American Elephants


Victor Davis Hanson on Our Leverage with North Korea by The Elephant's Child

There has been a lot of misinformation about both getting out of the so-called Iran deal and getting into a new North Korean agreement. The two situations may be connected, but not in the way we are usually told.

Getting out of the Iran deal did not destroy trust in the U.S. government. Our departure from the deal does not mean that North Korea cannot reliably negotiate with America.

In 2015, the Iran deal was not approved as either a Senate-ratified treaty or a joint congressional resolution. Had the deal been a treaty, President Donald Trump could not have walked away from it so easily and with so little downside.

Former President Obama knew that he did not have majority congressional support for his initiative. Therefore, he desperately sought ways to circumvent the constitutionally directed authority of the Senate and redefine a treaty as a mere executive order

The rest of the article is here

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The Soap Opera of the Century! by The Elephant's Child

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This Mueller investigation has become the soap opera of the century. Some new twist every day. The inspector general’s report on the activities of the FBI is due out soon. It is said to be devastating to the most executive floor of the FBI. The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the founding document of the entire investigation and the FBI is refusing to turn it over.

We flip over and back to questions of law and constitution and who can do what to whom. A special counsel’s investigation is supposed to start with a crime to be investigated, but this one just started with the hope that they would find a crime in the process.  They indicted Paul Manafort for things unrelated to the Russia thing, but although investigating collusion with the Russians to influence the election was the supposed reason for the whole mess, Paul Manafort was supposed to have done something illegal about something entirely different, at a different time.

Andy McCarthy who is invaluable for explaining matters of law in this kind of thing, said “The president’s job is more critical to the nation than Robert Mueller’s investigation.”  And added:

That does not mean Mueller’s investigation is insignificant; it is crucial that we fully uncover Russia’s interference in the 2016 election (the aim of the counterintelligence investigation Mueller was assigned to conduct) so that we can thwart the Kremlin in the future. But it does mean that Mueller’s desire for investigative secrecy and the ability to interview every witness who might have relevant evidence has to give way to other priorities.

President Trump apparently feels that he has done nothing whatsoever wrong, and would like to answer Mueller’s questions to get this thing over with, and his advisors tell him no, that it’s just a trap for the Democrats hope for impeachment. But yes, he could fire Mueller, but it would be bad politics, and so it goes. As I said, the soap opera of the century. We cannot ignore the whole thing, because there might be developments, but… on the other hand we can’t sit around waiting for something that will clarify the entire mess. Ive been around for quite a few administrations, but I have never seen anything like this.

While our attention is fixed on Mueller, North Korea has released their American citizen hostages to the Secretary of State, and the President and First Lady went out to welcome them home at 3:00 clock in the morning. The Iran Deal has been fortuitously dumped, John Kerry is running around trying to get the other partners to the “deal” to do something, but it was never a signed treaty anyway. The Paris Climate Deal has also been fortuitously dumped, and the Left is having vapors over that, but it would do nothing whatsoever for the climate except transfer a lot of advanced countries’ money to the poor countries, which was the idea in the first place. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s show which will undoubtedly have some development that won’t clarify anything.

 



The Deep State: A Landmine That Might Blow Up by The Elephant's Child

Here’s another must-read post from Victor Davis Hanson, from National Review    entitled “The Trump Land Mine.”

After the 2016 election, the so-called deep state was confident that it had the power easily to either stop, remove, or delegitimize the outlier Donald Trump and his presidency.

Give it credit, the Washington apparat quite imaginatively pulled out all the stops: implanting Obama holdover appointees all over the Trump executive branch; filing lawsuits and judge shopping; organizing the Resistance; pursuing impeachment writs; warping the FISA courts; weaponizing the DOJ and FBI; attempting to disrupt the Electoral College; angling for enactment of the 25th Amendment or the emoluments clause; and unleashing Hollywood celebrities, Silicon Valley, and many in Wall Street to suffocate the Trump presidency in its infancy.

But now the administrative state’s multifaceted efforts are starting to unwind, and perhaps even boomerang, on the perpetrators. If a federal judge should end up throwing out most of the indictments of Paul Manafort on the rationale that they have nothing much to do with the original mandate of the special counsel’s office, or if Michael Flynn’s confession to giving false statements is withdrawn successfully because the FBI politicized its investigation and FISA courts were misled in approving the surveillance of Flynn, then the Mueller investigation will implode.

The rest is here.



