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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

David Brooks, "Donald Trump’s Allure: Ego as Ideology": And What About Hillary?



According to David Brooks in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald Trump’s Allure: Ego as Ideology," "We are now living in a time of economic anxiety and political alienation." (Who would have ever known that?) Contending that these factors have set the stage for another Donald Trump presidential campaign, Brooks says of Trump:

"The times are perfect for Donald Trump. He’s an outsider, which appeals to the alienated. He’s confrontational, which appeals to the frustrated. And, in a unique 21st-century wrinkle, he’s a narcissist who thinks he can solve every problem, which appeals to people who in challenging times don’t feel confident in their understanding of their surroundings and who crave leaders who seem to be.

. . . .

Never before have we experienced a moment with so much public alienation and so much private, assertive and fragile self-esteem. Trump is the perfect confluence of these trends. He won’t be president, but he’s not an aberration. He is deeply rooted in the currents of our time."

But if Trump is today's supreme prophet of narcissism, what is Hillary, if not its high goddess. On Sunday, Maureen Dowd spoke of her "patina of entitlement and inevitability," as she engaged in "destroying digital messages and thwarting official investigations while acting all innocent about wiping out sensitive material."

And what is Facebook, if not the holy grail of narcissism from which we all sup?

"Economic anxiety" and "political alienation"? How about "economic collapse" and "political abhorrence"?

Unfortunately, it's too early in the morning for a ritual shot of vodka.

Monday, August 3, 2015

John Bolton, "The Iran Deal’s Dangerous Precedent": Where Is the Agreement's Sanity Clause?



Yesterday, in a slimy editorial entitled "Republican Hypocrisy on Iran," which did not mention the secret side deals between the IAEA and Iran that govern inspection of suspect Iranian military sites, we were told by The New York Times that Obama's agreement with Khamenei had the support of "scores of leading American diplomats."

Well, today former United States ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, in a guest Times op-ed entitled "The Iran Deal’s Dangerous Precedent," demolishes that contention. Addressing the deal's so-called snapback provisions, Bolton writes:

"In two provisions (Paragraphs 26 and 37), Iran rejects the legitimacy of sanctions coming back into force. These passages expressly provide, in near identical words, that “Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA” — Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — 'in whole or in part.'

Thus the inexorable pattern will not be: Iran violates the deal; sanctions snap back; Iran resumes compliance. Quite the reverse. The far more likely future is: Iran violates the deal; sanctions snap back; Iran tells us, using a diplomatic term of art, to take our deal and stuff it.

Abrogating the deal, of course, would come only after Iran had reaped the economic benefits of having its assets unfrozen and the sanctions ended. The Europeans (among others) will have been suckered back into economic relationships that will cause as much pain to them as to Iran if they are abandoned."

Does anyone really believe that the Europeans, Russians and Chinese will ever agree to a snapback of sanctions? No. And this is why this absurd agreement should have included a "sanity clause." A sanity clause? Yes, a sanity clause. As explained in The Marx Brothers' epic "A Night at the Opera":

Fiorello: Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here? This thing here.
Driftwood: Oh, that? Oh, that's the usual clause. That's in every contract. That just says uh, it says uh, "If any of the parties participating in this contract is shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified."
Fiorello: Well, I don't know...
Driftwood: It's all right, that's, that's in every contract. That's, that's what they call a 'sanity clause.'
Fiorello: Ha ha ha ha ha! You can't fool me! There ain't no Sanity Clause!

The Iranians, who hang gay men and stone to death women accused of adultery, are clearly not in their right mind, and if there was a sanity clause, this entire agreement would be automatically nullified.

If only Obama's deal, which threatens the existence of Israel and could lead to Iranian nuclear-tipped ICBMs falling on Washington and New York, was so comical . . .

Saturday, August 1, 2015

New York Times Editorial, "Republican Hypocrisy on Iran": The Slimiest Editorial in the History of the Times



Have a read through the New York Times editorial "Republican Hypocrisy on Iran." Is there even a single mention of the two secret side deals between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran that govern inspection of Iranian military sites suspected of being used for atomic weapons development? Heck no! And in this regard, also have a look at a Wall Street Journal editorial entitled "Iran’s Closed Covenants," which correctly observes:

"If the U.S. isn’t privy to Iran’s dealings with the IAEA, it’s because Secretary of State John Kerry and other negotiators conceded the point to Iran at the 11th hour. He might have done so figuring that punting to the IAEA gave him the chance to seal the deal without having to know exactly what’s in it. To adapt Nancy Pelosi’s phrase, if you pass the deal you still won’t know what’s in it. So much for President Obama’s assurances that the deal isn’t based on trust but on 'unprecedented verification.'

