by Senator Ted Cruz • The Daily Signal
The incredible ingenuity of the American people invented the internet—one of the most transformational technologies in human history. But even though we created and paid for the internet, we did not keep it for ourselves; we shared it for the benefit of all humanity. That spirit of freedom and generosity is the very essence of our great nation.
Since the internet’s inception, the United States government has played a critical role in supervising the core internet functions that allow websites to interface with the internet. If any other country had created the internet, this power could have been used to deny internet access to websites that were deemed politically undesirable, unpopular, threatening, or disfavored by the ruling elite.
But not here in the United States. The internet is an oasis of freedom today because of our First Amendment, which is unparalleled in the protection it affords free speech. So long as the U.S. government is involved in internet governance, it cannot deny any website internet access on account of the ideas it espouses. Continue reading
By Josh Gerstein and Nolan D McCaskill • Politico
President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday.
The disclosure came as the FBI released its second batch of documents from its investigation into Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
The 189 pages the bureau released includes interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills; senior State Department officials; and even Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”
In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender. Continue reading
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The cost to taxpayers for just nine executive orders signed by President Barack Obama is $31 billion, according to a new report.
The American Action Forum found that Obama’s “pen and phone” strategy of going around Congress has incurred major costs for Americans for reasons including the delay of provisions in Obamacare and imposing new gun control measures. The group analyzed the most expensive executive orders and administrative action taken by the president for its analysis.
“‘I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone … I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball.’ That was President Obama in 2014 pledging to use executive action to implement his policy priorities,” writes Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute. “The American people elected Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate and President Obama responded through regulation, rather than working with Congress on legislation.” Continue reading
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Congress is set to consider new legislation that would block the Obama administration from awarding Iran billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in what many describe as a ransom payment, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) will introduce on Tuesday new legislation that would prohibit the Obama administration from moving forward with all payments to Iran, according to the bill, which would also force Iran to return billions of dollars in U.S. funds that have already been delivered to Tehran by the White House.
Rubio’s bill—a version of which is also being introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.)—would mandate that Iran pay American victims of terrorism some $53 billion in reparations for past attacks planned and coordinated by the Islamic Republic. Continue reading
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
President Obama is disputing a recommendation to change the governance structure of the Department of Veterans Affairs network of hospitals, saying it would undermine the authority of bureaucrats overseeing the agency-run facilities.
The proposal was one of several included in the final report of the Commission on Care, an independent panel established by Congress to examine the VA’s hospital network after veterans were found to have died waiting for care as agency employees kept secret lists to conceal long appointment waits in 2014.
Obama sent a letter to Congress on Thursday reacting to the commission’s final report of recommendations, which the Washington Free Beacon first reported in July. While he agreed with the majority of the commission’s 18 recommendations, Obama expressed “concerns” about establishing a board of directors responsible for the overall governance of the VA health care system. Continue reading
By Aaron David Miller • Wall Street Journal
It’s not clear how much worse things will get for the Obama administration over its $400 million payment to Iran in January, but the cash-for-prisoners scandal may end up being the least of U.S. concerns in all this.
I write that knowing that Congress plans to hold hearings in September. I also know that so close to Election Day, this issue is likely to remain a highly politicized he-said/she-said among Republicans eager to take aim, an administration on the defensive, and a Democratic nominee in an increasingly difficult position because of the optics: a choreographed and sequenced transaction in which cash was delivered after U.S. prisoners were released, regardless of whether you consider it ransom.
Here’s the larger and more potentially damaging perception beyond the general embarrassment: In the Middle East, strength and negotiating acumen are prized; they demonstrate power and credibility. Continue reading
by Jed Babbin • The American Spectator
We have become wearily accustomed to the constant flow of lies in the presidential campaign. Some are important but most are not. They have become a tiresome reminder of why so many people have decided to ignore the whole mess.
Lies in a political campaign should matter but those lies that are the basis for national security decisions — lies that are a matter of policy — can create existential dangers. The lies that President Obama has been peddling surrounding his deal with Iran on nuclear weapons are just such a case.
The website PolitiFact has gotten into the habit of naming the Lie of the Year. In 2012, when it gave the shameful title to Obama’s statement on Obamacare that “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it,” the label was almost enough to rouse the Republican Party to action. Continue reading
New burdensome regulation issued every 3 days
The federal government has imposed a new major regulation every three days since President Barack Obama took office, as the administration has shattered the record for implementing regulations costing the economy $100 million or more.
