Archive for the ‘Obama and Congress’ category

Remember When Obama Spied on Congressmen Opposed to Iran Deal?

March 6, 2017

Remember When Obama Spied on Congressmen Opposed to Iran Deal? Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, March 5, 2017

obamanixon

When the media puts on its befuddled face over Trump’s allegations, remember what Obama was doing little more than a year ago.

The National Security Agency’s (NSA) continued surveillance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli leaders may also have swept up private conversations involving members of Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night.

Further, the Journal reports that intercepted conversations between Israeli leaders confirmed Israel’s knowledge of the talks, as well as its intent to undermine any nuclear deal with Iran by leaking its details. When Netanyahu and his top aides came to Washington to talk with Jewish-American groups and members of Congress to lobby against the deal, the NSA was there to pick up the conversations.

Senior officials told the WSJ that those conversations collected by the NSA raised fears “that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.” The White House wanted the information anyway, however, because it “believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign.”

So in order to avoid leaving a trail, the White House left it to the NSA to figure out what to share, and the NSA obliged, deleting names of members and any personal attacks on the administration.

To summarize…

1. Obama Inc. used surveillance of an ally and of domestic groups, even members of Congress, to defend its own political agenda

2. It did so relying on plausible deniability

3. The information was shared across the administration and planted in the media

Kerry justified his accusation by pointing to Israeli media reports, but those reports were a convenient source, given that “Intelligence officials said the media reports allowed the U.S. to put Mr. Netanyahu on notice without revealing they already knew his thinking. The prime minister mentioned no secrets during his speech to Congress,” wrote the Journal.

There was no firewall between spying for national security and for a political agenda. That was the most important point here. Everything else is plausible deniability.

White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Netanyahu’s campaign. They also recognized that asking for it was politically risky. So, wary of a paper trail stemming from a request, the White House let the NSA decide what to share and what to withhold, officials said. “We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’ ” a senior U.S. official said. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’ ”

When you hear the current Obama denials, remember that they almost certainly played another variation of the same game.

Nunes’s Notes & Queries

January 8, 2017

Nunes’s Notes & Queries, Power LineScott Johnson, January 8, 2017

(As to the likely relationship between Trump and Russia, please see also, Why Trump and US intel clash over Russia. — DM)

Devin Nunes is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Appearing on FOX News Sunday this morning, he had a few heterodox observations about the news surrounding the story of Russian interference in our election (video below, about 10 minutes). The interview captures a few of the dissonant notes that have generally been ignored in the hysterical din to which we are now subject. Rep. Nunes knows what he is talking about and is not a man to be trifled with. The interview in its entirety is worth your time.

Rep. Nunes refers in the course of his interview to the “gang of eight.” This particular gang of eight comprises the eight congressional leaders who are briefed on classified intelligence matters by the executive branch.

Quotable quote 1: “…so this has been going on for a long time, that Russia is a very sophisticated, bad actor in the cyber realm. Many members of Congress, not just members of the House Intelligence Committee, have been warning the Obama administration about Russia’s continued cyber attacks on this country and they did nothing. And so now as you look forward they lose an election and it appears that they want to change this narrative [by promoting the line] that Russia was responsible for Hillary Clinton losing this election.”

Quotable quote 2: “I am not happy that this report that we were briefed on — just the gang of eight was briefed on Friday morning — yet many news media outlets already had the information that was just briefed to the gang of eight. So this looks like the political rollout of a narrative just a couple of weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration…by the Obama administration….How does the news media have this information before it’s briefed to the gang of eight?”

Iranian Commander Who Killed Americans Tours Syria, Violating International Travel Ban

December 19, 2016

Iranian Commander Who Killed Americans Tours Syria, Violating International Travel Ban, Washington Free Beacon, , December 19, 2016

CORRECTS SPELLING OF NAME TO SOLEIMANI - In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, prays in a religious ceremony at a mosque in the residence of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, March 27, 2015. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sought Friday to reassure the six world powers conducting nuclear power talks in Switzerland, saying the negotiations remained focused on sealing a deal. (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

Qassem Soleimani,  (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

Multiple sources who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon about the matter disclosed that the Obama administration is taking a soft approach with Iran, including not enforcing sanctions, in order to preserve the nuclear deal and diplomacy with Tehran, which has threatened repercussions for any new sanctions.

