Tag Archives: Lindsey Graham

Clinton, Bipartisan Senators Push for New War Powers Against ISIS

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined a bipartisan group of Senators in calling for an updated authorization of military force against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

A possible vote on military authorization would be the first war vote in 13 years, as up until now, President Obama has used the congressional authorizations given to former President George W. Bush during the invasion of Iraq after 9/11.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Proof U.S. Government Wanted ISIS To Emerge In Syria]

During a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, on Thursday, Clinton called for a new phase in the war against ISIS, and said she thinks the U.S. should lead the fight.

“It’s time to begin a new phase and intensify and broaden our efforts to smash the would-be caliphate,” Clinton said. “This is a worldwide fight, and America must lead it.”

[RELATED: Democratic Debate: Candidates Clash on Foreign Policy, Fighting ISIS]

While Clinton called for the U.S. to increase its efforts to defeat ISIS, she said she does not believe ground troops will be necessary.

“That is just not the smart move to make here,” Clinton said. “If we have learned anything from 15 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s that local people and nations have to secure their own communities. We can help them, and we should, but we cannot substitute for them.”

Instead, Clinton said she thinks the U.S. should send more elite commanders to work with rebel forces. “We may have to give our own troops advising and training the Iraqis greater freedom of movement and flexibility, including embedding in local units and helping target airstrikes,” she said.

Clinton also called for a no-fly zone over Syria. “We should also work with the coalition and the neighbors to impose no-fly zones that will stop Assad from slaughtering civilians and the opposition from the air. Opposition forces on the ground, with material support from the coalition, could then help create safe areas where Syrians could remain in the country, rather than fleeing toward Europe,” Clinton said.

Indicating support for arming Sunni and Kurdish fighters, Clinton said that “Baghdad needs to accept, even embrace, arming Sunni and Kurdish forces in the war against ISIS. But if Baghdad won’t do that, the coalition should do so directly.”

“One thing that I believe we haven’t done yet is make it clear to Baghdad that we are going to be arming Sunni tribes and Kurds if they don’t, because at some point, they have to be in the fight,” she later remarked.

[RELATED: Obama Administration Ends $500 Million Syrian Rebel Training Program]

Clinton’s comments come after the Obama administration announced that it was ending the $500 million program training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels in October, after it was ultimately deemed a failure.

On Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) promised to introduce a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). He said he believes the U.S. has two choices when it comes to the Islamic State: “fight them in their backyard or fight them in ours.”

“We must allow this President and every future President to do whatever is necessary to destroy ISIL before they hit us here at home,” Graham said. “This authorization will mirror the approach we took against al-Qaeda after 9/11.”

Graham’s measure against ISIS, which he promises to introduce after the Thanksgiving recess, could be as broad as the 2001 AUMF granted to Bush, which justifies U.S. military force anytime, anywhere, against anyone believed to be connected to Al-Qaeda.

On Saturday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spoke out against the current U.S. strategy, and said she believes “we need to further increase our efforts in Syria and Iraq directly and expand our support to partner nations in other countries” where the Islamic State is operating.

“It has become clear that limited air strikes and support for Iraqi forces and the Syrian opposition are not sufficient to protect our country and our allies,” Feinstein said. “This is a war that affects us all, and it’s time we take real action to confront these monsters who target innocent civilians.”

[RELATED: Flashback: What The Media Isn’t Telling You About Syria]

Investigative journalist Ben Swann reported on the origin of ISIS in March, and he noted that while the perception has been created that the group is the “creation of American inaction,” the reality is that they are the “product of direct action.”


Trump: Rivals Want to Start World War 3 Over Syria

by Jason Ditz

After months of all the Republican presidential candidates trying to out hawk one another, front-runner Donald Trump made a surprise appeal to reason Friday, saying he didn’t support “starting World War III over Syria” and that if Russia wants to fight ISIS in that country, the US should let them do it.

With everybody trying to one-up everyone else on wars, Trump still insisted he is “the most militaristic person you’ll ever meet,” but also touted his opposition to the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq, saying the US “got nothing” out of the conflict.

Trump’s attempt to retain his hawkish position with any suggestion of not starting a war against someone is liable to be difficult, with other candidates like Lindsey Graham openly talking about ground invasions to kill as many people in other countries as theoretically possible.

Still, the fact that anyone in the Republican field is willing to entertain something short of random, heedless escalation is certainly novel, given the state of the last few months, and that it is a front-runner like Trump suggests that polls showing growing war-weariness among American voters is finally starting to attract some political attention.

Fox News Announces Candidate Lineup for Aug. 6 GOP Presidential Debate

Fox News has announced the candidates who qualified for its August 6 prime-time Republican presidential primary debate, which is set to kick off at 9 p.m. EST at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Anchors Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly will moderate the televised event. Facebook and the Ohio Republican Party have been tapped as sponsors.

Candidates set to participate in the prime-time debate include billionaire Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Fox News chose to limit its prime-time debate to only 10 participants and selected qualified candidates based on a top 10 average of 5 recent polls by Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Quinnipiac University, and Monmouth University.

