Tuesday, May 31, 2016
International Business Times reported in February that NATO will increase its military presence in eastern Europe to meet Russian 'aggression.' NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on February 10th the increase in military forces will be funded by an increase in US military spending : "I expect the defense ministers to agree to enhance our forward presence in the eastern part of our alliance. This will send a clear signal. NATO will respond as one to any aggression against any ally. We have already significantly enhanced our presence and readiness of our forces." ~~~~~ Since Russia's annexation of Crimea, Europe has worried that Moscow could launch a rapid invasion of Poland or the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), leading NATO to plan to increase defenses on its eastern flank. There will be no stationed standing forces, which would undoubtedly provoke Russian President Putin, despite Poland's demands for permanent NATO bases. NATO defense ministers want a complex web of small outposts, forces on rotation, regular war games and warehoused equipment ready for use by NATO rapid response forces made up of 40,000 air, naval and special operations personnel. ~~~~~ NATO has also reopened dialogue with Russia through the NATO-Russia Council to help avoid surprises and misunderstandings, a senior Nato diplomat told IBT. But, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said NATO's plan is a destabilising factor designed to contain Russia. NATO foreign ministers had suspended "all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia" - the Council - in April 2014, after Russia invaded Crimea. ~~~~~ At a May 19 meeting, NATO foreign ministers signed the Montenegro Accession Protocol. Stoltenberg said : “As of today, Montenegro will have a seat at NATO’s table, taking part in all our meetings as an observer." This is the latest NATO move into eastern Europe areas considered by Russia to be off-limits to NATO. ~~~~~ As an example of NATO exercises near Russia's borders, the UK's Telegraph reported that 1,300 US, UK and Georgian troops conducted NATO military exercises in Georgia in early May, despite Russia's Foreign Ministry calling them a provocative step. The exercises, one of the biggest Georgia has ever held in terms of troop numbers and equipment, helped train the former Soviet republic's military for participation in the NATO Response Force. The two-week "Nobel Partner" exercises began at Vaziani military base. Eight M1A2 Abrams tanks were ferried to Georgia from Bulgaria, along with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. At the opening ceremony, US Air Force C-139 transport aircraft air-dropped light armored vehicles and howitzer artillery, as well as 120 US paratroopers, while Georgian forces operated battle tanks and infantry combat vehicles. Georgian Defense Minister Khidasheli warned Russia to respect the choices of independent states. ~~~~~ Russia is sensitive to NATO exercises in Georgia not only because it borders Russia, but also because it is on the Black Sea, which is also bordered by Romania and Bulgaria (both EU member states), Ukraine and Russia, as well as Turkey to the south. Turkey controls access to the Mediterranean by the Russian Black Sea fleet based at Sebastopol. The Black Sea links Russia, Europe and Turkey in both Europe and the Mediterranean. All sides scrutinize its use. ~~~~~ Dear readers, the Guardian reported in March that the Pentagon has decided to restore Obama's troop cuts in Europe to address Russian aggression. Shortly after Obama leaves office in 2017, the US Army presence in Europe is set to return to three armored brigades with associated vehicles and artillery. General Breedlove, the outgoing NATO military chief, announced the additional force as critical to reassuring European allies of the US commitment. From Russian fly-bys and buzzing US naval vessels to the US activation of a ballistic missile defense shield in Europe -- how hot can the NATO - EU - US - Russia confrontation in Europe get? Tomorrow we'll look at who's doing what in Europe.
Monday, May 30, 2016
Russia Direct -- an online site of government-funded Russia Beyond the Headlines media -- last week called the Russia-NATO relationship a return to Cold War confrontation. In a May 25 RD interview, Russia's NATO Ambassador Alexander Grushko said the downtrend in relations will continue as long as European security is viewed in Cold War terms. RD outlined recent NATO-Russia meetings -- in April, the first Russia-NATO Council meeting since NATO suspended relations with Russia in 2014 because of the Ukraine crisis; a May discussion of Russia relations at a NATO foreign ministers meeting; and, new moves concerning Russia on the agenda at the July NATO Warsaw summit. RD says while these moves suggest Russia and NATO are seeking common ground concerning European security, policy measures taken by both sides in the past two years have hardened positions, creating an increased risk of military confrontation. Grushko told RD : "The main problem today is not whether meetings take place or not, but that NATO has suspended all cooperation with Russia. We used to work together on a whole range of projects that strengthened in real terms the security of the countries involved. Today we have no positive agenda and I do not see that NATO would be ready to reconsider its current policy." Or Russia, we might add. ~~~~~ At the same time, Russia has spun a PR story about its military expansion. Last week, National Interest -- a Reaganite realist journal founded by Irving Kristol that favors working with Russia when possible -- said Russian military buildup is more hype than reality : "Undoubtedly, the Russian Armed Forces are making progress...due to the increased...state investment in the modernization program; [Defense Minister] Shoigu repeatedly offers this message...Russian analysts and [media] are less inclined to focus on the manifold weaknesses and challenges...and the message from the top brass [to] the Russian media is often simply regurgitated in Western coverage. The results are...dangerous....serving United States generals [are] calling for increased spending or plans to deal with the 'Russian threat,' without sufficient strategic planning." NI says the 'Russian threat' is discussed as "highly advanced forces with assets and approaches to warfare that render the US and NATO vulnerable....Western governments need to avoid overreaction to advances in Russia’s military capability and to assess this process soberly." ~~~~~ NATO commentary doesn't reflect vulnerability. At the May NATO foreign ministers meeting, Secretary General Stoltenberg said they would review NATO relations with Russia and assistance to eastern partners : “Our policy is clear. The two pillars of our engagement with Russia are defense and dialogue. Especially in times of tension, it is important to keep lines of dialogue open, and seek more transparency.” ~~~~~ But, another view is offered by Admiral Mark Ferguson, Commander, US Naval Forces Europe, who told CNN in April that Russia is deploying ballistic missiles and attack submarines in numbers, range and aggression not seen in two decades : “The submarines...are much more stealthy....[with] more advanced weapons systems, missile systems that can attack land at long ranges, and...operating proficiency is getting better as they range farther from home waters." Russia is deploying new submarines harder for US naval forces to track and detect, the result of years and billions invested. But consider this. Russia has 1 aircraft carrier. The US has 10. Russia says it won't take its carrier into the Mediterranean. However, carriers aren't stealthy. ~~~~~ So, dear readers, NATO organized anti-submarine DYNAMIC MANTA-16 exercises for submarines, surface ships and maritime aircraft of France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, UK and US. The goal was to enhance naval force fighting skills in multinational and multi-threat environments. But, it was also surely a US signal to Russia to consult before moving cruise missile submarines to the Mediterranean, where Russia is determined to show its power. Tomorrow, Europe.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
As we remember the sacrifices of our Veterans on Memorial Day, let's consider a current military hotspot. Israel Defense online has quoted US Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff : "We will soon decide whether to deploy American troops in Libya." Dunford told Voice of America that Libya is in a “period of intense dialogue” that could soon lead to an agreement to deploy US military to assist in the fight against ISIS, adding there's interest among NATO nations in joining the mission to train and equip militias loyal to Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, the leader of the new Libyan Government of National Accord, backed by the UN. Dunford refused to give details about US Special Operations troops deployed to the Libyan cities of Misrata and Benghazi in late 2015, who are assessing who could be partners for US forces. ~~~~~ This news follows the announced completion of the 10th annual Exercise Phoenix Express in Greece, May 17 to 28. The maritime exercise involved navies from Europe, North Africa, and the United States, and was sponsored by US Africa Command and US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet. The goal was to "improve regional cooperation, increase maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities to enhance efforts to achieve safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea." The control group was hosted at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Center in Souda Bay, Greece, but training took place throughout the Mediterranean. The at-sea exercises tested the forces' abilities to combat illegal migration, illicit trafficking, and movement of materials for weapons of mass destruction. The forces also practiced search-and-rescue procedures for vessels in distress. ~~~~~ And, a British navy warship is poised to enter Libyan waters for the first time to intercept vessels smuggling migrants, as well as arms headed for ISIS terrorists. It has also recently been admitted that the migrants include hidden ISIS jihadists. Libya is expected to formally request vessel interception help from the UK to stem the deepening migrant chaos. Operation Sophia, the EU effort to prevent migrants being smuggled to Europe on the Mediterranean, has seized and destroyed smugglers’ boats, but the mission operates in international - not Libyan - waters. Britain already has four vessels in Operation Sophia and in a joint NATO exercise to monitor waters off Libya. Britain and the US want NATO to do more to help the EU Sophia mission. ~~~~~ The NATO thread in these activities has not gone unnoticed. Russian RT News reported Friday that Greece, Italy and Malta have closed their airspaces to Libyans until September, issuing NOTAMs (notice to airmen). RT said the NOTAMs came amid rumors of a likely NATO operation in Libya. NATO, however, says such rumors are “baseless." An exception to the NOTAMs permits airspace use for authorized military aircraft and emergencies such as medical evacuations, according to a Greek daily that says the NOTAMs were made ahead of the EU and NATO Phoenix Express exercises. But, it has been noted that the NOTAMs continue long after the exercises end. Russia upper parliamentary chamber foreign relations committee chief Konstantin Kosachev has warned any NATO action [in Libya] would cause "chaos," saying NATO should seek UN support. ~~~~~ Dear readers, in April, US President Obama and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg agreed they want to help Libya eliminate ISIS. Several more NATO exercises will take place soon near Greece, which seems set to be key in any possible intervention against ISIS in Libya -- as a staging area, receiving aircraft carrying evacuees, housing VIPs. Israel defense reported Sunday NATO has launched DYNAMIC MANTA 2016 -- anti-submarine warfare exercises in the Mediterranean -- because the US wants to search for Russian submarines carrying cruise missiles under cover of a NATO exercise. Are NATO and the US preparing to deal with both ISIS in Libya, calling it training, and Russia's growing Mediterranean presence? More tomorrow.