This Might Explain A Few Things

National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster has been replaced by John Bolton. I am celebrating this change–John Bolton is a man of integrity replacing someone with a somewhat questionable resume.

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday detailing some of H.R. McMaster’s previous work.

The article reports:

Outgoing National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster served for more than a decade as a consultant to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, a foreign-based think-tank that has received funding from hostile foreign governments to include Russia and China, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.

…IISS operates offices in the Bahrain, Singapore and Washington, D.C. It generally reflects a globalist “realist” Eurocentric view of foreign and military postures that’s at odds with Trump’s foreign policy. The think-tank was a major advocate of former President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

IISS receives funding from friendly Western sources such as aerospace firms and even the British army, but is also has received funding from the Russian Federation, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the governments of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, according to the IISS website.

During McMaster’s time at IISS, the think tank also received $700,000 from George Soros’s Open Society and $140,000 from Ploughshares, the pacifist organization that aggressively pushed for Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

The organization’s council — its board of directors — also is filled with people who have ties to the Kremlin, to the Qatari emir who has been accused of supporting terrorists, to people associated with the Uranium One scandal, and with a Russian investment bank that paid former President Bill Clinton $500,000 for a single speech.

The article includes a few comments from former military officers on the appointment of McMaster:

“This is bizarre,” retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin said in an interview with TheDCNF. “If that kind of information was available to The Trump administration before they selected him, the question is: Would they have selected him for this very job?”

…Retired Rear Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, who served 35 years in the Navy, including a stint as commander of the Pacific Fleet, told TheDCNF McMaster’s consulting role at the think tank was “absurd.”

“It is really absurd that an active duty military officer, particularly one of flag rank, is a consultant to a foreign organization that is taking money and contributions from questionable countries that are known enemies of the United States,” Lyons told TheDCNF in an interview. “This to me seems to be outside the bounds of what we’re committed to. This is atrocious.”

“I’ve never seen this kind of thing before,” said Boykin, a 36-year veteran who served as under secretary for defense intelligence for President George W. Bush.

Boykin said he was convinced any commanding officer would have rejected McMaster’s proposed consulting work at IISS. “I cannot believe that the ethics people of the U.S. Army would approve of him doing that, and I can’t believe that any responsible person he worked for in the Army would have agreed to that.”

The article details some questionable activities of IISS and the secrecy surrounding its Bahrain conferences called the “Manama Dialogue.” I suspect the removal of McMaster is another blow against the deep state and might have a very positive impact on ending some of the leaks coming from the White House.

Some Perspective From Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at National Review today about Russia’s relationship to American politics. The timeline of the article begins about 2009.

The article begins with the following:

Start with two givens: Vladimir Putin is neither stupid nor content to watch an aging, shrinking, corrupt, and dysfunctional — but still large and nuclear — Russia recede to second- or third-power status. From 2009 to 2015, in one of the most remarkable and Machiavellian efforts in recent strategic history, Putin almost single-handedly parlayed a deserved losing hand into a winning one. He pulled this off by flattering, manipulating, threatening, and outsmarting an inept and politically obsessed Obama administration.

Under the Obama presidency and the tenures of Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Russia made astounding strategic gains — given its intrinsic economic, social, and military weaknesses. The Obama reaction was usually incoherent (Putin was caricatured as a “bored kid in the back of the classroom” or as captive of a macho shtick). After each aggressive Russian act, the administration lectured that “it is not in Russia’s interest to . . . ” — as if Obama knew better than a thuggish Putin what was best for autocratic Russia.

A review of Russian inroads, presented in no particular order, is one of the more depressing chapters in post-war U.S. diplomatic history.

The article lists the missteps of the Obama Administration regarding Russia. It notes that Russia successfully annexed Crimea with little response from NATO. Russia essentially took control of eastern Ukraine. Russia also exerted enough pressure to prevent America from supplying the Czech Republic and Poland the missile defense systems they had been promised.

The article reminds us:

Russia since 2013 had sought to interfere in U.S. elections with impunity, so much so that as late as October 18, 2016, on the eve of the anticipated Clinton landslide, Obama mocked any suggestion that an entity could ever successfully warp the outcome of a U.S. election. (“There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections. There’s no evidence that that has happened in the past or that it will happen this time, and so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and make his case to get votes.”)

