The Truth Will Eventually Come Out

Townhall.com posted an article today about a recent New York Times story about the actions of Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The Townhall article reports:

In a lengthy New York Times piece, the publication charted the history of Mr. Comey’s actions, which placed the FBI in the eye of the 2016 election. We also found out that the Obama Justice Department tried to water down the language, like calling the investigation a “matter,” and playing down the fact that the FBI’s investigation was a criminal one [emphasis mine]:

The Justice Department knew a criminal investigation was underway, but officials said they were being technically accurate about the nature of the referral. Some at the F.B.I. suspected that Democratic appointees were playing semantic games to help Mrs. Clinton, who immediately seized on the statement to play down the issue. “It is not a criminal investigation,” she said, incorrectly. “It is a security review.”

In September of that year, as Mr. Comey prepared for his first public questions about the case at congressional hearings and press briefings, he went across the street to the Justice Department to meet with Ms. Lynch and her staff.

Both had been federal prosecutors in New York — Mr. Comey in the Manhattan limelight, Ms. Lynch in the lower-wattage Brooklyn office. The 6-foot-8 Mr. Comey commanded a room and the spotlight. Ms. Lynch, 5 feet tall, was known for being cautious and relentlessly on message. In her five months as attorney general, she had shown no sign of changing her style.

At the meeting, everyone agreed that Mr. Comey should not reveal details about the Clinton investigation. But Ms. Lynch told him to be even more circumspect: Do not even call it an investigation, she said, according to three people who attended the meeting. Call it a “matter.”

Ms. Lynch reasoned that the word “investigation” would raise other questions: What charges were being investigated? Who was the target? But most important, she believed that the department should stick by its policy of not confirming investigations.

It was a by-the-book decision. But Mr. Comey and other F.B.I. officials regarded it as disingenuous in an investigation that was so widely known. And Mr. Comey was concerned that a Democratic attorney general was asking him to be misleading and line up his talking points with Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, according to people who spoke with him afterward.

As the meeting broke up, George Z. Toscas, a national security prosecutor, ribbed Mr. Comey. “I guess you’re the Federal Bureau of Matters now,” Mr. Toscas said, according to two people who were there.

Despite his concerns, Mr. Comey avoided calling it an investigation. “I am confident we have the resources and the personnel assigned to the matter,” Mr. Comey told reporters days after the meeting.

Please follow the link above to the Townhall article. The article goes on to list some of the problems the FBI encountered while trying not to politicize the investigation.

The article at Townhall further reports:

The Russian collusion allegations have yet to bear fruit. Senate Democrats have admitted that their investigation into possible collision might not find a smoking gun. Over at the House side, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the intelligence committee (and Democratic attack dog), said that there is no definitive proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. As for the interference, well, the election wasn’t hacked in the sense that many on the Left think (i.e. messing with vote tallies), instead it was a concerted effort by state-funded media outlets and social media trolls. None of which had an impact in swaying the election and fake news played no pivotal role either.

Some of the mainstream media is still claiming Russian interference. No one has evidence of that, but I believe that the feeling is that if they claim it long enough, some people will accept it is fact, even though it is not true.

I don’t know what the eventual outcome of Hillary Clinton and her private server will be. I do know that if John Q Public had handled classified information as carelessly as she did, he would be in jail. That clearly illustrates a problem within our legal system.

Why The United Nations Is No Longer Relevant

This is Article I of the United Nations Charter (from the U.N. website):

Article 1

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Reuters reported yesterday:

Russia blocked a Western-led effort at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to condemn last week’s deadly gas attack in Syria and push Moscow’s ally President Bashar al-Assad to cooperate with international inquiries into the incident.

It was the eighth time during Syria’s six-year-old civil war that Moscow has used its veto power on the Security Council to shield Assad’s government.

In the latest veto, Russia blocked a draft resolution backed by the United States, France and Britain to denounce the attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun and tell Assad’s government to provide access for investigators and information such as flight plans.

If the United Nations cannot even denounce a poison gas attack on civilians, what good is it?

Between 1955 and 2013, the United Nations issued at least 77 resolutions targeting Israel (statistics and list here), and the United Nations can’t even come up with a resolution condemning a poison gas attack on civilians? Wow.

American taxpayer dollars provide a major portion of the funding of the United Nations. I think the fact that the U.N. can’t even condemn a poison gas attack on civilians justifies the end of that funding. Until all members of the United Nations are willing to admit that it is wrong to use poison gas on civilians, I don’t think the U.N. has much relevance or credibility. Their moral authority no longer exists.

The Story vs. The Spin

Yesterday The Washington Post reported some interesting information about the allegations that President Obama used electronic surveillance on President Trump’s campaign and transition team. I seriously wonder if anything will come of this, but I believe we have a smoking gun.

The article reports:

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

I would like someone to explain to me how the Russian government could swing the election in Trump’s favor. The investigation into any Russian involvement in the Trump campaign is nothing more than a smoke screen for the illegal surveillance done by the Obama Administration.

The New York Post reported yesterday:

In what the paper (The Washington Post) described as a lengthy declaration, the government said Page “engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow.”

The application was submitted in July and the ensuing 90-day warrant has been renewed at least once, the paper reported.

The government agencies are trying to determine whether Page or any other members of the Trump campaign had improper contacts Russian agents as the Kremlin sought to influence the presidential election.

Page told the paper that he was just a target in a political hit campaign.

“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page told The Washington Post Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.”

This makes Watergate look like amateur hour. People went to jail because of the Watergate break-in. People should go to jail for the surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. What was done was unconstitutional and a violation of the civil rights of the people under surveillance. The leaking of this information with the names unmasked was also a violation of the law. If no one is held accountable, then the precedent is set that unwarranted surveillance of American citizens and releasing the information is acceptable.

 

An Interesting Perspective On Recent Comments By Evelyn Farkas

Townhall.com posted an article today about the recent comments by Evelyn Farkas on MSNBC regarding surveillance of President Trump’s transition team.

The article notes:

First, Farkas here acknowledges that the Obama administration, essentially, had indeed been gathering intelligence, or spying, on private citizens.