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Saturday Politics updates Greece's miseries this week. Greece has agreed to a new bailout loan of €10.3 billion ($11.5 billion) from its creditors. More important, Eurozone finance ministers have agreed for the first time to offer Greece debt relief, extending the repayment period and capping interest rates. Greece needs the bailout to meet debt repayments due in July. But, the Greek government owes its creditors more than €300 billion -- 180% of its GDP -- and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has argued with the Eurogroup for months over the issue of Greek debt relief. The IMF says debt relief is essential, but Germany in particular has opposed it. The IMF -- like most economists -- was so convinced of the importance of debt relief that it deferred participating in further bailouts, but now that debt relief has been agreed, the IMF will consider contributing to the bailout. ~~~~~ The 19 Eurozone ministers said the deal was made possible by Greek economic reforms, calling it a "breakthrough." The deal doesn't reduce the amount Greece will have to repay. Instead, debt relief will be phased in from 2018, after Germany's general election in late 2017. So, many see the deal as a compromise intended to buy time. Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters : "We achieved a major breakthrough on Greece which enables us to enter a new phase in the Greek financial assistance program." He said the package of debt measures would be "phased in progressively." ~~~~~ The bailout deal came two days after the Greek parliament approved another round of spending cuts and tax increases demanded by its creditors. Protesters demonstrated outside parliament as it approved the austerity budget and created a state privatization fund demanded by Eurozone finance ministers. Greek public debt is unsustainable at the current 180% of GDP. The IMF European Director said: "We welcome that it is recognised that Greece needs debt relief to make that debt sustainable and it can't do it on its own." ~~~~~ Germany and its Eurozone partners have forced on Greece human misery of monumental proportions. As the bailout has unfolded, Greece has had to take on more debt than it will EVER be able to repay. The debt has in essence been passed on to Eurozone taxpayers and governments that have their own serious economic problems. In addition to debt that puts Greece in eternal serfdom, Greek citizens have been reduced to abject poverty. As of July 2015, 25% of Greeks were out of work, with half under 25 having no job. In some areas of western Greece, youth joblessness is above 60%. Chronic unemployment means pension funds receive fewer worker contributions. So, as more Greeks are jobless, more pensioners have to support families on a reduced income. According to mid-2015 Greek government figures, 45% of pensioners receive monthly payments below the poverty line of €665. From 2008 to 2013, Greeks became on average 40% poorer, according to Greek government statistical data. In addition to job losses and wage cuts, the deep poverty can also be explained by steep cuts in social benefits demanded by the Eurozone. In 2014, disposable household income in Greece sunk to below 2003 levels. Add to this the Eurozone demand that Greece sell off public assets, reducing further Greek government income available for economic development and social relief. ~~~~~ Dear readers, can things get worse for Greece? Yes. The UN News Center reports the EU has largely ‘abandoned’ Greece to deal with the migrant crisis alone. UN Special Reporter on Migrant Human Rights, François Crépeau, says the suffering of migrants in Greece is the result of a complete absence of long-term vision and a clear lack of EU political will. Crepeau says : “This is not only a humanitarian crisis. This is more importantly a political crisis in which the EU and the overwhelming majority of EU member States have abandoned Greece -- a country that is fighting to implement austerity measures – leaving it to deal with an issue that requires efforts from all." Pray for Greece; the EU certainly isn't.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
The State Department Office of the Inspector General said in a report sent to Congess Wednesday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her senior aides did not comply with State Department record-keeping policies. The IG found that by exclusively using her personal email account routed through a private server Clinton circumvented policies designed to follow federal records laws and may have jeopardized official secrets. The report said Hillary never requested permission to use the personal server, located at her New York home, and that such a request “would not” have been approved, in part, because of “the security risks in doing so." The IG also found that : (1) Clinton “never demonstrated” to State Department security officials that her personal server or BlackBerry device “met minimum information security requirements.” (2) Clinton’s decision not to use an official email ending in state.gov “is not an appropriate method” of preserving emails under the Federal Records Act. (3) Clinton should have preserved any federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary. (4) At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she didn't, she did not comply with department policies implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act. ~~~~~ The State Department IG report blows a howitzer-size hole in everything Clinton has said to try to defend her use of a private unsecured email server. Those who have persistently criticized her use of a private server may now, with official Obama administration Inspector General support, say 'lies, all lies.' ~~~~~ In addition to the State Department IG, an inspector general for US intelligence agencies and the FBI are conducting separate investigations related to Clinton’s server and the possibility that government secrets were mishandled or federal recordkeeping laws disobeyed. The State Department is also defending FOIA open records lawsuits alleging that her use of a personal server violated federal procedures. Current and former Clinton aides are scheduled to give depositions in two of those lawsuits, and Clinton herself may be forced to answer questions in a deposition under oath. ~~~~~ In what may be the first steps that will turn Clinton's email cover-up into Hillarygate, the Washington Post editorial board Wednesday condemned her exclusive use of a private email server during her four years as Secretary of State, calling her actions an “inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules.” The Post’s editorial board called on the FBI to quickly finish its own investigation into the matter : “While not illegal behavior, it was disturbingly unmindful of the rules. In the middle of the presidential campaign, we urge the FBI to finish its own investigation soon, so all information about this troubling episode will be before the voters.” ~~~~ The New York Times article on the IG report said : "It is not just that the inspector general found fault with her email practices. The report speaks directly to a wounding perception that Mrs. Clinton is not forthright or transparent. After months of [her] saying she used a private email for convenience, and that she was willing to cooperate fully with investigations...the report...undermined both claims. Mrs. Clinton, through her lawyers, declined to be interviewed by the inspector general....And when staff raised concerns about the wisdom of her using a nongovernment email address, they were hushed by State Department officials..." Hillary's problem, said the NYT : "Voters just don’t trust her." ~~~~~ Dear readers, the leftist WP and NYT didn't mince words. It was a bad day for Hillary’s White House chances. As the WP put it : "No one will come out of this news cycle -- with the exception of the hardest of the hard-core Clinton people - believing she is a better bet for the presidency on May 25 than she was on May 23." --- "Crooked Hillary."
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The anti-Trump protesters were out in force Tuesday in Albuquerque, determined to be violent. They started by trying to shame Trump supporters going to his rally. Later, they created a riot, pushing through a police barricade and forcing riot-geared officers to protect the entrance to the building and use smoke canisters and pepper spray on them. NBC said the anti-Trump protesters threw rocks and bottles at officers before the police responded. Inside the Albuquerque Convention Center, 4,000 peaceful Trump supporters listened to their candidate. An Albuquerque attorney at the rally told AP rocks were flying through convention center windows as he was leaving. Glass was breaking and landing near his feet. "This was not a protest, this was a riot. These are hate groups," he said of the demonstrators. Later, rioters burned Trump flags and signs and threw rocks and bottles during a tense confrontation after Trump had left the area. No officers were seriously injured, and Albuquerque police spokesman Officer Tanner Tixier said police showed “an amazing amount of restraint." CNN reported only one arrest. ~~~~~ What was truly nauseating was the mainstream media coverage and commentary. No Trump supporters hurled rocks at police and their horses or burned Trump banners or set fires or damaged police cars. But the media routinely blamed Trump for "the violence" because of his "racism and violent language." Charles Blow -- erstwhile New York Times commentator -- gesticulated wildly and shouted down Kayleigh McEnany, who was the only Trump representative on the CNN Don Lemon show, ranting about how Trump's racism and violent behavior encourage riots. She looked stunned, and probably dared not mention that the only violence in the 2016 campaign has been carried out by the Soros-funded MoveOn.org. ~~~~~ What was downright disgusting was the effort of the leftist media, Democrats and Progressive commentators to blame their own exclusive use of violent political protest on Republicans and Donald Trump. Not one of them asked the hooligans to go home. Not one of them was willing to admit that from Chicago 1968 to Chicago and Albuquerque 2016, every violent political protest has been organized by leftist Democrats and their hangers-on. Hillary Clinton said nothing. Bernie Sanders said nothing. Neither Obama nor Biden nor their White House spoke up for peaceful First Amendment protest as the American norm. Democrat National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was silent. ~~~~~ The Albuquerque riot was not the work of the peaceful protesters who obeyed the police and left. The riot was the work of a small, semi-professional gang of goons, who, we could guess, were paid by MoveOn to create last night's violence, hoping Trump would be blamed. These rioters and the Progressive one-world enablers -- whose money keeps Obama in power, many in Congress quiet and the media compliant -- are the defining characteristic of the Obama era. The riots are not protests run amok. They are the intentional centerpiece, whose goal is to degrade American exceptionalism, reject constitutional morality and defeat the American will to survive. ~~~~~ George Washington was a very moral person, tracking his own faults in a diary and noting where he fell short of his own ideals. It was not an unusual habit among the Founders. They understood political and moral corruption because they saw it in France and England. They knew why the Roman Empire fell. They were historians, politicians and philosophers. They recognized the weaknesses in human nature. But in spite of it all, they believed in an exceptional New World, and they created America. ~~~~~ Dear readers, while America has been deeply damaged, Donald Trump is fighting to save the America of the Founders. Support him. Don't be misled by Progressive lies about him. Don't be afraid of his forceful honesty. We need every ounce of fight, every frontal attack on 'politics as usual' Trump can muster because our enemies are destroying America. Look evil in the eye, feel its corrupt tentacles. Stand with Donald Trump.