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Netanyahu pollster: US President’s role in election larger than reported

By Jesse Byrnes     •     The Hill

Corruption TransparencyPresident Obama’s role during the Israeli elections was larger than reported, according to a pollster for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

“What was not well reported in the American media is that President Obama and his allies were playing in the election to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu,” John McLaughlin, a Republican strategist, said in an interview on John Catsimatidis’s “The Cats Roundtable” radio show broadcast Sunday on AM 970 in New York.

“There was money moving that included taxpayer U.S. dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu,” McLaughlin said. [Read more...]

Khamenei calls ‘Death to America’ as Kerry hails progress on nuke deal

Day after Obama urges Iran to seize ‘historic opportunity,’ supreme leader says US seeks to create insecurity

by Times of Israel Staff     •     The Times of Israel

Obama IranIran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to seize a “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal and a better future, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed substantial progress toward an accord.

Khamenei told a crowd in Tehran that Iran would not capitulate to Western demands. When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” the ayatollah responded: “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.

“They insist on putting pressure on our dear people’s economy,” he said, referring to economic sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program. “What is their goal? Their goal is to put the people against the system,” he said. “The politics of America is to create insecurity,” he added, referring both to US pressure on Iran and elsewhere in the region. [Read more...]

Liberals Find An Excuse To Abandon Israel

It’s got nothing to do with American principles and everything to do with partisanship.

By David Harsanyi     •     The Federalist

netanyahu_israelIsrael is a liberal nation—in the best sense of the word—but it’s not a leftist one. And for increasing numbers of Democrats, the center-right consensus of Israeli politics is unacceptable, immoral and bigoted, incompatible with their conception of American values.

This is bad news, because Likud looks like it’s going to win around 30 seats. If the numbers hold, Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the best efforts of the president and his allies, will likely remain prime minister. Bougie Herzog will, no doubt, have a bright future in the opposition.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Paul Krugman had already declared Likud’s impeding fall was all about inequality. (What isn’t, right?) Slate proposed that Likud’s looming death would be about housing, or maybe it was racism. Mostly, though, Netanyahu was going to lose because he has a nasty habit of challenging the progressive worldview of Barack Obama, which offends many people, according to the New York Times. And really, is there any bigger sin? [Read more...]

The ObamaCare of Arms-Control Agreements

The Iran nuclear deal has the same political weaknesses as the Affordable Care Act.

By Daniel Henninger     •     Wall Street Journal

Obama Iran Nuke DealThe Iran nuclear deal is going to be the ObamaCare of arms-control agreements—a substantive mess undermined by a failure to build adequate political support.

Next Tuesday is the deadline for completing the “political” terms of an agreement with Iran. “Technical” details arrive in June. From news reporting on the negotiations, it appears the agreement is turning into a virtual Rube Goldberg machine, a patchwork of fixes that its creators will claim somehow limits Iran’s nuclear breakout period to “a year.” Which is to say, it’s going to be another ObamaCare, a poorly designed mega-project others will have to clean up later.

Just as ObamaCare was a massive entitlement program enacted with no Republican support (unlike Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), the administration’s major arms-control agreement is bypassing a traditional vote in the Senate. Instead, it will get rubber-stamp approval by, of all things, the U.N. Security Council. [Read more...]

At the White House, There’s Nobody Home

By Victor Davis Hanson     •     RealClearPolitics

Obama Corruption IntimidationWhat has gone wrong with the U.S. government in the past month? Just about everything, from the fundamental to the ridiculous.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the United States to warn Congress about the dangers of a nuclear Iran. He spoke without the invitation of an irritated President Obama, who claimed that he did not even watch the address on television.

Obama declined to even meet with the Israeli prime minister, announcing that it would have been improper for him to have such a meeting so close to Netanyahu’s re-election bid.

But if Obama was so concerned about not influencing the Israeli elections, why, according to some news accounts, is a Senate panel launching an investigation into whether Obama’s State Department gave grant money to a nonprofit organization, the OneVoice Movement, that sought to unseat Netanyahu with the help of several former Obama campaign operatives?

