Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see former UN Ambassador Samantha Power exposed for egregious “unmasking” of Americans detected on foreign surveillance, including a huge number just prior to President Trump’s inauguration. They also cast a skeptical eye upon North Korea’s threat to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean, but note the troubling impact it would have on the area and the prospects for war. And they express disgust as former CIA operative and liberal media darling Valerie Plame tweets out a story blaming “America’s Jews” for America’s Wars and suggesting American Jews recuse themselves from Middle East policy and be identified as Jews when speaking on television. They also roll their eyes at her pathetic explanation and wonder how her attitude played into her controversy at the outset of the Iraq War.
Archives for September 2017
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is cheering President Trump for a strong address to the United Nations this week and for perhaps already reaping critical results in his effort to isolate North Korea.
On Thursday, Trump announced a new round of U.S. sanctions aimed at North Korea and also reported that China is vowing to deal a major financial blow to the communist regime in Pyongyang.
“Today I’m announcing a new executive order I just signed that significantly expands our authorities to target individuals, companies, financial institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea,” said Trump.
Bolton says this could be a very significant move.
“It’s potentially significant because if we were to sanction companies or banks doing business with North Korea, that could have a knock-on effect to other countries doing the same and could effect their ability to do transactions in the United States,” said Bolton.
He says it leaves those banks and corporations with a stark choice.
“Do you want to do business with us or do you want to do business with North Korea? Your choice entirely, but it’s going to be one or the other,” said Bolton.
Bolton likes the aggressive nature of the sanctions.
“Why didn’t we do this about eight or ten years ago? Why is it that we’ve waited this long? I think we have the answer. I think President Trump is determined to do something about North Korea and Iran and their nuclear programs,” said Bolton.
Bolton served as ambassador to the United Nations for President George W. Bush. So why didn’t these sanctions come then?
“There was a lot of discussion in the Bush administration about sanctions but (there was) a lot of opposition to really squeezing North Korea. Ultimately, I don’t think we did really anywhere near what we could have,” said Bolton.
He says there was virtually no chance for stiff penalties in the Obama years.
“There was no appetite for sanctions against North Korea. They were exercising what they called ‘strategic patience’ in the Obama administration. That’s a synonym for doing nothing and the North Koreans took advantage of it,” said Bolton.
Just as importantly, Bolton says the new sanctions turn the screws on China as well.
“The vast bulk of the institutions doing business with North Korea – financial, commodities, machinery, you name it – are Chinese. China, for 25 years, frankly, has two-timed us on their concern about the North Korean nuclear program. So this gives the president some bite,” said Bolton.
That may have already paid off Thursday, as, Trump announced news that seemed to surprise even him, as China appears ready to play hardball with Kim Jong-Un as well.
“China, their central bank has told other banks – and it’s a massive banking system – to immediately stop doing business with North Korea,” said Trump.
Bolton says if China is serious about taking this step it could have a huge impact on North Korea. However, he says it is very tough to determine if China is making good on such a policy.
“I think that’s difficult from the outside. God knows how many banks there are and how many new banks can be created that might be able to facilitate North Korean trade, for example with Iran,” said Bolton.
Trump made major headlines with his blunt talk about North Korea in his speech on Tuesday.
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary,” said Trump.
Bolton says Trump struck exactly the right tone.
“I thought it was entirely appropriate. Some of these people who talk about what’s becoming or unbecoming to say at the UN. Honestly, the United Nations is not a church. You’re not supposed to be reverential towards threats to international peace and security and innocent American civilians,” said Bolton, who thought the Trump approach was refreshing after the past eight years.
“After eight years of global governance kind of rhetoric from Obama and the weakness that he projected, maybe some people are shocked when they hear what a real American president has to say. All in all, I think it’s the right thing for the president to do. In America, plain speaking is a virtue and it’s important that these other countries hear it,” said Bolton.
Bolton also lauded Trump for labeling the Iran nuclear deal an “embarrassment” and “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.” He says that puts the onus on Trump to get out of the deal soon.
