10-Hour Senate Vote to Restrict Trump’s Ability to Respond to Iranian Aggression Fails, House to Vote on Similar Bill…Why?

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PROLOGUE

The military deployed nearly a dozen Air Force fighter jets to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar this week amid escalating tensions with Iran and threats against American forces in the region.

The F-22 Raptors arrived Thursday to al-Udeid air base, the hub for U.S. air operations in the Middle East. In a statement, U.S. Central Command said the planes were being deployed to Qatar for the first time to “defend American forces and interests.”

FoxNews.com reports that

The Senate on Friday, after a record-breaking 10-hour vote, failed to approve a resolution that would require President Trump to get congressional approval before ordering a military intervention in Iran.

The vote, which was not expected to pass, came after political unease over the White House’s tough talk against Iran.

The vote was the longest in the chamber’s history. The Senate closed its vote on the measure at 3:10 p.m. ET, which was 10 hours and 8 minutes after starting the vote. The old record for the length of a Senate vote was set on Dec. 21, 2018 at five hours and 20 minutes.

The plan needed 60 votes. But the final tally was 50-40. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who participated in Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate, voted at 3:10 p.m. in favor of the Iran amendment. Moments later, the vote was closed, and the Senate was quickly gaveled out of session.

The effort will continue on the other side of Congress: The House is expected to take up the issue next month.

Lawmakers have argued Trump cannot continue relying on the nearly two-decade-old war authorizations Congress approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, an author of the measure, says he’s not alone in raising concern about Trump’s “ping-pong diplomacy” and “go it alone posture.”

“This reckless diplomacy is dangerously reminiscent of the run up to the war with Iraq,” he said on the Senate floor Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it nothing more than another example of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” which he explained as whatever the president’s for “they seem to be against.”

McConnell said putting restrictions on the White House would “hamstring” the president’s ability to respond militarily at a time of escalating tension between the U.S. and Iran.

Meanwhile…per FoxNews.com

The State Department has ordered all non-emergency personnel at the U.S. Embassy and consulate in Iraq to leave the country amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The announcement was made in a security alert on its website early Wednesday morning. The alert also said that normal visa services would be temporarily suspended.

This comes amid a standoff between the U.S. and Iran, which has recently threatened to pull out of the nuclear deal and resume higher uranium enrichment if no new deal is put in place.

“Reckless diplomacy?”

Hardly.

Are you old enough to remember the Iranian Hostage Crisis? If not, here is a summary, courtesy of u-s-history.com:

On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of some 300 to 500 “students” who called themselves “Imam’s Disciples,” laid siege to the American Embassy in Teheran, Iran, to capture and hold hostage 66 U.S. citizens and diplomats. Although women and African-Americans were released a short time later, 51 hostages remained imprisoned for 444 days with another individual released because of illness midway through the ordeal.

…Upon the death of the shah in July [1980] (which neutralized one demand) and the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September (necessitating weapons acquisition), Iran became more amenable to reopening negotiations for the hostages’ release.

In the late stages of the presidential race with Ronald Reagan, Carter, given those new parameters, might have been able to bargain with the Iranians, which might have clinched the election for him. The 11th-hour heroics were dubbed an “October Surprise”* by the Reagan camp — something they did not want to see happen.

Allegations surfaced that William Casey, director of the Reagan campaign, and some CIA operatives, secretly met with Iranian officials in Europe to arrange for the hostages’ release, but not until after the election. If true, some observers aver, dealing with a hostile foreign government to achieve a domestic administration’s defeat would have been grounds for charges of treason.

Reagan won the election, partly because of the failure of the Carter administration to bring the hostages home. Within minutes of Reagan’s inauguration, the hostages were released.

It’s not that the Democrats have forgotten that Iran hates us.

It is the fact that they do not care.

Back in September of 2018, the Washington Free Beacon reported that

Former Secretary of State John Kerry disclosed that he has been conducting rogue diplomacy with top Iranian officials to salvage the landmark nuclear deal and push the Islamic Republic to negotiate its contested missile program, according to recent remarks.

Kerry, in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt to promote his new book, said that he has met with Iranian Former Minister Javad Zarif—the former secretary’s onetime negotiating partner—three or four times in recent months behind the Trump administration’s back.

