American Elephants


The Iran Deal Actively Helps Iran to Perfect Its Nuclear Program by The Elephant's Child

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Omni Ceren writes from The Israel Project, a non-partisan American educational organization dedicated to informing the Media and public conversation about Israel and the Middle East:

The Iran Deal commits the international community to actively helping Iran perfect its nuclear program over the life of the deal. On a political level it means the deal will be seen as accomplishing the exact opposite of what the Obama administration promised Congress. Instead of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, it will commit the U.S. and its allies to funding and boosting it.  On a policy level it means Iran’s breakout time will be constantly shrinking.

The commitments across the JCPOA obligate a range of global powers:

Russian sponsorship/cooperation on nuclear research at Fordow — The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) will be converted into a nuclear, physics, and technology centre and international collaboration will be encouraged in agreed areas of research. The Joint Commission will be informed in advance of the specific projects that will be undertaken at Fordow…The transition to stable isotope production of these cascades at FFEP will be conducted in joint partnership between the Russian Federation and Iran on the basis of arrangements to be mutually agreed upon.

European sponsorship of nuclear security, including training against sabotage — E3/EU+3 parties, and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices…Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.

International sponsorship/cooperation of Iranian fuel fabrication, which will help Iran complete its mastery of fuel cycle, making Iran’s program harder more opaque and difficult to regulate — The Joint Commission will establish a Technical Working Group with the goal of enabling fuel to be fabricated in Iran while adhering to the agreed stockpile parameters… This Technical Working Group will also, within one year, work to develop objective technical criteria for assessing whether fabricated fuel and its intermediate products can be readily converted to UF6.

This deal does the opposite of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. It funds, protects, and perfects the nuclear program.



Selling Out Your Country, Step by Step by Step! by The Elephant's Child

It’s no wonder that Obama dashed off to the United Nations Security Council to attempt to block Congress from doing anything to discredit his proud catastrophe in waiting. The administration raced straight from Vienna, without waiting for even comments from Congress.

It has now been 4,403 days  — since June 2003 — since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) first reported that Iran had breached its legal obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It took another three years to get the matter before the Security Council. From 2006 to 2010 were six hard-fought resolutions that managed to avoid vetoes from Russia and China. Four of those resolutions contained sanctions provisions.

The resolutions didn’t stop Iran from working on nuclear weapons, but they were a universal statement that Iran was a pariah state. It was in breach of fundamental international law, and legitimately subject to sanctions until there was independent, reliable verification that Iran had fully complied.

Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized the U.N. First gambit. Secretary Kerry said it wasn’t deliberate. He said he and the President had wanted the U.N. to hold off until Congress completed its 60-day review as specified in U.S. law, but the other global parties simply couldn’t wait. Complete nonsense.

“It’s presumptuous of some people to suspect that France, Russia, China, Germany, Britain ought to do what the Congress tells them to do,” Mr. Kerry lectured his former Capitol Hill colleagues on ABC’s “This Week.” Mr. Kerry added as a sort of consolation that his hard bargaining did get the U.N. to delay the provisions of Monday’s resolution from going into effect for 90 days.

Yeah, sure. “Mr. Obama deliberately structured his Iran negotiation to make Congress a secondary party to the U.N. The Security Council vote means that the process of lifting international economic sanctions is now under way and the pact will roll forward. Mr. Kerry ad supporters of the deal will also now argue that if Congress does reject the pact, the international coalition  and sanctions regime can’t be reassembled.” The Wall Street Journal added:

The U.N. vote lets him assert that disapproval in Congress will pit America against the rest of the world outside the Middle East.

Congress shouldn’t fall for it…

The bigger issue here is self-government. The U.S. Constitution gives Presidents enormous clout on foreign policy, especially when Congress won’t assert its own powers. But Mr. Obama doesn’t have the authority to let the United Nations dictate to America’s elected Representatives.