Here’s What Obama Had to Say About The Iran Deal Back Then by The Elephant's Child

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I was looking in an old notebook, and ran across a couple of quotes I had jotted down from President Obama about the Iran Deal: I won’t testify as to their accuracy, as it’s clear I was scribbling fast. I can hardly read my writing.

“It shows what we can accomplish when we lead from a position of strength, and a position of principle. When we unite the international community around a shared vision, and we resolve to solve problems peacefully.”

Well, that sounds like Obama, doesn’t it? I can’t remember who it was who described him as “a real good talker.”

“With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapons program, and Iran’s nuclear program will be under severe limits for many years.  Without a deal these pathways remain open, there would be no limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran could move closer to a nuclear bomb.”

Sounds like Obama alright. That worked out well.



President Trump Disposed of The Destructive Iran Deal by The Elephant's Child

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Everyone, by now, knows that President Trump blew up the Iran Deal. Do people understand that it was not a treaty? It was undertaken unilaterally. President Obama was never able to pull together any kind of consensus. There was no real accountability. Even as Iran was pushing one demand after another, a number of U.S. senators explained to the despots that such a deal could easily be scuttled. Nearly every Republican candidate for the presidency in 2016 promised to withdraw or renegotiate the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”

Obama likely didn’t believe the GOP would regain the presidency — and if it did, he probably couldn’t conceive of a situation where a president would dare back out of a non-proliferation agreement, however flawed. And, as many problems as I do have with Trump, I can’t imagine that any other Republican would have withstood the unrelenting political pressure that was likely exerted, not only from allies but also from business interests at home, either.

The President had the prerogative to walk away from the agreement at any time, whether or not Iran was found in violation of the IAEA. The Iran Deal did nothing to safeguard against the production of nuclear weapons. We even had to ask permission to inspect.

We also know that after Trump’s speech making the case for withdrawal, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani claimed that Iran would be “prepared for enrichment in the next weeks.” Which is a weird thing for a nation that has completely given up its desire to obtain nuclear weapons to say. Then again the idea that this agreement, as promised by so many in Obama administration, snuffed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions was absurd all along.

Iran is continuing to develop a ballistic missile program to deliver those weapons. The Boeing deal is off. The United States can reinstate sanctions, and we can target any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons. European nations will probably try to salvage the deal, as they have irons, so to speak, in the fire with profitable business to do with Iran.

Iran can come back to the table. The administration’s demands for a new agreement are wholly reasonable: Stop developing ballistic missiles that are meant to deliver nuclear weapons; Stop supporting terrorist groups around the Middle East that undermine U.S. interests and those of our allies — in Syria, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Yemen, etc; Stop publicly threatening our ally Israel with destruction; Stop threatening freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea; Stop fueling the civil war in Yemen; Stop cyberattacks on the United States; Stop kidnapping Americans.

Is there something unreasonable about that? People probably thought that those things were part of the deal. They weren’t.

We can now target Iranian aggression. No more pretenses. We can target Iran’s terror regime through economic means. We can support the human rights advocates in Iran, and maybe do something useful.

I don’t know that any other candidate could have withstood all the silly guff from the leftist media, who are far stronger in anti-Trumpism than in either common sense or history. Donald Trump just did a difficult, but very good thing.

 



Violation of the Logan Act is a Felony by The Elephant's Child

The Boston Globe reported on Friday that former Secretary of State John Kerry is engaging in “shadow diplomacy” with Iran, working secretly with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to save the “Iran Deal.” I have never been an admirer of Mr. Kerry, but this is really beyond the pale.¹

He sat down at the United Nations with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss ways of preserving the pact limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It was the second time in about two months that the two had met to strategize over salvaging a deal they spent years negotiating during the Obama administration, according to a person briefed on the meetings.

With the Iran deal facing its gravest threat since it was signed in 2015, Kerry has been on an aggressive yet stealthy mission to preserve it, using his deep lists of contacts gleaned during his time as the top US diplomat to try to apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside. President Trump, who has consistently criticized the pact and campaigned in 2016 on scuttling it, faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to continue abiding by its terms.

Kerry also met last month with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and he’s been on the phone with top European Union official Federica Mogherini, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal the private meetings. Kerry has also met with French President Emmanuel Macron in both Paris and New York, conversing over the details of sanctions and regional nuclear threats in both French and English.

