Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Pelosi Tanks and Trump Triumphs -- Sometimes Being a Deplorable Is Absolutely Exhilarating
TODAY FEELS A LOT LIKE THE MORNING AFTER. Not only did President Trump withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, but he showed that his brand of Republican Party politics is a winning one in several state primary elections that will affect the GOP majority positively in the US Senate.. • • • AND NANCY PELOSI IS HELPING THE GOP. Every time she opens her mouth. • Fox News reported on Wednesday morning that : "House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi indicated Tuesday that her party would like to roll back the tax reform law passed last year if they gain control of Congress this November. At a breakfast hosted by Politico, reporter Jake Sherman asked Pelosi to respond to a Republican ad that claims 'you would like to institute a single-payer health care program and cancel -- [raise] taxes, I think they mean, roll back the tax cuts they passed this year.' 'Well, the second part there is accurate,' Pelosi chuckled in response, before adding 'I do think we should revisit the tax legislation in...a bipartisan transparent way.' " • When it comes to "open mouth, insert foot,' Pelosi is the expert. National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorman jumped on Pelosi's comment, tweeting : "I promise you that will be in almost every GOP ad this fall....Now you’ve heard it straight from Nancy Pelosi’s mouth: if Democrats take back the House and she’s reinstalled as Speaker, your taxes will go up." In January, Pelosi labeled bonuses given to workers as a result of the tax reform plan "crumbs" -- despite the fact that some workers received bonuses worth up to $2,000. • March, Fox News reported that some House Democrats wanted Pelosi to step aside as leader after the party failed to win a series of special elections in 2017. Ohio Representative Tim Ryan failed to unseat her in a leadership challenge after the 2016 elections, but did manage to get 63 votes from his fellow lawmakers. Pelosi recently told The Boston Globe that she was "confident" that Democrats would regain control of the House for the first time since 2010 and declared she would run for Speaker. Pelosi said : "It's important that it not be five white guys at the table. I have no intention of walking away from that table." • It's hard to find a more definitive example of the blind adherence to the failing Progressive ideas that have defeated the ProgDems since 2010 and made President Trump America's champion. • • • MITCH, ARE YOU LISTENING? The Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday that Senator Perdue is leading conservative groups calling on GOP Senate Majority Leader Mithc McConnell to cancel the Senate's August recess if work remains. The Free Beacon said : "Conservative Senators and outside groups are asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to take a more confrontational approach with Democrats to confirm President Donald Trump's nominees and pass spending bills before they pile up and become bloated at the end of the year. Senator David Perdue (R., Ga.) and other likeminded Republicans are trying to stop the cycle of Congress waiting until the end of the year to pass a massive spending bill full of hidden waste and to end Democrats' obstruction of Trump nominees. They want to stop Democrats from using delaying tactics on political appointments that most of them wind up supporting anyway, as well as try to speed up the Senate's appropriations process so the bills do not snowball into a massive omnibus measure that the President is forced to sign at the end of the year lest the government shut down." • The Free Beacon says that Perdue and other rank-and-file Republicans, such as Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, have spent months trying to press McConnell to do more to pressure Democrats to back down from their delaying tactics : "Instead of deferring to most presidential appointees by agreeing to conserve precious Senate floor time, Democrats have demanded that each political nominee receive 30 hours of debate, a process known as invoking cloture....McConnell canceled one week of the recess and the Senate was able to push 77 confirmations through in one day before Senators left Washington. Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, said on Tuesday there's an even greater need for the Senate to remain and complete its work with 270 Trump nominees still waiting for Senate confirmation and Democrats continuing their 'historic obstruction.' " • Short noted that in 16 months in office, the Trump administration has faced 89 Democratic-led filibuster votes on nominees compared to just 32 Senate filibusters of presidential nominees over the course of the Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton administrations combined : "The only way to stop this is to stay in on weekends and through the summer recess until [Democrats] go back to the normal process." • Jenny Beth Martin, cofounder of Tea Party Patriots, said her group is starting to circulate a petition this week aimed at pressing McConnell to keep the Senate in sessions until its work speeds up. She is asking Senators to sign a "Make Congress Work Again" pledge. If the confirmations and the appropriations bills aren't completed by the end of July, she said her group and several others would hold protests in Senators' districts calling for more action. Martin aded, "coming to work late Monday afternoon and leaving early Friday afternoon is ridiculous" when there is such a backlog of work to do on confirmations and spending bills. Former GOP Senator Jim DeMint, who now runs the Conservative Partnership Institute, said conservatives across the country are angry that government isn't working in Washington, especially when it comes to spending bills. Congressional leaders, he said, are pushing the government funding process "right up to the edge and giving members of Congress a day if they're lucky" and the president only a few minutes to sign massive omnibus spending bills at the end of the year or risk shutting down the government. • I repeat -- are you listening, Mitch? The Sea Change is real. • • • TRUMP OUTPOLLS PELOSI IN HER HOME DISTRICT. The Conservative Zone reported on Tuesday that : "It’s official -- America likes Donald Trump far more than Nancy Pelosi : the anchor of her home town TV station reports that a poll conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal says so." Pelosi recently announced that she intends to become Speaker of the House again, when the Democrats ride that imaginary big Blue Wave in the 2018 mid-term elections. But, says the Conservative Zone : "The House Minority leader may want to check with KNTV, NBC‘s affiliate in San Francisco. Anchor Scott McGrew reports, 'This might not be good news for Democrats. Republicans use Pelosi as a cudgel in their ads to convince people not to vote for Democrats, and they’re not wrong. We might like Nancy Pelosi in the Bay area, but America doesn’t.' McGrew then cited the poll that noted organizations and individuals who are more popular that Pelosi. 'Things that are more popular than Nancy Pelosi include the NRA, current Speaker Paul Ryan, even Donald Trump,' McGrew observed. 'Among all Americans, Donald Trump is far more liked than Nancy Pelosi.' Actual poll numbers gave both Donald Trump and the NRA 37%, with Ms. Pelosi 21%.' " • • • TRUMP AND AMERICA VS THE AYATOLLAH AND EUROPE. How do you think a poll about that would play out?? • The Washington Free Beacon wrote on Tuesday that : "Trump has made his choice. As with the Supreme Court, the Paris Climate Accord, and the US embassy in Jerusalem, Trump kept a promise made many times throughout the campaign. In truth, anyone who has listened to Trump over the last several years should not be surprised by his decision. From the beginning, he understood that any deal which gives the weaker party benefits up front in exchange for minimal temporary concessions is not a deal worth taking. And since he does not accept the worldview that inspired the deal, there is no reason for Trump to remain in it." So, it's now Trump and the Deplorables vs Khamenei and the Europeans. • The Free Beacon says those who support the iran nuclear deal live in a world that : "imagines that the Iranian theocracy is a reliable or trustworthy hedge against Sunni power and will liberalize gradually as the arc of justice progresses. These are the ideas that motivated the presidency of Barack Obama. The Iran deal was the signature achievement of Obama's second term, and it is now gone. In truth, though, Obama's legacy was disappearing long before Trump made his announcement. Obama's legacy, like much of his self-presentation, was a mirage, a pleasing and attractive image that, upon closer inspection, loses coherence." As the Free Beacon points out : "Because he governed so extensively through executive order and administrative fiat, because he was so contemptuous of criticism and had a 'my way or the highway' approach to negotiations with Republicans (though not with Iranians), the longevity of Obama's agenda depended heavily on his party winning a third consecutive term in the White House. As Tom Cotton warned the Iranians years ago, an agreement entered into by a president and not submitted to the Senate as a treaty can be abrogated by the next man who holds the office. Hillary Clinton's failure doomed the Iran deal and the reputations it had established. It was Barack Obama and John Kerry who allowed Donald Trump to exit the deal by rejecting longstanding procedure. Perhaps it was knowledge of this fact that inspired Kerry in his desperate attempt to preserve the agreement." • When President Obama refused to listen to anyone, the result was predictable. As the Free Beacon puts it : "Trump has spent much of his time in office reversing Obama policies that were made outside of, or in opposition to, America's constitutional framework. He has had the hardest time repealing Obamacare, for the very reason that the Affordable Care Act was passed by the Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. That