Even if Mr. Obama does veto a resolution of disapproval, a bipartisan majority vote against the Iran deal would be a forceful statement to Iran and the world that Mr. Obama is acting without the support of the American people.

Breitbart reports that there are two secret “side deals” between Iran and the IAEA to accompany the main Iran nuclear deal, which will not be shared with other nations, Congress, or the public.



Obama Is Creating A Massive Database of Personal Information for the Purpose of Racial and Economic Justice by The Elephant's Child

A key part of President Obama’s legacy will, according to the New York Post, be the unprecedented massive collection by the federal government of sensitive data on the American people by race. It’s personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

The Housing Database

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) will attempt to racially balance the nation, ZIP code by ZIP code, and will include distance to supermarkets, good schools, public transportation, parks. HUD’s maps will be used to select affordable-housing sites. Civil rights groups will have access to the agency’s sophisticated mapping software and will participate in city plans to re-engineer neighborhoods under new “community outreach requirements.”

The Mortgage Database

The FHA will build a database for racially balancing home loans, including 16 years of lending data by race, all credit lines, credit cards, student loans, car loans, anything reported to credit bureaus. Personal assets, debts, any bankruptcy. Square footage and lot size of your home as well as your interest rates. This will all be shared with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for “research” and “policy-making”. CFPB Director Richard Cordray said “We will be better able to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.

The Credit Database

CFPB will monitor all citizens credit-card transactions — some 900 million of them — looking for “disparities” in interest rates, collections.

The Employment Database

CFPB rule requires all regulated banks to report on minority hiring to an office of Minority and Women inclusion. Policing diversity on Wall Street will be another fishing expedition.

The School Database

The Education Dept is gathering information on student suspensions and expulsions by race from every public school district in the country. Districts that show disparities will be targeted for reform. See how silly this gets? There are no badly behaved kids, it is only about race. They also want to know how many blacks are enrolled in gifted-and-talented and advanced placement classes.

There need be no claims of discrimination, it’s all based on the numbers which will prove “disparity.”

Sound a little more like North Korea than America? Well, yes it does.

Based on the theory that it is self-evident that high black incarceration rates result from discrimination, President Obama has commuted the sentences of 46 “non-violent drug offenders.” Obama is doing his bit to lead and otherwise contribute to the race-based assault on law enforcement, which seems to be based on the idea that less law enforcement will somehow improve lives in the inner city. But then the assumption is that if troublemakers cannot be expelled, then school outcomes for all will improve.

See Heather MacDonald: “Is the Criminal-Justice System Racist?



Now That He as Fixed the Middle East, Obama Intends to “Fix” America by The Elephant's Child

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Fresh off abjectly surrendering to the mullahs in Iraq, Obama has reverted to full Community Organizer. His broadest attempt to “fundamentally transform the United States of America”is a plan known as “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) which will require the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to gather data on the economic and racial makeup of each ZIP code, by the numbers, to disclose whether the numbers display “disparate impact” that requires “fixing.”

The trouble is that Obama knows so much that isn’t so. HUD’s own study explains why this will not work, and advised against expecting better results from a larger or more aggressive relocation program. But Liberals are always true believers in their cherished programs and are sure that a larger or more aggressive relocation program will do it. HUD is pitching the program as a plan to “diversify” America.

“HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a spokeswoman for the agency explained. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.”

The effort calls for HUD to set aside taxpayer funds to upgrade poorer communities with amenities such as better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as a means of gentrifying those communities. It also calls for using grant money to build affordable housing in wealthy neighborhoods. Ultimately however, as it is with virtually every facet of the leftist agenda, it’s a naked power grab: the Obama administration is holding certain housing funds hostage to a city’s efforts to determine patterns of segregation in various neighborhoods and submit plans to address those patterns. Cities that refuse to do so would have funds used to improve blighted areas withheld.

