Saturday, July 25, 2015

Today's Tune: Whiskey Myers - Broken Windows Serenade

How and Why to Kill the Iran Deal

July 21, 2015

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech following the nuclear agreement, 14 July 2015 | EPA

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius is a reasonable man. After hearing back to back interviews with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the Obama administration’s pact with Iran’s ayatollahs, he tried to balance them out.
Speaking Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Ignatius equivocated that on the one hand, “My takeaway [from Kerry] is that the details of this deal are pretty solid, that it’s been carefully negotiated, that it will hold up for 10 years or more.”
On the other hand, he said, “Netanyahu is right. Iran is a dangerous destabilizing force in the Middle East. So somehow good policy seems to me to use the deal to cap the nuclear threat that Iran would pose for 10 years but work on that other problem.”
Ignatius’s remarks serve to justify supporting the deal. After all, if Obama’s agreement caps Iran’s nuclear program for 10 years, then it’s a good thing. As for the other stuff, it can be dealt with separately. 
Unfortunately, while eminently reasonable sounding, Ignatius’s analysis is incorrect. Kerry’s details of the deal are beside the point. The big picture is the only thing that matters. That picture has two main points.
First, the deal guarantees that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Second, it gives $150 billion to the mullahs.
The details of the deal – the number of centrifuges that keep spinning, the verification mechanisms, the dispute resolution procedures, etc. – are all debatable, and largely irrelevant, at least when compared to the two irrefutable aspects of the big picture.
According to the administration, today Iran needs a year to use the nuclear materials it is known to possess to make a nuclear bomb. Other sources claim that Iran requires several months to accomplish the task.
Since these materials will remain in Iran’s possession under the deal, if Iran abandons the agreement, it will need at most a year to build nuclear weapons.
Then there are the unknown aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. We must assume that Iran has ongoing covert nuclear operations in unknown installations through which it has acquired unknown capabilities.
These capabilities will likely reduce the time Iran requires to make bombs.
Under the deal, the US and its negotiating partners are required to protect Iran’s nuclear assets from sabotage and other forms of attack. They are required as well to teach Iran how to develop and use more advanced centrifuges. As a consequence, when the agreement expires, Iran will be able to build nuclear bombs at will.
If Iran remains a threat, the deal bars the US from taking any steps to counter it aside from all-out war.
The agreement ends the international sanctions regime against Iran. With the sanctions goes any prospect of an international coalition joining forces to take military action against Iran, if Iran does walk away from the deal. So sanctions are gone, deterrence is gone. And that leaves only war.
In other words, far from diminishing the chance of war, the deal makes it inevitable that Iran will get the bomb or there will be a full scale war, or both.
Then there is the jackpot payback.
Who knows? Maybe the mullahs will use their $150b. to finance new women’s universities in Tehran and Mashhad, and a seminary for Islamic liberalism in Qom.
Or maybe the money will be used to fund insurgencies and proxy wars and terror campaigns throughout the region and the world.
The extraordinary thing about the deal is that the only person who gets a say in how that money is spent is Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And Khamenei has been pretty clear about how he intends to use the cash.
In back to back anti-American rants on Friday and Saturday, Khamenei repeatedly threatened the US and extolled calls for its destruction. Speaking in front of a banner at Friday prayers which declared “We will trample America,” Khamenei praised calls for “Death to America.”
Saturday he promised to continue to fund and sponsor terrorism and proxy wars. Just as notably, he refused to commit to upholding the nuclear deal with the US and the other five powers.
As far as the Obama administration is concerned, now that the UN Security Council has anchored the agreement in a binding resolution and so given the force of international law to a deal that guarantees Iran will receives the bomb and $150b., the deal is done. It cannot be walked back.
But this is not necessarily true. Congress may have more power than it realizes to kill the deal before Iran gets the money and before its other provisions are implemented.
Over the months leading up to the conclusion of negotiations last Tuesday, Obama refused to acknowledge that he was negotiating a treaty. Rather he said it was nothing more than an executive agreement.
Consequently, he argued, the US Senate’s sole authority to ratify treaties by two-thirds majority would be inapplicable to the deal with Iran.
Obama also said he would further sideline Congress by anchoring the deal in a binding UN Security Council resolution. This resolution would force Obama’s successor to uphold the deal after he leaves office.
Obama mitigated his position slightly when Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drafted the Corker-Cardin bill with veto-proof majorities in both houses. The bill, which Obama reluctantly signed into law, requires Obama to submit the deal to an up or down vote in both houses. If more than two thirds of Senators and Congressmen oppose it, then the US will not abrogate its unilateral sanctions against Iran.
In other words, Obama agreed that if Congress turned the Constitution on its head by replacing the two-thirds Senate majority required to approve a treaty with a two-thirds bicameral majority necessary to disapprove his executive agreement – then he wouldn’t go to the Security Council until after Congress voted.
When Obama betrayed his pledge and went to the Security Council on Monday, he gave Congress an opening to reconsider its position, ditch the restrictive Corker-Cardin law and reassert the Senate’s treaty approving authority.
As former US federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argued in National Review last week, by among other things canceling the weapons and missile embargoes on Iran, the six-power deal with Iran went well beyond the scope of the Corker-Cardin law, which dealt only with nuclear sanctions relief. As a consequence, Congress can claim that there is no reason to invoke it.
Rather than invoke Corker-Cardin, Congress can pass a joint resolution determining that the deal with Iran is a treaty and announce that pursuant to the US Constitution, the Senate will schedule a vote on it within 30 days. Alternatively, Congress can condition the Iran deal’s legal stature on the passage of enabling legislation – that requires simple majorities in both houses.
Dan Darling, foreign policy adviser to Republican Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul wrote Monday that senators can use Senate procedure to force the Foreign Relations Committee to act in this manner. Darling argued that House Speaker John Boehner can either refuse to consider the deal since it is a treaty, or insist on passing enabling legislation under normal legislative procedures.
Monday Netanyahu explained that by keeping US sanctions in force, Congress can limit Iran’s capacity to move beyond the current sanctions regime even after it is canceled. Every state and firm considering business opportunities with Tehran will have to weigh them against the opportunity cost of being barred from doing business with the US.
Iran for its part may walk away from the deal entirely if Congress acts in this manner. If it does, then the US will not be obligated by any of the deal’s requirements. The continued viability of the Security Council resolution will be something for the lawyers to argue over.
The devil in Obama’s deal with Iran is not in the mind-numbing details, but in the big picture. The deal guarantees Iran will get the bomb. It gives the Iranian regime $150b.
To secure these concessions, Obama has trampled congressional authority.
If the American people think this doesn’t advance their national interest, they should encourage their congressional representatives to ditch Corker-Cardin and use their full authority, as a co-equal branch of the government, to scupper it.

