Monthly Archives: December 2017

America’s New National Security Strategy, Part 3

Since its release last week, the White House’s “America First” National Security Strategy has prompted considerable debate.  In this third installment of our review of the document, we present how this is outlined within the document.

An America First National Security Strategy

The competitions and rivalries facing the United States are not passing trends or momentary problems. They are intertwined, long-term challenges that demand our sustained national attention and commitment.

America possesses unmatched political, economic, military, and technological advantages. But to maintain these advantages, build upon our strengths, and unleash the talents of the American people, we must protect four vital national interests in this competitive world.

First, our fundamental responsibility is to protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life. We will strengthen control of our borders and reform our immigration system. We will protect our critical infrastructure and go after malicious cyber actors. A layered missile defense system will defend our homeland against missile attacks. And we will pursue threats to their source, so that jihadist terrorists are stopped before they ever reach our borders.

Second, we will promote American prosperity. We will rejuvenate the American economy for the benefit of American workers and companies. We will insist upon fair and reciprocal economic relationships to address trade imbalances. The United States must preserve our lead in research and technology and protect our economy from competitors who unfairly acquire our intellectual property. And we will embrace America’s energy dominance because unleashing abundant energy resources stimulates our economy.

Third, we will preserve peace through strength by rebuilding our military so that it remains preeminent, deters our adversaries, and if necessary, is able to fight and win. We will compete with all tools of national power to ensure that regions of the world are not dominated by one power. We will strengthen America’s capabilities—including in space and cyberspace—and revitalize others that have been neglected. Allies and partners magnify our power. We expect them to shoulder a fair share of the burden of responsibility to protect against common threats.

Fourth, we will advance American influence because a world that supports American interests and reflects our values makes America more secure and prosperous. We will compete and lead in multilateral organizations so that American interests and principles are protected. America’s commitment to liberty, democracy, and the rule of law serves as an inspiration for those living under ‑ ranny. We can play a catalytic role in promoting private-sector-led economic growth, helping aspiring partners become future trading and security partners. And we will remain a generous nation, even as we expect others to share responsibility.

Strengthening our sovereignty—the first duty of a government is to serve the interests of its own people—is a necessary condition for protecting these four national interests. And as we strengthen our sovereignty we will renew confidence in ourselves as a nation. We are proud of our history, optimistic about America’s future, and confident of the positive example the United States offers to the world. We are also realistic and understand that the American way of life cannot be imposed upon others, nor is it the inevitable culmination of progress. Together with our allies, partners, and aspiring partners, the United States will pursue cooperation with reciprocity. Cooperation means sharing responsibilities and burdens. In trade, fair and reciprocal relationships benefit all with equal levels of market access and opportunities for economic growth. An America First National Security Strategy appreciates that America will catalyze conditions to unleash economic success for America and the world.

[The Report outlines these key areas that must be addressed.  The U.S. must:]

Secure U.S. Borders and Territory .

Defend Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Combat Biothreats and Pandemics

Strengthen Border Control and Immigration Policy

Pursue ­ threats their Source

Defeat Jihadist Terrorists

Dismantle Transnational Criminal Organizations

Keep America Safe in the Cyber Era

Promote American Resilience.

IMPROVE RISK MANAGEMENT: The United States will improve its ability to assess the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risks to Americans and will prioritize resources based on the highest risks. BUILD A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS: This Administration will take steps to build a culture of preparedness, informing and empowering communities and individuals to obtain the skills and take the preparatory actions necessary to become more resilient against the threats and hazards that Americans face. IMPROVE PLANNING: State and local governments must conduct realistic exercises that test existing plans to make sure that they are sound and can be executed. Agencies from all levels of government must coordinate better and apply lessons learned from exercises to pinpoint the areas and capabilities that require improvement. INCENTIVIZE INFORMATION SHARING: To improve the coordination among the private sector and all levels of government that is needed to improve resilience, we must make a stronger commitment to protecting sensitive information so that all partners actively identify and share vulnerabilities and work collaboratively to reduce them.

The Report Concludes Monday

America’s New National Security Strategy, Part 2

 Threats from North Korea, Russia’s attempt to reconstruct the Soviet empire, China’s belligerence, international terrorism, all were met with relative nonchalance by the Obama administration. The new National Security Strategy, released last week, marks a new and more assertive U.S. response.  In this second installment of our presentation of excerpts from that document, we look at the Administration’s outline of the growing dangers from abroad.

