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John Kerry Tag

Former Secretary of State John Kerry recently admitted that he has had meetings with officials from Iran since leaving office. One of the points Kerry relayed to them was that they should wait out the Trump presidency. It's nearly impossible to imagine the firestorm this would set off among Democrats and the media if a former Bush official had done this to Obama.

President Donald Trump's decision last week to withdraw the United States from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has occasioned a lot of hand-wringing by his critics (and by fans of his predecessor Barack Obama). After all, the storyline goes Iran was adhering to the deal, so the United States was damaging its credibility by trashing a deal that it had entered into. Of course, that doesn't tell the whole story. President Obama, knowing that he couldn't sell the deal to the American people and their representatives, made an executive agreement. But governing effectively means playing by the Constitution's rules even when it's inconvenient. (Funny how none of Obama's acolytes, who tell us that Trump is destroying our democracy, seem the least bit bothered by Obama's blatant disregard of the Constitution.)

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed intelligence gathered by the Mossad that conclusively reveals that the Iran Nuclear Deal was induced by fraud. We are now learning that former Secretary of State John Kerry has been meeting secretly with foreign governments in an effort to salvage what Netanyahu has long-insisted is a bad deal.   Kerry's goal, apparently, is to encourage world leaders to pressure President Trump into keeping the Iran deal in place.

A report from Politico shows that national security officials warned former President Barack Obama of Russian interference in Western political systems, including the United States. Politico reported:
As early as 2014, the administration received a report that quoted a well-connected Russian source as saying that the Kremlin was building a disinformation arm that could be used to interfere in Western democracies. The report, according to an official familiar with it, included a quote from the Russian source telling U.S. officials in Moscow, "You have no idea how extensive these networks are in Europe ... and in the U.S., Russia has penetrated media organizations, lobbying firms, political parties, governments and militaries in all of these places."

On today's Meet the Press, John Kerry compared President Trump's explanation of pulling out of the Paris climate accord to O.J. Simpson wanting to find the 'real killer' of Nicole Simpson Brown:

"When Donald Trump says to the world, well, we're going to negotiate a better [climate] deal. I mean, you know, he's going to go out and find a better deal? That's like -- I mean that's like O.J. Simpson saying he's going to go out and find the real killer. Everybody knows he's not going doing to do that because he doesn't believe in it. Because if he did believe in it, you wouldn't pull out of Paris."

Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, has a reputation of getting great scoops, especially of the sort that makes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu look bad. In a story with a sensational headline that has lit up anti-Netanyahu social media, Ravid reported, Exclusive Kerry Offered Netanyahu Regional Peace Plan in Secret 2016 Summit With al-Sissi, King Abdullah. The sub-headline read, "Kerry's outline included Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Netanyahu claimed he couldn't get his coalition to back it."

Late last night the State of Washington filed its opposition to the government's Emergency Motion for a Stay pending appeal from the District Court Temporary Restraining Order halting Trump's Immigration Executive Order. The government's motion was extremely strong, correctly pegging the court order as an improper usurpation by the District Court Judge of national security decisions reserved to the President. The 9th Circuit denied the stay request Saturday night until the opponents had a chance to submit papers, setting a briefing schedule to have the motion fully submitted by 3 p.m. Pacific time today. I am not going to have time to fully analyze the legal papers filed in opposition, as I have to hit the road for a long drive shortly.

In a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, January 15, 2017, Secretary of State John Kerry assured the prime minister that there would be no further United Nations Security Council action taken against Israel in the wake the Paris peace conference. That conference brought 70+ nations together to discuss terms of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, without either party being present. United Nations Security Council resolution 2334, passed in late December 2016, when the United States abstained and failed to protect Israel from a resolution that stated that the Israeli presence in all lands captured in 1967, including parts of Jerusalem, constituted a flagrant violation of international law. The immediate effects of the resolution was to encourage boycotts of Israel and increase Palestinian violence, mostly rock throwing, against Israel.

In an Israeli TV interview conducted earlier this week at the White House, President Obama dismissed the criticism that he had betrayed Israel by opting not to veto United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2334. The U.S. abstention allowed the Security Council to adopt the resolution on December 23. It branded Israel’s settlements in east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria/the West Bank as illegal and occupied Palestinian land. The interview for Israel’s Channel 2 aired on Tuesday night. In it, Obama insisted that the resolution was the “best move for peace” and that he had “an obligation to do what I think is right.”

Probably the one columnist I have critiqued more than any other in my blogging career is Thomas Friedman of The New York Times. Friedman, one-time NY Times Jerusalem bureau chief, is considered The Times' go-to expert on the Middle East, globalization and environmental issues. However, when reading Friedman's columns, it's easy to see that rather than being an expert on any of these topics, he holds certain beliefs and uses all of his observations to support his deeply held beliefs. He often conveys his convictions using superficial metaphors that sound clever, but are meaningless or misleading.
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