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Story 1: 3 Criminal Biker Gangs aka Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGSs) in Waco, Texas Kill 9 and Islamic State Takes Back Ramadi, Iraq — U.S. Army’s Delta force kills senior ISIS commander — Videos
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. OMGs are highly structured criminal organizations whose members engage in criminal activities such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking. There are more than 300 active OMGs within the United States, ranging in size from single chapters with five or six members to hundreds of chapters with thousands of members worldwide. The Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence pose a serious national domestic threat and conduct the majority of criminal activity linked to OMGs, especially activity relating to drug-trafficking and, more specifically, to cross-border drug smuggling. Because of their transnational scope, these OMGs are able to coordinate drug smuggling operations in partnership with major international drug-trafficking
9 Dead in Waco Biker Gang Shooting 18 Injured 5-17-15
Biker brawl breaks out at Waco restaurant
Waco Biker Gang Shooting. 9 Dead At Waco Shooting Twin Peaks
Waco Shooting Updates — Ten people killed in Waco, Texas biker gang shooting
[AERIAL FOOTAGE] Biker Gang Shootout Waco, Texas – 17 May 2015
( ORIGINAL FOOTAGE ) Waco Texas Shooting 9 biker gangs Dead In Waco Texas
9 dead in Texas biker brawl
Authorities had anticipated trouble and pre-positioned officers.
“There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman. He later said there were at least five gangs.
The fight broke out at Twin Peaks restaurant and spilled into the parking lot. It quickly escalated from hands and feet, as weapons, to gunfire, Swanton said.
“In my nearly 35 years of law enforcement experience,” he said, “this is the most violent and gruesome scene that I have dealt with.”
Bikers shot at each other and at officers, who returned fire.
Swanton expressed anger at Twin Peaks, which he claims had been less than helpful in dealing with gangs in the past. He declined to identify the specific groups involved in Sunday’s shooting.
“Are we frustrated? Sure. Because we feel like there may have been more that could have been done by a business to prevent this,” he said.
Corporate management at Twin Peaks released a statement saying it was reviewing the circumstances of the shooting. The Waco restaurant is franchised.
“We are thankful no employees, guests or police were injured in this senseless violence outside the restaurant, and our sympathies are with the families of those killed,” the statement said.
To escape the fight, some restaurant customers and employees took cover in the freezer, according to CNN affiliate KWTX. The station reported that more than 100 weapons were recovered, and Waco police said officers were continuing to arrest people arriving with weapons.
Swanton told reporters that eight people were dead on the scene and another was pronounced dead at an area hospital. A total of 18 people were taken to the hospital. It was not immediately clear whether that figure included the person who died. All those injured or dead are believed to be bikers.
No officers were hurt, Swanton said, praising their response.
“Their action has saved lives in keeping this from spilling into a very busy Sunday morning,” the spokesman said. “Thank goodness the officers were here, and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives.”
Police: Deadly Waco biker gang shooting is capital murder
The Cossacks, a smaller, local Texas gang, had been challenging the Bandidos’ dominance, including discussing a possible alliance with rival gang the Hell’s Angels, Steve Cook, executive director of the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association, told Vox.
The biggest provocation came, he said, when the Cossacks began wearing a Texas patch on their clothing, which was “basically a slap in the face” to the Bandidos.
“We knew the tensions with the Cossacks were as high as they’d ever been,” he said. “I don’t think anybody could have forecasted it to the degree that it happened.”
Cook said Sunday’s shootout parallels previous encounters between the Bandidos and Hells Angels. Cook told The Washington Post that the shootout started because the Cossacks, backed by the Angels, challenged the Bandidos for control of Texas. Several other bike gangs might have joined the battle, too, angry over recent killings by Bandidos members, he said.
“My perception is that the Cossacks have been flirting, if you will, with Hell’s Angles,” Cook said. “If I’m a Bandido, my immediate reaction is: ‘These guys are going to try to make a move and bring an international gang into our state, which is going to cause a war.'”
Cook said he hoped Sunday’s shooting will draw more attention to the gangs. “Maybe it’ll be time for law enforcement and the public to take the blinders off and recognize these groups for what they are: criminals.”
Talking to reporters on Sunday, Waco Police spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton cautioned that the groups involved in the shootout were not “a friendly group of motorcycle enthusiasts,” but criminal gangs.
Cook agreed. “They can pretend like they’re these fraternal organizations — I can’t tell you the last time the Kiwanis and the Shriners had a shootout at a public venue.”
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and Photos
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. OMGs are highly structured criminal organizations whose members engage in criminal activities such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking. There are more than 300 active OMGs within the United States, ranging in size from single chapters with five or six members to hundreds of chapters with thousands of members worldwide. The Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence pose a serious national domestic threat and conduct the majority of criminal activity linked to OMGs, especially activity relating to drug-trafficking and, more specifically, to cross-border drug smuggling. Because of their transnational scope, these OMGs are able to coordinate drug smuggling operations in partnership with major international drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs).
- Bandidos Motorcycle Club
The Bandidos Motorcycle Club (Bandidos) is an OMG with a membership of 2,000 to 2,500 persons in the U.S. and in 13 other countries. The Bandidos constitute a growing criminal threat to the U.S. Law enforcement authorities estimate that the Bandidos are one of the two largest OMGs operating in the U.S., with approximately 900 members belonging to 93 chapters. The Bandidos are involved in transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana and are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine. The Bandidos are most active in the Pacific, Southeastern, Southwestern and the West Central regions of the U.S. The Bandidos are expanding in each of these regions by forming additional chapters and allowing members of supporting clubs, known as “puppet” or “duck” club members who have sworn allegiance to another club but who support and do the “dirty work” of a mother club – to form new or join existing Bandidos chapters.
- Black Pistons Motorcycle Club
The Black Pistons Motorcycle Club (Black Pistons) is the official support club for the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (Outlaws). Established in 2002 with the backing of the Outlaws, the Black Pistons have expanded rapidly throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Black Pistons have an estimated 70 domestic chapters in 20 states and an unknown number of foreign chapters in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Poland. The exact number of Black Pistons members is unknown but the figure is estimated to be more than 200 in the U.S. The Outlaws use the Black Pistons chapters as a recruitment source for prospective Outlaws members. The Outlaws also use the Black Pistons chapters to conduct criminal activity, especially for the transportation and distribution of drugs. Members of the Black Pistons are also known to engage in assault, extortion, fraud, intimidation and theft.
- Hells Angels Motorcycle Club
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (Hells Angels) is an OMG with between 2,000 and 2,500 members who belong to over 230 chapters in the U.S. and in 26 foreign countries. The Hells Angels pose a criminal threat on six continents. U.S. law enforcement authorities estimate that the Hells Angels have more than 92 chapters in 27 states with a membership in excess of 800 persons. The Hells Angels are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of marijuana and methamphetamine. Additionally, the Hells Angels are involved in the transportation and distribution of cocaine, hashish, heroin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), ecstasy, PCP (phencyclidine) and diverted pharmaceuticals. The Hells Angels are also involved in other criminal activity including assault, extortion, homicide, money laundering and motorcycle theft.
- Mongols Motorcycle Club
The Mongols Motorcycle Club (Mongols) is an extremely violent OMG that poses a serious criminal threat to the Pacific and Southwestern regions of the U.S. The Mongols are engaged in the transportation and distribution of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. The Mongols are also known to frequently commit violent crime including assault, intimidation and murder in defense of their territory, and to uphold the reputation of the club. A majority of the Mongols membership consists of Hispanic males who live in the Los Angeles area, and many are former street gang members with a long history of using violence to settle grievances. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) have called the Mongols the most violent and dangerous OMG in the nation. In the 1980’s the Mongols seized control of Southern California from the Hells Angels, and today, the Mongols are allied with the Bandidos, the Outlaws, the Sons of Silence and the Pagans against the Hells Angels. The Mongols have also maintained their ties with Hispanic street gangs in Los Angeles.
- Outlaws Motorcycle Club
The Outlaws Motorcycle Club (Outlaws) have more than 1,700 members who belong to 176 chapters in the U.S. and in 12 foreign countries. U.S. law enforcement authorities estimate that the Outlaws have more than 86 chapters in 20 states with over 700 members. The Outlaws also identify themselves as the A.O.A. (American Outlaws Association) and the Outlaws Nation. The Outlaws are the dominant OMG in the Great Lakes region. The Outlaws are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine, the transportation and distribution of cocaine, marijuana and, to a lesser extent, ecstasy. The Outlaws engage in various criminal activities including arson, assault, explosives, extortion, fraud, homicide, intimidation, kidnapping, money laundering, prostitution, robbery, theft and weapons violations. The Outlaws compete with the Hells Angels for both members and territory.
- Pagans Motorcycle Club
The Pagans Motorcycle Club (Pagans) is a violent OMG whose membership distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and PCP (phencyclidine). The Pagans are one of the most prominent OMGs in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Pagans have an estimated 200 to 250 members among 41 chapters in 11 states. The Pagans have been tied to traditional organized crime groups in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York and have engaged in criminal activities such as arson, assault, bombing, extortion and murder.
- Sons of Silence
Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club (SOSMC) is one of the largest OMGs in the United States, with 250 to 275 members among 30 chapters in 12 states. The club also has five chapters in Germany. SOSMC members have been implicated in numerous criminal activities, including murder, assault, drug trafficking, intimidation, extortion, prostitution operations, money laundering, weapons trafficking, and motorcycle and motorcycle parts theft.
- Vagos Motorcycle Club
ISIL militants take full control of Iraq’s Ramadi
ISIS captures Ramadi
May 17 2015 Breaking News IRAN led Shiite paramilitaries have been deployed to Ramadi Iraq
ISIL seizes Iraq’s Ramadi
Islamic State ‘seizes Iraqi city of Ramadi’ – BBC News
Watch: ‘Islamic State forces’ march into Ramadi after seizing the Iraqi city
ISIS Seizes Government Headquarters in Ramadi, Iraq
PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode May 17, 2015
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Iraqi city of Ramadi falls to Islamic State as police, military retreat
By Hugh Naylor and Mustafa Salim
BAGHDAD — The capital of Anbar province fell to Islamic State militants Sunday as hundreds of police personnel, soldiers and tribal fighters abandoned the city, prompting the Iraqi premier to order Iranian-aligned Shiite militias to join the fight to win back control.
The fall of Ramadi represented a huge victory for the Islamic State and dealt a profound blow to Iraq’s U.S.-backed government, led by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, and its military campaign to drive the extremist group out of the war-torn country. Just 24 hours before, officials in Baghdad announced that military reinforcements had been dispatched to defend the city, capital of Iraq’s largest province, against a brutal assault that began on Thursday.
But by Sunday, even the roads to Baghdad, 80 miles to the east, appeared vulnerable to the militant advance.
“Ramadi has fallen,” Muhannad Haimour, a spokesman for the Anbar governor told the Associated Press. “The city was completely taken…It was a gradual deterioration. The military is fleeing.”
Sunday’s developments, including Abadi’s decision to deploy Shiite militias to the country’s Sunni heartland, could complicate the U.S.-led campaign targeting the extremist group, which in recent days has included American airstrikes against militant positions in Ramadi in an effort to keep the city in government hands. U.S. officials have expressed concern over the divisive, sectarian-motivated — and increasingly powerful — Iranian-backed Shiite militias.
Carried by state television on Sunday evening, Abadi’s announcement, which contained few details, also included a plea for pro-government forces not to abandon their positions in Anbar.
The rapid disintegration of pro-government forces in Ramadi conjured memories of the Islamic State’s similar lighting defeat of Iraq’s weak military during sweeping advances throughout northern areas of the country last summer. Security forces retreated from the Malaab area of Ramadi at 1:30 p.m., abandoning about 60 military vehicles, including military-grade Humvees, to the militants, said Col. Nasser al-Alwani of the Ramadi police force. About half of the abandoned vehicles were sent by the U.S.-backed government on Saturday to reinforce the neighborhood, he added.
“Today, everybody retreated from the Malaab area, including counterterrorism units, army and police,” he said by telephone. Along with soldiers and counterterrorism units, the force of about 400 police officers who fall under Alwani’s command retreated in their vehicles to the east, he said. Islamic State fighters besieged them on all roads, forcing them to abandon the vehicles and escape on foot. A military convoy from the al-Habbaniyah air base later retrieved the fleeing Iraqi forces, he added.
“The retreat was complete chaos. There was no organization,” Alwani said, describing attacks by “hundreds” of Islamic State militants.
Earlier in the day, militants posted a statement on social media by the Islamic State that described Sunday’s events as a major military success, saying that the group “had imposed its control over all of Ramadi.”
In Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which the group captured in June, loud street celebrations were being held that involved fighters shooting automatic weapons into the air and passing out candy, according to a resident in the city. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing concern for his safety.
“The streets are full of cars honking horns and shouting Allahu Akbar because of Ramadi,” he said in a Facebook message.
In a sign of the seriousness over the situation in Anbar, the prime minister’s order to Shiite militias came just hours after Anbar’s provincial council voted in favor of allowing the irregular forces — known by the government as “popular mobilization units” — to participate in the battle to retake the city.
Iraqis, particularly in the Sunni-dominated province, are wary of the militias and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. The Islamic State has capitalized on Sunni grievances to take control of most of most of Anbar.
“We voted yes to the measure,” said Kahtan Abed, officer manager for the provincial council’s head, Sabah Karhout. “We took this decision because we have nowhere else to turn. We’ve literally lost everything.”
Diplomats, analysts and Iraqis say that the powerful militias threaten to undermine Iraq’s government as well as delicate sectarian relations in the country. With aid from Shiite Iran, the militiamen carried out scores of attacks against American soldiers when U.S. forces were still fighting in Iraq. But more recently, the militias have proved to be a crucial force in retaking territory, including the city of Tikrit last month, from the Islamic State.
An official in one of the Iranian-backed Shiite militias, Kitaeb Hezbollah, confirmed by text message that the group’s militiamen have mobilized and been put on high alert. Jawad al-Talibawi, a spokesman for the armed wing of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, another Iran-aligned militia, said the group had mobilized 1,500 members of its special forces to enter Anbar. The fighters had spent months battling in Syria’s civil war against rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, also an ally of Iran.
“Those 1,500 fighters are now awaiting the order to go in,” Talibawi said by telephone.
Omar al-Alwani, a pro-government tribal fighter from Ramadi, said no soldiers are left to defend eastern roads to the capital, Baghdad. He said he was among those who fled Malaab with the group of pro-government forces, which he estimated at more than 500. They left behind weapons that included artillery, machine-gun trucks and machine guns, he said.
“Daesh seized the police station, the big mosque” in the area, he said, adding that Islamic State fighters surrounded the area police station and fatally shot the senior officer there, Col. Muthana al-Jabari. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
He and others expressed concern about several hundred pro-government forces who are still surrounded by militants in a military operations hub in the city. According to unconfirmed reports, as many as 40 people in that facility were killed Sunday in two suicide bombings.
“Only God can help those people now. There is no one left to protect them,” said Alwani the tribal fighter.
However, Majed Abdullah, a captain in the Iraqi army who was besieged in the compound, said that scores of pro-government forces managed to escape the facility. They drove away, heading west, he said, adding that they left behind dozens on wounded soldiers and police. It is unclear whether the Islamic State has entered the compound, although there is fear that those who have been left behind could be executed by the militants.
“We’re on the Iraq-Jordan highway now and we’re waiting for orders to either reconstitute our forces and attack or retreat entirely,” Abdullah said by telephone. Using car bombings and heavy shelling, Islamic State militants launched a surprise attack Thursday on Ramadi, capturing most of the city’s neighborhoods by the following day. Residents, pro-government forces and officials accuse the militants of carrying out dozens of executions and systematic destruction of homes belonging to members of the security services.
Before the assault on Thursday, the Islamic State had already taken control of most of Anbar during sweeping advances last summer throughout Iraq.
Just under a decade ago, U.S.-backed Sunni tribes in Anbar led a revolt against al-Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to the Islamic State. But frustration with Iraq’s Shiite-led government persuaded a number of tribesmen in the province to side with the Islamic State.
Rafia al-Fahdawi, an elder in the province’s Albu Fahed tribe, expressed doubt that a similar tribal uprising could be waged at the moment against the extremist group. On Saturday, he and dozens of fellow Sunni tribal leaders also issued a call for Shiite militias to intervene in Anbar.
“The army has let us down. The SWAT team has let us down. We can’t depend on these forces, and we need forces that are inspired to fight hard,” he said, referring to the militias.
Islamic State captures government compound in Ramadi
An Iraqi official says Islamic State militants have captured the main government compound inRamadi, the capital of the western Anbar province, after fierce clashes with security forces.
Ramadi’s Mayor Dalaf al-Kubaisi says the militants raised the black flag of the IS group over the area on Friday after troops were forced to withdraw from the compound, which houses most of the city’s government offices.
He says the IS militants are now attacking the Anbar Operation Command, the military headquarters for the province.
U.S. troops saw some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year Iraq intervention in Anbar, and Ramadi was a major insurgent stronghold.
The IS assault on the government compound began with three nearly simultaneous suicide car bombings that killed 10 police and wounded seven others.
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/15/islamic-state-captures-government-compound-ramadi/#ixzz3aWZxTx2I
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
Careless tweets costs jihadis: ISIS orders fighters to stop giving away their tactics by bragging on social media
- Embarrassing defeats at Kobane and Tikrit has left ISIS feeling under pressure
- Fighters continue to join social media despite the threat of frequent suspensions
- A series of social media blunders has previously led to fighters giving away their positions and tactics
- Islamic State have recently launched new offensives for the Baiji oil fields and the Iraqi city of Ramadi
Following heavy defeats at Tikrit in Iraq and the appalling costly siege of Kobane, Islamic State have launched their own social media rules to censor coverage on its recent defeats.
The image of the rules began to circulate on social media, two weeks after Islamic State was forced to abandon the Iraqi city of Tikrit.
With ISIS propaganda team releasing endless sets of dull publicity photos from life inside Iraq and Syria, the senior commanders appear keen to eradicate any hint of problems within the group’s territory.
The media crackdown appears to be an attempt by ISIS senior commanders to eradicate any knowledge of the extremist group’s defeats or internal problems.
Some ISIS supporters on social media appear to be exasperated by the apparent leaking of information and discussions of the defeat at Tikrit.
Specific details like the manufacturing of new weapons and any pictures of ISIS fighters, have been deemed by ISIS as a breach of online security.
Perhaps the strangest and most unclear rule reads: ‘The stupendous spread of Mujahideen along a specific locations’ It appears unknown what the extremist group meant by ‘the stupendous spread of mujahideen.’
Whilst it remains unknown how Islamic State will manage to enforce these rules, the jihadi group has previously struggled to keep any control of its fighters and supporters on social media.
One exasperated ISIS supporter wrote: ‘Brothers, please stop posting news about anything in Tirkit or Ramadi walla. You are doing more harm to the mujahideen than good. Fear Allah.’
Some of the rules, particularly regarding the publishing information on the location of fighters and the use of tactics, appears to come after a series of calamitous social media errors by some fighters.
Islamic State fighter Mark Taylor, originally from New Zealand, shot to fame after accidentally tweeting his location whilst fighting in Syria.
Taylor forgot to turn off the geo-locator setting on his account, allowing intelligence services to successfully track his every movement. He even managed to give away where he was living in al-Tabaqah, south west Raqqa.
Known as Ali Al-Farsi, 19-year-old Ali Kalantar’s death was first tweeted by Halane, under the nom de guerre, Umm Jafar al-Britaniyah.
British terror twin Zahra Halane (left) and Kiwi fighter Mark Taylor (right), have both been criticised by ISIS supporters for giving away information on fighters and locations.
Islamic State commander fear that with the deadly coalition air strikes decimating their ranks, such lapses in security is proving costly.
In particular female jihadis have been criticized by fellow ISIS supporters for their loose lipped attitude on social media. One of the British terror twins, Zahra Halane, has previously broken the rules by announcing the death of her husband on social media.
