05/21/15

What Does Blumenthal Know About Obama?

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

It appears that Hillary Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal has a network of military and intelligence connections that made him anathema to the Obama White House. Blumenthal must know something about Obama that kept him from getting a State Department job under Hillary.

Congress has the power to compel Blumenthal to testify in public about how he collected intelligence information on Obama and other matters for the use of Mrs. Clinton, before and during the time she was Secretary of State.

The New York Times reports that when Clinton was Secretary of State, she used Blumenthal as an unofficial adviser and sent his memos to “senior diplomatic officials” about such topics as Libya. Blumenthal’s contacts included Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former CIA spy, among others, the paper said. It appears some of them were trying to do business in Libya.

The CIA spy was identified as Tyler Drumheller, described by the paper as “a colorful former Central Intelligence Agency official.”

In the course of reporting this information, the Times said that Blumenthal “had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama…” But why? This question goes unanswered.

It might have something to do with how Blumenthal gained access to information and who else might have gotten access to the same information.

As the Times notes, it appears that the Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer” breached Blumenthal’s email account and discovered correspondence he sent to Mrs. Clinton. Some of this material had to do with business in Libya. A story about this correspondence ran in Gawker and Pro Publica under the headline, “Leaked Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network.” The story said that some of the memos were marked “confidential” and relied in many cases on “sensitive” sources inside the Libyan opposition, in addition to Western intelligence and security services.

The publication Slate has a series of questions that need to be asked of Hillary about Blumenthal, his relationship with Hillary, and his controversial connections.

One of the proposed questions: “Did you ever consider hiring Sidney Blumenthal as an employee in your State Department? And, if so, did the Obama administration block such a move, as has been reported? Did the White House know that he provided you with unofficial advice nonetheless?”

Again, the question is why the Obama White House reportedly blocked Blumenthal from working in the State Department.

I think we know the answer, and it has nothing to do with business in Libya or anywhere else: Blumenthal had the goods on Obama’s mysterious past and controversial communist connections that made him susceptible to blackmail by foreign agents and interests.

When Hillary Clinton was running against Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Blumenthal was acting as a Hillary adviser and circulated a memorandum about Obama’s communist connections. The political left was shocked.

In a May 9, 2008 column in The Huffington Post, Peter Dreier, the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College in California, complained that Blumenthal had “circulated an article taken from the fervently hard-right AIM website” that was entitled, “Obama’s Communist Mentor.” I was the author.

This was, of course, the column about Obama’s relationship with Communist Party operative Frank Marshall Davis.

The column was completely accurate, but Dreier tried his best to play down the revelations. He wrote:

“The Kincaid article that Blumenthal circulated sought to discredit Obama by linking him to an African-American poet and writer whom Obama knew while he was in high school in Hawaii. That writer, Frank Marshall Davis, was, Kincaid wrote, a member of the Communist Party. Supported by no tangible evidence, Kincaid claimed that Obama considered his relationship to Davis to be ‘almost like a son.’ In his memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama wrote about meeting, during his teenage years, a writer named ‘Frank’ who ‘had some modest notoriety once’ and with whom he occasionally discussed poetry and politics. From this snippet, Kincaid weaves an incredulous tale that turns Davis into Obama’s ‘mentor.’”

It appears that Dreier was only one among many on the left who received this information, but he was the only person who went public and attempted to discredit it.

Notice how Dreier attempts to play down the substantial evidence of the relationship by using terms like “no tangible evidence” and an “incredulous tale.” At the same time, Dreier was astonished that “a self-professed liberal operative like Blumenthal” had been circulating “anti-Obama attacks” from “highly-ideological and militant right-wing sources.”

It must not have occurred to Dreier that the information being distributed by Blumenthal was accurate and had been verified by Hillary’s associates. It would appear that Blumenthal had the connections necessary to verify that kind of information—and perhaps to add some more important details to it.

Blumenthal’s contacts included that “colorful” former CIA spy, Tyler Drumheller, who “served as the CIA’s top spy—the division chief for the Directorate of Operations (DO)—in Europe until he retired in 2005.” It’s safe to say that Drumheller was well-positioned to have knowledge of intelligence operations throughout the world, then and now.

Considering that we now know that Blumenthal had military and intelligence connections, it is likely that Blumenthal had the information about Obama’s communist connections in Hawaii and Chicago checked out and verified. He would have concluded that the Davis connection to Obama was enough to disqualify the then-senator from Illinois from the White House.

Dreier used the terms “fervently hard-right” and “highly-ideological and militant right-wing sources,” in order to discredit the information. But the original revelation about Davis came from a left-wing source, Marxist historian Gerald Horne. He had spilled the beans about Obama’s mentor “Frank” being Frank Marshall Davis, a notorious communist with a 600-page FBI file.

The Davis material circulated by Blumenthal was just one tidbit of negative material that Dreier says had been circulating against Obama almost every day over a six-month period during the 2008 campaign, This material, he complained, “attacks Obama’s character, political views, electability, and real or manufactured associations.”

It looks like Blumenthal recognized that the Frank Marshall Davis relationship to Obama was real political dynamite and something that could sink the candidate. If Blumenthal had confirmed all of this—and he might have even had more damaging information—we have to wonder whether the information was obtained by others for possible use as blackmail material against Obama. After all, if a Romanian hacker got access to some of the more sensitive material, it seems at least possible that it was made available to others.

The additional question is why Hillary never used the damaging information against Obama. The answer to that, quite clearly, is that Obama made a deal with Hillary so she could become his Secretary of State. That part of the deal went forward, but when Hillary said she wanted to bring Blumenthal into the State Department as her trusted adviser, somebody in the Obama White House rejected that outright. Hillary may have been told that her job at State was for the taking if she would keep Blumenthal under control. She had to have known that Blumenthal was involved in circulating information about the Obama-Davis connection, since The Huffington Post had publicized it.

Hillary continued to use Blumenthal in an unofficial capacity, collecting information and intelligence on Libya and perhaps many other sensitive topics. Did she use this secret spy network to gather intelligence on Obama himself? That question is far more important than whether Blumenthal had friends who did business in Libya.

The New York Times reported that Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, planned to subpoena Blumenthal, “for a private transcribed interview.” Reuters now reports that the subpoena has been served, demanding that Blumenthal appear before the House committee on June 3 to give a deposition.

Under no circumstances, however, should this be conducted in private and behind closed doors. The American people are entitled to hear the truth in an open and public setting.

What did Blumenthal know about Obama? And when did he know it?

05/18/15

Stephanopoulos Fiasco is Par for the Course

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

What is surprising about the latest George Stephanopoulos controversy is that most of the media are treating it as something unusual rather than an acknowledgement of a problem that’s been plaguing the media for decades. We at Accuracy in Media are happy to see this issue receive the scrutiny it deserves. However, anyone convinced that Stephanopoulos’s ongoing political conflict of interest and failure to disclose it to his viewers is the exception, not the rule, hasn’t been paying attention to a long history of media corruption.

Stephanopoulos interviewed Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on April 26. But the ABC host, formerly a Senior Advisor on Policy and Strategy, and unofficial hatchet-man, for President Bill Clinton, treated his broadcast as more of an interrogation than an interview in an effort to discredit Schweizer and defend, in turn, the Clintons. A real interview would have endeavored to understand Schweizer’s critique of the Clintons, not demand to see a “smoking gun” or “evidence” of a crime.

Stephanopoulos’s conflict of interest was blown wide open by an excellent outfit, The Washington Free Beacon, which started the ball rolling when it contacted ABC News about Stephanopoulos’s donations to the Clinton Foundation. ABC’s spokeswoman, Heather Riley, said that they would respond, but then turned first to a friendly ally—Politico—to spin the story favorably for the network and its golden boy.

“I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record,” said Stephanopoulos in his apology. “However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation.”

ABC News initially incorrectly stated that he had given only $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation—an amount he later amended to $75,000 over three years.

But there’s more, much more.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles reported that Ms. Riley “worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000,” including serving “as a press contact for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.”

But beyond that, Schweizer followed up on the week’s revelations, and found that Stephanopoulos’s ties with the Clinton Foundation were much closer than just cutting checks to the foundation. Schweizer called it “the sort of ‘hidden hand journalism’ that has contributed to America’s news media’s crisis of credibility in particular, and Americans’ distrust of the news media more broadly.”

He pointed out that Stephanopoulos “did not disclose that in 2006 he was a featured attendee and panel moderator at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).” Nor did he “disclose that in 2007, he was a featured attendee at the CGI annual meeting, a gathering also attended by several individuals I report on in Clinton Cash, including mega Clinton Foundation donors Lucas Lundin, Frank Giustra, Frank Holmes, and Carlos Slim—individuals whose involvement with the Clintons I assumed he had invited me on his program to discuss.” And on it goes.