Second, being the Democrat partisan that she obviously is, Farkas’ intention in making these comments, and making them in the left-friendly venue of MSNBC, was to suggest that the Democrats’ “The Russians Made Us Do It (Lose)” narrative has substance.

At this point the article notes that Ms. Farkas provided no actual information relating to the charges that the Russians were responsible for Hillary Clinton losing the election. I would like to point out that Hillary Clinton would have been a much more favorable candidate for the Russians–she had already given them 20 percent of America‘s uranium reserves, and her campaign manager had extensive financial interests in Russia. I would also like to point out that the Russians were not responsible for Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy.

The article continues:

Third, in fact, Farkas never even mentions any correspondence between Trump and “the Russians.” No, she instead references “Trump folks” and “the Trump staff” when talking about Russia.

Fourth, while Farkas obviously wanted for audiences to think that Obama’s government discovered some nefarious connection between “Trump folks” and those dastardly Russians, the only allusion that she ever manages to make is to the “dealings” that she alleges transpired between these groups.

In other words, Farkas’s wording here is profoundly vague.

Fifth, Farkas unwittingly confesses that she worried about “the Trump folks” discovering “how we knew what we knew….” Is it not eminently reasonable to infer from this statement that the “how” in question, the methods by which intelligence was supposedly gathered, consists of surveillance of the “Trump folks?”

Think about that for a minute. Why would “how we knew what we knew” be an issue unless there was some wrongdoing involved? Otherwise, what difference would it make?

The article further points out that Ms. Farkas left the government in 2015. If she left in 2015, how and why is she involved now? What are her security clearances? What is her “need to know”? Her words may have encouraged loyal Democrats to continue to search for the first real piece of evidence in this months’ old scandal, but she definitely opened a can of worms in the process!

The Real Bottom Line On RussiaGate

On Wednesday, The Hill posted an article about the scandal surrounding Russian influence during the 2016 presidential campaign and election.

The article reminds us of some recent events:

Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Adam Schiff have both castigated Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, for his handling of the inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.  They should think twice.  The issue that has recently seized Nunes is of vital importance to anyone who cares about fundamental civil liberties.

The trail that Nunes is following will inevitably lead back to a particularly significant leak.  On Jan. 12, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that “according to a senior U.S. government official, (General Mike) Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29.”

Remember–this case (or lack of it) is based on leaked information. The rights of a private American citizen were violated in the way the information about the Russian Ambassador’s phone call was distributed and leaked. What happened here is exactly what the Congressmen who opposed the Patriot Act feared would happen–the use of government apparatus to spy on political opponents. It’s here.

The article reports:

Regardless of how the government collected on Flynn, the leak was a felony and a violation of his civil rights.  But it was also a severe breach of the public trust. When I worked as an NSC staffer in the White House, 2005-2007, I read dozens of NSA surveillance reports every day. On the basis of my familiarity with this system, I strongly suspect that someone in the Obama White House blew a hole in the thin wall that prevents the government from using information collected from surveillance to destroy the lives of the citizens whose privacy it is pledged to protect.  

The leaking of Flynn’s name was part of what can only be described as a White House campaign to hype the Russian threat and, at the same time, to depict Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate.  On Dec. 29, Obama announced sanctions against Russia as retribution for its hacking activities.  From that date until Trump’s inauguration, the White House aggressively pumped into the media two streams of information: one about Russian hacking; the other about Trump’s Russia connection. In the hands of sympathetic reporters, the two streams blended into one.  

In late December there were reports of Russians hacking into the electricity grid of a Vermont utility. The hype of Russian intervention continued. It turned out later that the story was totally misreported–an employee had mistakenly loaded some information into the utility’s computer system.

The article  concludes:

While the White House was hyping the Russia threat, elements of the press showed a sudden interest in the infamous Steele dossier, which claimed that Russian intelligence services had caught Trump in Moscow in highly compromising situations.  The dossier was opposition research paid for by Trump’s political opponents, and it had circulated for months among reporters covering the election.  Because it was based on anonymous sources and entirely unverifiable, however, no reputable news organization had dared to touch it.  

With a little help from the Obama White House, the dossier became fair game for reporters.  A government leak let it be known that the intelligence community had briefed Trump on the dossier.  If the president-elect was discussing it with his intelligence briefers, so the reasoning went, perhaps there was something to it after all.

By turning the dossier into hard news, that leak weaponized malicious gossip. The same is true of the Flynn-Kislyak leak.  Ignatius used the leak to deepen speculation about collusion between Putin and Trump: “What did Flynn say (to Kislyak),” Ignatius asked, “and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?” The mere fact that Flynn’s conversations were being monitored deepened his appearance of guilt.  If he was innocent, why was the government monitoring him?

It should not have been.  He had the right to talk to in private — even to a Russian ambassador.  Regardless of what one thinks about him or Trump or Putin, this leak should concern anyone who believes that we must erect a firewall between the national security state and our domestic politics.  The system that allowed it to happen must be reformed.  At stake is a core principle of our democracy: that elected representatives control the government, and not vice versa.

Laws were broken in releasing the transcripts of the conversations of General Flynn. It is time to get past the partisan divide and realize that this was a serious encroachment on the freedom of all Americans. Those responsible for spreading the information need to be dealt with severely.

And The Media Bias Continues

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about a very interesting statement by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova.

The article reports:

Asked about the current state of U.S.-Russia relations, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova gave a long winded answer that can be read below. In her answer, Zakharova suggested Russia may “publish leaks” about “secrets” the Obama administration asked the Russian government to keep private. The shocking statement can be found in the second to last paragraph of Zakharova’s answer highlighted in both bold and italic.

You could just imagine the headlines this would have made if this was about a Trump administration official.

…Also, I would like to say that if the practice of leaking information that concerns not just the United States but also Russia, which has become a tradition in Washington in the past few years, continues, there will come a day when the media will publish leaks about the things that Washington asked us to keep secret, for example, things that happened during President Obama’s terms in office. Believe me, this could be very interesting information.

Our American colleagues must decide if they respect the diplomatic procedure, if they keep their word on the arrangements made between us, primarily arrangements made at their own request, or we create a few very nice surprises for each other.

This threat (and it is a threat) could put a real crimp in the style of the Obama loyalists still in government who are leaking information. This may turn out to be a graphic illustration of how karma works. Don’t look for this story in the mainstream media!