Then, 47 Republican senators signed an unusual letter to the Iranian theocracy, reminding it that any agreement on Iran’s nuclear program negotiated with the Obama administration would have to first clear Congress. [Read more...]

Iran Declares Pre-emptive Victory in Nuke Talks

Iran FlagIntroduction by Peter Huessy     •     National Security Roundtable

Iran’s foreign minister and chief negotiator in nuclear talks with the West declared victory for his country, stating that no matter how the negotiations end, Tehran has come out “the winner,” according to remarks made on Tuesday (see below).

While some may dismiss this as typical Iranian bluster, we (NSR) would venture to say it’s one of those rare moments where Iran is actually telling the TRUTH.

As we and others have been saying from day one, Iran’s main goal in its negotiations with the West has been to gain TIME. Time to complete its nuclear weapons program and delivery systems, and operate freely, while under relaxed sanctions.

But the truth is Iran is doing much more. Its Revolutionary Guards have taken over and are leading the Iraqi military and Iraqi Shia militias in the fight against ISIS. That would explain the recent sightings of General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force (a division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) in places like Tikrit, Iraq and even in Amman, Jordan. [Read more...]

The Iran Letter

by Peter Huessy

Obama IranThe Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forbids any of its signatories, other than the five permanent members of the UN National Security Council, from having nuclear weapons. Of the 190 signatories to the treaty, Iran is one. So there already is an internationally agreed upon law that forbids Iran from getting nuclear weapons even if it meets all the rules in producing nuclear energy for electricity.

So why do we need another agreement between the US and Iran to stop Tehran’s nuclear program?

Can’t we just enforce the current NPT?

Apparently not. [Read more...]

5 times Democrats undermined Republican presidents with foreign governments

by Philip Klein     •     The Washington Examiner

Obama Foreign Policy FailedOn Monday, 47 Republican senators led by Tom Cotton, R-Ark., released an “open letter” to Iran’s leaders noting that any deal the regime signs with President Obama without the approval of Congress could be revoked by a future president or changed by Congress. The White House went into a tizzy trying to portray the move as somehow “unprecedented” — a view that has found a friendly audience with the media.

Vice President Joe Biden claimed the letter “ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American president, whether democrat or republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States.” The New York Daily News featured an editorial blasting the letter on its front page, with photos of the senators and the bold-faced headline “TRAITORS.” A more muted NBC roundup called the move “extraordinary — if not unprecedented.” In reality, whatever one’s view of the letter, to call it “unprecedented” is to ignore history. The reality is that on many occasions, Democrats have reached out to foreign leaders to undermine the foreign policy of a sitting Republican president.

Here are just five examples. [Read more...]

Does Hillary email flap mean trouble ahead for White House?

by Byron York     •     The Washington Examiner

Hillary ClintonTwo statements out of the White House in recent days have added to our knowledge of the Hillary Clinton email affair. First, President Obama told CBS that he learned about Clinton’s secret email account “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.” Second, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters a few days ago, “I know that the secretary of state did trade emails with some White House officials.”

So: Obama didn’t know, even though White House officials exchanged emails with Clinton. Is that possible?

The answer is maybe. The first question to ask is whether the president — an active emailer — never exchanged an email message with his secretary of state. Even though email has been around since the early 1990s, neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush used it during their years in office. Obama changed that practice, but his email use is still reportedly limited by security concerns and a desire to keep presidential communications out of the hands of investigators. In his admiring account of Obama’s start in office, The Promise: President Obama, Year One, journalist Jonathan Alter reported how Obama became the first president to use email regularly: [Read more...]

Nuclear Talks with Iran to Fail

by Lawrence A. Franklin

Obama IranThe Obama Administration’s efforts to negotiate a verifiable agreement with Iran which would limit the Islamic Republic’s capability to develop a nuclear weapon — will fail—because of Iran’s domestic political dynamics.