Stephanopoulos inadvertently revealed in another setting what donations such as his are all about. “But everybody also knows when those donors give that money—and President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him—there’s a hope that it’s going to lead to something. And that’s what you have to be careful of,” Stephanopoulos said to Jon Stewart about Schweizer’s theory on April 28. “Even if you don’t get an action, what you get is access and you get the influence that comes with access and that’s got to shape the thinking of politicians. That’s what’s so pernicious about it.”

“Could Stephanopoulos, who is also ABC News’s chief anchor and political correspondent, be hoping for access to and exclusives from Bill and Hillary, giving him a competitive edge during the 2016 presidential campaign?” asks Lloyd Grove for The Daily Beast.

On the May 15 broadcast of Good Morning America Stephanopoulos “apologized” again—while patting himself on the back for supporting children, the environment, and efforts to stop the spread of AIDS. “Those donations were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when I covered the foundation, and I now believe that directing personal donations to that foundation was a mistake,” he said. “Even though I made them strictly to support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help children, and protect the environment in poor countries, I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.”

The extra mile?

This is, basically, the same argument the Clintons and their Foundation have put forth to explain their conflicts of interest or “errors,” after having taken millions of dollars from companies and countries that had business with the U.S. government while Mrs. Clinton served as Secretary of State. Their failure to disclose many of these donations resulted in them refiling their tax returns for five years, once the obvious conflicts of interest came to light.

In reality the Clinton Foundation gives about 10% of what it collects to direct charitable grants, according to a study by The Federalist, as reported in National Review. “It looks like the Foundation—which once did a large amount of direct charitable work—now exists mainly to fund salaries, travel, and conferences,” writes David French. The study pointed out that “Between 2011 and 2013, the organization spent only 9.9 percent of the $252 million it collected on direct charitable grants.” In other words, less than $10,000 of the money that Stephanopoulos paid as tribute to the Clintons went to the causes he claims to care about.

Stephanopoulos has removed himself from the ABC-sponsored Republican presidential primary debate next February. Yet he simultaneously claimed, “I think I’ve shown that I can moderate debates fairly.” His decision to not participate ignores the bigger picture.

As we have pointed out, the incestuous relationships between the Democrats and media are almost endless. It’s not just ABC’s Sunday show, but the two other main broadcast networks that also feature highly partisan Democrats as hosts. NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd “served as a staffer on Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s 1992 presidential bid,” according to Politico. John Dickerson, the new host of CBS’s Face the Nation gave the following advice to President Barack Obama in 2013: “The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat.”

Stephanopoulos says he should have announced his conflict of interest. If such announcements become commonplace, which they should, where exactly will that end? Should CBS News announce each and every time it broadcasts news about President Obama’s foreign policy or national security issues that the president of CBS News is actually the brother of White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes? Or should ABC News have regularly disclosed that its former ABC News President Ben Sherwood had a sister with the Obama White House? She still works with the Obama administration. And, NBC? That’s the network of Al Sharpton, Brian Williams, Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow. Need I say more?

Chris Harper, formerly of ABC News, has posted his views, along with those of other mostly liberal former ABC News people, as cited by Kevin Williamson of National Review: “During the 15 years we worked for ABC News,” wrote Harper, “we remember that we had to sign a yearly disclosure of gifts worth more than $25 and contributions. Perhaps these documents no longer exist in the muddled world of TV news.”

Added Harper: “Mr. Stephanopoulos has few defenders among his former colleagues. According to a Facebook page, ABCeniors, the rather liberal bunch of former network staffers discussed the problems with his contributions. ‘That shows either indifference or arrogance. Or a nice cocktail of both,’ wrote one former ABC hand. A former producer noted: ‘He knew what he was doing, and he didn’t want us to know. That’s deceit.’”

Geraldo Rivera recalled that he had been fired from ABC back in 1985 because of a $200 political donation. At least that was the reason given at the time. Rivera wondered why Stephanopoulos was being treated differently: “The point is ABC treated my undisclosed $200 donation harshly because the network wanted me out for that unrelated reason,” Rivera continued. “Now ABC is bending over backward to minimize and forgive George Stephanopoulos’s $75,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation because he is central to the network’s recent success.”

Former ABC News reporter Carole Simpson said Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources that she “was dumbfounded.”

“But I wanted to just take him by the neck and say, George, what were you thinking?

“And clearly, he was not thinking. I thought it was outrageous, and I am sorry that, again, the public’s trust in the media is being challenged and frayed because of the actions of some of the top people in the business.”

She added that “there’s a coziness that George cannot escape the association. He was press secretary for President Clinton. That’s pretty close. And while he did try to separate himself from his political background to become a journalist, he really is not a journalist. Yet, ABC has made him the face of ABC News, the chief anchor. And I think they’re really caught in a quandary here.” She believes that ABC, despite their public support for Stephanopoulos, is “hopping mad” at him.

When the left has conflicts of interest involving money, the media allow the perpetrators—including themselves—to portray this as charity and supporting good causes. “[NBC’s Brian] Willams wrapped himself in the flag; Stephanopoulos cloaked himself in charity,” writes Grove. MSNBC identified 143 journalists making political donations between 2004 and the start of the 2008 campaign. “Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes,” according to NBC News.

But when conservatives are shown to have financial conflicts of interest, or even to have accepted legitimate campaign donations, they are generally portrayed as serving the interests of evil, greedy businessmen or lobbyists who are paying off politicians to allow them to pollute, destroy the environment, fatten up defense contractors and avoid paying taxes.

“As you know, the Democrats have said this is—this is an indication of your partisan interest. They say… you used to work for …President Bush as a speechwriter. You’re funded by the Koch brothers,” Stephanopoulos told Schweizer during the interview, casting the author as biased. Stephanopoulos, however, they want us to believe, is just an impartial journalist inquiring after the truth.

This is what happens when you have a corrupt media that don’t play fair, but instead put their thumb on the fairness scale to tilt it towards their partisan interests.

04/29/15

Iran Literally Fired a Shot Across an American Ally’s Bow, But Obama Won’t Dump His Disastrous Deal

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

What, if anything, would cause President Barack Obama to step away from the negotiating table with Iran?

This is the question I find myself pondering in light of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy Patrol’s unchecked act of aggression on Tuesday against America’s interests in the Straits of Hormuz – an act that in a sane world would in and of itself put an end to the president’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran.

As of this writing, reports indicate that the Iranian Navy Patrol fired shots at and ultimately seized a commercial cargo ship, the M/V Maersk Tigris, which flies under the Marshall Islands flag. Some believe Iran was even targeting a U.S. vessel.

An Iranian warship takes part in a naval show in 2006. (Photo: AP)

An Iranian warship takes part in a naval show in 2006. (Photo: AP)

In a helpful dispatch, commentator Omri Ceren notes the significant implications of such an action given that the U.S. is: (i) Treaty-bound to secure and defend the Marshall Islands, and (ii) Committed to maintaining the free flow of commerce in the strategically vital waterways of the Middle East — as affirmed just one week ago on April 21 by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf and Pentagon Spokesman Col. Steve Warren.

The U.S. fulfilling its obligations to its protectorate, and acting to ensure vital shipping lanes remain open are not trivial matters.

Further, this act can be seen as a brazen test of the sincerity of U.S. resolve, as it was timed to coincide with the opening of the Senate’s debate on the Corker-Menendez Iran bill.

Yet there is a broader and perhaps more important context in which to consider what Ceren calls an act of “functionally unspinnable Iranian aggression.”

Even if we ignore the history of Iranian aggression against the U.S. and its allies since the deposal of the Shah in 1979, the firing upon and seizing of the Tigris marks the latest in a long series of such provocations that Iran has undertaken in just the last few months. Consider:

This rhetoric and action comports with Iran’s historic hostility toward the U.S. since the fall of the Shah. Lest we forget, this list of atrocities includes, but is certainly not limited to:

Would Iran’s most recent actions in the Strait of Hormuz coupled with the litany of other recent and historical bellicose acts lead one to question whether it is in the United States’ interest to continue negotiating with the mullahs?

Put more directly: In what respect can the U.S. consider Iran to be a reliable, honorable negotiating partner?

Iranian women hold an anti-US sign, bearing a cartoon of US President Barack Obama, outside the former US embassy in Tehran on November 2, 2012, during a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of seizure of the US embassy which saw Islamist students hold 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days. This year's rally came just days before US presidential election in which Republican challenger Mitt Romney has made Iran's controversial nuclear programme a top foreign policy issue. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Iranian women hold an anti-US sign, bearing a cartoon of US President Barack Obama, outside the former US embassy in Tehran on November 2, 2012, during a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of seizure of the US embassy which saw Islamist students hold 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days. This year’s rally came just days before US presidential election in which Republican challenger Mitt Romney has made Iran’s controversial nuclear programme a top foreign policy issue. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Concerning the content of the nuclear deal being negotiated, it should be noted that the Iranians have stated the agreement accomplishes the very opposite of what the American public been led to believe. With respect to sanctions, Iran says they will be fully lifted upon the execution of the accord. As MEMRI notes, in an April 9 address, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini gave a speech in which he called America a “cheater and a liar” and

publicly set out the negotiating framework for the Iranian negotiating team, the main points of which are: an immediate lifting of all sanctions the moment an agreement is reached; no intrusive oversight of Iran’s nuclear and military facilities; the continuation of Iran’s nuclear research and development program; and no inclusion of any topics not related to the nuclear program, such as missile capability or anything impacting Iran’s support for its proxies in the region.