It’s Amazing What Comes To The Surface

Politico posted an update today on the hearings in the House Intelligence Committee.

The article reports:

Members of the Donald Trump transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under U.S. government surveillance following November’s presidential election, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday.

Nunes said the monitoring appeared to be done legally as a result of what’s called “incidental collection,” but said he was concerned because it was not related to the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and was widely disseminated across the intelligence community.

“I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored,” Nunes told reporters. “It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.”

Nunes said he is heading to the White House later Wednesday to brief Trump on what he has learned, which he said came from “sources who thought that we should know it.” He said he was trying to get more information by Friday from the FBI, CIA and NSA.

Nunes described the surveillance as most likely being “incidental collection.” This can occur when a person inside the United States communicates with a foreign target of U.S. surveillance. In such cases, the identities of U.S. citizens are supposed to be kept secret — but can be “unmasked” by intelligence officials under certain circumstances.

…It was previously known that Flynn’s pre-inauguration phone calls with Russia’s ambassador were intercepted by the U.S. government; he resigned last month after it became clear he misled his colleagues about the nature of the calls.

Nunes has said Flynn’s calls were picked up through incidental collection and said his committee is investigating why Flynn’s name was unmasked and leaked to the news media.

Obviously, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian ambassador were taped and transcribed. Because he has talking to the Russian ambassador, that is not unusual. What is unusual is for the transcripts of those calls to be leaked to the press with his name on them. That is against the law. The person who did that belongs in prison.

As this investigation continues, it is becoming obvious that candidate Donald Trump was under government surveillance during the campaign and after he was elected. That is a serious violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. This surveillance is one reason many Congressmen opposed the Patriot Act–they feared the kind of political abuse of the law that the Obama Administration was evidently guilty of. There are many stories out there documenting the surveillance of Donald Trump and his campaign. I have not posted some of them because I am not familiar with the sources. However, those sources are beginning to look reliable.

Gentlemen, This Is A Football

Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi was known for beginning the first team meeting of the preseason by stating, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” The Green Bay Packers were the team to beat in the 1960’s, winning the first two Super Bowls. Vince Lombardi was their coach during this time. Many of the players at those initial team meetings had already won Super Bowls. So what is the point of the statement, “Gentlemen, this is a football?” Simple, there comes a time (quite often) when you simply have to get back to basics.

The news story of the day is the resignation of General Flynn. The bottom line on the story is that the General was not totally truthful in his statements to Vice-President Pence about his contacts with Russia. The contacts with Russia may not actually be a serious problem, but if you want to be part of an administration, it’s not a good idea to lie to those in charge. However, there is much more to the story.

Those of us who want more honesty in government may not be too upset by this resignation. General Flynn is a good man who made a mistake. Unfortunately that mistake cost him his job.

Yesterday, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the kerfuffle that reminds us of some of the elements surrounding the story.

These are some of the observations in the article:

Thus, I agree with David Goldman that even if reports of the conversation are true, Trump need not remove Flynn over it. (Goldman, by the way, sees the attack on Flynn as part of a CIA vendetta against the retired general).

Misleading Mike Pence, if that’s what Flynn did, is another matter. Obviously, the president and the vice president should be able to count on the national security adviser for honest reports about his conversations with foreign ambassadors (and about all other matters). If Flynn was not honest, that’s a problem.

…ONE MORE THING: It’s clear from the Post’s (Washington Post) report that Sally Yates and the others discovered that the Russians conceivably could blackmail Flynn by listening to a recording of the Russian ambassador’s phone call with Flynn. That’s how they learned Russia could show Flynn might have misled Pence about what was said during the call.

Thus, the Post has reported that the U.S. is tapping the Russian ambassador’s phone. Now, maybe the Russians already know, or assume, this. On the other hand, it may be that the Post has harmed U.S. intelligence gathering capability by running its breathless “blackmail” story.

One final thought. Remember that those of us who want President Trump to drain the swamp are not playing on a level playing field. The political left and their allies in the press are working very hard to undermine President Trump. You could probably also include many career government workers in that category. So what is going on here is not simply the resignation of someone who was less than truthful in his dealings with his boss. The political left will celebrate this as a victory because they caused the removal of General Flynn. We need to be very careful that this does not become a pattern. Also, anyone in the Trump Administration needs to realize that they have to be one hundred percent above board in their actions or the press will destroy them. This is not the Obama Administration where obvious violations of civil rights laws and other laws was overlooked by the press. Under a Republican Administration, the press will suddenly rediscover its role as watchdog.

It Is Important To Know Where The Money Is Coming From

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the 2017 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report. The report labels the U.S. as a major human rights abuser. Wow! Who knew? That sounds really alarming until you look at the money behind Human Rights Watch.

The article reports:

The 687-page report provides overviews of human rights situations in approximately 90 countries around the world. It rates countries based upon their treatment of  journalists and dissenters, the freedom of their elections, and their positions on the death penalty, the use of torture and the fairness of their judicial systems.

Though Trump has yet to shape any policies in the U.S., the HRW survey mentions the Republican 19 times, including under a section with the heading “Trump’s Dangerous Rhetoric.”

The group is most disturbed with Trump’s comments regarding immigration and Muslims.

The 19 mentions of Trump is compared to 11 mentions of both Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, both of whom have cracked down heavily on reporters and dissidents. Bashar al-Assad, the dictator of Syria who has murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens, receives 15 mentions in the report.

In his introduction to the report, Roth argued that Trump is one of a new class of Western leaders who are riding a wave of anti-globalist, nationalistic populism.

So let’s look at the money behind the group:

HRW is heavily funded by Soros, a Hillary Clinton supporter who backs hundreds of leftist and progressive groups across the world. Soros pledged to give $100 million to HRW over a ten year period in 2010. Open Society Foundations, Soros’ main vehicle for funding U.S.-based groups, gave $10 million to HRW in 2014, its most recent tax filings show.

President-elect Trump hasn’t done anything yet, and this group is already accusing him of human rights violations. Nothing like getting ahead of the curve. So what is really going on here? George Soros is a globalist who supports one-world government (which he, of course, would help control). Nationalism is a threat to those who want one-world government, as is patriotism. The globalists have had a bad spell lately–they thought Britain would stay in the EU and they thought Hillary would win the election. Now they are desperate to regain some sort of relevancy in countries that are actually free and value freedom.

