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Monday, August 31, 2015

Washington Post Editorial, "In freeing Jason Rezaian, Iran would serve justice and reassure the international community": Tell It to Obama

In an editorial entitled "In freeing Jason Rezaian, Iran would serve justice and reassure the international community," The Washington Post deplores Iran’s incarceration and prosecution of WaPo reporter Jason Rezaian. The editorial states:

"[T]he fact that Mr. Rezaian remains imprisoned, in violation of Iran’s laws, suggests that Mr. Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani have been unable to gain control over factions whose cooperation will be essential if the nuclear deal is to be successfully implemented. That ought to be a red flag for the Obama administration as well as for the five other governments that are parties to the deal, and it should be given some weight by those in Congress still considering whether to support the accord. We concluded in July that the deal is preferable to the alternatives — but the failure to release Mr. Rezaian since then is deeply troubling.

The Rouhani government has a clear opportunity in the next two weeks to rectify the injustice done to Mr. Rezaian and to reassure the international community of its readiness to honor the nuclear accord."

Iran intends to honor Obama's nuclear deal? Iran gives a damn about "justice"? What are you people smoking? This is a regime which hangs gay men, stones to death women accused of adultery, savagely persecute Baha'is, Christians, Kurds and Sunnis, jails and brutalizes journalists and political opponents, backs Shiite militias in Iraq that are engaged in ethnic cleansing, bombed a Jewish community center in distant Argentina, routinely calls for the annihilation of Israel, and executes poets for "waging war on God."

In fact, WaPo's editorial board should have told the Obama administration that the release of Americans imprisoned in Iran must be part and parcel of any nuclear deal, but Obama and Kerry would have caved on this demand, too. You see, the nuclear deal is all about Obama's vanity and has nothing to do with peace, justice or protecting Americans abroad.

Paul Krugman, "A Heckuva Job": Evenhanded? Yeah, Right!

Is Krugman biased against Republicans? Heck no . . . if you ask Paul.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "A Heckuva Job," Paul Krugman sets out to deprecate Republican presidential hopefuls Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Donald Trump, while ignoring any and all Democratic foibles. Krugman explains in his own defense:

"I know, now I’m supposed to be evenhanded, and point out equivalent figures on the Democratic side. But there really aren’t any; in modern America, cults of personality built around undeserving politicians seem to be a Republican thing.

True, some liberals were starry-eyed about Mr. Obama way back when, but the glitter faded fast, and what was left was a competent leader with some big achievements under his belt – most notably, an unprecedented drop in the number of Americans without health insurance. And Hillary Clinton is the subject of a sort of anti-cult of personality, whose most ordinary actions are portrayed as nefarious. (No, the email thing doesn’t rise to the level of a 'scandal.')"

"An unprecedented drop in the number of Americans without health insurance"? Wonderful! And the cost? Krugman forgets to mention that Obamacare will add more than a quarter of a trillion dollars of insurance overhead through 2022 and that insurance costs are soon expected to rise dramatically, but why should that matter to someone who believes "Debt Is Good"?

Hillary's "email thing doesn’t rise to the level of a 'scandal'"? You see, the FBI routinely investigates the non-scandalous transfer of classified government data via a private server, probably breached by foreign security services and subsequently wiped clean. And as acknowledged even by the New Yorker article which Krugman references above, "it is conceivable that more striking evidence of deception or serious neglect may eventually surface."

This is almost on a par with Krugman's 2011 claim that "Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point." Give it a rest, Paul!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

New York Times Editorial, "The Battle for Biomedical Supremacy": What About the Reproducibility of Findings?

In an editorial entitled "The Battle for Biomedical Supremacy," The New York Times tells us:

"States from coast to coast are using public funds to help their medical schools recruit scientific stars from other states or to prevent their own stars from being lured away by lucrative offers.

. . . .

New York’s medical schools are feeling the heat. Over the past four years, institutions in Texas have offered almost $40 million in research grants to tempt scientists to leave New York. According to medical school leaders here, 11 states have programs to recruit biomedical talent. Along with Texas, they include California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Utah and Virginia, although the programs of some are modest in scale.

. . . .

In New York, a consortium of all 16 medical schools is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature to invest $100 million a year for the next decade to recruit outstanding scientists from other states and retain top scientists who are already here but might be wooed by other states."

Is it worth investing this amount of money to recruit and keep scientists at New York universities? I believe that a cost/benefit analysis involving such a plan might be appropriate. Attention should be paid to the fact that in the past, promising academic biomedical research has not always been reproducible by pharma companies. As observed in a December 2, 2011 Wall Street Journal article entitled "Scientists' Elusive Goal: Reproducing Study Results" by Gautam Naik:

"This is one of medicine's dirty secrets: Most results, including those that appear in top-flight peer-reviewed journals, can't be reproduced.

. . . .

Reproducibility is the foundation of all modern research, the standard by which scientific claims are evaluated. In the U.S. alone, biomedical research is a $100-billion-year enterprise. So when published medical findings can't be validated by others, there are major consequences.

Drug manufacturers rely heavily on early-stage academic research and can waste millions of dollars on products if the original results are later shown to be unreliable. Patients may enroll in clinical trials based on conflicting data, and sometimes see no benefits or suffer harmful side effects.

There is also a more insidious and pervasive problem: a preference for positive results.

Unlike pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers rarely conduct experiments in a 'blinded' manner. This makes it easier to cherry-pick statistical findings that support a positive result. In the quest for jobs and funding, especially in an era of economic malaise, the growing army of scientists need more successful experiments to their name, not failed ones. An explosion of scientific and academic journals has added to the pressure."

Has there been improvement with respect to this phenomenon concerning the reproducibility of results? Surely, this is something that should be considered before New York State invests this amount of money.

Maureen Dowd, "Bush and Clinton Dynasties Hit Trump Bump": Has Dowd Been Hit by Writer's Block?

Re Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Bush and Clinton Dynasties Hit Trump Bump," don't even bother, unless you've run out of melatonin. Trump has paved the way for Biden? Given that we already have the narcissists, it's time to send in the clowns!

Friday, August 28, 2015

David Brooks, "When ISIS Rapists Win": . . . and Iranian Thugs Are Empowered by Obama

Observing in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "When ISIS Rapists Win" that the Islamic State "fills the vacuum left by decaying nationalist ideologies," David Brooks concludes:

"So far the response to ISIS has been pathetic. The U.S. pledged $500 million to train and equip Syrian moderates, hoping to create 15,000 fighters. After three years we turned out a grand total of 60 fighters, of whom a third were immediately captured.

It’s time to stop underestimating this force as some group of self-discrediting madmen. ISIS is a moral and political threat to the fragile and ugly stability that exists in what’s left in the Middle East. ISIS will thrive and spread its ideas for as long as it has its land.

We are looking into a future with a resurgent Iran, a contagious ISIS and a collapsing state order. If this isn’t a cause for alarm and reappraisal, I don’t know what is."

