The NFL signs on with George Soros

–3kh.,b49

questions as you read this—Soros is the guy hired to put on paid violent protest and these millions wouldn’t they sere a better purpose like for jibs?

  • Plagued by sagging ratings, player protests and fan outrage, the NFL has thrown a political Hail Mary by reportedly agreeing to dole out millions of dollars to two social justice groups connected to Democratic billionaire George Soros.
  • Under an agreement with the Players Coalition, NFL owners plan to funnel tens of millions of dollars to the Dream Corps, a leftist advocacy group led by former Obama adviser Van Jones and linked to Mr. Soros, which has called for saving the Clean Power Plan, cutting the prison population by half and providing “sanctuary for all.”
  • The $89 million, seven-year deal also carves out millions of dollars for the Players Coalition, according to ESPN, which has been advised by Soros-funded groups such as the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth and the Center for American Progress, a leader of the anti-Trump “resistance.”
  • Still, there is no guarantee that the hefty payout will solve the league’s public relations woes.
  • The bargain is aimed at addressing the social justice concerns that have led players to sit or kneel during the national anthem, but nothing in the deal requires players to stand.
  • In fact, two of the most dedicated protesters — Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers and Michael Thomas of the Miami Dolphins — have vowed to keep kneeling and described the deal as inadequate.
  • Meanwhile, details of the bargain emerging in the past few days have stunned conservatives.
  • “If this is how the NFL plans to bring back the millions of Americans who are fed up with the players’ antics and anthem protests, then the league just fumbled the ball,” said Robert Kuykendall, a spokesman for 2ndVote, a conservative corporate watchdog group.
  • “Why would any conservative spend another dollar supporting the NFL if that dollar will be directly funneled to left-wing activists like Van Jones?” he asked.
  • The agreement distributes funding for both local and national efforts. On the national side, the owners agree to pay $73 million over seven years, with 25 percent earmarked for the United Negro College Fund and 25 percent to the Dream Corps.
  • The remaining 50 percent would be controlled by the Players Coalition, which has filed for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status, as a fiscally sponsored project of the Hopewell Fund, which is managed by Arabella Advisors, a major player in the environmental movement.
  • Any agreement would need to be approved by the owners at the annual league meeting in March, according to ESPN.
  • Players Coalition leader Malcolm Jenkins, a Philadelphia Eagles safety, celebrated the deal in an open letter Sunday, praising the NFL for “making a major commitment, more than they have done for any other charitable initiative.”
  • “What the NFL has done is a good first step — it’s not going to solve the massive problems we have in our cities and states across this country, but it’s a start,” Mr. Jenkins said. “And, more importantly, I’m glad we were able to get them to acknowledge their responsibility and role in trying to help solve these problems and injustices.”
  • He thanked “the organizations who have helped the Players Coalition to date — the Fair Punishment Project, the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, Community Legal Services, the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth,” as well as city police departments, grass-roots groups and public defenders.
  • At least three of those — the ACLU, Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth and the Center for American Progress — have received funding from Mr. Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
  • Soros’ fingerprints can also be found on the Dream Corps, which merged in 2014 with Green for All, an environmental group founded by Mr. Jones in 2007 whose funders included Open Society as well as former Vice President Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, according to Discover the Networks.
  • Jones resigned as President Obama’s “green jobs czar” in 2009 amid reports of his earlier Marxist activism, including his oft-quoted declaration that he became a communist after the 1992 acquittal of Los Angeles police officers who beat up Rodney King.
  • Since then, Mr. Jones has championed the green energy industry and raised his profile as a CNN political analyst.
  • The Dream Corps has four primary projects: YesWeCode, which trains disadvantaged young people as computer programmers; Cut50, which calls for reducing the U.S. prison population by 50 percent; Green for All, which advocates for an “inclusive green economy”; and the LoveArmy.
  • The LoveArmy casts itself as a more hopeful and less-negative resistance group whose stances include support for net neutrality and opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline and the Clean Power Plan.
  • Jones wore a #LoveArmy sticker when he spoke Jan. 21 at the Women’s March, a major anti-Trump resistance event whose partners included the Dream Corps, which describes itself as a “social justice accelerator.”
  • “This movement is not going to let you mess with the Muslims,” Mr. Jones said at the march. “This movement is not going to let you mess with the Dreamers, President Trump. We’re not going to let you mess with the women. We’re not going to let you mess with the Earth. We’re not going to let you mess with Black Lives Matter. This movement is based on that kind of love.”
  • The LoveArmy, whose posters include messages such as “Ban Wall/Sanctuary for All,” also supported the Climate March and Day Without a Woman events.
  • About 40 players were involved in the Players Coalition, and others have criticized the agreement, accusing the NFL of financing the deal by diverting funding from its other major charitable initiatives, Salute to Service and Breast Cancer Awareness.
  • The NFL and the Players Coalition did not return immediately a request for comment Monday. The NFL Players Association, which is the players’ union, has said it was not involved in the talks.
  • In his open letter, Mr. Jenkins said he helped form the Players Coalition in 2016 in reaction to the deaths of black men at the hands of police. He said the priorities include tackling the juvenile justice system, the “unjust bail policies,” the “mass incarceration of young black men” and lack of jobs in low-income neighborhoods.
  • “What we’ve learned is that this is not a Democrat or a Republican issue,” said Mr. Jenkins. “It’s an American issue — and an American problem. That is why we are moving forward with our efforts in the Coalition, to drive forward initiatives, campaigns and advocacy efforts to force legislators to make this a priority.”
  • Sixteen players sat or took a knee before the Week 13 games, while Mr. Jenkins stopped his practice of raising a fist during the national anthem.

