Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Rice.Brennan, Clapper and Rhodes A Distraction? Despicable J Street. Happy Passover and Easter.

Oh, my first wife left me and worse my second wife didn't.

Did Rice, Brennan, Clapper and Rhodes break any law 
lying about their activities or statements?  If so will anything
happen? Do not bet the rent money. 

The Potomac Swamp is deep, the gators many and though the will is there the ability may not. 

Meanwhile, I have to believe gathering information of this kind was undertaken to provide ammunition for Obama and Valerie as they plot continuing to disrupt Trump's efforts. (See 1, 1a and 1b below.)

J Street is an organization whose mission is to destroy and de-legitimize Israel.  Because they are an organization  predominantly comprised of misguided Jews their bias carries special weight. (See 2 below.)

Nikki Haley is fantastic and refreshing because she believes truth is her most powerful weapon. (See 2a below.)

Several memo's ago I warned Sharia Law would eventually be coming to America. (See 2b below.)
Prior to becoming president,Trump may well have had a more benign and hopeful view of an expanding relationship with Russia.  Even some of those on his team and a few appointees seem to have encouraged the prospect of a better relationship. If such could be accomplished there is nothing wrong in trying because  it would be a positive thing .  That said, it is not likely to happen and if it did Putin probably cannot be trusted to live by his word.

Like Bob Hope once said  which he staying in a Moscow Hotel,Russians constantly tried their key in every door and the TV watched you.

Apparently, Trump's thinking changed rather abruptly as reality begins to replace naivety.

Trump's convictions run deep and he has come to many conclusions that have not run up against a well thought out and contrary rebuttal but the thesis that Trump is incapable of having his mind changed is incorrect. Part of the reason, I believe, is because he appointed those to Cabinet and agency positions who hold opposite views and they are having an impact .(See 3 below.)
Subject: A Funeral near Cross, SC

A Touching Story

Kind of a cool way to take a casket to the cemetery
A funeral procession pulled into Pressley Cemetery.  Several car loads of family members followed a black truck towing a boat with a coffin in it. A passer-by remarked, 
"That guy must have been a very avid fisherman." 

"Oh, he still is," remarked one of the mourners. "As a matter of fact, he's headed off to the lake as soon as we bury his wife."

The Happiest and Safest of Passovers and Easters to all my friends.

1) Susan Rice ordered spy agencies to produce ‘spreadsheets’ on Trump, aides

Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce “detailed spreadsheets” of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova.
“What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.
“The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” diGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”
Other knowledgeable official sources with direct knowledge and who requested anonymity confirmed to The DCNF diGenova’s description of surveillance reports Rice ordered one year before the 2016 presidential election.
Also on Monday, Fox News and Bloomberg News, citing multiple sources reported that Rice had requested the intelligence information that was produced in a highly organized operation. Fox said the unmasked names of Trump aides were given to officials at the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense, James Clapper, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, Obama’s CIA Director.
Joining Rice in the alleged White House operations was her deputy Ben Rhodes, according to Fox.
Critics of the atmosphere prevailing throughout the Obama administration’s last year in office point to former Obama Deputy Defense Secretary Evelyn Farkas who admitted in a March 2 television interview on MSNBC that she “was urging my former colleagues,” to “get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration.”
Farkas sought to walk back her comments in the weeks following: “I didn’t give anybody anything except advice.”

1a) Susan Rice Unmasked

Obama’s security adviser sought the name of at least one Trump official in intelligence reports.

