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The Cyber Attacks are coming, the Cyber Attacks are coming!

If you Google the words “cyber attacks” you will get 164 million results. So where is our government on defending you and me against this growing peril? According to experts like John Jorgenson, CEO and founding partner of  the Sylint Group, our government is woefully behind the times in capability and capacity to deal with the threat of cyber attacks let alone the cyber warfare being conducted on a global scale by nation states such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.

Today the cry across America is the cyber attacks are coming, the cyber attacks are coming! But no one is taking action. No one that is except those few who, like Jorgenson, truly understand the catastrophic nature of the threat.

The most recent cyber attack was against our federal court system. Politico’s Tony Romm reports, “Unidentified hackers took aim at the federal court system Friday [January 24, 2014], blocking access to its public website while preventing lawyers and litigants from filing legal documents online. The incident affected uscourts.gov the federal court’s public hub, as well as most if not all federal court sites — not to mention the federal court system’s electronic filing system and its access page, PACER, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said Friday.” The site remained down when this column was posted.

john jorgenson

John Jorgensen, CEO and a founding partner of the Sylint Group.

Jorgenson notes, “Since President Obama created a White House ‘cyber czar‘ position in 2009 there have been six appointed and then leave the position. The reason is a lack of support and funding for the program.”

In an email Jorgenson states, “The Cyber Czar count is difficult to do because of the people who temporarily held the post and the ‘Cyber Czar’ post being identified with the Obama Administration and DHS both. It is not easy to find the names of those who resigned. The press makes it out that there has been only one Cyber Czar under Obama, Schmidt. You have to really search to find the others.” The players since President Obama first took office are:

  • Rod Beckstrom – Resigned/Replaced, White House
  • Melissa Hathaway – Resigned. Hathaway was said to have been temporary, White House. But was she temporary because she resigned so quickly after making negative comments about the administration?
  • Howard Schmidt – Retired (Stated at RSA, 2010 or 2011, that there is no Cyber Warfare), White House.
  • Unknown – There was talk of a woman who took Schmidt’s place but soon resigned and Schmidt stayed on, White House.
  • Mark Weatherford – DHS / resigned.
  • Bruce McConnell – DHS / Temporary.
  • Michael Daniel – Current, White House.

“At issue is that a post as important as this, has had enormous turnover and turmoil, and we are only five years into the administration ‘leadership’. Nothing of substance to protect commercial industry, the countries infrastructure, or the citizen has come out of the White House. From the attacks being made on the United States on the Cyber Battlefield our advisories are taking Cyber Warfare seriously while we can’t find a credible Field Marshall let alone decide what needs to be done,” notes Jorgenson.

John Kelly from HowStuffWorks.com wrote, “In 2009, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that the U.S. ‘is under cyber-attack virtually all the time, every day’ [source: Farrell]. He wasn’t joking. That year, computer spies gained access to files about the Pentagon’s $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project, intruders breached the Air Force’s air-traffic-control system, Chinese hackers penetrated computers at Google, and Russian cyber-thieves stole tens of millions of dollars from Citibank.”

On June 23, 2009, the Secretary of Defense directed the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command to establish a sub-unified command, United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM). Full Operational Capability (FOC) was achieved Oct. 31, 2010. The command is located at Fort Meade, Maryland.

NextGov.com reports, “In the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act passed by House lawmakers last week, Congress required the Defense Department appoint a high level Principal Cyber Advisor with a broad oversight portfolio that includes offensive and defensive cyber missions, resources, personnel, acquisition and technology. A Senate vote on the bill is expected this week. The new cyber advisor will have ‘overall supervision’ of all Defense cyber operations and will oversee a team that will integrate the cyber expertise of the four services, combatant commands and Defense agencies.”

Jorgenson believes that “major government systems have been compromised, including the US electrical grid.” Jorgenson stated that other systems such as health care, hospitals and our food supply systems are targets of cyber attacks. These attacks are dangerous because according to Jorgenson, “they place malware on corporate and government computer systems with the intent of controlling manufacturing, distribution and information system processes.”

The danger is real, clear and present. However, it appears the federal government and Congress is less concerned with the threat as it is with making political points over the dysfunctional HeathCare.gov website. Which by the way has been compromised!

Is President Obama questioning the loyalty of American Jews?

The Jerusalem Post published an article with a comment allegedly attributable to an Obama White House senior official that has caught the ire of American Jews and Israelis, “US perceives Israel as encouraging anti-Obama backlash among Jews”.  The JP article noted:

A US official close to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry said both men are disturbed over what is being perceived in their inner circle as “Jewish activism in Congress” that they think is being encouraged by the Israeli government, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.

The official has informed Israeli government figures that the president and secretary of state are disappointed over repeated attacks made against them by leading members of the Jewish community in the US.

According to Israel Radio, Israeli diplomats and foreign officers have warned against this trend. According to officials based in foreign missions, the Israeli government is increasingly being viewed as fanning the flames among American Jews by encouraging them to promote the official government position while making no room for opposing viewpoints.

Earlier this month, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon apologized after it was reported that he called Kerry “obsessive” and “messianic.”

In response to this JP report Stuart Kaufman sent an email to me and other colleagues with this comment:

This is dangerously close to the old anti-Semitic accusation of dual loyalty.  We are now on seriously perilous ground.  The rulers of the land are beginning the effort to isolate Jews – to set us apart.  I can’t stress how dangerous this is.  We Jews and those who are our friends must strike back hard.  This serpent can’t be permitted to grow without a major response.

What Kaufman was referring to was the emergence in 19th Century Europe of die Judenfrage, the Jewish question, criticizing Jewish subjects or citizens of being disloyal because of conflicts between nationalism and Zionism; the return of the Jewish people to what is now Israel.  It was from this well of hatred that anti-Semitism arose in the Vienna of the Habsburg Empire, Wilhelmine Germany and the fin de siècle France during the Dreyfus Affair.  It would become transformed into the international Jewish conspiracy forgery of the Czarist secret police, The Elders of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  Later it becomes embedded in Hitler’s anti-Semitic tract Mein Kampf that lit the match for the Holocaust of Six Million European Jewish Men, Women and Children during World War Two. Mein Kampf is today one of the most popular books in the Arab Muslim world promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose founder Hassan al Banna was an acolyte of Hitler.