We can expect more of this behavior in the future from people who believe that everyone around the world should live in a third-world country and that George Soros and his friends should be in charge and live very, very well.

Behavior Befitting A Two-Year Old

It is obvious that Donald Trump as President will be a serious threat to the status quo. It is understandable that those who are doing quite well with the status quo will do anything they can to undermine his efforts to drain the swamp. However, I really didn’t think it would be this bad.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted a story with some details about some recent attempts to undermine the Presidency of Donald Trump.

Evidently the current ‘fake news’ scandal about Donald Trump has its roots in the Republican Party during the Republican Primary Election.

The article reports:

This Politico story looks at the Paul Manafort angle. It reports that “a Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia.” These efforts affected the campaign, says Politico, in that Manafort had to step down and assertions of Trump ties to Russia were advanced.

This amounts to foreign meddling in the election, though not through any cyber-intrusion (an important distinction). Unlike Russia’s meddling, there is strong evidence that the DNC was involved with Ukraine’s.

The Politico story doesn’t bear directly on the infamous dossier, but this article in the New York Times does. According to the Times, in September 2015, a wealthy Republican donor who strongly opposed Donald Trump put up the money to hire a Washington research firm — Fusion GPS — run by former journalists to compile a dossier about the tycoon’s past scandals and weaknesses.

After Trump emerged as the presumptive nominee in the spring of 2016, the Republican interest in financing the effort ended. However, “Democratic supporters of Hillary Clinton” paid Fusion GPS to keep doing the same basic anti-Trump research.

In June, according to the Times, Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS, hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with whom he had worked before. Having previously carried out espionage inside Russia, Steele was in no position to travel to Moscow to study Trump’s connections there. Instead, he hired native Russian speakers to call informants inside Russia and made surreptitious contact with his own connections in the country.

The result was the infamous dossier which was peddled to news organizations during the Fall of 2016 without much success.

This was obviously a smear campaign. I suspect that there are some Americans out there who have heard the story and choose to believe it. That is their privilege. However, it really is time to realize that if Donald Trump is successful in draining the swamp in Washington, all of the people who are not getting rich because of the political corruption in Washington will prosper. That would be nice.

Bad Behavior By A Supposed NATO Ally

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Dion Nissenbaum, a Wall Street Journal staff reporter, was detained for 2 1/2 days last week and not allowed to communicate with either his family or an attorney.

The article reports:

Mr. Nissenbaum’s detention came amid a broader crackdown on press freedom in Turkey, where dozens of reporters, mainly Turkish, are behind bars. Since the summer, Turkey, where the government has imposed a state of emergency, has closed more than 100 domestic media outlets.

While in custody, Mr. Nissenbaum, a U.S. citizen, was denied access to lawyers despite repeated requests, he said. He also wasn’t allowed to contact his family or his employer. Mr. Nissenbaum said authorities told him he was under investigation, but they declined to say for what.

It is time to reevaluate our relationship with Turkey. Turkey is moving closer to Russia, but at the same time President Erdogan is also moving toward the establishment of an Islamic state. At some time in the future, that will be a problem for the relationship between Turkey and Russia, but right now that relationship is useful to both countries. Erdogan wants to end any idea of an independent Kurdish nation by crushing the Kurds and Russia wants to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. Right now, they can work together. It is anyone’s guess as to how long that alliance will last. Erdogan’s goal is to recreate the Ottoman Empire. As a Muslim, Erdogan would be quite comfortable with the Islamic principle of taqiyya (deceit or dissimulation, particularly toward infidels–Quran 3:28 and 16:106). Much like Putin, former KGB, would have no problem using Erdogan for his own purposes, Erdogan would have no problem lying to Putin for his own purposes. Good luck to both of them, they deserve each other.

I think it’s time to reconsider the role of Turkey in NATO. As much as it would be nice to have a country in NATO that would be a bridge between east and west, I think Turkey has shown by its actions that it is not that country.

 

 

A New Degree Of Pettiness

Reuters is reporting today that the U.S. Government has ordered 35 Russian suspected spies to leave America and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 presidential election. First of all, the people who leaked the emails have repeatedly stated that Russia had nothing to do with the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)–those who released the emails have stated that they came from a whistleblower within the DNC who objected to the primary election being rigged to give Hillary Clinton the nomination.

The article at Reuters is a classic example of spin. They go on to say that the Russians were responsible, yet ignore the content of the emails released, which is actually what turned voters off. There is no mention of the fact that no one has ever denied the content of the emails despite the fact that it revealed horrible things about how the DNC operated.  One can’t help but wonder if the sanctions and expulsion of diplomats would be happening if Hillary Clinton had won the election. Would President Obama care?

John Hinderaker posted a more balanced article dealing with the Russian sanctions at Power Line today.

The Power Line article asks an obvious question:

The Obama administration insists that Russia’s government was behind the DNC intrusion, but acknowledges that those who actually carried out the operation were not Russian government employees. Rather, the Fancy Bear group is said to be “affiliated with the GRU.” The administration says it will publish a report before Obama leaves office that will detail the evidence against Vladimir Putin’s administration. Until then, there is no way to evaluate the reliability of the claim that Russia’s government was involved.

But let’s assume it was. This is the question I haven’t seen the press corps ask; needless to say, the administration hasn’t answered it. Why didn’t Obama impose sanctions on Russia in October 2014, when, by the administration’s own account, the Russian government hacked into both the White House’s and the State Department’s computers? This was a much more serious infraction than invading Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s emails. Yet it drew zero response from Obama, who seemed more interested in covering up an embarrassing episode than in punishing the Russians.

Given that history, it is hard to disagree with Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said:

We think that such steps by a U.S. administration that has three weeks left to work are aimed at two things: to further harm Russian-American ties, which are at a low point as it is, as well as, obviously, to deal a blow to the foreign policy plans of the incoming administration of the president-elect.

I knew President Obama would not go quietly, but I did not expect him to complicate America’s relationships around the world. Russia under Putin will never be trustworthy, but at least there was a possibility of a working relationship under President Trump. President Obama has done what he could to make any cooperation between our two countries very difficult.

