Archive for the ‘Trump agenda’ category

Deep State Resisters at State Dept. Defy Jerusalem Directive

December 12, 2017

Deep State Resisters at State Dept. Defy Jerusalem Directive, FrontPage MagazineAri Lieberman, December 12, 2017

(Please see also, US must include “sovereignty” in Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act and U.S. Still Won’t List Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital on Official Docs, Passports, Maps. — DM)

It appears that the State Department, staffed with a cadre of career civil servants and employees of the diplomatic corps, is conducting its own foreign policy, one that deviates from the goals of the White House and undermines its objectives. This group is perhaps more fanatical in its opposition to the president’s historic declaration than some Arab leaders.

While the State Department can obstruct, impede and delay, it is ultimately Trump who has the final say. He must demand progress reports from the State Department to ensure that those entrusted with the embassy move are taking the necessary steps to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in expeditious fashion. As for the passport issue, Trump can easily remedy this area of discord by issuing a clear and unambiguous directive to his secretary of state to permit U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birthplace on official documents.

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Following President Trump’s historic declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, West Bank and Gazan Arabs took to the streets in rage. They burned U.S. and Israeli flags. They cursed America, Israel and the Yahuds (Jews). Their imams cited verses from the Koran and the Hadiths about the usurpers and interlopers and the “descendants of apes and pigs.” In other words, it was business as usual for the Palestinians. Nothing had changed.

At the State Department too, it was business as usual. In a transparent effort to placate the Arab bloc, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the process of moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would take several years. Tillerson is said to have counseled Trump against recognition.  

Then, at a Washington DC press briefing on December 7, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield was evasive when asked by AP journalist Matt Lee, “what country is Jerusalem in.” Satterfield acknowledged that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel but paradoxically could not say definitively that Jerusalem was located in Israel. Satterfield went on to note that consistent with current State Department policy, U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem would not be able to state their place of birth as “Israel” on their passports. The only options currently available to U.S citizens born in Jerusalem are to note either “Jerusalem” as their place of birth or if born prior to 1948, “Palestine.”

This then is the absurdity that the White House must contend with. It appears that the State Department, staffed with a cadre of career civil servants and employees of the diplomatic corps, is conducting its own foreign policy, one that deviates from the goals of the White House and undermines its objectives. This group is perhaps more fanatical in its opposition to the president’s historic declaration than some Arab leaders.

Their resistance is motivated by a myriad of reasons. Some simply hate Trump and this offers an opportunity to engage in obstructionism. Some are deeply anti-Semitic and their sympathies lie squarely in the Arab camp. Others view change and bold action as a threat and prefer the status quo. Whatever their motivations, they are working in concert to delay and obstruct the president’s bold new policy initiatives aimed at supporting a loyal ally and acknowledging reality while at the same time breaking the deadlock and reviving an anemic peace process based on a foundation of truth.

This isn’t the first time that the White House was confronted with such obstructionism from the State Department. In 1948, Secretary of State George C. Marshall vehemently opposed U.S. recognition of the nascent state of Israel and attempted to subvert President Harry Truman’s desire to extend diplomatic recognition. He told Truman that if Truman extended recognition, he would not be able to vote for him in the next presidential election. A statement like that represents a direct challenge to the president and is tantamount to a threat to resign. Ultimately, Truman took the morally correct path, disregarded Marshall’s protestations and extended de-facto recognition (de-jure recognition was extended in 1949) while Marshall continued to serve as Secretary of State.

The State Department’s current position as enumerated by Satterfield is also inconsistent with the will of Congress. In 2002, Congress passed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. Section 214(d) of the FRAA states in relevant part “For purposes of the registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem, the Secretary shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.”

In 2015, a divided Supreme Court struck down the law stating that Congress had overstepped its bounds when it passed the bill. Justice Kennedy, who issued the majority decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, stated that the power to recognize foreign nations rests with the executive branch of government and the ability to determine what a passport says is part of this power.

The Supreme Court’s ruling put the matter to rest temporarily but Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital revives the issue. The State Department will be hard pressed to defend its position in light of the new political reality.

While the State Department can obstruct, impede and delay, it is ultimately Trump who has the final say. He must demand progress reports from the State Department to ensure that those entrusted with the embassy move are taking the necessary steps to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in expeditious fashion. As for the passport issue, Trump can easily remedy this area of discord by issuing a clear and unambiguous directive to his secretary of state to permit U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birthplace on official documents.

Trump: The President at War

November 23, 2017

Trump: The President at War, FrontPage Magazine, November 23, 2017

Editor’s note: Below are the video and transcript to remarks given by Steve Bannon and Pat Caddell at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2017 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 16th-19th at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

 

Steve Bannon: The last time I was in this room was a couple years ago.  I made a film, “Occupy Unmasked,” about that war starring David Horowitz and Andrew Breitbart, which was actually the film we were making when Andrew passed away and David was kind enough to take a bigger role in that.  But that film, I think, showed the precursor of a lot of what laid the groundwork for the Trump victory.

When I stepped into the campaign in mid-August of 2016, I think it was August 14th — these numbers are rough — but roughly, the candidate was down anywhere from 12 to 16 points, basically double digits down in every battleground state, every state that had to be won.  Not a lot of money, and as you’ve seen from revelations in this investigation with Manafort, not a lot of organization.  The campaign from the time that Corey Lewandowski had left until the time I stepped in in August had really deteriorated into a pretty disorganized mess that left the best candidate I think we’ve had since Reagan in real extremis.