Watch this Youtube video of  Julius Streicher, the notorious publisher of the Nazi tabloid Der Sturmer, ranting about Anti-Semitic judenfrage:

In light of that, how callous was this alleged comment from the Senior White House aide in the Administration.  Is the White House really questioning the loyalty of American Jews? Or are the President and Secretary of State simply complaining about Israeli cabinet members and some “American Jews” criticizing them? Are the President and Secretary of State really against Americans, Jews and others, supporting Israel defending its hard won sovereignty against people who would destroy it?

Yesterday, we saw clear evidence of that threat with the World Economic Forum interview of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by Fareed Zakaria of CNN.  We heard translations of Rouhani  saying he would neither destroy 15,000 centrifuges nor stop building or swap  plutonium producing heavy water reactors at Arak for energy producing light water ones. He was also telling the West that sanctions were illegal.  The Obama White House  Press Spokesman Jay Carney said , in response to  reporters’ questions about President Rouhani’s CNN interview, that  Rouhani’s comments were for domestic consumption back home in Tehran.  AIPAC didn’t think so. They sent out a blast email containing  a link to the CNN interview with Rouhani for its members and others to view.

Rouhani’s CNN interview was a deliberate poke in the eyes of the P5+1 and the denizens of the West Wing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. To warn American Jews they better not defend their Jewish cousins in Israel from this threat was both dangerous and a blatant display of ingratitude towards an ally protecting our assets in the Middle East. Some thanks for Shin Bet saving Amb. Dan Shapiro and his striped pants and skirts brigade in Tel Aviv at the US Embassy and others at the Jerusalem conference center from Al Qaeda attacks orchestrated by Ayman al-Zawahiri’s local henchman in Gaza.  Even peace mongering nonagenarian Israeli President Peres at Davos in response to Rouhani’s interview called  for a boycott of Iran.

Perhaps Members of Congress concerned about these White House follies, both domestic and foreign can express their disdain for accusations like this from the Administration. They could politely sit on their hands and not applaud at the President’s State of the Union Address next Tuesday, the 28th when the President inevitably will do a victory lap about engagement with Iran over its nuclear program.  That would send a visual rebuke captured on national and international TV.  An image that would convey a message that even Iran’s President Rouhani, Foreign Minister Zarif and Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei wouldn’t require a Farsi translation. The more courageous among US Senate members in the audience of the Joint Session could immediately take up the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act, S. 1881 and pass it resoundingly next Wednesday.

After this episode we can understand former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ criticism of the mind numbing political apparatchiks in the West Wing inner circle portrayed in his memoir, Duty. Gates has been unfairly maligned by the liberal media reviewers for betraying his trust with the Obama team while Secretary of Defense by releasing his book prior to the end of the President’s term.  In sharp contrast Thomas Ricks published a praiseworthy review of Gates’ memoir, “In Command”, in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.  Note Ricks’ conclusion that provides a measure of the author:

But Gates is doing far more than just scoring points in this revealing volume. The key to reading it is understanding that he was profoundly affected by his role in sending American soldiers overseas to fight and be killed or maimed. During his four years as defense secretary, he states twice, he wept almost every night as he signed letters of condolence and then lay in bed and meditated on the dead and wounded. He was angry and disappointed with White House officials and members of Congress who appeared to him to put political gain ahead of the interests of American soldiers. Fittingly, he concludes the book by revealing that he has requested to be buried in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, the resting place of many of those we lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More  than 10,000 American Jews serve in our military.  American Jewish servicemen and women have fought and died in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Perhaps they are buried in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery that Secretary Gates wrote about in his memoir.  Watch this Forward  Vimeo video about two  valiant American Jews who served honorably and fell  in Iraq and Afghanistan.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Why Liberals Attack America

Have you noticed how liberal intellectuals are drawn to various dictators? Largely unknown to most Americans is the history of many intellectuals who expressed their disdain for “the masses”, all those millions who work in manufacturing, have small businesses, and hold onto the American dream of success, having a home of their own, and other elements of a good life based on hard work.

Those ordinary Americans don’t worry about “income inequality” because there has always been income inequality and because America provides income mobility. You can earn more if you want to. You can change jobs. You can open a business. You can acquire wealth. There were 53,000 new millionaires in America last year. We have a President who criticized “millionaires and billionaires” throughout his first term.

Cover - LiberalismIn his book, “The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class” by Fred Seigel (Encounter Books), he provides a history of liberalism that dates back to the early years of the last century and the rise of communism; particularly in the Soviet Union that collapsed in 1991 from its implementation.

You may be surprised to learn that authors like H.G. Wells (1866-1946), the famed science fiction writer, were early advocates of socialism—communism-light. “Liberals thought themselves smarter than other people because they had seen through the supposed Victorian verities to a future not yet born,” says Seigel, noting that one of his books, “Anticipations”, was described by Wells “was designed to undermine and destroy…monogamy, faith in God, and respectability, all under the guise of a speculation about motor cars and electrical heating.”

The “success” of liberalism has given us a nation where a million unborn are killed every year, where marriage is subject to a 50% divorce rate, where same-sex marriage is now law in several states, the middle class is heavily taxed, and—not surprisingly—an increasing number of Americans regard Big Government as the biggest threat to their liberty and freedom.

It is also a nation that has twice elected a Marxist named Barack Hussein Obama who is now openly equating any criticism of his failed policies as a form of racism.

The early liberals “looked to a new elite, a separate caste with the wisdom to lead society to social salvation by breaking with the conventions of middle-class Victorian morality.” It was an early liberal, the literary critic Van Wyck Brooks, who coined the terms “highbrow” and “middlebrow” to demarcate the levels of taste in American life. America’s entry into World War I put the liberals into high gear as they regarded the war years as revealing “American society and democracy (as) agents of repression.”

Seigel writes of liberals that “They had no doubt that the American masses were culturally diseased people, playthings in the hands of America’s philistine plutocrats. For the critics of mass culture, World War I had discredited not the Kaiser and German militarism, but democracy.” Those attitudes from the 1920s persist today.

