Filed under: Politics
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Progressivism, Terrorism | Tags: John Kerry's Incompetence, The Geneva Accords, The Islamic Republic of Iran
So many of President Obama’s policies leave one puzzled. What can he possibly be thinking? Why would he do this? Why would he assume this to be a good idea? Particularly in the case of the interim agreement that the United States and its partners cut with Iran last week in Geneva which seems to be a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. The core objective of the past two decades — preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — and threatening fundamental regional and global interests have been ignored. Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, strengthening the forces of radicalism and terrorism in the region — what can he be thinking?
We have compared Obama to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who pursued a policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler, and agreed to the Nazi demand that Czechoslovakia should cede the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany to stave off a threatened invasion — without consulting the Czechs.
Obama does manifest some of Chamberlain’s trusting naïveté and insular self-righteousness. More important perhaps, like Chamberlain, Obama thinks his job is to accommodate domestic war-weariness and to keep us out of foreign conflicts. Also like Chamberlain, Obama in the Middle East has inclined toward appeasing Muslims at the expense of Jews in the Holy Land. And like Chamberlain, Obama will go down in history as a failed leader of the leading Western democracy, one whose policies will have to be reversed—one hopes this time at less cost—by his successor.
Churchill succeeded Chamberlain in 1940 and saved the West.
The Obama administration apparently believes that the supreme leader might forsake his historic quest for nuclear weapons begun under the Ayatollah Khomeini and carried forth under Khamenei and every Iranian president. The United States, “the epicenter of evil” has rallied the West against the Islamic Republic.
The idea seems to be that the supreme leader, and his Revolutionary Guards who control the nuclear program, terrorist operations and domestic riot-control aren’t sufficiently committed to developing a nuclear weapon that the persuasive voices of moderation from the Obama administration can seduce them from this dangerous path. Um, they seem to believe that the newly elected president Hassan Rouhani, and foreign minister Mohammad Zarif are forces for moderation. The evidence for this is a nice smile and a lot of fantasy. They believe that Rouhani must be a reformer — he has a PhD from a Scottish university. Ruel Marc Gerecht, who is an expert, spells out the evidence for fantasy. Do read the whole thing.
At the core of Washington’s debate about Iran’s nuclear program is a confluence of naïveté and fear of another war in the Middle East. The latter reinforces the former and bends the analysis of Iran’s internal politics. It makes America’s foreign policy elite, which has never been a particularly God-fearing crowd, even more blind to the role of religion in Iran’s politics. The president himself appears to believe passionately that an irenic American foreign policy insulates the United States from Muslim anger and terrorism.
No one in the Middle East believes that Obama would order a strike. The Washington foreign-policy establishment have conceded the bomb to Iran. They argue for “containment.” The only thing that matters is that we will not bomb Iran’s nuclear sites. Most on the Left do not envision any need for a militarily strong and aggressive America pushing back against Iranian adventurism. Containment is a synonym for patient, peaceful engagement and American withdrawal. Gerecht summarizes:
President Obama’s eagerness to avoid an unpleasant binary choice—surrender publicly to Tehran’s nuclear fait accompli or preempt militarily—will have led him to a situation where he confronts the same choice, but with Iran’s hand stronger and America’s weaker. Khamenei will have called Obama’s bluff—and will have billions more in his bank account. In all probability, the president has bought into a process of diminishing returns that he cannot abandon for fear of the cruel binary choice. For that matter, he may already have decided that the left-wing of the Democratic party is right.
Well, that’s what we get when the president can’t be bothered to attend his intelligence briefings. Does he worry at all about the new ICBMs being developed by North Korea and Iran?
Dan Bongino, former Secret Service member, now running for Congress in Maryland, has said that the White House staff were like kids with a shiny new toy. No one knew anything about government, and they treated the president like a cult figure — if he said it, it must be true. Nothing could be more dangerous than an ideologically-driven megalomaniac surrounded by obsequious yes-men in the White House.
Filed under: Afghanistan, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Heartwarming, Politics | Tags: Strange Family Traditions, Strange Lefty Traditions, Thanksgiving Dinner
Light blogging. Yesterday was a cooking day. Well-brined turkey, sage stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes with a dollop of brandy and cream (NO marshmallows), a pureé of broccoli and green beans, Idaho potatoes, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. The president had 11 different kinds of pie, and a side of traditional macaroni and cheese. Do other people do this? I had never heard of macaroni and cheese as a Thanksgiving day specialty. It’s always interesting to hear about other people’s Thanksgiving traditions.
