Accusations against Donald Trump today are actually a Hollywood remake of the great “Reagan – Iran Collusion Scandal” of the 1980s. Democrats were just as convinced that Ronald Reagan was an illegitimate President because Reagan stole the 1980 election. Reagan couldn’t have been a better president than Carter. He must have conspired with Iran’s Ayatollahs to delay the release of hostages from the U.S. Embassy in order to manipulate the election campaign. Democrats really do believe in recycling.
The Democrats just took control of the U.S. House of Representatives by 235 Democrats to 199 Republicans. The House will (predicts this author) hold impeachment hearings of Donald Trump and will hold a vote to impeach under the Democrats in 2019 through early 2020.
Articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump were immediately filed on Thursday, January 3, 2019, on the first day of the new session of Congress. Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-CA) (Northridge near Los Angeles) and Al Green (D-TX) re-filed their Articles of Impeachment they had previously filed in the last session of Congress on July 12, 2017.
Later that evening, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — a Palestinian-American women — declared that the Democrats will impeach Trump: Tlaib quoted her son telling her, “Mama, look, you won. Bullies don’t win.” And then she said, “’Baby, they don’t.’ Because we’re gonna go in there, we’re gonna impeach the [email protected]@@er.”
Rep. Tlaib was handed the microphone at a celebration about the Democrats taking over the House at a reception thrown by the leftist group MoveOn.org. Long-term political junkies will recall that MoveOn.org was created to stop the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. The group urged that the country should “move on” from Bill and Hillary Clinton’s dozens of felonies in the 1990s (like selling nuclear missile guidance technology to China in return for millions of dollars of illegal foreign campaign contributions) and focus on the nation’s important issues. Al Gore famously held a fund-raiser at a temple for monks sworn to poverty, clearly strawmen for money illegally donated from China. MoveOn.org argued that we should focus on the nation’s problems, not the Clintons’ and Al Gore’s crime spree. Yet on Thursday the MoveOn.org crowd roared approval Thursday night for talk of impeaching Trump.
Democrat leaders know better. They know it will be disastrous for their party. They know it will probably cost them the 2020 elections, both presidential and congressional. But the Democrats just can’t help themselves. It will be like daring a teenage boy to jump off the roof into an above-ground swimming pool. The Leftist activists will demand it. And Democrats just really want to down deep. [Update: Billionaire Tom Steyer’s campaign to impeach Trump has garnered 6,615,331 petition signers calling for Trump’s impeachment. No matter how much Democrats know impeachment will create a back-lash politically, they will not be able to resist so many of their supporters, that big of an activist mailing list, or Steyer’s political warchest.]
They can’t escape the fact that Democrats filed for impeachment before any report or results from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. So how credible can their claims be? Sherman and Green first filed their Articles of Impeachment in June 2017.
The grounds for impeachment Sherman and Green argue is that Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. The evidence keeps growing that Comey deserved to be fired. The only wrong is that Trump did not fire Comey on day one.
But this is all astonishingly similar to 1981 when Democrats were dreaming up excuses for losing the White House — to an actor! “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” warned writer and philosopher George Santayana (also credited as “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”).
They all mocked Ronald Reagan as a buffoon who had co-starred with a chimpanzee in “Bedtime for Bonzo.” Democrats, the overwhelmingly-dominant liberal news media back then, political experts, etc. portrayed Reagan the candidate as an ignorant conservative with primitive views who did not read or know anything. (And where politicos insist that Trump is unacceptable because we need a dignified president like Reagan, Reagan actually actually did co-star with a chimp. He was still a great president.)
So, then how could Democrats accept when Reagan defeated the saintly, wise, morally superior Jimmy Carter? When the Left demonizes and belittles a Republican during a campaign, how can they then explain it away when the Republican wins? Election after election, after telling the American people how awful the Republican candidate is, Democrats are in a bind when that Republican gets elected.
So in 1981 Democrats invented a conspiracy theory of collusion between Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Reagan campaign: Yes, supposedly-serious Democrats firmly believed this. The Reagan campaign entered into a secret pact with the Ayatollah Khomeini to keep the Iranian hostage crisis alive to embarrass Jimmy Carter through election day. See: John Barry, “Making of a Myth,” Newsweek, November 10, 1991.