source–gop usa-wash times-hopewell fund-arabella advisors-

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Obamacare includes a “$700 billion cut from Medicare for seniors.”

–6IH.,B13.14

NRCC says Obamacare cuts money from Medicare and seniors.

Since the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans and their allies have claimed the Affordable Care Act slashes funding for Medicare, the federal healthcare program for seniors. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made almost identical claims in the 2012 presidential election as well.

It appears the GOP playbook for the 2014 midterms will be similar.

An early indication is in Florida’s special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., where the National Republican Congressional Committee is airing an ad hammering Democrat Alex Sink’s support of Obamacare.

The ad says the law includes a “$700 billion cut from Medicare for seniors.”

We’ve tackled this claim repeatedly throughout the years. There’s some truth to it, but quite a bit of context is missing.

Obamacare does not literally cut funding from the Medicare budget, but tries to bring down future health care costs in the program. Much of this is accomplished by reducing Medicare Advantage, a small subset of Medicare plans that are run by private insurers.

President George W. Bush started Medicare Advantage in hopes the increased competition would reduce costs. But those plans are actually costlier than traditional Medicare. So the health care law reduces payments to private insurers.

Hospitals, too, will be paid less if they have too many re-admissions, or if they fail to meet other new benchmarks for patient care.

The goal is get health care providers to increase their efficiency and quality of care instead of cutting benefits for seniors.

The overall trend in Medicare spending is still expected to increase, even after the adjustments in the Affordable Care Act.

How much are the spending reductions? That has changed throughout the years as estimates get updated.

In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan scorekeeper of fiscal legislation, estimated that the reductions in Medicare spending in the Affordable Care Act were about $507 billion between 2012 and 2021. A more recent estimate from 2013 anticipated about $716 billion in Medicare savings from 2013-2022.

It’s also worth noting that the preferred plan of Republicans in 2012, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, assumed the same cuts to Medicare.

When asked to back up their claim, the NRCC pointed us to our own story from Nov. 2, 2012, about Young’s last Congressional race. In it, we fact-checked an ad in which Young claimed he “opposed $716 billion cut to Medicare.”

THE DAILY SIGNAL—Obamacare Robs Medicare of $716 Billion to Fund Itself:

According to the CBO, the payment cuts in Medicare include:

  • A $260 billion payment cut for hospital services.
  • A $39 billion payment cut for skilled nursing services.
  • A $17 billion payment cut for hospice services.
  • A $66 billion payment cut for home health services.
  • A $33 billion payment cut for all other services.
  • A $156 billion cut in payment rates in Medicare Advantage (MA); $156 billion is before considering interactions with other provisions. The House Ways and Means Committee was able to include interactions with other provisions, estimating the cuts to MA to be even higher, coming in at $308 billion.
  • $56 billion in cuts for disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments.* DSH payments go to hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients.
  • $114 billion in other provisions pertaining to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP* (does not include coverage-related provisions).