“If you don’t certify but stay in the deal that you’ve described already as embarrassing, I think that’s unpresidential. It’s sort of a one shoe on, one shoe off foreign policy. He needs to lead with moral and political clarity. I think the way you do that is to say this deal is a disaster for the United States and its friends and allies and we’re getting out of it,” said Bolton.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleasantly reminded the Democrats are also deeply dysfunctional as former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. says he doesn’t know what his party’s economic agenda is. They also sigh as late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel suddenly becomes the media’s benchmark for whether the latest GOP health care bill is a good idea. And they groan as four NFL players want to institute a month dedicated to social activism, similar to how the league devotes a month to breast cancer awareness.
From the podium of the United Nations to domestic U.S. politics, socialist ideas are frequently discussed and in many cases seem to be advancing in our society, and a new book concludes that the far left has been on the march for a full century in this country and is now on the verge of victory.
President Trump took heat for denouncing the socialist regime in Venezuela during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and for pointing out socialism and communism result in poverty and misery whenever it is tried.
On the domestic side, in just the past few weeks, over a dozen Senate Democrats have lined up in favor of single payer health care, meaning the government would be in complete control of one-sixth of the economy.
Charles Sasser is a veteran of U.S. Army Special Forces. He’s a history teacher and a prolific author. His latest work is “Crushing the Collective: The Last Chance to Keep America Free and Self-Governing.”
He says history is replete with examples of people being convinced to give up their rights for the supposed good of the larger community. He says collectivism still pushes the same message today.
“Collectivism means the collective is of more value than the individual. That’s been used by every tyrant ever. It’s always for the cause, for the people. You give up this freedom for this and this,” said Sasser.
“Throughout history, the individual has always devolved into the collective. That’s been the historical movement, from individualism to collectivism, and collectivism always ends in tyranny,” he added.
To prove the rise of collectivism in our own society, Sasser says we only need to examine the widespread popularity of avowed socialist Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race.
“He could have won it because so many of our young people have been indoctrinated into this idea that you can have free college. You can have everything free now. So like pigs squealing at the trough, we’re all running for that trough to get whatever is thrown into the trough for us. As a result, we give up our independence,” said Sasser.
He says we’re already well down that road as a nation.
“We’re already socialist. Right now we have 47 percent of the people living off the government. When you’ve got that many people dependent, guess what? They continue to want more and more. You can hear them at the trough, demanding more and more,” said Sasser.
Sasser says it’s not just Sanders. He says Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are also clear that they embrace collectivism.
“Obama revealed one of his slogans at the 2012 Democratic convention. He said we belong to the government. That sounds fascist to me. It’s definitely collectivism. Hillary (said) deep-seated cultural codes and religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. In other words, we have to condition the people to change it,” said Sasser.
He says the course America chooses to chart in the coming years is critical since most of the modern world, including western Europe, are already lost down the road to collectivism.
“Europe’s gone. It’s declined already. It’s on its way to collapse,” said Sasser. “And now the U.S. is collapsing. As a result of this, we’re no longer seen in the world as a stabilizing force,” said Sasser.
“So what happens? We’re not longer a stabilizing force. The world is going bonkers. Who’s going to stabilize it? Nobody. We’re in for some interesting times,” said Sasser.
Sasser refers to the Tytler cycle, a concept created by Scottish historian Alexander Tytler in the 1780’s. The cycle suggests people in bondage turn to faith, which in turn leads to courage and then liberty. According to Tytler, liberty creates abundance, which then brings on complacency, apathy and dependence before resulting in bondage again.
He says we’re frighteningly far along in that progression.
“Every society throughout history has gone through that same cycle and end up in bondage. The average endurance of any empire has been about 200 years. We have exceeded that so far, but in Tytler’s liberty-tyranny cycle, we’re back to the stage of dependency,” said Sasser.
While there may be an historical process to observe, Sasser points out this erosion of the American experiment doesn’t just happen. He says a very organized and determined effort from the far left has been applying pressure for a full century, with the Frankfurt School in 1917.
He says a key tenet of the Frankfurt School was a “long march” to take over or destroy institutions, from education to the church to the family.