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Bloomberg has published an article about House Speaker Paul Ryan, saying he's winning praise for his open, committee-based style, but that as more Republicans back Trump, pressure on him increases : "Eighteen days after declining to endorse Donald Trump, Paul Ryan is starting to look a little lonely....A long standoff over Trump risks trying Republicans’ patience, particularly if Ryan, slated to chair the party’s July nominating convention in Cleveland, doesn’t end up endorsing the billionaire." Representative Chris Collins, one of Trump’s earliest House supporters, told Bloomberg : "Mr. Trump is going to win. It would be better, sooner, to have Mr. Ryan on board. I also think that as the Speaker sees this enthusiasm from his members...his key committee chairs, and subcommittee chairs, coming on board -- that Mr. Ryan wants to get to yes." ~~~~~ This weekend, Ryan gave an interview to Politico, in which he describes being Speaker : "...you have to fight for what you believe in...work hard at getting something done...then the next day, do it all over again, and a lot of times with the same people....it's the ability to get over things, the ability to start from scratch again, and when you have conflicts with people, don't take them personally so that you can get back on a good footing to get something done the next week with the same person....that sense of professionalism and respect is important, and watching how [Speaker Boehner] did that is important. You always find yourself in a difficult situation in divided government. The question is, can you advance your principles...what I worried about was over-promising and under-delivering. That happened too much, and I think that's one of the reasons our party is having the problems it has." Ryan's open approach, empowering House committees, has won him goodwill. Tim Huelskamp, a leading member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, who openly opposed Boehner but under Ryan is a member of the powerful Steering Committee, compared Ryan to Boehner for Bloomberg : "I think it’s a significant improvement." Representative Tom Cole said : "It’s just a more open, accessible, easier style....if people disagree, they seem to disagree agreeably. I hear very few complaints about Paul Ryan’s style or him as a person." Cole noted that Ryan didn’t campaign for Speaker, so he doesn’t have to deliver on campaign promises : "The fact is, the job sought him, he didn’t seek the job. I mean, people know he could walk away..." ~~~~~ Ryan has his first big win in his six months as Speaker with the bipartisan Puerto Rico deal. Ryan's earlier wins on highway, education and government funding were negotiated by Boehner. But, the Puerto Rico agreement belongs to Ryan. It will restructure the island’s $70 billion debt, fulfilling a promise Speaker Ryan made to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democrats last December. It shows that Ryan’s approach to the Speakership works. Ryan let Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop lead talks with both Democrats and Republicans on his panel. But when negotiations bogged down, for example about the creation of an independent fiscal control board, Ryan stepped in as 'the closer.' Ryan spoke with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, as well as working with Pelosi. Democrats say Ryan is much more involved in day-to-day negotiations than he suggests. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle appreciate his communication, which they say is a significant improvement from Boehner. Bishop will mark up the Puerto Rico bill in his committee on Wednesday, before the Memorial Day recess. GOP leadership sources say a floor vote isn’t expected until after the break, but before July 1, when Puerto Rico would default on another $2 billion in payments. ~~~~~ Dear readers, while Ryan says he won't bet on a Trump win, he must know the Greek proverb : "In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." Ryan's title is Speaker, but he is king in the GOP Trump-kingdom. At 46, he knows he can support Trump, but build his own future.
Monday, May 23, 2016
US District Court Judge Andrew Hanen last week issued one of the most scathing rulings in history against Department of Justice lawyers -- those litigating the suit by 26 states against the President's executive immigration orders. The DOJ lawyers had assured Judge Hanen there had been no implementation of Obama's orders, but it was later discovered that more than 100,000 illegal aliens had been granted reprieves from deportation. Judge Hanen, in a ruling best described as legal fury, has ordered annual ethics classes for the DOJ attorneys as punishment for being : "intentionally deceptive. Such conduct is certainly not worthy of any department whose name includes the word 'Justice.'" DOJ attorneys misled Judge Hanen about when the Department of Homeland Security would begin implementing President Obama's executive order granting "deferred action" to illegal immigrants whose children are citizens. Thus, they tricked the 26 states who filed the lawsuit into "foregoing a request for a temporary restraining order," according to Hanen. The deception is not in doubt, Hanen emphasized : "[DOJ] has now admitted making statements that clearly did not match the facts. It has admitted that the lawyers who made these statements had knowledge of the truth when they made these misstatements....This court would be remiss if it left such unseemly and unprofessional conduct unaddressed." ~~~~~ Hanen ordered DOJ attorneys who wish to appear in any state or federal court within the 26 states that brought the lawsuit to undergo annual ethics training : "At a minimum...at least three hours of ethics training per year." Judge Hanen said in other circumstances, such "egregious conduct" would result in striking down the government's pleadings, but he said he wouldn't do that because the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case in April : "The national importance of the outcome of this litigation outweighs the benefits to be gained by implementing the ultimate sanction. Striking the government's pleadings would not only be unfair to the litigants, but also unfair, and perhaps even disrespectful, to the Supreme Court as it would deprive that Court of the ability to thrash out the legal issues in this case." ~~~~~ Judge Hanen ordered the DOJ and Obama administration to take other steps : (1) Provide the court with a list of all of aliens who recrived benefits under the Obama amnesty plan. (2) The attorney general must file an annual report with Judge Hanen for five years listing all DOJ attorneys who appeared in the 26 states, certifying their attendance at the ethics course. (3) Attorney General Loretta Lynch must file a comprehensive plan within 60 days “to prevent this unethical conduct from ever occurring again," ensuring that “Justice Department trial lawyers tell the truth -- the entire truth.” (4) Because the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility “has not been effective,” Hanen ordered Lynch to inform him within 60 days of steps she is taking to “ensure” that OPR “effectively polices the conduct of DOJ lawyers and appropriately disciplines those whose actions fall below the standards that the American people rightfully expect from their Department of Justice.” (5) Hanen said the court “does not have the power to disbar the counsel in this case, but it does have the power to revoke the pro hac vice status of out-of-state lawyers who act unethically in court.” Pro hac vice means lawyers permitted to appear in a court even though they aren't licensed in that state. Hanen issued a separate, sealed order barring the DOJ lawyers in this case from appearing in his courtroom ever again. ~~~~~ Dear readers, never have a Justice Department and Attorney General been so dressed down. It reflects the low ethical standards of President Obama and his Justice Department. It wasn't on Lynch's but on Eric Holder's watch that the lies occurred. Lynch should try to have the DOJ lawyers disbarred, or at least fire them. Getting rid of the unethical Obama gang will take a few months more.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Iran's aggressiveness following the catastrophic Obama nuclear deal is seen in the law passed by the Iranian parliament demanding that the US compensate it for damages from events dating to the 1953 coup that increased the power of the pro-American Shah. The bill requires Iran's government to demand compensation from the US for "spiritual and material" damages. The CIA and British Intel have acknowledged directing the 1953 coup that ousted Iran's elected prime minister during a complicated dispute over control of oil. The figurehead Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was given real power and ruled until the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The bill does not ask for specific damages, the Islamic Republic News Agency reports, but the parliament seeks compensation for things including 17,000 victims of assassination, the "martyrdom" of 223,600 soldiers in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, and recently for damages for "blocking, confiscating or seizing of assets belonging to Iranian government, organizations or public and state-owned organizations and officials of Iran." ~~~~~ At the same time, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council voted to file a complaint with the International Court of Justice against the US over last month's US Supreme Court ruling that approved confiscation of $2 billion in Iranian assets frozen in US banks to be used to compensate victims of a 1983 terrorist strike in Lebanon linked to Iran. The Iranian Justice Minister said the ICJ complaint is just one way Iran will pursue the case -- "overt and covert political" efforts also will be pursued, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported. ~~~~~ More worrisome -- RT, the 'independent' Russian media outlet, reported on May 19 that Iran has deployed a Russian-supplied S-300 air defense system, bringing a decade-long controversy about the shipment almost to an end. Russian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan was cited by the Tasnim news agency as saying the long-range S-300 system was placed at Iran’s Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base,:which contains Iran's air-defense system, and is controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Russia Beyond the Headlines, a pro-Kremlin media outlet, reported this week that Iran will use the Russian S-300s to protect missile plants, and scientific and industrial facilities, from "possible Israeli attacks," quoting Russian expert Said Gafurov, the marxist pro-Kremlin scientific director of the Moscow Institute of Applied Middle East and Africa Studies. In October 2015, Teheran showed a video of a new underground missile base located, according to Iran's military, at a depth of 500 meters. At that time, Commander of the Iranian Aerospace Force Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said the underground base was only one of many in Iran. ~~~~~ The $900 million S-300 deal was signed by Russia and Iran in 2007, but Russia canceled it after Iran was accused of clandestinely developing nuclear weapons. The contract was revived in 2015 during the nuclear talks. Dehqan was also reported by RT as saying the domestically-produced Iranian Bavar-373 air defense system, copied from the S-300, will be mass-produced later this year. ~~~~~ In another missile dispute, Dehqan said, when it was launched in October 2015, that the Emad missile is a technological achievement for Iran. It has a 1,000-km range, can be controlled until the moment of impact and hit targets “with high precision.” Dehqan later seemed to deny this. The UN Iran oversight panel said video footage of the launch identified the Emad delivery system as “the Ghadr-1 medium-range single stage liquid-fuelled ballistic missile." The US and UN fear it is capable of being used offensively and of carrying nuclear warheads. ~~~~~ Dear readers, Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, says the United States is creating "Iranophobia." Given Iran's lawless anti-West behavior, it is Iran that is creating Iranophobia. The best advice for Ayatollah Khamenei is from Socrates : "Know thyself."
