Friday, December 13, 2019

Obama or Trump: Who's the Real Russian Stooge? - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

A sobering -- and telling -- look at the historical record.

Democrats and their socialist allies have been quick to portray President Donald Trump as a tool of the Russians. Pejoratives like "Putin's puppet" and "Russian asset" are terms routinely employed by Trump's shrillest critics with banal regularity.

The Mueller Report, compiled by a team largely composed of Trump antagonists, conclusively established that neither Trump nor members of his campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. That fact, established after wasting $32 million in taxpayer funds, has not stopped Democrats and their echo-chamber puppets in the establishment media, from regurgitating tired tropes and talking points steeped in Alice in Wonderland-like fantasy.

Democrats and elements within the leftist media have absurdly attempted to portray Trump’s efforts to establish good, working relations with Russia as an attempt to undermine the republic. However, no such criticism was ever leveled against Barack Obama when he attempted his farcical Russia re-set, which ended in disaster. It’s a tired double standard that Trump and his supporters have become accustomed to.

Despite cautious efforts to foster good relations, the Trump administration’s foreign and domestic policies have adversely impacted Russia and its imperialistic designs. In fact, even a cursory review of Trump's record on Russia reveals that he is anything but Russia's stooge and can more accurately be characterized as its worst nightmare. I’ve compiled a list of seven significant actions undertaken during the Trump administration, which unequivocally supports this assertion.

Energy: In September 2019 the United States exported more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported, marking the first time that the U.S. was a net petroleum exporter since monthly records were initiated in 1973. This startling development occurred under Trump’s watch. Trump reversed his predecessor’s deleterious energy policies, which were viewed by the energy industry as hostile. In fact, Obama, who nixed Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL pipeline, banned offshore drilling in the Arctic and enacted harsh regulations on the fossil fuel industry, developed a reputation of being anti-energy. Instead of shoring up U.S. energy interests, Obama did everything he could to thwart the fossil fuel industry while providing taxpayer subsidies to failed solar energy companies like Solyndra. By contrast, U.S. fossil fuel development and production under Trump is now surging. This not only strengthens America’s national security, it harms Russian economic interests.

Ukraine: Despite the Democratic narrative, it was the Trump administration and not the Obama administration that provided lethal aid to the Ukrainian army to repel Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the Russian-backed proxy takeover of two provinces in eastern Ukraine was met by tepid action by the Obama administration. Ukraine had asked the United States for lethal military assistance, but that request was rebuffed by Obama. Trump reversed Obama’s pro-Russian policy and authorized the release of military assistance to Ukraine, which included delivery of highly effective Javelin anti-tank guided missiles.

Poland: Shortly after taking office, the Obama administration announced that it would be scrapping a missile defense agreement that the Bush administration had negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic. By 2013, Obama had completely dismantled the concept of a Europe-based missile defense system, leaving the Poles and Czechs embittered. By contrast, the Kremlin was ecstatic. Putin had to concede nothing and received a windfall. In 2012, Obama was infamously caught on hot mic telling Russian president Dmitri Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to capitulate on missile defense after the November presidential election. In 2017, Trump partially reversed Obama’s Russia cave-in by signing a memorandum of understanding with Polish president Andrzej Duda in which the U.S. agreed to sell Poland Patriot missile defense systems. The MoU signals to both America’s friends and foes that America does not abandon allies.

Rebuilding the military: It is no secret that the U.S. military – which endured severe budget slashings under Obama – was compromised during the Obama years. U.S. overseas military obligations coupled with sequestrations put an enormous strain on the military and its ability to perform its mission. Military personnel did not have a favorable view of Obama, who saw climate change and not Russia as America’s main threat. A joint poll conducted by the Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families found that more than 50% of those polled maintained an unfavorable view of Obama while only 36% registered approval. But the toxic situation existing under Obama was reversed under Trump. The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by Trump, ensures that the US. Military maintains its qualitative and quantitative edge over its adversaries, which include Russia and China. Equally important, morale among America’s military personnel has surged under Trump.

Syria: When Bashar Assad used poison gas against his own citizens in 2013, killing nearly 1,500 people including 400 children, Obama declared that such use of chemical weapons crossed all red lines and warranted a severe military response. Within a month, Obama reversed course and allowed Putin to orchestrate a scheme compelling Assad to give up his WMDs. Despite the deal, Assad was still able to retain some of his chemical weapons and the means of manufacturing them. Worse yet, Obama permitted Putin, as interlocutor, to gain a substantial foothold in Syria. Under Trump, Assad’s use of chemical weapons was met with an overwhelming U.S. military response signaling to both friend and foe that the U.S. would not tolerate the use of WMDs by rogue regimes. Trump also ensured that Putin did not extend his reach beyond the so-called de-confliction zone. In February 2018, a Syrian army column backed by Russian mercenaries from CHVK Wagner attempted to seize an oil refinery near the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor. They were stopped cold in their tracks by U.S. military personnel who called in air and artillery strikes. The entire enemy force was wiped out and the Russians lost and estimated 200 to 300 men. The action signaled to Russia that the U.S. would not tolerate violations of prior understandings.