A "contagious ISIS"? A pity the president isn't being informed of this. As reported in a Daily Beast article entitled "Spies: Obama’s Brass Pressured Us to Downplay ISIS Threat" by Shane Harris and Nancy A. Youssef:

"Senior military and intelligence officials have inappropriately pressured U.S. terrorism analysts to alter their assessments about the strength of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, three sources familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast. Analysts have been pushed to portray the group as weaker than the analysts believe it actually is, according to these sources, and to paint an overly rosy picture about how well the U.S.-led effort to defeat the group is going."

Be that as it may, maybe Nobel winner Obama should cut a multi-billion dollar peace deal with ISIS, in the hope that they will also discover reason and civility within 15 years? Yeah, right!

More important, what about "a resurgent Iran"? Obama went on record on December 29, 2014, as saying that Iran could become "a very successful regional power." Meanwhile, however, the mullahs continue to hang gay men; stone to death women accused of adultery; oppress Baha'is, Kurds, Christians and Sunni Muslims; threaten Israel with annihilation; arm Hamas and Hezbollah; and execute poets accused of "waging war on God."

ISIS is a curse on humanity, and so is Iran in equal measure, but what Obama decides not to see cannot hurt him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Carol Morello, "Retired generals and admirals urge Congress to reject Iran nuclear deal": Partisan Reporting Infects WaPo?

You will recall that two weeks ago, Karen DeYoung wrote a Washington Post article entitled "Dozens of retired generals, admirals back Iran nuclear deal," informing us that 36 retired generals and admirals had signed an open letter supporting Obama's agreement. DeYoung, however, made no mention of the controversy surrounding the top signatory on this letter, James Cartwright, or the controversy surrounding the third signatory on the letter, Merrill McPeak.

Well, today there is a new Washington Post article entitled "Retired generals and admirals urge Congress to reject Iran nuclear deal" by Carol Morello. Beginning in her fifth paragraph, Morello declares:

"The signatories include retired generals and flag officers from every branch of service, including a handful who were involved in some public controversies during their careers.

One is retired Lt. Gen. William G. 'Jerry' Boykin, who was deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush and is now executive vice president of the Family Research Council. He had a history of making controversial speeches, including one in which he characterized U.S. military operations against Islamist extremist organizations as a Christian fight against Satan.

It also was signed by retired Vice Adm. John Poindexter and retired Maj. Gen. Richard Secord, who were involved in the Iran-contra affair in the Reagan administration, in which arms were sold to Iran to fund the contras in Nicaragua."

Got it: No need to point out controversies surrounding those supporting Obama's nuclear deal with Khamenei, but it's of critical importance to highlight so-called controversies involving those who signed the letter opposing the deal.

Cute . . .

Dennis Ross and David Petraeus, "How to put some teeth into the nuclear deal with Iran": How About Dentures?

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "How to put some teeth into the nuclear deal with Iran," Dennis Ross and David Petraeus explain why they remain undecided concerning approval  of Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. Ross and Petraeus conclude:

"Deterrence would be more effective — and full implementation of the agreement more likely — if the Iranians understand that there will be a price for every transgression, no matter how small, and that we will raise the cost to them of de-stabilizing behavior in the region. The president’s letter to [Congressman Jerrold] Nadler was useful but fell short of addressing our concerns. It is still possible for the administration to do so."

Threaten Iran with a price for every transgression, no matter how small? Heck, Iran has been callously violating the interim Joint Plan of Action, and now, suddenly, Obama is going to respond to minor breaches of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action?

Get real, Dennis and David! I would be satisfied if the deal came with dentures.

Dana Milbank, "Biden probably won’t beat Clinton. He should run anyway.": Care to See Gore, Kerry or de Blasio in the Oval Office?

In his latest Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Biden probably won’t beat Clinton. He should run anyway.," Dana Milbank takes the position that if Joe Biden runs for president, he "probably won’t beat Hillary Clinton," because "[h]e’s been a lackluster presidential candidate in the past, and there’s no clear path for him to win the Democratic nomination this time." However, Milbank believes that if Biden does run, he "would shake up the race and thereby lower the barriers for other, potentially better-positioned, candidates to join the fray." Milbank goes on to say:

"Previous nominees Al Gore or John Kerry could jump in, validating Mo Udall’s theory that presidential ambition can only be cured by embalming fluid. Mike Bloomberg could rejoin the party and put his billions to work in a shortened primary season. Populists such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) or, failing that, Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) or Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York could reconsider."

Gore, Kerry or de Blasio? Excuse me, but where's my vomit bucket?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Obama: A Majority of Americans Are "Crazies"

In his remarks today at an Event for the Nevada State Democratic Party, President Obama said of persons opposing his nuclear deal with Iran:

"Harry [Reid] and I drove over here together and we were doing a little reminiscing, and then figuring out how we’re going to deal with the crazies in terms of managing some problems. And then we talked about riding off into the sunset together."

Obama maligned all those opposing his deal with Iran notwithstanding an August 3, 2015 Quinnipiac University National Poll which found that "American voters oppose 57 - 28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition for Republicans and independent voters, the nuclear pact negotiated with Iran."

And yesterday, a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll also determined that "voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania oppose the proposed nuclear pact with Iran by margins of more than 2-1."

Or stated otherwise, Obama believes that a majority of Americans are "crazies." But don't worry: Obama is determined to ignore those deranged voters, as are Democrats in the Senate, who simply don't give a damn if Iran's "breakout time" is reduced to a few weeks in another 15 years - if the mullahs don't cheat on the deal long before then, which of course they will.

In other news today, the Iranian Parliament Speaker's Adviser for International Affairs, Hossein Sheikholeslam, called for the "annihilation" of Israel, but this, of course, is of no concern to Obama and his fellow Democrats. You see, in his heart of hearts, Hossein didn't really mean it . . .

David Brooks, "The Big Decisions": Want to Be a Vampire?

Want to be a vampire? David Brooks begins his latest New York Times op-ed, "The Big Decisions," with this profound philosophical question:

"Let’s say you had the chance to become a vampire. With one magical bite you would gain immortality, superhuman strength and a life of glamorous intensity. Your friends who have undergone the transformation say the experience is incredible. They drink animal blood, not human blood, and say everything about their new existence provides them with fun, companionship and meaning.

Would you do it? Would you consent to receive the life-altering bite, even knowing that once changed you could never go back?"

A vampire? And have Governor Brown call upon Hillary to put a stake through my heart? I don't think so.

Proceeding to observe that "we're historical creatures," "we're mystical creatures" and "we're moral creatures" ("What you mean 'we,' kemosabe?"), Brooks concludes:

"These days we think of a lot of decisions as if they were shopping choices. When we’re shopping for something, we act as autonomous creatures who are looking for the product that will produce the most pleasure or utility. But choosing to have a child or selecting a spouse, faith or life course is not like that. It’s probably safer to ask 'What do I admire?' than 'What do I want?'"