Known as Ali Al-Farsi, 19-year-old Ali Kalantar’s death was first tweeted by Halane, under the nom de guerre, Umm Jafar al-Britaniyah. Halane quickly deleted the tweets but not before a screenshot had sent them viral.
Islamic State propaganda remains highly important to their strategy for recruitment and legitimacy. ISIS media continue to churn out endless propaganda photos from inside ISIS territory.
Islamic State fighters have recently made worrying gains near the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Anbar province. Shiite paramilitary groups and other reinforcements are reportedly heading to Ramadi to provide support against the ISIS threat.
New propaganda photos from Anbar province claim that ISIS were warmly welcomed as they entered a nearby town near Ramadi.
Islamic State continue to launch new offensives, targeting the strategic Iraqi oil fields at Baiji and the city of Ramadi in Anbar province.
Using suicide bombers to destroy the surrounding fence, Islamic State fighters have been managed to fight their way inside the oil field compound in Salahuddin province.
Parts of the oil fields have frequently changed hands between the Iraqi army and militants from Islamic State. Due to its remote desert location, it has proved to be a difficult base to maintain.
Newly published photos and a brief video shows dozens of ISIS fighters celebrating inside the oil field’s facilities.
It remains unknown how long they will manage to hold out before the Baghdad forces re-take it.
Using suicide bombers to destroy the surrounding fence, Islamic State fighters have been managed to fight their way inside the oil field compound
Delta Force Commandos Kill Key ISIS Leader in Ground Raid in Syria
In a ground raid deep in Syrian territory, U.S. special operations forces killed a top ISIS leader who they were attempting to capture and interrogate about American hostages and how the terror group finances its war machine, the Obama…
“a pretty good fight on the ground.“
Battle for control in Syria
U.S. conducts raid in Syria, says it kills senior Islamic State leader
American special operations forces killed a senior Islamic State leader in a raid in Syria, U.S. officials said on Saturday, an operation that marked a departure from Washington’s strategy of relying primarily on air strikes to target militants there.
Delta Force commandos used UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to punch deep into eastern Syria from Iraq. They engaged in a firefight and hand-to-hand combat with Islamic State fighters, killed a key figure in the group named as Abu Sayyaf and captured his wife, U.S. officials said.
The officials described Sayyaf, a Tunisian, as an Islamic State commander who helped manage the group’s black-market sales of oil and gas to raise funds. The officials said President Barack Obama ordered the overnight operation, which killed about a dozen Islamic State fighters and had been planned for several weeks.
It marked the first known U.S. special forces operation inside Syria apart from a failed mission last year to rescue U.S. and other foreign hostages held by Islamic State in northeastern Syria.
Wary of the United States getting pulled deeper into Middle East conflicts, Obama has promised not to commit major ground forces in the fight against Islamic State, which has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq. But he has left open the prospect of special forces raids.
It was not immediately clear if this one marked the start of a new chapter in Syria.
U.S. and Arab forces have carried out almost daily air raids against hardline Islamist militant groups in Syria including Islamic State since last September, and U.S.-led forces are also targeting the group in Iraq.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the operation was intended to capture Abu Sayyaf but he was killed “when he engaged U.S. forces.” His wife, Umm Sayyaf, was captured, then placed in U.S. military detention in Iraq and was being questioned about Islamic State operations and hostages held by the group.
No U.S. forces were killed or wounded during the operation, Carter said.
“The operation represents another significant blow to ISIL, and it is a reminder that the United States will never waver in denying safe haven to terrorists who threaten our citizens, and those of our friends and allies,” Carter said, using an acronym for the Islamic State organization.
Local Syrian sources contacted by Reuters said two other senior Islamic State operatives, a Syrian and a Saudi, were also killed alongside Abu Sayyaf. The raid lasted no more than half an hour, according to the sources.
The accounts could not be independently verified. U.S. officials had no immediate comment on whether other senior Islamic State militants were killed in the raid.
The raid in Syria came at a time when Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in areas it controls and has carried out beheadings and massacres, has scored high-profile gains in Iraq and made advances in Syria.
Islamic State militants raised their black flag over the local government headquarters in the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Friday and claimed victory after overrunning most of the provincial capital.
If Ramadi were to fall it would be the first major city seized by the Sunni insurgents in Iraq since security forces and paramilitary groups began pushing them back last year.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said he extended his “gratitude and continued support” for the U.S. troops involved in the Syria raid. But Boehner, a Republican, said he was “gravely concerned” by Islamic State’s advances in Ramadi, which he said “threatens the stability and sovereignty of Iraq, which is vital to America’s interests.”
Hawkish Republican critics of Obama, a Democrat, say he has not acted forcefully enough to rein in the rise of Islamic State.
GREEN LIGHT FROM OBAMA
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the Syria raid was conducted “with the full consent of Iraqi authorities.” She said the United States did not give any advance warning or coordinate with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who Washington opposes.
“The president authorized this operation upon the unanimous recommendation of his national security team and as soon as we had developed sufficient intelligence and were confident the mission could be carried out successfully,” Meehan said.
Meehan said U.S. forces freed a young Yezidi woman “who appears to have been held as a slave” by Abu Sayyaf and his wife. His wife was suspected of playing “an important role in ISIL’s terrorist activities,” Meehan said.
The U.S. military last summer carried out a failed mission in Syria to rescue journalist James Foley, held hostage by Islamic State. Foley was later beheaded by the group in August 2014.
In December, al Qaeda militants shot and fatally wounded American photo journalist Luke Somers and South African teacher Pierre Korkie during a failed rescue attempt led by U.S. commandos in Yemen.
Saturday’s raid followed a summit Obama held at Camp David earlier this week with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab allies who have pressed the United States to be more militarily assertive in Syria, especially in support of moderate rebels seeking to oust Assad.
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Story 1: Two Terrorist Islamic Jihadists Attack Garland Texas Curtis Culwell Center Where Mohammed Cartoon Contest Free Speech Event Was Ending — Suspect Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi Shot Dead — Don’t Mess With Texas — Videos
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
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By Adam Goldman and Mark Berman
One of the gunmen authorities say opened fire Sunday outside an exhibition of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad had previously been suspected of trying to fly overseas and wage violent jihad, according to court records.
He was identified as Elton Simpson, 30, of Phoenix, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. Law enforcement officials said Monday afternoon that the second shooter in the Texas attack was Nadir Soofi, 34, Simpson’s roommate.
FBI agents searched a Phoenix apartment Monday as part of the investigation into the shooting, which occurred Sunday evening in Garland, a city near Dallas.
The FBI had begun monitoring Simpson again recently. Authorities said Monday that they were still working to determine details about the two men and who may have instigated the plan. The FBI does not believe the shooting was directed by an international terrorist group, but is still investigating.
Police say the two gunmen drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center during a controversial art exhibition and, at around 6:50 p.m., opened fire with assault rifles, striking a security guard in the leg.
An officer who normally works on traffic was there as part of a heavy security detail for the event, and this officer shot and killed both gunmen using his duty pistol, said Joe Harn, a spokesman for the Garland police.
“Both those men died there on the street next to their car,” Harn said during a news conference Monday morning.
The gunmen had additional ammunition as well as suitcases in their vehicle, but no bombs or explosives were found, Harn said. They were also wearing some form of protective gear, he said.
While Harn would not say if police believed the shooting was directly connected with the event, he said the two gunmen intended to get inside the center and shoot people.
“We were able to stop those men before they were able to penetrate the area and attempt to shoot anyone else,” Harn said.
The guns recovered by authorities in Garland were being traced Monday by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Officer ‘probably saved lives’ in Tex. shootings(1:57)
Police planned security for months before a Texas event showing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, a police spokesperson said. (Reuters)
City officials said that Bruce Joiner was the Garland Independent School District security officer who was shot at by the two gunmen. Joiner was treated for an ankle wound and released, the city said in a statement.
The inflammatory event was hosted by a New York group that had promised $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting Muhammad. Drawing or otherwise depicting Muhammad is largely forbidden under Islam.
Authorities said there was considerable discussion on social media in the days leading up to the cartoon event, which prompted authorities to deploy heavy security. One tweet sent out on Sunday referred to taking a pledge of allegiance and referred to a #texasattack, but it was unclear whether the account belonged to either of the men involved.
Simpson was born in Illinois and converted to Islam at a young age, court documents show. The government began investigating him in 2006, recording conversations between him and a paid informant.
In May 2009, according a federal court document, Simpson told an FBI informant: “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother.” He added: “It’s time. I’m tellin’ you man. We gonna make it to the battlefield…it’s time to roll.”
Simpson was arrested by the FBI in January 2010 after a lengthy investigation. He was charged with lying to agents in connection with terrorism. Authorities suspected he was trying to fly to Somalia, but Simpson claimed at the time he had intended to travel to South Africa to go to school and study Islam there.
Following a bench trial, a judge dropped the terrorism enhancement, citing insufficient evidence. The judge, Mary H. Murguia, said in March 2011 that the government had failed to prove that Simpson intended to wage violent jihad in Somalia. Murguia reduced the charge to making a false statement to federal officials and sentenced Simpson to three years of probation. Authorities also returned his passport, which they had confiscated after his arrest.
Simpson’s lawyer described him as a very religious man who had converted to Islam.
“He didn’t seem to me to be any threat to anybody,” Kristina Sitton, Simpson’s lawyer, said in a telephone interview Monday. “He seemed to be very kind but entrenched in Islam. He wouldn’t shake my hand.”
She said that after he was sentenced to probation, Simpson called her saying that he had tried to board a domestic flight and was told he could not fly. Sitton said she believed he was on the no-fly list.
Soofi was a pre-med student at the University of Utah from 1998 to 2003, according to a spokeswoman for the school. He left the school in the summer of 2003 without having earned a degree, she said.
Former terror suspect well known to the FBI is named as one of two gunmen shot dead by cops after attack on anti-Islam ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest near Dallas
- Elton Simpson, 30, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34, were gunned down after shooting a guard in the leg outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas on Sunday evening
- Simpson was convicted of lying to federal agents about traveling to Africa five years ago – but a judge ruled it could not be proved that he was going to join a terror group
- Their Phoenix, Arizona home has been surrounded and a bomb squad is carrying out a search
- The American Freedom Defense Initiative event had offered a $10,000 prize for the best caricature of the prophet; local residents had expressed their concerns about the event but organizers said they were exercising free speech
- The security guard who was shot, Bruce Joiner, was taken to hospital in stable condition and has been released
- One traffic officer shot both men dead and has been praised by cops for potentially saving many lives
- ISIS fighter claimed on Twitter that the shooting was carried out by two pro-ISIS individuals
A former terror suspect has been named as one of the gunmen shot dead by police after the two attackers blasted an unarmed security guard in the ankle during an anti-Islam art contest in Texas on Sunday night.
Elton Simpson, 30, who was previously the subject of a terror investigation, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34, were armed with assault rifles when they were killed by a quick-thinking traffic officer after opening fire outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Dallas, at around 7pm.
The shooting unfolded as the American Freedom Defense Initiative held an event inside the building where caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were being displayed. Followers of Islam deem that any physical depiction of the prophet – even a positive one – is blasphemous.
Simpson, identified in court papers as an American Muslim, had been convicted of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia five years ago, but a judge ultimately ruled it could not be proved that he was heading there to join a terror group. He was placed on probation.
Soofi, named as the second gunman by the Washington Post, shared an apartment with Simpson at the Autumn Ridge complex in Phoenix.
On Monday morning, FBI agents and investigators could be seen cordoning off and searching the apartment, as well as a white van believed to belong to Simpson. Investigators are also reviewing computer records from materials found at the home.
Destroyed: Investigators destroyed some of the belongings found inside the back of the suspects’ car, pictured, as a precaution
Investigation: Agents work on the scene near to where the men opened fire before they were shot dead by a traffic officer
Search: Reporters gather near the home of Elton Simpson, one of the suspected attackers, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday morning
Raid: Police tape surrounds a vehicle, believed to belong to one of the two gunmen, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday
Probe: Investigators pull belongings from the back of the truck and carry items inside the complex on Monday morning
ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site
Investigators also searched the car that the two gunmen drove to the scene and found luggage and further ammunition inside. Some of the belongings were destroyed as a precaution but no explosives were found inside the vehicle, Garland Police Officer Joe Harn said on Monday.
On Monday, Simpson’s father said that he believes his son, who had worked in a dentist’s office, ‘made a bad choice’.
‘We are Americans and we believe in America,’ Dunston Simpson told ABC News. ‘What my son did reflects very badly on my family.’
Ahead of the attack on Sunday evening, several Twitter messages were sent out, and authorities believe Simpson was behind them. The last one was shared just half an hour before the shooting.
Followers of ISIS had been calling for an attack online for more than a week after learning that the competition in Garland would feature a ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest, with a prize of $10,000 for the best caricatur
After the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group reported that an Islamic State fighter claimed on Twitter that the shooting was carried out by two pro-Isis individuals.
In a series of tweets and links, a jihadist named as Abu Hussain AlBritani, which SITE said was British IS fighter Junaid Hussain, claimed that ‘2 of our brothers just opened fire’ at the Prophet Muhammad exhibition in Texas.
‘They Thought They Was Safe In Texas From The Soldiers of The Islamic State,’ added the tweet.
Other ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site, using the now-suspended account name @atawaakul, according to New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi.
He had posted a message earlier that said ‘the bro with me and myself have given bay’ah [oath] to Amirul Mu’mineen [ISIS leader Al Baghdadi]. May Allah accept us as mujahideen #texasattack’.
The contest was just minutes from finishing when multiple gunshots were heard.
The two suspects had pulled up in a vehicle before getting out and firing at a security officer, 57-year-old Bruce Joiner, who was employed by the independent school district. He was later taken to hospital in a stable condition and was released on Sunday evening.
FBI search home of gunman killed at Muhammad exhibit
Attack: The bodies of shooting suspects are seen next to their vehicle as it is searched for explosives at an anti-Muslim event in Texas on Sunday. The two men had got out the vehicle and opened fire, wounding a security guard in the leg, before they were shot by police
Controversial: On Sunday, two heavily armed police officers can be seen securing art work following the shooting. The art competition, which was awarding $10,000 to the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, had been condemned by critics
An officer prevents two people from leaving the building as the area was placed on lockdown after multiple gunshots were heard
TAPES OF A TERROR SUSPECT: RECORDINGS SHOW SIMPSON’S INTENTIONS TO WAGE A WAR
Elton Simpson was well known to the FBI. In 2010, he was convicted of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia – although a judge ultimately ruled it could not be proved that he was heading there to join a terror group.
During the investigation, an FBI informant recorded their conversations, which showed Simpson talking about his intentions to fight for the Muslim way of life.
Court documents state: ‘Mr. Simpson said that the reward is high because “If you get shot, or you get killed, it’s [heaven] straight away”…. “[Heaven] that’s what we here for…so why not take that route?”‘
He added that in countries, such as Palestine, Iraq and Somalia, ‘they trying to bring democracy over there man, they’re trying to make them live by man-made laws, not by Allah’s laws’.
He went on: ‘That’s why they get fought. You try to make us become slaves to man? No we slave to Allah, we going to fight you to the death.’
In a recording from 2009, he told the informant that it was time they went to Somalia.
‘It’s time,’ he said. ‘I’m tellin’ you man. We gonna make it to the battlefield… It’s time to roll…
‘People fighting and killing your kids, and dropping bombs on people that have nothing to do with nothing. You got to fight back you can’t be just sitting down… smiling at each other…’
As the gunmen got out of their car with their weapons, one police officer – a tenured traffic cop – shot both men dead, Garland Police officer Joe Harn said at a press conference on Monday. The officer used his service pistol to shoot the men, who were carrying assault weapons.
‘With what he was faced with and his reaction and his shooting with a pistol, he did a good job,’ Harn said of the officer.
‘He did what he was trained to do, and under the fire that he was put under, he did a very good job and probably saved lives. We think their strategy was to get into the events center and they were not able to get past that outer perimeter.’
Randy Potts, a contributor for The Daily Beast, recalled how he was watching the speeches wrap up when a man wearing camouflage shouted: ‘Get inside the conference room now!’
‘The room was oddly quiet,’ he said. ‘A hush fell over the crowd of about 150, as if we were listening for something outside. Then a camo-clad security guard with a rifle got up on stage and announced that a cop and two suspects had been shot.’
He described how security surrounding the event was evident even as he drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center. The parking lot was surrounded by yellow tape and his ID was checked twice before he was allowed to enter.
Johnny Roby of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, had also been attending the conference. He said he was outside the building when he heard around 20 shots that appeared to be coming from the direction of a passing car.
Roby said he then heard two single shots before officers yelled that they had the car before he was sent inside the building.
The building, which had about 100 people inside, and surrounding areas were placed on lockdown by SWAT teams.
FBI bomb squad robots were then sent in to check the suspects’ vehicle, as the two bodies of the gunmen lay on the road beside it. The bodies were not immediately taken from the scene because they were too close to the car, which police feared had incendiary devices inside.
Shortly before midnight, police alerted media that a strong electronic pulse would be activated near the scene, presumably as part of the bomb squad’s work, and a loud boom was heard moments later, though police did not comment further on what was carried out.
The art event had been condemned by critics as an attack on Islam, but the organizers insisted they were exercising free speech.
Some Twitter users began posting about the shooting using a #JeSuisGarland hashtag, mirroring the #JesuisCharlie hashtag that became popular after January’s jihadist attacks in France. In that incident, gunmen killed 12 people in the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons of the prophet.
After the gunfire in Garland, those inside the building started to sing patriotic songs, including the national anthem and God Bless America, and said a prayer for the injured security guard after one woman pulled out an American flag from her bag.
Garland Police officer Joe Harn said on Sunday evening they had been monitoring the build-up to the event and had not received any credible threats.
During a press conference, he described how the shootout lasted only seconds. A large area around the Center remained blocked off late into the night.
Update: On Monday, Garland Police spokesperson Joe Harn praised the traffic officer who took down both of the attackers
Keeping calm: A policeman keeps members of the audience inside the auditorium after the shots were fired at the controversial event
At the ready: Members of the Garland Police Department stand guard inside the Curtis Culwell Center in the aftermath of the shooting
Safe: Attendees of the event were led off of a school bus into another building where they were questioned by law enforcemen
Two heavily-armed officers stand guard as police blocked off the street surrounding the scene in Garland, Texas
Two gunmen shot dead outside anti-Islam cartoon contest
He said: ‘Because of the situation of what was going on today and the history of what we’ve been told has happened at other events like this, we are considering their car (is) possibly containing a bomb.’
Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the incident as a ‘senseless attack’ and praised the ‘swift action’ of Garland law enforcement.
Security guard Bruce Joiner was shot in the leg while standing outside the building. His injuries were not life-threatening
The attack unfolded shortly after Dutch member of parliament and leader of the far-right Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, had delivered his keynote speech. There had been calls by members of Congress for him to be stopped at the border so he would not be able to speak.
‘We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of speech,’ he said during his speech shortly before the building was shut down. ‘That is our duty… Our message today is very simple: we will never allow barbarism, never allow Islam, to rob us of our freedom of speech.’
His remarks were met with a standing ovation. He then told the audience that most terrorists are Muslims, and ‘the less Islam the better’.
In 2009, he sparked controversy for showing a controversial film which linked the Koran to terrorism and has previously said the Netherlands is being taken over by a ‘tsunami of Islamisation’.
Pamela Geller, the organizer of the event and the leader of Stop Islamisation of America, wrote on her personal website after the attack: ‘This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?’
In a post in late March, she insisted that the event was necessary to fight back against what she described as ‘the jihad against freedom’.
It was set up by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and had been described by opponents as an attack on Islam. They booked the center a little more than a week after Islamic militants in France killed 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The Garland Independent School district, who own the cultural center, allowed the event to go ahead despite criticism from residents and local Muslims that it was a risk to public safety.
