Category Archives: Obama

“I know nothing!!” – WSJ

WSJ  5/22/2020

‘I know nothing about this.” That’s how Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, responded when asked on PBS’s NewsHour in March 2017 “whether Trump transition officials, including the President, may have been swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration?”

Now we know that denial wasn’t true. The evidence comes from her own hand. In her last minutes in government, on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, she sent herself an email to memorialize an Oval Office meeting two weeks earlier. Its attendees included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, FBI Director James Comey, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and herself. A newly declassified paragraph from that email quotes Mr. Comey talking about the monitoring of Trump adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The timing of that meeting is illuminating. The day before, Jan. 4, 2017, internal FBI documents show the bureau was planning to close its investigation into Mr. Flynn’s ties to Russia because agents had found no evidence of wrongdoing.

The day after, on Jan. 6, Mr. Comey gave his now notorious briefing to President-elect Trump. He mentioned the lurid claims from the Steele dossier. But, incredibly, Mr. Comey did not tell the incoming President the concerns he had expressed the day before to President Obama about the danger of Mr. Flynn’s passing classified information to the Russians. No doubt that is because he wanted to keep from Mr. Trump that the FBI was investigating his team.

The larger truth here is now undeniable: The Obama Administration spied on the political competition, it continued that spying even after Mr. Trump was elected, and then it tried to cover up what it had done. If Mr. Trump had done anything remotely similar, folks would be calling to bring back the guillotine.

Today U.S. Attorney John Durham is overseeing a criminal investigation of the investigators, and perhaps there will be indictments. But even after separate House and Senate inquiries, a nearly two-year investigation by Inspector General Michael Horowitz and the new evidence unearthed by Justice in its reexamination of its prosecution of Mr. Flynn, the American people still lack what they most need: a full explanation of who did what and why.

Which brings us back to Ms. Rice’s running-out-the-door email. Ms. Rice now says she wrote it at the direction of White House counsel. Certainly that would make sense if the purpose was to insulate Mr. Obama, and her email says the President wanted everything done “by the book.” Which is what you write, two weeks after the event, if you want to protect your boss from future investigators.

The Administration knew President Trump would sooner or later discover that his team had been spied on. As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has noted, the likeliest explanation for Ms. Rice’s memo was to have on the record a note that would “shift responsibility from President Obama to FBI Director Comey for the pursuit of the Trump-Russia probe.”

Ms. Rice now wants the Trump Administration to release the Flynn-Kislyak transcripts, which she says will vindicate the Obama team’s concerns about Mr. Flynn. By all means, let’s see those transcripts and more. We now know the Obama Administration used intelligence and law enforcement to go after the political opposition. We can also see that they are still now working overtime to keep the American people from getting to the full truth.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/susan-rices-mysterious-email-11590103327?mod=opinion_lead_pos3

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At Best, Mr. Obama is Wrong.

Pretty good example of why I believe little that this man says. mrossol.
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5/9/20. WSJ

Barack Obama is a lawyer, so it was stunning to read that he ventured into the Michael Flynn case in a way that misstated the supposed crime and ignored the history of his own Administration in targeting Mr. Flynn. Since the former President chose to offer his legal views when he didn’t need to, we wonder what he’s really worried about.

“There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free,” Mr. Obama said in the Friday call to about 3,000 members of the Obama Alumni Association. The comments were leaked to Yahoo News and confirmed by Mr. Obama’s spokeswoman to the Washington Post and other outlets. Mr. Obama added: “That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic—not just institutional norms—but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”

Even discounting for Mr. Obama’s partisan audience, this gets the case willfully wrong. Mr. Flynn was never charged with perjury, which is lying under oath in a legal proceeding. Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI in a meeting at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 that he was led to believe was a friendly chat among colleagues.

As for “scot-free,” that better applies to former President Bill Clinton who lied under oath in a civil case and was impeached for perjury but was acquitted by the Senate. We understand why Mr. Obama wouldn’t bring that up.
We doubt Mr. Obama has even read Thursday’s Justice Department motion to drop the Flynn prosecution. If he does ever read it, he’ll find disconcerting facts that certainly do raise doubts about whether “our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk,” though not for the reasons he claims.

Start with prosecutorial violation of the Brady rule, which Mr. Obama knows is a legal obligation that the prosecution must turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. Yet prosecutors led by special counsel Robert Mueller didn’t disclose that the interviewing FBI agents at the time didn’t think that Mr.

The lawyer President misstates the crime and the real threat to justice.