INF Treaty:  Under Obama, the Russians flagrantly developed and deployed ground-based missiles with ranges of between 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Obama likely ignored the transgressions in a misguided effort to get the Russians on board with the JCPOA, colloquially known as the Iran deal. In 2019 the Trump administration formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) citing blatant Russian violations of the accord.

Venezuela: In 2009, Obama warmly greeted Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez at the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad. A smiling Nicholas Maduro, Chavez’s successor, was standing nearby and appeared amused by the encounter. Obama later defended his warm embrace of one of America’s top enemies by claiming that the U.S. must engage other countries through humanitarian gestures. During Obama’s tenure, Venezuela became a center for nefarious Russian, Chinese, Iranian and Hezbollah activity. Despite the presence of such pernicious actors right on America’s doorstep, Obama actively opposed sanctions against the Venezuelan regime even when there was wide bipartisan support for such measures. Russia maintains a large economic stake in Venezuela to the tune of over $15 billion. In an effort to prop up the regime and secure its investments, it dispatched troops to Venezuela several times this year. When Trump took office, he reversed the pusillanimous policies of his predecessor by immediately imposing sanctions on Venezuela and key Venezuelan officials. Trump continues to ratchet up the pressure against Venezuela by initiating a relentless economic and diplomatic offensive against its ruling junta. The Trump administration also sternly warned the Kremlin not to deploy military assets in the region referring to such deployments as a direct threat to international peace and security in the region. Thanks to Trump’s relentless pressure campaign, Maduro’s days are almost certainly numbered and when he inevitably falls, Moscow stands to lose a bundle.

During his tenure, Obama pandered to the Russians. He allowed them to violate missile treaties, gave them a twenty percent interest in America’s uranium mining capacity in the now infamous Uranium One deal, transferred sensitive technology to Russian companies that would later end up in the hands of the Russian military, dismantled missile defense shields in eastern Europe, eroded the U.S. military, prevented lethal aid from reaching Ukraine and stifled the fossil fuel industry. If the Democrats want to find a Russian stooge, they need look no further than Barack Obama.  

Ari Lieberman


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Black Nationalist Hate Group Praised by Media Shot Up Kosher Market - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

The ultimate "cultural appropriation" and its lethal results

The New York Times called them "sidewalk ministers" who practice "tough love." The paper quoted Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center who described them as victims of racism and claimed that they were non-violent.

The Washington Post, in its own puff piece on the Black Hebrew Israelites, also falsely described them as non-violent, and concluded that, "Israelite street preaching in parts of D.C., Philadelphia and New York is commonplace, a familiar if odd accent to city life."

The odd accent to city life in Jersey City came amid a hail of bullets as two members of the racist black nationalist hate group opened fire in the JC Supermarket. Despite initial claims by the media and the authorities that the Jewish market had not been targeted, David Anderson and Francine Graham ignored passerby on Martin Luther King Dr, to get to the store and kill as many Jewish people as they could.

When the shooting had ended, Moshe Hersh Deutsch, a yeshiva student who was known for helping distribute food packages to the needy, Mrs Leah Mindel Ferencz, a mother of 3 who helped her husband run the grocery store, and Miguel Jason Rodriguez, the father of an 11-year-old daughter and a parishioner at an Assemblies of God church, were all dead.

Anderson, who left behind anti-Semitic and anti-police writings, had also killed Detective Joseph Seals, a father of 5, and wounded Officer Ray Sanchez and Officer Ferenella Fernandez.

The black nationalist terrorist had hated cops and Jews. He managed to kill both.

The media whitewash of the racist Black Israelites had come during the Covington Catholic case when the Washington Post, among other papers, had falsely blamed the pro-life students for a confrontation that actually began when members of the nationalist hate group had begun calling them, “crackers,” “faggots,” and “pedophiles.” An African-American pro-life student was called the ‘n-word’.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has her own history of racism and anti-Semitism, falsely claimed that the Covington Catholic students were “taunting 5 black men.”

The New York Times equivocated that members of the hate group “use blunt and sometimes offensive language, and gamely engage in arguments”. The typical “offensive language” and argumentative style of the Times’ second favorite racist hate group involves shouting racist and anti-Semitic slurs at people.

David Anderson, the Kosher supermarket shooter, had a whole YouTube playlist of such ugly incidents. In one video, a Black Israelite preacher shouts, “Satan is in you” at a Jewish man. “You stole our history. You are pretending to be us. The messiah, who is a black man, is going to kill you.”

Gamely indeed.

In another video, a Black Israelite preacher calls a Jewish teen a member of the “Synagogue of Satan”. “We want our book back and we want our land back,” the preacher demands. “Go back to Russia.”

You can see why Rep. Ilhan Omar might have felt called to defend the racist hate group.

“They move you all over the earth, but we know who you are. You are part of the Zionist deception. You go among the earth to spread Zionism, which is really Catholicism,” he rants. “Witchcraft and sorcery.”

Such statements may seem deranged, but they’re typical of the supremacist theology of the hate group.

Previous incidents involving the hate group have been even uglier with a video that doesn’t appear on Anderson’s playlist showcasing a Black Israelite preacher shouting, "The Holocaust is a damn joke! Heil Hitler!" A documentary shows another preacher standing on a prone white man and declaiming, "We're coming for you, white boys. Negroes are the real Jews. Get ready for war.”

