Friday, April 24, 2015

It's The Clinton's All Over Again. Sleaze, Greed and More Lies!

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Obama reverses course and tries sending subtle charm message to Liberal Jews to shut up and don't kill chances for Iran deal to pass so he can claim victory for having been  the undeserved recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Meanwhile, Obama's ploy will put Israel in a position of being destroyed by making the land unlivable as Iran achieves potential capability of a nuclear attack.

Some will understand the existential threat but most are too comfortable with Democrats, to grasp the enormity of the risk, and/or see Obama for the liar that he is and threat his failed policies pose.

Perhaps Obama wants to force Netanyahu's hand to engage in a pre-emptive attack so he can blame him and Israel for any consequences and further distance America from its historical ally.

In any event, I see nothing that gives me comfort when it comes to Obama's nefarious policies and mis-deeds.

Are we about to witness a replay of the vintage movie: "Ship of Fools?" (See 1, 1a and 1b below.)
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Iran get arrogant. (See 2 and 2a  below.)
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The Clinton's finally are caught in the web of their own greed.  (See 3and 3a  below.)
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Dick
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1) Another Jewish Charm Offensive Won’t Fix What Obama Has Broken


After several months of insults (chickensh*!t) and threats about re-evaluating U.S. policy, the Obama administration appears to have awakened to the fact that its feud with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gone too far.  As theNew York Times reports today, the White House is making a conscious effort to play down its anger at the Israeli government, primarily by making nice with American Jewish groups. But what is sounding very much like another edition of the Jewish charm offensive that characterized administration statements about Israel during the year preceding President Obama’s reelection is not going to fix what has been broken by President Obama and his foreign-policy team. 

The problem is an American government that is intent on creating distance between itself and Israel, not misunderstandings rooted in a personality clash between Obama and Netanyahu. Its only purpose is to disarm Jewish groups and to persuade them to stay quiet during the impending debate about the Iran nuclear deal while still threatening Israel with diplomatic isolation over the Middle East peace process.

As with the reelection year charm offensive, the administration is doing little to mend fences with an Israeli government that it has slandered and undermined. Rather, it is focused on holding the hands of Jewish groups that face the difficult choice between standing up to the president or keeping quiet in order to maintain their access to the White House.
The administration is rightly fearful that it’s public venting of anger about Netanyahu’s opposition to its push for détente with Iran and their insistence on blaming him and not the Palestinian Authority leadership for the latest collapse of the peace process is exposing the rift between much of the Democratic Party and the pro-Israel community. That doesn’t necessarily threaten the Democrats’ hold on the Jewish vote in 2016, but Obama isn’t really worried about Hillary Clinton’s fate right now. What bothers him is the prospect that a critical mass of American Jews will be sufficiently fed up with the president’s threats toward Israel and insufficiently sold on the virtues of the Iran deal that they will exert pressure on wavering Democrats to vote against the agreement if it is actually signed and then comes up for a vote sometime this summer.

That’s what’s behind the meetings with Jewish groups (though most of those invited to the tête-à-têtes at the White House have been either loyal administration cheerleaders like J Street and other left-wing groups or mainstream organizations that can usually be counted on not to make trouble for the powers that be) and, just as important, leaks from administration sources that lead to articles like today’s  New York Times feature intended to calm the nerves of the paper’s liberal Jewish readership.

Despite the talk of recognition that, in the words of former U.S. ambassador to Israel and veteran peace processor Daniel Kurtzer, “anger was replacing policy,” the division between the two countries had little to do with pique on either side of the alliance. The White House temper tantrums about Netanyahu’s prickly personality, his acceptance of an invitation to address Congress without bespeaking Obama’s permission first, or even some of the things he said in the days before his election victory certainly added to the tensions that have been building for six years. But the real source of the problem lies in policy prescriptions not inadequate personal relations.

The president entered office convinced that the U.S. must distance itself from Israel and engage Iran and after years of effort, he finally seems to have accomplished both objectives. To that end, the president has consistently sought to pressure Israel to make concessions and blamed the Jewish state when these efforts failed, as they always have, to entice the Palestinians to make peace. Consistent Palestinian rejections of peace offers have convinced most Israelis that peace is impossible in the foreseeable future and to reelect Netanyahu, but the administration has reacted to the same facts by seeking more distance between Washington and Jerusalem and overtly threatening to abandon Israel at the United Nations.

Even more ominously, the White House has embraced a new bizarrely Iran-centric policy in the Middle East that has alienated both Israel and moderate Arab nations while negotiating an agreement that, at the very least, establishes Tehran as a threshold nuclear power and gives it two paths to a bomb, one by cheating and the other by waiting until the deal expires.

Neither of these problems can be papered over by mere meetings or statements. President Obama’s disingenuous efforts to convince the country that, despite everything that has happened during his time in office that would convince any objective observer to the contrary, he is true friend of Israel ring false even for many Democrats.

