American Elephants


There Is No Iran Deal. It’s All Just a Pretense. They Pretend to Obey the Sanctions. We Pretend to Believe Them. by The Elephant's Child

Sardar-haj-qasem-soleimani-04Iran has never stopped violating the sanctions, never stopped violating the “agreement” that was reached in Brussels, and is continuing to do everything it can to demonstrate that it has the upper hand as a result of the deal it negotiated with the United States and its five partners. It twists understandings of the terms of the deal to justify its ‘misbehavior’ or just goes ahead and does what it chooses anyway.

President Obama and his Secretary of State are so eager for a deal that they are not pushing back, they are only pushing hard to get a veto-proof congressional vote of approval.

Iran plans to sign a contract for four advanced Russian surface-to-air S-300 missiles as early as next week, following a visit to Moscow by Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani (seen above) in violation of an international travel ban. The Quds Force is the designated arm of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to export the revolution abroad —which is just what they have been doing.

The sanctions against Qassem Soleimani “will stay forever” John Kerry said on Tuesday. “He oversaw the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, its efforts to destabilize Iraq, to support Bashar Assad in Syria, and the IRGC’s proliferation of WMD. The Quds Force supports the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah, Shiite militants in Iraq, and Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” Other than that, he’s not apt to pay much attention to sanctions.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is planning “a massive ballistic missile test” in the near future, according to the Fars News Agency.

Earlier this year, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajiadeh said they plan to upgrade and replace Iran’s existing Fateh, Qiyam, and Qadr missiles with a new generation of missiles — despite international sanctions on the Iranian Missile program.

The issue has arisen in the debate over the Iran Deal in Congress. Lawmakers have criticized the agreement for allowing the international arms embargo to be lifted after five years and the ballistic missile sanctions to be lifted after eight years. Perhaps they should criticize the IRGC for ordering new missiles from Russia last week, and having tests “in the near future.” Perhaps they should be arguing, not about what “the agreement says”— but about what Iran is actually doing.

Iranian leaders have declared that their arms shipments to allies in the region, such as their terrorist proxy Hezbollah will continue in spite of the UN Security Council arms embargo that is still in effect for five years.

Secretary Kerry said: “The arms embargo is not tied to snapback. It is tied to a separate set of obligations. So they are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms part of it.”

There isn’t any “snapback” anyway, that would require agreement among the other parties to the agreement, and that’s not going to happen. The other parties are busy planning trade negotiations with Iran as soon as they can send them off. With sanctions lifted and money flowing back to Iran, they will be in the market for all the interesting things the western nations produce. Nobody is shouting ‘Death to Germany,’ or ‘Death to France’— the Europeans need to sell more stuff, and they want to buy Iranian oil which will help to lift the energy blackmail that Putin favors. They don’t believe that Iran has any interest in nuking them, it’s our problem. And if Obama wants to be a patsy, that’s our problem too.

Democrats in the House and Senate are lining up to support Obama’s disastrous deal out of blind partisan loyalty to Obama. They are assuming that the inspections will deter Iran for at least another ten years, as Kerry claims. Yet the military sites such as Parchin, where they are working on militarization of nuclear weapons, will not be inspected by the IAEA. Instead the Iranians will inspect their own military sites, and provide soil samples to the IAEA with their own record of the inspection. That should work.

Chief negotiator Wendy Sherman is the one who successfully negotiated the agreement with North Korea —where Kim Jong Un is currently threatening to nuke South Korea. If this was a movie,  you might just walk out because it’s all so completely unbelievable, and sticking around to find out how it turns out is way too uncomfortable.

In spite of all this, President Obama envisions himself flying to Tehran to shake hands on the agreement with the Supreme Leader. He sees it as a triumphant moment when he turns over the Middle East to the sovereignty of the ancient nation of Persia, and brings all Americans home, never to interfere in the nasty world again. Even better than Nixon opening up China. Or something like that. When Iran sets off an EMP attack decimating the East Coast and killing millions of Americans Obama won’t even have finished raising the billion dollars he wants for his presidential library.