Got it: Be virtuous, not narcissistic. Thanks for the advice, David, but what happens when Donald and Hillary admire themselves more than anything else?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Paul Krugman, "A Moveable Glut": I Prefer Chance the Gardener

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "A Moveable Glut," Paul Krugman ponders "Friday’s stock plunge" and asks, "What does it mean for the future?" Krugman declares, "Attempts to explain daily stock movements are usually foolish," and goes on to say, "what we’re seeing is what happens when too much money is chasing too few investment opportunities."

"Too few investment opportunities"? I don't think so. In fact, there is an almost infinite array of investment opportunities with different risks and different potential rates of return. But thanks anyway, Paul, for your kind thoughts.

But more to the point, how should one interpret a global investment panic of the kind that we are again witnessing today? Is the sky about to fall? I don't think so. Personally, over the course of my time on this planet, I have adopted the Chance the Gardener school of thought from Jerzy Kosinski's "Being There":

"In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again."

And as Chance further stated to the president, "As long as the roots are not severed, . . . all will be well in the garden."

Indeed, spring will return, given that such is the way of the world . . . until Iran builds its nuclear arsenal at which time all bets are off.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

David E. Sanger and Michael R. Gordon, "Future Risks of an Iran Nuclear Deal": Serious Reporting From The New York Times

If you wondered whether The New York Times is capable of serious reporting concerning Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, beyond the insipid cheer leading that has characterized the newspaper's op-ed page, David E. Sanger and Michael R. Gordon have provided the answer. In a Times article entitled "Future Risks of an Iran Nuclear Deal," Sanger and Gordon acknowledge:

"Even some of the most enthusiastic backers of the agreement, reached by six world powers with Iran, say they fear Mr. Obama has oversold some of the accord’s virtues as he asserts that it would 'block' all pathways to a nuclear weapon.
A more accurate description is that the agreement is likely to delay Iran’s program for a decade and a half — just as sanctions and sabotage have slowed Iran in recent years. The administration’s case essentially is that the benefits over the next 15 years overwhelmingly justify the longer-term risks of what comes after.

. . . .

[A]fter 15 years, Iran would be allowed to produce reactor-grade fuel on an industrial scale using far more advanced centrifuges. That may mean that the warning time if Iran decided to race for a bomb would shrink to weeks, according to a recent Brookings Institution analysis by Robert J. Einhorn, a former member of the American negotiating team.

Critics say that by that time, Iran’s economy would be stronger, as would its ability to withstand economic sanctions, and its nuclear installations probably would be better protected by air defense systems, which Iran is expected to buy from Russia."

Sanger and Gordon proceed to observe:

"Under restrictions imposed by the accord, Iran would need a full year to produce enough nuclear material for a bomb; currently that timeline is two or three months, according to American intelligence agencies. But starting at year 10, that 'breakout time' would begin to shrink again, as Iran gets more centrifuges into operation."

However, Israeli intelligence believes that breakout time under the agreement would be significantly shorter, and The Institute for Science and International Security recently concluded that breakout time under the deal could be as short as seven months if advanced IR-2m centrifuges are re-installed during a breakout.

Sanger and Gordon go on to say:

"Some backers of the agreement are urging the White House and Congress to do more. Mr. [Adam] Schiff and Mr. [Dennis] Ross [who has not decided if he backs the deal] suggested in interviews that the United States should put Iran on notice that its production of highly enriched uranium after the main provisions of the accord expire would be taken by American officials as an indication that Iran has decided to pursue nuclear weapons — and could trigger an American military strike.

And both said the United States should also be prepared to provide bunker-busting bombs to Israel to deter Iran from trying to shield illicit nuclear work underground. Others have called for a long-term congressional 'authorization to use military force' if Iran violated the accord.

Mr. Ross has also urged the White House to specify the penalties for smaller violations of the accord, an idea Mr. Obama rejected in his letter, saying he wanted to maintain 'flexibility' to decide what responses might be needed."

"Trigger an American military strike"? "Authorization to use military force"? "Specify penalties for smaller violations"? Sorry, but none of these things are going to happen. Obama, who learned how awkward "red lines" can prove after threatening Assad re the use of chemical weapons, has no intention of acting forcefully so near the end of his second term, and certainly will not allow himself to be painted into another ugly corner.

Sanger and Gordon further observe regarding the "'24-day' rule for resolving disputes if Iran refuses to give inspectors access to a suspicious site — another measure that expires after 15 years," that "reimposing sanctions could be politically challenging" and that "some experts say that Iran could cover up smaller-scale illicit activities [within the 24-day time frame], including work on the specialized high-explosives that might serve as a trigger in a nuclear bomb."

Regrettably, Sanger and Gordon do not mention Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei's red line: "I have already asserted that no inspection of military sites can ever be done." Or stated otherwise, the IAEA is free to look where we're not engaged in illicit activities, provided we receive a 24-day warning; however, all other locations are off limits.

Bottom line, Gordon and Sanger are telling us that notwithstanding everything that Obama and friends are busy telling us, Iran can, within weeks, build a nuclear arsenal after 15 years - if it doesn't find a way to cheat, e.g., work out of North Korea, long before then.

How reassuring . . .

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Maureen Dowd, "Donald Trump Struts in His Own Pageant": Is Dowd a 3?

Is Maureen Dowd a 3? Mind you, I'm referring to a "3" in terms of opinion piece quality.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald Trump Struts in His Own Pageant," Dowd returns to the subject of Donald for the third time in three weeks. And while this might please the Donald to no end, it leaves me wondering whether Dowd's journalistic well has gone bone dry. This time around, Dowd writes:

"It is a fable conjured up in several classic movies: A magnetic, libidinous visitor shows up and insinuates himself into the lives of a bourgeois family. The free spirit leaves, but only after transforming the hidebound family, so that none of them can see themselves the same way again."

In fact, Trump is no transformer. Rather, he and his coiffure are a reflection of the shallowness of our Times. Can you even begin to imagine a Trump/Hillary debate? It could be headlined "Narcissism Gone Wild."

Rouhani Bares the Lies in Obama's Letter to Jerrold Nadler

In his August 19, 2015 letter to US Congressman Jerrold Nadler, President Obama wrote in support of his nuclear deal with Iran (my emphasis in red):

"As I have underscored repeatedly, it is imperative that, even as we effectively cut off Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon through implementation of the JCPOA, we take steps to ensure we and our allies and partners are more capable than ever to deal with Iran's destabilizing activities and support for terrorism. This involves deepened cooperation and information sharing with Israel and Gulf Cooperation Council partners; it also involves continued enforcement of international and U.S. law, including sanctions related to Iran's non-nuclear activities. With very limited exceptions, Iran will continue to be denied access to our market - the world's largest - and we will maintain powerful sanctions targeting Iran's support for groups such as Hizballah, its destabilizing role in Yemen, its backing of the Assad regime, its missile program, and its human rights abuses at home. Critically, I made sure that the United States reserved its right to maintain and enforce existing sanctions and even to deploy new sanctions to address those continuing concerns, which we fully intend to do when circumstances warrant."

