Archive for the ‘Trump agenda’ category

Trump’s Constructive Chaos

October 19, 2017

Trump’s Constructive Chaos, Hoover InstitutionVictor Davis Hanson, October 18, 2017

(The old order changeth yielding place to new…. Alfred Tennyson — DM)

The Obama presidency was atypical in many ways—even when compared to other Democratic administrations, such as Bill Clinton’s. Obama tried to move the country hard to the left and, in the process, radicalized and then eroded the Democratic Party at the local, state, and federal levels. And with the loss of a once solidly Democratic Congress, Obama was reduced to running the government by fiat and edict rather than through legislative compromise and cooperation.

The national debt doubled to $20 trillion. The economy stagnated. Labor non-participation rates soared. Near zero interest rates wiped out the purchasing power of middle-class savers. Scandals at the IRS, the GSA, and the VA abounded; the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Justice Department were all politicized. The country divided further along racial and ethnic lines.

Abroad, Russian reset failed. Efforts to pivot to Asia and to deter Chinese expansionism died on the vine. Red lines in Syria were ignored. There was no containment of North Korea’s nuclear expansion. The Libyan intervention made things worse. The withdrawal from Iraq left behind a “secure” country in a word, a failed one in fact. The surge against the Taliban ended up as a telegraphed stalemate. The war against a “jayvee” ISIS stalled. There were many secrets hidden in the Iran deal.

To address these challenges, Trump could have tried carefully to patch things up in a makeshift and incremental fashion. Or he could have found such ad hoc mending largely a waste of time, and instead found a better solution in slashing and burning the mess that was left, in order to create new policies from scratch. Trump chose the latter option—and predictably, as the old order declined chaos has followed ever since.

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Almost daily, President Trump manages to incense the media, alarm the world abroad, and enrage his Democratic opposition. Not since Ronald Reagan’s first year in office has change and disruption come so fast from the White House.

Let’s consider foreign affairs first. In response to North Korea’s nuclear threats to hit the American West coast, Trump promised Kim Jung-un utter destruction. And for sport he ridicules him as “rocket man.” ISIS is now on the run. The terrorist group has given up on its once-promised caliphate—in part because Trump changed the rules of engagement and allowed American generals at the front to use their own judgment and discretion on how best to destroy their enemies. Trump has bowed out from certifying a continuation of the Iranian deal and sent it back to Congress for reform, rejection, or ratification. In the case of the Paris climate accord, he simply pulled the United States out completely, reminding its adherents that the use of natural gas has allowed America to reduce carbon emissions far more dramatically than have most of its critics. As in the case of the Iran deal, the Obama administration never sent the Paris agreement to the Senate for a treaty vote.

Domestically, too, Trump has not been afraid to make major changes. In terms of the so-called Dreamers—children who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents and protected by the DACA executive orders of Barack Obama—for now Trump has sent the matter back to the Congress for proper legislative review. On Obamacare, Trump has issued executive orders to free up the health market and remove subsidies and monopolistic regulations on how health plans are structured and sold. His reasoning was that the Obama executive orders on health care were illegal, so revising them was necessary and legal rather than inflammatory.

On cultural matters, Trump has waded into the NFL controversies, blasting players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem as unworthy to play. Trump—a thrice-married erstwhile womanizer and unlikely moralist—has condemned Hollywood mogul and sexual deviant Harvey Weinstein, and by implication the entire industry of celebrities that appeased and protected Weinstein’s vile behavior while lecturing America on its cowardly inability to call out sexual harassment.

Polls, to the extent they retain any credibility, are ambiguous about Trump’s chaotic leadership style. They show that the public is in agreement with Trump on most of these hot button issues, while not being especially fond of Trump himself—perhaps in the manner that patients may fear their oncologists but ultimately appreciate their treatments for metastasizing cancers.

So is Trump creating chaos, or simply cleaning up the political and cultural messes of the past decade—or both?

The answer is complex. To achieve perceived noble ends, the Obama administration often used dubious means, mostly through executive orders and by deceiving the public about Obamacare, illegal immigration, and the Iran deal. Now, Trump is using Obama’s own tools to reverse what Obama wrought.

Trump did not create a nuclear North Korea with missiles capable of hitting San Francisco. The appeasement that did was a result of thirty years of prior presidents passing the problem onto their successors in order to avoid a messy confrontation on their own watch. At some point, a reckoning was inevitable: either North Korea would establish a de facto right to deploy both nukes and intercontinental missiles, or be judged to be too unhinged to be allowed into the nuclear club.

Trump seemingly has deduced that North Korea cannot remain nuclear, and thus is trying to force China to rein in its client, while apprising Beijing that the past few years of U.S. appeasement were an aberration, and the new pushback the more normal American response. It is always easy to lose strategic deterrence, dangerous and costly to restore it.

Condemning ISIS as a group of medieval psychopaths who can only be stopped by annihilation and humiliation is not very Politically Correct—but that’s what Trump did. Such moral and military clarity is apparently impossible in today’s asymmetrical and unconventional wars of the Middle East. But Trump’s easy reliance on overwhelming firepower was as simplistic as it may have been effective—like Alexander the Great cutting apart the Gordian Knot instead of playing by the rules and vainly trying to unravel the knot’s endless folds and loops.