However, in response to complaints that serious candidates with low poll numbers are being left out of the top-tier debate, the news network has invited those who did not qualify to appear in a 60-minute junior varsity debate, moderated by Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum, which will appear on Fox News at 5 p.m. on August 6, prior to the prime-time contest. Those who fell short of the top 10 include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The network’s prime-time debate pre-show coverage will begin immediately after the junior varsity debate.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry responded optimistically to his failure to qualify for the prime-time contest and tweeted, “I look forward to being @FoxNews 5pm debate for what will be a serious exchange of ideas & positive solutions to get America back on track.

However, according to CNN, Matt Beynon, a spokesperson for former Sen. Rick Santorum, called the candidate selection process “incredibly flawed” and said, “While FOX is taking a lot of heat, the [Republican National Committee] deserves as much blame for sanctioning this process. They should not be picking winners and losers. That’s the job of the voters, particularly those in Iowa and New Hampshire who have the role of voting first.

Following Fox News’ announcement, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “Our field is the biggest and most diverse of any party in history and I am glad to see that every one of those extremely qualified candidates will have the opportunity to participate on Thursday evening. Republicans across the country will be able to choose which candidate has earned their support after hearing them talk through the issues.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich almost fell short of being chosen for the prime-time debate, which is taking place in his home state. However, his 3% polling average, tying him with Chris Christie for last place among those participating, was just enough to qualify.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

14 GOP Presidential Hopefuls to Face Off in Aug. 3 Forum on C-SPAN, Trump Not Attending

The New Hampshire Union Leader has launched a C-SPAN-televised August 3 forum for 2016 Republican presidential candidates, and 14 candidates have confirmed their participation. The question-and-answer style event, which is not an official Republican National Committee-sanctioned presidential debate, will take place at the Dana Center at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. at 7 p.m. EST and is scheduled to run for two hours.

The Voters First Republican Presidential Forum was launched by the New Hampshire Union Leader in response to a rising chorus of complaints over Fox News’ decision to exclude candidates with low poll numbers from its August 6 prime time debate at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

Fox has said it will serve as the first primary and ‘winnow’ the field on Aug. 6. We and our partners think the voters of our states should continue to play that role. Our forum will give voters a chance to see the larger field of candidates and will give the voters a chance to have their issues addressed,” said New Hampshire Union Leader publisher Joseph W. McQuaid.

[RELATED: Fox News Moves Second-Tier GOP Presidential Debate to More Visible Time Slot]

The New Hampshire forum is currently set to feature all of the currently-announced prominent Republican candidates save for two, Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee. Huckabee’s absence from the list of participating candidates was not explained by the Union Leader, so it could be possible that he will confirm his participation at a later time. Candidates set to participate include Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and George Pataki.

According to the Union Leader, “Candidate Trump bowed out because, an aide said, he was upset with a Union Leader editorial this week that mocked him for saying that U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero. McCain, shot down by the North Vietnamese, suffered years of torture after refusing to be released early because his father was an admiral.

Last Tuesday, billionaire Donald Trump reportedly wrote a letter to McQuaid explaining his refusal to participate, which read, “…knowing you as I do, I feel it is unlikely I will be getting the endorsement from you and the Union Leader. I have made a great fortune based on instinct and that, unfortunately, is my view. Therefore, and for other reasons including the fact that I feel there are too many people onstage to have a proper forum, I will not be attending.

The forum will be moderated by WGIR radio personality Jack Heath. According to the Union Leader, “The Voters First Forum is being co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier, and the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette. Broadcast co-sponsors are iHeart radio, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids; and WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C. The forum will be broadcast nationally by C-SPAN. New England viewers will be able to watch on NECN. It will be broadcast locally by NH1/WBIN-TV in New Hampshire, as well as by the South Carolina and Iowa stations. It will also air live on NHPR.

Event organizers are asking the public to submit suggestions of issues to discuss at the forum.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

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Video: Donald Trump Reads Lindsey Graham’s Cell Phone Number Aloud During Speech

By Al Weaver

During a speech in South Carolina Wednesday, Donald Trump gave out the personal cell phone number of fellow presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Trump gave it out one day after Graham called the real estate tycoon a “jackass” over his Saturday comments about Sen. John McCain only being a war hero because he was “captured,” adding earlier in the speech that Graham is a “lightweight.”

“He gets out — he’s out there, and he calls me a jackass. I’m trying to be nice. I’m working hard to be nice, but every time I turn on [the TV], I have some guy that is hitting me like hard,” Trump told the Sun City, S.C. crowd. “Now, the reason they’re hitting me, in all fairness, is when you register zero in the poll, what the hell, they have nothing to lose.”

“But this guy Lindsey Graham calls me a jackass this morning. And I said to myself, you know, ‘it’s amazing, he doesn’t seem like a very bright guy.’ Okay. He actually, probably seems to me not as bright, honestly, as Rick Perry. I think Rick Perry is probably smarter than Lindsey Graham, but what do I know.”

In the latest national poll released Tuesday, Trump leads with 24 percent support, followed by Scott Walker and Jeb Bush with 13 and 12 percent, respectively. Graham did not register in the poll. Graham, however, led in the most recent South Carolina poll, although there has not been one taken since early June.