This would all be very comforting were it not for the declaration today of Iran's "moderate" President Hassan Rouhani. As reported by Iran's Fars News Agency:

"'We will purchase weapons from wherever we deem necessary and we are not waiting for anyone's permission; if we deem necessary we will sell our weapons and we will do this without paying attention to any resolution,' President Rouhani said, addressing a ceremony held to commemorate the National Defense Industry Day in Iran on Saturday." 

Or stated otherwise, Iran will continue to import whatever arms systems they desire and then freely transfer them to Hezbollah and Hamas for use against Israel.

I can only hope and pray that Nadler, who has become the poster boy for Jewish Congressional support of Obama's risible nuclear deal with Khamenei, will never be reelected.

Frank Bruni, "Gay and Marked for Death": No Mention of Iran

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Gay and Marked for Death," Frank Bruni tell us of a special United Nations Security Council meeting on L.G.B.T. rights, but remarkably manages to make no mention of Iran. Bruni writes:

"Although Monday’s discussion isn’t a formal one that Security Council members are required to attend, it’s nonetheless the first time that the council has held a meeting of any kind that’s dedicated to the persecution of L.G.B.T. people, according to Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations.

And it’s an example, she told me, of a determined push by the United States and other countries to integrate L.G.B.T. rights into all discussions of human rights by international bodies like the U.N.

. . . .

The Security Council meeting, which the United States is co-hosting with Chile, will focus on the Islamic State’s brutality against gays as a way of getting countries who might not be sensitive to the plight of gays, but who have profound concerns about the Islamic State, to pay attention."

The focus of the Security Council meeting will be on the Islamic State's brutality against gays? Question: Why is the Security Council also not focusing also on the barbaric conduct of the Islamic Republic of Iran? In an August 20, 2014 Front Page Magazine article entitled "An Execution Wave Against LGBT Iranians," Dr. Majid Rafizadeh observes:

"As the Obama administration continues to communicate and diplomatically negotiate with Iranian officials in Vienna, New York, and elsewhere, President Obama has not even slightly expressed his concern about the unfair actions, executions, discriminations and prosecutions of LGBT individuals, as well as the increasing repressions of women under the Rouhani administration. Where do the Islamic Republic’s human rights abuses belong on President Obama’s agenda?

Two weeks ago, two Iranian men, Abdulla Ghavami Chahzanjiru and Salman Ghanbari Chahzanjiri, were executed in the southern part of the Islamic Republic for reasons that included 'consensual sodomy.' According to the Daily Beast, 'Their deaths are part of a wave of executions in Iran, with more than 400 in the first half of 2014 alone, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights.' One of the Iranian sources pointed out that Chahzanjiru and Chahzanjiri were executed in order to 'promote community safety' as well as to 'reduce the suffering of the victims.'"

Executions in Iran in 2015? As reported by Amnesty International:

"The Iranian authorities are believed to have executed an astonishing 694 people between 1 January and 15 July 2015, said Amnesty International today, in an unprecedented spike in executions in the country.

This is equivalent to executing more than three people per day. At this shocking pace, Iran is set to surpass the total number of executions in the country recorded by Amnesty International for the whole of last year.

'Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,' said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme."

But there is no mention of Iranian savagery against gays by Bruni or Power. I wonder why . . .

Friday, August 21, 2015

Obama's Letter to Congressman Nadler: Where Is the Response to Iranian-Initiated Rocket Fire on Israel?

In a letter dated August 19, 2015 to US Congressman Jerrold Nadler, President Obama writes in support of his nuclear deal with Iran (my emphasis in red):

"As I have underscored repeatedly, it is imperative that, even as we effectively cut off Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon through implementation of the JCPOA, we take steps to ensure we and our allies and partners are more capable than ever to deal with Iran's destabilizing activities and support for terrorism. This involves deepened cooperation and information sharing with Israel and Gulf Cooperation Council partners; it also involves continued enforcement of international and U.S. law, including sanctions related to Iran's non-nuclear activities. With very limited exceptions, Iran will continue to be denied access to our market - the world's largest - and we will maintain powerful sanctions targeting Iran's support for groups such as Hizballah, its destabilizing role in Yemen, its backing of the Assad regime, its missile program, and its human rights abuses at home. Critically, I made sure that the United States reserved its right to maintain and enforce existing sanctions and even to deploy new sanctions to address those continuing concerns, which we fully intend to do when circumstances warrant."

Well, as reported by The Times of Israel in an article entitled "Iran’s Revolutionary Guards behind Syria rocket fire, army says" by Judah Ari Gross:

"A commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards orchestrated Thursday’s rocket fire on northern Israel from Syria, military sources said late Thursday night, prompting an unusually strong response from the Israel Defense Forces. According to a senior Israeli security official, Saeed Izadi, the head of the Palestinian Division of the Iranian al-Quds Force planned the attack. It was carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terror group that operates mostly out of the Gaza Strip, but whose headquarters are in Damascus."

As a consequence of this attack initiated by Iran, is there now any talk from the Obama administration concerning the possibility of maintaining and enforcing existing sanctions or deploying new sanctions? Heck no! Obama has once again demonstrated that Iran can thumb its nose at the United States whenever it pleases.

Paul Krugman, "Debt Is Good": In for a Penny, in for a Pound!

US national debt is fast approaching an unsustainable $18.3 trillion, amounting to more than $57,000 for every American man, woman and child. This compares with some $30,000 for every man, woman and child in America in June 2008, which, at the time, elicited presidential candidate Obama's declaration:

"That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic."

Well, $57,000 per American is not good enough for Paul Krugman, who, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Debt Is Good," would have us know:

"Believe it or not, many economists argue that the economy needs a sufficient amount of public debt out there to function well. And how much is sufficient? Maybe more than we currently have. That is, there’s a reasonable argument to be made that part of what ails the world economy right now is that governments aren’t deep enough in debt.

. . . .

One answer is that issuing debt is a way to pay for useful things, and we should do more of that when the price is right. The United States suffers from obvious deficiencies in roads, rails, water systems and more; meanwhile, the federal government can borrow at historically low interest rates. So this is a very good time to be borrowing and investing in the future, and a very bad time for what has actually happened: an unprecedented decline in public construction spending adjusted for population growth and inflation."

From whom should the United States be borrowing? More money should be borrowed from China, which is currently mired in its own set of economic problems? As reported by Reuters in an article entitled "Sharp China factory slowdown in August raises global growth fears" by Koh Gui Qing:

"Following three decades of blistering double-digit economic growth, Chinese authorities have had limited success in shoring up activity this year despite four interest rates cuts since November.

Worse, last week's shock 2 percent devaluation in the yuan and a near-collapse in Chinese shares over the summer that was countered by a massive stock market rescue do not appear to have calmed investor jitters.