The group spent $10,000 on 40 additional security officers, aware of potential threats they may attract, while Garland Police officers were fully prepared to deal with any issues that arose.
Before the event, the New York-based organisation made the headlines for its sponsorship of anti-Islamic adverts which it paid to run on transit systems in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and San Francisco.
A picture taken from inside the event just before the attack showed Geller giving a check for $12,500 to Bosch Fawtin who won the event.
He told the Dallas Morning News he believed there would be no danger because of the high levels of security surrounding the event.
‘I had known it would be secure, but seeing it is a whole new thing,’ he said before the shootings.
Locals in Garland said they were upset with the exhibit being held in their town, and tried to convince the city council to intervene.
One resident, Dorothy Brooks, said that the event was like shouting ‘fire!’ in a theater – an oft-cited example of freedom of speech taken too far.
She continued: ‘I understand that participants have a right to express themselves with cartoons, but I regret that this will be happening in our city.’
Another, Lena Griffin, asked at a city council meeting: ‘Do we want to be involved with this type of rhetoric?’ It is not an issue of free speech but clearly one of public safety.’
Aerial footage of robot checking for explosives at shooting scene
Winner: Artist Bosh Fawstin (left) is presented with a check for $12,500 by Dutch politician Geert Wilders (center) and Pamela Geller (right) during a ceremony at the Curtis Culwell Center just before the shootings occurred
Proud: Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, center, poses for a photograph with officers who responded to the shooting
Pamela Geller, co-founder and President of Stop Islamization of America, also spoke just before the two gunmen opened fire
Wilders, who has sparked controversy for linking the Koran with terrorism, speaks at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest
Scene: An aerial view shows the Curtis Culwell Center and the black car (seen center bottom) that was used by the two gunmen
The event had already been the subject of disapproval from further afield, according to ForeignPolicy.com.
The site obtained a letter from congressmen Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) and André Carson (D-Indiana) sent to John Kerry and Homeland Security asking them to bar a speaker for the event from entering the United States.
Caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed have triggered violent protests in the past, including when the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 satirical cartoons in 2005, triggering deadly protests in some Muslim countries.
In January, just weeks after the Paris attacks, an event called Stand with the Prophet was held in the same center. Muslim leaders from across the world gathered to try and combat ‘Islamophobes in America’ who had turned Muhammad into an ‘object of hate’.
Geller spearheaded about 1,000 picketers at the event. One chanted: ‘Go back to your own countries! We don’t want you here!’ Others held signs with messages such as, ‘Insult those who behead others,’ an apparent reference to recent beheadings by the militant group Islamic State.
Mr Abbott said state officials are investigating, and Dallas FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont said that the agency is providing investigative and bomb technician assistance.
The Charlie Hebdo attack was followed by another a month later in Europe. A masked gunman sprayed bullets into a Copenhagen meeting in February attended by a Swedish artist who had been threatened with death for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
A civilian was killed and three police officers were injured in the attack, aimed at artist Lars Vilks, who stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a dog.
Denmark itself became a target 10 years ago after the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad. The images led to sometimes fatal protests in the Muslim world.
CONTROVERSIAL CARICATURES: WHY DEPICTING THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD IS BANNED BY MUSLIMS
It’s not mentioned in Islam’s holy book, the Quran, but the religion’s ban on depicting the Prophet Muhammad — even favorably — has run firm through the centuries.
Religious traditions built over the years have prohibited such depictions out of respect for Muhammad and to discourage idolatry, according to Muslim scholars and clerics. The ban is further rooted in a wider prohibition against images or statues of human beings.
There have been exceptions. A rich tradition of depicting Muhammad emerged in miniatures and illustrations for manuscripts from around 1200 to 1700. The art is mainly from Turkey and Iran, where pictorial traditions were stronger than in the Arab world. The paintings often show traditional stories from Muhammad’s life, such as his journey to heaven, though in some the prophet’s face is obscured by a veil or a plume of flame.
Shiites also differ from Sunnis by depicting Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali, revered by Shiites who see him as the prophet’s rightful successor. His image — and those of his sons Hassan and Hussein — are plentiful among Shiites, adorning posters, banners, jewelry and even keychains. For Sunnis, the ban on depictions extends beyond the prophet to his close companions and wives.
‘The Prophet Muhammad enjoys sublime and supreme status among Muslims and it is impossible to let a normal person depict or act the role of the prophet,’ said Iraqi Shiite cleric Fadhil al-Saadi. ‘There is no confirmed information about the shape or the features of the Prophet … So nobody should come up with a painting or an image of him. That would represent an insult to the status of the prophet.’
With no explicit text against depictions — or against images of humans in general — the prohibition comes from deduction by Muslim scholars and interpreters over the centuries from the collections of Hadeeth, or sayings and actions of Muhammad.
The prohibition against depicting humans and other living beings, which emerged from scholars as early as the 9th century, came from reported sayings of Muhammad, in some of which he refused to enter a room with such depictions or challenged their creators to breathe life into them. The presumption was that such art would suggest man can emulate God’s powers of creation — and there were worries that statues in particular could encourage idolatry.
Islamic tradition is full of written descriptions of Muhammad and his qualities — describing him as the ideal human being. But clerics have generally agreed that trying to depict that ideal is forbidden. That puts satirical — and obscene — depictions like those in the French magazing Charlie Hebdo far beyond the pale.
While no one knows Muhammad’s true appearance, followers of the relatively modern, ultraconservative Salafi movement in Islam seek to emulate him as closely as possible — including in what they believe to be his physical features and dress. Hardcore Salafis wear a beard without a moustache, let their hair grow long, line their eyes with kohl or wear robes stopping around mid-shin, contending that was the prophet’s manner.
The ban also extends to his wives, daughters, sons-in-law, the first caliphs who succeeded him and his closest companions. In fact, Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, the Sunni world’s foremost seat of religious learning, has complained when ‘Mohammed, Messenger of God,’ an epic 1970s Hollywood production, depicted the prophet’s camel.
There is a thriving production of religious TV series in the Arab world depicting the times of the prophet. But Muhammad and his companions are never themselves shown. At times, a white light stands in for Muhammad in the films or in movie posters — and when they are meant to be addressing Muhammad, the actors usually speak into the camera.
How Texas “Terror” Shooter Elton Simpson Avoided Prison In 2011
Wiretaps of Texas shooter Elton Simpson talking about jihad didn’t convince a federal judge that he was a potential terrorist
The attorney who once defended one of two men who opened fire at a “Draw Muhammad” event in Texas on Sunday says she was “shocked” to learn that he was involved in the attack. She says she has represented a number of people charged with terrorism-related crimes. Some of them are the “worst of the worst,” but Elton Simpson was “one of the good ones,” she said.
“He was always respectful to me and my staff—did everything he was supposed to do,” attorney Kristina Sitton told Vocativ.
According to Sitton, Simpson didn’t come from a Muslim family and didn’t convert to Islam until he was in high school. “He said he was running with a bad crowd in high school—smoking, drinking and stuff,” she said. “He said Islam got him away from that stuff.”
Sitton defended Simpson against charges that he made false statements to an FBI agent in 2010 about a trip he was planning to take to Somalia to study Islam. He was facing up to eight years in prison if federal prosecutors had been able to convince Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Mary Murguia that the trip was related to international or domestic terrorism. Ultimately, Murguia in 2011 sentenced him to three years probation for the false statement. According to federal court records obtained by Vocativ, the judge determined that the feds didn’t make their case—despite audio recordings of Simpson talking about “jihad” with an FBI informant.
The FBI began investigating Simpson in 2006 after he was found to be in contact with a man who authorities believe was attempting to set up a terror cell in Phoenix, Arizona. Investigators began recording conversations between Simpson and the informant, Dabla Deng. The federal government paid Deng $132,000 to befriend Simpson under the guise of being new to Islam and needing guidance.
Between March 2007 and November 2009, Deng recorded more than 1,500 hours of conversations he had with Simpson, during which the two discussed fighting non-Muslims and how getting killed while waging jihad made it possible to get to heaven “straight away.”
“[Heaven] that’s what we (sic) here for, so why not take [the jihad] route,” Simpson said during a conversation with Deng on July 31, 2007.
In another recording, from May 29, 2009, Simpson tells Deng: “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother,” before explaining, “we gonna make it to the battlefield…it’s time to roll.” On January 7, 2010, FBI agents contacted Simpson and specifically asked whether he “discussed traveling to, or are you planning to, travel to Somalia?”
Simpson said “no.”
“I thought [the case] was completely ridiculous, to tell you the truth,” said Sitton, who told Vocativ that she’s “not a bleeding heart — I’m a Republican.”
“They show up at his house and ask him about something that happened two years ago, and he says ‘no’ and then faces federal charges?” Sitton said that in the 1,500 hours of recordings with Deng, Simpson only mentioned Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization, twice.
Federal prosecutors wanted Simpson to receive the beefed-up sentence of eight years because, they argued, his crime of lying to federal authorities involved terrorism. But Judge Murguia—an Obama appointee on what is often considered to be the most left-leaning appeals court in the country—found that there was insufficient evidence that Simpson’s false statement to authorities involved international terrorism.
On Sunday, Simpson posted on Twitter: “May Allah accept us as mujahideen,” with the hashtag “#texasattack,” before he and another man drove to the “Draw Muhammad” event at a conference center in a Dallas suburb and opened fire. Both men were fatally shot by security.
Sitton says the narrative of the shooting is not representative of the client she describes as a kind, respectful young man who frequently tried to convert her and others to Islam. “He was always kind about it,” she said. “He would say, ‘the Koran says this and the Koran says that,’ but it was always respectful.”
She questioned the motivation of the organizers of the “Draw Muhammad” event, as images of the prophet are highly offensive to many Muslims. “I kind of wonder what this event was about,” she says. “It just seems like they want to provoke people.”
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Story 1: The Mass Extinction of The Iran Nuclear Weapons Program — There Time Is Up — Celebrate Independence Day, July 4, 2015 With A Joint United States and Israel Air Strike Destroying All of Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Related Capability — All We Are Asking Is Give Bombing A Chance — Just Do It! — Corker Bill Is An April Fool’s Joke Or Corker Con Job On The American People — Shame On The US Senate Trashing The Treaty Clause of U.S. Constitution — Vote The Republican Traitors Including Bob Corker Out of Office! — Profiles in Deceit — Videos
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The Corker Bill Isn’t a Victory — It’s a Constitutional Perversion
by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
As the Framers knew, we are unlikely to outgrow human nature. So what happens when we decide we’ve outgrown a Constitution designed to protect us from human nature’s foibles?
The question arises, yet again, thanks to Senator Bob Corker. The Tennessee Republican, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is author — along with Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) — of a ballyhooed bipartisan bill that is being touted as the derailment of President Obama’s plan to trample congressional prerogatives en route to a calamitous “deal” that will facilitate jihadist Iran’s nuclear-weapons ambitions. (I use scare-quotes because the so-called deal is still a work in regress.)
So guess who now supports this stalwart congressional resistance to our imperial president? Why none other than . . . yes . . . Barack Obama! You think maybe, just maybe, the Corker bill isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be? You’d be right. When you read the legislation, it becomes apparent that Senator Corker is simply channeling his inner Mitch McConnell.
Back in 2011, the Senate’s then-minority leader was flummoxed by the national debt. No, not by its enormous size. Afraid of being lambasted by the media for slowing the gravy train, he wanted to help Obama raise the debt by many additional trillions of dollars; but equally fearing the wrath of those who’d elected him precisely to slow the gravy train, he wanted to appear as a staunch opponent of such profligacy.
Senator McConnell’s problem was that meddlesome Constitution. On the theory that government borrowing and spending are best controlled by the elected officials most directly accountable to the taxpayers who foot the bill, the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, ultimate power over the debt.
This is inconsistent, of course, with a scheme to impose more crushing debt on the country without being held accountable for it. Consequently, the Constitution was thrown overboard.
McConnell and other GOP leaders hatched a plan under which Obama would appear to raise the debt unilaterally. Congress could then respond with a “resolution of disapproval.” As McConnell knew, either Democrats would defeat the resolution or Obama would veto it. That was $4 trillion ago. McConnell’s chicanery gave big-spending Republicans a windfall: They succeeded in extending our tapped-out country’s credit line but still managed to vote against the extension — i.e., they could tell the voters back home that they opposed something that actually could not have happened without their support.
American taxpayers did not fare quite as well. We are now on the hook for $18 trillion, soon to be several trillion more. If, as is inevitable, interest rates begin to approach modest historical norms, the government’s budget will be consumed by debt service. Our nation, having taken on lavish obligations of social welfare and global defense, will face a crisis that is at least transformative, if not existential.
A nuclear Iran would be a threat that is similarly transformative. To know that, we need only listen to the White House tut-tutting about how “unrealistic” it would be to expect the mullahs to renounce their support for terrorism in exchange for sanctions relief.
In Washington, you see, insisting that Iran act like a normal country is nutter stuff, but trusting Iran to enrich uranium only for peaceful purposes is totally logical. MORE IRAN COULD U.S. WEAKNESS INVITE UNPLANNED MILITARY CONFRONTATION WITH IRAN? CONGRESS SHOULD TRY TO KILL THE IRAN DEAL NOW DEM REP. SAYS IRANIAN ‘DEATH TO AMERICA’ CHANTS COULD BE READ IN ‘A COUPLE OF WAYS’
So Beltway Republicans are ready to put up a fight, right? About as much of a fight, it seems, as they were ready to make against mounting debt.
Cravenly elevating their own political interest over the national interest, many on the GOP side of the political class calculate that it is more important to avoid blame for frustrating Obama — this time, on his delusional Iran deal — than to succeed in actually frustrating Obama. But alas, that annoying Constitution is again an obstacle to shirking accountability. It does not empower the president to make binding agreements with foreign countries all on his own — on the theory that the American people should not take on enforceable international obligations or see their sovereignty compromised absent approval by the elected representatives most directly accountable to them.
Thus, the Constitution mandates that no international agreement can be binding unless it achieves either of two forms of congressional endorsement: a) super-majority approval by two-thirds of the Senate (i.e., 67 aye votes), or b) enactment through the normal legislative process, meaning passage by both chambers under their burdensome rules, then signature by the president.
The Corker bill is a ploy to circumvent this constitutional roadblock. That is why our post-sovereign, post-constitutional president has warmed to it.
Because it would require the president to submit any Iran deal to Congress, it is drawing plaudits for toughness. But like McConnell’s debt legerdemain, it’s a con job. Once the deal is submitted, Congress would have 60 days (or perhaps as few as 30 days) to act. If within that period both houses of Congress failed to enact a resolution of disapproval, the agreement would be deemed legally binding — meaning that the sanctions the Iranian regime is chafing under would be lifted. As Corker, other Republican leaders, and the president well know, passage of a resolution of disapproval — even if assured in the House with its commanding Republican majority — could be blocked by the familiar, lockstep parliamentary maneuvering of just 40 Senate Democrats. More significantly, even if enacted in the Senate, the resolution would be vetoed by Obama. As with the resolutions of disapproval on debt increases, it is nearly inconceivable that Obama’s veto would be overridden.
To summarize, the Constitution puts the onus on the president to find 67 Senate votes to approve an international agreement, making it virtually impossible to ratify an ill-advised deal. The Corker bill puts the onus on Congress to muster 67 votes to block an agreement. Under the Constitution, Obama’s Iran deal would not have a prayer. Under the Corker bill, it would sail through. And once again, it would be Republicans first ensuring that self-destruction is imposed on us, then striking the pose of dogged opponents by casting futile nay votes.
This is not how our system works. Congress is supposed to make the laws we live under. It is the first branch of government, not a rubber-stamping Supreme Soviet. We seem to have forgotten that the point of the Constitution is not to accomplish great things; it is to prevent government from doing overbearing or destructive things. The achievement of great things was left to the genius and ambition of free people confronting challenges without stifling constraints.
The Constitution’s constraints can indeed be stifling. Quite intentionally so: They are there to prevent legacy-hunting ideologues and feckless fixers from rolling the dice with our lives.
That a lawless president would undertake to eviscerate these constraints is to be expected. But is he really much worse than an entrenched political class that anxiously forfeits its powers to stop him?
Obama Kept Iran’s Short Breakout Time a Secret
By Eli Lake
The Barack Obama administration has estimated for years that Iran was at most three months away from enriching enough nuclear fuel for an atomic bomb. But the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public.
Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: “Oh quite some time.” He added: “They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the . . . . R&D work. If you put that together it’s very, very little time to go forward. That’s the 2-3 months.”
Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to me Monday that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1.
Here is the puzzling thing: When Obama began his second term in 2013, he sang a different tune. He emphasized that Iran was more than a year away from a nuclear bomb, without mentioning that his intelligence community believed it was only two to three months away from making enough fuel for one, long considered the most challenging task in building a weapon. Today Obama emphasizes that Iran is only two to three months away from acquiring enough fuel for a bomb, creating a sense of urgency for his Iran agreement.
Back in 2013, when Congress was weighing new sanctions on Iran and Obama was pushing for more diplomacy, his interest was in tamping down that sense of urgency. On the eve of a visit to Israel, Obama told Israel’s Channel Two, “Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close.”
On Oct. 5 of that year, Obama contrasted the U.S. view of an Iranian breakout with that of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who at the time said Iran was only six months away from nuclear capability. Obama told the Associated Press, “Our assessment continues to be a year or more away. And in fact, actually, our estimate is probably more conservative than the estimates of Israeli intelligence services.”
Ben Caspit, an Israeli journalist and columnist for Al-Monitor, reported last year that Israel’s breakout estimate was also two to three months away.
A year ago, after the nuclear talks started, Secretary of State John Kerry dropped the first hint about the still-classified Iran breakout estimate. He told a Senate panel, “I think it is fair to say, I think it is public knowledge today, that we are operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months.”
David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told me administration officials appeared to be intentionally unspecific in 2013, when the talking points used the 12-months-plus timeline. “They weren’t clear at all about what this one-year estimate meant, but people like me who said let’s break it down to the constituent pieces in terms of time to build a bomb were rebuffed,” he said. Albright’s group released its own breakout timetable that focused solely on the production of highly enriched uranium, not the weapon itself. It concluded Iran was potentially less than a month away.
When USA Today asked a spokeswoman for the National Security Council about Albright’s estimate, she responded that the intelligence community maintained a number of estimates for how long Iran would take to produce enough material for a weapon.
“They have made it very hard for those of us saying, let’s just focus on weapons-grade uranium, there is this shorter period of time and not a year,” Albright told me. “If you just want a nuclear test device to blow up underground, I don’t think you need a year.”
This view is supported by a leaked document from the International Atomic Energy Agency, first published by the Associated Press in 2009. Albright’s group published excerpts from the IAEA assessment that concluded Iran “has sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device based upon (highly enriched uranium) as the fission fuel.”
Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst who is now an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution, told me that most of the technical estimates about an Iranian breakout were not nearly as precise as they are sometimes portrayed in the press. “The idea there is such a thing as a hard and fast formula for this is nonsense,” he said. “All the physicists come up with different answers depending on what inputs they use.”
In this way, Obama’s new, more alarmist figure of two to three months provides a key selling point for the framework reached this month in Switzerland. When Obama announced the preliminary agreement on April 2, he said one benefit was that if it were finalized, “even if it violated the deal, for the next decade at least, Iran would be a minimum of a year away from acquiring enough material for a bomb.”
Hence the frustration of Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “We’ve been researching their claim that a deal would lengthen the breakout time for Iran from two to three months to a year,” he told me of the administration. “We’re just trying to confirm any of their numbers and we can’t confirm or make sense of what they are referencing.”
Nunes should hurry. The Iranian nuclear deal is scheduled to breakout in less than three months.
Congress and White House strike deal on Iran legislation
A Senate committee voted unanimously Tuesday to give Congress the power to review a potential Iran nuclear deal after a June 30 negotiating deadline, in a compromise with the White House that allows President Obama to avoid possible legislative disapproval of the pact before it can be completed.
