Happy Monday morning!
Or to my Jewish friends, "Shana Tova!" That's "for a good year" in Hebrew. It is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
A new year, a new CEO of CBS...
#MeToo claims another powerful man.
Last night, CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves resigned, after six more women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow wrote two exposés — one in July and one on Sunday — giving voice to twelve women claiming Moonves abused them.
Fox News's Tyler McCarthy and Samuel Chamberlain reported:
In a statement released Sunday evening, CBS said that Moonves would depart his position as chairman, president and CEO "effective immediately." COO Joseph Ianniello was announced as president and acting CEO "while the Board conducts a search for a permanent successor."
The network also announced that it and Moonves would donate $20 million to organizations that support "that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace." The $20 million would come out of any compensation Moonves is due to receive following the conclusion of an ongoing investigation into the allegations against him.
The allegations are extremely serious.
One of the women, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, reported her accusations to Los Angeles police last year, but they weren't pursued because of the statute of limitations. She said that Moonves, while an executive at the Lorimar production studio in the late 1980s, pushed her head into his lap and forced her to perform oral sex.
At another time, she said an angry Moonves pushed her hard against a wall. When she resisted later advances, she began to be frozen out at the company, she said.
"He absolutely ruined my career," she told the magazine.
Ironically, Moonves was an early champion of the #MeToo movement. He helped found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, which is chaired by Anita Hill.
Moonves denied the "appalling accusations," but he acknowledged consensual relations with three of the women before he started working at CBS.
Responses to Obama.
Former president Barack Hussein Obama has been making the rounds, campaigning for Democrats for the elections this fall. The speeches have proven unremarkable, except for the fact that they happened. A former president is not only getting his hands dirty with campaigning, but he has endorsed a long list of candidates, has gone on the speaking circuit, and attacks his successor by name.
The reviews are in, and they don't look very pretty.
Naturally, President Donald Trump responded on Twitter, but he quoted Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
"Barack Obama talked a lot about hope, but Donald Trump delivered the American Dream. All the economic indicators, what’s happening overseas, Donald Trump has proven to be far more successful than Barack Obama. President Trump is delivering the American Dream," Trump quoted from Chaffetz.
The congressman delivered the remarks on "Fox and Friends" Sunday morning.
And President Trump also marked the anniversary of Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" remarks.
Obama seems to have forgotten that 2016 actually happened. Americans had a choice between his preferred candidate (Hillary Clinton), and his "worst nightmare" candidate (Donald Trump). We all know what happened.
Trump's responses to Obama's campaigning hit the mark, but Vice President Mike Pence had a bit more finesse.
"The truth is, the American people in 2016 rejected the policy and direction of Barack Obama when they elected President Donald Trump,” Pence told Fox News. "It was very disappointing to see President Obama break with the tradition of former presidents, and become so political and roll out the same tired argument that he and liberals have made over the last eight years."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been on fire recently.
"The more President [Barack Obama] speaks about the ‘good ole years’ of his presidency, the more likely President [Donald Trump] is to get re-elected," Graham tweeted. "In fact, the best explanation of President Trump’s victory are the 'results' of the Obama Presidency!"
Amen to that. Americans were sick and tired of Obamacare, of the IRS targeting of conservative groups, of Benghazi, of Hillary Clinton's corruption, of the VA scandal, and so much more. Obama's "scandal-free" presidency was remarkably scandal-plagued.
The full extent of Obama's corruption — his interventions against Trump during the 2016 election — has yet to be revealed. Indeed, RealClearInvestigations' Lee Smith has come around to the theory that the Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was a Clinton set-up.
The New York Post's Michael Goodwin said Trump should take full advantage of Obama and Clinton returning to the campaign trail. I agree.
Finally, I want to get in U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley's pitch perfect response to the New York Times anonymous "resistance" op-ed. Haley took to The Washington Post:
I, too, am a senior Trump administration official. I proudly serve in this administration, and I enthusiastically support most of its decisions and the direction it is taking the country. But I don't agree with the president on everything. When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person.
Like my colleagues in the Cabinet and on the National Security Council, I have very open access to the president. He does not shut out his advisers, and he does not demand that everyone agree with him. I can talk to him most any time, and I frequently do. If I disagree with something and believe it is important enough to raise with the president, I do it. And he listens. Sometimes he changes course, sometimes he doesn't. That's the way the system should work. And the American people should be comfortable knowing that's the way the system does work in this administration.