And that’s what I knew we had.  I knew we had a great candidate.  I knew we had an individual who I believed was the finest orator in American politics since William Jennings Bryan and, more importantly — and I told the President, or the candidate this when I took the job on the 13th and 14th: “Don’t pay attention to any of these numbers.  Don’t worry about how many points down we are.  Don’t worry if we’re in the battleground states.  It’s not relevant because what is relevant is the themes that you’re going to run on and how we’re going to bring this home.  We only get 85 days, but we’re going to compare and contrast Hillary Clinton as tribune of a corrupt and incompetent elite.  And we’re going to focus on a handful of themes that show you as an agent of change, and all we have to do is give people permission to vote for you as that agent of change, and we’re going to win this.”  And I told him that day on the evening of the 13th and then the day of the 14th, because he’s a percentage player and he was asking what percentages. I said, “You have a 100 percent chance.  Metaphysical certitude of winning.  Not a question.  100 percent.”  And we’ll get into it later about Billy Bush week, etc. “But you have 100 percent chance.”

The reason is what David said.  This is a war.  This is a war for our country.  This country, we’ve been in this war for a while.  It’s going to take another 15, 20, 25 years and we’re going to be one thing or the other on the other side of this.  We’re either going to be the country that was bequeathed to us by the 14 or 15 generations that came before us, or it’s going to be something radically different.  And David Horowitz has been the leader of telling you what that radical difference is going to be and what this country is going to be if we don’t fight and fight every day to take it back.

The reason that I could step in with a team of Dave Bossie and Reince Priebus and Katie Walsh and others and help the President — because he’s really the one that won it; basically gave him the platform so that he could drive his message home — is for years I had been spending time listening to a guy that I came to greatly respect.  That guy’s Pat Caddell and Pat had been doing research.  There’s another of the unsung heroes, a gentleman who came to Restoration Weekend every year.  It’s a Palm Beach resident named Lee Hanley.  Lee Hanley’s like when you read the history of the American Revolution or the Civil War, all these great events, you find out about these individuals in back that never won any credit, but if it was not for them, the victory would not be achieved.  Lee Hanley for years was a big believer. Although a guy of tremendous wealth and lived in Palm Beach and throughout the rest of the world, he had an incredible appreciation for the grassroots.  He had a real love of the hobbits, of the deplorables, and he put his money where his mouth was.  He’s a big supporter of the Tea Party movement and Tea Party causes.  But I think what he’ll be known for is that he was the guy that really became the sponsor for the analytical work and the intellectual work that Pat Caddell did over a number of years.

And this work, two things epitomized the Trump revolution or the Trump revolt.  It’s J. D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy.”  If you haven’t read it, it’s quite powerful, the sociological content of the Trump revolt. But as important was Pat Caddell’s analytical work on where the country was, and that’s what I told the candidate that night.  I said, “Hey, two-thirds” – is it two-thirds or one-third?  “Two thirds think the country’s going in the wrong direction. Seventy-five percent think America’s in decline. Virtually none of the electorate believe that Obama brought the fundamental change they wanted, and people are looking for an agent of change.”

Now the mainstream media doesn’t cover that.  You wouldn’t know that by the campaign in mid-August 2016.  That was never talked about.  But that tone below the surface is the foundational element, the keystone that really drove the Trump campaign. And so, Pat, I’d like, if you could, just tell us what it is — and this is very important.  We’re going to talk about how we won, and what the underlying analytics of that was, and then, to get to David’s point: It makes total sense when you see that on the left, there was no honeymoon, right?  Because they will never concede, ever, that the basic working-class Americans think America’s in decline.  Because it’s been their watch.  And the elites in this country will never admit to that, and that’s why from Day One, the second part of this talk will be about the nullification project. Because since 2:30 a.m. on November 9, when AP called the election, the progressive left, the opposition party media, and the Republican establishment have been on a nullification project.  Pat, you want to talk about the math?

Pat Caddell: First of all, let me echo what Steve said about Lee Hanley.  Back in 2011, 2012 actually — 2012 or 2013 — after the Romney disaster election or as I call it, the confluence of the Republican consultant lobbyist core of gangsters, the “RICO campaign.” Anyway, I said, “I think something’s happening in the country.”  Lee said, “You know, I think something may be too.  I want you to go out and just find out.”  He wasn’t for anybody or any cause.  It was basically to discover what was there, and it was the most startling research that’s ever been done.  It has been public for some time.  The press has never paid attention.  The political class won’t pay attention.  But what we found from the beginning was the level of discontent in this country was beyond anything measurable, and I believe worse than any time that we have ever seen in our country.

Steve mentioned a couple of the attitudes: about things going in the wrong direction, the 70-75 percent of people who absolutely believe the country was in decline, a narrative so different from what Washington was telling us or the mainstream media if you looked at the way they covered the conventions even.  Oh, my God!  It’s so dark.  It’s like the inaugural speech. That’s so dark! It’s terrible! No. It happened to be the truth, but they’re not allowed to speak that.

And then another attitude, which is really important, was the fact that in a country where we believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead (as Bill Clinton used to tell us), about 15 percent of the people believe that’s what works and 85 percent believe that the rich and powerful have rigged the rules and have the advantage, which is also a truth.

When I was at Harvard — I was at my class reunion, which I’d never been to before for a reason — I had to do a survey of my class, the Class of ’72, which was, I would describe, the epicenter of the white Ivy League privileged class, they actually were higher. The only thing they were higher than the American people on was 95 percent of them knew that’s the way it worked because that’s how they worked it.  But in any event, those things all led to also the fact that a couple of attitudes have maintained themselves, which I realized the real question about them is, would anybody weaponize them? Let me just give you a couple examples because they’re important.

