The Actual History Behind The Country Of Israel

Michael Oren is Israel‘s Deputy Minister for Diplomacy. On Tuesday he was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt on the subject of U.N. Resolution 2334, the Resolution that declared Israeli ‘settlements’ in parts of Israel illegal. Hugh Hewitt posted a transcript of the interview.

This is a highlight from the interview that explains why Resolution 2334 is neither appropriate or helpful:

HH: I have to begin by asking, you’re such a great historian, will you reset what the dispute over the territory is and why the Western Wall is not occupied territory, as the UN Resolution 2332 declares it to be?

MO: It’s, okay, I’ll try to do it as quickly as possible. In 1947, the UN declared that Palestine, as it was then known, would be partitioned into two states – an Arab state and an Jewish state. Notice, not a Palestinian state, but an Arab state. The Palestinians didn’t quite exist, yet, and at least not on the international radar. And the Arabs went to war to destroy the Jewish state when it was created on May 14, 1948. And the city of Jerusalem was divided. The eastern part of the city was occupied by the Jordanians, the West Bank was occupied by the Jordanians. In June, 1967, the Jordanians attacked Israel again. Israel repulsed the attack, reunited Jerusalem under Israeli rule, and captured the West Bank, or as we call it, Judea and Samaria. It is not occupied by international law, because the West Bank and East Jerusalem was never part of a recognized sovereign country. Nobody in the world, except for Britain and Pakistan, recognized the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. So the entire international law claim is spurious. But when Israel reunited the city and reunited the city, the Western Wall is in the eastern part of the city. The old city is in the eastern part of the city. We certainly can’t consider our homeland for 3,000 years to be occupied territory. You know, tell a member of the Sioux Nation that his tribal lands are occupied and he can’t live on them. That’s what the UN is telling us. They’re telling us more than that, that by living in them, we’re criminals.

HH: Yeah, this audience has heard Steven Pressfield talk about The Lion’s Gate, the book that will bring people to tears. And you’ve talked about it in your histories as well. It just is absurd. So what happened? Why would the United States do this? And what was the United States’ role in Resolution 2332, which was not vetoed in a breach of American policy that is as bad for the country of Israel as it is for the Palestinians and indeed the world?

MO: It’s bad for the world, and it’s bad for the United States, too, Hugh, and I’ll explain why. The American role was to stand back and let Israel take a tremendous hit, a tremendous hit that will expose us to sanctions and boycotts. It will kill the peace process. It will deliver a deadly, deadly blow to the people of the Middle East who look to the UN for salvation and get absolutely none at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are being massacred here. What does the UN do? It beats up on the Middle East’s only democracy. And America’s role, according to Prime Minister Netanyahu, was to cook it all up and to do some arm twisting and make it happen? Why? The Obama administration did this, I can recommend another book, I can’t do that because I’m in government, where it explains the Obama’s worldview, a worldview that sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the core conflict of the Middle East, sees the core of that conflict, the settlement and the occupation, as he calls it, and was going to do his utmost to his last day in office to discredit and delegitimize Israel for our position in settling our homeland and reuniting our ancestral capital, Jerusalem.

This resolution essentially states that Jews building houses on their own land is an obstacle to peace. Somehow it overlooks the fact that rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip might be an obstacle to peace. Somehow it overlooks the fact that Hamas and the PLO have never acknowledged Israel’s right to exist–that might be an obstacle to peace.

It is a shame that this resolution was passed. If peace is possible in the Middle East, this resolution will make it more difficult to achieve. It is difficult to make peace with people whose goal is ‘to drive you into the sea,’ which has been the stated goal of the Arab nations surrounding Israel since 1948 when Israel became a nation. It is even more unfortunate that nations who generally support freedom do not support the only free country in the Middle East where Jews and Arabs have equal rights and religious freedom.The Israeli model of equal rights is the only path to peace in the Middle East, and the United Nations just threw a giant obstacle in that path.

Following The Money

There have been a lot of stories told about the $400 million that was paid to Iran (coincidentally just as some American hostages were being released). Yesterday Claudia Rosett posted an article in the New York Sun that offers an interesting explanation as to where the $400 million came from.

The article reports:

Congressional investigators trying to uncover the trail of $1.3 billion in payments to Iran might want to focus on 13 large, identical sums that Treasury paid to the State Department under the generic heading of settling “Foreign Claims.”

The 13 payments when added to the $400 million that the administration now concedes it shipped to the Iranian regime in foreign cash would bring the payout to the $1.7 billion that President Obama and Secretary Kerry announced on January 17. That total was to settle a dispute pending for decades before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in at The Hague.

…The Judgment Fund has long been a controversial vehicle for federal agencies to detour past one of the most pointed prohibitions in the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

The Judgment Fund, according to a Treasury Department Web site, is “a permanent, indefinite appropriation” used to pay monetary awards against U.S. government agencies in cases “where funds are not legally available to pay the award from the agency’s own appropriations.”