It is no wonder then that the nuclear deal has been lambasted on a bipartisan basis, including at the highest levels of the national security establishment. Even former Secretary of State James Baker is highly critical of the Iran deal – and his animus toward Israel, perhaps the primary casualty of the deal, may be second only to that of President Obama.

As to whether Khameini’s portrayal of the deal is accurate, former CIA analyst and Iran expert Fred Fleitz asserts that under the terms of the agreement, Iran will (i) be able to continue enriching uranium, (ii) not have to disassemble or destroy any enrichment equipment or facilities, (iii) not be required to “permit snap inspections and unfettered access to all Iranian nuclear facilities, including military bases where Iran is believed to have conducted nuclear-weapons work,” (iv) be able to continue to operate its Arak heavy-water reactor, a plutonium source, in contravention of IAEA resolutions and (v) be subjected to an eased sanctions regime that will be incredibly difficult to re-impose.

If this were not enough, so intent is the Obama Administration on reaching a deal that it has been reported that for signing this agreement, Iran may even receive sweeteners including a $50 billion “signing bonus.”

The contorted logic used by the president in defense of his progressive stance towards Iran is worthy of Neville Chamberlain. During an interview with New York Times soulmate Thomas Friedman, Obama opined:

Even for somebody who believes, as I suspect Prime Minister Netanyahu believes, that there is no difference between Rouhani and the supreme leader and they’re all adamantly anti-West and anti-Israel and perennial liars and cheaters — even if you believed all that, this still would be the right thing to do. It would still be the best option for us to protect ourselves. In fact, you could argue that if they are implacably opposed to us, all the more reason for us to want to have a deal in which we know what they’re doing and that, for a long period of time, we can prevent them from having a nuclear weapon.

Sen. Tom Cotton provides a necessary corrective in a recent interview:

I am skeptical that there are many moderates within the [Iranian] leadership … I think it’s kind of like the search for the vaunted moderates in the Kremlin throughout most of the Cold War, with the exception that we could always count on the Soviet leadership to be concerned about national survival in a way that I don’t think we can count on a nuclear-armed Iranian leadership to be solely concerned about national survival.

As for Lord Chamberlain, Sen. Cotton – he of that irksome letter to Iran — takes a more charitable view, noting:

It’s unfair to Neville Chamberlain to compare him to Barack Obama, because Neville Chamberlain’s general staff was telling him he couldn’t confront Hitler and even fight to a draw—certainly not defeat the German military—until probably 1941 or 1942. He was operating from a position of weakness. With Iran, we negotiated privately in 2012-2013 from a position of strength … not just inherent military strength of the United States compared to Iran, but also from our strategic position.

To those who recognize reality, this deal – coupled with our weak response to the ongoing provocations of the Iranian Government — not only threatens our national security and that of our allies, but reflects an utter dereliction of duty to uphold the Constitution, and protect our people against foreign enemies.

In a word, it is treasonous.

04/17/15

Judith Miller Opens Old Iraq War Wounds, and Sheds Some New Light

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Judith Miller, formerly of The New York Times, has sparked a fierce reaction from a mainstream media intent on continuing to blame George W. Bush’s “lies” for the Iraq War with her new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey. The book has produced a general disgust from a media intent on ignoring important revelations she’s made in this book. Instead the mainstream media have chosen to focus on her alleged agenda-driven reporting leading up to the invasion of Iraq, while for the most part ignoring additional details about how weak the prosecution was against Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Miller now says that not only was she wrong when she testified that Libby had outed CIA operations officer Valerie Plame to her, but that the federal prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was on a vendetta designed to implicate former Vice President Dick Cheney himself in the conspiracy to expose Plame, with Libby as a convenient victim sacrificed in pursuit of Fitzgerald’s agenda.

Ms. Miller’s testimony was vital to the trial. She was “the only reporter who asserted that Mr. Libby volunteered information about Mr. Wilson’s wife,” writes Peter Berkowitz of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, in a long piece for The Wall Street Journal, entitled “The False Evidence Against Scooter Libby.” Now she says her memory is unclear, and that Libby probably hadn’t “talked about Plame with me that day.”

Her testimony at the trial interpreted notes from a conversation years past. Not knowing that Plame had worked for the State Department, Miller interpreted those notes to support the premise that Libby had told her about Plame’s position at the CIA.

“If Libby, a seasoned bureaucrat, had been trying to plant her employer with me at our first meeting in June, he would not have used the word Bureau to describe where Plame worked,” writes Miller in The Story. That’s because, she writes, “The CIA is organized by offices within divisions” whereas the “State Department is divided into functional offices and regional and other ‘bureaus’…”

“Reading Plame’s book had put my reference to that word—in parentheses and with a question mark—in a new light,” she writes. “Libby probably hadn’t used it, or talked about Plame with me that day.”

“Had Fitzgerald’s questions about whether my use of the word Bureau meant the FBI steered me in the wrong direction?” she wonders in her book. “Had I helped convict an innocent man?”

Such an error would prove troubling for any reporter, and probably for anyone who might have accidentally testified falsely. It was courageous of Miller to acknowledge that she had been misled given her already controversial reputation.

Her after-the-fact explanation actually fits with contemporaneous accounts “She was confused about that at first, she said,” the Associated Press reported back in 2007. “‘Through the context of the discussion, I quickly determined it to be the CIA,’ she testified.”

Fitzgerald had a transparent agenda, according to her 2014 interview with Joe Tate, Libby’s lawyer until the criminal trial, writes Miller. Tate told her that Fitzgerald told him, “Unless you can deliver someone higher up—the vice president—I’m going forth with the indictment,” a bargain Fitzgerald offered him twice, according to Miller’s book.

Accuracy in Media (AIM) has reported extensively on the flaws in the way Libby’s prosecution was conducted. Yet years later ABC News was still including this “scandal” in its top ten political scandals of the 21st century, and reporting the facts from Plame’s and her husband, Joe Wilson’s biased perspectives. “It’s unfortunate that this story has to be re-litigated time and again,” I wrote in 2013.

The story of Libby’s trial will not be re-litigated again here, but my numerous accounts of the myths surrounding this story outline essential details on how this trial has become one of the most misreported stories in recent history.

Miller’s account validates AIM’s consistent reporting on the subject: “I wrote or co-wrote with Cliff Kincaid a series of articles during and after the Libby trial that showed he was wrongly accused, wrongly convicted, and that Bush did a disservice to Libby and his own legacy by not having the courage of his conviction to pardon Libby rather than just commute his sentence.”

“Indeed, the prosecution presented no hard evidence that Libby had lied,” I wrote. “Instead, the prosecution asked the jury to infer that Libby had (with no motive) lied, based simply on the jury’s experience of the accuracy of memory.”

And now Miller says her memory was likely not accurate at all.

Miller apparently discovered her error upon reading Plame’s book, Fair Game; Libby himself had suggested to her she might find “something of interest” in it.

According to her account in The Story, Miller has been treated very harshly by the Times, and considers herself a scapegoat for the Times’ and news media’s overall discontent with the war coverage. “Other news outlets had followed my lead,” she writes. “That made me Azazel, the biblical goat upon which the community heaped its many sins.”

“‘Judy’s stories about WMD,’ wrote the Times’ Maureen Dowd, ‘fit too closely with the White House’s case for war,’” I noted back in 2005. “That was the bottom line of the anger and venom, some of it very personal, aimed at Miller by the likes of Dowd and Frank Rich.” I also pointed out how Miller was far from being the only reporter, or editorial writer, at the Times to have written about Saddam’s possession and pursuit of WMD, some of which turned out to be wrong, but by no means all of it.

Recall that it was then-President Bill Clinton, who in 1998 signed the Iraq Liberation Act, making regime change official U.S. policy, and he ordered the sustained bombing of Baghdad in December of that year. As the bombs began to fall, Clinton told the nation, “Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.”

The animosity between Miller and the Times remains palpable. “To Ms. Miller’s credit, this is not a score-settling book, although Bill Keller, the executive editor who she says forced her out of The Times, gets walked around the block naked a couple of times and competing reporters receive just-for-old-times’-sake elbows to their rib cages,” writes Terry McDermott for the Times.

“Cast out of the journalistic temple, she says she felt ‘stateless,’ and from the evidence here she remains a bit lost,” he writes in the book review—ending it with a pointed, unnecessary jab. “This sad and flawed book won’t help her be found.”