Hillary’s Troubles Grow, Her Poll Numbers Decline. by The Elephant's Child

140611-hillary_clinton_cantor-1246_b389bd4261f2ead53ddd871648b90ba8The speculation about Joe Biden’s entering the race has been heightened by his meeting at the Naval Observatory, with Senator Elizabeth Warren. It has undoubtedly caused some consternation in the Clinton campaign. Hillary has been doing her best to laugh off the notion that her email scandal is harming her chances of getting elected president. Bill could carry off that kind of good-ol’ -boy, lovable rogue kind of thing, but Hillary can’t.  She is not a good campaigner. Her speeches come across as lectures from Nurse Ratchet. Her jokes are lame — the one about Snapchat messages deleting themselves, and wiping her home server with a cloth — just fall flat.

Declining poll numbers, and even her disastrous press conference last week in which she arrogantly dismissed questions about her email problems haven’t disrupted the fact that she remains, so far, the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination. She’s reached back to blame it all once again on “the vast right-wing conspiracy.” but that really won’t work this time.

The emails and the private server, the tiny operation in Colorado she hired to manage the server or servers — are serious threats to national security. “Our ridiculous classification rules” are the real problem.”

Hillary Clinton
@HillaryClinton

………..
From a former @TheJusticeDept official: “Our ridiculous classification rules” are the real problem: http://hrc.io/1UXaWd7
5:13 AM – 21 Aug 2015

 Former intelligence and military officials were quick to reply Friday to Hillary’s contention the government over-classification of materials are “the real problem.”

It’s not up to her to decide what level it’s classified at. It’s up to her to obey the law, and clearly she did not,” Lt. Col. Col James Williamson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Williamson entered Special Forces in 1988 and retired in 2012.

Brig. Gen. Kenneth Berquist said “she jeopardized every piece of information that went across her private server line. This is a very good example of how her ‘inconvenience’ put us at risk in the United States.”

Berquist added that “this is hubris. This is an example where people say, ‘I don’t play by the rules.’”

Berquist is a former CIA intelligence officer who was hand-picked by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the first president of the Joint Special Operations University, which trains intermediate and senior commanders in special operations. He also served as special operations staff director for the U.S. Central Command during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Jennifer Palmeri, Clinton campaign communications director, said that at the end of summer, Clinton will provide the public with more information about how federal records are classified, and she will turn her focus to more important issues like the Iran nuclear deal, the economy and women’s issues, and she will “go on offense” on her record as secretary of state.

Good luck with that. Clearly, Hillary really doesn’t get the seriousness of the problem, or she has assumed that the rules don’t apply to her.

[Petraeus] was tarred, feathered and ridden out of the CIA on a rail for sharing some information (his own notebook) with his biographer who was both in the military and had a top secret clearance. Yet, Petraeus did not have a secret server set up to house his classified and top secret information or digital satellite imagery; he destroyed nothing; and, there was no “leak.”

Over 300 emails from a small sampling of the Clinton emails have been judged classified. The tech firm she hired to deal with her server has no security clearance, her lawyer has a security clearance, but allowed staff to handle her correspondence and copy secure matters. The government permitted Clinton to use a private server, ignored the matter for months, allowed her attorney’s office staff to handle sensitive emails. People have lost jobs, paid enormous fines, been disgraced and gone to jail for lesser matters. The investigation would not be continuing without Obama’s approval.



Now It’s The IRS Again, With 334,000 Stolen Identities. If They Haven’t Got You Yet, They Soon Will. by The Elephant's Child

The news about our favorite bureaucracies just keeps coming. In this case it is the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS reported a wee break-in to its computer systems back in May. Now they have admitted that an additional 220,000 taxpayer accounts have been compromised.

