America’s Constitutional Government Targeted

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government examines the changing nature of American politics in this two-part series.

The target of the vehement protests, over-the-top opposition, and hyperbolic media criticism of the Trump Administration, is not the current occupant of the Oval Office. It is, instead, the Constitutional practice of government.

Little discussed is the odd level of verbal violence against a President who is most certainly not an ideologue. His major policy thrusts, both as a candidate and as an elected leader, include:

  • Replacing a health care policy which has demonstrably failed (the dirty little secret of the 2016 campaign was that no matter who got elected, Obamacare was going to have to drastically change.)
  • Restoring a military that had been dangerously and very obviously depleted, at a time when adversaries across the globe had dramatically strengthened theirs.
  • Encouraging American allies to pay a more equitable share of their own defense needs
  • restoring middle-income job growth.
  • reforming taxes and regulations so that more industry would remain within the U.S.
  • Enforcing already existing immigration laws.
  • Reducing regulations that hamper the creation or survival of businesses.

These could hardly be called arch-conservative.  If anything, Donald Trump both campaigned and, in the brief period he has been in office, governed as a pragmatist. Lately, his criticism has been focused as much on conservatives in Congress as on Democrats.

Trump came to office in the aftermath of a demonstrably failed presidency.

Under Obama, The U.S. essentially divested itself of its role as the world’s dominant superpower, leading to greater threats across the globe.  in Asia, China’s belligerence dramatically increased. in Eastern Europe, Russia engaged in the largest invasion since World War 2. Throughout the Islamic world, conditions deteriorated. ISIS rose to prominence due to Obama’s premature withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Libya descended into chaos following the still unexplained drive to oust Gaddafi. Iran’s power and influence expanded dramatically.  The Taliban was positioned to make a major comeback in Afghanistan. Terrorist attacks became commonplace occurrences throughout the world.

At home, Obama’s policies and actions led to an economy mired in the doldrums, racial animosity at a level not seen in decades, and a near doubling of the national debt with nothing gained after all those dollars spent, as well as the worse job participation rate in decades. The national infrastructure continued to crumble.

Stunning scandals took place.  Whole agencies of the government, especially the IRS, were unlawfully used for partisan purposes.  An American ambassador was killed without any attempt to rescue him or to punish the perpetrators. The U.S. Secretary of State’s family personally profited from the sale of uranium, the basic ingredient of atomic bombs, to Russia.

It was reasonable to assume that in the aftermath of those eight difficult years, the public mood would have been at least willing to give the new leader at least a brief honeymoon. But long before Trump even took office, a level of unprecedented and near-hysterical opposition was promoted by much of the media, academia, some Democrat Party leaders, and the financiers of hard-left causes.

One explanation for the unusual and extreme alteration in the nature of American politics has been the takeover of the Democrat Party by untraditional forces.  The party of Kennedy, Truman, indeed even FDR, no longer exists in a viable form.  Those types of leaders have been replaced by extremists such as former Obama Labor Department SecretaryTom Perez, the new DNC Chair, and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the deputy chair, and other individuals such as NYC Mayor Mike de Blasio.

Perez is an extremist who refused, while at the Department of Justice, to prosecute a clear-cut case of voter intimidation against those not identified as Obama voters. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Iain Murray, in a National Review article, notes that Perez’s “rewriting of U.S. labor law is probably the most fundamental attack on the free-enterprise system going on at present…If he has his way, we won’t just revert to the 1930s. We’ll do things that even Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t do, like eliminate vast numbers of independent-contractor jobs and unionize those that remain.”

Perez selected Keith Ellison as his deputy chair. Ellison was noted for his bizarre statements about the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that President Bush (43) used the terrorist assault to copy Adolph Hitler’s infamous Reichstag Fire strategy to destroy his opponents.  Ellison has also been tied to anti-Semitic positions. His 2010 comments about Israel led to a demand by the Anti-Defamation League that he be disqualified from being appointed to federal office.

NYC Mayor de Blasio was an ardent supporter of Nicaragua’s Marxist Sandinista government in the 1980s. He describes himself as an advocate of “democratic socialism” and was executive director of the New York branch of the pro-socialist New Party.

As party leaders, they are not far from the worrisome example set by President Obama.  Obama abused federal agencies for partisan purposes, stood U.S. foreign policy on its head, and took advice from individuals such as Bill Ayers, a founder of the internationally supported terrorist Weather Underground Organization.

