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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "republicans"

Trump Takes Aim At The Deep South’s Last Democrat Governor

Westlake Legal Group AP_949621472719-e1464368975130-620x465 Trump Takes Aim At The Deep South’s Last Democrat Governor republicans Louisiana John Bel Edwards impeachment governor Front Page Stories Featured Story elections Eddie Rispone donald trump democrats 2019

Gov. John Bel Edwards talks about the state’s budget and his plans to call a special session for June to try to raise revenue to stave off cuts, on Thursday, May 5, 2016, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

Over the weekend, the last Democrat governor in the deep south was forced into a runoff with a Republican businessman with a lot of money behind him.

Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards was able to capture 47 percent of the vote in Louisiana’s jungle (all-in) primary, and Eddie Rispone came in second place with 27 percent. Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham came in third with 24 percent of the vote.

Rispone’s win was unexpected just a few weeks ago, but a surge of spending on ads that attacked both Edwards and Abraham helped push him into second place. Also helping both him and Abraham was a series of visits from high-profile Trump allies – Mike Pence and Donald Trump Jr. – and a visit Friday night by President Donald Trump himself.

Trump has already come out swinging in his endorsement of Rispone.

I mentioned last week that Trump himself has a lot riding on this gubernatorial election, as it is a good test of how much the impeachment process in Washington D.C. might be affecting his base.

Morning Consult, meanwhile, has President Donald Trump with a +15 net favorability rating, and the lowest number you can find in any poll as far as approval goes is 54%. Among Republicans, his favorability is 94%.

With a gubernatorial race coming up this Saturday, and with every major candidate in the race making their support or relationship with Trump a central issue, it’s becoming a race to watch if you want to see the effect of the all the impeachment talk going on in Washington D.C.

[…]

This type of push, when there are two Republican candidates and a Democrat going into a jungle primary means that Trump isn’t just interested in beating Edwards. He’s using the state’s Republican turnout as a gauge of support for him.

It will hold true, still, and there are more than a few parallels between Trump and Rispone – as the latter has been quick to mention since the race started. Both are businessmen, neither had political experience prior to their campaigns, and both scored huge upsets to put themselves in the spotlight against the top Democrat in their race.

Now, Edwards has a tough race ahead of him, and if he can’t make the race as little about Trump as possible, it will likely be a major part of why he is defeated in November. Edwards will definitely go on the attack against Rispone, but he can’t afford to make any references to Trump because the Republicans appear highly motivated in this state right now – the state’s Senate will see a Republican supermajority and it could very well be matched up with a House supermajority if the runoffs in specific House races fall into Republican hands.

With a motivated Republican base, Edwards will attack but will also have to make it as non-partisan as possible (personal attacks on Rispone’s character have already started bubbling up). He simply can’t allow Trump to dominate the conversation, but Trump in all likelihood will try to continue to stay in the conversation.

Rispone, however, has to compete against Edwards and the state’s Republicans he pissed off when he decided to attack Abraham in the primary – something the state party cautioned any Republican against doing this election. There have been whisperings of Republicans who will stay home rather than vote for Rispone, but he needs Abraham and the other major Republicans in the state to back him up and show he can be a unifier.

And, Rispone will continue to make this race about Trump, because it was clearly successful in the primary. The Republican vote in the primary far outweighed the Democratic vote, and it looks like that enthusiasm is lingering. If the Republicans pull the win off and knock out the last Democrat governor in the Deep South, then Trump can count it as a victory and proof that his support isn’t wavering under the Democrats’ attacks in D.C.

The post Trump Takes Aim At The Deep South’s Last Democrat Governor appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group AP_949621472719-e1464368975130-300x225 Trump Takes Aim At The Deep South’s Last Democrat Governor republicans Louisiana John Bel Edwards impeachment governor Front Page Stories Featured Story elections Eddie Rispone donald trump democrats 2019   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Andrew McCarthy Pens a Must Read Reality Check On the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict

Westlake Legal Group 16362767515_d182b8dded_k-620x413 Andrew McCarthy Pens a Must Read Reality Check On the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict YPG Turkey Syria republicans Prank Call Politics pkk National Review Lindsey Graham Kurds ISIS Iraq Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story donald trump democrats Andrew McCarthy Allow Media Exception

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the opening of the new terminal of Aden Abdulle International Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia on January 25. 2015 AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed

Yesterday, I shared the revelation that Sen. Lindsey Graham had been prank called by the same Russians that got Rep. Adam Schiff by promising naked pictures of Donald Trump. In this most recent call, Graham is heard agreeing to many details about the Turkish-Kurdish conflict that he hasn’t been saying publicly. Namely, that it’s a volatile, complicated situation, with the United States stuck in the middle of two factional allies, neither of which is the clear good and both of which present strategic issues.

Among many things, a misunderstanding and over simplifying (and conservative media in general have been some of the worst) of who the YPG are, why Turkey wants them off the border, and how we have no good options has driven a level of hysteria that’s helping no one.

Here’s some of what I wrote.

In Graham’s prank phone call, we actually see him admit the issues at hand. The YPG are a real problem and Turkey does have legitimate reasons to push back on them. The group’s goal is to form a Marxist state made up of Turkish and Syrian land. As you can imagine, that raises the temperature in the area among all involved. Further, it must be said that the Kurds in Iraq are not the same as those in Northern Syria. The former are our traditional allies, the latter are not. Iraqi Kurds see the YPG as extremists (and, objectively, they are).