But Obama doesn’t need, as he did in 2012, to convince most supporters of Israel that he is one of them. After all that has happened in the last year, let alone the five that preceded it, that isn’t going to work despite his avowals of friendship. All he needs is to neutralize the mainstream groups that could make a lot of trouble for him if they decided to go all out to try and defeat an Iran deal that poses a potential mortal threat to the security of the West, regional security, as well as Israel’s existence. Such an effort on their part might be enough to tip many ostensibly pro-Israel Democrats to oppose the deal even though the president has tried to make support for the deal a test of partisan loyalty.

That’s why Obama says he won’t meet Netanyahu until after the Iran deal is finalized and approved even if he has to get that approval by stopping Congress from overriding his veto.

Supporters of Israel in both the Democratic and Republican parties need to recognize that what is needed are not feel-good meetings but a presidential promise that the final Iran deal will insist on the inspections and other points the Iranians currently refuse to countenance. They should also get guarantees that the president won’t stop backing the Jewish state in the United Nations when the Palestinians and their supporters seek recognition for their state without first being required to make peace.

Anything less than that is a diversionary tactic, not an effort to heal a breach the president has worked so hard to create.


1a)  Obama’s Nixon doctrine: anointing Iran 

In December, President Obama said that he wished to see Iran ultimately become a “ very successful regional power.” His wish — a nightmare for the Western-oriented Arab states — is becoming a reality. Consider:

● Gulf of Aden: Iran sends a flotilla of warships and weapons-carrying freighters to reinforce the rebels in Yemen — a noncontiguous, non-Persian, nonthreatening (to Iran) Arabian state — asserting its new status as regional bully and arbiter. The Obama administration sends an aircraft carrier group, apparently to prevent this gross breach of the U.N. weapons embargo on Yemen. Instead, the administration announces that it has no intention of doing anything. Meanwhile, it exerts pressure on Saudi Arabia to halt its air war over Yemen and agree to negotiate a political settlement involving Iran.

● Russia: After a five-year suspension, Russia announces the sale of advanced surface-to-air missiles to Iran, which will render its nuclear facilities nearly invulnerable to attack. Obama’s reaction? Criticism, threats, sanctions? No. A pat on the back for Vladimir Putin: “I’m, frankly, surprised that [the embargo] held this long.”

●Iran: Last week, Obama preemptively caved on the long-standing U.S. condition that there be no immediate sanctions relief in any Iranian nuclear deal. He casually dismissed this red line, declaring that what is really important is whether sanctions can be reimposed if Iran cheats. And it doesn’t stop there. The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama is offering Tehran a $30 billion to $50 billion signing bonus (drawn from frozen Iranian assets) — around 10 percent of Iranian GDP.

● Syria: After insisting for years that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria “step aside,” the U.S. has adopted a hands-off policy toward a regime described by our own secretary of state as an Iranian puppet.

● Iraq: Iran’s Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, director of Shiite militias that killed hundreds of Americans during the Iraq War and were ultimately defeated by the 2007-2008 U.S. surge,operates freely throughout Iraq flaunting his country’s dominance. In March, he was directing the same Iraqi militias, this time against the Islamic State — with the help of U.S. air cover.

This is the new Middle East. Its strategic reality is clear to everyone: Iran rising, assisted, astonishingly, by the United States.

Obama’s initial Middle East strategy was simply withdrawal. He would enter history as the ultimate peace president, ushering in a new era in which “ the tide of war is receding.” The subsequent vacuum having been filled, unfortunately and predictably, by various enemies, adversaries and irredeemables, Obama lighted upon a new idea: We don’t just withdraw, we hand the baton. To Iran.

Obama may not even be aware that he is recapitulating the Nixon doctrine, but with a fatal twist. Nixon’s main focus was to get the Vietnamese to take over that war from us. But the doctrine evolved and was generalized to deputize various smaller powers to police their regions on our behalf. In the Persian Gulf, our principal proxy was Iran.

The only problem with Obama’s version of the Nixon doctrine is that Iran today is not the Westernized, secular, pro-American regional power it was under the shah. It is radical, clerical, rabidly anti-imperialist, deeply anti-Western. The regime’s ultimate — and openly declared — strategic purpose is to drive the American infidel from the region and either subordinate or annihilate America’s Middle Eastern allies.

Which has those allies in an understandable panic. Can an American president really believe that appeasing Iran — territorially, economically, militarily and by conferring nuclear legitimacy — will moderate its behavior and ideology, adherence to which despite all odds is now yielding undreamed of success?

Iran went into the nuclear negotiations heavily sanctioned, isolated internationally, hemorrhaging financially — and this was even before the collapse of oil prices. The premise of these talks was that the mullahs would have six months to give up their nuclear program or they would be additionally squeezed with even more devastating sanctions.

After 17 months of serial American concessions, the Iranian economy is growing again, its forces and proxies are on the march through the Arab Middle East and it is on the verge of having its nuclear defiance rewarded and legitimized.

The Saudis are resisting being broken to Iranian dominance. They have resumed their war in Yemen. They are resisting being forced into Yemen negotiations with Iran, a country that is, in the words of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., “part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

Obama appears undeterred. He’s determined to make his Iran-first inverted Nixon doctrine a reality. Our friends in the region, who for decades have relied on us to protect them from Iran, look on astonished.