We are of Yankee heritage and do not do cornbread stuffing. My father handed down his Southern grandmother’s cornbread recipe which I cherish — but not in the bird. I used to do oyster stuffing in one end and sage in the other, but got too many complaints from non-oyster people. The vegetable of choice here seems to be brussles sprouts, as my grocery always starts off with a big display which is quickly decimated. I have never been able to make friends with the sprout, though I love cabbage. (Fresh cabbage in ½” dice, sauteed quickly in butter, dollop of sour cream and lots of black pepper).
The loony left was out with their usual ignorant “Genocide Day” huffings that America had committed genocide on the American Indians, and concurrently that in that picture of George W. Bush’s surprise Thanksgiving Day visit with the troops in Afghanistan — that was a plastic turkey.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Middle East, Politics, United Nations | Tags: Human Nature and Human Rights, Saudi Arabia, The U.N. Human Rights Council
The United Nations was the culmination of fuzzy ideas that somehow an organization with the proper administration would let us all get along by talking things over, or something like that. United in our diversity, a bastion of tolerance, no competition, passivity and sufferance. There is always some new idea for unity, but pretty thoughts don’t overcome basic human nature.
Newly elected members Britain and France will serve on the U.N. Human Rights Council with — Saudi Arabia, one of the worlds most notorious abusers of human rights. No one opposed giving Riyadh the authority to pass judgment on the West’s record of human rights: yet as the delegates were voting, the Saudi religious police were killing and raping Christian migrant workers from Africa and Asia as part of a countrywide crackdown on foreigners.
Reports show that at least 10 Ethiopians have been killed and more than a dozen raped since the Kingdom began its immigrant roundup in early November. Saudi police rounded up Filipino workers, mostly Catholic and threw them in crowded cells where they were “treated like animals.” Police chained their feet together and left them shackled for several days. An estimated 6,700 Filipino workers are being held in Saudi prisons. Saudi Arabia only renounced slavery in 1973, more or less.
Amnesty International found last May that workers were being subjected to slave-like conditions and many had been tortured. A Sri Lankan was found to have had 24 nails and a needle driven into her hands after she complained about her heavy workload.
Non-Muslim migrants with legal permits to work in the Kingdom were denied fundamental rights, including the right to work. This is a hallmark of Saudi religious and racial bigotry. It is hoped, though unlikely, that the Saudi government will decline the invitation to serve on the Human Rights Council, as it recently did its seat on the U.N. Security Council.
But they wonder why we don’t have much respect for the United Nations.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iran, Islam, Israel, National Security, Politics, The United States | Tags: Appeasing the Enemy, Foreign Policy Mistake, Nuclear Deal With Iran
The headline read: “Iran: White House Lying About Details of Nuke Deal.”
Iranian officials say that the White House is misleading the public about the details of an interim nuclear agreement reached over the weekend in Geneva. …
The White House released a multi-page fact sheet containing details of the draft agreement shortly after the deal was announced. However, an Iranian foreign ministry official on Tuesday rejected the White House’s version of the deal as “invalid” and accused Washington of releasing a factually inaccurate primer that misleads the American public.”
Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, is fully recognized under the draft released by Tehran. Iran proclaims no limits on their right to continue enriching uranium which should set alarm bells ringing loudly. They want time off from the sanctions that are disrupting their economy, so they can enrich in peace. John Bolton, who has long experience with Iran, says:
In exchange for superficial concessions, Iran achieved three critical breakthroughs. First, it bought time to continue all aspects of its nuclear weapons program the agreement does not cover (centrifuge manufacturing and testing, weaponization research and fabrication, and its entire ballistic missile program). Indeed, given that the interim agreement contemplates periodic renewals, Iran may have gained all of the time it needs to achieve weaponization not of simply a handful of nuclear weapons, but of dozens or more.
Second, Iran has gained Legitimacy. This central banker of international terrorism and flagrant nuclear proliferator is once again part of the international club. Much as the Syria chemical-weapons agreement buttressed Bashar al-Assad, the mullahs have escaped the political deep freezer.
Third, Iran has broken the psychological momentum and effect of the international economic sanctions. While estimates differ on Iran’s precise gain, it is considerable ($7 billion is the lowest estimate), and presages much more. Tehran correctly assessed that a mere six-months’ easing of sanctions will make it extraordinarily hard for the West to reverse direction, even faced with systematic violations of Iran’s nuclear pledges. Major oil-importing countries (China, India, South Korea, and others) were already chafing under U .S. sanctions, sensing President Obama had no stomach either to impose sanctions on them, or pay the domestic political price of granting further waivers.
Iran declares regularly its radical hatred for Israel and the United States. It continues to sponsor terrorism on a wide scale. It regularly states its wish to annihilate Israel even at the risk of its own self-destruction. From the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran and imprisonment of embassy personnel for 444 days until today, we have had no reason to trust Iran at any time. It is appeasement of the worst kind, and puts one of our greatest allies at greater risk.