So now we have a President who daily reveals his contempt for the Constitution and wants to rule by executive order rather than work with the Congress. We have a President who disdains the U.S. military, has been engaged in a purge of many top generals and admirals, and whose view that America is not an exceptional nation, has triggered and supported a growing disrespect of America, contributing to its declining influence on global events and trends.

By the 1940s and 50s, liberals—often Soviet agents—had infiltrated the U.S. government to such an extent that many Americans became concerned, but Sen. Joseph McCarthy who tried to expose them was attacked by liberals who have turned “McCarthyism” into a term for anyone who seeks to expose them.

The intellectuals who led liberalism had a deep disdain for the masses and the egalitarianism of American democracy which they regarded as a degraded form of government that in one’s description discouraged “respect or esteem for superior individuals.” That, too, remains a major theme among the current generation of intellectuals. Obama’s administration is filled with people who never ran a business or worked in one. Government for them is the ultimate means to control Americans, not serve them.

Over the course of the 1960s, “national income had doubled. The poverty rate was cut in half as unemployment dropped to only 3.5 percent and inflation-adjusted personal income grew by nearly 40 percent. Home ownership reached record highs that have been difficult to surpass.” Yet it was the 1960s in which Lyndon Johnson launched his “War on Poverty” saying that the “days of the dole in this country are numbered.”

Under Obama, the most liberal President ever to hold the office, unemployment is estimated to be over 13 percent and millions are on some form of government dole. Liberals still do not make a connection between liberal policies and actual outcomes. Facts do not concern them.

The 1960s also marked the takeover the American system of education and what we are witnessing today has much to do with the indoctrination of socialist values in the generations that attended schools and universities since then.

The 1960s also saw the beginning of the environmental movement. Now don’t get me wrong. America needs clean air and clean water, but it does not need an out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency whose real agenda is to undermine the provision of energy and the entire economy. It is environmentalism that led the government to ban incandescent light bulbs, to mandate a reduction in the amount of water in your toilet seat, and generates countless other idiotic regulations whose real purpose is to control all aspects of your life.

In 1962, a baseless screed against the pesticides that protect human health and property against the onslaught of many pest insect species was published. It was Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” The establishment of Earth Day followed in 1970 and ever since liberals have corrupted science to claim that humans were destroying the Earth and to advance the greatest hoax of the modern era, global warming.

The liberal disdain for humanity—the masses—was reflected in Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb”, published in 1968, that claimed that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over.” Like environmentalism, it was a fear-mongering theme designed to influence public policies. Liberals not only disliked humanity, they disliked the industrial societies that gave them the opportunity to live better lives with innovative technologies.

As Seigel notes, “Before the 1960s, government regulation was aimed at specific industries. But with the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1964) the Environmental Protection Agency (1970), the Consumer Products Safety Commission (1972)m and the vast expansion of the Federal Trade Commission, government asserted its influence over the entire economy.”

Now the nation is sharply divided between liberals and conservatives. The problems encountered in the decades since the 1960s have not had any impact on the views of liberals. As Seigel says, “Liberal interests never examined their assumptions, even when faced with social and political failure.” They turned to the courts to achieve their goals and have been successful in transforming the nation through them.

The greatest transformation is the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—that has seized one sixth of the nation’s economy while depriving millions of Americans of their personal health plans, forcing many to give up their personal physicians, and is negatively affecting the entire economy. The fact that it is such a disaster is the only good thing that can be said for it because it will likely force many who favor such liberal programs to rethink their views. It will likely have a major political backlash toward more conservative candidates.

The lesson is clear. It is liberals who have been working very hard to undermine the U.S. Constitution, our democracy, and our freedoms.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Iran: P5+1 Reach Deal on Six Month Freeze

In separate announcements, Iran and the P5+1 reached agreement on the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) to begin on January 20, 2014.  The original announcement of the interim agreement between the P5+1 and the Islamic regime in Tehran had been made on November 24, 2013. Friday reports came that the JPA agreement was imminent.

APIRNA, and Deutsche Welle had reports on these developments with statements by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, EU Foreign Relations Commissioner Catherine Ashton, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry.

Iran’s Araqchi announced, “The Joint Plan of Action reached between Iran and P5+1 in Geneva on November 24 will be implemented as of January 20.”However, he noted that uranium enrichment will continue at the 20% level until January 19th and that Iran fully expects the P5+1 to comply with agreed terms on the 20th.   Ashton, said, “The foundations for a coherent, robust and smooth implementation…have been laid.  She further noted,” We will ask the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to undertake the necessary nuclear-related monitoring and verification activities.”  Secretary of State Kerry commented that the agreement “represents the best chance we have to resolve this critical national security issue peacefully, and durably.” The White House verified the announcement saying, “Beginning January 20th, Iran will for the first time start eliminating its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium and dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible.”  President Obama warned that the P5+1 would “move to increase [their] sanctions” if Iran didn’t comply with the terms.  However, he said the deal “will advance our goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I have no illusions about how hard it will be to achieve this objective, but for the sake of our national security and the peace and security of the world, now is the time to give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”

During the run up to today’s announcement differences between the Administration and Congress arose over pending new Iran sanctions legislation, the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (NWFIA) that  the White House threatened to veto.  At one point during negotiations, the Iranian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif threatened to leave the Geneva meetings over the new US Sanctions initiative. In late December 2013, 230 members of Iran’s Parliament, the Majlis, signed legislation threatening to authorize uranium enrichment to 60% levels to counter the proposed NWFIA.

Among the terms agreed to was authority for the IAEA to conduct daily inspections of known Iranian nuclear facilities and supervise the neutralization of existing stock of enriched uranium at the 20% level, while Iran was granted permission to enrich to a 5% cap. However, a report from IRNA indicated that the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran had not received requests from the IAEA to open up a dedicated Tehran office, noting only that the UN agency had made frequent trips from its Vienna headquarters to conduct periodic inspections. That raises questions about the ability to enforce the provisions of the JPA.