Well, what do you know. On the matter of who “unmasked” the names of Trump transition officials in U.S. intelligence reports, we now have one answer: Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national security adviser.
A U.S. intelligence official confirms to us the bombshell news, first reported Monday by Bloomberg, that Ms. Rice requested the name of at least one Trump transition official listed in an intelligence report in the months between Election Day and Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Ms. Rice received summaries of U.S. eavesdropping either when foreign officials were discussing the Trump team, or when foreign officials were conversing with a Trump transition member. The surveillance was legally authorized, but the identities of U.S. citizens are typically masked so they cannot be known outside intelligence circles. Ms. Rice asked for and learned the identity of the Trump official, whose name hasn’t been publicly disclosed and our source declined to share.
Our source did confirm that Ms. Rice also examined dozens of other intelligence summaries that technically masked Trump official identities but were written in such a way as to make obvious who those officials were. This means that the masking was essentially meaningless. All this is highly unusual—and troubling. Unmasking does occur, but it is typically done by intelligence or law-enforcement officials engaged in antiterror or espionage investigations. Ms. Rice would have had no obvious need to unmask Trump campaign officials other than political curiosity.
We’re told by a source who has seen the unmasked documents that they included political information about the Trump transition team’s meetings and policy intentions. We are also told that none of these documents had anything to do with Russia or the FBI investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. While we don't know if Ms. Rice requested these dozens of reports, we are told that they were only distributed to a select group of recipients—conveniently including Ms. Rice.
All of this helps to explain the actions in the last week of House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, the one official in Washington who seems interested in pursuing the evidence of politicized surveillance. Mr. Nunes was roundly criticized by Democrats and the media last week for publicly revealing at least one instance of Obama White House unmasking, albeit without disclosing any names.
Now we know he is onto something. And we know that Mr. Nunes had to go to the White House to verify his information because the records containing Ms. Rice’s unmasking request are held at the National Security Council.
Where are the civil libertarians when you really need them? These columns support broad surveillance powers for national security, but executive officials need to be accountable if those powers are abused. If congressional oversight of U.S. intelligence operations is going to be worth the name, then it should include the unmasking of a political opponent by a senior official in the White House.
Democrats certainly raised a fuss during the Bush years and after Edward Snowden kicked off the debate about “metadata,” which are merely telephone numbers without names. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden went so far as to introduce a bill in 2013 to strengthen the ban on “reverse targeting”—in which intelligence agencies surveil foreigners but with the goal of capturing U.S. citizen communications.
Yet now that there’s evidence that the Obama Administration may have unmasked Trump officials, Democrats couldn’t care less. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on House Intelligence, has spent the past week denouncing Mr. Nunes for revealing that a name was unmasked and for having sources at the White House. But he hasn’t raised a peep about the unmasking itself or who was behind it.
The news about Ms. Rice’s unmasking role raises a host of questions for the Senate and House intelligence committees to pursue. What specific surveillance information did Ms. Rice seek and why? Was this information related to President Obama’s decision in January to make it possible for raw intelligence to be widely disbursed throughout the government? Was this surveillance of Trump officials “incidental” collection gathered while listening to a foreigner, or were some Trump officials directly targeted, or “reverse targeted”?
We were unable to locate Ms. Rice Monday to ask for comment, and she hasn’t addressed the unmasking as far as we know. But asked last month on the “PBS NewsHour” that Trump officials might have been surveilled, she said, “I know nothing about this” and “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.” She certainly deserves her turn under oath on Capitol Hill.
None of this should deter investigators from looking into the Trump-Russia connection. By all means follow that evidence where it leads. But the media have been running like wildebeest after that story while ignoring how the Obama Administration might have abused domestic surveillance for its political purposes. Americans deserve to know the truth about both.

1b) Susan Rice on Surveillance: 'I Leaked Nothing to Nobody'
By Jason Devaney

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice insisted Tuesday she was simply doing her job by asking for the names of American citizens to be unmasked for intelligence gathering purposes last year, and she said she did not leak anything to the media.
In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, Rice addressed a report Monday  that said she played a role in revealing to the nation's intelligence community Americans' names — more specifically, people in President Donald Trump's inner circle.
"Not for any political purposes," Rice told Mitchell when asked if she ever unmasked the names of anyone on the Trump campaign or transition 
Rice then denied leaking any names or information.
"I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would," Rice said.
Multiple times during the interview, Rice said her role in former President Barack Obama's White House included looking at intelligence reports in the form of communications between American and foreign citizens on a daily basis. Some of those reports required follow-ups on her part to find out who the Americans were.
"I received those reports as did each of the other officials, and there were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to," Rice explained.
"Name not provided, just a U.S. person. And sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request the information, as to who that U.S. official was."
When asked about what she might have done regarding members of Trump's team, Rice would not comment and said there was a tried-and-true process in place.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairs the House Intelligence Committee and said last month a source at the White House showed him evidence incidental intelligence was collected on U.S. citizens close to Trump last year.
"I can't get into any specific reports," Rice said. "I don't know what Devin Nunes reviewed at the White House. What I can say is that there is an established process for senior national security officials to ask for the identity of U.S. persons in these reports. To get beyond that is to disclose classified information, and those people who are doing that are doing something very wrong."
Rice made it clear there was no direct intelligence collection on anyone in Trump Tower — although she admitted people in the president's Manhattan skyscraper could have had their communications intercepted if they were talking to foreigners.
"There was no such collection or surveillance on Trump Tower or Trump individuals . . . The president of the United States and people in the White House do not have the ability to order such collection."
It has been alleged the pace of unmasking the names of U.S. citizens picked up after Trump won last November's presidential election. Rice would not comment on whether that was true, but she did say, because of the intelligence community's investigation into claims Russia interfered in the election, there was an increase in reports that came across the desks of high-ranking intelligence officials in the Obama administration.
"If you're asking, were there more reports provided to senior U.S. officials after the president requested the compilation of the intelligence, which was ultimately provided in January, yes," Rice said.
"As the intelligence community went about the business of fulfilling the president's request for such a report [on Russian hacking], they went back and scrubbed more reports. They began to provide more such reports to American officials, including myself."
Earlier Monday, meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Rice misled Americans about what happened during the 2012 Benghazi attack, and so her role in the unmasking of U.S. citizens during her time in the Obama White House should be investigated.