In 1979, after President Jimmy Carter helped create the Iranian Islamic revolution through foreign policy blunders empowering Islamic revolutionaries, militant Iranian students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Fifty-two U.S. citizens, most of them diplomats and staff of the Embassy, were held hostage for 444 days. Iran released the hostages immediately after Reagan was sworn in as President.
In the absence of any evidence, Democrats decided that Reagan campaign official William Casey must have flown to Madrid from a conference in London to hold a secret meeting with Iranian interests. Casey must have convinced Iran to not release the hostages until after the election. It could not be that Iran released the hostages because they feared and respected in-coming President Reagan’s tough-line foreign policy. It could not be that strong men do not respect apologizing and weak liberals like Jimmy Carter.
Of course, Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese III did not recuse himself thereby handing power to the entrenched deep state to indulge the hoax. Nor did Meese — despite being a mild-mannered gentleman — have the lapse in judgment to appoint a Special Counsel to look into a clear falsehood.
This story has been now reborn with astonishing similarity in a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump’s private lawyer Michael Cohen flew to the gloriously-beautiful city of Prague. The Hollywood remake of the 1981 story is that Cohen meet with someone “near Prague” with poorly-defined “ties” to poorly-defined “Russian interests.” In my heart if not in employment, this author is a scientist. If you can’t define something, you can’t prove it. As a lawyer, it is a red-flag when a concept is suggested that is so vague it is impossible to prove or disprove. What are “ties?” What are “interests?” This is scurrilous slander, not serious discussion.
The fact that there was no evidence that William Casey ever flew to Madrid led to the “obvious” conclusion that Casey must have been smuggled on a military jet fighter leaving no paper trail (while Reagan was a private citizen).
The lack of any evidence that Michael Cohen ever visited Prague does not dampen the spirits of Trump’s accusers either. The fact that it would be physically impossible for non-Russian computer hackers with vague “ties” to unidentified “Russian interests” to transfer 2 gigabytes of data over the internet from the Democrat National Committee’s computers in only 87 seconds doesn’t arouse any curiosity. The DNC’s refusal to allow the FBI or any government investigator to examine the DNC’s computers to investigate the alleged hacking does nothing to discourage the conspiracy theorists.
It is important to see how nearly every criticism of any Republican candidate or official is a rerun. When political insiders merely dust off old claims, cross out the old name, and scribble in a new name, can it really be all that convincing? Can nearly the same story be true again and again?
[Additional Note / Update: Before we let haters of Republicans to get wound up, remember that the Iraq-Iran War did not begin until September 22, 1980. That’s begin. Both Iran and Iraq were supremely confident of their prospects until very long after Reagan was inaugurated on January 20, 1981. Nothing much happened in that war until late October 1980 and November 1980 except that the Soviet Union refused to sell Iraq weapons.]
Not all Shi’a-Majority Nations are the Same
The recent alleged arson attack on the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai, a Jewish holy site in Iran, was indicative of the ever-rising rate of anti-Semitism and broader religious intolerance in the Islamic Republic. The recently released United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) annual report had highlighted Iran’s anti-Semitic targeting of its small Jewish population as well as other minorities including followers of the Baha’i faith; the most persecuted faith in Iran.
The USCIRF described that it documented “a particular uptick in the persecution of Baha’is and local government officials who supported them in 2019. Iran’s government blamed Baha’is —without evidence — for widespread popular protests, accusing the community of collaboration with Israel, where the Baha’i World Centre is located. Iran’s government also continued to promote hatred against Baha’is and other religious minorities on traditional and social media channels.”
U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr has said that “anti-Semitism isn’t ancillary to the ideology of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a central foundational component of the ideology of that regime, and we have to be clear about it, and we have to confront it and call it out for what it is.” After the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai was set ablaze last weekend, Carr reiterated these statements and called Iran the “world’s chief state sponsor of anti-Semitism.”
