Friday, February 27, 2015

Do The Ones Who Write This Stuff Read It? Obama Cannot Cope With A Bruised Ego! The Flaw In The Deal! Ounce of Prevention Worth Pound of Cure!


Do the people who write this stuff ever read it and if they do they should not be allowed to vote!

Print Edition



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Obama's ego has been bruised by the manner in which Netanyhu was invited to speak before Congress.

Obama truly does not like Netanyahu, first, because he is on the right and second, because Bibi is accomplished, served in an elite Israeli unit and rejects Obama's thinking and actions.

Tragically, Obama cannot sublimate his ego even  considering the seriousness of the issue Netanyahu is addressing , ie. the existential threat to his nation from Iran and the challenge to world stability.

 Obama seems not to  fear Iran, yet believes FOX is a greater  threat as does one of your readers.

I am sure what Netanyahu has to say is going to be worth listening to but many Democrats will not be present either because they are Obama lackeys and cannot  bring themselves to put the safety of our nation and respect for the leader of a democratic ally ahead of their blind allegiance..

In time, the Democrat Party will pay a severe price for their rebuke of and inelegance toward Netanyahu and their growing distaste for Israel and , for one, cannot wait. 
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In response to my last memo from a dear friend and fellow memo reader: "Obama got elected because he beat a Republican for the Illinois Senate who was in the middle of a very messy divorce.  Then he beat all the other Democrats, all of whom voted for the Iraq war.  There just happened to be  a financial panic at the time which eliminated McCain.  Without that strange confluence of events you wouldn't even know who Barack Obama was today."

Print EditionMy response: You do not lose to Republicans in Illinois regardless of their marital status because they rig elections there.."
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Fatal flaw. (See 1 and 1a below.)

Is this the way to resolve the flaw in Obama's proposed deal? Allow Iran develop a nuclear bomb and then let's see where that takes the world.  If it results in their continued threats to use it then Israel can eliminate them from the face of the earth.

 That is not a wise option.

 Ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure.
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Dick
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1)

The fatal flaw in the Iran deal








President Hassan Rouhani waving to the crowd during his public speech at Massoumeh holy shrine in the religious Shiite Muslim city of Qom, on February 25, 2015. (Ho -/AFP/Getty Images)

A sunset clause?

The news from the nuclear talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the “right to enrich.” It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last Thursday the IAEA reported its concern “about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed . . . development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Monday of the elements of a “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.

Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would reenter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview in December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.

The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.

Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.

Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.

Such an agreement also means the end of nonproliferation. When a rogue state defies the world, continues illegal enrichment and then gets the world to bless an eventual unrestricted industrial-level enrichment program, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is dead. And regional hyperproliferation becomes inevitable as Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others seek shelter in going nuclear themselves.

Wasn’t Obama’s great international cause a nuclear-free world? Within months of his swearing-in, he went to Prague to so declare. He then led a 50-party Nuclear Security Summit, one of whose proclaimed achievements was having Canada give up some enriched uranium.
Having disarmed the Canadian threat, Obama turned to Iran. The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping barrel bombs on civilians. In fact, the Iranian regime just this week, at the apex of these nuclear talks, staged a spectacular attack on a replica U.S. carrier near the Strait of Hormuz.

Well, say the administration apologists, what’s your alternative? Do you want war?
It’s Obama’s usual, subtle false-choice maneuver: It’s either appeasement or war.

It’s not. True, there are no good choices, but Obama’s prospective deal is the worst possible. Not only does Iran get a clear path to the bomb but it gets sanctions lifted, all pressure removed and international legitimacy.

There is a third choice. If you are not stopping Iran’s program, don’t give away the store. Keep the pressure, keep the sanctions. Indeed, increase them. After all, previous sanctions brought Iran to its knees and to the negotiating table in the first place. And that was before the collapse of oil prices, which would now vastly magnify the economic effect of heightened sanctions.

Congress is proposing precisely that. Combined with cheap oil, it could so destabilize the Iranian economy as to threaten the clerical regime. That’s the opening. Then offer to renew negotiations for sanctions relief but from a very different starting point — no enrichment. Or, if you like, with a few token centrifuges for face-saving purposes.

And no sunset.

That’s the carrot. As for the stick, make it quietly known that the United States will not stand in the way of any threatened nation that takes things into its own hands. We leave the regional threat to the regional powers, say, Israeli bombers overflying Saudi Arabia.

Consider where we began: six U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding an end to Iranian enrichment. Consider what we are now offering: an interim arrangement ending with a sunset clause that allows the mullahs a robust, industrial-strength, internationally sanctioned nuclear program.

Print EditionSuch a deal makes the Cuba normalization look good and the Ukrainian cease-fires positively brilliant. We are on the cusp of an epic capitulation. History will not be kind.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Obama's Ego Is Bruised and He Cannot Handle It!

Over time, a segment of the Republican Party became concerned about the increased  intrusion of government, loss of freedoms and  Supreme Court decisions they feared made law rather than interpreted the Constitution.  Their response was to get caught up in embracing  social issues.  The liberal media and press painted them in the corner with the brush these conservatives provided.

While this was happening the majority of centrist voters pulled away from voting for Republican candidates and the primal purpose of government , which is to protect citizens, got lost in translation and the debate.

Then we elected Obama to assuage our guilt and because, as Biden said, he was light skinned, came across as intelligent and an articulate speaker who was  running against a candidate, named Mc Cain, who did not know what he was doing.

Now we have a validation of what happens when you take your eye off the ball and allow yourself to be defined by radicals supported by leftist media and news hacks.

We  have lost standing among the world's democracies, we have run down our military to where we no longer can even defend our shrinking world foot print and  the vacuum created is now filled by evil doers and we went deeper in debt as we expanded funding welfare and dependency.

If I have over or mis-stated  the general summation of our plight please correct  or challenge me.

That said, please do not blame G.W because that has been trotted out and tried ad nauseum nor tell me 'what difference does it matter' because Hillary wrapped herself in that cover months ago.  Come up with something original, like 'Obama is a genius!'
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A friend of mine and fellow memo reader has made the cogent observation that Obama fears a pipeline but feels comfortable with a nuclear Iran.  I suspect Obama also fears Netanyahu because he has served in an elite brigade in the IDF and has witnessed war first hand whereas Obama claim to fame a bad game of golf.