Progressive politicians such as Perez, Ellison and de Blasio are at the forefront of replacing rational, peaceful political discourse with a new atmosphere that encourages continual street protests that erupt into violence, including those levied against college campus speakers that don’t agree with the prevailing left-wing orthodoxy.

The report concludes tomorrow.

Why Democrat Leaders Oppose Border Controls, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its review of opposition to funding the southern border wall

Arguments about the cost of the wall fail to make economic sense; cost-savings from reducing the number of illegal entries far exceeds any expenses incurred in construction. Steven Camarota describes the financial outline in a Center for Immigration Studies report:

“The findings of this analysis show that if a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall. Among the findings:

  • There is agreement among researchers that illegal immigrants overwhelmingly have modest levels of education — most have not completed high school or have only a high school education.
  • There is also agreement that immigrants who come to America with modest levels of education create significantly more in costs for government than they pay in taxes.
  • A recent NAS study estimated the lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) of immigrants by education. Averaging the cost estimates from that study and combining them with the education levels of illegal border-crossers shows a net fiscal drain of $74,722 per illegal crosser.2
  • The above figures are only for the original illegal immigrants and do not include any costs for their U.S.-born descendants. If we use the NAS projections that include the descendants, the fiscal drain for border-crossers grows to $94,391 each.
  • If a border wall prevented 160,000 to 200,000 illegal crossings (excluding descendants) in the next 10 years it would be enough to pay for the estimated $12 to $15 billion costs of the wall.
  • Newly released research by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) done for the Department of Homeland Security indicates that 170,000 illegal immigrants crossed the border successfully without going through a port of entry in 2015.3 While a significant decline in crossings from a decade ago, it still means that there may be 1.7 million successful crossings in the next decade. If a wall stopped just 9 to 12 percent of these crossings it would pay for itself.
  • If a wall stopped half of those expected to successfully enter illegally without going through a port of entry at the southern border over the next 10 years, it would save taxpayers nearly $64 billion — several times the wall’s cost.”

The answer to the puzzling opposition to border enforcement by Democrat leaders is found at the ballot box.  As the New York Analysis of Policy and Government has previously noted, What may seem, at first impression, to be a position counter to the Democrats own key interests comes into focus when seen through the prism of politics on a national scale.

Governing magazine points out that “Democrats went into this (2016)election controlling the governorship, Senate and House in just seven states — that was their lowest number since the Civil War, when there were 15 fewer states. Now, they control just five states.”

National Review  study concurs.“President Obama’s recent executive orders granting provisional legal status to an estimated 5 million illegal aliens will likely allow an indeterminate number of them to cast ballots in elections across the United States — and it’s hard to see how it won’t affect the outcome of some number of close elections. Amnestied illegal aliens are now eligible to receive Social Security numbers and, in many cases, drivers’ licenses. Since the vast majority of states don’t require individuals to present proof of citizenship to either register or vote, and given the Obama administration’s zealous promotion of motor-voter registration and declared refusal to enforce Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (ensuring that only eligible individuals vote), it’s certain that appreciable numbers of amnestied illegal aliens will be able to vote. Furthermore, testimony…before the House Judiciary Committee revealed that under Obama’s amnesty some illegal aliens will receive advance-parole status — a glide path to citizenship and full voting rights…”

Voting in their own interests, unlawful immigrants who eventually vote, legally or otherwise, will overwhelmingly support Democrats. That is the primary reason for the opposition by Democrat party leaders to reasonable border control.

Why Democrat Leaders Oppose Border Controls

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two-part analysis of the opposition to the southern border wall. 

There has been insufficient examination of why Democrats have so vehemently opposed measures to restrict illegal immigration. The latest iteration of this is the threat to shut down the government if the latest government funding bill contains money for the southern wall.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain has commented on the irony of this tactic.

“Back in 2013,” Cain writes, “when GOP members threatened a federal shutdown, they were called ‘terrorists’ and ‘hostage takers.’  Brian Williams famously carped that ‘All kinds of people are getting cheated out of salaries, benefits, medical treatment.’  That, in true Williams fashion, was a bald-faced lie, but it was the narrative the entire left-wing media decided to run with. As Mark Halpern admitted on MSNBC, the press was in Obama’s pocket and they were going to help him sell the anti-Republican narrative. It worked.  The GOP took a temporary hit and, for the next few years, Republicans would cower any time someone said the word ‘shutdown.’ Now, the circumstances have been reversed.  Having decimated their own party, Democrats are desperately searching for weapons with which to stall, delay, or derail the GOP agenda. Guess what they’re threatening…”

The Boston Globe recalls that “As a senator, Barack Obama once offered measured praise for the border control legislation that would become the basis for one of Donald Trump’s first acts as president…Obama was talking about the Secure Fence Act of 2006, legislation authorizing a barrier along the southern border passed into law with the support of 26 Democratic senators including party leaders like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer…Now it’s become the legal mechanism for Trump to order construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico…”

Illegal immigration detrimentally affects many who are, or at least once upon a time were, core Democrat constituencies, including union workers and blacks, who have seen their job opportunities and salaries shrink due to increased competition from illegals.  The poor, who have favored Democrats because of the party’s support for social welfare programs, are forced to share limited federal assistance funding with a new wave of incomers. They certainly don’t benefit.