1b)

Bibi better have the cojones to take on a White House proudly abandoning Israel

Caroline B. Glick

By Caroline B. Glick



In testimony last week before the House committee in charge of State Department funding, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power acknowledged that the Obama administration intends to abandon the US's 50 year policy of supporting Israel at the United Nations.

After going through the tired motions of pledging support for Israel, "when it matters," Power refused to rule out the possibility that the US would support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council to limit Israeli sovereignty and control to the lands within the 1949 armistice lines — lines that are indefensible.

Such a move will be taken, she indicated, in order to midwife the establishment of a terrorist-supporting Palestinian state whose supposedly moderate leadership does not recognize Israel's right to exist, calls daily for its destruction, and uses the UN to delegitimize the Jewish state.

In other words, the Obama administration intends to pin Israel into indefensible borders while establishing a state committed to its destruction.

In about a week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's new government will be sworn in. The new government will have no grace period before it will be called upon to forge and implement policies to lead Israel through perhaps the most trying time in its history.

Clearly, developing the means to cope with our deteriorating relations with the US is one of the most urgent issues on the agenda. But it is not the only issue requiring the attention of our leaders.

Israel must quickly determine clear strategies for contending with the consequence of US's strategic shift away from its allies, Iran's nuclear project. It must also determine the principles that will guide its moves in contending with the regional instability engulfing or threatening to engulf our Arab neighbors.

As tempting as it may be to believe that all we need to do is wait out Obama, the fact is that we have no way of knowing how the US will behave once he has left office.

The Democratic Party has become far more radical under Obama's leadership than it was before he came into office. Hillary Clinton may very well become the next president, particularly if Jeb Bush is the Republican nominee. And she has evinced no significant interest in moving the party back to the center.

As secretary of state during Obama's first term in office, Clinton was a full partner in his foreign policy.
Although she appears less ideologically driven than Obama, there are many indications that her basic world view is the same as his.

Moreover, the world has changed since 2009. The Middle East is far more volatile and lethal. The US military is far less capable than it was before Obama slashed its budgets, removed its most successful commanders and subjected its troops to morale-destroying mantras of diversity and apologetics for Islamic terrorism.

In light of these changed circumstances, there are in essence two major principles that should guide our leaders today. First, we need to reduce our strategic dependence on the US. Second, we need to expand our policy of openly and unapologetically making the case for our positions to the American public.

On the first score, the need to limit our dependence on US security guarantees became painfully obvious during Operation Protective Edge last summer.

Obama's interference in military-to-military cooperation between the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon, and his decision to implement an unofficial arms embargo on Israel in the middle of a war, was a shocking rebuke to the powerful voices inside the IDF General Staff and in policy circles that Israel can and must continue to trust the US to back it up in crises.
Our need to limit our dependence on the US to the greatest practicable degree will have consequences on everything from our domestic military production and development industries to intelligence and operational cooperation with the US and other governments.

It is imperative as well that we develop a plan to wean ourselves off of US military aid within the next three-five years.
Netanyahu's critics continue to attack him for his decision to abandon the longstanding policy of settling disputes with the US administration through quiet diplomacy. They blame Netanyahu's decision to publicly air Israel's opposition to Obama's nuclear diplomacy for the crisis in relations. But they are confusing cause and effect. Netanyahu had no choice.
Obama has made clear through both word and deed that he is completely committed to a policy of reaching a détente with Iran by enabling Iran to join the nuclear club. He will not voluntarily abandon this policy, which his closest aides have acknowledged is the signature policy of his second term.

Under these circumstances, it has long been clear that quiet diplomacy gets Israel nowhere. Open confrontation with the administration is the only way that Israel can hope to limit the damage the administration's policies can cause. By publicly laying out its positions on issues in dispute, Israel can provide administration critics with legitimacy and maneuver room in their own critiques of Obama's policies.

The public debate in the US regarding Obama's policy of appeasing Iran was transformed by Netanyahu's speech before the joint houses of Congress last month.

Before he came to town, most of the voices in the US warning against Obama's nuclear diplomacy were dismissed as alarmist. 
Netanyahu's speech changed the discourse in the US in a fundamental way.
Today, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is highly controversial and unpopular.
And this brings us to the second burning issue the next government will need to contend with immediately upon entering office: Iran.

Since word of Iran's nuclear weapons program got out more than a decade ago, Israel has operated under the assumption that a sufficient number of members of the policy community in Washington were committed to a policy of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons to make the abandonment of that policy politically impossible. Netanyahu's strategy for dealing with Iran's nuclear program has centered on convincing those policy-makers to take action, whether through sanctions on Iran or through other means that would make it impossible for Obama to conclude a deal with Iran that would give the nuclear program an American seal of approval.

In recent weeks, we have seen the collapse of that assumption. The Senate's feckless handling of Obama's nuclear accommodation of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism exposed Israel's operating assumption as overly optimistic. So the policy must be updated.

An updated policy must be based on two understandings.

First, the US will not stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Second, due to Obama's commitment to nuclear accommodation of Iran, at this point unless Iran's nuclear installations are destroyed through military force, it will become a nuclear power. Israel's survival will be compromised and a nuclear arms race throughout the region will ensue.