“And then I said to myself, ‘Hey didn’t this guy call me like four years ago?’ Yes. He called me three — three, four years ago. Lindsey Graham, I didn’t even know who he was. He goes, ‘Mr. Trump, this is Sen. Lindsey Graham. I wonder if it would be possible for you to call Fox,’ because, you know, until I ran I had that little thing I’d do. Fox & Friends is so great,” Trump said rattling off the hosts of the show. “They’re great people. Right? They’re great. And he wanted to know whether or not I could give him a good reference on Fox & Friends. I said okay. He wanted to know would I do that. And then, of course, he wanted to know whether or not he could come see me for some campaign contributions.”

“So Lindsey Graham says to me ‘please, please — whatever you can do.’ You know, I’m saying to myself ‘he’s like begging me to help him with Fox & Friends.’ So I say, ‘okay, and I’ll mention your name,” Trump said. “And he gave me his number, and I found the card. I wrote the number down. I don’t know if it’s the right number, let’s try it,” Trump said before reading the number aloud. “You know, it’s three, four years ago, so maybe it’s an old number. So, you know, give it a shot.”

“Your local politician. You know, he won’t fix anything, but at least he’ll talk to you,” Trump said delivering his parting shot at Graham.

Graham’s campaign manger Christian Ferry issued a statement in response to Trump reading out of the home state senator’s cell phone number soon after the event ended:

[quote_box_center]Donald Trump continues to show hourly that he is ill-prepared to be commander in chief. The two people most excited about Donald Trump’s candidacy are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Because of Trump’s bombastic and ridiculous campaign, we aren’t talking about Obama’s horrible deal with Iran or Hillary Clinton’s plans to continue Obama’s failed national security.[/quote_box_center]

Lindsey Graham Dismisses Questionable Comments As A “Joke”- Again

While speaking at American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) New England Leadership Dinner in Boston Tuesday night, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reportedly remarked that “Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula… Everything that starts with ‘Al’ in the Middle East is bad news,” according to investigative journalist Uri Blau.

[bctt tweet=”Everything that starts with ‘Al’ in the Middle East is bad news @LindseyGrahamSC”]

Graham “should have probably checked the dictionary before making such a comment,” Blau wrote. “According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Al in Arabic is simply meaning ‘the.’ ‘It often prefixes Arabic proper nouns, especially place-names; an example is Al-Jazīrah (Arabic: “The Island”), the name of an interfluvial region in Sudan. The article is often used in lowercase form, hence al-Jazīrah.’, Britannica explains.” 

Blau wrote that he had asked Graham’s Washington, D.C. office for comment and had not received a response. However, Kevin Bishop, Graham’s spokesman, offered a comment to the Washington Post. “It’s not a serious policy statement,” Bishop said, claiming that Graham has told this same joke for several years. According to the Post, Bishop said this apparently long-running joke gets Graham a lot of laughs and is a “‘humorous way’ to look at pressing issues.”

In an update on his blog post, Blau wrote that an Israeli student named Nathan Odenheimer, along with a friend, confronted Graham at the AIPAC dinner about his remarks. Blau copied Odenheimer’s Facebook post that described the confrontation with Graham:

“An Israeli friend of mine who proudly carries an Arabic surname with the allegedly shameful prefix walked up to the Senator and tried to politely and respectfully clarify to the Middle-East-illiterate politician the meaning of his poor comment. My friend brought himself as an example: “My own name starts with ‘Al’”. Graham tried to dodge the situation with a joke and replied, “Well, I guess there is one exception then…”

I meant to remain the uninvolved spectator I was all evening, but couldn’t maintain myself facing this utter nonsense and despite of myself interrupted: “No Mr. Senator, it is not about an exception, you made an offensive statement that shows ignorance” and elaborated that, what every person who has the slightest interest in the Middle East knows, that in Arabic ‘Al’ usually means “the”. The Senator did not exactly stand corrected; instead he awkwardly diverged to compare Iran to Nazi Germany and the US deal with Iran to a second Holocaust.

I don’t frequent these sort of events often, but it is still beyond me why AIPAC should invite a speaker who is unapologetically Iislamophob (sic) and racist, especially since so many Israelis come from Arab countries, like my mentioned above friend, carry a surname that is, according to the senator, ‘bad news.’”

Bishop’s dismissal of Graham’s latest “joke”is quite similar to another explanation he made on Graham’s behalf earlier this year. In March, Bishop had to clarify Graham’s misuse of the word “literally” when he vowed to “literally use the military” to compel Congress to restore defense cuts during a speech in New Hampshire. Prior to “literally” joking about holding Congress hostage, he’s also joked about Nancy Pelosi’s physical appearance, the lack of “angry white guys” in the GOP, that “white men who are in private clubs” would particularly enjoy a Graham presidency, and has poked fun at the idea of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) dying during a trip to Syria.

Again, it’s possible that Graham’s latest quip regarding his humorous disdain for all things “al” is indeed another awkward joke. However, according to Blau, it does not appear that it was well-received by all of the AIPAC dinner attendees.

Rand Paul Has Choice Words For Lindsey Graham, John McCain

Appearing on Fox News Tuesday morning, Kentucky Senator and 2016 Presidential candidate Rand Paul called Lindsey Graham and John McCain “lap dogs” for President Obama’s foreign policy.

On Monday, South Carolina Senator Graham called Paul “more wrong than right” when it comes to foreign policy.

