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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This Will Make Liberals Mad!

Obama Rewards Iran With Another Gift. Leaves Terror Victims Out.

Shurat HaDin: Obama Secretly Transferred $1.7 Billion to Iran to Keep It Out of Terror Victims’ Reach

“And he said: ‘Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end.'” Daniel 12:9 (The Israel Bible™)
Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, representing American the families of terror victims who have won US court judgments against the government of Iran for its support of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, on Tuesday released a letter it sent US Congress members alleging that the Obama Administration kept secret the details of the $1.7 billion in cash payments to Tehran in January 2016 in order to evade efforts by their clients to recover those funds to satisfy outstanding court awards.
In the past, American terror victims have been successful in seizing Iranian bank accounts when those had been located.
The letter, sent by attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel Aviv and Robert Tolchin of New York, recalls that on January 17, 2016, President Obama announced the settlement of a legal dispute between the United States and Iran over $400 million held by the US in a Foreign Military Sales (“FMS”) program account since 1979. The Obama Administration agreed to pay the $400 million it finally conceded it owed Iran, plus payment of an additional $1.3 million in interest on that amount.

Administration witnesses before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Committee on Financial Services) hearing on “Fueling Terror: The Dangers of Ransom Payments to Iran,” Sept. 8, 2016. (Screenshot)
Administration witnesses before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Committee on Financial Services) hearing on “Fueling Terror: The Dangers of Ransom Payments to Iran,” Sept. 8, 2016. (Screenshot)

Then, “in recent weeks, the $1.7 billion which was secretly paid out in cash has come under severe scrutiny because the timing and circumstances of the payments appear to confirm the Iranian claim that the White House agreed to pay the money as ransom to Tehran for the release of American hostages.”
However, in light of the recent revelations in a Congressional subcommittee hearing held on Thursday, September 8, 2016, Shurat HaDin is asserting that “it is now clear that the Administration has deliberately kept numerous payments to Iran secret in order to shield Iran from having to forfeit those funds to pay terror victims amounts Iran owes under outstanding US judgments.”
The Shurat HaDin letter cites a “suspicious revelation at the Congressional subcommittee hearing that the United States and Iran did not draft a written settlement agreement or any other formal documentation of the cash transfers, and that Iran specifically directed the Iran-US Tribunal at the Hague, where the claim was to be resolved through arbitration, that it should not record the settlement of the claim for the parties.”
Shurat HaDin asserts that under a legislation passed in 2000, the US was legally entitled to apply the $400 million in the FSM account to satisfy terror victims’ judgments, and this way eliminating the $400 million balance and nearly 16 years of interest claimed by Iran.
Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement: “We believe that the secrecy in which these cash payments were made was part of an effort by the White House to conceal these payments from the terror victims and to hide the fact that it was effectively canceling Iran’s debt for its terror-related activity. This is a horrible fraud against the terror victims. It appears the secret cash transfers were specifically done as an end run around the ability of the families to attach the money and enforce their federal court judgments.”
“Why didn’t the Treasury ever tell the families they were holding these funds?” Darshan-Leitner demanded to know.
Had either the settlement or an award against the United States at the Iran-US Tribunal been entered on the books, and Iran had sought to have the settlement or award confirmed in US court, then terror victims with judgments against Iran could have legally “attached” any judgment affirming the settlement or award, so that the amount could be applied to satisfy their terror compensation judgments, Shurat HaDin contends, explaining that “instead, the Administration went to great lengths to ensure that the $1.7 billion purported settlement was shrouded in secrecy, was never reduced to writing or even recorded with the Tribunal in Hague, and was paid to Iran in cash as quickly and directly as possible in order to head off any chance that Iran would be forced to forfeit any amount to pay legal judgments it owes to American terror victims.”
Shurat HaDin urged Congress to continue to investigate these issues, and to take action to guarantee that further payments to Iran do not take place as long as Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism and a threat to its neighbors, “and until it has paid every judgment it owes to American victims of terror.”
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner addressed her letter to Senator Marco Rubio and Representatives Mike Pompeo and Ed Royce, who have each introduced legislation in response to the $1.7 billion payment to Iran, and to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean P. Duffy, whose subcommittee held a special hearing on the $1.7 billion payments last Thursday, September 8, 2016.


