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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Washington Post Editorial, "Iran must pay a price for detaining Jason Rezaian": US to Pay Iran $50 Billion to Sign Nuclear Deal

In an editorial entitled "Iran must pay a price for detaining Jason Rezaian," The Washington Post begins:

"PRESIDENT OBAMA offered encouragement to the family and colleagues of Post reporter Jason Rezaian last weekend, saying, 'We will not rest until we bring him home to his family, safe and sound.' We hope Mr. Rezaian, who had been imprisoned in Iran for 281 days as of Wednesday, will hear of the president’s words. More important, though, they should be weighed by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who must realize that the unjust detention of an American journalist is only harming his regime."

The Washington Post hopes the Rezaian heard Obama's words? Obama, a dyed-in-the-wool narcissist who won't let anything stand in the way of his "legacy," is as serious about this commitment as he was concerning a "red line" involving the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.

WaPo's conclusion:

"Mr. Obama has declined to make the release of Mr. Rezaian and other imprisoned Americans a condition for going forward with the nuclear accord. According to Haleh Esfandiari, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center who was held prisoner in Iran for 105 days in 2007, doing so might play into the hands of those responsible for Mr. Rezaian’s detention, who may hope to use his case to block any U.S.-Iranian detente. But Mr. Obama should look for other ways to make clear to Mr. Khamenei that he is serious about the commitment he made to the Rezaian family. As long as the journalist is held, Iran should pay a price."

"Iran should pay a price"? Quite the contrary. Obama is preparing to free up $50 billion of frozen Iranian bank deposits in order to induce Khamenei to agree to the nuclear deal with the P5+1 by the June 30 deadline. Meanwhile, Iran is growing more contemptuous of the US by the day.

What a horror story!

Thomas Friedman, "On Trade: Obama Right, Critics Wrong": Obama to Explain "How Any Workers Who Are Harmed Will Be Cushioned

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "On Trade: Obama Right, Critics Wrong," Thomas Friedman goes to bat for Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership (Tom "leave[s] it to the president" to explain "how any [US]workers who are harmed can be cushioned"). Tom's explanation - this time - for his sycophantic support of the president:

"Because these deals are not just about who sets the rules. They’re about whether we’ll have a rule-based world at all. We’re at a very plastic moment in global affairs — much like after World War II. China is trying to unilaterally rewrite the rules. Russia is trying to unilaterally break the rules and parts of both the Arab world and Africa have lost all their rules and are disintegrating into states of nature. The globe is increasingly dividing between the World of Order and the World of Disorder."

Ah yes, a "rule-based world" in which Hillary and Bill have one set of rules, and all other Americans have another.


JG Caesarea Exclusive: Obama Responds to Seizure of Maersk Kensington in the Strait of Hormuz

Responding to the seizure by Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boats of the Maersk Kensington in the Strait of Hormuz, President Obama minutes ago issued the following statement:

"Thank you, sir! May I have another?"

No, the president is not offering to have me write his jokes for the next White House Correspondents Dinner.

Stay tuned for more breaking news . . .

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

David Brooks, "Goodness and Power": I Ask Again, Do Hillary and Bill Have a Joint Bank Account?

In a prior blog entry, I asked if Hillary and Bill have a joint bank account. The significance? The Clinton gang is contending that there was no quid pro quo involving the US State Department with respect to the $500,000 which, according to the Becker and McIntire article in The New York Times, was paid to Bill "for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock." However, if Bill deposited such a sum in a joint account, Hillary would presumably have known the source of the funds, which in turn could have colored her judgment regarding the sale of a company possessing 20 percent of America's uranium production capacity. Yes, the whole thing stinks.

On the other hand, maybe they don't have a joint bank account, and perhaps their relationship long ago dissolved into a marriage of convenience. But even in this case, you would think that the American electorate would want to know the nature of their bond and the problems that could plague the executive branch of government as a consequence of their less than perfect union.

But no information is forthcoming, nor should we expect revelations anytime soon. After all, what we don't know about Hillary can't hurt her . . . or her $2.5 billion campaign.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Goodness and Power," David Brooks concludes:

"[H]istorically, most effective leaders — like, say, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill — had a dual consciousness. They had an earnest, inner moral voice capable of radical self-awareness, rectitude and great compassion. They also had a pragmatic, canny outer voice. These two voices were in constant conversation, checking each other, probing for synthesis, wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove.

I don’t know if Hillary Clinton possesses this double-mindedness. But I do know that if candidates don’t acquire a moral compass outside of politics, they’re not going to get it in the White House, and they won’t be effective there."

Hillary ("What difference does it make?") Clinton "capable of radical self-awareness, rectitude and great compassion"? Surely, David, you jest.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Paul Krugman, "Nobody Said That": What Happened to Occupy Wall Street, Paul?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Nobody Said That," Paul Krugman takes to task pundits whose predictions are proven wrong over the course of time. Krugman writes:

"Imagine yourself as a regular commentator on public affairs — maybe a paid pundit, maybe an supposed expert in some area, maybe just an opinionated billionaire. You weigh in on a major policy initiative that’s about to happen, making strong predictions of disaster. The Obama stimulus, you declare, will cause soaring interest rates; the Fed’s bond purchases will “debase the dollar” and cause high inflation; the Affordable Care Act will collapse in a vicious circle of declining enrollment and surging costs.

But nothing you predicted actually comes to pass. What do you do?

You might admit that you were wrong, and try to figure out why. But almost nobody does that; we live in an age of unacknowledged error."

Krugman's conclusion:

"And there’s also a moral issue involved. Refusing to accept responsibility for past errors is a serious character flaw in one’s private life. It rises to the level of real wrongdoing when policies that affect millions of lives are at stake."

Fascinating. Now consider the following prediction from Krugman in his October 6, 2011 New York Times op-ed entitled "Confronting the Malefactors":

"Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

. . . .

It’s clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details."

So where is there any mention of Krugman's prediction concerning Occupy Wall Street in his opinion piece of today's date? For whatever reason, I couldn't find it.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Is The New York Times Anti-Semitic? Absolutely!

In a blog entry earlier this month, I examined a New York Times editorial entitled "Anti-Semitism in the Soccer Stands," condemning anti-Semitic conduct by fans and players during European football matches. After providing evidence of anti-Semitism that has found its way onto the pages of the Times in recent years, I concluded:

"I would suggest to the editorial board of the Times that anti-Semitism in the United States, particularly its 'highbrow' form in the media, can be just as sinister as the baser strains of this disease which exist in the Middle East and Europe. Moreover, American anti-Semitism is far 'closer to home' than the editorial board would care to believe."

We now have more evidence of this despicable tendency of the Times. As reported by The Algemeiner in an article entitled "New York Times Again Blasted for ‘Skewed’ Headline in Coverage of Palestinian Stabbing Attacks":

"Media watchdogs and Jewish groups on Sunday admonished the New York Times for publishing a headline about Palestinian stabbing attacks in Israel which “blur Palestinian culpability” in the incidents.

The 'skewed' headline, 'Israeli Police Officers Kill Two Palestinian Men,' appeared in Sunday’s edition of the prominent newspaper and detailed in the opening paragraph that the two 'Palestinian men were fatally shot by the Israeli police after attacking officers with knives.'

. . . .

In an email to the Algemeiner, one reader alleged that in Sunday’s issue of the Times, another article that appears in print confirms an anti-Israel bias on the part of the “paper of record.”

'Even more interesting is another title in the same edition of the New York Times on an unrelated article: ‘Man, 24, killed by Detective in struggle during arrest’,' said New York native Noam Ohana. 'So, in the New York case we are given a bit of context (there was a struggle) but when a Palestinian tries to butcher police officers/soldiers with a knife it apparently does not require any contextualization in the title.'"

According to the US State Department (my emphasis in red):

"What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?

EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:

• Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
• Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions
Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation"

Yes, The New York Times is anti-Semitic.

Uranium One: Do Hillary and Bill Have a Joint Bank Account?