THE THREAT

Following the remarkable victory of free nations in the Cold War, America emerged as the lone super-power with enormous advantages and momentum in the world. Success, however, bred complacency. A belief emerged, among many, that American power would be unchallenged and self– sustaining. The United States began to drift. We experienced a crisis of confidence and surrendered our advantages in key areas. As we took our political, economic, and military advantages for granted, other actors steadily implemented their long-term plans to challenge America and to advance agendas opposed to the United States, our allies, and our partners. We stood by while countries exploited the international institutions we helped to build. ­ They subsidized their industries, forced technology transfers, and distorted markets. These and other actions challenged America’s economic security. At home, excessive regulations and high taxes stifled growth and weakened free enterprise—history’s greatest antidote to poverty. Each time government encroached on the productive activities of private commerce, it threatened not only our prosperity but also the spirit of creation and innovation that has been key to our national greatness.

The United States will respond to the growing political, economic, and military competitions we face around the world.

China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people. Transnational threat groups, from jihadist terrorists to transnational criminal organizations, are actively trying to harm Americans. While these challenges differ in nature and magnitude, they are fundamentally contests between those who value human dignity and freedom and those who oppress individuals and enforce uniformity.

These competitions require the United States to rethink the policies of the past two decades—policies based on the assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners. For the most part, this premise turned out to be false.

Rival actors use propaganda and other means to try to discredit democracy. ­ They advance anti-Western views and spread false information to create divisions among ourselves, our allies, and our partners. In addition, jihadist terrorists such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida continue to spread a barbaric ideology that calls for the violent destruction of governments and innocents they consider to be apostates. ­ ese jihadist terrorists attempt to force those under their influence to submit to Sharia law.

U.S. advantages are shrinking as rival states modernize and build up their conventional and nuclear forces. Many actors can now field a broad arsenal of advanced missiles, including variants that can reach the American homeland. Access to technology empowers and emboldens otherwise weak states. North Korea—a country that starves its own people—has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland. In addition, many actors have become skilled at operating below the threshold of military conflict—challenging the United States, our allies, and our partners with hostile actions cloaked in deniability. Our task is to ensure that American military superiority endures, and in combination with other elements of national power, is ready to protect Americans against sophisticated challenges to national security.

The contest over information accelerates these political, economic, and military competitions. Data, like energy, will shape U.S. economic prosperity and our future strategic position in the world. The ability to harness the power of data is fundamental to the continuing growth of America’s economy, prevailing against hostile ideologies, and building and deploying the most effective military in the world.

We learned the difficult lesson that when America does not lead, malign actors fi ll the void to the disadvantage of the United States. When America does lead, however, from a position of strength and confidence and in accordance with our interests and values, all benefit. Competition does not always mean hostility, nor does it inevitably lead to conflict—although none should doubt our commitment to defend our interests. An America that successfully competes is the best way to prevent confl ict. Just as American weakness invites challenge, American strength and confidence deters war and promotes peace.

The Report Continues Tomorrow

America’s New National Security Strategy

­

There is little doubt the United States has taken a significant tumble from its prior position as “the world’s Indispensable Nation.” The deterioration affects both military strength and the economic and industrial muscle necessary to protect the population. Washington’s position relative to its significant opponents in Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, both singularly and in the growing alliance of those nations, as well as in threats from international terrorism, has been sharply reduced, both as a result of the growing power of those competitors as well as in poor policy decisions during the Obama Administration.

It has been clear that a rethinking of U.S. national security strategy is overdue.  The new “National Security Strategy” released by the Trump Administration last week directly addresses that issue. We provide key excerpts from the document, which we have divided into relevant sections.