It’s no wonder that Tom Metzger a KKK leader and the founder of the White Aryan Resistance, had described them, as "the black counterparts of us".

And yet, the New York Times concluded its whitewash of the hate group with a closing quote by Todd Boyd, a professor of race and culture at UCLA, which claimed that, "To many black people, Hebrew Israelites are a harmless part of their communities."

No doubt to many white people the KKK are a harmless part of their communities. Racist hate groups are the bigger problem for people who aren’t a member of their race.

"More alarming to many African Americans," the UCLA professor of race had argued, is "seeing a white guy in a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat."

The dead at the JC Supermarket would have liked to have seen a MAGA had instead of black coats.

The whitewash of the Black Israelite hate group was the work of John Eligon, a reporter hired by the New York Times to report on race, who had previously defended Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism, and had injected black nationalist sympathies into his writing. The Washington Post’s whitewash of the hate group was the work of Sam Kestenbaum, a contributing editor at the radical leftist The Forward. The anti-Jewish paper has a long history of whitewashing and defending anti-Semitism by its political allies.

But the problem is much bigger than just the media’s whitewash of the Black Israelites.

The FBI’s warning about the threat of “black identity extremism” was met with a wave of attacks by the media.  A New York Times op-ed warned of "The F.B.I.’s Dangerous Crackdown on ‘Black Identity Extremists’" The Intercept, a notorious radical hate site funded by Franco-Persian eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar, joined in. "Why the FBI's "Black Identity Extremist" Classification Is Dangerous," Teen Vogue had argued. The Nation had warned of a "Coming War on 'Black Nationalists'".

Rep. Karen Bass, a militant anti-Israel Democrat, despite representing a partially Jewish district, attacked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the FBI, and other officials over the BIE category.  This was after the murder of 4 Dallas police officers by Micah X. Johnson and Kori Ali Muhammad's targeted killing of three white men in Fresno.

“I don’t believe black identity extremists exist, and I believe the FBI should retract the document and send out a document throughout law enforcement saying that black identity extremists do not exist,” Bass had ranted.

This year, under pressure, the FBI jettisoned the BIE term. Just in time for the Kosher market shooting.

The FBI report helps police officers prepare for coming threats. By undermining the warnings about black nationalist violence, Rep. Bass, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and every media activist and politician who went to bat for black nationalist racists sabotaged police preparedness.

And they have blood on their hands.

The media is already embracing the familiar narrative about lone wolves and individual instability. That’s the same story we hear after acts of violence by members of a movement that it is politically allied with.

Hate groups, whether it’s the KKK or the Black Israelites, or campus hate groups like the Groypers or SJP, should be exposed with clear and honest facts about who they are and what they believe.

When political activists and media whitewashes cover up the truth for partisan reasons, people can die.

A father of five with a badge, a mother of three running a grocery store, a man working to support his daughter, another man delivering food packages, did not have to die. If the truth had been told about the Black Israelites, they might still be alive today. Instead the media lied and they are gone.

Truly standing up against racism and anti-Semitism means jettisoning partisan agendas for the truth.

Rep. Karen Bass, the New York Times, The Intercept, the ACLU, and others colluded to tie the hands of the FBI and local police because they see black nationalists like Anderson as allies in their cause.

After the attack, a representative from Americans Against Anti-Semitism, an organization which, unlike the ADL, actually opposes hate wherever it comes from, took a camera to record local reactions.

"I blame the Jews. We never had a shooting like this until they came," one resident bellows. “My children are stuck at school because of Jew shenanigans.”

"Four of y'all are dead right? That's great. If they was there, they got shot dead, that's great," a man says.

"Get the Jews out of Jersey City," someone else shouts.

There’s nothing extraordinary about this. It’s the everyday hate that we can’t talk about. The hate that the media is quick to cover up. If you want to understand why children are beaten on Brooklyn streets and why a Kosher supermarket was shot up, it’s because we aren’t allowed to talk about it.

Evil needs silence and complicity. The media and Democrat politicians are guilty of both.

The Ferencz family, Moishe and Leah, opened a small market on Martin Luther King Dr. They filled the narrow aisles with bread, juice, candy, milk, and the household staples you need when time is short.

They worked late hours.

And then, while Moishe was praying next door, the black nationalist bigots whom the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Rep. Karen Bass had defended, killed her husband.

That is the story that the media won’t tell. But it must be told.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.


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Trump Pushes Back Against Campus Anti-Semitism - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

Pro-Palestinian thuggery on campus finally gets a rebuke.

President Trump made history again on Wednesday, when he signed an executive order authorizing the Department of Education to act against anti-Semitism on American college and university campuses, and making it clear that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive federal money, “would apply to institutions that traffic in anti-Semitic hate,” that is, virtually every public institution of higher learning in America.

This executive order is long overdue. The Jerusalem Post reported that as far back as 2015, “more than 30 organizations, including Jewish fraternity AEPI, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Zionist Organization of America wrote to University of California regent Bruce D. Varner in July, requesting that substantive measures be taken to combat rising anti-Semitism on UC-affiliated campuses.”