In a Politico article entitled "Bill and Hillary’s Excellent Adventure," Michael Hirsh writes:

"It’s clear that Bill Clinton played a very concrete role in his wife’s State Department and was so well briefed that, as one Obama administration official put it to me in 2010, “When they say on the seventh floor, ‘We need to run this by the president,’ the phrase doesn’t necessarily refer to Obama.”

Nonetheless, it is highly unlikely that very much of what [Peter] Schweizer alleges [in "Clinton Cash"] will stick, if only because that classic Washington omelette made of equal parts policy and political reasons can never be unmade once it’s cooked: Especially among the uber-cautious Clintons, you’ll never find the smoking ingredient; no one will ever be caught saying, “Let’s make a policy decision for Bill’s donors.”

Beyond that, because it is impossible to peer into the sanctum of any marriage—especially this one—we will almost certainly never get at the rock-bottom truth of whether Hillary Clinton ever even hinted at altering a policy in office because Bill Clinton told her he wanted it done for his Foundation. State Department and Clinton Foundation officials say they never pried into those conversations.

You wouldn’t find it even in those deleted emails."

Or stated otherwise, if knowledge of Bill's conduct cannot be attributed to Hillary, Hillary cannot be held accountable.

To which I would answer: Hillary must prove that she did not benefit from Bill's lucrative speaking engagements, e.g., the $500,000 which, according to the Becker and McIntire article in The New York Times, was received "for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock."

Or stated otherwise, Hillary must provide documentation showing that the payments to Bill were not deposited in a joint bank account. It's that simple . . . or perhaps not that simple.

Will Obama Save Assad?

In a Washington Post article entitled "Assad’s hold on power looks shakier than ever as rebels advance in Syria," Liz Sly writes:

"A surge of rebel gains in Syria is overturning long-held assumptions about the durability of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which now appears in greater peril than at any time in the past three years.

. . . .

The revival of rebel fortunes is attributed to a large degree on the recent rapprochement between a newly assertive Saudi Arabia and its erstwhile rivals for influence over the rebels — Turkey and Qatar.

. . . .

Much will depend on Iran, which has stepped up in the past to dispatch men, money and arms whenever Assad seemed to be faltering. But Iran is stretched, too, by the economic effects of continued international sanctions and by the competing demands of the war next door in Iraq, which has diverted some of the Iraqi Shiite militias that had been fighting for the regime in Syria."

Indeed, much will depend upon Iran, whose finances are stretched by sanctions and the decline in the price of oil. As such, Assad's survival hinges upon whether or not Obama frees up some $50 billion of frozen Iranian bank accounts as a signing bonus to Khamenei for reaching a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 by the June 30 deadline.

Once Obama declared that use of chemical weapons by Assad was a "red line." Today, it seems increasing likely that Obama will become Assad's savior, notwithstanding Assad's past use of sarin and ongoing use of chlorine against civilians.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Maureen Dowd, "Beware Our Mind Children": Robotic Porn?

The new movie "Ex Machina" is getting darned good reviews. As described by "IMDb":

"A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I."

Okay, it sounds a bit like Rick Deckard being asked to test Rachael at the beginning of "Blade Runner," but I'm willing to risk the price of a ticket.

Remarkably, "Ex Machina" is the subject of Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Beware Our Mind Children." Given the Uranium One scandal that has erupted around the Clintons owing to "Clinton Cash" and subsequent Times investigative reporting, one might have expected Dowd, no friend of Hillary, to seize upon the opportunity this Sunday, but it was not meant to be. Although Hillary was mildly chastized in a Times editorial, the newspaper's op-ed columnists have been treating Uranium One as if it was radioactive.

Near the end of her opinion piece, Dowd writes of Alex Garland, the writer and director of "Ex Machina":

"Garland talks about all the things, including government programs, that would run more smoothly with an A.I. in charge. Can he can envision an A.I. president, even more sleek and less emotive than the one we have now?

'There could be an A.I. president; there could,' he replies."

Obama is not "emotive"? Get real, Maureen. Over the course of my lifetime, I cannot remember another instance of presidential petulance that rivaled Obama's hissy fit in response to Netanyahu's speech before Congress.

But more to the point, I would imagine that many Americans would today prefer "Hal" of "2001: A Space Odyssey" fame over Hillary.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gail Collins, "Presidential Primary Book Club": Is It Wrong for Rubio to Write About God?

Whereas uber-liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus is obviously troubled by donations received by the Clinton Foundation (remarkably, she manages not to mention Uranium One in her latest WaPo opinion piece entitled "Foreign donations leave Hillary in a cloud"), New York Times columnist Gail Collins would have us turn our attention elsewhere. In her latest Times op-ed entitled "Presidential Primary Book Club," Collins begins:

"Concerned citizens bear many great burdens, one of which is trying to follow a presidential race in which virtually every candidate has written one or more books about their lives, hopes, dreams, theories — and, in the case of Mike Huckabee, diets.

You cannot possibly read them all. It is very likely you don’t want to read any. That’s what we are here for. Today: Marco Rubio.

Rubio is 43, and he has already written an autobiography ('An American Son') and a book on policy ('American Dreams'). Do not feel compelled to go back and look at '100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future.'"

"That’s what we are here for"? Who is "we"? Does Collins write her cutesy essays with a team of little helpers, or has Collins become an intellectual and/or physical heavyweight who must refer to herself in the plural?

Be that as it may, Collins proceeds to jab at Rubio's "antipathy for taxation according to the ability to pay," seeming indifference to global warming, and multiple references to God in his autobiography.

Well, at least Collins is not claiming that Rubio made use of "composites," as did Barack Obama in his 1995 memoir, "Dreams From My Father," published when the president was 34 years old and readying his campaign for the Illinois Senate.

But more to the point, is Collins's op-ed an acknowledgement that Rubio has leapt to the front of the Republican pack and could pose problems for Hillary in 2016 - if Hillary is not dragged down long before then by Uranium One and whatever other scandals emerge in the interim?

Regrettably for Collins, but fortunately for the rest of us, she was unable to weave Seamus, Romney's dog, into her column.

Paul Krugman, "Zombies of 2016": No Mention of the Uranium One Scandal

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Zombies of 2016," Paul Krugman excoriates Republican presidential candidates for their views regarding social security and Obamacare. Krugman writes:

"A deep attachment to long-refuted ideas seems to be required of all prominent Republicans. Whoever finally gets the nomination for 2016 will have multiple zombies as his running mates."

Questions for Krugman:
  • US national debt is now $18.2 trillion (some $154,000 per taxpayer) and rising by the second. Is this sustainable?
  • What are Hillary's ideas concerning US debt? Oh, that's right, she has none. (She is making a point of not expressing ideas about anything.)
  • What are the ideas of Hillary's opponents for the Democratic nomination? Oh, that's right, she has no opponents, unless you actually believe that Martin O'Malley stands a chance.
It's strange how Krugman failed to add Hillary to his list of 2016 zombies.

More peculiar, however, is how Krugman has absolutely nothing to say about Hillary's Uranium One scandal. Even the editorial board of the Times declared today:

"Hillary Rodham Clinton’s determination to reconnect with voters in localized, informative settings is commendable, but is in danger of being overshadowed by questions about the interplay of politics and wealthy foreign donors who support the Clinton Foundation.

. . . .

The increasing scrutiny of the foundation has raised several points that need to be addressed by Mrs. Clinton and the former president. These relate most importantly to the flow of multimillions in donations from foreigners and others to the foundation, how Mrs. Clinton dealt with potential conflicts as secretary of state and how she intends to guard against such conflicts should she win the White House.

The only plausible answer is full and complete disclosure of all sources of money going to the foundation."

But why should any of this mess, which has absolutely nothing to do with campaign finance or global economics, weigh upon someone as idealistic as Paul Krugman?

[See also "New York Times Editorial, "Candidate Clinton and the Foundation": A Sugar-Coated Slap on the Wrist."]

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New York Times Editorial, "Candidate Clinton and the Foundation": A Sugar-Coated Slap on the Wrist

Yesterday, DNC Chairman Howard Dean responded to questions concerning the Uranium One Scandal by accusing The New York Times of "sloppy" reporting. What does The New York Times have to say about this? In an editorial entitled "Candidate Clinton and the Foundation," The New York Times blithely informs us, "Nothing illegal has been alleged about the foundation, the global philanthropic initiative founded by former President Bill Clinton."