The United States, due to the failures of the past administration, has been put in an impossible situation. Graham appears to know this but hasn’t had the guts to say it publicly. He simply got caught with this prank call.

With Turkey saying they were coming across the border, there were no good options here. The fact that we are dealing with the YPG makes the matter extremely difficult navigate. We were placed in the middle of two historically warring groups. One is a NATO ally and is vitally strategic for our national security. The other did help us defeat ISIS in Northern Syria. This all paints a dangerous shade of gray and the President made the decision to not continue to play chicken with Turkey. Even if you think it’s the wrong move, the certainty with which some have been shouting crosses into the ridiculous.

Of course, there’s nothing I can write that Andrew McCarthy can’t come along and do better and he penned an excellent explainer at National Review yesterday. This actually came as a dissent to the stated opinion of the editorial board at the conservative magazine. I won’t give everything away here, because you should go read every word of it yourself, but I’ll hit some highlights.

I thus respectfully dissent from our National Review editorial.

President Trump, it says, is “making a serious mistake” by moving our forces away from what is described as “Kurdish territory”; the resulting invasion by superior Turkish forces will “kill American allies” while “carving out a zone of dominance” that will serve further to “inflame and complicate” the region.

Where to begin? Perhaps with the basic fact that there is no Kurdish territory. There is Syrian territory on Turkey’s border that the Kurds are occupying — a situation that itself serves to “inflame and complicate” the region for reasons I shall come to. Ethnic Kurds do not have a state. They live in contiguous parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Most are integrated into these countries, but many are separatists.

The Kurds have been our allies against ISIS, but it is not for us that they have fought. They fight ISIS for themselves, with our help. They are seeking an autonomous zone and, ultimately, statehood. The editorial fails to note that the Kurds we have backed, led by the YPG (People’s Protection Units), are the Syrian branch of the PKK (the Kurdistan Worker’s Party) in Turkey. The PKK is a militant separatist organization with Marxist-Leninist roots. Although such informed observers as Michael Rubin contend that the PKK has “evolved,” it remains a formally designated foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law. While our government materially supports the PKK’s confederates, ordinary Americans have been prosecuted for materially supporting the PKK.

This is a major issue, not because the Kurds simply exist, but because the YPG in Northern Syria operate as a terrorist organization in the pursuit of a Marxist state (yes, that may sound out of place, but they are indeed Marxists). While they did help fight ISIS in their own backyard, the United States can not provide them autonomy in a foreign country. That has left us in a gray zone with no clear end game. Leaving 50 U.S. advisors stranded in Northern Syria as human shields in the hopes they scare off Turkey’s incursion is not a plan. It’s an emotional plea.

Those of us opposed to intervention in Syria wanted Congress to think through these quite predictable outcomes before authorizing any further U.S. military involvement in this wretched region. Congress, however, much prefers to lay low in the tall grass, wait for presidents to act, and then complain when things go awry.

And so they have: The easily foreseeable conflict between Turkey and the Kurds is at hand. We are supposed to see the problem as Trump’s abandoning of U.S. commitments. But why did we make commitments to the Kurds that undermined preexisting commitments to Turkey? The debate is strictly framed as “How can we leave the Kurds to the tender mercies of the Turks?” No one is supposed to ask “What did we expect would happen when we backed a militant organization that is tightly linked to U.S.-designated terrorists and that is the bitter enemy of a NATO ally we knew would not abide its presence on the ally’s border?” No one is supposed to ask “What is the end game here? Are we endorsing the partition of Syria? Did we see a Kurdish autonomous zone as the next Kosovo?” (We might remember that recognition of Kosovo’s split from Serbia, over Russian objections, was exploited by the Kremlin as a rationale for promoting separatism and annexations in Georgia and Ukraine.)

And those questions are what much of the conservative media refuse to answer. Instead, they pretend it’s as simple as “protecting the Kurds” and “not abandoning our allies.” Which ally? Which Kurds? What do we do about a decades long battle between Turkey and PKK allied separatist groups? Do we send even more troops to set up a real safe zone? By what Congressional authority can that even be done? No one wants to talk about this stuff because it’s easier to virtue signal on Twitter.

I’ll let you go read McCarthy’s article to get the rest, as what I’ve posted here is just a small sampling. He meticulously goes through all angles related to what we are dealing with. The only certainty of this situation is that there are no easy answers. We simply can’t remain in Northern Syria into perpetuity protecting a designated terrorist group at odds with a NATO ally. If Congress feels either of those designations is wrong, they are welcome to get off their soap boxes and start doing some actual work.

Here’s my suggestion. If Congress truly feels strongly about this, nothing is stopping them from passing an AUMF that actually makes future actions legal. That would at least send a strong signal that they are serious. Yelling on Twitter is not accomplishing anything.

————————————————

Enjoying the read? Please visit my archive and check out some of my latest articles.