Community organizers have been sure that the reason that poor blacks cannot get home loans to move into better neighborhoods is due to racial discrimination rather than lousy credit history. Democrats insistence on forcing banks to make home loans to poor African Americans who could not pay them back was the cause of the  “worst recession since the Great Recession of the 1930s” as Obama liked to describe it.

Leftist civil rights advocates who invariably worship at the altar of greater government control are thrilled, insisting decades of housing policy have “trapped” poor people in bad neighborhoods, depriving them of better lives. “This rule is not about forcing anyone to live anywhere they don’t want to,” said Margery Turner, senior vice president of the left-leaning Urban Institute. “It’s really about addressing long-standing practices that prevent people from living where they want to.

Uh huh. The federal government is forcing low-income families to move to more expensive neighborhoods, offering housing vouchers worth up to $1,800 a month, and cutting their subsidies if they don’t want to move. The vouchers were created in the 1970s to force low-income families to get out of their neighborhoods, but that effort largely failed, and they remain in their low income neighborhoods. If given a voucher, they usually buy better quality housing in the same neighborhood. Surprise! People want to stay where their friends and relatives are.

Officials concluded the subsidies they were offering previously were too small, so in the Dallas experiment and in some other added regions, they upped the value of the vouchers. In the cheapest zip codes, HUD cut housing subsidies to a maximum of $850 a month, but in the most expensive zip codes they increased them to a current maximum of $1,840.

And possibly they don’t want to be told by the government where they must live.

In a companion “Fair Housing Assessment Tool,” HUD counts “land use and zoning laws, such as minimum lot sizes, limits on multi-unit properties, height limits, or bedroom-number limits as well as requirements for special use permits (and) occupancy restrictions” among “factors contributing to segregated housing patterns.”

Foes point to Westchester County, N.Y., as an example of how HUD seeks to control suburban zoning and building. HUD has withheld $17 million in funds from the tony community after it failed to build several hundred affordable-housing units under federal order.

The hard Left’s utopian dreams of making everybody equal (except for themselves, of course, who will run things) means removing the wealth from the successful, and giving it to the poor. No more suburbs — all will be cities. The left does not approve of suburbs. It’s an effort to achieve economic integration. Obama believes it might not work well at first but after 20 or 30 years, everyone will be used to it.

Stanley Kurtz has been studying this pipe dream of the left for some time, and is the expert to consult. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project has essentially green lighted this initiative.

The administrative usurpation of housing policy” by Stanley Kurtz

“Massive Government Overreach: Obama’s AFFH Rule is Out” Kurtz

“What’s Holding Blacks Back?” by John McWhorter

ADDENDUM: I changed the wording in the first paragraph slightly to clarify just what it is that they are attempting to do. It is not about discrimination or segregation, it is about the numbers matching some pre-conceived perfect mixture of race and ethnicity, Affirmative action for America’s neighborhoods. Has been a disaster for education, and harmed the people they claimed to be helping, the most.



The Issue Is Never the Issue, and The Iran Deal Is Not About Nukes. by The Elephant's Child

The Iran Deal wasn’t really about nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons were never the top priority on the Obama administration’s list. Obama is firmly convinced that Iran would never actually use nuclear weapons. The administration, defeated in its efforts to bring about a “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians, Obama’s intent when first inaugurated. That failure has been a thorn in his side ever since.

Obama has viewed Israel as an intractable troublemaker, and Israel as the main reason for all of the troubles in the Middle East. One of his main concerns with the Iran Deal was to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. His vision of a peaceful Middle East has Iran as the great regional power who would manage the troublesome sects and tribes and dictators and jihadists, and America can just wash its hands of the whole region.

He wants to transform the United States into a less imposing power. He wants to limit American action. In his view the United States has been way too eager to impose its norms onto other countries and needs to stop throwing its weight around. It needs to be just one country among the family of nations — a more humble power.