Given this reality, Israel's public diplomacy should no longer be viewed as a means to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Rather, Israel should view it as a means to empower American lawmakers and others to stand with Israel in the event that it carries out military strikes against Iran's nuclear weapons.

Open support for Israel by the US public and by politicians and media organs will make it more difficult for the administration to harm Israel in retribution for such action.

As for the strike itself, both the operational and diplomatic aspects of a military action must be calculated to make the most of the changing regional dynamics.

Last summer, in fighting Hamas in Gaza, Israel found itself acting in alliance with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates against Hamas, Qatar, Turkey and the US. The Arab states served as Israel's blocking backs. They enabled Israel to withstand massive pressure from the administration that sought to coerce Israel into ending the fighting on Hamas's terms.
In recent weeks, the media in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have expressed support for an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations. This support will be helpful in the aftermath of any such strike as well, and will again make it difficult for Obama to take revenge on Israel. Moreover, Israel must capitalize on these states' opposition to Iran's nuclear weapons program in order to convince them to provide operational support for Israeli forces attacking Iran.

This of course brings us to the third major issue on the next government's agenda: formulating principles to govern our relations with the Arab world.

One thing is obvious. The goal that informed all previous governments in the past — that Israel's top goal should be to sign peace deals with our neighbors — is irrelevant.





To this end, Netanyahu would do well to appoint a Muslim Arab minister to his government charged with integrating the Arabs more fully into Israeli society.

The world has changed since 2009. America has changed. The Middle East has changed. Israel faces an array of challenges and threats it has never faced before. The next government must understand the dynamics of the situation and quickly forge policies based on the world as it is, not as it was or as we would like for it to be.


1c)

Throughout the last year former Middle East peace processor and Obama foreign policy staffer Dennis Ross has been sounding a note of caution about the nuclear talks with Iran. But after sober reflection, the veteran diplomat is endorsing the weak nuclear deal that has yet to be put to paper. But despite Ross’s optimism about the agreement’s ability to forestall Iran from getting a bomb for as much as 25 years, even he admits that the statements coming out of Tehran about the final written terms of the pact are troubling. Ross concedes Iran’s attitude can, in fact, render the framework a colossal failure if Western negotiators don’t stick to positions demanding transparency about their nuclear program. That’s true enough though why anyone would think President Obama would stand firm with the Iranians now it meant risking a deal he considers integral to his legacy is a mystery? That’s especially true after making concession after concession in order to get the deal. But scholar Michael Mandelbaum has an even better reason why this mess can’t be salvaged. As he explains  in an article published in The American Interest, the problem here isn’t just bad negotiating tactics but a fundamental reordering of American foreign policy by Obama that undermines its credibility in enforcing agreements and restraining rogue regimes.
Let’s give some credit to Ross from trying to learn from his own mistakes.  Writing this week in Politico, Ross notes that it would be a blunder to take the recent statements about the nuclear agreement by Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as meaningless rhetoric intended for domestic consumption. Ross says it’s entirely possible that Khamenei’s comments are an indication that the Islamist regime has no intention of allowing rigorous inspections of its facilities or to own up to their progress toward military application of their nuclear research. Just as Yasir Arafat’s statements about his unwillingness to live up to the Oslo Accords should have been taken seriously, so, too, must Khamenei’s lest the nuclear deal wind up being trashed by the Iranians the same way the Palestinians made a mockery of the peace deal with Israel (though it is disgraceful that Ross attributes such complacence to “many of my colleagues” instead of admitting that he was just as guilty of covering up and ignoring Palestinian misdeeds as anyone else).
But, the problem goes deeper than merely having the sense to take your negotiating partner’s threats seriously. Nor is it enough to insist on agreements achieving their stated objectives as opposed to negotiation for its own sake, as appears to be the case with the president’s push for détente with Iran rather than merely stopping its nuclear program.
As Mandelbaum points out, the mistake in the administration’s strategy on Iran is that it is based on an abandonment of American military, political and economic leverage. By stating that the only alternative to a policy of appeasement of Iran is war and that war is unacceptable under virtually any circumstances, the president has ensured that Iran will get its way on every key point in the negotiations:
If the Obama administration is in fact resolutely opposed to the use of force to keep Iran from making nuclear weapons, then American foreign policy has changed in a fundamental way. For more than seven decades, since its entry into World War II, the United States has carried out a foreign policy of global scope that has included the willingness to go to war on behalf of vital American interests. There is no higher or more urgent current American interest beyond the country’s borders than keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of an aggressive, theocratic, anti-American regime located in a region that harbors much of the oil on which the global economy depends. If fighting to vindicate that interest has become unthinkable, then American foreign policy has entered a new era.
Mandelbaum’s trenchant observation illustrates the key flaw in Ross’s facile call for the president to finally stand up to Khamenei in the talks. Having discarded not only his leverage but signaled that he will not defend U.S. interests and will abandon allies in order to pursue an entente with Iran, President Obama has made any outcome but a weak and unenforceable deal impossible. Unless there is a fundamental change in the administration’s approach, there is no saving this deal. That is something senators should remember when they are eventually asked to vote on this fiasco.
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2)

Iran gets arrogant



Iran gets arrogant
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Photo: REUTERS
What a difference a presidency makes.

