This Is Not A Surprise, But It Is Really Tacky

The Center for Security Policy is reporting today that a new think tank has recently formed in Washington. The think tank, called National Security Action (NSA), is made up of about fifty former Obama administration officials. Three founding members are Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. Even in Washington, could anyone find three people with a worse record of telling the truth?

The article reports:

The mission statement of the group is anything but subtle: “National Security Action is dedicated to advancing American global leadership and opposing the reckless policies of the Trump administration that endanger our national security and undermine U.S. strength in the world.”

National Security Action plans to pursue typical liberal foreign policy themes such as climate change, challenging President Trump’s leadership, immigration and allegations of corruption between the president and foreign powers.

This organization uses the acronym NSA, which is ironic. Three of its founding members – Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice and Samantha Power – likely were involved in abusing intelligence from the federal NSA (National Security Agency) to unmask the names of Trump campaign staff from intelligence reports and to leak NSA intercepts to the media to hurt Donald Trump politically. This included a leak to the media of an NSA transcript in February 2017 of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s discussion with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak. No one has been prosecuted for this leak.

…It is interesting that the new anti-Trump group says nothing in its mandate about protecting the privacy of Americans from illegal surveillance, preventing the politicization of U.S. intelligence agencies or promoting aggressive intelligence oversight. Maybe this is because the founders plan to abuse U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on Republican lawmakers and candidates if they join a future Democratic administration.

I am sure that the formation of this group is not unrelated to the 2018 and 2020 elections. I also suspect that part of the purpose of this group is to create a positive image of Barack Obama. As the Trump administration continues and the economy and foreign relations improve, it is becoming very obvious that America needed to move in a new direction after eight years of President Obama. I suspect that this group is going to work very hard to undermine President Trump and convince Americans that President Obama’s policies were successful. Good luck.


Actually, This Is The Way It Was Supposed To Be Done In The First Place

According to the U.S. Constitution, the Senate has the responsibility of advice and consent regarding treaties:

The President…shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur… Constitution of the United States, Art. II, Sec. 2

The Senate never voted on the Iran Nuclear Treaty. President Trump has now “decertified” his support for the agreement and left its fate in the hands of Congress.

Yahoo News is reporting today:

And, outlining the results of a review of efforts to counter Tehran’s “aggression” in a series of Middle East conflicts, Trump ordered tougher sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and on its ballistic missile program.

Trump said the agreement, which defenders say was only ever meant to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, had failed to address Iranian subversion in its region and its illegal missile program.

The US president said he supports efforts in Congress to work on new measures to address these threats without immediately torpedoing the broader deal.

“However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said, in a televised address from the Diplomatic Room of the White House.

“It is under continuous review and our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time,” he warned.

Simultaneously, the US Treasury said it had taken action against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards under a 2001 executive order to hit sources of terror funding and added four companies that allegedly support the group to its sanctions list.

Any business done with Iran is done under the auspices of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. It is a safe guess to say that any money Iran earns in international trade will be spent on its military and its support of terrorism throughout the world.

On May 10, 2016, I posted an article about the role that Ben Rhodes played in selling the Iran Treaty to the American public.In his statements to the New York Times, Mr. Rhodes was described as follows:

Like Obama, Rhodes is a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal. He is adept at constructing overarching plotlines with heroes and villains, their conflicts and motivations supported by flurries of carefully chosen adjectives, quotations and leaks from named and unnamed senior officials. He is the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives, at a time when the killer wave of social media has washed away the sand castles of the traditional press. His ability to navigate and shape this new environment makes him a more effective and powerful extension of the president’s will than any number of policy advisers or diplomats or spies. His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.

The Iran Treaty was based on the lie that Iran would give up its aggressive tendencies and its search for nuclear weapons. There is no evidence that either one of those things has happened. Ending the Iran Treaty and renewing the economic sanctions would be a step toward peace in the Middle East.

Who Is Paying For Our News?

The Associated Press posted an article in the Las Vegas Sun (and other newspapers) today about the selling of the Iran nuclear deal to the American public. There has been a bit of a dust-up about the Iranian nuclear deal because of a rather lengthy interview Ben Rhodes, one of President Obama’s top foreign policy aides, gave to The New York Times.