Soleimani’s visit to Syria is viewed as a sign that Iran is not worried about facing repercussions for its continued military presence in Syria in support of embattled leader Bashar al-Assad.

Iran has breached international laws for some time without facing consequences. The Obama administration repeatedly assured Congress it would enforce sanctions on Iran when lawmakers expressed doubt about the viability of the Iran nuclear deal.

********************************

A top Iranian commander responsible for the deaths of Americans was photographed touring the war-torn city of Aleppo in Syria over the weekend, in violation of a United Nations travel ban that the Obama administration swore to enforce while selling the landmark nuclear deal with Iran to Congress, according to multiple sources and photographs.

Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani—a top general who leads Iranian militants across the globe and is directly responsible for the death of Americans—was recently photographed touring Aleppo in a demonstration of Iran’s waxing influence in Syria and disregard for international resolutions barring such behavior. Soleimani’s presence in Syria is a direct violation of the United Nations resolution governing the nuclear deal.

Soleimani’s visit coincided with moves by the terror group Hezbollah, which is controlled by Iran, to establish its own claim in Syria, according to regional reports and footage.

Iran’s public presence in Syria has not been met with action by the Obama administration, which has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to explain why it is not enforcing current sanctions against Iran. Soleimani continues to direct Iranian forces in both Iraq and Syria and has long been sanctioned for the murder of U.S. citizens.

Mutliple sources who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon about the matter disclosed that the Obama administration is taking a soft approach with Iran, including not enforcing sanctions, in order to preserve the nuclear deal and diplomacy with Tehran, which has threatened repercussions for any new sanctions.

Soleimani’s visit to Syria is viewed as a sign that Iran is not worried about facing repercussions for its continued military presence in Syria in support of embattled leader Bashar al-Assad.

Iran has breached international laws for some time without facing consequences. The Obama administration repeatedly assured Congress it would enforce sanctions on Iran when lawmakers expressed doubt about the viability of the Iran nuclear deal.

The absence of consequences for Iran’s behavior has paved the way for Hezbollah to stake it own claim in Syria, according to congressional and foreign policy insiders who told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration is working behind the scenes to prevent any new sanctions against Iran.

“The Obama administration has been working overtime to prevent any U.S. official from doing anything new to punish the butchers of Syria, because they know that would force them to take action against Iran, and then Iran would walk away from the deal,” said one veteran insider who consults with Congress on the issue. “Now they’re ignoring even old sanctions against the Iranians. They’ll do anything to keep the Iranians in the deal for just a couple more weeks, so they can blame the inevitable collapse on Trump.”

A senior congressional aide apprised of the situation said the administration would continue to turn a blind eye to blatant violations in order to preserve diplomacy with Iran.

“This administration’s refusal to enforce sanctions explicitly allowed under the nuclear deal is not only cowardice—it’s dangerous,” said the aide. “What does it say about U.S. leadership when a terrorist like General Soleimani—someone with American blood on his hands—can freely travel to the ground zero of genocide in Syria without penalty? President Obama knows his nuclear deal is on thin ice, so he’s willing overlook blatant sanctions violations like this one even if it means more carnage in Aleppo.”

A second senior congressional source warned that refusal to enforce sanctions was empowering Iran’s radical regime, which has increasingly taken hold in Iraq as well, where the U.S. military has been accused of training Iranian-backed militias.

“The outgoing Obama administration struck a Faustian bargain with Iran, the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism, and Soleimani, head of the IRGC terrorist organization that’s responsible for the death of many hundreds of Americans, continues to do victory laps throughout the Middle East” the source said. “Unless the Trump administration changes course, this short-sighted Iran policy cannot and will not end well.”

Troops in Aleppo, as well as an Iranian reporter, have been spotted raising Hezbollah’s flag in recent days, calling into question the Obama administration’s claim that it has been working to constrain the terror group.

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on radical regimes, told the Free Beacon that Iran sees the nuclear deal as a vehicle to advance its regional aspirations.

“For Obama, diplomacy’s goal was to affirm his brilliance,” Rubin said. “For Iran’s leadership, it was an asymmetric warfare tactic meant to distract from a continuous geopolitical goal.”

“Red lines matter. Over 25 years, both Republicans and Democrats signaled to Iran about what they were,” Rubin explained. “Obama, however, believed himself wiser than Reagan, Clinton, and Bush—at least that’s what the man in the mirror told him every morning. Once Iran realized there were no real red lines, it concluded it could bust sanctions with impunity. Soleimani is the personification of that conclusion.”

