A leading Democratic skeptic of the White House’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), said the latest report out of talks in Switzerland indicates “we are not inching closer to Iran’s negotiating position, but leaping toward it with both feet.”
The Associated Press cited officials saying the United States “is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites.”
“The trade-off would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at its Fordo facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections, according to Western officials familiar with details of negotiations now underway,” said the AP report. “In return, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.”
Menendez, whose Iran sanctions legislation and bipartisan bill have drawn veto threats from the Obama administration, has previously accused the White House of moving the goalposts to tempt Iran into a deal.
“We have pivoted away from demanding the closure of Fordow when the negotiations began, to considering its conversion into a research facility, to now allowing hundreds of centrifuges to spin at this underground bunker site where centrifuges could be quickly repurposed for illicit nuclear enrichment purposes,” he said in a statement moments ago. “My fear is that we are no longer guided by the principle that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal,’ but instead we are negotiating ‘any deal for a deal’s sake’.”
“An undue amount of trust and faith is being placed in a negotiating partner that has spent decades deceiving the international community; denying the International Atomic Energy Agency access to its facilities; refusing to answer questions about its nuclear-related military activities; and all the while, actively destabilizing the region from Lebanon to Syria to Iraq to Yemen,” Menendez continued.
“A good deal must meet our primary negotiating objective – curtailing Iran’s current and future ability to achieve nuclear weapons capability. If the best deal Iran will give us does not achieve this goal, it is not a good deal for the United States or its partners. A good deal won’t leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state.”
Menendez, the target of what many have noted is a conveniently timed Justice Department investigation, also sent a letter to President Obama asking what he plans to do about Bashar al-Assad’s latest use of chemical weapons — a deadly chlorine gas attack.
Last week, the towns of Sarmin and Qmenas were hit with chlorine bombs by Assad forces, video reviewed and confirmed by human rights groups. The Syrian Coalition said six were killed, including three children, and about 70 were injured, 13 seriously. Assad has been using chlorine since crossing Obama’s “red line” with other chemical agents.
“Bashar al-Assad and those forces backing his regime, including the government of Iran and its proxy force, Hezbollah, are once again challenging the world and testing the boundaries of the will of the international community to respond. As the Syrian civil war enters its fifth year, I urge you to reenergize the broad international coalition that is committed to a Syria without Assad. This includes exposing and targeting the tools of Russian and Iranian support for Assad’s bloody regime, and working with like-minded partners to increase pressure on him and his allies,” Menendez wrote.
“…Only a month ago, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2209 by a vote of 14-1 with the agreement of all permanent members including Russia. The resolution states that the use of chlorine gas is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and any future use would result in the imposition of Chapter VII measures. UN Chapter VII punishments could include additional sanctions and the use of force to prevent future attacks.”
The senator stressed that Obama’s deal to dispose of Assad’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles “has not prevented the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, nor has international pressure changed Assad’s calculus with respect to murdering his own people.”
“Worse, Assad’s supporters, including the Iranian regime, the Russian government, and Hezbollah have actually increased their support for the regime as these attacks have continued and increased in nature and scope.”
Decrying that President Obama’s policies have pushed the Middle East to a “tipping point,” Republican senators accused the commander in chief of not acting against Iran’s aggression in Yemen and other places because of his “obsession” with placating the Islamic Republic during nuclear talks.
“Operation Decisive Storm,” launched at midnight Saudi Arabia time, bombarded Yemen’s Houthi rebels with the power of 100 Saudi fighters jets, 150,000 soldiers and naval units in the operation. The United Arab Emirates pitched in 30 fighter jets, Bahrain contributed 15, Qatar sent 10, Kuwait deployed 15 and Jordan contributed six. Even North Africa got into the game, with Sudan sending three fighter jets, Egypt supplying four warships and air support, and Morocco sending six fighter jets. Pakistan also provided naval and aerial support in the attack on the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The White House said the U.S. provided “logistical and intelligence” support.
But it was revealed today that Pentagon officials were told about the coalition operation just a few hours before the Saudis struck. The Saudi ambassador to Washington announced the attack at their embassy in D.C. shortly after the military found out.
“The reality is that countries in the region no longer have confidence in or are willing to work with the United States of America,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) somberly noted at a press conference on the Hill moments ago.
“Look at where we have come from — our closest allies in the region no longer trust us that they wait to tell us a few hours before they begin a major military operation,” McCain said. “I understand why these countries did not notify us or seek our coordination. That’s because they believe we are siding with Iran.”
The Saudis launched the operation as the U.S. sat down with Iran in Switzerland for the latest round of negotiations. The Associated Press published an exclusive today revealing that Washington “is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) told reporters that the administration is making a huge mistake by keeping Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and spread of influence through backing Shiite rebels in key countries off the negotiating table.
“You cannot divorce the two of them,” Ayotte said, stressing that “Iran’s backing of the Houthis has caused this situation to devolve where we had to evacuate from Yemen.”
She noted that another Iran target is home of America’s Fifth Fleet, Bahrain. “They are backing Shia groups that are trying to undermine the government in Bahrain,” the senator said. “This will continue to spread further.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stressed that Obama’s “leading from behind” policy left the region poised for a “bloodletting between Sunnis and Shia that we haven’t seen in 1,000 years.”
“We’re on the verge of a full-scale proxy war in Yemen between Iran and Arab states” that threatens to spill over into the entire region, Graham said. “The Mideast is on fire and it’s every person for himself.”
All three senators made clear that they support the Saudi-led offensive — “the Saudis did the right thing,” McCain said — but, in the words of Graham, “categorically reject President Obama’s foreign policy that we believe has substantially contributed to this mess.”
Graham backed an international operation that would take out the Houthis and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula at the same time. “We’re not in the Sunni-Shia debate here,” he said.
“I think it’s fine that they did it themselves; the question is, what’s the reason for that?” McCain asked, adding it’s “unacceptable that we’re negotiating a bad nuclear deal and at same time turning a blind eye to Iranian aggression.”
McCain said he does not believe that the Saudis launched the offensive to derail the P5+1 talks.
“The saddest things about this whole series of events that have taken place over the past several years is we predicted every single thing that would happen,” he said, ranging from the effects of an Iraq pullout to a refusal to assist the Free Syrian Army in the early days of the war to the non-enforcement of the red line drawn by Obama when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad unleashed chemical weapons on his people.
Graham saw the red line as a “defining moment” as Obama “failed to act in a way the region saw as meaningful.”
“ISIS will never be destroyed on his watch,” Graham predicted. “…He’s afraid to disrupt negotiations by taking on [Iran's] puppet Assad.”
He further predicted that the Arab coalition “will probably not stop in Yemen and Iran will probably push back — God help us all.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest held a Twitter Q & A today:
Join me today for #AskPressSec from 12:30-1:00pm ET, send any questions you may have my way!
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) March 26, 2015
It didn’t take long for some sharp Twitter users to come out swinging:
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) March 26, 2015
And Twitter collectively answered, “Game on!”
@PressSec when will we get the truth about Benghazi IRS Bergdahl ACA Illegal EO Iran agenda why RU betraying ME allies admission FP failure
— Taz (@moose_taz) March 26, 2015
@PressSec is POTUS plan to destroy America still the goal for his last days in office?
— Painters Wife (@Beanst2) March 26, 2015
— KRenner (@KRenner2) March 26, 2015
@PressSec Why ask when every time anyone does, they just get lies and evasions? But I'll bite. Why is Obama hellbent on destroying America?
— Jim Simpson (@jamesmsimpson) March 26, 2015
@PressSec When will you stop the Orwellian newspeak? Does Obama still consider Yemen a foreign policy success? Try answering honestly.
— Jim Simpson (@jamesmsimpson) March 26, 2015
Sadly, Earnest answered none of these probing questions. Not even this one from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) March 26, 2015
Instead, the White House spinmeister pontificated about baseball and The West Wing (the TV show, not the real West Wing):
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) March 26, 2015
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) March 26, 2015
To be fair, Earnest did field a couple of substantive policy questions (by “field” I mean that he head-faked and dodged the questions while typing 140 characters on Twitter):
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) March 26, 2015
That’s not what AG asked, but head pats for trying, Josh. Let’s try again with another substantive question:
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) March 26, 2015
Another disappointed interrogator whose question was dodged by Earnest. One more try on Iran:
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) March 26, 2015
— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) March 26, 2015
So glad to hear your thoughts on the Royals, Josh! Maybe next time you can give us your rundown on House of Cards.
Sir Thomas More: [to Will Roper] Now, listen, Will. Two years ago you were a passionate churchman. Now you’re a passionate Lutheran. We must just pray that when your head’s finished turning, your face is to the front again.
