Eternal Vigilance Is The Cost Of Freedom

While we were waiting for Donald Trump to become President, there were some things going on in Washington that we need to look at. At the time these things may not have seemed important, but in view of recent events, they need to be re-examined.

Yesterday PJ Media reported on a New York Times story from January 12, 2017,.

The New York Times reported:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

PJ Media states:

Let’s call the roster of the bad guys:

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, permitting the N.S.A. to disseminate “raw signals intelligence information,” on Jan. 3, after the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., signed them on Dec. 15, according to a 23-page, largely declassified copy of the procedures.

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

This is essentially a land mine placed in the path of the Trump Administration by the Obama Administration. If I told you how angry I was about this, this blog would no longer be family-friendly.  I hope Americans can put partisan politics aside and realize how damaging this is to the country and to the Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans. Former President Obama has gone out of his way to make things difficult for President Trump. This is not appropriate. It is petty, vindictive and unpatriotic. If laws were not broken, there cannot be a legal penalty, but there should be a public censure of some sort. I have always felt that former President Obama did not understand America. His actions in the last months of his presidency and his actions since leaving office have convinced me that is true.

Is This Really Helpful?

Former President Obama has brought partisan politics to a new low. Rather than give President Trump an opportunity to undo the mess President Obama made of the American economy, foreign policy and national security, President Obama is going back to his days as a community organizer to divide the country and prevent forward progress.

The New York Post posted an article yesterday about the former President’s efforts.

The article reports:

He’s  (former President Obama) doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action. Normally you’d expect an organization set up to support a politician and his agenda to close up shop after that candidate leaves office, but not Obama’s OFA. Rather, it’s gearing up for battle, with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.

Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy,”it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change.

Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account. In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory.

It gets worse:

Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show “nonpartisan” OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide. Registered as a 501(c)(4), it doesn’t have to disclose its donors, but they’ve been generous. OFA has raised more than $40 million in contributions and grants since evolving from Obama’s campaign organization Obama for America in 2013.

…Obama will be overseeing it all from a shadow White House located within two miles of Trump. It features a mansion, which he’s fortifying with construction of a tall brick perimeter, and a nearby taxpayer-funded office with his own chief of staff and press secretary. Michelle Obama will also open an office there, along with the Obama Foundation.

The taxpayers are paying this former President to undermine our government. Wow. One of my objections to President Obama was that I never felt as if he understood America. It is now obvious that he does not understand the role of former Presidents. It is also obvious that he does not love America enough to sit down and shut up after he has left office. It is time to let someone else create economic and foreign policy. President Obama, you are no longer in the White House. As much as President Obama was thought to be a popular president, his polices were not successful–the Middle East is much less stable now than when he took office, the GDP never went over 3 percent a year during the time he was in office, and there were a number of domestic terrorism incidents.  In terms of policy, former President Obama was not successful, so why should he be allowed to interfere with the policies of the current President?

Making The World A More Dangerous Place

One of the best articles explaining the history and consequences of the recent abstention vote by America at the U.N. was posted at PJMedia on Saturday. The article was written by Claudia Rosett.

The article reports:

To President Obama‘s legacy of foreign policy debacles, we can now add his landmark betrayal of Israel, carried out Dec. 23rd at the United Nations. By declining to wield the U.S. veto at the Security Council, by choosing instead to abstain — by Vanishing-from-Behind — Obama allowed the passage, by a vote of 14 in favor, 1 abstaining, of Resolution 2334. In the guise of condemning Israeli settlements, this resolution is configured to delegitimize and imperil Israel itself, America’s longtime ally and the only democracy in the Middle East.

With that signal abstention, Obama abandoned decades of U.S. practice of defending Israel against the bigots and thug governments that routinely sit on the Security Council, including permanent members Russia and China, and their rotating sidekicks, such as Venezuela. As a Wall Street Journal editorial accurately put it, referring to the U.S. abstention: “What it reveals clearly is the Obama administration’s animus against the state of Israel itself. No longer needing Jewish votes, Mr. Obama was free, finally, to punish the Jewish state in a way no previous president has done.”

This can be undone, although it will be difficult. There is the possibility that this will result in the end of any relevancy the U.N. might have had. I suspect President Trump will give the U.N. a choice–undo the resolution or lose the financial support of America. Since America provides about a quarter of the funding for the U.N., that could be interesting. The fly in the ointment might be that the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), which has become a major power bloc in the U.N., might decide to use some of the oil money America supplies to their countries to fund the U.N. This is another reason America needs to become energy independent. Because the U.N. has advanced the cause of Sharia Law and terrorism by its refusal to condemn the violence against Christians and Jews in the Middle East by Muslims, the OIC might be willing to keep the U.N. funded. This could get very interesting as soon as Donald Trump takes office.