“Political leaders are more interested in protecting their power and privilege than doing what is right for the American people.”  Eighty-one percent of the Americans agree. By the way, we have a divided country except when it comes to how Americans from left to right really think of how this country works.  It isn’t partisan.  At this point, it’s overwhelming.  “The power of ordinary people to control our country is getting weaker every day.  Political leaders on both sides fight to protect for their own power and privilege at the expense of the nation’s wellbeing.”  Seventy-nine percent agree. These are from just a few months ago. “Powerful interests from Wall Street banks to corporations, unions, political interest groups, have used campaign and lobbying money to rig the system for themselves.  They’re looting the national treasury of billions of dollars at the expense of every man, woman and child.”  That’s 72 to 75 percent who agree.

“I believe the government is working for the people’s best interest.”  Twenty-eight percent say that’s true.  Sixty-seven percent don’t think it’s true.  “Politicians really care about me” — when I first started polling and then Bennet wrote this question, the result was it was about a 40/50 split.  It’s now 19 percent say yes, agree, and 76 disagree.  And perhaps most interesting of all is the question we asked on whether the Declaration of Independence says that the government receives their authority from the consent of the people.  “Does the federal government today have the consent of the people?”  And it’s 68 to 75 percent we’ve ranged saying no, and I call that, when I first saw that result in 2013, a pre-revolutionary moment.  And the question was whether anybody would speak to any of this.

And from the beginning, Donald Trump, a lot of his own instincts were – it’s not exactly the way I would’ve designed it – but he managed to make a campaign and he stood up against 16 other people who were, in their own ways, essentially epitomizing the political class or the ideological class of their party, when the issue was neither ideology or the right of kings of our political class to rule.

I said the day before the election, I wrote a piece because I needed to get it out, because I’d been doing some work for Breitbart and had been doing some polling, and we were asking some more in-depth questions and I could see what I had found in a big study we had done in September, which was that you had a quarter of the country who were not favorable to either Clinton or Trump.  Most of those people were concerned about Trump’s qualifications, whether he had the temperament to be President, things that would’ve normally disqualified.  Hillary Clinton was viewed as a, let’s put it this way: 75 percent of the people, including almost a majority of her own people, believe that there are two sets of rules of law, one for everyone else and the one for the Clintons.

And corruption is a problem and we’ll talk about that today, but at the heart of much of this was a sense of the corruption and loss of our country.  Those people started breaking for Donald Trump.  Well, I was waiting for that to happen.  I’d seen some evidence in a different situation in 1980 with Reagan and Carter, but what was important was when I saw the exit polls. Everyone saw the exit polls when we got them at 5:00, 5:30, the networks and everyone were going, “Oh, Hillary’s got it!  Hillary’s got it!”  Well first of all, nobody remembers that those polls are always wrong because of the bias in them, but more importantly, nobody bothered to look inside. The people who had said that they were unfavorable to both were now breaking to Trump by 18 points.  And I called Steve and said, these exit polls are all wrong.  This is a key break.  And it is breaking for Trump.

I do believe, and I don’t want to get into it, but this mistake of early voting: we were supposed to have an election, not a rolling election.  It is a problem with all the unintended consequences, people vote who will change their mind.  So, there you have it.  Trump won and everyone else in the media was stunned because they would not look at the country that they actually deplore.

Steve Bannon: What do you think was the specific messaging that drove those low propensity voters to actually, at the end of the day, pull the trigger for Trump?

Pat Caddell: Yeah, as I said, my question all along had been whether those voters would respond.  Alienation can often make people depressed and not participate.  What did it, I think, is if you look at the last 8 to 10 days of Trump’s message, where he said, “This isn’t about me and Hillary.  This is about you and them.”  Essentially a campaign that said your country is going to hell.  You have to do something.  And whether it was on immigration, which was a big issue, trade, where the country had taken a huge leap, or basically the idea, which I think was the most powerful of all, of “drain the swamp” and the corruption. Enough people felt that they, with good reason, would want a change, and they took the biggest gamble in history.

By every other measure we have had, this never should have happened.  But the reason it did is because the country has never been where we are except twice before. I believe in the 1820s and the Civil War – well three times – and the Great Depression.  And what we have is a new paradigm in politics.  This isn’t the traditional Democrat/Republican, Liberal and Conservative.  This is inside, outside, us, them and the question of who’s country it is, and I have said to Steve the other day, and I’ll end on this note: At the heart of it is a perception. The subtext is that they know that their leaders are trying to manage the decline of America.

Steve Bannon: This is the key point.

Pat Caddell: They think that their job is to make –

Steve Bannon: The reason, okay, we’re going to frick and frack this a little bit.  This is the key point.  The American people have a great common sense.  Right?

Pat Caddell: Yes. That’s the ideology of America.

Steve Bannon: When Pat Caddell starts to stand, we’re in trouble.

Pat Caddell: Yes, you are.  Yes, you are.

Steve Bannon: Now he’s really about to go Old Testament prophet. If you remember CPAC a couple of years ago, he was in a ballroom this size, and people were Tweeting, “you gotta get up there.”  Caddell was so over the top. He was Caddell unchained.  I thought they were going to throw a net over him and, you know, escort him out.

Pat Caddell: And they never had me back after that.

Steve Bannon: No, the issue of the polling and the analytical work, which was so thorough — this is not some slapdash poll like is done all the time. This was really deep analytical work.  The question that the American people answered — 75 percent of your countrymen think America’s in decline. And what they understand is the country is in decline, right?  Particularly vis-à-vis the rest of the world.  And that’s what the elites, that was the whole contrast in the campaign.  Hillary Clinton and the Republican elites are very comfortable managing that decline.