Last month, the New York Times pointed out: “The issue splits traditional Democratic constituencies.  It pits groups with competing material interests against each other, but it also brings those with vested psychological interests into conflict as Hispanics, African-Americans, labor and liberal advocacy groups clash over their conception of territoriality, political ownership and cultural identity.”

Democrat leaders have even opposed measures to deport illegal alien who have committed crimes. Matt Vespa, writing in Townhall  refutes Democrat’s characterization of ICE raids on illegal criminals as being prosecution of otherwise innocent illegals: Over the past couple of days, immigration enforcement agents have round up almost 700 illegal aliens—75 percent of which had criminal records. Rep. Nancy Pelosi disputed the claim, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement also confirmed the figure released by the Department of Homeland Security.

As the Dallas News  notes, “We can argue about whether America has an immigration problem. But it seems pretty clear that Democrats have an immigration problem…Josh Barro, a senior editor at Business Insider, laid out at length exactly what that problem is. Briefly: Democratic arguments about immigration mostly aren’t arguments…It’s easy to explain how immigrants benefit from an open door. Explanations of how the rest of us benefit tend to rely on the trivial or on abstract economic arguments that most people don’t find particularly intuitive or convincing. Those arguments look even more suspicious because they are generally made by the one group that visibly does benefit from a lot of low-skilled immigration, which provides the nannies, lawn-care, and food services that high-skilled professionals rely on to allow them to work longer hours.”

The report concludes Monday

China’s Hidden Nuclear Weapons

China harsh reaction to the deployment of the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system to South Korea in response to the significant danger of a North Korean nuclear attack (see the New York Analysis study on that topic) has raised the key question of Beijing’s nuclear arms capabilities and practices. Unfortunately, much of the information necessary to make valid policy choices is limited.

Beijing’s excessive response has not been limited to anti-missile systems. A Jamestown Foundation report cites Chinese sources, closely tied to the government, stating that “Northeast Asia is under imminent threat of a New Cold War,” with the U.S. and its Japanese and South Korean allies pitted against China, Russia and the DPRK.”

With this prevailing attitude, it’s important to understand the status of China’s nuclear forces.

According to the Arms Control Agency, Beijing commands about 260 [strategic] atomic warheads. The 21stCentury Arms Race  site indicates that China has up to 100 missiles with which to launch them.

But this information may significantly underestimate the true size of the arsenal. A Diplomat study notes that “China officially communicates the least about the size, status and capabilities of its nuclear forces. “

A Georgetown University study by Dr. Philip Karber  points out the challenge of correctly estimating the nuclear capability of a secretive state.  In the case of China, a large number of weapons may be concealed in a vast array of tunnels.

“During the cold war we missed 50% of the Soviet stockpile…while the U.S. has tracked PRC tunnel construction for years, the scope, magnitude and strategic rational behind the “Underground Great Wall” has been under appreciated…the Chinese buildup of their Theater-Strategic Rocket Force has not been the focus of a comprehensive all source analogy…public numbers [of atomic warheads] could be easily off by a factor of 10…”

A 2011 Washington Post article outlined the extraordinary dimensions of the “nuclear tunnels:” “According to a report by state-run CCTV, China had more than 3,000 miles of tunnels — roughly the distance between Boston and San Francisco — including deep underground bases that could withstand multiple nuclear attacks… The lack of interest, particularly in the U.S. media, demonstrated China’s unique position in the world of nuclear arms.For decades, the focus has been on the two powers with the largest nuclear stockpiles by far… of the five nuclear weapons states recognized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, China has been the most secretive. While the United States and Russia are bound by bilateral treaties that require on-site inspections, disclosure of forces and bans on certain missiles, China is not.”

The Georgetown researchers have concluded that China’s arsenal may include not hundreds of warheads, but thousands—possibly 3,000.