The Obama administration has now issued 600 major regulations, the center-right policy institute the American Action Forum noted in a recent report.
“One year ago, the American Action Forum (AAF) celebrated a regulatory milestone, of sorts: 500 major regulations,” wrote Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy. “A major regulation has an economic impact of $100 million or more and can significantly affect prices for consumers.” Continue reading
According to Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens use the Internet every day.
by Sean Davis • The Federalist
During his speech at the memorial service in Dallas for murdered police officers, President Barack Obama lamented that his words have little power to effect change, then proceeded to peddle blatant, easily refutable lies about guns.
“I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change,” Obama said. “I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been.”
One reason for that inadequacy may be that he says things he knows aren’t true. Over the weekend, Obama said, “I think it’s very hard to untangle the motives of this shooter.” Given that the shooter himself told police that he “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” there doesn’t seem to be much left to untangle. Continue reading
Obama trumpets an agreement that Tehran violates at every turn.
What diplomats call the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—known to the rest of us as the Disastrous Iran Deal—was agreed in Vienna a year ago this week. Now comes a status update, courtesy of our friends at the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, or BfV.
In its fascinating 2015 annual report, published late last month, the German domestic intelligence service reports a “particularly strong increase” in the number of Salafists, describes the reach of Russian and Chinese espionage efforts in Germany, and notes a growing number of right-wing extremists.
Then there’s this:
“The illegal proliferation-sensitive procurement activities [by Iran] in Germany registered by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution persisted in 2015 at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level. This holds true in particular with regard to items which can be used in the field of nuclear technology.”
The report also notes “a further increase in the already considerable procurement efforts in connection with Iran’s ambitious missile technology program which could among other things potentially serve to deliver nuclear weapons. Against this backdrop it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”
The BfV report arrived days before Germany arrested a Pakistani national, identified as Syed Mustufa H., accused of spying for Iran. It also corroborates another German report, this one from the intelligence service of North Rhine-Westphalia, that Iran’s nuclear procurement efforts have increased dramatically in recent years, from 48 known attempts in 2010 to 141 in 2015. Seven other German states have reported similar Iranian procurement efforts. This violates Iran’s explicit commitment to go through an official “procurement channel” to purchase nuclear- and missile-related materials.
All this was enough to prompt Angela Merkel to warn the Bundestag last week that Iran “continued to develop its rocket program in conflict with relevant provisions of the U.N. Security Council.” Don’t expect German sanctions, but at least the chancellor is living in the reality zone.
As for the Obama administration, not so much. For the past year it has developed a narrative—spoon-fed to the reporters and editorial writers Ben Rhodes publicly mocks as dopes and dupes—that Iran has met all its obligations under the deal, and now deserves extra cookies in the form of access to U.S. dollars, Boeing jets, U.S. purchases of Iranian heavy water (thereby subsidizing its nuclear program), and other concessions the administration last year promised Congress it would never grant.
“We still have sanctions on Iran for its violations of human rights, for its support for terrorism, and for its ballistic-missile program, and we will continue to enforce those sanctions vigorously,” Mr. Obama said in January. Whatever.
The administration is now weighing whether to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization. That would neutralize a future president’s ability to impose sanctions on Iran, since WTO rules would allow Tehran to sue Washington for interfering with trade. The administration has also pushed the Financial Action Task Force, an international body that enforces anti-money-laundering standards, to ease pressure on Iran, which FATF did last month by suspending some restrictions for the next year.
And then there’s the Boeing deal to sell $17.6 billion worth of jets to Iran, which congressional Republicans led by Illinois’s Pete Roskam are trying to stop. Iran uses its civilian fleet to ferry weapons and fighters to its terrorist clients in Syria and Lebanon.
“The administration is trying to lock in the Iran deal and prevent a future president from doing anything, including pushing back on Iran’s malign behavior,” says the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz, who knows more about Iran sanctions than anyone in Washington. “Instead of curbing Iran’s worst behavior, the administration effectively facilitates it.”
One last detail: In June, the Journal’s Jay Solomon reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency had discovered “traces of man-made uranium” at Iran’s military facility at Parchin. The agency reported this finding in a footnote to a report in December, but the administration made no comment then and now dismisses it as old news. The IAEA is no longer allowed to inspect Parchin, or any other military installation, under the deal.