By any fair interpretation, the Paris climate agreement and the Iran deal were treaties and thus should have required a two-thirds vote from the Senate. Obama knew that ratification was impossible and would likely be unpopular, so he simply rebranded them as presidential protocols, signed them, and declared that they were legally binding agreements.

Trump is following the law by turning these agreements over to the Senate for debate and resolution. But he is also following his political instincts by assuming that both of these deals were flawed and put the United States at a disadvantage. Therefore, neither will likely win majority support in the Senate. Praise for stopping an illegal and unwise treaty or blame for reneging on an existing agreement will be shared with the senators rather than rest on Trump’s shoulders entirely.

Prior to the presidential election, illegal immigration had been ignored. Federal laws were unenforced. The border was not secure. Opportunistic parties leveraged illegal immigration for their own selfish agendas: the Left to recalibrate the electoral college of the American southwest, the right to ensure cheap labor, Mexico to obtain $25 billion in remittances and a safety valve for social oppression, and ethnic activists to perpetuate a near permanent constituency that will slow down assimilation, integration, and intermarriage.

Trump has not only committed to building a wall and deporting illegal aliens, but he has addressed the problem of sanctuary cities that in Confederate fashion defy U.S. laws. An incoherent multiculturalism often results in illegal immigrants celebrating Mexico and faulting the United States, romanticizing the country that they chose to leave while critiquing the one where they wish to stay.

As far as the NFL is concerned, the entire enterprise is an easy target. Most football fans are traditionalists and resent players kneeling during the National Anthem—much more so when such protestors are multimillionaires whose lucrative salaries depend on poorer fans attending or watching their games. If a country has no borders and cannot unite to stand for a brief expression of collective patriotism, then it symbolically does not exist as a country. The NFL bet otherwise, hoping that its players could be appeased and its fans would forgive and forget. But the fans have not forgotten and the players have only grown more emboldened by concessions of the terrified owners. Trump’s political instincts proved far more savvy than those of a naïve NFL, given that the league is now losing fans and money.

Are there any constant themes in all of Trump’s chaotic controversies?

The Obama presidency was atypical in many ways—even when compared to other Democratic administrations, such as Bill Clinton’s. Obama tried to move the country hard to the left and, in the process, radicalized and then eroded the Democratic Party at the local, state, and federal levels. And with the loss of a once solidly Democratic Congress, Obama was reduced to running the government by fiat and edict rather than through legislative compromise and cooperation.

The national debt doubled to $20 trillion. The economy stagnated. Labor non-participation rates soared. Near zero interest rates wiped out the purchasing power of middle-class savers. Scandals at the IRS, the GSA, and the VA abounded; the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Justice Department were all politicized. The country divided further along racial and ethnic lines.

Abroad, Russian reset failed. Efforts to pivot to Asia and to deter Chinese expansionism died on the vine. Red lines in Syria were ignored. There was no containment of North Korea’s nuclear expansion. The Libyan intervention made things worse. The withdrawal from Iraq left behind a “secure” country in word, a failed one in fact. The surge against the Taliban ended up as a telegraphed stalemate. The war against a “jayvee” ISIS stalled. There were many secrets hidden in the Iran deal.

To address these challenges, Trump could have tried carefully to patch things up in a makeshift and incremental fashion. Or he could have found such ad hoc mending largely a waste of time, and instead found a better solution in slashing and burning the mess that was left, in order to create new policies from scratch. Trump chose the latter option—and predictably, as the old order declined chaos has followed ever since.

 

 

Israel tries to balance Iran strategy between Trump and Putin

October 17, 2017

Israel tries to balance Iran strategy between Trump and Putin, DEBKAfile, October 17, 2017

(Please see also, Iran Plays Chess, We Play Checkers. — DM)

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, on October 17, 2017. Photo by Hadas Parush/FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** יד ושם
רוסיה
שר ההגנה הרוסי
סרגיי שויגו
שר הביטחון
אביגדור ליברמן
ראש הממשלה

The Israeli defense minister is due to fly to Washington Wednesday, Oct. 18, for talks with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabat goes on ahead to meet his US counterpart Gen. H.R. McMaster.

However, as seen from Moscow – and possibly Jerusalem too – the Trump administration is more to blame than any other actor operating in the Middle East for Iran’s deepening grip on Syria, US actions starkly contradicting the president’s fiery rhetoric against the Islamic Republic and all its actions.

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Israel’s leaders stressed to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu the importance of thwarting Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. But can’t expect much from Moscow – any more than Washington.  

Visiting Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu heard Tuesday, Oct. 17, from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman that Israel would not stand for Iran and Hizballah making Syria their forward operational base against Israel, and would act to prevent their military entrenchment along the Syrian-Israeli border.

This was not news to the Russian minister, on his first visit to Israel since his appointment five years ago. The Kremlin has heard this mantra time and time and again and the visitor must have wondered what his Israeli hosts expected him to do. Both Shoigu and his boss, President Vladimir Putin, would also prefer not to see Iran dug deep militarily in Syria. So oddly enough, Moscow and Jerusalem could find a sliver of common ground for cooperating in both Syria and Iraq, but for their different viewpoints. While the Russians are practical enough to live with a strong Iranian military presence in Syria so long as it serves their interests, Israel is flatly against Iran or its proxies’ proximity to its borders as a grave peril to its national security.

The Israeli defense minister is due to fly to Washington Wednesday, Oct. 18, for talks with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabat goes on ahead to meet his US counterpart Gen. H.R. McMaster.

