Grab your popcorn and enjoy the show.
Shawn Macomb writes: So now that the Democratic party is well and truly feeling the Bern, how should those of us who identify not as democratic socialists nor oligarchs nor oligarch-enablers feel about those lighter-shade-of-Mao “Bernie 2016″ yard signs reddening up the landscape?
“The Sandernistas on the march will be more fun to watch than a crossover season of Girls and The Walking Dead—if, that is, one could still stomach watching Lena Dunham now that she’s thrown in her lot with that pantsuited Goldman Sachs subsidiary who portrays Hillary Clinton on various debate stages and social media accounts.”
The perhaps counterintuitive answer is . . . thrilled. Ecstatic, even. The Sandernistas on the march will be more fun to watch than a crossover season of Girls and The Walking Dead—if, that is, one could still stomach watching Lena Dunham now that she’s thrown in her lot with that pantsuited Goldman Sachs subsidiary who portrays Hillary Clinton on various debate stages and social media accounts.
Skeptical? Allow me to relate a single line from Outsider in the House, Sanders’s memoir of his 1996 congressional campaign: “I’m not sure how many of them actually heard my fourteen-second speech about the dangers of Newt Gingrich, given when I stepped out of my tiger costume.”
Sanders is describing his collaboration with the Bread and Puppet Domestic Resurrection Circus, “a political company whose accomplished theatrical productions are,” the then-congressman assured us, “truly radical”—radical enough to induce a sitting congressman to hold up the hind quarters of a tiger costume, anyway. “It’s better than being a horse’s ass,” Sanders writes, though whether he speaks from experience is not immediately clear.
“Alas, the charge of ‘insufficient Leninism’ is not the campaign-killer it once was. The Sandernistas don’t care about realpolitik lectures from ex-congressmen or the bitter ravings of the man whose 2000 campaign on the Green party ticket robbed the nation of four-to-eight glorious years of prime-time PowerPoint presentations from President Gore.”
Sure, the tiger-costume anecdote is a bit rich coming from the same guy who a few pages before slagged freshman Republicans who slept in their offices to save taxpayer cash back in ’95 as “total nuts” making “some kind of weird political statement.” But Sanders’s tale takes an even more absurdist turn as he recounts his address to the all-volunteer Mississquoi Valley Emergency Rescue Service later that same day. “Person after person,” Sanders notes, “talked about the trauma of seeing people die and the joy of saving people’s lives.” The contrast “from radical theatrics to community-based service,” he allows, “was striking.” Indeed. But “the differences strike me as more superficial than deep,” Sanders inexplicably feels compelled to add, as “both the rescue workers and the drama troupe are focused on . . . giving of themselves to build community.”
Even if he isn’t plotting to replace America’s first-responders with a puppeteer corps, Bernie Sanders is clearly delusional enough to be president. But is he delusional in the appropriate way?
Many of his erstwhile ideological allies are not so sure. Former congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, for example, snarked to National Journal, “I don’t understand what [Sanders] running for president would do other than frankly show that his viewpoint is not the majority viewpoint.” In a scathing Salon piece, writer Charles Davis averred that while, yes, Sanders “tosses rhetorical Molotovs at America’s 21st-century robber barons like few other national politicians,” he’s also “rather non-threatening, his politics reformist, not revolutionary—more old-school liberal than Leninist.” Read the rest of this entry »
Noah Rothman writes: Anyone who believes the 15-year-old wounds resulting from the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore must have healed by now should ask a Broward County Democrat for their thoughts on the matter. Resentment among those who perceived themselves to be on the losing end of that decision lingers.
The notion that former Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote and yet lost the presidency is perceived even today by partisan Democrats not only as (erroneously) anathema to the foundational precepts of American constitutional governance but a veritable crime. Forget the merits of the case, which decidedly favor the plaintiff.
A pervasive sense of victimization continues to animate many a liberal Democrat. You would think a Clinton of all people would have internalized the lessons of 2000. Instead, the likely Democratic presidential nominee and the party she is vying to lead are sowing the seeds of similar discontent that might linger on for years…(read more)
[VIDEO] State Department: It Is Possible That Some Clinton Emails Could Have Been Classified When SentPosted: January 30, 2016
If the latest allegations are true, Hillary Clinton and her minions committed several felonies. And they knew this when they did it.