And of course the biggest goal is to ensure the legacies of the president and secretary of state as men of vision and peace, who recognize that diplomacy can bring about real peace. That these abstract principles have no relation to the facts on the ground is not obvious to the true believer in the White House. He believes that with cooperation and forgiveness, even a nuclear Iran will become a collegial member of the community of nations.

When you have that mindset, whether or not Iran wants to become one of the world’s nuclear powers is just not all that important.

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Formal portrait. The two Iranian diplomats just can’t contain their giddy triumph.



The Disastrous Deal of the Century by The Elephant's Child

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Let’s go back to the time when Obama was newly inaugurated. Richard Epstein, noted Law Professor, fellow at the Hoover Institution, who teaches at NYU and University of Chicago, knew Obama at the University of Chicago and through his own next-door neighbor, who is one of Obama’s closest friends. He said that Obama does not change his mind. Once he has accepted an idea, it is fixed in concrete. He does not change his mind.

It was clear, early on, that Obama believes that all of the difficulties in the Middle East arise out of the Israeli/Palestinian animosity, and he believed that obtaining a two-state peace agreement between the two would end the problems in the Middle East, and he had set that as his goal. Palestine has not the slightest interest in a two-state solution, they want Israel gone and continue daily missile attacks.  Obama’s dream of bringing peace about went a-glimmering. A little long-winded, but it helps to explain this irresponsible and dreadful “deal.”

In the present, Obama and his advisors believe that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, they would never use a bomb. They cannot fathom the idea that they would. It is the same mistake all too often made by our diplomats and national security apparatus — that the Iranians are really people just like us who care about their families, and yearn for peace, and want the best things for their people. They do not.

Iran is a tyrannical theocracy, a fanatical end-times theocracy. They have told us that although we worship life, they worship death. They were and are the chief sponsors of terrorism in the world. They really mean it when they call for “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” They believe in Armageddon and the return of the Mahdi.

Iran has never stopped its nuclear work, including during the dealmaking. The deal means Iran keeps its nuclear arms, and we get to remove all sanctions and give them billions with which to accomplish their aims. Iran has cheated on every inspection and every agreement. Their aims are the destruction of Israel and America. The question is whether they rush it to complete before Khomeinei dies, (he has terminal cancer) or wait till they can manage an EMP attack which will purportedly kill 90% of Americans. The deal even signs off on Iran getting the intercontinental ballistic missiles they need for the purpose.

Please watch the talk by Daniel Pipes, explaining the Middle East. It is truly worth your time.

Here is President Obama’s speech this morning. Full of exaggeration, self-congratulation and hooey. Can he possibly not understand what he is doing?

Here’s the White House take on the deal with graphs and color and hooplah.  The idea that they will actually admit inspectors is unlikely. We don’t even know what other facilities they have.

Here’s Claudia Rosett, who has been following this closely.

Here is Israel’s Ambassador Ron Dermer, speaking at the CUFI Summit on the negotiations. Do read the whole thing. The Israelis,understandably, take this much more seriously than Obama does. He’s just looking for a “legacy.” And if there’s anything that doesn’t work out well, it will fall to his successor. He did a deal to protect the American people, if it doesn’t work out — it’s not his fault.

Here is Daniel Pipes today:”Could the Iran Deal Be the Worst International Accord of All Time”

The Saudis and Egypt will quickly buy nukes, and this will presage a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

There will be plenty of commentary on this mess. Congress must hear often and loudly just what the American people think of this mistake.
The thing to remember is that Obama believes that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon. There is no evidence to believe that to be true.

ADDENDUM:  Daniel Pipes’ today’s piece was added after publication.



How to Think About the Iran Deal by The Elephant's Child

Without getting into all the details, which I will in a moment, here’s a quick and dirty way to understand the whole thing:

Clinton-Norks

That worked out well. And there is this photo of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif standing on the balcony of Palais Coberg, the venue for the nuclear talks, in Austria, July 13, 2015.

Why is this man laughing?

WhyIsThisManLaughing

(h/t: Powerline)




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