The problem wasn’t restricted to the University of California, either, but nothing was done. And it is virtually inconceivable that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or any presidential hopeful on the scene today would have signed the executive order that Trump signed Wednesday. Trump pointed out that earlier efforts to combat campus anti-Semitism “didn’t get it done,” and declared: “This year, there’s no roadblock.”

There have been roadblocks for years. Campus groups, most notably the notorious Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), have grown increasingly aggressive as the Left has intensified its embrace of opposition to Israel and open anti-Semitism. Jewish students and supporters of Israel on campuses have been shouted down, defamed, vilified, and physically menaced, with only a handful of groups, particularly the David Horowitz Freedom Center, providing any support for those students.

The Freedom Center has fought back, virtually alone, demanding that universities withdraw their support for pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic groups such as the SJP that spread Jew-hatred on campus for well over a decade. The Center provides students who support Israel with valuable intellectual resources and helping them to stand strong against the furious onslaught from Leftists and the Muslim Brotherhood juggernaut.

There are so many incidents illustrating that furious onslaught that they could fill an entire good-sized book. Nor have only students been targeted: in February 2010 at the University of California at Irvine (UCI), the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, attempted to give a speech there on relations between the United States and Israel but was ultimately unable to do so: after Muslim students heckled and interrupted him repeatedly, he left the stage.

Before Oren appeared, the UCI Muslim Student Union (MSU) chapter had issued a statement that read, in part:

As people of conscience, we oppose Michael Oren’s invitation to our campus. Propagating murder is not a responsible expression of free speech. . . .
We strongly condemn the university for cosponsoring, and therefore, inadvertently supporting the ambassador of a state that is condemned by more UN Human Rights Council resolutions than all other countries in the world combined. . . .

The most important aspect of this statement was its claim that the university was “inadvertently supporting” Oren’s views just by cosponsoring the event. This was a complete rejection of the idea of the university as a place where all ideas can be discussed and accepted or rejected on their own merits. As far as the Muslim Student Union was concerned, giving someone a platform was tantamount to endorsing his views—so only those with acceptable opinions, that is, anti-Israel opinions, should be given a platform.

Applying that principle has turned universities into one-party states in which only one point of view is allowed. Trump’s executive order opens up the possibility that they might become institutions of higher learning again.

It will take a great deal of effort. At Temple University in August 2014, SJP members called Daniel Vessal, a Camera on Campus fellow and a member of the Jewish fraternity AEPi, “kike” and “baby killer,” and punched him in the face. Vessal explained that when he tried to engage SJP members in dialogue, but “people at the table were calling me a ‘baby killer’…And then this kid just rocks me in the face as hard as he can. My glasses flew off. After a two-second blur I had no clue what had happened. I couldn’t believe the kid actually hit me. When the police came over and were filing the report the kids at the table were screaming ‘You Zionist pig, you racist, that’s what you get.’” Police did not arrest the attacker.

In May 2016, Eliana Kopley, a sophomore at the University of California at Irvine (UCI), was trying to enter a screening of an Israeli documentary about the IDF called “Beneath the Helmet” when she was accosted by an angry mob screaming “Long live the Intifada!” and “F**k Israel!” The protesters prevented her from entering the building where the film was being shown, and even chased her into a nearby building, where they pounded on the doors and windows while continuing to scream their slogans. Police ultimately escorted Kopley into the screening. The UCI chapter of the SJP was thrilled with this thuggery, and praised the mob.

Likewise in a November 2015 rally organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Hunter College, a campus of the City University of New York (CUNY), protesters brandishing signs reading “Boycott Israel” and “Zionists out of CUNY” screamed at Jewish students: “Zionists go home!,” “Zionists out of CUNY!,” “Jews out of CUNY!,” “Get out of America!,” and “We should drag the Zionist down the street!” In February 2016 at Brooklyn College, a group of hard-Left students burst into a Faculty Council meeting and began chanting “Zionists off campus!” When a Jewish professor tried to get students to end their disruption of a Faculty Council meeting at Brooklyn College, they called him a “Zionist pig.”

The Muslim students’ behavior toward Oren and at Hunter College rapidly became the norm across U.S. campuses: it has become unsafe to be pro-Israel at an American university. As colleges grow more authoritarian in their Leftism, they have become increasingly inhospitable to students who oppose the Left’s pet causes.

But now President Trump has ensured that universities and colleges that actively allow anti-Semitic activity will face consequences. At the signing of the executive order, Alan Dershowitz said: “No more important event to turn universities away from being bastions of hatred and discrimination than this executive order being signed today. It is a game changer. It will go down in history as one of the most important events in 2,000 battle against anti-Semitism.”

For the sake of simple justice, and for the sake of the freedom of inquiry on college and university campuses, and for the sake of the truths that the Freedom Center has been fighting for all these years, all people of good will should hope that Dershowitz will be proven correct.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.


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Michael Horowitz Found “Illegal Surveillance” and “Can’t Rule Out” Political Bias - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

IG Report findings “don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA.”

“So it was all lies. No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trump’s wires. It was just good people trying to protect America.”

That was James Comey’s review of the 476-page report released Monday by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. On Tuesday, at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania, President Trump rendered his review.   