So if the ObamaCare Hospital required computer breach didn’t get you, you have another chance to get your identity hacked by the IRS — that trusted organization that deals so efficiently with your taxes. There were also 170,000 instances of “suspected attempts that failed to clear the authentication processes.” whatever that means.

So the number of stolen identities now adds up to 334,000 , nearly three tunes the IRS original estimate of 114,000.

Why, it was only about a month ago that it was the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that admitted that Chinese-origin cyber attacks on its computer networks compromised the personal data of 22.1 million Americans who had been employed by the government.

And earlier this month defense officials said that Russia had launched a “sophisticated cyber attack” on the Pentagon’s unclassified email system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the end of July. That breach affected approximately 4,000 military and civilian employees, including Chairman General Martin Dempsey.

The IRS break-in occurred in an online service called “Get Transcript” an application that helps taxpayers get their prior year return information. It has been shut down. The IRS will notify taxpayers who were potentially affected as soon as possible and provide them with support — such as free credit protection.

It would be reassuring to hear a strong voice from Washington, telling us that tech experts are already hard at work hardening off or rendering government computer systems impregnable from enemy attack. Instead, we hear the Democratic candidate for president insisting that she never received, saw, or heard of a classified document, and certainly never sent one. That server of hers was all yoga exercises and wedding plans and baby showers and messages to Bill, who has never sent an email message in his life.

Can we expect Cyber-Security from the folks who gave us ObamaCare?



When Is a Treaty Not a Treaty? Democrats Like to Re-Name Things. Can They Get Away With It? by The Elephant's Child

It seems to me that the Iran Deal is the most urgent, most important issue before the American people. The administration says that Congress must pass it, and if they don’t, Obama will sign it anyway. Orde Kittrie, writing in the Wall Street Journal says that Congress can Rewrite the Iran Deal. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the Deal is not a treaty because they couldn’t get a treaty through Congress, so it isn’t a treaty.

This is a nonstarter for the administration. Mr. Obama warns that failure to approve the deal as is means that America will lose its “credibility as a leader of diplomacy,” indeed “as the anchor of the international system.” Mr. Kerry asserts that refusing to approve the deal would be inconsistent with “the traditional relationship” that has existed “between the executive and Congress.”
Does just calling it an “executive agreement” make it not a treaty? You can call a pig a dog, but that doesn’t make it a dog, nor make it any less disreputable.

In an interview published Aug. 5  with Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg, John Kerry said of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, that “the ayatollah constantly believed that we were untrustworthy, that you can’t negotiate with us, that we will screw them.” And we believed that Iran was trustworthy and that we could negotiate with him? Please! Clearly, we didn’t care that Iran was not trustworthy, so we gave in to them on every issue.

Kerry said that “Congressional rejection of the deal “will be the ultimate screwing,” he added, noting that “the United States Congress will prove the ayatollah’s suspicion, and there’s no way he’s ever coming back. He will not come back to negotiate. Out of dignity, out of a suspicion that you can’t trust America. America is not going to negotiate in good faith. It didn’t negotiate in good faith now, would be his point.”

During two years of negotiations, Obama and his international partners agreed to keep discussions of ballistic missiles out of the nuclear talks after Tehran refused to continue the talks if the issue was not excluded. Did nobody ask why they needed intercontinental ballistic missiles if their nuclear efforts were simply for peaceful energy? Unless they are worried about Venezuela, we are the only folks on a different continent.

Obama clearly did not expect the negative reaction to the Iran Deal.According to Gallup, only one in three Americans approve of Obama’s handling of Iran. Unsurprisingly, even leftist Jewish organizations are lining up to oppose the deal.

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Obama was asked if he thought it was “appropriate of a foreign head of government to inject himself into an American affair.”That one is laughable. Obama has an extensive history of injecting himself into the affairs and elections of other countries, both by word and deed. He sent his campaign advisors to Israel, and to Britain to help the opposition party, and has injected himself into the affairs of Australia and Canada, without invitation.