However, as seen from Moscow – and possibly Jerusalem too – the Trump administration is more to blame than any other actor operating in the Middle East for Iran’s deepening grip on Syria, US actions starkly contradicting the president’s fiery rhetoric against the Islamic Republic and all its actions.

Since late September, the US has been drawing down most of its positions in eastern Syria, opening the door for Hizballah to walk in and for pro-Iranian Iraqi militias to take control of the Syrian-Iraqi border. This has made Tehran the strategic gift of its coveted land bridge to the Mediterranean.

Shoigu arrived in Tel Aviv on the day, Monday, Oct. 16, on which pro-Iranian militias under the command of a Revolutionary Guards general, Qassem Soleimani, swept the Iraqi oil center of Kirkuk out of the hands of America’s allies, the Kurdish Peshmerga, a leading light in the US-led coalition for fighting the Islamic State.

If Trump meant what he said about beating down the Revolutionary Guards, why did he not stop them from taking Kirkuk?

In contrast to the Kirkuk debacle, the US-backed SDF Syrian Kurdish-Arab force said Tuesday that the Islamic State’s Syrian capital of Raqqa had fallen after a bitter four-month battle. The Kurdish YPG militia raised its flag over the municipal stadium and chanted victory slogans from vehicles driving through the streets.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that when word of the victory reached the White House, Brett McGurk, President Trump’s special envoy for the global coalition versus ISIS, set out from Washington to Raqqa

But that operation was the exception – not the rule. In Iraq, Washington stood by as the Revolutionary Guards called the shots against the Kurds.

For weeks, Moscow has been asking Washington to explain what it is up to on the Syrian and Iraqi warfronts and has come up empty. Israeli visitors are unlikely to fare much better when they put the same question to top Trump administration officials, even taking into account the profound difference in the relationship between Jerusalem and Washington compared with Moscow and Jerusalem.

 

Repeal and Replace In Farsi

October 13, 2017

Repeal and Replace In Farsi, Washington Free Beacon, October 13, 2017

(Are the media playing games with their headlines as usual or are their reports accurate? Here’s a link to the principal Times of Israel article cited, Netanyahu at odds with security team over Iran deal. — DM)

President Donald Trump is flanked by GOP senators to discuss health care / Getty Images

[T]he headlines preceding today’s remarks have been almost entirely shaped by the deal’s supporters, by the echo chamber that promoted and distorted the aims and conditions of the agreement to begin with. These were but some of the stories in Thursday’s edition of the Times of Israel: “Barak urges Trump not to decertify Iran nuke deal,” “Netanyahu at odds with security team over Iran deal,” “With Trump set to decertify Iran deal, experts tell Congress to stick to accord,” “Jewish Democrats who opposed Iran nuke deal now urge Trump to keep it.” You have to look hard for a piece detailing Iranian noncompliance, explaining the process of decertification and its relation to the overarching agreement, or quoting defenders of the president and his policy.

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President Trump is expected to announce today that he cannot certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement over its nuclear program that it entered into with the United States and five other nations in 2015. The president’s decision, according to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, will commence a 60-day expedited legislative process during which the Republican-controlled Congress may re-impose sanctions against the Islamic theocracy for its intransigence and belligerence. Sanctions, I might add, that should never have been lifted in the first place.

What is striking is that, with the exception of Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, none of the Republicans and Democrats who opposed the nuclear deal two years ago with such vehemence have gone out of their way to prepare the ground and make the national security case for the president’s decision.

Now, the Democrats I can understand. They are just playing to type. To say a kind word for Trump’s attempt to improve the deal would violate the secular commandment to resist his very being. The Republican silence, by contrast, is far more maddening.

This is the party that invited Bibi Netanyahu to criticize the deal in an address to a joint session of Congress. This is the party whose 2016 platform reads, “A Republican president will not be bound by” the deal and “We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the survival of our friends.” This is the party that nominated and elected a president who said his “number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

Yet the headlines preceding today’s remarks have been almost entirely shaped by the deal’s supporters, by the echo chamber that promoted and distorted the aims and conditions of the agreement to begin with. These were but some of the stories in Thursday’s edition of the Times of Israel: “Barak urges Trump not to decertify Iran nuke deal,” “Netanyahu at odds with security team over Iran deal,” “With Trump set to decertify Iran deal, experts tell Congress to stick to accord,” “Jewish Democrats who opposed Iran nuke deal now urge Trump to keep it.” You have to look hard for a piece detailing Iranian noncompliance, explaining the process of decertification and its relation to the overarching agreement, or quoting defenders of the president and his policy.

And the reason you have to look hard is that there are few elected Republicans who are taking the lead on this issue. Internal division, uncertainty, and personal rivalry may once again prevent the congressional GOP from achieving the aims it has stated loudly and proudly for years. The parallels to the attempted repeal and replacement of Obamacare are startling and, for this conservative, disturbing. “This is health care for us,” Ben Rhodes said of the Iran deal back in 2014. It would be both a diplomatic and a political disaster if the Republicans flopped as badly while trying to undo the central achievement of Barack Obama’s second term as they had while trying to undo the central achievement of his first.

