Obama Iran Agenda – 2nd Term Legacy Item Akin to ObamaCare

Editor’s Note – It is now official, Iran is Obama’s legacy goal for his second term just as ObamaCare was his first term legacy item. How do we know this? Ben Rhodes, a White House advisor tells us so in the article below. This may be new to most of the country, but it has been a theme of many of SUA’s Research Analyst, Denise Simon’s for a long time.

Her most recent article: “Iran Wins, the World Loses – Thanks Mr. Obama” on the subject and is one in a long series of articles pointing out the true goals of the Obama Administration on a nuclear Iran and the region. Please read that article and the following:

The Coming Détente with Iran

Column: Deputy National Security Adviser: Iran Deal ‘Is Healthcare For Us’

By Matthew Continetti – The Washington Free Beacon

Deputy National Security Adviser and MFA in creative writing Ben Rhodes likened an Iranian nuclear deal to Obamacare in a talk to progressive activists last January, according to audio obtained by theWashington Free Beacon.

The remarks, made at a since-discontinued regular meeting of White House personnel and representatives of liberal interest groups, reveal the importance of a rapprochement with Iran to President Obama, who is looking to establish his legacy as his presidency enters its lame-duck phase.

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“Bottom line is, this is the best opportunity we’ve had to resolve the Iranian issue diplomatically, certainly since President Obama came to office, and probably since the beginning of the Iraq war,” Rhodes said. “So no small opportunity, it’s a big deal. This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context.”

Rhodes made the comparison as the White House was reeling from the botched rollout of the $2 billion Healthcare.gov. Polls continue to show that the health law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, remains unpopular.

Rhodes also said the White House wants to avoid congressional scrutiny of any deal.

“We’re already kind of thinking through, how do we structure a deal so we don’t necessarily require legislative action right away,” Rhodes said. “And there are ways to do that.”

That is similar to what an unnamed senior administration official told David Sanger of the New York Times last week for a piece headlined “Obama Sees an Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress”: “We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz denied the Times story. But it is not as though the Obama White House has fallen out of love with executive action.

The interim deal with Iran struck in November 2013, in which the administration traded sanctions relief worth billions of dollars for promises to limit nuclear fuel production, was extended in July and is now scheduled to lapse on November 24.

“I’m not going to give it odds,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday of the chances of a final deal. “As I said to the president, I’m not going to express optimism, I’m going to express hope.”

And I am going to express fear. Fear that the chances of some sort of dangerous and misguided détente with Iran are high, and that they increase if Republicans capture the Senate and improve their majority in the House. Fear that the worse things get for Obama at home, the better the odds that he will hand the keys of the Middle East to Ayatollah Khamenei.

Fear that Obama sees an Iran deal not just as health care reform for the second term, but as his version of George W. Bush’s surge: a Hail Mary pass thrown in the fourth quarter in a long-shot attempt to salvage a legacy.

Bush ordered the surge despite having just lost an election. Obama is on the verge of losing another. And Obama will be no different from Bush in the pursuit of his desired ends.

Iran is Obama’s Iraq. It occupies the same place in the thinking of his administration that Iraq held in his predecessor’s. The desire for détente with Iran, for comity and diplomatic accord between longtime enemies, for a new Middle East in which security is left to regional stakeholders, and Shiite and Sunni alike see the United States as “evenhanded” in its treatment of Israelis and Palestinians, holds immense sway over the alliance of progressives and realists that conduct American foreign policy. It has for a decade.

“The support group should actively engage Iran and Syria in its diplomatic dialogue, without preconditions,” stated the report of the 2006 Iraq Study Group, authored in part by Ben Rhodes.

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent,” President Obama said in his first Inaugural Address, “know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

He might as well have said it in Farsi.

Can’t you just see Obama and Jarrett, kicking back after a few glasses of Bordeaux at Restaurant Helen, rhapsodizing over the president’s unique perspective on the global south, quoting lines fromArgo, visualizing the day he makes the first presidential visit to Tehran since Carter? For six years the White House has been careful not to provide the Iranians with any reason to reject negotiations, to prevent his fantasy from becoming real. To the contrary: It has been solicitous of Iran and Syria, in a demonstration of its willingness to address their grievances.

That is why Democrats called Bashar al-Assad a reformer, why Obama remained silent during the 2009 protests over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rigged election, why the State Department doesn’t include human rights or ballistic missiles in the scope of its negotiations with Iran. It is why Obama has resisted overthrowing Assad even after he crossed the red line of chemical weapons use, why he refers to the “Islamic republic of Iran,” bestowing legitimacy on the revolutionary regime, and why administration officials reject congressional proposals to reinstate sanctions should the negotiations with Iran fail.