One of the highlights of the article is a reference to an article by Jeane Kirkpatrick, a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

The article explains:

In 1989, Kirkpatrick published in Commentary magazine an essay of scorching clarity, on “How the PLO Was Legitimized.” Kirkpatrick described Yasir Arafat and the PLO as “attempting to come to power through international diplomacy — reinforced by murder.”

In richly documented detail, Kirkpatrick explained how the UN had become the prime vehicle for this odyssey. She wrote about the duplicities this entailed, and the dangers:

The long march through the UN has produced many benefits for the PLO. It has created a people where there was none; a claim where there was none. Now the PLO is seeking to create a state where there already is one. That will take more than resolutions and more than an ‘international peace conference.’ But having succeeded so well over the years in its campaign to delegitimize Israel, the PLO might yet also succeed in bringing the campaign to a triumphant conclusion, with consequences for the Jewish state that would be nothing short of catastrophic.

Plenty has happened in the 27 years since Kirkpatrick wrote those words. But the Palestinian duplicities, diplomatic manipulations and acts of terror persist, including the campaign — with UN complicity, now abetted by Obama — to delegitimize Israel.

I suspect history will not be kind to President Obama.

You Can’t Vet This Number Of People

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the number of refugees President Obama is bringing into America.

The article reports:

The Obama administration has accepted 25,584 refugees into the United States in the two months and 26 days since FY 2017 began on October 1, according to the Department of State interactive website. That number is nearly double the 13,791 refugees accepted during the comparable period between October 1, 2015 and December 26, 2015 of the prior fiscal year (FY 2016).

It is also more than the previous high for the Obama administration during his eight years in office, which occurred in FY 2013 when 18,228 refugees were accepted between October 1, 2012 and December 26, 2012.

The Obama administration appears to be rushing as many refugees as possible into the country before President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President on January 20, 2017. On the campaign trail, Trump promised to pause the resettlement of refugees who come from Syria or other countries that have a history of hostility to the United States.

Taking in such a large number of refugees who (based on past experience with Muslim immigrants) may choose not to assimilate is a danger to America. If these refugees were thoroughly vetted and wanted to assimilate into American culture, they would be an asset to America. Without vetting and without the requirement to assimilate, they are a threat to America. Britain and Europe already have Sharia Courts and no-go zones. Does American want to learn from their mistakes or follow them down a path of destruction?

The actions of President Obama in recent days have been unbelievably destructive. I am reminded of the way that former President Bush made sure President Obama had a smooth transition into the White House. It seems as if President Obama is choosing to act as a spoiled dictator in his last days in office. I just hope President Trump can quickly undo some of the damage to America President Obama has done.

The Real Numbers About The Budget

This is a picture of the federal budge deficits over the years:

federaldeficitsthrough2016The chart and other related information can be found here.

On Saturday, Conservative Treehouse posted an article about an aspect of the federal budget under President Obama that you may not be aware of.

The article reports:

The last federal budget was signed into law in September of 2007 by President George W Bush for fiscal year 2008.  Since then the entire mechanism of the federal government has been carried out by continuing resolutions, raises in the debt ceiling, and unfettered spending.

Absent of an actual federal budget, all spending falls under a process called base-line budgeting to determine allocation.  Federal distribution of the money within the continuing resolution, is essentially a year-over-year expenditure with a statutory increase based on inflation.  Essentially, whatever was spent in 2009 was respent in 2010 along with a little bit more.   What was spent in 2011 was a little more than ’10, and so forth.

In February 2009  congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, commonly referred to as Obama’s stimulus plan.  The stimulus was just shy of one trillion ($986 billion +/-).

At the time of passage this single stimulus expenditure reflected a growth of approximately 20% in total federal spending.  The spending went directly into the deficit.

Approximately 30% of that “one time” trillion dollar stimulus was spent in 2009, the remaining 70% was spent in 2010.  (*note fiscal years run from October 1st to September 3oth annually).

However, absent a federal budget -and because of baseline budgeting- it became a repeated expenditure in each of the following fiscal years.

The $1 Trillion Stimulus was spent eight more times.

The article points out that most Americans cannot tell you what the stimulus was spent on. President Obama put money into the Department of Education to subsidize state education and teachers’ salaries, keeping the teachers’ union happy.

The article reports:

The key point is the $1 trillion 2009 “stimulus” funds, became a tool for President Obama to use in whatever cabinet office need he saw.

So long as congress never passed an actual budget (and the traditional budget appropriations process kicked in), he would always have this massive amount of extra money to play with.  Obama, Pelosi and Reid ensured there was never going to be a budget.