Obama's has allowed his ego to be bruised when it is all about world safety not about him. (See 1 and 1a below.)
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Now for some humor: http://biggeekdad.com/2012/05/the-jovers/
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I could not resist one more memo before we leave tomorrow but you have gotten used to me saying that haven't you?
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Dick
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1)

Houston, We’ve Got a Problem — Iran is Getting a Bomb!

Big Red Car here. Bright, sunny and crisp today. This is what we call winter in the ATX. We like winter — all three days of it. 70F on Sunday.
So, the administration has begun to “leak” out that the Iran deal is going to end up with Iran getting an invite to the nuclear bomb club. Oh boy!
The problem is this — we promised the Israelis, the world, the American people this would NOT happen.
This guy
promised this guy
that a nuclear armed Iran was NOT going to happen.
Now this guy
is coming to America to plead his case.  The first guy, President Obama, doesn’t want to meet with the second guy, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, when he is in the US. A breach of protocol kind of thing.
When dealing with nuclear weapons in the hands of nations which have pledged to wipe your nation from the face of the earth — well, PROTOCOL is very important. OK to arm the Devil with nuclear weapons but not OK to use the wrong fork with shellfish; or, God forbid, drink white wine with meat.
Let me remind you that within the DNA of Israel is the memory of a madman who killed 6,000,000 of them only for worshiping their God in their own way. For being Jews. Israel is understandably sensitive about arming madmen who have vowed to wipe them from the face of the earth. It has happened before. It is happening again. It was our word that stood between Israel and madness.
I am embarrassed for our Nation. We have lied to ourselves, the world and our only ally in the Middle East. We have thrown the future of Israel on to the table as if it were a pile of red chips and we have let the Iranians deal from the bottom of the deck. This is not going to end well for anyone.
We are a better nation than that. Our word should be and has historically been GOOD! We need to make it so.
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.

1a)U.S. and Israel: The Manufactured Crisis

By Elliott Abrams

The crisis between the United States and Israel has been manufactured by the Obama administration. Building a crisis up or down is well within the administration’s power, and it has chosen to build it up. Why? Three reasons: to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.

Suppose for a moment that the Netanyahu speech before Congress is a mistake, a breach of protocol, a campaign maneuver, indeed all the bad things the White House is calling it. Grant all of that for a moment for the sake of argument and the behavior of the Obama administration is still inexplicable. Clearly more is behind its conduct than mere pique over the speech.

First comes the personal relationship and the desire to see Netanyahu lose the election. Recall that Obama became president before Netanyahu became prime minister, and it is obvious that the dislike was both personal and political before Netanyahu had done anything. Obama does not like people on the right, period—Americans, Israelis, Australians, you name it. Obama also decided immediately on taking office to pick a fight with Israel and make construction in settlements and in Jerusalem the central issue in U.S.-Israeli relations. Remember that he appointed George Mitchell as his special negotiator one day after assuming the presidency, and Mitchell was the father of the demand that construction—including even construction to accommodate what Mitchell called “natural growth” of families in settlement populations—be stopped dead. A confrontation was inevitable, and was desired by the White House.

Obama has overplayed his hand, in the sense that in poll after poll Israelis say that they do not support his Middle East policies. Historically, an Israeli prime minister loses domestic support when he cannot manage relations with Washington. This year may be the exception, the time when Israelis want a prime minister to oppose U.S. policies they view as dangerous. They may also believe that the Obama administration is simply so hostile that no prime minister could avoid confrontations.

I well remember how we in the Bush White House handled the poor personal relations between the president and French president Jacques Chirac. In 2004-2005 especially, the two men did not get along (arguing mostly about Iraq and just plain disliking each other as well) but we wanted to prevent their poor personal chemistry from damaging bilateral relations. So National Security Advisor Condi Rice in 2004, and then her successor Steve Hadley in 2005, set up a work-around. The French National Security Advisor Maurice Gourdault-Montagne traveled to Washington almost every month and came to the White House. There the French ambassador to the U.S., Jean-David Levitte, joined him for meetings with key NSC, DOD, and State Department officials. In 2005, Secretary of State Rice would come over from State to join Hadley and several of us on the NSC staff, and in the course of a half-day we would review every issue facing the United States and France. It was a serious time commitment for the American and French officials, but that is because we were determined to quarantine bad personal chemistry and prevent it from infecting the entire relationship—a goal set by President Bush himself.

Quite obviously, President Obama has no such goal. Israeli officials have complained to me for several years about the lack of contacts and communications with the White House. Susan Rice has determined that her job is to make bilateral relations worse, and has established no relationship with her Israeli counterpart Yossi Cohen. So the problem is not just bad chemistry at the top; it is an administration that has decided to create a tense and negative relationship from the top down.

One reason, as noted, is the hope that tension with America can lead to Netanyahu’s defeat in the March 17 election.  The second reason is Iran policy. The administration is desperately seeking a deal with Iran on terms that until recently were unacceptable to a broad swath of Democrats as well as Republicans. One after another, American demands or “red lines” have been abandoned. Clearly the administration worries that Israeli (not just Netanyahu, but Israeli) criticisms of the possible Iran nuclear deal might begin to reverberate. So it has adopted the tactic of personalizing the Israeli critique. Arguments that are shared across the Israeli political spectrum—that the likely Iran deal says nothing about Iranian ballistic missile development, says nothing about Iranian warhead development, does not require that Iran meet IAEA demands that it account for past warhead work, allows Iran thousands of centrifuges, will allow Iran to escape all monitoring and limitations after perhaps ten years—are attributed solely to Netanyahu and his election campaign. So Democrats are told they must oppose such arguments, and stiff Netanyahu, lest they contribute to his reelection. Clever, in a way, but of course completely misleading. And irresponsible when it comes to the deadly issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

The third Obama administration reason for building up this crisis is also deadly serious: it is to use the current tension to harm Israel’s support in the United States permanently. All opinion polls in the last several years show a partisan edge in support: overall support for Israel is steady and high, but its composition is changing. More and more Republicans support Israel, and the gap between Democratic and Republican support levels is growing. President Obama acts as if he sees this as a terrific development, one that should be enlarged as much as possible before he leaves office. That way he would leave behind not just an Iran deal, but weakened support for Israel on Iran and everything else.  Support for Israel would become less of a bipartisan matter and more a divisive issue between the two parties. It is not hard to envision Obama in retirement joining Jimmy Carter as a frequent critic of Israel, pushing the Democratic party to move away from its decades of very strong support for the Jewish state.