The yuan has slid nearly 3 percent since its Aug. 11 devaluation, a fall that some analysts say is too modest to boost Chinese exports, but notable enough to raise fears of competitive currency devaluations between governments."

And while China is busy devaluing the yuan, the Federal Reserve might soon be raising interest rates in the US, i.e. a paradox which is certain to further increase the outrageous trade imbalance between China and the US.

More debt? I don't think so, unless someone is truly intent upon doubling down on a bad bet at the economic roulette wheel.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Did Obama Agree That Iran Would Be Responsible for Policing Parchin?

We have now learned that Obama's deal with Iran allows the mullahs to police their own activities at the Parchin military base. As reported yesterday by the Associated Press in an article entitled "UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site" by George Jahn:

"Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press.

. . . .

The Parchin agreement was worked out between the IAEA and Iran. The United States and the five other world powers were not party to it but were briefed by the IAEA and endorsed it as part of the larger package.

. . . .

The agreement in question diverges from normal procedures by allowing Tehran to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence of activities it has consistently denied — trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Olli Heinonen, who was in charge of the Iran probe as deputy IAEA director general from 2005 to 2010, said he could think of no similar concession with any other country."

The response of the US State Department to this "remarkable" arrangement? State Department Spokesman John Kirby declared:

"We're confident in the agency's technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran's former program, issues that, in some cases, date back more than a decade."

Meanwhile, one of the 29 scientists who signed a letter backing the agreement with Iran, wrote to me that he is "trying to find out more about this," but "a primary reason for supporting the agreement is the verification of Iran’s behavior in the future, not the IAEA’s investigation of Iran’s behavior prior to 2003, about which the details are not public but about which our intelligence people already know a lot." The verification of Iran's future behavior? The scientist did not comment on Iran's demands "that international nuclear inspectors would only be permitted into the country once they receive approval from the Islamic Republic’s Intelligence Ministry" and that "International nuclear inspectors will only be permitted into the country after offering proofs of suspicious activity at the sites to be inspected."

So which is worse: Hillary's prevarication concerning her email server, Kerry's evasiveness concerning Parchin, or the willingness of "Progressive" American Jews to turn a blind eye to the threat of another Holocaust? It all makes you want to vomit . . .

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Thomas Friedman, "The World’s Hot Spot": Ignoring Israeli Desalination Plants

Contemplating the heat waves that have turned the Middle East into an oven during recent weeks, Thomas Friedman, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The World’s Hot Spot," would have us know:

"Here’s my bet about the future of Sunni, Shiite, Arab, Turkish, Kurdish and Israeli relations: If they don’t end their long-running conflicts, Mother Nature is going to destroy them all long before they destroy one another."

Well, not exactly, Tom. As we are told in a Haaretz article entitled "Water, Water, Everywhere: Desalination Trumps Drought in Israel" by Zafrir Rinat:

"Although Israel experienced an unprecedented drought in 2014, there will be no need to build more major desalination plants this decade, according to a new Water Authority report.

The report, to be presented to the Knesset soon, states that a desalination plant in Ashdod is set to come online shortly.

When it is finished, the production capacity of all of Israel’s desalination plants will reach 600 million cubic meters of water – which is nearly 70 percent of Israel’s domestic water consumption.

According to a government decision, by 2020 the desalination plants should reach a capacity of 750 million cubic meters.

. . . .

Israel’s dependence on rainwater has declined due to the production capacity of the desalination plants, as well as increased use of purified wastewater (graywater) for agricultural irrigation."

But heck, Tom, why should the facts interfere with your opinion pieces? A pity also that the Muslim Middle East is unwilling to reap the benefits of Israeli technology.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Obama Lobbies for Nuclear Deal With Iran: What Isn't the President Telling Democrats?

"You shall have no other gods beside Me."

- Second Commandment (Exodus 20:3)

Obama and his minions are lobbying hard for the president's nuclear deal with Iran, and in furtherance of the agreement, we are being presented with lists of scientists for the deal, generals for the deal, Hollywood Jews for the deal, and now American rabbis for the deal. Hollywood Jews? American Rabbis? Of course! What does it matter that 78 percent of Israelis believe the nuclear deal will "endanger Israel" and 71 percent think the deal will "bring Iran closer to a military nuclear capability"? What does it matter that both Netanyahu and Israeli opposition leader Herzog both oppose the deal?

In a New York Times article entitled "Lobbying Fight Over Iran Nuclear Deal Centers on Democrats," Julie Hirschfeld Davis informs us:

"From his rented vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, President Obama has been making phone calls to Democratic members of Congress, trying to rally support for the nuclear deal with Iran that faces a vote next month.

'If you support the deal, we’d like you to make that clear,' he tells the lawmakers, according to a White House official who would describe the private calls only on condition of anonymity. 'And if you still have concerns, we want to be able to answer those questions.'"

Well, I'm willing to bet that Obama is not telling fellow Democrats that "Any individual, out of IAEA’s Inspection group, who is not approved by the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot enter the country as the agency’s inspector." After all, this would make a mockery of Obama's contention that the deal "contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program."

And then there is Obama's talking point concerning possible military options: "Even before taking office, I made clear that Iran would not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon on my watch, and it's been my policy throughout my presidency to keep all options, including possible military options, on the table to achieve that objective." However, as we are now being informed by Reuters's Sam Wilkin:

"Iran will sign a contract with Russia next week to buy four S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, the Iranian defence minister said on Tuesday, bringing Tehran closer to acquiring an advanced air defence capability.

Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey in June said it would supply Iran with a modernised version of the S-300, among the world's most capable air defence systems, once a commercial agreement was reached."

Or in a nutshell, thanks to Russia, Obama's options will no longer be easily implementable, if at all.

Yes, the president has been lying, but why should that matter to acolytes of Obama, the omniscient and all-powerful, who always knows best.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Jimmy Carter's Successor Emerges: Obama to Haunt Us for Many Years to Come

Jimmy Carter is ill with cancer, but a globetrotting narcissistic successor, steeped in progressive hatred of Israel, is already emerging. In a New York Times article entitled "With High-Profile Help, Obama Plots Life After Presidency," Michael D. Shear and Gardiner Harris inform us:

"Publicly, Mr. Obama betrays little urgency about his future. Privately, he is preparing for his postpresidency with the same fierce discipline and fund-raising ambition that characterized the 2008 campaign that got him to the White House.

The long-running dinner this past February is part of a methodical effort taking place inside and outside the White House as the president, first lady and a cadre of top aides map out a postpresidential infrastructure and endowment they estimate could cost as much as $1 billion."

One billion dollars! Can you even begin to imagine the impact that this amount could have on hunger in America?

But then, what is one billion dollars compared with the $2.5 billion that Hillary plans to spend in order to become America's next president?

May the Lord have mercy on us!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Todd Gitlin and Steven M. Cohen, "On the Iran deal, American Jewish ‘leaders’ don’t speak for most Jews": Check the Question That Was Asked!