China’s policy on the use of its nuclear prowess is getting more belligerent. Beijing is using the legitimate response to North Korea’s illegal nuclear weapons program and its threats to use them as an excuse to move to a more aggressive posture.

Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND)  said in July that “We will pay close attention to relevant actions of the U.S. and the ROK and will take necessary measures to maintain national strategic security as well as regional strategic equilibrium.” Recently, reports Infowars “China warns that it is reconsidering its policy not to use nuclear weapons against South Korea…”

Despite Beijing’s public denunciation of North Korea’s nuclear program, it makes clear that it will tolerate no external interference with its development, leading to the question of whether it actually finds Pyongyang’s weapons a useful counterweight for American and South Korean forces.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently released policy paper, downplays the looming threats from North Korea’s nuclear weapons, proclaiming “Currently, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is stable on the whole, with a strong momentum for peace and development. The Asia-Pacific region is a stable part of the global landscape. To promote peace and seek stability and development is the strategic goal and common aspiration of most countries in the region.”  (the report says that “China’s position on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is consistent and clear-cut. China is committed to the denuclearization of the peninsula, its peace and stability, and settlement of the issue through dialogue and consultation.”) However, the Report objects to defensive regional alliances, stating “To beef up a military alliance targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security.”

China’s potentially significant hidden nuclear arsenal, as well as its increased confidence in asserting its power, looms as am existing  major threat.

The Under-reported Crisis: Russia’s Massive Arms Buildup, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its latest examination of under-reported defense issues concerning Russia.

Here is a small sampling of other vital information that has not been adequately presented to the public, generally appearing only  specialty journals, (one example being the extraordinary journalism presented in the Washington Free Beacon) some “wire services” such as AP but getting little attention in major newspapers, network television, or most cable news outlets:

The Associated Press reported this matter in February, which was, as usual, not given a great deal of attention:

“The Russian military received a sweeping array of new weapons last year, including 41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the wide-ranging military modernization will continue this year, the defense minister said Wednesday. Minister Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers the air force will receive 170 new aircraft, the army will receive 905 tanks and other armored vehicles while the navy will receive 17 new ships this year…The rising number of new weapons has raised demands for new personnel. Shoigu said the military currently needs 1,300 more pilots and will recruit them by 2018… the military now has 2,000 drones compared to just 180 in 2011…Russia has now deployed new long-range early warning radars to survey the airspace along the entire length of its borders.The minister said the military will complete the formation of three new divisions in the nation’s west and southwest, and also deploy a new division on the Pacific Islands, which have been claimed by Japan.”

The Jamestown Foundation reports that “Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the dismemberment of its territory is not an isolated operation. It constitutes one component of a broader strategic agenda to rebuild a Moscow-centered bloc designed to compete with the West. The acceleration of President Vladimir Putin’s neo-imperial project has challenged the security of several regions that border the Russian Federation, focused attention on the geopolitical aspects of Kremlin ambitions, and sharpened the debate on the future role of NATO, the EU, and the US in the Wider Europe.”

The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail reports on two significant new threats, one current and one on the drawing boards. “Russia has unveiled chilling pictures of its largest ever nuclear missile, capable of destroying an area the size of France. The RS-28 Sarmat missile, dubbed Satan 2 by Nato, has a top speed of 4.3 miles (7km) per second…The new Sarmat missile could deliver warheads of 40 megatons – 2,000 times as powerful as the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945…Russia is also readying itself to become a leader in the construction of hypersonic aircraft, a new report reveals. Kremlin-backed media claim engineers in the Federation are among the first in the world to work towards new materials for planes capable of reaching hypersonic speeds.” The move could help Russia produce a new fleet of aerial war machines that could launch nuclear attacks from space. Aviation researchers are reportedly working to develop the materials which can withstand the stress and high temperatures of travelling many times the speed of sound.

The Washington Free Beacon  reported last September that “The nominee to lead the U.S. Strategic Command warned Congress this week that China and Russia are rapidly building space warfare capabilities and the United States is lagging behind in efforts to counter the threat. Both Beijing and Moscow are developing anti-satellite missiles and laser guns and maneuvering killer space robots that could cripple strategic U.S. communications, navigation and intelligence satellites, the backbone of American high-technology warfare.”

The British publication, The Sun, also reported in October that “Russia conducted a massive evacuation drill for more than 40 million people to prepare for nuclear war. More than 200,000 emergency services personnel and soldiers used 50,000 pieces of equipment during the massive civil defence exercise.”