And, I suppose we can hope that when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s head is finished turning, we might actually know exactly where he stands on the question of granting a path to citizenship for illegals.
In 2013, he told an audience in Milwaukee that the comprehensive immigration reform bill in which illegal immigrants can become United States citizens by first paying penalties and enduring a waiting period, that it “makes sense.”
Earlier this month, he told Fox News:
However, he is now saying such a plan is tantamount to amnesty, amid criticism that he has flip-flopped on that issue and others — including right-to-work legislation in his home state.
“I don’t believe in amnesty,” said Walker, who finished second Saturday in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll for potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates. “We need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works — a legal immigration system that works.”
Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that he told a private dinner in New Hampshire that he supported a path to citizenship:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told a private dinner of New Hampshire Republicans this month that he backed the idea of allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the country and to eventually become eligible for citizenship, a position at odds with his previous public statements on the matter.
Mr. Walker’s remarks, which were confirmed by three people present and haven’t been reported previously, vary from the call he has made in recent weeks for “no amnesty”—a phrase widely employed by people who believe immigrants who broke the law by entering the country without permission shouldn’t be awarded legal status or citizenship.
The changing positions by Mr. Walker, a likely candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, show the difficulty that some in the Republican Party face as they try to appeal both to the conservative GOP primary electorate—which largely opposes liberalizing immigration laws—and business leaders and general election voters who have been more supportive of granting legal status to undocumented immigrants.
This isn’t just a matter of flip flopping. This is chameleon-like — and kind of creepy. Usually, politicians aren’t quite so brazen about telling a specific audience one thing, while telling another audience exactly the opposite.
But Walker, whether he intended for his remarks to get out or not — and if he thought he could keep it a secret he’s either stupid or naive — picked the wrong issue on which to be all over the map and back again. Supporting a path to citizenship is a deal breaker for a lot of conservatives and now that his support is out in the open, he must either renounce his now twice stated position again (and hope that at few people believe him), or embrace the suck and join Jeb Bush in being the only major candidates supporting “amnesty.”
Twitter hasn’t blown up yet, but I suspect once this information gets out there, Walker is going to be in for a very rough few days.
UPDATE: Spokesman Denies
Likely 2016 Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Scott Walker’s stance on illegal immigrants remains unchanged, his spokeswoman said on Thursday, disputing a report that he favored letting them stay in the country and eventually become eligible for citizenship.
Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswomen for the Wisconsin governor, labeled as “erroneous” a Wall Street Journal report detailing what the newspaper called Walker’s shift in stance on the matter.
“Governor Walker has been very clear that he does not support amnesty and believes that border security must be established and the rule of law must be followed,” Kukowski said in an emailed statement.
That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.
The Senate is plowing through a slew of amendments today expected to last until midnight, dubbed the “vote-a-rama” that precedes the budget vote.
One of those amendments would create an ISIS tax.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), backed by Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), proposed a “temporary surtax” to help cover the cost of military operations against ISIS.
That would be discontinued, his office said without offering more details, “once relevant military operations have concluded” against the Islamic State.
According to yesterday’s congressional record, the amount collected would be $8,800,000,000.
“As our nation’s Armed Forces continue their critical mission to degrade and destroy ISIS, which is already months underway, we need to consider another part of our strategy–paying for the war. This is not a new concept. Our nation has a long history of paying for our military missions. In fact, every war since the Revolutionary War, to the first Gulf War, was paid for,” Coons said on the Senate floor last night.
“Through each of our nation’s armed conflicts, new revenue streams not only provided the resources our military needed, they reminded the American people that our country was at war and we all needed to contribute to the effort. But after 14 years and 2 wars that have cost our nation trillions of dollars, I fear we have forgotten this important lesson from our history,” he continued. “We cannot write another blank check for a war. Paying for a war against ISIS is the right thing to do. It is fiscally, morally, and militarily responsible. As we continue to debate this war authorization in Congress, we need to be honest with the American people and each other about what it will cost our nation. That is why, as we debate the budget this week, I have offered an amendment that requires us to raise the revenue to pay for the fight against ISIS. The American people deserve no less.”
“I urge my colleagues to join me on this amendment to pay for a critically important war against ISIS and ensure we fight this battle together as one country.”
Sanders said the GOP “has to end their hypocrisy with regard to deficits and the national debt.”
“They are going to have to be honest with the American people. Wars are enormously expensive, not only in terms of human life and suffering, but in terms of the budget,” Sanders said. “If the Republicans want another war in the Mideast, they are going to have to tell the American people how much it will cost them and how it will be paid for.”
This post will be updated after the vote on the amendment, which will come this afternoon.
It’s no surprise that the Obama administration is populated with nasty, petulant, arrogant creeps; how could be it be otherwise given the “I won” nature of their boss? Still, it looks like even President Precious has finally had it with one of his appointees:
The White House is expected to ask the embattled chairman of the Chemical Safety Board to step down Wednesday, congressional sources tell CNN.
Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso has been accused by members of Congress of malfeasance, hostility towards his staff and retaliation against whistleblowers. And an inspector general report found he used personal email to conduct government business, which contradicted his sworn congressional testimony.
The use of personal email has come under scrutiny since revelations that Hillary Clinton used her personal email to conduct official business while she was secretary of state.
What a reeking cesspool of opportunistic, vengeful morons Washington has become under Obama. And why the hell do we have a “Chemical Safety Board,” anyway? Is everything the province of the federal government and, if so, where does it say that in the Constitution?
The chairman of the Senate Environment Committee wrote Obama on March 12 requesting the President ask for Moure-Eraso’s resignation. In the letter, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe cited a congressional investigation that found leadership under the chairman engaged in a “pattern of hostility toward career staff and whistleblowers.”
“He has violated his oath of office. He has violated the law. The [Chemical Safety Board] can no longer continue to operate credibly under this leadership, and it is therefore our recommendation that you ask for Chairman Moure-Eraso’s immediate resignation,” Inhofe wrote.
“Violated the law”? Since when has that been a problem with this bunch?
Graham: ‘No Military Member…Should Expect Our Country to Release Hardened Terrorists to Secure Their Release’
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is a colonel in the Air Forces Reserves focusing on military law, was opposed to the trade of five high-ranking members of the Taliban for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the moment it happened last May.
But he’s also opposed to the administration reasoning that, after Bergdahl’s five years in captivity, they had no choice because they couldn’t leave a man behind.
“No military member, up to and including a Medal of Honor recipient, should expect our country to release hardened terrorists to secure their release,” Graham said in a statement Wednesday after the Army announced Bergdahl would face charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. “There is a general understanding that the mission and national interest come ahead of any individual. This is particularly true while hostilities are still raging as they are today in Afghanistan.”
Graham, who is considering a run for the White House in 2016, called the swap “a politically motived maneuver designed to help achieve the Obama administration’s goal of emptying the Guantanamo jail of some very dangerous terrorists.”
“My concerns about the swap were never related to the quality of Sergeant Bergdahl’s service, but to the nature of the transfer and how it undermined the war effort,” the senator said. “President Obama’s ill-conceived decision to release the ‘Taliban 5’ put our men and women in uniform at increased risk. I have no doubt that in the future the ‘Taliban 5’ will return to the fight against the United States.”
Graham told CNN he has “nothing but disgust” for the deal.
“This undermined the war effort. These people are going to go back to the fight. And what do you tell a family member that may be killed by one of these guys down the road?”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a Air Force pilot who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, told Fox that he was told in survival training “your country will never leave you behind, and we take a lot of heart in that.”
“But it’s a two-way street. Your country will not leave you behind but you can never leave your country behind either. A lot of people, probably even in Bowe Bergdahl’s unit, that looked at the mountains and truly wanted to leave base and go out and explore but, at the end of the day, they knew they had a bigger obligation,” Kinzinger said. “…Look, if we had had sent a Special Forces team in to rescue him or something like that, that’s one thing. But trading five of among the biggest enemies of the United States. And by the way, we are getting reports that at least three of them are starting their kind of pre-confinement activities again.”
The White House, however, stands by the swap despite the desertion charges.
“The commander in chief will not allow a member of the United States armed forces to be left behind,” press secretary Josh Earnest told CNN.
“It was an important message for this president to deliver to the American people, but also to people all around the world, that the United States and their commander in chief stands squarely behind our men and women in uniform and with the commitment we have made to not leave them behind,” Earnest said.
Israeli newspaper Yediot got their hands on the European Union’s 40-point plan to “pressure Israel into negotiations” in the wake of Netanyahu’s re-election.
An EU diplomatic source told Ynet that there was a definite chance that the recommendations in the report, which the member states have yet to approve, were more likely to be implemented following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement during his election campaign that a Palestinian state would not be created under his rule.