Yes or no, have you stopped beating your wife? Indeed, it's all about how questions are asked.

In a risible Washington Post guest opinion piece entitled "On the Iran deal, American Jewish ‘leaders’ don’t speak for most Jews," Todd Gitlin and Steven M. Cohen tell us:

"One of us (Cohen) conducted a poll last month for the Jewish Journal on the Iran accord. This is the only poll of American Jews on the subject to explicitly include Jews with no religion — those who said that, 'aside from religion,' they 'consider themselves Jewish.' They were asked their opinion of 'an agreement . . . in which the United States and other countries would lift major economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons.' Of the three-quarters who said they knew enough to offer an opinion on the deal, 63 percent supported it."

But now concentrate on the premise of the question asked of American Jews: ". . . in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons." Or in other words, Cohen was premising his question upon a supposition which is very much in doubt.

Imagine that instead of the question that he used, Cohen had asked American Jews to express their opinion upon Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, using language from Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a quote from US Energy Secretary Moniz:

What is your opinion of an agreement . . . in which the United States and other countries would lift major economic sanctions against Iran, if "[a]fter 15 years, all physical restraints on enrichment are removed, including numbers and types of centrifuge machines, enrichment levels, locations for enrichment facilities, and stocks of enriched uranium"? When answering this question, consider that "[f]or years, Iran has sought to evade sanctions against its nuclear program by hiding transactions under layers of front companies and false end-users." When answering this question, also consider that the agreement only "maintains restrictions on trade in conventional weapons for 5 years and on ballistic missile-related technologies for 8 years." And finally, when answering this question, consider that US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who negotiated this deal for the US, recently acknowledged that as a consequence of the deal, "We are concerned about some possible escalation in [Iran's] support for terrorism, meddling in the region in terms of stability."

Do you think the response of American Jews would have been different? Care to respond, Messrs. Gitlin and Cohen?

Maureen Dowd, "Introducing Donald Trump, Diplomat": Kelly? Klum? How About Stone?

I just glanced at Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Introducing Donald Trump, Diplomat," and I'm still trying to understand how Dowd was able to waste so much time and ink on the Donald. You think I really give a darn what Trump has to say concerning Megyn Kelly and Heidi Klum? On the other hand, if Dowd had been able to sit with Hillary Clinton over the course of several hours and had garnered some meaningful, off-the-cuff answers from her, that would have made for an interesting story.

Me? I'm far more interested in arranging a date with Sharon Stone ("If there's anybody out there who's an adult and who would like to ask me out, please call Harper's Bazaar").

Yeah, I know: There is that "adult" stipulation . . .

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fareed Zakaria, "Dear Sen. Schumer: Don’t vote against the Iran nuclear deal": Will WaPo Issue a Correction?

In his latest Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Dear Sen. Schumer: Don’t vote against the Iran nuclear deal," Fareed Zakaria writes that pursuant to the nuclear agreement with Iran:

"Iran must destroy 98 percent of its enriched uranium and all of its 5 percent to 20 percent enriched uranium."

In support of his contention, Zakaria cites "The Iran Nuclear Deal, A Definitive Guide" by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. However, the Belfer Center does not speak of "destruction" of "98 percent of [Iran's] enriched uranium and all of its 5 percent to 20 percent enriched uranium." Rather, its "Definitive Guide" informs us:

"The JCPOA limits Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium. For 15 years, Iran will maintain a total stockpile of no more than 300 kg of LEU, whether as UF6 or other chemical forms. Excess enriched uranium—nearly 12 tons of LEU in various chemical forms at present—will be down-blended to natural uranium or sold on the international market in exchange for natural uranium.

. . . .

After 15 years, all physical restraints on enrichment are removed, including numbers and types of centrifuge machines, enrichment levels, locations for enrichment facilities, and stocks of enriched uranium."

There is an enormous difference between "destruction," as claimed by Zakaria, and "down-blending" or sale in exchange for natural uranium, which of course can be enriched, as stated by the Belfer Center. Moreover, there is no mention by Zakaria that after 15 years there will be no restraints on Iran's stocks of enriched uranium or restrictions on its use of advanced centrifuges.

I have asked The Washington Post to correct Zakaria's opinion piece. Stay tuned . . .

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jacob Lew, "The High Price of Rejecting the Iran Deal": The American Impotence Argument

In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "The High Price of Rejecting the Iran Deal," US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew makes the American impotence argument for accepting Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. Lew would have us believe that if the US were to impose secondary sanctions against foreign banks acting to support illicit trade with Iran, an economic crisis would ensue:

"Some critics nevertheless argue that we can force the hands of these countries by imposing powerful secondary sanctions against those that refuse to follow our lead.

But that would be a disaster. The countries whose cooperation we need — including those in the European Union, China, Japan, India and South Korea, as well as the companies and banks that handle their oil purchases and hold foreign reserves — are among the largest economies in the world. If we were to cut them off from the American dollar and our financial system, we would set off extensive financial hemorrhaging, not just in our partner countries but in the United States as well.

Our strong, open economic relations with these countries constitute a foundation of the global economy. Nearly 40 percent of American exports go to the European Union, China, Japan, India and Korea — trade that cannot continue without banking connections.

The major importers of Iranian oil — China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey — together account for nearly a fifth of our goods exports and own 47 percent of foreign-held American treasuries. They will not agree to indefinite economic sacrifices in the name of an illusory better deal. We should think very seriously before threatening to cripple the largest banks and companies in these countries."

China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey will not agree to "indefinite economic sacrifices"? Sorry, Jack, but this is pure poppycock. The world is now awash with cheap oil, and all of these countries have no problem making their energy purchases elsewhere. Would these countries' banks risk exclusion from the American financial system by facilitating illegal trade with Iran? Not a chance.

In fact, Lew is being just as dishonest as John Kerry, who recently made the risible argument that the US dollar would "cease to be the reserve currency of the world" if Congress disapproved the nuclear deal with Iran.

Also worth noting that Lew does not make even a single reference to the secret side agreements between the IAEA and Iran regarding inspection of suspect Iranian nuclear sites.

Shame on you, Jacob! You should know better!

Nicholas Kristof, "Mr. Obama, Try These Arguments for Your Iran Deal": Try These Half-Baked Recipes . . . Not!

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Mr. Obama, Try These Arguments for Your Iran Deal," Nicholas Kristof declares:

  • "It would be a catastrophe for American influence in the world if Congress killed the Iranian nuclear deal" (actually, such "influence" withered and died after Obama backed away from his "red flag" warning to Assad concerning the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and after Obama implemented America's "lead from behind" role in Libya);
  • "Critics are (ludicrously) accusing President Obama of appealing to anti-Semitic tropes" (yeah, the editors of Tablet Magazine, some of whom back the deal, are "ludicrous"); and
  • Obama's rhetoric has been "counterproductive" (yup, calling opponents of the deal "partisan" and "ignorant" is not a way to begin a constructive dialogue); 

Kristof proceeds to "urge President Obama to start over with his sales job and focus on three points":

  • "First: Sure, the deal is imperfect, but it’s the best way to achieve a goal we all share passionately — preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons."
  • "Second, it’s true that Iran may try to cheat, but it’s easier to catch and stop the cheating with the deal than without."
  • "Third, if all goes south, or if Iran is stalling us and after 15 years races to a weapon, we retain the option of a military strike."

