RedState’s Water Cooler – January 21, 2018 – Open Thread – “Free at Last”


Today is a special day in the RedState Department of History. Today is the 37th anniversary of the first day of the Reagan Administration, as orchestrated by the best President of my lifetime, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

I was too young to vote for him in 1980 when he demolished Jimmy Carter, but was able to cast my first vote for President for Reagan’s overwhelming landslide re-election over Walter Mondale in 1984.

But if you know your history, you also know that the first day of the Reagan Administration was a special day for 51 Americans held hostage in Iran for the preceding 444 days by Iranian militants.

Within 20 minutes of his swearing-in, Reagan was able to announce that the hostages were headed  home, as Iran’s government gave a final poke in the eye to Carter. Today is the anniversary of their first day of freedom.

Some say the seeds of the crisis were sown in 1953, when the CIA’s Operation Ajax, with British help, deposed Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and installed Reza Pahlavi as Shah of Iran.

But in 1979, Pahlevi was deposed and went to the United States in search of treatment for cancer. Thus enraged, members of the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line took over the embassy on November 4, 1979. To this day, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard maintains the former U.S. Embassy and has used it as a training center.

Originally, 66 Americans had been taken captive, but shortly afterward, the kidnapers released women and African-Americans, bringing the total down to 52. One hostage took ill in the middle of the crisis and was released.

Rhetoric quickly turned violent. The students saw Pahlevi’s trip to the United States as equivalent to American complicity in crimes committed by the Shah’s regime, while the Americans saw the kidnapping, correctly, as a violation of international law.

Carter’s administration took a hard line against the Iranians, issuing Executive Order 12170, which froze Iranian government assets in the United States, and noted that America would not submit to blackmail. However, Carter’s credibility, and his prospects for re-election in 1980, were both gravely damaged by Operation Eagle Claw, an attempt to rescue the hostages on April 24, 1980.

Instead of success, the operation resulted in the deaths of nine people including eight Americans, and the loss of two helicopters.

Meanwhile, by this time Pahlevi had been granted asylum in Egypt, and died of cancer in July 1980. In September of that year, Iran was invaded by Iraq, and it became advantageous for Iran to seek a diplomatic end to the crisis. This was mediated by Algeria, and the announcement was made of a deal to release the hostages on January 20, 1980.

To his credit, Reagan appointed Carter as his special emissary to greet the returning hostages, whose feelings were summed up by Colonel Chuck Scott (USA, ret.):

“And then when we got back to the states — when we entered the United States territory, the pilot announced, and I’ll probably get choked up when I say this. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve just entered the United States airspace.” There was a roar in there that was a stadium roar. We were all just so tickled. We landed at Stewart Air Force Base. And as we made that 15 mile run to West Point from there, they were lined 10-deep that whole 15 mile run. And we started to get a sense of, hey, maybe this did mean something to the American people. And when you stop and think about it, we were the icons of a crisis. But this whole nation was held hostage. It was like no homecoming you’ve ever been to in your whole life.”

Happy Sunday! If you’re taking in the conference championship games (Skol Vikings!) enjoy the day — or whatever you’re doing on a Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, enjoy today’s open thread!

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Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 168

It is the third Sunday after the Epiphany. The title of today’s cantata is “Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort” (Settle account! Word of thunder).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 1:14-20. I prefer the King James Version for this passage:

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The opening aria contains these words:

Settle account! Word of thunder,
that by itself splits the rocks,
word, which freezes my blood!
Settle account! Soul, go forth!
Ah, you must repay to God
His gifts, body and life.
Settle account! Word of thunder!

The disciples that Jesus called repaid God’s gifts to them by following Christ. Bach repaid God’s gifts to him by dedicating each work to the greater glory of God. This is an intimate work in which the full choir does not sing until the last movement.

Happy listening!

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Tom Cotton Has Chuck Schumer Searching for His Adult Diaper

Tom Cotton are not the best of buddies. Back in January they had an epic confrontation in the Senate well over Chuck Schumer’s lack of integrity. I sort of fault Tom Cotton for this because he had a pollyannish notion that Schumer’s word was actually worth something.

This is how the Weekly Standard describes it

The Senate reconvened after the inaugural ceremonies on Friday, with Pompeo’s nomination set to come up at 4:50pm. Cotton angrily confronted Schumer about his broken promise. According to witnesses, Schumer told Cotton to lower his voice and asked him move off of the Senate floor to an adjacent hallway for a private discussion. “We need to take this out into the hallway,” Schumer said. Cotton walked with Schumer but loudly rejected his first request. “Don’t tell me to lower my voice!” he shouted, with an additional salty admonition tacked on for emphasis. Burr and Cornyn were present, as was Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several aides.

Schumer told Cotton that the Senate had never previously confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and if Cotton had been around eight years earlier, he’d know that Republicans didn’t extend that courtesy for incoming president Barack Obama. “Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan,” Cotton snapped. “So don’t talk to me about where I was 8 years ago.”