OVERVIEW FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP

The United States faces an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats that have intensified in recent years. When I came into office, rogue regimes were developing nuclear weapons and missiles to threaten the entire planet. Radical Islamist terror groups were flourishing. Terrorists had taken control of vast swaths of the Middle East. Rival powers were aggressively undermining American interests around the globe. At home, porous borders and unenforced immigration laws had created a host of vulnerabilities. Criminal cartels were bringing drugs and danger into our communities. Unfair trade practices had weakened our economy and exported our jobs overseas. Unfair burden-sharing with our allies and inadequate investment in our own defense had invited danger from those who wish us harm. Too many Americans had lost trust in our government, faith in our future, and confidence in our values. Nearly one year later, although serious challenges remain, we are charting a new and very di erent course. We are rallying the world against the rogue regime in North Korea and confronting the danger posed by the dictatorship in Iran, which those determined to pursue a flawed nuclear deal had neglected. We have renewed our friendships in the Middle East and partnered with regional leaders to help drive out terrorists and extremists, cut off their financing, and discredit their wicked ideology. We crushed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, and will continue pursuing them until they are destroyed. America’s allies are now contributing more to our common defense, strengthening even our strongest alliances. We have also continued to make clear that the United States will no longer tolerate economic aggression or unfair trading practices.

AN OUTLINE OF THE POLICY

An America First National Security Strategy is based on American principles, a clear-eyed assessment of U.S. interests, and a determination to tackle the challenges that we face. It is a strategy of principled realism that is guided by outcomes, not ideology. It is based upon the view that peace, security, and prosperity depend on strong, sovereign nations that respect their citizens at home and cooperate to advance peace abroad. And it is grounded in the realization that American principles are a lasting force for good in the world.

America’s achievements and standing in the world were neither inevitable nor accidental. On many occasions, Americans have had to compete with adversarial forces to preserve and advance our security, prosperity, and the principles we hold dear. At home, we fought the Civil War to end slavery and preserve our Union in the long struggle to extend equal rights for all Americans. In the course of the bloodiest century in human history, millions of Americans fought, and hundreds of thousands lost their lives, to defend liberty in two World Wars and the Cold War. America, with our allies and partners, defeated fascism, imperialism, and Soviet communism and eliminated any doubts about the power and durability of republican democracy when it is sustained by a free, proud, and unified people. The United States consolidated its military victories with political and economic triumphs built on market economies and fair trade, democratic principles, and shared security partnerships. American political, business, and military leaders worked together with their counterparts in Europe and Asia to shape the post-war order through the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and other institutions designed to advance our shared interests of security, freedom, and peace. We recognize the invaluable advantages that our strong relationships with allies and partners deliver.

The Report Continues Tomorrow

Russia’s Heightened Military Threat, Part 2

Russia has been violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty for a decade. The Obama Administration was deeply reluctant to respond to Moscow’s misdeeds. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee reported in February: “Congress repeatedly urged, and even required in law, the Obama Administration to confront Russia on violations of the INF Treaty.  The Obama Administration did very little.  As a consequence, the only arms control treaty to ever successfully eliminate an entire class of nuclear weapons lies in tatters.  Our military has warned publicly that such a violation poses a military risk to the United States, our allies, and our deployed forces.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Timeline of Russian Violation of the INF Treaty

2012: HASC Chairman and HPSCI Chairman write to President Obama warning him of a violation of a major arms control treaty by Russia.

2013: Chairmen write again, twice, warning him action must be taken.  No action is taken.

2014: Obama Administration finally declares that Russia has violated the INF treaty by illegally flight-testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile.

2015: The National Defense Authorization Act for FY16 required President Obama to report to Congress and our Allies on violations of the INF Treaty and develop military options to counter Russia’s new capability.  Administration did not comply.

2016: Chairman Thornberry and Chairman Nunes wrote to President Obama again urging him to confront Russia over INF violations based on new information about Russian activities.


2016: The National Defense Authorization Act for FY17 withheld funds for the Executive Office of the President until the Department of Defense develops military options to confront the new Russian capability.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

The Defense Intelligence Agency’s latest analysis of Russian military power notes that: “The resurgence of Russia on the world stage—seizing the Crimean Peninsula, destabilizing eastern Ukraine, intervening on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and shaping the information environment to suit its interests—poses a major challenge to the United States. Moscow will continue to aggressively pursue its foreign policy and security objectives by employing the full spectrum of the state’s capabilities. Its powerful military, coupled with the actual or perceived threat of intervention, allows its whole-of-government efforts to resonate widely. Russia continues to modernize its extensive nuclear forces and is developing long range precision-guided conventional weapons systems. It is manipulating the global information environment, employing tools of indirect action against countries on its periphery and using its military for power projection and expeditionary force deployments far outside its borders. Its ultimate deterrent is a robust nuclear force capable of conducting a massed nuclear strike on targets in the United States within minutes. Within the next decade, an even more confident and capable Russia could emerge. The United States needs to anticipate, rather than react, to Russian actions and pursue a greater awareness of Russian goals and capabilities to prevent potential conflicts. “Moscow’s ambitious rearmament program has driven the increase in defense spending. The Strategic Armament Program (SAP) called for spending 19.4 trillion rubles (equivalent to $285 billion) to rearm Ministry of Defense forces from 2011 through 2020.