The State Department conceded on Monday that Soleimani’s visit to Syria violated United Security Council resolutions government the nuclear deal, but would not lay out steps meant to address the behavior.

“We do intend to consult with our partners on the security council about how to address our concerns with this,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing. “We’ve long said that Iran needs to choose whether it’s going to play a positive role in helping peacefully resolve conflicts, such as in Syria, or whether it will choose to prolong them. And you’re absolutely right, his travel was a violation.”

Update 3:05 P.M.: This post has been updated to reflect comment from the State Department.

We Are the Third World

October 1, 2016

We Are the Third World, American ThinkerTimothy Birdnow, October 1, 2016

In the presidential debate last Monday Donald Trump warned America that she’s “become a third-world country” to the guffaws and disdain of the liberals, the media (but I repeat myself) and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who later accused Trump of talking smack about the country she wants to loot, er, lead.

One must ask, is Trump correct or do we continue to occupy the apex of the first world? Is there evidence to support Mr. Trump’s claim?

Let me offer exhibit A.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Two years after the University of Missouri closed the state’s lone hospital for treating tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, state health officials are looking at opening a new facility.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is seeking bids for a study that could provide officials with a roadmap for opening a new treatment center to replace the current process of sending patients to other states.

It comes amid a nationwide increase in the number of people contracting the airborne bacterial disease that attacks the lungs.

According to the request, Missouri has averaged 90 active tuberculosis cases in each of the past three years

Missouri has been more fortunate than many other states in this regard. Why?  Because Missouri a series of strict laws against illegal alien encroachment, going back to 2007.

As a result Missouri has avoided many of the pitfalls — including third-world diseases — that are plaguing other states. But the power of the central government has grown to the point where it has managed to circumvent many of the laws put in place by the states and so the problems plaguing other states are starting to dribble in.

Let’s face it; tuberculosis is now a Third World disease. In the U.S. the number of cases of TB were cut in half between 1953 and 1968 due to better antibiotics and better medical care. (It is interesting to note that Operation Wetback repatriated up to 2 million trespassing aliens starting in 1954, thus helping to reduce the number of such cases.) The reduction in TB rates turned around in the mid ’80s as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic (which was not handled like any other infectious epidemics where authorities follow the chain of contagion and restrict the activities of the infected; AIDS was allowed to burn through the populace out of fears of stigmatizing homosexuals.) Still, rates remained low. Only now we see them rising — and HIV is fairly under control, so that is not the cause.

According to the CDC 88% of all antibiotic-resistant TB in the U.S. comes from immigrants.

And that is just one infectious disease. Consider that last year we had 15 cases of bubonic plague in the U.S. Bubonic plague is clearly a third-world disease, one long absent in America.

Another facet of Third Worldism is the export of raw materials rather than manufactured goods. America is now almost completely an exporter of coal, because the Federal government has used regulatory power to strangle the industry. In 2008 then President Obama famously stated: “If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

He has since gone on to crush an entire industry. Peabody Energy and Arch Coal — the largest and second largest coal companies on Earth — both went into bankruptcy recently. We now export raw coal because we can’t use it for anything.

And Lead. The Doe Run smelter — the last in America — closed a couple of years ago as a result of pressure from the Federal government. America now cannot smelt lead, but rather is forced to sell the raw materials to others who process it. That is third world.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump scolded Ford for moving all its small car manufacturing to foreign countries. Well, that is what they are doing. It’s what happens when you are providing an unfriendly environment to manufacturing businesses.

Then there is language. One of the characteristics of a third-world country is the preponderance of languages; multiple languages exemplify disunity, thus dividing the nation. Well, the U.S. is at least the fifth largest Spanish speaking country on Earth and may well be second only to Mexico with between 35 and 50 million speakers.

In fact, one in five households do not speak English at home. While this is not solely the fault of Barack Obama, the problem (and it is a problem) has clearly metastasized under Il Duce.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is calling for more spending on infrastructure, despite Obama’s trillion-dollar stimulus which supposedly funded “shovel ready jobs” and rebuilt these ailing roads and whatnot. If we can’t make basic repairs to infrastructure with a trillion dollars, how do we differ from a third-world country?