Pat Caddell: Yes, they believe their destiny, I think, is to make sure it’s soft, we’ll be like the British.  I have news for them: this election in 2016 and the ones that are coming are really about the fact that this country will not go gently into that good night of decline.  They will rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Steve Bannon: Now here’s the great news is that who understands this is the American working man and woman. I mean, that’s why Trump’s brilliance of “make American great again” resonates so strongly.

Pat Caddell: The single greatest slogan in my lifetime in American politics, in terms of what summed it all up.

Steve Bannon: That was compared and contrasted to — what was Hillary’s? “Happy together”?  What was that? “Forward together” or whatever it was. “Happy forward together.”  Always forward, never back.

Pat Caddell: The millions of dollars they spent to come up with the dumbest slogan I’ve ever heard of is amazing.

Steve Bannon: Before we get to the victory and talk about what happened the next day, you’ve got to remember — and this is very pertinent, I think, to the folks in the audience.  I think 85 percent of the votes in the Republican primary, if you totally take away all the bistate stuff and you look at the total vote count, I think 85 percent went to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Dr. Ben Carson. But you couldn’t get three more anti-establishment guys, right? It shows you the party — this is what McConnell and the donors don’t get.  The votes are with the working men and women of this country, the Republican Party.

Pat Caddell: Well, let me make a point on that.  All during the primaries, I was on a show we had on Fox which a lot of people watch called Political Insiders with Doug Schoen and John LeBoutillier, and all along we kept noticing — they’d look at the vote of the anti-establishment candidates everywhere you go, and you’re right.  Yes?

Audience Member: Give Steve some time on the microphone, please.

Steve Bannon: Hang on, we’re fricking and fracking, we got it. My agent right there.  I’d like to introduce my agent. Thank you.  As you were saying?

Pat Caddell: Nah, I’m done. I know when I’m not wanted. No, this is the fact that in both parties — look what you have with Bernie Sanders. And we’ll hopefully get to a point to talk about that rigging of that system.  But Bernie Sanders, who nobody ever cared about and whatever, he rolls up, he and Trump were, as I like to say, were supping out of the same trough.  Like on trade and corruption and whatever, Wall Street.  The same thing on both from opposite ends.  And that’s what the unity of these numbers were about.

Steve Bannon: And the numbers show you — and the strategy we had, we had kind of two plans.  But the first plan we had to take — remember this is 85 days to go.  You’re basically going to get blown out, and if you read their books, they thought they were going to win by 25 or 30 points.  Take the House, the Senate, the courts.  It was basically over.  Break the back of the Republican Party.  But the key, we had to win Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Iowa just to get to the table.  And by the way, I don’t think in living memory any Republican has done that. You had to get there just to get to the final, that was the bridge that got you to the final. We had a Plan A and a Plan B, but Plan B, which was shattering the blue wall in the upper Midwest, we did some very specific demographic analysis around how the messaging that Pat had overall talked about was playing. And we see could see it in places like Youngstown, Ohio, and Dubuque, Iowa, and other places, that the message was resonating with not just Republicans, but with blue-collar Democrats or Independents that had not voted for a Republican in living memory.  And that’s why we could see western Pennsylvania, we could see Wisconsin, we could see Michigan. We could see that something was changing, and that was the message, this underlying discontent in the country and wanting fundamental change. And Trump’s ability to be the instrument or the messenger that was starting to galvanize people.

It was interesting, the only question I had internally is that the math looked so dramatic. And we kind of knew. We were working on this and it was coming together, because we could see the crowds were getting bigger at the rallies and were getting more vocal. The Facebook and all the social media stuff was working. Her campaign specifically didn’t come to these places.  They didn’t come to Wisconsin until — they never came to Wisconsin.  I don’t think they came to Michigan until the very 11th hour, and so we really knew that there was something underlying the Trump message, and that’s this discontent in the country that’s still there today.  In fact, I would actually respectfully submit it’s probably greater today than it was even a year ago, and that’s about the progress or maybe the lack of progress that’s been made.

I want to talk about the morning after.  And Pat, you’ve got a thing with the Clinton campaign of one of her books. David talked about a honeymoon.  There was no intention of a honeymoon, and here’s why.  They do not think that this was a legitimate election and that we won legitimately.  They will never be able to admit that the working men and women of this country basically revolted, essentially from both political parties, and elected a total and complete outsider.  Someone who’s not a professional politician.  Someone who can connect and does not use the vernacular of the political class, but somebody that can connect viscerally with the working men and women of this country and had an agenda of being a complete disrupter among the institutions that really govern the imperial city.  If you think about it, and I’ll talk a little bit more about it tonight, the geopolitical situation we’re in that’s driving the economics of this country.  But the ascended economy of Silicon Valley and Wall Street and Hollywood and the imperial city of Washington, D.C. is completely detached from the reality of everyday life in the rest of America.  And they will never ratify the election of 2016, because to ratify it is actually calling into question their own tenuous grip on power.  We saw that immediately, and Pat’s got a very interesting quote he’s pulled out from one of the Clinton books.

Pat Caddell: The book “Shattered,” which was written by the two embedded reporters in the Clinton campaign, who were to chronicle the great victory and ascendancy of Hillary Clinton, and this is what it says. This is how it started.  “The strategy had been set well within 24 hours of the concession speech.  Mook and Podesta, the campaign manager and chairman, assembled their communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up and up.  For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public.  Already Russian hacking was at the centerpiece of their arguments.”  And that’s how it began.