Similarly, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post calls the book “depressing,” “desperate,” and written with a “tedious grand design.” And while Wemple cites Libby early in his review for his criminal conviction, he never touches on the points made by Miller that pointed to his persecution by Fitzgerald and exoneration as it related to Miller.

“A two-year study by Charles Duelfer, the former deputy chief of the U.N. inspectors who led America’s hunt for WMD in Iraq, concluded that Saddam Hussein was playing a double game, trying…to get sanctions lifted and inspectors out of Iraq and…to persuade Iran and other foes that he had retained WMD,” wrote Miller for The Wall Street Journal in an op-ed published on April 3. “Often forgotten is Mr. Duelfer’s well-documented warning that Saddam intended to restore his WMD programs once sanctions were lifted.”

Miller’s account is the more accurate, if less politically correct, one, despite the media’s ongoing animosity toward any evidence or argument that may absolve Bush from the accusation that he lied—and misled us into the Iraq War.

“Neighboring Kuwait and Iran also thought Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction,” notes Berkowitz for Real Clear Politics. “So did some of Saddam’s field commanders.” So did the British government, the French, and many of the other countries in the coalition that went to war with us in Iraq. Last year, The New York Times, of all places, revealed in a major series of articles titled “The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons,” that “American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs” during the Iraq War, but the Bush administration chose to keep it quiet. Clearly, the stockpiles of WMD that they expected to find once Iraq was liberated from Saddam Hussein were not found. The debate over that issue, and the significance of the Times’ findings, continues. But it is wrong to argue that no WMD were found in Iraq.

Berkowitz, in his Wall Street Journal analysis, took a deeper look at the actions of Fitzgerald’s prosecution of Libby, and it wasn’t pretty: “Mr. Fitzgerald’s conduct warrants revisiting not only to set the record straight about Mr. Libby, but also to illustrate the damage that can be done to national security by a special counsel who, discovering no crime, generates through his investigations the alleged offenses he seeks to prosecute.”

And this, which detailed how Fitzgerald withheld exculpatory evidence from Libby’s lawyers that could have absolutely made a difference in the final outcome of the trial: “Mr. Fitzgerald, who had the classified file of Ms. Plame’s service, withheld her State Department cover from Ms. Miller—and from Mr. Libby’s lawyers, who had requested Ms. Plame’s employment history,” wrote Berkowitz. “Despite his constitutional and ethical obligation to provide exculpatory evidence, Mr. Fitzgerald encouraged Ms. Miller to misinterpret her ambiguous notes as showing that Mr. Libby brought up Ms. Plame.”

Berkowitz also made the most salient point regarding this whole prosecution. The idea, when the investigation began in late summer of 2003, was to find out who leaked Valerie Plame’s name and identity to reporters, specifically to Robert Novak, who first reported it in a July 2003 column. By October, the FBI knew where the leak came from. It was Richard Armitage, from the State Department, who unlike some at the White House was opposed to going to war against Saddam. But that was kept quiet, and when Fitzgerald was appointed special prosecutor in December of that year, the case should have been closed. But Fitzgerald chose to seek a conviction against Libby by arguing that he was lying, rather than that his memory was confused when he spoke months later following his July 2003 conversation with Meet the Press host Tim Russert. Libby’s team wanted to have memory experts testify, but Fitzgerald refused to allow it, allowing him to stack the deck by manipulating witnesses.

Miller now makes clear that Libby did not tell her about Valerie Plame.

I sat through parts of the trial, including the day that Evan Thomas of Newsweek, David Sanger of The New York Times, Bob Woodward, Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post, and Robert Novak testifiedall of whom spoke with Libby during the period in which he was supposedly outing Plameand each one said that didn’t happen in their conversation.

The idea that neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post, nor others in the media, regularly and deliberately push an agenda when the facts are limited, only available from the administration’s perspective, or conveniently fit preconceived narratives about reality is laughable. Accuracy in Media exists to document many such cases, including: the coverage of the Ferguson, Missouri shooting; the Rolling Stone article “A Rape on Campus;” Obamacare, and illegal immigration. Meanwhile, stories about Benghazi, Fast & Furious, and the IRS scandal, among others, are largely ignored by the mainstream media because they don’t fit the established progressive agenda and might damage the current administration.

In the end, this is one of those books that each party takes from it that which conveniently suits their own narrative. And by doing so, many in the media are ignoring the important revelations to be found in Miller’s new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey.

04/8/15

National Security Question? Ask Someone Else, Says White House

By: Caleb Howe
RedState

RedState has learned this week that when Deputy White House Press Secretary for National Security Shawn Turner leaves this Friday, it is probable that he will not be replaced for that position. Instead, a source tells us they will most likely [be] offloading his duties to NSC spokesperson Bernadette Meehan’s office.

Turner has routinely been point man for the press regarding the President’s positions on intelligence, foreign policy, border security, military pay and benefits, and military and CIA interrogations. He previously served as Director of Public Affairs, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The Obama administration has been under fire from the beginning of his first term for the President’s views on foreign policy as well as his, and his team’s, inexperience. With major screw-ups like Benghazi, Ukraine, the reset button, and just this week, caving on the Iranian nuclear deal deadline, one would think that having a press secretary prepared to articulate the President’s national security views would be a no-brainer. But the Obama administration has been out-thought by the no-brain crowd once again.

It seems the administration’s need to surrender extends not only to national security policy, but even to the apparently daunting task of talking about national security policy.

While turnover in Washington is the rule, the fact is that this position has been filled, and has had an office at the white House. That will no longer be the case. That means there won’t be someone on the premises who has the job of Deputy Press Secretary of National Security. The timing, hot on the heels of the Iran “deal” and other security gaffes (like Hillary’s entire tenure at State), is especially notable.

Putting distance between the President and the actions of the government under his leadership is certainly nothing new. How many times has he found out about a major issue by “watching the news”? Now it seems he can catch National Security Policy briefings on C-SPAN, too. And won’t it be convenient for Hillary Clinton to not have to associate her continuance of Obama policy with an actual White House spokesperson.

But hey, having other agencies do the talking has gone great so far. Just look at the resounding successes of Jen Psaki and Marie Harf. And of course, we still have the always forthcoming Josh Earnest and the rest of the most transparent administration in history. Right?

04/6/15

America’s Progressive Foreign Policy Imperils Her Survival

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

Today the men and women who walk the morally decrepit corridors of the White House and State Department of our Republic-turned-social democracy are aiding, abetting and enabling evil.

We find ourselves at a time in history when all of our foes from Islamic supremacists to the Russians and Chinese are ascendant, while America at best retreats and at worst sides with the most dangerous of them.

Barack Obama delivers his statement on the interim Iran deal. (Image Source: Whitehouse.gov/YouTube screengrab)

Barack Obama delivers his statement on the interim Iran deal. (Image Source: Whitehouse.gov/YouTube screengrab)

Our enemies do not fear or respect us, our allies do not trust us and little indicates that the American people are cognizant of the size and scope of the perils that face us.

We are reliving Winston Churchill’s gathering storm in an era when it is questionable whether the majority of American citizens even know who Churchill is, let alone what he did. Many of those who do likely see him first and foremost as a dead white European male.

And unlike in World War II, today we are challenged by Nazis (insofar as Islamic supremacists are genocidal, Jew (and Christian) hating monsters who seek to dominate the world) and Communists (in their Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping-led manifestations.)

In the face of all this, America’s left exhibits two traits that together are fatal: hubris and ignorance.

Leftists have the hubris to believe that they can and should create a world according to their progressive vision – for the good of the people and their own aggrandizement.

Leftists have the ignorance of history and man’s nature that renders them unable to anticipate the dire consequences of their course.

Underlying their actions is the belief that all people are animated by the same goals and aspirations.

Yet different peoples are different. Evil cannot be appeased or assuaged. The world must be seen as it is, not as we wish it to be.

For those leaders who recognize these realities, yet still refuse to call our enemies by their names, enable their nuclear aspirations, and tolerate their bellicosity from Crimea to the South China Sea and our own shores, the only conclusion one can reach is that such people are cowards or something far worse.

Seen in this light, the support of the removal of secular authoritarian leaders and subsequent conflagration of Sunni and Shiite jihadism in the Middle East is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

The Iranian nuclear deal and impending Arab nuclearization is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

The galling and unconscionable replacement of Israel by Iran as America’s key partner in the region is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

The backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the omission of Iran and Iran-backed Hezbollah from America’s terror lists, is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

The removal, let alone trading of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay for an alleged traitor is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

The failure to fulfill our obligation to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

The apparent unwillingness to stand with our NATO allies in the wake of further Russian aggression is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

The inability to counter the long-term Chinese threat is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

The opening of relations with Communist Cuba is a natural manifestation of progressivism.