 

Why Americans Don’t Trust The Media

This showed up on my Twitter feed this morning:

Julian Assange has flatly stated that Russia was not his source, but that has not stopped CNN from reporting that Russia was his source. (To read the entire story on Julian Assange’s comments, you have to go to the British newspapers.) This is totally aggravating. Has it occurred to anyone that people inside the Democratic Party or people inside the national intelligence community might have been concerned about the way Hillary Clinton handled classified information? Having your maid collect classified documents off of your printer is a violation of common sense as well as a violation of pretty much any law regarding the handling of classified information. This might have concerned some of the patriotic professionals.

This whole kerfuffle is dirty politics at its finest. Hopefully, most Americans recognize it for what it is.

Why Voters Don’t Trust The Media

Does anyone really believe that the Russians would have preferred the election of Donald Trump for President over the election of Hillary Clinton?

Let’s look at some of the history between Hillary Clinton and the Russians. in April 2015, Breitbart.com reported that the chairman of the Russian Nuclear Agency-controlled Uranium One funneled $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. This was followed by the Uranium One deal that allowed the Russians to acquire control of one-fifth of America’s uranium. So the mainstream media is trying to tell me that Russia would rather do business with Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton. You can bribe Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure you can bribe Donald Trump.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story today about the news that Russia interfered in the American election. He sums it up very well:

It is certainly the most overblown story in a long time. The casual reader of newspaper headlines might well believe that the Russian government hacked into voting machines, or something of the sort, to influence the presidential election. But that is not the case. If you read the Washington Post story, they are merely talking about the well-known hacks of Democratic National Committee and John Podesta emails. The only news here is that someone at the CIA thinks the Russian government carried out the operation and did so in order to help Donald Trump win the election.

…The Post’s sources are some combination of Democratic senators and Obama administration officials, conveying their impressions of what what unnamed representatives of the CIA told a bipartisan group of senators in a recent briefing. Someday, persuasive evidence supporting the Post’s headline may emerge, but it certainly hasn’t so far.

Another attempt by the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media to delegitimize the election of Donald Trump. I guess the intelligence community is actually part of the swamp that needs to be drained. It really is time for this to stop. Donald Trump was elected. It’s time to move on. Have the Democrats and the media forgotten that we all live in the same country?

Ignoring The News While Claiming To Report It

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the recent New York Times reporting on allegations by the Clinton campaign that Donald Trump has a connection to Russia. This connection is being used to bolster the claim that Russia hacking is behind the Wikileaks emails.

The article reminds us that The New York Times has recently chosen to ignore some of the Clinton’s connections to Russia. That has not always been the case.

The article cites some older reporting on that connection:

If we go back to April 24, 2015, a New York Times investigative report illustrates why the Clinton campaign should think twice about accusing the Trump campaign of cozying up to Russia. The Times’ “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal”  reveals in depth the ethically-challenged relationship among the Clintons, the Foundation’s top donor, Canadian mining magnate, Frank Guistra ( $31.3 million in donations), and Russia’s state-owned Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom).

…The Times concludes: “The episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president ….even as his wife … presided over decisions (such as approval of the Russian purchase of Uranium One) with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.”

The article concludes:

The Clinton team should remember that people who live in glass houses should not throw the first stone. If the American public knew the unsavory clients of K-Street law and PR firms, they might pull out their pitchforks. If so, our political class would lose their plush lifestyle of life after politics. Be careful. A cooperative media cannot protect you forever.

It is time for term limits and rules that make lobbying less profitable. It is really time to drain the swamp.

 

While You Were Watching The Election…

The mainstream media in America is focused on Donald Trump to the point where they are ignoring a lot of things–they are not saying a lot about the emails released by Wikileaks and they are not saying much about the military buildup that is happening in Europe. When you read this story, please keep in mind how much of a threat Donald Trump is to the political establishment and how much of a change he will represent to American foreign policy. Also remember the things said about Ronald Reagan when he ran for office. Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan, but he would be a strong President who would keep his word and defend America. There are people in this country who have a problem with that.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about the move toward war in Europe. Somehow The New York Times has missed the story, but the U.K. Daily Mail is covering it.

Power Line reports:

It seems to be a closely guarded secret, but preparations for war are going on in Europe. A Russian fleet that includes that country’s only aircraft carrier made a point of sailing through the English Channel and along the European coast en route to Syria. Nuclear-capable Russian ships are making a demonstration in the Baltic Sea, and Russian troops, reportedly equipped with nuclear weapons, have moved near Russia’s borders with Poland and Lithuania. In response, NATO countries are hurrying troops and ships into the potential war zone.

The U.K. Daily Mail article includes the following picture:

russiantroopbuildupI realize the picture above is hard to read, a bigger version can be found in either the Power Line or U.K Mail article.

Just a few observations–Putin has sized up President Obama and concluded that America will not challenge Russia right now. If Donald Trump is elected, that may change. President Obama has already proven that he will not stand up to Putin. We also need to remember that on March 26, 2012, major news sources reported that President Obama had told outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev he will have “more flexibility” to deal with contentious issues like missile defense after the U.S. presidential election.

I understand that the mainstream media (and the Clinton campaign), which are pretty much the same thing, would like to convince everyone that electing Donald Trump as President is going to cause a war with Russia. I would like to point out that they said the same thing about Ronald Reagan. At this time we need a strong and possibly unpredictable President–weakness will bring war.

Meanwhile, Russia just completed a nuclear drill for 40 million citizens.

This is what Europe is doing about the current threat of war:

europeantroopbuildupPlease follow the link to the U.K. Daily Mail article to read the entire story.

Beware Erroneous Campaign Ads

It is very obvious that integrity and political campaigns parted ways a long time ago. However, every now and then a whopper is told that is so big that even the mainstream media will correct it. Yesterday Hot Air posted a story about a fact check that CNN did on a Hillary Clinton campaign ad.

The article reports:

A new Clinton ad, which is airing in seven states this month, echoed the previous claim saying Hillary “got the treaty cutting Russia’s nuclear arms.”