Steve Bannon: Yeah, this nullification project, which was both from the left and also from, I think, the Republican establishment, started immediately on the morning of the 9th and the 10th. They had to come up with an excuse for why they lost.  It wasn’t the fact they had $2.2 billion.  It wasn’t the fact that they spent $750,000,000.00, I think is the number I’ve heard, on negative ads against Donald Trump.  It’s not the fact that they had, I believe, the worst candidate for President of the United States in memory.

They kept saying how brilliant she is, how genius she is, how smart she is.  I think she’s dumb as a stick. She’s doing her book tour.  It’s another 900-page book that she’s written.  In fact, I would just like to have the corrupt media and publishing industry just write her a $10,000,000.00 check and don’t force another 900-page book on us. But no, I do think, in her current tour, or at least until the Donna Brazil situation came up, that Pat will talk about in a minute, that she’s got every intention of testing the water to run again in 2020. And my response is, “Bring it baby.  Bring it.”  Would you not love to see a rematch of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?  C’mon.

Pat Caddell: As Saturday Night Live predicted last week, with her in the final episode for the Democrats, “One more time for me.  Maybe one more time.”

Steve Bannon: Let’s talk about this nullification.  The Russian whatever this thing is, the collusion project, is, look, as the campaign CEO in the last 85 days as we drove to victory, I can tell you categorically that we had a very difficult time colluding between the Trump ground game in Pennsylvania and the RNC. So collude that. It’s a complete phony, hide-the-football misdirection play, but it shows you their desperation.

Pat Caddell: Let me make just two quick points on this.  First of all, the one I wanted to make, if Barack Obama knew about this in August, so did the “intelligence team,” those hacks, that as Trump described them, which they are. And if it were such a threat to America, why was the President of the United States keeping his mouth shut until the day after the election, and how come nobody bothered to tell America it was under attack?  Because it didn’t matter.  On the Facebook stuff, Mark Penn, who had run Hillary’s great campaign in 2008, did say the $100,000 on Facebook ads, $56,000 of it after the election, half of it in states that were California, New York and Texas? Let me tell you something, the Stanford University Economics Department did a major study on this, and they found nobody believes what they see on Facebook.  It’s the least credible source.  And, yet, you know why they have to glom on to that?  Because underlying is the subtext that you people, the American people, are too damn stupid that you could — all of the billions spent, the debates, people know what they’re getting.  They’re weighing this heavily.  No, no, no.  You’re so stupid, you can be misled because you didn’t listen to us, and that is their message.

Steve Bannon: That is why it’s so important I think for the defense of the President is we’re seeing something unprecedented here in American history. And I think it’s very important we fight it and we drive it into the ground as much for the Democrats as for Republicans. And the fact that if we allow this nullification project to continue to go forward, if we allow this nullification project to really get traction and to try to bring charges or whatever against the President, every election here on in, trust me, is going to be contested.  We’ll be like a banana republic.  You won’t have elections that matter.

Now, let’s talk about the nullification project where they’re trying to drive the President into the ground.  There are currently, I think, five or six major investigations going on with the President right now.  You’ve got — and this is what upset me so much when I left the White House.  My specific project was against Republican leadership because you have three, count them, three committees on Capitol Hill with full subpoena power and the unlimited budgets.  You had Devin Nunes today, one of the great young men on Capitol Hill. He’s a hero, and he should be running the investigation on the House Intelligence.  Why is he not?  Because Paul Ryan doesn’t have a spine.  The media screwed Paul Ryan.  By the way, Paul Ryan’s a nice guy.  He’s a good guy, but he doesn’t have backbone in this regard.  The Republicans, the media can spook these guys and they’ll run.  Nunes has turned it over essentially to Schiff, so you have a Democrat running the House Intel Committee.  You have Mark Warner, who’s going to run for the presidency in 2020 against President Trump, you have him running the Senate Intelligence because Burr’s just taking a pass on this. So you have two Democrats running this and leaking everything to the media.  The thing’s gone way outside Russian collusion.  They’ve got Michael Cohen and his lawyer and other guys up there talking about real estate deals, taxes, whatever.  The Judiciary Committee is hauling in Don, Jr. and these other guys.  Can you imagine, can you imagine if Hillary Clinton had won?  Would Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have three committees on the Hill investigating Hillary Clinton and her campaign and her finances and let two Republicans run it?  No.  Because they are professionals.  They run the Democratic Party like it’s supposed to be run, and they never give up, and they understand this is a war, and they understand the way they’re going to win is be unified.

In addition to that, you’ve got Bob Mueller. And I was one of the biggest advocates in the White House saying, “You can’t fire Comey.” For a whole host of reasons, because, at the end of the day, you’re going to end up with something like a special council like a Bob Mueller, and I’ve been adamant.  Bob Mueller, in regards to his mandate of looking at anything with Russian collusion, he should be able to do that.  He should have a budget for that, but I support Ron DeSantis.  When he’s outside the range there –and on Manafort, all 12 indictments are about back taxes and “money laundering” and stuff he took from other people.  Rick Gates didn’t even have — he walked in with a public defendant.  He didn’t even know that he was under investigation.  So this thing, I think, has gone way off the rails in the fact that it’s much too broad and not within a mandate.  And look, Jeff Sessions, I consider him a dear friend, but I think Sessions and people on the Hill got to support the DeSantis Amendment, which says hey, there’s going to be a time period and a budget to look at collusion with Russia.  Anything else is off limits.

Pat Caddell: Yeah.  Well, I want to add just a quick comment to this, which is I want to hear from my good friend Mr. Abrams.  When he speaks about the Justice Department, it seems to me that department is still embedded deeply with the people who have been in the business of supporting whatever the political class and particularly Democrats want done.  And let me say something.  When you get someone appointed like Bob Mueller, who is “highly respected by everyone in Washington,” grab your wallet.  The last person that they told me that about was James Comey.  I mean really.  Anybody who everyone says is this great, respectable guy, you got to watch out because he is there doing business that is not going to be very productive for the country.