Hey, Nick, that's a lot of profound thinking, but let's have a look at your suggestions.

The deal is imperfect, but it's the best way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons? Sorry, Nick, but how can you possibly reach this conclusion when you haven't seen the secret side agreements governing IAEA inspections? (Don't be ashamed: Kerry, Muniz and Congress also haven't seen these side agreements.) Allowing Iran itself to provide soil samples to the IAEA from suspect military sites makes any kind of sense to you? This will prevent Iran from building a nuclear arsenal? I don't think so.

It's easier to catch and stop the cheating with the deal than without? Yeah, right. The US identified Iran's underground Fordo nuclear facility in September 2009, some three years after work had begun on the project. You see, the Iranians are not stupid (they're much smarter than Kerry), and if they cheat - which they will - you can be certain that they will do this in a manner that will not be detected, e.g., work out of North Korea.

The military option is retained if Iran races to a weapon after 15 years? After 15 years? Spare me! Moreover, Iran is laughing at these threats. As reported yesterday by Iran's Fars News Agency:

"Iranian Supreme Leader's Deputy Representative at the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Asoudi said the Washington officials' frequent resort to military threat and their boastful remarks about their ability to attack Iran has become a joke among Iranian commanders."

Bottom line:  No one in this world takes Obama seriously when he claims "all options remain on the table." Go back to sleep, Nick. Better still, how about another vacation in Iran with your children?

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Thomas Friedman, "If I Were an Israeli Looking at the Iran Deal": But You're Not!

    In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "If I Were an Israeli Looking at the Iran Deal," Thomas Friedman speculates how he might react to Obama's deal with Iran if he were an Israeli grocer, general or prime minister, when in fact this would-be Middle East expert and Obama sycophant is a mere fool. Explaining that as an Israeli grocer he would "reject this deal from my gut," Friedman goes on to say what he might think if he were an Israeli general and prime minister:

    "And Iran’s ayatollahs have long demonstrated they are not suicidal. As the Israeli strategists Shai Feldman and Ariel Levite wrote recently in National Interest: 'It is noteworthy that during its thirty-six-year history the Islamic Republic [of Iran] never gambled its survival as Iraq’s Saddam Hussein did three times' — by launching a war against Iran in 1980, invading Kuwait in 1990 and betting that George W. Bush would not attack him in 2003. If I were an Israeli general, I wouldn’t love this deal, but I could see its advantages, especially if the U.S. enhanced its deterrence.

    If I were Israel’s prime minister, I’d start by admitting that my country faces two existential threats: One, external, is an Iranian bomb and the other, internal, is the failure to separate from the West Bank Palestinians into two states, leaving only a one-state solution where Israel would end up governing so many Palestinians it could no longer be a Jewish democracy."

    "Iran’s ayatollahs have long demonstrated they are not suicidal"? Or stated otherwise, mutually assured destruction would prevent Iran from launching a nuclear attack against Israel? No way. None other than Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the fourth president of Iran, declared: "Israel is much smaller than Iran in landmass and therefore far more vulnerable to nuclear attack." And as reported a month ago in a Times of Israel article entitled "Ex-Iran president: Israel a fake, temporary regime" by Tamar Pileggi:

    "Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told a Hezbollah-affiliated outlet that he was confident that the 'forged and temporary Israeli entity' would be wiped off the map, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. According to the report, Rafsanjani, often described by Western media as a moderate in Iranian politics, said that Israel was an alien existence forged into the body of a nation which would eventually be destroyed."

    No mention of Rafsanjani by Tom.

    But Iran's ayatollahs don't even have to be suicidal to plot the destruction of Israel. Iran has supplied Hezbollah in Lebanon with 130,000 missiles, all pointed at Israel, which is approximately the size of New Jersey. Sure, they are not nuclear-tipped, but they do constitute an existential threat. Over the past several years, Iran was forced to cut back on aid to Hezbollah owing to budgetary constraints stemming from international sanctions. Thanks to Obama, those sanctions will now be removed, and as even acknowledged by Susan Rice, significant funds for arms will once again be flowing to Hezbollah when Iran receives some 50 billion dollars for signing Obama's nuclear deal. Those missiles will not be used against Israel? Hezbollah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah will launch them in a blink of an eye if he receives instructions to do so from Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei. As Nasrallah declared in the past, "If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."

    Friedman also ignores recent Iranian funding of Hamas tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel, which are being readied for the next round of fighting.

    Friedman concludes his op-ed by taking a swipe at Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu with one of the West Wing's tired talking points:

    "Unfortunately, Israel has a prime minister whose strategy is to reject the Iran deal without any credible Plan B and to downplay the internal threat without any credible Plan A."

    However, as noted by Senator Chuck Schumer, when he announced that he would be voting against Obama's deal with Khamenei:

    "[I]f one feels that Iranian leaders will not moderate and their unstated but very real goal is to get relief from the onerous sanctions, while still retaining their nuclear ambitions and their ability to increase belligerent activities in the Middle East and elsewhere, then one should conclude that it would be better not to approve this agreement."

    I am not an Israeli grocer, general or prime minister; however, there is no doubt in my mind that if Congress is unable to override Obama's forthcoming veto, Iran will cheat on this agreement, and Obama, if still president, will not respond. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and Hamas will be awash in funds to attack Israel, and the next war will be in the offing.

    Imagine yourself an Israeli? From your mansion in Maryland, don't even try, Tom.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    Karen DeYoung, "Dozens of retired generals, admirals back Iran nuclear deal": What Isn't The Washington Post Telling Us?

    First there was the letter from 29 scientists, praising Obama's "stringent" nuclear deal with Iran, but failing to make any mention of the secret side deals between the IAEA and Iran. Now, as reported by Karen DeYoung in a Washington Post article entitled "Dozens of retired generals, admirals back Iran nuclear deal," 36 retired generals and admirals have also signed an open letter supporting Obama's agreement. As reported by DeYoung:

    "Three dozen retired generals and admirals released an open letter Tuesday supporting the Iran nuclear deal and urging Congress to do the same.

    Calling the agreement 'the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,' the letter said that gaining international support for military action against Iran, should that ever become necessary, 'would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance.'"

    DeYoung continues:

    "Signers of the military letter include retired general and flag officers from every branch of service. They include four-star Marine Gens. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Joseph P. Hoar, former head of the U.S. Central Command; and Gens. Merrill McPeak and Lloyd W. Newton of the Air Force.

    . . . .

    Retired Navy Rear Adm. Harold L. Robinson, a rabbi and former naval chaplain who chairs the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, also signed.