These decisions are not made in light of the national security interests of the United States. They are made to keep alive President Obama’s dream of peace with Iran. And the purpose of these decisions isn’t to mollify American politicians. It’s to satisfy Iranian ones.

“In the Iranian system, you essentially have three broad categories, to generalize,” Rhodes said last January. “You’ve got people who generally want to do a negotiation—I don’t know if they’re called moderates, but there are certainly people on their side who are serious about a deal.

“Then you’ve got hardliners who don’t want a deal at all and feel threatened by what’s going on. Then you’ve got people in the middle who are basically invested in this because the sanctions are hurting a lot and they feel compelled to do it. And they would do a deal in order to get one.”

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According to Rhodes’ logic, any move by the Americans that strengthens the hardliners at the expense of the other two groups decreases the chances of a deal. Our foreign policy is left hamstrung, in a vain and counterproductive and quite likely futile attempt to put Obama in the history books as the man who reestablished ties between the United States and Iran.

A Republican Congress would not only find itself ignored by the White House. It would find itself powerless to stop détente. The Democratic Congress voted repeatedly for timelines for withdrawal from Iraq. Bush vetoed them. Obama would do the same.

But there is one x-factor: Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, whose anti-Americanism is as deep as his Shiite radicalism. He has thwarted the ambitions of past American presidents who hoped to reconcile our two nations. There is no reason to assume he has had a change of heart. He is as aware as anyone of the president’s waning political fortunes.

Repudiated, isolated, ineffective, stymied, Obama cannot persuade the Iranians of the strength of the American position. So he will move as far as he can in the direction of the Iranian one. Unable to make Iran pro-American, he will settle for making America pro-Iranian. It is part of his dismal, pathetic, ill considered, shortsighted, and injurious “legacy.”

"Stonewalled" – Sharyl Attkisson's Book Unloads on Media Bias

Editor’s Note – The subject of media bias is not new, nor is it new that many in the media are closely tied to this administration through marriage, familial relationships, or as close friends. The Washington Post ran a story back in 2013 about these relationships and posted the following excerpts:

It’s all but a journalistic commandment: Thou shalt not have a vested interest in the story you’re covering. Otherwise, a personal entanglement could color a reporter’s neutrality or cloud public perceptions of fairness. An obvious area of concern: when a journalist’s relatives or spouse is part of the news.

So what to make of all the family ties between the news media and the Obama administration?…

The list of prominent news people with close White House relations includes ABC News President Ben Sherwood, who is the brother of Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, a top national-security adviser to President Obama. His counterpart at CBS, news division president David Rhodes, is the brother of Benjamin Rhodes, a key foreign-policy specialist. CNN’s deputy Washington bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is married to Tom Nides, who until earlier this year was deputy secretary of state under Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Further, White House press secretary Jay Carney’s wife is Claire Shipman, a veteran reporter for ABC. And NPR’s White House correspondent, Ari Shapiro, is married to a lawyer, Michael Gottlieb, who joined the White House counsel’s office in April.

Of course, since this story ran, Hillary Clinton is no longer the Secretary of State and Jay Carney has been voluntarily replaced as the White House Press Secretary by Josh Earnest. The names may change from time to time, but the ties continue, and the coziness is still palpable even as Obama’s numbers nose dive at this critical midterm election cycle.

Hacked

But no one shows us in more detail about the bias than Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS in her new book “Stonewalled.” Her tell all book has just been released and the following post reviews the book. Her integrity and veracity have been questioned and she has revealed how she was hacked and bugged while at CBS by the government, but here at SUA, we trust Sharyl because we know her attackers are not even close to being trustworthy.

Sharyl Attkisson says a source who arranged to have her laptop checked for spyware in 2013 was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” at what the analysis revealed.

“This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” Attkisson quotes the source saying.

This is a must read because she shows how stories are crafted, where the pressure comes from, what the relationships are, and how decisions are made on what to cover and how, and what not to cover or investigate.

Ex-CBS reporter’s book reveals how liberal media protects Obama

Sharyl Attkisson is an unreasonable woman. Important people have told her so.

When the longtime CBS reporter asked for details about reinforcements sent to the Benghazi compound during the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor replied, “I give up, Sharyl . . . I’ll work with more reasonable folks that follow up, I guess.”

Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”

AttkissionBook
Click on this image to go to Amazon to buy her book.

Two of her former bosses, CBS Evening News executive producers Jim Murphy and Rick Kaplan, called her a “pit bull.”

That was when Sharyl was being nice.

Now that she’s no longer on the CBS payroll, this pit bull is off the leash and tearing flesh off the behinds of senior media and government officials. In her new memoir/exposé “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” (Harper),

Attkisson unloads on her colleagues in big-time TV news for their cowardice and cheerleading for the Obama administration while unmasking the corruption, misdirection and outright lying of today’s Washington political machine.