The bipartisan bill is likely to move quickly to the full Senate after the Foreign Relations Committee voted 19 to 0 to approve the measure. It would give Congress at least 30 days to consider an agreement after it was signed, before Obama could waive or suspend any congressionally mandated sanctions against Iran.
During that period, lawmakers could vote their disapproval of the agreement. Any such resolution would have to clear a relatively high bar to become law, requiring 60 votes to pass and 67, or two-thirds of the Senate, to override a presidential veto.
The compromise avoided a potentially destructive showdown between the White House and Congress, as well as a possible free-for-all of congressional action that Obama has said could derail the negotiations while they are underway. It followed extensive administration lobbying on Capitol Hill, including phone calls from Obama and a closed-door Senate meeting Tuesday morning with Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other senior officials.
While the administration was “not particularly thrilled” by the final result, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said before the vote, it was “the kind of compromise that the president would be willing to sign.”
Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reached a compromise Tuesday on a bill that would give Congress a say on any deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. (AP)
In passing the legislation, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) hailed the “true emergence” of bipartisanship on a crucial foreign policy issue, and he congratulated Congress for approving sanctions legislation in the first place that “brought Iran to the negotiating table.”
“Despite opposition from the White House all along,” Corker said in a statement released after the vote, he was proud of unanimous committee support for a measure that “will ensure the American people — through their elected representatives — will have a voice on any final deal with Iran, if one is reached.”
Responding to Jack Goldsmith on the Corker Bill & the Nature of Obama’s Iran Deal
by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY April 20, 2015 12:24 PM
I have great respect and admiration for Jack Goldsmith, especially when it comes to his mastery of international law and its complex interplay with constitutional law. At the Lawfare blog, Professor Goldsmith has penned a thoughtful critique of my weekend column, in which I objected to the Corker bill – the legislation proposed by Senator Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and others that would govern congressional review of President Obama’s anticipated executive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Goldsmith claims that I have distorted both the Corker bill and the Constitution. Goldsmith and I have a fundamental disagreement about what Obama’s Iran deal is intended to accomplish – and as I shall explain, this is a situation where the de facto has to take precedence over the de jure. But let me state upfront that I do not question that the president (as I have argued many times) has plenary authority over the conduct of foreign affairs and that, as Thomas Jefferson opined, exceptions to that principle must be narrowly construed. Nor do I, as Goldsmith implies, blame the Corker bill for any deficiencies in the current statutory regiment of Iran sanctions. Indeed, I have argued that the president’s waivers of Iran sanctions are different in kind from, to take some prominent examples, his waivers of Obamacare provisions and of certain enforcement aspects of the federal immigration and narcotics laws. The latter are lawless (though the administration attempts to rationalize them by an untenable interpretation of the prosecutorial discretion doctrine). The former are entirely lawful and written into the sanctions bills themselves. The problem for Obama is that his sanctions waivers cannot be permanent – the pertinent statutes do not allow for that. (I use the word permanent advisedly. The word binding, which I might otherwise use, has a legal connotation that, as we shall see, can be confusing here.) That is, there are statutory sanctions that would apply to the Iranian government and (mainly) entities that do business for or with it if the president had not waived those sanctions; the statutes that prescribe the sanctions enable the president to waive them for fixed terms; they do not enable the president to provide permanent sanctions relief. That is a central issue in the administration’s negotiations with Iran (which are taking place within in the P5 + 1 framework – but obviously the U.S. is the principal player). Iran wants permanent sanctions relief. The president wants to give the regime permanent sanctions relief, but he does not have that authority. This, I think, moves us toward the nub of my disagreement with Goldsmith. He argues: the agreement the President is negotiating with Iran is by design not legally binding under international law and thus does not even implicate the domestic constitutional framework for approving binding international agreements. [Emphasis in original.] I have never suggested that the Constitution prevents presidents from making executive agreements with other governments. (Indeed, I wrote favorably about the Cotton letter, which made exactly this point.) I thus agree, in the abstract, that the president’s merely making an agreement with Ayatollah Khamenei would not be de jure binding under international law. But this omits two critical, concrete facts applicable to this particular negotiation: (a) The only deal the Iranians are interested in is one that is permanent – regardless of whether it can be said to be legally binding – i.e., they want complete sanctions relief, regardless of whether it is by obtaining (1) a guarantee that the sanctions will not be re-imposed (if not by law then by an arrangement that makes “snap-back” of the sanctions illusory as a practical matter); or (2) a substantial payday just for signing the agreement that makes the possibility of re-imposition even more illusory. (b) Obama’s intention is to submit the deal he cuts with Iran to the U.N. Security Council, where it would be endorsed by a resolution. Now, you can say all you want that what the president is trying to accomplish here is not technically a “legally binding” international agreement that enjoins our government from re-imposing sanctions. But the practical reality is that Obama is crafting an agreement that is structured to give Iran the equivalent of permanent sanctions relief (by providing so many carrots now that the sticks will no longer matter) and to give other nations the grist to argue that the Security Council resolution makes the agreement binding even if it does not have binding effect under U.S. law. The Iranian foreign minister has already made that contention in response to the Cotton letter. And, as Obama calculates, even if the agreement is not “legally binding,” it becomes very difficult politically for the U.S. to take a contrary position once other nations have acted in reliance on a Security Council resolution (by lifting their own sanctions and conducting significant commerce with Iran). The way Goldsmith describes the president’s Iran negotiations and the Corker bill, one has to conclude that the ongoing debate about the former is much ado about nothing and that the latter is a complete waste of time. By Goldsmith’s lights, Obama is simply exercising the discretionary waiver authority he indisputably already has, and he is not trying to strike any sort of “binding” arrangement. One wonders why so much effort over something of such apparently fleeting consequence. And for Senator Corker’s part, his bill is not designed to do anything Congress could not already do in its absence: It can approve, disapprove or take no action on Obama’s deal, and whatever it chooses to do would be subject to his veto. So what’s the big deal? The big deal only becomes apparent if you acknowledge the reality of what Obama is trying to accomplish: Permanent lifting of the sanctions in conjunction with illusory restrictions that will pave Iran’s way to becoming a nuclear-weapons power despite current American law and U.N. resolutions designed to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons power. Just as I do not believe the president is, in fact, only trying to make a non-binding agreement, I do not believe the Corker bill is a case of congressional idling. If the agreement is seen as, in effect, of such potentially lasting significance that it should be treated as a binding treaty, then the Constitution would require Obama to find 67 Senate votes to approve it. As I argued in the column, the Corker bill reverses this: requiring opponents of the agreement to find 67 votes to kill it. In effect, I take Goldsmith to be arguing that the Constitution’s treaty clause can be reduced to a nullity by simply calling an international pact an “executive agreement” rather than a “treaty.” As unappealing as that contention sounds, there is a good deal of history and practice to support it. This reflects a reality I’ve often addressed: We are more a political society than a legal one. The Constitution does not resolve with exactitude the division of authorities between the two political branches; nor does it vest the judiciary with clear authority to resolve inter-branch disputes. As a result, presidents trying to achieve particular results in particular circumstances, take whatever seems to be the path of least resistance. Sometimes Congress squawks, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, there is debate over whether the agreement in question should be treated as a treaty, but I cannot say there is a firmly established legal test for when an agreement is so consequential that it must be treated as a treaty. I don’t think the framers intended it to be a legal determination – it’s a political one. On that score, I’ve pointed out that the framers assumed impeachment would be a real remedy if a president, in dealing with a foreign country, tried to do something dangerous or treacherous – especially if it involved cutting the Senate out of the loop. Over time, impeachment has become an illusory check on the president, so it should not surprise us that presidents are less concerned about offending Congress by proceeding unilaterally when they calculate there is little political risk in doing so. All that said, I do not contest, and never have, that there is constitutional license for the president, in his nearly plenary authority over international affairs, to make international agreements (which last only as long as the president chooses to honor the agreement). And Goldsmith is right that I don’t question congressional-executive agreements: If the president can make an executive agreement with another government, and Congress is persuaded to enact – by the normal process – any legislation necessary to implement the agreement, what is there to object to (as long as the agreement does not violate the constitutional rights of the states and individuals)? The treaty clause, however, is one of the most important, constitutionally explicit restraints on the president’s power over foreign policy. A transformative agreement that significantly impacts American sovereignty and the constitutional or statutory rights of Americans should go through the Constitution’s treaty process – and even a ratified treaty (much less an executive agreement) cannot trump the Constitution (as the Supreme Court held in Medellin v. Texas (2008)). One last point. Using an example of something I wrote several years ago in support of presidential authority to waive sanctions against countries that run afoul of U.S. prohibitions on trade with Iran, Goldsmith contends that I have reversed my position on presidential authority over foreign policy. I haven’t. As noted above, the sanctions-waivers we are actually dealing with here are authorized by statute, so this is not a situation where Congress has enacted sanctions that have no waiver provisions and that the president can attempt to trump only by relying on his constitutional authority over foreign affairs. But if we were in such a situation, I would argue that there are some things a president could unilaterally waive over Congress’s objection, and some that he could not. If Congress tried to impose sanctions directly on foreign governments, I think the president would have a very strong case. If Congress imposed sanctions on private corporations and individuals that did business with certain foreign governments, I think the president would have a less strong case – perhaps a lot less strong. It might also matter whether it was wartime or a time of some true national emergency. I believe, in any event, that it is out of deference to the president’s considerable constitutional authority over the conduct of foreign affairs that sanctions laws (and some other laws that implicate foreign affairs) contain explicit presidential waiver provisions. Congress does not want to provoke a constitutional dispute that may be detrimental to achieving policy ends that, very often, both political branches support. That is all the more reason, to my mind, that when an international agreement is of great consequence to American national security, the president should not provoke a constitutional dispute by attempting to act unilaterally. The president should treat the agreement as a treaty – and so should the Senate.
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Story 2: Tea Party Traitor and Neoconservative Republican Poster Boy Marco Rubio Running For President in 2016 and For Government Intervention In The Middle East — Courts Mitt Romney Endorsement — Kiss of Death — Video
Sen. Marco Rubio announces presidential run
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Rubio jumps into White House race with jab at Hillary Clinton
By Ben Kamisar
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Monday entered the race for the White House, telling donors on a conference call that he is “uniquely qualified” to lead the Republican Party into battle against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“I feel uniquely qualified to not just make that argument, but to outline the policies that we need to have in order to achieve it,” Rubio told the donors, according to The Associated Press.
Portraying Clinton as a candidate of the past, Rubio, 43, talked about the opportunity awaiting the GOP as it seeks to recapture the White House after eight years out of power.
“The Republican Party, for the first time in a long time, has a chance in this election to be the party of the future,” Rubio said on the call.
“Just yesterday, we heard from a leader from yesterday who wants to take us back to yesterday, but I feel that this country has always been about tomorrow.”
Rubio is expected to officially launch his candidacy Monday evening in Miami against the backdrop of the Freedom Tower, a setting that will give him a chance to tout his heritage as the son of Cuban parents who fled to America in the 1950s.
The Florida senator, who is serving in only his first term, is entering an increasingly crowded GOP field that already includes Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.). A host of other candidates are waiting in the wings, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
It had long been thought that Rubio would not run for the White House against Bush, given their personal history and shared base of support in the Florida Republican Party.
But much like Obama in 2008, Rubio appears willing to gamble his political future on the notion that his party will be looking for a fresh face, particularly given the GOP’s difficulty in attracting minority voters in the last two presidential elections.
If elected, Rubio would become the first Hispanic president in American history.
Rubio told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday that he believes he’s “absolutely” the best candidate for the Oval Office.
“I think the 21st century can be the American century, and I believe that I can lead this country in that direction,” he said.
Rubio is trying to generate buzz for his presidential campaign the day after Clinton jumped into the race with an online video where she declared her desire to be the “champion” of “everyday Americans.”
While Clinton’s rollout could overshadow Rubio’s, it could also play to his advantage by allowing him to draw a contrast with the former secretary of State, who has been a presence on the national stage for nearly three decades.
Thus far in the race, Rubio is polling outside the top tier of Republicans hopefuls.
But Rubio, a staunch conservative who was deemed a rising star after his election victory in 2010, is very well liked among Republican voters. Recent numbers from Democratic Public Policy Polling found that 55 percent had a favorable view of him, the highest of any potential GOP candidate.
Still, in order to win the nomination, Rubio will have to assure conservatives who were turned off by his involvement in the Senate’s failed immigration reform effort in 2013.
Rubio helped write a bill with Democrats that passed the Senate but died in the House after an outpouring of conservative opposition.
He has tried to make amends for his role crafting that bill, telling activists in February that he’s “learned” from the experience that securing the border must come first.
“You can’t just tell people you’re going to secure the border. … You have to do that, they have to see it, they have to see it working, and then they’re going to have a reasonable conversation with you about the other parts, but they’re not going to even want to talk about that until that’s done first,” he said at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Rubio is expected to make foreign policy one of the centerpieces of his campaign, and has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of Obama’s move to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Following his campaign launch, Rubio will return to Washington for Senate business, including a high-profile Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Iran.
On Friday, he’ll head to New Hampshire for a full day of campaigning in the critical primary state.
Mitt Romney warms to Marco Rubio as young senator cultivates relationship
By Robert Costa and Philip Rucker
Sen. Marco Rubio has been cultivating a relationship with Mitt Romney and his intimates, landing some of the 2012 Republican nominee’s top advisers and donors and persistently courting others as he readies an expected 2016 presidential campaign.
In a crowded field of contenders, the imprimatur of Romney could help clear Rubio’s path into the top tier. Since Romney announced in January that he would not run for the White House again, he and Rubio have had at least two lengthy phone calls in which Romney encouraged and mentored the 43-year-old Florida senator about the political landscape, according to a Romney associate.
[ Rubio is the ‘upside’ candidate of 2016 ]
Rubio and Romney have built a warm and trusting rapport, in contrast to the frostiness that exists between Romney and the two current GOP front-runners, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. When Romney said in January that it was time to turn to the “next generation of Republican leaders,” it was widely interpreted as a swipe at Bush and a boost to a fresher face, such as Rubio.
In one-on-one meetings and communications with members of Romney’s inner circle, Rubio has impressed them with what they see as his compelling personal story, his depth and positions on policies, and his respect for Romney and his legacy in the Republican Party.
For Rubio, winning over key elements of the Romney coalition could give him a stronger foundation for a competitive campaign. But the support from Romney’s team alone would not guarantee Rubio success against Bush’s well-funded juggernaut or Walker’s grass-roots appeal.
Rubio has signed up two prominent former Romney officials in recent weeks. Rich Beeson, Romney’s 2012 national political director, has been tapped as Rubio’s likely deputy campaign manager, while Jim Merrill, Romney’s longtime New Hampshire strategist, is on board to play the same role for Rubio.
“For me, his substance, his skill and his story really stuck out,” Merrill said. “I always said if Mitt had decided to run again, I’d be with him. But when he decided not to go, I took a careful look at the field, and Marco represents the next generation of Republican leadership.”
Rubio’s courtship has been particularly intense with Spencer Zwick, who served as national finance chairman of Romney’s $1 billion campaign and is seen as the keeper of the Romney flame. Zwick said in an interview that the senator solicits advice from him regularly in phone calls, e-mails and text messages.
Rubio asks Zwick about how to assemble a campaign infrastructure and win the nomination, about lessons learned from Romney’s 2012 loss. Both fathers of young children, the two men talk about their families, too.
Zwick said he remains unaffiliated in the 2016 sweepstakes, but heaped praise on Rubio.
“Have you watched him speak?” Zwick asked. “This guy gives a message about the American dream that is compelling. People can say, ‘Oh, it’s the same speech every time,’ but you know what? Ronald Reagan did that, too, and it happened to work.”
Zwick called Rubio “an astute politician and a genuine person,” saying he “is universally well-liked by donors.”
Still, Bush has established himself early as the 2016 field’s fundraising dynamo, signing up many of Romney’s biggest bundlers, especially in New York and Florida, where he threatens to squeeze Rubio out.
A handful of former senior Romney aides and advisers have fanned out to work for an array of likely candidates besides Rubio, including Bush, Walker, former Texas governor Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The biggest Romney fundraiser helping Rubio is Wayne Berman, a fixture in GOP fundraising circles and a co-chairman of Romney’s 2012 national finance committee. Many Romney loyalists — including friends and associates from Bain Capital, the Mormon Church or the Salt Lake City Olympics — have stayed unaffiliated and are looking for signals of Romney’s preference.
Romney is unlikely to endorse a candidate anytime soon and has invited most of the GOP 2016 field to his annual policy summit with top donors and business leaders in June in Park City, Utah, where Romney has a home.
Rubio also has roots in the Mountain West. Although he was born into the Catholic Church, Rubio lived for several years of his childhood in Las Vegas and, during that time, was baptized in the Mormon Church. In his teen years, he and his family returned to Florida and rejoined the Catholic Church, although many of Rubio’s cousins remain affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Some Romney loyalists harbor bad feelings about several candidates. Privately, they say Bush was not as active in his support as they expected in 2012 and that they think he tried to muscle Romney out of the 2016 race in January.
They hold a grudge against Walker for sharply criticizing Romney in his 2013 book, “Unintimidated,” for doing “a lousy job” connecting with voters. And many Romney insiders were steamed at Christie for his high-profile embrace of President Obama, after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore in the final week of the campaign.
By contrast, Romney’s allies almost universally praise Rubio, who was vetted as a possible vice-presidential pick and worked on Romney’s behalf during the campaign. They singled out his prime-time speech — introducing Romney — at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.
“He was an exceptional surrogate,” said Matt Waldrip, a former Romney finance aide and Zwick associate. “When he went to events, people showed up. He packed the house, whether fundraising or otherwise. He did whatever we asked him to,
clearly interested in helping the cause and helping the ticket.”
On Tuesday, Rubio met at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington for an hour with Lanhee Chen, Romney’s former policy director, who remains an adviser and friend. Chen said he was impressed by Rubio’s preparation for the meeting, which focused on foreign and domestic policy, as well as his depth on the issues.
“Senator Rubio has spent the last several years developing thoughtful conservative policy solutions, and he has a personal story that makes those solutions even more compelling,” Chen said.
Rubio’s camp has been in touch with other Romney associates, includingPeter Flaherty, a former Boston prosecutor who for years was Romney’s chief liaison to conservative movement leaders. Those talks have been informal, and Flaherty, like Chen and Zwick, remains uncommitted to a 2016 candidate.
“It’s elbow grease,” said one Romney confidant who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about Rubio’s outreach. “Marco’s actually picking up the phone and calling people, saying, ‘Listen, I want to introduce myself and tell you who I am and what I stand for.’ It’s good politics.”
Terry Sullivan — who ran Romney’s South Carolina primary campaign in 2008 and for years has been a top Rubio adviser — has been helping him facilitate his outreach into Romney’s world. Sullivan is executive director of Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC and is his likely campaign manager. Rubio’s Senate chief of staff, Alberto Martinez, was a Florida-based adviser to Romney’s campaign in 2012.
Rubio is expected to formally launch his presidential bid next month, although aides stressed this week that no final decision has been made on the timing or venue. His advisers are preparing for a long and steady race, with a focus on laying the groundwork in the early-voting states.
Although he has been overshadowed recently by Bush and Walker, Rubio has generated some buzz among Republican insiders. His speeches at recent donor conclaves, including at the Club for Growth last month in Palm Beach, Fla., drew rave reviews.
Rubio has said he can raise the funds needed to mount a serious presidential bid. Norman Braman, a billionaire South Florida auto dealer, is expected to donate as much as $10 million to Rubio and his anticipated super PAC.
Rubio has his own national donor network, which he began cultivating in his upstart 2010 Senate campaign. The group includes donors who participate in the political network organized by industrialists Charles and David Koch, whose California meeting Rubio addressed in January.