In total, Obamacare raids Medicare by $716 billion from 2013 to 2022. Despite Medicare facing a 75-year unfunded obligation of $37 trillion, Obamacare uses the savings from the cuts to pay for other provisions in Obamacare, not to help shore up Medicare’s finances.

  • The impact of these cuts will be detrimental to seniors’ access to care. The Medicare trustees 2012 report concludes that these lower Medicare payment rates will cause an estimated 15 percent of hospitals,
  • skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss by 2019,
  • 25 percent to operate at a loss in 2030, and 40 percent by 2050. Operating at a loss means these facilities are likely to cut back their services to Medicare patients or close their doors, making it more difficult for seniors to access these services.
  • In addition, as MA deteriorates under Obamacare’s cuts, many of those who are enrolled in MA (27 percent of total Medicare beneficiaries) will lose their current health coverage and be forced back into traditional Medicare, where Medicare providers will be subject to further cuts. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief actuary predicted in 2010 that enrollment in MA would decrease 50 percent
  • by 2017, when Obamacare’s cuts were estimated at only $145 billion.
  • Now that the cuts have been increased to $156 billion (or possibly $308 billion,
  • as the Ways and Means Committee estimates), MA enrollment will surely decrease even further.
  • But Obamacare’s raid of Medicare doesn’t stop with cuts; it includes a redirection of tax revenue from the Medicare payroll tax hike in Obamacare. The payroll tax funds Medicare Part A, the trust fund that is projected to become insolvent as soon as 2024.
  • Obamacare increases the tax from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent, which is projected to cost taxpayers $318 billion from 2013 to 2022.
  • However, for the very first time, Obamacare does not use the tax revenue from the increased Medicare payroll tax to pay for Medicare;
  • the money is used to fund other parts of Obamacare, much like the $716 billion in cuts are.
  • With a raid on Medicare of this magnitude, President Obama’s assertion that his new law is protecting seniors and Medicare is astonishing.
  • The truth is that Obamacare does the opposite.

 

SOURCE-NRCC, CONTORNO, STEVE-MOORHEAD, MOLLY-THE DAILY SIGNAL-SENGER, ALYENE-

 

 

Cabinet meeting marks tremendous year of progress–

-16.58jh.,b32.58

December 20, 2017

Today, President Donald J. Trump hosted his ninth and final Cabinet meeting of 2017.  The President highlighted record achievements over the past year and commended the Cabinet on their dedication to serving the American people.

Before the meeting, each Cabinet member provided a brief overview of agency accomplishments and goals for the year ahead.  The summation marks a year of tremendous progress in moving the President’s America First agenda forward and shows the commitment across the Executive Branch to save taxpayer dollars and create jobs and security for the American people.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson credited the President’s America First foreign policy for strengthening commitments to fight terrorism and gaining new strategic and economic cooperation around the globe.

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin hailed the President’s leadership on passage of comprehensive tax reform, we are cutting taxes for hardworking Americans and their families.  We will make American businesses more competitive through tax and regulatory reform.

Department of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave President Trump high marks for his National Security Strategy, which puts the safety and security of America first. Secretary Mattis also shared an update on the U.S. Military’s success in defeating ISIS around the world.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reported on the reduction of violent crime, efforts to combat the opioid crisis, ending sanctuary jurisdiction policies, and prioritizing criminal immigration enforcement.

Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that the United States has opened 150,000 acres of public land to hunting and fishing, and that the United States has increased our energy revenue disbursements to States, tribes, and local communities by more than $1 billion.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “The people of the heartland and rural America have simply been wanting their government to hear their concerns. President Trump has shown that he is listening and serving as their voice. America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers are a priority again, as we open up new foreign markets to U.S. agricultural products, free the agricultural economy from bureaucratic red tape, and focus on increasing prosperity across all of rural America.”

Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross highlighted the more than $650 billion in deals signed during the President’s trips to Saudi Arabia and China. He also reported on progress made in enforcing U.S. trade laws including the initiation of 79 investigations into unfair trade practices.

Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta credited the President’s policies for the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years and highlighted the department’s role in providing greater access to health care for Americans through Associated Health Plans and Small Business Plans.

Department of Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric Hargan reported that the agency had achieved $3.2 billion in savings for seniors over the next ten years. President’s call to action on a range of issues, from combating the opioid crisis and protecting conscience rights of Americans, to addressing the cost of prescription drugs and making American healthcare higher quality and more affordable.