Friday, May 20, 2016
Saturday Politics this week is about weaknesses already evident in the Iran nuclear deal. Iran complains it's not getting agreed economic benefits, so Secretary of State John Kerry met in London last week with EU bankers to clarify rules for doing business with Iran : "We want to make it clear that legitimate business, which is clear under the definition of the agreement, is available to banks. As long as they do their normal due diligence and know who they're dealing with, they're not going to be held to some undefined and inappropriate standard..." Kerry met with British foreign minister Philip Hammond and leaders of Europe’s largest banks, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and HSBC. Hammond called the meeting "important." But, Stuart Levey, HSBC chief legal officer, said HSBC will not do business in Iran, despite Kerry reassurances, because Iran remains a violator of too many financial and legal norms. Levey -- US Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama -- said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed : "HSBC has no intention of doing any new business involving Iran. Governments can lift sanctions, but the private sector is still responsible for managing its own risk and no doubt will be held accountable if it falls short." The deal was supposed to release tens of billions of Iranian dollars frozen in foreign banks, but it didn't end US sanctions for other Iranian activities -- supporting terrorism, developing ICBMs and human rights violations. The US Supreme Court has ruled that victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism can collect reparations from $2 billion in Iranian assets frozen in US banks. And, the US recently placed new sanctions on Iran over ICBM tests it says violate the nuclear deal. US sanctions and seizures of Iranian assets make world banks fear violating US laws, because they all use the US financial system. ~~~~~ USA TODAY reported last week that Iran's defense minister denied an Iranian media report about the military's recent test of an ICBM with pinpoint accuracy at 1,250 miles -- that would include Israel and some Middle East nations. Defense Minister Brigadier General Dehqan denied his deputy chief of staff's published statement that Iran's missile test two weeks ago was accurate to within 25 feet, which he described as zero error. Dehqan denied a missile test of that distance had occurred, saying the US and Saudi Arabia are using propaganda to make the world believe Iran's missiles are not defensive. ~~~~~ But, two months ago, Iran tested two ICBMs, one with "Israel should be wiped off the Earth" written on it in Hebrew. Iran also conducted a missile test in November. But, it rejects claims that missile tests violate the nuclear deal or a UN resolution, saying its missiles are conventional, for "legitimate defense," and not designed for nuclear warheads. Apparently, Obama agreed with Iran not to address missiles in the deal itself. The UN Security Council lifted its ban on missile tests when the deal was final, but passed a resolution that "calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles...including launches using such ballistic missile technology." The Security Council Panel of Experts on Iran later said in a confidential paper, reported by Reuters, that the March launches did violate the UN resolution. ~~~~~ Dear readers, before it was agreed, President Obama said the alternative to the Iran deal was war. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disagreed : "The alternative to this bad deal is not war, but rather going back to the negotiating table and getting a better deal.” But, it was Senator Ted Cruz, at a September 2015 rally, who nailed the dilemma of those following Obama down the Iran rabbit hole : "Any bank that listens to this President and releases billions to an international terrorist like Ayatollah Khamenei will face billions in damages in civil liability and litigation. And there will come a President who is not Barack Obama." Amen, Senator Cruz, Amen.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
This week, Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes, a member of the Armed Services Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon that classified details of Iranian treatment of American sailors seized by Iran earlier this year would shock the nation and reveal that the Obama administration's weak response. Forbes was briefed by Pentagon officials about the incident and is encouraging all members to get the briefing. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Forbes said : "I’ve had a full classified briefing from military officials. It could be as long as a year before we actually get that released. I think that when the details actually come out, most Americans are going to be kind of taken aback by the entire incident, both how Iran handled it and how we handled it. I think that’s going to be huge cause for concern for most Americans.” Forbes suggested that Iran’s treatment of the US sailors -- including filming them crying and forcing them to apologize at gunpoint -- may have been much worse than publicly reported. He told the Free Beacon : “I think clearly there were violations of international and maritime law....We [the United States] did almost nothing in response, in fact, to have Secretary Kerry actually thank them for releasing our sailors after they way they captured them, I think was a slap in the sailors’ face.” ~~~~~ Congressman Forbes is sponsoring a new measure to increase sanctions on Iran for its treatment of the US sailors in order to hold Iran accountable for its aggressive behavior : “Iranian military and paramilitary vessels have repeatedly behaved in a dangerous and unprofessional manner in close proximity to naval vessels and commercial shipping operating in internationally recognized maritime traffic lanes." Forbes says there is little doubt Obama handed the Iranians a propaganda coup with his weak response. Iran is now planning to build a monument to commemorate its "victory," and gloating after the sailors' release. But, says Forbes, the Obama administration doesn't care about American honor and is bending over backwards to appease the Iranians, so it's not surprising they would suppress information about the treatment of American naval personnel, nor is it a shock that they would cover up their own weak response to the incident. ~~~~~ The Forbes sanctions proposal comes as Senate Republicans are demanding that President Obama fire senior White House advisor Ben Rhodes for controversial comments he made about the Iran nuclear deal. Senators Mark Kirk, John Cornyn and John Barrasso sent Obama a letter urging him to "dismiss Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes before he further tarnishes the office of President. We are deeply disturbed to read...Rhodes’s public admission to The New York Times that he spearheaded the charge to mislead elected lawmakers and the American people about the Iran nuclear deal and the negotiations that led to this agreement." In the letter sent to Obama Monday, the Senators said if Rhodes had "conducted himself this way in a typical place of business outside Washington...he surely would have already been fired or asked to resign." ~~~~~ Rhodes's comments in the article, belittling journalists and foreign policy experts, has sparked fierce backlash in Washington. GOP lawmakers argue his remarks prove that the Obama administration lied to help sell the nuclear agreement, an accusation White House press secretary Josh Earnest denies. The three GOP Senators want to know how the administration will restore American public trust : "What steps will your Administration itself take to engage in rational discourse and repair damaged relations with the Congress?" ~~~~~ The letter was sent while White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said that that Rhodes will not appear before the House Oversight Committee, saying the request “raises significant constitutional concerns rooted in the separation of powers.” ~~~~~ Dear readers, clearly, Obama's nuclear deal has made Iran even more boldly aggressive and dangerous. Tomorrow, we'll look at post-nuclear-deal Iranian aggression.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
The mainstream media is euphoric. Their printers and TV screens shout that House Select Committee on Benghazi chairman Trey Gowdy has capitulated and the Committee should fold its tent and quit. Why all the Progressive confetti? Gowdy is quoted saying there was nothing the military could have done on the night of September 11, 2012, to stop the attacks in Benghazi. He told Fox News : “Whether or not they could have gotten there in time, I don’t think there is any issue with respect to that. They couldn't." ~~~~~ A key component in the Benghazi "stand down" theory is the idea that the military could have intervened in Benghazi attack but was prevented, for political reasons. Far-left MSNBC said : "Military leaders, the State Department, and multiple congressional investigations all concluded that the conspiracy theory is wrong....even Gowdy...doesn’t believe the core question at the heart of the investigation." That's rubbish. ~~~~~ The quoted Gowdy comment was incomplete. In his Fox interview, Gowdy went on to question why the military could not save American lives during the 13-hour assault at the Benghazi diplomatic compound that later engulfed a nearby CIA annex. Here is the rest of Gowdy's comment : "The next question is, why could you not get there in time? Why were you not positioned to do it?" ~~~~~ Gowdy says questions remain about why military assets were not positioned closer to the volatile region. Damning evidence against Democrat and media posturing is the fact that after the Benghazi attacks, DOD repositioned its regional assets to better respond to any similar future attacks. In addition, more military guards are now posted at diplomatic facilities, according to a 2014 congressional report. Gowdy's investigators are trying to interview service members who have publicly alleged that military planes could have been sent to Benghazi but were not deployed. But, Gowdy has been stonewalled by Pentagon delays in locating the witnesses, who could help uncover how and why the Pentagon responded that night. ~~~~~ A new witness may be able to expose the Obama/Clinton/Panetta lie that the military was out of range : a US Air Force member stationed in Italy during the Benghazi attacks insists the US could have done more to help the four Americans who were killed. The man told Fox News : “I definitely believe that our aircraft could have taken off and got there in a timely manner, maybe three hours at the most, in order to…at least stop that second mortar attack and have those guys running for the hills, and basically save lives that day.” ~~~~~ And, an email uncovered by the watchdog Judicial Watch confirms that a Benghazi rescue not only could have been attempted but was ready to go, and that Hillary should have known. The JW-released Benghazi email went from then-DOD Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash to State Department leaders, immediately offering “forces that could move to Benghazi.” It was sent to top State Department officials at 7:19 p.m. ET, just hours after the attack started. Bash said : “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” (The Obama administration redacted from the released email the details of the military forces available.) But, Bash’s email contradicts testimony of then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2012, where Panetta claimed that “time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.” State Department recipients of the urgent email were Jacob Sullivan, Clinton deputy chief of staff; Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, the fourth ranking State official; and Thomas Nides, deputy secretary of state for management and resources. ~~~~~ Dear readers, Hillary Clinton knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack, failed to order a rescue, and then covered up her lies, resulting in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Ty Woods, Glenn Doherty, and Sean Smith. Mrs. Clinton is unfit to be President.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
President Obama's directive to US public schools saying transgender students must be allowed to use restrooms that match their gender identity, not the sex listed on their birth certificate, is defended by Obama and his spokesman Josh Earnest, who say it’s “not an enforcement action” and was requested by school systems seeking guidance about how to treat transgender students. Yes, but while lacking the force of law, the directive threatens lawsuits or federal funding loss for schools that do not comply. ~~~~~ Before the directive was issued, a federal appeals court ruled a Virginia school board is violating Title IX anti-discrimination laws by barring a transgender boy from using the boys’ restroom, and remanded the case to the lower court for reconsideration of the boy's petition. While the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has not yet definitively ruled, the 2-1 ruling of its three-judge panel will give impetus to transgender access to restrooms, locker rooms and other spaces segregated by gender. North Carolina is in the 4th Circuit, so the decision will influence the lawsuit challenging the HB2 "bathroom law" in North Carolina. The Departments of Justice and Education have both said that under Title IX, a federal law banning school sex discrimination, schools must allow transgender students to have unfettered access to bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. But a growing number of schools are defying the mandate, resulting in court actions like NC's Governor McCrory lawsuit. ~~~~~ While Obama defends his directive as non-binding advice, the 4th Circuit is addressing the real legal question : are transgenders a protected class under the Civil Rights Act. Its preliminary answer was 'yes.' Other federal courts disagree. ~~~~~ So does Reverend Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, who says Obama’s assertion that single-sex bathrooms discriminate against gender-confused individuals in the same way that blacks experienced discrimination in the US is a “gross insult” to all who fought for equality for African-Americans : “There is simply no relation between the struggles that Black Americans have faced and the desire of a tiny minority group to violate the dignity and privacy of women and girls. To suggest some sort of equivalence is a gross insult to all of those who marched with Dr. King and faced fire hoses and hatred in the name of equality.” ~~~~~ Two US Catholic bishops have also denounced Obama’s order. Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo and Archbishop George Lucas, both committee chairmen of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, cite church teaching restated by Pope Francis in April in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia : "The guidance issued...by the US Department of Justice and...of Education that treats ‘a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex’ is deeply disturbing. [It] fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that ‘the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created.’" The bishops said no student should ever feel unsafe but said the order curtails “more just and compassionate approaches....It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.” ~~~~~ Dear readers, The Founders said the federal government exists to settle disputes between the States. But what was not spelled out in the Constitution as a federal power was reserved to the States -- that is the 10th Amendment cornerstone of Republicanism and conservatism that separates us from Obama and Democrats, who believe power flows to the federal government, in violation of the Constitution. Congress must declare that transgender school questions are reserved to the States. Otherwise, federal courts will continue to side with Democrats in their 50-year expansion of federal power.