Cotton asked Schumer why he’d gone back on his word. Schumer claimed that he’d only been speaking for himself when he promised to let Pompeo through. “I said that I would not block him,” Schumer said, emphasizing the personal pronoun, according to sources who witnessed the exchange. “I never said that I could speak for 47 other Democrats.”

The Republicans were stunned.

At about the 0:05 point you can hear Cotton, who approaches down the center aisle, tell Schumer “this is bullsh**.” You can’t hear the exchange, but you don’t have to hear to appreciate what is going on.

That relationship has only matured and fermented in the immigration debate where Chuck Schumer is firmly in the open borders camp and Tom Cotton is pretty much the opposite of that.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told President Donald Trump this week that there will be no deal on Dreamers if hard-line conservative GOP Sen. Tom Cotton is involved, according to several congressional sources.

Schumer also told the president that he was not being well-served by White House staffers during negotiations over the fate of 700,000 young immigrants who face potential deportation if no deal is reached to protect them.

Democrats were upset that Cotton tried to redirect the controversy toward Durbin. They want to banish Cotton from any discussions about a Dreamers deal, arguing that he is too toxic to be involved.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Schumer said White House chief of staff John Kelly “has insisted that Sen. Cotton and Rep. [Bob] Goodlatte be in the room for negotiations on DACA.”

Schumer added, “There is no deal that Sen. Cotton or Rep. Goodlatte could forge that could earn the majority of either the House or the Senate… If Sen. Cotton and Rep. Goodlatte have veto power over an agreement, everyone knows there won’t be an agreement.”

The reason Schumer is taking this stand is that he needs Trump to sign off on whatever travesty he tries to push through Congress. Tom Cotton is a guy who stands in his way. Moreover, he can’t bully Tom Cotton and Cotton has already taken the measure of Schumer and found him to be a lying, devious sack of pustulence.

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Illinois Democrat Luis Gutiérrez Is Ready for a Border Wall

Well, this is a shocker.

Kind of.

One of the most fierce, open-borders warriors, Chicago Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, is ready to give up and give in to allowing for Trump’s magical, mystical, mystery wall – if Trump will agree to amnesty new protections for the “Dreamers.”

Speaking on Saturday, he suggested that he’s not just willing to give Trump that wall, but he’d pitch in and help build the thing.

“I’ll take a bucket, take bricks, and start building it myself,” Gutiérrez told reporters in the Capitol.

“We will dirty our hands in order for the Dreamers to have a clean future in America.”

Does Gutiérrez have a proper background in construction?

I don’t know, but his position is telling. It shows that there are some cracks in the Democrat armor. They’re feeling the pressure to get something done.

Getting past Trump’s hardline, alt-right base, who want a full wall, deportation, and absolutely no amnesty is going to be the real obstacle.

The concession comes as other Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.), have said they could agree to a wall in exchange for protection for the Dreamers, immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Schumer has said he was close to a deal with Trump before the White House came forward with additional demands.

By “…White House came forward with additional demands” some are suggesting that the talks to avoid the shutdown that went on between Schumer and Trump were on the verge of a successful end, until Stephen Miller got in Trump’s ear and changed his mind.

Democrats overplayed their hand on Friday night, knowing any government shutdown would blow back on the party in control, right now. With midterm elections months away, it could spell bad news.

Some Republicans joined the Democrats in seeking to have DACA protections added to the spending bill, even though it’s not a spending item and it had a March 5 deadline before it had to be touched.

It was unnecessary.

“We have been, and we continue to be, willing to work together in good faith on immigration,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Saturday on the House floor.

And it’s not that Democrats are softening to the idea of a wall. You can believe there will be campaign ads for ages about any wall that may go up.

Gutiérrez pointed out that he sees the wall as an insult, but recognizes that to get protection for the illegals brought here as children, some allowances need to be made.

“For me, why don’t you just take your middle finger and point it at Mexico? … Because it’s the same thing,” he said. “I really don’t believe that it’s about security. It’s about saying, ‘Brown people stay out of the country.’ And the president’s said as much.”

Gutiérrez said he sees the wall as a price the Democrats will have to pay to secure the DACA protections — one he’s now willing to pay.

“We’ve stopped arguing that it’s unnecessary, because it’s ransom,” he said.

Well, no. Ransom is when you hold somebody against their will and demand money for their return.

I’m almost positive nobody is holding any illegals here, and they would probably return them for free.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin have a bipartisan bill that pairs tougher border security measures with DACA protections. It’s up for a vote on February 8.

It has to get past the House Freedom Caucus, however.

Trump has said that he needs the support of both Rep. Mark Meadows and Senator Tom Cotton before he’ll agree to sign anything.

“The president has consistently said that he wants to make sure Tom Cotton and I can embrace a deal that he cuts,” Meadows said Friday. “And I trust him at his word.”

Hardliners on both sides are keeping things from moving forward.