“We are on a collision course,” said the European diplomat. “It’s clear to everyone in Brussels that there must be a response to these statements.”
…”If Israel continues its policy beyond the Green Line, it will affect the relationship between European nations and Israel,” he warned.
Headings of the 40-point plan include, “Preserving the viability of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states” and “Strengthening the role, visibility and policy of the European Union.” The full report has been scanned and is linked via the Ynet story.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said his colleague’s entrance into the 2016 presidential race only makes the field stronger, and the party is “blessed” to have strong candidates.
Rubio told Fox last night that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “will be a very strong candidate.”
“You can see in the past he has made a lot of people excited about the things he stands for. We are blessed as a party. We have a lot of really good candidates,” Rubio said. “The Democrats are struggling to come up with even one. I think our country will be better for it at the end.”
It hasn’t been possible to view Cruz’s interaction on the floor with his colleagues — and potential challengers — since his Monday announcement. Cruz has not shown up for any votes this week as the Senate works through hundreds of budget amendments.
Rubio said he understands the date is approaching when he needs to announce his own 2016 decision.
“As I said, we are getting closer to that date and we understand that if I decide to run for president it’s going to take time and energy to do it. So we will make an announcement here fairly soon,” he said.
“Probably not months, but certainly multiple weeks. And that’s important,” Rubio said. “Like soon means when we are ready to make the decision. There is a lot that goes into something like that and a lot this to announcing whatever direction we go.”
“But it’s something I’m increasingly excited about and look forward to sharing with you and others here fairly soon.”
The “Operation Decisive Storm” coalition that bombarded Yemen overnight now has full control of the country’s airspace, said Saudi officials, who unleashed 100 fighters jets, 150,000 soldiers and naval units in the operation.
The only regional country that stayed out of the fight was Yemen’s neighbor Oman. The United Arab Emirates pitched in 30 fighter jets, Bahrain contributed 15, Qatar sent 10, Kuwait deployed 15 and Jordan contributed six. Even North Africa got into the game, with Sudan sending three fighter jets, Egypt supplying four warships and air support, and Morocco sending six fighter jets. Pakistan also provided naval and aerial support in the attack on the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told MSNBC this morning that the Saudis decided “on their own” to launch the attack, “and the reason is simply that Saudi Arabia and Yemen share a long border.”
“And they have enlisted the support of other partners and allies of theirs in region, and they have asked the United States for some intelligence support that we can provide. And the president has agreed to that request and we are providing them support,” he said. “But the Saudis are in the lead in this military action they are taking to protect the interest they have along their border with Yemen.”
The White House has been urging a UN-backed diplomatic solution to the Houthi overthrow in Yemen.
But Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) made clear that it was the administration’s policies that allowed this mess in the first place.
“The takeover of large swaths of Yemen by Iranian-backed Shia militants has forced our Saudi allies to take military action. Months of fairy tale negotiations and appeasement by this administration have led Iran to believe that it can act with impunity on an international scale,” Issa said in a late-night statement as the Saudis bombarded targets.
“Now, more than ever, it is clear that any real settlement with Iran is impossible, and the president must acknowledge this fact,” he said. “The continued easement or outright removal of sanctions against this rogue state will only further embolden Iran and facilitate its belligerent behavior. We must make it clear that we will support our allies and punish our enemies through steadfast resolve and decisive action.”
Earnest said this morning that the Iran-fomented instability and Saudi reaction shouldn’t affect nuclear negotiations in Switzerland. “There’s no doubt that we believe that it’s in the best interest of the United States, our allies in Israel, and our partners in the region, including Saudi Arabia, for us to try to find a diplomatic resolution to the concerns that the world has about Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” he said.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), though, stressed to Fox that “this is about Iran, again, the source of instability in the region and many parts of the world.”
“These are Shia militias and Shia rebels making advances there. They are equipped, protected and supported by Iran. It’s part of their strategy to become the dominant regional power. It’s part of encircling Saudi Arabia, Sunni country. So you see their presence in Yemen. They basically invaded Iraq. Obviously, their influence they have in Lebanon. They control Assad in Syria. So, slowly but surely they are carrying out their master plan of regional dominance and Yemen is the latest piece of that puzzle,” Rubio said.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said “clearly, the Saudis and their gulf partners have determined the situation in Yemen presents further danger to regional stability and their own territorial integrity.”
“I hope their intervention helps to restore some sense of security, but I fear Yemen may be too far gone to prevent an all-out civil war,” Burr said.
Here are the hosts in the top 10, along with clips from the five of them that I like enough to include in my own top 10 (the order of which I’m still weighing and would appreciate your input on… Who are your favorites? Hannity or Limbaugh? Beck or Levin?)
1. Rush Limbaugh
2. Sean Hannity
3. Dave Ramsey
4. Michael Savage
5. Glenn Beck
6. Mark Levin
7. Howard Stern
8. Joe Madison
9. Thom Hartmann
10. Mike Gallagher
A few of my favorites who should have been higher on the list, and I’ll include on my list: Dana Loesch (#24) has a lot of talent, Dennis Prager (#33) of course remains one of my regular work-time listens, Larry O’Connor (#42) has a gifted radio presence and good values, Hugh Hewitt (#62) puts on a smart show and should have been much, much higher on the list… And great to see Elisha Krauss, Ben Shapiro, and Brian Whitman making the list too at #82. I listen to them every morning on KRLA while editing PJM.
Well, I suppose with those five in bold from the top ten and then the other four and Elisha/Ben/Brian as one, then I have my top 10, though the order shall remain a mystery for the time being. I’ll want to weigh commenter suggestions. Who do you regard as the 10 best?
Jewish Americans are being baited by a radical Left that has sharpened their anti-Bibi fangs in the ready to rip apart the nation of Israel and the entire body of world Jewry. It’s a bold statement, but it’s an honest one. If you thought V15 would dissolve, their participants cashing in the last of the State Department’s change for a defeat party in Vegas, you’re wrong. The ideological fervor is stronger than ever. It has to be, because ideology is the only thing they have fueling their “hope and change” community-organizing momentum that is anything but.
Jonathan Mark at the New York Jewish Week succinctly catalogs the radical-Leftist Jewish bias against Bibi, noting that this isn’t the first time a right-wing leader’s victory has been condemned in the American media. “Begin as in Fagin” a 1977 Time magazine article explained, conjuring up one of the most insulting anti-Semitic stereotypes in history.
Today it is the J Street crowd sacrificing their pound of flesh by cutting themselves off from the “Jewish establishment” in a radical attempt to “directly take on Jewish organizations …complicit with Israel’s occupation” via the Obama method. If Israel won’t directly negotiate, they’ll just be forced into a solution …and what? Be told to deal with it, or else? According to reports, the conference was keynoted by Obama’s chief of staff and fueled nothing more or less than the “Bibi is racist” tagline.
Hannah Senesh wrote about the power of one match to light a fire. In this instance, the blaze is burning out of control in this radicalized segment of the Jewish world.
Mark adopts the Israeli attitude toward the radical Left’s recent drumming up of hostilities, concluding:
If Israel has to go alone, so be it, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens: “Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back…. The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance…. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”
In the end, he is right. Israel has the self-determination and autonomy to weather the storm. The question is, will the Jewish American community rise to the occasion, or be consumed in the fires of its own outrageous fury, drummed up by a mad man who has no problem negotiating the Jewish people’s terms of destruction on an international scale?
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District of Columbia, was caught on video Wednesday trying — and failing — to maneuver her vehicle into parking spot in a lot between the Longworth and Cannon House Office buildings. According to Roll Call:
Once the aide seen assisting Norton from outside the slow-moving vehicle finishes waving her into clearly disastrous position, Norton emerges from the car, clicks her remote locking device (better safe than sorry) and starts to walk away.
Then, all of the sudden, she doubles back.
Has her conscience gotten the best of her? Is she going to slide a quickly composed apology onto the now-stuck truck’s windshield? Or perhaps a business card?
Norton simply retrieves some forgotten item from inside the car and then heads on her merry way.
Note that around the 40-second mark in the video a U.S. Capitol Police officer rides by on a motorcycle and ignores the silver car, which is obviously parked the wrong way in the slanted parking space.
According to Roll Call’s tipster, after spending twenty minutes in the Cannon Office Building, Norton simply got into her car and drove away, not even bothering to leave a note on the red car that she struck several times with her vehicle.
Her office told Roll Call that there was no damage to the adjacent cars, but said they “left a note with a business card” just in case.
The good news is that Ms. Norton, a delegate from the District of Columbia, is a non-voting member of Congress. The bad news, if you live in the District, is that she might try parking next to you the next time you’re at Trader Joe’s. And you thought the drivers with the diplomatic license plates were bad!
Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes into Yemen a short time ago, with the Saudi ambassador in Washington telling reporters that the aim is to “to protect the people of Yemen and its legitimate government from a takeover by the Houthis.”
“The Gulf Cooperation Council countries tried to facilitate a peaceful transition of government in Yemen, but the Houthis have continuously undercut the process by occupying territory and seizing weapons belonging to the government,” Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said in a statement. “…The Houthis have reneged on every single agreement they have made and continue their quest to take over the country by violent means.”
“Based on the appeal from President Hadi, and based on the Kingdom’s responsibility to Yemen and its people, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with its allies within the GCC and outside the GCC, launched military operations in support of the people of Yemen and their legitimate government.”
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates said in a joint statement that President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government had asked for help in battling the Iran-backed Houthis.
Warplanes of the Royal Saudi Air Force bombed the positions of Yemen’s Houthi militia, destroying an airbase in Sanaa and most of the militia’s air defenses, Al Arabiya News Channel reported early on Thursday, citing Saudi sources.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered the airstrikes on the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Thursday at 12 am Riyadh time, the news channel reported, adding that the kingdom’s air force was “fully in control of the Yemeni airspace.”
Shortly afterwards Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir announced that the kingdom had launched a military operation involving air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden where the country’s president had taken refuge.
Al-Jubeir told reporters that a 10-country coalition had joined in the military campaign in a bid “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
“We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling,” Jubeir said.
Al-Arabiya also reported a cyberwar component, saying that several Houthi websites had crashed.
Yesterday, while appearing in Riyadh with the British foreign secretary, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal hit at Iran and the Houthis.
The prince stressed that “it is not possible to grant Iran an undeserved deal” in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations.
On Yemen, he said, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s “aim is to provide the vehicle for the president to return peacefully to Yemen and provide the leadership as required to bring this country back.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said the “takeover of southern Yemen by the Iranian-supported Houthis has led to chaos, threatening the national security interests of our regional partners and the United States.”
“Regional states, led by Saudi Arabia at President Hadi’s request, are taking action from the air,” Royce said. “The United States should support our Saudi and Gulf partners with appropriate logistical and intelligence support to combat this threat.”
National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement late Wednesday that President Obama “has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations.”
“While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support,” Meehan said. “At the same time, the United States continues to closely monitor terrorist threats posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and will continue to take action as necessary to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.”
“We strongly urge the Houthis to halt immediately their destabilizing military actions and return to negotiations as part of the political dialogue. The international community has spoken clearly through the UN Security Council and in other fora that the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition – long sought by the Yemeni people – can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all of the parties.”
The strikes came as the Obama administration resumed talks with Iran, which backs the Houthis, in Switzerland.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest was pressed at the briefing earlier today on whether they still consider Yemen a model for counterterrorism success.
“What the United States considers to be our strategy when confronting the effort to try to mitigate the threat that is posed by extremists, is to prevent them from establishing a safe haven. And certainly in a chaotic, dangerous situation like in Yemen, what the United States will do and has done is worked to try to support the central government, to build up the capacity of local fighters, and use our own technological and military capabilities to apply pressure on the extremists there,” Earnest replied.
“There’s no doubt that we would like to see a functioning central government in Yemen. We don’t see that right now. And that is why we’re supportive of the U.N.-led process to try to put an end to the violence and instability; to bring the sides, you know, all sides together to the table to try to resolve their differences; to build up the capacity of the central government; to build up the capacity of local forces; and to continue to apply pressure to extremists.”
But, Earnest maintained, “We do continue to enjoy the benefits of a sustained counterterrorism security relationship with the security infrastructure that remains in Yemen.”
State Department press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged earlier today that Saudis “have legitimate concerns about the possible impact of current events in Yemen to their security, given their proximity.”
On Yemen as a success, she said “we have had success working on counterterrorism operations, and we expect and hope that will continue.”
At least three of the Taliban 5 terror commanders who were traded for Bowe Bergdahl made attempts to make contact with their former terrorist networks, reports Fox News.
The new allegations come as Bergdahl now faces desertion charges, and as the one-year deal governing the former Guantanamo detainees’ supervised release in the Gulf nation of Qatar is set to expire — at the end of May.
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently told Congress that, after that expiration, all his officers can do is warn the U.S. government if the men return to the battlefield.
“I’ve seen nothing that causes me to believe these folks are reformed or [have] changed their ways or intend to re-integrate to society in ways to give me any confidence that they will not return in trying to do harm to America,” Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House intelligence committee, told Fox News.
The official who described the attempts by three to make contact did not identify the men by name. But the evidence came to light through intelligence from liaison services and monitored communications available to the U.S. government.
A defense official did not dispute the claim, emphasizing that one of the men has come “very close, trying to provide advice, council or inspiration” to his terror network, while the other two had not crossed that line.
In January, CNN was first to report, and U.S. officials later confirmed, that one of the five fighters was making phone calls to militants. The latest claim indicates those efforts were more widespread.
A State Department official, though, disagreed with the characterization of the intelligence and how it relates to the “Taliban Five’s” activities.
“None of the five individuals has returned to the battlefield and none of the five have left Qatar,” the official said. “Since their transfer many actions have been taken to restrict the actions of these individuals, and they are all being closely monitored by the United States and Qatar.
“We are in frequent and high level contact with Qatari government about the implementation of these measures, to ensure our concerns about these individuals are being met. For example, by enabling us to closely track their activities.”
The State Department is putting political spin on the revelation, as is the office of the DNI:
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also uses a strict definition for re-engagement, saying they do not “consider mere communication with individuals or organizations — including other former GTMO detainees — an indicator of reengagement. Rather, the motives, intentions, and purposes of each communication are taken into account when assessing whether the individual has reengaged.”
It’s all doubletalk. They raise the bar high enough that they don’t have to do anything unless the terrorists actually carry out an attack.
This was a bad deal from the start and we still don’t have all the facts surrounding it. Was there a ransom paid? Were reports of a possible rescue operation called off true? What were the other options to get Bergdahl out facing the administration?
While Bergdahl’s case was being considered, the DoD begged off answering questions before Congress. Now that the fate of the deserter is known, maybe some of those questions will be answered.
The conservative group Freedom Watch has filed a racketeering lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that accuses her of failing to produce documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The civil suit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, argues that Clinton used her private emails to sell access to other officials in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation.
It alleges that, during her tenure, Clinton withheld documents requested under FOIA regarding State Department waivers given to businesses or individuals doing business with Iran, possibly undermining U.S.-imposed sanctions.
The complaint, which lists Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation as defendants, alleges the Clintons sold access to other U.S. government officials in return for donations to their organization, which they concealed, allegedly, by using a private computer server for her emails operated from their home in Chappaqua, New York.
Larry Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch, launched dozens of lawsuits against former President Bill Clinton’s administration… In a statement, Klayman cast his lawsuit as “the first and only hard-hitting case to address the growing email scandal.”
Good for Larry Klayman. Use lawfare against them. Aside from brute force, it’s the only thing these miscreants understand.
There was a time in America, not too long ago, when the most controversial question in the country was whether the Yankees should be broken up.
We took a lot of things for granted back then — things I wish now I had appreciated a little more. This is especially true after I read this incredible account of how school advisors in Lexington, Massachusetts, tried to talk the junior class at the local high school out of holding a dance with the theme of “American Pride.”
Yes…THAT Lexington, Massachusetts. THE Lexington, where the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired and the American Revolution got underway in earnest.
A high school dance will keep its “American Pride” theme after a debate over concerns that people of other nationalities might feel excluded, the school superintendent said Tuesday.
Assistant superintendent Carol Pilarski said in an interview with Boston’s WHDH that school advisors suggested students abandon their chosen “American pride” theme in favor of “maybe a national pride theme, so they could represent their individual nationalities. Maybe it should be more inclusive and it should be national pride.”
Students complained to WHDH, which quoted one student, Ethan Embry, calling the decision “ridiculous.”
Now that the crap has hit the fan, school administrators are backtracking furiously:
But superintendent Paul Ash told Boston.com on Tuesday that as far as he knows, the theme was never officially changed. He said Lexington was “very proud of its history” and that administrators were “delighted” that students had chosen an American pride theme.
Still, he acknowledged a debate.
“There was discussion. I’m not going to deny that,” Ash said.
“Official policy is made by the high school principal. And she didn’t change it,” he added. “I talked to the high school principal and I believe her.”
He declined to comment on Pilarki’s remarks, adding that he was not involved in the discussions.
“As you can imagine, superintendents of schools don’t get involved with school dances,” he said.
Actually, we can imagine superintendents getting involved in anything if they thought it could advance the cause of multiculturalism and diversity. We’ve seen this so many times before. A school does something incredibly stupid like banning flag T-shirts, or preventing men in uniform from walking the halls, and then quickly backs down when the matter becomes public.