2) Why Is J Street Calling Israel an ‘Occupier’?

The term is a polite way of demonizing the Jewish nation.

The former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was also in attendance. His “3D” test has become the standard used by the U.S. State Department and other institutions to determine when criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism. Mr. Sharansky’s three Ds are delegitimization, demonization and double standards. Measured this way, J Street is itself anti-Semitic.
Using the term “occupier” is a polite way of demonizing Israel as a thief. It suggests that Jewish invaders colonized territory rightfully belonging to the Arabs. Talk about a double standard. To suggest that Jews are occupiers in a region known for more than 3,000 years as Judea is as ridiculous as suggesting that Arabs currently living in Arabia are occupiers.
“Occupier” is a legal term that does not apply to Israel. Israel’s legal title and rights to its present territory were established in the San Remo resolution, an agreement adopted by victorious Allied Powers after World War I, confirmed by the League of Nations, and incorporated into the U.N. charter. None of the Jewish people’s rights to live, emigrate to and settle the land of Israel have ever been revoked, nullified or superseded by a subsequent act of international law.
Calling Israel an “occupier” has become essential to anti-Israel forces, as they persist in efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. A U.N. resolution passed in December demands that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
Tarring Israel with the “occupier” label also gives its violent enemies grounds upon which to portray terrorism as resistance to occupation. When an Israeli killed a Palestinian who was attempting to stab an Israeli soldier in 2015, the Palestinian Authority claimed that the occurrence “exposes the ugly face of the occupation” and “its crimes against the helpless Palestinian people.”
The terms “occupier” and “occupation” have infiltrated the media, academia and government bodies around the world. Mostly their use has been confined to non-Jewish organizations. Now, however, Jewish groups like J Street have taken to slandering Israel as an occupier, thus engaging in anti-Semitic speech and lending material support to Israel’s enemies.
Israel passed a law in March prohibiting foreigners who participate in BDS from entering the country. J Street responded by claiming that the bill will “further isolate” the Jewish state and “validate Israel’s critics.”
J Street doesn’t have to shed its support for a two-state solution or abandon the work it does to ensure the well-being of Palestinian Arabs. But it must reject the lie that Israel is an occupier. Until then, J Street can’t claim to have good intentions toward Israel.
Mr. Clemmons, a Republican, is a member of the South Carolina House.

Instead, the discussion will revolve around issues such as Iran’s support for terrorism, the Syrian crisis, Hezbollah and Hamas among others,
Haley explained during a press briefing on Monday.

NEW YORK – For the first time in years, the United Nations Security Council will not focus its monthly open Middle East debate on Israel and the Palestinians, at least under the month-long presidency of US Ambassador Nikki Haley.

She intends to have the April 20 debate revolve around such issues as Iran’s support for terrorism, the Syrian crisis, Hezbollah and Hamas among others, Haley said on Monday.

Haley, who presides over the Security Council for the month of April, told a news conference she would opt instead to push for UN peacekeeping reforms and broader human rights issues, despite the opposition of some member states.