Perhaps this manufactured crisis will diminish after Netanyahu’s speech, where he is likely to say things that many Democrats still agree with. Perhaps it will diminish if Iran rejects any deal, even on the terms the Obama administration is offering. Perhaps Netanyahu will lose his election and a new Labor Party-led government will appear in Jerusalem. But more likely, the remaining 23 months of the Obama administration will be months of continuing tensions between Israel and the United States. That is because the administration desires that tension and views it as productive. The problem is not Netanyahu’s speech, which right or wrong to deliver should be a minor and passing factor in bilateral relations. The real issues are deeper and far more serious. This president has fostered a crisis in relations because it advances his own political and policy goals. That is what his subordinates and many Democrats in Congress are trying very hard, and with real success, to obfuscate.


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Obama Loves Himself! Adolescents Running The Store! The Pursuit of Fairness and Government Growth and Control Leads To Equal Misery!



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Several months old but as true today, if not more so, than when Newt  made this address.


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Obama lies again. (See 1 below.)

And more immaturity and pissy fanny nonsense from the Obama White House.  How sad that we have adolescents running the store.

Obama is more concerned about being slighted than he is the threat from ISIS and Iran.

Obama cannot love America because he only loves himself. (See 2 below.)
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Steinitz suggests Kerry may not know all that Netanyahu and the Israelis know regarding Iran's nuclear program.

I suspect Steinitz is correct because Kerry is one of the dumbest Sec. of States we have had since Albright. Hillary was not dumb just ineffective.  Nothing she said or did has proven correct. (See 3 below.)

Americans are an impatient lot. We like action - 'come on something!'

In the case of Obama and an Iranian deal, he will settle for anything and Iran's leaders know it and to make matters worse he will lie about it and Americans will believe him. (See 3a below.)
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Today the independent FCC will do what Obama wants and intrude government further into control of the internet.

Government has become an all encompassing octopus and everything its tentacles touches it makes worse and we sit helpless as bureaucrats strip away our freedoms of choice, restrict our initiatives and cripple our independence.

If we knew our nation's history we would know our founders warned us of what is happening but 'getting and spending we lay waste our powers.'  We allowed PC'ism to control our destiny in the name of fairness and equal misery.
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Leaving for Orlando tomorrow and Blake's 1st birthday. Returning Sunday. No more memos until I return.
Have a great weekend.
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Dick
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1)  Obama's Chilling Iran Nuke Lie!
By Michael Goodwin

Reports that President Obama agrees Iran should be free to make a nuclear bomb in about 10 years put the lie to his repeated vow never to allow an Iranian nuke. The broken promise is the international twin to his domestic whopper that you “can keep your doctor.”

You can’t, but Iran can keep its enriched uranium, making this lie an even bigger bombshell. As in, bombs away.
It is impossible to overstate the potential catastrophe of the emerging deal. If the terms reported by the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal and others become final, it would mean the United States and leading UN powers give their blessing for the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism to have the ultimate weapon, effectively rewarding Iran for decades of criminal behavior and acts of war against America, Israel and others.
The deal also would launch a new round of nuclear proliferation among Arab states, with Saudi Arabia long promising to get a bomb if Iran does. Others fearful of Iran’s dominance are sure to follow, escalating the tit-for-tat patterns in the region into a nuclear nightmare.

In addition, an unbound Iranian nuclear industry and spreading enrichment technology make it likely that one or more of the Islamic terror groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Islamic State, is likely to get the bomb. And there is no doubt they would use it.

In short, the unfolding nuclear landscape presents the whole of mankind with unprecedented peril.
The terms of the developing agreement, as explained to reporters by negotiators, vindicates concerns that Obama would surrender to Iranian demands while claiming otherwise. He caved in with a deal that envisions a decade-long phase-out of restrictions, allowing Obama to say that there will be no bomb on his watch.
In reality, that is meaningless. The American stamp of approval for a nuclear Iran instantly reshapes geopolitical strategies.

Israel faces a new era of extreme risk, simultaneously in the cross hairs of a genocidal enemy and betrayed by its longest and closest ally. The betrayal continued even yesterday, with Secretary of State John Kerry blasting critics, presumably including Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Anyone running around right now, jumping to say we don’t like the deal, or this or that, doesn’t know what the deal is,” Kerry said in Senate testimony. “There is no deal yet.”

That’s only technically accurate because Obama and Kerry are keeping the details secret. The scam recalls how the White House hid the details of ObamaCare until the bill was passed; it’s what the FCC is doing with Internet regulations.

The timing is especially suspect, with the nuclear deal moving toward finality on the eve of Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress next week. Iran recently said the US was “desperate” for an agreement, and the reasons are obvious. Getting Iran’s signature on a document, any document, before the visit would allow Obama to take the steam out of Netanyahu’s warning by spinning the settlement as the best possible and making it seem unstoppable.

It will be — unless Congress finds a spine. The White House says Obama does not plan to send the agreement to the Senate for ratification, arguing it falls outside the definition of a treaty.

That shouldn’t fly, given the stakes to us, Israel and our Arab allies. But that all depends on whether Democrats continue to put loyalty to Obama ahead of their duty to America’s national security.

Even a handful of Dems joining with majority Republicans would be enough to reject any terms that allow Iran to get a nuke. In doing so, those senators would be enforcing the refrain that no deal is better than a bad deal.
And make no mistake — Obama has produced a very bad deal. Bad for America, and bad for the world.
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2)

Susan Rice: Netanyahu’s speech ‘destructive’



National security adviser Susan Rice denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress, calling it "destructive" to the relationship between the United States and Israel.
Rice, appearing on "Charlie Rose," said that Netanyahu's decision to accept the invitation of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to offer critical views of a potential nuclear deal with Iran shortly before the Israeli elections has "injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate. I think it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship." Netanyahu is scheduled to speak March 3; the Israeli elections are March 17.

"It's always been bipartisan. We need to keep it that way. We want it that way. I think Israel wants it that way. The American people want it that way. And when it becomes injected or infused with politics, that's a problem," Rice said Tuesday, using the strongest language yet from an Obama administration official regarding a visit that has rankled both sides and strained ties between the countries.
Netanyahu on Wednesday brushed off mounting criticism from Washington.

"I respect the White House and the president of the United States, but on such a fateful matter, that can determine whether or not we survive, I must do everything to prevent such a great danger for Israel," Netanyahu said in a speech before members of his Likud Party on Wednesday.