President’s call to action on a range of issues, from combating the opioid crisis and protecting conscience rights of Americans, to addressing the cost of prescription drugs and making American healthcare higher quality and more affordable.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson said, “We are helping HUD-assisted households ascend the ladder of opportunity so they can achieve self-sufficiency. HUD’s work and the President’s leadership in providing those in vulnerable communities with the tools to achieve their American Dream fulfills the President’s vow that the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”

Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao discussed substantial progress the department has made in reforming regulations and removing unnecessary burdens for infrastructure projects to support efficiency and economic growth.

Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry reported that coal exports are expected to end the year 46 percent higher than in 2016.  Secretary Perry said, “America is in the midst of a tremendous energy revolution. Thanks to American innovation and President Trump’s leadership on deregulation, we are now producing energy that is cleaner and more abundant than ever before. And because we are breaking down trade barriers and sharing our abundance with the world, America will soon become a net energy exporter for the first time since 1970.”

Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos focused on empowering local schools by reducing the regulatory burden and rescinded more than 600 pieces of outdated sub-regulatory guidance.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin commended the President’s commitment to the Nation’s veterans and cited a long list of results including the implementation of numerous bills, proclamations, and Executive Orders that improve care and services throughout the VA.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, We have focused on securing our borders and enforcing existing immigration laws, while working with Congress to achieve the President’s immigration priorities. DHS also quickly responded during the historic hurricane season, which affected roughly 25.8 million people, and continues to respond to the devastating western wildfires. We have taken bold steps to more assertively manage national risk and protect critical infrastructure, including directing the removal of nation-state actor affiliated software from government systems.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt reported that the agency had finalized 16 deregulatory actions that saved the American people $306 million in regulatory costs.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, “In just one year, President Trump is actually delivering what former politicians only talked about: trade that benefits Americans first. President Trump is combatting bad trade deals and unfair trade practices and replacing them with free, fair, and reciprocal trade for all Americans.”

Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon focused on American jobs and reported that total lending in 2017 to small businesses exceeded $30 billion, which created more than 650,000 jobs this year.

source-trump white house

Running the numbers–5 lib lies about the Trump economy-

-k76h.,b26

Lie #1: “Trump Is Failing on His Biggest Promise to Americans: Jobs.” — Newsweek, 9/1/17 Fact: The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.1 percent — with the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits at a 44½-year low. Among blacks, the 7.3 percent jobless rate is the lowest in 17 years. The 4.7 percent unemployment rate among Hispanics is the lowest rate ever recorded.

actual GDP growth–2016–1.1 to 2.1%—-2017-1.2 to 3.3% thru third quarter.  Obama average over  8 years 1.48%

Lie #2: “Economists Don’t Buy Trump’s 3 Percent gdp Growth Target.” — cnbc, 9/25/17 Fact: “Trump Economy Reaching His 3 Percent Goal Even [Before] Tax Reform.” — cnbc, 10/27/17

2010–2016—1.48% average, 2017–3.0% average.

Lie #3: “[W]e saw the U.S. economy grow consistently. We saw the longest streak of job creation in American history by far, a streak that still continues by the way. Thanks, Obama.” — Barack Obama, crediting himself for Trump’s booming economy, The Washington Examiner, 12/5/17 Fact: With average annual gdp growth at a pitiful 1.48 percent over his two terms, Obama is the only President without even a single year of 3 percent growth.

Lie #4: “[T]hose jobs … are just not gonna come back. When [Trump] says … he’s gonna bring all these [manufacturing] jobs back, well how exactly are you gonna do that? … What magic wand do you have?” — Barack Obama, pbs, 6/1/16 Fact: The Trump economy added 40,000 manufacturing jobs in November 2017, the largest one-month increase in 15 years. In 2016, the Obama economy lost 12,000 manufacturing jobs; 159,000 have been added under Trump. Factory workers’ unemployment rate is at 2.6 percent, the first time in history it’s under 3 percent.

