The Credibility Problem: Russia & Susan Rice

I try to stay away from definitive statements on current issues until most or all of the facts are known. That’s why I’ve written so little on the whole controversy about Russia’s influence over the presidential election.

Of this I am certain: Trump is not now president because Russia somehow sabotaged voting machines. Trump is president primarily because he ran against Hillary Clinton, arguably the worst major-party presidential candidate in the last . . . oh . . . well, perhaps since the birth of the Republic.

Hillary still hasn’t come to grips with that. She’s still out there making comments about how discrimination against women is why she lost. Fortunately, what she thinks doesn’t matter much now; she’s free to live in whatever fantasy world she chooses.

But did Russia try to influence public opinion toward Trump in devious ways? Keep in mind that Russia always has tried to do whatever it could to undermine America. Back in the Reagan years, there is evidence the old USSR was using Sen. Ted Kennedy to get Reagan out in the 1984 election, and the senator was a willing accomplice. He was never a model of pristine character.

By the way, Russian interference in 1984 didn’t exactly count for much in the final tally:

As the current probe slogged along, Republican Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, made a misstep by making a public announcement about how our intelligence services incidentally caught information on Trump transition members apparently being mentioned by Russian operatives, but that such incidental information did not reveal any collusion. Nunes’s false step was to say something about this publicly rather than going directly to his committee.

That bad decision led to a political furor by the Democrats (who are well-practiced in political furor), and now Nunes is under investigation for an ethics violation. He has had to recuse himself from the Russia probe.

The names of those Trump people somehow were made public. That is against the law. All kinds of suspicion, entirely warranted, has been directed at the Obama administration in its final days doing whatever it could to weaken the incoming administration.

The name that has come to the surface is Susan Rice, Obama’s former UN ambassador and national security advisor. Isn’t it amazing how she always seems to show up whenever there is a need to find someone to explain away Obama’s misdeeds?

Rice doesn’t have a history that engenders confidence in her integrity. Anyone recall that she became the face of the Obama team when they totally mishandled Benghazi? Anyone recall how she went on all the Sunday talk shows and peddled the Big Lie about a video causing the attack on American personnel in Libya? Anyone recall how she did it with no embarrassment at all?

Well, she’s back. She started off by saying she knew nothing about the intelligence gathering that caught some Trump people. Then that shifted into an admission that she did request to know the names of those people—within the legal allowance—but that she certainly wasn’t responsible for leaking those names to the public.

That’s her story and she’s sticking to it.

Susan Rice has no credibility.

What really happened with Russia and what should we be concerned about? The investigation is ongoing. The real question is whether it will be a real investigation or merely another in a long line of political one-upsmanship.

The House Intelligence Committee needs to demonstrate that it has more credibility than Susan Rice.

The Obama-Kerry-Rice Terrorism Fantasy

I find I keep using words like “fantasy” and “blindness” to describe what’s taking place in our foreign policy and national defense posture. I hate to be so repetitive, but the Obama administration just won’t stop doing things that reveal its fantasy mindset and its ideological blindness to what is occurring in the world.

The president himself carries the water for most of this, but he has loyal aiders and abettors in his dreamworld. For instance, there’s Secretary of State John Kerry who, incredibly, said this to the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week:

We are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally; less deaths, less violent deaths today, than through the last century.

In case you missed that fascinating analysis, I want to assure you I didn’t concoct it on my own. He really said that. It goes along with Susan Rice’s comment—drawn from this administration’s “strategy” for dealing with threats—that we don’t face any “existential” threat compared to what we had to deal with in WWII. Sorry, but I see an existential threat:

ISIS Nazis

Islamic terrorism is every bit as barbaric and ideologically driven as anything the Nazis did.

Yet it appears there is confusion within this administration because yesterday the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, blatantly contradicted his own secretary of state when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee,

When the final accounting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled.