Netanyahu told his audience the Obama administration and the other world leaders negotiating with Iran no longer are willing to press the Islamic republic to surrender its nuclear ambitions.

"From the agreement that is forming it appears that they have given up on that commitment and are accepting that Iran will gradually, within a few years, develop capabilities to produce material for many nuclear weapons. They might accept this, but I am not willing to accept this," Netanyahu said.

When asked if she believes that Netanyahu is coming to the United States to influence the Israeli election, Rice said that she is "not going to ascribe motives to the prime minister."
"We want the relationship between the United States and Israel to be unquestionably strong, immutable, regardless of political seasons in either country, regardless of which party may be in charge in either country. We've worked very hard to have that, and we will work very hard to maintain that," she said.

President Obama has said that he will not meet with Netanyahu while he is in Washington, and Vice President Biden will be traveling abroad. High-ranking Democrats have said they will boycott the speech. Netanyahu has declined a meeting with Democratic lawmakers, writing in a letter that it "could compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit."

Obama has said that he would veto a bipartisan bill that would impose additional sanctions on Iran. The move, Obama said, would undermine talks over the nation's nuclear program and risk setting up a military confrontation.

Netanyahu  wrote in a series of tweets and in a statement earlier this month that he wants to address Congress because it may have "an important role" in an Iranian nuclear deal.

Rice touched on a number of other issues in the wide-ranging interview. When asked if the United States should lift sanctions on Iran, Rice said the Iranians will not be able to "convince anybody on day one" that they have stopped enriching uranium. Instead, they will have to prove over time that they are holding up their end of a deal. Rice said that when the interim deal was entered into last year, there were questions over whether the Iranians would comply.

"They have enabled us to validate that they have, in fact, taken all the steps that they committed to take and that they're in full compliance. That model will need to be sustained in any comprehensive agreement," she said.
The United States and allies fear that Iran's uranium enrichment program could eventually lead to development of nuclear weapons. Iran says it only seeks to make nuclear fuel for energy-producing reactors and medical applications.

When asked on "Charlie Rose" if she takes Russian President Vladimir Putin's word that he wants fighting to end in Ukraine, Rice said, "How dumb do I look? No. In all seriousness, no. One cannot accept Vladimir Putin at his word because his actions have belied his words repeatedly, particularly in the context of Ukraine."

Appearing on ABC's "The View" Wednesday, Rice said the Islamic State has "completely bastardized the religion" of Islam, are "terrorists" and are "using violence for completely unacceptable ends."

Rice was asked how she handles the stress of her job and whether she sleeps.

"I actually sleep quite well," she said, adding that she exercises and has the support of family and friends, including two young children who "keep me honest."
William Booth contributed reporting from Jerusalem. 
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3)

Senior Israeli Minister Responds to Kerry’s Criticism of Netanyahu: ‘He Might Not Know What We Know’




Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz responded on Wednesday to criticism that US Secretary of State John Kerry had apparently directed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his stance on how to address the Iranian nuclear threat, Israel’s NRG reported.

Steinitz, a key Netanyahu loyalist, said, “[Kerry] might not know everything we know,” referring to Kerry’s implication on Tuesday that being as Israel is not involved in the minutiae of the upcoming agreement with Tehran about its nuclear program,it therefore cannot comment on the nature of the agreement’s outcome.
Steinitz’ remarks followed comments made by Secretary Kerry in a hearing before the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, where he argued that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s opposition to the agreement may be wrong.

Kerry claimed that despite the fact that Netanyahu, who is slated to address Congress next week, had previously expressed opposition to the Interim Agreement with Tehran, he later decided to support it after it was was clear that it succeeded in delaying Iran’s nuclear program.

Speaking at a conference of the research center “Mituim,” dealing with the question of Israel’s international isolation, Steinitz said that, “We know all that we need to know, and we have an excellent picture of the negotiations.” He said that Israel is in close contact with French negotiators who are in touch with Iran’s representatives and are well-versed in the content of the talks currently taking place between the parties. He added that the information that has reached Jerusalem so far is the cause for Israel’s concern, and that despite the US-Israel friendship – which is indeed a strategic asset – “when it comes to the security of the State, we are also ready to fight.”

On Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to the United States, Steinitz said that, “this is a critical issue for our existence, and so we need to make every effort to prevent the agreement, or at least ensure further modifications, improvements  and conditions in order to prevent an even worse agreement.” When it comes to the possibility of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Steinitz noted that “all options are on the table.”


3a)Iran: A Bad Deal Is (Much) Worse than No Deal
The Obama administration’s negotiations over nuclear matters are a disaster.
By Robert Joseph & William Tobey 

The administration’s defenders are vigorously rebutting allegations that President Obama has made too many concessions in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Their defense is a simple statement of fact: There is no agreement yet, so how can the critics be right? They assert that we must wait until the outcome is agreed upon before we can assess it. The concern, however, is both bipartisan and international — with many Democrats voicing alarm and with Israel and the Arab states alike frustrated that a seemingly desperate administration has placed Iran’s interests above those of its allies.

While Obama’s defenders are technically accurate in that Iran has not yet agreed to what has been placed on the negotiating table, press reports citing U.S. officials have provided information on the status of all key issues under consideration and the likely provisions of an agreement, if Tehran is ultimately able to take yes for an answer. Of course, if current negotiating trends continue, the terms could get even worse than described below. 

They certainly won’t get better.

The concessions already acknowledged by U.S. officials include:

• There will be no limits on Iran’s ballistic-missile force, the presumed delivery means for its nuclear weapons. The U.S. position of seeking limits on the missile force was abandoned when the Supreme Leader objected.

• There will be no resolution of Iran’s weaponization activities — described as “very alarming” by the Obama White House in November 2011 — before an agreement is reached. Iran is likely to promise once again to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency in its investigation, but no serious observer would expect anything other than continued obstructionism by Iran. At one point, a resolution of weaponization activities was a precondition for an agreement. Now it is being treated as an implementation issue.

• Verification will likely be based primarily on Iran’s current safeguards agreement and a promise to implement the Additional Protocol — a promise Iran first made over a decade ago. Even if the Additional Protocol is observed, inspections will be by “managed access” based on Iran’s cooperation and good will. At one point, the U.S. insisted that effective verification required full access to facilities and people. Now, the U.S. and its P5+1 negotiating partners have settled for far less. There will be no unfettered inspections of suspected covert facilities such as the Lavizan-3 site revealed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran on Tuesday.