In March, in letters responding to questions about the Iran settlement sent weeks earlier by Representatives Edward Royce and Mike Pompeo, the State Department confirmed that the $1.3 billion “interest” portion of the Iran settlement had been paid out of the Judgment Fund. But State gave no information on the logistics.

Aside from the fact that we are funding a regime that is using the money to fund attacks against American civilians and servicemen, I would like to note that the Tribunal at the Hague decided that America owned money to a known sponsor of terrorism. Based on that decision, I don’t think the Tribunal at The Hague is force for global peace. Giving money to a known sponsor of terrorism is not a good idea under any circumstances.

Killing Our Own Soldiers With Taxpayer Money

On June 9, Bloomberg.com posted an article about one unfortunate result of President Obama’s treaty with Iran.

In January, the U.S. Treasury transferred $1.7 billion to Iran’s Central Bank. Last month Iran’s Guardian Council approved an Iranian 2017 budget that instructed Iran’s Central Bank to transfer the $1.7 to the military.

The article reports:

Saeed Ghasseminejad, an associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, spotted the budget item. He told me the development was widely reported in Iran by numerous sources including the state-funded news services. “Article 22 of the budget for 2017 says the Central Bank is required to give the money from the legal settlement of Iran’s pre- and post-revolutionary arms sales of up to $1.7 billion to the defense budget,” he said. 

Republicans and some Democrats who opposed Obama’s nuclear deal have argued that the end of some sanctions would help to fund Iran’s military. But at least that was Iran’s money already (albeit frozen in overseas bank accounts). The $1.7 billion that Treasury transferred to Iran in January is different.

A portion of it, $400 million, came from a trust fund comprising money paid by the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a U.S. ally, for arms sold to Iran before the 1979 revolution. Those sales were cut off in 1979 after revolutionaries took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held the American staff hostage for 444 days. The remaining $1.3 billion represents interest on the $400 million principle over more than 36 years.

The article notes that we are already subsidizing defense spending for Egypt and Israel. Essentially we are supplying money for arms to both sides in the Middle East. How does this ever lead to peace? Anyone who understands the Middle East also knows that at least some of this money will be used against U.S. soldiers. Why are we funding the enemy that is killing our soldiers?

The article concludes:

The irony here is that Iran has been pleading poverty in recent months. The country’s supreme leader and foreign minister have publicly complained that Iran’s economy has not seen the benefits expected from the Iran nuclear deal. And yet Iran’s 2017 $19 billion defense budget has increased by 90 percent from 2016, according to Ghasseminejad.

We now know where $1.7 billion of that came from.

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.

This Is Long Overdue

Happy Saint Patrick‘s Day. As we celebrate the life of Saint Patrick, our State Department, led by John Kerry, has finally acknowledged that there is a genocide going on against Christians in the Middle East.

Fox News reported the following today:

Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday that the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, after facing heavy pressure from lawmakers and rights groups to make the rare designation.

“In my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in territory under its control, including Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims,” Kerry said at the State Department. Daesh is another name for the Islamic State.

He accused ISIS of “crimes against humanity” and “ethnic cleansing.”

The announcement was a surprise, at least in terms of the timing. A day earlier, a State Department spokesman said they would miss a congressionally mandated March 17 deadline to make a decision. Yet as the department took heat from lawmakers for the expected delay, the department confirmed Thursday morning that Kerry had reached the decision that Christians, Yazidis and Shiite groups are victims of genocide.

This is not anything new, and it is time we admitted that it was going on. On of the tenets of Islam is conversion by the sword. Under Sharia Law, Christians have three options when their countries are taken over by Muslims–be killed, convert to Islam, or pay the jizya (a tax on Christians and Jews that can be as much as or more than half of their assets). Paying the jizya involves a submission ritual including a blow to the neck where the infidel acknowledges the mercy of the Muslims who have allowed him to live.

Note that this announcement applies to ISIS. If it were done correctly, it would apply to most of the countries in the Middle East. The only country in the Middle East where freedom of religion is allowed is Israel, and our State Department (and the United Nations) has spent years condemning them for various imaginary human rights violations. At least this move by the State Department is in the right direction.

Asking The Wolves To Help Shepherd The Sheep

The Conservative Tribune posted a story today that includes the following:

Now comes the disturbing revelation, apparently delivered by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, that the Obama administration tipped off the Iranians that our soldiers were lost at sea and requested their aid.

The news came from Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, during an interview on TheBlaze’s Dana Loesch shortly after Iran’s arrest of the sailors had come to light.

“I understand that (Secretary of State) John Kerry has indicated, look, when he got word, he and Ash Carter called the Iranians to help take care of our Navy guys, because they had some mechanical problems,” Gohmert said.

Does this look like helping?

IranSalitorsI have no words.

Is The President Required To Follow The Law?

Scott Johnson posted an article at Power Line today about an aspect of the Iran nuclear deal that has not been widely discussed. It seems that one of the provisions in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (the Corker-Cardin bill) that was signed by President Obama is that President Obama is required to transmit to Congress the agreement–“including all related materials and annexes.” He is required to do this “not later than five days after reaching the agreement.”