2015-10,000, 2016—12,000, 2017-40,000

trump jobless rate—1/2017-4.8%, 11/2017-4.1%

private sector jobs–obama 1/09-111,454,125—trump-1/17–123,275,448 on 11/17–125,300,419

Lie #5: “Trump [won], and markets are plunging … If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” — Paul Krugman, election night, The New York Times, 11/9/16 Fact: “The Dow has spiked … 6,000 points since President Trump’s election last year, notching 80 daily record highs since then. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are also near all-time highs. The latter is up a whopping 30 percent since the election.” — “Dow Rockets Past 24,000, Building on Incredible Post-Election Surge,” cnn Money, 11/30/17.

sources:  shown above

The big reveal: the story of how 470,000 documents from Osama Bin Laden’s compound finally got into the open

–14lh.,37

Intelligence Community Releases Final Abbottabad Documents,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced. “Today marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year effort to declassify several hundred documents recovered in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound in May 2011.” Accompanying the press release were 49 documents captured during the raid, bringing the total number of documents made public to 571.

Why would ODNI think it could get away with such an aggressive lie? Why would officials there believe that they wouldn’t be asked to reconcile the fact that they were releasing just 571 documents with the repeated pronouncements that the Abbottabad collection was the largest haul of terrorist intelligence ever?

The answer: The self-proclaimed “most transparent administration in history” had spent more than five years misleading the American people about the threat from al Qaeda and its offshoots and had paid very little price for having done so. Why would ODNI think it could get away with such an aggressive lie? Why would officials there believe that they wouldn’t be asked to reconcile the fact that they were releasing just 571 documents with the repeated pronouncements that the Abbottabad collection was the largest haul of terrorist intelligence ever?

The answer: The self-proclaimed “most transparent administration in history” had spent more than five years misleading the American people about the threat from al Qaeda and its offshoots and had paid very little price for having done so. The likelihood that these ODNI claims would get much scrutiny in the middle of the frenzy that accompanies a presidential transition was low. ODNI dismissively swatted away questions about the absurd claims in the release with absurd claims about the document collection itself: The documents being withheld would do little to enhance our understanding of al Qaeda or the jihadist threat more generally, they said.

This is what the politicization of intelligence looks like.

Obama’s National Security Council hand-picked 17 documents to be provided to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point for analysis. (Obama’s NSC would later hold back two of those documents. One of them, laying out the deep ties between the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda leadership, would complicate Obama administration efforts to launch negotiations with the Taliban. Their conclusion was the only one possible, given the documents they were provided: At the time of his death, Osama bin Laden was frustrated and isolated, a relatively powerless leader of a dying organization. Al Qaeda was alternately “on the run” or “decimated” or “on the path to defeat.” The war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is winding down. Al Qaeda has been decimated. Osama bin Laden is dead”.

Benghazi, conducted by jihadist groups with extensive ties to al Qaeda, didn’t cause Obama to recalibrate his narrative. Obama administration’s interest in the Abbottabad documents didn’t extend much beyond their public relations implications. Simply put, a fuller release of the cache would have fatally undermined the message that al Qaeda had been decimated and that the war on terror was being reduced to a few mopping-up exercises.

As a result, some of the documents were never translated. Relevant intelligence agencies engaged in a protracted fight about who could have access to the information. The Defense Intelligence Agency was repeatedly denied full access by the CIA, which had “executive authority” over the collection and which was run throughout much of the bureaucratic infighting by John Brennan, an Obama crony who had predicted in April 2012 that al Qaeda would meet its demise by the end of the decade. “There was never any kind of evaluation of our work on al Qaeda based on the documents,” says one senior U.S. intelligence official involved with the documents. Obtaining the documents presented an opportunity to check what the intelligence community thought it knew about al Qaeda and its leaders against what actually happened.

After Obama’s reelection, the administration repeatedly shut down requests from Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, for access to the documents. Then the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act turned those requests into a demand backed by law. That’s the only reason the 571 documents were released. , November 1, CIA director Mike Pompeo announced the release of “nearly 470,000 additional files” from the Abbottabad raid. From 571 to 470,000: The “most transparent administration in history,” you might say, has just been trumped, by nearly three orders of magnitude.

At the time of the valedictory press release in January, I asked Timothy Barrett, chief of media relations at ODNI, to reconcile the claim that the final document dump of the Obama era amounted to “closing the book” on the bin Laden files, even as a vast collection had not yet been made public. He allowed, in an email, that there were in fact “a lot more than a few hundred” documents but claimed that the discrepancy could be explained by duplicates and over-counting.