“They spied on our campaign, okay?” Trump said. “Never happened before in the history of our country. And we’re really wise to it.” The FBI ignored and hid exculpatory evidence, Trump said, “so they could keep the hoax going for two more years.” And the FBI sent “multiple undercover human spies” to surveil people in his campaign.

“They are still great people,” the president said, “their lives have been destroyed by scum. An FBI lawyer, “forged an email used as evidence,” now the subject of a “criminal referral.”

Attorney General William Barr did not agree with the conclusions of the IG report. Neither did Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday as they confronted Michael Horowitz his own self.

“We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations, after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI.” This happened, Horowitz testified, “even though the information sought through the use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign, and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny.” That wasn’t good enough for Committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“The former FBI Director James Comey said this week that your report vindicates him,” Graham told the IG. “Is that a fair assessment of your report?” Horowitz responded,  “I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA.”

Graham also asked if surveilling Carter Page ever “became unlawful.” Horowitz said to surveille someone without legal foundation was “illegal surveillance, it’s not court authorized surveillance.”

Graham also read a December 2018 news report in which Comey told a reporter. “I have total confidence that the FISA process was followed, that the entire case was handled in a thoughtful, responsible way by DOJ and the FBI. I think the notion that FISA was abused here is nonsense.”

Horowitz cited “significant problems with FISA” and told the Committee he would not have submitted that FISA application, which “had no business going in.” The DOJ did not act fairly and Trump adviser Carter page “was on the receiving end of the FISAs.”

Sen. Ted Cruz called the IG report a “stunning indictment of the FBI and the Department of Justice, of a pattern of abusive power.” The Steele dossier used in the FISA application was “the most effective oppo research dump in history” because “the Department of Justice and the FBI were perfectly happy to be hatchet men for this oppo research dump.”

Cruz wanted to know if the Page email altered by the FBI lawyer amounted to fabricating evidence, and if that would launch a prosecution of any private citizen who did likewise. “They certainly would be considered for that if there was an intentional effort to deceive the court.” Horowitz responded.

Sen. Charles Grassley wondered if President Obama may have known about the probe and asked why the Trump campaign wasn’t briefed on the investigation. Horowitz said he did not know what Obama knew, but “the briefings were identical but the net result was that one was for investigative purposes and one was purely for the intelligence briefing.”

Sen. Mike Lee, took up the IG’s contention that political bias did not play a role in the FBI’s decision to launch the investigation. The lack of evidence, Lee contended, was not indicative that no bias occurred. Horowitz could not rule out that political bias had come into play later in the investigation.

The IG recalled the “lack of documentary and testimonial evidence about intentionality, but we noted the lack of satisfactory explanations, and in fact, leave open the possibility, for the reasons you indicated, it is unclear what the motivations were.” Amidst gross incompetence and negligence, Horowitz said, “we are not ruling it out.”

Later in his testimony, Horowitz restated the claim that he and his staff “couldn’t reach a conclusion about what motivated” the FISA abuse. That was the position of Committee Democrats, for the most part an echo chamber for Comey.

“This was not a politically-motivated investigation,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “There is no deep state.” The San Francisco Democrat said it was time to “move on” from claims of political bias and pivoted to the Trump impeachment in the House.

“Those who showed great interest in the question of politically motivated investigations against President Trump,” she said, “should show the same concern about politically motivated requested by the president or his attorney general.”

Meanwhile, the IG report by an appointee of Barack Hussein Obama was “great,” Trump said Tuesday, but the president looked forward to “Bull Durham’s report.” Like William Barr, U.S. Attorney John Durham disagrees with the conclusions of the IG report. On the other hand, the many disturbing findings have surely helped Durham lock and load for his ongoing criminal investigation. Maybe the FBI lawyer who forged evidence against Carter Page will be one of the first to hear from him.

Lloyd Billingsley


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56% for establishing committee to check Netanyahu investigations - Mordechai Sones

by Mordechai Sones

Half of Israeli public lost trust in judicial system following events of past year.

New Im Tirtzu sign in Tel Aviv
New Im Tirtzu sign in Tel Aviv                                                                                                                              Im Tirtzu

The Im Tirtzu movement began the second phase of its campaign to save Israeli democracy and restore confidence in the justice system.

The campaign publicizes a Project Panel survey that reveals the confidence of nearly 50% of respondents in the justice system declined in the past year, with more than two-thirds of respondents saying they support establishing an independent audit body for the State Attorney's Office.

A giant billboard on the corner of Allenby and Rothschild Streets in Tel Aviv, entitled "Saving Democracy - Restoring Trust in the Justice System," reveals the desire of the majority of the public to set up a probe committee to scrutinize the investigations leveled against Prime Minister Netanyahu.

On the question of whether the public supports or opposes establishing a commission of inquiry into the conduct of Prime Minister Netanyahu's investigations following the state witness' problematic testimony, 56% of respondents answered they support or strongly support establishing a probe committee, compared to only 26% who oppose or strongly oppose its establishment. Eighteen percent of the respondents did not express their views.