As the economy somewhat gained footing (2012), for the last several years a lot of the money appears to have been spent on propping up ObamaCare and hiding the structural financial collapse.

If Obama didn’t have this extra $1 trillion at his disposal, ObamaCare would have already collapsed.  If you were wondering why ObamaCare didn’t collapse, well, there’s your answer.

This scheme worked brilliantly so long as Team Obama could kick-the-budget-can into successive years.  They did.

…Remember: #1) Obama’s trillion stimulus was a +20% jump in federal spending which has continued year-over-year since 2009, #2) most of that money is now spent on propping up Obamacare via the insurance corridor reimbursement program.

…That $1 trillion in annual expenditure is what initially kept government at full size when originally passed in ’09.  It then transmogrified into a slush fund two fiscal years later, and ever since about 2012 it’s been a way for Obama to fund his priority list – and the UniParty congress has done nothing about it; because, well, essentially, congress agrees with what it’s being spent on.

It’s a staggering amount of money, $986 billion.  If Trump/Ryan eliminate the worst aspects of ObamaCare they can save a massive amount of that expenditure.  However, beyond that – it shows you just how much money can –and hopefully will– be cut out of government by that elimination alone.

It would be wonderful to have a Congress and a President who want to bring federal spending under control, but I am not convinced yet.

What Does The Law Actually Say?

According to the Legal Resource Library, these are the requirements to vote in a federal election in America:

  • You are a U.S. citizen (either by birth or naturalization)
  • You meet your state’s residency requirements
  • You are 18 year old. (Some states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries or register to vote if they will be 18 before the general election).
You must be legally registered to vote in your jurisdiction in order to be able to vote in federal elections. State laws vary on voter requirements.

The U.S. Constitution gives citizens have the right to vote in elections. It does not give that right to non-citizens.

The following video was posted on YouTube on November 6:

This is the response to that video from Senator Jeff Sessions:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) issued the following statement after President Obama‘s comments on illegal immigrants voting in U.S. elections:  

“I am shocked that the President of the United States—who is the chief law enforcement officer for the nation and to whom all federal law enforcement officers report—failed to strongly and immediately object to a statement by an interviewer that unlawful immigrants can and should vote in U.S. elections. The interviewer proposed a radical and illegal action, which the President had a duty to condemn.

The President must immediately issue a statement to make crystal clear that only citizens of the United States have the right to vote, and that any noncitizen who votes, and anyone who assists noncitizens to vote, does so illegally and is subject to prosecution. The failure to clarify this statement will only add further credibility to the public’s concerns about the integrity of this election.” 

For those of you who may argue that President Obama was not referring to illegal aliens, why then was he discussing the fear of being deported? American citizens do not have to fear deportation.

The Number Behind The Low Unemployment Rate

A good statistician can make numbers say anything he wants them to say. The people currently working for the government are not good statisticians–they are great statisticians! We have all been told that the unemployment rate for Americans has dropped to 4.9 percent. Wow! That is wonderful. But wait a minute–let’s look a little more closely.

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their reporter does a good job of putting the numbers in context.

The article reports:

There were 94,609,000 Americans not participating in the labor force in October, an increase of 425,000 people from the previous month, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

The bureau counts those not in the labor force as people who do not have a job and did not actively seek one in the past four weeks.

The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the population that has a job or actively looked for one in the past month, declined from 62.9 percent in September to 62.8 percent in October.

The unemployment rate for all Americans declined to 4.9 percent from 5.0 percent in the previous month. This measure does not account for those individuals who have dropped out of the labor force and simply measures the percent of those who did not have a job but actively sought one over the month.

The economic recovery under President Obama has been very weak.

The article concludes:

“This so-called-recovery has been extremely weak,” said National Federation of Independent Business president Juanita Duggan. “Small business, which represents 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers and employs 58 million Americans, is the engine of job creation. Until small business owners have a clearer sense of what the future will bring, they’ll keep their foot on the brakes.”

“Small business owners are paralyzed by uncertainty,” she said. “The combination of record uncertainty, rising labor costs, and a shortage of qualified workers is depressing small business job creation.”

This is America under President Obama. President Hillary Clinton will bring more of the same. I would like to note that the people cramming Common Core down our throats are not helping the shortage of qualified workers. Standardized test scores of American students under Common Core have gone down–not up. It is time to clean the swamp in Washington and begin again.

 

Coming Soon

This is a recent Press Release from Senator Ted Cruz:

National Security Leaders Oppose Obama’s Oct. 1 Internet Handover

Military and cybersecurity experts send letter to top Pentagon officials urging intervention in irreversible transition

September 27, 2016

202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a broad coalition of 77 national security, cybersecurity, and industry leaders sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford calling on the top military officials to intervene in opposition to President Obama’s radical proposal to relinquish American guardianship of the Internet and give it to foreign corporations and countries, including Russia, China, and Iran. This letter follows a joint statement issued by 10 Republican senators urging Democratic senators to oppose the Obama administration’s proposed Internet handover set to take place on October 1.