Moscow’s long-term goal is building a military prepared to conduct the range of conflicts from local war through regional conflict to a strategic conflict that could result in massive nuclear exchange. … Russia is rapidly fielding a modern force that can challenge adversaries and support its “great power” aspirations. Russia’s commitment to building its military is demonstrated by its retention of the draft. All Russian males are required to register for the draft at 17 years of age and all men between the ages of 18 and 27 are obligated by law to perform one year of military service.”

Russia’s Heightened Military Threat

The Trump Administration is levying sanctions on Russia for violating a nuclear arms pact. It’s a response the Obama Administration failed to make.

The White House move is part of its attitude of realism in dealing with international threats.

Leftist legislators and think tanks, as well as their allies in numerous media outlets have objected to efforts by foreign policy realists to raise defense spending to levels capable of meeting the growing threats from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and terrorists. Their argument generally centers round complaints that dollars spent on military needs should have been spent on programs such as education, entitlements, and the like.

Many of those efforts are actually the responsibility of the states (social security and Medicare are not entitlements, they have been paid for by their recipients through payroll deductions.) The severity and immediacy of the massive arms buildups by America’s opponents and the aggressive nature of their actions are being ignored by those critics.

The willingness to ignore the rapidly gathering storm clouds flies in the face of very overt evidence. Todd South, writing in Military Times, notes that “Between 2007 and 2016, Russia increased military spending by 87 percent, according to a June policy brief by the European Leadership Network…”

Moscow’s dramatic escalation comes at a time when the U.S. had reduced its military spending and its presence in Europe.  South notes: “There are fewer than 65,000 soldiers stationed or forward-deployed in Europe, as compared to more than 270,000 at the height of the Cold War…. In 1987, the Army had 17 brigades and 666 combat aircraft in Europe. That fell to two brigades and 121 combat aircraft earlier this year, according to the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace….’I wish to be as clear and direct as our findings allow me to be: NATO is not postured or prepared to defend its most exposed and vulnerable member states … against a Russian attack,’said David Shlapak, co-author of a 2016 RAND study on deterring Russia in eastern Europe, in a recent Army Times article.”

Russian media has not been shy about its advancing military presence. Moscow’s RT news has proudly noted that “Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted to the lower house of Russia’s parliament an agreement to transform the Tartus navy refueling facility in Syria into a fully-fledged navy base, capable of harboring nuclear-powered ships…Former chief of staff of the Russian Navy, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, told Interfax that the expanded base would contribute to the navy’s “operative capabilities” in the Mediterranean Sea and Middle East as a whole. He also said that the developed navy base would be much larger than the current facility, which is used for refueling and technical support of ships.”

In addition to its enhanced conventional capabilities, Moscow has made major upgrades to its strategic nuclear forces,

Bill Gertz, writing in the Free Beacon reports: “Russia is aggressively building up its nuclear forces and is expected to deploy a total force of 8,000 warheads by 2026 along with modernizing deep underground bunkers, according to Pentagon officials. The 8,000 warheads will include both large strategic warheads and thousands of new low-yield and very low-yield warheads to circumvent arms treaty limits and support Moscow’s new doctrine of using nuclear arms early in any conflict. In addition to expanding its warheads, Russia also is fortifying underground facilities for command and control during a nuclear conflict. One official said the alarming expansion indicates Russia is preparing to break out of current nuclear forces constraints under arms treaties, including the 2010 New START and 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaties. Russia violated the INF accord by testing an illegal ground-launched cruise missile. The new assessment also suggests Russia is planning to blend its conventional forces with nuclear forces in future conflicts.”

The Report Concludes Tomorrow

The Christmas Controversy

Once again bucking a trend, President Trump  emphasized a more traditional Christmas perspective than has recently become vogue in the hyper-sectarian quarters of the self-proclaimed intelligentsia.