Iranian noncompliance is a no-brainer. Look at the number of advanced centrifuges Iran is currently operating, its repeated violation of limits on its heavy water stocks, its underground efforts to obtain nuclear- and missile-related technologies. Look at the IAEA’s acknowledgment in September that it has difficulty verifying compliance with Section T of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which forbids “activities which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

And look at the Swiss cheese inspections regime. How can the president in good conscience certify compliance when no Americans are involved in the inspections, when inspections are limited to “declared” nuclear sites, when the Iranians have 24 days to prepare for IAEA inspections of other locations, when inspectors are forbidden from examining military bases? We have no idea what is going on in such places, much less in the places we do not know about. Remember: We didn’t know about the installations at Natanz and Arak until 2002 and the one at Fordow until 2009.

Of course a serious agreement would allow access to military locations. The apologies for Iranian stubbornness on this point are absurd. “For many Iranians—including those who support the nuclear deal—keeping inspectors out of military facilities is a point of national pride,” write Shashank Bengali and Ramin Mostaghim of the Los Angeles Times. Funny that national pride is okay as long as it’s Iran we’re talking about. Bengali and Mostaghim quote a “newspaper employee” in Tehran, Susan Saderi, who says, “It’s our country, and any country’s defense systems should be off limits to international inspections.”

No offense, Ms. Saderi, but you know whose defense systems are not off limits to international inspections?

  1. Associated Press from 2014: “Russians inspect Montana nuclear launch facilities.”
  2. Washington Free Beacon from 2014: “Russian Inspectors to Check U.S. Nuclear Cuts Amid Ukraine Crisis.”
  3. Fortune last August: “Russian Surveillance Plane Makes Low-Flying Pass of Capitol and Pentagon.”
  4. Wall Street Journal last August: “Top U.S. General Breaks Bread With Chinese Soldiers on North Korea’s Doorstep.”

Ok, the PLA probably didn’t allow General Dunford to count ammo stocks in Shenyang. But the point stands. The arms control treaties we signed with the Soviet Union permitted American inspectors to visit military locations. That was the whole point of trust but verify. President Obama may have trusted the Iranians—but then President Obama trusted Harvey Weinstein to oversee his daughter’s post-high school internship earlier this year. Why should Donald Trump play the patsy?

“If the political branches, [work] on a bipartisan basis on the parts of the deal we all know are flawed,” Cotton said earlier this month, “we will have the strong and unified front between Democrats and Republicans, and between Congress and the president, that the Iran deal never enjoyed. That unity will help the president forge a unified position with our allies—not only the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, but also Israel and our Arab allies. Then it will be Russia and China who must choose between a stronger deal and being isolated and in league with the ayatollahs.”

Are Republicans prepared to close ranks in a “strong and unified front” to remove the sunset clauses from the Iran deal, impose further limits on Iranian centrifuges, include Americans on IAEA inspection teams that have access to Iranian military bases, and constrain Iranian missile development? Or will they prove as disunited, feckless, spiteful, and incompetent as they did during the repeal and replace debacle?

I’m not sure I want to know the answer.

It’s 1968 all over again

October 12, 2017

It’s 1968 all over again, Washington TimesVictor Davis Hanson, October 11, 2017

Illustration on two contending American political forces by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

After the polarizing Obama presidency and the contested election of Donald Trump, the country is once again split in two.

As was the case in 1968, the world abroad is also falling apart.

Yet for all the social instability and media hysteria, life in the United States quietly seems to be getting better.

The economy is growing. Unemployment and inflation remain low. The stock market and middle-class incomes are up.

Business and consumer confidence are high. Corporate profits are up. Energy production has expanded. The border with Mexico is being enforced.

Is the instability less a symptom that America is falling apart and more a sign that the loud conventional wisdom of the past — about the benefits of a globalized economy, the insignificance of national borders and the importance of identity politics — is drawing to a close, along with the careers of those who profited from it?

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Almost a half-century ago, in 1968, the United States seemed to be falling apart.

The Vietnam War, a bitter and close presidential election, anti-war protests, racial riots, political assassinations, terrorism and a recession looming on the horizon left the country divided between a loud radical minority and a silent conservative majority.

The United States avoided a civil war. But America suffered a collective psychological depression, civil unrest, defeat in Vietnam and assorted disasters for the next decade — until the election of a once-polarizing Ronald Reagan ushered in five consecutive presidential terms of relative bipartisan calm and prosperity from 1981 to 2001.

It appears as if 2017 might be another 1968. Recent traumatic hurricanes seem to reflect the country’s human turmoil.

After the polarizing Obama presidency and the contested election of Donald Trump, the country is once again split in two.

But this time the divide is far deeper, both ideologically and geographically — with the two liberal coasts pitted against red-state America in between.

Century-old mute stone statues are torn down in the dead of night, apparently on the theory that by attacking the Confederate dead, the lives of the living might improve.

All the old standbys of American life seem to be eroding. The National Football League is imploding as it devolves into a political circus. Multimillionaire players refuse to stand for the national anthem, turning off millions of fans whose former loyalties paid their salaries.

Politics — or rather a progressive hatred of the provocative Donald Trump — permeates almost every nook and cranny of popular culture.

The new allegiance of the media, late-night television, stand-up comedy, Hollywood, professional sports and universities is committed to liberal sermonizing. Politically correct obscenity and vulgarity among celebrities and entertainers is a substitute for talent, even as Hollywood is wracked by sexual harassment scandals and other perversities.

The smears “racist,” “fascist,” “white privilege” and “Nazi” — like “commie” of the 1950s — are so overused as to become meaningless. There is now less free speech on campus than during the McCarthy era of the early 1950s.