If President Obama thought he was changing the subject from the ballooning disaster of ObamaCare with a “deal” that Americans would like, he was mistaken. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va) spoke out at the end of October about a report claiming Iran is one month away from a nuclear bomb, ‘extremely alarming. ‘ The Institute for Science and International Security says Iran could produce one bomb in as little as 1 to 1.6 months, or using only 3.5 percent low enriched uranium, could make 4 bombs in 1.9 to 2.2 months using all of its existing 3.5 percent enriched uranium. Seems like a fine time to go for appeasement.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: The Cost of Compliance, The Magic Economy, The Problem of Regulation
It must be pleasant to look out the windows at the Rose Garden and see the unicorns at play. As President Obama said in his weekly address, there are some silver linings to be found in the economy.
Actually he said “most of the headlines you’ve read have probably been about the government shutdown and the launch of the Affordable Care Act…but if you look beyond those headlines there are some good things happening in our economy. And that’s been my top priority since the day I walked into the Oval Office.” There he goes again.
Nobody believes anymore that improving the economy is Obama’s top priority. The brightest spot in the economy is the energy boom in America’s shale deposits, which is making America energy independent. This success has happened entirely in the private sector on private lands, much to Mr. Obama’s annoyance.
Oddly enough, a big chunk of the increases in hiring has been in compliance officers. The administration’s drive to regulate everything proceeds apace. But regulatory agencies don’t consider the impact they have on labor markets, even though they have been subject to requirements that they consider the effect of regulatory change on the economy.
In America, the administrative state traces its origins to the Progressive movement. Progressives believed that the triumph of the modern state marked an “end of History,” a point at which there is no longer any need for conflict over fundamental principles. Politics would give way to administration which would become the task of neutral and highly trained experts.
Regulation raises the cost of production, which leads to higher prices and reduced output. This causes job loss in the regulated industry. Job losses include lost wages, job search costs and retraining costs. Higher prices for regulated goods and services raise costs in other industries and lower the buying power of consumers. These too can impact jobs.
If you think in terms of ObamaCare, the idea is that neutral and highly trained expert bureaucrats will tell highly trained physicians how to care for patients, and highly trained bureaucrats will tell insurance company actuaries how much they should charge for insurance benefits. You see the problem.
Obama has repeatedly denied Republican assertions that over regulation is a problem, yet data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an 18 percent increase in the number of compliance officers in the U.S. between 2009 and 2012. At last count there were an estimated 227,500 compliance officers employed. Those numbers do not include professions like bank examiners, tax collectors or Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors who monitor companies for fraud and safety violations.
Reform advocates argue that the private sector was left without proper oversight for too long.
Um, Benghazi, Cash for Clunkers, the IRS, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, EPA overreach, falsifying job numbers, auto bailout, seizing AP phone records, EPA attack on coal companies, the Keystone XL Pipeline, firing Inspector Generals, and it’s the private sector that has been left without proper oversight?
The pages in the Code of Federal Regulations hit an all time high of 174,545 pages is 2012. In 2012, the cost of federal rules exceeded $1.8 trillion, and regulatory burdens cost each U.S. household $14,768.
Private business has been telling the administration for nearly five years that over-regulation is a problem, but the administration denies it. Progressives know better. So the result is that the President of the United States looks out the windows of the White House at the unicorns playing in the garden, and explains to the people in his weekly address that there are some silver linings to be found in the economy. We need only 8.0 million jobs to get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate, which will take around five years.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Iran, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: "The Deal of the Century", A Nuclear Pact With Iran, The Lessons of History
Secretary of State John Kerry returned from
Munich Geneva waving a document and proclaiming peace in our time “we have a deal.” The Obama administration regards the deal as a great accomplishment for the U.S., UK, France, China, Russia and Germany. Journalist Claudia Rosett describes the negotiations:
The world powers have been itching to hand Iran what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accurately described as “the deal of the century — the ticket to the nuclear arsenal the Tehran regime covets, and for which the infrastructure would be left in place.” So eager are some of these world powers to produce a signed piece of paper that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, for the second time in a month, decided to race to Geneva, ready to close the deal. Evidently it is no deterrent to the Obama administration that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei chose to punctuate rounds two and three of these nuclear talks by delivering a speech to Basij militiamen (who greeted him with chants of “Death to America”) in which he compared Israel to a “rabid dog,” said its officials “cannot be called human,” and added,” the Israeli regime is doomed to failure and annihilation.”
History is not a strong point of the Obama administration, but we have many examples of pacts with enemies, when the West is desperately hoping for peace, and anxious to avoid confrontation.