‘Not until the stock split’

Calling herself “politically agnostic,” Attkisson, a five-time Emmy winner, says she simply follows the story, and the money, wherever it leads her.

In nearly 20 years at CBS News, she has done many stories attacking Republicans and corporate America, and she points out that TV news, being reluctant to offend its advertisers, has become more and more skittish about, for instance, stories questioning pharmaceutical companies or car manufacturers.

Working on a piece that raised questions about the American Red Cross disaster response, she says a boss told her, “We must do nothing to upset our corporate partners . . . until the stock splits.” (Parent company Viacom and CBS split in 2006).

Meanwhile, she notes, “CBS This Morning” is airing blatant advertorials such as a three-minute segment pushing TGI Fridays’ all-you-can-eat appetizer promotion or four minutes plugging a Doritos taco shell sold at Taco Bell.

Reporters on the ground aren’t necessarily ideological, Attkisson says, but the major network news decisions get made by a handful of New York execs who read the same papers and think the same thoughts.

Often they dream up stories beforehand and turn the reporters into “casting agents,” told “we need to find someone who will say . . .” that a given policy is good or bad. “We’re asked to create a reality that fits their New York image of what they believe,” she writes.

Reporting on the many green-energy firms such as Solyndra that went belly-up after burning through hundreds of millions in Washington handouts, Attkisson ran into increasing difficulty getting her stories on the air. A colleague told her about the following exchange: “[The stories] are pretty significant,” said a news exec. “Maybe we should be airing some of them on the ‘Evening News?’ ” Replied the program’s chief Pat Shevlin, “What’s the matter, don’t you support green energy?”

Says Attkisson: That’s like saying you’re anti-medicine if you point out pharmaceutical company fraud.

A piece she did about how subsidies ended up at a Korean green-energy firm — your tax dollars sent to Korea! — at first had her bosses excited but then was kept off the air and buried on the CBS News Web site. Producer Laura Strickler told her Shevlin “hated the whole thing.”

‘Let’s not pile on’

Attkisson mischievously cites what she calls the “Substitution Game”: She likes to imagine how a story about today’s administration would have been handled if it made Republicans look bad.

In green energy, for instance: “Imagine a parallel scenario in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally appeared at groundbreakings for, and used billions of tax dollars to support, multiple giant corporate ventures whose investors were sometimes major campaign bundlers, only to have one (or two, or three) go bankrupt . . . when they knew in advance the companies’ credit ratings were junk.”

Attkisson continued her dogged reporting through the launch of ObamaCare: She’s the reporter who brought the public’s attention to the absurdly small number — six — who managed to sign up for it on day one.

“Many in the media,” she writes, “are wrestling with their own souls: They know that ObamaCare is in serious trouble, but they’re conflicted about reporting that. Some worry that the news coverage will hurt a cause that they personally believe in. They’re all too eager to dismiss damaging documentary evidence while embracing, sometimes unquestioningly, the Obama administration’s ever-evolving and unproven explanations.”

One of her bosses had a rule that conservative analysts must always be labeled conservatives, but liberal analysts were simply “analysts.” “And if a conservative analyst’s opinion really rubbed the supervisor the wrong way,” says Attkisson, “she might rewrite the script to label him a ‘right-wing’ analyst.”

In mid-October 2012, with the presidential election coming up, Attkisson says CBS suddenly lost interest in airing her reporting on the Benghazi attacks. “The light switch turns off,” she writes. “Most of my Benghazi stories from that point on would be reported not on television, but on the Web.”

David Rhodes Photo: WireImage
David Rhodes – CBS President, Brother of White House Advisor Ben Rhodes
Photo: WireImage

Two expressions that became especially popular with CBS News brass, she says, were “incremental” and “piling on.” These are code for “excuses for stories they really don’t want, even as we observe that developments on stories they like are aired in the tiniest of increments.”

Hey, kids, we found two more Americans who say they like their ObamaCare! Let’s do a lengthy segment.

Friends in high places

When the White House didn’t like her reporting, it would make clear where the real power lay. A flack would send a blistering e-mail to her boss, David Rhodes, CBS News’ president — and Rhodes’s brother Ben, a top national security advisor to President Obama.

The administration, with the full cooperation of the media, has successfully turned “Benghazi” into a word associated with nutters, like “Roswell” or “grassy knoll,” but Attkisson notes that “the truth is that most of the damaging information came from Obama administration insiders. From government documents. From sources who were outraged by their own government’s behavior and what they viewed as a coverup.”

Similarly, though the major media can’t mention the Fast and Furious scandal without a world-weary eyeroll, Attkisson points out that the story led to the resignation of a US attorney and the head of the ATF and led President Obama to invoke for the first time “executive privilege” to stanch the flow of damaging information.