Flynn had lied about a phone call with the Russian ambassador. Worst of all, as a legal matter, is that they never told Mr. Flynn that there was no investigative evidentiary basis to justify the interview. The FBI had already concluded there was no evidence that Mr. Flynn had colluded with Russia in the 2016 election and had moved to close the case. James Comey’s FBI cronies used the news of Mr. Flynn’s phone call with the Russian ambassador as an excuse to interview the then national security adviser and perhaps trap him into a lie.
All of this was moved along politically by leaks to the media about Mr. Flynn’s phone call with the Russian. The U.S. eavesdrops on foreign officials as a routine, but names of innocent Americans on those calls are supposed to be shielded from review to protect their privacy. Yet senior Obama officials have had to acknowledge that they “unmasked” Mr. Flynn’s name and others in their last months in power. Then, what a surprise, news of Mr. Flynn’s call and its contents pop up in the Washington Post. Did someone say “institutional norms”?

All of this raises questions about the role the Obama Justice Department and White House played in targeting Mr. Flynn. We already know the FBI had opened up a counterintelligence probe into Mr. Flynn and other Trump campaign officials, yet it had come up with no evidence of collusion.
Donald Trump’s victory increased the chances that this unprecedented spying on a political opponent would be uncovered, which would have been politically embarrassing at the very least. Targeting Mr. Flynn—and flogging the discredited Steele dossier—kept the Russia collusion pot boiling and evolved into the two-year Mueller investigation that turned up no evidence of collusion.
This among other things is what U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating at the request of Attorney General William Barr. Maybe that’s why Mr. Obama is so eager to distort the truth of the Flynn prosecution.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Harvard Needs to Come Clean

Talk about a ‘hall pass’.
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WSJ 8/6/2018

The Trump Administration in July withdrew Obama-era guidance that gave colleges a wink and a nod to racially discriminate. This means that colleges like Harvard that use racial preferences in admissions will receive more legal scrutiny, and the examination should be instructive.

Between 2011 and 2016, the Obama Education Department issued seven notices advising colleges how they may legally promote racial diversity. The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits racial discrimination by institutions receiving federal funds. But the Supreme Court has held that colleges may consider race in admissions as long it isn’t the “decisive” factor. Quotas and point systems are forbidden.

The Obama department advised colleges to consider race as part of what it called an “individualized, holistic review of all applicants.” Colleges also were urged to consider race-neutral alternatives, but that they need not be adopted if they are “unworkable.” In other words, it’s the thought that counts. Many colleges took the guidance as cover to discriminate.

Harvard’s practices will be the first to be examined under this new spotlight. Students for Fair Admissions has sued the school for discriminating against Asian-American applicants and unconstitutionally favoring other minority groups. The case hasn’t gone to trial, but the plaintiff group’s legal filings based on discovery and depositions are revealing the secrets of Harvard’s use of race.

Consider Harvard’s “holistic” admissions review. Applicants are rated on a scale of one to six on academics, extracurricular activities, athletics and highly subjective “personal” criteria. Admissions officers also assign applicants an overall score.

According to Students for Fair Admissions, Asian-Americans boasted higher extracurricular and academic ratings than all other racial groups. They also received higher scores from alumni interviewers. But they were rated disproportionately lower on personal criteria. Only about one in five Asian-Americans in the top 10% of academic performers received a “2” personal rating. Yet blacks and Hispanics with much lower grades and SAT scores received high personal ratings.

Asian-Americans also disproportionately received lower composite scores. Blacks in the top 10% of academic performers were three times more likely than Asian-Americans to receive a “2” overall rating (“1” is the best). A sample of applicant summary sheets disproportionately refer to Asian-Americans as “busy and bright” and “standard strong”—labels that liberals might call micro-aggressions.

Following complaints of discrimination, Harvard’s Office of Institutional Research (OIR) in 2013 produced three internal reports showing its admissions process was biased against Asian-Americans. Harvard disclosed the reports during discovery in the lawsuit. One report found that purely “demographic” factors reduced the share of admitted Asian Americans by 30% while increasing the proportion of admitted Latinos by about 140% and blacks by 370%.

OIR shared its studies with Harvard administrators who did not ask the researchers questions, suggest further investigation or publish the findings. Were administrators unperturbed or merely uninterested?

By contrast, Harvard published a prescriptive report in 2015 to improve diversity on campus that suggested, among other things, changing objects in a classroom “from those that are conventionally associated with the dominant group to objects that minoritized subjects can better relate to.” Minoritized?

The university also formed what appears to have been a Potemkin committee in 2017 to investigate “race neutral” alternatives. Its conclusion: Race-neutral alternatives were not “workable.” The committee said Harvard “could not significantly increase its financial aid budget” to attract more minority applicants “without detracting from other commitments.” If Harvard’s $37 billion endowment is insufficient, maybe it should stop wasting money on perfunctory studies.

Harvard denies that it discriminates and in a legal filing 10 days ago called the statistical analysis by Students for Fair Admissions “deeply flawed.” Harvard said that “the work done by OIR employees was not intended to address whether Asian-American applicants were experiencing discrimination and did not answer that question.” The school has so far resisted producing student essays and teacher recommendations that may shed more light.