But Rubio is making inroads elsewhere, too. He dined alone last week in Washington with Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate who spent tens of millions of dollars trying to elect Romney in 2012.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who was Romney’s liaison on Capitol Hill in 2012, recently explained why so many Republican insiders find Rubio appealing.
“I often have a vision of Marco in the cloakroom of the Senate, when not much is going on, trying to watch his son’s football games on his smartphone,” he said.
Blunt then used a descriptor that few would have applied to Romney: “humanizing.”
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Story 1: Queen Hillary — Radical Hag in Drag — Clinton Is The One — Game of Thrones — Hillary Clinton Scandals: The Gift That Keeps On Giving — Phony Psychopath President — Obama’s Third Term — Give Me A Break — Run Jerry Run — California Governor Jerry Brown — Videos
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
Hillary Clinton Election Video Cold Open – SNL
Hillary Clinton Cold Open – SNL
Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton
Reagan, Clinton, Ford, Bush I and Bush II Explain it all to Obama
Hillary Clinton: ‘I’m Running for President’
Hillary Clinton announces presidential run
Hillary Clinton Camp Announces Her 2016 Presidential Run
Finally: Hillary Makes 2016 Run Official
Hillary Clinton says she’s running for president in 2016
Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016
Romney: ‘Hillary Clinton Is Just Not Trustworthy’
Benghazi Gate – Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton – Question & Answer
Rand Paul asks Hillary Clinton About Involvement in Transferring Weapons to Turkey out of Libya
Clinton on talking points: ‘What difference at this point does it make?’
‘What Difference, Does it Make?’ – Hillary Clinton at Benghazi Hearing
PJTV: Afterburner: What Difference Does It Make?
PJTV — Young Hillary Clinton Supporters Struggle to Name Her Achievements
Dummies On The Street (DOTS)
THE CRIMINAL ARROGANCE OF HILLARY CLINTON
Hillary the Scandals
Exposed: Hillary Clinton’s Sex Scandal
The real story behind the Clinton scandals
Genius Quotes of Frank Underwood, House of Cards Seven Minutes
Bill Clinton Loves ‘House Of Cards & ‘Scandal’ | Overheard On The Hill | msnbc
THE CLINTON MURDERS
Will Jerry Brown Challenge Hillary? Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!
Bill Clinton Versus Jerry Brown 1992
Why Is Hillary Clinton Even Running?
Victor Davis Hanson
I. Who Else?
One, there is no other credible Democrat who could run for presidency. The senior party leadership — Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Dianne Feinstein — is shrill and buffoonish. They all have either tried before and failed, or are ossified has-beens — or both. There are no up-and-coming governors with distinguished records of executive success. There are no young charismatic Democratic senators — other than the well-preserved, 65-year-old Harvard populist Elizabeth Warren — out to make a name, who can speak well and mirror image a Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Mario Rubio. Congressional-district gerrymandering that encourages ethnic chauvinism and hard-left polarization has almost ensured that there will not be another minority star, like Barack Obama, who can win crossover votes and statewide office as a springboard to the White House.
II. Her Turn
Two, Hillary Clinton, like a Walter Mondale, Bob Dole or John McCain, believes that it is finally her turn. In her case she lost in 2008 and loyally served the man who defeated and often humiliated her (“you’re likable enough, Hillary” Obama condescendingly remarked during a debate of Democratic presidential candidates in January of 2008).
She feels that she was robbed of a sure nomination by the upstart Obama, who cut in front of the line with his inane “hope and change” banalities and subtle race carding, as if racial chauvinism must always trump gender pandering. She blew a huge lead in the primaries, licked her wounds, and now it is time for the party to unite loyally behind her the way she did with Obama.
III. First Woman
Three, she thinks she can win largely on the issue of being the first woman president in the manner that Barack Obama milked his racially iconic status in lieu of a record. Her supporters believe that they can reignite the old wars: the Republican war on women, war on minorities, war on immigrants, war on the environment, war on the poor, war on everybody — and thereby galvanize the supposedly oppressed, as in 2008-2012, to register, turn out, and vote in lockstep in record numbers. Thereby they will more than make up for the millions of independents and white, blue-collar so-called Reagan Democrats that she will lose by such racial and gender histrionics.
V. Money, Money, Money…
Four, Hillary Clinton assumes that she can buy her way to the White House and trump even the Obama shakedowns of the one-percent elite. No one grubs money better than the Clintons, who have turned a so-so presidential foundation into a money-laundering machine for their global jetting and politicking.
Both Bill and Hillary have an uncanny insight into the very wealthy of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the Upper West Side, and the Florida coast. They understand the formula: when many of the rich become very rich they no longer worry about high tax rates, either on the assurance that they have the capital and know-how to avoid them, or in the belief that that a 50% federal and state rate could hardly eat away much of their enormous pile. Huge federal redistributionist policies may fail and hurt the minorities and poor, but for now they are felt to be about the only insurance that the gates of the rich will not be stormed or their private schools and neighborhoods flooded.
The Clintons rightly sense that the one-percenters in certain fleeting moments feel awfully bad about their privilege. Thus they will feel much better about indulging their endless material appetites, if they give large tax-deductible contributions to the spread-the-wealth, help-the-helpless shtick of elite Democrats. The lifestyles of Hill and Bill over the last two decades reassure wealthy liberals that it is OK to wallow in the material good life as long as you pay occasional penance for such indulgence — and there is no better atonement than helping Hillary Clinton out in 2016 to speak truth to power. After all, with students facing $1 trillion in aggregate debt, Clinton marched into UCLA, check-listed some liberal nostrums for 30 minutes and walked away with $300,000 without a complaint — or about $165 in scarce university dollars for each second of her pieties. In other words, Hillary is running because she has invested enough in the past that the money will be harvested as never before in a presidential race.
‘Everyday Americans need a champion': Wealthy Hillary Clinton finally enters formal race to be president with video telling middle class voters ‘the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top’ of the economy
- ‘Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,’ says the multimillionaire politician in a launch video
- Her chief of staff stepped on her big moment with an email to donors saying, ‘I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me’
- Clinton’s press office left an embarrassing typo in its press announcement, saying that she had ‘fought children and families all her career’
- Official campaign website is full of biographical material but includes no policy statements or issue platforms
- Republican Party fires its opening salvo: ‘Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton’
- Hillary will start her ‘listening tour’ in Iowa and New Hampshire without huge fanfare, and then have a more formal launch event in May
- Wunderkind campaign manager, 35, was a child when she was first lady and didn’t live through her defining White House scandals
By DAVID MARTOSKO
Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for president, leaning on a message of middle-class rescue and claims that America’s economy is ‘still stacked in favor of those at the top,’ according to a campaign video that went online Sunday afternoon.
‘I’m getting ready to do something,’ Clinton says in the brief ad, following a series of clips of ordinary-looking Americans describing what they’re ‘getting ready’ for.
‘I’m running for president,’ she says.
‘Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.’
That message is a daring one, given Clinton’s wealth. When she left the U.S. State Department in 2013, her financial disclosure report showed that her combined net worth with her husband was between $5.2 and $25.5 million. Millions more rolled in when she published her memoirs.
She famously claimed last year that she and former president Bill Clinton were ‘dead broke’ whenthey left the White House in 2001 – when they moved into a palatial home in a tree-lined New York City suburb.
Clinton’s chief of staff John Podesta pushed a similar ‘middle-class’ message, but stepped on her announcement with his own email to a group of donors.
HILLARY’S TURN: Mrs Clinton is launching a second bid for president and would become America’s first female commander-in-chief if things go her way
PITCH: The former First Lady announced her run with a video that showed her interacting with citizens
DIVERSITY: The video makes a point of featuring same-sex couples, Hispanic citizens, parents and the elderly
SOFT LAUNCH: Hillary Clinton chief of staff John Podesta pre-empted Hillary’s big moment with an email to donors saying that the former first lady was running for the White House
SECOND TIME’S THE CHARM? Hillary crashed and burned in 2008 when Barack Obama, a little-known senator, streaked past her in Iowa and never looked back
‘I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me — it’s official: Hillary’s running for president,’ Podesta wrote.
He said the former secretary of state ‘is hitting the road to Iowa to start talking directly with voters. There will be a formal kickoff event next month.’
‘We need to make the middle class mean something again,’ Podesta’s email closed. ‘We can do this.’
From her mother’s own childhood – in which she was abandoned by her parents – to her work going door-to-door for the Children’s Defense Fund to her battling to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, she’s fought children and families all her career.
Clinton’s press office left an embarrassing typo in its press announcement, saying that she had ‘fought children and families all her career’
Podesta leads the Podesta Group, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying firms. He was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama until February.
Clinton, too, is part of the upper-crust of America’s wealth pool, earning millions since she left public office.
The campaign’s internal schedule had called for a 12:00 p.m. tweet linked to a video, revealing the worst-kept secret in America to more than 3 million online followers. In reality, the big reveal was nearly two and a half hours late.
Clinton is entering the 2016 race without a splashy announcement of the kind that Republicans are staging for cheering throngs this month.
That strategy will help her skirt the kind of uncomfortable media questions that tend to dog anyone named Clinton.
There will be no press conferences, no grand speeches until at least early May, and few interviews.
Also missing: Her campaign website includes a lengthy biography but no discussion of issues, no policy platforms and no staked-out ideological territory.
Hillary for America, the official campaign organization, said in a statement that Clinton is ‘committed to spending the next 6 to 8 weeks in a “ramp up” period where her team will start to build a nation-wide grassroots organization, and she will spend her time engaging directly with voters.’
‘In May, once her supporters in all 50 states are organized for house parties or to watch over live-streams,’ the statement said, ‘Hillary will hold her first rally and deliver the speech to kick off her campaign.
In a sign of her campaign’s fundraising trajectory – her insiders are said to be eyeing a staggering $2.5 billion war chest – a political action committee called HillaryPAC had its first solicitation email out 18 minutes before the campaign’s own press release.
That announcement to reporters, perhaps finished in haste, included an embarrassing mistake in the omission of a key word.
Hillary, it said, has ‘fought children and families all her career.’
‘I’m running for President': Hillary Clinton enters 2016 race
BAGGAGE: Mrs. Clinton’s time in the Obama administration may be her albatross, including her stewardship of the State Department before, during and after the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya
TRANSCRIPT: HILLARY’S LAUNCH VIDEO – ‘GETTING STARTED’
Most of Clinton’s video announcement is composed of hopeful stories told by ordinary Americans – exactly the image she wants to project:
WOMAN TENDING A GARDEN: ‘It’s spring, so we’re starting to get the gardens ready, and my tomatoes are legendary here in my own neighborhood.’
MOTHER #1: ‘My daughter is about to start kindergarten next year, and so we’re moving so she can belong to a better school.’
LATINO MAN: ‘My brother and I are starting our first business.’
MOTHER #2: ‘After five years of raising my children, I am now going back to work.’
YOUNG WOMAN: ‘Every day we’re trying to get more and more ready and more prepared.’
HER HUSBAND: ‘Baby boy, coming your way.’
FEMALE STUDENT: ‘Right now I’m applying for jobs. It’s a look into what the real world will look like after college.’
SAME-SEX COUPLE: ‘I’m getting married this summer to someone I really care about.’
AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILD: ‘I’m gonna be in the play, and I’m going to be in a fish costume. [Sings] From little tiny fishes…’
OLDER WOMAN: ‘I’m getting ready to retire soon. Retirement means reinventing yourself in many ways.’
WOMAN: ‘Well, we’ve been doing a lot of home renovations.’
HER HUSBAND: ‘But most importantly, we just want to teach our dog to quit eating the trash.’
WOMAN: ‘And so we have high hopes for 2015 that that’s going to happen.’
FACTORY WORKER: ‘I’ve started a new career recently. This is a fifth generation company, which means a lot to me. This country was founded on hard work, and it really feels good to be a part of that.’
HILLARY CLINTON: ‘I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.
‘Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead, and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.
‘So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.’
Clinton, the presumptive Democratic favorite, has a storied and rocky relationship with the press, one that sometimes brings out snippiness, mistrust and a temper that her handlers are loath to provoke.
But ‘Hillary’ sports a one-name celebrity ID, like Madonna or Beyonce; she doesn’t need the TV time to build name-recognition.
Republicans were quick on the trigger with their opening salvos.
‘Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton,’ Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
‘Over decades as a Washington insider, Clinton has left a trail of secrecy, scandal, and failed policies that can’t be erased from voters’ minds.’
‘The Clintons believe they can play by a different set of rules and think they’re above transparency, accountability, and ethics,’ Priebus said. ‘Our next president must represent a higher standard, and that is not Hillary Clinton.’
Ted Cruz, the fire-breathing Texas GOP senator who was the first major party candidate to join the race, blasted her in a Web video of his own.
‘Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past,’ he said in the brief online ad, referring dismissively to the ‘Obama-Clinton foreign policy.’
‘There’s going to be a very clear choice to make in 2016. Does America want a third Obama term or are we ready for strong conservative leadership to make America great again?’
Carly Fiorina reacts to Hillary Clinton’s President announcement
Carly Fiorina reacts to Hillary…
Hillary Clinton camp announces her 2016 presidential run
With an announcement on social media, she picks up where she left off 7 years ago.
By ANNIE KARN Hillary Clinton on Sunday formally announced her second run for the White House, declaring on a new campaign website that “everyday Americans need a champion.” As part of the eagerly anticipated digital launch, Clinton debuted a slogan “New Adventures. Next Chapters.” and posted a video that hit on what are expected to be major themes of her campaign — middle-class empowerment and social equality issues.
Clinton’s camp previewed other parts of her kick-off. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, on Sunday emailed supporters and alumni of Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, saying that Clinton is hitting the road in Iowa to talk to voters. He also said that there will be a formal kickoff event next month.
The announcement marks an end to the first, awkward phase of Clinton’s roll-out — a non-campaign that has frustrated Democrats who were anxious for her to turn the ignition switch on a presidential run that the party is deeply invested in. “For months I’ve been getting calls from people who donate good money, asking when are we having an event, who are we writing a check to,” said Jay Jacobs, a prominent New York Democrat, and a longtime Clinton friend and fundraiser. “It’s completely topsy-turvy. The groundswell has been percolating for so long. This thing had to get going, I can’t imagine we could have waited much longer.” Clinton is the first candidate in the thin Democratic field to formally announce a 2016 run, and is unlikely to face any real challenge until the general election. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – the most likely candidates to run in a primary – would face a steep uphill climb against Clinton. Two party stalwarts who might pose a bigger threat, Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have given few signals they are planning to enter the race. The Republican field is shaping up more quickly, with Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul holding splashy events in recent weeks to declare their campaigns. Sen. Marco Rubio is due to hold his own kick-off event at the Freedom Tower in Miami on Monday evening, which threatens to be overshadowed by the intense media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s launch. For the past year, the former secretary of state has been treated like a candidate while lacking the structure around her to support one. That has led to some rusty moments as Clinton has sometimes painfully re-entered public life, outside of the State Department’s protective bubble. The missteps began on her high-profile international book tour. When pressed during an interview with Diane Sawyer last June about why she was spending her time delivering highly paid speeches, Clinton delivered a tin-eared answer: She said that she and President Bill Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House. Clinton — who has raked in more than $5 million on the paid speaking circuit since leaving Foggy Bottom and earned a reported $14 million advance on her latest book deal — admitted later that she regretted the comment and that it was “inartful.” But it fueled an emerging GOP storyline that she is out of touch with ordinary Americans. She was the subject of bruising headlines again last month after the New York Times reported that Clinton had relied solely on a private email server during her tenure at the State Department. Supporters were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn’t hiding official documents. But they were less forgiving of her clunky response.
“It took eight days to provide a pretty straight forward simple answer,” said one Clinton insider, referring to her press conference at the United Nations, where she finally addressed the issue. “All of us thought, why didn’t you give that
a day and a half after?”
Other Clinton backers considered the past year a useful proving ground. “She was bound to be rusty,” one insider said. “She’d been insulated and protected.” Clinton’s time on the paid speaking circuit has enabled her to hone a campaign stump speech: in recent months, she has been highlighting her decades-long record fighting for women’s rights and supporting equal pay and legislation like paid sick leave. The speeches, in controlled environments filled with supporters, have provided Clinton with the opportunity for a soft launch before entering the fray. As expected, Clinton’s formal entrance into the race immediately unleashed Republican attacks. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to launch his own campaign in the coming weeks, released a video Sunday morning linking Clinton to Obama’s presidency. “We must to do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies,” Bush said. “Better than their failed, big-government policies that grow our debt and stand in the way of real economic growth and prosperity.” Rand Paul also jumped in, jabbing at both Clinton’s use of private email and the foreign money that has freely flowed to the Clinton Foundation. “It’s going to be hard for her to say she’s for women’s rights when she’s accepting money from sort of stone-age sort of regimes that really abuse the rights of women,” said Paul on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” She faces some skepticism from the left, too, for her perceived closeness to Wall Street and her husband’s deregulatory moves during his presidency. On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a progressive who managed Clinton’s successful 2000 Senate campaign, declined a chance to endorse her. “Like a lot of people in this country, I want to see a vision,” de Blasio said on Meet the Press. When asked if he was endorsing Clinton, he demurred: “Not until I see — and I would say this about any candidate — till I see an actual vision of where they want to go.” In assembling a campaign team and vision — for an effort many close to Clinton estimate will raise and spend $1.5-to-$2 billion — Clinton has been careful to learn from the mistakes that marred her 2008 bid against Barack Obama. In a mission statement handed out to the team Saturday, campaign manager Robby Mook outlined how important it will be for the team to operate as a unified team, and as a diverse “family.” The memo’s point was clear: Mook and senior staffers are determined to set a collaborative tone — a sharp contrast from the last campaign, when Clinton’s operation was crippled by infighting and discord among the top aides. The memo also reminded staffers of one of the campaign’s animating themes: that the election “is not about Hillary Clinton and not about us — it’s about the everyday Americans who are trying to build a better life for themselves and their families.” That point was lost during the 2008 run, which carried the scent of coronation and when even Clinton’s first official announcement had a imperious and self-centered ring to it: “I’m in, and I’m in to win.” Even as Clinton seeks a fresh start, she has many supporters who have been waiting for her to run again since the day she lost. “There are 18 million people who have been ready since June 3, 2008,” said Jeffrey Campagna, who served on Clinton’s 2008 finance committee and LGBT steering committee. The official announcement “means everybody can press send — everybody has mailing lists, everybody has social networks.” President Obama, Clinton’s one-time rival, offered support Saturday at a press conference in Panama. “She was a formidable candidate in 2008,” Obama said. “She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president. And I’m not on the ballot. So I’m not gonna step on her lines.” He added: “The one thing I can say is she’s going to be able to handle herself very well in a conversation or debates around foreign policy. And her track record with respect to domestic policy is I think one that cares about working families.” Many of Clinton’s allies admit they would have preferred a shorter campaign, and would have liked to delay her official entry into the race for as long as possible, but they realize that has become impossible as the anticipation of her run got ahead of her. “The race has already begun, the coverage has already begun, she has to be part of the debate right now,” said New York labor leader Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a labor group that endorsed Clinton in 2008. “It’s going to be long and intense.” Clinton’s official announcement also marks the official end for Ready for Hillary, the independent super PAC that for two years has been building grassroots support for Clinton’s run. “People have wanted it to be real for two years,” said Tracy Sefl, a senior advisor to Ready for Hillary. And while some supporters have expressed skepticism in recent days about a digital launch, fearing it would do little to humanize Clinton, Sefl said she supported the approach. “There is something symbolic and also very real about going to the middle of the country to talk about the middle class and issues that people care about, which don’t have to do with Beltway/Acela corridor stuff,” she said. “She’s going to the middle of the country to talk about the middle class. It seems perfect.”