“As individuals with extensive, first-hand experience with protecting our national security, we write to urge you to intervene in opposition to an imminent action that would, in our judgment, cause profound and irreversible damage to the United States’ vital interests,” the letter reads. “…Indeed, there is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time. In light of the looming deadline, we feel compelled to urge you to impress upon President Obama that the contract between NTIA and ICANN cannot be safely terminated at this point.” 

The distinguished group of signers includes former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, Jr., former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin (Ret.), former Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency Vice Adm. Robert Monroe (Ret.), and former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew McCarthy, among others. 

Congress must act by September 30 in order to stop this Internet handover, which poses the risk of increased censorship and loss of free speech online, possible legal repercussions, and national security vulnerabilities. 

Read the defense experts’ letter in its entirety here.

This is a critical moment. We have two days to maintain freedom of speech on the Internet. Even if this blog does not go away, all of the alternative news sources that Americans now have to balance the biased mainstream media will be gone within the next year if the internet is turned over. The planned turnover of the Internet represents a serious threat to Americans who want to be able to find honest reporting of current events.

The two current bills I found in Congress relating to this matter were H.Res.853 and S.3034.

 

Now I Get It

I will admit that sometimes I just don’t understand why things happen the way they do. When James Comey listed the laws Hillary Clinton broke and then said there was no reason to pursue the case, I was very confused. That made no sense to me. If she broke the law, why was the case dropped? Well, now I know.

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review today that explains why Hillary was not prosecuted and also explains Huma Abedin’s response when shown a copy of an email from President Obama to Hillary Clinton’s private server. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire article. It explains a lot.

The article notes:

The FBI had just shown her (Huma Abedin) an old e-mail exchange, over Clinton’s private account, between the then-secretary of state and a second person, whose name Abedin did not recognize. The FBI then did what the FBI is never supposed to do: The agents informed their interviewee (Abedin) of the identity of the second person. It was the president of the United States, Barack Obama, using a pseudonym to conduct communications over a non-secure e-mail system — something anyone with a high-level security clearance, such as Huma Abedin, would instantly realize was a major breach.

Abedin was sufficiently stunned that, for just a moment, the bottomless capacity of Clinton insiders to keep cool in a scandal was overcome. “How is this not classified?”

She recovered quickly enough, though. The FBI records that the next thing Abedin did, after “express[ing] her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym,” was to “ask if she could have a copy of the email.”

Why would she want a copy of the email? Because if she were ever charged with anything, she would have proof that President Obama was also guilty. If President Obama knows she has a copy of that email, what are the chances of her being charged with anything? It’s called insurance.

Andrew McCarthy sums up the situation very well:

To summarize, we have a situation in which (a) Obama knowingly communicated with Clinton over a non-government, non-secure e-mail system; (b) Obama and Clinton almost certainly discussed matters that are automatically deemed classified under the president’s own guidelines; and (c) at least one high-ranking government official (Petraeus) has been prosecuted because he failed to maintain the security of highly sensitive intelligence that included policy-related conversations with Obama. From these facts and circumstances, we must deduce that it is possible, if not highly likely, that President Obama himself has been grossly negligent in handling classified information.

A thorough investigation into the email scandal would reveal the fact that President Obama was also negligent–therefore the Obama Administration cannot afford a thorough investigation into the email scandal. That explains the stonewalling of Congressional committees investigating the scandal and why the Justice Department and the State Department have been so uncooperative. This is a serious problem for our republic. When the corruption goes all the way to the top, who is going to hold our leaders accountable? When did we reach the point where the rule of law only applied to the ‘little people’?’

If Hillary Clinton is elected President, we will have the potential of the most corrupt administration in American history. We will, in fact, have become a banana republic–where the rules only apply to some of us. Mrs. Clinton is a danger to both our country and our Constitution.

I Guess The Scandal Goes Higher Than Previously Admitted

It seems as if the only people who have never actually read all of Hillary Clinton’s emails are the American people. There is ample evidence that the private server was hacked by at least one foreign intelligence service and some content from the emails has wandered on to the internet. Today The New York Post posted a story that indicates that the scandal went higher than was previously claimed.

The article reports:

President Obama used an undisclosed pseudonym to communicate with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her private email server – shocking her top aide Huma Abedin when she learned of it.

“How is that not classified?” Abedin “exclaimed” to investigators when shown a copy of the 2012 exchange between Clinton and Obama, according to a trove of 189-pages of FBI documents dumped Friday night into Clinton’s use of the private server.