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The post Andrew McCarthy Pens a Must Read Reality Check On the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group mrap-syria-300x209 Andrew McCarthy Pens a Must Read Reality Check On the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict YPG Turkey Syria republicans Prank Call Politics pkk National Review Lindsey Graham Kurds ISIS Iraq Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story donald trump democrats Andrew McCarthy Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Sen. Joni Ernst Piledrives Pelosi After House Speaker Takes Shot at Her Over How Elections Should Be Decided

Westlake Legal Group JoniErnstAPimage-620x317 Sen. Joni Ernst Piledrives Pelosi After House Speaker Takes Shot at Her Over How Elections Should Be Decided washington D.C. Social Media republicans Politics North Carolina Nancy Pelosi Joni Ernst Iowa Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture Congress California Allow Media Exception

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks at the USS Sioux City’s commissioning ceremony, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

CNN asked Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) earlier this week about whether or not she felt Trump acted inappropriately in the July call with Ukrainian president Zelensky. Instead of playing CNN’s “gotcha” games, Ernst took a wait and see approach, stating she needed to see all the facts first when the time comes for the Senate to play their part instead of just relying on (biased) media reports.

Watch:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took issue with Ernt’s comments, and chided Republicans like Ernst for having the audacity to want to see all information first before drawing any definitive conclusions. Here’s what Pelosi tweeted out Thursday:

The irony of Nancy Pelosi talking about how elections should be decided by Americans rubbed Ernst the wrong way, and she absolutely let Pelosi have it:

I believe that was the Iowa equivalent of “bless your heart.”

Ernst is right. Prominent Republicans in the House are making it clear this is a show trial/”clown show” type of impeachment inquiry because they’ve seen more of the evidence and witness testimony, in spite of the fact that they’ve deliberately been excluded from large parts of the process because Pelosi won’t hold an actual floor vote on an inquiry.

Senators don’t have access to all of the same information yet, even though they’ll get their chance soon enough the way everything appears to be going.

Democrats have spent the entirety of Trump’s time in office – and even before he was elected – crafting ways for him to be impeached. They’ve used the threat of impeachment as a political tool to settle their political differences with Republicans and Trump. Impeachment was not meant to be used for that purpose. That’s what elections are for.

Pelosi, who this time around is leading the impeachment effort and who called for the inquiry before the actual transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky was even released, is the very last person who should be lecturing anyone on how elections should be decided.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Sen. Joni Ernst Piledrives Pelosi After House Speaker Takes Shot at Her Over How Elections Should Be Decided appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group JoniErnstAPimage-300x153 Sen. Joni Ernst Piledrives Pelosi After House Speaker Takes Shot at Her Over How Elections Should Be Decided washington D.C. Social Media republicans Politics North Carolina Nancy Pelosi Joni Ernst Iowa Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture Congress California Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lindsey Graham Got Prank Called and Inadvertently Admitted Some Hard Truths About the Turkish-Kurdish Situation

Westlake Legal Group lindsey-graham-pointing-620x413 Lindsey Graham Got Prank Called and Inadvertently Admitted Some Hard Truths About the Turkish-Kurdish Situation YPG Turkey Syria Russians republicans Prank Call Politics pkk natasha bertrand Meghan McCain media bias Lindsey Graham Kurds Fusion GPS Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story donald trump Complicated Allow Media Exception

Lindsey Graham by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

You wouldn’t think a Senator would fall for a prank phone call and completely undercut his public pronouncements in the process, but it’s 2019 and all that.

We are the midst of an extremely tense situation in Northern Syria, where the United States pulled about 50 advisors out of the area in the face of a Turkish incursion across the border. Nuance on the topic has become off limits for most on the right. My sympathies generally lie with the Kurds, even the YPG more so than Turkey, but this is not nearly as easy as just “supporting our allies,” as we’ll discuss in a moment.

First though, let’s lay out what happened with Graham. The same Russian pranksters who convinced Rep. Adam Schiff they had naked pictures of Donald Trump managed to pull one over on the South Carolina Senator. This comes courtesy of Fusion mouthpiece Natasha Bertrand.

First, let’s notice something. It’s likely that the only reason Bertrand has this “scoop,” which could only be passed along by Russian sources, is because Fusion GPS has been feeding her Russian misinformation for years. This was likely done to Graham to embarrass him and the Russians have plenty of reasons to want to do that. Even though that’s not the meat of this story, it is interesting to note just how much of a direct line the Russians have to Fusion GPS and their chosen reporters (Bertrand and Dilanian being the most prominent).

Now, back to the details. Graham has been raging on Twitter and publicly the past few days about Trump pulling out of Northern Syria. He’s proclaimed the evils of it and the coming re-rise of ISIS. He’s said we are leaving the Kurds to die. Yet, on this call, he took a decidedly different tone.

Namely, he admitted that it’s complicated. Very, very complicated.

But Graham also expressed sympathy for Turkey’s “Kurdish problem” and described the Kurds as a “threat.” Those private comments appear to contradict his public statements this week, in which he criticized Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria because it’s “wrong to abandon the Kurds, who have been strong allies against” the Islamic State.

“Your YPG Kurdish problem is a big problem,” Graham told the pranksters. He was referring to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, a group that began fighting ISIS as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces in 2015—with support from the U.S.—but is considered a terrorist group by Turkey because of its push to establish an autonomous state for the Kurds on the Turkish-Syrian border.