"Nothing illegal has been alleged about the foundation"? Oh really? As stated by Mitt Romney on the Hugh Hewitt Show:

"I’ve got to tell you, I was stunned by it. I mean, it looks like bribery. I mean, there's every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of what - twenty percent of Amercia's uranium production to Russia, and then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals and by erasing emails. I presume we might know for sure whether there was or was not bribery if she hadn't wiped out thousands of emails. But this is a very, very serious series of facts, and it looks like bribery."

Does it indeed look like bribery? Have another look at the Times article entitled "Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company" by Jo Becker and Mike McIntire:

"As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock."

Question: Prior to the deal, had Uranium One's chairman ever donated funds to the Clinton Foundation?

But why should we believe anything that Mitt Romney tells us? After all, he put the family dog on the roof of his car when driving to Canada on vacation . . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Uranium One: Hillary's Quest for the Presidency Is Over!

Today, a New York Times article entitled "Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company," written by Jo Becker and Mike McIntire, tells us how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, acquired Uranium One, a Canadian company with extensive uranium interests around the globe, including uranium mines in the US. More important, we are informed by Becker and McIntire:

"Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock."

Moreover, Becker and McIntire acknowledge that their investigation is tied to material appearing in Peter Schweizer's new book, "Clinton Cash":

"The New York Times’s examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada, Russia and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of the forthcoming book 'Clinton Cash.' Mr. Schweitzer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting."

Over the past several days, Clinton supporters have sought to disparage Schweitzer and his book. David Brock, interviewed on "Morning Joe," stated, "I think what we’re going to be left with here is 100 percent innuendo." However, the Times article seems to put an end to such claims.

  • How soon will government inquiries be launched against Hillary and Bill?
  • How soon will Hillary withdraw her candidacy?
  • How soon will Biden and Warren announce their candidacies?
  • Will the radioactive fallout extend to the Obama administration?

[See also the lead Washington Post article entitled "For Clintons, speech income shows how their wealth is intertwined with charity" by Rosalind S. Helderman. Also watch DNC Chairman Howard Dean accuse The New York Times of "sloppy" journalism on "Morning Joe."]

Thomas Friedman, "Deal or No Deal?": How Dumb Do They Come?

And here I thought that David Ignatius's Washington Post opinion piece of today's date about achieving balance beween Shiite Iran and its Sunni neighbors by asking Saudi Arabia and the UAE to focus on their own internal affairs was asinine . . .

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Deal or No Deal?," Thomas Friedman, another would-be Middle Expert and Obama apologist, writes:

"But what is hard to implement is a complex arms control deal with an adversary you don’t trust — like Iran or North Korea. Each moving part requires some good will from the other side, and, because there are so many moving parts, the opportunities for cheating are manifold. It requires constant vigilance. Are the United States, Russia, China and Europe up for that for a decade? After the Iraq invasion, we took our eye off North Korea, and it diverted nuclear fuel for a bomb. With Iran, the U.S. Energy Department is planning to put a slew of new, on-the-ground monitoring devices into every cranny of Iran’s nuclear complex, which should help. But there also has to be zero-tolerance for cheating — and a very high price if there is."

Query: How do you install on-the-ground monitoring devices in facilities in Iran which are unknown to the US? Or to which Iran is not willing to permit access, e.g., the Parchin military base? Or in locations which are outside of Iran, e.g., in North Korea?

Friedman continues:

"Iran, with about 80 million people, is simply a more powerful and dynamic state today than most of the Sunni Arab states to its west, half of which have collapsed. Iran, even if it had good intentions, almost can’t help but project its power westward given the vacuum and frailty there. When Nixon opened to China, and helped unleash its economic prowess, China was largely surrounded by strong or economically powerful states to balance it. But an Iran enriched by billions in sanctions relief would be even more powerful vis-à-vis its weak Arab neighbors. Our Gulf Arab allies are deeply worried about this and are looking to the U.S. for both protection and more sophisticated arms. I get that. But unless we can find a way to truly ease tensions between Shiite Persians and Sunni Arabs, we will find ourselves unleashing Iran to the max while arming the Arabs to the teeth. Maintaining that balance will not be easy.

These are not reasons to reject the deal. They are reasons to finish it right."

Or in other words, let's find a way to end Sunni/Shiite enmity and mistrust lasting almost 1,400 years over the next 70 days.

Yeah, right.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

David Ignatius, "A tricky two-step in the Middle East": Applying Deodorant to Obama's Noxious Middle East Policy

Obama's relationship with America's traditional Sunni allies in the Middle East has reached a nadir. Back in February of this year, we already knew that Obama's purported coalition with Arab nations against ISIS was little more than a mirage: The UAE had ceased airstrikes in December,  and Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were not bombing inside Iraq. More recently, as Iranian-backed Houthis ran rampant over Yemen, America's Sunni allies in the Middle East began to rage over Obama's impotence. Now, as Obama prepares to give away the store in order to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran by the June 30 deadline, some of these nations are snubbing Obama's May 13 summit with Gulf leaders. However, if you believe the rubbish written by David Ignatius, Obama's foreign policy apologist at The Washington Post, these Sunni leaders have only to blame themselves.

In a WaPo opinion piece entitled "A tricky two-step in the Middle East, Ignatius concludes:

"In a radically unstable Middle East, it’s worth remembering two positive developments: First, the United States and Iran are talking productively after 36 years of enmity. And second, the United States is engaging honestly and creatively with its often prickly Gulf allies. Good policy would make these two trends converge in a way that, over the next decade, gradually stabilizes the region.

Gulf Arab leaders get offended when they hear Obama say, as he did to Tom Friedman of the New York Times, that 'the biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading . . . [but from] inside their own countries.' They shouldn’t worry. Such straight talk is part of a real friendship, and a real alliance."

As Obama prepares to legitimize Iran as a nuclear threshold power and to free up some $50 billion as a signing bonus - to be used by Tehran to arm its terrorist proxies - Saudi Arabia and the UAE are seeking "straight talk" from an American president they perceive as a naif?

I don't think so, David.

David Brooks, "The Talented Mr. Rubio": Running Against "Know-What-You're-Getting" Hillary?

All but endorsing Marco Rubio in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Talented Mr. Rubio," David Brooks writes:

"Can Rubio win a general election? Well, he believes more in expanding the party than in just mobilizing the base. In his past races, he’s done better than generic Republican candidates because of his success with Hispanics. Youth is America’s oldest tradition. Who’s to say that voters won’t side for the relative outsider over the know-what-you’re-getting Hillary Clinton?"

"Know-what-you're-getting" Hillary? Oh really? Perhaps someone could tell us where Hillary stands regarding Obama's nuclear dealings with Iran or the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

And then there are all the questions raised by Peter Schweizer's new book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”

Also, it's hard to know what we're getting after she erased those 30,000 emails.

On the other hand, one thing we will certainly be getting is Bill, for better or for worse.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mohammad Javad Zarif, "A Message From Iran": Do You Believe Zarif or Khamenei?

In a New York Times guest op-ed entitled "A Message From Iran," Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif declares:

"On a broader level, regional dialogue should be based on generally recognized principles and shared objectives, notably respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all states; inviolability of international boundaries; noninterference in internal affairs; peaceful settlement of disputes; impermissibility of threat or use of force; and promotion of peace, stability, progress and prosperity in the region."

But compare this missive with that of Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei in a tweet dated November 8, 2014:

"This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated."

Whom do you believe, the foreign minister or the supreme leader?

Or perhaps the foreign minister was calling for sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence, etc.,  in a region that is "Judenfrei"?

Fred Hiatt, "The defense of inaction in Syria": Read This Opinion Piece!