ODNI officials explained that they couldn’t declassify and release more of the files because they lacked the resources to undertake a job so challenging. So, in public, ODNI says: The job is done. Move along. In private, ODNI says: Finishing this monumental job would overwhelm our bureaucracy. there are thousands of newly available files of importance, and this much is already clear: They are not just duplicates, they are not lacking in pertinence, they are not merely the personal detritus of an isolated and powerless has-been terrorist. As Thomas Joscelyn details elsewhere in these pages, among them can be found documents describing al Qaeda’s relationship with the Afghan Taliban; videos and photographs of senior al Qaeda operatives, including those running the terror network and its affiliates today; letters with new information on al Qaeda’s web of relationships inside Pakistan; documents explaining the ways in which al Qaeda was adapting to U.S. targeting of its leaders; and the 228-page handwritten journal of the jihad kept by Osama bin Laden himself.

The January ODNI press statement claimed that the batch of 49 documents it was then making public “mirrors the themes in previous releases,” chief among them Osama bin Laden’s “hatred, suspicion of Iran.” It was true that this was what previous ODNI releases claimed. But it is misleading in the extreme to pretend that the story of Iran and al Qaeda told through the captured bin Laden documents is solely one of hostility.

Bin Laden had described Iran as the “main artery” for al Qaeda in one of the previously released letters recovered in Abbottabad, some intelligence analysts to revisit the assumption that the Shiite radicals in Iran wouldn’t back the Sunni al Qaeda. There is an agreement between the Iranian government and al Qaeda to allow this network to operate,” Cohen said. “There’s no dispute in the intelligence community on this.” Iran was providing a “core pipeline” of support that included safe haven for al Qaeda members and the facilitation of travel and the flow of money and weapons.

Osama bin Laden] had a delicate dance with Iran. He maintained a fierce, private hatred of Shia Muslims. But he didn’t publicly criticize Iran since he had family members in hiding there.” In a follow-up email, I made the rather obvious point that the willingness of Iran to allow bin Laden family members to hide in Iran contradicted ODNI claims of a deep antipathy between Iran and al Qaeda. Moreover, why would ODNI cite the documents as evidence of bin Laden’s hatred of Iran when the man himself acknowledged Iran’s crucial role in sustaining and strengthening al Qaeda? Didn’t this suggest a relationship that was mutually beneficial and, at times, even friendly?

The Treasury Department had designated terrorists specifically citing the “secret deal” between Iran and al Qaeda.

After a few more mostly unproductive exchanges, TWS sent Barrett language from Treasury designations and the Iran section of the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror. Among them: the designation of Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, which noted that he was “an Iran-based senior al-Qaeda facilitator currently living and operating in Iran under an agreement between al-Qaeda and the Iranian government., by exposing Iran’s secret deal with al-Qaeda allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism”.

Barack Obama wanted what al Qaeda already had: a mutually beneficial partnership with Tehran. Revealing to the American people the truth about Osama bin Laden’s cozy working relationship with the Iranian government have fatally undermined that diplomatic quest, just as the ongoing vitality of al Qaeda, amply testified to in the bin Laden documents, would have contradicted Obama’s proud claims in 2012 that al Qaeda was “on the run.” So Obama, with the eager cooperation of some in the intelligence community, bottled up the bin Laden documents and ran out the clock.

The CIA release of the additional 470,000 documents includes a 19-page report on al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran authored by an unidentified al Qaeda operative. The author lays out some tensions between al Qaeda and Iran but makes clear those differences don’t preclude cooperation. The document reports that the Iranian regime was giving its “Saudi brothers” in al Qaeda “everything they needed.” This included safe haven in Iran, the facilitation of travel for senior al Qaeda operatives, and “money, arms,” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.”

source–weekly std 11/2017, haynes, steve, odni, lute, doug, barrett, tim-josecelyn, thomas-cohen, david-aziz khalil, ezedin abdel- mois, laden, hamza-

The same old Clinton baloney-

47jh.,b43

“I think the real story is how nervous they are about these continuing investigations,” she said. “I would say it’s the same baloney they’ve been peddling for years, and there’s been no credible evidence by anyone. In fact, it’s been debunked repeatedly and will continue to be debunked.”

Here, again, was the timeworn Clintonian defense: Claim the “real story” is what somebody else did at some other time, and insist that the Clintons have been repeatedly exonerated—though of course they haven’t.