“I told President Trump that Obama made a huge mistake in relying on the YPG Kurds,” Graham continued. “Everything I worried about has come true, and now we have to make sure Turkey is protected from this threat in Syria. I’m sympathetic to the YPG problem, and so is the president, quite frankly.”

That’s a direct contradiction of Graham’s public condemnations, and one that admits some hard realities on the ground.

Let me say this first though. I’ve refrained from writing about the situation in Syria to this point for a very specific reason. There’s way, way too much emotionalism being bandied about right now to have an intelligent conversation with most people on the right. If you even begin to inject that the Kurds are not a monolithic group, that they actually include different factions, and that the regional conflicts that predate the Syrian civil war make this a very tenuous situation, you get accused of endorsing “genocide” and “slaughter.”

In reality, there is no evidence of those things happening. Turkey agreed to a safe zone last year encompassing parts of the Syrian border. At this point, that’s what they’ve begun to form by pushing across. Could they cross a red line and start wiping out the Kurdish groups in Northern Syria? I certainly wouldn’t put it past Erdogan. He’s a terrible person. But not taking all factors into account helps no one.

Take this from Meghan McCain for example.

While Rand Paul’s tweet is stupidly simplistic, McCain’s response is know-nothing gobbledygook.

What does McCain know about the YPG or PKK? Does she know they are designated terrorist entities that have been at war with Turkey for decades? Does she know they are allies in a separatist movement within Turkey and have carried out suicide attacks? Does she realize that engaging a NATO ally in order to protect them would set off a massive international crisis and possibly destroy the most important alliance in history? Does she care that we have 5,000 troops inside Turkey and over 60 nuclear warheads at risk? Does McCain think we should leave 50 troops as human shields in the face of a Turkish operation that was moving forward regardless? Turkey doesn’t even have to mean to kill Americans for Americans to die in that situation. It’d have been incredibly dangerous for those soldiers.

McCain hasn’t spent one second in her several rants on the issue actually articulating the complexities and pitfalls of the situation in order to actually form a salient argument. Instead she’s spent her timing spouting righteous platitudes that ignore the realities we are dealing with.

In Graham’s prank phone call, we actually see him admit the issues at hand. The YPG are a real problem and Turkey does have legitimate reasons to push back on them. The group’s goal is to form a Marxist state made up of Turkish and Syrian land. As you can imagine, that raises the temperature in the area among all involved. Further, it must be said that the Kurds in Iraq are not the same as those in Northern Syria. The former are our traditional allies, the latter are not. Iraqi Kurds see the YPG as extremists (and objectively, they are).

The United States, due to the failures of the past administration, has been put in an impossible situation. Graham appears to know this but hasn’t had the guts to say it publicly. He simply got caught with this prank call.

With Turkey saying they were coming across the border, there were no good options here. The fact that we are dealing with the YPG makes the matter extremely difficult navigate. We were placed in the middle of two historically warring groups. One is a NATO ally and is vitally strategic for our national security. The other did help us defeat ISIS in Northern Syria. This all paints a dangerous shade of gray and the President made the decision to not continue to play chicken with Turkey. Even if you think it’s the wrong move, the certainty with which some have been shouting crosses into the ridiculous.

With all that said, what Turkey doesn’t have is a legitimate reason to do is wipe out the Kurds. Setting up a border zone is one thing, specifically targeting civilians is another. If that happens, the President will be forced to act and he has said he will. If he doesn’t, he will bear the consequences of that, as he should. The best course of action here is to negotiate some kind of settlement. That will mean Turkish compliance but it will also mean a stop to the actions of the YPG within Turkey.

What doesn’t help anyone in this discussion is generalized hysteria without any admission of just how incredibly volatile and complicated this situation is.

————————————————

Enjoying the read? Please visit my archive and check out some of my latest articles.

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The post Lindsey Graham Got Prank Called and Inadvertently Admitted Some Hard Truths About the Turkish-Kurdish Situation appeared first on RedState.

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Congress Blasts the NBA for Kowtowing to China, As More Fans Are Ejected for Supporting Hong Kong

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-10-at-2.18.06-PM Congress Blasts the NBA for Kowtowing to China, As More Fans Are Ejected for Supporting Hong Kong Sports republicans Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats Congress China Censorship Allow Media Exception

Screenshot from this video

With all the rancor in Washington, it’s nice to see issues where Democrats and Republicans seem to be able to come together and take a unified stand.

Both the left and the right came together to rip the NBA for pandering to China and stopping speech of Americans critical of China and/or supportive of Hong Kong protesters.

According to a draft of their letter obtained by CNN, the bipartisan group which included Reps. Tom Malinowksi, Mike Gallagher, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jim Banks, and Sens. Ben Sasse, Ron Wyden, Tom Cotton, and Ted Cruz blasted the NBA.

“It is outrageous that the Chinese Communist Party is using its economic power to suppress the speech of Americans inside the United States,” they said. “It is also outrageous that the NBA has caved to Chinese government demands for contrition.”

They noted such concession would only inspire China to further intimidate free speech.

The members continued, saying the NBA “should have anticipated the challenges of doing business in a country run by a repressive single party government—including by being prepared to stand in strong defense of the freedom of expression of its employees, players, and affiliates across the globe.”