Monday, May 16, 2016
The late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said people are entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts. America is now engaged in a great public debate about who is constitutionally responsible for schools and public safety. The headline reads "bathroom law" but the subject is 10th Amendment state sovereignty. So, facts matter. ~~~~~ Jay Brown, communications director for gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, told The Hill : “There has been incredible growth and visibility of transgender people....When you personally know somebody who is LGBT, you support laws that support LGBT equality. It’s making an enormous difference in fighting for equal rights.” Brown, who is transgender, said HRC 2008 polling showed 8% of Americans knew a transgender person. Now, that figure is at 35%. ~~~~~ NO. There is a critical misrepresentation of the survey facts by Brown and The Hill. The survey polled LIKELY VOTERS, not "all Americans." ~~~~~ All they had to do was read the HRC National Survey of Likely Voters : "Results from a new national survey commissioned by...HRC, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, reveal a significant uptick in the number of Americans who say they personally know or work with someone who is transgender. The data...shows that 35% of likely voters surveyed reported that they personally know or work with a transgender person....37% described the transgender person they knew best as an acquaintance, 33% said that person was a friend, and 17% said they were a co-worker. 9% had a family member who is transgender....knowing a transgender person translates powerfully into positive attitudes. In HRC’s 2015 survey, 66% of those who said they know a transgender person expressed favorable feelings toward them....the number of voters motivated to support critical laws and protections for transgender people is growing fast. Q&A About the Survey Q: How did you conduct this survey? A: This was a national survey of 900 2016 likely voters. It was commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research using live professional interviewers between March 17 and 24, 2016. 60% of respondents were reached by cell phone. For the full sample, the margin of error was +/-3.27 percentage points at 95% confidence; this margin is greater for subgroups..." ~~~~~ So, Brown and The Hill say 35% of Americans know a transgender person -- 114 million Americans. The HRC survey actually says it is 35% of likely voters -- 40 million Americans. Since there are only about 700,000 transgender people in the US, 40 million seems much more likely and it shows a much smaller pool of Americans who know a transgender. ~~~~~ Transgender people are hard to discuss because they often hide their gender identity. In the 2011 National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force largest-ever US survey of 6,456 transgender or gender non-conforming adults, 12% had never told anyone about their gender identity and 41% said they were “generally not out." And, a 2013 Pew Research LGBT survey, including only 43 transgenders, showed that among LGBT adults, few said they could relate to transgender people : 15% of gay men, 11% of lesbians and 12% of bisexuals said they share “a lot” of common concerns and identity with transgender adults. ~~~~~ Dear readers, The Hill article went on to support Obama's transgender bathroom directive, based on the misleading HRC 35% statement, and quoting Democrat strategist Brad Bannon : "It’s pretty clear there is a solid majority of Americans who want equal protection for trans people. I think [Obama] is trying to push the Republicans on the issue.” Fine, if the pushing is with the facts. One fact is that there is no evidence of a solid US majority that supports Obama's disturbing every US school and 55,000,000 children for 115,000 transgender children (0.2%), who could be accommodated otherwise. The lack of facts and common sense in Obama's directive is astonishing.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
At midnight on December 16, 1773, dozens of colonists boarded three ships in Boston Harbor and tossed 342 crates of tea overboard in an act of political protest. While the story of the Boston Tea Party is well-known, in fact, the “tea partiers” were not protesting a tax hike, but a corporate tax break -- the Tea Act, passed by the British government in early 1773. The Tea Act wasn't about new taxes. It actually reduced the total tax on tea sold in America by the East India Company and would have allowed colonists to purchase tea at half the price paid by British consumers. But, the Tea Act did leave in place the hated three-pence-per-pound duty imposed by the Townshend Acts in 1767, and it angered colonists as another instance of taxation legislation passed by Parliament without colonial input and consent. The principle of self-governance, not the burden of higher taxes, created political opposition to the Tea Act, which was a government bailout for a company close to financial collapse, the East India Company that we would now call “too big to fail.” The Tea Act gave the East India Company a monopoly on the American tea trade, allowing it to bypass colonial merchants and undercut the price of smuggled Dutch tea, which was widely consumed in the colonies. The Tea Act directly threatened the vested commercial interests of Boston’s wealthy merchants and smugglers, such as John Hancock, but this didn't keep him from organizing the revolt. And, it was the British reaction to the Boston Tea Party, not the event itself, that rallied Americans, many of whom, like George Washington, viewed the Tea Party as an act of vandalism by radicals rather than as a patriotic action. But, the colonists became united in opposition to the measures passed by the British government in 1774 to punish Boston for the Tea Party : the port of Boston was closed until damages were paid, colonial self-government in Massachusetts was annulled, and the hated Quartering Act, under which colonists had to house the 'occupying' British army, was expanded. Colonists referred to the actions as the “Intolerable Acts,” and they led to the formation of the first Continental Congress. “Tea parties” were held in other colonies during 1774. In New York, Annapolis and Charleston, South Carolina, patriots dumped tea off ships or burned it in protest. The financial loss was significant. The "tea partiers" tossed 92,000 pounds of tea into Boston Harbor -- enough to fill 18.5 million teabags. The present-day value of the destroyed tea is estimated at $1 million. ~~~~~ Why bring up the Boston Tea Party and the Intolerable Acts? Because what one side in a dispute sees as 'the next step' can be 'the final straw' for the other side. Barack Obama has been attacking America's Christianity for eight years -- crusaders compared to ISIS beheaders; refusal to help or take in Middle Eastern Christian victims of ISIS genocide; forcing abortion funding as part of Obamacare; redefining marriage despite massive opposition from the Christian majority and demands to leave the issue to the states; forcing Christian businesses to give credence to same-sex marriage; crushing efforts of the military to recognize Christian member rights -- all this while labeling Christians "suspicious of others not like them" and easing the way for Moslem immigration and the practice of Islam : “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world -- including in my own country." ~~~~~ Dear readers, we know Moslems didn't "shape" America and so we have let pass this and many Obama remarks about America and Christianity. But, the 'last straw' fell on our Christian faith as a nation Friday when Obama tried to bury it by imposing the inappropriate use of school bathrooms by transgenders. The immediate nationwide outrage felt a lot like a new American Tea Party. The next few days, we'll consider key aspects of Obama's "last straw" assault on America and Christianity, on the Constitution and state sovereignty, on statistics and common sense.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Saturday Politics is sadly sometimes about children's bathrooms. ~~~~~ The Department of Justice has historically been a non-political entity in the federal government, defending federal laws and advising the President about legal matters. But, President Obama has turned the DOJ into a militant political arm of the Progressive movement. From making police forces kowtow to local anti-law-enforcement groups to refusing to defend in court the federal law that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman to its latest foray into an area tightly tied to states rights by telling schools who can use their bathrooms. ~~~~~ Obama's transgender onslaught is now officially aimed at children : public schools must permit transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The Obama administrative directive, which does not have the force of law, was issued during a court battle between the DOJ and North Carolina. It was announced in a letter from the departments of Education and Justice and placed in an as-yet undecided civil rights context : "A school’s obligation under federal law 'to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex' requires schools to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns. As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students." The Secretary of the Department of Education stated : “No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus. We must ensure that our young people...whoever they are or wherever they come from...have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.” ~~~~~ Obama’s response to the North Carolina lawsuit is a classic leftist attempt to expand federal power over the states. The states, with their 10th Amendment constitutional sovereignty -- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." -- are a threat to Obama's goal of an international socialist system. It is critical now for states to use their constitutional power to halt the Progressive-Left war against the Constitution and 10th Amendment. The North Carolina lawsuit shows that Governor McCrory recognizes the enormous significance of this fight. Governors from all states should join McCrory making this a national fight for the 10th Amendment and state sovereignty. Texas was first to publicly join North Carolina in the battle when political leaders announced Thursday they will not obey Obama’s bathroom mandate. One Texas official said the state will not yield to “blackmail” from President Obama. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick told reporters : “I believe it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of our schools." He said Obama’s policy “will divide the country not along political lines but along family values and school districts." Arkansas and Missouri quickly followed in refusing to obey. ~~~~~ Dear readers, the division Obama is encouraging is not good for transgender Americans. The vast majority of Americans are sympathetic to their needs. Acceptance of the 700,000 (0.3%) transgenders is growing socially and in the workplace. Read about transgender progress and problems here : < http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/g3065/transgender-facts-figures/ > But, there are 50 million US schoolchildren, 35 million of whom are pre-kindergarten to grade 8 (NCES data). They should not become the pawns in Obama's Progressive war to destroy constitutional state sovereignty. Obama's hypocritical decision to use 4-to-12 year-olds to attack the Constitution reveals just how little he cares about either transgenders or America or her children.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