The article reminds us:

Obama has not done so. The administration has failed or refused to submit the IAEA side deal with Iran regarding the possible military dimensions of Iran’s research at the Parchin military facility to Congress.

Indeed, the administration claim not even to have seen the IAEA side deal. Rather, administration officials claim only to have been briefed by the IAEA on the terms of the side deal. They claim it is cloaked in secrecy that prevents its disclosure. The side deal is nevertheless an integral part of the JCPOA and its disclosure expressly required by the act.

So what happens now?

The article reports:

Rep. Mike Pompeo and attorney David Rivkin take note in a brief Washington Post column. They write:

 Congress must now confront the grave issues of constitutional law prompted by the president’s failure to comply with his obligations under the act. This is not the first time this administration has disregarded clear statutory requirements, encroaching in the process upon Congress’s legislative and budgetary prerogatives. The fact that this has happened again in the context of a national security agreement vital to the United States and its allies makes the situation all the more serious.

For Congress to vote on the merits of the agreement without the opportunity to review all of its aspects would both effectively sanction the president’s unconstitutional conduct and be a major policy mistake. Instead, both houses should vote to register their view that the president has not complied with his obligations under the act by not providing Congress with a copy of an agreement between the IAEA and Iran, and that, as a result, the president remains unable to lift statutory sanctions against Iran. Then, if the president ignores this legal limit on his authority, Congress can and should take its case to court.

There is another aspect to this. Democratic Senators do not want to go on the record in terms of voting for this agreement. The agreement is not popular with the American public, who understands that the agreement paves the way for Iran to go nuclear and will start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. So why in the world is President Obama pushing this treaty? There are a lot of guesses, but no real answer. It would be a feather in his cap to negotiate an agreement with a country that has been at war with America since 1978. The problem is that after the agreement is signed, Iran will still be at war with America. There is no financial gain for America in this treaty–Iran gets more money to fund terrorism and kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. Iran is also allowed to flood the world markets with oil, possibly crippling American efforts at energy independence. There is no upside for America in this treaty–it is a President looking for what he considers a foreign policy accomplishment. He may well get his accomplishment, but it’s a safe bet that history will not look kindly on this treaty.

Money Won’t Make This Better

The Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday on the efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry to sweeten the Iran deal for Israel and Saudi Arabia. Frankly, there are some things you just can’t sweeten.

The article reports:

Kerry admits that, despite the deal, Iran will continue to back terrorist groups across the globe and promises to boost military support and funding to Israel and Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The letter comes in response to concerns among lawmakers, Israel, and other Gulf region allies that the nuclear accord will boost the Islamic Republic’s support for terrorism, while leaving traditional U.S. allies on the defense.

“Important questions have been raised concerning the need to increase security assistance to our allies and partners in the region and to enhance our efforts to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region,” Kerry writes. “We share the concern expressed by many in Congress regarding Iran’s continued support for terrorist and proxy groups throughout the region, its propping up of the Assad regime in Syria, its efforts to undermine the stability of its regional neighbors, and the threat it poses to Israel.”

The Obama administration, Kerry claims, is under “no illusion that this behavior will change following implementation of the JCPOA,” or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

If the behavior of Iran will not change following the implementation of the JCPOA, then why are we agreeing to the JCPOA? Wouldn’t it be better to refuse to lift any sanctions or give Iran any money until the leaders of Iran change their behavior (and maybe stop shouting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America“)? I admit that I am only a lowly blogger, but that seems rather obvious to me. Why are we going to give Iran access to millions of dollars to buy more and better weapons to kill American soldiers?

The article reports:

One senior Congressional aide who received the letter said that it is a clear attempt by the administration to placate regional fears about the deal.

“Let’s not be fooled about what the letter represents. This desperate move to placate Israel and our Gulf partners is a tacit acknowledgment that Iran will expand its international terror regime thanks to the nuclear agreement,” the source said. “If this is such a good deal, why does the administration feel compelled to immediately offer arms packages as compensation to our regional allies?”

“No amount of conventional weapons can neutralize the threat posed by the mullahs acquiring nuclear weapons,” the source said. “This type of appeasement is a slap in the face to our closets allies and a wink-wink to the dictators in Tehran.”

Obviously there are people in our government who understand the dangers of this agreement. Unfortunately, there are also many people in our government who choose not to listen to them. I believe this agreement will be able to get through the games being played in the Senate and will go into force. I also believe that the day that happens will be a truly sad day for America. We have turned our backs on our friends and chosen to fund our enemies. That is not wisdom.

The Deal With Iran Just Keeps Getting Worse

The Associated Press is reporting today that Iran will be able to use its own experts to inspect a site suspected of developing nuclear arms. Evidently this is part of the secret agreement with the United Nations that parallels the Iran agreement with the United States, Germany, France, etc.

The article reports:

The investigation of the Parchin nuclear site by the International Atomic Energy Agency is linked to a broader probe of allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear deal.