It doesn’t get much more politically correct than ginning up controversy over the concept of American pride. It’s one of those things we took for granted growing up. Who could have imagined otherwise?
This is the 40th anniversary of one of the most successful advertising campaigns in American history. Watch this Chevy ad from 1975 — unabashedly pro-American.
Just 25 years ago, in Field of Dreams, James Earl Jones gave a speech about America that spoke of how the country is always changing, but remains basically the same:
People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh…people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”
You couldn’t put that speech in a film today. It would be laughed out of the theater.
When conservatives talk about “taking America back,” liberals will inevitably say that what they really mean in their heart of hearts is that they want blacks in the back of the bus, women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, gays back in the closet, and white privilege the rule.
It may be that way for some. But for most of us, it means we want an America where “American Pride” is not now and never will be a controversial subject. Where we don’t have to walk on eggshells when we speak in public, fearing we’re offending someone — or someone who might pretend to be offended. And we want an America where we can be reasonably certain the Congress and the executive branch pay attention to the tenets and precepts found in the Constitution.
Is that really too much to ask?
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could face life behind bars for walking away from his unit and into the hands of the Taliban, the Army announced today.
Bergdahl, who has been pulling desk duty at Fort Sam Houston since last summer, was charged with counts of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
Taken in 2009, Bergdahl was the only American POW held by the Taliban. They received five high-level Guantanamo prisoners in exchange for his return.
Bergdahl will now face an Article 32 proceeding similar to a grand jury where the charges will be weighed. There was no word on whether Bergdahl’s defense team would try to work out a deal.
“This case has been made more difficult by the administration’s failure to follow the law surrounding the release of the Taliban 5,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said in a statement. “But, Sgt. Bergdahl’s conduct should be considered under the Uniform Code of Military Justice as would any other service member’s, and I trust it will be.”
Qatar agreed to keep the Taliban 5 for a year, which will be up in a couple of months.
“I don’t have anything to discuss about it at this point in time. As you mentioned, it’s a couple of months from now. Obviously, we’ll continue consultations, as will many in the United States government, but I don’t know,” State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said today when quizzed about that looming date.
“As you know, the incidents of recidivism have dropped dramatically over the last couple of years,” she added. “We work closely with the government of Qatar on these issues. But I don’t have any predictions for you on what will happen several months from now.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked whether the administration knew the charges would come today, when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani addressed a joint session of Congress.
“I’m not aware of any plans for them to do that, but this is a process that’s being run by the United States Army, so I’d direct you to the Pentagon for an answer,” Earnest said.
President Obama threw a White House Rose Garden ceremony last May with Bergdahl’s parents to laud the sergeant’s release. Members of Congress, though, fumed that they weren’t notified of the trade. The administration said they had to move forward without notification as required by law because they feared Bergdahl’s life was in danger.
A week later, National Security Advisor Susan Rice defended the swap, as well as her defense of Bergdahl. “I realize there has been lots of discussion and controversy around this,” Rice said. “But what I was referring to was the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing.”
In January, the White House said the Bergdahl swap didn’t qualify as negotiating with terrorist groups.
“The Taliban is an armed insurgency. ISIL is a terrorist group. So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups,” spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters.
“As you know, this was highly discussed at the time, and prisoner swaps are a traditional end of conflict interaction that happens,” the spokesman said. “As the war in Afghanistan wound down, we felt like it was the appropriate thing to do. The president’s bedrock commitment as commander in chief is to leave no man or woman behind. That’s the principle he was operating under.”
Then, he said the Taliban — hosts of al-Qaeda camps, suicide bombers, throwers of acid on schoolgirls — didn’t qualify as terrorists.
“The Taliban is an armed insurgency. This was the winding down of the war in Afghanistan. And that’s why this arrangement was dealt,” Schultz continued. “Our view is, as the president said at the time, which is, as the commander in chief, when he sends men and women into armed combat, he doesn’t want to leave anyone behind. That was the commitment he was following through on this.”
On yesterday’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck clashed with each other about Beck’s statement that he no longer supports the Republican Party. It was an interesting debate, although O’Reilly didn’t appear to grasp Beck’s point about defunding the Republican leadership and supporting individual candidates instead:
Beck’s point is well-taken. Why fund the Republican Party itself if you only support certain conservative candidates — and those candidates are being attacked by their own party’s leaders?
Increasingly, voters try to find candidates they support, not a specific party. Parties played a major role in organizing campaigns on every level (local, state, federal) in the past, but that’s increasingly less the case nowadays. Also, when you donate your hard-earned dollars to a party rather than to an individual, part of your donation ends up helping candidates you don’t support or even actively hurting the ones you do.
Both the Democratic Party and the GOP are “big tents” now, with people who often have conflicting views. See how Elizabeth Warren Democrats think compared to Hillary supporters, or how Cruz supporters think compared to Mitch McConnell and his ilk. They often have opposing — not complementary — goals.
Political parties are outdated, so why not stop supporting them?
In a warmly received address to a joint session of Congress today, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reassured lawmakers that his country wants nothing more than to be safe and self-reliant, and will not “be the lazy Uncle Joe” who won’t get a job.
“We owe a profound debt to the 2,350 servicemen and -women killed and the more than 20,000 who have been wounded in service to your country and ours… I want to thank the American taxpayer and you, their representatives, for supporting us,” Ghani said, reiterating remarks he made Monday to servicemen and women at the Pentagon.
“Veterans will always be welcome in Afghanistan. Our deepest hope is that the time will come when Americans visiting our country see the cultural heritage and natural riches… Not as soldiers, but as parents showing their children the beautiful country where they served in the war that defeated terror,” he said. “On behalf of my entire country, when that day comes, you will be our most welcome and honored guests.”
Ghani reflected on how he was in his office at the World Bank when planes leveled the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The Columbia University graduate — along with his Christian Lebanese wife, Rula — recalled fondly eating “corned beef at Katz’s, New York’s greatest, meatiest, pickle-lined melting pot.” That was one of many lines that drew applause from the chamber; Afghan media counted 20 standing ovations.
“Close friends were working near the Trade Center. My children were born in New York, and my daughter was living in New York when the Twin Towers fell. I visited Ground Zero that very week. Seeing firsthand the tragedy and devastation drove home the realization that after 9/11, the world would never be the same. I went home knowing that America would seek justice, and I began to write the plan for our national reconstruction,” the president continued.
Ghani stressed that despite “thankfully rare, but nonetheless tragic” green-on-blue attacks, “the overwhelming majority of Afghans continue to see the partnership with the United States as foundational to our future.”
“We have made great sacrifices, we Afghans, but then, it’s our patriotic to do so. You, on the other hand, had a choice. And when it came to a fork in the road, chose to do the right thing. Thank you.”
While the Taliban banned girls from attending school, today more than 3 million are in class, Ghani said. “Their parents thank you.”
“In 2002, when the allies built their first clinics, the average life-span of the ordinary Afghan was 44 years. Today, it’s over 60. Their children thank you.”
Afghanistan, he said, “contrary to wide perception, is well-suited to democracy.”
“Like Americans, Afghans are individuals. None of us defers to anyone else. We have neither had caste nor class, so persuading each other is an art form,” Ghani said. “Our key characteristics are our openness and hospitality. We believe in equality. Even in the most traditional parts of the country, our leadership must earn rather than inherit their position. There’s a strong public conscience. People are expected to act for the common good. We love debate.”
Ghani acknowledged ISIS as “another, darker cloud that is making its way towards our country.”
“The promise of the Arab Spring gave way to the emergence of Daesh terror and collapse of states. But the changed ecology of terror could have not formed without some states tolerating, financing, providing sanctuary and using violent, nonstate actors as instruments of shortsighted policies,” he said. “…From the West, the Daesh is already sending advance guards to southern and western Afghanistan to push our vulnerabilities. To the south, Pakistan’s counterinsurgency operations in which more than 40,000 people have already died are pushing the Taliban from South Waziristan towards Afghanistan’s border regions.”
Afghanistan, he stressed, “is carrying forward everyone’s fight by containing this threat.”
“Properly supported, Afghanistan is uniquely positioned to block the spread of extremism. We have none of the historical inferiority complexes that choose resentment across Western domination. After all, we defeated most of the empires,” he said. “…Ordinary is what has escaped us, and we’d really like to be leading ordinary lives, to go to school and to come back. To shop without being blown up. To play volleyball without being attacked.”
Ghani spent a substantial portion of his speech outlining plans to advance women’s rights, and to highlight gains already made.