“You take over or destroy whatever stands in the way of socialism. Never mind that socialism has never worked, never throughout history has it worked and it’s always ended up in tyranny. It’s just that we call it by different names, but it always ends the same way,” said Sasser.
The Frankfurt School emigrated to London and eventually to the U.S. Sasser says a key figure in the movement, a German professor named Herbert Marcuse who later taught at the University of California-Berkeley, pioneered the type of selective tolerance we see rampant on campuses today.
“He said to tolerate whatever ideas and movements the left does, but have intolerance for the right. As a result of that, [they] just destroy everything and take it over in the march through the institutions,” said Sasser.
Sasser says many colleges now cater to keeping the students ignorant, ushering them away from learning history and economics and instead focusing them on gender and race studies.
However, he says opponents of the march to collectivism are fighting with their hands tied behind their back due to the intimidation of political correctness.
“Did you know America now ranks 46th in the world when it comes to first amendment rights of freedom of press and freedom of speech? Forty-sixth in the world, somewhere near Albania. Primarily it’s because of political correctness and self-censorship. We won’t speak out,” said Sasser.
He says the recent debate over the transgender movement is a prime example.
“Men are calling themselves women. Women call themselves men. We have 50 different genders now, and we’re not supposed to say something is absurd here?”
“We don’t. We keep silent. We accept it. Once you tolerate something in the first generation, you accept it in the second generation, and then in the third generation you extol it and light up the White House in rainbow colors,” said Sasser.
He says winning the fight against collectivism is very difficult and may well end up being a losing cause, but he says those who want to preserve the best of America must stand up and have their voices heard as the push form the left gets more fierce.
“We have to have courage. We have to have the courage to say something is wrong. This is insanity. It is total insanity and if we follow that over the cliff then we all go over the cliff,” said Sasser.
“That’s what I try to do in this book, to lay it out in a cohesive order so people could understand where we came from, how we got here, what is occurring around us at this moment, and what it’s leading to, and what we can do is mainly speak out,” said Sasser.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer a court decision that upholds Wisconsin’s right to work law and rejects the argument of organized labor that it has a right to part of workers’ paychecks. They also shudder as a new study shows students of all political stripes evenly divided on whether “hate speech” should be protected speech, whether it’s OK to shout down speakers they don’t like, or even whether uncomfortable views should be allowed on campus. And they have fun with a political ad that is a horrible parody of a famous scene from “Top Gun.”
After months of current and former federal officials insisting there was no merit to allegations the government conducted surveillance on Donald Trump or his campaign during the 2016 cycle, there are now reports that former campaign manager Paul Manafort was being wiretapped.
After Trump tweeted his frustration at the Obama administration for greenlighting the alleged wiretapping, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper rejected and validity to such an assertion.
“For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect as a candidate or against his campaign,” said Clapper on NBC’s “Meet the Press” back in March.
But CNN’s revelation that the government did procure a FISA warrant against Manafort and conduct surveillance in on him in 2016 and 2017 brings such denials under the spotlight once again. Most importantly, did they lie?
Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy says the way Clapper and others carefully worded their denials earlier this year probably leaves them some wiggle room.
“I always thought that the denials, as indignant as they were by people connected to the Obama administration and even from the Justice Department after Trump took it over were always carefully couched and very narrow,” said McCarthy.
“What I took the denials to mean was that they were saying they never targeted Trump himself for surveillance and even more specifically that Obama did not do it,” said McCarthy.
“I always thought that was quite narrow because as we know, the president does not go to the FISA court and get the authorization to do these surveillances, much less do the physical work to set up the surveillance himself,” said McCarthy.
“I always thought that the loudness and indignation of the denials was much broader than what the denials actually said read carefully,” he added.
According to CNN’s reporting, Manafort was under surveillance from 2014 to early 2016 and again from late 2016 to sometime earlier this year, including time when Trump was president. At issue, according to sources, was Manafort’s cozy relationship with the ousted pro-Putin regime of Viktor Yanukovich in Ukraine, and ultimately whether he was tapping those connections to aid Trump’s campaign in any way.
Still, the government’s pursuit of a FISA warrant is much different than a standard criminal search warrant.