As was the case in 1968, the world abroad is also falling apart.

The European Union, model of the future, is unraveling. The EU has been paralyzed by the exit of Great Britain, the divide between Spain and Catalonia, the bankruptcy of Mediterranean nation members, insidious terrorist attacks in major European cities and the onslaught of millions of immigrants — mostly young, male and Muslim — from the war-torn Middle East. Germany is once again becoming imperious, but this time insidiously by means other than arms.

The failed state of North Korea claims that it has nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching America’s West Coast — and apparently wants some sort of bribe not to launch them.

Iran is likely to follow the North Korea nuclear trajectory. In the meantime, its new Shiite hegemony in the Middle East is feeding on the carcasses of Syria and Iraq.

Is the chaos of 2017 a catharsis — a necessary and long-overdue purge of dangerous and neglected pathologies? Will the bedlam within the United States descend into more nihilism, or offer a remedy to the status quo that had divided and nearly bankrupted the country?

Is the problem too much democracy, as the volatile and fickle mob runs roughshod over establishment experts and experienced bureaucrats? Or is the crisis too little democracy, as populists strive to dethrone a scandal-plagued, anti-democratic, incompetent and overrated entrenched elite?

Neither traditional political party has any answers.

Democrats are being overwhelmed by the identity politics and socialism of progressives. Republicans are torn asunder between upstart populist nationalists and the calcified establishment status quo.

Yet for all the social instability and media hysteria, life in the United States quietly seems to be getting better.

The economy is growing. Unemployment and inflation remain low. The stock market and middle-class incomes are up.

Business and consumer confidence are high. Corporate profits are up. Energy production has expanded. The border with Mexico is being enforced.

Is the instability less a symptom that America is falling apart and more a sign that the loud conventional wisdom of the past — about the benefits of a globalized economy, the insignificance of national borders and the importance of identity politics — is drawing to a close, along with the careers of those who profited from it?

In the past, any crisis that did not destroy the United States ended up making it stronger. But for now, the fight grows over which is more toxic — the chronic statist malady that was eating away the country, or the new populist medicine deemed necessary to cure it.

• Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

The League of Extraordinary Candidates: Economic Nationalist Leaders Plan for Anti-Establishment Midterm Tsunami to Force Change

October 9, 2017

The League of Extraordinary Candidates: Economic Nationalist Leaders Plan for Anti-Establishment Midterm Tsunami to Force Change, BreitbartMatthew Boyle,  October 8, 2017

Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty Images

Conservatives and economic nationalist leaders are looking past the current dysfunction in Washington to a group of new and exciting young candidates throwing their hats in the ring nationwide to break the gridlock with midterm election victories.

This group of individuals, which some are calling “The League of Extraordinary Candidates,” is emerging nationally—a distinct slate of U.S. Senate and House candidates, as well as key gubernatorial contenders, all united in their focus on breaking the logjam in Congress. Movement leaders view establishment Republicans and Democrats alike as a force blocking, slow-walking, or stonewalling the agenda that President Donald J. Trump campaigned on, and aim to elect new voices by riding a new economic nationalist electoral wave in 2018 meant to mirror and surpass what happened in previous wave elections like 2010—which saw the rise of the Tea Party.

“We’re planning on building a broad anti-establishment coalition to replace the Republican Party of old with fresh new blood and fresh new ideas,” Andy Surabian, a senior adviser to the Great America Alliance and ex-White House aide, told Breitbart News.

Surabian worked alongside Stephen K. Bannon, the now former White House chief strategist, during their White House tenure and is now working with the Great America Alliance—a pro-Trump Super PAC run by ex-Ronald Reagan aide Ed Rollins that doubles as a fundraising powerhouse, having raised $30 million last year to help the president.

“The only thing the Republican establishment has succeeded in is clarifying to the American people that they don’t represent their interests,” Surabian added. “Their repeated failures to govern have only crystallized their lack of vision or backbone. The group of candidates we are looking to support in 2018 are all bound together in their agreement that the new Republican Party must be bold in their thinking and aggressive in their tactics.”

The movement that is emerging to back candidates nationally in these critical upcoming primaries and general elections—combined with the candidates themselves, almost a decentralized and loosely organized political party in and of itself—is filled with some of the strongest conservative voices and a broad spectrum across the movement.

“What I’m seeing is a lot of anger, frustration, and disappointment from voters around the country,” Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots, a key grassroots organization, told Breitbart News. “They are angry at the lack of Republican leadership on Capitol Hill, and many think it’s time to ditch Mitch as the leader of the Senate. What I am beginning to remind people and let people know is I’m meeting incredible candidates around the country who are willing to take on the Republican status quo. I’ve seen candidates from Montana to Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, who are ready to take on the status quo and be the leaders we need. It’s very tempting to just brush your hands and just say ‘I’m done with all of it.’ It’s very tempting because we’re so angry. If we do that, the swamp wins. Now is the time to dig in and fight even harder, and that’s what Tea Party Citizens Fund is prepared to do.”

Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council’s president, added that he expects a wave election next year unlike any conservatives have experienced before—even bigger than Trump’s historic win in 2016.

“The conservative tidal wave that carried Donald Trump into the White House may soon be eclipsed by what appears to be a conservative tsunami that threatens the establishment death grip on the U.S. Senate,” Perkins told Breitbart News.