The AP reported Iran’s Araqchi saying on national television that the Islamic Regime expects to receive release of $4 billion in frozen oil revenues versus upwards of $7 billion in relief the US had originally estimated with this interim pact.  Separately, Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies had estimated upwards of $20 Billion from the easing of sanctions. We have noted in Iconoclast posts recent visits by British parliamentary and French trade delegations. Further Turkey has confirmed an upcoming visit by embattled Turkish premier Erdogan to Tehran in late January or early February.  Erdogan is seeking to expand bilateral trade with Iran. According to experts cited in a Christian Science Monitor report Iran’s economy may have shrunk by an estimated 3% in 2012 and 2% in 2013.

Today’s announcement comes just prior to President Obama’s annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on January 28th. Further, it comes as momentum is building in the US Senate on a possible veto-proof bipartisan majority for passage of NWFIA.  It also comes prior to the scheduled January 22nd Geneva II talks on ending the 34 month long civil war in Syria. Secretary Kerry raised the prospect of inviting Iran to attend those sessions a week ago saying that the Islamic regime “might have a role to play on the sidelines.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

The Three Things You Don’t Need Robert Gates’s Book to Know

“Excerpts from a new tell-all book made quite a splash in Washington yesterday. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates apparently blasts President Obama on foreign policy and the U.S. military in his upcoming book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” writes Amy Payne from the Heritage Foundation.

But as Heritage’s James Jay Carafano said, “You don’t need a book from the former Secretary of Defense to know that many of the decisions Obama made during Gates’s watch were a disaster.”

Gates started as Secretary of Defense during President George W. Bush’s second term, and Obama asked him to stay on during his first term.

The revelations from Gates’s book come as no surprise to Heritage experts, who have been warning that Obama has made decisions based on his personal preference for domestic policy—at the expense of America’s standing in the world and our men and women in uniform.

Here are three things you don’t need to read the book to know.

1. President Obama is reaping what he has sown on foreign policy.

“The President has never had a coherent approach to foreign policy,” explained Heritage’s Ted Bromund. “Instead, he entered office with a string of liberal platitudes about the world and a deep desire to focus on domestic policy.”

Obama’s style? “Instead of leading from the front, the President emphasized multilateral institutions (such as the U.N.), international law, and engagement with hostile regimes,” Bromund said. The essence of the Obama Doctrine—the President’s foreign policy approach—is that Obama has “placed hope above reality” when dealing with countries like Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea, said Heritage’s Luke Coffey.

2. Lessons learned in conflict are costly.

Fighting terrorism and state-sponsored enemies is a deadly business. As the focus of 2014 turns to the Administration’s promise to pull out of Afghanistan, the specter of Iraq looms large.

“The withdrawal from Iraq was a colossal failure,” says Carafano, Heritage’s E. W. Richardson Fellow. “Violence is higher today than when Obama took office. The country is near civil war.”

And our enemies haven’t taken a break.

“We are already seeing the Taliban and al-Qaeda staging a comeback following Obama’s mishandling of the surge in Afghanistan and the drawdown of forces planned in 2014,” Carafano said. He wrote yesterday that “what we need from the White House is leadership that reestablishes America’s ability to influence outcomes in the region for the good—rather than trumpeting easy ‘fixes’ while doing as little as possible.”

3. The state of the U.S. military matters.

During Gates’s tenure, the military began to shed war-fighting capabilities, canceled missile defense programs, and compromised on readiness. Again, this reflected the place of defense among the President’s priorities. But this directly impacts America’s ability to respond to a crisis.

“Throughout his Administration, the President has sought—successfully—to cut the defense budget. But, inevitably, there came a time when he thought it was right to use force,” Bromund said. “His successors will, at some point, be in exactly the same position, perhaps when action really is in America’s vital national interest—but by that point, his cuts will have made successful action difficult or even impossible.”

America has to be ready to defend itself—and reducing the military’s capabilities carries the risk that the country may not be ready when action is needed.

Decisions have consequences. Heritage’s Carafano and Distinguished Fellow Kim Holmes predicted years ago that Obama’s approach to foreign policy would prove to be bad for America and the world.

“Ultimately, the Obama Doctrine will force friendly nations to look elsewhere, not to Washington, for arrangements that bring them greater security. And that will make this a far more dangerous world indeed.”

Defeat Franken in 2014: One Less Obama Henchman!

Many are outraged that Obama would nominate a cop killer advocate to head the DOJ Civil Rights Division. When will people realize that Obama is a lawless Chicago thug politician who surrounds himself with henchmen?

One such Obama henchman that we have a golden opportunity to defeat is Senator Al Franken. Franken’s numbers are tanking. Only 39% of Minnesota voters have a favorable opinion of Al Franken.

While Obama deceitfully gives pious speeches about bipartisanship and civility, his henchman says things like this, “Republicans are shameless d**ks. No, that’s not fair. Republican politicians are shameless d**ks.” Al Franken: The Truth (With Jokes) p. 58

Franken has become notorious on Capitol Hill for numerous over-the-top angry outbursts against Republican Senators and staffers; behavior unbecoming of a U.S. Senator.  Minnesota voters deserve much, much better than Franken.

Loyal henchman Al Franken rubber-stamps Obama’s every lawless decree. He voted for higher taxes, higher deficits and Obama’s stimulus. Franken urged his boss to militarily intervene in Syria without seeking congressional authorization.

Not only did henchman Franken help write the tyrannical Obamacare, he cast the deciding vote and boldly parroted Obama’s infamous lie, “If you like your health care plan and doctor, you can keep them.”

Franken wrote a letter to fellow Obama hench-persons at the IRS instructing them to harass conservative groups. Have you ever heard of such arrogant unethical behavior by a U.S. Senator? Are we dealing with a presidential Administration or a crime family?

Elected to the U.S. Senate under suspicious circumstances, Franken has been a tool of radical liberal special interest groups, rather than pursuing the best interest of the people of Minnesota.

Franken is so radical, he received a zero percent rating from numerous groups that include Citizens Against Government Waste, National Association of Manufacturers, Campaign for Working Families, Concerned Women for America, American Library Association, Sportsman and Animal Owners Voting Alliance and the American Conservative Union.