Moscow has not been shy about its new prowess.  The semi-official Russian publication RT  reported in October that “Over 100 fighter jets, long-range bombers and combat helicopters have been scrambled at their bases across Russia and six post-Soviet states as the allies prepare to test their integrated air defense system in a massive military exercise. More than 130 command and control centers have been put on alert in Russia and six former Soviet republics – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.” RT also notes  that “Russia’s next-generation strategic bomber, known as the PAK-DA, may be unveiled to the public by the end of 2018…The plane is expected to be able to cover a range of 6,740 nautical miles and carry around 30-40 tons of weapons including air-to-surface missiles as well as conventional and smart-guided bombs.”

The Under-reported Crisis: Russia’s Massive Arms Buildup

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two part examination of the lack of adequate coverage of Russia’s massive arms buildup.

Most of the major U.S. media has chosen to provide little coverage of significant military matters, except when an imminent threat arises or shooting actually starts.  One example: North Korea’s immediate nuclear threats have recently made the headlines, but the long years of Pyongyang’s development of its atomic and missile arsenals were touched on only lightly.

Over the past eight years America’s already depleted armed forces were substantially reduced by budget cuts and a White House that sought to divert defense spending to its social welfare agenda, despite the rising threats from Russia, China, and elsewhere.  The major media was largely supportive of that policy, and underreported the looming dangers. That press trend continues.

While the U.S. was in the midst of an extensive reduction in military spending, Moscow, starting in 2010, launched a $720 billion modernization program. As noted by the Economist  in 2014, “Russia’s defence spending has nearly doubled in nominal terms since 2007. This year alone it will rise by 18.4%.”

The relative military positions of Washington and Moscow were reversed during the Obama Administration.  Russia now, for the first time in history, is the world’s most powerful nuclear state,  a result of the Obama/Clinton New START treaty. The Wall Street Journal noted that President Obama had only a “a dim and faddish understanding of nuclear realities.”

The bizarre sale of American uranium interests to Russia, (uranium is the key ingredient for atomic weapons) and the resulting profit to the Clinton Foundation remains of the most under-discussed scandals in U.S. history.

Moscow’s nuclear development has been matched by Putin’s massive investment in his conventional forces.

Last year, as reported by the New York Analysis of Policy and Government,  USMC Lt. General Vincent R. Stewart, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, addressed the House Armed Services Committee on key threats facing the United States. He noted thatMoscow continues to devote major resources to modernizing its military forces, viewing military power as critical to achieving key strategic objectives: acknowledged great power status, dominating smaller regional states and deterring NATO from military action in Eurasia. Russian leadership considers a capable and survivable nuclear force as the foundation of its strategic deterrent capability, and modernized, agile general purpose forces as vital for Eurasian and limited out-of-area power projection.” For a more thorough examination of the growing imbalance in the U.S. nuclear deterrent, see the New York Analysis article, “Russian Nuclear Weapons Modernize while U.S. Arsenal Diminishes”

Some of the Kremlin’s massive arms buildup violated existing treaties. In October, Rep. Thornberry (R-Texas), chair of the House Committee on Armed Services, and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California) penned an urgent letter to President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to you again because of our urgent concern about the failure of your Administration to confront Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty…Neither the State Department nor Defense Department imposed consequences on Russia…your Administration is not permitting the military to pursue the options recommended to you by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey. It is now apparent to us that the situation regarding Russia’s violation has worsened…”

The Washington Free Beacon reported late in 2016 that “ Moscow has increased its deployed nuclear warheads over the last six months as the United States has reduced its own…Russia deployed nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad, Russia, its small territory bordering Lithuania and Poland, both NATO members.”

There are also concerns that Moscow may have violated other accords relating to nuclear weapons testing. The British newspaper The Sun  reported in February that the “U.S. [sent a] specialist nuke-hunter plane to the UK as ‘radiation spike’ sparks fears Putin has tested nuclear weapon in the Arctic… Many point to [a] radiation spike as “proof” the Russians have restarted nuclear weapons testing at Novaya Zemlya near the Arctic.

The Report concludes tomorrow

Afghanistan Problems More Dangerous

The United Nations envoy for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, has pointed out . both some progress and the severe challenges in that nation.

While the Government has committed to holding parliamentary elections which should be “fair, inclusive and transparent by the Afghan people,” the Taliban retains extensive military capabilities. It’s extreme views on women also put a damper on the fairness of any forthcoming election.

“The deteriorating security situation remains of great concern,” notes Yamamoto. He urged the Taliban to enter peace talks without preconditions and warning against attacks by foreign fighters including ISIS.

