TONIGHT: CIJR & Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Present: the U.S. Elections, 2016: Panel Discussion. Featuring: Machla Abramovitz (CIJR Academic Fellow), Prof. Frederick Krantz (Director, CIJR), Prof. Ira Robinson (Concordia U.), Prof. Harold Waller (McGill U.), Moderator: Jack Kincler (National Chairman, CIJR). Topics of discussion include U.S elections and American Jewry, the Middle East and the world, U.S. elections and Israel, U.S. elections and women: une question mal posée?
Admission is free. 7:30pm, Oct. 31, 2016.
Location: Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem, 6519 Baily Road, Montreal
Hillary Has Only Herself to Blame for the Mess She’s in: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Oct. 29, 2016 — We must forgive Mark Twain for his error when he declared that “history never repeats itself but it often rhymes.” After all, he’d never met the Clintons.
Clinton’s State Department: A RICO Enterprise: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, Oct. 29, 2016 — Felony mishandling of classified information, including our nation’s most closely guarded intelligence secrets; the misappropriation and destruction of tens of thousands of government records — these are serious criminal offenses.
How Donald Trump is Still a Thing: Rex Murphy, National Post, Oct. 21, 2016 — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may have finally received the campaign miracle he needs
Donald Trump Garners Unlikely Muslim Cheerleaders: Yaroslav Trofimov, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2016 — With his statements targeting Muslims, it might seem that Donald Trump would have few cheerleaders in the Middle East.
Can Hillary Clinton Survive the Return of Carlos Danger?: Amy Chozick and Mark Landler, New York Times, Oct. 31, 2016
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Dead Heat as Email Scandal Returns Near End of Presidential Campaign: Nick Allen and David Lawler, Telegraph, Oct. 30, 2016
What's a Conservative to Do? Vote for Pence: Daniel Pipes, Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 18, 2016
If You Love America and Israel, Vote Against the System: Naomi Ragen, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 31, 2016
New York Post, Oct. 29, 2016
We must forgive Mark Twain for his error when he declared that “history never repeats itself but it often rhymes.” After all, he’d never met the Clintons. If Twain were alive now, he would be astonished at how the headlines over the email scandal roiling the presidential race are virtual repeats of the family’s 1990s saga in power. The headlines are also an omen. A restoration of the Clinton presidency would be a restoration of the national and moral chaos they invariably create. They can’t help themselves. They are corrupt and corrupters, the Typhoid Mary of politics.
Whether by nature or nurture, they are programmed to ruin. Friends, allies, institutions — all are stained by their touch. And always, the Clintons blame somebody else. Now it’s FBI Director James Comey’s turn to embody their all-purpose bogeyman, the vast right-wing conspiracy. Somebody, sometimes everybody, is out to get them, unfairly of course.
The victim card is a Clinton family heirloom, but there are major problems playing it over Comey’s sudden reopening of the email probe. Clinton created the mess with her incredibly stupid decision to use a private server as secretary of state. Virtually every major issue dogging her, including her reputation for chronic dishonesty, was started or exacerbated by that decision, including the current one. Even as her top aides remain mystified about why she did it, the result fits the family pattern now that Huma Abedin, her most loyal “body” person, is on the hook. It was, by all accounts, the FBI’s criminal investigation into Abedin’s pervy husband, Anthony Weiner, that led to the new cache of suspect emails found on a computer the couple shared.
Still, Clinton is understandably panicked because the timing of Comey’s announcement could cost her the election. Her demand that he release everything immediately is also understandable, even as she knows it is impossible for him to release potential evidence before it is examined. Her attacks on him play well to her base, and her media handmaidens are amplifying the complaint that he has gone rogue. But, as usual, there is less than meets the eye here, for Clinton could solve the problem herself without Comey doing anything to help.