But as Jake Tapper points out nearly all of this is false. It’s true that there is a treaty called New START which sets limits on the number of strategic nuclear weapons Russia can deploy. However that treaty doesn’t say anything about short range nukes or the number of total nuclear weapons Russia can have. It doesn’t require a single nuclear weapon be destroyed.

Even more striking, Tapper notes that Russia was already under the agreed limit when the treaty was signed in 2011. Russia has since increased the number of strategic nuclear arms by nearly 200, from 1,537 to 1,735. “Not only did it not cut the number of nuclear weapons,” Tapper says, “there’s actually been an increase.” Here’s a chart created by FactCheck.org back in April showing the number of strategic nuclear arms held by the U.S. and Russia. Note that the number of warheads held by Russia is up:

nukesTapper and FactCheck.org both grant that the treaty has value but the claims Clinton is making about the treaty reducing the number of Russian arms is false.

The campaign season will be over in about six weeks. Thank God.

Was This Part Of The Deal?

Townhall.com posted a story today about some changes Iran is making to its Fordo  nuclear facility.

The article reports:

Earlier in 2016, Russia delivered several divisions of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran and now Tehran is deploying those same systems to the Fordo nuclear facility according to state television.  

“Protecting nuclear facilities is paramount in all circumstances,” said General Farzad Esmaili, commander of Iran’s air defenses.  “Today, Iran’s sky is one of the most secure in the region.”

He added that “continued opposition and hype on the S-300 or the Fordo site are examples of the viciousness of the enemy.”

The Fordo site, hidden into a mountain near the city of Qom, is one of Iran’s numerous nuclear enrichment plants.

Within 24 hours after transferring the missiles, Iran’s military detected a U.S. drone entering Iranian airspace on Monday and issued a warning for it to leave.  The drone immediately retreated from its course according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency

It seems to me that if you intended to follow the requirements of the nuclear treaty you just signed, you wouldn’t arm your nuclear facilities with air defense missiles. Unfortunately, the installation of these missiles means that western countries will now not be able to stop Iran’s further development of nuclear weapons. Make no mistake–this is about Iran developing nuclear weapons for the purpose of destroying Israel and eventually the United States. This is not good news.

The Mess In The Middle East

Yesterday the BBC posted an article about the ongoing war in the Middle East. I generally don’t trust the BBC as a source on the Middle East because I feel that they are biased against Israel, but in this case, the article provides a lot of good information.

The article included a map showing where things currently stand:

MiddleEastAs you can see, the situation is a mess. The article was not about the map; however, the article was about a shift in the execution of the war by the pro-Bashar al-Assad forces in Russia and Iran.

The article states:

Russia’s defence ministry says it has used a base in western Iran to carry out air strikes in Syria.

Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 strike fighters took off from Hamedan on Tuesday, a statement said.

Targets were hit in Aleppo, Idlib and Deir al-Zour provinces, it added. Local groups said 27 civilians had died.

It is reportedly the first time Russia has struck targets inside Syria from a third country since it began a campaign to prop up Syria’s president last year.

Iran is Bashar al-Assad’s main regional ally and has provided significant military and financial support since an uprising against him erupted in 2011.

…Russia has been operating jets and helicopters from bases in Syria for the past year, but this is the first time that Moscow has deployed aircraft to a third country in the region.

Reports indicate that up to six Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers – known by the Nato codename of “Backfire” – are now operating from an air base in western Iran.

These planes – originally designed as a long-range strategic bomber – have already been engaged in the Syrian air campaign but operating from bases in southern Russia. Placing them in Iran dramatically reduces the duration of their missions. The Russian defence ministry says that an unspecified number of Sukhoi-34 strike aircraft have also been sent to Iran.

Their deployment marks an intensification of the Russian air campaign – perhaps a reflection of the scale of the fighting in and around Aleppo – and it is a demonstration of the growing warmth in ties between Moscow and Tehran, the Syrian government’s two closest allies.

This is not good news.

The article concludes:

Also on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch alleged that Russian and Syrian government aircraft had been using incendiary weapons in civilian areas in violation of international law – something Moscow has denied.

A review of photographs and videos indicated there were at least 18 incendiary weapon attacks on rebel-held areas in Aleppo and Idlib between 5 June and 10 August, the US-based group said. Witnesses and emergency workers reported at least 12 civilians wounded in five of the attacks.

President Obama is in the process of forming an alliance with Russia to fight ISIS. That is a serious mistake. The only reason Russia is involved in this is to prop up Bashar al-Assad, to cement its relationship with Iran, and to regain the status it had as a world power before the Soviet Union dissolved. Vladimir Putin is not our friend and should be handled as carefully as a scorpion.

The Definition Of Spin

It is going to be a long election season. I understand that it will only last until November, but it is going to be a long season. During that time we can expect the major media to tell us all variety of things about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. If you believe the mainstream media, by November you will be convinced that Hillary should be nominated for sainthood and Donald should be banished from the earth. That sort of bias is what has led to the rise of the alternative media.

One charge against Trump that the media is trying right now is that he and Putin have a wonderful relationship and Hillary is the only one who can protect us from the evil Russians. It’s a valiant effort at a really good smear campaign, but as usual, the facts tell a different story.

Katie Pavlich posted a story at Townhall today about the relationship between the Clintons and Russia.

The story reminds us of some of the history of that relationship:

Following his 2009 visit to Moscow, President Obama announced the creation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state directed the American side, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represented the Russians. The stated goal at the time: “identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.”

The Kremlin committed $5 billion over three years to fund Skolkovo. Mrs. Clinton’s State Department worked aggressively to attract U.S. investment partners and helped the Russian State Investment Fund, Rusnano, identify American tech companies worthy of Russian investment. Rusnano, which a scientific adviser to President Vladimir Putin called “Putin’s child,” was created in 2007 and relies entirely on Russian state funding.

…Soon, dozens of U.S. tech firms, including top Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel and Cisco, made major financial contributions to Skolkovo, with Cisco committing a cool $1 billion. In May 2010, the State Department facilitated a Moscow visit by 22 of the biggest names in U.S. venture capital—and weeks later the first memorandums of understanding were signed by Skolkovo and American companies.

Wow. What a coincidence–donors to the Clinton Foundation profited from a decision made by the Secretary of State.