• The Arak heavy-water reactor will likely be modified in some fashion but not in any fundamental way that would prevent Iran from using it to produce plutonium for weapons. The initial U.S. position was that the reactor must be dismantled.

• The economic sanctions that were disrupting the Iranian economy will be lifted in a shorter period than the restrictions on the country’s nuclear program. In fact, Tehran has already received billions of dollars of sanctions relief for continuing the negotiations and observing several easily reversible constraints.

• The restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will reportedly be phased out after ten years, a period shorter than the time it has taken to negotiate the agreement. The original U.S. position was that restrictions would be permanent.

• And most important, Iran will be allowed to operate thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium and to pursue research and development of more advanced models that are many times more efficient. The original U.S. position — backed by multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding complete suspension of all enrichment activities — was “zero enrichment” and “zero centrifuges.” Under President Obama, zero was abandoned as “unrealistic,” and the number of permitted centrifuges moved up in successive proposals from 1,000 to 4,500 to 6,000, and perhaps more. Iran has rejected each offer as insufficient, only to be rewarded with a better one.

The greatest concession in the negotiations has been the abandonment of the original U.S. goal of preventing Iran from having a nuclear-weapons capability. This was a consistent and firm position of the Bush administration. It was also the position of the Obama administration until November 2013, when it was given up to secure Iran’s consent to the Joint Plan of Action. Soon after that, Secretary of State Kerry described the new U.S. goal as taking Iran’s “breakout time” from two months to six to twelve months — as if we would know when the clock began, and as if we could do something effective to stop the breakout within that timeframe. The reality is that we have traded permanent concessions for temporary restrictions that will leave Iran as a threshold nuclear state able to build a nuclear weapon whenever it decides to do so. When the deal ends, Iran can openly go to the brink of nuclear weapons with the blessing of the international community.

The Obama administration will almost certainly try to portray its nuclear deal with Iran as better than no deal, and will accuse those who oppose the agreement as choosing war over peace. Nothing could be further from the truth. A bad deal is far worse than no deal. A bad deal leaves Iran with a nuclear-weapons capability, which would be far more destabilizing than a return to tough sanctions. A bad deal undermines the IAEA’s attempts to get to the bottom of Iran’s covert weapons work. A bad deal undermines the Nonproliferation Treaty, leading to additional dangers around the world. A bad deal is a step toward conflict and more nuclear proliferation in a region of vital U.S. interest.

Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear-weapons capability is the surest way to prevent war and preserve peace. To that end, the negotiators should return to the table insisting upon limits that will permanently block Iran’s paths to nuclear weapons and resolve the IAEA’s concerns about Tehran’s nuclear-weapons work as a condition of an agreement. The real choice is not between the administration’s deal and war, but between preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and capitulation.

— Robert Joseph is senior scholar at the National Institute for Public Policy and a former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. William Tobey is a senior fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard University and a former deputy administrator for nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Fish Wrapper!

;

Thought the New York Times 1943 Headline might resonate.  This was sent to me by a dear and long standing friend and fellow memo reader who is a retired Criminologist Professor who enjoys an international reputation.

The New York Times has become an appeasing apologist and yet claims it prints "all the news fit to print."

 I would substitute the word "slants" for "prints."

The New York Times was founded by intellectual German Jews who were shunned by New York Society.  The founders have  struggled with this rejection for years and seem to  have compensated by turning against their own in the mistaken belief they will then become accepted.

The New York Times  Editorial Board bends over backward to avoid being accused of favoritism and in doing so now cannot justify their biased reporting which has made a once great paper not much more than a fish wrapper.

And a subtle slght from our president? You decide. (See 1 below.)
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Take the global warming test:  www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/GlobWarmTest/start.html
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I have no problem with measured standards.  What I do have is a problem with allowing  government to gets its head in the tent because  it will eventually take over.  I am not concerned about Jeb Bush, it is the presidents that will come after him.  Because of his commitment to Common Core I have strong misgivings about his candidacy.  

What has government touched that it has improved and at what cost?(See 2 below.) 
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Kerry defends! (See 3 below.)
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Press and media bias and  insanity revealed by their attacks on Walker. (See 4 below.)
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Dick
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1) The President's First Insult


President of the United States of America Barack Obama had not been president for more than ten minutes when he slapped American Jews in the face (and by extension Israel and all Jews). Though he did it so subtly -- in plain sight and in front of the whole world -- no one noticed.
On January 21, 2009, about three-quarters of the way through his first inaugural address, after paragraphs of bromides about American greatness, he alluded to the menace of militant Islam:
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.  We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.   We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth…
It has become customary in our time to speak of America as a Judeo-Christian civilization because the facts of history show that, so “a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus” as a new formulation of the melting pot meme was a major departure.

In fact, although the settling of the original Thirteen Colonies was almost exclusively the handiwork of Christians from northern Europe, by the time of the American Revolution there were already six Jewish communities, one in each of the major colonial cities. Jews fought and died in the Revolution, and in 1802, when the military academy at West Point opened its doors, one of the first two volunteer cadets was a Jew.

Jews have been part of American culture ever since in the Military, Medicine, Science, Technology, Literature, Theater, Music, Movies, Television, Academe, Law, Journalism and Business.

Jews invented the nuclear submarine providing the United States its greatest line of defense in the Cold War. A German Jew invented jeans, the quintessential American garment. Although always a tiny percentage of the population, they have always punched above their weight in contributions to America.

Christians and therefore Jews too built the country.  In American cities every December, merchants decorate their shop windows with “Merry Christmas” & “Happy Hanukah” signs. The country has most definitely been a Judeo-Christian enterprise.

Muslims, by contrast, played no role in the making of America.  There is no evidence of a Muslim presence before the 20th century. Yet here on that January day was the brand new American President orating that the U.S. was “a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus…”

In this formulation, the Jews have been bumped back to third place, elbowed, so to speak, aside by Muslims who take their place.  This recalls what happened in the 7th century when their Prophet Muhammad told his followers that they had replaced the Jews as Allah’s Chosen People.

Barack Obama during his campaign had vowed to “fundamentally change this country,” and, in retrospect, this formulation was part of that effort.  The fundamental change would include the dispossession of the Jews of their second place in American culture and even downgrade them to the ranks of Hindus, whose tradition, like Islam, played no role in formrative United States history.