After a near 40-year hiatus, Russia was invited into the Middle East by the Obama administration. It soon became the power broker in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq and to some extent offered passive-aggressive support for Israel and Turkey — a position of influence that it retains to this day and that would now be hard to undo. It posed as a “helper” to the Obama administration with Iran and helped broker the disastrous Iran deal — and then used U.S. acquiescence to Iran to fuel the ascendance of the Iran-Hezbollah-Assad crescent.

Inviting Russia into the Middle East is not a recipe for peace. The article also cites other instances of Russia managing to create chaos in America. Please follow the link to read the entire article for the full picture.

The article concludes:

The verdict on Russia, the Obama administration, and the Clinton campaign is now becoming clearer. Russian reset resurrected Putin’s profile and hurt U.S. interests. It grew out of a partisan rebuke of the Bush administration’s perceived harshness to Russia and was later massaged to help Barack Obama’s reelection campaign by granting Russia concessions in hopes of a foreign-policy success that would lead to perceived calm. Russia deliberately inserted itself into the 2016 election, as it had in previous elections, because 1) it had suffered few if any prior consequences, 2) it wanted to sow chaos in the American political system, and 3) it saw a way to warp Clinton’s efforts to smear Donald Trump, first, no doubt to compromise a likely President Clinton, and, in unexpected fashion, later to undermine an actual President Trump.

 At very little cost, Russia has embarrassed American democracy, played the media for the partisans they are, completely discredited the Clinton campaign and name, and created a year of nonstop hysteria to undermine the Trump administration.

And it is not over yet.

I would disagree that the Russia has embarrassed American democracy–I think we have done that ourselves. The election of President Trump so unhinged the media and the Democratic Party that they forgot the rules of fair play. I understand that during political campaigns sometimes things go on that shouldn’t, but the Clinton campaign overstepped the bounds of running for office in ways that we have not seen before. At least during the Nixon administration when Nixon tried to use the government to collect information or government agencies as political weapons there were enough people in government agencies with integrity to tell him no. Evidently that is no longer the case.



Annoying Things Done By Politicians

Representative Adam Schiff released the Democratic memo about FISA surveillance on Saturday (when he assumed no one would be paying attention). The memo is an effort to deflect charges that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) were weaponized for political purposes during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. The memo itself was a purely political move, and the release of the memo on a Saturday night was also a political move. The release of the memo is interesting bercause the memo does not help the Democrats’ case.

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review explaining that the memo does more damage to the Democrats’ arguments than helps them. Because of his extensive legal background, Andrew McCarthy is the perfect person to dissect this memo.

The article is detailed, and I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article, but I will try to summarize it.

The article reports:

The memo concedes that the FISA-warrant application relied on allegations by Steele’s anonymous Russian hearsay sources that:

Page met separately while in Russia with Igor Sechin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin and executive chairman of Roseneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, and Igor Divyekin, a senior Kremlin official. Sechin allegedly discussed the prospect of future U.S.-Russia energy cooperation and “an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia.” Divyekin allegedly disclosed to Page that the Kremlin possessed compromising information on Clinton (“kompromat”) and noted the possibility of its being released to Candidate #1’s [i.e., Donald Trump’s] campaign. . . . This closely tracks what other Russian contacts were informing another Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.

1) This was obviously the most critical allegation against Page. The Democrats attempt to make much of Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016, but the uncorroborated Sechin and Divyekin meetings, which Page credibly denies, are the aspect of the Moscow trip that suggested a nefarious Trump–Russia conspiracy. That’s what the investigation was about. Far from clandestine, the rest of Page’s trip was well publicized and apparently anodyne.

2) Democrats implausibly insist that what “launched” the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation was not Steele’s allegations but intelligence from Australia about George Papadopoulos’s contact with what Democrats elusively describe as “individuals linked to Russia.”

…Even if we assume for argument’s sake that these characters had solid regime connections — rather than that they were boasting to impress the credulous young Papadopoulos — they were patently not in the same league as Sechin, a Putin crony, and Divyekin, a highly placed regime official. And that, manifestly, is how the FBI and the DOJ saw the matter: They sought a FISA warrant on Page, not Papadopoulos. And, as the above-excerpted passage shows, they highlighted the Steele dossier’s sensational allegations about Page and then feebly tried to corroborate those allegations with some Papadopoulos information, not the other way around. (More on that when we get to Schiff’s notion of “corroboration.”)