Steve Bannon: The nullification project, also, is a joint venture.  It’s both the Democratic Party and the Republicans.  Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, in fact, it has taken tremendous pressure on them even to say these things have got to be brought to an end.  They’ve got to end around Christmas, and they got to have joint reports.  You can’t let them have two reports. And that’s not officially done yet, but these guys are just as culpable in this as the Democrats that are baying from the left.

Pat Caddell: Look, Donald Trump’s greatest opposition is not from the Democrats.  It is from the Never Trump Republicans who fill now several networks, cable news networks, with people whose virulence to Donald Trump makes the Democrats in those places look tame.  And the Jennifer Rubins, the Washington Post and its 15 pieces a day attacking Trump, the New York Times, all of which, by the way — and it’s another point that we’re getting a little progress on the rest of the corruption.  It seems to me that the notion that we should move on, and, by the way, all this other stuff never happened, which I don’t know if we’ll get to, but it’s just bullshit, but pardon my language, but it is.  The corruption here is so deep.

And the difference with the Democrats and the Republicans as, David pointed out and Steve just said, let me tell you something, the Clintons, as I once wrote in 1998, have forced the Democrats to squeeze themselves into that tiny little space that’s known as Clinton morality.  My party’s had to give up all of its principles in order to sustain corruption, which is why the left is in motion.  And, by the way, one point, when you have a large majority saying both the Democrats and the Republicans are out of touch with the country, that coalition is in jeopardy except as long as you fight them.  And the Republicans not only don’t fight, they stab themselves in the back and their President.

Steve Bannon: See, that’s the point.  Remember, the point of the nullification project is, their ultimate goal is to remove President Trump from office or to force him to resign.  That’s their goal, but they’ve got a second goal, which they’re just as comfortable with, and that is to so damage him in the eyes of the American people that he’s very restricted on what he can do and what he can accomplish, and so that’s why every day you see this drumbeat.  And I will tell you, outside of Breitbart and Gateway Pundit and a handful of others, the sore losers in the media, in the conservative media, starting with my beloved Wall Street Journal owned by Rupert Murdoch, they’re just Never Trump organs every day.  The Never Trump guys have a complete ability to just launch on the President, and so I think if you’re a supporter of President Trump, we’ve only really started this fight because this is going to get really gnarly over the next couple of months.  I think it’s going to get, by the end of the first quarter of 2018, I think it’s going to get quite volatile, and so the President is going to need all of his supporters to fall in and have his back on this thing.

Pat Caddell: Let me say, I’ve been thinking about 2018 election, and now I know what this is going to be about. And I believe the Democrats can’t control their left.  It’s going to be from beginning to end, if the President is smart — and sometimes I don’t understand, frankly, the politics around the President, because in some ways I think he is being misled and taken down the primrose path by the very people he clobbered and wiped out. And I’m sorry, I’m independent.  I can say this.  It makes me very sad because the swamp — I won’t even get into the tax bill, which I think is an example of this, but let me tell you what, the campaign starts on the issue of if the Democrats win, they are going to impeach the President in the House for sure.

The question we’re going to have is the one we kind of had in Wisconsin.  Do we have what Steve said: our democracy collapses now because now we can throw out who’s in there that we don’t like, and that question is bigger than Trump, and it is about the democracy.  And the real question is who is sovereign in this country, and the American people intend to be the sovereign masters of their country.  And you got to appeal to them on that basis in this kind of fight.

Steve Bannon: One thing to keep in mind on the 14th, the first phone call I made was to Reince Priebus at the RNC to work out a partnership in which we could work together.  I’m a fire-breathing populist and a nationalist, and I am damn proud of it.  But in order to win, we win as a coalition. And this is one thing I could never forgive Bush 41 for when he said the other day in this book, “The Last Republicans” — I think it would be better titled, I hope, “The Last Bush Republicans.”  When old man Bush, between grabbing women in the oval –yeah, I went there — when he says that he voted for Hillary Clinton and when Bush 43, the most destructive president and the most destructive presidency in the history of our country, including James Buchanan, when he says he didn’t vote; he voted some write-in or he didn’t vote for President Trump, that’s all you’ve got to know about those guys.  If they can’t see the basic fundamental difference between what the regime of the Clintons would be versus what President Trump offered, then I’ve got no time for them.  Right?

But to Pat’s research, it shows in high relief exactly what we’re fighting.  Everything you see on cable TV, everything you see in the foreground is just pro wrestling.  It’s really to divert the attention of what’s really going on.  At the end of the day, the Bushes, this is the Bush that goes around with Bill Clinton and he says it’s like the son I never had.  Old man Bush is going around saying Bill Clinton, because the permanent political class is inextricably linked with themselves, and you see it on this current tax bill.  The donor corporatist lobbyist consultant apparatus that runs Washington, D.C. — and I’m very proud of Peter Schweizer, that hero. A true patriot hero.  Peter Schweizer’s effort in the three books, “Throw Them All Out,” “Extortion,” and then “Clinton Cash,” which exposed how the apparatus works and why the seven of the nine richest counties in the country surround Washington, D.C.; why the per capita income in those counties is higher than the per capita income in Silicon Valley for the first time in our history.  And Silicon Valley is the greatest generator of wealth in human history.  So you see, it’s a business model, and they’re not prepared to give it up, and they’re not prepared to go. They’re not prepared to go quietly.

