8/26/16

I have said quite a few times before that President Obama lies and does it a lot. However, until now his lies were in the form of extreme spin, high level exaggeration, and always in the service of promoting policies and actions that he feels were for the good of the country; the end justifies the means.

While politicians always lie and sometimes even with justification, Obama’s lies, like many other things that he has done, have crossed the line in terms of frequency and scope. He is, after all, the most ideological president the USA has ever had and his ideology is so far off the mainstream, which left him needing to lie in order to get support for his policies. His famous “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” lie in the context of convincing the country to go for Obamacare is now well established. There were many other cases, all in the service of his ideological fervor.

Now comes a different and worse lie. Still on matter of policy, but this time it is both a stark naked lie not even close to hyper-spin or exaggeration AND to cover-up a past act. I make the distinction here between saying things about the future which are knowingly not true and going back and lying about past actions in order to cover up.

The story goes like this:

Shortly after the infamous Iran “non-agreement” (normally I would say that this was THE worst act by this president, except that he has so many “worst” acts that it is hard to choose) came into effect, the Iranians released four or five Americans that they held on various trumped up charges. At the time, the US released a few Iranians who were in prison in the US having gone through due process and found guilty. The outrage was minimal, although if you think about it that is ransom for hostages if there ever was one — What, releasing criminals from prison in exchange for hostages is not “ransom,” not negotiating with hostage takers? Of course it is, but somehow the outrage was minimal.

Earlier this year it was also disclosed that, ostensibly on a separate issue, Iran received a payment of $1.7 billion to settle an old claim regarding some payments that were made by the Shah back in 1979 (*see comment below).

Two weeks ago the WSJ, in an excellent reporting, uncovered a very strange fact: as part of the $1.7 billion payment, $400,000,000 was paid in cash—in non-US$ currency—at the same time as the release of the US hostages. The outrage has been fairly significant. First, the payment in cash of $400,000,000 is strange. Why? Second, the linkage between the cash payment and the release of the hostages caused many to call it a ransom payment. It seems that a Swiss government plane carrying the cash (the Swiss were and still are responsible for all US diplomatic-type relationships with Iran due to lack of diplomatic relationships between US and Iran) landed in Iran but was not released to the Iranians until the hostages’ plane took off; lots of trust between the two, obviously. Maybe that is why they used cash, like ransom payment in all the best movies.

Anyway, the outrage level was high and the Obama administration had to pull out the big guns. And this is where it gets interesting.

The president himself held a press conference where he answered the question regarding this payment. In his usual arrogant manner he explained to us all that this was not a ransom payment because…well, because the US does not pay ransom. They just pay money, it seems. He also made the point quite definitively and purposefully (he was not even asked about it yet) that the reason the payment was made in cash is BECAUSE his government is so diligent and law abiding (the fact that the Department of Justice, the most partisan DOJ ever, objected to the method of the payment was not elaborated upon) and, according to the president, because there are sanctions on Iran and the US has no banking relationships with it, the US could not wire the money. “We could not just wire it to them” said the president in so many words. This was always a strange justification as the US could simply have wired this amount to the Swiss central bank, who would then wire it on to the Iranians once the all-clear was given. But so be it. That is what he said in his usual patronizing professor-like teaching voice so as to say, “How do you stupid people not understand? And who are you little people to challenge me, the most brilliant person around?”

Well, now to the epilogue of the story. Few days ago the AP reported that two days after the above $400 million cash payment, the US paid the balance of the $1.7 billion settlement, i.e. $1.3 billion, in 13 payments of $99,999,999.99 each (another very weird action and clearly in order to avoid some sort of reporting requirements, or maybe in order to save 13 cents?). Sounds good.

Except that guess what? These 13 payments were made by…drumrolls…wire transfers using an unnamed third country central bank!!! So, according to the president, the $400m was paid in cash because the US could not wire it. Two days later the US pays $1.3 billion in 13 wires. To be clear, the sanctions that prevent such banking relationships were not lifted during this long two-day period; in fact, they are still in place.

So what happened in these two days to make wire payment possible?

The president just lied—a stark naked lie to cover up an act.

Where is the outrage?

What is it with these Democrats who think that lying is an acceptable form of government?

What has this country come down to?

P.S. Since writing this post it has been established that the president also lied or, at the very least, made a promise that he has not kept in a separate and most disturbing case. The tragic story of Kayla Mueller is one of the more heart-wrenching episodes in the war on ISIS. What was raised in the last week or so—but has received very little exposure—is that during his visit to her parents the president promised them to make a personal donation to the charity that they formed in her name. He did not make that donation. It was 18 months ago. This is simply disgusting. It does, however, show how loose Obama is with words and how little significance he puts on anything that he promises. He just believes that because he says something it becomes a fact. There is no need to actually do something about it.

Praying on parents’ sadness about the worst tragedy ever in losing their beautiful child is the lowest form of behavior.

Where is the outrage???

*Comment: The whole notion that the US HAD to pay back this money is nonsense and, of course, has received ZERO scrutiny in this entire debate. The $400,000,000 was a valid claim that Iran had against the US. Agreed. The $1.3 billion represents a reasonable interest over 36 years or so. Agreed. But why did the US refuse to pay this amount back for all these years?

The US is generally a law-abiding country and if there is valid claim they pay, even if they have no diplomatic relationship with the claimant. So what was the reason and explanation for not paying it? The legal reasoning behind the refusal to pay this amount all these years was the counter claim that the US had against Iran. This counter claim is as valid, if not more so, from the same era and revolves around the damages that Iran owes the US for their egregiously illegal act of attacking, destroying, and illegally confiscating US property in Iran (first and foremost, of course, is the US embassy in Tehran, but there were many other diplomatic and cultural outposts taken) as well as the pain and suffering caused to 400-plus US diplomats held hostage by the Iranian in complete and full contravention of any international law. What happened to that side of the legal case? No one even raises the question.

**See CORRECTION and Update on “And Obama Lies Too” (9/8/16) for more information.