The article also notes:

…because Page was an American citizen, FISA law required that the FBI and the DOJ show not only that he was acting as an agent of a foreign power (Russia), but also that his “clandestine” activities on behalf of Russia were a likely violation of federal criminal law. (See FISA, Section 1801(b)(2)(A) through (E), Title 50, U.S. Code.) It is the Steele dossier that alleges Page was engaged in arguably criminal activity. The Democrats point to nothing else that does.

Because of the way this whole story has been reported, I am not sure many Americans realize that the constitutional rights of one of their fellow citizens were violated by the FISA Court. All of us need to remember that this could happen to any one of us. We also need to note that if the use of the FBI and DOJ for political purposes is not dealt with and the guilty parties punished, we will see more of this behavior in the future.

The article continues:

How’s this for transparency? The FISA warrant application says that Steele, referred to as “Source #1,” was “approached by” Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, referred to as “an identified U.S. person,” who

indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s [i.e., Trump’s] ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a longstanding business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign. [Emphasis in Schiff memo, p. 5]

The first thing to notice here is the epistemological contortions by which the DOJ rationalized concealing that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for Steele’s reporting. They ooze consciousness of guilt. If you have to go through these kinds of mental gymnastics to avoid disclosing something, it’s because you know that being “transparent” demands disclosing it.

As I stated, it is a very long and detailed article. Please follow the link above to see the other problems with the Schiff memo.


And So It Begins?

Yesterday while the mainstream media had their panties all in a wad over something President Trump may or may not have said in a private meeting, The Daily Wire posted an article about the Uranium One scandal.

The article reports:

An 11-count indictment was handed out on Friday connected to the alleged Russian bribery scheme involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, and Uranium One.

The charges are against Mark Lambert, who is the “former co-president of a Maryland-based transportation company that provides services for the transportation of nuclear materials to customers in the United States and abroad.” Lambert 54, of Maryland, was charged with “one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering,” the DOJ said in a statement.

The charges are connected to the alleged bribery scheme that involves “Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX.”

TENEX is the commercial sales arm for Russia’s Rosatom, which took full control of Uranium One in 2013.

A report from October revealed that federal agents started collecting evidence in 2009 about Russian officials that were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering connected to the Uranium One deal

Stay tuned. This is going to get interesting. There is also a question of whether or not uranium left the country and how that happened. I suspect there is much more to come on this.

It’s Just Squirrelly!

I have been known to make up my own words when I consider them appropriate. On Friday, The Daily Caller posted a detailed piece on the timeline and stories surrounding the Uranium One deal. It is a rather long article, and I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire piece. I will try to hit the highlights here.

The article reports:

New FBI information about corruption in a Clinton-approved uranium deal with Russia raises questions about Clinton’s actions after the FBI broke up a deep-cover Russian spy ring in 2010.

For a decade, the FBI ran an operation called Ghost Stories to monitor and rip apart a deep-cover Russian agent network. Ghost Stories tracked a ring Russian spies who lived between Boston and Washington, D.C., under false identities. It was one of the FBI’s most elaborate and successful counterintelligence operations in history.

After the FBI arrested 10 of the spies in June, 2010, Secretary of State Clinton worked feverishly to return the Russian agents to Moscow in a hastily arranged, lopsided deal with Putin.

Obviously, she did not want the spies hanging around for further questioning.

The story continues:

The day the FBI arrested the Russian agents, on June 28, 2010, the day before the secretary of state’s husband, Bill Clinton, was to give a speech in Moscow. A Kremlin-connected investment bank, Renaissance Capital, paid the former president $500,000 for the hour-long appearance.

An unnamed Hillary Clinton spokesman told ABC News that there was “no reason to think the Secretary was a target of this spy ring.”

That was a lie.

The article concludes:

So here are the key facts: The FBI found that Russian intelligence had targeted Hillary Clinton before and during her time as secretary of state. Clinton’s spokespersons denied that this was so. Clinton opposed the Magnitsky sanctions on officials tied to Putin. After her husband received a half-million dollars in Moscow from a Kremlin-connected investment bank, Clinton moved with unusual speed to whisk the ring of 10 Russian spies out of the country and back to Moscow. She had the lopsided swap take place over a long summer weekend, before the FBI was finished with the spies, and before the spies could stand trial. While the FBI was separately investigating Russians involved with buying Uranium One, she approved the sale of American uranium to Russia’s nuclear weapons agency. Principals in the sale then plowed $145 million into her family foundation and projects.