“I think I’ve seen him three or four times,” Kerry said, adding that he has been conducting sensitive diplomacy without the current administration’s authorization. Kerry said he has criticized the current administration in these discussions, chiding it for not pursuing negotiations from Iran, despite the country’s fevered rhetoric about the U.S. president.

Kerry’s comments are in line with previous reporting on his behind-the-scenes attempts to save the nuclear deal and ensure that Iran continues receiving billions in cash windfalls.

The thing is, gentle readers, you can bet that John F. Kerry did not think of “reaching out” to the Iranians on his own.

What has been conveniently forgotten, thanks to the Far Left Democrats’ 24/7 TDS-inspired attacks on President Trump, is the fact that Barack Hussein Obama, the Former Petulant President Pantywaist himself, has set up his Command Headquarters for his “Shadow Government” just a few blocks away from the White House and has even moved his “right-hand Iranian” Valerie Jarrett, into the house with him and “Mooch”.

The move by the Democrats to restrict Trump from responding appropriately to Iranian aggressive actions against America is coordinated, as Fox News reports in the above articles.

Just as Kerry continues to get his marching orders from Former President Obama, I would not be surprised if Petulant President Pantywaist has not been making phone calls to Democrat Senators and Representatives requesting that they do whatever they have to in order to preserve Obama’s legacy of “Peace in Our Time”.

Oh, wait…that was British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s motto when acquiescing to Germany’s National Socialist Party, otherwise known as the Nazis.

What a coincidence.

Frightening, isn’t it?

There is a reason why there were no American flags on the stage for the Democratic Candidates’ 2-night debate.

I’ll bet you can figure out what it is.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Clinton/Sanders Debate: Two Old Northeast Progressives “Swapping Stories”

Hil-Bern-600nrdIn case you didn’t know, didn’t care, or you just didn’t want to watch a couple of old white “Progressives” from the Northeast lie like rugs on National Television, there was an actual Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate held in Prime Time on Thursday, and not in the dead of night on the Weekend.

Politico.com reports that

The niceties are finished.

After a string of debates where Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders discussed (and occasionally disagreed about) the fine points of progressive policy, the two finally had a full-fledged throwdown Thursday night.

Clinton accused Sanders of going negative on the campaign trail, telling the Vermont Senator at the Democratic debate that his campaign was smearing her name.

“I think it’s time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out in recent week,” Clinton said after Sanders talked about getting money out of politics.

Sanders has boasted about not receiving money from Wall street, and has pointed out in recent weeks that Clinton has received large sums in exchange for speaking.

“Sen. Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I’ve tried to keep my disagreements over issues, but time and time again, by innuendo and by insinuation there is this attack that he is putting forth,” Clinton said.

“Which really comes down to anyone who ever took donations or speaking fees from interest groups has to be bought, and I absolutely reject that Senator. I really don’t think those attacks by insinuation are worthy of you,” Clinton continued

Then she leveled the challenge: “If you have something to say, say it. But I have never changed a view or a vote because of a donation I’ve received.”

Hold on a second. We’ll get back to this “Challenge”

Now about the lies…

Foxnews.com reports that

WASHINGTON –  Hillary Clinton cast the financial industry as an adversary in her presidential campaign — despite the money that industry has poured into her White House effort. Bernie Sanders once again mischaracterized the share of the wealth taken by the very richest Americans.

A look at some of the claims in their latest Democratic presidential debate:

CLINTON on Wall Street: “They are trying to beat me in this primary.”

THE FACTS: Wall Street is not the anti-Clinton monolith she implied. People in the securities and investment industry gave more than $17 million last year to super political action committees supporting her presidential run and nearly $3 million directly to her campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a campaign-finance watchdog. Wall Street is the top industry donating to her effort, ahead of the legal profession, non-profit institutions and others.

Clinton is taking heat from Sanders over her Wall Street ties, which go back decades.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Clinton has brought in more money from the financial sector during her four federal campaigns — for Senate and president — than her husband, Bill Clinton, did in his quarter-century political career. In all, more than $44 million was raised for her campaigns. This includes more than $1 out of every $10 of the money contributed for her 2016 campaign.

Clinton has often talked about how much she has raised from teachers, as opposed to big corporate interests. But the $2.93 million given directly to her campaign last year by people in the securities and investment industry surpassed the $2.88 million given by people in education, OpenSecrets found.