Haley insisted that loyalty to Donald Trump is not the point, but trying to undermine him is still wrong.
He or she claims to be putting the country first, and that is the right goal. Everyone in government owes a greater loyalty to our country and our Constitution than to any individual officeholder. But a central part of our democracy requires that those who work directly for the president not secretly try to undermine him or his policies. What the author is describing is an extra-constitutional method of addressing policy disputes within the administration. That's wrong on a fundamental level.
If the author truly is a senior administration official, then he or she has the kind of access to the president I described. If that is the case, this official has ample opportunity to try to persuade the president to change course. If the author is frustrated by an inability to persuade the president, then he or she is free to resign.
By making sweeping, but mostly unspecific, anonymous claims, the author creates many problems.
Her conclusion nailed it.
To Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, I say: Step up and help the administration do great things for the country. If you disagree with some policies, make your case directly to the president. If that doesn't work, and you are truly bothered by the direction of the administration, then resign on principle. There is no shame in that.
New York Magazine's Ed Kilgore pointed out that Haley "exploited" this crisis perfectly. She's top tier for 2024, and 2020 hasn't even started yet..
Photo of the day.
U.S. troops celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Iceland, 1942.
The U.S. actually sat down and negotiated with these Iranian thugs.
A top Iranian military leader warned on Monday that Iran is plotting strikes outside of its own borders and will even go "beyond the seas" to carry out attacks on those it perceives as enemies, statements that further highlight Iran's clandestine operations inside the United States and in Europe.
"We warn the enemies of the Islamic Revolution that if they make an aggression against the Islamic Iran, we will chase and punish them not only outside the borders but also beyond the seas," General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top aide to Iran's Supreme Leader, was quoted as saying on Monday in remarks in Tehran.
The comments come just days after Iran's Revolution Guard Corps, or IRGC, launched a missile strike in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Iran has promised further strikes in that country.
Safavi's rhetoric also comes on the heels of the arrest of two Iranians in the United States who were accused of plotting terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets. U.S. officials have warned that Iran's spy operations expand far beyond its borders and that the Islamic Republic has the capability of launching terror strikes across the region and even the globe.
Every time you hear threats like that from Iran, you should remind yourself who enabled those threats by releasing tens of billions of dollars of Iranian assets that now allow Tehran to carry out attacks beyond its borders.
Some call it treason. I call it simple naivete and stupidity. Obama actually believed that being nice to the Iranians and negotiating with them as if they were a legitimate government would moderate their behavior. It seems fantastic that anyone with two brain cells working would think that, but apparently, this is the case.
Citizens, be of good cheer. Our FBI and Justice Department are on the job, faithfully fulfilling their oath to uphold the Constitution by discharging their responsibilities in a professional, non-partisan manner, ignoring any possible political bias in pursuit of the truth.
Someone get me a barf bag.
Newly released text messages and documents obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveal that senior members of the FBI and Department of Justice led a coordinated effort to leak unverified information to the press regarding alleged collusion with Russia to damage President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a letter sent by the committee to the DOJ Monday.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, sent the letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein saying a “review of the new documents raises grave concerns regarding an apparent systemic culture of media leaking by high-ranking officials at the FBI and DOJ related to ongoing investigations.”
The review of the documents suggests that the FBI and DOJ coordinated efforts to get information to the press that would potentially be “harmful to President Trump’s administration.” Those leaks pertained to information regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant used to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Carter Page.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but leaking information from a FISA court is a crime.
The letter lists several examples:
April 10, 2017: (former FBI Special Agent) Peter Strzok contacts (former FBI Attorney) Lisa Page to discuss a “media leak strategy.” Specifically, the text says: “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.”
April 12, 2017: Peter Strzok congratulates Lisa Page on a job well done while referring to two derogatory articles about Carter Page. In the text, Strzok warns Page two articles are coming out, one which is “worse” than the other about Lisa’s “namesake”.” Strzok added: “Well done, Page.”
Of course, this is a non-story for most of the media. So is the fiction that the FBI and Justice Department officials are too "professional" to allow their political biases to influence their actions.
Nothing these people have done surprises me anymore.
I feel like I am one of the last people on the internet to have picked up on this, but in case you weren't already aware, actor Randy Quaid has been providing a unique service every day by acting out President Trump's colorful tweets.
Here's today's effort:
Quaid explained why he was doing the tweet performances here:
Here's one of my favorites:
And, oh my gosh -- this is just -- wow!
Are you not entertained?