The New York Times reported on Sunday morning that Blackwater founder Erik Prince is considering a U.S. Senate run in Wyoming against incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).

“Erik Prince, the founder of the security contractor Blackwater, is seriously considering a Republican primary challenge for a Senate seat in Wyoming, potentially adding a high-profile contender to a fledgling drive to oust establishment lawmakers with insurgents in the mold of President Trump,” the Times’ Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, and Jeremy Peters wrote. “Mr. Prince appears increasingly likely to challenge John Barrasso, a senior member of the Senate Republican leadership, according to people who have spoken to him in recent days. He has been urged to run next year by Stephen K. Bannon, who is leading the effort to shake up the Republican leadership with financial backing from the New York hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. Over the weekend, Mr. Prince traveled to Wyoming with his family to explore ways to establish residency there, said one person who had spoken to him.”

The move comes in the wake of Judge Roy Moore’s historic victory in Alabama, where he defeated appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in a GOP primary runoff on Sept. 26 despite Strange’s dozens-of-millions-of-dollars financial advantage and backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. A large part of the focus of Moore’s campaign was on the failures of McConnell atop the Senate GOP conference, and while the two have spoken since Moore’s victory, it is unlikely Moore will ever be supportive of McConnell remaining in control.

Meanwhile, McConnell allies elsewhere are dropping like flies. In the hours leading up to Moore’s historic more-than-9-percent victory over Strange, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)—the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and reliable McConnell friend—announced his plans to retire. Establishment forces in Washington around McConnell desperately shifted their efforts to attempt to convince Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam—a wealthy self-funder—to jump into the race to replace Corker. McConnell and his pals failed, and now conservative anti-establishment Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has emerged as the front-running candidate in Tennessee’s GOP senatorial primaries. McConnell’s allies continue to search for a new candidate to prop up in Tennessee against Blackburn but are thus far unable to find anyone viable. Trump, meanwhile, has taken to Twitter on Sunday morning to lambast Corker even more—something that further embarrasses McConnell for his failed leadership:

Senator Bob Corker “begged” me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said “NO” and he dropped out (said he could not win without…

..my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said “NO THANKS.” He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!

…Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!

Corker fired back with his own tweet, accusing Trump of being in need of supervision:

It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.

While this is emblematic of one of the more brutal fights out there, it’s not just Tennessee and Wyoming where McConnell and establishment Republicans are down on their luck. Weak incumbent Republicans face tough primaries in both Arizona and Nevada, where the vehemently anti-Trump Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dean Heller (R-NV) face conservative pro-Trump challengers next year. Danny Tarkanian, a businessman and son of the legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, is running against Heller while former state senator Dr. Kelli Ward is running hard against Flake in Arizona. Both Tarkanian and Ward are polling ahead of the incumbent senators nearly a year from the election, something causing great alarm for the GOP establishment in Washington.

Then, moving on down to Mississippi, state senator Chris McDaniel—an economic nationalist firebrand—is likely to run against Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). That race, like McDaniel’s burn-it-down campaign in 2014 against Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) where McDaniel actually won the primary with Republicans but Cochran only survived due to his campaign dirty tricks by paying Democrats in the black community to vote for him, is almost certain to put an outsized focus on McConnell’s failures—and Wicker’s connection to them—as well.

That does not even begin to address what may happen in other states. While GOP establishment forces may try to sell it as though they like Missouri’s attorney general Josh Hawley in the primary there, it’s conservatives who are more fired up about Hawley’s campaign with many top grassroots leaders telling Breitbart News privately in the past few days that the likely guy to face off against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in November 2018 is a hardcore conservative who will not go along to get along like McConnell wants in Washington. In West Virginia, McConnell and his allies are pushing a former Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2008, now Republican Rep. Evan Jenkins, while most other Republicans and conservatives are aligning behind the state’s attorney general Patrick Morrissey. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott is eyeing a bid for U.S. Senate—something that would not bode well for the Majority Leader either—and conservatives are coalescing behind Matt Rosendale in Montana.

In Ohio, conservative Republican Josh Mandel—Ohio’s state treasurer—is emerging as the frontrunner to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and in Wisconsin conservative outsider Kevin Nicholson is pulling ahead of establishment-backed state Sen. Leah Vukmir in the primaries ahead of a general election battle with incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Anti-establishment Corey Stewart, who nearly won the GOP primary for governor in Virginia earlier this year, starts off this coming year as the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination for U.S. senate in next year’s senate battle. And conservatives, Breitbart News can confirm, are looking for challengers to incumbent Republicans in Nebraska and Utah, where Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are for now seeking reelection.

Conservatives are also, per the Times, looking at Maine for a potential strong challenger to incumbent Sen. Angus King (I-ME), an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

“Mr. Bannon is also hoping to persuade Ann LePage, the wife of Maine’s outspoken governor, Paul LePage, to run for the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Angus King, an independent who is up for re-election in 2018,” the Times’ Haberman, Thrush, and Peters wrote.

In other words, conservatives are considering a full slate of candidates nationally in open races and those with Democrat incumbents—and running or actively seeking out serious primary challengers for every GOP incumbent senator up for reelection next year except for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)—all part of an effort to wrest control of the Republican Party away from failed leaders and hand it to fresh blood. That doesn’t even mention House or gubernatorial races: On the House side of things, conservatives have their eyes on taking down many failed incumbent establishment Republicans and are also even looking at many open races. That picture, movement leaders say, is expected to come together more clearly in the days and weeks ahead.