Again, I’m not making this up. Two entirely different perspectives on what is transpiring in the world. Mr. Clapper appears to be out of step with his boss, who is more stridently focused on not offending Muslims than on any other issue in the realm of foreign policy and national defense.

Didn't Mean

This has caused a serious rift with Israel, which always has been our staunchest ally in an area of the world hostile to America. Israel feels its national security is being undermined by Obama’s policies. It’s not hard to feel that way when negotiations with Iran over its development of nuclear capabilities is put in the hands of a clueless John Kerry:

Getting a Nibble

This is why Benjamin Netanyahu chose to come speak to Congress despite the protestations of the administration. Obama wants a deal with Iran that will allow that terrorist nation to develop nuclear power (for peaceful purposes, naturally) while Israel rightly fears for its very existence. A nuclear Iran will then go forward with its plans to nuke Israel. For Netanyahu, this is a matter of life or death. Yet what does this administration say? Well, they send out their dupemaster, Susan Rice, to warn the Israelis to desist from their dastardly actions:

Could Be Destructive

A president who dreads a speech from the Israeli prime minister more than a nuclear Iran is a president who is ignoring his top constitutional duty—protect the nation from all enemies, foreign or domestic. Ignoring the Constitution, though, is something at which he is quite proficient.

That Was the Week That Was

How about a summary of news I haven’t had time to mention this week, just to catch up on items of interest? I’ll let the political cartoons do most of the talking. Did you catch the problem at Rutgers where there were so many protests from faculty and students about Condoleeza Rice speaking at graduation that she withdrew from the event? An African American woman who served as secretary of state not welcome at one of the self-proclaimed centers of cultural diversity and tolerance? Are we in a time warp?

Your Kind

Then there’s Harry Reid doing what Harry Reid always does—losing his mind on the Senate floor. He has lately been obsessed with the Koch brothers, who are political donors to some conservative causes. In Harry’s mind, they are the focus of evil in the modern world, responsible for everything from corruption in politics to bad weather:

Koch Brothers

And speaking of the weather, we keep getting those climate studies that tell us we’re all going to die pretty soon, or at least have to move inland to avoid drowning in the rise of the oceans. I prefer a little more common sense on this subject:

Weather

If you are a veteran and need medical attention from the VA, you might be in trouble. Veterans are dying from poor care and apparent neglect at VA hospitals. Yet the head of the Veterans Administration refuses to resign. What we have here is a perfect model for what to expect when government-run healthcare is fully implemented:

VA

And who would have guessed that, after 15 years, Monica Lewinsky would show up again? She was featured in a Vanity Fair article, reminding us of those wonderful Clinton years. I’m not sure one person is very pleased to see this resurrected at this time:

Lewinsky

Hope this little roundup of the news you might have missed was worthwhile. That was the week that was.

Stonewalling Benghazi

The Benghazi terrorist attack of September 11, 2012, might get the award for the least covered political scandal of recent times. As I’ve noted before, the ramifications of this event are far greater than anything in Watergate, yet Watergate is a household name, while Benghazi remains clouded in obscurity.

This White House pulled out all the stops from the beginning to mislead the public about the nature of the attack, sending UN ambassador Susan Rice to all the talk shows to blame it on a video. Even now, a former NSC official, Tommy Vietor, being interviewed by Fox’s Brett Baier, said, “Dude, this was two years ago!” As if that should end the story. It was actually another part of the orchestrated attempt to insinuate that this is only a Fox fantasy of some kind:

Talking Points

First of all, is “dude” really a grownup way of talking to a news reporter? But just as juvenile is Jay Carney, who refused even to acknowledge that an e-mail about Benghazi stemming from the White House that shows complicity in conjuring up the false story, isn’t an e-mail about Benghazi at all:

Benghazi E-mails

Yes, that pretty much illustrates the absurdity of the administration’s response to what Charles Krauthammer calls “the smoking gun.” Carney is a one-man stone wall:

Stonewall

Apparently, the hope at the White House is that somehow all of this can continue to be swept under the rug:

Rug

After a while, it becomes rather too difficult to ignore reality. The Obama Media—which should become the standard term for the mainstream news outlets—is horrified by the latest turn of events. They have tried so hard to avoid investigating this story:

Benghazi Coverup

Now, they’ve had to try to act as if they are interested:

Belated Reporting

But a significant segment of the media population seems willing to do almost anything to shield this president:

Coverup

It’s not just one person, though, that they are trying to protect. Another one at the center of this scandal also is in the limelight, and has much to fear from the truth:

Go Away

This is not an “old” story. This is one that cannot go away until all the facts are clearly revealed. House Speaker John Boehner has finally decided this rises to the level of a special investigative committee rather than a scattershot approach to finding the facts. Let’s hope that new committee can perform a valuable service to the American people.

The Dark Clouds over the Middle East

It’s difficult to get the American people and the mainstream media to concentrate on very significant foreign affairs that put the spotlight on our own wayward policies. Last year, the media were singing the praises of the misnamed Arab Spring. This was supposed to be an outbreak of “democracy.” Never mind, of course, that democracy really means 51% can impose anything they want on everyone else. The United States was never intended to be a democracy but a republic, which safeguards rights for everyone, even those who didn’t vote for the current leaders. That’s not the case in northern Africa and the Middle East where the so-called Arab Spring has become an autumn moving rapidly into a chilly winter.

Take Libya, for example. The ouster of Qaddafi was a reason to rejoice, but only those who understand the region were voicing concern over what would replace him. Consequently, we have the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including our ambassador to that country [if it can be dignified with the name “country”]. Questions remain unanswered about what transpired in real time. Why did Obama do nothing to save the people during that seven-hour battle? Why did he and his entire administration decide to blame a video about Mohammed when they knew almost immediately it was a terrorist action? Why did he send out UN ambassador Susan Rice to spread the word on five Sunday talk shows that there was no terrorism involved, only a “spontaneous demonstration” against this obscure video? Now she is being talked up as a potential secretary of state. Many Republican senators, who have to vote to confirm any new secretary of state, are rightfully upset over her misleading statements/lies, which, of course, were sanctioned by the White House.

Both the administration and its media allies are saying there are no more questions, and that it’s time to move on. That would be a travesty.

The big news in the past week has emanated from Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood is solidifying its control over that nation. Another Arab Spring gone awry. Muhammed Morsi, the newly elected president, has decided to set aside the entire judiciary of the government and run it by himself, invoking dictatorial powers and making a mockery of the democracy movement. Or should I say he used that movement to establish his tyranny?

Perhaps he’s just seeking to connect with Egypt’s ancient history and heritage:

His actions have led to massive protests of the nature that started all of this last year. However, these are competing protests: some are protesting Morsi, while the Muslim Brotherhood is on the streets protesting the protesters. Is there really any question how this is going to end?

Those waiting for some kind of word from President Obama criticizing Morsi’s actions will probably be waiting forever. He has remained silent while the radicals consolidate their power. One has the sense he is rather pleased with the direction things are going.

Meanwhile, Syria continues in civil war. This is another situation where the bloodthirsty tyrant needs to be upended, yet it’s probable his successors would be even worse, of the same stripe as the new leaders in Egypt. And giving aid and comfort to all of these emerging Islamic tyrannies is Iran, still on course to develop nuclear weapons and hoping to destroy Israel once and for all.

I always want to be cautious when relating current events to Biblical prophecy. Too often Christians have jumped the gun and declared something to be a fulfillment of endtimes prophecy. I can’t say that for sure. However, I can say that the picture emerging in the Middle East is only comforting if it means the Second Coming is at hand. Without some kind of divine intervention at this critical juncture, I see only dark clouds. Will the United States play a positive role in curtailing these evil developments? Sadly, not under the current administration. Will destruction hold off long enough for a future administration to reverse direction? Truly, only God knows if there is enough time left to do so.

