As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: Russia

Mueller Named Special Counsel to Probe Russian Influence in 2016 Election

Yes, good idea. Putting country above Party. Just like the Obama administration did during the Hillary Clinton email probe.

Oh, wait a second, that actually didn’t happen.

From the Department of Justice:

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein today announced the appointment of former Department of Justice official and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as Special Counsel to oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.

“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.

“I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes. Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly. Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.”

Mattis: U.S. not Strong Enough to Deter Russia and China

Retired Gen. James Mattis said Thursday that he does not believe the U.S. military is strong enough to deter Russia and China, the Washington Examiner reported.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked Mattis if America has a strong enough military to be able to deter against those threats and he responded “No, sir.”

KGB Appears in White House Briefing Room

This is what can happen when a Russian “journalist” is permitted to ask questions in the White House briefing room.

Andrei Sitov, the Washington bureau chief for ITAR-Tass, is usually fairly well behaved, asking things that might normally be expected of a Russian correspondent were the Russian media not under the thumb of its authoritarian government.

But today, Andrei unloaded with a “question” that could have been written by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has you know as spent the last decade easing freedom out the door in Russia while his thugs bully and kill reporters who try to conduct themselves as actual journalists.

Here’s what Andrei wanted to know. Please tell me whether you think this question was NOT written in the Kremlin.

But this is what I was talking about, exactly this. This is America — the democracy, the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to petition your government.

And many people outside would also say, and the, quote/unquote, “freedom” of a deranged mind to react in a violent way is also American. How do you respond to that?

You Americans and your freedom. What’s the matter with you? I assume Russians will be treated to this exchange 24-7 on the television.

And good for Gibbs. He started answering calmly, and then became visibly angry, and ended the briefing once he was finished.

We had people whose lives will be changed forever because of the deranged actions of a madman.

Those are not American. Those are not in keeping with the important bedrock values by which this country was founded and by which its citizens live each and every day of their lives in hopes of something better for those that are here.

Andrei has been around for years. But this is a new low. Andrei’s dual role is as a  journalist and a propagandist. I’m not sure what he’s doing in the White House briefing room.

The Peril of Putting the Naive in Power

President Obama entered the White House without experience of any kind that would normally qualify one for the most important job in the world. He chose a Secretary of State who fulfilled his wish to assemble a Lincolnesque “team of rivals” in his Cabinet, who was applauded by the Washington congnoscenti as an inspired choice, and who had little knowledge of foreign policy.

You wouldn’t let your dog be groomed by someone with no experience, but the country and your children’s futures are in the hands of people with no experience.

So what we get is a learning curve. Like we had with Jimmy Carter, another supposedly super-bright leader who made the following incredible statement after Russia invaded Afghanistan.

This action of the Soviets has made a more dramatic change in my own opinion of what the Soviets’ ultimate goals are than anything they’ve done in the previous time I’ve been in office.

Obama and Mrs. Clinton also believe that all the world is a village and we are merely another player in it. Bush went too far with unilateralism, but he understood at least that it is the job of the United States, as planet earth’s main force for good, to keep the evildoers in line. Europe is good, but it self-neutered long ago and can’t do much more than bitch from the sidelines.

Remember this by Obama in 2008?

I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.

This, by our supposed philospher-king, is what’s known as a an argument with an internal contradiction. In this case, you cannot believe you are above and better than all others if you also believe that others also are better than all others, which is what he’s suggesting. It’s as if the queen said, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” And the Mirror said, “You are, but other mirrors tell their owners that they are.” What’s the point?

So as Obama and Hillary learn that “OMG, there are not-nice people out there” and that only we can deal with them, what we get is a world in the meantime churning along with scattered evildoers increasingly emboldened to do us harm, whether on the economic or the military front.

In a must-read piece today in the Wall Street Journal, “Obama’s Air Guitar,” Columnist Bret Stephens notes a few happenings around the globe.