Second shot: Hillary Clinton running again for president
By KEN THOMAS and LISA LERER Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, announcing her much-awaited second campaign for the White House. “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion,” she said. As she did in 2007, Clinton began her campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination with a video. But rather than follow it with a splashy rally, she instead plans to head to the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, looking to connect with voters directly at coffee shops, day care centers and some private homes. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” Clinton said at the end of a video, which features a series of men, women and children describing their aspirations. This voter-centric approach was picked with a purpose, to show that Clinton is not taking the nomination for granted. Only after about a month of such events will Clinton will give a broader speech outlining more specifics about her rationale for running. The former secretary of state, senator and first lady enters the race in a strong position to succeed her rival from the 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama. Her message will focus on strengthening economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families. The campaign is portraying her as a “tenacious fighter” who can get results and work with Congress, business and world leaders. Clinton’s strategy, described ahead of the announcement by two senior advisers who requested anonymity to discuss her plans, has parallels to the approach Obama took in 2012. He framed his re-election as a choice between Democrats focused on the middle class and Republicans who sought to protect the wealthy and return to policies that led the country into recession. Clinton will face pressure from the progressive wing of her party to adopt a more populist economic message focused on income inequality. Some liberals remain skeptical of Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street donors and the centrist economic policies of her husband’s administration. They have urged her to back tougher financial regulations and tax increases on the wealthy. “It would do her well electorally to be firmly on the side of average working people who are working harder than ever and still not getting ahead,” said economist Robert Reich, a former labor secretary during the Clinton administration who has known Hillary Clinton for nearly five decades.
The GOP did not wait for her announcement to begin their campaign against her. The party’s chairman, Reince Priebus, has outlined plans for a broad effort to try to undermine her record as secretary of state while arguing that her election would be like giving Obama a “third term.” Republicans have jumped on Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server while she was secretary of state, as well as her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in his own online video, said Sunday: “We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies.” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign last week, also pointed to the Clinton family’s foundation, which has drawn criticism from Republicans for raising money from foreign governments. Paul said it was hypocritical for the foundation to accept money from Saudi Arabia, which places public restrictions on the movement and activity of women, while Clinton carries forward with her long-standing effort to improve in women’s rights. “I would expect Hillary Clinton if she believes in women’s rights, she should be calling for a boycott of Saudi Arabia,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Instead, she’s accepting tens of millions of dollars.” Clinton is the first Democrat to get into the race, but there are some lower-profile Democrats considering challenging her, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The party’s nominee will have to overcome history to win election. In the last half-century, the same party has held the White House for three consecutive terms only once, during the administrations of Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150412/us–dem_2016-clinton-26aa04a860.html The 2016 campaign is likely to be the most expensive in history, with total spending on both sides expected to well exceed the $1 billion spent four years ago. This weekend, Clinton campaign fundraisers escalated their outreach to Democratic donors, who largely back her bid, with a flurry of phone calls urging them to donate as soon as possible. Clinton’s formal entrance into the race also triggered the start of more aggressive fundraising by Democratic outside super political action committees such as Priorities USA Action that have been reorganized to promote her campaign. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150412/us–dem_2016-clinton-26aa04a860.html
WHEN my brother Michael was a Senate page, he delivered mail to John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, who had offices across the hall from each other.
He recalled that Kennedy never looked up or acknowledged his presence, but Nixon would greet him with a huge smile. “Hi, Mike,” he’d say. “How are you doing? How’s the family?”
It seemed a bit counterintuitive, especially since my dad, a D.C. police inspector in charge of Senate security, was a huge Kennedy booster. (The two prominent pictures in our house were of the Mona Lisa and J.F.K.) But after puzzling over it, I finally decided that J.F.K. had the sort of magnetism that could ensorcell big crowds, so he did not need to squander it on mail boys. Nixon, on the other hand, lacked large-scale magnetism, so he needed to work hard to charm people one by one, even mail boys.
Hillary Clinton has always tried to be more like the Democratic president she lived with in the White House, to figure out how he spins the magic. “I never realized how good Bill was at this until I tried to do it,” she once told her adviser, Harold Ickes. But she ends up being compared with the Republican president she investigated as a young lawyer for the House Judiciary’s Watergate investigation.
Her paranoia, secrecy, scandals and disappearing act with emails from her time as secretary of state have inspired a cascade of comparisons with Nixon.
Pat Buchanan, a former Nixon adviser, bluntly told Jason Zengerle recentlyin New York magazine: “She reminds me of Nixon,” another pol who’s more comfortable behind the scenes than grinding it out in the arena.
As Hillary finally admits the axiomatic — she wants to be president — she will take the Nixon approach, trying to charm people one by one in the early states for 2016, an acknowledgement that she cannot emulate the wholesale allure of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.
That reality hit her in 2008, when throngs waited hours to get in to hear The One. “Enough with the speeches and the big rallies,” a frustrated Hillary cried out to a Cincinnati crowd.
She wants to avoid the coronation vibe this time, a member of her orbit told Politico’s Glenn Thrush, even though Martin O’Malley, a potential rival, objected that “the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families” and The Onion reported her campaign slogan is “I deserve this.”
Hillary’s team plans to schedule low-key events where she can mingle with actual voters. “I think it’s important, and Hillary does, too, that she go out there as if she’s never run for anything before and establish her connection with the voters,” Bill Clinton told Town & Country for a cover story.
The Big Dog, who got off his leash last time in South Carolina, said he will start small as well, noting: “My role should primarily be as a backstage adviser to her until we get much, much closer to the election.”
Democratic strategists and advisers told The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan and Dan Balz that “the go-slow, go-small strategy” plays to her strengths, “allowing her to meet voters in intimate settings where her humor, humility and policy expertise can show through.”
As the old maxim goes, if you can fake humility, you’ve got it made. Butseeing Rahm and Hillary do it in the same season might be too much to take.
President Obama has said: “If she’s her wonderful self, I’m sure she’s going to do great.” But which self is that?
Instead of a chilly, scripted, entitled policy wonk, as in 2008, Hillary plans to be a warm, spontaneous, scrappy fighter for average Americans. Instead of a woman campaigning like a man, as in 2008, she will try to stir crowds with the idea of being the first woman president. Instead of haughtily blowing off the press, as in 2008, she will make an effort to play nice.
SECOND SHOT: HILLARY CLINTON RUNNING AGAIN FOR PRESIDENT
Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, announcing her much-awaited second campaign for the White House. “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion,” she said.
As she did in 2007, Clinton began her campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination with a video. But rather than follow it with a splashy rally, she instead plans to head to the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, looking to connect with voters directly at coffee shops, day care centers and some private homes.
“So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” Clinton said at the end of a video, which features a series of men, women and children describing their aspirations.
This voter-centric approach was picked with a purpose, to show that Clinton is not taking the nomination for granted. Only after about a month of such events will Clinton will give a broader speech outlining more specifics about her rationale for running.
The former secretary of state, senator and first lady enters the race in a strong position to succeed her rival from the 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama.
Her message will focus on strengthening economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families. The campaign is portraying her as a “tenacious fighter” who can get results and work with Congress, business and world leaders.
“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion,” she said in the video.
“So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.”
Clinton’s strategy, described ahead of the announcement by two senior advisers who requested anonymity to discuss her plans, has parallels to Obama’s approach in 2012. He framed his re-election as a choice between Democrats focused on the middle class and Republicans who sought to protect the wealthy and return to policies that led the country into recession.
Clinton will face pressure from the progressive wing of her party to adopt a more populist economic message focused on income inequality. Some liberals remain skeptical of Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street donors and the centrist economic policies of her husband’s administration. They have urged her to back tougher financial regulations and tax increases on the wealthy.
“It would do her well electorally to be firmly on the side of average working people who are working harder than ever and still not getting ahead,” said economist Robert Reich, a former labor secretary during the Clinton administration who has known Hillary Clinton for nearly five decades.
The GOP did not wait for her announcement to begin their campaign against her. The party’s chairman, Reince Priebus, has outlined plans for a broad effort to try to undermine her record as secretary of state while arguing that her election would be like giving Obama a “third term.”
Republicans have jumped on Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server while she was secretary of state, as well as her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in his own online video, said Sunday: “We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies.”
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign last week, also pointed to the Clinton family’s foundation, which has drawn criticism from Republicans for raising money from foreign governments.
Paul said it was hypocritical for the foundation to accept money from Saudi Arabia, which places public restrictions on the movement and activity of women, while Clinton carries forward with her long-standing effort to improve in women’s rights.
“I would expect Hillary Clinton if she believes in women’s rights, she should be calling for a boycott of Saudi Arabia,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” `’Instead, she’s accepting tens of millions of dollars.”
Clinton is the first Democrat to get into the race, but there are some lower-profile Democrats considering challenging her, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
The party’s nominee will have to overcome history to win election. In the last half-century, the same party has held the White House for three consecutive terms only once, during the administrations of Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
The 2016 campaign is likely to be the most expensive in history, with total spending on both sides expected to well exceed the $1 billion spent four years ago. This weekend, Clinton campaign fundraisers escalated their outreach to Democratic donors, who largely back her bid, with a flurry of phone calls urging them to donate as soon as possible.
Clinton’s formal entrance into the race also triggered the start of more aggressive fundraising by Democratic outside super political action committees such as Priorities USA Action that have been reorganized to promote her campaign.
Five Reasons Why Hillary Wins in 2016
by MYRA ADAMS
Many voters will hold their noses but still pull the lever for Clinton. As Hillary Clinton famously said, “What difference at this point does it make?”
The difference is that half of Americans believe the other half are insane if they vote the Clintons back into the White House. The sane voters know that Hillary Clinton is not trustworthy and represents all that is wrong with Washington.
We know that she carries more baggage than an airport luggage carousel. Hillary is a 20th-century politician, and as of yesterday her lame new 21st-century video message is, “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote because it’s your time, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.” (Perhaps instead she should run for president of Greyhound?)
Even our Democratic friends cannot name a single real accomplishment by Hillary Clinton.
We all know that if she were a man, she would be long past her political expiration date. But despite all that (topped off by her botched announcement), here are five reasons why Hillary Clinton is likely to be elected the 45th president of the United States. Any one of these five factors gives her a huge advantage over whoever the Republican nominee may be, and, taken together, they make her victory almost inevitable (barring some major campaign catastrophe).
First Female President Hillary’s official announcement video was devoid of a clear campaign message — but does she really need one other than, “It’s time for a woman president”?
Running as a historic candidate will be her default position — with her mantra being that “It’s time,” rather than that it’s her time. And she will downplay, of course, the fact that her last attempt was hijacked by the first African-American nominee. Writing as a Republican baby-boomer woman, I cannot emphasize enough how emotionally rewarding it would be for Democratic and Independent baby-boomer women to elect the first female president.
Older women feel this way too — my 89-year-old mother in her nursing home recently spoke these exact words: “It’s time for a woman president.” And those raised on girl power — women aged 50 and younger, who twice helped elect President Obama — are the most rah-rah for “It’s time.” For the record, in 2012 53 percent of all voters were women. In that election, President Obama won this group by an 11-point margin — 55 to 44 percent — over GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Hillary is banking on surpassing those numbers just by having her name on the ballot. Therefore, any Republican pundit or pollster who downplays the true meaning and potential of Hillary’s historic candidacy is being untruthful, or has his head in the sand. The Electoral College Is the GOP’s Worst Enemy Our constitutionally mandated Electoral College has evolved to a point where it is slanted in favor of the Democratic party’s nominee. If Hillary is indeed the 2016 Democratic nominee, all she has to do to win the necessary 270 electoral votes is sustain the historic equation outlined in my November National Review piece “Breaking the Blue Barrier.”
That equation is: 1992 + 1988 + Florida = a Democrat in the White House. That first number represents the ten states with a total of 152 electoral votes that have been won by every Democratic presidential nominee since 1992.
The second number represents the nine states with a total of 90 electoral votes that have been won by every Democratic presidential nominee since 1988. Together, those states command 242 electoral votes.
Thus, if Hillary follows the Electoral College precedent that has held since 1992 and also wins Florida, with its 29 electoral votes (or any combination of states yielding 28 votes), Bill Clinton would be elected First Dude. (Mothers, hide your daughters!) Florida, need I remind you, was won by Obama, though by small margins, in both 2008 and 2012, ensuring that in 2016 Mrs. Clinton will become a de facto resident of the Sunshine State. Obama’s Third Term
There has been much talk about Hillary either winning or losing Obama’s “third term.” My theory is that she will find a way to take only what she needs and jettison the rest. And what she needs is Obama’s winning voter coalition of women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, voters aged 18 to 44, voters with incomes under $50,000, and those belonging to a union. It is no coincidence that Hillary’s high command is stacked with seasoned veterans from Obama’s two campaigns who are adept at delivering these voter groups.
Additionally, the CEO of Hillary 2016 is John Podesta, who was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, and who was “counselor to the president” in Obama’s White House until he stepped down in February. Podesta, known as one of Washington’s fiercest political operators, was also the mastermind behind Obama’s excessive use of executive orders. Now, Republicans, get ready for some astounding news: President Obama’s current job approval rating stands at 45.3 percent, with a 50.3 percent disapproval rating, according to Real Clear Politics.
These are highly respectable approval numbers for a seventh presidential year, which explains the following paragraph from yesterday’s New York Times: “Mrs. Clinton and her team have decided that, on balance, the risk of lining up near Mr. Obama’s record is worth taking.
Rather than run from Mr. Obama, she intends to turn to him as one of her campaign’s most important allies and advocates — second only, perhaps, to her husband, the other president whose record will hover over her bid.” This brings us to Hillary’s advantage number four: Bill Clinton’s Third Term Revolting as that sounds to Republican ears, here is a Washington Post headline from March 13: “Bill Clinton is incredibly popular. How much will that help Hillary’s 2016 campaign?”
The piece reported: “Bill Clinton is almost certainly the most popular person in American politics. A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll showed that 56 percent of people have a positive view of the former president while just 26 percent hold a negative one.”
The article continues, referring to Bill Clinton: “‘The campaigner in chief is always more an asset than anything,’ said Jef Pollock, a New York–based Democratic pollster. ‘He’s good for money, he’s good for strategy, and he’s good for turnout. That’s the holy trinity of good campaigning.’”
Therefore, Hillary will have the unusual advantage of running for both Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s “third term.” Watch her switch back and forth between the achievements (real or imagined) of the former and current presidents whenever it makes good political sense.
In turn, the 42nd and 44th presidents will each campaign and fundraise for Hillary in places and to groups where they are most popular. You can just hear each of them say, “A vote for Hillary is a vote for me,” and the crowd will go wild. Republicans and the General-Election Curse In five out of the past six presidential elections, starting with 1992, Republicans have lost the popular vote.
The key for a 2016 GOP victory will be to nominate a candidate who can attract a winning coalition of voter groups beyond those won by Mitt Romney in 2012.
Here are the groups won by Romney over Obama:
• Whites: 59 to 39 percent • Men: 52 to 45 percent
• Voters aged 45 to 64: 51 to 47 percent • Voters aged 65 and over: 56 to 44 percent
• College graduates: 51 to 47 percent (interestingly, Romney lost postgraduate-educated voters to Obama 42 to 55 percent)
• Voters with incomes between $50,000 and $90,000: 52 to 46 percent.
• Voters with incomes of $100,000 and over: 54 to 44 percent. MORE HILLARY CLINTON ON THE ROAD WITH HILLARY CLINTON SNL’S HILLARY ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO SPOOF INCLUDED A BILL CAMEO HOW TO DEFEAT HILLARY
The trouble is that older, whiter, richer male college graduates — the kind of voters who show up for midterm elections and vote Republican — are overwhelmed by the sheer number of female, younger, poorer, less educated, and less white voters who tend to flood the polls in presidential-election years.
And, as I mentioned earlier, Clinton will target these same voter groups as she tries to assemble the coalition that gave Obama his two victories.
Finally, anything can happen, and much will, between now and November 8, 2016. However, these five factors will likely form the foundation of Hillary Clinton’s victory (even though many of her voters will be holding their noses). In addition, many low-information voters will pull the Clinton lever because they have been led to believe that a Republican alternative is far more dangerous than letting Bill and Hill back in the White House.
Now, friends, please don’t shoot the messenger. Just tell me why I am wrong.
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Story 1: President Obama — “Good Deal” for Islamic Republic of Iran, Shia, Russia, China — Bad Deal for United States, U.S. Allies Including NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Sunnis — ‘If Iran cheats, the world will know’’ After Iran Has Nuclear Weapons — Deal Not Written nor Signed — Trust Terrorists? — — Chamberlain At Least Got A Written Signed Agreement From Hitler — Peace In Our Time — Time For Military Option: Destruction of Iran’s Nuclear Facitlites –The Road To World War 3 and Nuclear Proliferation — Videos
IF – Rudyard Kipling’s poem, recitation by Sir Michael Caine
Neville Chamberlain – Peace in our Time
Peace in our Time September 1938
Obama Iran Nuclear Deal Talks — US President Barack Obama Speaks Delivers a Statement on Iran
Obama On Iran Nuclear Deal – Full Speech
What’s in the Iran nuclear framework agreement?
Historic Nuclear Deal With Iran Sparks Mixed Reviews
Breaking News April 2 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiators announce framework agreement
Bill O’Reilly – Let’s Give Iran Deal a Shot , We Don’t Want to Risk War – Fox News
Is Obama Lying About Iran Nuke Deal, Netanyahu Deal Leads to Horrific War, 0% GDP Growth
Heinonen: We Don’t Know How Many Centrifuges Iran Has
Does Iran Need 54,000 Nuclear Centrifuges?
Peters: If Israel Disappeared From The Face of The Earth Tomorrow, Obama Would Not Shed a Tear
Rudyard Kipling’s “If”, a song by Six Elements
The most important quote from Obama’s Iran deal speech
There is one quote, buried in the middle of Obama’s Thursday address on the new Iran nuclear deal, that really captures his approach to what has become one of his key foreign policy priorities. It explains both why Obama wants this deal so badly — and how he’s planning to tackle the inevitable political fallout now that a basic framework for an agreement has been struck.
Here’s the passage:
When you hear the inevitable critics of the deal sound off, ask them a simple question: do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented backed by the world’s powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?
The question, for Obama, isn’t whether this deal is perfect (though he clearly thinks it’s pretty good). It’s whether there are any alternatives that might be better. And the president, quite fundamentally, believes there aren’t.
Obama sees a deal with Iran as the least-worst option
As he said in the speech, Obama thinks there are only two possible alternatives to the deal that’s shaping up if the US wants to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. Either America could go to war with Iran, or it could withdraw from negotiations and hope sanctions would force Tehran to give up its hopes for a bomb.
The second option hasn’t worked so far. “Is [a deal] worse than doing what we’ve done for almost two decades with Iran moving with its nuclear program and without robust inspections?” he asked. “I think the answer will be clear.”
That leaves only one real alternative: war. Obama (along with most military experts) believes that war would delay Iran’s nuclear program at best. He believes, deeply and in his bones, that international inspections are a more effective way of stopping Iran from getting nukes — and that the consequences of war would be severe. This is, after all, a president who was elected on the basis of his opposition to the Iraq War.
This argument — that all of the alternatives to the deal are worse — also explains how Obama plans to handle the political challenges to the deal. At home, Republicans will vociferously oppose the deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of America’s closest ally in the Middle East, will do the same. Both believe Iran can’t be trusted, and appear to believe that terms of this agreement aren’t enough to ensure Iran won’t get a nuclear weapon.
Netanyahu and the Republicans are perhaps the most important of the “inevitable critics” Obama mentioned in his speech. His response to them is clear: what do you have that’s better? What is the credible alternative to what I’m doing, and how — specifically — could it prevent Iran from getting a bomb without taking us to war?
Or is it war you want?
This argument isn’t just an exercise in spin. If Congress chooses to pass new sanctions, and enough Democrats vote with Republicans to override Obama’s veto, it can kill the Iran deal. This line about alternatives is likely what the president and his aides will peddle to legislators, especially congressional Democrats tempted to side with Republicans, in the days to come.
Essentially, we’re about to get a test of whether enough Democrats share the president’s belief that “there is no alternative” to a deal — and whether that argument, together with partisanship and party loyalty, are enough to save the deal from the coming political fight.