America has long had a list of countries designated by us as state sponsors of terrorism. It has been a fairly exclusive club, with states like North Korea and Syria. The Obama administration has, for political reasons, shown remarkable solicitude toward two countries that were on the list when he became president: Cuba and Iran.”Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission,”  was the explanation of the State Department. John Kerry has trekked off to Cuba to raise the flag over a reopened U.S. Embassy there. Nothing has changed. The Castros state firmly that nothing will change, and Cuba hasn’t lost its taste for terrorism and spying.

Iran is a different deal. The Ayatollahs have long had their fingers in every terrorist effort from Iraq to Syria, to Yemen, Georgia,Thailand and India, not to mention a number of other countries around the world.  Unacknowledged is the fact the throughout the negotiations, Iran has continued its work toward a weapon. The Europeans want Iran’s oil, and trade with Iran. Obama wants their good graces and is engaged in the worst kind of wishful thinking. To assume that Havana and Tehran can be reformed by kindness and respectful talk is an unbelievably foolish and dangerous error. Obama is desperately searching for a “legacy,” it will not be found in millions of dead Americans.



The Great Unlearning: How Our Society Became So Stupid. by The Elephant's Child

Bill Whittle takes on the big problem.

Parents? The Schools? Television? Social Media? The Press? Hollywood? Absence of knowledge of history, math, economics, in favor of gender, sexism, racism, inability to read? What is most important and what should we tackle first?



Quotations Worth Remembering : by The Elephant's Child

From William Voegeli’s The Pity Party:

In contrast to America,countries like Canada and Australia treat immigration the way Harvard treats college admission or the New England Patriots treat the NFL Draft as a way to get the talented that can benefit the institution and keep out the untalented. Here in America we increasingly treat immigration as if it were a sacred civil right possessed by seven billion foreigners.

From Milton Friedman:

It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which every resident is promised a certain minimal level of income, or a minimum level of subsistence, regardless of whether he works or not, produces it or not. Then it really is an impossible thing.



Obama’s Completely Disastrous Iran Deal. by The Elephant's Child

Iranian_Supreme_Leader_Ayatollah_Ali_Khamenei

Obama has attempted to declare that the Iran Deal is not a treaty, but some kind of executive agreement. If it were a treaty, there are Constitutional laws about treaties that govern the situation, and he would have to present the agreement to Congress, and if Congress refused to pass it, it would be all over. The only reason he is claiming that this is not a treaty is because he doesn’t want Congress to have any authority over whether it lives or dies. How can he get away with that?

The first problem with the deal is that it gives Iran an undeserved respectability that comes simply from being allowed to sign a significant international agreement, with six world powers.

Any agreement has to begin with the ugly but accurate assumption that Iran will act in bad faith and cheat at every opportunity. Papers captured from the Osama bin Laden raid have confirmed that Iran has partnered with al Qaeda, and has supported the Islamist terrorist group. Richard Epstein says:

The agreement starts off on a grand note: “The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iranˈs nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons.” But it is straight downhill from there.

Worse still, China and Russia should not be understood as adverse to Iran, their present and future ally. They are better understood as a Fifth Column against the West, and Iran’s many other foes, whose role in the negotiations is akin to the role that Vladimir Putin played in the embarrassing negotiations over chemical weapons in Syria that all but destroyed Obama’s credibility in foreign policy. Putin will be happy to take any excess uranium ore off the hands of the Iranians. But at the most opportune time, he might be prepared to return it to Iran if doing so would benefit Russia. The Chinese, for their part, also sense weakness in the United States and the West, as they build up illegal islands in the South China Sea subject to our diplomatic objections that accomplish nothing.

Europe is in need of oil and natural gas to prevent Vladimir Putin from using energy as a club over them. They are also anxious to sell stuff to Iran, because European economies are not healthy. They must see this deal as a retreat from the basic guarantee that the U.S. will provide meaningful guarantees for the security of our allies. That may make them a little less hostile to Russia and China because they fear that they cannot rely on America. And the Saudis and the Israelis face a starker situation.