Last year, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)  recorded the worst number of civilian casualties since record-keeping began nearly a decade ago. Deteriorating security also led to the highest-ever level of internal displacement in 2016. More than 650,000 Afghans were displaced. Returns from Pakistan exceeded 620,000 people. Displacements and returns for 2017 are likely to remain at these levels.

Yamamoto notes that due in part to the worsening security situation over the past two years, service delivery has become increasingly difficult. “We have witnessed some downward trends in key indicators, such as access to health clinics and education facilities,” he said.

As reported by the New York Analysis of Policy and Government  in February, Russia has reached out to the Taliban. A senior official of that terrorist group told Reuters in early December that Russia’s relationship with the Taliban began in 2007, as Moscow shared the Taliban’s objective of forcing all U.S. troops to swiftly withdraw from Afghanistan.

“The official end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan in 2014 did not cause Russia to distance itself from the Taliban…Critics of Russian foreign policy argue that Putin’s outreach to the Taliban is a cynical ploy to undermine the legitimacy of President Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government. Some Afghan policymakers and General John Nicholson, a leading U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, have publicly given credibility to this contention…Citing a high-level Taliban official The Daily Beast reported in October 2015 that Moscow also encouraged Tajik intelligence operatives to facilitate the shipment of Russian arms to the Taliban.”

A Foreign Affairs analysis points out that “Trump inherits a more challenging situation in Afghanistan than his predecessor did. …Several other countries, including Iran and Russia, have also stepped up communication with, and provided limited material support to, the Taliban…Afghanistan’s national unity government remains weak and hamstrung by corruption…

Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, gave his views on the Taliban’s strength in a statement  to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015

“The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF)…will require continued international security sector support and funding to stave off an increasingly aggressive Taliban insurgency…Without international funding, the ANSF will probably not remain a cohesive or viable force. The Taliban will probably remain largely cohesive…and sustain its countrywide campaign to take territory in outlying areas and steadily reassert influence over significant portions of the Pashtun countryside, positioning itself for greater territorial gains …The Taliban has publicly touted the end of the mission of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and coalition drawdown as a sign of its inevitable victory, reinforcing its commitment to returning to power.”

In his February joint address to Congress, President Trump promised to “demolish and destroy” terrorist groups. The fight in Afghanistan will prove to be the most difficult due to the number of terrorist groups operating in the area.  It will also be the most important, because in the absence of a western military presence, one of those terrorist organizations could gain access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Writing in the National Interest Akhilesh Pillalamarri describes the problem: “Although Pakistan argues that its nuclear weapons are well-guarded, many experts are not so sure, pointing out that the Taliban and other militants have frequently struck at supposedly secure military bases with impunity. More worrisome, though, is Pakistan’s history of proliferation, which increases the chance that one day some element or the other in the Pakistani military will provide nuclear materials to an even more dangerous third party…”

Slash and Burn Politics Combines with Irresponsible Journalism, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its examination of the Russian connection issue.

As the public began to question the logic of the Democrats’ claims against Trump, valid questions arose about how the whole story began, including the issue of surveillance of the Trump campaign.

Judicial Watch notes that “National Security advisor Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce ‘detailed spreadsheets’ of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides. This is a move that makes Watergate pale in comparison.” Rice’s past ethical violations, including her misleading and false statements about the Benghazi incident, clearly establish her as someone not adverse to inappropriate action.  Rice also inappropriately released information about the information from surveillance to a wide number of individuals. The history of the Obama Administration as a whole, which unlawfully used the IRS, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies for partisan purposes gives the issue of inappropriate surveillance a great deal of credibility.  Had Clinton won, the issue would most likely not have seen the light of day.  But when Trump unexpectedly won, there was significant reason to worry that the inappropriate surveillance would be exposed; thus a cover story—that of Russian interference on behalf of Trump—needed to be developed.

As significant questions began to emerge about the logic of why Putin would assist Trump, those pushing the story found other villains. Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser was found to have had contacts with Russians—as one would expect a National Security Adviser to have.  But Flynn didn’t report the contacts, and was vulnerable. He resigned. Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign manager, had some business interests with Russia approximately a decade ago. Much has been made of that, but a much more recent and more significant relation between Clinton’s key adviser John Podesta has been virtually ignored.