Obama announces outlines of a nuclear deal: ‘If Iran cheats, the world will know’
By Juliet Eilperin
President Obama on Thursday announced a potentially historic nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the culmination of intense negotiations between the United States, Iran and several world powers.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Obama stressed that the deal — which none of the parties involved have yet formally agreed to — represented the best possible path to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
“Sanctions alone could not stop Iran’s nuclear program, but they did help bring Iran to the negotiating table. Because of our diplomatic efforts, the world stood with us,” Obama said. “Today, after many months of tough principle diplomacy, we have achieved the framework for that deal.
“And it is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives,” the president added.
[Fact sheet from State Department: Parameters of plan on Iran nuclear program]
As part of the unprecedented framework, the Iranian government has agreed not to stockpile materials it could use to build a nuclear weapon. In exchange, the United States and several world powers have agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions placed on it by the international community.
The president said that sanctions placed on Iran “for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program” will remain in place.
Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking from Lausanne, Switzerland, said that the final agreement “will not rely on promises, it will rely on proof,” saying that diplomatic relations moving forward will depend on Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement.
Both the president and Kerry stressed that Iran will be under close scrutiny moving forward.
“If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it,” Obama said. “With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world. So, this will be a long-term deal that addresses each path to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb.”
President Obama has made the negotiations between Iran, six major world powers and the European Union a centerpiece of his foreign policy, investing any final outcome with major potential benefits and risks.
The pact came after an all-night work session that extended well past the talks’ original deadline of March 31. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf tweeted Thursday afternoon, “For those keeping track, it’s 6am in Lausanne. That was truly an all-nighter.”
Iran, world powers agree on parameters of Iranian nuclear deal(3:01)
Negotiators from Iran and major world powers reached agreement on a framework for a final agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions, participants in the talks said. (Yahoo News)
Obama had been slated to leave early Thursday afternoon to deliver an economic speech in Louisville, but remained in the White House as the deal in Lausanne, Switzerland coalesced.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted just before 1 p.m. ET, “Solutions on key parameters of Iran #nuclear case reached. Drafting to start immediately, to finish by June 30th.”
Before coming out to speak Obama spoke separately with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
According to a statement released by the White House, “The leaders affirmed that while nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, the framework represents significant progress towards a lasting, comprehensive solution that cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb and verifiably ensures the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.”
The president also called Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to discuss the agreement, and said during his speech he plans to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Thursday.
As Obama’s motorcade made its way to Joint Base Andrews shortly after the speech large, cheering throngs stood along the route through the Mall and along the Tidal Basin. At 3:21 p.m. the motorcade arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, roughly three hours behind schedule, and the president jogged up the stairs to Air Force One as he prepared to take off on the flight to Kentucky.
Hitting the sweet spot: How many Iranian centrifuges?
Rudyard Kipling, If: A Father’s Advice to His Son
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”
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Story 1: What a Difference A Day Makes — April Fools Day Celebrates Kerry and Obama Negotiations With The Mad Mullah Terrorists of Islamic Republic of Iran — I who have nothing — Just Walk Away — Breakaway — Dance With The One That Brought You — Videos
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Iran – Nuclear negotiations waste of time says Saudi Arabia
Published on Jul 12, 2012
Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program is a “waste of time” and it should be pushed forward towards time-limited talks says Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Fisal
News and Info on the Israel-Saudi pact aimed against “the evil” Iran/ Saudi Arabias nuclear ambitions
Beside the Israel-Saudi Arabia agreement on flyover rights and ground-supply for Israel Air- and Specialforces in case of a possible attack on iranian nuclear-facilities, the really scary thing, which should concern everybody whos against nuclear proliferation, is the fact that that the nasty Saudi Kingdom is deeply involved in the nuclear program of the Al-Qaida terrorist-breeding facility called Pakistan……Saudi Arabia payed nearly half of its costs and it seems in return the Saudis might get a shipment of nuclear warheads derived from the pakistani-nuclear program.
Tom Jones I Who Have Nothing
Just Walk Away – South Park
just walk away
Walk Away Renee – The left Banke
Kelly Clarkson – Walk Away
Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway
Shania Twain – Dance With The One That Brought You
Why Obama chose the Iran talks to take one of the biggest risks of his presidency
By Greg Jaffe
Much of President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been foisted upon him during his six years in office. He inherited two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which he’s been able to end. He’s had to react to chaos in the Middle East and a Russian incursion in Ukraine.
The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are different. They are Obama’s choice, and he’s fought to keep them moving forward since the beginning of his presidency despite setbacks and second-guessing from Republicans, fellow Democrats and longtime foreign allies.
The latest setback came when the White House agreed to suspend its self-imposed March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran and keep talking in the hope that remaining differences might soon be resolved. Significant gaps, however, remained.
The president’s desire to keep negotiating reflects both the importance he has placed on the talks and his particular view of how American leadership, persistence and engagement with determined enemies can change the world.
Obama often talks about moments in which American leadership can “bend the arc of human history.” An Iran accord represents exactly such an opportunity, as well as one of the most risky foreign policy gambles of his presidency.
The talks revolve around an issue — nuclear proliferation — that has been a major focus for Obama since he first arrived in Washington. As a senator, he called for a world without nuclear weapons. As president, his first foreign policy speech focused on the dangers that a terrorist group, such as al-Qaeda, might someday acquire a nuclear bomb.
“If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable,” he told a crowd of thousands in Prague’s main square, “then in some ways we are admitting to ourselves that the use of a nuclear weapon is inevitable.”
The Iran negotiations also reflect Obama’s abiding belief that the best way to change the behavior of hostile governments with spotty human rights records isn’t through isolation or the threat of military force, but persistent engagement. In recent years, Obama has pushed to open up trade and diplomatic relations with countries such as Cuba and Burma.
“He believes the more people interact with open societies, the more they will want to be part of an open society,” said Ivo Daalder, Obama’s former NATO ambassador and head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Iran, a longtime enemy and sponsor of some of the world’s most potent militias and terror groups, is the biggest and boldest test of Obama’s theory. “It’s not like we are all waking up in a cold sweat worried about Burma and Cuba,” said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “This is the crown jewel of six years of diplomatic effort, and the president has worked it.”
Even if the United States and its allies secure a deal with Iran, the accord could backfire. Iran could cheat, although evading intrusive inspections will be difficult for the Islamic republic, said White House officials. If U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, think that the accord doesn’t do enough to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, they could start their own program, triggering an arms race in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world.
The most immediate concern is that an emboldened Iran will use the financial windfall that comes with the easing of economic sanctions to boost support to its proxy militias in a region that’s already being torn to pieces by sectarian war.
Obama has acknowledged those risks but insists that the alternatives to an Iran deal — tighter sanctions or military strikes — would be much worse. As the negotiations have progressed, Obama has become more personally involved in the talks, said current and former aides. He can describe in minute detail the number and type of centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to retain under a deal.
In public comments, he often has put the chances of striking an accord at less than 50 percent. Privately, aides said, he has demanded briefings on every minor setback and reversal.
His personal involvement demonstrates how important the negotiations have become to his presidency.
Obama and senior aides have bemoaned the tendency in Washington to look first to the military to solve America’s most vexing foreign policy problems. “The debates around the Middle East don’t seem to recognize that the Iraq war took place,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to the president. There continues to be “an instinctive reach for military solutions as the only sign of America’s seriousness,” he said.
The Iran negotiations, for Obama, offer a new model. The talks have played down threats of U.S. military force and instead placed a heavy emphasis on American diplomacy and statecraft. The United States has acted as part of a broad international coalition that includes Russia and China, a change from an earlier era in which Obama insisted the United States had too often ignored its allies and tried to go it alone.
The negotiations are also personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. More recently, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress, where the Israeli leader leveled the same charge. Netanyahu’s speech infuriated the White House. Two weeks later, 47 Republicans sent an open letter to Iran’s leaders saying that they would seek to undo any agreements that the administration and its partners reached with Tehran.
“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong,” said Smith, “and to prove the world wrong.”
A successful accord with Iran also would give credence to Obama’s core belief that the United States must be open to negotiations with its enemies. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Obama said it was a “disgrace” that the Bush administration hadn’t done more to talk with America’s enemies in the Middle East. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous,” he added.
In Iran, Obama has chosen to negotiate with one of America’s biggest and most destabilizing enemies. Iranian money, weapons and combat advisers have helped President Bashar al-Assad cling to power in Syria. In Lebanonand Yemen, Iranian-backed militias have sown unrest against U.S. allies. Iran’s support has helped Hamas launch deadly attacks on Israel, America’s closest ally in the region.
[Why Yemen chaos could force Obama to take a harder line with Iran]
Although Iran is working alongside the United States in Iraq to destroy Islamic State insurgents, Iranian-backed militias were responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on U.S. troops prior to 2011.
It is Iran’s potential as a stabilizing force in the region that gives it such allure. “They’re a big sophisticated country with a lot of talent,” Obama said in an interview with the New York Times in the summer. Even a moderately less threatening Iran could pay big dividends at a time when the Middle East’s post-World War I order is coming apart.
“With all this turmoil in the Arab world, you need a workable relationship with the other side,” said Shawn Brimley, a former director for strategic planning in the White House. “You can’t argue with Iran’s importance in the region. That’s why Obama is taking this extremely seriously.”
Iran Nuclear Talks Miss Deadline
U.S. says enough progress made to merit staying until Wednesday
By LAURENCE NORMAN
Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers crashed through another deadline on Tuesday, casting doubt about whether the two sides can reach a final deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
In the early morning hours Wednesday, there were some signs of progress toward building a framework outlining elements of a final nuclear deal to be reached by June 30. “We’ve made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. “There are several difficult issues still remaining.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also said work would resume on Wednesday morning. “I hope that we can finalize the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting,” Mr. Zarif said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. The parties would try to finalize a text later on Wednesday, she added.
But people involved in the talks have said many tough details would still be left over even if a framework agreement is reached.
The two big sticking points were the timetable for lifting United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran and the question of what nuclear work Tehran would be permitted to do in the final years of an agreement. Late Tuesday night, diplomats said some inroads had been made but differences on these points remained.
Still the Obama administration was forced to accede to the third delay in less than a year in the talks, stoking new criticism from Congress about the direction of the White House Iran policy.
The deadline has been seized on by U.S. lawmakers who have warned that they would push for fresh sanctions legislation on Iran if a framework agreement isn’t reached on time.
Many lawmakers—Republicans and Democrats—believe the terms of the deal won’t go far enough in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Senate Republicans are pushing legislation in April that would give Congress the power to approve, amend or kill any deal announced by the Obama administration.
“The decision to extend the nuclear negotiations in the face of Iranian intransigence and duplicity proves once again that Iran is calling the shots,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.). Mr. Cotton penned a letter to Iran’s leadership in March, signed by 47 Republican senators, that said Congress had the power to overrule any agreement signed by the White House.
U.S. officials and other senior Western diplomats have said in the past few days that with Congress out on recess, they had a few days more political space to hammer out the details.
The talks have encountered few successes since they began in early 2014.
Negotiators failed to meet two deadlines in July and November last year, setting Tuesday as the final day to reach a framework of an agreement and the end of June as the deadline for a comprehensive deal.
President Barack Obama in February said he saw little point to any further delays.
An Iranian diplomat told state-run television on Tuesday that some progress had been made on the sanctions issues.
“We don’t want an agreement at any price. We want to guarantee the Iranian people’s honor and rights…Our goal is this. Time won’t stop us,” said the senior negotiator, Hamid Baeedinejad.
The U.S. and its European partners at the talks have long said Iran would only win phased sanctions relief with some U.N. restrictions on nuclear-related trade remaining in place. However, Iran was pushing for sanctions relief up front.
Iran was also doubling down on its insistence that after 10 years, it would have no tight restrictions on its nuclear program, including its research work, Western diplomats said. U.S. and European officials have said some of those constraints must stay in place.
After an official said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius could leave early Wednesday morning, a senior U.S. official said there was no discussion of giving Iran an immediate ultimatum to make concessions or end the diplomacy.
The Obama administration has made an Iranian nuclear agreement its main foreign-policy goal, hoping both to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power and thaw the deeply hostile relationship between the two countries since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
However, over the past 18 months, as the diplomacy heated up, the U.S. and its partners have dropped a number of conditions they once set for a deal.
As the diplomacy has dragged on, skepticism has risen in Washington and elsewhere that a strong deal can be reached.
Critics of the diplomacy say the U.S. and other powers have accepted terms that will embolden Iran in regional power struggles and do little over time to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. Fueling that debate will be the many questions an agreement will leave unanswered.
U.S. officials have said the deal is a good compromise which will meet its central goal of blocking any of Iran’s paths to an atomic weapon.
Western officials say they believe they can achieve their central demand that Iran will be at least a year away from amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb for at least a decade.
Missing Tuesday’s deadline has no automatic consequences for the talks. The interim agreement reached in November 2013 remains in effect until the end of June.
At various points in the past decade, the negotiations have appeared on the brink of collapse, raising the prospect of a military conflict with Iran.
While diplomats had appeared confident earlier in the day that a deal could be reached Tuesday, officials described discussions as hard-going as the talks dragged on.
A German delegation official said the negotiations had been very tough.
“Whether it will succeed remains open,” said the official.
—Jay Solomon in Washington and Asa Fitch in Dubai contributed to this article.
Corrections & Amplifications
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached an agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it was his spokesman.
Iran Nuclear Talks Q&A: Objectives and Deadlines
By FELICIA SCHWARTZ
Foreign ministers from major powers kicked off a scheduled day of talks aimed at securing the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by a midnight deadline. Pictured, Secretary of State John Kerry, left, before the opening of the plenary session at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Negotiators meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, are working to meet a deadline on Tuesday — give or take — for a nuclear agreement with Iran aimed at resolving more than a dozen years of friction. Here is the latest state of play:
Is Tuesday the big day or not?
It’s a big day because it’s the target date set by Iran and six world powers for a deal. Everybody’s watching to see if they arrive at an agreement by midnight in Switzerland (or 6p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). They could come up short, and they could also try again tomorrow or next week. More on this later.
What’s the objective here?
The U.S. along with its negotiating partners — Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia — want an agreement that will leave Iran at least a year away from being able to purify enough nuclear fuel to create a bomb. Iran denies that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes, but the West has long suspected that Iran has harbored nuclear weapons ambitions.
Iran has four potential pathways to a bomb: the secret underground facility called Fordow; the Natanz enrichment facility; Arak, a plutonium heavy water reactor; and lastly, a covert path, encompassing clandestine efforts and facilities not on the radar of the U.S. and its negotiating partners.
The world powers want a deal to address these pathways, limit Iran’s nuclear activity, and provide for inspections intrusive enough to tell them what’s going on with Iran’s program. In exchange, the U.S. and five world powers will further ease sanctions on Iran, which have crippled its economy.
So, what’s the deal with the deadline?
The deadline to reach a “framework” — essentially a political agreement that leads to a comprehensive deal — is Tuesday, March 31. But it’s a self-imposed deadline andnegotiators aren’t totally wedded to it. With little to enforce the deadline except a skeptical U.S. Congress, it’s possible that the Tuesday deadline could slip by as much as two weeks, because Congress is on one of its recesses and doesn’t return to Washington until April 13.
U.S. officials, at least, say that they take the Tuesday deadline seriously and want to deliver some sort of framework by then as a sign of progress. Lawmakers, including many Democrats, are itching to introduce and vote on legislation in April that gives them influence over the deal, whether by introducing additional sanctions if the deal falls through or by voting on the final agreement to ensure it passes muster. The White House has threatened to veto these bills. But lately, it has signaled that it’s open to finding some sort way for Congress to weigh in.
Is there a harder deadline?
The deadline for a final agreement, which will include lots of technical details and diplomatic “annexes,” is the end of June. If negotiators reach a framework accord by day’s end Tuesday — or a little later — it would be a signal that they’re on their way to a full-fledged, detailed agreement. But there will be lots more to discuss if they are able to clear this initial hurdle.
What’s left to figure out for Tuesday’s agreement?
There are several main issues that have been under round-the-clock negotiations: how quickly Iran would get relief from the punishing economic sanctions; how rapidly world powers would “snap back” sanctions if Iran reneges; the scope of Iran’s future nuclear activities; and the degree to which international inspectors will be able to access Iran’s nuclear and military sites.
Tuesday’s announcement is expected to outline the broad strokes of the deal, so it’s likely the finer points of these differences will be kicked over to the remaining months of talks.
Will the deal “dismantle” Iran’s nuclear program?
It will not. However, the president has said the effort has prompted Iran to “roll back” its nuclear program. In November 2013, Iran and world powers agreed on a process of negotiations called the “Joint Plan of Action,” or JPOA, that imposed controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment and fuel programs, but did not eliminate them. For agreeing to limits, Iran was given some relief from the sanctions.
What becomes of the nuclear material still in the country?
Under the 2013 “joint plan of action,” the Iranians may only process uranium to low levels of purity, suitable for use in civilian power reactors. Iran has to stop producing medium-level enriched uranium, under the 2013 plan, and must dilute its existing stocks of medium-level uranium or convert it into an oxide that can’t be used for weapons.
Have they done any of that?
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, Tehran has complied.
Is there any other way of addressing the uranium stockpiles?
Yes. It could ship its stocks to another country — Russia has offered — to be converted into fuel rods for civilian power use. That would be seen as a reassuring step. But over the weekend, an Iranian negotiator seemed to rule out such a step. Whether that’s the government’s final word on that question remains to be seen. In any case, the U.S. says this isn’t the only way that Iran can get rid of its stockpile, citing dilution and conversion as other methods.
Have sanctions been eased already?
Yes, as part of the Joint Plan of Action, Iran has been allowed to recoup $700 million a month, each month, in money held, frozen, overseas. This has been underway basically since early 2014, so Iran has recouped nearly $10 billion in frozen money — along with other funds it has been given access to.
That’s a lot of money!
Yes, but there much more still frozen that Iran would like to get as part of a final deal, up to $130 billion by some estimates.
What makes the West so suspicious of Iran?
The U.S. and its partners have outstanding questions about Iran’s past nuclear work. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has had little success in a probe of Tehran in addressing these concerns. This is another issue that likely will be kicked into the next phase of talks.
Is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the biggest critic of a deal?
He’s a big one, but has a lot of company among Obama administration critics at home and abroad. A veto-proof majority of House lawmakers last week sent President Barack Obama a letter warning that they must be convinced a nuclear agreement closes off all pathways to a bomb before they consider voting on legislation to permanently lift sanctions.
Earlier this month, 47 Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark., sent a letter to Iran’s leaders warning that Congress would have a say in any final accord. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said he will schedule a vote on his bill to give Congress an up-or-down vote on the deal on April 14, as soon as Congress returns from its recess. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have drafted legislation that would introduce sanctions if the U.S. and Iran don’t reach an accord by the end of June.
Abroad, Israel and the U.S.’s partners in the Persian Gulf are also worried about the nuclear negotiations and the prospect of an emboldened Iran. Mr. Netanyahu didn’t stop after he addressed a full session of Congress in early March to urge them to scuttle a deal. He said Sunday that the agreement being discussed in Switzerland was worse than he had previously feared.
Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, are wary of Iran’s influence in the Middle East and fear a nuclear deal and sanctions relief could embolden Iran to have an even heavier hand in the region.
How long have negotiations with Iran been going on?
This iteration of diplomacy dates to September 2013, when Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. In November 2013 came the Joint Plan of Action.
The JPOA was initially set to expire in July 2014, and has been extended twice along with negotiations, this time through June 2015.
Nuclear negotiations with Iran and world powers have gone on in some form or another for over a decade. U.S. diplomacy with Iran appeared to get a fresh start in June 2013, when Hasan Rouhani was elected president of Iran after campaigning on the promise to improve ties with the West. Now, 18 months into this round of talks, officials say they’re closer than ever to an agreement. But it’s still an unknown if they’ll get there.