Franken is hellbent on protecting his boss’ signature power grab, Obamacare, which is wreaking havoc in the lives of millions of Americans. Removing the vulnerable Al Franken from the U.S. Senate is a powerful step towards repealing Obamacare.

As Obama re enforces his ranks with new henchmen like his disgusting DOJ nominee, it is crucial that we exploit every opportunity to weaken Obama’s ability to lawlessly bully us into submission. In 2014 we need to make it a national priority to defeat Al Franken; one less henchman for Obama.

RELATED COLUMN: FBI, dragging feet on IRS probe, finally contacts tea party groups

Turkey’s Erdogan: Purges Police, Stymies Corruption Investigation and Prepares to visit Iran

Turkish Premier Erdogan has aggressively pursued a purge of police involved with public prosecutors corruption investigation in a desperate move to stave off potential losses for the AKP in the March 2014 municipal elections.   His actions reflect the internecine battle between two former Islamist allies, Erdogan of the AKP and Sheikh Mohammad Fethullah Gulen and his followers who have penetrated both police and the judiciary in Turkey. At the top of the Turkish government in the largely ceremonial post is co-founder of the AKP and current Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, a Gulenist. Gulen is being urged to exercise his powers under Turkey’s constitution that might include an independent comprehensive investigation of corruption and perhaps a call for new elections.  Despite calls for Gul to act, he remains sphinx-like on the sidelines keeping a watching brief on the swirl of the corruption charges until evidence of wrongdoing by the inner circle of Premier Erdogan surfaces.  We had reported on the alleged involvement of Erodan’s son, Bilal in a money laundering scheme benefitting Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria.  There are reports from the New York Times  and the Washington Post in the US and from Today’s Zaman and Hurriyet Daily News in Turkey on overnight developments and comments from Turkish secular political opponents of the Islamist AKP regime of Premier Erdogan.

More than 600 police were involved in the overnight purge; 350 were removed from Ankara posts, while 250 were “brought in from elsewhere”. Hurriyet Daily News (HDN)reported the removal of 16 police chiefs from provincial posts:

Police chiefs of 15 provinces across Turkey, including Ankara and Izmir, and the deputy head of the national police department were dismissed overnight by the Interior Ministry.

The dismissal of the Ankara police chief, Kadir Ay, comes only a day after 350 officers working in key operational units were relocated in one sweep. The head of the Izmir forces, Ali Bilkay, has also been relocated.

Erdogan used intimidation in personally threatening the Istanbul prosecutor. Note what the prosecutor’s remarks in this HDN article:

A prosecutor who has supervised a recent corruption probe claimed Jan. 8, 2014  he was “threatened” by two people sent by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop the investigation.

“Two people who were former members of the high judiciary were sent to me by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an,” Zekeriya Öz, who was removed from his post as deputy Istanbul chief prosecutor following a graft investigation that included the sons of three former Cabinet members, told reporters Jan. 8. 

“Those two people I met at a hotel in Bursa told me that the prime minister was angry with me, I should write a letter of apology and stop the probe immediately, or I would be harmed.”

In the midst of this were new allegations of corruption in the port of Izmir involving the Turkish National Railways. HDN reported:

Elsewhere, three senior Izmir officers were dismissed after launching fraud investigations into transactions at commercial harbors operated by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) in which 25 people were detained.

The suspects, including eight TCDD officials, were taken into custody on charges of bribery, corruption, conspiring to rig tenders and leaking information about tenders as part of a fraud investigation launched by the Izmir Public Prosecutor.

They included senior officials such as the director of the Izmir port and his two deputies, while reports also claimed that an arrest warrant had been issued for the brother-in-law of former Transport and Urban Planning Minister Binali Yildirim, who works in the company of a CEO taken into custody during the raids.

Then the Judiciary weighed in on developments in Istanbul, HDN noted:

… the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) launched an investigation yesterday into newly appointed Istanbul Police Chief Selami Alt?nok, who replaced Huseyin Capk?n after the latter was reassigned as part of the probe.

Today’s Zaman  noted HSYK’s authority to conduct such an investigation, unusual given the unraveling corruption charges and questionable Erdogan moves:

The HSYK has the authority to launch investigations into police chiefs based on a law adopted in 2005. This is the first time the HSYK has exercised its authority to launch an investigation into a police chief.

There is a separate development arising from calls for a possible retrial of secular senior Turkish military officers convicted in alleged plots to overthrow the Islamist AKP government, see our most recent Iconoclast post.  This was a meeting today with the head of the Turkish Bar Association and the Erdogan Justice Minister.  Today’s Zaman reported that:

Turkish Bar Association (TBB) President Metin Feyzioglu [met] with Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, Wednesday.

During their meeting, Feyzioglu and Bozdag discussed possible legal avenues for the retrial of military officers convicted of coup plotting. On Thursday, Feyzioglu is scheduled to hold separate meetings with Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli to discuss the issue.

Scores of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) members — both retired and on active duty — were imprisoned as a result of the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon coup trials. These cases were concluded in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The Supreme Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court’s verdict in the Sledgehammer case, while the appeals court is currently reviewing the Ergenekon case.

On Jan. 3, 2014 Feyzioglu visited President Abdullah Gul at the Cankaya presidential palace to discuss the situation of the convicted officers. In a press conference after the meeting, Feyzioglu said the TBB had outlined a proposal that included nullifying decisions made by specially authorized courts; retrying cases heard by those courts at high criminal courts; abolishing regional high criminal courts that replaced specially authorized courts; and paying compensation for improper arrests and convictions.

Meanwhile the main secular opposition, the People’s Republican Party (CHP) lead by Kemal Kilicdaroglu in Turkey’s parliament has kept up a stream of constant criticism of Erdogan endeavoring to place him at the center of the corruption probe. Yesterday, he questioned the Turkish Intelligence (MIT) report on the illegal gold trading submitted in April 2013 involving Azeri Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab. Today’s Zaman reported Kilicdaroglu saying:

In a weekly meeting of his party’s parliamentary group on Tuesday, Kilicdaroglu addressed reports published Monday in a number of media outlets claiming that the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) submitted a report to Erdogan on April 18, 2013 detailing the shady relations – involving bribery and influence-peddling – of certain ministers with Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who is under arrest. “I would like to ask the prime minister about what he did upon receiving this report. Did you call these ministers and talk to them? Did you talk to your children? He didn’t. He is the one who gave these orders,” Kilicdaroglu said.