The Obama administration seemed to believe that the evil Bush administration took us into an unnecessary war and killed a lot of Americans for no reason. They figured they would just turn all those little states like Iraq, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan , Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and whoever I forgot, over to Iraq to manage, then we could all have world peace.

Did these people just assume that these people who talk constantly about eliminating Israel, death to America, reestablishing the Caliphate that controlled the entire Mediterranean really don’t mean it? How could a former Secretary of State believe that Iran, with their well known history, believe that they would just shelve their nuclear program and their vicious hatred for the West and make nice with the UN? Did Mr. Kerry not see Prime Minister Netanyahu’s presentation?

This is a clear violation of the Logan Act², which does not get called up all that often. The meaning, however, is very clear, If you’re not authorized to speak for America, you do not get to. When your term is done, it’s done. You are just an ordinary citizen, and the fact that you were once, has no bearing.

The Left was enraged when the Trump administration was inaugurated and took power. They were enraged when Trump went out and started doing things. They have been enraged at everything that has been done. I mentioned before that I believe that they were deeply shocked, not only when Trump won the election, but that it was because of the Electoral College (to which they had never paid much attention) and are now determined to eliminate. They have no understanding of why the founders created such a gimmick. And above all, it was the map of counties in the country that went for Trump. It was red at every level of government clear across the country. In other words they are deeply scared.

The depth and irresponsibility of their hatred is exposed frequently, most notably in Kathy Griffin’s holding up a realistic-appearing severed and bloody Donald Trump head — and assuming that it would be accepted as a joke. That level of naivety is not only common but nearly universal. It suggests a deep ignorance of what it is the other party believes, which is why we get called “deplorables” and Fascists, and Racists, among other vulgarities. Any Democrat should be embarrassed to call a Republican a “racist”, but apparently they are unfamiliar with their own history, as well as the history of the country.

¹beyond the pale: adv, or adj. phr. In disgrace; with no chance of being respected by others; nor approved by the members of a group.

²The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments having a dispute with the U.S. It was intended to prevent the undermining of the government’s position.

ADDENDUM:  I should have added that nobody actually prosecutes anybody with The Logan Act. I presume that it seems so obvious that one should not behave in such a manner, that it seems superfluous. And than the Logan Act itself is very old. Perhaps we should dust it off, and take it seriously once again.



100,000 Secret Files Prove Iran Lied About Nuclear Weapons by The Elephant's Child

Not a Monday like most Mondays. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced to the world that Iran and Iran’s Mullahs and Presidents and spokesmen have all been lying about nuclear weapons, and their supposed rejection of any interest in nuclear weapons or a nuclear weapons program, lying through their teeth. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled to the international community a cache of  100,000 secret files he said were obtained from inside a hidden Iranian site that clearly demonstrate that Tehran maintained  a secret nuclear weapons program despite continuing declarations to the contrary.

Netanyahu explained that Iran was, from the beginning, deceptive in their descriptions of their previous nuclear work. After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran’s leaders repeatedly denied ever pursuing nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said. “Tonight I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied.”

After they signed the nuclear deal, they intensified the effort to hide their secret files. In 2017 Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran. Netanyahu said the secret files prove the following:

Iran lied about never having a secret nuclear program. Second, even after the deal it continued to expand its nuclear program for future use. Third, Iran lied by not coming clean to the IAEA. Finally, the nuclear deal is based on lies based on Iranian deception.

The prime minister’s speech was based on 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs that were smuggled out of an “atomic archive” painstakingly preserving Iran’s secretive nuclear program so that the country would have the option of restarting the program after the nuclear deal ends or in the case of Tehran dumping the agreement.  Israel’s ability to acquire the archive marks a massive coup for the Jewish state.

It contains “incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more.” Israel has shared the material with the U.S. and “the United States can vouch for its authenticity.”

The Plan, called Project Amad, aimed to design, produce and test five warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield, for integration on a missile.  “That is like five Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles.”

Netanyahu called on President Donald Trump to do the right thing for the United States, the right thing for Israel, and the right thing for the peace of the world.  The May 12 deadline to recertify the nuclear agreement approaches.

Deafening silence from the usual suspects: John Kerry, Ben Rhodes, Samantha Powers, and former president Barack Obama. Here’s a collection of Ben Rhodes’ Tweets on Iran that got absolutely everything wrong. But there’s no pleasure in proving that they were way too gullible. We tried to tell them so, but they wanted to believe.




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