As I reported on May 10, Mr. Rhodes felt that the White House reporters he was briefing were so inexperienced he could tell them anything and they would believe it. He also managed to set up a media echo chamber to convince the American people that the Iranian deal was a good idea. Well, it gets worse.

The Las Vegas Sun reports:

A group identified by the White House as a key ally in selling the public on the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, according to the group’s annual report. It also financed reporters and partnerships with other news outlets.

The Ploughshares Fund’s mission is to develop and finance initiatives “to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world’s nuclear stockpiles,” one that dovetails with President Barack Obama’s arms control efforts. But its behind-the-scenes advocacy of the Iran agreement got more attention this month after a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of the president’s top foreign policy aides.

In The New York Times Magazine article, Rhodes explained how the administration worked with nongovernmental organizations, proliferation experts and even friendly reporters to build support for the seven-nation accord that curtailed Iran’s nuclear activity and softened international financial penalties on Tehran.

“We created an echo chamber,” said Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, adding that “outside groups like Ploughshares” helped carry out the administration’s message effectively.

There are a lot of reasons this infuriates me. First of all, in this discussion I don’t hear any reference to America’s national security and how it will be impacted by the Iran deal. I also don’t see any admission that Iran will use much of the money the agreement frees up to manufacture weapons to be used against American soldiers in Afghanistan and the Middle East. It also hits home because bloggers are not necessarily seen as a valid source of news for the American people. In this case, conservative talk radio, conservative news outlets, conservative publications, and conservative bloggers were the only ones telling the truth about the Iran deal, and the White House worked very hard to portray them as misinformed.

The article further reports:

Ploughshares boasts of helping to secure the deal. While success was “driven by the fearless leadership of the Obama administration and supporters in Congress,” board chairwoman Mary Lloyd Estrin wrote in the annual report, “less known is the absolutely critical role that civil society played in tipping the scales towards this extraordinary policy victory.”

Ploughshares has set its sights on other media organizations, too.

In a “Cultural Strategy Report” on its website, the group outlined a broader objective of “ensuring regular and accurate coverage of nuclear issues in reputable and strategic media outlets” such as The Guardian, Salon, the Huffington Post or ProPublica.

Previous efforts failed to generate enough coverage, it noted. These included “funding of reporters at The Nation and Mother Jones and a partnership with The Center for Public Integrity to create a national security desk.” It suggested using “web videos, podcasts, photo-based stories” and other “attention-grabbing formats” for “creatively reframing the issue.”

The Center for Public Integrity’s CEO, Peter Bale, confirmed the group received a grant.

“None of the funding received by Ploughshares was for coverage of the Iran deal,” said Bale, whose organization received $70,000. “In general, we avoided that subject because the topic did not lend itself to the type of investigative reporting the center does.”

At some point the American people will realize that the Iranian nuclear deal is a bad deal. By then it may be too late, but at some point the truth will come out. Meanwhile, this looks a lot like the Obama Administration working against the welfare of the American people. Unfortunately, the American people played right along.


Last Tuesday I wrote an article about the New York Times interview by Ben Rhodes. The Sunday New York Times Magazine featured a rather lengthy interview with Mr. Rhodes. In the interview, Ben Rhodes essentially brags about taking advantage of the ignorance of young White House reporters in spinning the Iran nuclear deal.

The New York Times article quotes Ben Rhodes:

Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Well, Congress asked Mr. Rhodes to testify about the Iran nuclear deal and his actions in selling it. Mr. Rhodes (and President Obama) were not interested in talking to an audience that might be less than friendly and that might actually be seeking the truth.

Fox News posted a story today about Mr. Rhodes’ refusal to testify.

The article states:

Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, wanted the deputy national security adviser to testify at a hearing set for Tuesday titled, “White House narratives on the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

“We’re planning as if he is attending, and he’ll have a comfortable seat awaiting his arrival,” Chaffetz said Monday afternoon of Rhodes.

But W. Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, sent a letter to Chaffetz late Monday saying Rhodes would not attend.