All of this is vital because Iran hasn’t answered the IAEA’s questions regarding the so-called Possible Military Dimensions of its nuclear program. The IAEA has also been seeking access to Iran’s military site at Parchin, which inspectors haven’t visited for a decade and where Iran is suspected of carrying out experiments and tests on weaponizing a nuclear device.

. . . .

U.S. diplomats are often involved in secret diplomacy, but we can think of no instance in U.S. history where the results of so consequential an agreement were closed to public inspection. No U.S. secrets are at stake, yet the Administration insists on briefing Congress on the Iran-IAEA deal only in closed session."

In addition, there are the persistent "rumors" that pursuant to these side deals, Iran itself will be responsible for supplying the IAEA with soil samples from Parchin. Incredibly, John Kerry and Ernest Muniz claim not to have read the side agreements. Have you read the side agreements, President Obama?

The Times editorial would have us know:

"Negotiating with enemies is an essential component of statecraft and can be a crucial alternative to war. Even when America was at the height of its powers, its leaders — including Republicans — knew that any successful deal would involve some compromise with the other side, not complete capitulation. Yet that is exactly what the Republicans are demanding of Iran today as they lay plans to repudiate Mr. Obama’s hard-won accord in pursuit of some mythical 'better' deal."

Again, we have the nonsensical notion that the only alternative to Obama's deal with Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei is war and that no better deal is possible. However, as reported by Josh Rogin in a Bloomberg article entitled "Top French Official Contradicts Kerry on Iran Deal":

"Jacques Audibert, is now the senior diplomatic adviser to President Francois Hollande. Before that, as the director general for political affairs in the Foreign Ministry from 2009 to 2014, he led the French diplomatic team in the discussions with Iran and the P5+1 group. Earlier this month, he met with Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Mike Turner, both top members of the House Armed Services Committee, to discuss the Iran deal. The U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, was also in the room.

According to both lawmakers, Audibert expressed support for the deal overall, but also directly disputed Kerry’s claim that a Congressional rejection of the Iran deal would result in the worst of all worlds, the collapse of sanctions and Iran racing to the bomb without restrictions.

'He basically said, if Congress votes this down, there will be some saber-rattling and some chaos for a year or two, but in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage,' Sanchez told me in an interview. 'He thought if the Congress voted it down, that we could get a better deal.'"

But why should the Times even consider the opinion of the man who "led the French diplomatic team in the discussions with Iran and the P5+1 group"?

Needless to say, the Times castigates Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Obama administration's bugaboo, for his opposition to the deal:

"What should be a thoughtful debate has been turned into a vicious battle against Mr. Obama, involving not just the Republicans but Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu."

You see, Netanyahu shouldn't be worried by a deal that provides Iran, which regularly calls for the eradication of Israel, with the right to build a nuclear arsenal within a maximum of 15 years if it doesn't cheat, which of course it will (it has been cheating all along). And then there is also the "small" matter that Israelis from the left, right and center, including the head of the opposition party, Isaac Herzog, oppose the deal by an enormous margin. As reported by The Jerusalem Post, 78 percent of Israelis believe the nuclear deal will "endanger Israel;" 71 percent think the deal will "bring Iran closer to a military nuclear capability;" and 47 percent "support an Israeli military strike on Iran if it would be necessary to prevent the Islamic state from getting nuclear weapons."

Backing for the deal? The Times editorial informs us:

"[A] preponderance of responsible opinion — the five major powers, the United Nations Security Council, most American nuclear experts and scores of leading American diplomats — have endorsed the pact as the best way to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon."

Got it: Israelis are irresponsible when it comes to their opinion of a deal with existential consequences for them. There is also the fact that a majority of Americans want Congress to reject Obama's deal, but what do they possibly know? The fact that they twice elected Obama as president is now entirely irrelevant.

What about America's "responsible" partners from the P5+1? No mention by the Times editorial that China will now be selling 150 J-10 fighter jets to Iran or that Russia will now be selling 100 refueling aircraft to Iran, allowing the mullahs to attack any other country in the Middle East, including, of course, Israel. And I suppose that a 60-member German trade delegation, which visited Iran earlier this month, also had the security of Israel in mind.

Yup, this is the slimiest, most partisan editorial ever published by The New York Times.

Maureen Dowd, "Joe Biden in 2016: What Would Beau Do?": Empress Hillary Has No Clothes



Empress Hillary has no clothes. You don't believe me? Read Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Joe Biden in 2016: What Would Beau Do?" Savaging the former secretary of state, Dowd declares:

"A PATTERN of cutting corners, a patina of entitlement and inevitability, has led to this.

Destroying digital messages and thwarting official investigations while acting all innocent about wiping out sensitive material.