Eight years ago, Muhammad Javad Zarif — now Iran’s foreign minister, but at the time its UN ambassador — penned a New York Times op-ed about his country’s nuclear program. This week, he wrote another.

The changes are telling.

Back then, Zarif claimed Iran was prepared to take 11 major steps to help resolve the dispute over its nuclear program:
  •  Present the new atomic agency protocol on intrusive inspections to the Parliament for ratification and continue to put it in place, pending ratification.
  •  Permit the continuous on-site presence of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors at conversion and enrichment facilities.
  •  Introduce legislation to permanently ban the development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.
  •  Cooperate on export controls to prevent unauthorized access to nuclear material.
  •  Refrain from reprocessing or producing plutonium.
  •  Limit the enrichment of nuclear materials so that they are suitable for energy production but not for weaponry.
  •  Immediately convert all enriched uranium to fuel rods, thereby precluding the possibility of further enrichment.
  •  Limit the enrichment program to meet the contingency fuel requirements of Iran’s power reactors and future light-water reactors.
  •  Begin putting in place the least contentious aspects of the enrichment program, like research and development, to assure the world of the Islamic Republic’s intentions.
  •  Accept foreign partners, both public and private, in its uranium-enrichment program.
  •  Establish regional consortiums on fuel-cycle development that would be jointly owned, operated by countries possessing the technology and placed under atomic agency safeguards.
He claimed that “outstanding issues in connection with the uranium enrichment activities, laser enrichment, fuel fabrication and heavy-water research reactor program have been resolved.”

Needless to say, Iran did none of those things. Instead it speeded up its nuclear program, increased the number of centrifuges for uranium enrichment from 200 to almost 20,000 and built 12 new nuclear sites, including the underground one at Fordo.

At the time, some knew that the whole move was designed to hoodwink the West, to buy time for the mullahs to crush internal opposition and expand their network of terror and speed up their nuclear program.

The article, no doubt written in Tehran, came at a time when the mullahs were still trying to recover from the shock of US interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and feared that their regime might be the next target.

Zarif started by dropping his name Muhammad and his family name Khonsari, presenting himself only with his middle names: Javad Zarif. The idea was that using the name Muhammad might remind Americans of Islam and thus undermine the writer’s posture as a moderate diplomat dedicated to dialogue.

More interestingly, Zarif presented himself only as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, making absolutely no mention of the Islamic Republic. The idea was to pretend that Iran had a normal republican regime rather than a theocratic tyranny built on the principle of Walayat al-Faqih, or rule by the mullahs.

He took extra care to avoid provocative words such as “revolution” and “Islam” and concepts such as “struggle 
against global imperialism,” which pepper the Islamic Republic’s political lexicon.

He also made no mention of the “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, whose name or sayings feature in almost every paragraph of whatever any official utters in Tehran.

Fast forward to today: If Zarif’s earlier column reflected the mullahs’ fear of George W. Bush, the new one reflects their contempt for Barack Obama.

For starters, Zarif uses his first name, Muhammad, though he again makes no mention of the Islamic Republic or “The Supreme Guide.” And he makes no promises regarding the nuclear issue. “The purview of our constructive engagement extends far beyond nuclear negotiations,” he claims.

The subtext is that the whole thing has already been wrapped up, thanks to Obama’s zeal to accommodate Tehran. After all, the other day Obama instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to “do creative diplomacy” to meet all of Tehran’s remaining demands.

The newly self-confident Zarif now proposes “regional arrangements” in which Iran would play the leading role, ostensibly to fill the gap left by the American retreat. He excludes places such as Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, where the Islamic Republic is established as the key player and focuses instead on what he calls “the Persian Gulf region” — and demands a say for Iran in Yemen.

President Obama would do well to read the 2006 op-ed and compare what Tehran was offering then with what the mullahs offer him now.

He would see that he is being asked to pay a much higher price for a carpet that, by comparison, was on fire-sale eight years ago.


2a) The Democrats Own Iran

The Iran nuclear deal is all theirs—lock, stock and smoking centrifuges.

By Daniel Henninger

The Democrats now own Iran—lock, stock and smoking centrifuges.
It isn’t just the Senate compromise on the Corker bill that made the Iran nuclear deal the party’s exclusive political property. The Democrats own Iran’s entire penetration in the region—Yemen, the Gulf of Aden, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon—pretty much anywhere Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants to take them.
Senate Democrats, attempting a magical illusion on American voters, say the Iran nuclear threat and the Iran terror threat are separate realities.
Before the Senate’s recent “compromise” vote on Sen. Bob Corker’s Iran review bill, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and other Senate Democrats, at the White House’s insistence, said while they abhorred Iran’s support for terrorism, it had to be separated from the historic arms deal.
Meanwhile Ayatollah Khamenei, a more unitary thinker, has been surging Iran’s military across the Middle East. With the U.S. on the doorstep of a presidential election, Iran is beginning to look like the Democrats’ Bermuda Triangle. The last time the party’s fortunes went missing in Iran was during what history generally describes as “Jimmy Carter’s hostage crisis.”