The Supreme Court said in Village of Arlington Heights (1976) that an “invidious discriminatory purpose” may be gleaned from facially neutral policies—i.e., policies that don’t discriminate explicitly—based on “the degree of disproportionate racial effect, if any, of the policy” and “the justification, or lack thereof” for the effect, among other things. And under the Court’s Fisher decision (2013), colleges must demonstrate that their use of racial preferences is narrowly tailored to achieving the benefits of a diverse student body. On the evidence so far, Harvard has not done so.

Fisher is a constitutional muddle and a future Supreme Court should overturn it, but in the meantime it’s the law. Harvard and other schools are now on notice that they may not discriminate on the sly.

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Make Iran Great Again!

Only one post for tonight. This one should be enough…
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WSJ 1/4/2018

Iran erupted last Thursday. By Friday, the protests against the government, which began in Mashhad near the Afghan border, had spread to dozens of cities. So when we traveled on Saturday to a movie theater on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to see “Darkest Hour,” Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Winston Churchill, imagine the jarring dislocation when the theater’s previews included a trailer for an admiring documentary of Barack Obama’s foreign-policy making, “The Final Year.”

The preview screen filled with expressions of earnest intent from Mr. Obama, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes and the Iran nuclear deal’s handmaiden, John Kerry. About 100 minutes later, we were watching Churchill shout at his war cabinet that you cannot do deals with dictators. That would have been about the time this weekend that protesters in Iran were shouting “Death to Khamenei!” It’s nice to see the Iranian people have a sense of humor.

Producing the past week’s protests against the Iranian regime was not the goal of the six-party Iran nuclear deal. Back then, the Khamenei-Rouhani regime was represented as America’s partner in a good cause. Now the governments of the U.S., U.K., France and Germany (Russia is a Khamenei ally, and China only supports crackdowns) have to decide whether their Iranian partner is the people in the streets or the government that is shooting them.

In the preview of “The Final Year,” the Obama team members convey confidence in the rightness of everything they did. But as we learned in November 2016, there was one big thing the Obama people never understood: how a real economy works. By real economy, I mean the private economy, not the economy of public spending.

A central element of the nuclear deal was that it would “help” the Iranian people by lifting sanctions and injecting $100 billion of unfrozen assets into Iran’s economy. This was much the same economic theory behind the Obama administration’s 2009 injection of $832 billion into the U.S. economy. Both flopped because both made the real economy essentially a bystander to state guidance.

The Obama $832 billion went up the government’s fireplace flue. The Iranian $100 billion went into ballistic missile production and for Iran’s proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

The moment has arrived for invidious comparisons.

Donald Trump is president because the Obama-Clinton Democrats forgot about hardpressed voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. The Khamenei-Rouhani regime is under assault because working- class Iranians began this week’s revolt in cities beyond the capital.

Come to think of it, isn’t that disconnect between the people running governments and the people trying to make a living in the real economy the core reason behind the worldwide burst of populism?

It’s the reason France’s working-class voters and young, underemployed college graduates sent Emmanuel Macron and a heretofore nonexistent party into the French presidency. It’s the reason workingclass Brits lunged for Brexit. This new global reality—perform or get shoved aside—is the reason Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman imposed reforms. The Iranians shouting, “Leave Syria, think of us!” are the West Virginia coal miners shouting, “Make America Great Again.” That’s not yahooism. It is anxiety directed at incumbent elites who tell the public that reduced levels of economic growth are the new normal. The world’s populations will not accept that.

Iran—like North Korea— has taken its best and brightest and stuck them inside a mountain to build atomic bombs, leaving the economy in the hands of Brussels-grade technocrats.

Besides calling for higher taxes in its recent budget, even as prices have spiked for basic foodstuff, Hassan Rouhani’s government has pursued import- substitution policies by imposing high tariffs on many imported goods. Needless to say, Iranians can’t get the clothing, appliances and electronics they want.

To combat a massive cellphone- smuggling operation, Iran recently slapped a 5% duty on them atop the 9% valueadded tax and required registration with Iran’s telecom user database. Now, millions of smuggled phones will make it harder for the ayatollahs to kill texting among protesters. The bazaar may prove stronger than the theocracy.

A theme now emerging in Western media is that if Europe’s leaders support President Trump’s “aggressive” posture toward Tehran, that will undermine both the sanctified Obama nuclear deal and support for “liberals” in the Rouhani government. This is where we came in, watching Winston Churchill convince a timid British establishment that an outward– moving dictatorship won’t stop at anyone’s border.

The moment has arrived to admit that Iran’s missiles, nuclear technology and armies won’t stay inside its borders until the people getting shot in the streets are recognized and supported by a too-timid world.

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