Avoiding reporters after giving disingenuous explanations at uncomfortable news conferences. Claiming egregious transgressions are a private matter and faux controversy while sending out high-power lawyers and spin doctors to deflect and minimize.

. . . .

[I]n the case of Hillary, problems of style and substance are starting to scuff her sheen of inevitability."

Who's preparing to step up and take her on in the Democratic primaries? Dowd points to Joe Biden. And although Biden is, on occasion, a clown - you will of course recall Biden's recommendation to a mother to buy a shotgun for protection - his antics do not rival those of Donald Trump.

Be it at Beau's behest or otherwise, Joe, welcome to the race.

My advice to Hillary: Get dressed, get divorced (What's all this talk about the Energizer, who brings cookies to the Secret Service detail?) and get yourself a new life.

Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol, "Demand the Documents": Iranian Ties to al-Qaeda Hidden by Obama Adminstration



"I think they have a policy of opposition to us and a great enmity, but I have no specific knowledge of a plan by Iran to actually destroy us."

- John Kerry, response to Congressman Ted Poe, July 28, 2015

Kerry was obfuscating the truth.

In a Weekly Standard article entitled "Demand the Documents," Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol tell us that the Obama administration is hiding documents that link Iran with al-Qaeda. Hayes and Kristol write:

"We have been told by six current or former intelligence officials that the collection of documents captured in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound includes explosive information on Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda over the past two decades, including details of Iran’s support for al Qaeda’s attacks on Americans.

. . . .

Among the most significant were documents that shed new light on the complicated relationship between Iran and al Qaeda. Even the Obama administration has acknowledged the relationship. In 2011, the administration designated six al Qaeda operatives who were responsible for what officials described as al Qaeda’s lifeline. The network was based in Iran. 'This network serves as the core pipeline through which al Qaeda moves money, facilitators, and operatives,' according to the Treasury Department’s designation. In an interview with The Weekly Standard at the time, a senior Obama administration official involved in the designation said, 'Without this network, al Qaeda’s ability to recruit and collect funds would be severely damaged.'

. . . .

Contacted about the status of al Qaeda’s Iran network earlier this spring, two intelligence officials confirmed that it was still functioning and still critical to al Qaeda operations.

. . . .

The Obama administration does not want the bin Laden documents released. To date, the administration has made public fewer than 150 documents out of more than a million, despite a statutory requirement to expedite the release of the collection."

Would this information impact upon public perception of Obama's legacy-creating nuclear deal with Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei? Of course. Would this information impact upon the upcoming Congressional vote on the nuclear deal? Absolutely. However, Obama's legacy-creating deal must come first, regardless of the danger.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Roger Cohen, "One Congressman’s Iran": Shame on Sander Levin!



Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan, who decided to support Obama's nuclear deal with Khamenei, should be concerned when he receives the blessing of Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen. In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "One Congressman’s Iran," Cohen begins:

"Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan and the longest-serving Jewish member of the House, said something important this week: 'In my view, the only anchors in public life are to dig deeply into the facts and consult broadly and then to say what you believe.'"

Levin dug deeply into the nuclear deal with Iran? Heck no! He couldn't even bother waiting to learn what appears in the secret side agreements between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran, never seen by John Kerry or Ernest Muniz, which lay out the terms for IAEA inspections of Iranian military sites, such as Parchin, where nuclear detonator tests were conducted. And those terms are not pretty: Iran itself will be relied upon to supply requested soil samples to the IAEA.

Cohen continues:

"Levin’s reflection led him to the sober, accurate conclusion that the agreement is 'the best way to achieve' the goal of preventing Iran from advancing toward a nuclear weapon, an outcome that will make Israel, the Middle East and the world 'far more secure.' Not the ideal way, the perfect way, or a foolproof way, but, in the real world of ineradicable Iranian nuclear know-how, the best way attainable. That is also the view of other parties to the deal — the not insignificant or unserious powers of Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany."

Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany all wish to "make Israel, the Middle East and the world 'far more secure'"? I suppose that is why China will now be selling 150 J-10 fighter jets to Iran and Russia will now be selling 100 refueling aircraft to Iran, allowing the mullahs to attack any other country in the Middle East, including, of course, Israel.

I suppose that a 60-member German trade delegation, which visited Iran earlier this month, was also concerned with the security of Israel.

France? As reported by Josh Rogin in a Bloomberg article entitled "Top French Official Contradicts Kerry on Iran Deal":

"Jacques Audibert, is now the senior diplomatic adviser to President Francois Hollande. Before that, as the director general for political affairs in the Foreign Ministry from 2009 to 2014, he led the French diplomatic team in the discussions with Iran and the P5+1 group. Earlier this month, he met with Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Mike Turner, both top members of the House Armed Services Committee, to discuss the Iran deal. The U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, was also in the room.