After learning that the president used email with a pseudonym — apparently to try to protect his identity — Abedin asked her interrogators if she could keep a copy of the email.

A few thoughts on this. If President Obama was emailing Hillary on her private server, he knew she had a private server. That contradicts what he has publicly stated. Why was he using another name? Was classified material discussed?

It is now obvious that the email scandal includes the White House. That may explain why the Justice Department and the FBI decided not to press charges. It really is time to clean house in Washington. Hopefully Americans will remember that in November.

Filling In The Blanks

This is the video of part of President Obama’s final speech to the United Nations. The video is posted on YouTube:

On the surface, cooperation among nations is a really good idea to fight terrorism, but let’s look closely at what he said.

We have to put our money where our mouths are. And we can only realize the promise of this institution’s founding to replace the ravages of war with cooperation if powerful nations like my own accept constraints. Sometimes I’m criticized in my own country for professing a belief in international norms and multilateral institutions, but I’m convinced in the long run giving up some freedom of action, not giving up our ability to protect ourselves or pursue our core interests but binding ourselves to international rules, over the long-term, enhances our security.

Note the words “if powerful nations like my own accept constraints.” Let’s take a close look at that idea. Remember President Obama’s statement, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” One of the major political blocs in the United Nations is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The ultimate goal of the OIC is to institute Sharia Law around the world–on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. They are subtle in their approach to this and began with the Cairo Declaration, which came into play during the United Nations’ work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Please understand that not everyone has the same definition of Human Rights.

This is the quote from the Cairo Declaration regarding free speech:

Article 22

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such a manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.

The OIC routinely orchestrates a “Day of Rage” when they believe Islam has been insulted. A ‘crisis event’ is chosen, appropriate flags or banners are obtained, rioters are assembled, and the riots begin. What President Obama is saying is that in order to bring peace, Americans may have to give up their freedom of speech, expression, etc. That is the imposition of one of the principles of Sharia Law on a non-Muslim country. The Muslim Mayor of London has moved to ban all scantily dressed models in advertising, citing the concept of ‘body shaming,’ a new word introduced for purposes that will be obvious down the road. Again, the Mayor is beginning to impose modesty standards (a step toward Shari’ah Law) on a non-Muslim population.

The YouTube video below tells us all we need to know:

You have a choice in this election–do you want to continue the policies of President Obama or is it time for a change of direction?

Numbers Are Such Inconvenient Things

The Democrats accused the speakers at the Republican National Convention of preaching doom and gloom. President Obama has stated that he is proud of the current economic recovery. Some of us might ask, what recovery?

EconomicInfoThis graph was posted by a friend on Twitter. Houston, we have a problem. Our economy has not been growing. We need to free the private sector from the burden of overregulation by the federal government. Hillary Clinton will not do that–she will simply continue President Obama’s economic policies. That is not a good idea.

 

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.

I Guess Reality Is Optional

Breitbart.com posted an article today about some recent statements President Obama made while visiting Britain.

The article reports:

“Saving the world economy from a Great Depression — that was pretty good,” Obama bragged when asked by a student in London what he wanted his legacy to be.

He recalled that when he visited London in 2009, the world economy was in a “freefall” because of irresponsible behavior of financial institutions around the world.

“For us to be able to mobilize the world’s community, to take rapid action, to stabilize the financial markets, and then in the United States to pass Wall Streets reforms that make it much less likely that a crisis like that can happen again, I’m proud of that,” he said.

Obama also touted his Iran nuclear deal as “something I’m very proud of” asserting that he successfully stopped their nuclear weapons program without going to war.

He griped that everybody forgot about his efforts in stopping the Ebola crisis, saving “hundreds of thousands of lives.”

“I think that I have been true to myself during this process,” Obama said, insisting that the things he said while running for office “matched up” with his presidency.

“I’ll look at a scorecard in the end,” he concluded. “Change takes time. Oftentimes what you start has then to be picked up by your successors or the next generation.”

He added that the fight for change was like a relay race and that he was prepared to pass the baton to his successor.

“Hopefully they’re running in the right direction,” he joked.

I don’t know what to say, but I will attempt to deal with one comment at a time.

President Obama did not save the world from a Great Depression, and the financial crisis was not caused by the behavior of the financial institutions. The financial crisis was caused by Congressional action that encouraged bad lending policies. Reforming Wall Street does nothing that is related to the financial meltdown–the reforms only make it more complicated for the people who work on Wall Street to do their jobs.

This is an old video, but it needs to be shared everywhere:

The Iran nuclear deal is a disaster. Use the search engine at the top of the blog to see what I have written about it in the past. It represents a shift in American policy from fighting terrorism to funding it.

