Monday, July 31, 2017 -- Kelly In Command, New Korean Crisis, Trump Not Giving Up

BREAKING NEWS: President Trump has fired White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.

After a tumultuous ten-day tenure, sources say President Trump was not happy with Scaramucci's vulgar rant that appeared late last week in The New Yorker. Rarely has a new hire made such a big mistake so quickly. And for a communications director, it was a whopper.

This is not a sign of chaos. Quite the opposite. Additional reports suggest that Scaramucci's abrupt departure was an early marker of new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's authority, not to mention Marine-like discipline and efficiency.

Kelly In Command

The dramatic announcement late Friday evening that General John Kelly was leaving the Department of Homeland Security to become President Trump's new White House chief of staff dominated political news.

Kudos to Reince Priebus for demonstrating tremendous class as he left. He played a significant role in transforming the Republican National Committee and in the historic 2016 Trump victory. He is a good and decent man.

In my view, the appointment of Gen. Kelly is a grand slam home run. My hope is that he will be given full authority to coordinate access and communication to the president, and will help the administration focus its message and achieve its big goals.

Of course, his new assignment raises an obvious concern: Will the president be able to find someone of equal caliber to replace Gen. Kelly at the Department of Homeland Security?

The appointment of a general as White House chief of staff is causing some on the left to meltdown. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) condemned Kelly's appointment, alleging that President Trump is "militarizing the White House" and "putting our executive branch in the hands of an extremist."

Gen. Kelly is an American hero. He lost his son in Afghanistan. He believes in secure borders. He fought for the president's policy of temporarily suspending immigration from six jihadi countries known to be hotbeds of terrorism. He was confirmed 88-to-11 to his previous position as secretary of Homeland Security.

But to Ms. Lee that looks like extremism because she is committed to gutting the defense budget and to open borders.

New Korean Crisis

The danger from North Korea continues to grow. Friday the Stalinist regime test-fired a ballistic missile which experts say puts "Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago well within [North Korea's] range." Some fear New York City and Boston could also be hit.

While there is great concern, virtually nobody in the media is addressing the elephant in the room: How did we get into this position? The answer is Barack Obama's neglect and worse.

It's not just that Barack Obama did nothing for the past eight years. It's that he made the situation worse.

Obama made a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran to supposedly stop the mullah's nuclear program. That deal ended sanctions against Iran, giving it billions of dollars. Some was even delivered in cash and gold by plane in the middle of the night.

It is possible some of that money is in the hands of North Korea. The two nations are allies. There is tremendous cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang in nuclear and missile technology. It wouldn't be surprising if Iran bought technology it didn't have from North Korea.

The payoff to Iran agreed to by Obama, and unanimously supported by the media and much of the foreign policy establishment, was surely noticed in North Korea. Kim Jong-un is undoubtedly asking where's his bribe to "stop" his nuclear program. Eight years of appeasement has consequences.

We conduct surveillance on nations like Iran and North Korea with satellites, spy planes and the monitoring of electronic communications. Yet time and again, Iran has surprised us. We would find out, often from Israeli intelligence, that there was another hidden nuclear site or another underground facility.

The odds are overwhelming that even under Obama's deal, the Islamic Republic is secretly working on its nuclear program. It is making no effort to hide the fact that it is furiously working on its ICBM program. And the only reason you need ICBMs is to carry nuclear weapons.

During the Obama years, officials repeatedly told us that North Korea was years away from being a serious threat to the United States. Recent North Korean missile displays have surprised Western experts. What a shock that the regime was hiding its work from us.

Now we have yet another test demonstrating even more advanced abilities, and the new consensus says we may have a year at most.

And yet not one major media outlet is asking the obvious question: Why did the Obama Administration ignore this threat for eight years?

Trump Not Giving Up

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to throw in the towel last week, saying it was "time to move on" after losing the vote on the so-called "skinny" Obamacare repeal bill. President Trump, however, isn't giving up.

The president met Friday with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dean Heller (D-NV) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to discuss legislation to transfer Obamacare's funding and responsibility to the states. President Trump also harshly criticized the GOP's slavish adherence to arcane rules that allow the minority to control the agenda.

But that's not all. President Trump warned that he might end Obamacare's bailouts to insurance companies as well as the exemption given to members of Congress.

Polling in 2013 found that more than 90% of voters objected to the congressional exemption from Obamacare. I doubt opinions on this matter have changed much. It seems reasonable to most Americans that if they have to live with Obamacare, so should those who passed it and refuse to repeal it.
 

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