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South Sudan & The ICC As The Threatening Hammer of Great Powers

kiir-1024x683By Shawn Macomber Lawfare Tyranny

In a powerful Washington Times op-ed this weekend South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit writes of the jubilation of achieving independence five years ago, the struggle to build a representative government and civil society amidst civil war, and his bitter disappointment at being strong-armed by Western nations into a peace deal that, in his words, “undermines the sovereignty and democratic institutions of our nation in key, unfortunate ways.”

An excerpt:

We knew instinctively that a nation was more than a border and a government, because for 70 years we had been shackled to something that was nothing more than a border and a government.

In our own country, we said, our government would act for us and not against. Never again could an official or favored group simply take from us on a whim. And never again would any of us be treated as lesser than any other.

It was our friends in the international community who helped shape those feelings into words. “Accountable, representative institutions;” “the Rule of Law;” “inalienable and equitable rights” — for many in South Sudan, the institutional vocabulary was new. But we all had known their meanings by their absence.

Five years later, we see how hollow those words can be in the outside world.

Kiir then discusses a few of the problematic issues inherent to the peace accord:

[Read more...]

Texas Top Cop: ISIS May Be Infiltrating Border

Director of Texas Department of Public Safety says individuals have been captured from countries known to have a “terrorism presence”

by Adan Salazar     •     Info Wars

Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, which supervises the Texas Highway Patrol and State Troopers, warned Sunday at an annual Texas Border Coalition meeting that vulnerabilities at the southern border may leave Americans open to a possible terrorist attack.

“[I]ndividuals that come across the Texas/Mexican border from countries with a known terrorism presence and the answer to that is yes,” McCraw stated over the weekend when asked if any suspected ISIS terrorists had yet infiltrated the border.

“We have individuals that we’ve needed to debrief in Pashto/Dari,” the director said, referring to two languages spoken in Afghanistan. “Not a lot of Pashto and Dari speakers around.” [Read more...]

Obama’s Foreign Policy Consistently Finds the Wrong Balance and Misses the Mark

by George Landrith     •     Human Events

obama profile smileA good football coach knows that on third down and inches, a quarterback sneak might be the best play. Conversely, on third down and 25, his team will likely throw a long pass. The right play for one situation isn’t necessarily right in every situation.

Likewise, an effective U.S. President knows when to intervene and project strength and when to keep a low profile. Obama’s problem is that when he should show strength and resolve, he is passive and weak. And when he should show restraint and patience, he needlessly inserts himself and seeks to impose his will. Simply stated, given the circumstances, he calls the wrong play. Obama’s miscues are endangering the future of South Sudan.

South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation. In 2011, after decades of conflict and civil war, South Sudan was carved out of Sudan along cultural and geographical lines. But the new nation has had growing pains and conflict as it establishes itself as a new democracy. These difficulties have been made worse by Obama’s interference. [Read more...]

The Great Unraveling Begins


By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny

South Africa will exit the International Criminal Court.

For a primer on why, see our previous coverage:

South Africa Refuses to Kiss the ICC Ring. 

Not So Simple: Inside South Africa’s Decision Not to Arrest Omar al-Bashir.

The West to Africa: Do As We Say Not As We Do.

How Unpopular Is the ICC in Africa?

South Africa Doubles Down on Defiance.


There’s a Whole Arsenal of Smoking Guns in the Clinton Email Scandal

The very existence of her illicit server means she broke the rules.

by Jonah Goldberg     •     National Review

Hillary Clinton 2Every time the State Department pulls out a new fistful of Hillary Clinton e-mails like Richard Dreyfuss yanking a license plate out of a shark’s belly in Jaws, someone declares that there’s “no smoking gun!”

I’ve written before about how shouting “There’s no smoking gun!” is a non-denial denial. Ask a cop. When a murder suspect immediately exclaims, “You have no indisputable evidence I murdered my boss!” instead of, “I didn’t do it!” it’s a good sign that the suspect thinks he covered his tracks, not that he’s innocent.

Fellas, if your wife asks if you’re having an affair, respond by saying, “You have no proof!” See if she takes that for a denial.

But here’s the thing. There is a smoking gun. In fact, there’s a whole smoking arsenal. The problem is that the standards for what counts as a smoking gun keep changing. [Read more...]

Wake up, Obama, climate change has been happening forever

By Betsy McCaughey     •     New York Post

Obama Global WarmingPresident Obama hiked to Exit Glacier in Alaska last week, with photographers in tow, to send the world a message: The glacier is melting.
Obama blames it on the increasing use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which he wants to restrict not only in the United States but worldwide. The photo op was designed to build support for an international climate agreement he’s pushing hard to sell, so far with little success.

Trouble is, the president needs to get his facts straight. Exit Glacier has been shrinking for 200 years — since 1815 — long before widespread industrialization and automobiles. As the president ended his trip, he sounded the alarm again: “This state’s climate is changing before our eyes.”

