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Pompeo backs Saudi military action in Yemen



U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is giving the a-okay to Saudi Arabia’s military action in Yemen. Via the State Department (emphasis mine):

Pursuant to Section 1290 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA), I certified to Congress yesterday that the governments of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.

The Trump Administration has been clear that ending the conflict in Yemen is a national security priority. We will continue to work closely with the Saudi-led coalition to ensure Saudi Arabia and the UAE maintain support for UN-led efforts to end the civil war in Yemen, allow unimpeded access for the delivery of commercial and humanitarian support through as many avenues as possible, and undertake actions that mitigate the impact of the conflict on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Unfortunately, the 50 children who were killed in a Saudi airstrike on a Yemeni school bus were not available for comment.

Congress slightly forced Pompeo’s hand on the issue with the certification requirement although it’s doubtful the State Department wouldn’t have supported Saudi Arabia. It mainly affected the U.S.’s ability to refuel coalition jets focused on Yemen, but the NDAA language was so broad it probably wouldn’t have caused too much strain on the relationship with the House of Saud. It is nice seeing Congress slightly use its constitutional muscles on making the rules of government, although this exercise was akin to stretching out a small cramp in one’s pinkie toe.

The Saudi war in Yemen became a bit more of an issue in Washington, DC mainly because the bus bombing involved a missile made by Lockheed Martin – in a sale authorized by the Trump Administration. There are also apparently troops on the ground in Saudi Arabia to specifically help the Saudis find Yemeni targets and more arms sales to fund the war are pending.

Of course, the Obama Administration had also been involved in Yemen through drone strikes, ‘military advisers,’ arms sales, and more.

It’s a bipartisan war – even if neither major U.S. party wants to take responsibility. It only matters when it comes up to election time and whether the American voter really cares about foreign policy, especially when it comes to troops (hint – not likely).

The entire situation is far from surprising because Trump is hoping to surpass Obama as arms dealer in chief. Obama’s Pentagon handed out $33B in weapons sales in 2016 with Vice Admiral Joseph Rixley noting there is a “growing sales-trend over the last decade.” Most of that cash came from – you guessed it – Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates aka the top two countries involved in the Yemeni civil war.

You can thank LBJ’s Administration for the U.S. even getting involved in the arms industry to begin with thanks to the 1968 Foreign Military Sales Act. The legislation allowed the Defense Department to sell off military overstock to foreign countries. The 1978 Arms Export Act gave the government – specifically the president – even more power by saying all arms sales of over $25M had to go through them first (NATO countries were excluded). Congress can issue a declaration condemning any potential arms sale, but it really doesn’t have any teeth.

There are plenty of reasons to debate the constitutionality of almost any arms sale via the government because there’s no real provision in the allegedly hallowed document Republicans claim to love or at least have some sort of high school crush on.

Peter K. Tomka suggested in 1986 it was up to the president to claim power to conduct arms sales through the idea of being commander-in-chief and having some power over foreign policy. It’s a bit of a stretch because it twists the words of Article II of the Constitution into knots – something almost all presidents dating back to George Washington have done in one way, shape, or form. Give the executive an inch and it’ll take it a mile.

Congress does have the power raise and support an army and arming those in the so-called Militia when they’re in the service of the U.S. Tomka believes the legislature has the power to sell weapons to allies in a time of war, although the logic is flawed because it stretches the words of “declare war” from the notion of Amerian troops fighting a battle to the U.S. funding conflicts like some sort of puppet master.

Of course, the U.S. does have a history of doing just that – whether it be through executive or legislative action. The 80s were filled with America selling arms or supporting various nations for a variety of causes. The U.S. gave weapons and/or intelligence to Iraq during their war with Iran before both Arab nations were considered a threat to America. Afghanistan received support from the U.S. in their fight against the Soviets. A friend of mine declared America has a wretched track record when it comes to Arab World arms and military dabbling, but considering some of the questionable decisions by the U.S. government in South America (see Manuel Noriega and, possibly, Augusto Pinochet) it could be that track record is just wretched all around.

There are several solutions to this issue – although none of them will make anyone really happy.

The first is getting the U.S. out of the business of picking which nations get what arms from American companies. The naysayers will suggest there’s no way Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman will suddenly halt sales to the Saudis or some African or Asian warlord. This isn’t exactly true.