The letter observed that the NBA is not silent when it came to speaking out on American “social justice” issues, noting “it is easy to defend freedom of speech when it costs you nothing, equivocating when profits are at stake is a betrayal of fundamental American values.

The members also pointed out, “You have more power to take a stand than most of the Chinese government’s targets” and they should stand for freedom because it’s those very rights that have afforded them their success.

They also set forth a list of things they’d like to see from the NBA.

But the NBA is already having more trouble. As Twitchy noted, more fans were tossed out at a Wizards game last night with the Guangzhou Loong-Lions after the fans chanted slogans, held up signs “Shame on the NBA,” “Free Speech is a universal value,” and “South Park was right,” and wore shirts reading “Free Hong Kong.”

Security confiscated a “Free Hong Kong” sign from protesters sporting the t-shirts as the national anthem was being played.

Jon Schweppe, @JonSchweppe, who is with the American Principles Project, was part of the group and took the videos.

The protesters also had a sign “Google Uyghurs” confiscated.

The Uyghurs are a group of Chinese Muslims who have been greatly persecuted by the Chinese government and locked up in concentration camps.

Fans were ejected for similar actions the night before at a Philadelphia 76ers game with the same Chinese team.

More such actions are being planned by fans.

The NBA needs to take the hint from Congress or they may find a more important market rejecting them than that of China, in addition to throwing American values under the bus.

The post Congress Blasts the NBA for Kowtowing to China, As More Fans Are Ejected for Supporting Hong Kong appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-10-at-2.18.06-PM-300x222 Congress Blasts the NBA for Kowtowing to China, As More Fans Are Ejected for Supporting Hong Kong Sports republicans Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats Congress China Censorship Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Nunes Reveals Multiple US Journalists May Have Been Monitored by Government, John Solomon Says He Has Info He May Have Been

Westlake Legal Group Devin-Nunes-AP Nunes Reveals Multiple US Journalists May Have Been Monitored by Government, John Solomon Says He Has Info He May Have Been Ukraine spying republicans Obama Administration Spying Media Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post Congress Barack Obama Allow Media Exception

File-This Oct. 24, 2017, file photo shows House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington. Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations are pushing a conservative meme related to the investigation of Russian election interference, researchers say. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) dropped interesting information during an interview on “Hannity” on Wednesday night.

Nunes said that he was aware that the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who had been appointed under Barack Obama and who was relieved of her duties in May, made “strange” and “irregular” requests to monitor U.S. journalists while they were in Ukraine.

Yovanovitch was asked to appear before Congress as part of the Democratic efforts to find something to impeach President Donald Trump over on Ukraine. It’s not clear if she will testify given the administrations’s stance on the inquiry. Yovanovitch is still employed by the State Department.

From Fox News:

“What I’ve heard — and I want to be clear — there’s a difference. What I’ve heard is that there were strange requests, irregular requests to monitor not just one journalist, but multiple journalists,” Nunes told host Sean Hannity. “Now perhaps that was OK. Perhaps there was some reason for that — that it can be explained away. But that’s what we know and that’s what we’re going to be looking into.”

Hannity said multiple sources have told him they “believe there is evidence that government resources were used to monitor communications” of U.S. journalists and that Yovanovitch may have been involved. Nunes noted that if the State Department had conducted surveillance over press activity in the Ukraine, it may have been done properly.

Nunes said that they were inquiring of the State Department what this was all about and trying to get to the bottom of it.

Journalist John Solomon also appeared on “Hannity” and said he has received information from the intelligence community that his communications may have been monitored inappropriately. He said he’s still looking into it. It’s not clear if his information is related to the alleged requests from the Ambassador. Solomon has been doing a lot of coverage of Ukraine, particularly of the Biden/Burisma question. He is now working for Fox.

The Obama administration had a history of spying on the media including the AP and Fox News James Rosen.

From Washington Examiner:

In 2013, the Obama Justice Department labeled then-Fox News reporter James Rosen a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917. And all because the reporter used a State Department contractor as a source for a story. Rosen was also labeled a “flight risk.”

The Justice Department seized the records of at least five phone lines connected to Fox News. The federal law enforcement agency even seized the phone records of Rosen’s parents. The FBI also got a warrant to search Rosen’s emails from 2010.

In May 2013, the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had secretly collected two months’ worth of personal and work-related phone calls made by AP reporters and editors.

Federal officials secretly obtained records on incoming and outgoing calls made by specific AP journalists, as well as general news staff, the news group reported, potentially compromising many sources totally unrelated to the investigation. Federal investigators even collected data on calls made by AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.

And we didn’t talk about impeachment then?

Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who says she too was monitored by the Obama administration, weighed in on these new reports.

The post Nunes Reveals Multiple US Journalists May Have Been Monitored by Government, John Solomon Says He Has Info He May Have Been appeared first on RedState.