is a lesson for any President : To have a long-lasting influence on American life, work within the system bequeathed to us by the Founders." Applying this pen-and-phone President vs a constitutional-framework presidency to the Iran deal, the Free Beacon suggests : "Because Republicans widely shared a negative attitude toward the Iran deal, many people assume that President Trump is doing what any other GOP president would do. But I am not sure. Another Republican President who had come up through the political system, or been enmeshed in the foreign policy establishment, or held elite opinion in esteem may well have given in to pressure to remain in the Paris accord, keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, and stay, at least partly, in the JCPOA. Trump's outsider status and independence give him the freedom not only to flout political correctness but to repudiate the international and domestic consensus in ways his supporters love." • • • WHAT WILL IRAN AND EUROPE DO NOW? The ProgDem Washington Post wrote on Tuesday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his government remains committed to a nuclear deal with world powers, despite the US decision to withdraw, but is also ready to resume uranium enrichment should the accord no longer offer benefits : "Rouhani, who had made the deal his signature achievement, spoke following President Trump’s announcement that the United States would reimpose wide-ranging sanctions on Iran. The removal of those sanctions, including on the Iranian oil and banking sectors, had been key to persuading Iran to accept limits on its nuclear program. The Iranian leader said he had directed his diplomats to negotiate with the deal’s remaining signatories -- including European countries, Russia and China -- and that the nuclear agreement could survive without the United States. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that he would 'spearhead a diplomatic effort to examine whether remaining JCPOA participants can ensure its full benefits for Iran.' " • "Full benefits for Iran" -- that was the Obama chant. Today, it is Trump who is sayign that the deal was "defective at tis core." • The Iranian hardliners -- and despite the WP, ProgDem and European song about Rouhani being a "reformer," he is a hardloiner, too -- are warming up. If Trump confronts Iran, “we will not remain passive,” the head of the National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said Tuesday in an interview with the Hamshahri newspaper. He said European leaders made a mistake in trying to appease Trump by seeking to extract further concessions from Iran, including a potential halt to its ballistic missile program, adding that while Iran accepted limits on its nuclear program, including inspections, the deal did not include its missile development and support for militant groups in Iraq and Syria. “The Islamic Republic will stand firmly against this threat,” Shamkhani said of the Trump administration’s stance on these issues. • The reality on the ground is starkly different from the image the Iran regime is projecting. Even the WP recognizes this : "Even as Iranian leaders vowed to weather the storm, Iran’s economy was already feeling the strain. Iran’s Central Bank governor, Valiollah Seif, downplayed any potential shock to Iranian markets, which have been roiled by high inflation and a collapsing currency. 'We are prepared for all scenarios,' Seif said on state television. 'If America pulls out of the deal, our economy will not be impacted.' But the Iranian rial was trading Tuesday at near record lows against the dollar, as Iranians looked to buy hard currency ahead of Trump’s announcement, economists said....'Anxiety, stress...[these are] people’s feelings just hours before Mr. Trump’s extraordinary decision,' an Iranian journalist, Amine Sherifkan, posted on Twitter. Worsening economic woes could spell trouble for Rouhani...who championed the nuclear deal as a way to jump-start Iran’s economy and end the country’s isolation. Rouhani staked much of his political credibility on the nuclear deal with world powers. But even as oil exports picked up in the wake of the agreement, ordinary Iranians have said they felt few tangible benefits from the accord. Widespread economic unrest, currency fluctuations and a recent judicial ban on the popular messaging app Telegram have weakened the president, analysts said. A collapse of the nuclear pact could weaken Rouhani further, giving room for hard-line opponents of the accord to exert more influence." Saeid Hasanzadeh, an Iranian analyst based in Istanbul, told the Post : “Rouhani is already under huge pressure,” adding that Iran’s supreme leader, Khamenei, who wields ultimate religious and political authority in Iran,has distanced himself enough from the nuclear deal that its failure would be blamed on Rouhani. The supreme leader 'did not take direct responsibility for the deal. So the responsibility falls entirely on Rouhani’s shoulders.' ” • The left-of-center Brookings Institution asked anslysts to comment on the Trump withdrawal. Here