At the October Values Voters Summit gathering, he noted: “We’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore. They don’t use the word Christmas because it’s not politically correct…Guess what? We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”

Trump has also made a point of commemorating a “special” Hanukkah this year, following his announcement that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “ Right now I’m thinking about what’s going on and the love that’s all over Israel and all about Jerusalem,” he stated.  Trump’s daughter is a convert to Judaism,  following her marriage to Jared Kushner.

As usual, disagreements about public school Christmas pageants and town park nativity scenes have taken place, all part of the misinterpretation of the First Amendment, which does not prohibit such practices.  That key part of our Bill of Rights only forbids the favoring of one religion over another. Therefore, those wonderful childhood plays and manger displays are fine, as long as requests for, say, Hanukkah lights or Buddhist celebrations are, if requested, given equal rights.

There is more at stake here than just holiday observances, however.  Those opposing, with such vehemence, innocent seasonal recognitions may have a wholly hidden agenda.

In his book, “Inventing the Individual,” author Larry Siedentop describes how Christianity shaped the western world’s emphasis on the value of the individual. The Judeo-Christian ethic profoundly influences the west’s belief that each human being has rights not as part of a group, but as an independent person.  This, of course, is anathema to those who adhere to the collectivist mentality which dominates Marxist and socialist philosophies.

That’s why the sides line up as they do, with generally conservative citizens welcoming the religious displays, and disciples of the hard left opposing them.

There is a further issue, as well.  Proponents of the strong central governments required to implement Marxist or social progressive ideals cannot tolerate influences which rival government for the hearts and minds of the people, which religion does.

The season is frequently thought of as a comparatively quiet time. On Christmas Eve, it is pleasant to think that all the world is safely at rest.  In Act 1, Scene 1 of Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote:

“Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes, Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated, The bird of dawning singeth all night long. And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad. The nights are wholesome. Then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, So hallowed and so gracious is that time.”

Historically, though, this is a tumultuous time in American history. Consider: In 1776, the fledgling Continental Army under General George Washington was reeling from one defeat after another.  It desperately needed a victory.  On Christmas Eve, it began preparations for an assault on Hessian forces comfortably quartered there. Crossing the Delaware River, (and giving rise to Emanuel Leutze’s  iconic painting) the underfed, raggedly dressed and poorly supplied American force surprised and defeated the enemy on December 26th.

One hundred and sixty-eight years later, American forces were surrounded and facing defeat in the crucial town of Bastogne during the epic Battle of the Bulge.   Despite their desperate plight, they refused to surrender. Against all odds, General George S. Patton’s Third Army travelled a great distance, broke through the Nazi lines, and saved the day.

Twenty-four years after that, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon, Apollo 8,  reached its Lunar Goal on Christmas Eve and thrilled the world with a reading from Genesis—which led to a lawsuit by atheist activist  Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

 

 

Conflict of Interest Concerns at FBI, DOJ Part 2

Former FBI Director Comey, fired by Trump, has worked with organizations allied with the Clinton Foundation, a questionable background for an individual charged with running an extremely sensitive nonpartisan federal law enforcement agency.

The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal  noted that  Andy Weissmann, Meuleer’s lieutenant, in an email discovered by  Judicial Watch, “expressed his ‘awe’ and praise for Sally Yates, after the then acting AG and Obama holdover refused to implement Mr. Trump’s travel ban. This should trouble anyone who cares about the integrity of the Justice Department. Ms. Yates had every right to resign at the time if she felt she couldn’t implement Mr. Trump’s order. But she had no authority as an executive branch official to defy a legitimate presidential order.”

NBC News  reports that Jay Sekulow, a Trump legal adviser, has called for a special counsel to institute an investigation of the FBI and the DOJ.

The Washington Post  reported in January that “Less than two weeks into Trump’s administration, federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives. Some federal employees have set up social media accounts to anonymously leak word of changes that Trump appointees are trying to make. And a few government workers are pushing back more openly. At a church in Columbia Heights…dozens of federal workers attended a support group for civil servants seeking a forum to discuss their opposition to the Trump administration. And 180 federal employees…signed up for a workshop … where experts…offer advice on workers’ rights and how they can express civil disobedience.”

Daniel Disalvo, writing for Commentary  reports that “…parts of the U.S. intelligence community are knee-deep in political activity that should be off-limits to them… Today’s federal bureaucracy comprises roughly 2.7 million civilian employees…Almost all full-time, nonpolitical federal employees are hired under the civil-service system, which gives them substantial job protections. It can be nearly impossible to fire, demote, or suspend a career civil servant. Such job security effectively gives bureaucrats a troubling degree of independence from their political superiors… Federal workers and their unions are unquestioned allies of the Democratic Party. According to an analysis by the newspaper the Hill, federal workers from 14 agencies gave 95 percent of their campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton.”