Iran funds Bashar al-Assad in Syria, backs Hamas, launches terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East. They are quite clear about wanting to annihilate Israel. They are eager to confront their Sunni rivals like Saudi Arabia, and eager to annex Iraq. President Obama still cannot even say “Islamist terrorism.” The whole deal seems to be based on Obama’s odd idea that Iran wants to be a peaceful state, and we can appoint them to be in charge of the Middle East and make everyone else behave — so we can finally remove ourselves from the Middle East entirely — and the disaster of George W. Bush’s very bad and unnecessary war.

There is not the slightest indication that Iran would allow any inspections, nor that they would allow any interference with their program to acquire nuclear weapons and the intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver them. One might well ask why “intercontinental?”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has cast doubt on whether Iran will abide by the terms of a nuclear agreement between Tehran and U.S. led world powers.

Secretary Kerry says: “Nobody has ever talked about dismantling” Iran’s Nuclear Program, but in 2013, he insisted that dismantlement was the whole point. Kerry insists that the chants of “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel” are just something like PR for the enjoyment of the people, and don’t really mean anything.

When we began our negotiations, Iran had enough fissile material for 10 to 12 bombs. They had 19,000 centrifuges, up from the 163 that they had back in 2003 when the prior administration was engaged in them on this very topic,” Kerry said Thursday. “So this isn’t a question of giving them what they want. It’s a question of how do you hold their program back. How do you dismantle their weapons program? Not their whole program.

“Let’s understand what was really on the table here. We set out to dismantle their ability to be able to build a nuclear weapon, and we’ve achieved that. Nobody has ever talked about actually dismantling their entire program, because when that was being talked about, that’s when they went from 163 centrifuges to 19,000.”

Does that make any sense at all? How have we dismantled their ability to build a nuclear weapon? They have made it clear that they don’t plan to allow any inspections, and we have to give them long advance notice, and we can’t inspect any military sites anyway.

Iran says it will not allow American or Canadian inspectors working for the U.N. Nuclear watchdog to visit its nuclear facilities. My understanding is that they have not formally signed anything. The signing will theoretically take place in 60 days. The Ayatollah Khomeinei has said that Iran will not sign anything.

Abe Greenwald, writing at Commentary magazine’s blog says:

If you think the United States just struck a poor nuclear deal with Iran, you’re right; but if that’s your key takeaway, you’re missing the point. Iran’s nuclear program was last on the list of the Obama administration’s priorities in talking to Tehran. The administration readily caved on Iran’s nukes because it viewed the matter only as a timely pretense for achieving other cherished aims. These were: (1) preventing an Israeli attack on Iran; (2) transforming the United States into a more forgiving, less imposing power; (3) establishing diplomacy as a great American good in itself; (4) making Iran into a great regional power; and (5), ensuring the legacies of the president and secretary of state as men of vision and peace. …

Obama came to office promising to limit American action as well. In his standard progressive view, the United States has been too eager to throw its weight around and impose its norms on other countries without giving sufficient thought to the resentment it might sow. He ended the war in Iraq and sought to remake the United States as a humble power. “Too often the United States starts by dictating,” he told a Saudi news outlet soon after being elected. He, by contrast, would do a lot of “listening.” The Iran negotiations became Obama’s magnum opus on the theme of listening. Americans listened to Iranians dictate terms, shoot down offers, insult the United States, and threaten allies. America has been humbled indeed.

But such humility is necessary if diplomacy is to be made into a nation-defining ethos. And if we could successfully negotiate with theocratic Iran, then surely Americans would see that diplomacy could conquer all. So, for the sake of proving this abstract principle, Obama foreclosed any non-diplomatic approach to Iran before a deal was reached. As he told Tom Friedman in April, “there is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward — and that’s demonstrable.” So declared, so demonstrated.

Do read the whole article. I think Mr, Greenwald is clear thinking, absolutely correct and positively frightening. Obama seems to be delusional.




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