Several questions come to mind. Precisely what did the FBI know about Russia’s spy service targeting Hillary Clinton and her inner circle? Why did Clinton deny through spokespersons that she had been a Russian target? Why did she work so feverishly to get the spies out of the United States and back to Russia? Why has the FBI leadership not been more vocal in touting one of its greatest counterintelligence successes ever? And why did nobody in the FBI leadership raise this issue during the 2016 Russian election meddling controversy?

The question in my mind is whether or not anyone will be held accountable for the transfer of uranium to Russia or the very strange donations from overseas that the Clinton Foundation received before and during the time that Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. It is also illustrative to note that when Hillary Clinton lost the election for President, much of the overseas money coming into the Clinton Foundation dried up. I truly believe that the Clinton Family is today’s version of Tammany Hall. It will be difficult to hold them accountable for any of their misdeeds.

An Amazing Historical Event

On Thursday, Legal Insurrection posted an article about the continuing attacks on President Trump. The title of the article is, “The Slow-Motion Coup d’Etat picks up steam.”

The article lists the attempts made by the political establishment to undo the results of last November’s election. Hopefully their efforts will result in a miserable failure. I did not start out as a Trump supporter, but I believe he won the election honestly (and probably by a wider margin than is reported due to illegal votes for Hillary Clinton). The attempts to find any excuse to remove him from office are shameful.

The article reminds us:

Chuck Schumer, for example, used the alleged fact of Donald Trump being under FBI investigation as an argument against confirming Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, even though Schumer (but not the public) knew from intelligence briefings that Trump was not personally under investigation.

All the while, the permanent bureaucracy, particularly in the intelligence community, started an unending and almost daily series of leaks meant to paralyze the administration.

Then FBI Director James Comey refused to tell the public what he privately told Trump on three occasions, that Trump personally was not under investigation, thereby aiding and abetting this false media attack on the administration. Comey then himself leaked non-public government information, after his termination, to manufacture an excuse to have a Special Counsel appointed. That Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, turns out to be a good friend of Comey, and is building a massive prosecutorial infrastructure in the attempt to find a crime.

At the same time, there has been unprecedented obstruction of Trump’s ability to staff his administration. Even non-controversial nominees are slow-walked by Democrats. Vast swaths of the federal bureaucracy remain under the sway of Obama holdovers and those who consider Trump illegitimate.

The purpose in all this has been to freeze and paralyze the Trump administration. If Trump could not be prevented from taking office, and cannot be physically removed from office, he will be prevented from functioning as president.

Those elected officials participating in this effort need to be removed from office.

The article lists numerous examples of career government employees working against the President and his policies. This used to be called treason.

The article concludes:

Not only is the Trump administration under unprecedented attack from outside, the foxes are inside the henhouse, and are gutting it from the inside out.

The attempt to unwind the 2016 election through paralyzing the Trump administration is a serious threat to our liberty. Our most basic of institutions, the transfer of power through elections, is under attack.

The actions of those people in government working against President Trump are not patriotic–they are treasonous and the people committing them belong in jail. It is up to the American voters to let those working to undermine a sitting President will not receive the support of the voters.

Using The Appropriate Weapon To Get The Desired Results

There are wars and there are wars. Sometimes a war does not involve guns or soldiers. In the world of computers and the internet, sometimes it simply involves a computer and a very smart person. Cyber-warfare is always a threat, but economic warfare is also a very powerful weapon. As a successful businessman, President Trump is well aware of that.

On Friday, Larry Kudlow posted an article at National Review explaining how President Trump is very effectively dealing with Russia. The American media did not give a lot of coverage to President Trump’s speech in Warsaw, but I am sure the speech got the attention of the Russian leaders..

The article reports:

A few years back, in one of his finest moments, Senator John McCain said on a Sunday talk show that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” It was right when he said it, and it’s even more right today.

…But with energy prices falling, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has essentially been in a recession over the past four years. With oil at $50 a barrel or less, Russian budgets plunge deeper into debt. It’s even doubtful the Russians have enough money to upgrade their military-energy industrial complex.