“You have to show there’s probable cause that the subject is an agent of a foreign power. That’s importantly different from a criminal warrant. In a criminal case, you have to show that there’s probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed and that evidence of a crime is likely to be recovered in the place that you want to search,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says the political circumstances surrounding the case should not impact the enforcement of the law but he says there is usually great sensitivity exercised when political events could be impacted. As a result this decision, should have been deliberated at the highest levels of government.
“That gets scrutinized, not only much more carefully at the FISA court, (but) it also should be scrutinized very heavily in the Justice Department, the FBI, and the upper ranks of the administration before you would even go to the FISA court to seek the surveillance,” said McCarthy.
The New York Times is reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller is using “shock and awe” tactics, meaning he is threatening witnesses with considerable punishment for not cooperating fully with the Mueller team.
McCarthy says we already saw that when the FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid of Manafort’s Virginia home in July. He points out that any raid conducted before 6 a.m. and allowing agents to pick the locks at a home require special permission from the court.
But perhaps the most curious part of the FBI’s physical raid on Manafort’s home was the timing of it.
“The search warrant that Mueller did came on the day after Manafort met with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators and on the very day he was supposed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy suspects there could be multiple motives at work. One is simply that investigators are eager to determine exactly how much Russia did to influence the 2016 elections, which he believes is warranted.
However, in a politically charged atmosphere like Washington, he says some could be trying to make whatever evidence is in hand fit a political goal.
“I think there are other people looking to cement a political narrative that it was Trump collusion and Russian espionage that cost Hillary Clinton the election. There’s all kinds of factors and considerations that go into it. But certainly Manafort and his prior connection to this Ukrainian faction gives a lot of ammunition to the investigators,” said McCarthy.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy watching Nancy Pelosi get drowned out by amnesty activists who think she and Chuck Schumer are not doing enough for people who are in the U.S. illegally. They also discuss the revelation that the feds did in fact wiretap former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort before and after the 2016 election. And they have no problem with President Trump referring to Kim Jong-Un as “Rocket Man,” given that decades of professional diplomatic statements have achieved so little.
Key White House officials are denying any change in President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, but supporters of Trump’s position are increasingly concerned by the growing number of treaty supporters in the president’s inner circle and by he unwillingness to kill the treaty once and for all.
Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal quoted European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete as suggesting Trump may be mulling a change in policy.
“The U.S. has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement,” said Canete, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Trump administration immediately sought to pour cold water on the report.
“Our position on the Paris agreement has not changed. @POTUS has been clear, US withdrawing unless we get pro-America terms,” tweeted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
On Fox News Sunday, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called the speculation a “false report.”
“The president decided to pull out of the Paris accord because it was a bad deal for the American people and a bad deal for the environment,” said McMaster.
Trump’s top economic adviser also joined the chorus.
“Per the White House statement on Saturday and consistent with the president’s announcement in June, we are withdrawing from the Paris Agreement unless we can re-engage on terms more favorable to the United States,” said Cohn.
But that statement actually raises more questions than it answers for those concerned about Trump sticking with his decision to withdraw from the treaty.
“The position itself is inherently ambiguous. What President Trump announced June 1 in the Rose Garden was that he was going to withdraw in November 2019, taking effect the year after that, unless he found better terms. They have yet to define what those better terms are,” said Christopher C. Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who served on Trump’s transition landing team at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Horner says the debate within the White House before Trump’s announcement in June was a battle royale and he says it still hasn’t stopped.
“The struggle that led up to the June 1 announcement and was particularly acute in May among administration staff, not just Obama administration holdovers and not just career resistance types at the State Department, but some Trump appointees at the White House in the National Security Council and elsewhere, who are fighting to reverse this,” said Horner.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has consistently advocated for staying in the treaty. On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Tillerson said remaining in the deal is still possible.
“The president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue,” Tillerson said.
Horner says Tillerson’s position is not surprising because the State Department bureaucrats are licking their chops to implement this agreement.
“This is the biggest boon for the State Department, possibly ever. You’re talking about the creation of an enormous climate diplomatic corps,” said Horner. “They think, oddly enough, when you rob Peter to pay Paul, Paul thinks it’s a great idea.”