Also read "New Book, 'Clinton Cash,' Questions Foreign Donations to Foundation"

You will recall that yesterday I wrote:

"Heck, before campaigning as a woman, Hillary first needs to figure out how to behave like a human being. Forget the bullshit sniper fire in Bosnia. Ignore Benghazi and 'What difference at this point does it make?' Overlook 'Don't let anybody tell you that it's corporations and businesses that create jobs.' And put the 30,000 emails she recently deleted on a back burner. Instead, concentrate for just a moment on a Newsweek article of today's date entitled "Hillary Clinton's Big Benefactor Has Trade Links with Iran" by Rory Ross."

Or stated otherwise, Hillary has a humongous problem involving cash donations to the Clinton Foundation, and more to the point, she should not be running for president of the United States.

Well today, I have two must-reads for you: a New York Times article entitled "New Book, ‘Clinton Cash,’ Questions Foreign Donations to Foundation" by Amy Chozick, and a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "The defense of inaction in Syria," by Fred Hiatt.

First, a few words about the Times article. "Clinton Cash" will not be available in bookstores until May 5, but the Times has already gotten hold of a copy, and Times reporter Chozick labels the book "the most anticipated and feared book of a presidential cycle still in its infancy." Chozick further tells us:

"The book, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, asserts that foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation and to Mr. Clinton through high speaking fees received favors from Mrs. Clinton’s State Department in return.

. . . .

'Clinton Cash' is potentially more unsettling [than other recent books about the Clintons], both because of its focused reporting and because major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book.

. . . .

And the newly assembled Clinton campaign team is planning a full-court press to diminish the book as yet another conservative hit job."

"Another conservative hit job"? Good luck. It will prove extremely difficult to dismiss investigative reporting by the Times and WaPo as conservative hit jobs, and ultimately the Democrats, nearing election day in 2016, could find themselves without a candidate.

Which brings me to Hiatt's opinion piece concerning Obama's indifference to a humanitarian disaster in Syria. WaPo editorial page editor Hiatt writes:

"I don’t mean that Obama is the first president to stand by as atrocities unfold. He is not. Just as Obama has watched passively as Syria has unraveled, with hundreds of thousands killed and more than 11 million — half the nation — displaced, so President Bill Clinton did nothing to stop genocide in Rwanda, and President George W. Bush failed to stop the depredations in the Darfur region of Sudan.

But Clinton expressed remorse for his inaction in Rwanda. Americans in churches and synagogues demanded that Bush take steps to 'save Darfur.' The political will was lacking, but there was at least a sense of unease, even shame, that the United States would stand aside as so many innocents were slaughtered.

Syria’s four-year-long descent into hell, amply foretold and arguably the most preventable of the three calamities, has prompted little such soul-searching."

What does any of this have to do with Hillary? Simple. You will recall Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying of Syrian mass murderer Bashar al-Assad on "Face the Nation" in March 2011:

"There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer."

Maybe these words will also come back to haunt Hillary, unless absolutely nothing sticks to this Teflon lady.

Regarding Obama's inaction involving Syria, Hiatt writes:

"Obama has had multiple opportunities to take actions that might have prevented the crimes against humanity that continue today."

But if Obama had taken action, he would have ruffled the feathers of Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, who is Assad's primary benefactor. This, in turn, would have stood in the way of a nuclear agreement with Tehran, which in turn would have cost Obama his "legacy."

But this does not excuse Hillary's indifference as Obama's secretary of state to the abominations occurring in Syria.

Is $2.5 billion, the amount to be spent by Hillary to become president, sufficient to frighten away better qualified Democratic candidates and hoodwink the American electorate? Stay tuned . . .

Saturday, April 18, 2015

New York Times Editorial, "Anti-Semitism in the Soccer Stands": The Pot Calls the Kettle Black

In an editorial entitled "Anti-Semitism in the Soccer Stands," The New York Times writes of anti-Semitic conduct by fans and players during European football matches:

"It is absurd to claim, as some soccer apologists do, that this is no more than the usual rough give-and-take of pumped-up, and sometimes liquored-up, spectators. The history of anti-Semitism in Europe is too deep and too raw not to see the problem for the hate-mongering it is. Even neo-Nazi salutes have been brandished at games by fans and an occasional player.

. . . .

European clubs that campaigned for years to rein in racism claim some progress. Officials must be no less aggressive in stopping the anti-Jewish slurs from being heard around the playing field."

Now if only The New York Times could be "no less aggressive in stopping the anti-Jewish slurs from being heard around" its pages. The Times fails to consider an op-ed entitled “Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir” by Thomas Friedman, in which Tom Terrific declared:

"I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."

Similarly, the Times ignores the conduct of columnist Nicholas Kristof. As was reported in an article entitled "Nick Kristof’s Piggishness," written by Adam Kredo for The Washington Free Beacon:

"New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is facing criticism after retweeting a controversial message that referred to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the National Rifle Association as 'the 2 most pig like lobbies' in America.

Longtime Israel critic M.J. Rosenberg, who was dumped by the liberal Media Matters for America for his use of borderline anti-Semitic language, authored the controversial tweet Wednesday afternoon. It called to mind recently unearthed statements by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi that referred to Jews as 'pigs.'"
Why was I not surprised by Kristof's retweet? As I explained in an article entitled "Nicholas Kristof, Israel, and Double Standards" for The Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, Kristof routinely rails against purported Israeli injustices, while ignoring the improprieties of other democracies.

Times columnist Roger Cohen? Have a look at the title of one of Cohen's op-eds, "Obama in Netanyahu's Web," which was painfully in keeping with the anti-Semitic tradition of depicting Jews as voracious spiders, and which, according to a very senior Times editor, "was not a good headline."

Consider also the behavior of certain "fans" of the The New York Times, whose horrifying anti-Semitic comments were routinely published by the Times, notwithstanding purported "moderation" by this would-be beacon of ethical journalism. (I no longer read comments appearing in the Times, and I have no idea whether Andrew Rosenthal has been able to bring this disgusting "phenomenon" under control.)

And what about the editorial board of the Times itself? Several days ago, in an editorial entitled "President Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Moves," an alarmed New York Times observed:

"President Vladimir Putin of Russia has added new, chilling nuclear threats to his aggression in Ukraine, where 6,000 people have been killed in a war with Russian-backed separatists."

If only the editoral board of the Times could express the same level of concern over Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei's calls to annihilate Israel.

I would suggest to the editorial board of the Times that anti-Semitism in the United States, particularly its "highbrow" form in the media, can be just as sinister as the baser strains of this disease which exist in the Middle East and Europe. Moreover, American anti-Semitism is far "closer to home" than the editorial board would care to believe.

Maureen Dowd, "Granny Get Your Gun": "Figure Out How to Campaign as a Woman"? First Learn to Behave Like a Human Being!

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Granny Get Your Gun," Maureen Dowd begins by observing:

"THE most famous woman on the planet has a confounding problem. She can’t figure out how to campaign as a woman."

"She can’t figure out how to campaign as a woman"? Heck, before campaigning as a woman, Hillary first needs to figure out how to behave like a human being. Forget the bullshit sniper fire in Bosnia. Ignore Benghazi and "What difference at this point does it make?" Overlook "Don't let anybody tell you that it's corporations and businesses that create jobs." And put the 30,000 emails she recently deleted on a back burner. Instead, concentrate for just a moment on a Newsweek article of today's date entitled "Hillary Clinton's Big Benefactor Has Trade Links with Iran" by Rory Ross. As noted by Ross, Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk earlier this year "was confirmed as the largest individual contributor to the Clinton Foundation." Ross goes on to say:

"The fourth richest man in Ukraine, Pinchuk owns Interpipe Group, a Cyprus-incorporated manufacturer of seamless pipes used in oil and gas sectors.

Newsweek has seen declarations and documents from Ukraine that show a series of shipments from Interpipe to Iran in 2011 and 2012, including railway parts and products commonly used in the oil and gas sectors.

Among a number of high-value invoices for products related to rail or oil and gas, one shipment for $1.8m (1.7m) in May 2012 was for 'seamless hot-worked steel pipes for pipelines' and destined for a city near the Caspian Sea.

Both the rail and oil and gas sectors are sanctioned by the US, which specifically prohibits any single invoice to the Iranian petrochemical industry worth more than $1m."