Israel Takes on the SHIA Crescent

October 2, 2017

Israel Takes on the SHIA Crescent, Front Page MagazineJoseph Klein, October 2, 2017

At least, Israel has a more sympathetic ear in the Trump administration than it did in the Obama administration for raising its concerns about Iran’s growing threat, not only to Israel but to U.S. interests in the region and beyond. President Trump’s sharp denunciation of the Iranian regime during his address to the UN General Assembly represented a welcome departure from the Obama administration’s milquetoast approach to Iran. 

As the U.S.-led coalition continues to drive ISIS from its bases of operation in Syria, the Trump administration has proclaimed its intention not to allow Iran to turn Syria into its own satellite, as Iran has essentially done in Iraq. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that the “so called liberation of areas by Assad’s forces and Iranian proxies could actually accelerate the cycle of violence and perpetuate conflict rather than get us to a sustainable outcome.” He claimed that the Trump administration’s “objectives are to weaken Iranian influence across the region broadly,” without discussing the means to accomplish those objectives.

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Despite Israel’s repeated warnings, Barack Obama’s reckless appeasement of the Iranian regime has enabled its rise as a hegemonic threat in the Middle East region as well as a threat to international peace and security. In 2009, Obama turned his back on millions of dissidents in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, who were peacefully protesting the rigged election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. In 2011, Obama precipitously removed the remaining U.S. combat troops from Iraq, giving rise to ISIS’s re-emergence in Iraq from its bases in Syria. The radical Shiite Iranian regime purported to come to the “rescue” of both countries from the Sunni terrorists, turning Iraq into a virtual vassal state of the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the process. Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran legitimized Iran’s path to eventually becoming a nuclear-armed state, while immediately filling its coffers with billions of dollars to fund its aggression. 

Meanwhile, Syria has become ground zero for Iran’s execution of its regional ambitions, which is to establish its Shiite Crescent connecting with its allies, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This plan has included the establishment of a land route that Iranian-backed militias secured in June, beginning on Iran’s border with Iraq and running across Iraq and Syria all the way to Syria’s Mediterranean coast. This road makes Iran’s job easier in supplying arms by land, as well as by air and sea, to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and to equip Iran’s own forces fighting inside of Syria in support of Assad. This helps explain why Iran has placed so much importance on helping the Syrian regime establish control over the Deir ez-Zor area in eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border.

“Everything depends now on the Americans’ willingness to stop this,” said an Iraqi Kurdish official who was quoted in a New Yorker article. However, U.S.-led coalition forces apparently have done next to nothing to stop this major advance in Iran’s Shiite Crescent expansion. “Obama ran down our options in Syria so thoroughly, by the time this administration took over,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “The Iranian influence is spreading because they are so heavily involved in regime activities,” Tabler added. “It’s a new monster.”

Furthermore, Iran has funded and armed its terrorist proxy Hezbollah, which has sent its militia from its home base of Lebanon to fight alongside Assad’s forces.  And Iran has used Syria as a transit point for shipment of sophisticated rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon for future use against Israeli population centers. Despite the fact that Hezbollah has American blood on its hands, the U.S.-led coalition has chosen not to do anything about Hezbollah’s presence in Syria, bought and paid for by Iran.

While Israel chose not to take sides in Syria’s civil war with military intervention of its own, it has bombed weapons storage facilities and convoys inside Syria for its own protection. Just recently, on September 7th, Israeli jets struck a Syrian weapons facility near Masyaf, which was reported to have been used for the production of chemical weapons and the storage of missiles. Israel will also do what is necessary to repel Iranian-backed forces if they edge too close to areas near the Golan Heights, shrinking the buffer between Israel and Iranian controlled territories.

However, such tactical measures may not be enough to thwart Iran’s larger ambitions. In light of intelligence reports that Assad may be ready to invite Iran to set up military bases in Syria, Israeli leaders have concluded that they cannot wait until the Trump administration decides to deal more forcefully with Iran’s growing use of Syria as a staging area for carrying out its expansionist Shiite Crescent strategy.  “Their overriding concern in Syria is the free reign that all the major players there seem willing to afford Iran and its various proxies in the country,” wrote Jonathan Spyer in an article for Foreign Policy. As long as nobody else is addressing the concern Iran’s growing control raises in a satisfactory manner, “Israel is determined to continue addressing it on its own.”

At least, Israel has a more sympathetic ear in the Trump administration than it did in the Obama administration for raising its concerns about Iran’s growing threat, not only to Israel but to U.S. interests in the region and beyond. President Trump’s sharp denunciation of the Iranian regime during his address to the UN General Assembly represented a welcome departure from the Obama administration’s milquetoast approach to Iran.

As the U.S.-led coalition continues to drive ISIS from its bases of operation in Syria, the Trump administration has proclaimed its intention not to allow Iran to turn Syria into its own satellite, as Iran has essentially done in Iraq. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that the “so called liberation of areas by Assad’s forces and Iranian proxies could actually accelerate the cycle of violence and perpetuate conflict rather than get us to a sustainable outcome.” He claimed that the Trump administration’s “objectives are to weaken Iranian influence across the region broadly,” without discussing the means to accomplish those objectives.

Whether the Trump administration follows through remains to be seen. In the meantime, Israel will have to deal with the fallout of Iran’s ambitions in Syria itself.