As to whether in respondent's opinion in light of recent events the level of trust in the judicial system has increased or decreased, 49.1% responded that the level of trust in the judicial system has decreased, compared to only 6.2% who believe the level of trust has increased. 39.7% of respondents said their confidence in the justice system remained unchanged.

On the question of setting up an independent audit body for the State Attorney's Office, 68.2% answered that they support or strongly support, compared to only 11.6% who oppose or strongly oppose establishing such a body. 20.2% of respondents had no opinion.

Asked about splitting the Attorney General's function due to his dual role of "Government Attorney" as well as "General Prosecutor", 62.5% of respondents said they support or strongly support, compared to 11.8% who oppose or strongly oppose. 25.7% did not answer.

Regarding the degree of trust in the judicial system, 23.2% of respondents answered that their confidence in the judicial system was very low compared to only 7% who felt a very high level of trust, with about a similar number, 15% and 19.8% expressing a low or high degree of trust in the judicial system and about a third of respondents saying their trust in the justice system is mediocre.

As to whether respondents favor changing the selection of judges to reduce the influence of judges on the procedure, 41% of respondents said they support or strongly support the change, compared to 32.4% who oppose or strongly oppose reducing judges' power. 26.7% of respondents had no opinion on the matter.

In addition to the results of the survey that were clearly visible on the sign posted in Tel Aviv, the sign also included the remarks of senior judicial officials and other public figures who severely criticized the State Attorney's Office chaired by Shai Nitzan.

Among other things, Justice Hila Gerstel's statement that "Shai Nitzan is unworthy of being the State's Attorney", Justice Avi Tal, who said there are "question marks regarding trust in the judicial system", the words of Advocate Shishai Gaz said: "There are almost no criticisms of them and it scares me ... they can do what they want," as well as Adv. Kinneret Barashi's remarks, "Shai's methods of operation are illegal."

Im Tirtzu movement Chairman Matan Peleg said, "In recent years, there has been a unique regime in Israel that is unparalleled anywhere in the Western world. This is a legal oligarchy whose characteristics are in complete contradiction to the democratic concept, even the most basic one.

"All important and significant decisions over the last twenty years were ultimately not made by elected officials, but by a group of judges and officials whose worldview represents a tiny minority of the population. This phenomenon is the only reason 19 police investigations against Prime Minister Netanyahu have been opened to date. Both because he is elected servant of the people, and because his values ​​contradict the post-Zionist worldview of that legal elite. We all hope that the public journey we have embarked on now will inspire the people to protect the Zionist identity of the State of Israel and the democratic principles of the State of Israel."

Mordechai Sones


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Joint Arab List putsch to repeal illegal construction law - Mordechai Sones

by Mordechai Sones

Vigilance by small group of MKs averts Tibi’s late-night ploy. Regavim: 'Repealing law would have had catastrophic consequences.'

Ahmed Tibi
Ahmed Tibi                                                                                                                                                            Flash 90

While most Israelis were fast asleep, a late-night drama gripped the Knesset. After midnight, the Special Committee for Dissolution of the Knesset was convened in the plenum for a third and final vote. At issue was an alternative date for new elections; the date automatically assigned by law would have fallen on the Purim holiday. The suggested alternative is March 2nd.

The Yisrael Beitenu Party headed by Avigdor Liberman tacked a rider onto the law, stipulating that foreign workers would not receive holiday overtime salary bonuses for the third election day of the year. MK Ahmed Tibi was enraged, and demanded the addition of another rider to the law: Repealing the Kaminitz Law.

The Kaminitz Law is the term for the amendments to the Planning and Building Law in 2017, which was formulated following extensive administrative work by a staff headed by Deputy Attorney General (Civil), Adv. Erez Kaminitz.

Kaminitz proposed a series of legislative amendments to improve the ability to deal with the phenomenon and enable more effective enforcement of planning and construction laws. The amendments were introduced into the Planning and Building Law under Amendment 116 of the Law, which passed during the 20th Knesset.

The amendments increased the severity of the punishment for construction offenses, granted more authority to inspectors, and provided more effective enforcement tools such as allowing for the issuance of work stoppage and demolition orders that bypass the complex and lengthy criminal procedures that exists to date, and increase the ability of authorities to act swiftly against new delinquency.

The Kaminitz Law is an important cluster of amendments to Israel’s Planning and Building Code. The amendments provide important administrative tools and enforcement powers against illegal construction. Since its enactment, The Kaminitz Law has brought the rate of new illegal construction starts down by 50% nationwide. The Joint Arab List has been fighting to repeal it from day one, claiming that it is “racist,” but Jewish farmers all across the country have complained that the Kaminitz Law harms their interest, as well.

In the wee hours between Wednesday and Thursday, Tibi posed an ultimatum: If the rider repealing the Kaminitz Law is not attached to the law for new elections, he will continue to pile more and more objections and rider clauses on, and run down the clock that is quickly ticking down – and elections would be set for Purim.

Regavim Movement Director General Meir Deutsch understood the danger posed by Tibi’s late-night maneuver. Rather than “clocking out” for the day, he rushed to the Knesset in the middle of the night and explained the impending disaster to Zionist MKs on the Knesset Special Committee.