Yes, this would sink any other candidate, but perhaps not Hillary, who is made of Teflon and to whom nothing sticks.

Also have a look at a Business Insider article entitled "There are some intense procedures for having coffee with Hillary Clinton" by Hunter Walker published yesterday. As noted by Walker:

"Clinton started the final day of her first campaign trail trip on Thursday by having coffee with a group of five local leaders in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Business Insider spoke with most of the attendees, and they explained the high level of secrecy that surrounded the event one of them dubbed 'the thrill of a lifetime.' There were warnings about leaks, drives to undisclosed locations, and a campaign staffer who confiscated the guests' cellphones ahead of the sitdown."

Confiscation of cell phones so as to avoid recordings of potential gaffs that could find their way into the news? Sorry, but this isn't normal. But then Hillary and her $2.5 billion campaign are not normal. Let's see if America is ready to buy into it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Obama Caves to Khamenei: Amenable to Immediate Cessation of Sanctions and Apathetic to Supply of S-300 Air Defense Systems

Quite honestly, I didn't see this coming so soon: Speaking at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Renzi at the White House on Friday, Obama declared that the US is willing to discuss the immediate cessation of sanctions against Iran, and expressed indifference to the supply of Russian S-300 air defense systems to Tehran. As reported by The Times of Israel:

"US President Barack Obama on Friday left open the door to “creative negotiations” in response to Iran’s demand that punishing sanctions be immediately lifted as part of a nuclear deal, even though the initial agreement calls for the penalties to be removed over time.

Asked whether he would definitively rule out lifting sanctions at once as part of a final deal aimed at keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, Obama said he didn’t want to get ahead of negotiators in how to work through the potential sticking point. He said his main concern is making sure that if Iran violates an agreement, sanctions can quickly be reinstated — the so-called 'snap back' provision.

. . . .

The president also weighed in on Russia’s announcement earlier this week that it would lift a five-year ban on delivery of anti-aircraft missiles, giving the Islamic republic’s military a strong deterrent against any air attack. The White House initially objected, but Obama said, 'I’m frankly surprised that it held this long.'"

A "snap back" provision? Obama knows that both Russia and China will prevent a future American president from reimposing sanctions against Iran, whether by way of seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution or otherwise. Meanwhile, the lifting of all sanctions means that billions of dollars will instantly flow to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and the Houthis in Yemen.

Obama is surprised that the ban on Russian supply of S-300 systems "held this long"? In fact the sale by Russia with the American president's tacit approval is very in much in keeping with Obama's 2012 pledge to Putin via Medvedev that after his reelection, he would have "more flexibility."

Why has Obama decided to become the first American president to sponsor terrorism, albeit in a roundabout fashion? As I suggested in a prior blog entry, Obama sincerely believes that enfeeblement of Israel by means of empowering an implacable foe, i.e. Iran, can bring peace to the Middle East. And then there is also the matter of this narcissist's "legacy."

Now we can only wait and see if there is a sufficient number of Democrats in Congress with the courage to oppose Obama, who has shed his last vestige of decorative moderation.

David Brooks, "When Cultures Shift": The Need to Climb Out of a Narcissistic Chasm

Hillary Clinton will be spending $2.5 billion to be elected president of the United States, and notwithstanding the fact that we know very little about this person, most voters think she will win. Do we know where she stands vis-a-vis Obama's efforts to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran? Not a chance. Do we know Hillary's position regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Nada. Do we know whether she still has intimate relations with Bill, or is, or has been, involved with someone else? No way, Jose. After all, there was a reason why all of those thousands of emails were erased: What we don't know about Hillary can't hurt her, because, in the final analysis, it's all about her.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "When Cultures Shift," David Brooks describes an American "cultural shift" over the past 70 years to "the Big Me." Brooks's conclusion:

"The romantic culture of self-glorification has to be balanced with an older philosophic tradition, based on the realistic acknowledgment that we are all made of crooked timber and that we need help to cope with our own tendency to screw things up. That great tradition and body of wisdom was accidentally tossed aside in the late 1940s. It’s worth reviving and modernizing it."

Okay, but how do you go about dragging Narcissus away from his reflection? Even the ancient Greeks recognized that it's not so easy.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Michael Gerson, "What is the president doing on Iran?": Naivete, Narcissism or Enfeebling Israel?

Testifying on Wednesday before the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power declared:

"We will look to see what will advance Israel’s security and what will advance peace in the region."

In fact, we have heard something very similar in the past from Power, who in 2002 advocated sending a mammoth protection force to prevent a massacre of Palestinians by Israel. At the time, Power further declared:

"What we need is a willingness to actually put something on the line in the service of helping the situation. And putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import."

Needless to say, Power subsequently denied any animus toward Israel; however, she obviously now appears willing to impose a peace upon Israel of Obama's design.

Today in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "What is the president doing on Iran?," Michael Gerson observes that a final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 is "likely — and likely to be bad — unless Khamenei is incapable of getting to 'yes.'" Actually, such an agreement is likely only if Obama is incapable of getting to "no," notwithstanding total abrogation of the US State Department's "fact sheet," which purports to describe the basis for the Lausanne framework understanding.

Gerson concludes:

"Obama’s grand strategy, meanwhile, remains a cipher. He could believe that a nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions will help transform Iran into a more benevolent regional power — which is naive. He could be making the move of an uber-realist — trying to extricate the United States from involvement in the Middle East by recognizing Iranian hegemony and developing a working relationship with the worst of the worst. This would fulfill the nightmares of Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Or Obama could have no strategy at all — in need of a political win, desperately hoping for a legacy and too invested to walk away."

Or stated otherwise, Gerson is asking whether Obama is acting out of naivete or narcissism. However, a third possibility exists: Obama sincerely believes that enfeebling Israel by empowering an implacable foe, i.e. Iran, can bring peace to the Middle East. Regrettably, this possibility, seemingly amenable to Power, cannot be discounted.

New York Times Editorial, "President Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Moves": Maintain Sanctions on Russia, but Not on Iran

In an editorial entitled "President Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Moves," an alarmed New York Times begins by observing:

"President Vladimir Putin of Russia has added new, chilling nuclear threats to his aggression in Ukraine, where 6,000 people have been killed in a war with Russian-backed separatists. Mr. Putin wants to expand his country’s influence and standing, but his alarming behavior has estranged Russia from most other major powers, damaged its economy and narrowed its future options.

Even for Mr. Putin, the recent nuclear threats have set a new benchmark for hostility in the conflict he has ignited with the West. Two weeks ago, The Times of London reported on a meeting between Russian generals and American officials in which the Russians threatened a 'spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military' if NATO moved more military forces into the Baltic States."

The Times's conclusion:

"Russia’s bellicose behavior is a serious test for NATO, which has sometimes shown disturbing divisions. The Europeans and the United States have to stay united in maintaining sanctions on Russia and in continuing air patrols and training exercises, as it becomes increasingly difficult to predict Mr. Putin’s next move."

Hey, isn't this the same Putin whom Obama asked Medvedev to inform, "After my election, I have more flexibility"?

And isn't this the same Russia which, according to John Kerry, agreed that the US State Department "fact sheet" describing the Lausanne "framework understanding" was accurate, yet at the same time declared its intention to deliver S-300 advanced air defense systems to Tehran?

And aren't Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei's calls to annihilate Israel equally "chilling"? (Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.)

So why should the Europeans and the United States "stay united in maintaining sanctions on Russia," but not on Iran?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Fact Sheet Issued by Iran's Parliament: Drastic Revisions of Lausanne Statement Required

If anyone still believes that sufficient common ground was achieved in Lausanne, justifying the declaration of a framework understanding between Iran and the P5+1, he (I'm talking about you, John Kerry) should have a look at the "fact sheet" released today by the Iranian parliament. As reported by Fars News:

"The Iranian parliament's Nuclear Committee on Wednesday released a factsheet to declare the revisions needed to be made in the Lausanne statement that was issued by Tehran and the world powers as a framework understanding at the end of their nuclear talks in Switzerland earlier this month.