“No country in the modern world can be self-reliant with half of its population locked away, uneducated and unable to contribute its energy, creativity and drive to national development… educating women is not solely a matter of rights, important though they are. It is a matter of national necessity,” he said, stressing “a mental and cultural revolution must take place over treatment of women in and by our society. There is no point talking about how much we respect woman’s honor if we let rape go unpunished or allow harassment in our streets.”
The president said he is “meeting frequently women who are entertaining the idea, seriously, the idea of becoming the first woman president of Afghanistan, and we will support them.” Four women have been appointed to his cabinet for a 20 percent share — “still too low, but at least fulfillment of our promise.”
Vowing Afghanistan “will be the graveyard of al-Qaeda and their foreign terrorist associates,” Ghani said that “although we may be poor, we’re very proud.”
“Our goal of self-reliance is no pipe dream… we want your know-how, the business skills of your corporations, the innovation of your startups and the commitment of your NGOs,” he said. “But we don’t want your charity. We have no more interest in perpetuating a childish dependence than you have in being saddled with a poor family member who lacks the energy and drive to get out and find a job. We are not going to be the lazy Uncle Joe.” Lawmakers laughed; Vice President Joe Biden was sitting behind Ghani as he spoke.
“Together, our two countries will finish the job that began on that clear, terrible September morning almost 14 years ago. We have the way, and we have the commitment that will anchor our country into a community of peaceful, democratic nations.”
Yemen’s descent into political chaos makes it the latest Mideast nation too dangerous for U.S. officials to operate in — a development intelligence sources say will dangerously limit America’s ability to track and target al Qaeda and other extremist terror movements in the region.
While some Obama administration critics see the military triumphs of Shiite Muslim Houthi rebels in Yemen as a victory by the region’s Shiite powerhouse, Iran, others say the more dangerous fallout will be the loss of real-time intelligence and on-the-ground assets following the withdrawal of U.S. special forces from a Yemeni air base that has long played a key role in the battle against Sunni extremist al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Yemen is the home base of the Sunni terrorist group, which U.S. intelligence officials have described as the most likely among jihadi organizations around the world to “attempt transnational attacks against the United States.” Despite the value of the base, the administration ordered the pullout of all U.S. forces from Yemen’s Al Anad air base on March 20 after AQAP forces and aligned tribal fighters briefly took control of the nearby city of Houta.
While military and intelligence officials are mum on the role the base has played in hundreds of drone strikes carried out against AQAP operatives during recent years, the sudden American pullout underscores the extent to which the administration’s counterterrorism strategy has collapsed in the region. A year ago, President Obama pointed to Yemen as a model for his strategy and a success story in the counterterrorism fight.
A few more successes like this and we’ll be in real trouble. But just another’s day work for the most anti-American president in American history. Hey! Maybe Obama’s middle name, “Hussein,” should have been a dead giveaway.
President Obama said at a White House ceremony today marking the fifth anniversary of Obamacare that the healthcare law is “working better than many of us, including me, anticipated.”
“I mean, we have been promised a lot of things these past five years that didn’t turn out to be the case: death panels, doom,” he said, sparking laughter from the healthcare “leaders,” in the words of a White House official, comprising the audience. “A serious alternative from Republicans in Congress,” Obama quipped, arousing more laughter.
“The budget they introduced last week would literally double the number of the uninsured in America. And in their defense, there are two reasons why coming up with their own alternative has proven to be difficult,” he said. “First, it’s because the Affordable Care Act pretty much was their plan before I adopted it based on conservative, market-based principles developed by the Heritage Foundation and supported by Republicans in Congress, and deployed by a guy named Mitt Romney in Massachusetts to great effect. If they want to take credit for this law, they can. I’m happy to share it.”
“And second, it’s because health reform is really hard and the people here who are in the trenches know that. Good people from both parties have tried and failed to get it done for 100 years, because every public policy has some trade-offs, especially when it affects one-sixth of the American economy and applies to the very personal needs of every individual American.”
Only three congressional Democrats were at the event; the rest were in a joint session of Congress listening to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Obama said that “for folks who are basing their entire political agenda on repealing the law, you’ve got to explain how kicking millions of families off their insurance is somehow going to make us more free.”
“Or why forcing millions of families to pay thousands of dollars more will somehow make us more secure. Or why we should go back to the days when women paid more for coverage than men. Or a preexisting condition locked so many of us out of insurance,” he added.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he’s “not playing cat and mouse” and “not being evasive” about his 2016 presidential plans.
“I just don’t know yet,” Kasich told Fox from early primary state New Hampshire. “…And as one guy told me, who wanted to run for president and didn’t, you are the governor of Ohio, take your time, decide what you think is best for yourself and for the country and go from there.”
Kasich said his focus on issues that affect the poor stems from his belief that the GOP “can certainly reach out and help people who live in the shadows.”
“So what we want is we want the mentally ill not to be in our prisons. We want the drug addicted to get rehab so they can get on their feet. And we want the working poor to have incentives to become independent,” he said. “…We want the employers in the welfare office. We want them to be trained for a job that exists and we want them to be independent.”
“So you know a lot of times people say are you a compassionate conservative? That sounds like we just help people. We want to help them but we want to help them to get on their feet so they can be independent…I think it is important that everyone in our country, black, white, everyone feels as though they have a stake in America, that America can be a land of promise for everybody.”
Kasich touted his gubernatorial record of starting with an $8 billion deficit to a $2 billion surplus.
“I think the Republican Party says that we need to have solutions that don’t involve government because they can be more specialized. Government sometimes is a blunt object. I think Democrats, not all of them, but many liberals say if we just create more government or pour more money in, we will fix things. There is a partnership between the government and private sector to address some of our problems. Frankly, what is too similar between Republicans and Democrats is they are just all fighting with one another,” the governor said.
“…We can fight for a while but, at the end of the day, like Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did, you have a drink and you say we are going to have put the country first. That, to me, is most important in terms of getting America back on track again. End the polarization, end the division, and you can do that without losing your principles.”
Kasich stressed that “after being the governor of Ohio for two terms, a chairman of the Budget Committee in Washington that got the budget balanced for the first time since we walked on the moon, I think I have a right to define what it means to be a conservative.”
“To me, a conservative is to give everybody an opportunity to be successful,” he said. “Look, if we ignore the mentally ill and we let them go into prison, how is that helping? How is it helping if we just ignore the drug addicted and tell them to fend for themselves and they end up sleeping under bridges or they are in our local jails? That’s not conservatism. Conservatism is getting to the root of the problem, personal responsibility and accountability, and getting them on their feet. To me, that’s the defense of conservatism.”
“And at the same time, of course, we can’t ignore the fact that we can’t punish the successful.”
Godwin’s Law: ”As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Or, as it’s commonly misunderstood: no comparison of anything today may ever be made with what happened in Germany under the National Socialist German Workers Party. But that’s bunk, and here’s a good example why:
Dozens of climate scientists and environmental groups are calling for museums of science and natural history to “cut all ties” with fossil fuel companies and philanthropists like the Koch brothers. A letter released on Tuesday asserts that such money is tainted by these donors’ efforts to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.
“When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge,” the letter states. “This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost.”
Corporate philanthropy… hmmm, lemme think… they couldn’t be talking about… could they? They could indeed:
The letter does not mention specific companies, but it does name David H. Koch, who sits on the boards of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and has given tens of millions of dollars to those institutions. Koch Industries is a privately held corporation with subsidiaries in energy and other industries. Mr. Koch and his family have funded conservative causes, including scientists and organizations that contest the role of humans in climate change.
Public records show that many fossil-fuel companies have made similar contributions to such organizations and scientists over the years.
Free speech? Right to peaceable, if virtual, assembly? Petition the government for redress of grievances? Hah!
The letter is a project of the Natural History Museum, a mobile museum that draws attention to “social and political forces that shape nature yet are left out of traditional natural history museums,” said its co-founder and director, Beka Economopoulos. A petition drive, also released on Tuesday and sponsored by environmental organizations including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, urges the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History to “Kick Koch off the board!”
Juden raus! or something like that. Meanwhile, in related news of coercion and thuggery:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change.
“If a state has a climate denier governor that doesn’t want to accept a plan, that would risk mitigation work not getting done because of politics,” said Becky Hammer, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program. “The governor would be increasing the risk to citizens in that state” because of his climate beliefs.
Representative democracy: it was fun while it lasted.
It’s a racket, plain and simple. Two related news items of note. First:
Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tainted the image and integrity of the immigration program he oversaw by fostering “an appearance of favoritism and special access” in how the agency treated projects that would bring visas and Green Cards to wealthy foreign investors, a new report from the agency’s Inspector General says.
“The juxtaposition of Mr. Mayorkas’ communication with external stakeholders on specific matters outside the normal procedures, coupled with favorable action that deviated from the regulatory scheme designed to ensure fairness and evenhandedness in adjudicating benefits, created an appearance of favoritism and special access,” the Inspector General’s report concluded.