A decade of efforts by European and American diplomats, combined with effective sanctions as well as Iran’s disingenuous public diplomacy strategy, did succeed in bringing Tehran to the negotiating table. However, despite some support for an agreement within President Rouhani’s circles, regime hardliners have begun to signal that they will not tolerate an agreement with the West. [Read more...]

President Obama wants to limit your retirement savings — but not his own

by Allan Sloan     •     The Washington Post

Obama SmirkYou can’t keep a bad idea down. That’s my reaction to a terrible proposal in President Obama’s budget — limiting how much money can be set aside on your behalf in 401(k)s, pensions and other tax-favored retirement accounts.

The idea, of course, is to limit retirement-related tax breaks for “the rich.” The Treasury wants to limit the value of pensions and retirement accounts to about $3.4 million for a married couple, and something less than that (it doesn’t say how much) for single people. [Read more...]

Blowing Holes in the Nuclear Deterrent

by Peter Huessy

Nuclear DisarmamentThe President’s budget will be submitted to Congress this week and the annual Department of Defense (DOD) budget at $585 billion is sure to get a lot of attention. For example, Tom Collina of the Ploughshares Fund (1) recommended, even before the budget was released, that the USA cut $75 billion over the next ten years from projected DOD nuclear weapons modernization requirements.(2)

Included in the proposed cuts would be four out of the twelve planned submarines we are building to replace our current Ohio class Trident fleet of 14 nuclear armed submarines. These bulwarks of our deterrent were first put into the water some 30 years ago and will soon reach the end of their hull life. [Read more...]

Barack Obama, Corporate Liberal

And secret friend of the one percent.

by Jay Cost     •     The Weekly Standard

Obama-smugIn last week’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama came across as the ultimate class warrior. His domestic agenda consists of more spending on roads and infrastructure, new entitlement programs for community college and preschool, and tax preferences targeted to low- and middle-income earners. All of this he would pay for with new inheritance taxes on the wealthy, a hike in the capital gains tax, and a special levy on the biggest financial institutions.

But don’t be fooled. Obama may seem like the newest member of Occupy Wall Street—chanting “We are the 99 percent!”—but his record shows him to be a corporate liberal, and a closer look at last week’s proposals confirms it. [Read more...]

Obama’s Illusory Economic Recovery

Official statistics ignore the real hardships families face.

By Stephen Moore     •     The Washington Times

Jobless RecoveryThe big news from this week’s State of the Union address is that the economic “crisis is over.” Apparently, we’ve been rescued from a second Great Depression and everything this president has done to fix the economy has worked. All that was missing from Mr. Obama’s celebration was the old “Icky Shuffle” end zone dance.

This no doubt came as a bit of a shock to voters since the economy has been sickly for a long, long time. As recently as this fall, half of Americans were saying that the country is still in recession.

Conditions have improved in the last six months for sure, with growth accelerating, inflation low and stable, hiring picking up and gas prices tumbling.

Still, if things are as good as the White House says they are, why do we feel so bad? Why are we collectively so worried about the fragile future of our nation? [Read more...]

Middle-Class Savings Like Blood In the Water

Obama goes where the money is to pay for ‘free’ education programs – your savings account.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

obama_taxesBank robber Willie Sutton is said to have explained his career this way: “That’s where the money is.” Whether Sutton ever really said that, it’s an aphorism that, according to Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle, explains President Obama’s plans to go after middle class assets like 529 college savings plans and home appreciation.

Though millions of Americans have been putting money into “tax free” 529 plans to save for their children’s increasingly expensive college educations, President Obama would change the law so that withdrawals from the plans to fund college would be taxed as ordinary income. So while you used to be able to get a nice tax benefit by saving for college, now you’ll be shelling out to Uncle Sam every time you withdraw to pay for Junior’s dorm fees.

This doesn’t hurt the very rich — who just pay for college out of pocket — or the poor, who get financial aid, but it’s pretty rough on the middle– and upper–middle class. In a double-whammy, those withdrawals will show up as income on parents’ income tax forms, which are used to calculate financial aid, making them look richer, and hence reducing grants. [Read more...]