Here is the fireball Paul threw back:

“This comes from a group of people wrong about every policy issue over the last couple decades. I’ll give you a couple examples where they support the president’s foreign policy and I don’t: They supported Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya; they supported President Obama’s bombing of Assad; they also support President Obama’s foreign aid to countries that hate us. So if there is anyone who is most opposed to President Obama’s foreign policy, it’s me. People who call loudest to criticize me are great proponents of President Obama’s foreign policy — they just want to do it ten times over. I’m only one actually standing up and saying the war in Libya was a mistake; the bombing of Assad would make ISIS stronger; the arms to the Islamic rebels would make ISIS stronger. So I’m really the one standing up to President Obama. And these people are essentially the lapdogs for President Obama and I think they’re sensitive about that.”

Do you think that Rand Paul proved his foreign policy prowess?


Lindsey Graham: 91 Percent Sure He Will Run

While appearing on Fox News on Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham was asked what “percent chance” he would run for President. Graham answered, “91.”

The ability to raise enough money appears to be a big deciding factor for Graham, who raised over $11 million during his reelection campaign in 2014. According to Business Insider, Graham said over the weekend that he would need about $15 million to be competitive with other candidates.


WALLACE: What’s the percent chance that you’re going to get in?


WALLACE: Seriously?

GRAHAM: Yea, I think so. I’ve gotta put the means together. I think I’ve got a good message. I think I’ve been more right than wrong on foreign policy. I’ve criticized the president for leading from behind, for being weak and indecisive. I’ve been a problem solver in Washington, and I think I’ve got something to offer the party and the nation. I’ll make that decision in May. If I can raise the money, I’ll do it.


Neocons Launch TV Ad Implying Rand Paul Presidency Will Lead to Iranian Nuclear Attack

As Rand Paul prepares to announce his run for the Republican nomination for president, his foes representing the neoconservative wing of the Grand Old Party are scrambling in an effort to hamstring his charge to the White House. Bloomberg is reporting that Rick Reed, head of 501(c)(4) group The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, just released a television ad, seen above, which aims to portray Senator Paul as weak on foreign policy. The commercial, which features a mushroom cloud from a nuclear attack, seems to imply that a Rand Paul presidency would lead to a near-future in which Iran suddenly obtains intercontinental ballistic missile technology, develops a nuclear warhead, and unleashes a nuclear attack.

Said Reed in comments to Bloomberg, “Paul supports more negotiations with Iran while standing against more sanctions that would hold the Iranian regime accountable. That’s not a conservative position, that’s Obama’s position… His longstanding position on Iran and his agreement with Obama on Iran calls into question his judgment.”

Rick Reed’s bio on Townhall notes that he has “written and produced the advertising for Senator Lindsey Graham (SC).” Graham, a foreign policy hawk, said on Sunday’s episode of CBS NewsFace the Nation that “everybody on our side, except maybe Rand Paul, could do better” than Obama at dealing with Iran. Reed made waves in 2004 as the architect of the “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” ad campaign that challenged Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s Vietnam War service record in an effort to oppose his candidacy.

Paul spokesman Doug Stafford described the Senator’s position on Iran in comments to Bloomberg, “Senator Paul will be watching closely and believes any deal must make clear Iran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon, allows for full verification and is approved by Congress. He voted for sanctions both times they were put before Congress and believes only Congress should remove those sanctions.”

On February 26, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Iran currently has no nuclear weapons program and that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomenei ended the nation’s nuclear weapons program in 2003. He said that Iran “wants to preserve options across the capabilities it would take to build [a nuclear weapon], but right now they don’t have one, and have not made that decision.”

Update May 8, 3:20 PM: The above-embedded video has since been taken down by YouTube, apparently due to a copyright claim by Ron Paul supporter Gage Skidmore

RINO Revenge: Graham, McCain Remove Tea Party Foes

Senators and BFFs John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are removing their adversaries from their state Republican parties to control campaign funds and party politics.

According to Politico, McCain is seeking revenge on the state party that had him censured by having his political team engage “in an aggressive and systematic campaign to reshape the state GOP apparatus by ridding it of conservative firebrands and replacing them with steadfast allies.”

In his focus are conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.

By doing this, he is removing the party officials who are also in control of campaign funds.

“There’s been a huge organizational effort that I’ve never seen before,” said Gordon James, an Arizona public relations executive and longtime McCain confidant, told Politico. “A lot of the party folks who were hostile to John McCain have been marginalized, and that’s a good thing.”

In October, Graham also did some housekeeping.

According to FITSNEWS, anti-Graham members of the South Carolina [Greenville County] Republican Party were removed, calling it a “ a seismic shift within the party.”

“Former executive committeeman Bill Rhodes was unceremoniously booted from the Greenville GOP for ‘disloyalty’ – namely refusing to support Graham’s candidacy.  Two other executive committee members resigned from the party in protest of the way Rhodes was treated” reported FITSNEWS.

One GOP insider told BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook that Graham has his eyes on Greenville  County, a local party that censured him for his progressive voting record.

There is an organized effort to remove all limited-government and pro-liberty executive committee members by systematically purging them from the Party. FitsNews calls this move, the Greenville Coup.

The Greenville County Executive Committee, which includes Graham’s Regional Director as one of its members, recently tried to pass a rule change requiring the body to pass future censure motions by a two thirds vote, instead of the current majority vote. Graham has been on the receiving end of two censures from the party. Fortunately, that rules change was defeated by the conservatives still left in the Greenville GOP. 