Erdogan is busy preparing for a trip to Iran later in January. According to Press TV,  the purpose of the visit is to “upgrade relations” with the Islamic regime.  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took time out from his conduct of negotiations with the P5+1 last weekend to confer with Premier Erdogan and  Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.  The purpose of those meetings and the upcoming one late this month is to focus on trade, now that the P5+1 sanctions regime has allegedly been lifted. This despite Turkey’s membership in  NATO and as a US ally.  Press TV noted:new US Senate

During the Zarif-Erdogan meeting, Iran and Turkey underlined their determination to boost the value of bilateral trade volume.

During a visit to Tehran in November, Davutoglu said his country can become an energy corridor for its eastern oil- and gas-rich neighbor, Iran.

In October, the Turkish minister of energy and natural resources said Turkey will raise its gas imports from Iran – currently standing at 10 billion cubic meters a year – if possible.

Iran is Turkey’s second biggest gas supplier after Russia. Turkey uses a significant portion of its imported Iranian natural gas to generate electricity.

But why should Turkey be any different from British parliamentary  and French delegations, the latter seeking to exploit minerals, steel and auto investment projects and other opportunities given the lifting of sanctions?

Erdogan, as we noted earlier, is desperate to stifle the corruption investigations, and maintain calm in the roiling foreign exchange markets for the Turkish Lira amidst concerns raised by the EU, and more importantly credit rating agencies like Fitch.

Meanwhile Iran’s wrecking crew  in the US is beavering  away trying to sabotage new sanctions legislation pending in the US Senate that appears to have majority bi-partisan support for passage of the bill co-sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Chair Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).  A Washington Free Beacon report,“Pro-Iran Shadow Lobby Launches Bid to Kill Iran Sanctions” drew attention to a letter from the Iran Project and its relations with Iranian lobbyists in Washington, DC:

Ploughshares has touted the Iran Project’s work on multiple occasions, referring to it “as a group of highly respected national security experts and former U.S. government officials.”

“The reports released by the Iran Project are very influential among decision makers in Washington,” NIAC wrote of the group in April.

“These are many of the same foreign policy experts who opposed the toughest Iran sanctions that got us to this point,” Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) tweeted on Monday.

Others cautioned against taking seriously this latest anti-sanctions lobbying bid. “This is a group run by people who support Iran, are celebrated by the Iranian media, and are deeply embedded in a network of organizations that have consistently sought to weaken the U.S.’s leverage in attempting to denuclearize Iran,” said one senior official at a Washington-based pro-Israel group.

Erdogan’s Turkey cozying up to Iran, while filtering arms and funds to the latter’s opponents in Syria would appear to be opportunistic. Is it to secure natural gas for Turkish domestic and manufacturing needs in exchange for machinery sales that just might find their way to assist in making a new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment?  In the meantime Erdogan might be in danger politically given the latest round of corruption investigations and possible retrials of jailed secular senior military officials.  Either way, the Obama Administration has its hands full dealing with the metastasizing Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq making hollow his 2012 campaign theme that ”Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run”.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

A Year End Recap of Obama’s Foreign Policy

Obama has turned U.S. foreign policy on its head. It is hard to avoid the conclusion Obama thinks U.S. enemies (particularly Islamists) are friends and friends are enemies.

Obama threatens to veto a Congressional sanctions bill if Iran fails to end its nuclear program and Obama sides with Iran on the issue even though Iran has just announced it is building newer and faster centrifuges. The Saudi’s accuse Obama of stabbing them in the back. Undoubtedly Israel feels betrayed by Obama as well.

In his Cairo speech Obama apologized to Islam on behalf of America’s predominantly Judeo-Christian population who don’t believe they have anything to apologize for?

In Egypt Obama congratulated the Muslim Brotherhood for taking control of the country and tried to reinstate Morsi an Islamic dictator after he was expelled as a result of a popular uprising by Egyptians seeking democracy.

In Libya Obama supported the Islamists over the more secular Gaddafi. Now Libya where Ambassador Stevens and his assistants were murdered has become an Islamic terrorist haven and its weapons have been distributed to terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. .

In Syria Obama entered into an agreement with Putin and Assad which expanded Iran’s power in the region allowing Iran to extend its unique Islamic oppression and terrorism in the region. It is now reported the schedule to destroy chemical weapons will not be kept. Obama calls this a foreign policy success even though the agreement assures Assad and his killing machine will now remain in power. The death toll has risen to 130,000 Syrians and two million refugees.

Obama called Turkey’s Erdogan (a corrupt Islamic strongman) one of his five closet international friends and forced Israel an ally to apologize to Erdogan which Erdogan rejected. Erdogan’s corruption may soon force him from office.

Obama is pressing Israel to make dangerous security concessions to the Palestinians (Islamists) who call for Israel’s destruction and won’t recognize the State of Israel. The PA now refuses to negotiate with Israel.

Obama promised to reset relations with Russia. Instead it appears we are witnessing a resurgence of the ‘cold war’.

China is taking aggressive steps against U.S. interests in the Pacific and allies are very concerned.

India is retaliating against U.S. citizens and diplomats in India in response to the strip-search treatment of an Indian diplomat and a threatened prosecution

One thing is certain. Obama has reduced U.S. influence and credibility in the Middle East and around the world. America’s allies no longer trust Obama and our enemies no longer respect or fear the U.S. This may be what Obama meant when he said he was going to transform America; but it isn’t what the American people had in mind.

Alarming video: Al Qaeda growing and taking “a new approach to death”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/vRL0tNpA19U[/youtube]

Remember, when President Obama said “Osama bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is decimated and on the run?” If it weren’t for the fawning liberal progressive media, that statement could have been the “Lie of the Year” for 2012.