There is new anger about the Obama Iran nuclear deal after a New York Times Magazine feature on "Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications" Ben Rhodes, a fiction writer before he got that title from Obama -- fiction was the right training for anyone trying to communicate Obama's fictional 'strategy' about anything. The NYT article shows how the White House spun journalists and experts into supporting the Iran deal. Rhodes told the NYT the average White House reporter is “27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. They literally know nothing." The NYT article depicts Rhodes as creating a false narrative that the nuclear deal would empower Iran’s moderates, at the expense of hardliners under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In fact, the article asserts, the deal was really part of a grander plan to reshape the US role in the Middle East. On Sunday, Rhodes was forced to defend the sales pitch on the Iran deal and deny that it had misled journalists and think tank experts. Rhodes wrote in a blog post on Medium : “It wasn’t ‘spin,’ it’s what we believed and continue to believe." ~~~~~ The Obama nuclear deal with Iran is "starting to unravel," House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday. In an op-ed for the Independent Journal Review written before the NYT Rhodes article was published, Ryan promised a House Republican “overarching vision for our national security” that includes targeting Iran. Ryan wrote : “Our goal is to restore a more confident America that keeps its word and upholds its commitments. This is what we need to keep the peace, protect our homeland, and make the world a safer place for this generation and the next." ~~~~~ The Iran deal, which purports to limit Iran's ability to build a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief, is the sole item in Obama's foreign policy legacy. But, months after sanctions were lifted, Iran has not shown any move by 'moderates' to join the international community -- Iran has conducted several ballistic missile tests, briefly held captive US Navy sailors, heightened its tough rhetoric against Saudi Arabia and Israel, and continued supporting Hezbollah, Hamas and Heuthi rebels in Yemen. But, Obama is ignoring Iran’s behavior, and actually enabling it, by spending $8.6 million to buy Iranian heavy water -- which is used in nuclear reactors -- arguing that if the US doesn't buy it, Iran might sell it to North Korea. That would violate UN sanctions, but the White House doesn't mention that. Secretary Kerry is also saying Iran can even have indirect access to the US financial system and US Dollars through foreign banks. Ryan's reaction : "The administration can spin it anyway it likes, but this was a bad deal." Congress must renew the Iranian sanctions legislation and block efforts to allow Iranian officials to trade in US Dollars, Ryan said. ~~~~~ House Republicans have asked Rhodes to testify, after his controversial comments about the White House marketing of the Iran nuclear deal. Republican leaders of the House Oversight Committee want Rhodes to appear next Tuesday morning during a hearing titled “White House narratives on the Iran nuclear deal,” committee spokeswoman M.J. Henshaw told The Hill. Rhodes has not yet responded to the request, and no one else has so far been asked to appear, according to Henshaw. Chairman Jason Chaffetz has threatened to subpoenae Rhodes to appear, an aide said. ~~~~~ Dear readers, the Iran deal is bad policy on its own. It has done nothing to change Iran's behavior while providing billions of dollars to advance its support for terrorism. But, if Rhodes was stating Obama policy when he said the Iran deal was part of a "grander plan to reshape the US role in the Middle East," then Obama is trying to put America on the path to partnering Iran and terrorism -- abandoning Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Gulf states, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and putting Israel in vastly greater danger. Obama has, without telling Congress or the American people, joined the Iran-Russia "axis of evil."
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
In an announcement reminiscent of the IRS /Lois Lerner "lost emails" affair, the State Department says it has no emails, or backups, to or from the man who reportedly created and maintained Hillary Clinton’s private email server during her four years as Secretary. The revelation was made in a recent Republican National Committee (RNC) court filing. The Department has found archived emails from IT specialist Bryan Pagliano written after Clinton left office, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau, but it has not found a single email he sent or received from May 1, 2009, to February 1, 2013, the RNC filing asserts. Trudeau said : “We are continuing to search for Mr. Pagliano’s emails....the Department does have records related to Mr. Pagliano and we are working with Congress and [Freedom of Information Act] requesters to provide relevant material.” Trudeau wouldn't comment on how or whether Pagliano stored his emails or deleted them after a certain period, adding : “It is not required for employees to save every email they sent and received..." The Federal Records Act requires government agencies to store many employees’ emails for recordkeeping purposes, but it's unclear how this law applied to Pagliano. The RNC’s filing makes a broad claim : that the department has not found a single email anywhere in its system. Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave the State Department until May 23 to declare when it would hand documents over to the RNC or to file another motion. In addition to the Pagliano emails, the State Department also does not have any text messages or BlackBerry Messenger messages sent to or from Clinton during her time in office. ~~~~ In addition to the latest anti-GOP delaying tactics of the Obama administration, we now learn that contractors who were “curators” for Facebook’s "Trending" topics section, which focuses attention on certain news stories, regularly didn’t include key politically conservative stories, according to a Monday report from the Gizmodo blog. A former curator told Gizmodo that after logging on, they would see that popular conservative stories were not included on Trending. The contractor, who is a conservative, guessed that the person running the list “didn’t recognize the news topic” or was biased against a conservative figure in the story. The person said among the topics not included on the list were those relating to Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official who was pursued by Congress for illegally targeting conservative groups, and Governor Scott Walker, a GOP candidate for President who dropped out early. Another former curator told Gizmodo that if a story originated on a conservative news website, curators would look for a link to the story from a neutral outlet. Gizmodo formerly reported that Trending topics are selected by human curators based on a Facebook-generated algorithm of the stories being discussed and shared by users. The story is causing problems for the giant social network, including a session with a congressional committee. Facebook always insists its platform is politically neutral when critics speculate that it might use its power over the flow of information to influence its 187 million US users. Recently, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg criticized "fearful voices calling for building walls" in a hit at Donald Trump, now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Facebook sponsors lounges at presidential debates and reminds users to vote. It also does outreach to political campaigns to get them to use the company's products and sells ads to campaigns up and down the ballot to take in some of the money poured into political ads. ~~~~~ Dear readers, if Facebook's rules for "consistency and neutrality" in picking topics for the Trending section produce the same biased results political pollsters get by skewing to the left the sample of people they question, Facebook is simply another huge bias point in American political news. Obama was "pleased" with Facebook's statement denying it engaged in such a practice - another 'no inquiry needed.'
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
If you have trouble believing recent general election polls showing Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump by 10+% -- there may be a good reason. American Thinker had trouble, too, after a recent Rasmussen poll showed either a tie or a slight advantage for Trump. The Rasmussen poll is unique among recent polls that widely favor Clinton. So, American Thinker took a look at whether pro-Hillary poll results are biased. Their methodology suggests that they may be biased toward Hillary. ~~~~~ American Thinker gives an explanation of the general ratio of Democratic to Republican voters for the presidential ticket by examining prior presidential election results. In 2012, the Democrat-to-Republican ratio (D:R ratio) was 1.08. It was 1.16 in 2008, 0.95 in 2004, and 1.01 in 2000. American Thinker says : "In other words, the ratio is approximately equal to one. At most, in recent times, perhaps a ratio of up to 1.1 is reasonable to assume, but that would be pushing the boundaries and introducing bias by way of erroneously assuming some permanent leftward shift in the electorate." Then, American Thinker analyzed recent polling data : (1). An April 25 Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll shows Clinton ahead of Trump by 11%. When asked, "Do you think of yourself as a Democrat, Republican, or Independent?," 35.7% said Democrat, 30.5% said Republican, and 29.3% said independent. That is a D:R ratio of 1.17, which is certainly too high. The ratio of those who voted in the Democratic primaries to those who voted in the Republican primaries was a whopping 1.24. This poll was biased toward the Democrats and against Trump. (2). A GWU/Battleground poll several weeks ago had Clinton ahead of Trump by just 3%. When respondents were asked their political preferences, just 21% indicated "strong Republican" versus 27% "strong Democrat," and an overall 42%-to-40% advantage for those leaning Democrat over Republican. Once again, the poll is skewed toward hardcore Democrats, who are least likely to vote Trump. The ratio of strong Democrats to strong Republicans (1.3) is far too high to be representative. An unbiased sampling of voter preferences would have resulted in a tie between Trump and Clinton, or perhaps a slight Trump lead. (3). In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released in mid-April, Clinton beat Trump by 11%. When survey participants were asked whom they voted for in 2012, 43% said Barack Obama, and just 31% said Mitt Romney. That is a polling ratio of Obama:Romney voters at 1.39 compared to the general election ratio of just 1.08. And, along with the other data in the methodology, it shows a several-point advantage to those leaning Democratic over Republican. (4). A late March McClatchy-Marist poll had Clinton over Trump by 9%, and, once again, the tables are tilted against Trump, with a 5% bias toward those leaning Democratic in the poll composition. ~~~~~ To give perspective to its analysis, American Thinker took historical Pew Research Center data on voter "leanings." If Pew "leanings" data represented how individuals actually voted, then applying recent Hillary-Trump poll ratios that favored Hillary would have produced these prior results : the 2000 election would have been won handily by Al Gore (rather than the actual tie), George W. Bush would have lost the 2004 election to John Kerry in a huge landslide (instead of the solid Bush win), and the 2008 and 2012 elections would have been truly staggering victories for Barack Obama, well beyond the real results. ~~~~~ Dear readers, left-leaning media keep producing poll data claiming to show a dominantly and continuously left-leaning public, yet right-of-center candidates win many elections. Why? The answer is biased polling data, which is tilted toward Democratic voters and severely underestimates the actual voter mood and GOP presidential performance in November. According to American Thinker, the likely state of the Trump-Clinton race is an historically small Clinton lead -- a few percentage points, but not the 10+% claimed -- very likely a tie, or even a small Trump lead.