Tea Party leaders are planning to “take back the Party” from establishment Republicans loyal to Graham at precinct reorganization next Spring. But a few weeks ago, the County Party leadership announced significant changes to the upcoming precinct reorganization. Some have speculated that these changes will allow more centralized control of the process. Simply put, Tea Party leaders have an uphill battle to regain influence and control of the county parties.

Some speculate that this move by Graham could be revenge on the Tea Party, but it could be something more practical, like laying the ground work for his own presidential run in 2016.

Exclusive interview with Libertarian Candidate Victor Kocher, U.S. Senate


Victor Kocher is challenging two-term incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham (R) along with state senator Brad Hutto (D) and independent candidate Thomas Ravenel for the U.S. Senate seat in S.C.

Cook asked Kocher his thoughts on foreign policy, issues and solutions to reform the VA, and tax policy. Listen to the full interview here.

Graham And McCain Can’t Make Up Their Minds About Boots-On-The-Ground Strategy

So, which is it?

Apparently, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham think that the American people have selective amnesia.

According to a piece in Forbes, McCain has criticized President Obama’s position on whether America will fight ISIS, or ISIL, using ground troops. The President has said that he doesn’t support the use of ground troops. And, this hasn’t satisfied present-day McCain.

Contributor Rick Ungar wrote: “Senator McCain rose to speak on the floor of the United States Senate where, in his now trademarked brand of righteous indignation, the Senator asked, ‘Why does the president insist on continuing to tell the enemy what he will not do? Why does the president keep telling the people that are slaughtering thousands, ‘Don’t worry, we will not commit ground troops’?”

This chest-thumping happened after McCain has previously said he too wouldn’t support ground troops:

In an June 13th appearance on the “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” McCain said, “I think you have to explain to the American people what kind of a threat that an ISIS takeover of Iraq would pose to the United States of America. Can you imagine a caliphate or a center of violent Muslim extremism dedicated to attacking the United States, the consequences of that? That has to be explained to the American people.”

He continued, “I do not envision a scenario where ground combat troops are on the ground…. I would not commit to putting Americans boots on the ground.”

Senator Graham seems to be flip-flopping too.

Graham said in a June 10 interview with Fox News, “I don’t think we need boots on the ground. I don’t think that is an option worth consideration.”

Ben Swann recently spoke with RT.com saying, “The U.S. is creating a perpetual state of war by attacking ISIS on one hand while simultaneously funding ISIS indirectly though the Free Syrian Army.”

Swann said, “Senator Rand Paul talked about this quite a bit here in the U.S., that the U.S. needs to step back and acknowledge the fact that we have funded these groups and given them technology capability, money and fighters in order to become the Islamic state.

Swann exposed the hypocrisy of this U.S. foreign policy strategy by asking, “How are we able to create sanctions against other countries when we are sending these fighters?”

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Sen. Graham: “Delusional” ISIS Strategy Will Eradicate US

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the Islamic State and criticize President Obama’s strategy in dealing with the terrorist group. Graham claimed that the Islamic State is now encouraged by the Obama Administration’s strategy. Graham described the administration’s plans as “delusional”.

Graham said that “this is a turning point in the war on terror” and that the Islamic State is an army, not just an organization. “It’s gonna take an army to beat an army,” Graham said, “and this idea we’ll never have any boots on the ground to defeat them in Syria is fantasy.”

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said that Obama’s plan is comprehensive and acknowledges that solving the unrest “has to be ultimately the efforts of the local regional powers”.

“He [Obama] is willing to use American airpower and American training efforts to empower these countries, but it’s their fight. As Denis [McDonough] pointed out this is a battle within Sunni community. About where they’re going, Radical Islamist, or-”

Host John Roberts interjected,”we know the plan, but will it work?” Reed responded that there’s potential for the plan to work with cooperation between the United States, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq. “I think the plan is the best possible one, because it recognizes it’s not just a full military struggle, it’s also a political struggle,” said Reed.

Graham continued to push for more military force, stating that “it is our fight. It is not just their fight. This is a radical Islamic army that’s pushing the theory of a master religion, not a master race like the Nazis. This is not about bringing a few people to justice who behead the innocent in a brutal fashion. It’s about protecting millions of people throughout the world from a radical Islamic army, they’re intending to come here.”

“There is no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria, to destroy ISIL without a substantial American component. And to destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take the territory they hold back, cut off their financing, and destroy their capability to regenerate. This is a war we’re fighting, it is not a counterterrorism operation. This is not Somalia. This is not Yemen. This is a turning point in the war on terror. Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home,” said Graham.

“Will there have to be U.S. combat forces, special operators- something- maybe not large divisions, maneuvering divisions, but some component of American fighting forces to get this done?” Roberts asked Reed. Reed repeated that the United States should “empower them, but they have to carry the fight to the enemy. This is a fight within the Sunni community, it’s a fight that they have to win for their own self-interests, and we have to make it clear that that’s the case.”