She could simply order Abedin to hold a press conference and answer any and every question about the newest batch of emails. Let reporters ask Abedin directly: What’s in those emails? Did any contain classified material? Why didn’t you turn that computer over to the FBI during its initial investigation? Did you lie to the FBI about having work-related emails on it? Also, did Weiner have access to classified material? Was the computer ever hacked? the potential upside is huge. If Abedin can answer “no” to all the key questions about classified material and her own conduct, Clinton could credibly declare Comey’s announcement much ado about nothing. She could even hold her own press conference to answer questions and conclude by saying: We have been as transparent as we can be, and we are not afraid of a new investigation because we have nothing to hide.
Now, back to reality. Clinton reality. Hillary won’t do any of that because the potential downside is also huge. My guess is she fears the worst, and may secretly subscribe to the idea that Comey wouldn’t have acted in such a bold and controversial way without some conviction that he had stumbled on a potential bombshell. And Clinton, a former litigator used to playing defense, probably already knows what’s in the emails. Or perhaps she has concluded that, if indeed there are thousands of them, as is being reported, at least some are bound to refuel suspicions that she and her team are guilty of mishandling national secrets.
Then, instead of putting the issue to bed, any substantive discussion, including an Abedin press conference, would actually fan the fire just as voters are going to the polls. Moreover, even if Abedin’s answers would help Clinton, taking her public would be effectively betting the presidency on her performance. Abedin’s always worked behind the scenes, and has little experience in front of a camera, not to mention a forest of them that would assemble for such an extraordinary event.
To top it off, this professional crisis is coming as Abedin’s personal world is in turmoil. Weiner is a certified creep, but he is still the father of their young child, and now faces the possibility of federal prison. Against that backdrop, what if Abedin were to stumble or crack in public? What if she has a lawyer who advises her to say nothing because she might also be a federal target and risks incriminating herself by speaking publicly?…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review, Oct. 29, 2016
Felony mishandling of classified information, including our nation’s most closely guarded intelligence secrets; the misappropriation and destruction of tens of thousands of government records — these are serious criminal offenses. To this point, the Justice Department and FBI have found creative ways not to charge Hillary Clinton for them. Whether this will remain the case has yet to be seen. As we go to press, the stunning news has broken that the FBI’s investigation is being reopened. It appears, based on early reports, that in the course of examining communications devices in a separate “sexting” investigation of disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, the bureau stumbled on relevant e-mails — no doubt connected to Huma Abedin, Mr. Weiner’s wife and, more significantly, Mrs. Clinton’s closest confidant. According to the New York Times, the FBI has seized at least one electronic device belonging to Ms. Abedin as well. New e-mails, never before reviewed by the FBI, have been recovered…
One thing, however, is already clear. Whatever the relevance of the new e-mails to the probe of Clinton’s classified-information transgressions and attempt to destroy thousands of emails, these offenses may pale in comparison with Hillary Clinton’s most audacious violations of law: Crimes that should still be under investigation; crimes that will, in fitting Watergate parlance, be a cancer on the presidency if she manages to win on November 8. Mrs. Clinton appears to have converted the office of secretary of state into a racketeering enterprise. This would be a violation of the RICO law — the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1971 (codified in the U.S. penal code at sections 1961 et seq.).
Hillary and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, operated the Clinton Foundation. Ostensibly a charity, the foundation was a de facto fraud scheme to monetize Hillary’s power as secretary of state (among other aspects of the Clintons’ political influence). The scheme involved (a) the exchange of political favors, access, and influence for millions of dollars in donations; (b) the circumvention of campaign-finance laws that prohibit political donations by foreign sources; (c) a vehicle for Mrs. Clinton to shield her State Department e-mail communications from public and congressional scrutiny while she and her husband exploited the fundraising potential of her position; and (d) a means for Clinton insiders to receive private-sector compensation and explore lucrative employment opportunities while drawing taxpayer-funded government salaries.