The story this time—actually stories, plural, for there were two in a single week and both involve Russian interference. The first and simpler is Washington Post reporting that confirmed the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the infamous “Trump dossier.” That document, remember, contained sensational allegations about Donald Trump’s sexual peccadillos and his relationship with Russian intelligence officials. The dossier was compiled by a former British intelligence agent at the behest of an oppo-research outfit called Fusion GPS.

Even if some of the dossier’s claims turn out to be true, it seems likely that some of its more outrageous ones were invented by Russian operatives with the intention of throwing the U.S. general election into chaos.

But when Trump secured the nomination, Democrats began to pick up the tab. Officials from the Clinton campaign stridently denied they had anything to do with the dossier. Not true. The campaign, together with the DNC, paid for it.

So defamatory were the dossier’s claims, though, that Clinton herself wouldn’t publicize them. Instead her campaign operatives pitched the allegations to reporters as if the dossier were a thing they had been given rather than a report they had ordered up. Or to put it bluntly: Someone in the Clinton campaign knew the dossier might contain lies and wasn’t prepared to defend those lies but was happy to see if American reporters were sufficiently gullible to print them. It’s nice to report that they were for the most part wrong until BuzzFeed showed its true colors and ran with it just before Trump’s inauguration.

For sleaziness and sheer corrupt stupidity, the episode matches the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the “Russian government attorney” Natalia Veselnitskaya. It’s also a nice reminder that in 2016 Americans had a choice between the worst and the even worse.

source-weekly std-11/2017, wash post, fusion gps, buzz feed, the hill,

 

Israel’s coming war with hezbollah- fraught with peril—and opportunity.-

– 47.1kh.,b4,5

Donald Trump’s feud with North Korea’s “Little Rocket Man” notwithstanding, the most likely major war on the horizon is one between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that, thanks to years of experience and an increasingly lethal arsenal, has become part of the vanguard in Iran’s drive for hegemony in the Near East. Indeed, such a war would be a huge next step for Iran after its rescue of the Assad regime in Syria and its increasingly powerful posture in post-ISIS Iraq. For just such reasons, this war would be a potential tipping point in the Middle East balance of power, a frightfully violent prospect that is equally ripe with strategic opportunity for the United States.

As Willy Stern chronicled in these pages last year (“Missiles Everywhere,” June 20, 2016), an Israel-Hezbollah conflict would be nasty and brutish but not short. Ever since its 2006 clash with Israel, Hezbollah has been stockpiling hundreds of thousands of rockets, missiles, and mortars capable of reaching not just border areas but deep into Israel. This arsenal includes hundreds of ballistic missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads—some of Assad’s chemical weaponry no doubt made its way to Hezbollah—as well as substantial conventional explosives. More important is their improved accuracy; Hezbollah might actually hit something for a change, and not just large cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv but military bases and airports. Despite Israel’s successful development of missile defenses like the “Iron Dome,” “Arrow,” and “David’s Sling,” it’s unlikely that an all-out or sustained series of attacks could be fully blunted.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has been making increasingly warlike comments in recent months and claimed in June that his men would be reinforced in battle by “tens .  .  . or even hundreds of thousands” of Shiite fighters from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Nasrallah may be boasting, but Israeli intelligence assessments put the likely strength of such forces at about 40,000. In addition to expanding the number of Hezbollah-like militias it commands, Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, has improved its ability to shuttle forces to decisive points. In the fight to evict ISIS from western Iraq, the Iranian proxy Popular Mobilization Units have played as critical a role as U.S. or Iraqi regular forces, not least in the recent clashes that drove Kurdish militias out of Kirkuk.

Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has long argued that the next Israel-Hezbollah conflict would be quite unlike the 2006 edition of this “forever” war or any of the recent Israeli campaigns against Hamas. The numbers of missiles, including anti-ship cruise missiles, would dwarf previous Hezbollah salvos and, including upgraded versions of the ubiquitous Scud, could be launched from deep within Lebanon at targets deep within Israel. And the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) could well confront its nightmare scenario—a two-front war in the form of simultaneous attacks launched from the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. As White and his colleague Michael Eisenstadt recently noted, an IRGC general was killed in a January 2015 IDF airstrike while he was touring the Syrian Golan with Hezbollah hosts.