SANDERS: “Almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent.”

THE FACTS: This has been a common mantra by Sanders but it relies on outdated numbers. In the first five years of the economic recovery, 2009-2014, the richest 1 percent captured 58 percent of income growth, according to Emmanuel Saez, a University of California economist whose research Sanders uses.

That’s a hefty share, but far short of “almost all.” In the first three years of the recovery, 2009-2012, the richest 1 percent did capture 91 percent of the growth in income. But part of that gain reflected an accounting maneuver as the wealthiest pulled income forward to 2012 in advance of tax increases that took effect in 2013 on the biggest earners.

Many companies paid out greater bonuses to their highest-paid employees in 2012 before the higher tax rates took effect. Those bonuses then fell back in 2013. And in 2014, the bottom 99 percent finally saw incomes rise 3.3 percent, the biggest gain in 15 years. Average wages also showed signs of picking up last year as the unemployment rate fell, suggesting the bottom 99 percent may have also seen gains in 2015.

CLINTON: “I am against American combat troops being in Syria and Iraq. I support special forces. I support trainers. I support the air campaign.”

THE FACTS: Clinton makes a dubious distinction. Although it can be debated whether certain types of military personnel fit the definition of “combat” troops, there is little doubt that special operations forces like those now operating both in Syria and Iraq do.

In the fall, a special operations soldier was killed in a firefight in Iraq during a joint U.S.-Kurdish commando raid on an Islamic State prison.

The Pentagon recently sent up to 200 special operations troops to Iraq to carry out a range of risky missions, including raids against Islamic State targets.

Pilots of fighter aircraft, bombers and other warplanes that have flown over Iraq and Syria, dropping bombs and missiles on Islamic State targets on a daily basis, certainly are engaged in combat.
Clinton said she supports Obama’s reluctance to take the lead in ground combat in Iraq and Syria. But many military members are now engaged in combat.

SANDERS: “You have three out of the four largest banks in America today, bigger than they were, significantly bigger than when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail.”

THE FACTS: Sanders is right that JPMorgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are larger than they were in mid-2008, before they received bailout money. But those gains largely reflect mergers and acquisitions that occurred, frequently at the government’s behest, during the financial crisis. JPMorgan bulked up by purchasing Bear Stearns, in a deal facilitated by the Federal Reserve. Bank of America ballooned when it acquired Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo roughly doubled in size when it bought a floundering Wachovia Bank.

But the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul bill, passed in 2010, has forced banks to hold more capital as a cushion against risk and to make future bailouts less likely. That requirement and others has caused several banks, including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Citi, to shed assets to avoid growing larger and triggering further oversight.

CLINTON on Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal: “I said that I was holding out that hope that it would be the kind of trade agreement that I was looking for. I waited until it had actually been negotiated because I did want to give the benefit of the doubt to the administration. Once I saw what the outcome was, I opposed it.”

THE FACTS: As Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton was far more enthusiastic about the Pacific trade deal taking shape than she became once she was running for president and trying to appeal to the liberal wing of her party. As secretary she had given speeches around the world in support of the deal under negotiation, saying in Australia in 2012 that it “sets the gold standard in trade agreements,” a cheerleading sentiment she echoed elsewhere.

She’s stated since that the final agreement didn’t address her concerns. But the final version actually had been modified to drop certain provisions that liberal activist groups had opposed.

CLINTON: “I am not going to make promises I can’t keep. I am not going to talk about big ideas like single-payer and then not level with people about how much it will cost.”

THE FACTS: Clinton was taking aim at Sanders’ universal health care coverage plan that he calls “Medicare for all,” and a new independent analysis suggests that she was correct about his understating the cost.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that the tax increases in Sanders’ plan would only cover about 75 percent of the estimated spending under the plan, creating at least a $3 trillion hole over 10 years.

The analysis was based on Sanders’ estimate of how much his plan would spend. If that turns out to be low, then the financing gap would grow.

The group represents deficit foes from both political parties. Leon Panetta, a CIA director and a defense secretary under President Barack Obama, is a co-chairman of its board.

Remember Former Secretary of State Clinton’s challenge from last night, regarding donations that she has received?