The factsheet which was presented by Head of the Nuclear Committee Ebrahim Karkhaneyee on Wednesday stresses the necessity for respecting the redlines and guidelines specified by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, making Iran's decisions and undertakings reversible to enable the country to resume its nuclear operations in case of the other side's non-commitment to its undertakings, and immediate termination of all sanctions in a single step and on the first day of the implementation of the final agreement.

The factsheet also necessitates commitment of both sides to their undertakings based on the Geneva agreement, a fair and reasonable balance between the gives and takes, taking good care not to impair the country's security and military boundaries and national interests, providing 190,000 SWUs (Separative Work Units) of nuclear fuel enrichment capability needed by Iran to produce fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant immediately after the end of contract with Russia, safeguarding the nuclear achievements, actual operation of all nuclear facilities of Iran not in words, but in action, continued Research and Development (R&D) works and scientific and technological progress in Iran and immediate application of R&D findings in the country's industrial-scale uranium enrichment cycle.

The factsheet urges operation of 10,000 centrifuge machines at Natanz and Fordo, a maximum 5-year-long duration for the deal and for Iran's nuclear limitations, replacement of the current centrifuges with the latest generation of home-made centrifuge machines at the end of the five-year period."

Or stated otherwise, there never was a framework understanding, and if the Lausanne statement relected any commonality whatsoever between the sides, it is now null and void.

Was the Iranian parliament responding to the bipartisan compromise reached by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding Senator Bob Corker's bill? Possibly. In any event, there is simply no way that Iran and the P5+1 are going to reach a final agreement by the end of June.

Thomas Friedman, "What’s Up With You?": Tom's Truth About China Will Set You Free

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "What’s Up With You?," Thomas Friedman would explain to us America's relationship with China:

"But here’s the truth: the American and Chinese economies and futures today are now totally intertwined, so much so that they are the real 'one country-two systems' to watch.

. . . .

Both countries almost take for granted the ties that bind them today: the $600 billion in annual bilateral trade; the 275,000 Chinese studying in America, and the 25,000 Americans studying in China; the fact that China is now America’s largest agricultural market and the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt; and the fact that last year Chinese investment in the United States for the first time exceeded American investment in China."

Ah yes, the "truth." Friedman could have also mentioned that the prison population in the US is the highest in the world, with second place going to China. On the other hand, the US doesn't even come near China's world-leading number of executions per annum. (Iran under its "moderate" president Hassan Rouhnai is executing people, including homosexuals and women accused of adultery, at a record pace and coming up fast in this category.)

Observing a trend toward innovation in China, Friedman writes of Chinese President Xi:

"Xi has begun a huge push for 'innovation,' for transforming China’s economy from manufacturing and assembly to more knowledge-intensive work, so this one-child generation will be able to afford to take care of two retiring parents in a country with an inadequate social-safety net.

. . . .

President Xi seems to be betting that China is big enough and smart enough to curb the Internet and political speech just enough to prevent dissent but not enough to choke off innovation. This is the biggest bet in the world today. And if he’s wrong (and color me dubious) we’re all going to feel it."

"We're all going to feel it"? Especially if American is forced to pay back its $1.3 trillion debt to China anytime soon.

Meanwhile, if China is successful in its push for innovation, one can only wonder what it will do with it 3 million slave laborers. (No mention of slave labor in Tom's opinion piece.)

"One country-two systems"? "Two systems" without a doubt, but "one country" is more than I can stomach.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New York Times Editorial, "A Reckless Act in the Senate on Iran": Obama Livid With Corker

Obama is furious with the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee for reaching a bipartisan compromise over Bob Corker's bill, which will require Congress to approve or disapprove a final deal involving Iranian nuclear development. How do we know the president is so angry? Because the semi-official mouthpiece of the Obama administration, The New York Times, has expressed his resentment. In an editorial entitled "A Reckless Act in the Senate on Iran," the Times declares:

"Congress has formally muscled its way into President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, creating new and potentially dangerous uncertainties for an agreement that offers the best chance of restraining that country’s nuclear program.

. . . .

there is no constitutional imperative requiring Congress to insert itself into the negotiations, which are the only effective means to block Iran from developing a nuclear weapon."

Of course, it would have been appropriate for the Times to mention that Obama has acknowledged that after 13 years Iran will be free to develop a nuclear arsenal, and any "restraint" is temporary.

The Times also tells us:

"Even if Congress barred Mr. Obama from waiving American sanctions, the European Union and the United Nations Security Council could lift the sanctions they imposed, thus undercutting the American decision."

Remarkably, there is no mention in this propaganda piece of Russia's decision, in the aftermath of the Lausanne "framework understanding," to sell advanced S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. Supply of these missiles to Iran will complicate any future air strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. But more to the point, Russia is already waiving American sanctions, although a final agreement with Iran has yet to be reached.

How sad that we have reached the point where The New York Times is incapable of anything other than obsequious propaganda.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ruth Marcus, "Hillary Clinton’s insultingly vapid video": What You Don't Know About Hillary Can't Hurt Her

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Hillary Clinton’s insultingly vapid video," uber-liberal Ruth Marcus expresses "disappointment" with Hillary's announcement video:

"The more I watch Hillary Clinton’s announcement video, the less I like it. This may be putting it mildly.

. . . .

[T]he video was relentlessly, insultingly vapid — a Verizon commercial without the substance.

. . . .

[A]n announcement video isn’t the moment for a detailed policy platform, but it is, or should be, a venue for at least nodding to specific goals.

. . . .

Might I suggest, candidate Clinton? The best way to demonstrate your humility to voters is to take them and their presidential choice seriously, not to pander and condescend."

Apparently Marcus doesn't "get it," or doesn't want to "get it." Hillary Clinton is all about narcissism, condescension and entitlement, and the advisers of her $2.5 billion campaign have painstakingly determined that what you don't know about Hillary can't hurt her.

Is John Kerry to Be Awarded an Honorary Doctorate From Clown School?

You can't make this stuff up:

On Sunday, John Kerry told "Face the Nation":

"The Russians, who are not our usual allies, released a statement saying that what we have put out in terms of our information [i.e. fact sheet] is both reliable and accurate."

Well today, Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to complain about Moscow's decision to sell advanced S-300 air-defense systems to Iran. Lavrov is claiming that the Lausanne "framework understanding" makes the sale permissible. Kerry disagrees.

I guess that Kerry and Lavrov are not on the same page concerning the American fact sheet after all.

Moreover, you can be certain that if Iran violates a final nuclear agreement, the Russians will be there to help reinstate, i.e. "snap back" as Obama puts it, sanctions . . . not. Why won't the Russians agreen to reinstate sanctions? Because the end of sanctions is what will allow Iran to pay for its expensive new Russian air defense systems.

No, John, you're not in line for a Nobel Peace Prize; however, you just might be receiving in the mail an honorary doctorate from clown school.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New York Times Editorial, "A New Phase in Anti-Obama Attacks": Republicans Oppose Deal With Khamenei Because Obama Is Black

Did you happen to see pictures of Obama's joyous meeting with Cuban leader Raul Castro on Saturday in Panama City? I haven't seen Obama so happy with a foreign leader since his encounter with Venezualan strongman Hugo Chavez in April 2009. After conversing with Castro this past weekend, Obama declared:

"What we have both concluded is that we can disagree with a spirit of respect and civility."

A pity that Obama never broke into such a toothy grin while speaking with Netanyahu or declared following any of his meetings with the Israeli prime minister, "We can disagree with a spirit of respect and civility."

Today, in an editorial entitled "A New Phase in Anti-Obama Attacks," The New York Times begins:

"It is a peculiar, but unmistakable, phenomenon: As Barack Obama’s presidency heads into its twilight, the rage of the Republican establishment toward him is growing louder, angrier and more destructive.

. . . .

It is a line of attack that echoes Republicans’ earlier questioning of Mr. Obama’s American citizenship. Those attacks were blatantly racist in their message — reminding people that Mr. Obama was black, suggesting he was African, and planting the equally false idea that he was secretly Muslim. The current offensive is slightly more subtle, but it is impossible to dismiss the notion that race plays a role in it.