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Dear Tom Cotton, Please Don’t Play Failure Theater With a Recalcitrant IC IG

Westlake Legal Group tom-cotton-ftn-620x349 Dear Tom Cotton, Please Don’t Play Failure Theater With a Recalcitrant IC IG Ukraine Tom Cotton republicans Politics Michael Atkinson inspector general ic ig Front Page Stories Featured Story Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency Congress CIGIE Arkansas Allow Media Exception

On September 26, the IC IG, Michael Aktinson, made an appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the subject of the notorious phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Zelensky. This is conversation that had created an epidemic of fecal incontinence among the left and our betters on the right. Apparently, the testimony he gave was unsatisfactory. It was made even more unsatisfactory by Atkinson refusing to answer some questions by senators but traipsing over the the House and dishing there. Senator Tom Cotton was not pleased. (By the way, let me note here for all the goobers who are still giving The Federalist a hard time over its story on the modification of the IG’s whistleblower intake form and claiming the story was “debunked”–leftist code phrase for “this fact is really inconvenient to my narrative”–one on the items in Cotton’s letter is Atkinson’s refusal to explain the modification.)

tom cotton letter to IG

Pretty strong stuff. When you’re characterizing an IG’s testimony as “disappointing,” “insolent,” and “obstructive” something is terribly amiss. And I must admit that the actions of Atkinson in this affair lead me to believe that he’s an active participant in this latest attack on President Trump. The whole “Trump appointed” moniker that is hung on Atkinson to make it seem as though he’s some sort of Trump loyalist is just bullsh** and obfuscation. Atkinson’s roots are in the same DOJ National Security Division that is ground zero of the Russia Hoax.

(READ: Did The Intelligence Community IG Actively Aid The “Whistleblower” In His Impeachment Quest)

For all of the good points Cotton makes, though, one is left with exactly the same feeling one used to get every time Mitch McConnell would fulminate about how evil it was to fund Planned Parenthood, or the unlamented Bob Corker complaining about Iran, right before both of them went off and cooperated with normalizing abortion and Iranian adventurism.

Inspector generals are not Middle Eastern potentates. They have independence but they are not autonomous. They are political appointees who have to answer to the president. If Cotton really believes Atkinson stonewalled the GOP in the Senate while cavorting with the Democrats in the House (a view, by the way, that I’m very sympathetic to if, for no other reasons, the professional bureaucracy always sees the Democrats as the legitimate government and the Republicans as hostile interlopers), he can submit a complaint to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE). That group can recommend disciplinary action to the president if an IG is found to be acting in a partisan manner. If several senators signed the complaint, you could be sure it was acted on. Or Cotton could direct this complaint to the acting DNI or, better yet, to the president and the Intelligence Committee could hail Atkinson back to testify, again, on the points where Cotton and his colleagues are unhappy.

What is not acceptable is for Cotton to seemingly accept this kind of high-handed treatment and deal with it by sending a letter that reads more like a press release than anything else. It could make you think that Cotton isn’t terribly serious about this but wants us to believe that he is. We’ve seen that movie too many times and we don’t like how it ends.

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Syria Withdrawal Part IV: Conclusion-Way Ahead

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From BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45404086

Syria Withdrawal Part IV: Conclusion-Way Ahead

The first three parts of this series outlined President Trump’s decision to quickly and forthrightly disengage from U.S. Military operations in Syria. They also generally described the current situation in this particular area of interest.

Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to call in to the David Webb show on Sirius XM, where Webb had an interesting guest, Dr. William J. Parker, President and CEO of the East West Institute, a non profit that specializes in international conflict resolution. After a brief introduction by Webb, Dr. Parker gave an outstanding overview of all the players, their objectives and the current situation on the ground. He actually reiterated many of the points covered in Parts I, II & III of this series. He even added one I was holding for today’s piece, the effects of the now 103 year old, Sikes-Picot agreement. The Sikes-Picot agreement, is the post World War I poster boy for the Western Powers’ belief, that drawing a straight line on a map without regard for tribe, nationality or religion, couldn’t possibly have adverse consequences over a century later. More on this further down.

Mr Webb and I had the opportunity for a quick chat after Dr. Parker signed off. After I reviewed the main points of tension, I asked him a direct question:

As President Webb, what do you see as your desired endstate 5 years from now? We have to establish a desired result and then Of course work backwards to produce a plan to get us there.

His answer surprised me:

Nothing. We need to let it play out and react to events as they happen.

Webb went on to say like his guest Dr. Parker, that the last thing we want to do, is emulate Sikes-Picot and start drawing arbitrary lines again. Honestly, I get that and agree. Mr. Webb’s response was clearly focused on the ugly lessons learned from Sikes-Picot—imposing our view of the world on other folks and the ugly results that still cause issues over a century later. Nobody looking at the mess today’s Middle East has become, could possibly argue with that—and I certainly won’t.

However, I’m not sure about a wait then react process. If we cannot imagine what we want the endstate to look like, how can we even dream of getting there? Having said that, we also know in the real world, no matter how altruistic our objective may be and how hard we try, we can likely count on…less.

In the world the United States would like to see, all of our international associates, friends (Great Britain & the rest of the 5 I’s) and allies, long term or of convenience (Turkey & the Kurds) all like each other. However in the real World we live in, we need to settle for something less, like the relationship between Israel and Egypt. For quite some time following the Camp David Accords, their relationship was often described as, “formally correct.” At that time, both sides cordially despised each other, but had come to the realization (Thank You Anwar Sadat) that they could indeed (and needed to) cooperate without killing each other. Today, Egypt-Israel cooperation, although not at the “5 I’s,” level, is far more friendly, especially when dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood. The question then becomes, how to we achieve this kind of relationship between Turkey and the Kurds, PKK, Syrian and Iraqi? What would this endstate look like?