According to a CNN report,

The terror group’s manpower has increased in recent years, it has gained control of more territory in North Africa and the Middle East and is taking a different approach to death. While al Qaeda suffered significant setbacks after Navy SEALs shot and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, and drone strikes have taken out top terrorists along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the terror group and its close allies have rebounded in Yemen, the Sinai region of Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and parts of east and west Africa, among other places. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, headquartered in Yemen, is particularly concerning.

CNN says sources have uncovered chatter that suggests “active plotting” and there are there are multiple indications that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is plotting attacks both within Yemen, against U.S. and Western structures and overseas,” according to Seth Jones, an analyst at Rand Corp.

If none of that concerns you, watch this video, which was released on Christmas Day. It calls for al Qaeda sympathizers to take things into their own hands and launch attacks in the West. In the two minute intro the speaker says, “We pray to Allah that the example set by Nidal Hassan becomes a source of inspiration for all Muslims.”

One year after the reelection of Barack Hussein Obama, Islamic totalitarians are not decimated and not on the run, but are stronger. No doubt Afghanistan will follow suit, if this is the paradigm for the Obama administration. The Middle East has been completely destabilized and with the current incursion into Southern Sudan by President Obama, one has to be concerned that it too will be destabilized, as was Libya.

This is what happens when the media is subjective rather than objective in analysis or telling the truth to the American people. But it’s too late now. We still face three more years of a failing Obama and a foreign policy that entices and emboldens our enemies. Weakness is intoxicating, and Islamic terrorists are drunk right now.

The next American president must be able to lead and command fear and respect from our enemies. Some may read this and say, “at this point in time what difference does it make?” But for those who’ve been on the receiving end of an AK-47, for those who will have to fight this resurgent enemy, and for those who will lose their lives in the next terrorist attack, it makes a doggone lot of difference.

This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

Iran Accelerates Uranium Enrichment to 60%! Now what?

In response to the introduction of the bipartisan Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2013  last Thursday in the US Senate co-sponsored by 26 Senators, see our Iconoclast post here, the Iranian government struck back. Press TV filed a story Wednesday that 100 MPs in the Majlis, the Iranian Parliament, signed legislation to accelerate enrichment and completion of construction of the Arak heavy water reactor for production of fissile plutonium, should the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act be passed “Iran MPs draft bill on 60% uranium enrichment”.  Press TV reported:

Iranian lawmakers have drafted a bill that would oblige the government to produce 60-percent enriched uranium in line with the requirements of the nation’s ‘civilian’ nuclear program.

Signed by 100 legislators, the draft was presented to the Presiding Board of Majlis on Wednesday.

“If the bill is approved, the government will be obliged to complete nuclear infrastructure at Fordo and Natanz [facilities] if sanctions [against Iran] are ratcheted up, new sanctions are imposed, the country’s nuclear rights are violated and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ‘peaceful’ nuclear rights are ignored by members of P5+1,” Iranian lawmaker Seyyed Mehdi Mousavinejad said on Wednesday.

The bill would oblige the government to put the Arak heavy water reactor into operation and enrich uranium to the 60-percent purity level in order to provide fuel for submarine engines if the sanctions are tightened and Iran’s nuclear rights are ignored, the MP underscored.

We noted in our Iconoclast post on the new US Senate sanctions bill:

Clearly, these Senators are skeptical that an ultimate agreement can be achieved with the Islamic Regime in Tehran based on the P5+1 interim agreement and Joint Plan of Action (JPA). This despite President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry’s lobbying effort aimed at providing a hiatus to resolve issues with Iran. They are not the only ones; French Foreign Minister Fabius also renewed his dour prediction that a final agreement to prevent nuclear breakout and a weapons delivery capability may not be possible.  The US Senators and French Foreign Minister Fabius can point to a Press TV news release with comments by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian head of their Atomic Energy Organization.  Salehi said “the country’s nuclear facilities, including Arak heavy water reactor, will continue running, dismissing Western governments’ call on Tehran to suspend activities at the facility”.

Kirk’s and Menendez’s statements introducing the new legislation reflected a deepening skepticism on Capitol Hill and in polls across America and in Israel that Iran will honor any agreements.  This is based on its track record of deception, relentless pursuit of nuclear hegemony in the Middle East and its global reach of terrorism against the West.

We further noted President Obama’s objections to the new US Senate sanctions bill:

President Obama in his year end press conference, prior to his departure for a vacation with family in Hawaii, responded to questions about the new Senate sanctions initiative, saying:

What I’ve said to members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, is there is no need for new sanctions legislation, not yet.

Now, if Iran comes back and says, we can’t give you assurances that we’re not going to weaponize, if they’re not willing to address some of their capabilities that we know could end up resulting in them having breakout capacity, it’s not going to be hard for us to turn the dials back, strengthen sanctions even further. I’ll work with members of Congress to put even more pressure on Iran. But there’s no reason to do it right now.

Press TV  noted what immediately prompted the new Majlis uranium acceleration bill:

Moreover, the administration of US President Barack Obama on December 12 issued new sanctions against more than a dozen companies  and individuals for “providingsupport for” Iran’s nuclear energy program.  [For details see: US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control Sanctions Designations, December 12, 2013]

The US Treasury Department said it was freezing assets and banning transactions of entities that attempt to evade the sanctions against Iran.

This is while under a nuclear agreement reached in Geneva last month, the United States should not impose fresh economic sanctions against Iran over the next six months.

Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice said on December 23rd that Washington seeks to include “triggers” in any final nuclear deal with Iran to automatically re-impose sanctions if Tehran violates the terms of the agreement.

The Islamic regime never ceases to threaten that they will not be deterred in achievement of their nuclear program objectives. That may be triggered by possible passage of new strengthened sanctions legislation or breakdowns in negotiations towards a final agreement based in part on the P5+1 Interim Agreement reached in Geneva on November 24, 2013.  Skepticism abounds about possible achievement of such a final agreement. Hence, concerns about possible military action should the process breakdown.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

All Praises due Sens. Kirk and Menendez on Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act

Yesterday, as I entered a December monthly luncheon meeting of the Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola I was taken aside by a fellow member who told me how much he valued the work of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) on the latest Iran sanctions effort.  We were there to hear David Wasserman of the Cook Report and assistant editor of the National Journalgive a presentation on the 2014 electoral map for the crucial midterm elections for President Obama. He is seemingly in trouble over the debacle of his keystone domestic program, the Affordable Care Act.  We have great respect for Sen. Kirk given our September 2008 NER interview with him when he was a Member of the US House of Representatives from a suburban Chicago  Congressional District, involved with the bi-partisan effort working on early Iran nuclear sanctions legislation.