Beijing provokes clashes with the navies of both Indonesia and Japan as part of a bid to claim the South China Sea. Tokyo is in a serious diplomatic row with Russia over the South Kuril islands, a leftover dispute from 1945. There are credible fears that Tehran and Damascus will use the anticipated indictment of Hezbollah figures by a U.N. tribunal to overthrow the elected Lebanese government. Managua is attempting to annex a sliver of Costa Rica, a nation much too virtuous to have an army of its own. And speaking of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega is setting himself up as another Hugo Chávez by running, unconstitutionally, for another term. Both men are friends and allies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He adds:

About all of this, the Obama administration has basically done nothing. As Sarah Palin might say: How’s that multi-poley stuff workin’ out for ya?

The “hopeful” approach to the world manifested itself in the admnistration’s “outreach” to Russia, which brought us the new START Treaty, which Obama wants to the Senate to pass during the current lame duck Congress. Serious people have serious concerns about whether the treaty allows adequate inspections, would destroy our missile defense program, and would be disadvantageous to us in a variety of other ways.

One of them, former Bill Clinton CIA Director and veteran arms negotiator James Woolsey, writes in a piece titled “Old Problems with the New START that the flaws stem from Obama and Clinton’s multi-poley hopey-changey approach to the Russians.

A number of years negotiating arms-control agreements with the Soviets taught me that, when dealing with Russian counterparts, don’t appear eager—friendly yes, eager never. Regrettably, the Obama administration seems to have become eager for a deal in its negotiations on the follow-on treaty to the recently expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start). Hopes for a boost in efforts to “reset” relations with Russia, and for progress toward the president’s dream of a world without nuclear weapons, apparently combined to trump prudent negotiating strategy.

Obama and Clinton may yet discover that some are born in sin and only get worse from there. But they will probably realize it too late to save themselves, since most voters’ already understand this. Ideally, it won’t be too late to save the world.

Why is Bill Clinton Meeting With Putin?

The White House is using Bill Clinton as its fixer, having him run around the country offering political bribes to get candidates Obama doesn’t want out of races and to buck up those Obama likes.

Fine. It’s not exactly dignified, but if an ex-president wants to play political operative, that’s his perogative.

But who appointed or confirmed Bill Clinton as a U.S. diplomat?

Bill Clinton
Hi Hillary! Can you see me back home? I'm here in Moscow making U.S. policy!

It appears that Bubba, at a sensitive moment in U.S.-Russian relations, had a private meeting Tuesday with Vladimir Putin in Moscow. What they discussed is anyone’s guess. Is he doing business for himself? Is he doing business on behalf of any of his wealthy benefactors? If so, Putin, as king of the Russian Mafia, can be a big help.

The problem is that to many Americans and certainly to the rest of the world, it would appear Clinton is representing the United States government. In Russia, where control from the top is thorough, a Putin relative, for example, would never do anything without sanction from on high. Russians think everything political is done for a reason, and they certainly see Bill as Obama’s man in Moscow.

And who knows what messages he indeed is carrying for Hillary and Barack. Do any of these efforts intersect with his many opaque business dealings?

Which brings us to the incredible sight of Clinton yucking it up while Putin belittles the U.S. arrest of ten Russian spies.

“You’ve chosen the right time to come to Moscow. I hear your police have gotten carried away and put people in jail,” said Putin during their joint appearance before the cameras. The remark elicited a hearty laugh from Clinton.

Bill Clinton and Putin
Our stupid FBI and their Russian spy nonsense! Vladimir you are so cracking me up!

Now, we in the United States know that Clinton is just a smooth operator and a get-along type who likes to seem as agreeable as possible to everyone. But this laughter certainly projects to Russia and the world that the United States believes it did wrong by collaring these Russian agents. The exchange was played repeatedly on Russian TV, priceless material for the Russian propaganda machine.

Here’s some more what Clinton said when he and Putin appeared before the cameras just prior to their meeting.

I have asked the U.S. Embassy several times to do their best to help Russia become the member of the WTO. I have a very positive opinion of the agreement on nuclear weapons. And I think President Medvedev has had a good meeting in America.

Really? Is he asking the embassy on behalf of the United States or for the many U.S. tycoons who want Russia into the WTO. How do Russians interpret this?  Do the Russkies see a sure signal that their WTO effort is good as gold and they can make fewer concessions to get in?