After the Iranian hostage crisis had ground through the news for nearly a year, with 52 Americans held in Tehran, Mr. Carter’s competence as president became a campaign issue, which naturally Ronald Reagan exploited. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to President Carter’s 49 in 1980.
A Who’s Who of famous Senate Democrats got wiped out: George McGovern, Frank Church, Herman Talmadge, Mike Gravel, Birch Bayh, Gaylord Nelson, Warren Magnuson.
Let it be noted that the Iran hostage analogy is unfair to Jimmy Carter. Back then, the Iranians grabbed the Americans. This time, the U.S., or at least its president, has grabbed the Iranians and won’t let them go.
Until recently, the Democrats at least could argue that because Mr. Obama ended George Bush’s war in Iraq, he immunized them from direct political blame for the region’s troubles. That the decision to reduce the U.S.’s postwar presence in Iraq to zero allowed Islamic State to metastasize unimpeded was a morass they could push off into the ethers of the “hopeless” Middle East.
Except that the Democratic president erected a steel cable connecting himself directly to Tehran. This being Barack Obama, history had ordained that only he could take on Planet Iran and persuade its population of fanatic Shiite ayatollahs to change their worldview. In the years since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini presided over the American hostages, taking down a U.S. presidency, Iran’s Islamic Republic has had just one other Supreme Leader—today’s Ayatollah Khamenei, the man at the other end of the steel cable tethered to the White House.
It is now generally understood that completing a major nuclear-arms agreement with Iran was an obsession of Mr. Obama’s from early in his presidency. Up to a point, the Democrats’ normal instincts for self-preservation prevailed. Sufficient numbers of Senate Democrats—Mr. Coons, Bob Menendez, Ben Cardin, Tim Kaine, Chuck Schumer—raised enough questions of substance about the deal to credibly put space between them and a president assembling a major arms-control agreement out of his own head. The risks for Democrats were obvious.
But starting about two weeks ago, the Democrats’ Iran hedge collapsed. The compromise on the Corker bill virtually ensures that whatever agreement John Kerry outputs in Switzerland—a deal that increasingly looks built on sand—will pass unimpeded through the Senate. It looks a lot like ObamaCare, with congressional Democrats once again doing a pass-it-to-find-out-what’s-in-it for another Obama legacy.
But Saudi Arabia isn’t the American Hospital Association, and Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani isn’t Nancy Pelosi. The religious and military forces in motion in the Middle East now are powerful and volatile. Vladimir Putin’s decision amid all this to ship the sophisticated S-300 air-defense system to Iran was a thunderclap event. The ever-omniscient president dismissed it as no surprise.
We assume Barack Obama and John Kerry are telling Senate Democrats that if something blows, they’ll handle it, the way Mr. Obama could command Kathleen Sebelius and HHS to “fix” the ObamaCare glitches. The Iran framework’s fix is the assurance of “snapback” sanctions, a word with no meaning whatsoever.
The Senate Democrats’ initial hedge on Iran was smart politics. As was letting New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez run point for them. Mr. Obama’s implicit charge in January at the Senate’s Maryland retreat that their Jewish donors had too much influence should have convinced them they needed political cover from the president’s overreaching on the nuclear deal.
But now the Holder Justice Department has indicted Sen. Menendez into oblivion. And now the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the guided missile cruiser USS Normandy are in the Gulf of Aden, cat-and-mousing with an Iranian naval flotilla.
The Democrats have no inoculation anymore. The party’s calculation that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy would bring home the presidency and Senate control after defeating vulnerable Republicans has a big fly in the goo: For the next 19 months, Iran is theirs.
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3)Hillary Clinton v. the Oxpeckers: Dead Candidate Walking

Posted By Michael Walsh
What the hell was she thinking?

That the Hillary! candidacy is doomed is now a foregone conclusion. Madame Defarge has no aptitude for the job, only a taste for it, and a venomous certainty that it is somehow rightfully hers. But when you’ve lost Jon Chait:
The qualities of an effective presidency do not seem to transfer onto a post-presidency. Jimmy Carter was an ineffective president who became an exemplary post-president. Bill Clinton appears to be the reverse. All sorts of unproven worst-case-scenario questions float around the web of connections between Bill’s private work, Hillary Clinton’s public role as secretary of State, the Clintons’ quasi-public charity, and Hillary’s noncompliant email system. But the best-case scenario is bad enough: The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy.

The news today about the Clintons all fleshes out, in one way or another, their lack of interest in policing serious conflict-of-interest problems that arise in their overlapping roles:
There follows a list of the various Clinton disasters we have lovingly been chronicling here for weeks now. Still, it’s instructive that the default mode on the Left is to attribute to “disorganization,” “greed” and “sloppiness” (hello, Sandy Berger!) what is almost certainly outright and overt criminal behavior, undertaken in the belief that no one would ever be held accountable.
When you are a power couple consisting of a former president and a current secretary of State and likely presidential candidate, you have the ability to raise a lot of money for charitable purposes that can do a lot of good. But some of the potential sources of donations will be looking to get something in return for their money… And yet the Clintons paid little to no attention to this problem. Nicholas Confessore described their operation as “a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” Indeed, as Ryan Lizza reported in 2012, Bill Clinton seemed to see the nexus between his role and his wife’s as a positive rather than a negative:

Regardless of Bill Clinton’s personal feelings about Obama, it didn’t take him long to see the advantages of an Obama Presidency. More than anyone, he pushed Hillary to take the job of Secretary of State. “President Clinton was a big supporter of the idea,” an intimate of the Clintons told me. “He advocated very strongly for it and arguably was the tie-breaking reason she took the job.” For one thing, having his spouse in that position didn’t hurt his work at the Clinton Global Initiative. He invites foreign leaders to the initiative’s annual meeting, and her prominence in the Administration can be an asset in attracting foreign donors. “Bill Clinton’s been able to continue to be the Bill Clinton we know, in large part because of his relationship with the White House and because his wife is the Secretary of State,” the Clinton associate continued. “It worked out very well for him. That may be a very cynical way to look at it, but that’s a fact. A lot of the stuff he’s doing internationally is aided by his level of access.”
Well, duh. Throughout the entire Clinton period, the media has done its best to ignore the organized-crime roots of Bill Clinton’s political career, from his early apprenticeship at the feet of the legendary Prohibition-Era gangster, Owney Madden, to the criminal nature of the town of Hot Springs, Ark., where Bubba grew up, to the quid-pro-quo gangland tactics both Clintons have always employed in their dealings with the wider world beyond the Ouchita mountains. Exactly none of what the Clintons now stand revealed as having done, both politically and through their phony “charity,” should come as a surprise to anybody who’s been paying the slightest bit of attention for the past twenty years.
The Obama administration wanted Hillary Clinton to use official government email. She didn’t. The Obama administration also demanded that the Clinton Foundation disclose all its donors while she served as Secretary of State. It didn’t comply with that request, either. The Clintons’ charitable initiatives were a kind of quasi-government run by themselves, which was staffed by their own loyalists and made up the rules as it went along. Their experience running the actual government, with its formal accountability and disclosure, went reasonably well. Their experience running their own privatized mini-state has been a fiasco.
And yet, the fact that it is coming as a shock to some die-hard Democrats is a tribute to the remarkable power of the Clinton-friendly media, which (as Glenn Reynolds has pointed out) sees its job not so much as deciding what to report, but what not to report, especially when it comes to its beloved Democrat party, famously described by your truly as a “criminal organization masquerading as a political party” — which of course it is. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that this comes about in part from the fact that elite liberal journalists and politicians naturally gravitate toward each other — they all attended the same schools and live in the same neighborhoods — and also from the journalists’ nagging sense that they really should have been Southern Poverty Law Center lawyers, rather than the oxpeckers they actually are.

What’s an oxpecker, you ask?

Those are oxpeckers.

Now, even the lickspittle media can’t stand them; they understand what the Clintons are about, how the “Global Initiative” is simply a vehicle for Bill to meet women and frolic aboard the “Lolita Express” and for Hillary to accumulate ever more wealth and political favors. And the moment has finally come when they can’t or won’t protect them anymore, not with Granny Warren waiting in the wings, every bit as vicious as Hillary, ready to snatch the “historic” mantle from her, and minus all the baggage Lady Macbeth has accumulated over the centuries she has been in the public eye. Hence the signals from the DNC house organs, the New York Times and the Washington Post: get out now, while there’s still time to salvage something.
Bill Clinton was paid at least $26 million in speaking fees by companies and organizations that are also major donors to the foundation he created after leaving the White House, according to a Washington Post analysis of public records and foundation data. The amount, about one-quarter of Clinton’s overall speaking income between 2001 and 2013, demonstrates how closely intertwined Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charitable work has become with their growing personal wealth.

The multiple avenues through which the Clintons and their causes have accepted financial support have provided a variety of ways for wealthy interests in the United States and abroad to build friendly relations with a potential future president. The flow of money also gives political opponents an opportunity to argue that Hillary Clinton would face potential conflicts of interest should she win the White House. Though she did not begin delivering paid speeches or join the foundation until 2013, upon ending her tenure as secretary of state, the proceeds from her husband’s work benefited them both.
Let us call this what it is: bribery. And there’s a lot more where this came. As IBD notes:
Just this week, Judicial Watch said it has received 126 pages of State Department documents that relate to possible conflicts of interest while Hillary was our nation’s top diplomat. In particular, it cites “questions about funds Clinton accepted from entities linked to Saudi Arabia, China and Iran, among others.”
Need we mention the troubling questions Hillary Clinton refuses to answer about her private email server used to handle State Department business — and her willful destruction of evidence requested by Congress? Or her patent falsehoods about what happened at Benghazi, where four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were murdered? Or past ethical lapses left over from Bill Clinton’s presidency — including Chinagate, Travelgate, Whitewater, Filegate and the miracle of Hillary’s turning $1,000 into $100,000 in just 10 months of commodities trading?

