Filed under: Domestic Policy, Law, National Security, The United States | Tags: Ideas Shape Events, Insight, Keep Your Own Collection
Jen Rubin, Contentions, 5/04/2010
“There is no mystery as to why our Iran policy is in disarray It is what happens when we cast off the instruments of American power, place faith in international bodies that don’t share common interests or values, and assume our adversaries will respond to grand gestures and acts of goodwill.”
Jonah Goldberg, G File, 9/15/2012
“The people are the boss, the government is the servant. The Constitution is the government’s job description. The Declaration of Independence is its mission statement. Campaigns are the job interview, elections are the hiring and firing process.”
Bernard Bailyn, from:
The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
“At the Philadelphia convention, with exquisite care and with delicate nuances, they devised a complex constitution that would generate the requisite power but would so distribute its flow and uses that no one body of men and no one institutional center would ever gain a monopoly of force or influence that would dominate the nation.”
Dore Gold: Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
“The U.S. and Iran speak very different diplomatic languages that cannot be bridged by a dictionary alone. In the West, candor is central to confidence-building, for the diplomats of the Islamic Republic, deception is a way of life.”
From C.S. Lewis
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Domestic Policy, Junk Science, Law, Media Bias, Politics, The United States | Tags: EPA & USACE, EPA Power Grab, The Clean Water Act
We have complained about Congress’ inclination to pass a broad law and turn the clarifying, defining and rulemaking functions over to a federal agency. That’s not quite fair, except in the case of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
The Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of pollution into navigable waters. Rather than limit the definition of “navigable waters” to mean waters that are interstate and navigable in fact—the Clean Water Act broadens the definition of “navigable waters” so as to include non-navigable waters in order to give federal regulators a greater degree of environmental oversight. It was passed in 1972, with some specific exclusions, and has been a fairly steady source of litigation ever since.
In 2006, in Rapanos v. United States, four left-leaning justices ruled that there are no limits on federal jurisdiction. Four right-leaning justices ruled that federal jurisdiction is limited to “relatively permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water forming geographic features.” One justice (Kennedy) wrote that a water or wetland constitutes “navigable waters” under the Act if it possesses a “significant nexus” to waters that are navigable in fact or that could reasonably be so made. You see the problem.
In May of this year, the EPA and the USACE (the Army Corps of Engineers) interpreted the Rapanos decision in the broadest fashion they could and promulgated the “Waters of the United States” rule, supposedly to clarify federal jurisdiction.
- The EPA colluded with environmental special interests at the Sierra Club to manipulate the public comment period, in possible violation of federal anti-lobbying laws, as reported by The New York Times.
- Also, the EPA ignored state input during the public comment period, in blatant contravention of the principles of cooperative federalism established by the Clean Water Act.
It’s all based on the term “significant nexus,” and ephemeral streams were added to federal jurisdiction, so all the feds have to do is claim jurisdiction—ant the argument can be made that everything is connected. Including ponds, ditches and puddles.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota issued a temporary injunction against the rule, which gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The rule was scheduled to take effect Friday.
“The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely,” Erickson said in blocking the rule from taking effect.
Thirteen states led by North Dakota were involved in the lawsuit: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.
August 28, Headline, Fox News: “EPA says clean water rule in effect despite court ruling” (Heather MacDonald: “lawlessness breeds lawlessness”) Apparently— never mind the federal court, we’re going to do what want! The EPA says the rule will safeguard drinking water for millions of Americans. Well, of course you have noticed the millions of Americans dropping dead from drinking puddle water and ditch water. The American Farm Bureau has declared war. Lawsuits to block the regulation are pending across the country, Congress has moved to thwart it, The White House has threatened to veto. Opposition, however comes from both parties, businesses and most states.
The EPA has become known as an out-of-control rogue agency, and is probably the most hated agency in the government— though that designation may be up for grabs. When the head of the executive branch makes law on his own, ignores laws at his pleasure, and in general ignores his sacred oath, the agencies under his direction do the same. “Lawlessness breeds lawlessness.”
In the wake of the Gold King Mine spill of 3 or more million gallons of toxic mine tailings into the Animus River, turning the river a nasty mustard color, the EPA is undoubtedly anxious to get news about their agency out of the nation’s consciousness.Bad timing. Now that the toxic waters have progressed to Lake Powell and past, the media has quietly dropped the daily pictures—just as they are about to reach Grand Canyon National Park. There is a limit to the amount of bad news an agency can cope with.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Immigration, Law, National Security, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Hillsdale College, Heather MacDonald, Immigration and Amnesty
From Hillsdale College’s Imprimus:
“Practical Thoughts on Immigration” by Heather MacDonald
The lesson from the last 20 years of immigration policy is that lawlessness breeds more lawlessness. Once a people or a government decides to normalize one form of lawbreaking, other forms of lawlessness will follow until finally the rule of law itself is in profound jeopardy. Today, we have a constitutional crisis on our hands. President Obama has decided that because Congress has not granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens living in the U.S., he will do it himself. Let us ponder for a moment just how shameless this assertion of power is.