News flash, Mr. President: Alaska has been buffeted by cyclical swings in climate for thousands of years. That’s true for the rest of the world, too. There was a 300-year-long Medieval heat wave, followed by a Little Ice Age that began around 1300, and then the 300-year warming period we’re in now. [Read more...]

Clinton and Nixon both really sorry

The Democratic front-runner is starting to sound a little like a president who resigned.

by James S. Robbins     •     USAToday

Hillary Clinton Speaks At Event At Center For American ProgressLast month, famed Washington Post reporter and Watergate investigator Bob Woodward said that the email scandal engulfing former secretary of State Hillary Clinton “reminds me of the Nixon tapes: thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively his.”

Woodward’s impression is justified, and not just by the steady drip, drip of new secrets in the latest batch of Clinton emails released by the State Department on Monday. There is also a remarkable resonance between Nixon’s statements during the evolving Watergate crisis and Clinton’s public statements regarding her emails:

The people come first

Nixon: I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.

Clinton: I think it’s kind of fun. People get a real-time behind-the-scenes look at what I was emailing about and what I was communicating about. [Read more...]

South Africa Refuses to Kiss the ICC Ring

Godfather-Ring-KissBy Shawn Macomber Lawfare Tyranny

The International Criminal Court’s arbitrary deadline for South Africa to explain its decision not to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir during a June meeting of the African Union came and went this week. And, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the ICC and its fair-weather allies, the South African government refuses to back down from its position that arresting the head of a state that is not party to the Rome Statute is far more problematic than the Court prefers to make it out to be.

Here is an excerpt from the official statement of the South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation on the matter:

[Read more...]

An Anti-American White House

Barack Obama’s presidency has empowered the adversaries of the United States

by Matthew Continetti     •     Washington Free Beacon

obama_speechThis week President Obama won the 34th vote in support of his nuclear deal with Iran. The vote, from Senator Barbara Mikulski, guarantees that the deal will survive a rejection by Congress. The fact that the deal will be made despite such opposition—something a few of us predicted months ago—is, in the words of the AP, a “landmark Obama victory.” It is worth asking how many more of these victories our country can withstand.

The president and his supporters, of course, say their foreign policy has improved the world. “Like George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton,” writes Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs, “Obama will likely pass on to his successor an overall foreign policy agenda and national power position in better shape than when he entered office, ones that the next administration can build on to improve things further.”

I’m not convinced. Rather than trying to predict how things will look when Obama leaves office, rather than contemplating abstractions such as our “overall foreign policy agenda” and “national power position,” why not examine the actual results of Obama’s policies, as they exist now, in the real world before our eyes? [Read more...]

The Democrats Now Own Iran. They’ll Soon Wish They Didn’t

by Jonathan S. Tobin     •     Commentary Magazine

Obama IranThis morning, President Obama got what he’s been working toward all year. With Senator Barbara Mikulski’s announcement that she will vote to support the Iran nuclear deal, the administration got its 34th vote in the Senate, thus assuring that the president will have enough support to sustain a veto of a resolution of disapproval of the pact. Mikulski was just the latest of a number of Senate Democrats to throw in with the president on Iran. The only suspense now is whether Obama will get to 41 and thus have enough for a filibuster and prevent a vote on the deal from even taking place. Leaving aside the terrible damage the deal does to U.S. security and the stability of the Middle East, the most far-reaching effect of the deal is that from now on Democrats own Iran. From this moment forward, every act of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, every instance of Iranian aggression and adventurism as well as the Islamist regime’s inevitable march to a nuclear weapon can be laid at the feet of a Democratic Party. With a few exceptions, the Democrats fell meekly behind a president determined to prioritize détente with Iran over the alliance with Israel and the need to defend U.S. interests. By smashing the bipartisan consensus that had existed on Iran up until this year, the Democrats have, in effect, become the hostages of the ayatollahs. This is a decision that will haunt them in the years to come.

In analyzing the struggle that was ultimately won by Obama, it must first be acknowledged that the outcome was determined primarily by a mismatch in terms of the relative power of the two sides. [Read more...]

Second Review Says Classified Information Was in Hillary Clinton’s Email

by Michael S. Schmidt      •     New York Times

Hillary Clinton 2A special intelligence review of two emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton received as secretary of state on her personal account — including one about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program — has endorsed a finding by the inspector general for the intelligence agencies that the emails contained highly classified information when Mrs. Clinton received them, senior intelligence officials said.

Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign and the State Department disputed the inspector general’s finding last month and questioned whether the emails had been overclassified by an arbitrary process. But the special review — by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — concluded that the emails were “Top Secret,” the highest classification of government intelligence, when they were sent to Mrs. Clinton in 2009 and 2011.