So let’s recap. Mr. Obama says Iran is honoring the nuclear deal, but German intelligence tells us Tehran is violating it more aggressively than ever. He promised “snapback” sanctions in the event of such violations, but the U.S. is operating as Iran’s trade-promotion agent. He promised “unprecedented” inspections, but we’re not permitted to inspect sites where uranium was found. He promised an eight-year ban on Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, but Tehran violated that ban immediately and repeatedly with only mild pushback from the West. He promised that the nuclear deal was not about “normalizing” relations with a rogue regime. But he wants it in the WTO.
Is Mr. Obama rationalizing a failed agreement or did he mean to mislead the American public? Either way, truth is catching up with the Iran deal.
A rise in terrorist attacks is further evidence that the global appeal of ISIS-inspired jihad is not dwindling.
By M.G. Oprea • The Federalist
It seems every couple of days we hear about another ISIS-linked terrorist attack. The global appeal of the radical Islamist group is on the ascendant as it is continually able to inspire young Muslim men to wreak havoc in its name, from Orlando to Istanbul. Rather than a sign of the success of the U.S.-led assault on ISIS’ territorial claims, the growing frequency of terrorist attacks are, in part, a product of our own negligence.
Last Tuesday, three gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked the international terminal at Turkey’s Atatürk airport in Istanbul, killing 45 and injuring more than 200. Although ISIS hasn’t yet claimed responsibility, Turkish officials told the United States the organizer of the attack was a former commander of an Islamic State battalion in Syria.
On Sunday, Iraq suffered its deadliest attack since 2003, when ISIS attacked a busy neighborhood of Baghdad with a truck bomb that caused a massive fire, killing more than 215 people. On Friday, five gunmen killed 22 hostages in an attack on a café in an affluent neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. Continue reading
Claims Obama admin misled Congress about purchase of Iranian nuclear material
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Congress is seeking legal remedies to block further concessions by the Obama administration to Iran, according to a leading member of the House Intelligence Committee, who told the Free Beacon that the administration has been systemically misleading Congress about the nature and scope of its giveaways to Iran.
Obama administration officials confirmed overnight that an $8.6 million deal to purchase nuclear material from Iran was functionally finalized in late April. The administration had in recent months refused to answer questions about the payment from lawmakers and journalists, claiming that the deal had not yet been finalized.
The revelation triggered condemnation from leading members of Congress as well as top nuclear experts, who linked the administration’s contradictory statements to efforts by U.S. officials to quietly promote Iran as a legitimate nuclear industry player and economic power. Continue reading
Report: The Obama administration misled the public and obstructed investigations into Benghazi.
By Mollie Hemingway • The Federalist
Here are the five big takeaways from the U.S. House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya, gleaned from a summary report by Reps. Jim Jordan, R-OH, and Mike Pompeo, R-KS.
1. Administration Misled Public Immediately and Continually
Even though U.S. officials — including Hillary Clinton — knew immediately that the siege in Benghazi was a highly coordinated terror attack, they chose to mislead the public with statements about spontaneous protests caused by a YouTube video. Continue reading
By Eric Peterson • The Federalist
Last month, when President Obama’s Department of Labor released its long-awaited “overtime rule,” the mainstream media headlines were predictable: “Obama administration announces final overtime rule boosting pay for millions,” said the Los Angeles Times. “New overtime rules a boon for middle class workers,” added Newsweek. With claims from the Obama camp that the new mandate will boost pay by $12 billion over the next decade, the majority of the coverage has been overwhelmingly positive.
But here are a few headlines we might have seen if media outlets made an honest assessment of the rule: “Overtime rule to cause more than 4,000 cleft lip surgeries to not be performed for children in need”; “At-risk youth could see fewer programs because of costly DOL rule”; “Domestic abuse nonprofit faces cuts because of Obama’s overtime rule.”
Those may not have been headlines atop major newspapers, but they are real concerns nonprofit organizations submitted to the Department of Labor while the overtime rule was undergoing consideration over the past year. Continue reading
Experts: Obama admin going above and beyond nuke deal to aid Iran
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
The Obama administration is taking steps to aid and please Iran far beyond U.S. commitments under last summer’s nuclear accord, according to experts, who warned Tuesday during testimony on Capitol Hill that the White House is becoming “dangerously close to becoming Iran’s trade promotion and business development authority.”
The Obama administration’s efforts to boost Iran’s economy and resurrect its financial sector are not required under the comprehensive nuclear agreement, yet the White House is undertaking this role to soothe relations with the Islamic Republic, nuclear experts told the Senate Banking Committee.
Iran continues to threaten to walk away from the nuclear deal unless the U.S. administration agrees to further concessions beyond the deal, sparking accusations that Iran is effectively “blackmailing” the White House, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon. Continue reading