PJ Media notes that: Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and the author of “Clinton Cash,” explained on Fox News Tuesday how a Russia connection to the Clinton campaign and Obama presidency is much bigger and more troubling than anything Democrats have accused Team Trump of… “In 2011, John Podesta joins the board of this very small energy company called Joule Energy based out of Massachusetts,” Schweizer said. “About two months after he joins the board, a Russian entity called Rusnano puts a billion rubles — which is about 35 million dollars — into John Podesta’s company. Now, what is Rusnano? Rusnano is not a private company, Steve. It is a fund directly funded by the Kremlin. In fact, the Russian science minister called Rusnano Putin’s child. So you have the Russian government investing in one of John Podesta’s businesses in 2011, while he is an advisor to Hillary Clinton at the State Department.”

The House of Representatives began an investigation into Russia’s actions.  At one point, House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-Ca.) briefed the White House, which critics stated was a breach of ethics, some say before all his committee members were briefed. He was forced to step aside from the investigation. He delivered an angry response:

Several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power. Despite the baselessness of the charges, I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter.”

National Review, a publication that has been critical of President Trump, stated “The beleaguered Intelligence Committee chairman is the latest target in a partisan smear campaign…He is the new target in an already long line of those targeted by the media for forced resignations — Stephen Bannon, the purported anti-Semite; Sebastian Gorka, the alleged closet Nazi; Jeff Sessions, the supposed Russian patsy; and now Devin Nunes, the purported partisan naïf…Some salient points, all of which have been reported in the media, need to be reemphasized with two caveats: First, the central question remains who leaked what classified information for what reasons; second, since when is it improper or even unwise for an apprehensive intelligence official to bring information of some importance to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for external review — in a climate of endemic distrust of all intelligence agencies?”

Slash and Burn Politics Combines with Irresponsible Journalism

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government begins a two part examination of the charges of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

The President’s military attack on the airbase of Russia’s ally Syria, in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s heinous use of illegal gas weapons against his own people, further diminishes allegations that Trump is friendly with Putin. The Russians had warned the White House against the move. The move is in sharp contrast to the Obama Administration’s reluctance to offend Putin’s Syrian ally.

The “Russian Connection” allegations against the Trump Administration need to be seen for what they truly are.

Even by the usual harsh standards of politics, the slash and burn tactics practiced by the losing side of the 2016 election have been excessive. The situation is deeply worsened by the complicity of a media that remains embarrassed that its open advocacy of Hillary Clinton was not only unethical but also unsuccessful. Combined with an academic establishment that seeks to censor non-leftist student speech, and the financing by rogue billionaires of street protests, its adds up to a (mostly) nonviolent attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

The normal governmental avenues are increasingly unavailable to the hard left. Voters have taken note of Progressives’ failed policies at home and abroad.  Republicans now dominate the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and most governorships and state legislatures.  Rather than do the soul-searching and preparation for the next campaign as the GOP did in the aftermath of the 2008 election, when it was Democrats that took total control of the federal government, the extremists who have taken  over the Democrat Party are seeking to delegitimize the election results.

Since the Trump Administration is too new to actually have a record to criticize, allegations have been made about improper actions before the election, specifically, contacts with the Russian government.

No convincing evidence has yet to be presented, either of illegal contact, (despite the newly released information that the Obama Administration was indeed engaging in surveillance of the Trump campaign) or of any resulting impact in the campaign—that much is clear.  But a larger question looms. Why would the Russian Government favor a Trump victory?

The Obama loyalist theory is this: in 2011, protesters marched in Moscow, claiming Putin had rigged his election. Clinton had criticized the election, angering Putin. This, the former President’s supporters maintain, motivated the Russian president to retaliate by moving against Clinton. Russia did hack DNC computers, so there was, at least, some smoke.  But was there fire?

The idea assumes that Putin is as sensitive as a college student needing a safe space to hide from microaggressions. Was the ex-KGB official so hurt that he would place his entire government at risk by helping Trump? Would he overlook, because of Clinton comments, the enormous favors that Clinton and Obama did for Russia, which included:

  • Slashing spending on U.S. armed forces,
  • Selling 20% of U.S. uranium (the basic ingredient of nuclear weapons) to Moscow,
  • signing the New START treaty which, for the first time in history, gave Russia the lead in atomic weapons,
  • Doing virtually nothing other than impose weak sanctions in the wake of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,
  • Roadblocking U.S. energy production from federal lands, thereby giving Russia’s chief export greater value,
  • Withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq and allowing Russia to become the main influence in the region.

There also another problem:  there is no evidence that, other than hacking computers, Putin actually did anything that in any way actually influenced even a single vote. The most the DNC can point to is that some Clinton quotes may have been leaked, although even that is open to question.