“Apparently nobody has been listening to what Senator McCain and I have been saying for the last three years,” Graham argued. “We said train the Free Syrian Army so they can take this fight on. Instead of training the Free Syrian Army, the president overruled his entire national security team and abandoned the Free Syrian Army,” said Graham. ” I am tired of hearing from this administration how easy this is going to be, when it’s going to be hard and the consequences of losing my friend, is if they survive our best shot, this is the last best chance, to knock him out, then they will open the gates of hell to spill out on the world. This is not a Sunni versus Sunni problem, this is ISIL versus mankind.”


Blowback in Iraq: How U.S. Proxy Wars Led to the Rise of ISIS


The U.S. and its regional allies armed and trained “moderate” Sunni rebels to oust President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in order to weaken the Iranian/Russian influence in the Middle East. Then those “moderate” Sunni rebels became more radical and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which has emerged as the largest, wealthiest and most-radical terrorist organization in the region.

The strategy of arming radical Sunni Muslims has been an abysmal failure, yet Hillary Clinton and neoconservatives like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham continue to push their Brzezinski-inspired foreign policy. In a swipe at the Obama administration, Clinton said, “Failure to help Syrian rebels led to the rise of ISIS.”

Last Sunday, both McCain and Graham appeared on the Sunday talk shows to warn about the “direct threat” of ISIS.

Graham told Fox News, “The Islamic State is ‘an existential threat’’ to our homeland.” Graham asked, “Do we really want to let America be attacked?”

What the mainstream media fails to ask war hawks like Graham is what made ISIS a threat in the first place?

What the mainstream media is not telling you is that both Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham played roles in strengthening ISIS and other Islamic insurgents in Syria.

ISIS success is due to the support they received from the CIA and key U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf — Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Both countries remain to be a critical financial support for al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Recently, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of openly funding the Sunni Muslim insurgents.

McCain still praises the Saudis, despite the known fact of its state-sponsored terror network and funding sources.

At the Munich Security Conference, McCain said, “Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar and for our Qatari friends.”

According to Steve Clemons writing for The Atlantic, “ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria.” Clemons notes that according to one senior Qatari official, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Saudi ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir, recruited both McCain and Graham to “put  pressure on the administration to get more involved in Syria.”

So why are U.S. Senators working with the same actors who are behind ISIS instead of working to cut off the Islamic funding mechanisms?

Not only has the U.S. created an unholy alliance with states who sponsor terrorism, it has strengthened ISIS by training and arming radical Sunni insurgents who join ISIS, that share similar goals of creating an Islamic caliphate.


The CIA trains and arms Islamic rebels making matters worse.

There is no real distinction between moderate rebels and ISIS. In fact, there are an endless parade of reports that the U.S.-supported “moderate rebels” in the Free Syrian Army (FSA)  have joined ISIS. See here, here and here.

The FSA, al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and other Syrian rebels are joining forces with a unifying goal of creating an Islamic state.

Despite the reality on the ground in Syria and Iraq, politicians continue to advance their failed policies and the mainstream media never challenges them. They refuse to accept that arming Sunni rebels prolongs the conflict and makes matters worse.

The foreign policy strategy of arming radical Islamist to fight in American proxy wars postulated by Clinton, McCain and Graham is  not based on any winning strategy but is based on political distraction by averting attention away from their failures.

The blame game is alive in Washington, D.C.. But their ideas are dangerous for the American people who face a challenging world.

Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch, said that the scheme of arming rebels is “just wrong” and it’s a strategy that won’t work. He noted that an “external support for insurgents typically makes conflicts longer and bloodier.”

“It’s difficult to produce a single example in modern history of a strategy of arming rebels actually succeeding,” said Lynch.

Steve Clemons describes the current blowback in Iraq perfectly:

“ Like elements of the mujahideen, which benefited from U.S. financial and military support during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and then later turned on the West in the form of al-Qaeda, ISIS achieved scale and consequence through Saudi support, only to now pose a grave threat to the kingdom and the region.”

“It’s this concern about blowback that has motivated Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to encourage restraint in arming Syrian rebels. President Obama has so far heeded these warnings.”

According to recent polls, Americans want to be less active in global affairs. What will bombing ISIS in Syria and Iraq really accomplish when there is no real prospect of victory?

In recent opinion piece, Pat Buchanan asks, “If ISIS’ gains are truly an “existential threat” to the republic and our cities are about to “go up in flames,” why did these Republican hawks not demand that President Obama call back Congress from its five-week vacation to vote to authorize a new war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq?”

Congressman Thomas Massie agrees with Buchanan.

“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress—not the President—the power to declare war … these air strikes require congressional authorization, and the American people deserve open debate by their elected officials,” said Massie.

Massie told the media that “America’s national security interests in Iraq are unclear, because Iraq poses no imminent threat.”

“And, because the President has not articulated a long term strategy, I would vote against authorizing the use of military force in Iraq,” Massie said.


NSA Defends Collecting nearly 90% of Data from Internet Users with No connection to Terrorism

A four-month long investigation by the Washington Post has found that National Security Agency data mining collects much more from non targets, both American and foreign, than known targets in its spying on U.S. data networks.

Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Washington Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.

Many are Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents.

“Among the most valuable contents — which The Post will not describe in detail, to avoid interfering with ongoing operations — are fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks,” wrote the Washington Post.

Despite not being a threat, the daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are still cataloged and recorded. Many files, which are described as useless by analysts but still retained, are shockingly intimate. They tell of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. In other words, private information users thought was between themselves and the e-mail’s recipient, not the NSA.

