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Goodlatte’s ‘smoking gun’ isn’t the big story on Obama abuses

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Fox News blared the headline: “‘Smoking gun’ email reveals Obama DOJ blocked conservative groups from settlement funds, GOP lawmaker says.” I’m not shocked, and I believe Rep. Bob Goodlatte is doing yeoman’s work in Congress exposing this.

This isn’t news. Everyone has known since 2009 that the U.S. government, under President Obama, was free to take every “liberty” to become the left’s ATM. From the EPA to the IRS to the corrupt State Department, Obama used the “personnel is policy” method to thoroughly debase and suborn the administrative state, and let their true liberal colors shine.

There were emails showing they didn’t like Citigroup choosing a “conservative” group like the Pacific Legal Foundation to direct settlement cash. These directed settlements in federal cases of all kinds were used to pile up cash for a variety of leftist groups. Again, no surprise.

The big story

What’s surprising is that many of the same officials are still running the government. The DOJ, Fox reported, ended the practice of these outside payments earlier in the year. Great news.

Trump, as of the end of July, had not filled 114 of 210 key agency positions–at the same point, Obama had filled or nominated all but 41. There are glaring holes in the Trump executive branch, which are being filled by government civil servants, many of whom came onboard or rose to their positions during the Obama administration.

Most heinously, the commissioner of the IRS, John Koskinen, continues to serve, despite being over the department when Lois Lerner slow-rolled and persecuted conservative political groups, then tried to vanish the records. He serves despite a long time call by GOP lawmakers for Trump to oust him.

Trump kept Obama appointee Chuck Rosenberg as acting head of the DEA, until he resigned at the end of September in protest of the president’s statements. Now career agent Robert W. Patterson is acting administrator.

You might think these are relatively minor positions, but it’s not a small issue. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson complained loudly that he had problems getting positions filled because of White House meddling and Steve Bannon’s doctrinal purity tests. When positions are not filled, career bureaucrats and Obama appointees end up making the daily decisions, leading to small adjustments and tilts.

For eight years, the Obama administration put no limits on how far the bureaucracy could go in support of its liberal pet causes, media cocktail companions, and opposition to conservatives. While Trump made a big deal of putting some names in charge of the Departments of Energy, Education, Justice and EPA, their power has been greatly curtailed by a lack of friendly underlings.

‘Smoking gun’ email reveals Obama DOJ blocked conservative groups from settlement funds, GOP lawmaker says | Fox News

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/10/25/smoking-gun-email-reveals-obama-doj-blocked-conservative-groups-from-settlement-funds-gop-lawmaker-says.html“It is not every day in congressional investigations that we find a smoking gun,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said Tuesday. Republican lawmakers long have decried those payments as a “slush fund” that boosted liberal groups, and the Trump DOJ ended the practice earlier this year. Anderson said in a statement.  “When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people— not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

Congress could flip

For the Trump administration to succeed in rolling back Obama-era excessed, it must do more than just depend on Congress to find “smoking guns.” Remember, 2018 is an election year, and Democrats have their sights on taking back the Senate. In fact, there’s a good chance that will happen. The House is less likely, but let’s say a Democrat wave somehow put Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s chair.

At that point, all these “smoking gun” investigations will simply stop. The Trump administration will find itself fighting continual impeachment efforts–if not actual votes in the House.

All the effort the GOP, conservatives, and the Tea Party candidates spent making reforms could be in vain.

Foreign Affairs

White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

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White House plan to kick Iran from Syria leaked

Syria has been in a state of disarray for nearly a decade now. Ever since the infamous “red line” that President Obama failed to enforce, the Middle Eastern nation has been suffering through war, poverty, and occupation by hostile forces ranging from the Islamic State to Russia and Iran.

The Islamic State may no longer be an occupying threat in Syria, but Iran and Russia are. The White House has a plan to push them out of the country. It does not involve military engagement, though U.S. military personnel may engage if they feel threatened. Instead, the plan is to offer aid to the Syrians wherever they need help, except where Iran and Russia have a presence.

This represents a huge chunk of the crumbling nation.