Apparently, Putin also invited Clinton to visit some Godforsaken Russian outpost in the Arctic. It appears the invitation was serious. But it might also be perfect display of the deeply ironic Russian sense of humor: send Slick Willie to the North Pole.

Putin hinted as much.

Clinton: I’m happy that you invited me through my wife to visit the Arctic and Bear Island (Alexandra Land in Franz Josef Land). I’d love to visit it.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, to work with polar bears. This is quite possible. We can discuss this today.

Maybe he can get some Russian Eskimos to contribute to the Clinton Foundation.

Barack and Dmitri, BFF

One of the downsides of going buddy buddy with Medvedev – you know, running out for cheeseburgers and strolling around the White House grounds – is that it allows the Russian president to present himself as a normal leader, which he is not.

As we learn in the Christian Science Monitor, while Medvedev and Obama discuss whether to hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, Russia is brewing new coercive powers for the FSB – the modern KGB – that, while ostensibly for beating on terrorists, will also be used to remind average Russian citizens of the good old days under Communism.

Obama and Medvedev
Dima, I think I love you.

The article suggests that Medvedev himself may oppose the measures, but I think it’s just as likely Putin and Medvedev have established a good cop – bad cop routine and that they are largely on the same page. Putin knows his overseas reputation is on the decline, while Medvedev looks clean. This would be a typical Soviet propaganda technique.

And in any case, Medvedev represents Russia, and authoritarianism and worse is what’s going on in Russia.

And, excuse me, but didn’t Russia recently annex part of the country of Georgia for itself? The trip to the  burger joint certainly means we’ve forgotten about all that.

On the other hand, perhaps the goal here was to stuff the Russian leader with unhealthy food. I assume it’s a particularly high fat content that makes Ray’s Hell Burgers taste so good.

But if this isn’t what Obama had in mind, then he might think, whilst he is kicking the asses of the leaders of various law abiding U.S. corporations, about not making a show of his affection for Dmitri.

Obama and Medvedev Agree on Chickens

President Obama and Russian President Medvedev this afternoon held a press conference at which the main topic was chickens, with a nod to the war in Afghanistan.

And then there was the usual stuff about how the alliance is strengthening and blah blah blah, whatever, but the news was chickens.

Medvedev
Your chickens are disgusting but we'll take them.

Obama and Medvedev – or more accurately, their aides who know whatever this is all about –  resolved some kind of dispute Russia and the United States have been having for years over U.S. chicken exports to Russia. Such disputes are helping prevent Russia from getting into the WTO, and Obama said he hoped negotiators could get over some of the technical issues on a WTO deal this fall.

Russia is now taking our chickens, and they’re going to love them. I sure do, especially after they have been dipped in batter with seven herbs and spices and fried.

Obama was also asked about McChrystal, and he said everyone running the Afghan war is on the same page, which is not true at all. He added that he’s not firing anyone else, which is probably also untrue.

Obama
You're so funny. Our chickens are really juicy. You'll love them.

Medvedev said he hadn’t given the president any advice on how to win a war in Afghanistan, which is fortunate since Russia doesn’t know how to win a war in Afghanistan. The Russkie added that “we will support and back the efforts of the U.S.,” forgetting for a moment Russian efforts to close the critical U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan.

And the Russian president appeared to be implicitly criticizing Obama’s timetable of beginning withdrawal from Afghanistan by July 2011, saying the work to prevent a repeat of Russian’s disaster in the country would take more than a year.

“As far as our own experience, well-known experience as concerned, I’d very much like to see the Afghan people in near future having an effective state and a modern economy, and– which requires toiling and more than a year, but this is the path to guarantee that the – the most – the gravest scenarios of the — of the last time will not repeat,” he said.

The two then headed across the street for a “U.S.-Russian Business Summit,” strolling down the White House driveway in temperatures approaching 100 degrees, with humidity, which Russians really, really don’t like.

Obama figured it would look cool if he took off his jacket. Medvedev then followed, figuring he didn’t want to look like and idiot sweating next to the chillin’ Obama.

Obama and Medvedev