And violence. As I have noted, East St. Louis has levels of violence comparable to Honduras and other hellholes. We all know how many murders are occurring in Chicago, for instance, and we know of the rioting in Baltimore, in Charlotte, and in Ferguson. How does this differ from the war-torn, strife-filled third world?

Well, partly there is the rule of law. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama simply ignores the rule of law when it inconveniences him, granting an amnesty to illegals despite laws duly passed by Congress, for instance. He has simply gone ahead with many things he wanted, such as military action in Libya without Congressional approval, or forcing Boeing to shut down a factory for being non-union in 2011, or giving Mexican criminals thousands of illegal weapons in Fast and Furious. What about the drone strikes killing American citizens without due process? What about his use of executive orders to release people duly imprisoned by courts of law? How about his circumventing Congress to seize land?

And under Mr. Obama wealth has concentrated to just a few crony fat cats while everyone else lives hand to mouth due to underemployment. Even the liberal Huffington Post had to admit this fact. Rich oligarchs are another example of third worldism.

No Third World country is complete without vote fraud to keep the ruling junta in power. Consider the fact that fraud may well be the reason Obama won re-election last time.

A nation without the rule of law is a banana republic. Banana republics are inherently third world.

So Hillary and the Left may dismiss Mr. Trump’s argument that America is becoming third world, but the facts belie their claims.

 

Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill, in first override of presidency

September 28, 2016

Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill, in first override of presidency, Fox News, September 28, 2016

(House 348 to 77 for override. — DM)

Congress on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected President Obama’s veto of a bipartisan bill letting families of Sept. 11 victims sue the Saudi Arabian government, in the first successful veto override of Obama’s presidency.

Marking a significant defeat for the White House, the House ensured the bill will become law after voting 348-77 to override Wednesday afternoon. This followed a 97-1 vote hours earlier in the Senate.

Despite last-ditch warnings from the Obama administration that the legislation could hurt national security and was “badly misguided,” lawmakers dismissed the concerns.

“This bill is about respecting the voices and rights of American victims,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaking on the Senate floor moments before Wednesday’s vote in that chamber, pushed back hard on Saudi government objections to the legislation.

“It’s very simple. If the Saudis were culpable, they should be held accountable. If they had nothing to do with 9/11, they have nothing to fear,” Schumer said.

Lawmakers in both chambers needed to muster a two-thirds majority to override, and did so easily. The lone “no” vote in the Senate was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

With elections just over a month away, many lawmakers were reluctant to oppose a measure backed by 9/11 families who say they are still seeking justice 15 years after the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. A group of senators pledged to find ways to improve the measure during a post-election, lame-duck session of Congress.

Despite an expectation that Congress would override, the White House made a last-ditch attempt to fight it. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Reid, Obama warned the bill could cause chaos in U.S. foreign affairs, as other countries would use the measure to justify the creation of ways to target “U.S. policies and activities that they oppose.”

“As a result, our nation and its armed forces, State Department, intelligence officials and others may find themselves subject to lawsuits in foreign courts.” Obama wrote in a letter delivered Tuesday.

But Cornyn, one of the bill’s leading proponents, dismissed Obama’s concerns as “unpersuasive.” Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, and other supporters said the bill is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism that occur on U.S. soil.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, moved to the floor of the Senate in May and passed by voice vote. The bill cleared the House earlier this month, also by voice vote.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a letter Monday to a senior member of Congress, said he’s sympathetic to the intent of the measure. But the legislation could lead to the public disclosure of American secrets and even undercut counterterrorism efforts by sowing mistrust among U.S. partners and allies, according to Carter.

With the override, the bill will now become law. During his nearly two full terms in office, Obama had never had a veto overridden by Congress.

The legislation gives victims’ families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks. Fifteen of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Courts would be permitted to waive a claim of foreign sovereign immunity when an act of terrorism occurs inside U.S. borders, according to the terms of the bill. Saudi Arabia has objected vehemently to the legislation.

Obama vetoed the measure last week, telling lawmakers the bill would make the U.S. vulnerable to retaliatory litigation in foreign courts that could put U.S. troops in legal jeopardy.

But the bill’s proponents have disputed Obama’s rationale as “unconvincing and unsupportable,” saying the measure is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism that occur on U.S. soil.

Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow and co-chair of September 11th Advocates, criticized Carter’s assessment, saying that the defense secretary had testified before Congress last week that he wasn’t an expert on the bill.