Indeed, Obama’s next sentence continued, “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” and this new formulation was surely part of that “new way forward” in the matter of Islam’s role in American life.

Another feature of Obama’s desired transformation was on display two and one-half months later -- on April Fool’s Day no less -- when he was videotaped obsequiously bowing down before the king of Saudi Arabia whose official title includes Guardian of the Two Mosques (alluding to the ones in Mecca and Medina).  This was a gesture one cannot imagine Obama ever executing before any other national leader -- let alone the prime minister of Israel.

And that bow was an offense against protocol and custom -- the Revolution had been not only a war of national liberation but a rejection of the very institution of monarchy.  American presidents do not bow down to kings  and thus it was doubly an insult, for this was no ordinary monarch but the potentate of the country where fifteen of the nineteen skyjackers on September 11, 2001 were raised and shaped by this king’s religion, including 9-11’s evil mastermind Osama bin Laden.

What Obama might have done was demand that the king show “mutual respect” by bowing down to him to beg forgiveness that some of his subjects had engineered that eruption of Muslim Hell on earth perpetrated against his fellow Americans.  In Israel in 1997, after a Jordanian soldier had murdered seven little Jewish girls, the king of Jordan crossed over the River to visit the grieving mothers and literally went down on his knees to express his sorrow and shame.  Obama should have asked the Guardian of the Two Mosques to do that too. Instead, there on view for posterity on YouTube is the President’s protruding posterior.

Two months later, in June 2009, Mr. Obama made his first trip to the Middle East but snubbed Israel, America’s long-time and most faithful ally.  He flew instead to Egypt where he delivered a speech at Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s oldest seminary, where Osama bin Ladin, Haj Amin al-Husseini, Sheik Ahmad Yassin and many other Muslim priests who preach the virtue of terror studied Islam and wallowed in its classical, Muslim-style Jew-hatred.
In his speech, Obama praised this religion beyond the boundaries of historical truth:
As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam.  It was Islam at places like Al-Azhar that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment…And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.  I also know that Islam has always been a part of America's story.  The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco.  In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims."  And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.  They have fought in our wars, they have served in government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our Universities, they’ve excelled in our sports arenas, they've won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch.  And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, kept in his personal library.
This was the vandalizing of history.  In no way is it true that “…since our [America’s] founding, Muslims have enriched the United States…”  As noted, their presence came quite late, and what enrichment could he have had in mind?

And as for the early treaty with Tripoli (Libya): John Adams’s statement was made after the repeated hijacking of American merchant ships and the cruel enslavement of their passengers and crews by the misnamed “Barbary Pirates.”  That was a colloquial nickname for them; in reality, they were not pirates but the official navies of recognized Muslim powers.  Adams’s statement had been an attempt to appease them in the hope they would honor the treaty they had just signed and thenceforth cease and desist from attacking American merchant ships (which they did not).

Likewise, Obama’s reference to Thomas Jefferson was false.  The principle author of the Declaration of Independence and first Secretary of State purchased his Koran when in Paris in order to study the intolerable aggression being perpetrated against fellow Americans by these so-called “pirates” who Jefferson learned were in reality observant Muslims who justified their hijacking and enslaving of infidels with the jihad.

Jefferson spent five years in France after the Revolution as a trade commissioner, then ambassador.  That is when he bought his Koran, because almost every day of these years there were American hostages enslaved in North Africa that he struggled to but failed to liberate.  In this period, he even met in London with an ambassador from the Bashaw (pasha) of Tripoli, a predecessor of Muammar Gaddafi who demanded $100,000 not to begin hijacking American ships and enslaving all the people aboard.  Jefferson listened as the ambassador cited the jihad as the justification for this behavior.  That was in 1786.

Fifteen years later, as America’s third president and still the country’s No. 1 hawk for war with Islam, Jefferson went to war against Tripoli because he had no doubt that these “pirates” were not independent freebooters but self-described holy warriors/mujahideen who could only be subdued via military force majeure.  They were beyond reason.

By contrast, America’s forty-fourth president, early in his first term, ordered his administration never to use the words “Islam,” “Muslim” and “terrorism” in the same sentence.

Then in November of his first year in office, on the Ft. Hood, Texas army base, a Muslim shouting “Allahu Akbar!” massacred thirteen fellow soldiers, which carnage Obama insisted had nothing to do with Islam.
And we have not even touched on his other, serial insults to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by extension the people of the democratic State of Israel that elected him.

Barack Obama’s affection for Islam and his Islamic habit of trashing historical truth have been right there from his first inaugural speech when he misdescribed American society by demoting the place of the Jews in it.

Finally, for any who doubt this critical portrait: remember, too, that the day after his first inaugural speech and that evening’s series of inaugural balls and festivities, when he entered the Oval Office the next morning to begin work as president -- with the U.S. economy in a crisis not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s -- he asked that his first phone call as president be put through not to some expert on economics but Mahmoud Abbas, the Holocaust Denier and international Muslim terrorist criminal.

President Obama has been aggressing against the Jews in America and Israel since his first minutes on the job.  No wonder, then, in January 2015, he did not attend the mass demonstration in Paris after the massacres by Muslims of the Charlie Hebdo staff and four Jews buying food for the Holy Sabbath.
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2)  The Common Core: Something to Like and Loathe



There’s a lot of hyperbole surrounding the Common Core, whether it’s teachers unions bellyaching about tests, or those on the right warning of subterfuge socialist agendas. And then there are more establishment types like Jeb Bush and former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett who defend it, seemingly with little information about the practical implications of the standards. I have always approached the issue with an open mind, similar to Shakespeare’s Juliet: “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move.” And yet I find something to like and loath.
The Common Core doesn’t care about a student’s opinion. Perhaps that sounds provocative. But there is an emphasis in the Common Core on the “text itself,” rather than the annoying progressive education doctrine of having students relate everything to their own lives. This progressive belief presupposes that students only can take an active interest in matters which touch upon their immediate (and limited) experience. Nonsense. It’s much better to challenge one to forget about their ego for a moment and engage with the content at hand. 

The practice material from PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), the Common Core test made by behemoth educational publishing company Pearson, suggests that students should not even offer an opinion on the ideas expressed in a text. At any rate, on the practice tests I note that they aren’t asked for their opinion. Instead, they have to show that they understand what they read. 