The newspaper reviewed about 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant messages, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts. The dates on the material span President Obama’s first term, from 2009 to 2012, a period of exponential growth for the NSA’s domestic spying and collection program.

The NSA responded to the Washington Post’s claim defending their practice.

 “NSA’s authority under Section 702 is limited to targeting foreigners outside of the U.S. for foreign intelligence purposes. “As we have always said, we also incidentally intercept the communications of persons in contact with valid foreign intelligence targets,” NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines.

Are Senators calling this practice unconstitutional and a violation of the Fourth Amendment? No.

According to the TheDailyBeast.com, some Senators are not aware of the Washington Post’s article.

Sen. Lindsey Graham who sits on the Senate’s armed services, appropriations, and judiciary committees said, “I don’t really know the details about what they’re saying in the paper. I know [NSA intelligence-gathering] is necessary. We’re at war with radical Islam.”

Last year Graham told Fox and Friends, “I’m a Verizon customer, I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government’s going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States.”

Graham continued, “I’m glad the activity’s going on but it is limited to tracking people who are suspected to be terrorists and who they may be talking to.”

When host Brian Kilmeade asked him if he was sure about that, Graham said “I am sure that that’s what they’re doing.”

Host Gretchen Carlson tried to clarify that it was only limited to those suspected of terrorism by citing the 100 million customers in the original report.

Graham responded, “I’m sure we should be doing this.”

As it turns out, Lindsey Graham was wrong. Watch the video below.


EXCLUSIVE Interview: “Southern Charm” Star To Challenge Two-Party Status Quo in South Carolina

Businessman, reality television star and former South Carolina State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel announced his run as an independent for the United States Senate seat currently held by liberal “Republican” Lindsey Graham.

Ravenel made his Senate candidacy official prior to attending a Fourth of July rally in Greenville, S.C.

In a candid and exclusive interview with Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook, Thomas Ravenel discussed his solutions on limiting government’s control and expanding individual freedom.

Ravenel discussed his views on tax policy, drugs, foreign policy, privacy issues, growing the economy, healthcare, education, common core, and social issues.

Listen to the interview below:



In a press release yesterday Ravenel stated, “It’s time for voters across our state and this country to declare their independence from a failed two-party system – one that no longer represents their interests or the interests of Americans to come,” the star of Bravo’s ‘Southern Charm’ said.  “Election after election of choosing the lesser of two evils has our economy and our freedoms on a downward slide – but there’s still time to change the road we’re on.  To do that, though, we need a real debate and a real choice – candidates who are offering real ideas to turn things around.”

“Government doesn’t belong in your boardroom, your bedroom or your email inbox,” he said.  “But its presence in every aspect of our lives continues to grow.  Democrats keep dictating choices in our marketplaces and Republicans keep telling us who we can and cannot love.  And both parties want to keep spending like there’s no tomorrow while they spy on us to make sure we don’t step out of line.  All of this leads to less prosperity and liberty – and more dependency and fear,” said Ravenel.


thomas ravenel - FanRavenel talked to a number of “Southern Charm” fans downtown Greenville, SC about his run for U.S. Senate.



Follow Joshua Cook on Facebook and Twitter.

From Bravo TV to the Ballot: Reality Star Hopes To Dethrone Lindsey Graham

November’s U.S. Senate election in South Carolina just got a bit more interesting after Charleston businessman and reality TV star Thomas Ravenel said he’s considering jumping into the race, only if he can get the signatures.

With less than a month to the filing deadline, Ravenel, who was state treasurer before resigning due to federal drug charges, said Wednesday that he plans to complete a petition push, collecting the signatures of at least 10,000 S.C. voters.

If he meets his signature quota, Ravenel will appear on November’s ballot with three other candidates, including incumbent Lindsey Graham, Democratic state Senator Brad Hutto and Libertarian Victor Kocher.

According to The State, Ravenel is the son of former 1st District U.S. Representative Arthur Ravenel, previously ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004 and placed third in the GOP primary. In 2006, he was elected state treasurer.

Most recently, Ravenel has starred in Bravo’s “Southern Charm” reality show, and that star power can be a real threat to Senator Graham.

Liberty activist and County Republican Committeemen, Chris Lawton said, “the elections are not over and grassroots activists still have time to “Lose Lindsey Graham.”

“Ravenel has the charisma, has solid libertarian ideas, and has the money to unseat Graham this November,” said Lawton.

“All I want from my representative is to vote Constitutionally 100% of the time. Every time, Without Fail, NO exceptions! What they do in their off time is their business,” said Lawton. 

One source on the ground told Benswann.com that there are “busy worker bees” who are enthusiastically gathering signatures to put Ravenel on the ballot.

One thing is certain, there are grassroots activists in South Carolina who are still working very hard to oust Sen. Lindsey Graham and they are not giving up.


One liberty activist put out a fact sheet about Ravenel on facebook:


•Thomas is a successful businessman.

• Former statewide official. South Carolina Treasurer

• Hard core fiscal conservative/ free market supporter

• Aggressive proponent of individual liberty.

• Thomas opposes tax hikes/ spending hikes/ further unnecessary expansions of government.