Abigail Tracey, writing for Vanity Fair soon after the inauguration, described resistance to the Trump Administration within the State Department, the EPA, the Department of Health and Human Services.  Perhaps most chillingly, former CIA Director John Brennan, who advised the Obama campaign, has urged federal officials to disobey the duly elected president if Mueller is dismissed.

An AMAC article noted that, soon after the inauguration, “Recent scandals in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service demonstrated that it’s almost impossible to fire federal employees, many of whom reportedly intend to go rogue by not implementing President Donald Trump’s agenda… ‘This is a situation where people voted and elected a president who is lawfully trying to complete those tasks [he promised in the campaign], while unelected bureaucrats are willing to overturn the will of the people,’ Ben Wilterdink, director of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Task Force on Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development, told The Daily Signal.”

As the New York Analysis of Policy and Government has previously noted, The Obama Administration’s inappropriate surveillance of its political opposition, its outright falsehoods concerning Benghazi, its whispered promise to the Russians to pull back on missile defense (a particularly serious error, now that North Korea has the ability to reach the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons), and the DNC’s fixing of the primary process to insure Clintons’ victory were all thought to be safe from scrutiny because of the expected victory of Hillary in the presidential election.  Now that their opposition is in power, holdover Obama and Clinton officials still in government bureaucracies and those, even out of government who worry about their potentially illegal actions being exposed, have pulled out all the stops to distract the American people from their wrongdoing. They are attempting to establish bargaining chips to trade off with the new Administration in an attempt to evade prosecution and punishment.

Conflict of Interest Concerns at FBI, DOJ

The revelation, from court documents, that the co-founder of the anti-Trump firm Fusion GPS met last year with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and hired Ohr’s wife to help with the opposition research firm’s investigation of the Republican candidate, is further and highly serious evidence that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and in particular the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been substantially compromised by financial and political ties to the Clintons.  Nellie Ohr served as a paid subcontractor on anti-Trump work .

Despite the clear conflict of interest and ethical breach, Bruce Ohr remains a DOJ official.

The incestuous relationship between the DOJ and FBI officials and the Clinton campaign or the Clinton Foundation has called into question the entire abrupt dropping of charges against Hillary Clinton and the massive investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign, which, to date, has uncovered no substantive evidence against the President, and has utterly failed to state what laws have been broken.

Beyond Ohr, the evidence of an unethical relationship between FBI and DOJ is significant and growing. Peter Strzok, who was assigned to the politically-charged allegation that the Russians provided some information assistance to the Trump campaign, was also a key figure into the as-yet unexplained failure of the FBI to move against Clinton’s mishandling of the emails. He has been revealed to be an enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton, and was in a strategic position to both improperly shield her from prosecution and harass the candidate who beat her in the 2016 campaign, as part of Mueller’s team, which has an inappropriate concentration of Democrat Party contributors and Clinton supporters.

Strzok was in charge of the “interrogation” of Hillary Clinton in July 2, 2016 regarding passing classified information onto her private email server.  Observers see that action as essentially a politically motivated whitewash. Strzok was demoted, but strangely not fired, in August. His partisanship has been revealed in emails sent to his FBI colleague and lover.  Despite requests, Congress has been kept in the dark about much of this incident.  The FBI has failed to cite any competent authority giving that agency the right to defy the nation’s legislative branch, and the once proud organization is now subject to contempt of Congress citations.

As others have noted, the team Mueller has put together looks less like a team of objective legal investigators and more like a gang of political hit-men. A number of them are contributors to the Democratic Party and to Hillary Clinton.

A Free Beacon analysis notes that the strange behavior of key FBI personnel “is the result of a bureaucratic culture that emerged in the 1990s and was fueled by its two most recent former directors, James Comey and Robert Mueller, who ran the agency for the past 16 years. Mueller headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013, when Comey took over and served until he was fired by Trump in May…Under President Barack Obama, the FBI suffered a string of failures that critics blame on the FBI being pressured by liberal, politically correct policies that emphasized diversity and multiculturalism of its workforce over competence and results.”