are some of their responses, reflecting their various reasons for opposing Trump's decision : "The re-imposition of sanctions is expected to remove about 0.5 million barrels per day (mbd) from the market over time. At the same time, the OPEC/non-OPEC supply reduction agreement is holding about 1.8 mbd off the market, meaning that there is more than enough spare crude oil production capacity to respond to a decrease in Iranian supply. However, there is no guarantee that producers will want to dampen any price increase that might result from the sanctions. Russian and Saudi crudes would be a good match, but both of these countries would be happy to see higher crude oil prices, particularly the Saudis in advance of the potential Saudi Aramco IPO." §§ "The President’s decision to restart the US sanctions effort against Iran is a massive gamble that the threat of exclusion from the US economy will be sufficient to bring Iran back to the negotiating table to renegotiate the JCPOA. Iran has been steadfast in its opposition to this concept, as have US negotiating partners. To be effective, the United States will likely have to threaten and perhaps invoke sanctions that damage its own economic interests and those of its allies....The Trump administration is likely to find that completely coerced cooperation is less effective than a multilateral approach accepted by the rest of the world. And, in the end, the United States unintentionally encourages its partners and its adversaries to band together in opposition to a presidential decision, damaging the use of sanctions as a tool in the future." §§ "Europeans have demonstrated that they stand united in their commitment to JCPOA. Even if US secondary sanctions halt European business dealings with Iran, Europeans will not re-establish sanctions. They will relentlessly try and keep a dialogue open for negotiation with the Iranians, hopefully saving enough time to lure the United States back into the talks, or outlast this presidency. However, it is unclear whether the Trump administration truly seeks a 'better deal,' or whether he and his administration are aiming for regime change." §§ "President Trump’s decision to immediately re-impose strong sanctions on Iran doesn’t leave a lot of space for the Europeans to maneuver. Trump’s determination, as reflected at the press conference -- if he follows through -- will force the EU to follow the US lead and comply with the sanctions, thereby demolishing any hope for a separate, supplemental deal without the United States. This will also have a huge impact on the Iranian president and will strengthen the radicals in Iran who always claimed that the West could not be trusted. In the short term, rallying around the flag will suffice. But the Iranian regime has narrow margins to contain (as it did successfully in the past) the sinking economy, rising unemployment, a severe 5-year drought, and growing pressures for more civil freedom. The Iranian economy has severe structural problems and more freedom is difficult to provide without betraying the religious revolution. So, when internal pressure increases -- and it will -- the regime will have to react in more radical fashion than in the past. In short, we should expect that the Iranian regime will behave more radically, both in domestic and foreign policy." • • • THE OBAMA MIDDLE EAST VISION IS DEAD. And, isn't that Trump's point -- the Iran nuclear deal was a gift to the terrorist Iranian throcratic regime. Obama saw Iran as a counter to the Saudi and Irsaeli influence in the Middle East. Obama's vision of a nuclear deal and Iran's regional role came to light in 2105, when European diplomats, concerned about the American approach, leaked to Israeli officials that the US side offered up the nuclear concessions in exchange for "Iranian promises to maintain regional stability." That is how Business Insider reported the story at the time. BI wrote : "Israel's former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror corroborated this claim last week. Amidror relayed how during a recent trip to Washington, he learned that 'senior State Department officials were trying to sell...the idea that a nuclear agreement with Iran will contribute to regional stability in the Middle East, and that future relations between Iran and the US will advance US interests...heading toward a special relationship with Iran.' Amidror's information is undoubtedly correct. In one of Obama's several letters to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, he reportedly presented finalizing the deal on the nuclear program as the gateway to a broader regional partnership, especially against Sunni extremist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS). This partnership is central to Obama's broader objective of extricating the US from the Middle East and leaving in place new security structure, of which Iran is a principal pillar. His tacit policy from Baghdad to Beirut has been to partner with Iranian-backed forces as the boots on the ground in the campaign against Sunni extremists. In Iraq and Lebanon especially, the