Seemingly opposite of Mr Webb’s “Let it play out” and react as necessary option, Richard Fernandez penned this, emphasis mine

With the Arab Spring and political opposition to OIF ending the hope of “bringing democracy to the Middle East,” some sort of repartition of the region, a redrawing of boundaries, seems the sole alternative.

With Turkey’s entry, we are perhaps witnessing the de facto partition of Syria with Kurdish borders dependent — if any are preserved — on how far the U.S. will pull back and what line they are willing to defend. But a stand-fast solution would require generational political will and boots on the ground. It will entail confronting a NATO ally and it won’t be free. The question is whether the public is willing to pay.

If America midwifes a Kurdistan, it must see it through, for it may only be popular in the first weeks. Kurdistan could be a “future Israel,” whose origin will be America’s eternal crime in future Left-wing history. As Brandon Weichert noted, partitions create centuries-long enmities.

What Fernandez, Weichert and my radio mentor David Webb focus on, is the word, “force.” Fernandez even posits a requirement for American “Boots On The Ground.” Sikes-Picot was all about white Europeans deciding what was good for the “bloody wogs”** and forcing it down their throats, regardless of tribe, religion or familial association. This time around, it could be different—by just removing the element of force and instead, asking for buy in.

Positing an endstate where the Kurds—all three major groups, have a place to call home, is a start. However, Sikes-Picot (and David Webb) has shown us that forcibly carving out territory from other folks’ property is a nonstarter, fostering hate, discontent and violence for decades. The way to go about this, is to involve all the stakeholders…except of course, ISIS, Russia and Iran. And Yes—that means President Bashar Al Assad of Syria. Stupidly wanting to depose him, was what got us into this mess in the first place.

Syria, Turkey, and the 3 major Kurdish groups, with the good offices of the United States, could with some effort and recognition of all parties’ interests, birth a voluntary agreement. This could not only to provide the Kurds an internationally recognized homeland, but also form a regional coalition that could totally defeat ISIS. This might not be as hard as it would appear at first blush. The two actors that would be the least difficult to move on this, would seem to be Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, the Kurds already govern their semi (defacto, totally) autonomous territory. In Syria, President Assad at this point, exerts little to no control over his Northeastern territory and has very little leverage. An agreement that helps keep him in power and lessens his reliance on Russian occupation assistance would almost certainly ease the transfer of some of his territory to help build a Kurdish homeland.

That leaves Turkey. This series began recognizing that Turkey is the key to this entire region for the United States. It will be an especially difficult partner in this effort. The United States needs Turkey as a loyal NATO partner, more than President Erdogan needs the U.S. President Erdogan’s hostile attitude notwithstanding, PKK terrorist operations make it difficult for the 80 percent of the Turkish population who are not Kurds, to support any form of rapprochement.

The keys to moving forward here, are the Iraqi and Syrian Kurd territories. If Erdogan can over a 2-3 year period, be convinced that those territories and their Kurdish populaces are not providing support for the PKK, instead are assisting in running ISIS and other terror groups to ground, then he could possibly be persuaded to negotiate a small Turkish contribution to the new territory of Kurdistan.

Dr. Parker and David Webb are correct. We cannot jam this down anyone’s throat…except perhaps President Assad’s. However, if we can convince the right stakeholders that they could benefit from this, then we might avoid the mistake of Sikes-Picot.

This is just one option. There are almost certainly other ideas out there that have a greater likelihood of success. The purpose of this series, is to move our thinking in a different direction than one that requires a continual hemorrhage of American blood and treasure. Ultimately, it comes down to…

“The hardest thing I do, is write letters to parents and spouses of OUR troops killed in combat overseas.”

– President Donald J. Trump

** “wog,” in 1916, when Sikes-Picot was signed, was as commonly used as the “n” word. It was then and even more so now, a racial slur, of the highest order. I used it in this piece, to convey the sheer arrogance and assumed superiority of Sikes-Picot

David Webb Show is on Sirius XM, Channel 125, M-F 9-12:00EST

The below links, provide some detail used to produce this article:

The Fate of the Kurds: Repartition of the Region Seems the Sole Alternative

The Kurd In the Punch Bowl-Brandon Weichert

Whitehouse Statement on Syria

Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

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Republicans Should Stop Talking Out of Both Sides of Their Mouths On China

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U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping after a joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Beijing. Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

As tensions with China and the NBA boil over, we’ve seen a remarkable showing of unity among all corners of American life. It seems we’ve finally reached a point where people recognize what China truly is and that the long term dangers of continuing to shovel cash and influence their way outweighs the short term gains.

At the same time, I find myself frustrated by some of the double talk I’m seeing on the issue because my fear is this new, widespread epiphany may not last.

Let’s remember, it was just five minutes ago that many Republicans within the beltway and their subsequent media circles were vehemently stumping for unfettered free trade with China. I can’t count how many “Trump is an idiot and will destroy the economy” tweets I’ve seen over the past few years. The consistent message has been to call for a total normalization of trade relations with China, absent any additional tariffs or leverage being used to press them.

Take this example of contradiction at play.

I actually agree with French on that point. But here’s the thing, none of this is new.