Significant examples of a politically-motivated tilt by both the DOJ, which the FBI is a part of, and the law enforcement agency itself are extensive.  The problem was epidemic during the Obama Administration, when branches such as the Internal Revenue Service were employed to harass the Tea Party, and when former Attorney General Loretta Lynch openly speculated on criminally prosecuting those who merely disagreed with Obama on climate change.  It extended as well to the FCC, which at one point attempted to place monitors in newsrooms in an attempt to control conservative media.

The Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz provides a number of examples of how left-wing perspectives have replaced objective analysis in FBI statements:

The FBI has consistently attempted to underplay the very real role played by Islamic extremists in terror attacks;

It incorrectly minimized North Korea’s role in the cyber attack against Sony Pictures in 2014;

Despite all evidence to the contrary, when an anti-Trump, Bernie Sanders supporter deliberately targeted and shot up a Republican sports outing last June, seriously wounding a congressman, the FBI intentionally misstated that the event was “spontaneous.”

Gertz notes that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was promoted despite the clear conflict of interest of having his wife receiving payments worth $700,000 from a pro-Clinton political action Committee.

The report concludes tomorrow.

America to Return to Moon, Economy to Benefit

The New Year will see a new start for America’s manned space program, and the U.S, economy

President Trump has signed a Presidential Memorandum designed to “Reinvigorate America’s Human Space Exploration Program.  The document proclaims “Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.”

While the Obama Administration was redirecting NASA’s space efforts away from human spaceflight, China, Russia and others were moving ahead with ambitious plans, including   a manned landing on the moon. Other nations and private interests have followed suit.

Only America has actually landed humans on the Moon so far.

Reports from across the globe describe Beijing’s ambitious lunar exploration plans. In June, reports the Telegraph, Yang Liwei, deputy director general of China Manned Space Agency, announced China “is making preliminary preparations for a manned lunar mission.”

China belongs to the exclusive club, consisting only of the U.S., Russia, and itself that has placed its citizens in space aboard its own rockets.

China’s unmanned 2013 Chang’e3 mission, seen as preparation for an eventual manned landing, placed a lunar rover, called Yutu, onto the moon’s surface. It had multiple cameras, as well as an ultraviolet telescope. The six-wheeled vehicle, powered by solar cells, was lowered onto the moon’s surface from a ramp following the spacecraft’s successful soft landing.

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon following the late Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11, and  Apollo 17’s Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, the last human to visit the Lunar surface, 45 years ago, were in attendance at the ceremony marking the new policy.The President promised that “This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond. This directive will ensure America’s space program once again leads and inspires all of humanity…This is a giant step toward that inspiring future. We are the leader, and we are going to stay the leader.”

According to NASA, the policy calls for the space agency  administrator to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. The effort will more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans on the Moon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars.”

The policy grew from a unanimous recommendation by the new National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, after its first meeting Oct. 5. In addition to the direction to plan for human return to the Moon, the policy also ends NASA’s existing effort to send humans to an asteroid. The president revived the National Space Council in July to advise and help implement his space policy with exploration as a national priority.

“’Under President Trump’s leadership, America will lead in space once again on all fronts, ’said Vice President Pence. ‘As the President has said, space is the ‘next great American frontier’ – and it is our duty – and our destiny – to settle that frontier with American leadership, courage, and values. The signing of this new directive is yet another promise kept by President Trump.’”

Financially, the policy will be reflected in NASA’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request.

Advocates of space exploration were gratified to note the inclusion of space research in the President’s inaugural address (“We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space”) In a reversal of the role Obama mandated the space agency to play, the new Administration is emphasizing manned space flight and the pursuit of major goals for human exploration beyond low earth orbit, in the near term, using American spacecraft.

Explore Mars  CEO Chris Carberry commended the policy.  “We call on the Administration, mission planners, and key players to devise a plan to achieve the stated objective of returning to the Moon, and also landing humans on the surface of Mars in the early to mid-2030s as required by the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017…Explore Mars has long supported NASA’s deep space efforts, as well as commercial and international partnerships, that will enable humanity to not only return to the Moon but also begin the human exploration of Mars.  We hope that the signing of Space Policy Directive 1 will help to accelerate the return to deep space exploration.”