Possible Failure of Iran Nuclear Deal Divides U.S., Israel
White House fears collapse of talks would imperil sanctions, while Netanyahu envisions better accord
By GERALD F. SEIB
As profound as the disagreement is between Israel and the U.S. over the substance of the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran, the two countries disagree just as fundamentally over the consequences of failing to complete such a deal.
In fact, this disagreement is central to the wildly divergent calculations being made by President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The heart of the dispute is simply this: If the talks fail to produce an agreement now, Israel believes the continued pressure of economic sanctions can compel Iran to agree to a much better deal later on. The Obama administration’s fear is that if the U.S. simply walks away from the talks, that could cause the collapse of the sanctions regime—and the end of any real pressure on the Iranians.
This dispute is crucial as negotiations reach their climax this week. After months of diplomatic feints and jabs, the self-imposed deadline for reaching the outlines of a deal arrives Tuesday. And while talks may slip past that point, diplomacy has reached its critical juncture.
As this climactic moment arrives, the Obama administration’s eagerness for a deal is becoming clear. The president and his aides appear to believe a deal can not only curb Iran’s nuclear program short of the ability to produce a weapon, but can open the door to a more productive relationship that reduces broader Iranian misbehavior over time. Israel deeply disagrees on both points, arguing that a deal will only enshrine Iran’s nuclear program and that the desire to preserve such a hard-won agreement will give the U.S. a powerful incentive to look the other way when Iran misbehaves.
All sides agree that the main reason Iran is at the negotiating table in the first place is its desire to win relief from oppressive international economic sanctions in any deal. The dispute between the U.S. and Israel, then, is over whether those sanctions are a perishable commodity.
The administration’s view is that the rest of the world bought into sanctions against Iran in service of diplomacy, not in lieu of it. In other words, the international partners—particularly the more balky ones such as Russia, China and India—agreed to put the heat on Iran precisely to drive forward the negotiations that are under way now, not as some kind of permanent situation.
Indeed, there were great fears, notably in Israel, that an interim nuclear agreement struck with in late 2013—which has frozen some elements of Iran’s nuclear program in place in return for limited sanctions relief while talks continue—would imperil the sanctions regime by opening a crack in it that some nations would then rush through. That hasn’t happened, but U.S. officials doubt that the pressure to stick with sanctions can be sustained forever.
In this view, withdrawing from talks without a deal would give Russia, China India and some European nations a perfect reason to walk away from sanctions, leaving the U.S. and Israel with the worst of all worlds: no negotiated limits on Iran’s nuclear program and no remaining pressure to win them later.
Mr. Netanyahu’s view was encapsulated in his controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress three weeks ago. “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil,” he said.
In the Israeli view, the glue that could keep economic sanctions in place even if talks collapse is a credible military threat against Iran. Other nations so fear the consequences of an American or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions collapse that they would stick with the sanctions just to forestall the possibility.
Moreover, Israel believes, the most important and effective economic sanction is the one blocking Iran’s access to the international banking system. That is one the U.S., as the center of the international financial system, has the power to keep in place all by itself, regardless of whether allies agree or not.
And at a time when oil prices are so low, the argument continues, it doesn’t take as much pressure to produce economic pain.
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, thinks that, in the end, neither side may be entirely right—or entirely wrong. Allies are more eager to retain good economic ties with the U.S. than with Iran, which means they may hang in with Washington on sanctions, he says. On the other hand, he adds, Iran senses its international isolation slowly easing, so it won’t feel the need to “capitulate” to continued sanctions to avoid a collapse of its regime.
What is clear is that this disagreement lies at the heart of the U.S.-Israeli split as talks reach the finish line.
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“The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….
ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2
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Walk Away Renee – The left Banke
Walk Away Renee
And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day
Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me, it cries
Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me, it cries
Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me though they’re so small
Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re… Full lyrics on Google Play
Herman’s Hermits – Walk Away Renee (1968)
The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee (with lyrics on screen)
Pro-Hassan Rouhani Iranian editor defects while covering nuclear talks in Lausanne
Amir Hossein Motaghi says he no longer sees any “sense” in his profession as he could only write as he was told
He then appeared on an opposition television channel based in London to say he no longer saw any “sense” in his profession as a journalist as he could only write what he was told.
“There are a number of people attending on the Iranian side at the negotiations who are said to be journalists reporting on the negotiations,” he told Irane Farda television. “But they are not journalists and their main job is to make sure that all the news fed back to Iran goes through their channels.
“My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession in this manner any more.” Mr Mottaghi was a journalist and commentator who went on to use social media successfully to promote Mr Rouhani to a youthful audience that overwhelmingly elected him to power.
But he was also subject to the bitter internal arguments within the Iranian regime. One news website claimed he had been forced in to report to the ministry of intelligence weekly, and that he had been tipped off that he might be subject to arrest had he returned to Tehran.
He is said to have been a friend of Jason Rezaian, the Iranian-American reporter for the Washington Post who has been detained in Tehran, and to have campaigned privately for his release.
ISCA, which has come under fire from regime hardliners critical of Mr Rouhani, issued a statement denying that Mr Motaghi was in Lausanne to report for it.
“Amir Hossein Motaghi had terminated his contribution to ISCA and this news agency has not had any reporter at the nuclear talks, except for a photojournalist”, it said.
However, critics said Mr Mottaghi was “prey of the exiled counter-revolutionaries” and had gone to Lausanne with the sole purpose of seeking refugee status in Switzerland.
In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.
“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” he said.
NETANYAHU: NUKE DEAL A ‘REWARD FOR IRAN’S AGGRESSION’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted the impending nuclear deal between the P5+1 world powers and the Iranian regime, calling the accord a historically bad agreement that lets Iran race towards nuclear weapons development.
“The deal emerging in Lausanne [Switzerland] sends a message that there is no cost for aggression, and in turn, that there is a reward for Iran’s aggression,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli Prime Minister vowed to continue fighting against vital threats to the national security of his country.
He added: “We will never close our eyes and we will continue to operate against every threat in every generation, and of course in this generation.”
Netanyahu predicted that many countries in the region would be immediately affected by a bad deal.
“Moderate, responsible countries in the region, primarily Israel but other countries as well, will be the first to be harmed by this agreement,” he said.
On Sunday, the Israeli Prime Minister expressed concern with the Iranian regime’s growing sphere of influence and control.
“After the Beirut-Damascus- Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincer movement from the south to take over and occupy the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity and it must be stopped,” Netanyahu said on Sunday at his weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu suggested in the meeting that the impending nuclear deal likely “paves Iran’s way to the [nuclear] bomb.”
The foreign ministers of Iran and the entire P5+1 world powers met in Switzerland on Monday in hopes to secure a basic framework for a nuclear deal by Tuesday’s March 31 deadline. This marked the first time that all of the negotiating foreign minister’s gathered together at the same event.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media, “I think it is possible to reach a deal by [Tuesday] night. The gaps are narrowing. I am always optimistic.”
“Our deadline is tomorrow night so obviously we are working very hard,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters.
The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….
ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2
Teacher’s Companion Lesson (PDF)
The Treaty Clause has a number of striking features. It gives the Senate, in James Madison’s terms, a “partial agency” in the President’s foreign-relations power. The clause requires a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Senate for approval of a treaty, but it gives the House of Representatives, representing the “people,” no role in the process.
Midway through the Constitutional Convention, a working draft had assigned the treaty-making power to the Senate, but the Framers, apparently considering the traditional role of a nation-state’s executive in making treaties, changed direction and gave the power to the President, but with the proviso of the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.” In a formal sense, then, treaty-making became a mixture of executive and legislative power. Most people of the time recognized the actual conduct of diplomacy as an executive function, but under Article VI treaties were, like statutes, part of the “supreme Law of the Land.” Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist No. 75, the two branches were appropriately combined:
The qualities elsewhere detailed as indispensable in the management of foreign relations point out the executive as the most fit in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operation of treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.
Another reason for involving both President and Senate was that the Framers thought American interests might be undermined by treaties entered into without proper reflection. The Framers believed that treaties should be strictly honored, both as a matter of the law of nations and as a practical matter, because the United States could not afford to give the great powers any cause for war. But this meant that the nation should be doubly cautious in accepting treaty obligations. As James Wilson said, “Neither the President nor the Senate, solely, can complete a treaty; they are checks upon each other, and are so balanced as to produce security to the people.”
The fear of disadvantageous treaties also underlay the Framers’ insistence on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. In particular, the Framers worried that one region or interest within the nation, constituting a bare majority, would make a treaty advantageous to it but prejudicial to other parts of the country and to the national interest. An episode just a year before the start of the Convention had highlighted the problem. The United States desired a trade treaty with Spain, and sought free access to the Mississippi River through Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Spain offered favorable trade terms, but only if the United States would give up its demands on the Mississippi. The Northern states, which would have benefited most from the trade treaty and cared little about New Orleans, had a majority, but not a supermajority, in the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, treaties required assent of a supermajority (nine out of thirteen) of the states, and the South was able to block the treaty. It was undoubtedly that experience that impelled the Framers to carry over the supermajority principle from the Articles of Confederation.
At the Convention, several prominent Framers argued unsuccessfully to have the House of Representatives included. But most delegates thought that the House had substantial disadvantages when it came to treaty-making. For example, as a large body, the House would have difficulty keeping secrets or acting quickly. The small states, wary of being disadvantaged, also preferred to keep the treaty-making power in the Senate, where they had proportionally greater power.
The ultimate purpose, then, of the Treaty Clause was to ensure that treaties would not be adopted unless most of the country stood to gain. True, treaties would be more difficult to adopt than statutes, but the Framers realized that an unwise statute could simply be repealed, but an unwise treaty remained a binding international commitment, which would not be so easy to unwind.
Other questions, however, remained. First, are the provisions of the clause exclusive—that is, does it provide the only way that the United States may enter into international obligations?
While the clause does not say, in so many words, that it is exclusive, its very purpose—not to have any treaty disadvantage one part of the nation—suggests that no other route was possible, whether it be the President acting alone, or the popularly elected House having a role. On the other hand, while the Treaty Clause was, in the original understanding, the exclusive way to make treaties, the Framers also apparently recognized a class of less-important international agreements, not rising to the level of “treaties,” which could be approved in some other way. Article I, Section 10, in describing restrictions upon the states, speaks of “Treat[ies]” and “Agreement[s]…with a foreign Power” as two distinct categories. Some scholars believe this shows that not all international agreements are treaties, and that these other agreements would not need to go through the procedures of the Treaty Clause. Instead, the President, in the exercise of his executive power, could conclude such agreements on his own. Still, this exception for lesser agreements would have to be limited to “agreements” of minor importance, or else it would provide too great an avenue for evasion of the protections the Framers placed in the Treaty Clause.
A second question is how the President and Senate should interact in their joint exercise of the treaty power. Many Framers apparently thought that the President would oversee the actual conduct of diplomacy, but that the Senate would be involved from the outset as a sort of executive council advising the President. This was likely a reason that the Framers thought the smaller Senate was more suited than the House to play a key role in treaty-making. In the first effort at treaty-making under the Constitution, President George Washington attempted to operate in just this fashion. He went to the Senate in person to discuss a proposed treaty before he began negotiations. What is less clear, however, is whether the Constitution actually requires this process, or whether it is only what the Framers assumed would happen. The Senate, of course, is constitutionally authorized to offer “advice” to the President at any stage of the treaty-making process, but the President is not directed (in so many words) as to when advice must be solicited. As we shall see, this uncertainty has led, in modern practice, to a very different procedure than some Framers envisioned. It seems clear, however, that the Framers expected that the Senate’s “advice and consent” would be a close review and not a mere formality, as they thought of it as an important check upon presidential power.
A third difficult question is whether the Treaty Clause implies a Senate power or role in treaty termination. Scholarly opinion is divided, and few Framers appear to have discussed the question directly. One view sees the power to make a treaty as distinct from the power of termination, with the latter being more akin to a power of implementation. Since the Constitution does not directly address the termination power, this view would give it to the President as part of the President’s executive powers to conduct foreign affairs and to execute the laws. When the termination question first arose in 1793, Washington and his Cabinet, which included Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, embraced this view. All of them thought Washington could, on his own authority, terminate the treaty with France if necessary to keep the United States neutral.
A second view holds that, as a matter of the general eighteenth-century understanding of the legal process, the power to take an action (such as passing a statute or making a treaty) implies the power to undo the action. This view would require the consent of the President and a supermajority of the Senate to undo a treaty. There is, however, not much historical evidence that many Framers actually held this view of treaty termination, and it is inconsistent with the common interpretation of the Appointments Clause (under which Senate approval is required to appoint but not to remove executive officers).
The third view is that the Congress as a whole has the power to terminate treaties, based on an analogy between treaties and federal laws. When the United States first terminated a treaty in 1798 under John Adams, this procedure was adopted, but there was little discussion of the constitutional ramifications.
Finally, there is a question of the limits of the treaty power. A treaty presumably cannot alter the constitutional structure of government, and the Supreme Court has said that executive agreements—and so apparently treaties—are subject to the limits of the Bill of Rights just as ordinary laws are. Reid v. Covert (1957). InGeofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court also declared that the treaty power extends only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” However, at least in the modern world, one would think that few topics are so local that they could not, under some circumstances, be reached as part of the foreign-affairs interests of the nation. Some have argued that treaties are limited by the federalism interests of the states. The Supreme Court rejected a version of that argument in State of Missouri v. Holland (1920), holding that the subject matter of treaties is not limited to the enumerated powers of Congress. The revival of interest in federalism limits on Congress in such areas as state sovereign immunity, see Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida (1996), and the Tenth Amendment, see Printz v. United States (1997), raises the question whether these limits also apply to the treaty power, but the Court has not yet taken up these matters.
Turning to modern practice, the Framers’ vision of treaty-making has in some ways prevailed and in some ways been altered. First, it is not true—and has not been true since George Washington’s administration—that the Senate serves as an executive council to advise the President in all stages of treaty-making. Rather, the usual modern course is that the President negotiates and signs treaties independently and then presents the proposed treaty to the Senate for its approval or disapproval. Washington himself found personal consultation with the Senate to be so awkward and unproductive that he abandoned it, and subsequent Presidents have followed his example.
Moreover, the Senate frequently approves treaties with conditions and has done so since the Washington administration. If the President makes clear to foreign nations that his signature on a treaty is only a preliminary commitment subject to serious Senate scrutiny, and if the Senate takes seriously its constitutional role of reviewing treaties (rather than merely deferring to the President), the check that the Framers sought to create remains in place. By going beyond a simple “up-or-down” vote, the Senate retains some of its power of “advice”: the Senate not only disapproves the treaty proposed by the President but suggests how the President might craft a better treaty. As a practical matter, there is often much consultation between the executive and members of the Senate before treaties are crafted and signed. Thus modern practice captures the essence of the Framers’ vision that the Senate would have some form of a participatory role in treaty-making.
A more substantial departure from the Framers’ vision may arise from the practice of “executive agreements.” According to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the President may validly conclude executive agreements that (1) cover matters that are solely within his executive power, or (2) are made pursuant to a treaty, or (3) are made pursuant to a legitimate act of Congress. Examples of important executive agreements include the Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments.
Where the President acts pursuant to a prior treaty, there seems little tension with the Framers’ vision, as Senate approval has, in effect, been secured in advance. Somewhat more troublesome is the modern practice of so-called congressional–executive agreements, by which some international agreements have been made by the President and approved (either in advance or after the fact) by a simple majority of both houses of Congress, rather than two-thirds of the Senate. Many of these agreements deal particularly with trade-related matters, which Congress has clear constitutional authority to regulate. Congressional–executive agreements, at least with respect to trade matters, are now well established, and recent court challenges have been unsuccessful. Made in the USA Foundation v. United States (2001). On the other hand, arguments for “complete interchangeability”—that is, claims that anything that can be done by treaty can be done by congressional–executive agreement—seem counter to the Framers’ intent. The Framers carefully considered the supermajority rule for treaties and adopted it in response to specific threats to the Union; finding a complete alternative to the Treaty Clause would in effect eliminate the supermajority rule and make important international agreements easier to adopt than the Framers wished.
The third type of executive agreement is one adopted by the President without explicit approval of either the Senate or the Congress as a whole. The Supreme Court and modern practice embrace the idea that the President may under some circumstances make these so-called sole executive agreements. United States v. Belmont (1937); United States v. Pink (1942). But the scope of this independent presidential power remains a serious question. The Pink and Belmont cases involved agreements relating to the recognition of a foreign government, a power closely tied to the President’s textual power to receive ambassadors (Article II, Section 3). The courts have consistently permitted the President to settle foreign claims by sole executive agreement, but at the same time have emphasized that the Congress has acquiesced in the practice. Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981);American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi (2003). Beyond this, the modern limits of the President’s ability to act independently in making international agreements have not been explored. With respect to treaty termination, modern practice allows the President to terminate treaties on his own. In recent times, President James Earl Carter terminated the U.S.–Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1977, and President George W. Bush terminated the ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001. The Senate objected sharply to President Carter’s actions, but the Supreme Court rebuffed the Senate in Goldwater v. Carter (1979). President Bush’s action was criticized in some academic quarters but received general acquiescence. In light of the consensus early in Washington’s administration, it is probably fair to say that presidential termination does not obviously depart from the original understanding, inasmuch as the Framers were much more concerned about checks upon entering into treaties than they were about checks upon terminating them.
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Arab leaders agree joint military force
By Haitham El-Tabei
Arab leaders agreed on Sunday to form a joint military force after a summit dominated by a Saudi-led offensive on Shiite rebels in Yemen and the threat from Islamist extremism.
Arab representatives will meet over the next month to study the creation of the force and present their findings to defence ministers within four months, according to the resolution adopted by the leaders.
“Assuming the great responsibility imposed by the great challenges facing our Arab nation and threatening its capabilities, the Arab leaders had decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the summit in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The decision was mostly aimed at fighting jihadists who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria and secured a foothold in Libya, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said ahead of the summit.
On Sunday, Arabi told the meeting the region was threatened by a “destructive” force that threatened “ethnic and religious diversity”, in an apparent reference to the Islamic State group.
“What is important is that today there is an important decision, in light of the tumult afflicting the Arab world,” he said.
Egypt had pushed for the creation of the rapid response force to fight militants, and the matter gained urgency this week after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Huthi rebels in Yemen.
Arabi, reading a statement at the conclusion of the summit, said on Sunday the offensive would continue until the Huthis withdraw from regions they have overrun and surrender their weapons.
Several Arab states including Egypt are taking part in the military campaign, which Saudi King Salman said on Saturday would continue until the Yemeni people “enjoy security”.
– ‘Months to create’ –
Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi at the start of the summit called for the offensive to end only when the Huthis “surrender”, calling the rebel leader an Iranian “puppet”.
However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the leaders to find a peaceful resolution in Yemen.
“It is my fervent hope that at this Arab League summit, leaders will lay down clear guidelines to peacefully resolve the crisis in Yemen,” he said.
James Dorsey, a Middle East analyst with the Singapore-based S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said that despite support for a joint-Arab force, “it would still take months to create and then operate on an ad-hoc basis.
“I don’t think we will get an integrated command anytime soon, as no Arab leader would cede control of any part of their army anytime soon,” he said.
“Today we will have a formal declaration that would be negotiated every time during action.”
Sisi said in a recent interview that the proposal for a joint force was welcomed especially by Jordan, which might take part alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
Aaron Reese, deputy research director at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, said “each of these countries would bring a different capability.
“The Jordanians are well known for their special forces capability… the Egyptians of course have the most manpower and bases close to Libya.”
Before Egyptian air strikes in February targeting the IS in Libya, the United Arab Emirates, which shares Cairo’s antipathy towards Islamists, had reportedly used Egyptian bases to launch its own air strikes there.
Cairo had sought UN backing for intervention in Libya, dismissing attempted peace talks between the rival governments in its violence-plagued North African neighbour as ineffective.
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