The Parchin deal is a separate, side agreement worked out between the IAEA and Iran. The United States and the five other world powers that signed the Iran nuclear deal were not party to this agreement but were briefed on it by the IAEA and endorsed it as part of the larger package.

Why in the world would any sane person sign on to this agreement? It’s like asking an alcoholic to inspect his house for alcohol.

The article further reports:

But the agreement diverges from normal inspection procedures between the IAEA and a member country by essentially ceding the agency’s investigative authority to Iran. It allows Tehran to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence for activities that it has consistently denied – trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Evidence of that concession, as outlined in the document, is sure to increase pressure from U.S. congressional opponents as they review the July 14 Iran nuclear deal and vote on a resolution of disapproval in early September. If the resolution passed and President Barack Obama vetoed it, opponents would need a two-thirds majority to override it. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has suggested opponents will likely lose.

If the Senate cannot override a Presidential veto of this agreement, every Senator who voted for the agreement needs to be voted out of office as soon as possible. This is an unbelievably bad deal.

The June 30 Deadline For The Iran Talks Will Be Missed

ABC News is reporting that Iran‘s foreign minister is headed home to consult with Iran’s leaders before he returns to Vienna for further negotiations.

PJMedia is also covering the story.

PJMedia reports:

Iranian media said Mohammed Javad Zarif’s trip was planned in advance. Still, the fact that he was leaving the talks so close to the Tuesday deadline reflected his need to get instructions on how to proceed on issues where the sides remain apart — among them how much access Tehran should give to U.N. experts monitoring his country’s compliance to any deal.

ABC News reports:

The United States insists on more intrusive monitoring than Iran is ready to give. With these and other disputes still unresolved, the likelihood that the Tuesday target deadline for an Iran nuclear deal could slip was increasingly growing even before the U.S. confirmation.

The dispute over access surfaced again Sunday, with Iranian Gen. Masoud Jazayeri saying that any inspection by foreigners of Iran’s military centers is prohibited.

He said the attempt by the U.S. and its allies to “obtain Iran’s military information for years … by the pressure of sanctions” will not succeed.

But German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who joined the talks Friday, said Iran’s “nuclear activities, no matter where they take place,” must be verifiable.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Zarif met in Vienna for their third encounter since Saturday. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also is in Vienna, as is British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, while Russia and China are represented for now by deputy foreign ministers.

The article at PJMedia concludes with the truth:

The real question is how much of a cave-in to Iranian red lines the U.S. will agree to. Not being able to inspect military installations, as Iran insists, would almost certainly lead to widespread opposition not just in the U.S., but also in France, which has threatened to walk from the talks unless there is a strict inspections regime. And the president’s continued insistence that some sanctions on Iran be maintained for years will probably be negotiated away in favor of something approaching immediate lifting of most of the important sanctions on Iran’s financial and oil industries.

The extra time for negotiations won’t matter if it simply means more time for an American surrender. Kerry and Obama will do anything to get a deal and that’s what should worry everyone who thinks this is a bad idea.

The Media Is Going To Do This To All Republican Candidates–We Need To Learn How To Deal With It

By now we have all heard about the New York Times Story of Marco Rubio and his luxury speedboat. I found a picture of the boat at Yahoo:

Marco Rubio’s ‘Luxury’ Boat Can Fit In Hillary Clinton’s Pool

The New York Times called it an $80,000 speedboat. I am not a boat person, but somehow I find that rather hard to believe. If he paid $80,000 for this boat, we should not elect him for President simply because he is fiscally irresponsible. Somehow I doubt that is the case.

On the other hand, the media never seemed particularly interested in Secretary of State John Kerry‘s boat when he was running for office or when he was a Senator from Massachusetts. Below is a picture of the boat parked in Nantucket (not exactly the low-rent district):

JohnKerry3Just for the record, there is another twist on the John Kerry’s boat story. In July of 2010, the Huffington Post reported:

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is docking his family’s new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, allowing him to avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to the cash-strapped Bay State.

If the “Isabel” were kept at the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee’s summer vacation home on Nantucket, or in Boston Harbor near his city residence, he would be liable for $437,500 in one-time sales tax. He would also have to pay $70,000 in annual excise taxes.

Leave Marco Rubio alone–at least he is not avoiding taxes on a $7 million dollar yacht.

All voters need to understand that the media is not unbiased. They are going to try to destroy any candidate who looks like he (or she) might be a challenge to Hillary Clinton. We need to learn how to read between the lines and how to fight back. It would be nice if the media took the time and had the inclination to tell both sides of all stories about everyone’s campaign for President, but that is simply not the case. The solution is that voters have to know how to get past the media and do their own research.

Has Anyone In The Obama Administration Actually Read The United States Constitution?

Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution states:

He (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;

Breitbart.com reported yesterday:

Wednesday on PBS “NewsHour,” Secretary of State John Kerry articulated the administration’s new position on Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-TN) bill demanding Congress get a vote on the merits of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, in light of prominent Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) supporting the bill this week.