Trump administration has new plan to drive Iran out of Syria

“There’s a real opportunity for the U.S. and its allies to make the Iranian regime pay for its continued occupation of Syria,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank strongly opposed to the Iranian regime.

Driving Iran out of Syria would be one prong in an approach that would also involve continuing to destroy remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters and finding a political transition after the exit of both ISIS and Iran that does not call for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step aside.

My Take

Any measure that does not put Americans in harms way is worth pursuing. As long as Syria is as vulnerable as it is, there are risks to both American and Israeli interests in the region. The war-torn nation needs help rebuilding so they can rightly remove Iran’s and Russia’s presence.

Perhaps more importantly is the need to rejuvenate a homeland for millions of refugees. They are already causing major problems in countries throughout Europe and Asia. If we can expedite the renewal of their homeland, it will prompt many to return.

We have no business fighting battles in Syria. The White House plan would use diplomacy and economic pressure to rid Syria of their occupying forces. It’s a long shot, but it’s better than further military conflicts.

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News

Australia considers moving their embassy to Jerusalem

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Australia considers moving their embassy to Jerusalem

When U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would be moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the international outcry was fairly universal. The thinking for decades has been that if the international community recognizes Israel’s capital, then tensions and conflict in the region would grow.

A year after the announcement, not much has changed. Conflict is still there, though not notably higher. The world hasn’t ended even though we’re months away from the move being completed. Now, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated he may be willing to follow President Trump’s lead and move their embassy to Jerusalem as well.

My Take

A nation should be allowed to declare its own capital. Israel is the only nation on the planet that the international community refuses to allow this privilege because they believe the “contested” lands in Israel will some day be “returned” to the Palestinians.

Even as just about every world leader pushes for a two-state solution, it’s refreshing to see concessions being made to Israel instead of the incessant cries for Israel to concede everything they have.

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Democrats

Heidi Heitkamp just blew her reelection hopes to smithereens

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Heidi Heitkamp just blew her reelection hopes to smithereens

Things weren’t looking good for Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in her race against Republican Kevin Cramer. Her no-vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation made her poll numbers fall, but there was still hope at the incumbent’s camp that she could turn it around in the last three weeks.

Those hopes just blew up in their faces.

An ad posted to the Bismarck Tribune by her campaign attempted to shame Cramer by listing the names of dozens of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape who allegedly stood with her. Here’s the problem. Some of the women listed are coming forward saying they didn’t give permission to use their names, do not support Heitkamp, or weren’t victims as indicated by the ad.

By trying to pretend she was the sensitive one, Heitkamp outed victims against their will.

Women Say Heitkamp Campaign Identified Them as Sexual Assault Survivors Without Their Permission

https://www.sayanythingblog.com/entry/women-say-heitkamp-campaign-identified-them-as-sexual-assault-survivors-without-their-permission/In a separate Facebook post, Eve Lancaster of Bismarck also indicates that her name was included in the letter without her permission. She describes herself as “disgusted” and “furious.”

I’ve communicated directly with two of the women who say they were misidentified and I’m working on getting more information from them.

I’ve reached out to the Heitkamp campaign for comment about this ad, asking how it came to be and how the names were chosen for the ad, but the Senator and her Senate/campaign staff don’t typically respond to me.

The irony here is that the ad was supposed to portray a thoughtful and proactive Senator who was willing to hear the concerns of victims. It demonstrated the exact opposite, demonstrating that neither she nor her team took the time to actually reach out to the women they were allegedly trying to support.

She has issued an apology of sorts.

“Sexual assault is a serious crime – and one that too many North Dakota women have experienced,” Heitkamp said. “In an attempt to bring awareness to this issue and push back against dismissive comments toward sexual assault survivors by Kevin Cramer, our campaign worked with victim advocates to identify women who would be willing sign the letter or share their story.”

Too little, too late.

My Take

This should be the end of her campaign. In a sane world, you can’t do something like that and still keep your job. This is the political world where sanity is not required, but hopefully the people of North Dakota will hear about this and be rightly disgusted.

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