But on that campaign, the establishment, at least some of them, came together and worked with us, and that’s how we got a win.  We have to be unified.  We’re not going to get everything.  I’m much more of a protectionist when it comes to trade.  I happen to think that free trade is a radical idea.  I think it’s a radical idea, particularly against a mercantilist authoritative dictatorship like China.  You cannot allow your markets to be totally open.  Not everybody agrees with that.  A lot of guys at Heritage don’t.  A lot of guys at Cato don’t.  A lot of guys at AEI don’t.  But we’ve got to work together to pull this off because if we lose we’re never going to get this country back.

Now, you’re seeing that, I think David brought up this point on our show this morning.  He just brought it up here in his introduction.  The question before us is very simple as conservatives.  Does the establishment that still controls the apparatus of the Republican Party, is it better for them to control that apparatus in a minority or is it better for us to take that apparatus and keep a majority?  Because, quite frankly, they would rather be in a minority as long as they control that apparatus because it’s central to their business model.

Pat Caddell: Right.  Exactly.  They never cared about losing.  I learned that in 2012.  The most important thing was to maintain their piece of the action.  And let me just say something because this is a time for real, thoughtful, intellectual, political debates about where to go.  My problem with the Republican Party is the voters want nothing to do with their leadership.  They have proven that over and over.  Look at the latest poll in Alabama where McConnell has a rating of 21 percent favorable and almost 60 negative among Republicans.  The people know this.  They voted them out.  They beat them every chance they could, and the question is whether that group — and I’m concerned about the Independents who supported Trump.  And many Democrats on the other side, particularly labor, blue-collar people, that is a governing and ruling majority if one can achieve it.  And how this all works itself out is the real challenge.  But I think you have to go to high ground.

The issue is the country.  It’s not which party.  It’s going to be who owns the country, them or you.  And the question is is America going to go into general night of decline or are we going to turn things around for our children and grandchildren.  These are great moral questions.  And that is the new battleground that needs to be fought.  And let me just say something.  The media. The press, which was you could argue is adversarial, but what we have is not adversarial.  We have a partisan opposition press which works hand in glove with the Democrats, which is the most corrupt media, and which, by the way, as a believer in the First Amendment, totally threatens the First Amendment, because as I have tried to say to people, when they figure out, which they have, that they can not only tell you who you must vote for, but they can tell you what truth you’re allowed to know or not to know, as we have seen in all of this other stuff with Russia, all of the stuff with the Clinton Foundation, all these things. The real question becomes why do we need a First Amendment if they’re not going to do their job, which is to be the tribune of the people and instead become the outriders of one political movement or another.

Steve Bannon: See, I look at it differently than Pat.  I like having the media as the opposition party because they’re so dumb and lazy.  I detest them.  I detest them.  Dumb, lazy, worthless.  A great opponent.  One last thing, we’ve got to wrap up here, is that it’s about the President.  It’s about Donald J. Trump.  Look, I got the great opportunity.  I’ve known him for years, but I didn’t know him that well until I got into the campaign.  I saw it every day.  Here’s a guy, everything you see in the mainstream media is basically nonsense.  Here’s a guy that was worth, I don’t know, five, six, seven, eight billion dollars.  I don’t know the exact number, but a lot of money.  He was 70 years old.  He has a lovely wife, a great family, great kids, grandchildren.  The friends he’s got from the sports and entertainment world and the business world are so close to him and such great people.  He just had a perfect lifestyle.  I mean here’s a guy at 70 years old that’s going around not just buying great hotels and refurbishing them and making them part of his Trump organization, but buying great golf courses and making them better and getting them in the U.S. Open or the Open Championship.  It’s the kind of thing you would do, all of us would do when we’re 70 years old.  He ran for President of the United States.  He’s not a narcissist and not in it for his ego or anything like that.  You couldn’t do it for that.  I saw this guy every day on the politics of personal destruction where they came after him hammer and tong.  And you guys only saw a tenth of it.  If you saw the other 90 percent, you’d just be stunned.  These people know no bounds.  I don’t really disagree with it because I see what they’re trying to do.  They’re trying to take control of the most powerful nation on earth, and they’re prepared to do anything to do that.

Donald Trump is an American hero because he had the courage to step up and run.  In that primary, if you think about it, with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and Christie, go through all of them, 16.  That was the Republican Party’s an entire generation of their best politicians that have been kind of bred for 10, 20, 30 years.  And as good as those gentlemen are and Carly Fiorina, there’s not one, or even combined could they have taken on the Clinton apparatus.  The Clinton apparatus is a killing machine, and it took somebody like Donald Trump, a blunt-force instrument, to defeat it.

Pat Caddell: Let me make a point, then you can finish.  I just want to say one quick thing. The authenticity question, which is important, even during the election better than two-thirds of people believed that Trump was authentic and that Hillary wasn’t, including almost half of Hillary’s own voters, so that will tell you something.  And the last comment I have to make is what you’re seeing with Mr. Franken, when you see what’s coming, when they announce, when they have to release the $15 million of your money that was paid out in 260 settlements secretly for sexual harassment, it’s going to make the bank scandal of 1990 look like nothing.