These and many other actions should not shock anyone who understands the leftist ethos that America specifically and the West generally has been a force for evil and that redistributive justice is the remedy.

Empowering our enemies and attacking our allies is seen as the “right” thing to do under this perverse Sophistic paradigm.

That each day real headlines and the headlines of The Onion are indistinguishable; that when you routinely find yourself coming to the conclusion that the world has been turned on its head, this is the consequence of progressivism in action.

And progressivism always and everywhere leads to regressive ends.

Where are we heading?

As Dr. Thomas Sowell ominously writes:

Whoever holds that office [the presidency] makes decisions involving the life and death of Americans and — especially if Iran gets a nuclear arsenal — the life and death of this nation. It took just two nuclear bombs — neither of them as powerful as those available today — to get a very tough nation like Japan to surrender.

Anyone familiar with World War II battles in the Pacific knows that it was not unusual for 90 percent of the Japanese troops defending Iwo Jima or other islands to fight to the death, even after it was clear that American troops had them beaten.

When people like that surrender after two nuclear bombs, do not imagine that today’s soft Americans — led by the likes of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton — will fight on after New York and Chicago have been reduced to radioactive ashes.

If this sounds alarmist, simply ask: With what in this statement do you disagree?

What countertrends do you see?

What reason is there to believe that, barring a significant reversal in our country’s academic and cultural institutions, the public is going to stir and demand meaningful change?

Has not political correctness gotten Americans literally killed from Iraq (via suicidal rules of engagement) to Fort Hood (via willful blindness) without a modicum of reflection on what went wrong and how to fix it?

Would an America awake to Barack Obama’s vision have elected him for a second term? Is it prepared to elect a president with the courage and intestinal fortitude to reverse our direction in the face of a craven political class?

So long as the forces of cosmic justice and gravity still exist, continuing on this path can only end in war and poverty.

The question for those of us who believe that America remains the last, best hope on Earth for freedom may not be what we can do to stop these forces, but what we must be prepared to do to survive and rebuild in the face of them.

04/3/15

Left Rejects Idea of Payback as the Motive for Menendez Indictment

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Chris Matthews can nearly always be counted on to come to the defense of President Barack Obama. On Wednesday night’s “Hardball” show on MSNBC, they cut to Senator Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) first public comments following his indictment earlier in the day for corruption charges. He stepped down from his ranking position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and defiantly announced that he was innocent, that he plans to fight the charges, and fully expects vindication.

Then, Matthews brought on correspondent Steve Kornacki, who said “his people” say that Menendez is stepping down because “he didn’t want to put anyone in the Democratic caucus in an uncomfortable position. But beyond that, I have to tell you, talking to the Menendez camp tonight, I would say they feel very confident that this is something they can beat in a court of law.” He said the Menendez camp is accusing the Justice Department of “misconduct,” and having “bungled” the case.

Kornacki then added, “They’re going to allow the suggestion, they’re certainly going to encourage it. I don’t think they’ll say it themselves, but they want the suggestion out there very much that Menendez is being targeted by the DOJ [Department of Justice], right now, the Obama administration’s DOJ because of his opposition to the administration on Iran. And you certainly have a number of Republicans out there like Mark Kirk (IL), Lindsey Graham (SC), who are suggesting that the Menendez people want that out there.”

Hearing that, Matthews pushed back, suggesting that the timeline for that interpretation didn’t make sense. He said that Menendez had been under investigation for a long time. Matthews was trying to dismiss the idea that this was yet another example of Obama’s vindictiveness. Matthews then added, as he was going to a break, “With the indictment late today of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez on federal corruption charges, wait till you hear the latest right-wing conspiracy theory. It’s that the charges were brought as payback for bucking the White House on Iran.”

Matthews then devoted a panel discussion to piling on Menendez, and virtually finding him guilty. No question, the charges are very serious, and the investigation has been going on for years. But Menendez is innocent until proven guilty of a crime. It’s the timing of the indictment that arouses such suspicion.

Matthews showed a montage of conservative talk-show hosts and politicians who suggested, as did Menendez, that this was political payback. One of the panelists on the “Hardball” segment, April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Network, was confident that President Obama would never have been involved with something like that. She said the timing was “coincidental.” However, “One thing we know for sure,” she said, “the White House is not in collusion with this, because the President is not supposed to know anything about any investigation. So this investigation is independent of anything to do with the White House.”

If that doesn’t assure you, nothing will. I guess Obama found out about the Menendez indictment along with everyone else when it was reported in the media. Just like he did with the IRS scandal, Operation Fast & Furious, the Veterans Affairs scandal, and the fact that Hillary Clinton did all of her State Department email business on a private server.

Again, as Kornacki pointed out, it was Menendez, a liberal Democrat, who is also saying this about the Obama Justice Department. Actually, Menendez has crossed the President on more than just Iran. There are also his criticisms of Obama’s policies toward Cuba, North Korea and Menendez’s strong support for Israel that may have been the final straws for Obama’s Justice Department to decide to indict the senator at this time.

Coincidence? Well, Menendez is a primary sponsor of two bills this year that are waiting in the wings to see how the negotiations in Switzerland work out  that would supposedly halt Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. The bills, if they became law, would increase sanctions on Iran if a deal isn’t reached, and demand that Congress approve any deal reached by the parties to the negotiations. One bill is the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, with Senator Kirk as the other lead sponsor.

And the other one is with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). It would, as described by Politico, “allow Congress to approve or reject any nuclear agreement that President Barack Obama reaches with Iran.” Politico added that it “would be a stern rebuke to the president,” and cited a letter released last month in which Obama’s “Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told Corker that moving on his Iran legislation would ‘potentially prevent any deal from succeeding.’”

While apparently the parties to the negotiations have agreed today on a “framework” to keep negotiating to try to work out an actual agreement by the end of June, the timing of this sidelining of the leading Democratic Senate voice skeptical of the President’s apparent pursuit of a deal at any price appears more than coincidental. It appears very purposeful. But don’t tell that to Chris Matthews. Remember, this is the President who urged Latino voters to “punish our enemies and reward our friends.” Maybe that explains Sen. Menendez’s indictment, as well as the decision this week to not prosecute former IRS executive Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress.

03/30/15

Marxist Van Jones Praises Koch Brothers

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

When he left the Obama Administration in disgrace, the expectation was that “former” communist Van Jones would return to Oakland, California, and resume his duties as an anti-police street activist. Instead, Jones, a former activist with the group, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), was hired as a “liberal” co-host of a new version of CNN’s debate show “Crossfire.” Now, Jones has emerged as a point man for Koch Industries in a multi-million dollar campaign for “criminal justice reform.”

The spectacle of Jones appearing at a podium emblazoned with the company name “Koch Industries” became a reality last Thursday when the ACLU and the billionaire Koch brothers joined forces to sponsor an all-day “Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform.” Jones orchestrated most of the conference, serving as a moderator and speaker.

While the conference included a few Republicans, there was clear evidence that the new “bipartisan” campaign is being directed from the Obama White House. Attorney General Eric Holder and senior White House officials had met with several prominent leaders of the effort on March 2.

In addition to Jones, who was forced to resign as White House “Green Jobs Czar” after his extremist background came to light, Holder was a featured speaker, calling for “a fundamental shift in our criminal justice system,” and “historic change.”

Known for his lawless actions, such as refusing to enforce federal anti-drug laws, Holder was held in contempt by Congress for withholding documents from them about Fast and Furious, the scandal involving a gun-running operation that put deadly weapons in the hands of narcotics traffickers from Mexico. He is also known for the “open borders” policy that has prevented a vigorous enforcement of immigration laws on the federal and state level.

Addressing an audience of about 500 people, Holder spoke of a “rare consensus emerging across the country,” adding, “Recently, we have seen conservative stakeholders like Koch Industries and Americans for Tax Reform join with progressive voices like the Center for American Progress to form a new coalition dedicated to this cause.”

The “cause,” based on what we witnessed at the all-day event, is to reduce prison populations in the name of fiscal restraint and liberal compassion.

The financial support from the Koch brothers gives this left-wing campaign a bipartisan appearance and may be intended to buy some goodwill from the “progressives” who normally target these billionaires.

But knowing of Holder’s involvement in the event and the evidence that he, in fact, helped orchestrate this conference, it was troubling to some conservative observers that members of Congress, such as Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Republican governors such as Nathan Deal of Georgia, participated in this event.

Holder argued that the criminal justice system was racist against minorities, while Deal said the system was too costly and that many criminals can be re-educated, rehabilitated and released.

Although Americans for Tax Reform was indeed listed as a sponsor, its head, Grover Norquist, was in the news for another reason. He is embroiled in a controversy over his alleged ties to Islamists, and gave an interview to Glenn Beck defending himself against the charges.

The Center for American Progress, another major player in the new “criminal justice reform” effort, is funded by the Open Society Foundations of billionaire hedge-fund operator George Soros.