The Ebola crisis was stopped–by the Center for Disease Control working closely with doctors. The President had very little to do with it.

I guess in the final year of the Obama Administration, reality will be optional.

Stating The Obvious

The Hill posted an article on Friday about some recent comments by President Obama regarding the nuclear deal with Iran.

The article reports:

In comments following the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Obama denied speculation that the United States would ease rules preventing dollars from being used in financial transactions with Iran, in order to boost the country’s engagement with the rest of the world.

 Instead, Obama claimed, that Iran’s troubles even after the lifting of sanctions under the nuclear deal were due to its continued support of Hezbollah, ballistic missile tests and other aggressive behavior.

Iran so far has followed the letter of the agreement, but the spirit of the agreement involves Iran also sending signals to the world community and businesses that it is not going to be engaging in a range of provocative actions that are going to scare businesses off,” Obama said at a press conference.

“When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous.”

The ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel are not an indication of a new attitude. The Quds Force is named the Quds Force because Quds is the Iranian name for Jerusalem. The Quds Force is the group that will be given the ‘honor’ of taking Jerusalem when ‘the time comes.’ This represents the attitude of Iran since the Iranian revolution in 1979. I don’t know what President Obama thought was going to change when he agreed to the nuclear treaty.

The article concludes:

Despite the lifting of sanctions, American companies are still banned from doing business in Iran and foreign banks are prohibited from using the U.S. dollar for their Iranian dealings. Earlier this week, multiple reports indicated that the White House was considering easing financial rules to let foreign companies use the dollar to do business with Iran.

But on Friday, Obama appeared to shoot the idea down.

“That’s not actually the approach that we’re taking,” he said.

“It is not necessary that we take the approach of them going through dollar transactions,” he added. “It is possible for them to work through European financial institutions as well.”

Instead, Obama said, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and other U.S. officials would help “provide clarity” to global businesses about what kinds of work they can do in Iran under current rules.

That sounds an awful lot like ‘the rules will be what I say they are.’

More For Me But Less For Thee

Yesterday Fox News reported that President Obama has requested an increase in the appropriations for expenditures of former presidents, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service published Wednesday. In other words, he wants an increase in the amount of money allotted to him to pay for his retirement.

Meanwhile, in October of last year, The Washington Post reported:

Tens of millions of seniors will see no annual cost-of-living adjustment in their Social Security checks in 2016, the government said Thursday, unwelcome news that also will flatten benefit payments for retired federal workers and service members.

It is only the third time in 40 years — all of them during the Obama administration — that the Social Security Administration has not increased its payments. The raises are tied to the consumer price index (CPI).

Lower gasoline prices have kept the CPI low. At the same time, medical costs for senior citizens are going up, but for some reason, the increase in Medicare expenses for seniors did not get factored into the equation.

Also, USA Today reported in January of last year:

The plan calls for Congress to create a hybrid system that includes a smaller defined-benefit pension along with more cash-based benefits and lump-sum payments. A significant portion of troops’ retirement benefits would come in the form of government contributions to 401(k)-style investment accounts, those familiar with the report told Military Times.

Specifically, the proposal calls for automatically enrolling each service member in the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, an investment account that accrues savings. Individual troops will be responsible for managing their accounts, and the money is typically not available for withdrawal without penalty until age 59.5.

The proposed change to military retirement makes my blood boil. Our military relocates their families approximately every three years, puts their lives in jeopardy, and makes unbelievable sacrifices, and the government wants to change the rules of the contract they signed up under. Military benefits for retirees and their families have already been cut in terms of their healthcare. Changes have also been made to the commissary system that have made it less economical for our military to shop there. Budget cuts have already been made at the expense of our military.  Any further changes should not apply to those currently serving.

At any rate, before we raise the retirement benefits of our Presidents, we need to consider our military and our senior citizens. Our past Presidents seem to do very well with speaking fees, and I am sure they will find a way to make ends meet. For further information, check the net wealth of the Clintons before and since they occupied the White House.

The Direct Impact Of Campaign Money On Decisions That Affect All Americans

The Keystone Pipeline has been studied, found to be harmless to the environment, and rejected. The political forces behind the rejection of the Keystone Pipeline have very little to do with the pipeline itself–they have to do with campaign money flowing into Democratic campaign coffers. The unions support the Keystone Pipeline–it will produce jobs and move America toward energy independence, which is also a national security issue. The environmentalists oppose the pipeline because it involves carbon-based fuel, and they still believe that we can run our economy on the flapping of butterfly wings. Both of these groups are important contributors to Democratic campaigns. That is the reason deliberation on the pipeline took so long before it was finally turned down.