The defense contractors currently have a major “out” when it comes to large military equipment sales: the U.S. government. The government approves all arms sales before they happen, so all the private companies have to do is go, “Well, the feds were okay with it, so you should be too.” It would be much more difficult for Lockheed Martin to explain away a sale of weapons to a Saudi-led coalition if suddenly a busload of Yemeni children were blown to smithereens. The companies would still have to answer questions why they decided to accept so-called blood money and their stock prices would probably dip.

The other solution is making sure Congress signs off on any arms deal the U.S. does with equipment it already owns. This is even a more imperfect solution because it could still involve kickbacks of some kind to defense contractors in whatever agreement they sign with the feds. But it would stop the Defense Department from tossing out weapons sales to every nation which swears to be on “our side,” like Oprah slinging vehicles to her audience.

Another way to mitigate arms sales by the American government is to simply ban them. It’s an idea which would have to be carefully crafted because it could promote a black market of Pentagon overstock by some entrapeneurial quartermaster at a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia. The flip side is it could force the five-sided monument to inefficiency to actually become efficient – knowing it can’t pawn off overstock to the highest bidder. Want to replace the Abrams Tank with a newer model? Well, either turn it to scrap or see if defense companies will be willing to buy the back. Again, not a perfect solution but one which could promote fiscal responsibility in an era where the idea is as rare as the Dallas Cowboys winning two playoff games in a row (or even making the playoffs).

Of course, none of this will happen unless Congress decides to start doing its job and get back in the role of setting the rules of government. As for Yemen, the U.S. has no business being involved in another civil war.

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Mexican Protesters Scream at Illegal Immigrants: “Donald Trump Was Right! This Is an Invasion” (VIDEO)




They don’t like being invaded either.


During the protest today one protester screamed at the illegal migrant caravan, “Donald Trump was right! This is an invasion.”

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Trump: I don’t know if Salman lied to me, skips question on weapons sales




President Donald Trump isn’t really sure if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had anything to do with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace there had been several conversations with Salman over Khashoggi and the story hadn’t changed.

I don’t know, who can really know, but I can say this…he has many people now who say that he had no knowledge.

He told me that he had nothing to do with it. He told me that, I would say, maybe five times at different points…as recently as a few days ago.

Trump also noted it might be one of those situations where the truth will never come out on whether Salman was directly involved in ordering Khashoggi’s murder.

Will anyone really know? Will anyone really know? But he did have, certainly, people that were reasonably close to him and close to him that were probably involved. You saw we put on very heavy sanctions – massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia. But at the same time, we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that’s been very good.

The comment goes against the CIA notion Salman had some involvement in at least getting Khashoggi to the Saudi embassy in Turkey where he died. The President is probably right in his assessment – as even the CIA didn’t completely implicate Salman – but it won’t go over well with a lot of people who prefer presidents speak in definitive answers regarding international incidents.

One thing which isn’t questionable is the ridiculousness of suggesting there were “massive sanctions” on the Saudis. Yes, 17 people were sanctioned – but they’d already had their visas revoked. ABC News suggested the sanctions show the U.S. is taking what happened seriously but I’m not convinced it’ll mean anything because there are plenty of questions on whether sanctions actually hinder those they’re meant to hinder.

The more damning statement by Trump is his decision to avoid a question from Wallace on Saudi arms sales.

Wallace: So if Congress were to move to either cut off any U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen or to block any arms sales, you wouldn’t go along with it?

Trump: Well, I want to see Yemen end, but it takes two to tango. Iran has to end it also. And Iran is a very different country than when I took over. It’s far weakened because of what I did with the so-called Iran deal – Iran nuclear deal – which was one of the great ripoffs of all times. But I want Saudi to stop, but I want Iran to stop also.

This is a beyond ridiculous answer and shows the failure of the President to change any sort of foreign policy. Trump is just going along with the previous administration’s policy of being “arms seller in chief.” There is no reason for the U.S. government to be involved in arms sales – and I know it’s because there’s a federal law on the issue.

The logic of those who believe the U.S. government should control who gets American weapons is so they can pick what country gets what. But where is the accountability? How does the public hold the government accountable when it’s full of bureaucrats and so-called ‘policy experts’ who are the ones who actually make the decisions.