The new group Holder spoke about is called the Coalition for Public Safety, financed by $5 million from the Koch brothers and other “core supporters,” such as the liberal Ford Foundation.  The group is run by Christine Leonard, a former Ted Kennedy Senate staffer once affiliated with the left-wing Vera Institute for Justice.

The Vera Institute is so extreme that its Project Concern had a National Advisory Board on Adolescent Development, Safety and Justice that included the former communist terrorist Bernardine Dohrn as an adviser from 1998 to 2003. Dohrn was accused of bombing a police station and killing a San Francisco police sergeant. However, she has never been brought to justice for her alleged role in this crime.

Though it tilted heavily toward the left, the new coalition and the conference had a sprinkling of conservatives, most notably former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. His firm, “Gingrich Productions,” was an official sponsor. Gingrich apparently became a friend of Van Jones when they appeared together on CNN’s “Crossfire.” Other conservatives or libertarians in attendance included Matt Kibbe, President/CEO of FreedomWorks, and Tim Head, Executive Director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.

In a joint statement, Gingrich and Jones declared, “Our over-reliance on prisons has failed America. It is past time for both political parties to come together and fix a bad system of their own making. We believe this moment offers a once-in-a generation opportunity for reforms that will save entire communities and transform the lives of millions of Americans. We must not let it pass.”

However, the well-documented book, Why Crime Rates Fell, by John E. Conklin, argues persuasively that crime reduction is due in large measure to putting more criminals in prison.

On one panel at the event, John Malcolm of The Heritage Foundation disputed the liberal notion advanced by Nicole Austin-Hillery of the Brennan Center for Justice that increased incarceration had no role in the drop in crime. He noted that economist Steven Levitt has estimated that approximately 25 percent of the decline in violent crime can be attributed to increased incarceration, and that Professor William Spelman has estimated that increased incarceration may be responsible for as much as 35 percent of the reduction in violent crime.

Following Governor Nathan Deal as a speaker was Piper Kerman, a convicted drug-money launderer who wrote, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, a book made into a television series by Netflix.

Dr. Tina Trent, an advocate for victims of crime, is watching this campaign go forward with a lot of questions and suspicion. She was writing about the campaign for “criminal justice reform” when it was primarily underwritten by Soros. She discovered that the group, Critical Resistance, a Soros-funded activist group founded by long-time communist Angela Davis, had invented the “cop-watch concept” that would be popularized by Jones in Oakland through a group called Bay Area Police Watch. Davis wrote, Are Prisons Obsolete?, a book arguing that criminals are victims of capitalist society.

Trent says the campaign is well underway and aims to eliminate the death penalty, life without parole sentences, “three strikes” laws, mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and other changes that states have passed over the last 20 years to reduce violent crime. Another goal is to expand voting rights for felons, who are expected to show their gratitude by voting Democratic.

She says the movement also aims to “ban the box”—a reference to removing the criminal record question from job applications—and legalize dangerous mind-altering drugs. In this context, the Soros-funded Drug Policy Alliance was another “partner” in the “bipartisan summit.”

Trent has also highlighted the Soros-funded effort to “radicalize” prisoners while they are incarcerated.

The campaign to target the prisons for revolutionary purposes is actually an old one. The House Internal Security Committee in 1973 published a report, “Revolutionary Target: The American Penal System,” which examined how “groups committed to Marxist revolutionary theories and tactics were exploiting the popular issue of prison reform and had become a source of the unrest then afflicting many of the nation’s prisons.”

A different approach and analysis of what has to be done about the crime problem is being taken by veteran journalist Colin Flaherty, in his new book, Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry. Flaherty argues that the Obama/Holder narrative of the alleged “racial victimization” of blacks by whites ignores the black-on-white violence that has become an epidemic across the country.

Rather than empty the prisons, he argues, more criminals need to be apprehended and punished.

Black crime rates are “astronomically out of proportion” to their presence in the population, he points out. But the media “ignore, condone and deny it.” Obama, he adds, is a “willing partner” in the deception.

03/29/15

Bone Weary

Arlene from Israel

Anyone who is tracking the news these days, and genuinely cares for the security of Israel and the future of the US – not to mention Europe and the Mideast – has got to have an extremely heavy heart.  We are facing some very dark times.

With regard to Israel, serious thinkers are pondering the best way to survive the 22 months until Obama is out of office.  But the problem is actually a great deal bigger than the issue of how Obama is behaving towards Israel – as much as this remains huge for us here.

~~~~~~~~~~

Obama.  In addition to his irrational and venomous attacks on Israel, there is his courting of Iran.  One is the flip side of the other: Alienate Israel, buddy up to Iran.

We are now a mere two days away from the presumed deadline on a signed framework deal between Iran and P5 + 1.  (In reality this is a negotiation between Iran and the US, as the other negotiating partners, with the exception of France, have largely pulled back.)  How likely it is that a deal really will take place depends on whom you ask.  What is clear is that Obama – and Kerry, operating in his stead – are doing all they can to achieve this “diplomatic success.”

Because of Obama’s eagerness, what we are seeing is the stuff of nightmares.  Definitely nightmares, as it’s hard to believe this could be happening in the light of day.  The Iranians – recognizing very well with whom they are dealing – have consistently stonewalled on US demands.  Last Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal broke with a story on yet another US pullback, each in turn design to conciliate the Iranians (emphasis added):

Talks over Iran’s nuclear program have hit a stumbling block a week before a key deadline because Tehran has failed to cooperate with a United Nations probe into whether it tried to build atomic weapons in the past, say people close to the negotiations.

“In response, these people say, the U.S. and its diplomatic partners are revising their demands on Iran to address these concerns before they agree to finalize a nuclear deal, which would repeal U.N. sanctions against the country.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-stalls-u-n-probe-into-its-1427327943

The issue is “possible military dimensions” (PMD).  As Omri Ceren of The Israel Project has explained (emphasis added):

“PMD disclosure is about base-lining all of Iran’s nuclear activities – not just its known civilian parts – as a prerequisite for verifying that those activities have been halted under a nuclear deal. Iran has uranium mines; some are civilian and some are military. It has centrifuges; some are operated by civilians and some by IRGC personnel. It has uranium stockpiles; some are maintained by civilians and some by the military. There’s no way for future inspectors to verify that Iran has shuttered its mines, stopped its centrifuges, and shipped off its stockpile – for instance – unless the IAEA knows where all the mines and stockpiles are.

“No PMDs mean no verification.”

~~~~~~~~~~

And there’s more.  On Thursday, AP reported (emphasis added):

The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites…”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/ap-exclusive-iran-run-centrifuges-fortified-site-29925489

As Ceri explains here (emphasis added):

“Allowing the Iranians to enrich at Fordow means they could kick out inspectors at any time and have a fully-functioning enrichment facility hardened against military intervention. Since sanctions will be unraveled by design at the beginning of a deal, that means the West would have literally zero options to stop a breakout…

“The White House started out promising that Fordow would be shuttered, then that it would be converted into an R&D plant where no enrichment would take place, and now they’ve collapsed.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Add to the above the fact that the US is ignoring the violent hegemonic encroachment of Iranian proxies across various areas of the Middle East – as if it were only the issue of nuclear capacity that must be dealt with.

There are, of course, Syrian president Assad, and Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon (and Syria).  But most recently what we’ve seen is the takeover of Yemen by the Shiite Houthis, also supported by Iran.  Houthi control of Yemen has enormous importance because of its strategic location, adjacent to Saudi Arabia.  From the Yemenite port city of Aden, the straits of Bab el-Mandeb, which are only about 20 miles wide, can be controlled.  The straits constitute a major chokepoint – so the party that controls the area has the capacity to block marine traffic from the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.8 million barrels of oil and refined petroleum products pass through the straits daily on their way to destinations in Asia, Europe and the US.

This is before we mention that increased Iranian backed presence in the Middle East is worrisome to Israel.

But the US is not paying a whole lot of attention. US special forces fled Yemen a while ago, and US negotiators are not raising this issue.  There are commentators who believe that the US should have walked out on negotiations until Iran withdrew support for the Houthis.  But that might have jeopardized the deal, which has first priority for Obama – the rest of the world be damned.

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You want to know how crazy it is?  While Obama is promoting diplomatic ties with Iran and “reaching out” to the Iranians, we can see in a MEMRI video that Iranian leader Khamenei cries “Death to America.”

http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4838.htm

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Amir Hossein Motaghi is an Iranian journalist who was supposed to be covering the negotiations, but has defected because he could not longer tolerate Iranian demands that he write his reports according to their specifications.

In a TV interview, he has now said:

The U.S. negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/03/28/iranian-defector-us-negotiating-team-mainly-there-to-speak-on-iran%e2%80%99s-behalf/

If this does not blow your mind, you are not getting it.

~~~~~~~~~~

What I really cannot grasp – even beyond the question of how a man such as Obama secured two terms in the White House – is why the other negotiating nations are being so passive, when Iran is a threat to them, or why the American people are not truly up in arms (meant figuratively here).