Making it clear the bill can not “interfere” with the president’s deal, Kerry said “if it’s changed and adjusted and reflects the respect for the Constitution and the president’s prerogatives,” then Congress can vote.

Kerry said “The president is absolutely correct in making sure that what Congress does, does not assault presidential authority and the Constitution and doesn’t destroy his ability to be able to negotiate this final deal. That’s critical. And the president has said, if the bill is what it is today, written the same way it is today, then he’d veto it.”

So let me get this straight–if Congress passes a law to make sure its constitutional rights are protected, President Obama will veto it. The Constitution states clearly that two-thirds of the Senate must concur with a treaty in order for it to take effect. Has the President (or the current Secretary of State) read the Constitution?

This Seems To Be A Rather Unagreeable Agreement

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the nuclear agreement reached with Iran.

The article reports:

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.

Zarif additionally said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.

Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry—and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions—Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.

Zarif has told reporters that the agreement allows Iran to continue its nuclear program.

It seems the only concession made in the negotiations was that the sanctions on Iran would be lifted. I don’t see any evidence that Iran gave up anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talks? No Talks? Agreement? No Agreement?

There are conflicting stories about what is currently happening in Switzerland with the Iranian nuclear talks. Yesterday Hot Air reported that the French and German Foreign Ministers are leaving the talks this morning. The United States has vowed to extend the talks into today. Meanwhile, Yahoo News reported this morning that the talks have been extended and that key elements have been agreed on.

Yahoo News reports:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said negotiators had reached a general accord on “all key aspects”, according to Russia’s TASS news agency, while his Iranian counterpart said a draft agreement could be prepared on Wednesday.

But a diplomat close to the talks denied that such an agreement had been reached, and a French official said Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was leaving the talks and would return from France when it was “useful”. It was not clear whether his departure was a sign of a major problem in the talks.

The six powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – aim to stop Iran from gaining the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb in exchange for easing international sanctions that are crippling its economy.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there was “significant progress in core issues” and the positions of all parties “have become closer”. A Western diplomat in Lausanne said Wang had flown back to Beijing, leaving his deputy at the negotiations.

So we have the talks continuing without the French Foreign Minister and with a Deputy Foreign Minister from China.

We need to remember that the Mullahs who actually control Iran are still “Death to America.” I am really not convinced that is an indication of their desire to either negotiate or make peace. All Iran needs to develop and produce an atomic bomb is time. The delays in the nuclear talks are giving them that tme.

 

Today In Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be speaking before a joint session of Congress this morning. Today’s Wall Street Journal had two very good articles that provide context for his speech.

Bret Stephens posted an article entitled, “Israel and the Democrats,” and Chris Steward posted an article entitled, “In What Way Is Iran A Reliable Negotiating Partner?

Bret Stephens reminds us that the Democrat party has traditionally supported the nation of Israel. He points out that the Democrat Party is on the cusp of abandoning the state of Israel.

The article reports:

But that party is evaporating. A 2014 Pew survey found that just 39% of liberal Democrats are more sympathetic to Israel than they are to the Palestinians. That compares with 77% of conservative Republicans. During last summer’s war in Gaza, Pew found liberals about as likely to blame Israel as they were to blame Hamas for the violence.

That means the GOP is now the engine, the Democrats at best a wheel, in U.S. support for Israel. The Obama administration is the kill switch. Over the weekend, a defensive White House put out a statement noting the various ways it has supported Israel. It highlighted the 1985 U.S.-Israel free-trade agreement and a military assistance package concluded in 2007. When Barack Obama must cite the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush as evidence of his pro-Israel bona fides, you know there is a problem.

…Yet the calendar chiefly dictating the timing of Mr. Netanyahu’s speech was set by John Kerry , not John Boehner , when the secretary of state decided that the U.S. and Iran would have to conclude a framework deal by the end of this month. Mr. Netanyahu is only guilty of wanting to speak to Congress before it is handed a diplomatic fait accompli that amounts to a serial betrayal of every promise Mr. Obama ever made to Israel.

Bret Stephens goes on to list the betrayals of Israel by the Obama Administration. Please follow the link above to read the entire article.

Chris Steward reminds us of the history of America’s relationship with Iran and Iran’s intentions and actions toward western civilization.

He points out:

Iran is a state sponsor of terror and has been officially listed as such for more than 30 years. It has developed an extensive military-industrial complex, the Defense Industries Organization, which is capable of supplying all of its own military equipment, weapons and ammunition. With this capability, Iran has become the primary supplier of weapons to two other state sponsors of terror, Sudan and Syria, as well as the primary sponsor of other foreign terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas and numerous Shiite militias in Iraq. With Iran’s help, Hezbollah has stockpiled about 60,000 surface-to-surface rockets in Lebanon while Hamas has stockpiled about 10,000 surface-to-surface rockets in Gaza, all for the stated purpose of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.