…Now, Russia still has a lot of oil and gas reserves. And it uses this to bully Eastern and Western Europe. It threatens to cut off these resources if Europe dares to complain about Putin power-grabs in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, the Baltics, and elsewhere.

But enter President Donald Trump. In his brilliant speech in Warsaw, Poland, earlier this week, he called Putin’s energy bluff.

President Trump made it clear that America was willing to become a supplier of energy to Europe. The moves that will make that a reality are already taking place.

The article concludes:

In short, with the free-market policies he’s putting in place in America’s energy sector and throughout the U.S. economy, the businessman president fully intends to destroy Russia’s energy-market share.

And as that takes hold, Russia’s gas-station economy will sink further. And as that takes hold, bully-boy Putin will have to think twice about Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltics. He’ll have to think twice about his anti-American policies in the Middle East and North Korea. And he’ll have to think twice about his increasingly precarious position as the modern-day Russian tsar.

And the world may yet become a safer place.

Trump has Putin over a barrel.

And that is how you take power without firing a shot. The free market wins again.


A Different Perspective On The Leaked NSA Report

Yesterday Bloomberg posted an article about the recently leaked NSA report about Russian hacking into the 2016 election. The article is fairly complex in its explanation of the electronics involved. I don’t totally understand what is being said, but I wanted to share the information.

The article reports:

The publication that revealed a classified National Security Agency report on alleged Russian attempts to hack U.S. election-related systems, treats the report  as possible evidence that Russia tried to rig the vote. More likely, however, the Kremlin expected the vote to be rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.

According to the leaked report, the Russian military intelligence, GRU, ran a spear-phishing campaign targeting the employees of VR Systems, a voting hardware and software producer. At least one of its employee accounts was apparently compromised. Then, the hackers used the harvested credentials to trap local government officials in charge of organizing elections. Emails, coming credibly from a VR Systems employee, contained malware that would have allowed the GRU (although the report provides no clues as to how the attribution was made) to control the computers of these local officials. The NSA doesn’t seem to have determined whether the hackers managed that with any of their targets.

Logically I would have expected the Russians to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. As President, she would have been closely aligned with the policies of President Obama, who famously told Dmitry Medvedev, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”  Also, Hillary Clinton was involved in a transaction that brought cash into the Clinton Foundation and allowed Russia to obtain 20 percent of America‘s uranium reserves. I would think that Putin would have been hoping that Hillary would be elected. She probably would have made a great blackmail target using information gained from her unsecured server.

The article continues:

I have written before that it’s not impossible to rig a U.S. presidential election (and was ridiculed for saying so). The rigging, however, would require a vast conspiracy spanning the entire country and involving local election officials — the kind that exists in Russia. Trump, with his cheap, hastily thrown together campaign infrastructure could have achieved nothing of the kind, but, as the election campaign drew to a close, he appeared to fear such an effort from Barack Obama’s Democratic administration.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. The author paints a picture very different from the picture being painted by the mainstream media.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


There Are A Number Of Possibilities Here

Yesterday The New York Times posted an article about American concerns that Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications

The article reports:

In private, however, commanders and intelligence officials are far more direct. They report that from the North Sea to Northeast Asia and even in waters closer to American shores, they are monitoring significantly increased Russian activity along the known routes of the cables, which carry the lifeblood of global electronic communications and commerce.

Just last month, the Russian spy ship Yantar, equipped with two self-propelled deep-sea submersible craft, cruised slowly off the East Coast of the United States on its way to Cuba — where one major cable lands near the American naval station at Guantánamo Bay. It was monitored constantly by American spy satellites, ships and planes. Navy officials said the Yantar and the submersible vehicles it can drop off its decks have the capability to cut cables miles down in the sea.

This is part of Vladimir Putin’s muscle flexing. It is the result of Putin’s knowing he will not meet resistance from President Obama. We can expect this sort of cat and mouse game to continue until America gets a stronger President. It is also quite likely that the Russians have tapped into our communications lines, just as we have done to them in the past.

The article further reports:

Attention to underwater cables is not new. In October 1971, the American submarine Halibut entered the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan, found a telecommunications cable used by Soviet nuclear forces, and succeeded in tapping its secrets. The mission, code-named Ivy Bells, was so secret that a vast majority of the submarine’s sailors had no idea what they had accomplished. The success led to a concealed world of cable tapping.