On Monday, the Clinton campaign disagreed with the conclusion of the intelligence review and noted that agencies within the government often have different views of what should be considered classified. [Read more...]

Iran devils get their deal

by New York Daily News

Obama 102The die is cast. President Obama will ram his Iranian nuclear deal through Congress despite majority opposition in both the House and Senate. Now what? Now worry. Worry a lot.

The President on Wednesday secured a 34th supporter in the Senate, enough for him to veto disapproval without fear of an override, and he began pushing for additional votes that would enable supporters to let the pact stand without a roll call.

Although the fight is lost, the Senate owes the people an up-or-down vote on one of the most consequential foreign policy agreements in decades.

Obama says he has boxed the Iranians so tightly that they have no chance of expanding a greatly reduced nuclear program in the short run, and that he or a future President could “snap back” economic sanctions should the Iranians go rogue. Thus, he argues, America will be better positioned to curb Iran for the 15-year life of the pact. [Read more...]

Of Course They’re Fed Up

The left blames economic woes on everything except its hero president.

by Stephen Moore     •     Weekly Standard

Two weekends ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City held its annual monetary conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The left flew in hundreds of protesters donning green T-shirts that demanded “Higher Wages for America” and chanting, “We’re Fed Up.” The crowd was an assortment of college kids on their summer break, disgruntled middle-aged teachers, senior citizens, and blue-collar union members. Think Occupy Wall Street.

I attended the Jackson Hole conference and chatted with protesters who came in from places as distant as New York and North Carolina and California. What was their beef? Two black men who appeared to be in their seventies explained the agenda: “We demand higher wages.” “We want an increase in the minimum wage.” “The Fed is intentionally holding down pay.” “Corrupt corporations have all the power.” “Unions need to be returned to power.” A social worker from Kansas City almost sobbingly told me of the plight of the poor who she cares for in her job, of the “women and minorities [who] are being left behind,” as she made an abstract plea for “social justice.”

These were generally nice, sincere, and well-meaning people. They are hyper-concerned about the direction America is headed. They seemed to be earnestly parroting what the union organizers had drilled into them. They have no confidence in the decisions made by arrogant and elitist central bankers, and they are convinced that Republicans care only about the wealthy.

I would guess that 98 percent of them voted for Barack Obama joyfully and twice. What I encountered wasn’t so much leftist rage—that only happens when Republicans are in power—but leftist despondency. They reminded me of the bumper sticker: “How’s that Hope and Change thing working out for you?”

Many of these folks also sounded the themes of Trump supporters and Tea Partiers. At last, we have a consensus growing in this country on the left and the right—and presumably among many people in between. The wheels have come off. It is time to make America great again and rebuild our middle class.

So how should conservatives and Republicans respond to this pervasive despondency and fear? First, many of the left’s complaints about the economy are regrettably true. Yes, wages are stagnant. Yes, the rich are getting richer and poor poorer. Yes poverty is a massive problem in America. Yes, college costs way too much. Yes, too many neighborhoods in cities like Baltimore are blighted pockets of crime, joblessness, godawful schools, and hopelessness. Yes, of course, black lives matter. Yes, race relations have taken a leap backward.

But second, all of this has happened under the most liberal president since Woodrow Wilson. That is the unavoidable truth the left keeps trying to sidestep. Obama is trying to spin that things have gotten much better on his watch, while his own voters are saying they are getting worse. The latest Census Bureau income data show that since January 2009, the median household income has dropped by more than $1,500, and the biggest percentage declines have been among single women, blacks, Hispanics, and workers under the age of 30—i.e., the heart of the Obama coalition. People aren’t just imagining all of this. Where’s the recovery?

During this era of malaise, the Fed has held interest rates at zero for seven straight years, and yet Washington and Wall Street are in full agreement that the only way out is heavier doses of this crack cocaine of easy money. At the Fed meeting I met central bankers and their gaggle of Keynesian economists who for the first time worryingly and grudgingly admitted that their mathematical models about how to get to full employment have gone haywire and may not be reliable. Ya think?

Meanwhile, Barack Obama and the left’s biggest puppeteer/financial supporter, Tom Steyer, the billionaire green giant, keep telling America that the “moral crisis of our time” is climate change. That’s easy for a billionaire to say. Too bad no one in the middle class agrees. All that progressives want to talk about is global warming, and yet every poll shows that out of the top 20 issues, Americans rank climate change close to the last among things they are concerned about. The moral crisis of our time is an economy that has left American workers without a pay increase for nearly 15 years.

The left’s reflexive answer to that is to raise the minimum wage. But only about 4 percent of Americans earn the minimum wage and most of them are teenagers and young people who aren’t supporting a family. That there are a growing number of heads of households working at Burger King tells us a lot more about the flimsiness of the Obama economy than it does about the stinginess of fast food franchise owners. In any case, what will a minimum wage hike do for the other 96 percent except make a hamburger and fries more expensive?

Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, along with the unions, also want hundreds of billions more for “shovel-ready” infrastructure spending financed by even more debt added to the $7 trillion Obama has already borrowed. Japan has done that for 20 years and has been in what may be the industrial world’s longest recession, while Beijing’s central planners have built Potemkin villages the size of Chicago with empty shopping malls and vacant skyscraper office buildings. Government-directed investment means mal-investment, as debacles like Solyndra and California’s absurd $70 billion high-speed rail project confirm.

In other words, the left doesn’t have many arrows left in its quiver to aim at slow growth. We’ve had stimulus public works plans, $7 trillion of new debt, Obamacare, tax increases on the rich, three minimum wage hikes, Dodd-Frank, and bailouts, and all we got was an economy that looks like Cleveland.

The only excuse the left can muster is the sorry refrain of “secular stagnation.” As Obama’s first chief economist, Larry Summers, explains things: Two percent growth is about the best we can do in this 21st-century world economy. Now he tells us. When Jeb Bush and other Republicans call for 4 percent growth, the best White House economist Jason Furman can muster in reply is that “no serious economist” believes this is possible. These are people who drank their own Kool-Aid and can’t conceive of anything else working.

The left has gotten very good at telling the American people what they can’t do. They can’t stop illegal immigration; they can’t grow the economy; they can’t get people off welfare; they can’t come within a mile of balancing the budget; they can’t get an Obamacare website to work. Oh, but they can stop the rise of the oceans.

This “can’t do” attitude is pervasive in Washington and only breeds voter cynicism. It explains the rise of Trumpism. Even some country club types in the GOP join the left in sneering at Donald Trump for “offering simple solutions to complex problems.” I fervently disagree with much of what Trump proposes, but most of the economy fixes aren’t complicated. They are fairly obvious: cut tax rates, restore a sound and stable dollar, promote an America-first energy strategy, and roll back Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and EPA regulations that are strangling American industries. That agenda could be enacted in less than 100 days, and, yes, it would trigger 4 percent-plus growth and a rise in what Reagan used to call “real take-home pay.”

Back in 2010 Vice President Joe Biden famously promised the country a “summer of recovery.” We’ve just had the seventh Obama summer without a recovery to speak of. No one in Washington or out in posh Jackson Hole seems to have a clue what to do. That is why voters are nervous and fed up. Now progressives can only resort to the excuse used by then-New York mayor David Dinkins during his reelection campaign: “I’m doing the best I can.” Voters believed him, and he got trounced.

Stephen Moore is a Fox News economics contributor and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Out with ‘Redskins’ — and everything else!

By George F. Will     •     Washington Post

Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, also is the time for The Post and other sensitivity auditors to get back on — if they will pardon the expression — the warpath against the name of the Washington Redskins. The niceness police at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have won court approval of their decision that the team’s name “may disparage” Native Americans. We have a new national passion for moral and historical hygiene, a determination to scrub away remembrances of unpleasant things, such as the name Oklahoma, which is a compound of two Choctaw words meaning “red” and “people.”

Connecticut’s state Democratic Party has leapt into the vanguard of this movement, vowing to sin no more: Never again will it have a Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner. Connecticut Democrats shall still dine to celebrate their party’s pedigree but shall not sully the occasions by mentioning the names of two slave owners. Because Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners have long been liturgical events for Democrats nationwide, now begins an entertaining scramble by states’ parties — Georgia’s, Missouri’s, Iowa’s, New Hampshire’s, and Maine’s already have taken penitential actions — to escape guilt by association with the third and seventh presidents. [Read more...]

Voluntary initiative to stop ad-supported piracy

The winners:  consumers, content providers, and advertisersIntellectual Propery Piracy

The losers:  pirates, malware, viruses, and thieves

The internet has been a huge engine for commerce. You can go online to by just about anything and have it delivered to your home. You can also legitimately buy and download music, movies, and television shows from a incredible array of legal services. But where there are legitimate businesses, there are also pirates trying to make a quick buck selling that which they do not own. The truth is they make more than a quick buck — they steal billions every year pirating content belonging to others.

GroupM, a leading global media investment management company, recently announced that they will require all their partners to become certified by the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a voluntary initiative by the advertising industry to fight internet piracy of copyrighted material — typically movies, music, and television programing. Many piracy sites make their money from advertisements on their websites. Indeed, the Digital Citizens Alliance conducted a report concluding that piracy sites made over $209 million selling ads in 2014. So the initiative is aimed at stopping advertisements from legitimate companies running on illegitimate pirate sites. By stopping the flow of advertising dollars to the pirate sites, piracy itself will be reduced, thereby incentivizing creativity, innovation, investment, and jobs. [Read more...]