PowerLine -> Israel strikes Iranian base in Syria + Good lordy, Jim Comey
PowerLine -> Israel strikes Iranian base in Syria + Good lordy, Jim Comey
- Israel strikes Iranian base in Syria
- Good lordy, Jim Comey
- Dershowitz: Mueller’s Charge Against Flynn Is Evidence of Weakness
- Taxing Times, and That Ol’-Timey Liberal Religion
- Mulvaney meets the press
|Israel strikes Iranian base in Syria
Posted: 03 Dec 2017 04:31 PM PST
(Paul Mirengoff)Several Arab media sources have reported that twelve Iranian military personnel were killed in an Israeli air strike on an Iranian base in Syria Friday night. The Jerusalem Post has confirmed the strikes but apparently not the death count.
Israel fired the missiles at a base Iran has been building near the Syrian city of al-Qiswa (also spelled al-Kiswah) about 50 kilometers from the Golan Heights. Reportedly, the strike destroyed an arms depot.
The day before the strike, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a video clip that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria. The day after the strike, his office released the clip for public consumption.
The Jerusalem Post offers a time line of events leading to the strike.
Just before the release of the November 10 report, the U.S., Russia, and Jordan had agreed to a Memorandum of Principles regarding a cease-fire in southern Syria. The agreement was supposed to remove foreign fighters from the area.
From the U.S. point of view, one purpose of the agreement may well have been to reassure the Israelis that Iranian elements would not be operating in proximity to the Golan Heights. Israel had been seeking assurances that Iranian forces would be kept 60 km. from the Golan.
Two days after the November 10 report about Iran’s permanent military base, a State Department official indicated to Israeli media that the cease-fire memorandum would include the removal of Iranian forces from areas near the Golan. Three days later, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the agreement did not provide that Iranian- backed forces would be withdrawn.
On November 15, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman responded: “With regards to Iran, we will simply not allow for Shi’ite consolidation and Iranian entrenchment in Syria, nor will we allow Syria to become a forward operating base against the State of Israel.” However, Iran continued to make no secret of its intent to be a major presence in Syria, and its base testified to that intention.
Thus, Israel struck the base at the beginning of December.
The JPost asks several questions about these events. First, why did “Western intelligence” release pictures of the Iranian base? Second, why did Israel wait for weeks to attack it?
The answer to the second question might be that Israel wanted to give Iran time to pull its people out of the base before an attack, thus avoiding deaths that might lead to a wider confrontation. As noted, it is not entirely clear whether, or to what extent, Iran took advantage of this opportunity.
|Good lordy, Jim Comey
Posted: 03 Dec 2017 02:52 PM PST
(Paul Mirengoff)The next time you hear a tall man shouting Bible verses on the sidewalk, take a close look. It might be James Comey.
Here is what the former FBI director tweeted following the news about Michael Flynn’s plea:
If the subject is Flynn’s plea per se, this strikes me as an overstatement. A guilty plea to a charge of lying to the FBI, with the prospect of little or no time spent in prison, doesn’t reach biblical proportions.
If the subject is what might happen next, maybe Comey knows something the rest of us don’t. He is, after all, Robert Mueller’s buddy and he helped orchestrate the appointment of a special counsel.
Even so, it’s unseemly for Comey — a participant in events Mueller may be investigating, as well as a potential witness — to be cheerleading Mueller’s efforts. Sure, Comey is no longer a lawman, but how is it in his interests to further reveal himself as a shill?
Comey once was a highly respected public servant, but he’s been through a lot the last few year. As with the guy shouting on the street corner, I can’t help wondering how stable he is at this point.
|Dershowitz: Mueller’s Charge Against Flynn Is Evidence of Weakness
Posted: 03 Dec 2017 02:50 PM PST
(John Hinderaker)This video of Alan Dershowitz on Fox & Friends yesterday is worth three minutes of your time if you haven’t already seen it. Dershowitz agrees with our assessment that Mueller’s plea agreement with Michael Flynn indicates that he doesn’t have a case. He adds a further point that we haven’t made: the last thing any prosecutor wants to do is force his key witness to plead guilty to lying. That destroys his credibility. So Mueller wouldn’t have gone with the “false statement” approach if he had anything better:
|Taxing Times, and That Ol’-Timey Liberal Religion
Posted: 03 Dec 2017 11:56 AM PST
(Steven Hayward)I was on the road all this past week with a hectic itinerary on both coasts, so I wasn’t paying especially close attention to the news. Did I miss anything?
Ah yes—I see Democrats are in a rage that Republicans have taken Nancy Pelosi’s advice to pass a bill to find out what is in it with the tax reform bill. They’re acting as though Republicans, in wheeling and dealing to get enough votes by making last minute changes to the bill on the Senate floor, did something unprecedented. Senators who held up printed pages showing handwritten changes in the margin, apparently forgot the common sense meaning of the term “markup session.” Who cares if it is done in the Senate chamber rather a committee room?
From the Democrats’ braying about how this tax bill represents “the end of America” (Kurt Eichenwald), you’d think something unprecedented had occurred. This only shows what short memories people have. There is nothing being said right now that liberals didn’t scream about Reagan’s budget and tax cuts in 1981—including the often chaotic process and grubby deal-making to round up votes that we used to call “politics.” I note one especially memorable detail of the 1981 budget bill in chapter 4 of my Age of Reagan:
I wish some Republican senator had had the wit to insert Elizabeth Warren’s phone number into the bill, just for grins and giggles.
But see if these passages, also drawn from my chapter 4, don’t sound familiar:
In fact, since Democrats are recycling all of their old clichés from the 1980s, I may as well recycle my recounting an analysis here, too, because not much has changed:
Cue threats of riots in the streets because of Trump and the GOP tax bill in three, two. . . Some things just never seem to change.
I’ll have more on some of the specific wonky aspects of the tax bill in a separate post. Stay tuned. . .
|Mulvaney meets the press
Posted: 03 Dec 2017 08:31 AM PST
(Scott Johnson)Mick Mulvaney is one of the GOP stars whom President Trump plucked from Congress to serve in his administration, in this case as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He is an extraordinarily knowledgeable and impressive public servant. It made perfect sense when President Trump turned to him to step in as acting director of the unconstitutional monstrosity known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Holman Jenkins sketched out the related drama in his fantastic Wall Street Journal column “Seven days in November” (behind the Journal paywall). In today’s New York Post, Paul Sperry has a good column on the meaning of Mulvaney’s arrival at the CFPB.
Mulvaney’s first day on the job was November 27. He called in the press for a brief statement followed by questions and answers. Mulvaney turned in a bravura performance, touching on themes that we have elaborated over the years. C-SPAN posted the video here; I have embedded it below. I want to call a timeout this morning and invite you to take this in if you haven’t already (four-minute statement followed by 17 minutes of questions and answers).