Tehran’s regime suppresses internal dissent and has executed tens of thousands of its own citizens for opposing the regime. It is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. military personnel in Iraq through improvised explosive devices supplied to Shiite militias in the past decade. Iran counts as close allies Russia, China and North Korea, which team with the regime in developing ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities.

Iran is not just a problem for the Middle East. In South and Central America it has engaged in money laundering, drug and arms trafficking, counterfeiting, promoting jihad, and plotting terrorist attacks.

Why in the world are we negotiating with these people? And why in the world are we condemning Israel for telling the truth about the futility of these negotiations?

 

Rewriting History When It Is Convenient

BuzzPo posted an article today about some recent remarks made by Secretary of State John Kerry.

The article reports:

Later, Kerry was asked to comment on Netanyahu’s criticism of a hypothetical deal with Iran as a threat to Israel.

“The prime minister was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush,” Kerry replied. “We all know what happened with that decision.”

Well, isn’t that special. Benjamin Netanyahu became Prime Minister of Israel in 2009–long after the invasion of Iraq. John Kerry, as a Senator, voted for the invasion of Iraq.

Facts are such inconvenient things.

Do We Really Want To Create A Terrorist State?

Yahoo News reported yesterday that the United States is not committed to a veto of the United Nations resolution to set a time frame for its withdrawal from territory Palestinians seek for a state. I don’t think there is anyone who believes that the Palestinian state would be a state that acknowledged the right of Israel to exist or that a Palestinian state would be committed to peace in the Middle East, so why would anyone encourage the existence of such a state?

The article reports:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday to discuss various proposals for a Palestinian state that are circulating at the United Nations.

Later on Monday, Kerry will travel to Paris for talks with European counterparts and then on to London to meet Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and a delegation from the Arab League, who will urge the United States not to use its U.N. Security Council veto to block the proposals.

The hastily-arranged meetings suggested urgency in America’s drive to manage efforts among Security Council members to draft a new proposal before Israeli elections in March. Kerry said on Friday he wanted to defuse tensions during the talks.

Jordan has circulated a draft Palestinian resolution to the 15-member U.N. Security Council calling for Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory to end by November 2016, and the Palestinians said on Monday they could submit it in the coming days.

France, Britain and Germany are discussing another proposal, but a senior U.S. official said there was no consensus among them and the United States had not been asked to take a position.

The push for a Palestinian state is a total rewrite of history. There never has been a Palestinian state. As I have reported before, Walid Shoebat is quoted as saying, “One day during the 1960s I went to bed a Jordanian Muslim, and when I woke up the next morning, I was informed that I was now a Palestinian Muslim, and that I was no longer a Jordanian Muslim.” There was never a cry for a Palestinian state when Jordan controlled the land that is now in question.

This is the map of the land originally given to Israel in the December 1920 Franco-British Boundary Convention:

Later, the boundaries were modified as shown below:

Trans-Jordan was established to be the Palestinian state. However, when the Palestinians attempted to overthrow the government of Jordan, they were thrown out. Under the present government of Gaza, there is no way a Palestinian state can be established without creating a war (possibly nuclear) in the Middle East. The United Nations resolution is not a move toward peace, it is a move toward war.

Why Are We Sending These People Money?

According to fas.org, last year Americans sent $440 million in regular and supplemental appropriations to the Palestinians in 2014. This aid was sent at a time when America is borrowing 40¢ of every dollar it spends from foreign countries.

Meanwhile, CBN News reported today:

As Israelis mourned the latest murders of four rabbis praying in their synagogue and buried the dead, some Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate the killings.

The terrorists who allegedly carried out the murders were killed in a shootout with Israeli police. Two young men, identified in the Palestinian media as Ghassan Abu Jamal and his cousin Udayy, were reportedly members of the terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

PFLP members danced in the streets and waved flags, while a woman threw candies to a crowd of Arabs.

It is horrific that the four rabbis were murdered while they were praying, but the celebration afterward is over the top. American money is financing the hatred toward Israel that is being spewed by Hamas and other such groups. It is time that we pulled the plug on the money flow.

The article states:

Three of the murdered rabbis were Americans with dual American and Israeli citizenship: Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, and Cary William Levene.

The fourth rabbi, Avraham Goldberg, was a dual citizen of Britain and Israel.

Tuesday’s attack was the worst in Jerusalem since eight Jewish students were murdered at their yeshiva in 2008.

It will be interesting to see if America or Britain are willing to change the way they do business with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in response to the killing of their citizens.

A Reality Check For Israel’s Left

On Tuesday, Caroline Glick posted an article in the Jerusalem Post about the war between Israel and Hamas. She relates the story of a phone call from President Obama to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night during an Israeli security cabinet meeting.

The article reports:

But then the telephone rang. And Obama told Netanyahu that Israel must lose. He wants an unconditional “humanitarian” cease-fire that will lead to a permanent one.

And he wants it now.

And by the way, the eventual terms of that cease-fire must include opening Hamas-controlled Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel and ending Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza coast. That is, the cease-fire must allow Hamas to rebuild its arsenal of death and destruction quickly, with US political and financial support.