“Chamberlain returned from Munich to England. At Heston where he landed, he waved the joint declaration which he had got Hitler to sign, and read it to the crowd of notables and others who welcomed him. From the windows at Downing Street he waved his piece of paper again and used these words, “This is the second time there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace in our time.”*
At the Nuremberg Trials, Colonel Eger, representing Czechoslovakia, asked Marshal Keitel: “Would the Reich have attacked Czechoslovakia in 1938 if the Western Powers had stood by Prague?”
Marshal Keitel answered: “Certainly not. We were not strong enough militarily. The object of Munich was to get Russia out of Europe, to gain time, and to complete the German armaments.”*
Claudia Rosett adds:
Then there is the also-obvious. Talks like these are a great boon to rogue regimes — just ask North Korea (which has parlayed two decades of nuclear freeze deals into time and resources for three nuclear tests, and appears to be preparing its underground nuclear test site for a fourth detonation). Iran’s regime is a terror-sponsoring government under sanctions for its rogue nuclear weapons program, and in theory its rulers are being shunned and “isolated” — or so we’ve been told. … Negotiations such as these, especially if they lead to a deal, serve as credentials, painting a veneer of legitimacy on regimes that deserve none.
The media, given to hyperbole, has declared this an historic deal that freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions. ($6 billion+)
The agreement, sealed at a 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade. Kerry said the goal of the talks was to “require Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its program and ensure that it cannot acquire a nuclear weapon.”
Iran keeps its enrichment program and reactor in Arak, and just halts work. There is no indication that their pursuit of a nuclear weapon is peaceful in intent. They have also announced plans for two more nuclear power plants. I think history has lessons for us, and we do well to pay attention.
*from The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill.
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Democrat Corruption, Taxes, Election 2014, Regulation | Tags: The Nanny State, Notable Quotations, Robert Heinlein
Filed under: Domestic Policy, History, Economy, Health Care, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: The ObamaCare Debacle, The Republicans Fault?, The Kennedy Assassination
ObamaCare’s failures can be partly blamed on the failure of Republicans to applaud it enthusiastically enough. The Washington Post writes:
President Obama on Tuesday sought to redirect some of the political blame for the botched rollout of the federal health insurance exchange to Republicans, characterizing GOP lawmakers as rooting for the law’s failure. …
Obama said that fixes to the HealthCare.gov Web portal are underway and that the exchange will function for a majority of people by the end of November. But the president said staunch opposition from congressional Republicans is inhibiting the law’s implementation.
How does that work? Republicans can do no more than speak out against the law and the fallout from its implementation. The problems are a direct result of the failed rollout, Obama’s continuing lies to the public, and public recognition that the law is for the most part disastrous for them. It really isn’t failing because the Republicans say it is junk insurance. It is junk insurance.
Well, yes. The Affordable Care Act passed with no input from Republicans and every Republican in the House and the Senate voted against it, because it is a fraudulent law and will do great damage to the country and the people. Management of the Act has been beyond incompetent. Millions of people have lost the insurance they preferred and are stuck with junk insurance with higher premiums and deductibles for coverage they did not choose. You expected a Republican cheering section for a bad law that you consistently lied about?
So naturally Obama is going to “pivot to the economy” again. Expect infrastructure talk. Unfortunately, the economy is not improving. Businesses are hiring for the wrong reasons. U.S. News notes:
Businesses have increased the hiring of compliance officers in recent years to help manage the growing number of complex federal rules and regulations. While increased hiring is generally welcome news in the current labor market, it’s important to realize that a regulatory system that prompts the private sector to bring on employees whose sole purpose is to evaluate conformity with laws and regulations reduces productivity, raises the cost of production and has a negative impact on the economy.
Unfortunately, proposed government regulations often ignore the economic cost of job loss in the regulated industry. For instance, if an agency adopts a regulation that increases the costs of energy production, energy companies have to either lower production, raise prices, hire fewer workers or consider some combination of the three.
With the 50 year retrospective of the Kennedy assassination this week, the New York Times and the Washington Post each published pieces by two different authors who attempt to implicitly blame “the right-wing extremist environment in Dallas in 1963 for the Kennedy assassination on that environment. The Washingtonian is more explicit, “The City of hate had, in fact, killed the President.” The Left has long refused to accept the idea that JFK was killed by a Communist, who was committed to the communist cause, who had defected to the Soviet Union, and would have gone to live in Cuba.
The blame game never ends. The ideology of the Left promises a glorious future. They cannot admit the failure of ideology, so they blame Republicans. Fifty years later and they still cannot admit that JFK was killed by a Communist.