While the foundation did perform some charitable work, this camouflaged the fact that contributions were substantially diverted to pay lavish salaries and underwrite luxury travel for Clinton insiders. Contributions skyrocketed to $126 million in 2009, the year Mrs. Clinton arrived at Foggy Bottom. Breathtaking sums were “donated” by high-rollers and foreign governments that had crucial business before the State Department. Along with those staggering donations came a spike in speaking opportunities and fees for Bill Clinton. Of course, disproportionate payments and gifts to a spouse are common ways of bribing public officials — which is why, for example, high-ranking government officeholders must reveal their spouses’ income and other asset information on their financial-disclosure forms.
While there are other egregious transactions, the most notorious corruption episode of Secretary Clinton’s tenure involves the State Department’s approval of a deal that surrendered fully one-fifth of the United States’ uranium-mining capacity to Vladimir Putin’s anti-American thugocracy in Russia.
The story, significant background of which predates Mrs. Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, has been recounted in ground-breaking reporting by the Hoover Institution’s Peter Schweizer (in his remarkable book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich) and the New York Times. In a nutshell, in 2005, under the guise of addressing the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan (where the disease is nearly nonexistent), Bill Clinton helped his Canadian billionaire pal Frank Giustra to convince the ruling despot, Nursultan Nazarbayev (an infamous torturer and human-rights violator), to grant coveted uranium-mining rights to Giustra’s company, Ur-Asia Energy (notwithstanding that it had no background in the highly competitive uranium business). Uranium is a key component of nuclear power, from which the United States derives 20 percent of its total electrical power.
In the months that followed, Giustra gave an astonishing $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation and pledged $100 million more. With the Kazakh rights secured, Ur-Asia was able to expand its holdings and attract new investors, like Ian Telfer, who also donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Ur-Asia merged with Uranium One, a South African company, in a $3.5 billion deal — with Telfer becoming Uranium One’s chairman. The new company proceeded to buy up major uranium assets in the United States. Meanwhile, as tends to happen in dictatorships, Nazarbayev (the Kazakh dictator) turned on the head of his state-controlled uranium agency (Kazatomprom), who was arrested for selling valuable mining rights to foreign entities like Ur-Asia/Uranium One. This was likely done at the urging of Putin, the neighborhood bully whose state-controlled atomic-energy company (Rosatom) was hoping to grab the Kazakh mines — whether by taking them outright or by taking over Uranium One.
The arrest, which happened a few months after Obama took office, sent Uranium One stock into free fall, as investors fretted that the Kazakh mining rights would be lost. Uranium One turned to Secretary Clinton’s State Department for help. As State Department cables disclosed by WikiLeaks show, Uranium One officials wanted more than a U.S. statement to the media; they pressed for written confirmation that their mining licenses were valid. Secretary Clinton’s State Department leapt into action: An energy officer from the U.S. embassy immediately held meetings with the Kazakh regime. A few days later, it was announced that Russia’s Rosatom had purchased 17 percent of Uranium One. Problem solved.
Except it became a bigger problem when the Russian company sought to acquire a controlling interest in Uranium One. That would mean a takeover not only of the Kazakh mines but of the U.S. uranium assets as well. Such a foreign grab requires approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a powerful government tribunal that the secretary of state sits on and heavily influences. Though she had historically postured as a hawk against foreign acquisitions of American assets with critical national-security implications, Secretary Clinton approved the Russian takeover of Uranium One. During and right after the big-bucks Russian acquisition, Telfer contributed $1.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Other people with ties to Uranium One appear to have ponied up as much as $5.6 million in donations.
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
National Post, Oct. 21, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may have finally received the campaign miracle he needs: Madonna recently promised that, “If you vote for Hillary Clinton, I will give you a b—j–.” If a spur were needed to drive the millions still in the “undecided” camp to flee in dread to Trump, this is it. Should it come down to a forced choice between voting for a rude scatterbrain, or being targeted for a home service visit from the world’s only Kabbalist sex toy, what’s to choose?