He cited what appeared to be an executive privilege-related claim, asserting that such a senior presidential adviser’s appearance “threatens the independence and autonomy of the President, as well as his ability to receive candid advice and counsel.” For those reasons, he said, “we will not make Mr. Rhodes available to testify.”

Chaffetz earlier had made a last-ditch attempt to pressure Rhodes into appearing. After White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest initially said he should invite GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, whom he accuses of spreading false information about the deal, Chaffetz did exactly that — inviting Cotton to testify, on condition that Rhodes appeared as well.

“[Earnest] suggested that you should be invited to appear at the hearing as well, because you have some ‘interesting insight’ into the JCPOA [the Iran deal]. Therefore your appearance before the Committee would be contingent on Mr. Rhodes’ appearance at that hearing,” Chaffetz said in a letter Friday.

It seems very ironic to me that Mr. Rhodes is willing to tell all to The New York Times but not willing to talk to Congress.

The article at Fox News explains why Congress requested Mr. Rhodes to appear:

Sources tell Fox News that the committee was keen for Rhodes to appear voluntarily so they avoid the territory of a possible subpoena.

The magazine article that touched off the controversy outlined how Rhodes created a narrative of the deal coming out of the 2013 election of “moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s subsequent “openness” and willingness to negotiate.

In fact, the story stated, the majority of the deal was hammered out in 2012, well before Rouhani’s election. However, the Rhodes narrative was politically useful to the administration as it presented them as reaching out to the moderates who wanted peace.

Congress needs to hold the President (and his ‘truth-spinner’) accountable for the lies that were told to gain acceptance of a treaty that will eventually be a threat to America‘s national security. It is very telling to me that Ben Rhodes was willing to spend as many hours as it took to get his interview in The New York Times but is not willing to talk to Congress.

Does This Matter To You?

On Sunday, The New York Times posted an interview with President Obama’s foreign policy guru Ben Rhodes. Ben Rhodes was an aspiring novelist who somehow became a major player in President Obama’s foreign policy. There are a few very telling remarks in the interview.

This is The New York Times description of Ben Rhodes’ job:

The job he was hired to do, namely to help the president of the United States communicate with the public, was changing in equally significant ways, thanks to the impact of digital technologies that people in Washington were just beginning to wrap their minds around. It is hard for many to absorb the true magnitude of the change in the news business — 40 percent of newspaper-industry professionals have lost their jobs over the past decade — in part because readers can absorb all the news they want from social-media platforms like Facebook, which are valued in the tens and hundreds of billions of dollars and pay nothing for the “content” they provide to their readers. You have to have skin in the game — to be in the news business, or depend in a life-or-death way on its products — to understand the radical and qualitative ways in which words that appear in familiar typefaces have changed. Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Therefore, it is very easy to lie to reporters. Great. Thanks for doing you job of informing American voters–instead you have chosen to mislead them.

The New York Daily News posted a story on Saturday about the role that Ben Rhodes played in the Iran nuclear deal.

The New York Daily News reports:

Looking far down the road to regional domination, Iran’s radical Islamist leaders made a calculated decision to present a less menacing face to the world.

No longer, for example, would the country’s secular leadership vow the annihilation of Israel and rail against the Great Satan United States.

Worldly President Hassan Rouhani, who earned a Ph.D. in Scotland, took office in 2013, declaring an intention to engage with the West. Foreign minister Mohammad Zarif, educated at American universities, cultivated a close relationship with Secretary of State John Kerry.

Here, finally, were moderates with whom the U.S. could negotiate as President Obama sought to normalize relations with a sworn enemy.

So the Iranian propaganda went as the mullahs hoped for relief from economic sanctions via a nuclear deal with the U.S. and Western powers.

Why would anyone believe such obvious nonsense? One reason — in fact the key reason — is that Obama joined Iran in knowingly peddling the same false propaganda to America, according to an extraordinarily revealing New York Times profile of the President’s deputy national security adviser, Benjamin Rhodes.

“The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented — that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country — was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal,” the profile states, providing evidence aplenty.