Barack Obama works on a speech with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. Photo: Pete Souza/White House
Barack Obama works on a speech with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.
Photo: Pete Souza/White House

Attkisson, who received an Emmy and the Edward R. Murrow award for her trailblazing work on the story, says she made top CBS brass “incensed” when she appeared on Laura Ingraham’s radio show and mentioned that Obama administration officials called her up to literally scream at her while she was working the story.

One angry CBS exec called to tell Attkisson that Ingraham is “extremely, extremely far right” and that Attkisson shouldn’t appear on her show anymore. Attkisson was puzzled, noting that CBS reporters aren’t barred from appearing on lefty MSNBC shows.

She was turning up leads tying the Fast and Furious scandal (which involved so many guns that ATF officials initially worried that a firearm used in the Tucson shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords might have been one of them) to an ever-expanding network of cases when she got an e-mail from Katie Couric asking if it was OK for Couric to interview Eric Holder, whom Couric knew socially, about the scandal. Sure, replied Attkisson.

No interview with Holder aired but “after that weekend e-mail exchange, nothing is the same at work,” Attkisson writes. “The Evening News” began killing her stories on Fast and Furious, with one producer telling Attkisson, “You’ve reported everything. There’s really nothing left to say.”

Readers are left to wonder whether Holder told Couric to stand down on the story.

No investigations

Attkisson left CBS News in frustration earlier this year. In the book she cites the complete loss of interest in investigative stories at “CBS Evening News” under new host Scott Pelley and new executive producer Shevlin.

She notes that the program, which under previous hosts Dan Rather, Katie Couric and Bob Schieffer largely gave her free rein, became so hostile to real reporting that investigative journalist Armen Keteyian and his producer Keith Summa asked for their unit to be taken off the program’s budget (so they could pitch stories to other CBS News programs), then Summa left the network entirely.

New “CBS Evening News” host Scott Pelley Photo: AP
New “CBS Evening News” host Scott Pelley
Photo: AP

When Attkisson had an exclusive, on-camera interview lined up with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the YouTube filmmaker Hillary Clinton blamed for the Benghazi attacks, CBS News president Rhodes nixed the idea: “That’s kind of old news, isn’t it?” he said.

Sensing the political waters had become too treacherous, Attkisson did what she thought was an easy sell on a school-lunch fraud story that “CBS This Morning” “enthusiastically accepted,” she says, and was racing to get on air, when suddenly “the light switch went off . . . we couldn’t figure out what they saw as a political angle to this story.”

The story had nothing to do with Michelle Obama, but Attkisson figures that the first lady’s association with school lunches, and/or her friendship with “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King, might have had something to do with execs now telling her the story “wasn’t interesting to their audience, after all.”

A story on waste at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, planned for the CBS Weekend News, was watered down and turned into a “bland non-story” before airing: An exec she doesn’t identify who was Shevlin’s “number two,” she says, “reacted as if the story had disparaged his best friend. As if his best friend were Mr. Federal Government. ‘Well, this is all the states’ fault!’ . . . he sputtered.”

Meanwhile, she says, though no one confronted her directly, a “whisper campaign” began; “If I offered a story on pretty much any legitimate controversy involving government, instead of being considered a good journalistic watchdog, I was anti-Obama.”

Yet it was Attkisson who broke the story that the Bush administration had once run a gun-walking program similar to Fast and Furious, called Wide Receiver. She did dozens of tough-minded stories on Bush’s FDA, the TARP program and contractors such as Halliburton. She once inspired a seven-minute segment on “The Rachel Maddow Show” with her reporting on the suspicious charity of a Republican congressman, Steve Buyer.

Attkisson is a born whistleblower, but CBS lost interest in the noise she was making.

‘They’ll sacrifice you’

Ignoring Attkisson proved damaging to CBS in other ways. When a senior producer she doesn’t identify came to her in 2004 bubbling about documents that supposedly showed then-President George W. Bush shirked his duties during the Vietnam War, she took one look at the documents and said, “They looked like they were typed by my daughter on a computer yesterday.”

Asked to do a followup story on the documents, she flatly refused, citing an ethics clause in her contract. “And if you make me, I’ll have to call my lawyer,” she said. “Nobody ever said another word” to her about reporting on the documents, which turned out to be unverifiable and probably fake.

After Pelley and Shevlin aired a report that wrongly tarnished reports by Attkisson (and Jonathan Karl of ABC News) on how the administration scrubbed its talking points of references to terrorism after Benghazi, and did so without mentioning that the author of some of the talking points, Ben Rhodes, was the brother of the president of CBS News, she says a colleague told her, “[CBS] is selling you down the river. They’ll gladly sacrifice your reputation to save their own. If you don’t stand up for yourself, nobody will.”

After reading the book, you won’t question whether CBS News or Attkisson is more trustworthy.