Monday, May 9, 2016
On May 4, the Department of Justice sent Governor Pat McCrory a letter stating he and the state of North Carolina are in violation of the Civil Rights Act since passing House Bill 2 (HB2). McCrory was given until May 9 to respond. ~~~~~ HB2 is not just a bathroom bill, as labeled in the mainstream media. The law requires schools and other government-controlled facilities to restrict multiple-occupancy bathrooms to people of the same biological sex. It also bars local governments from passing ordinances granting bias protections that extend beyond state law. HB2 was enacted after the passage on February 22 of a Charlotte City Council ordinance that allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice. On March 23, the state legislature passed HB2. Within a week, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging HB2. Monday, May 9, was the deadline for North Carolina to tell federal attorneys whether they would stop enforcing HB2, which DOJ characterizes as blocking LGBT protections, particularly its provisions requiring transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond to their biological sex. ~~~~~ Governor McCrory's Monday answer was to announce that North Carolina has filed a lawsuit accusing the Justice Department of “baseless and blatant overreach" in warning that the state’s transgender bathroom law violates the federal Civil Rights Act. The suit seeks an injunction and a declaratory judgment that HB2 is not discriminatory. The American Bar Association Journal published on Monday details of the North Carolina lawsuit : (1). The suit says the DOJ warning “is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws....The overwhelming weight of legal authority recognizes that transgender status is not a protected class under Title VII” of the Civil Rights Act. (2). “If the United States desires a new protected class under Title VII, it must seek such action by the United States Congress." (3). The suit also says DOJ overreached in warning that the North Carolina law violates nondiscrimination provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act. (4). The suit maintains that the state has a right to balance “special circumstances posed by transgender employees with the right to bodily privacy held by non-transgender employees in the workplace.” ~~~~~ McCrory said he filed the lawsuit to help prevent uncertainty and to ensure that North Carolina does not lose out on $1.4 billion federal funding until the issue is resolved in court. At a news conference Monday afternoon, McCrory said : “We believe a court rather than a federal agency should tell our state, our nation and employers across the country what the law requires. Right now, the Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set basic restroom policies….for public and private employers across the country.” McCrory added : “I do not agree with their interpretation of federal law. That is why this morning I have asked a federal court to clarify what the law actually is.” ~~~~~ Dear readers, the DOJ attempt to rewrite rather than enforce Title VII, as written, is the latest Obama effort to strip Congress of its constitutional power to write laws. Another example is the ongoing lawsuit brought by Texas and 25 other states to prevent Obama and the Department of Homeland Security from rewriting immigration laws without Congress to regularize 5 million illegal immigrants. Several lawsuits related to Obamacare allege similar presidential usurpation of Congress's legislative power. It is a critical reason to prevent an Obama Supreme Court nominee from being confirmed before the election of a new President, and it makes a GOP win essential in order to stop the Obama unconstitutional imperial presidency that Hillary Clinton would continue.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Online media is chattering about the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server and her handling of classified information, saying it's almost finished. Often, the media repeats the statement that there is no evidence that she wilfully violated the law, in what feels like an effort to prepare us for the whitewashing of Hillary. The statement seems to have originated with CNN, the network that acts as if it were a Hillary Super PAC, so we could dismiss it as electioneering by CNN for its Anointed One. ~~~~~ Much more worrisome are comments by President Obama minimizing his former Secretary of State's diversion of emails from government-secured servers to her private non-secure home server by saying it was “careless." Obama is a lawyer, and even mediocre lawyers know that carelessness is a type of negligence. Further, as President, Obama knows, or is bound by his office to know, that 'espionage' -- the failure to protect state secrets by removing them from their proper place of custody -- is a rare federal crime -- it can be proved by gross negligence, the failure to perform a high legal duty when that failure carries with it the great probability of an improper result. An example would be leaving a backyard swimming pool uncovered and unfenced while knowing that young children often play in that backyard. The high legal duty of the swimming pool owner is to protect the young children because the failure of doing so would likely be the death-by-drowning of a child. Clinton had the high legal duty to protect state secrets and the failure of doing so would likely be the exposure of state secrets contained in her emails. ~~~~ What did she do that was grossly negligent -- i.e., criminal under the statute? Clinton knowingly diverted all her government emails from secure government servers to her own private non-secure server at her New York residence. In the 60,000 emails she diverted were 2,200 containing state secrets. Because the essence of espionage is the removal of secrets to non-secure venues, the crime is complete upon removal. This means the case against Hillary is made simply by proving diversion of all her official emails, including some containing state secrets, to a non-secure server. ~~~~~ Obama’s statement that Clinton caused no harm is irrelevant -- the government doesn't need to prove the defendant caused harm. So, Obama’s effort on Fox News to criticize the law's classifying of secrets into “confidential,” “secret” and “top secret," -- saying “there’s classified and then there’s classified” -- is wrong and Obama knows it. He earlier obeyed his duty to enforce federal laws by telling his Department of Justice to prosecute under the same espionage law a sailor who took a selfie inside a nuclear submarine and sent it to his girlfriend and a Marine lieutenant who correctly warned his superiors about an al-Qaida operative masquerading as an Afghan cop in a US encampment but mistakenly used his Gmail account to send the emergency warning. The evidence of Clinton’s failure to protect state secrets is far more overwhelming than these two cases because it went on for four years, and secrets too serious for the FBI to review came from her own unsecure server. ~~~~~ Dear readers, there is no instance of unprosecuted behavior involving such a huge volume and regularity of failure to protect state secrets. The FBI is now conducting interviews with Clinton’s aides, including longtime confidante Huma Abedin. Clinton is expected to be interviewed by the FBI in coming weeks, if she agrees. She could instead reach a settlement that would let her plead guilty to one misdemeanor count and pay a fine. General Petraeus did that, using the same lawyer Hillary has -- but Pertaeus was put on probation. Has anyone ever run for President while on federal probation? I think not. But, short of a plea bargain, nobody will predict that President Obama will allow the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary. The highly politicized Obama DOJ will once more refuse to serve justice. But voters will have the last word.
Friday, May 6, 2016
Saturday Politics is sometimes about the hardcore political truth. ~~~~~ The GOP leadership, that prides itself on being a group of intellectual conservatives on a mission to find the Holy Grail, believed that 2016 was their year. They headed into the primary season with the greatest of hopes to nominate and elect a fellow member of the true conservative roundtable. But, for the umpteenth time, they got sidetracked. The party's faithful voters chose a moderate-conservative from New York. Conservatives had the near-perfect intellectual candidate -- Ted Cruz -- who towers over all of them in the scope and depth and eloquence of his conservatism. Cruz managed to survive almost to the end as the alternative to Donald Trump. But, we who watched knew, as I feel sure Ted Cruz himself knew, that he was standing in front of an avalanche that nobody could stop -- not with eloquence or money or sweet young daughters. ~~~~~ The irony is that Cruz was doomed from the start because he was and is despised by the very conservative leaders for whom he is the only viable voice. They smeared and belittled him long before he had to face Trump. They rejected his efforts to make them stand up for the conservative principles they endlessly and cynically chant as a mantra. They fretted that his filibuster against the bloated Progressive Obama budget and increased national debt would spoil their chances of being re-elected. They called him crazy to try to stop Obamacare. They publicly labeled him the most hated man in Washington. ~~~~~ And what did their rejection of the only principled conservative in the GOP get them? Donald Trump. A moderate conservative who cares little for flowery intellectualism, preferring to bring the ideals down to earth. If lofty conservatism champions personal liberties -- Trump knows that they can be secured only by providing a solid economy with jobs and a massive reduction in regulations and taxes. If lofty conservatism champions security -- Trump knows that it can be provided only by sealing the borders, eliminating illegal immigrants and restoring a reasonable immigration policy. If lofty conservatism champions free trade -- Trump knows from personal experience that conservatives are wrong to put the ideal of 'free trade' above the reality of a world that feeds on American largesse and on our foolishly naive belief that others share our goodheartedness. And, if lofty conservatism champions a strong military defense -- Trump knows that it will be affordable only when we stop providing free and open-ended military coverage for the entire world. ~~~~~ Dear readers, sometimes conservatives are their own worst enemies. They trashed Ted Cruz, their intellectually pure standardbearer. Now, they are trying to trash Donald Trump, the moderate conservative who has been able to take their ideals to a wider range of voters than they ever could have imagined. I have to suspect that the current GOP conservative leadership would reject Reagan -- too many compromises in order to get things through Congress; they would reject Lincoln -- too tall and ungainly and tells too many jokes; they would reject Washington -- too stern and demanding of morality and Christian values; they would even reject good old Ben Franklin -- enjoys life far too much. That is why Donald Trump and his truly patriotic conservative voter-followers beat the GOP's conservative insiders. And it is why Trump and his voters will overwhelm Hillary or Bernie or whoever the failing and desperate Democrat Progressives finally throw into the Trump Lion's Den. Pride goeth before a fall -- and Boy oh Boy, is the political-world-as-it-was, both left and right, about to trip on its own prideful shoelaces.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