“If you have something to say, say it. But I have never changed a view or a vote because of a donation I’ve received.”

Challenge accepted.

Back in April of 2015, NYMag.com reported that

The qualities of an effective presidency do not seem to transfer onto a post-presidency. Jimmy Carter was an ineffective president who became an exemplary post-president. Bill Clinton appears to be the reverse. All sorts of unproven worst-case-scenario questions float around the web of connections between Bill’s private work, Hillary Clinton’s public role as secretary of State, the Clintons’ quasi-public charity, and Hillary’s noncompliant email system. But the best-case scenario is bad enough: The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy.

The news today about the Clintons all fleshes out, in one way or another, their lack of interest in policing serious conflict-of-interest problems that arise in their overlapping roles:

The New York Times has a report about the State Department’s decision to approve the sale of Uranium mines to a Russian company that donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, and that a Russian investment bank promoting the deal paid Bill $500,000 for a speech in Moscow.The Washington Post reports that Bill Clinton has received $26 million in speaking fees from entities that also donated to the Clinton Global Initiative.The Washington Examiner reports, “Twenty-two of the 37 corporations nominated for a prestigious State Department award — and six of the eight ultimate winners — while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State were also donors to the Clinton family foundation.”And Reuters reports, “Hillary Clinton’s family’s charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors.”

The Clinton campaign is batting down the darkest and most conspiratorial interpretation of these stories, and where this all leads remains to be seen. But the most positive interpretation is not exactly good.

When you are a power couple consisting of a former president and a current secretary of State and likely presidential candidate, you have the ability to raise a lot of money for charitable purposes that can do a lot of good. But some of the potential sources of donations will be looking to get something in return for their money other than moral satisfaction or the chance to hobnob with celebrities. Some of them want preferential treatment from the State Department, and others want access to a potential future Clinton administration. To run a private operation where Bill Clinton will deliver a speech for a (huge) fee and a charity that raises money from some of the same clients is a difficult situation to navigate. To overlay that fraught situation onto Hillary’s ongoing and likely future government service makes it all much harder.

And yet the Clintons paid little to no attention to this problem. Nicholas Confessore described their operation as “a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” Indeed, as Ryan Lizzareported in 2012, Bill Clinton seemed to see the nexus between his role and his wife’s as a positive rather than a negative:

Regardless of Bill Clinton’s personal feelings about Obama, it didn’t take him long to see the advantages of an Obama Presidency. More than anyone, he pushed Hillary to take the job of Secretary of State. “President Clinton was a big supporter of the idea,” an intimate of the Clintons told me. “He advocated very strongly for it and arguably was the tie-breaking reason she took the job.” For one thing, having his spouse in that position didn’t hurt his work at the Clinton Global Initiative. He invites foreign leaders to the initiative’s annual meeting, and her prominence in the Administration can be an asset in attracting foreign donors. “Bill Clinton’s been able to continue to be the Bill Clinton we know, in large part because of his relationship with the White House and because his wife is the Secretary of State,” the Clinton associate continued. “It worked out very well for him. That may be a very cynical way to look at it, but that’s a fact. A lot of the stuff he’s doing internationally is aided by his level of access.”

The Obama administration wanted Hillary Clinton to use official government email. She didn’t. The Obama administration alsodemanded that the Clinton Foundation disclose all its donors while she served as Secretary of State. It didn’t comply with that request, either.

The Clintons’ charitable initiatives were a kind of quasi-government run by themselves, which was staffed by their own loyalists and made up the rules as it went along. Their experience running the actual government, with its formal accountability and disclosure, went reasonably well. Their experience running their own privatized mini-state has been a fiasco.

With the revelation of “the gift” of massive quantities of Uranium to the Russians and an Iranian Connection regarding some of the money given to the Clinton Foundation, this is not just a scandal involving money and unscrupulous political ladder-climbing through the peddling of “favors”, the actions of the Clintons crossed the line into the abhorrent abyss of treason.

Clinton does not belong in the White House. She belongs in jail.

And, Sanders need to move to the tiny country of Denmark and like the rest of his life in that failed “Socialist Paradise”

Or, he needs to be fitted with a short white jacket with long sleeves that tie behind the back.

Just sayin’.

Until He Comes,

KJ