Kurt Schlichter writes: Hillary Clinton’s acolytes are racing to dismiss the latest allegations that classified material was cut and pasted into her emails, but this isn’t some mere oversight that can be hand-waved away with a shrug and a sad trombone honk. One doesn’t spill classified material into an unclassified system accidentally or through mere negligence. What these new revelations show—if they are true—is conduct that was conscious, intentional, and felonious as all get-out.
In basic and open-source terms, there is no one big computer system where innocuous, unclassified material shares space with classified material. They are kept on physically separate computer systems: there is the unclassified system, and there are several classified systems. They don’t connect, unless someone chooses to intentionally connect them.
When there is spillage of classified material into unclassified systems, all hell breaks loose. Well, at least it does when it’s not a friend of the administration doing the spilling.
Filching Information from a Secure Facility
Let’s take a look at what it would take to make this happen. Hillary Clinton refused to use a secure system. She wanted to use her own system because she could control it and unlawfully shield it from the prying eyes of the American people and their representatives. Her minions therefore had to deliberately act to circumvent the rules and procedures put in place to prevent people from doing exactly what Clinton wanted done.
First, someone would have to enter a secure facility—usually called a SCIF—to access a classified document on one of the secure systems. These terminals are behind locked doors with access controls and multiple security measures. You have to have the clearance to enter, and you leave your Android, iPad, laptop, and everything else with a chip outside.
Bernie Sanders is surging ahead of Hillary and Donald Trump is surging ahead of everyone… so are the 2016 nominees a done deal?
Paul Kane reports: Some leading Democrats are increasingly anxious about Hillary Clinton’s prospects for winning the party’s presidential nomination, warning that Sen. Bernie Sanders’s growing strength in early battleground states and strong fundraising point to a campaign that could last well into the spring.
What seemed recently to be a race largely controlled by Clinton has turned into a neck-and-neck contest with voting set to begin in less than three weeks.
On Capitol Hill and in state party headquarters, some Democrats worry that a Sanders nomination could imperil candidates down the ballot in swing districts and states. Others are expressing a sense of deja vu from 2008, when Clinton’s overwhelming edge cratered in the days before the Iowa caucuses….(read more)
Source: The Washington Post
Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith who was murdered at the Benghazi Consulate on 9-11-3012, screamed out “Hillary is a liar!” after watching the movie ’13 Hours.’
“Earlier today, we lost contact with two small U.S. naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain. We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel. We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.”
— Senior administration official
Two Navy boats are reportedly in Iranian custody, according to the Associated Press.
Iran has reportedly told the US that the crew will be returned “promptly.”
“Earlier today, we lost contact with two small U.S. naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain,” a senior administration official said in a statement.
“We are working to resolve the situation such that any US personnel are returned to their normal deployment. We are hopeful it will be resolved.”
— White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes
“We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel. We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.” Read the rest of this entry »
John R. Schindler writes: Back in October I told you that Hillary Clinton’s email troubles were anything but over, and that the scandal over her misuse of communications while she was Secretary of State was sure to get worse. Sure enough, EmailGate continues to be a thorn in the side of Hillary’s presidential campaign and may have just entered a new, potentially explosive phase with grave ramifications, both political and legal.
The latest court-ordered dump of her email, just placed online by the State Department, brings more troubles for Team Hillary. This release of over 3,000 pages includes 66 “Unclassified” messages that the State Department subsequently determined actually were classified; however, all but one of those 66 were deemed Confidential, the lowest classification level, while one was found to be Secret, bringing the total of Secret messages discovered so far to seven. In all, 1,340 Hillary emails at State have been reassessed as classified.
There are gems here. It’s hard to miss the irony of Hillary expressing surprise about a State Department staffer using personal email for work, which the Secretary of State noted in her own personal email. More consequential was Hillary’s ordering a staffer to send classified talking points for a coming meeting via a non-secure fax machine, stripped of their classification markings.
This appears to be a clear violation of Federal law and the sort of thing that is a career-ender, or worse, for normals. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee termed that July 2011 incident “disturbing,” and so it is to anyone acquainted with U.S. Government laws and regulations regarding the handling of classified material.
But the biggest problem may be in a just-released email that has gotten little attention here, but plenty on the other side of the world. Read the rest of this entry »
‘We Caved’: How Barack Obama’s Idealistic Rhetoric Collided With the Cold Realities of War and Dictatorship in the Middle EastPosted: January 9, 2016
The persistent problem of how to deal with American-allied strongmen has long tripped up an inflexible president who boasts of his preference for ‘pragmatic solutions’ over moral purity but has been unable to find much of either in the Middle East.