Is The Trend Toward Trump Starting To Gain Traction Or Is This Only A Fluke

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
WASHINGTON – The latest state and national polls, the first partially reflecting Hillary Clinton’s bad week, show Donald Trump moving up in swing states, challenging his opponent in Democrat states and running away with Republican states.
In Ohio, one of the most important battleground venues, the latest Bloomberg poll, conducted only partially after Mrs. Clinton’s physical collapse Sunday, shows Trump with his biggest lead – up 5 percent.
In another shocking poll for the Democrats released Tuesday, Donald Trump is catching up on Hillary Clinton in Maine as they race for the presidency. Clinton leads Trump by a mere 3 points, 42 percent to 39 percent, within the margin of error, in the Colby College/Boston Globe survey.
Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson nets 9 percent, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein grabs 5 percent. Another 5 percent are undecided.
Even worse news for Mrs. Clinton, this poll was concluded before her stumble Sunday.
“Mainers for the first time in a while are going to have to pay attention to the statewide race for president,” said Dan Shea, a political science professor and director of the Goldfarb Center at Colby College. “The Clinton campaign can no longer take this state for granted.”
Earlier polls had Clinton up by between 7 and 10 percent in Maine.
Multiple recent polls have shown a closer fight between Clinton and Trump at both the national and state levels – most before Mrs. Clinton’s harsh characterization of Trump voters as “deplorables.”
The Los Angeles Times/USC Poll, the only daily national tracking poll, also shows Trump with his biggest lead yet in the campaign.
The results Wednesday showed Trump at 46.7 percent and Mrs. Clinton with 42.0 percent of the national vote.
Yet another poll released Wednesday, by Quinnipiac University, showed Trump halving Clinton’s lead. A previous poll in late August showed the GOP nominee down by 10 points. Now he is down by only five. According to the poll, Clinton is now at 48 percent and Trump, 43 percent. In a four-way race, the percentages were: Clinton, 41; Trump, 39; Gary Johnson, 13; and Jill Stein, 4.
There’s more good news for Trump in Colorado – formerly considered a long shot for him.
The new Reuters/Ipsos survey gives Trump a narrow edge in a two-way race, 43 percent to 41 percent — his first lead in Colorado in the 2016 election. It follows two other recent polls showing the presidential race as a dead heat or within 5 percentage points.

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Trump is also widening his leads in Republican states like Texas, Utah and South Carolina, according to the latest surveys.
In Texas, Trump takes 42 percent to Clinton’s 36 percent in the Emerson College Polling Society survey.
Copyright 2016 WND


Who Will Win This Election?

This is the strangest presidential election in my memory. Despite the polls, the outcome is utterly unpredictable. This was true even before Hillary Clinton's recent health issue. Just consider this: it was only a month ago that the Washington Post declared a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton,
"[A] dispassionate examination of the data, combined with a coldblooded look at the candidates, the campaigns and presidential elections, produces only one possible conclusion: Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump in November... Three months from now, with the 2016 presidential election in the rearview mirror, we will look back and agree that the presidential election was over on Aug. 9th."
On August 24, Slate, a liberal online magazine owned by the Washington Post, similarlydeclared, "There is no horse race: it's Clinton by a mile, with Trump praying for black swans" -- only to "predict" one week later "Trump-Clinton Probably Won't be A Landslide." A few days ago, in a desperate attempt to analyze the new polls showing Trump closing in on Clinton, Slate explained sheepishly, "Things realistically couldn't have gotten much worse for Trump than they were a few weeks ago, and so it's not a shock that they instead have gotten a little better of late." Some current polls even show Trump with a slight lead.
The reality is that polling is incapable of accurately predicting the outcome of elections like this one, where so many voters are angry, resentful, emotional, negative, and frightened. In mynew bookElectile Dysfunction: A Guide for the Unaroused Voter" I discuss in detail why so many voters now say they won't vote at all, or will vote for a third-party candidate. As the New York Times reported, "Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees." Or to put the voter's frustration with the candidates more starkly, "Eighty-one percent of Americans say they would feel afraid following the election of one of the two polarizing politicians."

