Quick Takes: Obama Has a Plan for Defeating ISIS…and It’s Working

* I suggest that you take a few minutes to read or watch President Obama’s remarks today on the status of our counterterrorism efforts against ISIS. He laid out all of the ways that our efforts to defeat them are proceeding – including the fact that they have lost 50% of the territory they once claimed and are being deprived of financial resources. In other words, he has an actually plan that is working. That is the part of his speech that isn’t getting as much news coverage. What is being reported is the way he joined Hillary Clinton in busting up the Republican notion that saying the right words is more important than doing the right things.

For a while now, the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize this administration and me for not using the phrase “radical Islam.” That’s the key, they tell us — we can’t beat ISIL unless we call them “radical Islamists.” What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction. Since before I was President, I’ve been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As President, I have repeatedly called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions.

There has not been a moment in my seven and a half years as President where we have not been able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label “radical Islam.” Not once has an advisor of mine said, man, if we really use that phrase, we’re going to turn this whole thing around. Not once. So if someone seriously thinks that we don’t know who we’re fighting, if there’s anyone out there who thinks we’re confused about who our enemies are, that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists who we’ve taken off the battlefield.

Boom! Mic drop.

* Esther Yu-Hsi Lee makes an important point.

In fact, it is much more difficult for immigrants to enter the U.S. than it is for a U.S. citizen — like the killer — to purchase the gun they need to commit atrocities.

* Rebecca Traister writes: After Orlando, It’s Clearer Than Ever: This Election Is a Civil War.

There is no taming of the Republican who ostensibly staked out extreme positions to grab attention in the primary; there is no pivot to the center from the Democrat supposedly pulled to the left by her primary rival. Democrats and Republicans are making issues of identity and inclusion central to their campaigns, both symbolically and in terms of policy. The contest we’re entering feels ever more like a civil war.

Symbolically speaking, Barack Obama’s enthusiastic endorsement of Clinton (“I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”), followed closely by Elizabeth Warren’s, were reminders of how swiftly (though still incompletely) our models of leadership are expanding, in ways that have troubled not just the Roger Stones and Donald Trumps of this world — but also Omar Mateen, the American citizen and security guard who opened fire in a gay club, killing mostly Latinos, and who is said by a former co-worker to have openly seethed with hatred for “blacks, women, lesbians and Jews” and to have resented women’s increased rights and the fact that “he has to be nice to … women just to sleep with them,” and whose former wife has claimed that he beat her.

* Net neutrality won big in the courts today.

A federal appeals court has voted to uphold a series of strict new rules for Internet providers, handing a major victory to regulators in the fight over net neutrality and ensuring that one of the most sweeping changes to hit the industry in recent years will likely remain on the books.

The 2-1 court ruling Tuesday forces Internet providers such as Verizon and Comcast to obey federal regulations that ban the blocking or slowing of Internet traffic to consumers. The regulations from the Federal Communications Commission also forbid carriers from selectively speeding up websites that agree to pay the providers a fee — a tactic critics have said could unfairly tilt the commercial playing field against startups and innovators who may not be able to afford it.

* According to Michelle Celarier, the Obama administrations is preparing a new rule that would crack down on for-profit colleges and offer billions in debt relief for students.

A group called the Debt Collective, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, mobilized Corinthian students to stop paying those loans after it discovered an obscure provision in the U.S. Higher Education Act, called “borrower defense to repayment,” which provides for broad-based discharge of debts for those who attend colleges that defraud or mislead their students. But, at least until there is a rule governing the law, borrowers can’t just quit paying the loans without risking garnishment of wages, among other serious penalties…

The Department of Education is expected to release a proposed rule sometime in June, according to the Office of Management and Budget. As it has moved through its cumbersome negotiated rule-making process, the agency came up with an initial proposal that gives some indication of what the final one will look like. It suggested relief would be provided under three circumstances: if a judgment was entered against the school, if the school made substantial misrepresentations, or if it breached its contract with students. The final rule won’t be decided until late this year, after a public comment period.

* Finally, once again, Samantha Bee speaks for me.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.