Perhaps the most outrageous example of the attack on the president’s legitimacy was a letter signed by 47 Republican senators to the leadership of Iran saying Mr. Obama had no authority to conclude negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program."

I understand: The Republicans, and possibly Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez, too, are opposing Obama's parlous nuclear deal with Khamenei (see Jackson Diehl's Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Obama rolls the dice on Iran") because Obama is black. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Obama's foreign policy agenda, which fosters love and understanding of tyrants across the globe. I don't think I will ever forget Obama asking Medvedev to inform Putin, "After my election, I have more flexibility."

Plainly, The New York Times knows no shame.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Maureen Dowd, "Grandmama Mia!": The Seinfeld Candidacy

Seinfeld, a sitcom about nothing that ran for nine seasons until 1998, is still remembered as one the most extraordinary television series of all time. Unfortunately, that same greatness cannot be ascribed to Hillary Clinton, a politician who has also been running for many seasons, and who is also about nothing . . . with the exception of  herself. Where does Hillary stand regarding Obama's controversial "framework understanding" with Iran? No one knows. Moreover, she's not about to let you know. After all, what you don't know can't hurt her.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Grandmama Mia!," Maureen Dowd, who is no fan of the Clintons, cuts Hillary to ribbons:

"President Obama has said: 'If she’s her wonderful self, I’m sure she’s going to do great.' But which self is that?"

Dowd's scathing conclusion?

"'I’m more convinced than ever that our future in the 21st century depends on our ability to ensure that a child born in the hills of Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or the Rio Grande Valley grows up with the same shot at success that Charlotte will,' she wrote, referring to her granddaughter [in an updated epilogue to 'Hard Choices']."

. . . .

But if Hillary really wants to help those children, maybe she should give them some of the ostensible and obscene $2.5 billion that she is planning to spend to persuade us to make her grandmother of our country."

But the stench extends far beyond the fortune she plans to spend on making herself the fairest of them all. How can this person consider running for the highest office of the United States after erasing 31,830 allegedly "personal" emails, sent and received while secretary of state from a private server? Or after her family foundation received millions of dollars from foreign governments, e.g., Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Algeria, while she was serving in this position? Unless, of course, it makes no difference to a frivolous electorate bewitched by the glitter, but mindless of the rot.

Robert Galluci and Joel Wit, "North Korea’s Real Lessons for Iran": Failure's Silver Lining

Today, we are the beneficiaries of a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "North Korea’s Real Lessons for Iran" by Robert Galluci and Joel Wit. As we are told at the bottom of the opinion piece, Galluci, "a professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University, was the chief negotiator for the 1994 nuclear deal with North Korea," and Wit, "a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins, was the coordinator for the deal from 1995 to 1999." Telling us that "we should not be surprised if Tehran is caught cheating," these two gentlement have a suggestion for us:

"For Iran, we need a mechanism for resolving disputes and a plan for political, economic and possibly military steps to deal with violations that we and our partners have agreed on beforehand."

Questions for these two men: Given America's rocky relationship with both Russia and China, wouldn't it have been wise for the P5+1 to have agreed among themselves upon such a mechanism long before the June 30, 2015 deadline for a comprehensive agreement with Iran? Moreover, do Gallucci and Wit honestly believe, given recent joint naval exercises between Russia and Iran and China and Iran, that agreement pertaining to military steps is even possible? In addition, are they of the opinion that once European corporations again sell goods to Iran, it will be so easy to persuade Germany, for example, to swiftly reintroduce ("snap back" in Obama's words) a sanctions regime?

Most disturbing, however, is how Gallucci and Wit seek to explain that North Korea's production of atomic weaponry in violation of its agreement with the US has a silver lining:

"Although our policy ultimately failed, the agreement did not. Without the 1994 deal, North Korea would have built the bomb sooner, stockpiled weapons more quickly and amassed a much larger arsenal by now. Intelligence estimates in the early 1990s concluded that the North’s nuclear program was so advanced that it could produce 30 Nagasaki-size nuclear weapons a year by the end of the decade. More than 20 years later, that still hasn’t happened."

Or in other words, it could have been worse. How comforting . . .

But suppose now that Iran cheats (as Gallucci and Wit seem to expect), how many atomic bombs will it take to "annihilate" Israel, which is the size of New Jersey? Two? Three? Or perhaps they would have us discount Khamenei's November 2014 tweet:

"This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated."

Sorry, boys, but I take Iran's Supreme Leader at his word.

Friday, April 10, 2015

David Brooks, "The Revolution Lives!": The "Framework" Is Crumbling!

Obama's so-called "framework understanding" with Iran is crumbling. On Thursday, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei declared that "sanctions should be lifted completely, on the very day of the deal," and inspection of Iranian military bases would not be tolerated as part of any final agreement. Regarding Khamenei's refusal to allow inspection of military bases, a lead New York Times article entitled "Iranian Leader Says Sanctions Must Lift When Deal Is Signed" by Thomas Erdbrink and David E. Sanger, today states:

"While Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have said the inspection requirements they have negotiated would be among the most intrusive in history, they have not said whether they would extend to military sites. Several of the sites the United States is most concerned about in Iran are on military bases, including Fordo. Inspectors have visited the site regularly, and the atomic energy agency has, periodically, been allowed onto other military bases."

Well, I sent an email to David Sanger and asked:

"Why do you choose not to make reference to Iran's Parchin military base? As you know, the IAEA has been seeking access to Parchin since 2005, but has been refused entry."

Iran is suspected of testing atomic bomb components at Parchin over the past several years, and I await Sanger's reply.

And now, David Brooks has stepped into the fray. In a Times op-ed entitled "The Revolution Lives!, Brooks begins by observing, "President Obama’s deal with Iran is really a giant gamble on the nature of the Iranian regime." Observing that "the West wants a deal more than Khamenei does" and "[t]hat imbalance explains why Western negotiators had to give away so many of their original demands," Brooks concludes:

"If Iran still has revolutionary intent, then no amount of treaty subtlety will enforce this deal. Iran will begin subtly subverting any agreement. It will continue to work on its advanced nuclear technology even during the agreement. It will inevitably use nuclear weaponry, or even the threat of eventual nuclear weaponry, to advance its apocalyptic interests. Every other regional power will prepare for the worst, and we’ll get a pseudo-nuclear-arms race in a region of disintegrating nation-states.

. . . .

At some point, there has to be a scintilla of evidence that Iran wants to change. Khamenei’s speech offers none. Negotiating an arms treaty with Brezhnev and Gorbachev was one thing. But with this guy? Good luck with that."

"Negotiating" with Khamenei. In fact, Obama's "fire sale" tactics with Khamenei, pursuant to which everything effectively is being given away, only targets one objective: the creation of a legacy for a president consumed by narcissism.

[See also: "Farred Zakaria, "Is Iran rational?": Which Other Country Hangs Homosexuals?"]

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Farred Zakaria, "Is Iran rational?": Which Other Country Hangs Homosexuals?

In his latest Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Is Iran rational?," Obama cheerleader Fareed Zakaria admits that Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei might reject the cost/benefit balance deriving
from the so-called Lausanne "understanding," yet, at the same time, he makes the argument that Iran's quest for an atomic bomb is "rational." Zakaria writes:

"Look at a map of the Middle East. Shiite Iran is surrounded by hostile Sunni states. Across the Persian Gulf sits Saudi Arabia, its fanatically anti-Shiite and well-armed archenemy . (Last year, Saudi Arabia was the largest weapons importer on the planet.) In Iraq and Syria, Iran faces large Sunni insurgencies dedicated to slaughtering the Shiites. Add to this the nuclear dimension. Iran has several nuclear-armed neighbors — Pakistan, India, Russia, China and Israel.

Plus, Iran has faced active opposition from the world’s superpower for more than three decades."

. . . .

[G]iven these realities, is it so bizarre that Iran has behaved as it has? Or that it has sought to build a nuclear industry that could give it a pathway to a nuclear weapon? Would a secular, hyperrational country facing this same array of threats have acted differently?"