US partnership with Iranian assets and Iran-dominated state institutions has created a de facto condominium between the US and Iran. The US President, then, doesn't seem to regard the Quds Force, the elite shock troops of the Revolutionary Guards, and its Arab proxies as a destabilizing force. Rather, as Obama made clear in an interview last year, he sees whatever 'misbehavior' Iran and its proxies are engaging in as 'manageable.' The administration is justifying the short sunset for the nuclear deal with the dubious claim that the leadership in Iran will be entirely different and much more moderate in 10 years. This attitude, too, traces back to Obama. As he explained to Bloomberg View last year, the Iranians could change 'as a consequence of a deal...even if that takes a decade or 15 years.' Obama's prophecy that meek Iranians shall one day inherit the regime is a cover for aligning with Iran now, under its current leadership. As Obama's letter to Khamenei makes clear, securing the deal simply legitimizes this partnership -- not with the future moderates, but with Qassem Soleimani and his militias. It's the Quds Force run by the extremists of today that Obama is counting on, not the meek Iranians of tomorrow." BI wrote that : "This vision is deeply threatening to America's traditional allies in general, and Israel in particular. The old American order in the region had rested on the US guaranteeing security in the Gulf, while Israel acted as the security pillar in the eastern Mediterranean. But Teheran's ambition extends to both areas, and Iranian officials regularly talk about how their strategic borders stretch from Yemen to the Mediterranean. The Obama White House is hardly disapproving. It has recognized Iran's spheres of interest in Lebanon and Syria. In particular, Washington's reaction to the Iranian expansion into the Golan Heights is telling....The administration's primary response was to ensure that the Israelis didn't escalate. This is likely to be the template for how the White House will manage the new Iranian-Israeli front lines....In most of his statements about the Middle East, Obama has invited us to believe that there is no connection between the nuclear deal and his vision, more broadly, of regional order. Upon closer examination, however, it is obvious that the deal is part of a broader vision. A region-wide arrangement with Teheran is taking shape -- and it is changing the security environment around Israel for the worse. As he digested the implications of Obama's approach to Iran, Amidror concluded that 'Israel must prepare for a harsh period, at the end of which we will see a changed region.' This is certainly true, but understated. The changes that Obama has wrought will be with us for a very long time. Even without cutting a nuclear deal, he has already reshaped the regional order in ways that are nearly impossible to reverse." • BUT, it in not going to be like that. The Obama vision of a strong Iranian terrorist theocracy playing a major role in the Middle East is dead. Trump killed it on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. • • • A BIT OF ISRAELI HUMOR. Even while Obama was tightening the screws on Israel and giving Iran the keys ot the nuclear kingdom, the Jewish apporach to adversity through humor was evident. On November 14, 2014, Israel Today's Noah Beck wrote a satiric letter -- "Iran's Letter to Obama: Thanks for the Nukes!" Here is some of the text : "Iran. Dear President Obama, You’ve been a great friend for the last six years and, to express our appreciation, we’d like to acknowledge some of your many helpful actions : (2) After eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, we KNEW you’d fall for the smiles of his successor, President Hassan Rouhani! Human rights abuses have actually worsened under his rule and his polished charm only makes him better at duping the world into acquiescing to our nukes, so we LOVE how you’ve overlooked these facts. (3) You’ve been unilaterally weakening the sanctions against us by simply not enforcing them (which reassures us that you’re desperate to avoid any real confrontation). (4) You’ve threatened to thwart any congressional attempt to limit your nuclear generosity by simply lifting sanctions without congressional approval. Good stuff! (5) You isolated Israel on the issue of how close we are to a nuclear capability -- we love how your estimates are so much laxer than theirs are! (6) The diplomatic snubs and betrayals of Israel by your administration have been EPIC. We couldn’t have asked for more -- from your humiliation of Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2010, to Secretary of State John Kerry’s betrayal of Israel during Operation Protective Edge, to calling Netanyahu a 'chickenshit' a few weeks ago, without even apologizing later. We found it hilariously ironic that your administration’s accusation of Israeli cowardice was made anonymously! And, FYI, Netanyahu is actually the only leader in the world with the guts to defy us, respond to Syrian border violations, enforce his own declared lines, etc., so