My Tiger Bay colleague was referring to new bipartisan sanctions legislation, the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act co-sponsored by Sen. Kirk, a ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Prominent among the 26  co-sponsors of the new sanctions legislation were Sens. Casey (D-PA), Graham (R-SC), McCain (R-AZ), Rubio (R-FL), Schumer (D-NY), Warner (D-VA). Clearly, these Senators are skeptical that an ultimate agreement can be achieved with the Islamic Regime in Tehran based on the P5+1 interim agreement and Joint Plan of Action (JPA). This despite President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry’s lobbying effort aimed at providing a hiatus to resolve issues with Iran. They are not the only ones; French Foreign Minister Fabius also renewed his dour prediction that a final agreement to prevent nuclear breakout and a weapons delivery capability may not be possible.  The US Senators and French Foreign Minister Fabius can point to a Press TV news release with comments by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian head of their Atomic Energy Organization.  Salehi said the country’s nuclear facilities, including Arak heavy water reactor, will continue running, dismissing Western governments’ call on Tehran to suspend activities at the facility”.

Kirk’s and Menendez’s statements introducing the new legislation reflected a deepening skepticism on Capitol Hill and in polls across America and in Israel that Iran will honor any agreements.  This is based on its track record of deception, relentless pursuit of nuclear hegemony in the Middle East and its global reach of terrorism against the West.  They commented:

“The American people rightfully distrust Iran’s true intentions and they deserve an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception during negotiations,” Sen. Kirk said. “This is a responsible, bipartisan bill to protect the American people from Iranian deception and I urge the Majority Leader to give the American people an up or down vote.”

“Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table,” said Sen. Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The Iranians last week blamed the Administration for enforcing sanctions; now, they criticize Congress. The burden rests with Iran to negotiate in good faith and verifiably terminate its nuclear weapons program. Prospective sanctions will influence Iran’s calculus and accelerate that process toward achieving a meaningful diplomatic resolution.”

Jennifer Rubin in a Washington Post column, Friday, “Congress is trying to stop a war, not start one”, outlined what the new bi-partisan sanctions legislation contains:

. . . to enact sanctions if Iran cheats during the interim agreement or fails to reach a final deal and to reaffirm the parameters of a final deal (terms embodied in United Nations resolutions and articulated by three presidents, including this one).

Those parameters include “dismantl[ing] Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure, including enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and facilities, the heavy water reactor and production plant at Arak, and any nuclear weapon components and technology, so that Iran is precluded from a nuclear breakout capability and prevented from pursuing both uranium and plutonium pathways to a nuclear weapon.” In addition, Iran must come into compliance with all U.N. resolutions and allow round-the-clock inspections.

The bill includes broad waiver authority for the Administration. (This had been a concern for some Democrats.)

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, President Obama’s Press Spokesman Jay Carney fired back, “We don’t think this action is necessary. We don’t think it will be enacted. If it were [passed] the president would veto it.”

President Obama in his year end press conference, prior to his departure for a vacation with family in Hawaii, responded to questions about the new Senate sanctions initiative, saying:

What I’ve said to members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, is there is no need for new sanctions legislation, not yet.

Now, if Iran comes back and says, we can’t give you assurances that we’re not going to weaponize, if they’re not willing to address some of their capabilities that we know could end up resulting in them having breakout capacity, it’s not going to be hard for us to turn the dials back, strengthen sanctions even further. I’ll work with members of Congress to put even more pressure on Iran. But there’s no reason to do it right now.

Referring to a recent Administration action black-listing 12 Iranian companies following the P5+1 interim agreement, Jonathan Schanzer of the Washington, DC –based Foundation for Defense of Democracies commented in a Politico column, “The White House Can’t Have it Both Ways on Iran”:

Actively punishing Iran for its mendacity while trying to selectively reduce other sanctions (in this case, automotive, petrochemicals and precious metals) for the sake of diplomacy projects two competing messages. It should come as no surprise that this dual approach has inspired the confidence of neither Iran nor Congress. Indeed, the only actors out there who are heartened by Washington’s conflicted policies are the companies eyeing investments in Iran. They see confusion, and therefore ambiguity. And that’s a whole lot better than the investment environment of just a few months ago, when Iran appeared to be completely off limits.

Watch this Wall Street Journal video interview with Schanzer of FDD by Mary Kissel discussing “Totaling up Iran’s Sweet Sanction Deal”:

In our recent post on the efficacy of sanctions we concluded:

…military force coupled with improved sanctions may be the only option that brings the Islamofanatics in Tehran to heel.  Israel demonstrated that in both Iraq (Operation Opera 1981) and Syria (Operation Orchard 2007). Despite initial criticism, the US subsequently showed begrudging respect. That is not lost on the worried Saudis and the Gulf Emirates, critical of US policies in the roiling Middle East.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

BREAKING: “Impeach Obama” ad to appear in Washington Times

The Florida based National Black Republican Association has sent Articles of Impeachment to the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives. The NBRA has decided to publish an advertisement in the Washington Times and provide a copy of the ad to every member of Congress as they return to work on Tuesday.

Frances Rice, Chair of NBRA stated, “Anyone may download and use the ad, which is camera ready, and pay for it to be in their local newspaper or magazine. The PDF was created by the Washington Times for their use in publishing it in their paper.”

To view and download the full size ad click here.

Congress is dealing with multiple scandals (IRS, NSA, DOJ, Benghazi, Extortion 17, etc.) that raise questions about Executive Branch overreach. Congress will also be debating going to war with Syria over its use of chemical weapons against its own citizen. The ad states, “Congress: Wake up and do your job!”

Below is the Impeach Obama ad that will appear in the Washington Times and be delivered to each Senator and Representative this week.

impeach obama ad

To read the Articles of Impeachment please click here.