Here is a touch of authoritarianism, and I dare say that it is welcome. It is in itself a reaction to the uberliberalism of public schools.Heretofore K-12 schools tended to focus exclusively on the subjective experience of the precious student. Instead, it’s just the facts, ma’am. No one cares if your mom is your hero, or any other irrelevant personal anecdote.   

Also on the positive side, the founding fathers are back in the curriculum, and they make this reappearance uncompromised. The Common Core has a celebratory stance towards the founding of the country and the men who were the brains behind it. This means reading the Declaration of Independence in depth, in English class, mind you. Needless to say, the founding documents and other classic literature are juxtaposed with copious multicultural filler. But this a teacher with any level of autonomy can blithely skip over. 

How teachers will treat the revolutionary texts remains an open question. Doubtless there will be myriad approaches, ranging from reverence to mockery. Will the teachers harp on the Declaration of Independence’s hypocritical call for equality? Will they blush at Thomas Jefferson referring to the Native Americans as “savages”? Surely many will. But there is nothing in the standards themselves or in any PARCC material publicly available to suggest that the Common Core advocates a critical stance towards our country’s founding.

At any rate, the Common Core has established the importance of the founding documents. It’s almost as though we have said as a country that our founding matters and its citizens should actually know about it. Isn’t that an amazing gesture of self-confidence from our politically correct elites? This is an unqualified check in the benefits column of the Common Core ledger.    

Then there are things to loathe: fuzzy math. How can Bill Bennett ignore all these hysterically funny, and actually kind of scary, examples of simple addition problems being turned into trigonometry? Check out 26 +17 the hard way. “Make a ten” seems to be the mantra. Strange and pointless. To be fair, Bennett denied these new “innovations,” shall we say, have anything to do with the Common Core, as they are not to be found in the standards themselves. But isn’t it a little suspicious that we find these ridiculous teaching methods manifest in concert with the establishment of the Common Core? Can that be a coincidence? 

There is a reason behind this madness: progressives hate memorization. The Common Core approach to math is to find “holistic” ways of basic arithmetic. It’s the kind of thing which is so dumb that you have to have gone to a fancy school to believe in it. Just be glad you’re not being subjected to this, and that you learned math the traditional way.  

Also on the negative side of the Common Core ledger: teacher “accountability.” I’m against “holding teachers accountable.” That is to say that I oppose what that phrase connotes, rather than the principle of accountability per se. Common Core is associated with a testing regime that will ultimately be used to evaluate teachers. Teach in the ghetto? Then this is bad news for you, sir. Unless you pull a Michelle Rhee and join a conspiracy to change students’ bubble answers, that is. Of course, another Erasuregate will be more difficult with computer-based tests.
Teacher “accountability” implies a utopian belief in the ability of teachers to affect their students’ test scores to an extent that no study has shown to be possible, despite the free market gospel on this matter. Granted, it can be very motivating to think that your job is on the line based on your students’ test scores. Perhaps you will feel a fire in the belly that was not there before; this I am willing to concede. But ultimately your efforts will be in vain, because the student is who he is, with the brain that he entered class with, at the end of the day.The scores will hardly budge.

The Common Core “raises standards.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t make anyone smarter. Raising standards actually just makes more people fail (see New York’s 70 percent failure rate on the PARCC). Diane Ravitch has opined rather bluntly that most students will fail the Common Core test. 

It’s lovely to have high standards, but a lack of high standards or high expectations is not what ails American education. In fact, I am willing to bet that most teachers err towards having expectations that are too high. The result is students who are confused. This confusion caused by reading relatively sophisticated literature cannot be addressed, I would contend, by making test questions more ponderous. 
To be clear, I say let’s keep the classics and let’s hold the line on Shakespeare. But let’s not for a second delude ourselves when it comes to the diminishing intellectual returns which our investment in the country’s youth yields. It could be students’ obsession with their phones and social media, or the changing demographics, but I can assure you that standards cannot conceivably be raised at this juncture.  
The Common Core is a muddle. It’s not quite a socialist plot a la Mark Levin (I’m just guessing that he’s said something like that). But it’s certainly not all positive either. You’ve got some nice traditional notions in the Common Core, mixed in with some nauseating progressive education ideas, and some utopian thinking as a spice. This is perhaps an inevitable product of our “hodgepodge” culture, totally lacking in any unifying idea of what or who we should be. 

Malcolm Unwell is an English teacher under the Common Core regime. 
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3) Kerry Defends Iran Nuclear Talks as Dissidents Claim Proof of Tehran Deception
By Guy Taylor with permission from The  Washington Times


Secretary of State John F. Kerry defended the Obama administration's pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran in the face of mounting bipartisan scrutiny from lawmakers Tuesday - even as an Iranian dissident group claimed to have fresh proof that Tehran has lied to world powers about its drive to obtain a nuclear weapon.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heading to Capitol Hill next week to argue against the deal, Mr. Kerry told lawmakers not to judge the deal until it is completed.

"I caution people to wait and see what these negotiations produce," Mr. Kerry said in response to news reports suggesting that the administration is close to a deal in which Iran would be allowed to increase its nuclear activities after a 10-year period of restrictions and inspection from outside powers.

"Anybody running around right now, jumping in to say, 'Well, we don't like the deal' doesn't know what the deal is. There is no deal yet," Mr. Kerry told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday morning during the first of two State Department budget hearings.
He told a subsequent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that the administration's policy is still to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon but to do so diplomatically, in a way that avoids a military confrontation.

Mr. Kerry's plea seemed to have little effect on critics, including some Democrats.
Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told Mr. Kerry that he was concerned about news "leaking from the negotiations" that Iran will be left with "a vast majority of its nuclear infrastructure" under the proposed deal.
Any deal that relieves Iran of Western sanctions while allowing it to "go from being a threshold to an actual nuclear weapons state is no deal at all," Mr. Menendez said.

Noting that the Obama administration suggested a 20-year pact with Tehran, Mr. Menendez said, "Now we're talking about a 10-year time frame - if it's true - and with relief in the five latter years of the 10 years. That's problematic."

Mr. Kerry insisted that the administration and its negotiating partners - Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - want a long-term deal under which Iran's pathways to a bomb are "closed off." Specifically, he said, inspections would prevent any weapons development activity at Iran's Natanz, Arak and Fordow nuclear facilities.