TransCanada, the people who would build the pipeline, are not impressed by America’s political decisions. The Wall Street Journal reported today that TransCanada is bringing an international arbitration case against the U.S. for not treating the Canadian company the way it would an American company, as it is obliged to do under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The article reports:

That was the story last week out of Kenya, where U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec told Kenya’s energy minister that Washington would help Nairobi raise $18 billion to finance its PowerAfrika project. The pipeline would stretch from Kenya’s Rift Valley to Lamu on the coast. “Kenya needs $18 billion worth of financing,” Mr. Godec said, according to a dispatch in Oilprice.com, “so one of the questions we are discussing is how we can work together with the private sector and governments to raise that sum, to find ways to make certain that this financing becomes available.”

Has Mr. Godec checked with Secretary of State John Kerry, or, perhaps more important, anti-oil Democratic financier Tom Steyer? Kenya and Northeast Africa could certainly use the investment and jobs that would come from the oil project. Then again, so could the United States. What’s with the double standard on pipelines?

The article mentions that TransCanada is asking $15 billion on costs and damages. Multiple reviews of the Keystone Pipeline showed that it would not harm the environment, but President Obama rejected the pipeline anyway. TransCanada has also filed a suit in U.S. federal court alleging that President Obama’s decision to block Keystone exceeded his constitutional authority.

Get out the popcorn, this is going to be entertaining. The article also notes that American taxpayers need to keep an eye on government spending to make sure they are not funding the Kenyan project while being denied their own project.

The decision was delayed in order to postpone the political consequences as long as possible. At some point President Obama decided that the environmentalists were a more important ally than the unions. There was no rational excuse for the decision to block the Keystone Pipeline–it was a political decision driven by money.

Somehow These Remarks Were Ignored By Most Of The Press

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article about the recent Hanukkah celebration at the White House. Not only did the Rabbi speaking totally ignore the historical significance of Hanukkah, he insulted the Jewish people who were celebrating the holiday. Somehow the press neglected to comment on that particular part of the story.

The article reported a portion of the statement:

SUSAN TALVE: With all the schmutz in the world, can you believe that we are here with the President of the United States and the President of Israel celebrating Hanukkah, in the White House?

And I know we bring many people here with us, each and every one of us.

I stand here today with my 90-year-old father, whose parents fled the Ottoman Empire. And as they passed by Lady Liberty they planted within us the promise that the gates would stay open for all immigrants and all refugees who would come to build America.

And I also stand here with my fierce family of clergy and Black Lives Matter activists who took to the streets of Ferguson to stand firm until all members of the community would see God in the face of the other.

I stand here for two groups of St. Louis moms, one working to get the guns off of our streets, and the other working to get help clean up the fires of the toxic nuclear waste that are threatening our lives in St. Louis and throughout the country.

And, of course, I stand with my sisters who lit these lights at the Kotel this year.

I stand here to light these lights that say no to the darkness of Islamophobia, and homophobia and transphobia and racism and anti-Semitism and all the other isms that dare to dim our hope.

And I stand here, like President Rivlin said, the Maccabees of old who defied the culture of their time that said that destiny could not be changed, and instead they jumped in to write a new story that demanded freedom and equal opportunity for all.

And today, friends, we stand with the President of the United States and the President of Israel, who today stand together in this critical moment in history when we must do everything to ensure security for Israelis and justice for Palestinians as allies committed to a lasting peace for all people.

Ins’Allah, Ins’Allah, Ins’Allah, Ins’Allah.

In a world of political correctness, when did it become appropriate to praise Allah at a Jewish celebration? This is a new degree of insensitivity on the part of the Obama Administration–I realize that President Obama was not the speaker, but he should have responded to the remarks.

In case you are ready to accuse me of cherry picking, here is the full video. The insensitive remarks begin at about the 8:49 mark.

 

Can Anyone Explain This?

On Tuesday, Hot Air posted an article quoting President Obama on the recent terrorist attack in Paris. President Obama stated that it will be a “powerful rebuke” to ISIS to hold the climate-change summit in Paris. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it would be a more powerful rebuke simply to blow their headquarters to smithereens.

The article states:

Asked Guy Benson, “Is he saying the climate conference is the rebuke to terrorists, or unbowed world leaders gathering in Paris?” The answer is both, right? Partly this is stiff-upper-lip stuff of the sort you always hear from a head of state after a major attack. “We refuse to be terrorized by terror, we will carry on as we always did,” etc. They had a conference planned, and no scumbag jihadi is going to intimidate them out of holding it. Fine.

We need to continue with business as usual as much as possible, but to see any relationship between terrorism and so-called climate change is simply beyond the pale.