we thought that this was particularly priceless. (7) Speaking of enforcing red lines, we LOVE how you backed off yours, after our Syrian buddy, Basher Assad, used chemical weapons on his own people. That was a very helpful signal to everyone that we need not take your threats too seriously (contrary to those scary words you issued in 2012 about how stopping our nukes militarily was still an option, unlike containment, and how you don’t bluff). But we understood back then that you were trying to get re-elected, so we didn’t take it personally. (9) Fortunately, you don’t take our Supreme Leader Khamenei seriously when he tweets out his plan for destroying Israel (why let our true motives get in the way of a fantastic nuclear deal, right)? (11) You’ve been pressuring Israel to retreat from more disputed territory, effectively rewarding Palestinians for launching the third missile war against Israel from Gaza in five years last summer and, more recently, the third Intifidah inside Israel in 17 years. You’re almost as awesome as the European appeasers who think Palestinian bellicosity merits statehood! (12) It’s so cute of you to write us these letters asking for help against ISIS and showing us how desperately you want a nuclear deal. All we had to do was hint at an ISIS-for-nukes exchange and you got so excited! (13) You’re smart to go behind everyone’s backs when dealing with us. That’s a bummer that your top aide, Ben Rhodes, was caught saying how a nuclear accord with us is as important to you as 'healthcare.' But we’ve got the perfect slogan to sell our deal to Americans : 'If you like your nukes, you can keep them.' (14) What’s really awesome about the deal that we’re 'negotiating' is that it allows us to continue nuclear enrichment but makes it even harder for Israel to take any military action against our nuclear program. And our agreement will give the press even more ammunition against such an attack. We already know about the world media’s anti-Israel bias -- they can’t even get a simple story about vehicular terrorism against Israelis correct. Even we were surprised at how The Guardian writes accurate headlines when Canada suffers an Islamist car attack but not when Israel does....But we kind of feel sorry for you, because nobody takes you seriously and you're a lame duck now. Putin is unabashedly conquering neighboring countries while going all Cold War on you with 40 provocative security incidents involving Western nations and Russian flights into the Gulf of Mexico (despite your promise of greater flexibility after your 2012 reelection). The North Koreans are closer than ever to building nuclear missiles. China is dangerously testing disputed borders with India, growing increasingly assertive in the contested Spratly archipelago, and stealing your sensitive defense and corporate data. Oh, and ISIS has grown into a veritable jihadi lovefest thanks to your excellent strategy against them. Indeed, your foreign policy seems like a massive FAIL, but we’re super ready to help! Your trusted Russian friends have suggested continuing our nuclear talks past the November 24th deadline, and we’re totally down with more enrichment time (that’s another reason we've stonewalled the IAEA’s investigations into our nukes), so count us in on this extension like the one from last July (and any future ones). Hey, it’s good for you too : an extension (or agreement) looks so much better than calling out our manipulations and issuing more empty threats to stop us, right? And after everyone sees the killer deal that you’re giving us, the world’s bad actors will line up to talk to you, with demands of their own that you can try to satisfy in the hope that they’ll stop opposing your national interests so much. Overall, we appreciate you even more than we did President Carter, because getting nukes is WAY COOLER than holding 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage for 444 days. With our deepest gratitude, Your Friends in the Iranian Regime." • We gotta love the Israelis -- who now are having, perhaps not the last, but a really hearty interim laugh, thanks to President Trump. • • • DEAR READERS, remember only yesterday when the world was telling President Trump that he had just blown the North Korea deal? Yep. He so badly blew it that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now on his way home from Pyongyang with the three US prisoners who have been freed by North Korea and are returning to the United States with Pompeo. President Trump made the announcement on Twitter : “I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting....They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set." President Trump said he would greet Pompeo and the three Americans at Joint Base Andrews early Thursday morning. As TheHill pointed out : "The release of the three Americans is a significant diplomatic victory for Trump and comes as he is preparing for a high-stakes summit with Kim intended to bring peace to the peninsula and denuclearize North Korea." • There are times when being a Trump Deplorable is absolutely exhilarating.