I’d prefer to use a less graphic example, but it does show that Trump, despite his own best efforts, is still in the running. After all, the washed-up pop star wouldn’t be offering her services if Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in. This prompts the question: how does the most disorganized, febrile, roller-coaster campaign in modern history still have wheels? If Trump is really a foolish, misogynistic, egotistic groper, why is the election still a contest? Well, loathe him as you may, he still strikes a chord with a great swath of the American electorate.
If Trump had a brain and could properly organize his thoughts, he would have already left Clinton in the dust. But even with the disorganized substitute for a brain that he does have, he is exploding so many of the fixed patterns of modern American politics, that — in spite of all his outrageous performances — people are still with him. His campaign may be a battered and beat-up embarrassment, but, for many people, at least it’s heading in a different direction from the weary, cynical road the political class has always travelled upon. Trump has wrecked the neat and subtle pact between the Republican and Democratic establishments. He broke the entire Republican field on the troublelous matter of immigration. He has blistered the mummified consensus on so many issues, and opened the windows on many others deemed too “uncomfortable” for public discussion, that, despite his recklessness, he finds support from multitudes of people who are fed up with the political class.
He’s broken free from the self-imposed shackles of political correctness, which has smothered so many conversations on important issues. And he has violated with almost gleeful savagery the previously sacred zone of not asking questions about the Clintons — from Bill’s transgressions, to Hillary’s ruthless attacks on her husband’s mistresses, to her “extremely careless” handling of national security matters, from sending confidential emails using a private server to the many still-unanswered questions about Benghazi. Then there’s the immense accumulation of wealth — more than $2 billion — by the Clinton Foundation, which was acquired from some of the most questionable regimes in the world, by the most questionable of methods.
Meanwhile, the left-wing media has tried its darnedest to ignore Clinton’s many sins, to the point of nullifying its real responsibilities. As Glen Reynolds of Instapundit has said, many of the high priests of the American media are “Democratic operatives with bylines.” Most damningly, Trump thrust into public view the tawdry tale of how the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. State Department and perhaps even the White House gave immunity to all Clinton’s aides, and made every effort to obstruct Congressional inquiries into the email scandal. In other words, he has been exposing how the power of the Clinton machine has infected the heart of the American system of government and how justice bends before power.
So how is it is the Trump campaign still has wheels? How can such a fractured personality, a blundering reality-show celebrity, wander about the American political landscape with even a slight chance of winning? It isn’t because of the candidate. It is despite the candidate. Trump, as such, inspires no one. But by instinct or just random chance, he highlights much of what is wrong with American politics. He says what has long been waiting to be spoken, calling out the political process itself, the players and the media.
Trump is rough, rude and unready to be president, by any normal or even strained standard. That he is still in contention is a barometer of how greatly American politics needs to be taken out of the hands of the people who have owned it for a generation. That’s the only reason his campaign matters. With savage irony, it’s likely even he doesn’t know that his own campaign is the strongest proof of how broken that system is.
Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2016
With his statements targeting Muslims, it might seem that Donald Trump would have few cheerleaders in the Middle East. And yet, as the U.S. presidential election approaches, an unusual collection of America’s Muslim friends and foes is rooting for the Republican candidate. Broadly, they can be grouped in two camps. The first are those long opposed to American presence in the region and encouraged by Mr. Trump’s isolationist thinking. They figure discrimination against Muslims in America is an acceptable price for ending America’s decadeslong involvement in the Middle East. A Trump victory, they hope, would greatly diminish America’s global standing.
Then there are some traditional U.S. allies in the region who have grown alienated under President Barack Obama and who fear Hillary Clinton would renew U.S. efforts to promote democracy in the region. In particular, these politicians in countries such as Egypt and Turkey find solace in Mr. Trump’s reluctance to criticize human-rights violations abroad. “Those regimes have a lot of concerns about a relaunch of the democratic project. For them, supporting Trump is a pragmatic choice,” said Jordanian commentator Amer al-Sabaileh, head of the independent MEMPSI think tank in Amman. “Their major priority is not to lose power, and they don’t care about how he views Muslims.”