    'As a lifelong Zionist, devoted to Israel, and a retired general officer and a rabbi for over 40 years, and operating without institutional encumbrances, I have a unique perspective,' Robinson said in an interview."

    Fascinating! A rabbi and former naval chaplain who backs the deal.

    But DeYoung doesn't mention the controversy surrounding the top signatory on this letter, James Cartwright. As reported in a March 12, 2015 Washington Times article entitled "Obama plays favorites, protects loose-lipped generals who leak top secret info" by Rowan Scarborough:

    "Analysts are questioning whether the White House is protecting one of its inner-circle members in a leak investigation, especially given the Obama administration’s demonstrated willingness to prosecute and imprison lower-level government employees for providing classified information to the press.

    Retired Marine Corps Gen. James 'Hoss' Cartwright was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and somewhat of a White House fixture as a close military adviser to President Obama.

    For over a year, he reportedly has been the target of a Justice Department criminal investigation. He is suspected of leaking to The New York Times highly classified details of a U.S. cyberwarfare program against Iran and its quest for nuclear weapons. Gen. Cartwright played a critical role in the covert action, whose weapon was a cyberworm called Stuxnet and whose code name was 'Olympic Games.'

    The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the probe has come to a halt because the White House fears prosecution would force the administration to disclose secret sources and methods."

    Interesting. And then there's the third signatory on the letter, Merrill McPeak. As reported in a March 24, 2008 American Spectator article entitled "McPeak on Display" by By Robert M. Goldberg:

    "Last week, Barack Obama's military adviser and national campaign co-chairman Merrill 'Tony' McPeak accused former President Bill Clinton of 'using divisive tactics and unfairly trying to question Barack Obama's patriotism.' McPeak, a former chief of staff of the Air Force, previously supported Howard Dean and then John Kerry. He has campaigned for Obama and cut commercials claiming that Obama has the 'right stuff' to be Commander in Chief. His job is to burnish Obama's image as a guy tough enough to be President. So who better to go after Bill Clinton and get the Obama campaign back on offense?

    . . . .

    Well, it is likely that Obama will soon be having to retract Merrill McPeak. McPeak, who was arrested last year for driving under the influence, apparently has a problem controlling more than his thirst for fermented beverages. He also has a penchant for bashing Israel or, more particularly, Jews who oppose negotiating with terrorists.

    . . . .

    In recent years McPeak has echoed the Mearsheimer-Walt view that American Middle East policy is being controlled by Jews at the expense of America's interests in the region. In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, McPeak complained of that the 'lack of playbook for getting Israelis and Palestinians together at...something other than a peace process....We need to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that.'

    The interviewer asked McPeak: 'So where's the problem? State? White House?'

    McPeak replied: 'New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.'"

    Enough said.

    Monday, August 10, 2015

    David Albright, "What Iran’s hostile reaction to the Parchin issue means for the nuclear deal": Democrats, Don't Read This Opinion Piece!

    Are you a House or Senate Democrat planning to support Obama's nuclear deal with Iran? If so, the president has personally asked me to inform that you are forbidden from reading a new Washington Post opinion piece entitled "What Iran’s hostile reaction to the Parchin issue means for the nuclear deal," by David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security. Why? Simple! You will not be able to conscientiously support the president's deal if you do read it, or stated more succinctly, what you don't know can't hurt you!

    Observing that his organization is neutral concerning Obama's agreement, Albright begins:

    "Chico Marx said: 'Who you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?' Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said over the weekend that my organization, the Institute for Science and International Security, was spreading lies when we published satellite imagery that showed renewed, concerning activity at the Parchin military site near Tehran. This site is linked by Western intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to past work on nuclear weapons. But like Chico, instead of acknowledging the concern, the Iranians chose to deny the visible evidence in commercial satellite imagery. Iran’s comments would be mirthful if the topic were not so serious.

    . . . .

    All we did was publish satellite imagery showing this activity and restate the obvious concern."

    Noting concern over IAEA access to Parchin and reports that Iran is now engaged in sanitizing this site to prevent the discovery of past nuclear activity, Albright continues:

    "This concern is further heightened because Iran has demanded to do this sampling itself instead of letting the IAEA do it. Such an arrangement is unprecedented and risky, and will be even more so if Iran continues to sanitize the site. In the cases of the Iranian Kalaye Electric site and the North Korean plutonium separation plant at Yongbyon, the success of sampling that showed undeclared activities depended on samples being taken at non-obvious locations identified during previous IAEA visits inside buildings. The IAEA will not be able to visit Parchin until after the samples are taken, and it remains doubtful that the inspectors will be able to take additional samples."

    This is what the 29 scientists, who wrote the recent letter supporting Obama's deal, declared to be "a technically sound, stringent and innovative deal that will provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons"? Yeah, right.

    Regarding Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's claims that the current activities at Parchin amount to "road work," Albright writes:

    "[H]is words appear to reflect Iranian government intransigence on its past nuclear weapons program. Its action is an assault on the integrity and prospects of the nuclear deal."

    Albright's conclusion:

    "The United States and Congress should clearly and publicly confirm, and Congress should support with legislation, that if Iran does not address the IAEA’s concerns about the past military dimensions of its nuclear programs, U.S. sanctions will not be lifted. To do otherwise is to make a mockery of the nuclear deal."

    And also have Obama veto this new legislation?

    Once again, Congressional Democrats, Obama asks that you do not read this opinion piece, which calls into question the very underpinnings of his deal with Iran. If you do read it, he might also subject you to the very same threats and anti-Semitic insults issued by the White House against Senator Schumer. You have been warned!

    Paul Krugman, "G.O.P. Candidates and Obama’s Failure to Fail": Aren't You Forgetting $18.3 Trillion of Debt, Paul?

    Referring to the recent Republican presidential candidate debate, Paul Krugman declares in his most recent New York Times op-ed entitled "G.O.P. Candidates and Obama’s Failure to Fail":

    "What did the men who would be president talk about during last week’s prime-time Republican debate? Well, there were 19 references to God, while the economy rated only 10 mentions. Republicans in Congress have voted dozens of times to repeal all or part of Obamacare, but the candidates only named President Obama’s signature policy nine times over the course of two hours. And energy, another erstwhile G.O.P. favorite, came up only four times.

    Strange, isn’t it? The shared premise of everyone on the Republican side is that the Obama years have been a time of policy disaster on every front. Yet the candidates on that stage had almost nothing to say about any of the supposed disaster areas.

    And there was a good reason they seemed so tongue-tied: Out there in the real world, none of the disasters their party predicted have actually come to pass. President Obama just keeps failing to fail."

    Obama has failed to fail? How about judging him according to his own standards? On July 3, 2008, Obama stated:

    "The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back -- $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic."

    Well, US national debt has now reached an unsustainable $18.3 trillion, amounting to more than $57,000 for every American man, woman and child. Care to comment, Paul? Oh, that's right, I forgot: Debt, even of the unsustainable kind, is good.