In 2016 I wrote, “According to Articles 12 and 13 of the Iranian Constitution, all branches of Islam and Christianity have the right to worship, as do Jews and Zoroastrians, within the limits of the law there. However, converting away from Islam to any other religion is considered haram, or forbidden, and in many cases, could result in execution.”
Anti-Semitism is a historical reality in Iran’s strict brand of Shi’a Islam, which emphasizes the separation between believers and non-believers, expressed in terms of purity versus impurity. The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute explains that in Iran, “under the influence of Zoroastrian traditions, the Jews were considered physically impure and untouchable (najasa). Jews were also prohibited from inheriting from Shiites, whereas the opposite was allowed. A Jew who converted to Islam was entitled to the entire inheritance. Shiites were not allowed to marry Jewish women, except for in temporary marriage (mut’a), which is an inferior and exploitative type of concubinage.”
It is also a little-known fact that the country name of Iran is derived from the ancient Persian word Arya, a linguistic predecessor of the modern European term Aryan. Further, Armenian Nazi collaborator Garegin Nzhdeh (1886-1955) is the founder of the racist Tseghakronism movement, whose ideology is reminiscent of the Aryan supremacy espoused by Nzhdeh’s Nazi comrades. Today, Nzhdeh’s brand of Aryan and anti-Semitic ideology is palpable in both Armenia and Iran, neighboring countries where the Anti-Defamation League has documented that more than half of the populations hold a series of anti-Semitic views — at even higher rate in Armenia (58 percent) than in Iran (56 percent).
At the same time, it is important to note that the majority of Iranians are secular and the regime does not necessarily represent them, or their values. In fact, the Iranian government persecutes its Azerbaijani, Arab, and other citizens from minority populations.
Yet a stark contrast with Iran is found in its Shi’a-majority neighbor, Azerbaijan, which has strong relations with Israel and protects its Jewish citizens as well as other religious and ethnic minorities.
Southern California-based evangelical pastor Johnnie Moore has elaborated on the telling differences in the realm of religious tolerance between Azerbaijan and Iran, noting that Azerbaijan is “a country where Sunni and Shi’a clerics pray together, where Evangelical and Russian Orthodox Christians serve together, and where thriving Jewish communities enjoy freedom and total security in their almost entirely Islamic country.” He has also called Azerbaijan “a model for peaceful coexistence between religions.”
During my own visit to Azerbaijan, I observed and documented this first-hand. I believe that Azerbaijan is a nation that bears the torch, and burden, of bringing religious freedom to its less tolerant neighbors in the region, like Iran.
Perhaps the most dramatic indicator of Azerbaijani tolerance is the post-Soviet state’s special relationship with its Jewish community and with Israel. Last November, Azerbaijan unveiled a statue in honor of the nation’s Jewish war hero Albert Agarunov (1969-1992). Although Agarunov was killed in battle, his legacy remains a powerful symbol of Jewish integration and pride for his Muslim-majority country.
Israel and Azerbaijan have closely cooperated for more than a decade in the realms of security, energy, and tourism. Most recently, Azerbaijan sent its Finance Minister Samir Sharifov to this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, where Sharifov said that the country’s “cooperation with Israel is not limited to oil supply; we are interested in widening cooperation in defense and the transfer of technology.”
Sharifov also read remarks from a letter to AIPAC by Mehriban Aliyeva, the first vice president of Azerbaijan, who wrote, “It is gratifying that our former compatriots of Jewish origin, living nowadays in the United States and Israel, have maintained close ties with Azerbaijan and contribute to the strengthening of our relations with these countries. We are grateful to them.”
How can Azerbaijan govern and act so differently from its Shi’a neighbor? Iran is a theocracy that mixes religion and state more thoroughly than any other country in the world. In contrast, Azerbaijan’s constitution affirms the country as a secular state and ensures religious freedom for its citizens. Azerbaijan is also facing its own human rights issues and working on progressing as a nation. However, the fact of the matter remains, though Iran and Azerbaijan share a border, the similarities between their governments largely end there. Not all Shi’a-majority nations are the same.
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