The MKs, among them Oded Forer, Moshe Gafni, Yaakov Margi, and Ofir Sofer, drafted a modified version of the objection rider that states that if the minister presiding over the Special Committee (in this case, Minister of Justice Amir Ohana) calls for changes to the law dispersing the Knesset, all riders, objections and amendments will be considered by the Knesset Finance Committee or a specially-convened panel of MKs.

This formulation headed off the legal putsch masterminded by the Joint Arab List. “When lacunae in the law are identified, they most certainly must be addressed and corrected,” said Deutsch, “but repealing the Kaminitz Law would cause immeasurable harm. We applaud the MKs who took action, both behind the scenes and on center stage; their firm and principled stand blocked a dangerous maneuver that would have dealt a mortal blow to the Negev and the Galilee.”

Mordechai Sones


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How Should the Senate Deal with an Unconstitutional Impeachment by the House? - Alan M. Dershowitz

by Alan M. Dershowitz

A look at the options and the harm already done to the highest U.S. institutions

  • These two grounds [of impeachment] — abuse of power and obstruction of congress — are not among the criteria specified for impeachment. Neither one is a high crime and misdemeanor. Neither is mentioned in the constitution. Both are the sort of vague, open-ended criteria rejected by the framers. They were rejected precisely to avoid the situation in which our nation currently finds itself.
  • So, what options would the senate have if the House voted to impeach on two unconstitutional grounds? Would it be required to conduct a trial based on "void" articles of impeachment? Could it simply refuse to consider unconstitutional articles? Could the president's lawyer make a motion to the Chief Justice — who presides over the trial of an impeached president — to dismiss the articles of impeachment on constitutional grounds?
  • Regardless of the outcome, the damage will have been done by the House majority that will have abused its power by weaponizing the House's authority over impeachment for partisan purposes — exactly as Hamilton feared.

Pictured: Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi speaks on December 10, 2019 in Washington, DC at a news conference, in which House Democrats announced two articles for the next steps in the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

If the House of Representatives were to impeach President Trump on the two grounds now before it, the senate would be presented with a constitutional dilemma. These two grounds— abuse of power and obstruction of Congress— are not among the criteria specified for impeachment. Neither one is a high crime and misdemeanor. Neither is mentioned in the constitution. Both are the sort of vague, open-ended criteria rejected by the framers. They were rejected precisely to avoid the situation in which our nation currently finds itself. Abuse of power can be charged against virtually every controversial president by the opposing party. And obstruction of Congress — whatever else it may mean — cannot extend to a president invoking privileges and then leave it to the courts to referee conflicts between the legislative and executive branches.

Hamilton feared that vague criteria would allow a majority of the House to impeach a president from the opposing party just because they had more votes than the president's party. He called that "the greatest danger." Madison worried that open-ended criteria, such as "maladministration" would give Congress too much discretion and power, and turn our republic into a parliamentary democracy in which the chief executive serves at the will of the legislature. To prevent these dangers, the framers settled on criteria with well-established meanings: treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

The House Democrats are simply ignoring these words and this history, because they have the votes to do so. They are following the absurd notion put forth by congresswoman Maxine Waters that when it comes to impeachment "there is no law," and the criteria are anything a majority of the House wants it be, regardless of what the constitution mandates. This lawless view confuses what a majority of congress can get away with (absent judicial review) with what the constitution requires. It places Congress above the supreme law of the land, namely the constitution.

Were Congress to vote to impeach President Trump on the two proposed grounds, its action would be unconstitutional. According to Hamilton in Federalist 78, any act of Congress that does not comport with the Constitution is "void." This view was confirmed by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison and is now the law of the land.

So, what options would the Senate have if the House voted to impeach on two unconstitutional grounds? Would it be required to conduct a trial based on "void" articles of impeachment? Could it simply refuse to consider unconstitutional articles? Could the president's lawyer make a motion to the Chief Justice — who presides over the trial of an impeached president — to dismiss the articles of impeachment on constitutional grounds?

This is uncharted territory with little guidance from the Constitution or history. There are imperfect analogies that may be informative. If this were an ordinary criminal case, and a grand jury had indicted a defendant for a non-crime (say, having gay sex) or an unconstitutional crime, the trial judge would be obliged to dismiss the indictment and not subject the defendant to an unconstitutional trial. Impeachment, however, is not an ordinary criminal proceeding. So, the analogy is not directly on point. But impeachment by the House is similar in many ways to indictment by a grand jury, and a removal trial by the Senate is similar to a criminal trial, including being presided over by a judge. It is entirely possible that the president's lawyers may file a motion seeking dismissal of the impeachment as unconstitutional. It is impossible to predict whether such a motion would be entertained and if so, how it would be decided.

Another option would be for the president's lawyer to seek judicial review of the House's unconstitutional action. Despite the fact that the Constitution says that the House shall be the "sole" judge of impeachment, two former justices have opined that there might be a judicial role in extreme cases.

The most likely option for the president — and the one hinted at by White House sources — is for the Senate to conduct a scaled down trial focusing on the constitutional defects in the articles of impeachment. No fact witnesses would be called: that would turn the proceeding into a he said/she said conflict with no clear resolution. Only legal arguments — neater and quicker — would be presented before a vote was taken.