An ambitious space program will have a significant beneficial impact on the U.S. economy.  Writing for the University of Texas, Wallace Fowler, Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, noted that “It is estimated that the total economic benefit of each dollar spent on the space program has been between $8 and $10… The space race was technological focus that accelerated advances in multiple areas of science, technology and medicine without a shooting war… Almost every area of technology has benefitted from space research. Clothes and vehicle interiors are more fire resistant because of research after the Apollo fire. Weather forecasting is much more accurate because of satellite monitoring. Monitoring from space can detect forest fires, oil spills, aquifer depletion, downed aircraft, etc. We have recently watched the World Cup matches from Brazil in near real-time via satellite feed. We can surf the Internet with laptop or tablet while flying in an airplane almost anywhere in the world. We are more connected than ever, both in our everyday activities and in emergency situations. Medicine has been revolutionized by the space program. We learned to monitor orbiting astronauts pioneering telemedicine and leading to unprecedented improvements in patient monitoring, in and out of hospitals. Research into astronaut bone calcium loss has led to better understanding and treatment of osteoporosis. Digital mammography is a direct application of space data reduction processes. Baby foods are more healthful because of astronaut food research. There are few other public activities with such a sustained level of performance and impact.”

Economy’s Good News is Finally Genuine, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its examination of the U.S. employment recovery.

While the news that total nonfarm payroll has been increasing (it rose 228,000 in November) the fact that those increases occurred at least partially in manufacturing, a foundation of middle class jobs, is very encouraging. Since the recent low in November 2016, manufacturing employment has increased by 189,000. In November of last year, Manufacturing employment was reduced by 9,000, while government employment rose by 19,000. The latest report notes that unemployment rate fell to an all-time low of 2.6%, an extraordinary reversal.

The Gateway Pundit notes that “Job numbers released today through the end of November show an increase of 2.2 million jobs since last years election and an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. After the same period under Obama, (4.8) million jobs were lost and unemployment skyrocketed to 9.9 percent! President Trump’s economic results could arguably be the best all time. The stock market is the highest ever and jobs are being created by the thousands.”

John Crudele, writing for the New York Post, notes that despite a left-oriented media’s harsh criticism, “Trump boost to the economy can’t be denied.”

During the Obama Administration, GDP never exceeded 3% annually, the first time at least in the past seventy years this occurred. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis “Real gross domestic product  increased at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the third quarter of    2017, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.”

Writing for The Hill,  Peter Ferrara noted: “Historically, the worse the recession is, the stronger the recovery typically is. The economy grows faster than normal for a while to catch up to its long-term economic growth trendline, a pattern first noticed by Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate economist. Based on that metric, the economy should have come out of the recession booming. But to this day, over eight years later, that still has not happened. Real economic growth during the Obama years was stunted below 2 percent. Today, the American economy is still more than $2 trillion below its long term economic growth trendline. The U.S. economy sustained a real rate of economic growth of 3.3 percent from 1945 to 1973 and 3.3 percent sustained real growth from 1982 to 2007… What we are seeing now under Trump are the stirrings of a real recovery from the 2007-2009 financial crisis, which never happened under Obama.”

Despite that, notes The Heritage Foundation “Still Donald Trump gets no respect. Even though nearly every poll for the past six years tell us that Americans care most about jobs and the economy (with terrorism occasionally taking over first place), the media naturally won’t cover the undeniable economic speed up since the election of Donald J. Trump… If the economy and jobs had done this well under President Obama he and the media would have been doing cartwheels down Pennsylvania Avenue. Even worse, when the media does cover the jobs and growth story, every reporter asks me: does Mr. Trump deserve credit for these numbers? Well if he doesn’t, who does? Liberals argue that this is a continuation of the Obama recovery, but there’s a big problem with that analysis: the economy was decelerating under Mr. Obama, not speeding up. In Mr. Obama’s last year in office, 2016, the economy was barely limping to keep ahead of another recession.”

The prospects for significant further growth are substantial if tax reform gets enacted.

The American Enterprise Institute emphasizes that “During the tax-cut-fueled economic expansion in the 1960s, real GDP growth averaged nearly 5%, with economic growth topping 10% in two quarters (1965: Q1 and 1966: Q1) and 8% in eight quarters. US payrolls increased by 32% during the 1960s, the highest growth in jobs of any decade during the postwar period. Government tax revenues grew by 65% from 1965 to 1970.”

Jed Graham, writing for Investors Business Daily  predicts that “The U.S. economy is about to get an injection of rocket fuel.”