While Israel remembered the Holocaust on Thursday, Israeli media reported the recent arrest of a Hamas operative after he breached a border fence carrying two knives. Mahmoud Atawa was arrested by two Israeli soldiers, who turned him over to Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, which says he provided information about Hamas tunnels, techniques used in digging the tunnels, digging sites and tunnel shafts serving "Nakba" operatives, Hamas' special forces trained for fighting within Israeli territory. The Haaretz newspaper says Atawa's case is unusual. Since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas and its allies in Gaza, several hundred people are thought to have been arrested crossing the border. Most are unarmed and are questioned and returned to Gaza or tried on charges of infiltration. But, Haaretz says during Atawa's interrogation, his Hamas affiliation was uncovered. He was reportedly recruited in 2006 and received military training in the use of rocket-propelled grenades. As a Hamas operative, he conducted armed patrols along the border to warn of any IDF attacks on the Gaza Strip. Between 2007 and 2010, he was involved in digging tunnels. His indictment charges include conspiracy to commit a crime, weapons offenses, infiltration and other security-related crimes. The arrest and interrogation of Atawa has potential importance because of the IDF search for and destruction of tunnels used by Hamas terrorists to infiltrate Israel to kidnap and kill soldiers and civilians. ~~~~~ In a related report, five mortar shells were fired at IDF units near the southern Gaza border on Thursday, hours after Israel discovered a second tunnel from Gaza to Israel. Israel responded with tank fire and then aerial strikes into Hamas Gaza Strip training camps. Israel and Hamas said on Thursday that Egypt is mediating to restore the 2014 truce after two days of cross-border violence that is in danger of escalating. ~~~~~ The Jerusalem Post reports that Hamas is under pressure as Israel continues to destroy its system of tunnels into Israel. The Hamas military wing, faced with losing its major terrorist access to Israel, is for the first time since the August 2014 cease-fire, launching cross-border mortar attacks. Hamas targets IDF units engaged in hi-tech tunnel detection work on the border with northern Gaza. The Hamas military wing is alarmed by the multiplying Israeli breakthroughs in tunnel detection. During the two-month conflict in 2014, those tunnels were used to terrorize civilians in southern Israel. Hamas fighters would pop up from 'nowhere' to attack and kidnap soldiers and other Israelis. The April discovery of a tunnel from southern Gaza into Israel, and progress in detection in other areas, means Israel now has what it lacked : the ability to know precisely where Hamas underground tunnels are. Hamas rockets are much less deadly because of the greater effectiveness of the Iron Dome air defense batteries, which have grown in number and capability since the 2014 conflict. Israel has also invested NIS 600 million in tunnel detection technology, which is now bearing fruit. ~~~~~ Dear readers, the daily Hamas attempts to breach the Israeli border with rockets and tunnel terrorism is an attack on Israel sovereignty, yet it seldom appears in European or American news. But, occasionally, Hamas makes a comment, lapped up by the UN, that would be called chutzpah in New York City. This week, Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas leader, said : "The Israeli escalation is a new development and the Palestinian resistance is conducting consultations to decide how to react to it." He called Israel's actions "escalation," saying the parties supervising the Israeli-Hamas truce are responsible for "the violations of the Zionist enemy," emphasizing that "the enemy should not try Hamas's patience." The outburst came after the IDF shelled Hamas positions in response to four mortar attacks on IDF soldiers near the border. Did I miss something? It's Hamas that's digging tunnels into Israel. Orwellian Newspeak has reached a distressing new height.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
The public nervous breakdown Tuesday night and Wednesday by some Republican leaders is proof positive that they, not Donald Trump, are -- and have been -- the real GOP problem. Listen to their peevish temper tantrums : **“Tonight is the beginning, not the end, of the #NeverTrump movement.” / **“After tonight the #NeverTrump movement will be expressed in all or some combination of these three ways: 1) Trump and Hillary Clinton will face a direct challenge from an independent candidate, 2) Millions of Republican voters will stay home or, 3) Trump will be sabotaged before he knows he’s under attack. In any event, Trump will never be elected President of the United States.” / ** "You have to bet on sanity....If this is one of those moments in history where for various reasons the party has to play out nominating someone who is completely unelectable . . . so be it.” (GOP strategist Stuart Stevens, a leader in the Romney 2012 campaign.) ~~~~~ What these self-styled Republican leaders are blind to is that they are not belittling Trump. They are rejecting as unfit to vote their own rank-and-file. And they have been duped and whipped into an anti-Trump frenzy by the very political and media forces they would normally fundamentally oppose. These anti-Trump GOP leaders are in reality helping elect the corrupt criminal leftist progressive Hillary Clinton, who would, as President, complete Obama's destruction of constitutional government while doubling the current $20 trillion national debt and instituting a one-payer federally controlled national healthcare system that would place 30% of US wealth in the hands of her socialist-style federal bureaucracy. ~~~~~ Is that really what any Republican wants? Are these GOP insiders so blind to their own and their Party's coming destruction at the hands of their antagonists that, like the Trojans, they will open the door and let the giant wooden deathtrap roll in? ~~~~~ Some of us who are almost genetically Republican have held on through the misspoken patriotism of Barry Goldwater. We threw our arms around a bedevilled Richard Nixon, when his own Party leadership was crucifying him because we knew him and knew his inner goodness. We patiently endured Jerry Ford, likable but inept, when we understood that Ronald Reagan was our and America's future. We may have grumbled a bit, but we worked phone banks and stuffed envelopes and organized rallies and held on -- because we were and are Republicans. We know that the Republic will survive only if we insist on Constitution, small government, low taxes and personal liberties. ~~~~~ Dear readers, these rebels, these traitors to the great causes of Mr. Lincoln's Party, may sound as if they speak from reason. They do not. Donald Trump is a Republican. He is reaching out to the entire GOP spectrum to create the unity needed to defeat Hillary Clinton. The naysayers call themselves conservatives. But they have forgotten that conservative ideas must be understood and accepted by GOP voters. When Trump speaks of walls and immigration and fair trade, he is simply turning conservative ideals into everyday goals. And if the naysayers, who like to call their more moderate Republican brothers and sisters Republicans In Name Only, sit out 2016, refuse to vote for the Trump ticket, or bolt and vote for Hillary -- it will be they who are RINOs, and worse, not worthy to be called Republicans.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Trump won decisively in Indiana Tuesday. Then, Ted Cruz quickly suspended his campaign and Trump has no more viable competition as he gears up to take on Hillarygate. In West Virginia, ABC News reported : "Clinton kicked off a two-day tour...by saying she was ‘sad’ and ‘sorry’ about the reaction to her saying in a CNN town hall in March, ‘we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.’....in Williamson, West Virginia, on Monday, Bo Copley, who identified himself as an out-of-work coal miner, poignantly asked Clinton ‘how you can say you’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of -- out of jobs and then come in here and tell us how you’re going to be our friend. Because those people out there don’t see you as a friend,’ Copley said, referring to protesters who had gathered outside...” Across the street, Trump supporters held signs reading 'Coal' and 'Vote for Trump.'" ~~~~~ Indiana was pitched as the reliable Midwest state that would vote Cruz and deny Trump the delegates needed to take the GOP nomination. 'Never Trump' groups went all-out for Cruz -- the Club for Growth Action poured in $1.7 million for anti-Trump ads. Our Principles PAC spent $1 million. But, as Trump campaigned Monday in Indiana, with energized crowds at every stop, he emphasized his poll leads and endorsements from local celebrities, saying, “If we win Indiana, it’s over.” In a foretaste of the Indiana result, Cruz ran into a Trump buzzsaw at a campaign stop in Marion, where Trump supporters heckled him from across the street. As Cruz engaged the Trump crowd, one of them told him : "‘Indiana don’t want you.’ Cruz replied : ‘Sir, America is a better country...‘ at which point the man interrupted : ‘Without you.’” ~~~~~ Summing up Trump's Indiana and GOP juggernaut, one long time GOP leader, said : "I think Indiana is a very plain-speaking state and Trump is the consummate plain-speaker." But, nothing compared with the adrenalin of Trump's endorsement by legendary former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight -- and four other key endorsements Monday : Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, a black actor and former NFL defensive back; Lou Holtz, legendary football player and Notre Dame coach; Gene Keady, for 25 years head basketball coach at Purdue University in Indiana; and Digger Phelps, a beloved former basketball coach at Notre Dame. ~~~~~ What's next? On Monday, the New York Times outlined the dilemma for which Cruz had no answer : "The Indiana vote has emerged as a decisive and perhaps final test for Senator Ted Cruz, who has abandoned hope of overtaking Mr. Trump....Mr. Cruz...spent part of the weekend campaigning in California [where he trails Trump by 34%]...and collected the endorsement of former Governor Pete Wilson, who warned...'the first thing he needs to do is win in Indiana.'" It didn't happen. Donald Trump and Republican voters prevailed. ~~~~~ Dear readers, The RNC tonight said Trump is the presumptive nominee and called on the Party to rally behind him to defeat Hillary Clinton. The Democrats get it. Geoff Garin, a Clinton 2008 campaign strategist who now works with pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA said : "Given the anti-status quo environment in the country, Democrats need to prepare for a close and competitive general election...it would be a mistake to underestimate Trump or presume he cannot win in November." Trump is called a fascist by those who know little about Mussolini or Franco. He is called a tyrant by leftist Andrew Sullivan who misquotes Plato to denigrate American democracy. He is called a buffoon by Democrats who have supported the real buffoon since 2008. But, Trump is none of those things. Donald Trump fought a remarkable fight to open up the GOP both to its angry loyal members and to millions of disaffected Americans who distrust all politicians. Trump won and he deserves our support. Now, our only goal should be to defeat the odious Hillary Clinton.