Instead of going on the stump and blaming the 1% for all the world’s ills, maybe she should stop running and start answering.
Oh, she’ll stop running all right; over on Twitter (@dkahanerules) I’ve been asking folks to get their office-pool bets down on Hillary!’s Last Day as a Candidate. But she won’t start answering until, like any cornered crook, she’s forced to in a court of law. If she leaves now, the MSM will do its Ivy League-Rhodes Scholar best do protect her and her husband, allowing them to keep most of their money in exchange for disappearing from the public eye. (Oddly enough, that is the exact same deal the FDR administration offered Clinton’s mentor, Madden, to get him to “retire” to Hot Springs in 1935.) If not, all bets are off. Because oxpeckers don’t just clean up big animals — they take them down, too:

What a meal the Clinton's will make for some ambitious leftist reporter trying to establish his or her “objective” credentials. If you listen closely, you can already hear the munching sounds.


3a) The Clinton Scandal Manual

Will the stock Clinton scandal response be enough to weather this storm?

By 

Say this about Bill and Hillary Clinton: They are predictable. Some politicians dare to change, even to evolve, but not the former first couple. In these uncertain political times, Team Clinton’s lack of ethics—and its stock response when caught—is our one constant.
The details change, of course. In 1978 it was lucrative cattle futures; in 2014 it was lucrative speeches. In the 1990s it was missing Whitewater and Rose Law firm records; today it is missing emails. In 2000 it was cash for pardons; now it’s cash for Russian uranium mines. In Little Rock, it was Bill’s presidential campaign vehicle; in New York, it’s Hillary’s—and now known as the Clinton Foundation. Details.

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Business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. on the latest Clinton Foundation scandal. Photo: Getty Images
The standard operating procedure never changes, however. It is as if the Clintons have—filed within easy reach on a shelf—a book titled “Clinton Scandals for Dummies.”
Chapter One: “Pick Your Spots.” The Clintons flourish in that hazy interface between legal and lawless. Their dealings always stink, but are rarely blatantly or provably (or traceably) corrupt. Consider this week’s news. Yes, tons of donor cash flowed to the Clinton Foundation at the same time Mrs. Clinton’s State Department was greenlighting deals helping those donors. But prove there was a quid pro quo! The Clintons dare you.
They know you likely can’t, since Chapter Two is “Limit Those Paper Trails.” Remember those “misplaced” 1990s documents, but also reread the 2000 report from the House Committee on Government Reform titled “The Failure to Produce [Clinton] White House E-Mails: Threats, Obstruction and Unanswered Questions.” The Clintons learned it took effort to keep documents secret. These days, they make sure there are no documents at all. (Mrs. Clinton, which emails would you like us to delete? Just search for key words “yoga,” “wedding” and “uranium.”)
Chapter Three: “Remember, the Press Has ADD.” Pixar’s “Up” features Dug, a cute dog with a serious attention problem (“squirrel!!!”). This is how the Clintons view the media. Pettable. Unfocused. When caught, the Clinton communications team will issue lofty dismissals—calling charges baseless or old news—and wait for the press to believe it. If it doesn’t, Team Clinton will hold one press conference—a la Mrs. Clinton’s email event—and wait for the media to call the case closed. If it doesn’t, they will change the subject (Hillary is running for president! Squirrel!!!) and wait for the press to lose interest. It often does.
Still, if all else fails, there is Chapter Four: “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”—or VRWC. Mrs. Clinton’s conspiracy shtick is today a bit of a joke, but it doesn’t make it any less effective. It works to cast any serious investigation of Clinton behavior as a partisan witch hunt, and therefore illegitimate. And it does work. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is going to jail on dubious claims of trading favors for money. Could an enterprising prosecutor cobble together a similar case against Hillary? Undoubtedly. But no one will for fear of being accused of doing a Republican hit job on the Clintons.
The rest of the book falls under the heading “Stockholm Syndrome,” and consists of tactics for convincing fellow Democrats that the Clinton machine is inevitable. The Democratic Party has for so long been held psychologically hostage to the Clinton scandal factory, a part of it—albeit an aging part—has forgotten there is happy, normal life. So (for now at least) it sticks with its captors.
The question is whether this model, perfected in an earlier age, can hold—especially under the cascade of scandals. Times have changed. There’s more competition in the media these days (blogs, cable, podcasts) and that’s kept pressure on traditional outlets to keep digging into the Clinton Foundation money story. So much so that this week Mrs. Clinton had to escalate to VRWC.
The Democratic Party has changed. It’s now more Obama than Clinton, its left dominated by progressives who didn’t grow up under Hillary, and don’t much like her. They wantElizabeth Warren, and what surely terrifies the Clinton,s is the potential party explosion were the Massachusetts senator to jump in at this moment of vulnerability. Would it take much to send the party bolting to a fresher female firebrand—without the baggage?
Maybe not, because Mrs. Clinton isn’t putting on the best show. She never had Bill’s political charm, and her years out of elected politics are showing. She looks grim. She looks cautious—hedging her bets, refusing to take positions. She looks out of touch, in the Scooby-Doo van. Mrs. Warren doesn’t have any of these problems.
The most likely scenario is still that the Clinton,s prevail—the media lets go the stories, the party sticks with the $2.5 billion woman. But as the Clintons replay the scandal script, and keep adding liabilities to Hillary’s campaign, you have to imagine a growing number of Democrats are wondering: what if? The Clinton,s might, at the very least, want to consider updating that manual.