Iran’s stance in the U.S. presidential race is particularly interesting. On the surface, Mr. Trump appears a hawk on Iran. He has criticized the nuclear deal struck by Mr. Obama, a plank of the Trump campaign. Yet, unlike Mrs. Clinton, he also appeared to embrace the core Iranian narrative of the current turmoil in the Middle East. He portrayed Tehran, the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad and Russia as forces combating terrorism. “Assad is killing ISIS, Russia is killing ISIS and Iran is killing ISIS,” Mr. Trump said at the second presidential debate. While the Obama administration points out that Iran, Russia and the Syrian regime focus their firepower on moderate rebels who oppose Islamic State, Mr. Trump, at the third debate on Wednesday, asserted that these rebels may be worse than Mr. Assad.
He also questioned American defense commitments to Iran’s main regional rival, Saudi Arabia, and alleged that Saudi authorities, like Islamic State, “push gays off buildings.” While gay sex is illegal in Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim nations, no one in the kingdom has been executed for it in recent times. “There are noises of joy in Iran when Trump turns around and says that Iran is on the right side in Syria,” said Alex Vatanka, Iran expert at the Middle East Institute in Washington. Yet, he added, the real reason Iranian leaders are rooting for him goes deeper: They believe they could get away with a lot more under a President Trump. “The hard-liners in Tehran view the Trump presidency as one where any kind of coalition against Iran in the way Iranians experienced it in the past 10 years would be so much harder for Washington to achieve,” Mr. Vatanka said. “The world is not going to listen to him and that becomes, in itself, an opportunity for Iran on the international stage.”
Even Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Shiite Hezbollah militia, approvingly quoted Mr. Trump in a recent speech, citing the Republican candidate to support his longtime allegation that the Obama administration and Mrs. Clinton had created the Sunni extremist Islamic State. In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan initially reacted with anger when Mr. Trump proposed to bar Muslims from entering the U.S.—a policy stance since modified as “extreme vetting.” In June, the Turkish leader even called for renaming the Trump Towers in Istanbul. Mr. Erdogan’s tone, however, changed dramatically after the failed July coup against him. Unlike other Western leaders and the Obama administration, Mr. Trump refused to criticize the wave of detentions and dismissals in Turkey that followed the failed coup and expressed his admiration for the Turkish leader…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Can Hillary Clinton Survive the Return of Carlos Danger?: Amy Chozick and Mark Landler, New York Times, Oct. 31, 2016—In the summer of 2013, Hillary Clinton had just left the State Department and returned to New York. She planned a quiet year, basking in sky-high approval ratings and enjoying a respite from the media spotlight as she laid the groundwork for a second presidential run. Then Carlos Danger happened.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Dead Heat as Email Scandal Returns Near End of Presidential Campaign: Nick Allen and David Lawler, Telegraph, Oct. 30, 2016 —The U.S. presidential race has narrowed to a statistical dead heat in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s latest email scandal, a new poll showed Sunday. Donald Trump surged to within one percentage point of Clinton in the ABC News/Washington Post survey, having been 12 points behind in the same poll a week ago.
What's a Conservative to Do? Vote for Pence: Daniel Pipes, Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 18, 2016 —The disgraceful presidential candidates coughed up by America's two great political parties, each one repulsive in his or her distinctive way, leaves many conservatives in a dilemma. We cannot vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Nor, try as we might, do we warm to Gary Johnson's Libertarian Party.
If You Love America and Israel, Vote Against the System: Naomi Ragen, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 31, 2016—I can certainly see why women, including Jewish women, would prefer a seemingly well-spoken, mature senior stateswoman, to a brash, loud-mouthed political neophyte who has made so many off-handed offensive locker-room comments about women. This would be your instinct. How lovely, how easy, it would be then, to vote in a woman running against a man like that. And how disastrously wrong.