Tuesday's HOT MIC
The Washington Post is reporting that the UAE facilitated a meeting between the founder of Blackwater, Erick Prince, and a close adviser to President Putin for the purpose of establishing a backchannel between President Trump and the Russian leader. The meeting was held in the Seychelles islands around January 11.
The Post tried to tie this story in with the investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia:
U.S. officials said the FBI has been scrutinizing the Seychelles meeting as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged contacts between associates of Putin and Trump. The FBI declined to comment.
The Seychelles encounter, which one official said spanned two days, adds to an expanding web of connections between Russia and Americans with ties to Trump — contacts that the White House has been reluctant to acknowledge or explain until they have been exposed by news organizations.
Sounds sinister, huh? Except that President Obama also established a backchannel around his inauguration in 2009, but with a mortal enemy of the U.S. -- Iran. At that time, the administration was using an Omani named Salem ben Nasser al-Ismaily as a go-between with Iran who helped negotiate the release of some American hikers taken hostage by Iran as well as helping get Iran to the table for talks on their nuclear program.
Obama had another backchannel to Iran with Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The point is that backchannels can be useful in a variety of circumstances and are used by all presidents all the time. It saves time and effort when an administration can bypass the bureaucrats at the State Department who think they're the ones in charge of U.S. foreign policy.
This is what the Post said about Obama's Omani backchannel to Iran:
Landler’s account shows how early and extensively Clinton and her State Department staff were involved in the Iran talks, despite her initial wariness. And in a campaign in which Donald Trump often advocates a blunderbuss approach to foreign affairs, this story is a reminder that breakthroughs often come via strange and invisible pathways — ones that, in this case, the administration sometimes sought to obscure.
I'll let the readers draw their own conclusions about a "blunderbuss" approach to foreign policy.
If you love mixing politics with sports, you're going to love ESPN's new guidelines for employees.
“Given the intense interest in the most recent presidential election and the fact subsequent political and social discussions often intersected with the sports world, we found it to be an appropriate time to review our guidelines,” said Patrick Stiegman, ESPN’s vice president of global digital content and the chairman of the company’s internal Editorial Board, which drafted the new guidelines.
I'm not sure how the trashing of Donald Trump by a know nothing, slack jawed ex-jock would be "appropriate" under any circumstances.
The absolute worst thing that ESPN can do is to empower these ignoramuses by encouraging them to talk about subjects they know little or nothing about. It isn't just that sports should be a safe space for those of us who want to get away from politics every once and a while. It's that the commentary has proven to be so ignorant and uninformed.
Now I will be even less likely to watch Sportscenter or any sports talk show. And if the spirit moves play-by-play announcers to babble about politics in the middle of a game, I will end up turning the sound off.
So... Salon is now pimping ISIS press statements, which is cool "since Trump is an idiot and doesn’t even know geography, they’re not too worried."
Any anti-Trump port in a storm, I suppose.
Here's the NYT headline:
See, there's this debate. About surveillance. Whether it's good or bad or just something we do, probably just to foreigners. And Susan Rice, somebody's ex-National Security Advisor (maybe she was fired?) has been brought into that debate.
That's this week's Pravda.
Last week's Pravda was OH MY GOODNESS THE RUSSIANS ELECTED TRUMP BY HACKING OUR ELECTION AND ALL HIS PEOPLE ARE IN PUTIN'S POCKET AND ISN'T TRUMP AN IDIOT FOR WORRYING ABOUT DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE?
California is all set to become a "Sanctuary State." The Senate passed a bill that would bar "state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources, including money, facility, property, equipment or personnel, to help with immigration enforcement."
The "reasoning" behind this bill is bizarre.
"Our precious local law enforcement resources will be squandered if police are pulled from their duties to arrest otherwise law-abiding maids, busboys, labors, mothers and fathers," said de León in a statement.
Um...begging your pardon, sir, but no one is asking local law enforcement to arrest anyone. They are asking local police who have already arrested an illegal alien (so much for "law-abiding") to hang onto them until ICE can show up and take custody.
And is anyone else troubled by the straitjacket this bill would put local police forces in? Suppose local politicians and police disagree with California Democrats and want to cooperate with the Feds? What the hell business is it of Sacramento to dictate to these localities what their policies should be?
Not even being able to ask someone already in police custody if they're in the country illegally is a nice touch. Because nothing quite says "freedom" like an old-fashioned gag order.
There has been a deadly attack in Syria, and there are signs of the use of "toxic gas."
Here is some very disturbing footage:
Today is Equal Pay Day. Even Ivanka Trump is backing it.
But a libertarian YouTube star has the perfect response.
For more, check out PJ Media's article:
Media Research Center's Brent Bozell calls out the media for ignoring/downplaying the Susan Rice unmasking scandal:
Former diplomat Richard Grenell has been saying for weeks that Susan Rice (and probably Ben Rhodes too) were behind the unmasking of Trump team officials. Now that that has been all but confirmed, we finally have a scandal that has landed smack dab on Obama's front doorstep.
But then -- he's in Tahiti right now, so No Drama Obama doesn't have to deal with any this. He's probably not even reading about it in the papers.
And let's be honest, the MSM is in full "protect the precious" mode right now, so even if he were here, there would be little fallout for him to deal with.
Grenell actually got blocked by CNN's Jim Sciutto, last night after he pointed out that Sciutto (who's currently running interference for Obama) is a former Obama political appointee.
Not that most MSM reporters need that on their resumes in order to have Obama's back. That seems to come naturally for them.