“So much has been put toward Israel and the Palestinian Authority and not enough has been put toward some of these other issues,” she said. “That is our goal for the Middle East open debate.”

Haley had come out strongly against the UN’s anti-Israel bias just after her first Security Council meeting in February, saying the US will no longer tolerate it.

When asked by The Jerusalem Post if she worries that her pro-Israel approach could undermine a US role in mediating a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Haley said: “I don’t worry about that, because I’ve been honest.

“All I have done is tell the truth. I’ve called it out like I see it and I’ll continue to do that, but there is no one that doesn’t want to see a peace process between those two bodies,” she added. “I think we all feel like it should happen – it can happen and we want to see it come together.”

Haley also said she had urged the Palestinians to resume negotiations with Israel, during a meeting with Palestinian Authority envoy Riyad Mansour.

“I said that we are not going to support the Palestinian actions here at the UN until they came to the table,” Haley said. “We don’t want to see any additional measures brought at the UN that would bash Israel or would lift up the Palestinian Authority until we can get these negotiations to happen.”

Haley added that she believes the discussions that have taken place at the UN on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far “have been more of a hindrance toward the peace process than a help, because it’s caused defensiveness to happen and that’s never healthy for anything.”

After Israel last week announced the first government-sanctioned settlement in more than two decades, Haley said she believes this was a response to the biased Security Council Resolution 2334 passed in December.

“We want to see a pause on additional settlement,” she added. “My hope is that we have willingness from both sides coming together to really allow for that conversation to take place.”

Haley said that, as a “transparency girl,” she has also decided to make all but three of the month’s Security Council meetings open to the press.

“Being president of the Security Council is intimidating and very busy and I am still in learning mode,” she said. “This administration is looking at the UN with fresh eyes. I hope you see leadership from the United States.”

Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon said he sees Haley’s presidency as a turning point for Israel.

“We’ve been very impressed with Ambassador Haley and her stance at the UN,” he told the Post. “The council can be a very important body, but it needs to reorient its attention.”

“There is no doubt that the UN is on notice about the winds of change which have blown in from Washington,” Danon added. “They are not going to tolerate an obsessive focus on Israel with so many other crises around the world.

“Everywhere you see terrorism and travesties in the region, you see Iran,” he said. “If you are going to have a periodical meeting on the situation on the Middle East, then Iran must be the main focus,” Danon said.


Montana Democrats Vote Against Bill Banning Sharia Law, Call It 'Repugnant'

Democrats in Montana have opposed a bill banning the use of foreign law in its state courts on the grounds that such legislation would target Muslims.

Senate Bill 97, introduced by Keith Regier (R-Kalispell) bans the application of foreign law in Montana’s courts, with the debate particularly focused on Sharia Law, a form of Islamic law typically used in the Middle East.
Although the bill passed on party lines by 56-44, Democrats claimed it was designed to target Muslim communities.
“I think it sends a dangerous message to minority groups both here living in our state and wanting to come visit our state, just merely on the fact that you may be different,” said Rep. Shane Morigeau, D-Missoula, while debating the bill. “I truly believe this law is repugnant. I believe this is not who we are as Montanans.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Ellie Hill Smith (D-Missoula) proposed a failed amendment to the bill to include a ban on both Sharia Law and the Law of Moses, in order to “show the state of Montana that it is not just about Islamic Law.”
“The courts have said that laws that single out certain religions violate the First Amendment,” Smith said, claiming that it was “peppered with anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Another Democrat, Rep. Laurie Bishop (D-Livingston) urged legislators “not to forget the roots of this bill,” adding that “our children are watching.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Brad Tschida (R-Missoula) said the bill was an attempt to push back against a “constitution [that] is constantly under assault.”
Bills specifically targeting Sharia Law have passed in states such as North Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee. The bill will now be passed on to Gov. Steve Bullock (D) for signature or veto.
3) How Trump Became a Russia Skeptic

The conventional wisdom about a Kremlin-friendly White House is dated. Reality forced a change.

These are telling remarks, given that only a few months ago Mr. Putin was salivating at the thought of a Trump presidency. Mr. Trump had extolled the Russian leader, declared the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “obsolete,” and hinted that the U.S. might accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea. A few years ago Steve Bannon, an influential Trump adviser, promoted the idea of a grand alliance between the West and a traditionalist Russia against secularism and Islam. Mike Flynn, a Putin-friendly recipient of Moscow’s largess, was appointed national security adviser.
Yet as the investigations continue into Trumpworld’s Russia connections, the White House has replaced these friendly soundings with a sober, decidedly hawkish stance.