“The politicos they’ve brought on board are not the ones you’d want if you wanted to keep the president’s promise,” said Horner.
Horner says the issue is simple. On Trump’s present course, the debate could rage for another two years.
“The struggle continues. Until President Trump sends that letter on November 5, 2019, this fight goes on,” said Horner.
Trump’s decision to exit the treaty via letter in 2019 is what aggravates Horner most, pushing fiercely for Trump to declare the agreement a treaty and force the Senate to vote on and likely kill the agreement.
He says by taking unilateral executive action, Trump’s decision is only good for the remainder of his presidency.
“If he wants a durable withdrawal, meaning something that President Warren cannot turn the key on on January 20, 2021, you’re going to have to have the Senate vote,” said Horner.
Horner sees multiple options by which Trump can bring an end to the issue, whether by submitting the treaty to the Senate now or renegotiating the plan and then submitting the amended plan for a vote that would still likely fail, since ratification requires two-thirds of senators to approve.
But Horner says one reason Trump may not be taking that action is because the Senate doesn’t want to touch it.
“So far the Senate has not stirred. In fact, to my understanding, the Senate told President Trump they don’t want him to involve them,” said Horner.
The treaty is non-binding, leaving many to wonder why Horner and others are wringing their hands over a possible Trump reversal or his allowing his successor to rejoin the agreement. Horner points out the deal tightens the screws on emissions every five years, so the longer we’re attached to the deal the more pressure we’ll be under to comply.
Already, he says the Germans are desperately trying to keep the U.S. in the fold.
“We have obtained records from the State Department, a cable, saying the Germans are worried that if the rest of the world doesn’t do this to themselves too they will lose billions,” said Horner.
“In other words, ‘It’s not fair that we did this to ourselves. You’re mean if you don’t do it to yourself too,'” said Horner.
Horner also explained that the real strategy is for the climate change movement to enforce the plan – both at home and abroad – is to use the courts to their advantage.
“The United Nations, just before the president made his announcement, issued a report about how activists could use the Paris treaty to really put the screws to signatories who are claiming it’s not binding,” said Horner.
“The pointed to a decision out of the Hague that’s fairly recent, in which the court said, ‘I know you’ve got your agreement and you’ve got your number here and you’ve also got decades of saying I’m so awful. I’m so responsible, I’m so obligated,'” said Horner.
Horner says the court at the Hague assigned an even more aggressive plan for reducing carbon emissions and liberal activists in the U.S. are already trying to get federal judges in the Ninth Circuit to enforce the treaty and make the terms even more burdensome.
“So you can say non-binding, but the people behind this know what they’re up to and they know who occupies our judicial benches here,” said Horner.
Not only does Horner warn that failing to get the Senate to vote on the treaty allows the next president to reverse Trump’s decision, but he says keeping the Senate out of the fray will permanently damage the separation of powers.
“This is simply a beginning point for the courts. That’s a key reason why it’s so dangerous. The other is, of course, that you have outsourced policy making to this body instead of to our Senate as our Constitution dictates. You’ve gutted the treaty power, probably forever, if you just shrug at this usurpation of the Senate’s treaty role,” said Horner.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Trump administration for considering a full closure of the U.S. embassy in Cuba in response to the bizarre sound wave assaults on U.S. diplomats in Havana and urge officials to follow through on the idea. They also discuss the revelation that the London tube bomber was a teenage refugee just three years ago and why extreme vetting makes perfect sense. And they get a kick out of College Park, Maryland, council members having to admit they actually didn’t vote to allow illegal immigrants to vote in local elections because they didn’t know their own charter.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are happy to see Ben Shapiro was able to give his speech at Berkeley without incident in the auditorium and minimal unrest outside, which this year counts as very good news. They also unload on Harvard for offering convicted spy Bradley Manning, who now identifies as Chelsea Manning, a position as a visiting fellow, and only rescinding the offer after the intelligence community denounces the move. And they groan as a terrorist attack on the London tube injures 22 people and suggests terrorists there might be changing their tactics.