Two Fighters Come Together in Alabama

September 27, 2017

Two Fighters Come Together in Alabama, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, September 27, 2017

(Please see also, Roy Moore and the Triumph of Hope Over Money. — DM)

“I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him,” Trump vowed if Moore won. And, in one of his final ads, Moore declared, “I can’t wait.” By winning, Moore earned that campaigning.

When the race begins in earnest, two fighters will come together to campaign in Alabama.

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Early this century, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued to remove the Ten Commandments from an Alabama courthouse. The case ended with Judge Roy Moore, the democratically elected Alabama Chief Justice, being removed from the bench for refusing to take down the Ten Commandments.

“Justice was served today,” the president of the leftist hate group cheered. “A public official who defied the law was removed from office.”

But the Southern Poverty Law Center couldn’t keep Roy Moore down no matter how hard it tried.

Last September, the SPLC was still fighting to remove Moore from the bench after his return. Now it will have to fight to remove him from the Senate because Roy Moore does not give up.

Roy Moore didn’t give up when a Federal judge and the Alabama Supreme Court ordered him to take down the Ten Commandments. He didn’t give up when he was removed from the bench. He didn’t give up in the face of a ruling by the United States Supreme Court and another suspension. He didn’t give up when he was massively outspent in every election. Including this one. Because he doesn’t give up.

There’s something to be said for a man who fights for what he believes in. And who won’t give up.

Agree or disagree with Roy Moore, no one can deny that he’s a fighter who overcomes long odds. He won his first election as a longshot candidate despite being outspent ten to one. He won his second election after being outspent six to one. He won the GOP Senate runoff last night after, once again, being outspent six to one. Including five to one on television advertising. And he won it by a landslide.

And by fighting for it, Judge Roy Moore earned his shot at the Senate.

It’s no secret that Republicans have lost winnable Senate seats when candidates with impeccable convictions, but poor electability, went to the front of the line. There’s nothing wrong with making electability a priority. A candidate who can’t win is just opening the door for a Democrat.

When Republicans replaced Jack Ryan with Alan Keyes, the outcome was the Obama nightmare. Keyes was a good man. But he wasn’t the right man to run against Barack Hussein Obama.

President Trump went down to Alabama to campaign for the candidate who could win. The presumption was that the most electable candidate was Luther Strange. By winning, Roy Moore proved he could win even when the big odds and the big money were against him. He proved that he deserved Trump’s support. Just the way that Trump proved that he deserved the support of his voters.

Principles and conviction are vital. But the acid test of politics is victory.

“I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him,” Trump vowed if Moore won. And, in one of his final ads, Moore declared, “I can’t wait.” By winning, Moore earned that campaigning.

Trump is a businessman. He doesn’t reflexively support establishment or populist candidates. He needs to expand the Senate deck enough to be able to get things done without Democrat interference. And, at the very least, he needs a Senate firewall for his agenda and against the inevitable impeachment push.

These days, politics looks like war. And elections are tests by fire.

After Trump’s win, Democrats poured all their resources into winning special elections. And those were House races. There’s no doubt whatsoever that they will throw money into Alabama.

The Dems burned $40 million on four special elections. They are going to throw more than that into the pot for a Senate seat. Sessions won an uncontested election in 2014 with 97% of the vote after winning his seat by growing margins in every election.

But you can bet that this time around, it will be contested. Because while there might be seats that are statistically safe, there are no safe seats. The Democrat ethos is “total war” on every battlefield. And while the left is eager to stage campus riots and post selfies of themselves taking a knee, they are not about to neglect the old fashioned conflict of the election with its smears and provocations.

Some Republicans aren’t ready for “total war”, but Judge Roy Moore has been swimming in it for decades. He understands what it’s like to be the face of a culture war in a way few Republicans do.

And the election will just be a preview of the pitched battles in the Senate over ObamaCare, illegal alien amnesty and dozens of other conflicted issues that have left that body so fundamentally ineffectual.

It will take strength, courage and determination to face all that. And that is what the runoff was about.

Like Trump, Roy Moore persevered despite being outspent. He relied on populism instead of big ad spending. And, like Trump, he won because he is the face of a cultural counterrevolution.

Moore didn’t have the race handed to him on a silver platter. He had to fight for it. He was never the inevitable and untested candidate. Instead he, once again, had to overcome big odds to win.

And he did it. That is what President Trump respects.

There are plenty of electable candidates who can win when the odds are on their side. But, as we saw in the presidential election, the odds aren’t fixed. The polls are often wrong. Manufactured scandals shift the tide. And no Republican is so noble that the media can’t make him look lower than mud in a week.

The truly remarkable political creature is the “unelectable” candidate who wins anyway, who wins even though he isn’t supposed to, who wins even though the big money is against him and who wins even though the media spends all day shouting that he is the worst man that ever lived. That’s a true fighter.

Trump is such a candidate. So is Roy Moore.

The runoff wasn’t about populists and the establishment. It was a test of whether Roy Moore could do in a Senate election what he was able to do in his judicial contests. And the verdict is in.

Roy Moore and Donald Trump are certainly not the same man. Their beliefs differ in some areas. But they’re both fighters. And the GOP is looking for fighters more than for ideological conformity.

It needs men and women who are ready to fight for what they believe in. And who are good at it. Roy Moore proved once again in Alabama that he can fight. And that he can win.

When the race begins in earnest, two fighters will come together to campaign in Alabama.