It gets worse:

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The article concludes:

Here we are with another case of Clinton accusing her opponent of doing precisely what she’s been doing for years: profiting off of Russian business and government relationships in the private and public sectors.

Donald Trump is not the candidate who compromised national security for personal gain–Hillary Clinton is.

Never Write Anything In An Email That You Wouldn’t Want To See On The Front Page Of The New York Times

The Internet is not a safe place. It is very easy to be hacked. It is also very easy to have something foolish posted ten years ago follow you into a job interview.  Travel the information highway at your own risk.

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the leaked DNC email scandal. The pointed out some things that may be overlooked in the uproar.

The article reports:

It’s a general rule of thumb that when a leak hurts Republicans, the media focus on the leak. But when the leak hurts a Democrat, the media focus on the nefarious motives of the leaker. This bias has on bold display in the wake of the release of hacked DNC emails last Friday.

As everyone now knows, the nearly 20,000 e-mails so far released contain revelations about how the party — which was publicly claiming to be neutral in the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — was actively trying to torpedo Sanders’ bid.

Almost immediately, the Clinton campaign tried to suggest that this was somehow part of a conspiracy on the part of Vladimir Putin to help Donald Trump get elected.

The article also reminds us that much of the hacking took place before Donald Trump was the Republican candidate. Somehow that is being left out in the news coverage.

The article includes a wonderful quote:

The story went on to quote Rook Security CEO J.J. Thompson, who said that “just because you find an AK-47 at a crime scene doesn’t mean a Russian pulled the trigger.”

A few more random facts from the article:

For one thing, the hackers broke into the DNC servers long before anyone, including the Russians, had any reason to think Trump would be the nominee. For another, the emails themselves are an embarrassment for the Democratic Party, not Clinton herself, and have managed mainly to aggravate an existing wound between the party establishment and Bernie Sanders supporters.

For another, the decision to release the emails on the eve of the Democratic Convention was the decision of WikiLeaksJulian Assange, who up until now has been a hero of the left.

There’s also the rather unbelievable supposition underlying this conspiracy — namely that Clinton would be some sort of superhawk when it comes to Russia.

…What’s more, it was Clinton who signed off on a deal that gave Russia control of a fifth of all the uranium production capacity in the U.S., while Uranium One was making fat donations to the Clinton Foundation.

When the deal was finished, Pravda boasted that “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

So what, exactly, is the basis of the claim that Putin has any reason to be fearful of a Clinton presidency? None. So why are reporters pushing this story? To give Clinton a helping hand.

If nothing else, the slant of the reporting on the leaked emails illustrates exactly what the emails stated–the collusion between the Democratic Party and the news media. It is my hope that the American people are paying attention.

Watch The Spin

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about Donald Trump‘s press conference this morning. In it, Trump encouraged Russia to see if they could find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails. The Clinton campaign began to spin wildly.

The article points out:

This caused the Democrat/media complex to become hysterical, charging Trump with encouraging a hostile power to conduct espionage against the U.S. Curious about the context of Trump’s obviously tongue in cheek remark, I watched his press conference (or most of it anyway, it is pretty long). It is posted in its entirety below; I encourage you to watch as much of it as you have time for.

The real story is that Trump put on an impressive performance. At the beginning of the press conference, reporters badgered him relentlessly about Russia and Vladimir Putin, trying to suggest that Trump was somehow in cahoots with the Russians in hacking into the DNC’s server–a ridiculous supposition, even if you assume the Russians had anything to do with it. Trump pushed back against the reporters in the manner that has made him popular with so many Americans, but, in my opinion, more skillfully and articulately than he has generally done in the past. It is a very good performance, and it puts into stark relief the fact that Hillary can’t face the press even though virtually all of its members are doing their best to help her.

The article also includes a video of the press conference. Follow the link above for the entire press conference.

Charles Krauthammer made a very interesting comment about the Clinton campaign’s charge that Trump was encouraging espionage. He pointed out that if the deleted emails were truly about Hillary’s yoga lessons and Chelsea’s wedding, there was no security risk.

Watch the spin.

 

There Are Always Unintended Consequences

There are always unintended consequences. Sometimes those consequences continue for a generation. Recent events illustrate that.

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal posted an article about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). President Lyndon Johnson signed the act on July 4, 1966. President Johnson referred to FOIA as “the damned thing” when he signed it.

The article reports:

Bill Moyers, LBJ’s press secretary at the time, recalled in a 2003 broadcast how FOIA nearly didn’t become law: The president “hated the very idea of a Freedom of Information Act, hated the idea of journalists rummaging in government closets, hated them challenging the official view of reality.”

I am sure Hillary Clinton would have agreed with him.

The article reports:

Mrs. Clinton stonewalled FOIA requests for years with her keep-no-records, produce-no-records strategy. In a deposition last month in a civil lawsuit challenging her personal email server, the State Department said its staffers in charge of records didn’t realize until 2014 that its former boss had used private email.

Appropriately enough, Mrs. Clinton’s explanation that she used a private email server to keep her records secret only became public in a lawsuit challenging the State Department’s insistence that it couldn’t respond to FOIA requests because it couldn’t locate her emails on its .gov server.

The State Department’s inspector general in May ruled that Mrs. Clinton broke record-keeping laws such as those requiring compliance with FOIA requests, never got permission for her home server and ignored numerous security warnings.

…the judges (federal appeals court judges in Washington, DC) said evading government servers is no defense against a FOIA request:

“If a department head can deprive the citizens of their right to know what his department is up to by the simple expedient of maintaining his departmental emails on an account in another domain, that purpose is hardly served,” the judges wrote. “It would make as much sense to say that the department head could deprive requestors of hard-copy documents by leaving them in a file at his daughter’s house and then claiming that they are under her control.”

The article also reminds us that there are indications that Russian agents hacked the servers of the Clinton Foundation and the Democratic National Committee. That means that Vladimir Putin has all sorts of information he can either release in October or hold over Mrs. Clinton’s head if she becomes President. Her desire to hide information from the public has potentially damaged American national security.