Into the Twilight Zone

Last night, President Obama gave his apologetic for why we are acting against Libya. I’ve said all along I don’t like Qaddafi. Hardly anyone does. When Condi Rice spoke at Southeastern a couple weeks ago, she related what is was like to spend three hours with the man. Her conclusion? He is a madman.

So there’s really no debate on that point. As many have indicated, the real issue is what will follow after him, if he in fact does go. Reports are surfacing that many of those rebels came from the battlefields of Iraq, where they fought against American troops. Now we’re helping them?

Have we crossed the border into the Twilight Zone after all?

As bad as Qaddafi is, will a new government run by jihadists be an improvement—the same people who want to destroy the Great Satan, a.k.a., the United States?

The same question was raised during the Egyptian revolution earlier. That question is even more valid today. A report in the New York Times [of all places], reveals that the Muslim Brotherhood is coming to the forefront of that revolution, and that the moderate elements who thought they were in control are being pushed to the background. For more on that, go to this site.

Bottom line: things are coming to a head in that region and we are not in control, despite any assurances offered by the administration.

We aren’t the only losers in this scenario. One nation in the area, Israel, is more threatened than ever by these developments. There’s a Biblical admonition that is appropriate for our times: pray for the peace of Israel.

Southeastern’s Forum

The university where I teach, Southeastern, each year holds a Forum where leaders in various fields—Christian ministry, business, and politics—come and share their approach to leadership. It attracts well-known leaders, and is quickly becoming a heralded annual event. I attended most of the sessions last week and came away inspired by the stories and principles the speakers communicated.

One of this year’s speakers was Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist. For those who don’t know, Graham not only oversees his father’s large ministry, but also directs another ministry called Samaritan’s Purse, which sends relief supplies to every corner of the world, demonstrating how the Christian message of personal salvation also connects with aiding those in need everywhere. As Christians help people with their material needs, this creates an openness on their part to hear the truths of the gospel of Christ.

For some, Graham’s presentation may have seemed a little odd for a leadership conference, since he spent quite a bit of it laying out the basics of the gospel message. Yet I truly appreciated what he said as a reminder to everyone: this is the most important truth we possess. He also spoke forcefully against sin in our culture and issued a call for the church to resist it. Of all the speakers, he had the clearest warning that while we are supposed to engage the culture, we are not to be overcome by it or dilute the truths God has commissioned us to share with others. It was a challenge that I’m sure some needed to hear.

The biggest names at the conference appeared at the end of the final day when George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice took the stage. Rice spoke first, and with abundant grace, spoke of the special task of America to help others in the world embrace liberty. I had never heard her speak in person before; her spirit was so gracious that her words seemed to pierce the heart as well as inform the mind. Her experience as both National Security Advisor and as Secretary of State endowed her comments with credibility.

The former president took his turn shortly afterward. He gave no formal speech, but instead sat down with the Southeastern president for a give-and-take question-and-answer session. This was Bush’s second visit to Southeastern; when he came to last year’s Forum, it was his first public appearance since leaving office. This year he was quite at ease and very humorous in his commentary. The audience clearly appreciated the interview.

The highlight, though, was when Rice then joined him on stage and there was a more extended give-and-take. I must admit I listened even more closely to this session, as I was the person who devised the questions. Along with two of my colleagues, we were honored to be asked to develop questions for all the Bush-Rice exchanges. This was also another “first” of sorts, as the two had not appeared together since the end of the Bush presidency.

I know there are some reading this who have rather sour views of the former president, and knowing where I stand on the issues may wonder why I would enjoy this time so much. It’s true that I have disagreements with some of Bush’s decisions. When I reviewed his book a couple months ago, I openly discussed those disagreements. However, I experienced the same feeling after reading his book and listening to him in person: this is a man who is genuine and sincere, and who sought to do his best. I can respect him as a person, be grateful that under his administration another major attack on our nation didn’t occur, and honor him because he held the office of the president in high regard.

It was a privilege to be present for this Forum. God used it in my life, and I encourage others to participate next year.