Duck patiently waited more than three hours at a VA clinic for his prescription refill. Then, he phoned 911. The reason: Duck realized the entire clinic staff had gone home for the night and locked him inside. VA officials promised to review procedures, not on serving waiting vets faster, but on how they go about closing.
Meanwhile, despite all these international and domestic distractions, Obama bravely carried on with his intense party fundraising duties. He's doing six fundraisers in three days in the Democrats' main West Coast political ATM's of Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
To give you a flavor of the commander-in-chief's remarks, here are excerpts from his Wednesday evening speech to 450 supporters in the luxurious home of Shonda Rimes:
"Hello, everybody. Hello, Los Angeles. Oh, this is a nice looking crowd. You all got dressed up. Don’t you look cute? Everybody, have a seat.....It is good to be in Los Angeles. Let me first of all say thank you to Shonda for opening up this unbelievable space and arranging for perfect weather. Give Shonda a big round of applause.....We love Shonda.
"Kerry Washington I want to thank.....She didn’t jump on the (Obama) bandwagon. She pushed when the wagon was stuck in the mud ....She’s just been a great friend. Plus she showed me her baby pictures, and that is one cute baby. And I want to thank her and the entire host committee for helping to set this up.
"My girl, Janelle Monae. Janelle has performed at the White House, like, 15 times.....Michelle and I love Janelle..... I have to say nice things about her because she may be the only person in possession of a video in which I try to keep up with her and Usher on the dance floor. Now, this is top secret. She has promised that this will never be released.....Now, tell the truth though, Janelle. I wasn’t bad, though, was I? I’m just saying."
Obama said for some reason, "People across the country still feel anxious. And the question is, why?" He traced the anxiety to stagnant wages and the House of Representatives.
He said Americans "are concerned about some of the turmoil that’s taking place around the world. And they look at the Middle East and they see a transition from an old order to a new order, and they’re not sure how that’s going to happen, and the terrible violence that occurs as a result."
But Obama said never mind deadly violence, "the conflict that probably makes people most discouraged is the conflict they see in Washington, where members of Congress can’t seem to do anything; where all we hear about is gridlock, and all we hear about is posturing, and all we hear about are phony scandals."
The Democrat reassured his audience, most of whom paid thousands of dollars, "I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that by almost every economic measure we’re better off now" than five years ago.
But ever acutely attuned to appearances, Obama decided that having a really good time with rich folks, laughing and raking in another couple million dollars might strike some as inappropriate while millions still seek jobs and thousands die in ongoing foreign battles in a vacuum of American leadership.
So, Obama cancelled one appearance on a late-night comedy show.