We’ve known for a long time that China is a human rights violator. We’ve known they cheat and steal when it comes to trade. It’s well documented that they put people in concentration camps and that they’ve killed minority groups via genocide. Heck, there are stories of them harvesting organs of prisoners.

No offense to Guy, because he’s right to point out what China is doing with Muslim minorities, but at the same time, he and many others like him have found Trump’s trade war with China highly objectionable on economic grounds. But if the Chinese are evil and reprehensible, why would anyone support China being such a large trade partner in the first place? These are questions many Republicans haven’t properly grappled with, instead choosing to illogical compartmentalize them.

Getting back to French, since he knows everything about China’s history of atrocities, why has he spent so much of his time levying critiques such as this?

When you hear Donald Trump claim that he can magically negotiate “winning” trade deals with China or Japan, here’s what it means in the real world: more expensive goods at home as tariffs drive up prices, and less opportunity for exports abroad as trading partners retaliate with import restrictions of their own. We won’t see textile mills spring open across the land — we’ll just pay more for shirts and socks.

Again, French isn’t necessarily wrong in a vacuum, although he was wrong about manufacturing not coming back. It actually has increased over Trump’s presidency, but tariffs do hurt American companies in the short term (they also hurt the Chinese). Yet, if he truly believes China is a tyrannical dictatorship and is a dangerous threat, why exactly would he be stumping for the status quo of enriching them and expanding their influence?

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t stump for unlimited trade with China, allowing them exponential growth to challenge us and our ideals, while at the same time proclaiming how terrible they are and how they are destroying democratic freedoms.

It’s time to choose a side and stick to it, even if there’s a cost.

I’m not writing this to call anyone out. I’m writing this to challenge Republicans to come up with a message on China that’s not a convoluted mess. When Trump started hitting China early in his tenure, the Republican response should have been to steer him into doing it for the right reasons (to blunt Chinese aggression and influence), not castigating him for not retreating and letting China do whatever they want just because it may benefit us financially.

You can’t demand unfettered free trade with China out of one side your mouth and then proclaim the vast, dangerous evils of China out of the other. That is a contradiction that can not be squared and Republicans should stop trying.

It’s good to see some are finally getting the message but they need to keep their eye on the ball going forward. China will be far, far more dangerous 20-30 years from now if we continue to heavily rely on them, passing mountains of cash in their direction along the way. It’s fair to say that I even part ways with the President on this matter. I don’t think we need a “better deal” with China (as Trump wants). I think we need to push American businesses to ween themselves off the communist teat completely. The long term gain and security will far outweigh the short term pain. China is not the only country on earth that can make cheap cloths and electronics, among other things.

In the end, the historic normalization of China was a mistake. I understand the purpose was to blunt the Soviet Union, but all we ended up doing was creating a monster. We’ve got precious little opportunity left to cut them down to size. Right now, the U.S. still holds tremendous financial leverage over them and we should use it.

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Lindsey Graham Warns House Dems: Release the Full Volker Transcript or I Will Have Him Testify Publicly

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pauses while speaking to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, after his meeting with President Donald Trump, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Though Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been a vocal critic of President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which it comes to House Democrats and their show trial impeachment inquiry, Graham remains one of the President’s strongest allies.

Earlier this afternoon, Graham tweeted out a warning for House Democrats to release the full transcript of former Ambassador Kurt Volker’s testimony from last Thursday. If they continue to stall, Graham made it clear he’d use his power as Senate Judiciary Chair to have him questioned publicly:

Graham’s second tweet linked to an interview Fox News did with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who is the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee. Jordan said during the segment that Volker testified for nine hours, and that Democrats should release the full transcript in the interest of transparency:

“Release the transcript so they can see what Ambassador Volker spent nine hours telling us,” Jordan said. “Where he said there was no quid pro quo, there was no linkage… between security assistance dollars for Ukraine and any type of investigation into anyone in Ukraine or any investigation into the Bidens.

“He was clear about that [and] reinforced exactly what President [Volodymyr] Zelensky said when he said, ‘I was not pushed by the administration,’” he continued. “Adam Schiff won’t release that. Instead, there were 67 pages of text messages. Adam Schiff took a few of those text messages and released them. Release them all.”
[…]
“The president was willing to release the transcript of the call with President Zelensky. Why won’t Adam Schiff release the transcript of the special envoy who testified for nine hours?”

Watch Jordan discuss Schiff’s actions below

Jordan’s comments echo what Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said to journalists on Tuesday morning in a fiery statement about what he described as a “clown show” impeachment inquiry:

Maybe you should ask what was said inside of Volker’s deposition during his transcribed interview with regards to Adam Schiff’s fairy tale quid pro quo charge, that aid from the United States to the Ukraine was being linked to an investigation into the Bidens. Why don’t you ask what did Ambassador Volker say about that?”
[…]
“…if we weren’t there last Thursday, you would have no idea of everything that Ambassador Volker said to obliterate Adam Schiff’s fairy-tale quid pro quo charge. You’d have no idea.

Schiff and company have held up Volker as a trustworthy, credible witness for their side in these sham proceedings so far. That they continue to refuse to release the full transcript of his testimony is a strong indicator that what Republicans like Zeldin and Jordan are saying about Volker’s testimony are true, that what he said during the course of his hours-long questioning undermined the so-called impeachment case against Trump.

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— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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