And a decade ago, the United States Navy launched the submarine Jimmy Carter, which intelligence analysts say is able to tap undersea cables and eavesdrop on communications flowing through them.

The story of the Halibut is told in a book called, Blind Man’s Bluff, by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew. It is an amazing book that details some of the exploits of American submarines during the 1970’s.

Bad News For The Western Hemisphere

Russia has been flexing its muscles in the Middle East and in eastern Europe. Vladimir Putin may be ready to try his luck in the Western Hemisphere–after all, he’s gotten away with everything he has tried everywhere else.

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial yesterday about Cuban troops fighting in Syria for Russia. According the to editorial, there are two credible sources for this claim.

The editorial asks:

If so, Cuba has done a big favor for an old ally. More importantly now, what did Russia offer in return?

Here are some suggestions from the editorial:

Russia has been seeking land bases and sea ports in this hemisphere, and Cuba may be just what it needs to project power and serve notice the U.S. no longer dominates the Caribbean.

Rents from such a base could keep Cuba’s regime afloat as it awaits U.S. tourist dollars to carry the rest. Expect new calls from Cuba to release Guantanamo; Russia may be interested in moving in.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. America has a weak President, and Russia does not. It’s that simple. Unfortunately the American people will be the ones to pay the price for the fecklessness of President Obama. If you love your country, please register to vote, and vote carefully next November.

Creating An Energy Independent America

America needs to be energy independent. Unfortunately, energy independence is not currently possible using solar and wind energy. Spain tried that and almost went bankrupt. However, America does have the resources to be energy independent, and with the recent aggression by Russia in the Middle East, America has the need to be energy independent. If you look on the map at the alliances that Vladimir Putin is forming, it is very obvious that he wants to control the oil flowing out of the Middle East. Since the Russian economy needs an oil price of at least $60 a gallon to thrive, that makes perfect sense. Unless America wants to belong to a world of $5 a gallon gasoline, it is time for America to become energy independent. One way to do that is to increase the amount of oil and natural gas we produce in America and to sell those products overseas. That would improve the American economy, our balance of trade, and make it profitable to exploit our energy resources. It would also make our European allies less dependent on Russia and less vulnerable to bullying by Vladimir Putin. This is a move that makes sense from both an economic standpoint and a security standpoint.

The Washington Times reported today:

The House of Friday passed legislation approving U.S. oil exports, setting up another showdown with President Obama.

Mr. Obama earlier this week threatened to veto the bill, which passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 261 to 159 on Friday afternoon. Twenty-six Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

This bill has bipartisan support. It is in the best interests of America. Whether or not President Obama vetoes it, it needs to become the law of the land. I would respectfully ask Congress to override the President’s veto. This is not the time to be playing political games with the American economy or with our national security. American oil producers need to be able to export their products.

Are We Really That Stupid?

It was really nice of Vladimir Putin to offer to help out President Obama in the effort to stabilize Syria. The problem may be that both men have very different ideas as to what constitutes a stable Syria.

On September 29th, Yahoo News reported the following statement by President Obama:

US President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad must go if the Islamic State group is to be defeated, as he rallied world leaders to revitalize the coalition campaign against the jihadists.

…”In Syria (…) defeating ISIL requires, I believe, a new leader,” Obama told the gathering, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

I agree with President Obama that ISIS (the term ISIL President Obama is using denies the existence of Israel) must be defeated. However, if Bashar al-Assad is deposed, do we have any assurance that what replaces him will be either a stable government or a humanitarian government? Are we creating another Libya?

Meanwhile, Russia has agreed to help us defeat ISIS. They have moved some serious weaponry into Syria supposedly for that purpose. It is a really interesting move when you consider that Russia’s goal in Syria is diametrically opposed to our goal in Syria. Bashar al-Assad is an ally of Iran. Russia is an ally of Iran. Russia does not want Bashar al-Assad deposed–they would very much like to keep him in power. Under the guise of helping defeat ISIS, Russia has been able to move serious weaponry into Syria that might coincidentally be used to defeat the enemies of Bashar al-Assad. Unfortunately, the enemies of Bashar al-Assad are the troops we are training and supporting.