• Thomas supports broad-based tax relief/ draconian spending cuts to the federal government (and will be proposing specific cuts to both in his campaign).

• Rabidly pro-gun

• Pro-life (just had a gorgeous baby girl)

• Opposes handouts (welfare or corporate welfare)

• Supports a strong military but opposes unnecessary deployments and wasteful Pentagon programs (F-35, Littoral combat ship, etc.)

• In addition to being right on the issues, Thomas is also totally unafraid to take on Graham – to challenge him substantively in ways the GOP candidates who ran against him in the primary were incapable of doing.

Did Lindsey Graham Change His Mind About Iran?


It seems like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is suffering from a serious case of Graham-nesia when it comes to his own position about Iran.  His current position is explosively different than his previous view. He must have forgotten all about it. Thankfully, there is video to remind him.

Appearing on CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday, Graham said he wanted the U.S. to work with Iran in order to help stabilize Iraq.

“We’re going to probably need to their help to hold Baghdad,” Graham said, while cautioning that Tehran’s goal is to “create a sectarian Iraq. To have a puppet in Baghdad that is a Shia-dominated government where they control the outcome.”

“”But in the short term, why did we deal with Stalin? Because he was not as bad as Hitler, in our eyes,” he added. “We’re going to have to have some dialog with the Iranians that says let’s coordinate our efforts but has some red lines with the Iranians.”

Now rewind two years, when Graham again appeared on “Face the Nation.” But this time, he wants to completely disarm Iran, not ask for their assistance.

“You open Pandora’s box if you attack Iran. If they get a nuclear weapon, you empty Pandora’s box. That’s the world we live in. I support the idea of a military option as a last resort.”

Graham then explains that its not just stopping Iran from having a nuclear weapon, it’s about completely disarming Iran.

“You have to neuter this regime. Destroy their air force, sink their navy. Go after the revolutionary guard and try and get the people in the country to overthrow this regime,” he said.

Ron Paul offered his perspective on Iraq as well outlining three options the U.S. can take.

Paul said in a statement, “Because of the government’s foolish policy of foreign interventionism, the US is faced with two equally stupid choices: either pour in resources to prop up an Iraqi government that is a close ally with Iran, or throw our support in with al-Qaida in Iraq (as we have done in Syria). I say we must follow a third choice: ally with the American people and spend not one more dollar or one more life attempting to re-make the Middle East. Haven’t we have already done enough damage?”

Lindsey Graham secures victory in South Carolina

SOUTH CAROLINA, June 10, 2014– The Palmetto state has spoken, and they have chosen Lindsey Graham. Today’s South Carolina GOP primary was an upset for many Tea Party grassroots activists and leaders hoping to force Graham into a runoff.  With >70% of precincts reporting, the race has been called for Senator Lindsey Graham.

L. Graham (i) 58.6%-125,128 (WINNER)

L. Bright 13.6%-28,954

R. Cash 7.6%-16,289

D. Bowers 7.5%-15,973

N. Mace 6.3%-13,534

B. Connor 5.3%-11,364

B. Dunn 1.0%-2,222

Follow Michael Lotfi On Facebook & Twitter.

ELECTION DAY: Desperate for a win, Lindsey Graham begging Democrats to vote for him?

SOUTH CAROLINA, June 10, 2014– As they head to the polls, thick, humid air fills the lungs of Palmetto State GOP primary voters today. The question on everyone’s mind is whether or not incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham (R) will be able to avoid a run-off. According to State Senator Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg), Graham’s most serious challenger, Graham has been quietly courting Democrats to vote for him in today’s primary.

Senator Lee Bright asked BenSwann.com, “If his advertisements say he is a conservative, then why does he know he can call on liberals when he could be in trouble?”

Last night, a press release sent out by the Spartanburg lawmaker claims Graham has been courting Democrats while no one is looking.

It reads, in part:

Team Graham is running a quiet campaign to woo Democrats. Publicly, Graham’s Campaign is saturating South Carolina TV stations touting his supposed “conservative credentials” – yet he is simultaneously using web ads and social media to target Democrats to remind them they can vote for him in the Republican primary.

One of Graham’s ads (pictured below) quietly reminds voters that they can cast their vote for him even if they are not Republicans.

Lindsey Graham pushes Democrats to vote for him through quiet ad campaign.
Lindsey Graham pushes Democrats to vote for him through quiet ad campaign.

Many predicted Graham would try such a tactic, and they tried to stop him in court. However, through illegal maneuvers, the state executive committee had the lawsuit dropped.

All running to the right of him, Graham has drawn multiple challengers. Businesswoman Nancy Mace, businessman Richard Cash, veteran and lawyer Bill Connor and State Senator Lee Bright have drawn the most serious attention. However, their efforts may not be enough to unseat one of Washington’s most powerful senators.

The latest poll performed by Clemson University shows Graham at 49%. Meanwhile, Bright, Cash, Connor and Mace garner a collective 15%, of which Bright takes 9%. According to the same poll, in 2013, only 31% of Republicans planned to re-elect Graham. As of the beginning of this month, that number jumped to 46%.

If Graham is not successful in capturing 50% of the vote today, he will be forced into a runoff with the contender who captures the second highest percentage. As of now, that challenger seems to be Bright.

Follow Michael Lotfi On Facebook & Twitter.