Steve Bannon: One last thing, David.  Look, I would love to wave a magic wand and tell you it’s all going to be better, right.  Take your nappy off, powder your bottom, pat you on the head and tell you that November 8th, we’re going to celebrate it every year, November 8th and 9th as MAGA Day.  It’s a high holy day for the populist-nationalist conservative movement, but this is why things like Restoration Weekend are so important.  Every day’s a fight.  And the guys on the other side of the football, and they showed this in Virginia, they’re going to outwork you.  They’re going to out-hustle you.  If we’re not prepared to line up and fight every day, we’re going to lose this country. We’re going to lose it.  If you’re prepared — and I’ll take the guys on our side of the football.  I’ll take the hobbits.  I’ll take the deplorables.  I’ll take the working men and women of this country, but as long as you’re prepared to lead them and prepared to say we’re prepared to fight this every day.  We’re prepared to have Donald Trump’s back every day, and we’re not going to take defeat, and when something happens like Judge Moore down there, on the first allegations you run for the tall grass, to hell with you.  Thank you.

FBI Bombshell: Far-Left U.S. Radicals Colluding With ISIS

October 30, 2017

FBI Bombshell: Far-Left U.S. Radicals Colluding With ISIS, Clarion Project, October 30, 2017

An anti-fascist protester in France demonstrates against labor reforms (Photo: LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

“The FBI is really playing catchup ball, because the Obama administration refused to give the bureau the resources it needed to effectively infiltrate and surveil the radical groups on college campuses …

“Any talk of a connection between radical Islam—a phrase the Obama people wouldn’t even use—and American extremists was pretty much laughed off. [Former Attorney General] Loretta Lynch would have blown a gasket if she heard that the FBI was surveilling so-called college political organizations.

“All that has changed under the Trump administration. Everyone’s aware that the resistance movement, with its effort to get rid of Trump by any means necessary, has created fertile soil for ISIS and al-Qaeda to establish a beachhead in America.”

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A new book by a former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine and best-selling author reveals for the first time an FBI field report about the collusion between American anti-Trump radicals and foreign ISIS/al-Qaeda operatives.

In his latest book, All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trumpset to be released today, Edward Klein reveals to the public findings from an FBI investigation into the shocking ties between far-left radicals in America and Islamist extremists.

The FBI report was delivered to Acting Director Andrew McCabe on July 11, 2017. While certain names have been redacted, Klein reveals how the FBI followed a group of Americans anarchists/radicals who traveled to Germany to join their German counterpart Antifaschistische Aktion to protest Trump’s attendance at a meeting of G20 leaders and central bank governors.

Evidence gathered from a variety of intelligence sources showed the Americans took part in the violence there. “There is also evidence of meetings between these individuals and associates of ISIS…Making some sort of common cause with Americans who are determined to commit violence against the U.S. makes them potentially very useful to radical Islam,” writes Klein based on the report.

Klein notes that the FBI paid particular attention to a group of anarchists from Oakland, sister city to Berkeley, California, site of the campus of University of California at Berkeley and the scene of several violent protests.

“Now that the bureau has determined [ISIS/al-Qaeda] have followers in the radical U.S. resistance movement in the United States, it is clear there will be additional violence in the attacks on law enforcement and U.S. institutions, including banks,” he writes.

In an article written for the Daily Mail, Klein continues:

“Ties between three key leaders of the Oakland group [names redacted] met in Hamburg with a leader of the AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] and the AQIM [Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb], the report continued.

“The leader from AQAP is an Egyptian-born male [name redacted] who is known to be in charge of finances and recruiting for the group. There is evidence from informants that he is helping the Oakland group acquire the weapons they are seeking, primarily bomb-making equipment and toxic chemicals and gasses.

“One of the men from Oakland traveled to Syria to meet with ISIS; the purpose was for training in tactics, but was thought to be primarily a bonding visit to discuss possible massive disruptive attacks in the U.S.

“While in Hamburg, several of the Oakland-based criminals were photographed throwing Molotov cocktails and wielding iron bars, which have been their weapons of choice, though they are almost certainly on the verge of upping the caliber of their weaponry for use in the U.S.”

Klein notes, “Despite having their faces covered by masks, they were positively identified.”

Previous FBI Director James Comey also “collected intelligence on the connections between Middle Eastern jihadis, European radicals, and the American anarchists who are part of the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ movement,” writes Klein, quoting an an FBI source who had access to Comey’s intelligence reports.

The American anarchists communicate with the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations online on a variety of websites, on which they also find instructions how to make bombs.

Tellingly, Klein notes,

“As the Trump administration has demonstrated it’s serious about destroying the Islamic State, and depriving ISIS of territory in Iraq and Syria, the alliance between the American radicals and ISIS has grown even closer. The Internet chatter between the Americans and the Islamists is astronomical.

“The FBI is really playing catchup ball, because the Obama administration refused to give the bureau the resources it needed to effectively infiltrate and surveil the radical groups on college campuses …

“Any talk of a connection between radical Islam—a phrase the Obama people wouldn’t even use—and American extremists was pretty much laughed off. [Former Attorney General] Loretta Lynch would have blown a gasket if she heard that the FBI was surveilling so-called college political organizations.

“All that has changed under the Trump administration. Everyone’s aware that the resistance movement, with its effort to get rid of Trump by any means necessary, has created fertile soil for ISIS and al-Qaeda to establish a beachhead in America.”

JW Pres. Tom Fitton discussing Clinton/Russia Collusion, 72K New Clinton Docs, & Purple Heart Battle

October 28, 2017

JW Pres. Tom Fitton discussing Clinton/Russia Collusion, 72K New Clinton Docs, & Purple Heart Battle via YouTube, October 27, 2017

 

The blurb beneath the video states,

JW President Tom Fitton was live discussing the latest on Hillary Clinton’s camp colluding with the Russians to obtain the infamous Trump dossier. Also, why hasn’t the State Department finished reviewing all of the 72,000 email records from Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State? Finally, Judicial Watch is in court fighting for a soldier injured in the Fort Hood massacre to be posthumously-awarded the Purple Heart.

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.