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports:

Russia has targeted Syrian rebel groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in a string of airstrikes running for days, leading the U.S. to conclude that it is an intentional effort by Moscow, American officials said.

The assessment, which is shared by commanders on the ground, has deepened U.S. anger at Moscow and sparked a debate within the administration over how the U.S. can come to the aid of its proxy forces without getting sucked deeper into a proxy war that President Barack Obama says he doesn’t want. The White House has so far been noncommittal about coming to the aid of CIA-backed rebels, wary of taking steps that could trigger a broader conflict.

Vladimir Putin has again successfully eaten President Obama’s lunch.

For President Obama, Reality Is Optional

Bret Stephens posted an article in today’s Wall Street Journal about President Obama’s recent speech to the United Nations. Any resemblance between the speech and reality was purely coincidental.

The article reports:

Barack Obama told the U.N.’s General Assembly on Monday he’s concerned that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more disordered world.” It’s nice of the president to notice, just don’t expect him to do much about it.

Recall that it wasn’t long ago that Mr. Obama took a sunnier view of world affairs. The tide of war was receding. Al Qaeda was on a path todefeat. ISIS was “a jayvee team” in “Lakers uniforms.” Iraq was an Obama administration success story. Bashar Assad’s days werenumbered. The Arab Spring was a rejoinder to, rather than an opportunity for, Islamist violence. The intervention in Libya wasvindication for the “lead from behind” approach to intervention. The reset with Russia was a success, a position he maintained as late as September 2013. In Latin America, the “trend lines are good.”

“Overall,” as he told Tom Friedman in August 2014—shortly after ISIS had seized control of Mosul and as Vladimir Putin was muscling his way into eastern Ukraine—“I think there’s still cause for optimism.”

I like optimism, but I am also a big fan of reality. President Obama’s foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster. His latest ‘accomplishment’–the Iran Treaty–will bring a nuclear arms race to the Middle East and eventually war. The Treaty will fill the coffers of terrorists and lead them to new heights of terrorism. Great.

The article further states:

In late-era South Africa and the Soviet Union, where men like F.W. de Klerk and Mikhail Gorbachev had a sense of shame, the Obama theory had a chance to work. In Iran in 2009, or in Syria today, it doesn’t. 

(The Obama theory is was expressed in his 2009 contention in Prague that “moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.”)

Then again, that distinction doesn’t much matter to this president, since he seems to think that seizing the moral high ground is victory enough. Under Mr. Obama, the U.S. is on “the right side of history” when it comes to the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, or the killing fields in Syria, or the importance of keeping Afghan girls in school.

Having declared our good intentions, why muck it up with the raw and compromising exercise of power? In Mr. Obama’s view, it isn’t the man in the arena who counts. It’s the speaker on the stage.

Finally, Mr. Obama believes history is going his way. “What? Me worry?” says the immortal Alfred E. Neuman, and that seems to be the president’s attitude toward Mr. Putin’s interventions in Syria (“doomed to fail”) and Ukraine (“not so smart”), to say nothing of his sang-froid when it comes to the rest of his foreign-policy debacles.

I do believe that moral leadership is important, but I question how we can be moral leaders when we are killing over one million babies a year, selling their aborted baby parts for profit, and funding the organization doing most of the work. I believe that we have lost our morals and need to find them before we suffer the consequences of our deeds. Just because we choose to call ourselves moral does not mean that we are.

Priorities Please

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted an article by Senator John McCain about President Obama’s recent visit to Alaska. During that visit, the President focused his attention on the cataclysmic threat of climate change. (For accurate information on climate change, see wattsupwiththat. It is the world’s most viewed website on climate change)

Senator McCain reports:

Some of my Senate colleagues and I recently returned from the Arctic, and while we saw the challenges of melting polar ice, we also saw a greater and more immediate threat. It is a menace that many assumed was relegated to the past: an aggressive, militarily capable Russian state that is ruled by an anti-American autocrat, hostile to our interests, dismissive of our values, and seeking to challenge the international order that U.S. leaders of both parties have maintained for seven decades.

Vladimir Putin’s neo-imperial ambitions are clear enough in his attempt to dominate Russia’s neighbors, Ukraine most of all. But his ambitions increasingly extend to the Arctic and Europe’s northern flank. That is where I and my colleagues met with leaders and security officials from Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Is President Obama ignoring this threat or is this part of his promise to ‘be more flexible’ in dealing with Russia in his second term?