It would be really nice if a group of pro-democracy world leaders got together to discuss how to protect western countries from ISIS and its terrorist buddies or how to wipe out ISIS, but I guess climate change is more urgent. I suppose it is purely coincidental that all of the solutions to climate change limit the freedom of people who are currently free and funnel money to third world dictators who have no intention of using it for anything remotely related to climate.

Removing Common Sense From The Small Business Loan Department

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about a new regulation on small business lending. Before leaving office, President Obama is attempting to recreate the mortgage bubble that led to the crash of 2008. This time the crash will be created in the area of commercial loans to small businesses.

The article reports:

The White House complains minority-owned firms don’t have the same access to credit as others. But the result of this new political scrutiny is easy to see: Commercial lenders will be pressured to lower standards, leading to riskier lending and higher defaults (see: mortgage bust, ’08).

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has carved out a new executive-level position: “assistant director of small-business lending markets,” which will lead an unprecedented collection of race-based data about loans to “minority-owned businesses.”

Meanwhile, CFPB Director of Fair Lending Patrice Ficklin said the bureau is starting its first fair-lending-focused exams of business lenders. Specifically, regulators will look at “small-business loan underwriting criteria” to see if it has a discriminatory “disparate impact” on minority business owners applying for credit. Marketplace lending will also be under the microscope.

The move is a result of a letter written by 84 House Democrats and 19 Senate Democrats (comprised mostly of Congressional Black Caucus members) to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Cordray asking him to require all lending institutions to disclose the race of small-business owners who apply for loans and the outcome of loan applications. The supposed outcome of this is to remove ‘barriers to small-business creation.’ The actual outcome of this will be that risky loans will be required and banks and institutions that make small business loans will begin to lose money and threaten the economic health of the nation.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has asked Director Cordray to collect the data to make it easier to enforce fail lending laws. Again, we are going to be divided according to race rather than encouraged to work together.

Statistically African-American business owners are more likely to default on business loans. Banks and commercial lenders have to consider that when they make loans. This sort of interference with free market economics can only hurt the economy–not help it. I am against denying anyone a loan because of their race, but I am also against giving someone a loan because of their race. There can be some flexibility in granting these loans, but there also has to be some common sense in protecting the lenders and the people who finance the loans.

The article concludes:

Yet as with mortgages, the assumption is that underwriting standards are racist and must be made more flexible, risks be damned. Since business loans default at higher rates than mortgages, another government-sponsored financial crisis won’t be far behind.

Hold on to your hat.

The Argument For Keeping Guantanamo Open

Tim Scott, a South Carolina Senator, posted an article at the National Review on Wednesday. In the article he reminds us that President Obama recently vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act because it blocked the transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo to American soil. Senator Scott recently visited Guantanamo and feels that it is the best place on earth to keep terrorists. I would like to add that generally countries don’t release prisoners of war (which terrorists are not, but that is the closest I could come) until the war is over. I don’t think the war on terrorism is over.

Senator Scott points out:

The propaganda war: Opponents of keeping the detention facilities open at Guantanamo believe that by closing it, we can stop terrorist groups from using it as a recruiting tool. This requires you to also believe that any new facility built would not be held up as a recruiting tool. And if you believe that, I have a nice, new bridge to sell you. Here’s what is actually occurring at Guantanamo: 250 assaults on our guards in the past year and a half . . . and absolutely zero retaliations. Our troops are highly disciplined and dedicated to serving our nation, and this proves it. This number is rarely reported on, but it tells you more about what is happening at Guantanamo Bay than anything else.

The Senator also reminds us that compliant detainees have portable DVD players, headphones, satellite TV and PlayStations. Well-behaved prisoners can be out of their cells for 22 hours a day.

The Obama Administration claims that keeping prisoners at Guantanamo is more expensive than it would be to keep them on American soil. The Administration cites a cost of $2.4 million per prisoner per year. Well, not so fast. This supposed cost includes the salaries of the troops guarding the terrorists. These troops will still exist–they will simply be sent elsewhere. The savings are greatly exaggerated. There is also the rather important fact that about 30 percent of the prisoners released have gone back to terrorism. Not a pleasant thought.

There are a number of American facilities that the President feels could accommodate the prisoners, including Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, the Naval brig outside Charleston, S.C., and the supermax facility in Colorado. However, does anyone actually believe that if these prisoners were moved to these locations, terrorists in America would not find a way to get them out? Terrorists have attacked elementary schools, held hostages in order to make prisoner exchanges, blown up things, and generally threatened civilian populations on a regular basis. Why would anyone think they would not do this to free their comrades?

Closing Guantanamo has always been a bad idea. It will continue to be so until the world is free of terrorism. Unfortunately, I am not expecting that to happen in the near future.