As the atmosphere shifts, Russia’s state-controlled and state-directed media have begun to turn against Mr. Trump, suggesting that Moscow no longer expects a cooperative relationship. Gazeta.ru, a Kremlin mouthpiece, called Mr. Trump a narcissist not long after he took office. Another, Lenta.ru, announced in February the “end of illusions” about a warming in relations, reporting that some of President Trump’s “most ardent boosters” in the Russian media were turning on him. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedevtold Russian television viewers to expect the international sanctions on their country to remain in place “indefinitely.”
The shift has moved beyond rhetoric: Mr. Putin has escalated violence in eastern Ukraine. Since early February, his proxies and fighters have dropped significant amounts of missiles and ordnance on towns and cities in the Donbas region. Moscow has deployed a new cruise missile in violation of treaty obligations. And Russian pilots have resumed the practice of buzzing U.S. ships deployed in the Black Sea.
Mr. Trump’s friendly comments toward Mr. Putin have also brought resistance from a unique coalition: Republican hawks, Democrats angry over Russia’s election meddling, the national-security establishment and intelligence community, and key European leaders. Together they have applied enough pressure to profoundly shift administration policy. For one thing, the president was compelled by the weight of evidence to acknowledge in January that Russian hacking had indeed influenced the American political process, even as he insisted this interference did not affect the election’s outcome.
The expert consensus about Mr. Putin is so negative that Mr. Trump couldn’t have put together a Kremlin-friendly national-security team even if he had tried. As a result, serious-minded Russia hawks are emerging in key posts. When Mr. Flynn was forced to resign as national security adviser, H.R. McMaster took his place. The appointment of Putin critic Fiona Hill to be the National Security Council’s Russia expert is pending.
Mr. Trump’s most senior appointees, including the vice president and defense secretary, began criticizing Russian actions almost immediately after taking office. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley made clear that America will continue to back Ukraine. Last week Mr. Tillerson declared that the U.S. and its allies would remain “steadfast” in their “support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” A senior government official in Kiev told me that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has been reassured by his direct discussions with Mr. Trump.
Sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea and occupation of eastern Ukraine have also been reaffirmed. Mr. Trump has proposed a $54 billion increase in Washington’s defense budget. He has made clear that he wants NATO allies to significantly boost their own military spending. These moves cannot be welcome in Moscow.
The idea that Mr. Trump could strike some sort of grand bargain with Mr. Putin isn’t dead. Questions remain about whether Mr. Trump or some of his advisers may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail. But so far the White House has proved more susceptible to the pressures that come from press scrutiny, congressional oversight and the elite consensus.
Mr. Trump’s early view of Moscow as potentially a close ally has been routed. The president is now beginning to articulate a policy toward Russia rooted in American strength, albeit with predictable digs at his White House predecessor. He tweeted last month: “For eight years Russia ‘ran over’ President Obama, got stronger and stronger, picked-off Crimea and added missiles. Weak!”
The bad news for Mr. Putin doesn’t stop there. Despite Brexit, the U.K. seems to be taking a hard line, with Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Minister Boris Johnson championing Ukraine’s interests. In Germany’s election this September, voters will choose between Angela Merkel, the tough-minded chancellor, and Martin Schulz, a Social Democrat with a record of criticizing Mr. Putin. In France, the likely winner in May’s presidential runoff appears to be the pro-European centrist Emanuel Macron, who is comfortably ahead of two pro-Russian candidates from the right.
The American investigations remain critical. All leads concerning Russian cyberattacks on U.S. political targets should be investigated. Any contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russia should be followed up. Potential vulnerabilities of administration personnel should be fully explored. But it’s also important to understand that Russia’s effort to gain an advantage from meddling in the election appears to have abjectly failed.
American institutions are working well. The security policies that were shaped in the aftermath of World War II and the Cold War remain firmly in place. Although it’s unlikely that Mr. Putin helped swing the vote in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Michigan, his hapless meddling appears only to have awakened American and European hawkishness.
Mr. Karatnycky is co-director of the Ukraine in Europe Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

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