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Return to Sender

By 3.12.15

The recent “Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” that was signed by 47 Republican senators led by Arkansas freshman Sen. Tom Cotton reminds us why the GOP can’t seem to get away from its reputation as having an uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of political victory.

The letter explains to the Islamofascist apocalyptic ayatollahs how “our constitutional system” regarding the ratification of international treaties works, essentially saying “We senators will be here long after President Obama is gone and therefore you should not expect any deal you make now to be respected by the United States for longer than the 22 months remaining in Obama’s term.”

A Further Perspective

Does Anyone Believe Her?

By 3.12.15

As Hillary Clinton took questions from the media about the personal email account she used as secretary of state, I felt a flashback coming on. She said she simply chose to use a personal account with a personal server “for convenience.” I felt I had traveled back in time to 1998. Washington was screaming across the aisle. First lady Hillary Clinton charged that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” was behind stories that her husband had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. President Bill Clinton denied that he ever had “sexual relations” with the former intern.

Deep down, everyone knew that Bubba was lying. And he was lying. Judge Susan Webber Wright eventually would fine Clinton for giving “intentionally false” testimony during depositions with attorneys representing plaintiff Paula Jones, whose sexual harassment lawsuit nonetheless tanked.

Up until the president was forced to admit that he had lied about Lewinsky, partisans who surely suspected otherwise vehemently argued that Clinton had been truthful. When that ruse crumbled, the knee-jerk defenders used cable news as a nonstop forum for odd debates meant to distract from the core issue.

The Obama Watch

The Move Away From Obama

By 3.12.15

As Obama leads Democrats into his final political battles, they are understandably nervous. Obama has cost them plenty and may still cost them more. Democrats are now pressed harder on the right and the left and Obama can no longer defend them on either flank. 

In congressional seat totals, Democrats are worse off now than they were before Obama took office — holding five fewer Senate seats and 44 fewer House seats than in 2006. Counting from when a president took office, Obama has cost his party more Senate seats than any president since Carter, and more House seats than any president since Eisenhower. 

Democrats know too that their substantial losses may not be over. In 2016, they will replicate their “worse case” scenario during Obama’s presidency: When he is on the electorate’s mind, but not on the election’s ballot. In such circumstances, Democrats have suffered massive losses during Obama’s two midterm elections — first losing the House in 2010, then losing the Senate in 2014. 

Another Perspective

The Gowdy-Hillary Dog and Pony Show

By 3.12.15

Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy says that “we are left with more questions than answers” after Hillary Clinton’s press conference. Well, yes. For all her years at State Hillary used an intricate personal email system, with a gazillion addresses, for government business. She had her own private server, allegedly located at her Chappaqua residence.

Gowdy tells us that Hillary’s undisclosed emails may contain information about “the Benghazi terrorist attacks that took the lives of our four brave fellow citizens” and that he intends to call her to testify before his committee “at least twice.”

I have an uneasy feeling that what we will see at these hearings is a continuing dog and pony show where folks on the Committee pretend to ask questions and Hillary pretends to answer them. In the end, we won’t be any further ahead. But we will have gone through the motions.

The Hillary Watch

Call Her Hillary Milhous Nixon

By 3.12.15

Yes, I know Richard Nixon is no longer with us, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is doing an amazing job of channeling the nation’s 37th president. He remains with us on video. This includes, of course, his struggles in the Watergate crisis that eventually ended his presidency. Of particular note are his struggles after it was discovered that he had a taping system in the White House. The fight over the Nixon White House tapes — the technology of the day — are eerily called to mind in Mrs. Clinton’s current controversy over her emails.

A Further Perspective

The Iran Empire Strikes

By 3.11.15

Clouds of evil surround the Middle East. Since 1979, Iran was and remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism. However, now, Darth Vader has been converted into Luke Skywalker.

Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, is one of the covert operators undermining governments and promoting the imperial interests of his Islamic government. He has emerged as an international “hero” bolstering the morale of Iraqi troops and inserting his Revolutionary Guard agents into the struggle against ISIS. He stands in the vanguard of the empire Iran has created from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. As Alaeddin Boroujerdi (a member of Iran's parliament) noted: “Iran is more powerful than any time in the past 30 years.

At Large

Goodbye to Britain’s Deterrent?

By 3.11.15

I have written in a number of places about the parlous state of Britain’s defense and the present and previous governments’ culpable failure in this regard.

The Royal Air Force, for example, has gone from 17 fighter squadrons to just 7 of all types in fifteen years. Its bombers, the Nimrod long-range patrol aircraft and the Royal Navy’s Harriers which could take off from improvised flight decks (for example container-loaded ships) have been disposed of.

Famous military writer Frederick Forsyth has said, “Five years ago a Conservative-led government (of all things) stripped British armed forces to the bone in the most stupid Defense and Strategic Review we have ever had, abandoning centuries as a formidable power and treating our servicemen as criminals for the slightest misdemeanors.”

However, further cuts to the army are being forecast and a new threat has emerged that represents an unforeseen and potentially critical menace to Britain’s defense capability.

The Hillary Watch

The Politics of Convenience

By 3.11.15

Hillary Clinton waited over a week to answer questions about her practice of conducting State Department business on her own private email system. Why did she remain silent for so long if the explanation for the practice is as innocent as she now claims? She explained it away breezily as a “matter of convenience” at a Tuesday press conference after a United Nations event in New York City.

Hillary Clinton is often touted as one of the most brilliant women to enter politics. Yet she asks voters to believe that she simply didn’t anticipate that her practice might cause consternation. It was an imprudent but innocent oversight, she implied, acknowledging that it would have been “smarter” to use a State Department account.

“I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two,” she said during a press conference. “Looking back, it would have been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone.”

Dialogues of the Carmelite Martyrs

By 3.11.15

On the evening of July 17, 1794, at the height of the Great Terror of the French Revolution, 16 Carmelite nuns were guillotined in the Place de la Nation in Paris. Their story is re-told by Francis Poulenc in his 1957 opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites, which completed its run at the Washington National Opera yesterday.

This community of religious women refused to obey the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary government mandating suppression of their monastery.

Martyred by the infamous Committee of Public Safety, their remains are now in a mass grave at the Picpus Cemetery in Paris. There you will find a discreet plaque with all of their names listed.

The Current Crisis

Hillary Against the World

By 3.11.15

Regarding last week’s string of stories about Hillary Clinton conducting her State Department business between 2009 and 2013 exclusively on a private email account, the heat—as we say here in Washington—is on in the kitchen. Her account was completely controlled by her. Even the server was controlled by her. She apparently had no State Department account when she was Secretary of State, and no one thought to ask about it until late in 2014 when a Congressional committee inquiring into the bloody assault on our complexes in Benghazi sought her emails. Yet now the heat is on in the kitchen and the Episodic Apologists are turning it up. Yesterday’s press conference was an attempt to calm them with the blessed emollient of Clintonian confusion. We shall see how it works.