(Image source: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Despite their perceived lack of agency, these voters may, of course, end up voting for one of the two major candidates when Election Day comes around.
This may depend in part on whether the Johnson-Weld ticket does well enough in the polls to be included in the presidential and vice presidential debates. The rules require that a third-party candidate reach 15 percent in five national polls. This number is difficult to achieve because many of the polls do not include third-party candidates. But it is not impossible, and if it were to occur, and if the Johnson-Weld ticket outperformed or held its own against Clinton and Trump, then people who had decided not to vote or who couldn't make up their minds might cast ballots for the Libertarian candidates.
It is unlikely that the Stein/Baraka ticket will be included in the debates or that it will garner any significant number of voters in key states, because the candidates are so extreme in their views and so out of the mainstream of American political beliefs. However, if a significant number of voters do vote for a third or fourth party, this could impact the election, as the votes for Ralph Nader in 2000 may have determined the Florida outcome, which in turn determined the general election outcome.
The bottom line is that in a bizarre election like this one -- with so many variables and so much emotion -- polls may well under- or over-predict votes for the two major candidates. Think about the vote on Brexit. Virtually all the polls -- including exit polls that asked voters what they had voted for -- got it wrong. The financial markets got it wrong. The bookies got it wrong. The 2016 presidential election is more like the Brexit vote in many ways than it is like prior presidential elections. Both Brexit and this presidential election involve raw emotion, populism, anger, nationalism, class division, and other factors that distort accuracy in polling. So anyone who thinks they know who will be the next president of the United States is deceiving themselves!
To be sure, the Electoral College vote is sometimes less difficult to predict than the popular vote, because it generally turns on a handful of closely contested critical states, such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. But in this election, there could be surprises in states that are usually secure for one party or the other. So even the electoral vote will be more difficult to predict than in previous elections.
One reason for this unique unpredictability is the unique unpredictability of Donald Trump himself. No one really knows what he will say or do between now and the election. His position on important issues may change. Live televised debates will not allow him to rely on a teleprompter, as he largely did in his acceptance speech or in his speech during his visit to Mexico City. He may once again become a loose cannon. No one can predict what he will say or do next. This may gain him votes, or it may lose him votes. Just remember: few, if any, pundits accurately predicted how far Trump would get when he first entered the race. When it comes to Donald Trump, the science of polling seems inadequate to the task.
Hillary Clinton is more predictable, but her past actions may produce unpredictable results, as they did when FBI Director James Comey characterized her conduct with regard to her emails as "extremely careless." It is also possible that more damaging information about her private email server or the Clinton Foundation may come from WikiLeaks or other such sources (whether these "revelations" are actually incriminating seems to be beside the point for those54% of voters who, without first-hand knowledge of the investigation, suspect that the FBI engaged in a preferential treatment by not seeking criminal charges against Clinton.) Finally, it is difficult to assess what impact, if any, her recent health issues may have on voters.
Another unpredictable factor that may impact the election is whether there are terrorist attacks in the lead-up to the voting. Islamic extremists would almost certainly like to see Trump beat Clinton, because they believe a Trump presidency would result in the kind of instability on which they thrive. If ISIS attacks American targets in late October, that could turn some undecided voters in favor of the candidate who says he will do anything to stop terrorism. If voters were to change their votes based on terrorist acts, that would only encourage more terrorism in the run-up to elections.
A final reason why this election is so unpredictable is because voter turnout is unpredictable. The "Bernie or bust" crowd is threatening to stay home or vote for the Green Party. Young voters may do here what they did in Great Britain: many failed to vote in the Brexit referendum and then regretted their inaction when it became clear that if they had voted in the same proportion as older voters, Brexit would likely have been defeated. Some Clinton supporters worry that black voters who voted in large numbers for Barack Obama may cast fewer votes for Clinton in this election. Voters who usually vote Republican but can't bring themselves to pull the lever for Trump may decide to stay home. Turnout is unpredictable, and the effect of low voter turnout is also unpredictable.
So for all these reasons and others, no one can tell how this election will turn out. It would be a real tragedy and an insult to democracy if the election were to be decided by those who fail to vote, rather than by those who come out to vote for or against one of the two major candidates.
A shorter version of this op ed, parts of which are adopted from Alan M. Dershowitz's Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for Unaroused Voters, (Rosetta 2016), appeared in The Boston Globe.

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