Until Obama made the call, there was lingering doubt among some Israelis regarding his intentions. Some thought that US Secretary of State John Kerry might have been acting of his own accord last Friday night when he tried to force Israel to accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms.

But then Obama made his phone call. And all doubts were dispelled.

The request from President Obama did not take into account what would happen if that cease-fire went into effect–Israel would again be defending itself against never ending rocket attacks on civilians and a rebuilding of tunnels that were destroyed. A cease-fire without the destruction of Hamas is an invitation to another war a few years down the road.

The article concludes:

Obama is as involved in the Middle East as all of his immediate predecessors were. He is personally leading US policy on every front. Kerry is not an independent actor.

The problem is that in every war, in every conflict and in every contest of wills that has occurred in the Middle East since Obama took office, he has sided with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, against America’s allies.

Under Obama, America has switched sides.

It will be amazing if we have any allies left by the end of the Obama Administration.

 

 

 

Why We Need American Influence Around The World

Yesterday freedom-loving people in the world rejoiced because a Sudanese court annulled the death sentence of Meriam Ibrahim, who was in jail with her children for marrying a Christian and for “abandoning” the Muslim faith.. Unfortunately, the joy at her release was short-lived.

CBN News is reporting today that she was re-arrested Tuesday at the international airport in Khartoum while trying to leave the country.

The article reports:

The case drew outrage from the international community. Protesters recently gathered outside the White House to demand action by the Obama administration.

“She and the children should be reunited at home with her family rather than held in prison on charges of apostasy,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, calling Sudan to repeal it’s anti-human rights laws.
 
He also suggested that Sudan repeal any Islamic laws that go against basic human rights.
    
Meanwhile, the American Center for Law and Justice is calling Ibrahim’s arrest a “deeply troubling” development.

“The decision to take the entire family into custody is a violation of international law and we call on Sudan to release them without delay,”  ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said in a statement.

This is the face of Sharia Law. This is what Muslims (even some ‘moderate’ Muslims) want to bring to America. Make no mistake, Sharia Law and religious freedom cannot co-exist. If you like your religion, you cannot keep it under Sharia Law. Americans need to stand strong for human rights in our own country and for people around the world. We need to exert a lot of pressure on Sudan for the treatment of this woman–her husband is an American citizen and her children are American citizens. Is American citizenship worth anything right now?

Losing Our Foundation As A Country

John Adams had some very definite ideas as to what it would take to preserve America in the future. He believed that there was more to America than simply writing a Constitution for a representative republic.

John Adams stated:

“…because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, • would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (from beliefnet.com)

Unfortunately, many of our current leaders do not agree with that philosophy. Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article about a recent comment from Secretary of State John Kerry:

This is a time here in Africa where there are a number of different cross-currents of modernity that are coming together to make things even more challenging. Some people believe that people ought to be able to only do what they say they ought to do, or to believe what they say they ought to believe, or live by their interpretation of something that was written down a thousand plus, two thousand years ago. That’s not the way I think most people want to live.

According to the article, President Obama made a similar statement circa 2008:

Democracy demands that the religiously-motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values.

Religion-specific values were exactly what John Adams felt were needed to preserve America. It’s time for both of these men to go back and read the writings of the people who founded America. They have not idea what the founders of this country were about.

 

 

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I Thought Diplomats Were Supposed To Be Diplomatic

The U.K. Telegraph posted an article today about Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent remarks about Israel.

Yesterday the Washington Times reported on John Kerry’s remarks:

Mr. Kerry told senior officials during a closed meeting on Friday that a two-state solution is the “only real alternative” for Israel and the Palestinian territories, “because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens, or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” The Daily Beast first reported.

It might be a good idea to mention at this point that Arabs who live or work in Israel have more freedom than their brothers anywhere else in the Middle East.

The U.K. Telegraph explains the problem with Secretary Kerry‘s remarks:

The use of such undiplomatic language also distracts from the very real difficulties the Israelis face in trying to reach an agreement. From the outset, Israel’s security concerns have dominated the discussions, with their negotiators offering to make painful territorial concessions in return for cast-iron guarantees concerning the future safety of Israeli citizens. But Mr Abbas’s refusal to allow Israel to maintain a limited military presence in any future independent Palestinian territory, together with his recent accord with Hamas, has meant that no such pledges have been forthcoming, thereby causing the talks to stall. Israel argues, with some justification, that there is little likelihood of reaching an agreement with an organisation such as Hamas, which remains committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. If Mr Kerry still wants his bold peace initiative to succeed, then he would be better advised to address these and other concerns than to use language that is guaranteed to cause offence to Israel.

Secretary Kerry says that he wants peace in the Middle East. What he does not seem to understand is that only one of his negotiating partners shares that goal. Before accepting the Palestinians as good-faith negotiators, Secretary Kerry needs to take a close look at their educational system. The Palestinian schools include terrorist training for kindergartners, maps without Israel, and teaching anti-Semitism. In a rational world, that would disqualify them as acceptable negotiators for peace. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration does not live in the rational world.