Whichever option is pursued, the ultimate outcome seems clear: the Senate will vote to acquit President Trump. Regardless of the outcome, the damage will have been done by the House majority that will have abused its power by weaponizing the House's authority over impeachment for partisan purposes — exactly as Hamilton feared.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute, and author of The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump, Skyhorse Publishing, 2019, and Guilt by Accusation, Skyhorse publishing, 2019.


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Is NATO Still Vital? - Lawrence A. Franklin

by Lawrence A. Franklin

Why NATO is still relevant

  • Many additional countries who joined the alliance -- such as Poland, Hungary and the Baltic States, which had been Soviet satellites -- still consider post-Communist Russia an extremely disquieting potential threat. That is just one issue that has created friction among NATO nations....
  • The larger question [is] the degree to which enemy countries perceive NATO as a unified organization that would respond militarily to aggression against any member state -- a crucial psychological factor in deterrence.
  • Its reason for being should not be written off quite yet...

In the absence of cohesion and deterrence, NATO no longer would be viable or vital. But its reason for being should not be written off quite yet. Pictured: A group photo of the NATO leaders, taken on December 4, 2019 in Watford, England, at the NATO summit. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The two-day summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) -- held in London on December 3-4 to commemorate its 70th anniversary -- may have been marked by controversy, but the gathering constituted an important reminder of why the international alliance was established in the first place.

Founded in April 1949 by the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom, NATO was a pact created to counter the world's greatest threat at the time: the Soviet Union and its race for global domination.

At the time, it was clear that all NATO members were dependent on and deferred to American political and military leadership. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, some of the original NATO member states began to seek systems that would protect their particular individual interests.

Germany, for instance, has become Europe's economic powerhouse, enjoying a favorable balance of trade with the US. France, no longer viewing Russia as an existential threat to the Free World, now seems more motivated to protect NATO's southern flank from radical Islamic terrorist groups in West Africa, and from mass migration from former French colonies in North Africa.

Meanwhile, many additional countries who joined the alliance -- such as Poland, Hungary and the Baltic States, which had been Soviet satellites -- still consider post-Communist Russia an extremely disquieting potential threat. That is just one issue that has created friction among NATO nations, particularly with Turkey's decision to purchase a Russian air defense system. Another internal bone of contention is the failure of some members to reach the minimum defense-spending level of 2% of GDP, a goal established by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Other issues that NATO countries have yet unanimously to agree upon are:
  • Whether China should be treated by NATO as a cooperator, competitor or adversary. Would NATO help the US if it decided to respond militarily to Chinese gunboat diplomacy?
  • Whether NATO should assume the role of protector against all aggressive states, such as Iran. Would all NATO states -- now numbering 29 -- agree to assist Israel, the only democratic state in the region, in an all-out war with the Islamic Republic?
  • Whether Article 5 of the NATO charter, the cornerstone of the treaty that was invoked only once in its history -- following the 9-11 attacks -- still applies. Would a Russian cyber-assault on Estonia, for example, constitute a trip-wire for a NATO response? Would all member states be willing to defend tiny Montenegro if Moscow supported one side in a civil war there, as it is doing in Ukraine?
All of the above leads to the larger question of the degree to which enemy countries perceive NATO as a unified organization that would respond militarily to aggression against any member state -- a crucial psychological factor in deterrence.

In the absence of cohesion and deterrence, NATO no longer would be viable or vital. But its reason for being should not be written off quite yet, due to its "new overarching space policy" to "share information, increase interoperability, and ensure that [its] missions and operations can call on the support they need," and its "Readiness Initiative," according to which "by 2020, Allies will make available 30 combat ships, 30 land battalions, 30 air squadrons, to be ready within 30 days."

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.


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Thwack! Matt Gaetz nailed Dem impeachment counsel Daniel Goldman - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

The hired gun brains behind the House impeachment effort gets his head handed to him. The video is a thing of beauty.

Attorney Daniel Goldman appears to be the brains of the impeachment operation, doing all the heavy lifting for Chairman Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee. Perhaps the most satisfying moment in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearing Monday came when Rep. Matt Gaetz confronte Goldman, the hired gun counsel of the committee’s majority. 

Goldman was visibly uncomfortable as Gaetz began by asking him if he is non-partisan, and Goldman laughably claimed to be so. Then, Gaetz moved in for the kill, asking him, "Have you ever tweeted anything at the president?"
"I have made a number of tweets in my private capacity before I came to this job when I worked in the media," Goldman replied.

"As a matter of fact, this is one of those tweets," Gaetz said gleefully displaying the posterboard.
C-Span video screen grab

"You said, 'Nothing in the dossier has proved to be false.' But in fact, the dossier said there was a Russian consulate in Miami, when there isn't. The dossier said Michael Cohen had a meeting in Prague, when he didn't. The dossier said Michael Cohen's wife was Russian, she is in fact Ukrainian," Gaetz said. "So we sit here today and you've got a tweet mentioning a 'pee tape' while claiming to be non-partisan. Hired by the Democrats to pursue the president. Do you regret this tweet?"
Here is the tweet:

And here is the video. It’s a thing of beauty [the relevant section begins at about 0:47]:


Thomas Lifson


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