The Government Accountability Agency noted in 2016 the U.S. had consistently failed in following procedures (and U.S. law) when it came to arms sales to Egypt (emphasis mine).

The U.S. government completed human rights vetting for 5,581 Egyptian security forces before providing U.S.-funded training in fiscal year 2011 through March 31, 2015; however, our analysis of a sample of names from training rosters of Egyptian security forces who received U.S.-funded training shows that that the U.S. government did not complete all required vetting prior to providing training, in violation of State’s and DOD’s policies. In contrast to State’s vetting requirements for training, State’s policies and procedures encourage, but do not specifically require, vetting for foreign security forces that receive U.S.-funded equipment, including those in Egypt. The primary method State uses in Egypt to comply with Leahy law requirements when providing equipment is to attest in memos that State is in compliance with Leahy law requirements. Various factors have posed challenges to the U.S. government’s efforts to vet recipients of U.S. assistance. Gaps and uncertainties in information have made it challenging for U.S. officials to vet some cases before providing training. Additionally, State has not established procedures for clearing smaller units or individuals within a larger unit that has been deemed ineligible to receive assistance. Finally, Embassy Cairo has recorded little information on human rights abuses by Egyptian officials in INVEST since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, despite State requirements to do so.

This is why it shouldn’t be the U.S. government doing these arms sales, and why Trump’s refusal to answer Wallace’s question regarding Saudi arms sales is disappointing – and more of a story than his “who can really say” answer regarding Khashoggi. Congress needs to stop the arms sales and completely change U.S. policy.

It’s so much easier to hold private companies accountable for sales, especially when there’s no government protection barrier surrounding them. One would think a businessman elected to the presidency would realize this. Apparently not.

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ALL OF ORANGE COUNTY Turns Blue After Democrats Find Thousands of Votes Post Election Day




Orange County, a traditionally conservative enclave in Southern California turned all blue after Democrats found tens of thousands of votes post election day.

Just two years ago in 2016, only 2 Congressional districts in Orange County voted blue–now just two years later every single district voted blue.

Democrat blue wave? More like Democrat election fraud.

The 39th district was officially called for Democrat Gil Cisneros over Republican Young Kim who was up by 3 points on election night and was set to be the first Korean-American Congresswoman. The Democrats stole this race with ‘late votes.’

Young Kim was up by 3,900 votes on election night with 100% of the precincts reporting according to AP and she ended up losing by 3,000 votes 11 days after the election.

Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters in California’s 45th district was also ahead on election night then was magically defeated by Democrat Katie Porter several days after the election.

Democrat Katie Porter was trailing Mimi Walters on election night then jumped ahead by hundreds of votes after the Democrats produced thousands of ballots after the election.

There may be something more sinister happening in Orange County, California.

The Gateway Pundit spoke to two concerned voters in California’s 45th district who said when they went to vote, they were told they weren’t on the roster so they were given provisional ballots.

Two registered Republicans in California’s 45th district told this reporter that they have been voting for over 20 years in Orange County and what happened this midterm has never happened to them–EVER.

“I’ve been a registered Republican and an active voter for over 20 years and when I went to vote on election day, I was told that I wasn’t on the roster so I was given a provisional ballot,” a Republican voter told The Gateway Pundit.

Was this an isolated incident or is this more widespread?

One America News reporter Jack Posobiec spoke to a pollworker in California on election day.

The pollworker told Jack Posobiec, “I have received a very large amount of voters whose registration was changed to vote by mail without their consent and then not mailed their ballots. I’m allowing provisional voting. My registrar is giving me the runaround about this and just saying don’t worry. This is not my first election. I have not seen this problem before.”

The Drudge Report featured the story about the stunning losses in Orange County and the responses by concerned voters in Southern California raised eyebrows as well.

One woman who lives in Newport Beach in California’s 48th district said she hasn’t missed a vote in 43 years and was forced to fill out a provisional ballot on election day; her vote still hasn’t been counted.

“I was made to fill out provisional ballot after voting in the same precinct in OC consistently 20 years said I was mail in never have been My vote still has not been counted I check daily. Same with red friends. I’m ind. never missed a vote n 43 yrs,” tweeted a Newport Beach resident named Vanessa Butler.

Where the hell is the GOP??

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