"Covert, of course, is the hardest," Mr. Kerry said. "You need to have verification and intrusive inspection to be able to find covert" facilities.

Cheating accusations

While Mr. Kerry spoke, an Iranian dissident group that exposed past Iranian nuclear deceptions was arguing that the problems with inspection and verification would remain - that Tehran hasn't come clean about its nuclear programs.
Claiming that Iran's government has been lying for years to United Nations nuclear inspectors, the National Coalition of Resistance of Iran asserted that scientists in the Islamic Republic have been running a secret uranium enrichment operation at a facility buried deep beneath the ground in the northeastern suburbs of Tehran since 2008.
The facility, known as "Lavizan-3," has been used for clandestine nuclear program research and development, as well as for enrichment with advanced IR-2m and IR-4 centrifuge machines, according to the resistance coalition.
Its claim was not immediately verifiable, and the dissident group has a controversial history in Washington. However, the group is thought to have deep sources inside Iran's nuclear community, and its members are credited with making game-changing revelations about Tehran's activities in the past.

The group said its latest claims were the result of a 10-year "detailed, risky and complex" intelligence gathering effort by members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq. The "MEK" is a main component of the coalition of resistance but has long drawn scrutiny in Washington because the State Department had listed it as a terrorist organization until 2012.

Although the MEK appears to be virulently opposed to the regime in Tehran, U.S. officials have said the group's terrorist listing was related to attacks its members carried out against U.S. interests in the Middle East decades ago.

The National Coalition of Resistance of Iran said Tuesday that MEK operatives have "highly placed sources within the Iranian regime as well as those involved in the nuclear weapons projects."

Iranian officials have long argued that their nuclear program is for purely peaceful and civilian purposes. The U.S. and its allies say Tehran has secretly tried to build a bomb in violation of orders from the U.N. Security Council, and Western powers for years have leveled economic sanctions and pursued a global embargo on Iranian oil.

The resistance coalition's accusations did not come up at either of Mr. Kerry's congressional hearings Tuesday.

Apart from Iran, the hearings covered a range of issues facing the Obama administration's foreign policy, including the Islamic State, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Cuba and the president's $50.3 billion budget request for the State Department and USAID through next year.

One key difference from the last fiscal year budget request is a $3.5 billion line item for State Department efforts - separate from those of the Pentagon - to counter the Islamic State.
Mr. Kerry took issue Tuesday with lawmakers who raised questions about the seriousness of the Obama administration's commitment to defeating the extremist group. "The president's goal is to degrade and destroy" the Islamic State forces, he said.

He defended comments from department spokeswoman Marie Harf citing the need for economic development and jobs for young people in the Middle East as part of the effort to combat terrorism.

"She never set out to say the solution is give them jobs," Mr. Kerry said. "She talked about a much broader array of things we have to do. And if we can't have a serious conversation about this, without politicizing it on cable TV and making it a scoring point for one day, we're in trouble."
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4) Scott Walker drives media to madness
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

As a member of the political press, I have to say, the media’s recent attempts at exposing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as an unsuitable presidential candidate have been nothing short of embarrassing.
If you were dropped into America from Mars — nay, Canada! — you’d have the distinct impression that we only elected amateur psychologists, who were required to peer into the soul of some guy named Barack Obama, who is not running for President in 2016. Let’s stop the madness.
Does Scott Walker believe that President Obama loves this country? Does he believe Obama is a Christian?
To the first, which was asked because another person who is not running for President said he does not, Walker answered, “the mayor can speak for himself.”
To the second he replied, “I don’t know,” which is apparently sacrilege, unless you are one of the many Democrats who have suggested outright that the President is not a Christian.
Walker went on to rightly and articulately condemn this question as absurd: “To me this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and increasingly they dislike the press. The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”
Absolutely right.
Yet, the media is insisting, quite earnestly, that Walker’s answers to these questions that have nothing to do with policy or legislation ought to disqualify him from running for President.
No, really.
Dana Milbank, in the Washington Post: “What Scott Walker did ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender.”
Also, Walker’s answers to these insane questions somehow prove he’s lacking leadership.
MSNBC.com: “Scott Walker Faces Leadership Test, Fails.”
Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Holly Shulman: “Today, Walker has proven himself once again to be unfit to lead.”
Forget that Democrats for years suggested that George W. Bush was unpatriotic, racist, a religious zealot, a Nazi even! Forget that the Vice President has made numerous racially insensitive remarks for which no one (including Joe Biden) has been held accountable.
That these folks can say and write this stuff of a guy who is, for one thing, 18 months away from the 2016 elections, and for another a Governor who won three elections in four years, is something to marvel at. If only hyperventilating and hyperbole won Pulitzers.
But inexplicably, it’s not just the left that’s pushing the argument that Walker’s refusal to answer categorically absurd questions about the President’s inner psyche was somehow a mistake.
My friend and colleague Matt Lewis at the Daily Beast admitted the questions were “stupid,” but still insisted that “campaigns are crucibles, and if the last couple of days are a harbinger of things to come, he’s in trouble.”
With whom? Only the media care what Scott Walker thinks Obama thinks. Voters care about what Walker will do.
Joe Scarborough in Politico also agreed these questions were “inane,” but still offered advice to others to avoid Walker’s “unforced errors”:
“Don’t take the bait and do not appear to be questioning the president’s patriotism or faith.” Agreed! So how did Walker fail either of these tests, exactly?
And Republican strategist Dan Senor also warned the GOP field to avoid getting caught up in these strange discussions:
“The last thing we want is to be drawn into a psychoanalytical debate about what is in the president’s heart.” Exactly, so why should Walker have answered any differently?
What all these folks are actually suggesting is that Walker should have, in fact, not only psychoanalyzed the President but defended him as well, if only to quell the angry mob press.
Lewis thinks Walker should have said, “Yes the president is a Christian. His policies are bad.”
Scarborough wants Walker to have said, “I believe this president loves his country even if his policies are dangerously misguided.”
Senor wants Walker to have said, “I don’t challenge President Obama’s love for America; I challenge his agenda for America.”
There are good arguments that winning elections means playing the game, and I’m the first to admit that sometimes that means putting politics before principles.
But answering questions that have nothing to do with policy or legislation isn’t just playing the game — it concedes that these are appropriate things to discuss.
And when the questions are this far afield, this cartoonish, this ridiculous, Republicans and Democrats alike should commend a politician whose response is, like most of ours would be, “Huh?”
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