The DHS IG report specifically focused on allegations of special treatment afforded to a Las Vegas casino project championed by Sen. Harry Reid, then the Senate majority leader, and an electric car enterprise led by Terry McAuliffe, who is now Virginia governor, and involving Anthony Rodham, the brother of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
And second: did somebody say Terry McAuliffe?
Not long before he became governor of Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe received special treatment on behalf of his electric-car company from a top official at the Department of Homeland Security, according to a new report from the department’s inspector general.
McAuliffe was among several politically powerful individuals from both parties, including Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), seeking special visas for foreign investors through a program administered by the department. But intervention on behalf of McAuliffe’s GreenTech Automotive company by Alejandro Mayorkas, now the department’s No. 2 official, “was unprecedented,” according to the report.
The long-anticipated report found no evidence of law-breaking. But members of the department’s staff perceived Mayorkas’s actions as “politically motivated,” and the report concluded that he had “created an appearance of favoritism and special access.”
“No evidence of law-breaking.” Ha ha ha ha! Of course not: that’s how these people, the Clintons and the Obamas, roll: right up to the edge and hope nobody notices that, every once in a while, they might put a foot over. At root is something called the EB-5 Visa program:
The report is likely to stir up renewed scrutiny of the department’s management of the EB-5 visa program, which allows foreign nationals who create jobs in the United States to obtain green cards. And it is likely to rekindle examination of McAuliffe and GreenTech, which at the time of Mayorkas’s actions was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its conduct in soliciting foreign investors. Initially popular with lawmakers from both parties, the visa program has prompted accusations from detractors that it puts visas up for sale — and doesn’t provide sufficient oversight to ensure that the promised jobs materialize.
How about that! What the program is, of course, is another opportunity for graft and corruption, something Democrats in particular have been specializing in for more than a century at the big-city, state and federal level. And nobody gives a damn; this report will be filed and forgotten, and the rich will get richer… thanks to the federal government and its extra-constitutional functions.
Who will finally stop this?
Secretary of State John Kerry quipped at a dinner with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that founding father Benjamin Franklin wouldn’t get through a GOP-controlled Congress.
Kerry was hosting the Tuesday evening event in the State Department dining room named after the onetime minister to France and Sweden.
“We are really delighted to welcome everybody here to the Ben Franklin Room, which you all know well — most of you know very, very well — named after the gentleman in the portrait down there at the end, Ben Franklin, who was allegedly our first diplomat. And everybody here knows, knowing his life, that he could never be confirmed by the Senate today,” Kerry said.
“He had a lot of wise sayings, and one of them was everybody should go to bed early. But knowing how much he ignored that advice himself, we don’t expect anybody to do that tonight. We want to have a good time,” he added.
Attendees at the dinner included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and David Petraeus.
And, being a Kerry introduction, he worked in a personal anecdote.
“At our reception earlier, you all had a chance to hear a Kennedy Center performance from two years ago by the Afghan National Institute of Music. And on my very first day as secretary of State, purely by serendipity, I had the privilege of speaking to members of that orchestra who, with the help from the United States and other donors, are preserving their country’s rich musical heritage,” he said. “As a onetime aspiring guitarist in a high school rock band, frankly, I am in awe of those who actually know how to make good sounds come out of their instruments.”
Ghani asked Petraeus, who was brought down by a sex scandal with his biographer, “Are you getting any more sleep than you got in Kabul?”
“Vastly more,” the onetime commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan replied.
“No, because General Petraeus slept in a very small room and hardly slept,” Ghani said. “And it was an example that is shared by General Campbell and all the distinguished generals.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told Fox he’s “not at all” upset about not being the first GOP candidate out of the gate in the 2016 presidential race, stressing that he has a legislative session to finish first.
But, he noted, “We need a president who wants to do something, not just be somebody.”
The legislative session in his state ends June 11, so Jindal expects to make a decision after that.
“Here’s what I’ve been doing that I don’t think any other potential candidate has been doing. I know a lot of them are focused on fundraising, polling, consulting. I spent the last year and a half, I created a think tank called America Next to think about specifically what should the next president do,” the governor said.
“We put out detailed policies. I’m the only one who’s put out a plan how you actually repeal and replace Obamacare. A plan for energy independence. A plan for education school of choice. A plan for foreign policy. How do we invest in the Pentagon, reinvest our military, how do we repair the foreign policy mistakes of this president?”
Jindal added he’s “surprised others aren’t doing that.”
He said the best GOP nominee would be “a reform-minded, a conservative governor, somebody who has got a proven track record.”
“I think this election’s about the future. I think what people want to hear is a candidate that’s going to say I’m going to take on the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. Forget the political correctness. We need a candidate that says I’m going to cut the size of government. Not just slow down the rate of the growth, actually balance the budget,” he continued.
“We need a candidate that says I’m going to get rid of all of Obamacare. Some of the Republicans are already saying we’ll keep some of the tax increases, some of the spending. We don’t need to keep any of it. We need a candidate that’s going to say here is how we restore the American dream for our children and grandchildren, good paying jobs, jobs that allow them to join the middle class.”
Jindal said the GOP needs “an authentic conservative who will push back when the liberal media — when Democrats come at them.”
“I think we can win this election. We need to win this election, not just for the Republican Party, for the sake of our country. We can’t afford four more years. We need a major course correction.”
He stressed that “when you do speak the truth, the reality is the media pushes back against you.”
“So, when I — when I talk specifically about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, they said I was racist. When I did a Christian event called The Response for people in Louisiana to come together, to pray for our country, the media tried to criticize me,” Jindal said. “When I stood up for Phil Robertson when he used his free speech rights, the media comes after you. As conservatives, we need to stand our ground, push back. I think the American people want to see us fight for our principals. They want an authentic conservative.”
Asked how he’s better than Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jindal replied, “Well, look, the voters get to decide. I know D.C. insiders would like us to clear the field, to have no debates. That’s nonsense. The voters get to decide that. I’ve been saying for a while that I’d like to see our nominee be a conservative reform governor, but the good news is, the insiders, we don’t get to decide, the potential candidates don’t get to decide. The voters get to decide who our nominee is.”
You may recall that a federal judge, Andrew Hanen, has blocked president Obama’s unilateral “immigration” decision to “temporarily” defer deportation proceedings against possibly millions of people who are in this country illegally. Now, in a sign that the courts are finally beginning to understand the extent of the Constitution threat Obama poses while in the White House, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal has decided to take up the case on an expedited basis:
A federal appellate court Tuesday agreed to hear an expedited appeal of a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that blocked President Barack Obama’s immigration actions. Granting the Obama administration’s request for an expedited appeal, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a hearing on April 17 to consider the administration’s challenge to a ruling last month that temporarily blocked it from implementing a sweeping program to defer deportations and grant other benefits for people in the country illegally. The court will consider whether to stay the injunction at the hearing.
In a ruling last month, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas, sided with officials from 26 largely Republican states who contend the president overstepped his authority when he took the action in November without congressional approval.
In appellate briefs filed with the Fifth Circuit court in New Orleans, the Obama administration has claimed Judge Hanen’s injunction undermined the federal government’s authority to prioritize which undocumented immigrants to deport. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the suit by the states, said the states “will vigorously oppose the president’s illegal amnesty plan in court.”
One could possibly interpret this move as favorable to the administration, which otherwise would be forced to choose between obeying the judge’s order or telling him to go pound sand, which is the preferred Obama Way. But the administration’s brazen concealment of material information from the judge is something that most judges, no matter what their political stripe, frown mightily upon. So moving the appeals process along might indicate that the Fifth Circuit intends to hand the administration another, more powerful, rebuke.
Not that Obama or his cronies will pay any attention to it, of course. He’s on a collision course with the Constitution and the American people, and doesn’t care who knows it.
House Republicans are planning to introduce a bill that would create a new government label for foods that are “GMO-Free.”
The bill is an end -run around state efforts to force GMO foods to be labelled as such. The new federal label would be voluntary, said Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), who is introducing the legislation.
“Pompeo says a government-certified label would allow companies that want to advertise their foods as GMO-free to do so, but it would not be mandatory for others. The food industry, which backs Pompeo’s bill, has strongly opposed individual state efforts to require labeling, saying labels would be misleading because GMOs are safe.”
I’m always suspicious when large corporate interests are behind something. Let me explain what is really going on with the new label. Instead of labeling things as “GMO” which would inform customers that the food they are eating has genetically modified ingredients, those companies that choose to will label their product as non-GMO organic. The consumer will still not know if their food is GMO — they will only know if a producer chooses to get the new non-GMO organic label.