A representative republic (which America is) relies on informed voters to maintain freedom. When people work against informing the voters, it hurts us all. The fact that Washington, DC, has become a city where wealthy elite politicians govern for their own good may explain why Donald Trump has done so well in this campaign cycle. Because Donald Trump may well go into Washington and clean house, he is opposed by the Washington elites. This opposition will become more obvious at the Republican National Convention and in the press coverage he receives between now and the November election. It is up to Americans to decide whether they want more Washington secrecy and elitist government or whether they want someone to clean house.

As The Obama Administration Is Winding Down, Some Foreign Policy Experts Are Beginning To Speak Out

Ambassador Dennis Ross posted an article at Political analyzing the consequences of President Obama’s Middle Eastern foreign policy.

The article begins with comments on recent events in the Middle East:

The United States has significantly more military capability in the Middle East today than Russia—America has 35,000 troops and hundreds of aircraft; the Russians roughly 2,000 troops and, perhaps, 50 aircraft—and yet Middle Eastern leaders are making pilgrimages to Moscow to see Vladimir Putin these days, not rushing to Washington. Two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to see the Russian president, his second trip to Russia since last fall, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia is planning a trip soon. Egypt’s president and other Middle Eastern leaders have also made the trek to see Putin.

Why is this happening, and why on my trips to the region am I hearing that Arabs and Israelis have pretty much given up on President Barack Obama? Because perceptions matter more than mere power: The Russians are seen as willing to use power to affect the balance of power in the region, and we are not.

‘Leading from behind’ is not leading, and it is not a foreign policy that is respected in other nations. We have not been a reliable ally to those nations that were previously considered allies. We have not stood for the principles that we have stood for in the past. The next President will have a lot of damage to our international reputation to repair.

The article goes on to explain that in order for America to be trusted once again in the Middle East, the countries in the region will have to be convinced of a few things:

…they will want to know that America’s word is good and there will be no more “red lines” declared but unfulfilled; that we see the same threats they do; and that U.S. leaders understand that power affects the landscape in the region and will not hesitate to reassert it.

The article has a few suggestions on how to achieve that goal:

⧫ Toughen our declaratory policy toward Iran about the consequences of cheating on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to include blunt, explicit language on employing force, not sanctions, should the Iranians violate their commitment not to pursue or acquire a nuclear weapon;

⧫ Launch contingency planning with GCC states and Israel—who themselves are now talking—to generate specific options for countering Iran’s growing use of Shiite militias to undermine regimes in the region. (A readiness to host quiet three-way discussions with Arab and Israeli military planners would signal we recognize the shared threat perceptions, the new strategic realities, and the potentially new means to counter both radical Shiite and Sunni threats.)

⧫ Be prepared to arm the Sunni tribes in Iraq if Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi continues to be blocked from doing so by the Iranians and the leading militias;

⧫ In Syria, make clear that if the Russians continue to back Assad and do not force him to accept the Vienna principles (a cease-fire, opening humanitarian corridors, negotiations and a political transition), they will leave us no choice but to work with our partners to develop safe havens with no-fly zones.

We have never really had a successful Middle East policy. The problem began after World War I when western powers carved out countries in the Middle East with no regard for ethnic and tribal rivalries. We will not have peace in the region until we begin to recognize the different factions and find ways to bring them together.

 

No One Likes Being Lied To

No one likes being lied to. However, some lies have greater consequences than others. The Washington Free Beacon posted a story yesterday about an investigation into lies the Obama Administration told Congress about the Iranian nuclear deal. Evidently what Congress was told about the concessions made to Iran actually bore little resemblance to the deal that was finally agreed to.

The article reports:

The concerns come after statements from top officials last week suggesting that Iran is set to receive greater weapons and sanctions relief, moves that the administration had promised Congress would never take place as White House officials promoted the deal last summer.

“When multiple officials—including Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, and Ambassador Mull—testify in front of Members of Congress, we are inclined to believe them,” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) told the Washington Free Beacon.

“However, the gap between their promises on the Iran nuclear deal and today’s scary reality continues to widen. We are now trying to determine whether this was intentional deception on the part of the administration or new levels of disturbing acquiescence to the Iranians,” Pompeo said.

Congress is believed to be investigating what insiders described to the Free Beacon as a range of areas in which administration officials may have understated the breadth of concessions made to the Islamic Republic when trying to persuade lawmakers to sign off on the final deal.

The article goes on to detail the areas where the actual deal does not resemble the information Congress received.

The article notes that Secretary of State John Kerry promised that under the agreement signed with Iran, Iran would be prohibited from carrying out ballistic missile tests.

The article reports:

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., shifted course last week, refusing to call recent Iranian launches a “violation” in a letter she signed criticizing those launches.

Note to Ms. Power: Iran is not particularly impressed nor responsive to criticism.

The article further reports:

“The Obama administration is involved in yet another sleight of hand on sanctions relief as well as the status of U.N. missile sanctions,” Dubowitz sai. “This is very familiar to those who tracked the Iran nuclear talks and recall the many ways in which broken commitments were justified and redlines were abandoned.”

Iranian allies on the U.N. Security Council, mainly Russia, have defended the missile tests, arguing that resolution 2231 has only “called upon” Iran to refrain from these tests.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin recently stated that the newest U.N. resolution governing the nuclear agreement only suggests that Iran stop test firing missiles.

“A call is different from a ban so legally you cannot violate a call, you can comply with a call or you can ignore the call, but you cannot violate a call,” Churkin was quoted as saying. “The legal distinction is there.”

Congressional critics have dismissed the argument and are pressing on the Obama administration to stand up to Iran’s defenders.

“The Kremlin’s absurd legal argument after Iran’s March tests that ‘legally you cannot violate a call’ would essentially allow the Iranian regime to do anything it wants to further develop its ballistic missile program,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

The Iranian nuclear deal was a badly negotiated deal. It was something that President Obama wanted to put in his legacy, and he gave away the store in order to get it done. He then added insult to injury by reporting the details, nuances, and intricacies to Congress in a manner that may not have been entirely truthful. Congress may not be unified on much, but they are pretty unified on the fact that they don’t like being lied to.

It will be interesting to see exactly what this investigation uncovers and also to see exactly what will happen if in fact Congress has been lied to. We have about eight months left of the Obama Administration. Get out the popcorn, it is going to be interesting.