According to both lawmakers, Audibert expressed support for the deal overall, but also directly disputed Kerry’s claim that a Congressional rejection of the Iran deal would result in the worst of all worlds, the collapse of sanctions and Iran racing to the bomb without restrictions.

'He basically said, if Congress votes this down, there will be some saber-rattling and some chaos for a year or two, but in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage,' Sanchez told me in an interview. 'He thought if the Congress voted it down, that we could get a better deal.'"

Shame on you, Sander Levin! You might be a friend of Obama, and true blue to the Democratic Party, but you are no friend of Israel at a time when the Jewish State is again being threatened with extinction by a country being handed a nuclear arsenal within 15 years at most!

Nicholas Kristof, "Why the Naysayers Are Wrong About the Iran Deal": Is Kristof a Liar or an Idiot?



You will recall Nicholas Krisof's retweet of the message, "OBAMA Told the 2 Most Pig Like Lobbies, AIPAC & NRA, to Drop Dead in Same Month." Kristof never explained why he disseminated this anti-Semitic tweet to his admirers.

And then there was Kristof's "famous" New York Times op-ed, "In Iran, They Want Fun, Fun, Fun," which described a 1,700-mile, magical mystery tour across Iran in 2012, accompanied by his son and daughter. In a journey akin to Borat's excursion across the US, Kristof relayed profound anecdotes from his chance meetings with ordinary Iranians. Discussions with members of Iran's persecuted Baha'i minority? None. Exchanges of views with Iran's oppressed Kurds? No way. Dialogue with Iranian homosexuals (homosexuality is an offense punishable by hanging in Iran)? Nada. A visit to Evin Prison to check the well-being of political dissidents languishing in its dungeons? Nope. Not even an off-the-beaten-track side trip to witness the stoning to death of a woman accused of adultery.

Well, today Kristof is back with a New York Times op-ed entitled "Why the Naysayers Are Wrong About the Iran Deal," seeking to offer support for Obama's nuclear deal with Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei. Kristof writes:

"The U.S. didn’t get all it wanted (and neither did Iran) in an imperfect compromise. True, we didn’t achieve anywhere, anytime inspections, yet the required inspections program is still among the most intrusive ever."

Oh really? It never occurred to Nick to mention that John Kerry has no idea what is written in Iran's side agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Instead of inspections, these agreements allow Iran to provide the IAEA with soil samples purportedly from the  Parchin military site, where Iran has been experimenting with triggers for nuclear weapons. Trust Iran to provide real soils? Yeah, right.

On the basis of the abovementioned trip to Iran with his children, Kristof would further have us know:

"I would guess that after the supreme leader dies, Iran will begin a process of change like that in China after Mao died."

Got it. On the basis of Kristof's "guess," the US should risk allowing Iran to build a nuclear weapons arsenal within another 15 years - much less time if the mullahs cheat, which they will. Combine that capability with an end to the prohibition on Iran's purchase or building of ICBMs within eight years and what have you got? A nuclear threat against Washington and New York.

Re unlocking "tens of billions of dollars in frozen assets and new oil revenues" which will pass to extremist groups, Kristof writes:

"True, but that will happen anyway. Remember that this agreement includes Europe, Russia and China as parties. Even if Congress rejects the agreement, sanctions will erode and Iran will get an infusion of cash."

Why will it happen "anyway" if the US maintains the sanctions regime and demands that those seeking access to the American banking system also toe the line? In fact, it wouldn't happen "anyway." On the other hand, the first invertebrate ever to occupy the Oval Office has another year and a half as president, and he has amply demonstrated that he is not capable of saying no to Khamenei.

Concerning Iranian calls for the extermination of Israel, Kristof writes:

"If I lived in Tel Aviv, would I be nervous? Sure. But I’d be even more nervous without this deal, which reduces the chance that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon in the next decade. That’s why five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel endorsed the accord. (It’s also notable that American Jews are more in favor of the agreement than the American public as a whole.)"

Kristof, however, makes a point of ignoring the fact that 78 percent of Israelis believe the nuclear deal will "endanger Israel;" 71 percent think the deal will "bring Iran closer to a military nuclear capability;" and 47 percent "support an Israeli military strike on Iran if it would be necessary to prevent the Islamic state from getting nuclear weapons." Believe me, Israelis know more than a little about what's good or bad for them, particularly when it involves their continued existence on this planet. Regarding American Jews, a new poll shows that "A plurality of American Jews now say they oppose the Iran nuclear deal, 45% to 40%–and a majority oppose the deal after they learn more about what is in it, according to a new poll."

Enough said. Is Kristof a liar or just an idiot? Decide for yourself.