Article 2, Section 3, of the Constitution mandates that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision assumes that there is a law for the president to execute. But in this case, the “problem” that Obama is purporting to fix is the absence of a law granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Rather than executing a law, Obama is making one up—arrogating to himself a function that the Constitution explicitly allocates to Congress. Should this unconstitutional power grab stand, we will have moved very far in the direction of rule by dictator. Pace Obama. the absence of a congressional law granting amnesty is not evidence of political failure that must somehow be corrected by unilateral executive action; it is evidence of the lack of popular consensus regarding amnesty. There has been no amnesty statute to date because the political will for such an amnesty is lacking.
Imprimus is a free monthly publication from Hillsdale College. Hillsdale also offers free online courses. (online.hillsdale.edu)
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iran, Islam, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: But It's Not a Movie!, Democrats' Blind Partisan Loyalty, Violating The Sanctions
Iran 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.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Election 2016, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Law, National Security, Politics, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Hillary's Emails, Security Clearances, The 'Private' Servers
The 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.”
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Islam, Middle East, Military, National Security, The United States | Tags: Breakout Timelines, Fooling Ourselves?, Read Between the Lines
On August 4 — David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the “Breakout Timelines Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action? (JCPOA) suggested that the likely breakout for a nuclear weapon for Iran is seven months.
Senator Menendez responded: ” [Six-to-seven months] would be concerning to me, because I already am a little concerned that what we bought here was a very expensive alarm system … [S]ix or seven months is not going to be helpful if they decide to break out, because by the time we re-impose sanctions … it [wouldn’t] be meaningful. The next president of the United States … will only have one choice: to accept Iran as a nuclear weapons state or to have a military strike.
The Institute analyzed the imprudent assumption on which the Obama administration bases its one-year contention:
The bare-boned limits on Iran’s centrifuge program provide for at least a 12-month breakout period. However, based on ISIS analyses the agreed limits do not guarantee a 12-month breakout timeline during the first ten years of the agreement, if Iran can relatively quickly re-deploy its already manufactured IR-2m centrifuges. The administration has taken the position that Iran will not deploy these IR-2m centrifuges, because they have assessed that they will not work well enough. However, this assessment depends on an assumption about Iran’s manufactured IR-2m centrifuges that may not hold. Moreover, available data indicate that the breakage rate of the IR-2m centrifuges are no worse than those for the IR-1 centrifuges. Uncertainties about the quality of the existing IR-2m centrifuges make a definitive resolution of this issue difficult. Nonetheless, straightforward prudence would argue to include these centrifuges in a breakout, since their redeployment would have a major impact compared to IR-1 centrifuges and the United States lacks high assurance that the IR-2m centrifuges will not work adequately if deployed. In this case, the 12-month breakout criterion does not hold during the first ten years of the agreement. At a minimum, it is arguable whether the breakout criterion holds. [Emphasis added].
Another witness was Gary Samore, executive director for research in Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He said:
Senator, I don’t think re-imposition of sanctions is an effective response to breakout. I think the only effective response to breakout is military force. I mean, if the Iranians have decided to run the risk of openly dashing for a nuclear weapon, I don’t think sanctions are going to deter them or stop them.
Senator Menendez responded: So it seems to me that if Iran makes a political decision to move forward because it believes it’s the preservation of the regime, the revolution, or its place in the region, then ultimately … we are just kicking the ball down the road, but we will have a stronger, resurgent Iran with more money and greater defense capabilities than it has today.
There seems to be a basic assumption here that Iran wants to become an nuclear power to be — what? merely a powerful nation among the powerful nations of the world. Not that Iran’s urgent desire is to destroy the United States of America, which the Ayatollah loathes, and the nation of Israel, — which he also loathes. In spite of all the evidence do we fail to understand Iran’s real aims? And prepare for that? They talk about increases in terrorism. They talk about Iraq and ISIS, and the other Gulf States. They even mention the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear state, as if that just places Iran in the world’s grouping of states that have nuclear weapons to insure that nobody attacks them.
One would think that observing the actions of ISIS, the beheadings, the immolations, the crucifixions, the destruction of the monuments of history and the behavior of al-Qaeda, there would be some recognition of the fact that these people don’t really observe the same standards nor conventions. We have been told that we worship life, while they worship death — but that makes no sense to the Western mind, so we ignore it.