Gutiérrez further suggested that the bill offered by Graham and Durbin should have included more, in order to entice the president over to their side.

“I don’t know why the president, when Durbin and Graham walked it, why he didn’t just say, ‘Double it, and I want it in the first year,’ ” Gutiérrez said.

Because he’s got somebody else in his ear, telling him what to do.

“Done. Let’s move forward.”

Maybe. In the meantime, keep your bucket and your bricks handy.




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The Washington Post Locks in Its Status as a Partisan Shill With This Ridiculous Russia Story

This is difficult to believe. Not in sense that is is difficult to believe there were a half dozen Russians at Trump’s Inaugural Address but in the sense that it is difficult to believe that sane people actually put about 15 reporters on this story and came up with nothing. And they still printed it.

— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 20, 2018

The Washington Post identified at least half a dozen politically connected Russians who were in Washington on Inauguration Day — including some whose presence has not been previously reported. Among them was Viktor Vekselberg, a tycoon who is closely aligned with Putin’s government.

What the f***ing f*** does this even mean? Were they here illegally? no. Were they special guests? No. Did they get closer to the President than anyone one else similarly ticketed? No.

This is apparently going to be a shock to the Washington Post but it is actually LEGAL for Russians to attend public events in the United States.

As questions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election were beginning to percolate publicly, prominent business leaders and activists from the country attended inaugural festivities, mingling at balls and receptions — at times in proximity to key U.S. political officials.

Their presence caught the attention of counterintelligence officials at the FBI, according to former U.S. officials, although it is not clear which attendees drew U.S. government interest. FBI officials were concerned at the time because some of the figures had surfaced in the agency’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the officials said.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment on security concerns related to the inauguration. White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Former US officials, eh? Well it has to be accurate.

Note the attempted set up of an allegation that the Russians contributed to Trump’s campaign. Does this sound familiar? It should. This is the seed planted by Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson in his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee:

In testimony to the House Intelligence Committee made public Thursday, Glenn Simpson alleged that the Russians made a concerted effort to “get in with” the National Rifle Association, and seems to have succeeded.

“It appears the Russians, you know, infiltrated the NRA,” he said. “And there is more than one explanation for why.”

“It appears that the Russian operation was designed to infiltrate conservative organizations,” he said in the November interview. “And they targeted various conservative organizations, religious and otherwise, and they seem to have made a very concerted effort to get in with the NRA.”

It is a transparent attempt to tar all conservative groups, particularly the NRA, with being funded by the Russians and delegitimize them.

One venue for credentials was the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which provided a slew of perks — such as tickets to events with Cabinet appointees, congressional leaders, the vice president-elect and Trump — to donors who gave at least $25,000.

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are legally permitted to contribute to an inaugural committee. Several U.S. business executives with ties to Russia together donated $2.4 million to the inaugural committee, campaign finance records show.

Russian pharmaceutical executive Alexey Repik and his wife, Polina Repik, enjoyed high-level access during Trump’s inauguration, including ticketed seats for his swearing-in. (CNN/Photo illustration by The Washington Post)
Inaugural organizers said that the committee kept proper records of contributors but that it was impossible to track who ultimately used all of the tens of thousands of tickets that went to donors. In a statement, the committee said that it followed Secret Service protocol and that all attendees received required physical screening at checkpoints when they arrived at events.

“The Presidential Inaugural Committee for President Trump, administratively speaking, was conducted in similar, if not identical fashion to previous inaugurations,” the committee said.

However, Steve Kerrigan, who served as chief of staff to Obama’s 2009 inaugural committee and as president of the committee in 2013, said donors then were required to submit lists of their guests for any gathering the president or vice president or their families were scheduled to attend, with the exception of large outdoor events.

Secret Service spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan said the agency followed all of its normal security procedures at the 2017 inauguration. She declined to elaborate.

The service often requires that the names of guests be submitted ahead of time for events at which attendees will have close access to the president.

On other occasions, when the president or president-elect makes a brief stop at an event and stays largely behind a rope line — as Trump did at a pre-inaugural Library of Congress reception Repik attended — the agency instead relies on physically screening most guests, according to people familiar with the security procedures.

Notice where the pictures in the Post article are taken? A large outdoor gathering.

I’ve been to an inaugural ball (Clinton, 92. Got to see Stevie Nicks carried in on a forklift and saw Fat Teddy Kennedy with the most incredible harem you can imagine). I got the ticket free from someone who was a major Clinton donor. I saw Bill and Hill at a moderate distance but I wasn’t on any invitation list.

The one part the Post really misses is this:

Another was Natalia Veselnitskaya , the Russian lawyer whose June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. has become a focus of the Russia investigation. She attended a black-tie inaugural party hosted by the campaign committee of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), according to an associate who accompanied her.

She was also a contractor/business associate of Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS.

This is ridiculous. If you want to investigate foreign influence in a White House, there is ample evidence of it:

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