“Obama’s closest advisers always understood him to be eager to do a deal with Iran as far back as 2012, and even since the beginning of his presidency,” the profile discloses, quoting Rhodes as saying, “It’s the center of the arc” of an Obama strategy of remaking U.S. relations in the Mideast.

We have exchanged our alliance with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East that allows freedom of religion, to an alliance with Iran, a country that has vowed to destroy Israel and America. This has been done with the help of Ben Rhodes (and President Obama), who blatantly lied to the American people about pretty much everything involved in the nuclear deal with Iran.

On Monday, The Federalist posted an article about Ben Rhodes and the Iran nuclear deal. The article included a chart based on a Gallop Poll of American opinion of Iran.

Here is the chart:

IranOpinionWe may have the treaty, but I am not sure the American people are on board.

The New York Times further reports:

As Malley and representatives of the State Department, including Wendy Sherman and Secretary of State John Kerry, engaged in formal negotiations with the Iranians, to ratify details of a framework that had already been agreed upon, Rhodes’s war room did its work on Capitol Hill and with reporters. In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit removed from rational debate over America’s future role in the world, Rhodes nodded. “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he said. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” He is proud of the way he sold the Iran deal. “We drove them crazy,” he said of the deal’s opponents.

This sort of public manipulation is the reason the alternative media has grown. Many Americans are tired of being manipulated and are willing to do their own search for the truth. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has a way of criticizing any opposition to their ideas successfully by using personal attacks and name-calling.

I don’t know what impact this information about the Iran nuclear deal will have on the 2016 election. What I do know is that President Obama sold the national security of America because he wanted a treaty with Iran as part of his legacy. That is a disgrace.

Cutting Congress Out Of The Iran Deal

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the ongoing negotiations with Iran. The Washington Free Beacon has obtained the audio of a talk to progressive activists last January by Deputy National Security Adviser and MFA in creative writing Ben Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes told the group that a deal with Iran is very important to President Obama as he attempts to establish some sort of positive legacy. Unfortunately, as is usual with this administration, President Obama is willing to take some shortcuts.

The article reports:

“Bottom line is, this is the best opportunity we’ve had to resolve the Iranian issue diplomatically, certainly since President Obama came to office, and probably since the beginning of the Iraq war,” Rhodes said. “So no small opportunity, it’s a big deal. This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context.”

Rhodes made the comparison as the White House was reeling from the botched rollout of the $2 billion Polls continue to show that the health law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, remains unpopular.

Rhodes also said the White House wants to avoid congressional scrutiny of any deal.

“We’re already kind of thinking through, how do we structure a deal so we don’t necessarily require legislative action right away,” Rhodes said. “And there are ways to do that.”

That is similar to what an unnamed senior administration official told David Sanger of the New York Times last week for a piece headlined “Obama Sees an Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress”: “We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years.”

Those in the Obama Administration need to remember that we do have a Constitution. The U.S. Constitution has very definite rules on Congressional approval of treaties.

The article concludes:

According to Rhodes’ logic, any move by the Americans that strengthens the hardliners at the expense of the other two groups decreases the chances of a deal. Our foreign policy is left hamstrung, in a vain and counterproductive and quite likely futile attempt to put Obama in the history books as the man who reestablished ties between the United States and Iran.

A Republican Congress would not only find itself ignored by the White House. It would find itself powerless to stop détente. The Democratic Congress voted repeatedly for timelines for withdrawal from Iraq. Bush vetoed them. Obama would do the same.

But there is one x-factor: Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, whose anti-Americanism is as deep as his Shiite radicalism. He has thwarted the ambitions of past American presidents who hoped to reconcile our two nations. There is no reason to assume he has had a change of heart. He is as aware as anyone of the president’s waning political fortunes.

Repudiated, isolated, ineffective, stymied, Obama cannot persuade the Iranians of the strength of the American position. So he will move as far as he can in the direction of the Iranian one. Unable to make Iran pro-American, he will settle for making America pro-Iranian. It is part of his dismal, pathetic, ill considered, shortsighted, and injurious “legacy.”

For the sake of America, I hope Congress will have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to any attempt to allow Iran to go forward with its nuclear program.