~~~~~~~~~~

There are just a small number of possible recourses with regard to this situation:

The first is the US Congress, many of whose members – Republicans, but a handful of Democrats as well – indeed are grievously distressed by what is going on.  What is required is a sufficient number of votes in the Senate to over-ride a veto by Obama, so that sanctions to weaken Iran can be put in place appropriately. We are seeing signs that this may be possible.

“The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Thursday for a non-binding amendment to a budget bill intended to make it easier to re-impose sanctions if Iran violates a nuclear deal.

“The vote was 100-0 for the amendment, sponsored by Republican Senator Mark Kirk, which would establish a fund to cover the cost of imposing sanctions if Tehran violated terms of an interim nuclear agreement now in effect, or the final agreement negotiators hope to reach before July.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/26/iran-nuclear-congress-idUSL2N0WS30W20150326

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And then there is Israel.

According to Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) there is time between the signing of a framework agreement now and the final agreement in June – at which point details would be factored in – when diplomatic maneuvering can still be done.  This would involve, it seems to me, key communication with France first – as France has the greatest unease about what is taking place.

Beyond this, there is the military option, with the moment of truth advancing rapidly.  We are now probably past the 11th hour, perhaps at about 15 minutes to midnight.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has said, again and again, that he will never permit Iran to become a nuclear power. He has also made it clear that Israel is not bound by the terms of a very bad P5 + 1 deal with Iran.

Just today, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, a close Netanyahu associate, declared on public radio that Israel “will not be bound by an accord concluded by others and will know how to defend itself.” (Emphasis added)

https://news.yahoo.com/dangerous-accord-iran-worse-israel-feared-pm-094154014.html

What our government will do in the end, and what our military is capable of doing, remains to be seen.  Israel cannot take out Iran’s capacity for nuclear development entirely – but can, as I understand it, do considerable damage.

The scuttlebutt is that Netanyahu wants to attack, although I know people who are convinced he never will. (Please, do not write to share opinions on this.)  Some months ago, information was revealed indicating that at one point Defense Minister Ya’alon was opposed to an attack but has now changed his mind.

A key factor here is the readiness of Saudi Arabia, which is absolutely enraged with Obama’s inaction on Iran, to lend passive assistance, at a minimum, should Israel decide to attack. The Saudis would be delighted – make no mistake about this.  This assistance might make a difference in the end.  Because the other piece of the story is that Obama is trying his best to track Israeli intentions and to block us.

~~~~~~~~~~

Leon Panetta – former director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense under Obama, gave an interview to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC three days ago that merits mention here. Put simply, what he said was that he learned at the CIA and Defense that “The Iranians can’t be trusted.”

This is the bottom line.  Said Panetta (emphasis added):

“…the real test is going to be, and the whole world will be looking at it — the test will be have we truly made sure that Iran can be stopped from developing a nuclear weapon. And to do that in my book demands transparency and it demands accessibility so that we have a firm inspection regime that will guarantee they cannot do this.”

http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/26/former-obama-defense-secretary-the-iranians-cant-be-trusted-video/

Precisely! And that is never, ever going to happen.

~~~~~~~~~~

I recently encountered an article that asked, in its lead: Which side is Obama on?  That, my friends, is a rhetorical question.  It is clear that he is on Iran’s side.

That being the case, it is inevitable that the president would come down on Netanyahu in every way possible.  He wants to discredit him, and weaken him, and delegitimize his position, for Netanyahu is the key stumbling block to what he is trying to achieve.  There is no way for Bibi to make it “right” with Obama. It’s not really about the negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs or other related issues.

And facing the truth straight on also helps explain why Obama worked so hard behind the scenes to defeat Netanyahu in the elections, and why he is so frustrated now.

~~~~~~~~~~

Just a moment here, then, to look at what is happening at home.  I wrote last week about the apparent halting of building scheduled for Har Homa in Jerusalem (and indeed I’ve received no information that it was anything else such as a bureaucratic mix-up).  That did not sit well.  Since I wrote about that, information has surfaced about Israel agreeing to release to the Palestinian Authority tax monies that had been collected – with some held back against money owed to Israel for electricity and other services.  On top of this, there is apparently a deal for Israel to sell gas to Gaza, with Qatar paying the bill.

This did not sound good.  Really not good. Certainly at first blush it looks like a caving to Obama under pressure, because there is so much talk about Israel’s “readiness’ for a “two state” deal.

But that’s at first blush, and I’ve been struggling with this long and hard over the last couple of days. Because there is another way to look at this.  If Netanyahu is making concessions to please Obama it is the height of foolishness, a terrible weakness, as nothing will please Obama where we are concerned.  The only way to respond to him is with strength.  Anything that smacks of weakness will simply invite more pressure.

But suppose Netanyahu is doing this to remove some of the poison spewed by Obama (Netanyahu is a racist, he does not want peace, etc.), in order to deal more placidly with others? Suppose he wants to approach Democrats in Congress conveying the image of someone who is willing to compromise for peace, so that they will hear him on Iran?  Suppose he wants to speak with French leaders – who are eager for “two states” – from a position that will make them more amenable to his message? Or with other European countries?  Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz suggests several nations are uneasy about the deal.

In light of the enormous weight of what our prime minister has to deal with, I prefer to cut him some slack here, for the moment, and see how the situation evolves. Today he told the Cabinet:

“This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that.”

http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Netanyahu-says-expected-Iranian-nuclear-deal-even-worse-than-Israel-feared-395468

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I had hoped to discuss some matters related to the formation of the coalition here, but will table this.  Before closing, I want simply to look at a couple of relative bright spots in an otherwise grim picture.

Saudi Arabia, alarmed by the Houthi take-over in Yemen, and absolutely furious at Obama for opting out of involvement, decided to act, in concert with other Sunni allies.  This was promising, as the Iranian takeover by proxy in Yemen is being pushed back as a result of Saudi airstrikes that are being hailed a success. There is further talk of ground forces in Yemen, although my information is that it will not be necessary, as there are tribal groups in Yemen that are ready to act on the ground against the Houthis.

Even further, the Arab League, at the closure of a meeting in Egypt, has announced in principle the creation of a joint Arab rapid response force. Egypt, which would be a prime mover in the establishment of such a force, declared that it would consist of some 40,000 elite troops, backed by jets, warships and light armor.  What this means is that even though the US has totally abdicated its role of confronting Iranian regional aggression, there are Sunni Arab states presumably ready to step up, lest the feared and detested Iran take over the region.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/03/29/yemen-rebels-air-bases/70625166/

~~~~~~~~~~

Then see this report that says Hezbollah – operating at the behest of Iran – has been stopped by paramilitary rebel forces from establishing a major presence on the Golan directly adjacent to the Israeli border.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/on-the-syrian-golan-unlike-in-yemen-an-iranian-offensive-fails/

03/25/15

Exposed

Arlene from Israel

Before we take a look at the broader situation, I share two announcements:

This Friday, March 27th, at noon, there will be a press conference and a “Keep Iran Nuclear Free” rally, at 780 Third Avenue (between 48th & 49th Streets) in Manhattan. This is in front of the offices of the Manhattan offices of New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to urge these Senators to commit to overriding President Obama’s expected veto of two important pending bills on the issue of Iran.

The Bipartisan Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, sponsored by Senators Kirk and Menendez, imposes new sanctions on Iran if international negotiators fail to reach a deal by June 30 on Tehran’s nuclear program.  Fourteen Senators, including Senator Schumer co-sponsored the bill.

The Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, sponsored by Senators Corker, Menendez, Graham and Kaine, mandates that the president must submit the text of any agreement with Iran to Congress; prohibits the administration from suspending congressional sanctions for 60 days, during which Congress would hold hearings and review the agreement; provides for Congressional oversight; and requires assessments and certifications of Iranian compliance.

Every vote is needed.

It is best if you can attend, but in any event, if you live in NY state, you are encouraged to reach Senator Schumer via: http://www.schumer.senate.gov/ and Senator Gillibrand via: http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/

~~~~~~~~~~

And then, for Israelis and those planning to be in Israel over the Pesach week:

I have written about the illegal building for Arabs that the EU is sponsoring, and the excellent report about this that the organization Regavim has released.  Now Regavim is sponsoring a bus tour to allow you to actually see this massive illegal building in Area C and Jerusalem. In the end, there is nothing like seeing it for yourself.

Date and time: Wednesday, April 8th, Hol Hamoed Pesach, from 1:30 to 4:30 PM.

Location: Buses will depart from and return to the Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem.

Cost: 100 NIS or $25.

An expert will accompany each bus; detailed maps will be provided, as will water.  Bring your own food.

For information: Dr. Jan Sokolovsky, [email protected]

To Register: by April 3, www.regavim.org.il/en/events/Pesach

~~~~~~~~~~

As to what has been exposed (if you haven’t already guessed), it is Obama’s hatred for our prime minister and his paranoid vindictiveness.