Eight new American fighter jets, freshly delivered from Washington, swooped low over the city, F-16s flying in formation. As they banked hard over the city’s center, they trailed plumes of red, white and black smoke—the colors of the Egyptian flag.
“The rhetoric got way ahead of the policymaking. It … raised expectations that everything was going to change.”
— Michael Posner, who served as Obama’s top State Department official for human rights and democracy in his first term
For Egypt’s brutally repressive president, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the spectacle was a triumph, symbolizing not only his militaristic power at home, but also his victory over an American president who had tried to punish him before surrendering to the cold realities of geopolitics.
“He’s never quite melded his rhetoric with his policies.”
— Dennis Ross, who served as Obama’s top Middle East aide in his first term
Just two years earlier, Sisi had seized power in a military coup, toppling Mohamed Morsi, the democratically elected successor to Hosni Mubarak, himself a strongman of 30 years pushed out in early 2011 by mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. In the summer of 2013, Sisi followed his coup with a brutal crackdown that would have done Saddam Hussein proud. His security forces arrested thousands of people, including much of his political opposition, and in one bloody day that summer, they gunned down some 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters (or more) who were staging peaceful sit-ins. The massacre was shocking even by the standards of Egypt’s long-dismal human rights record.
“It seems like we are swinging back to the idea that we must make a choice between supporting dictators or being safe.”
— Robert Ford, who was Obama’s ambassador to Syria before resigning in frustration over the president’s policy there
Obama was appalled. “We can’t return to business as usual,” he declared after the slaughter. “We have to be very careful about being seen as aiding and abetting actions that we think run contrary to our values and ideals.”
Several weeks later, Obama halted the planned delivery of U.S. military hardware to Cairo, including attack helicopters, Harpoon missiles and several F-16 fighter jets, as well as $260 million in cash transfers. He also cast doubt on the future of America’s $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt—a subsidy on which Cairo depends heavily, and much more than the United States sends to any country in the world aside from Israel.
But a fierce internal debate soon broke out over whether and how to sanction Egypt further, a fight that many officials told me was one of the most agonizing of the Obama administration’s seven years, as the president’s most powerful advisers spent months engaged in what one called “trench warfare” against each other. It was an excruciating test of how to balance American values with its cold-blooded security interests in an age of terrorism. Some of Obama’s top White House aides, including his deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, and the celebrated human rights champion Samantha Power, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, urged the president to link further military aid to clear progress by Sisi on human rights and democracy. But Secretary of State John Kerry, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Hagel’s successor, Ash Carter, argued for restoring the aid. Trying to punish Sisi would have little effect on his behavior, they said, while alienating a bulwark against Islamic radicalism in an imploding Middle East. “Egypt was one of the most significant policy divides between the White House and the State Department and the Department of Defense,” says Matthew Spence, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy. Read the rest of this entry »
Owen Boss writes: The release next week of “13 Hours: the Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” — which tells the true story of the security contractors who responded to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya — may force Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton to wade back into a debate she hoped would be behind her, political watchdogs said.
“This takes an issue that is not good for her out of her control and pushes it out into popular culture, which is much worse for her than having it discussed on cable news.”
— Cornell University law professor William Jacobson
“Anything that keeps the Benghazi issue alive is a negative for Hillary Clinton. Period,” said Cornell University law professor William Jacobson. “Whether it’s a movie, or an event, or a hearing — anything that keeps this alive is not good for her. That’s not what she wants to be talking about.”
The big-budget action-drama, directed by Michael Bay, is focused on the American contractors who valiantly battled the terrorists who overran the compound on Sept. 11, 2012, and killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, U.S. State Department communications expert Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, a Winchester native.
“Anything that keeps the Benghazi issue alive is a negative for Hillary Clinton. Period. Whether it’s a movie, or an event, or a hearing — anything that keeps this alive is not good for her. That’s not what she wants to be talking about.”
— Cornell University law professor William Jacobson
Clinton, who was U.S. secretary of state at the time of the attack, has been roundly criticized for not doing enough to secure the consulate, and was forced to defend herself against the allegations during a grueling, daylong appearance before the Republican-led Select Committee on Benghazi in October.
The movie, starring Newton native John Krasinski and Toby Stephens, will be released by Paramount Pictures on Jan. 15, less than a month before the Iowa caucus, an inopportune time for Clinton’s campaign, Jacobson said. Read the rest of this entry »