Category Archives: Obama
Earlier this month he WSJ reported that the Obama administration shipped Iran a pallet of foreign cash worth $400 million. President Obama scolded the press for asking if the delivery of the unmarked bills, in an unmarked plane, in the middle of the night was ransom.
You’ve probably seen his four step reply:
1) The payment was old news.
2) It was Iran’s money.
3) It’s illegal to trade dollars with Iran.
4) We don’t pay ransom.
Then he mocked reporters by saying, it “defies logic” that we would pay ransom. He also said the story “reads like a spy novel.”
So it does.
For good measure State Department spokesman John Kirby tweeted:
“Reports of link between prisoner release & payment to Iran are completely false.”
So the WSJ reporters, Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, dug a little deeper and learned that the payment was “specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.” The money was loaded onto an Iranian cargo plane in Geneva, Switzerland. And it wasn’t released until a plane departing Tehran with the prisoners was “wheels up.”
It’s Not Ransom. It’s Leverage. Or Not.
Based on the new information Kirby was asked by a reporter:
Q: “In basic English, you are saying you wouldn’t give [Iran] the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?”
A: “That’s correct,” Kirby responded.
Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said, “I never used the world leverage” – leaving Kirby hanging out to dry.
According to CBS News, thirteen people have died and 30,000 have been rescued from homes and cars due to flooding in Louisiana.
President Obama doesn’t want to get in the way of the relief effort so he’s staying put on the golf course at Martha’s Vineyard. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards obliged by asking him not to come.
But the Baton Rouge Advocate doesn’t see it that way. The paper invited the president to come on down. A lead editorial was titled Vacation or not, a hurting Louisiana needs you now, President Obama:
Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good. But we don’t see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It’s past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans.
The press and politicians weren’t so cautious either when President Bush did a Katrina flyover in 2005. The Washington Examiner quotes Senator Barack Obama on the 2008 campaign trail:
“We can talk about what happened for two days in 2005 and we should. We can talk about levees that couldn’t hold, a FEMA that seemed not just incompetent but paralyzed and powerless, about a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground.”
Speaking of the campaign trail, Hillary can’t very well make a Louisiana appearance if Obama says he’d be in the way. So she’s visiting Martha’s Vineyard too.
80% of Success is Showing Up
All that island hopping left a flood victim vacuum. Donald Trump wasted no time filling it. Trump and Mike Pence were soon photographed helping unload a relief truck for the flood victims. And they didn’t seem to be in the way.
Now Obama says he’ll show up Tuesday.
What initially looked like a great deal for them – customers federally mandated to buy their product – doesn’t seem to be working out as they had hoped. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that insurers are loosing hundreds of millions of dollars on Obamacare.
Aetna Says Bye Bye
So Aetna now says bye bye to ObamaCare by way of pulling out of exchanges in 11 of the 15 states it serves. UnitedHealth and Humana are following suit. UnitedHealth is ditching 31 of its 34 states, and Humana is leaving 9 of 19 states.
In July the Justice Department blocked a proposed merger between Aetna and UnitedHealth. At the time Aetna wrote that without the cost savings of the merger it would leave the exchanges.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton supports a government funded public option to compete on the exchanges with the remaining private insurers.
Last week Trump called Obama the founder of ISIS. The next day Hugh Hewitt threw him a life line saying, “I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”
But The Donald doubled down calling Obama the “ISIS MVP” and adding Hillary as “cofounder” for good measure.
Mollie Hemingway in The Federalist points out that Trump has made the same claim for a long time. He did it three times in January and nobody made a big deal of it. Yet this time the media got all literal insisting that Obama did not actually incorporate ISIS.
Joe Biden claimed Republicans would put “y’all in chains”. That has yet to happen. Nobody took it literally.
Trump did say later in the Hewitt interview:
“I mean, with his bad policies, that’s why ISIS came about… If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS… Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.”
Still, Politifact gave him a Pants on Fire rating on the ISIS foundation issue.
Rodney Dangerfield of Jihad
Hemingway says the real point is that Americans are fed up with way Republicans and Democrats fight wars “where enemies receive decades of nation building instead of crushing defeats.”
Crowds are cheering Trump’s hard statements about Obama and Clinton’s policies in the Middle East because they are sick and tired of losing men, women, treasure and time with impotent, misguided, aimless efforts there.
She says Buzz Feed’s Andrew Kaczynski got more to the heart of what’s wrong with Donald Trump. He reminds us that Trump himself repeatedly called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Does that mean ISIS has two daddies?
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was busted for paying hush money by making cash withdrawals that would be difficult to trace. Never mind that he was a perv trying to hide the fact that he had molested a high school wrestler. It was violating the $10,000 cash withdrawal limit that got him busted.
“Hastert was indicted for two alleged felonies: 1) withdrawing cash from his bank accounts in amounts and patterns designed to hide the payments; and 2) lying to the FBI about the purpose of those withdrawals once they detected them and then inquired with him.”
Well, the WSJ reported yesterday that the Obama administration tried to hide a $400 million cash payment to Iran. And it tried to hide the purpose of the payment – ransom of five hostages.
The Justice Department opposed the deal.
Michelle Kosinski of CNN asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest if the hostages would have been released without the payment. He refused to answer. Actually, Earnest’s drawn out unrelated responses were kind of amusing. You can see the exchange at the -41:11 mark of this C-SPAN video.
The ransom was paid in Swiss Francs and Euros delivered by unmarked plane in the middle of the night. Since it’s against the law to trade dollars with Iran Dr. Krauthammer says the administration is guilty of money laundering.
Obviously, it wasn’t a coincidence. The reason that it was objected to by Justice, there is a statute that prohibits us from engaging in Iran dealing with dollars. So, they had to print the money here, ship it over to Switzerland, turn it into Swiss francs and euros and ship it over to Iran. If a private company had done this, this is called money laundering. The CEO would be in jail right now.”
He added, “The reason it was concealed is because it’s illegal. That’s why Congress wasn’t notified, because it’s scandalous for the administration to explicitly defy a law that says you can’t deal in American currency. And the second thing is, it isn’t only that it encourages terrorism in the future, it’s that the money is in cash. Why in cash? Because that you can’t trace it. It’s going to go straight to Hezbollah, straight to Hamas, straight to terrorists in Iraq.”
Andrew McCarthy in National Review maintains Obama committed a felony. He says the law restricts the transfer of value to Iran in any way.
By his own account, President Obama engaged in the complex cash transfer in order to end-run sanctions that prohibit the U.S. from having “a banking relationship with Iran.” The point of the sanctions is not to prevent banking with Iran; it is to prevent Iran from getting value from or through our financial system — the banking prohibition is a corollary. And the point of sanctions, if you happen to be the president of the United States sworn to execute the laws faithfully, is to follow them — not pat yourself on the back for keeping them in place while you willfully evade them. The president’s press conference is better understood as a confession than an explanation.