However supporters of Obama (particularly Jewish supporters) have, over the past years, tried to convince themselves that Obama was a friend of Israel, it has never been the case.

If you doubt this, please take the time to see this video (with thanks to Michael Widlanski for calling it to my attention):

“Daylight: The Story of Obama and Israel” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wbH5KVPrPo&feature=youtu.be

~~~~~~~~~~

What has happened now is that Obama’s antipathy for Israel has grown enormously.  The president does not like to lose and is not fond of compromise.  If he does not achieve what he wants, he goes after those whom he sees as stumbling blocks.


Credit:  Telegraph (UK)

It was bad enough for him that, in spite of his efforts to block Bibi, our prime minister came to the Congress – to a resounding welcome that must have been galling for the president – to speak against the deal with Iran that is close to completion.

Clearly, he resolved to “fix” Bibi after this, by making sure that he was not re-elected.  We know that there were American funds invested in the effort to defeat Bibi at the polls, as well as assistance provided to the Buji campaign by former Obama advisor Jeremy Bird and the team he brought with him.

An official here in Jerusalem has charged that the White House was directly involved in the attempt to unseat the prime minister:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/officials-white-house-was-part-of-bid-to-oust-netanyahu/

~~~~~~~~~~

But there is even worse: There are reports from a Likud strategist of an effort “’to organize the [Israeli] Arabs into one party and teach them about voter turnout.

“’The State Department people in the end of January, early February, expedited visas for [Israeli] Arab leaders to come to the United States to learn how to vote,’ McLaughlin exposed.

“He added, ‘there were people in the United States that were organizing them to vote in one party so they would help the left-of-center candidate Herzog, that the Obama administration favored.’” (emphasis added)

This, my friends, was the source of Bibi’s concern during the election that the Arabs were coming “in droves.”  He knew it was a set up, but Obama then turned this into a “racist” statement, which it was not.

~~~~~~~~~~

In the end, all of the dirty tricks didn’t work, and Netanyahu secured a victory.  Oh, how galling this must have been for Obama.

I’ve already written about his overheated response, with the decision to “re-evaluate” the US relationship with Israel.

But since I last wrote, it has gotten worse still.  The latest accusation is that Israel “spied” on negotiations with Iran and then leaked information to members of Congress.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4640317,00.html

Spied?  What does this mean?  There is no evidence offered, simply an empty (silly) charge.  Does Obama imagine that Israel designed little robots that look like flies and were able to sit on the wall of the negotiating room, recording information? What?

The information I do have is that Israeli officials are in touch with some of those who are in the negotiating process – primarily from France – and have been thus kept informed. This is not “spying.”

~~~~~~~~~~

And then there is the whole issue of Netanyahu “sharing” information with members of Congress.

Please understand what sort of siege mentality the president has, that he considers it inappropriate for members of Congress to know what’s going on. This is at the core of Congress’s battle with him:  Its members believe they must be informed and involved, and he’s fighting them every step of the way.

What is more, there is no evidence, either, of Bibi having shared information with members of Congress.  Speaker of the House John Boehner said he was “shocked” by this accusation, for he has never received any information about the Iranian negotiations from Israel, and he was unaware of other members of Congress having received such information.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/03/24/boehner-%e2%80%98shocked%e2%80%99-by-reported-israeli-spying-on-iran-talks-denies-receiving-information/

~~~~~~~~~~

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Defense Minister Bogie Ya’alon have all categorically denied the accusation of spying.

~~~~~~~~~~

What we have here, then, is a very sick situation.  Exceedingly nasty.  Dangerous, certainly. But it seems to me beyond the bounds of what is rational. This is Obama becoming unhinged.

~~~~~~~~~~

And you know what?  In some respects, I see this as not a bad thing. For, many who supported Obama – who believed him when he said he had Israel’s back – have now had their eyes opened. There is a significant shift in how Obama is being seen in several quarters within the US.  Consider (with emphasis added):

’The fact that the outcome of a democratic election in Israel seems to be of great concern [to the Obama administration] is cause for deep anxiety and puzzlement,’ said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee.’

“’Whatever the failings of the prime minister, the way this is unfolding runs completely contrary to the spirit of US-Israel relations,’ Harris said. ‘The US appears to have a reasoned interest in prolonging the crisis’

”’As someone who was critical of several steps by [Netanyahu] during the campaign leading up to his reelection, I am even more troubled by statements now coming out of the White House,” said Abe Foxman, longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

What we are hearing from the Obama administration raises deeper questions about their intentions and perspectives,’ he said, adding that ‘from the beginning of the Obama years, there was a disturbing indifference to the mind-set of the Israeli public.’”

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Jewish-establishment-sounds-alarm-as-White-House-rhetoric-intensifies-394978

OK, so now we have establishment Jewish leadership – which has pretty much toed the line for Obama – looking askance at him.  Good.  Hopefully there is a body of Jews within the American electorate that is now also revisiting the issue of Obama as friend of Israel.

~~~~~~~~~~

But there is also a troubling side to this situation: That is Netanyahu’s MO – his propensity for seeming to play the game rather than being confrontational.  We had reason to hope there had been a shift away from this tendency of his.  He demonstrated a strong conviction and was willing to buck the president when it came to his talk in Congress.  This was the Bibi to be admired and supported. He showed he could do it – as he has shown before.  I remember his lecture to Obama in the White House, as to why we cannot return to the ‘67 lines.

But now?  Now I have picked up news that – if accurate – is greatly unsettling:

According to YNet, Israel is freezing construction of 1,500 new housing units in Har Homa:

“The massive construction plan in Har Homa has been suspended ‘for neither planning nor professional reasons.’

“The Ministry for Construction and Housing and Jerusalem municipality confirmed that two critical planning discussions set for the coming week on advancing the construction have been canceled for unknown reasons.

“Planning officials familiar with the details of the plan told YNet that the program is not being advanced due to the political sensitivity and that there had been no approval from the Prime Minister’s Office to hold the planning discussions.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4640852,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Har Homa (officially Homat Shmuel) is outside the Green Line and often referred to as a “settlement” in “east (sic) Jerusalem.”  In fact, it is in the south of Jerusalem, within the municipal lines of a united Jerusalem, and a strategically important neighborhood.  Founded in 1997, under the watch of Netanyahu, it is located only about a kilometer from Bethlehem.  Netanyahu has indicated that this neighborhood serves as protection for “the southern gateway of Jerusalem.”  The area is being constructed in stages – reportedly there is a master plan; the current population is 25,000.

New housing units in Har Homa
Credit: European Press Photo Agency

~~~~~~~~~~

Just days ago, before the election, Netanyahu stood in Har Homa and pledged to continue building in Jerusalem.  He knows that it is possible to continue in spite of international uproar, for he faced an uproar when approving the construction of the first stage of Har Homa 18 years ago.

Yesterday, at a  press conference, Obama declared that Netanyahu’s words have made the possibility of a “two state” deal unlikely:

“Netanyahu, in the election run-up, stated that a Palestinian state would not occur while he was prime minister.  And I took him at his word that that’s what he meant.

“Afterwards, he pointed out that he didn’t say ‘never,’ but that there would be a series of conditions in which a Palestinian state could potentially be created. But, of course, the conditions were such that they would be impossible to meet any time soon.”

Obama said that in light of Netanyahu’s comments, the “possibility seems very dim” for the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach an agreement.

“’We can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years,’ the president said.”

http://news.yahoo.com/israel-denies-spying-us-134204766.html

It is hardly necessary for me to say much about how dishonest and low Obama’s approach is.  As if everything was in place, and peace was going to burst out any second – but Netanyahu destroyed it.  As if Netanyahu’s conditions were anything but reasonable.

This statement by Obama followed a speech by his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, in which he declared that “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

Bibi knows full well how correct he is about the impossibility of a “Palestinian state” now – because of the terrorism in the region, and because of Abbas’s total intransigence as well (never mind because of our legal rights).  But there remains great unease that Obama’s approach may put him on the defensive and motivate him to “prove” his intentions.

~~~~~~~~~~

As far as I can determine at present, the report about the stoppage for political reasons is coming only from YNet – which has a distinctly leftward tilt. The prime minister’s office, referring more to bureaucratic process, denies the stoppage was motivated by politics.

This is a situation that must be watched closely. Within days we should have a more definitive picture.

~~~~~~~~~~

We might hope that Bibi Netanyahu would take the advice of Brett Stephens, writing on “The Orwellian Obama Presidency” (emphasis added):

”Here is my advice to the Israeli government, along with every other country being treated disdainfully by this crass administration: Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back

The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance…Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”
http://www.wsj.com/articles/bret-stephens-the-orwellian-obama-presidency-1427153308?mod=hp_opinion

AMEN!