In contrast, during the campaign, Trump pushed concepts that were virtual daggers pointed at the heart of Moscow.  The first was the undoing of the dramatic and dangerous cuts to the U.S. defense budget. The second was a promise to reinvigorate the U.S. energy sector, which could cause significant harm to the Russian economy.  The third was a reversal of Obama’s intentional reduction of U.S. leadership across the globe.

Much was made of Trump’s attempt to get NATO countries to spend more, claiming that pleased Moscow because it opened up a wedge between Europe and the U.S.  The assertion doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, in large part because several European nations now express a willingness to beef up their defenses. Having a greater defense against Russia’s increasingly powerful military is not exactly a result Putin would want.

The report concludes Monday

Judicial Overreach Concerns Grow, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its review of the Ninth Circuits’ overreach. 

Critics of the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit decisions on President Trumps’s travel ban executive orders have been blunt, and rightly so.

Robert Charles writing for Fox News notes that “The U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, has issued one of the most ill-conceived, poorly reasoned opinions in memory, even for that notoriously activist Circuit…Whether motivated by antipathy for the president, love of limelight, or just fundamentally misconceiving their role, the Court stumbles into embarrassing contradictions, makes baseless assumptions, shows indifference to law and history… The job was simple:  Decide whether, given the President’s Article II prerogatives and authority as “Commander in Chief,” a single federal judge – one of 3,294 – can issue a sweeping, conclusory, nationwide “temporary restraining order” (TRO) halting implementation of a national security Executive Order (EO). If the TRO was unjustified, the Ninth Circuit was duty-bound to issue a “stay,” effectively ending the TRO and permitting implementation by the Department of Homeland Security of the EO.  Instead, they ducked, and insensibly upheld the TRO. They played to the street, and tried a legalistic putsch.  Fortunately, the opinion is likely to be reversed by the Supreme Court – but that will be a while…”

Matt O’Brien, writing in Lifezette  called the decision “ a deliberate attempt to shift control over immigration from the executive and legislative branches to the judicial branch in order to grant foreigners a constitutionally protected ‘right’ to enter the U.S. The 9th Circuit’s decision is way off-base.”  He notes that “The Supreme Court has previously held that federal courts are prohibited from hearing cases asking them to declare illegal the exercise of a power that the Constitution assigns exclusively to the other branches of government. This rule is referred to as the ‘Political Question Doctrine.’ It preserves the separation of powers by keeping the courts from assuming functions that should be performed by the legislature or the executive. The role of the courts is to interpret and apply the law, not to set the national security agenda, conduct foreign affairs, or craft our immigration policies.”

Daniel Horowitz, author of the study Stolen Sovereignty, wrote a Conservative Review  article in which he expressed his deep concern over the actions of the Ninth Circuit relating to the Travel Ban, noting that its actions:

  • Allows ANY and ALL refugees to enter the U.S.
  • Stops President Trump from executing the law, which Congress passed
  • Circumvents Congress’ authority. Invents new constitutional right for non-citizens
  • Encourages ‘judge shopping’ to assert tyrannical authority over congressional and executive branches
  • Ignores American history, law, and tradition
  • Furthers what modern courts have done at chipping away American sovereignty

Horowitz proposes several means to address the Ninth Circuits abuse: “Congress must use its [Constitutional] power and immediately move to strip lower courts of jurisdiction to grant rights to any foreign national to enter or remain in the country against the law unless statute explicitly preempts the president’s action. This way, plaintiffs would have to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, which only has the bandwidth to deal with a limited number of cases. Nobody can dispute Congress’ supremacy over the lower courts because Congress created them. Alternatively, Congress, which has complete control over the administrative procedures of the courts, could prevent lower courts from issuing nationwide injunctions against immigration enforcement acts outside of their respective districts and circuits.”

Horowitz believes the House of Representatives should bring articles of impeachment against rogue judges.

Professor Robert Gagnon  quotes Thomas Jefferson’s concern with excess power given to federal judges: “Nothing in the Constitution has given them [the federal judges] a right to decide for the Executive, more than to the Executive to decide for them. . . .The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide … not only for themselves, in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” (Letter to Abigail Adams, September 11, 1804)

A more recent but similar thought could be found in a 2003 Washington Times editorial:  “One of the greatest contemporary threats to the survival of republican government arises from the courts. Increasingly, judges are behaving like black-robed autocrats, not simply ruling upon the law, but making law…outrageous cases…suggest our American system of separated powers, checks and balances, is seriously out of balance…The Framers limited the power of the courts just as they did the powers of the other two branches of government.”

The Courts are not the appropriate forum for the debate over President Trump’s travel and immigration policies.