The reason for this is because people are afraid of GMOs and a label will hurt the bottom line. The corporate food industry would be the hardest hit if states were to mandate GMO labeling. (Corporate food is big money, Agribusiness spent $126M in 2014 lobbying for influence. Small organic farms don’t have big lobbying dollars.)
I don’t support mandatory food labels, but it’s important to know that this new potential label doesn’t inform the consumer about GMO ingredients and it attempts to block state efforts in the interest of big corporate agribusiness. Know that.
Under Pompeo’s bill, the Agriculture Department would oversee the certification, as it does with organics. But while organic foods must be USDA-certified to carry any organic label on a package, the USDA non-GMO certification would not be required for every food that bills itself as non-GMO. The idea is that the USDA-certified non-GMO foods would have a special government label that companies could use to market their foods. The bill also steps up FDA review of genetically modified foods.
Pompeo said “We’re perfectly happy to have folks to understand if there’s GMOs or not in their food,” Pompeo said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It is simply not the case that you can have affordable food that is safe and 1,000 different rules.”
But according to AP, Pompeo’s bill would override the state mandate for GMOs to be labelled.
President of the Crime Prevention Research Center John Lott asserts that the FBI’s crime statistics are “distorting” gun violence, and with the media’s help, portraying to the public that “mass shootings” are more of a threat than they really are.
Lott, author of the book More Guns, Less Crime explained that the latest annual crime report from the FBI appear to be deliberately misleading.
“The FBI put out a clearly incorrect set of numbers on public shootings shortly before the November election last year,” said Lott “I have been reading FBI reports for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this. It is one thing for the Bureau of Justice Statistics or the National Institute of Justice to put out politically biased studies, but there has always been a Chinese wall separating the FBI raw data collection from political pressures.”
The figures released last September show “mass shooter” incidents have dramatically increased since 2000. “The report asserted there were a total 160 such incidents in public places between 2000 and 2013, with attacks dramatically increased to 17 in 2013 from just one in 2000. The statistics also showed murders jumping to 86 from just seven over the span.”
Not so fast says Lott, who points out that recent crime reports used media stories that were “more accessible” in recent times thus “over-representing” more recent shootings.
The left-leaning media, who leave unquestioned anything that supports their biases, treated the recent FBI report at face value. But according to Lott, the CPRC’s counter-report shows that when corrected for bias and errors, the mass shooting rate has been cut in half.
“The administration has obviously been willing to do a lot to push for gun control; with everything from ‘Operation Choke Point’ to ‘Fast and Furious,’ and this is just part of that push. Given the level of politicization in [the] Department of Justice, this is not particularly surprising.”
First Lady Michelle Obama’s playful, cute, “girlie” outfits on her “Let Girls Learn” tour of Asia sparked the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman to reevaluate what she has always believed about empowering women through fashion.
The Obama dresses, for Friedman, conjure the 1950s, bringing the baggage of rigid roles and female subjugation, clashing with the first lady’s mission to promote education and career options for girls.
As a woman, and one who spends a lot of time thinking about the messages women’s clothes send about their identity, I found the apparent clothes/context disjunction to be jarring. Even for a first lady who is known for her affection for a print and a dress, even in countries where color and nature are celebrated.
Shouldn’t she have worn a sharp-shouldered suit to talk about achievement?
But, oddly enough, the fashion expert doesn’t admonish Michelle Obama to pay more attention to visual elements of her message. Instead, Friedman decides that her own long-held convictions must be wrong, and that the first lady is not only right, but she’s on the vanguard of a woman-buttressing fashion revolution.
How do you erase a stereotype? You confront it, and force others to confront their own preconceptions about it, and then you own it. And in doing so you denude it of its power.
In a word, Mrs. Obama has become the avatar of “Girlie Power.”
In the midst of her eureka moment, Friedman delivers a gentle backhand to women who dress the way Friedman always believed they should, before Michelle Obama put on her playful party dress.
We live in the era of the Merkelization of female political dress, which has seen women like Ms. Merkel, the German chancellor, and Hillary Rodham Clinton adopt what is effectively the male uniform in softer, brighter colors to remove the topic from the conversation. (It’s a pantsuit. It’s a beige/orange/teal pantsuit. Enough said.) Another way to explain the strategy is “bore them into talking about the issues.”
But that testosteronian costume now seems so…February 2015.
In choosing to meet young women in clothes that, perhaps, make her look like them — or how they may want to look if they didn’t have to wear school uniforms — Mrs. Obama was implying: You can dress like a girl and dream about getting a Ph.D. (or a law degree, if we are being picayune), too.
Meanwhile, that frumpy drudge, Hillary Clinton, waddles about swaddled in her Maoist conformity to old feminist man-aping tropes.
I would suggest that you picture Hillary in a bright and winsome party skirt, festooned with newly-empowering 1950s patterns, but as you know, what has been seen cannot be unseen.
A week or so ago, everyone was having lots of Footloose-joke fun at the expense of Canada’s “The Town That Dreaded Curse Words”:
Taber, Alberta — population around 8,000 — has not only banned swearing, but “yelling and screaming” are now also against the law in the small community.
Serious questions came up, too, like whether the bylaw violated (admittedly comical) Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But what nobody dared to report, until Maclean’s did just now, was just who all these anti-social miscreants were, the ones that necessitated the passing of such a wacky-sounding law in the first place.
Turns out, they’re young Mennonites.
Huh? That sounds like a bigger joke than the original story, right?
But even Maclean’s buries the (other) lede until mid-way through their piece:
These troublemakers aren’t just Mennonites.
They’re Mexican Mennonites.
Who’ve brought with them their culture’s well-documented indifference to such uptight Anglo-Saxon values as prioritizing higher education; cooperating with one’s neighbors to maintain a safe, clean, quiet, civilized public square; and interacting with (surprisingly non-bribable!) authorities in a respectful, law-abiding fashion.
Victor Davis Hanson, please pick up the (off-) white courtesy phone.
And press #2 for Spanish.
Senator Ted Cruz appeared on Megyn Kelly’s show yesterday to talk about his newly announced presidential campaign and address the negative coverage by the mainstream media.
Kelly asked Cruz: “What have you actually accomplished?”
Cruz responded that he has “stopped bad things from happening,” offering up the example of President Obama and the Democrats’ push to gun control following the Sandy Hook shooting.
Kelly responded by saying it’s not enough to stop bad things from happening — he needs to “bring coalitions together…you can’t just stop things… you have to be somebody who get’s things through.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who was notable among the lower chamber’s Democratic leadership for enthusiastically applauding during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress this month, suggested that the anonymous White House allegation of Israel spying on the Iran deal could be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
At a session with reporters on Tuesday, Hoyer was asked about the Wall Street Journal article alleging that Israel spied on Iran nuclear talks and fed information to Congress in an effort to influence opposition to the nuclear deal.
The article said the “espionage” upset the White House because Israel was allegedly sharing “inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program.”
“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” the WSJ quotes an unnamed senior U.S. official.
A senior official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office responded, “These allegations are utterly false. The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies. The false allegations are clearly intended to undermine the strong ties between the United States and Israel and the security and intelligence relationship we share.”
Hoyer said he was “not aware” of the allegations.
“I’ve heard about it. I have not read the article. I don’t know a lot about it,” he said, asking, “Did it say who they theoretically talked to?”
“Members of Congress,” he was told.
“Oh, members of Congress,” Hoyer replied. “I don’t anything about it, enough to comment.”
Pressed on whether the allegations matter, he said “it would depend upon what was done.”
“I mean, I don’t know whether they (Israel) talked to some of the other negotiators in their, their six countries represented on our side…. I don’t want to get too deeply in until I see what it alleged to have happened,” Hoyer continued.
“But I will say this: All nations try to get as much information as they can about what’s going on that affects them. Including the United States of America, as we know. Yes.”
Also on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and the top lawmakers at the House Intelligence Committee — Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — all said Israel didn’t feed them intelligence about Iran.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) quipped to reporters that he “kind of felt left out” by not getting the supposed Israeli intel. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he learned nothing from Israelis that Congress didn’t already know, then told reporters, “I hope we’re spying on the Iranians.”
Hoyer told MSNBC earlier this month that he’s been “urging the administration to follow its original premise, no nuclear armed capability by the Iranians. Period.”
“And I think that that view is shared by everybody in the Middle East, other than Iran. So, this is — and it’s shared by the United Nations. So, this is a view that is expressed by the world, and the P5+1 ought to accomplish that objective. And if we can’t, frankly, there ought not be a deal.”
Here’s the Texan who hasn’t declared he is running yet, but has been making a lot of moves that would seem to indicate he is thinking about it. Perry is also a fan of the fact that Bibi is critical of Team Lightbringer’s footsie negotiations with Iran.