Israel has not faced such a powerful threat since the 1973 war, and confronting the Iran-Hezbollah-Assad coalition will tax the IDF heavily. To begin with, even if its missile defenses live up to their advertising, they cannot obviate the need to conduct counterstrikes into Lebanon and Syria. While the Israeli air force has long ruled the local skies, the proliferation of advanced Russian-made air defenses calls into question how rapidly—and at what cost—the IDF can establish or sustain the kind of air supremacy it will need. The best way to remove the Hezbollah missile threat is to seek and destroy the launchers or to deny use of customary launch sites. The Israelis have worked very hard to improve their mobile-missile-hunting abilities, but this would be a risky mission.

Moreover, the best missile defense is a large-scale ground assault. Both sides know this, and Israel’s enemies have made strenuous preparations for the IDF counterattacks—again, simultaneously into Lebanon and Syria—that must come. The IDF has worked to improve the survivability of its mechanized infantry and armored forces and the responsiveness, lethality, and accuracy of its artillery. For its part, Hezbollah, which showed considerable tactical skill in defending southern Lebanon in 2006, has added advanced anti-armor weaponry and new layers of defenses. The terrain in southern Lebanon and on the Golan is well suited for such purposes; the IDF will have to pick its way forward cautiously, through ambush after ambush, and ultimately it may have to go farther north and east than in 2006.

These daunting tactical challenges also, as in the past, generate strategic and geopolitical problems. The perception of victory often counts more than the battlefield result, both in the region and in the larger international contest. Nasrallah excels at spinning defeat into victory. The 2006 war began when Hezbollah captured two IDF soldiers. In an unguarded moment shortly after the cessation of hostilities, he admitted that he did not anticipate, “even by 1 percent,” that the snatch “would result in such a wide-scale war, as such a war did not take place in the history of wars. Had we known” what would result, “we would not have carried it out at all.” But in short order, survival became triumph, a bit of propaganda that caught on in outlets such as the Economist, which declared, “Nasrallah wins the war.” By now even many Israelis, especially on the political left, concur; in an otherwise thoughtful analysis of the current situation, Ha’aretz concluded that the 2006 campaign “remains a resounding failure.” The standard of victory for Israel remains almost impossibly high.

The ebbing of American power and influence across the Middle East since the withdrawal from Iraq has had incalculable consequences. At the same time, the looming war presents an important opportunity. To begin with, this is a case where Trump’s bluster and bellicosity may be an asset. It’s a chilling thought, but if deterrence depends on creating an effect in the mind of an adversary, the president’s loose lips or slippery Twitter fingers—even his apparently serious bromance with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu—might give Iran some pause. Many Iran-watchers have noted Tehran’s relative caution in regard to Israel. Further, Iran strategy is perhaps the one issue on which Trump and his senior advisers see eye-to-eye, especially in the case of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who got himself fired by President Obama for being too focused on Iran. For once, the administration might enjoy credibility.

Should deterrence fail and conflict resume, it will be important for the United States to clearly and forcefully back the Israelis. The 1973 Yom Kippur war is worth recalling in this context. The Israelis were badly surprised when the Egyptian army crossed the Sinai and Syria attacked the Golan Heights. The IDF soon found itself in logistical as well as tactical trouble, and President Richard Nixon, against strong international pressure, ordered Operation Nickel Grass to help restore IDF losses. Beyond the material support, the gesture of political support was critical. While the Israelis have been planning and preparing for Hezbollah for years, their ability to sustain operations could well be stretched, and the international environment is every bit as hostile as in 1973.

Iran’s caution on Israel may owe something to a danger it senses, the flip side of which is an opportunity Washington may underestimate. A decisive Israeli victory against the Tehran-backed Hezbollah forces would be an unparalleled opportunity to stem the regional Iranian tide, thereby serving a prime U.S. national security interest. Such a victory would both reassure and relax America’s Arab allies, particularly in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Egypt—those most nervous about a flagging U.S. commitment in the Middle East. It would also remind the world that, despite Vladimir Putin’s meddling, the United States remains the most powerful external force in the region.

A renewal of war across Israel’s northern and eastern borders would be a savage thing, one that might escalate in unpredictable ways; if its proxies in Lebanon and Syria are in danger, one can expect Iran to react elsewhere, a mortal danger to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just as Israelis have begun to prepare themselves for this prospect, so should we.

source–weekly std-11/2017, donnelly, thomas, stern, willy, white, jeffrey, eisenstadt, michael,