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Forgetting Our Past Promises To Israel

Evidently the Middle East peace process has unraveled. Yesterday Commentary Magazine posted an article reminding us of some of the promises made in the past.

The article points out:

As it happens, tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of one of the more important items of history the Brzezinski group ignored: the April 14, 2004 letter from President George W. Bush to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Abrams recounts how the letter went through “many drafts, as words, phrases, and paragraphs came in and out,” ending with a “headline” that was clear: “There would be no return to 1967 and Israel could keep the major settlement blocks.” In her  own memoir, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recounted spending three hours on the letter with Sharon the night before it was issued, and described the agreement to apply a “Google Earth test” for settlements: no new ones, no expanding the boundaries of them, but allowing building within existing settlements, since that would not reduce the land available for a Palestinian state.

When John Kerry was running for President, he went on the record supporting that agreement.

The Obama Administration has taken a slightly different view:

The Obama administration, when it took office in 2009, repeatedly refused to answer whether it was bound by the Bush letter. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied there were any “enforceable” understandings with Israel. The day before Palestinian President Abbas met with President Obama, Clinton told the press Obama had been “very clear” with Prime Minister Netanyahu that he “wants to see a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions”–and that this had been “communicated very clearly, not only to the Israelis but to the Palestinians and others.” The same day, Abbas told the Washington Post he would do nothing but watch the Obama administration pressure Netanyahu. The administration eventually got a ten-month construction freeze, which both Clinton and Obama envoy George Mitchell called “unprecedented.” It produced nothing from the Palestinians other than a demand in the tenth month that it be continued.

The article explains the specifics of why the negotiations fell apart:

The peace process went “poof” not because of 700 units in Jerusalem, but because–for the third time in three years–the Palestinians violated the foundational agreement of the process, which obligates them not to take “any step” outside bilateral negotiations to change the status of the disputed territories. For the third time, the Palestinians went to the UN; for the third time, there was no American response; for the third time, there was no penalty for the violation; and on April 8, there was not even an honest assessment of the situation by the secretary of state.

Unfortunately the Obama Administration has unilaterally undone many past agreements made with our allies. This has resulted in many of our allies wondering if they can trust agreements made with America. President Obama has considerably lowered America’s standing in the world.

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The Latest Dumb Thing Our State Department Has Said

Breitbart.com posted an article today quoting State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. Mr. Psaki stated, “Our position is that Israel is a Jewish state, but it is not necessary for the two sides to agree on this in the final agreement.” Wow.

So Israel should agree to set up a Palestinian state and Palestine doesn’t have to agree that Israel is a Jewish state? Does Palestine have to agree that Israel has the right to exist? That might be a little detail to get straightened out before Palestine becomes a state and forms an official military.

The article reports:

Recently, the U.S. had appeared to agree with Israel. President Barack Obama referred to “the State of Israel–a Jewish state” in his recent State of the Union address, and Secretary of State John Kerry twice referred to “the nation-state of the Jewish people” in recent remarks to the AIPAC conference of pro-Israel activists in Washington. However, both were careful to avoid insisting upon Palestinian recognition of Israel’s identity.

The Palestinians did not agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993, and considers such recognition to be a new demand. Palestinian propaganda denies Jews the right to sovereignty.

America needs to grow up and realize that we cannot bring peace to the Middle East until Palestine agrees to recognize the existence of Israel and until Palestine stops training its children to hate Israelis (see rightwinggranny.com). Until the culture of hatred changes, there will be no peace.

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This Might Be A Problem For The Middle East Peace Process

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have continued to put pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians in order to bring peace. The problem is that the Secretary of State and the President are ignoring the actions of the Palestinians while this ‘process’ is being discussed.

Breitbart.com posted a story on Wednesday about some recent events in the Middle East:

When naval commandos from the Israel Defense Force (IDF) boarded the Panama-registered Klos-C merchant ship early Wednesday morning, they uncovered the most significant illicit Iranian arms shipment since the Karine A incident in 2002. According to news reports, the shipment included “advanced Syrian M-302 missiles, with a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and a payload of up to 170 kilograms (375 pounds).”

The M-302 missiles were bound for Gaza via Sudan, according to the IDF. If fired from Gaza, the M-302 would easily be able to strike Israel’s major population centers, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Klos-C had embarked from Iran and stopped in Umm Kasr, Iraq, before it was intercepted on its way to Port Sudan, the IDF said. At least one analyst suggested that Egypt may have assisted the IDF operation with intelligence.

That does not sound like “partners for peace.” Israel has been criticized for its quarantine of shipping to Gaza, but the seizure of this cargo illustrates why that quarantine is necessary. Israel allows some goods and humanitarian aid to reach Gaza by land, after inspection, but does not allow ships to bring in cargo.

The seizure of this cargo also illustrates Iran’s role in creating trouble in the Middle East.

 

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