Or in other words, Zakaria is acknowledging what the Obama administration refuses to say: Tehran's heart is set upon an atomic bomb.

But now do a search of Zakaria's opinion piece and look for the word "homosexual." You won't find it. The significance? Allow me to answer this question with another question: A "rational" nation requires nuclear weapons so that it can continue to hang homosexuals . . . and stone to death women accused of adultery, and brutally persecute Baha'is, Christians, Kurds and Sunnis, and hang poets for "waging war on God"?

Sorry, Fareed. Your friend Obama might love this argument, but I don't buy it.

Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, "The Iran Deal and Its Consequences": Coaxing Obama Down From His Tree

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece entitled "The Iran Deal and Its Consequences," Henry Kissinger and George Shultz yesterday diplomatically concluded:

"Until clarity on an American strategic political concept is reached, the projected nuclear agreement will reinforce, not resolve, the world’s challenges in the region. Rather than enabling American disengagement from the Middle East, the nuclear framework is more likely to necessitate deepening involvement there—on complex new terms. History will not do our work for us; it helps only those who seek to help themselves."

Or stated otherwise, a nuclear deal with Iran will not provide Obama with a legacy of the kind Nixon established for himself by seeking to normalize relations with China. Quite the contrary, Obama, a foreign policy naif, has embarked on a mission of self-aggrandizement, which is apt to spawn disaster, i.e. turn nuclear arms into conventional weapons.

One can only wonder what Kissinger and Shultz would have added had they known of Iranian President Rouhani's televised declaration today that "We will not sign any deal unless all sanctions are lifted on the same day."

No less remarkable was Marie Harf's attempt on Tuesday to explain away Obama's admission that after 13 years of signing a deal with Iran, "breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero."

It just can't get any worse.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New York Times Editorial, "Israel’s Unworkable Demands on Iran": The Times Forgets, "No Deal Is Better Than a Bad Deal"

Who cares if "Iran's foreign minister and nuclear chief both told a closed-door session of the parliament on Tuesday that the country would inject UF6 gas into the latest generation of its centrifuge machines as soon as a final nuclear deal goes into effect by Tehran and the six world powers"? It's more important for The New York Times to safeguard Obama from Netanyahu's opposition to the president's legacy-generating nuclear framework "deal" with Iran, and in an editorial entitled "Israel’s Unworkable Demands on Iran," The New York Times  comes out swinging, albeit in punch-drunk fashion. The editorial begins by informing us:

"There are important details to be worked out before a final agreement is expected to be concluded by June 30. Even so, the framework is surprisingly comprehensive and offers the best potential for preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

The "framework is surprisingly comprehensive"? According to whose "fact sheet"? That prepared by the US, Iran or France? Inspection, sanctions and disposition of Iranian stocks of enriched uranium are all in dispute. Worse still, the "framework" - according to all parties - does not seek to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Rather, the "framework" would allow Iran to begin building its nuclear arsenal within 15 years, and this time frame will certainly be negotiated downward by Iran when it again meets with the P5+1 to forge a final agreement. None other than Obama has acknowledged that pursuant to the current framework, "in Year 13, 14, 15, they [would] have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero."

The editorial continues:

"Israel has demanded that Iran allow inspections 'anywhere, anytime' by international monitors, ship its stockpile of enriched uranium out of the country and disclose past nuclear-related activities that might involve military uses."

My goodness, how unreasonable those pesky Israelis are proving themselves! Can you imagine anyone demanding "anywhere, anytime" inspections from those wholesome, trusty Iranians, who have repeatedly proven that they have nothing to hide . . . other than, for example, the Fordow nuclear development facility that was built into a mountain. (Of course, if you seek to conduct nuclear research for medical purposes, the research facility should always be built into a bomb-proof mountain.) But wait! Didn't US deputy national security adviser for strategic communication Ben Rhodes just inform us that there would be anywhere, anytime 24/7 inspections - something which is hotly disputed by Iran?

The Times goes on to say:

"While the deal does not grant international monitors the right to go anywhere, anytime, it does impose a tough inspection regime and establishes a commission to resolve disputes if Iran blocks access to a suspected site."

Ah yes, a "commission." Excuse me, friends, but are we talking about a UN "commission"? And how much time would it take for an Iran-friendly UN commission to adjudicate an IAEA request to inspect a suspicious site? Until today, the IAEA has been denied access to the Parchin military base.

The Times would have us know that Netanyahu's "new demands are unrealistic and, if pursued, would not mean a better deal but no deal at all." But as we have been repeatedly told by the Obama administration, "No deal is better than a bad deal."

This is a bad "deal."

David Ignatius, "The delicate path ahead on Iran": A Visit to Disneyland

The delusional nature of the US State Department's purported "fact sheet," detailing the Lausanne nuclear development framework with Iran, is becoming increasingly apparent. As reported yesterday by Fars News:

"Iran's foreign minister and nuclear chief both told a closed-door session of the parliament on Tuesday that the country would inject UF6 gas into the latest generation of its centrifuge machines as soon as a final nuclear deal goes into effect by Tehran and the six world powers."

Responding to this revelation, The Times of Israel writes today:

"Iran will begin using its latest generation IR-8 centrifuges as soon as its nuclear deal with the world powers goes into effect, Iran’s foreign minister and nuclear chief told members of parliament on Tuesday, according to Iran’s semi-official FARS news agency.

If accurate, the report makes a mockery of the world powers’ much-hailed framework agreement with Iran, since such a move clearly breaches the US-published terms of the deal, and would dramatically accelerate Iran’s potential progress to the bomb."

But this report obviously doesn't have Obama's cheerleader at The Washington Post, David Ignatius, troubled. In a WaPo opinion piece entitled The delicate path ahead on Iran," which is reminiscent of a visit to Disneyland, Ignatius tells us:

"There’s a buoyant sense at the White House this week — a feeling that a much-embattled President Obama has achieved the goal he set in January 2009 of engaging Iran on the basis of 'mutual interest and mutual respect.'"

Obama "has achieved the goal he set in January 2009"? Oh really. As The Washington Post recently declared in an editorial entitled "Obama’s Iran deal falls far short of his own goals":

"THE 'KEY parameters' for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program released Thursday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration. None of Iran’s nuclear facilities — including the Fordow center buried under a mountain — will be closed. Not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled. Tehran’s existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be 'reduced' but not necessarily shipped out of the country. In effect, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, though some of it will be mothballed for 10 years. When the accord lapses, the Islamic republic will instantly become a threshold nuclear state.

That’s a long way from the standard set by President Obama in 2012 when he declared that 'the deal we’ll accept' with Iran 'is that they end their nuclear program' and 'abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.' Those resolutions call for Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium. Instead, under the agreement announced Thursday, enrichment will continue with 5,000 centrifuges for a decade, and all restraints on it will end in 15 years."

"Mutual respect"? No mention by Ignatius of the incarceration of his Washington Post colleague, Jason Rezaian, who is rotting away in Iran's notorious Evin Prison.

Ignatius continues:

"Obama’s outreach to Iran has been shaped from the beginning by his effort to understand how Iranians see the world — and to distinguish between truly dangerous, aggressive actions and more comprehensible defensive moves. This empathetic view is part of what irks Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But centuries of diplomatic history suggest that such an ability to see the world through the adversary’s eyes is essential for effective negotiation."

How does Iran see the world? Annihilation of Israel is certainly envisioned by Iran, as again explicitly stated in Khamenei's November 2014 tweet:

"This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated."

And then there are also Iran's efforts, for example, to exterminate homosexuals and to make the lives of its Baha'i minority a living hell. But wait, there's more! Contemplating a Middle East nuclear arms race occasioned by Obama's "deal" with Iran, Ignatius would have us know:

"Even as it negotiates with Iran, the administration might extend security guarantees to the Gulf States, pledging to come to their defense if attacked by external powers. (Tricky question: Would that include a strike from Israel?)"

Israel might attack Kuwait or the UAE? Yeah, right. Dream on, David. Let us know if you ever decide to return to reality.