On Tuesday, CBN News reported:

The president says the science about climate change gets clearer every day and proves it’s no longer a distant threat.

And he’s right that Alaska’s climate is changing. Summer snow is forecast for this Friday amidst a cooling period. Alaska’s climate has been changing for a long time.

The poster child for climate change in Alaska, the Mendenall glacier, which is melting, was already melting in the 1700s and, according to scientists, had retreated one mile by the 1900s.

Some scientists say Alaska has been warming because of a reversal in the Pacific decadal oscillation, a 60-year cycle that sends warmer air to Alaska.

I am the least scientific person I know, but even I know that there are such things are natural climate cycles. Those cycles are what has enabled The Farmer’s Almanac to be one of the most accurate forecasters of weather on the planet. They have been using the same formula to predict weather that was used before computer forecasting came into vogue. Oddly enough, The Farmer’s Almanac predictions have proved to be more accurate than the computer models scientists have created. The climate is changing. The climate is always changing. The question is how much man is responsible for the changes. There was a long period of global warming during the Middle Ages, but somehow I cannot picture it being caused by the Lord of the Manor running around in his SUV.

Global warming is not the greatest threat America faces as a country. The greatest threat we face as a country is the increasing boldness of people who wish to do us harm that are spurred on by the fact that we have a weak President. That is our greatest threat.

Why Nuclear Disarmament Is A Really Bad Idea

The Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday that Russia’s envoy to NATO has stated that Russia will bolster forces in Ukraine and has not ruled out bringing nuclear weapons into Ukraine.

The article reports:

“Everything that we do in Crimea fully complies with all obligations of the Russian Federation under international treaties. We do not violate anything, there are no prohibitions on us deploying certain weapons systems,” said Alexander Grushko, the envoy, when asked if nuclear arms would be placed in Crimea.

Grushko also declined to say whether nuclear arms currently are deployed inside the Ukrainian territory forcibly annexed by Russia in March 2014. He made the remarks in a video press conference from Moscow with reporters in Brussels, where NATO headquarters is located.

European Command spokesman Capt. Greg Hicks said Grushko’s comments were “rhetoric” and a “diatribe” that would not alter the NATO position on the issue.

Russia stopped worrying about NATO when President Obama changed his mind and did not sent the missile shield to Poland.

The United States Congress has asked that the secretary of defense notify them within seven days if Russia brings nuclear weapons into Ukraine and explain the U.S. strategy and response.

The article concludes:

There have also been U.S. intelligence reports indicating Russia plans to deploy nuclear arms in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, where Iskander short-range missiles are said to be deployed.

Grushko, meanwhile, also called on the United States to withdraw its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, specifically from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey.

“I am talking about the practice of the so-called nuclear missions of the NATO states,” he said. “It’s not a new issue, it emerged before the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was signed in 1968.”

“It is strictly forbidden under the NPT. The first article of the treaty prohibits nuclear countries to convey any nuclear arms or other nuclear explosive devices to anyone directly or indirectly,” he added.

“The U.S. must pull out these nuclear bombs to its territory,” Grushko said. “It would be a serious contribution to strategic stability and security in Europe.”

The United States is believed to have around 200 nuclear weapons in Europe. Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal is at least 2,000 weapons.

If we do not stand up to the Russians at some point, there is a good possibility that they will seize control of more European territory that belongs to countries we are supposed to be allied with.

In November of last year, I posted a story about Ukraine that included the following:

A deal was signed on February 5, 1994, by Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, John Major and Leonid Kuchma—the then-leaders of the United States, Russia, United Kingdom and Ukraine—guaranteeing the security of Ukraine in exchange for the return of its ICBMs to Moscow’s control. The last SS-24 missiles moved from Ukrainian territory in June 1996, leaving Kiev defenseless against its nuclear-armed neighbor.

That deal, known as the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, was not a formal treaty but a diplomatic memorandum of understanding. Still, the terms couldn’t be clearer: Russia, the U.S. and U.K. agreed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine…reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine.”

I don’t think we have lived up to our part of the bargain. Ukraine is one more country that we are supposed to be allied with that the Obama Administration has treated very badly.