Congress Must Hold Obama Accountable for His Deception Over Iran

By lying and withholding information about the agreement, he gives aid and comfort to America’s enemy.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — July 25, 2015

President Obama addresses questions about the Iran nuclear deal during a White House news conference, July 15.
President Obama addresses questions about the Iran nuclear deal during a White House news conference, July 15. PHOTO: PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The president “must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.”

One can imagine hearing such counsel from a contemporary United States senator on the receiving end of President Obama’s “full disclosure” of the nuclear deal with Iran. But the admonition actually came from James Iredell, a champion of the Constitution’s ratification, who was later appointed to the Supreme Court by President George Washington.

Iredell was addressing the obligations the new Constitution imposed on the president in the arena of international affairs. Notwithstanding the chief executive’s broad powers to “regulate all intercourse with foreign powers,” it would be the president’s “duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives.” Indeed, among the most egregious offenses a president could commit would be fraudulently inducing senators “to enter into measures injurious to their country, and which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them.”

A little over a year ago, I recounted Iredell’s cautionary words in Faithless Execution. They echo an instructive illustration offered by James Madison, the Constitution’s principal author: If the president were “to commit any thing so atrocious” as to fraudulently rig Senate approval of an international agreement, he would “be impeached and convicted.”

Interestingly, the perfidy in Madison’s hypothetical involved summoning into session only senators favorably disposed toward a formal treaty that the president wanted approved. That was more plausible in the late 18th century: Under the Constitution, a treaty may be approved by “two thirds of the senators present” for the vote; and back then, senators coming from far and wide could not fly to the nation’s capital at the drop of a hat.

The hypothetical is telling as we consider Obama’s Iran deal. The Constitution makes treason a ground for impeachment, but it seems to have been outside Madison’s contemplation that a president would actually be so insidious as to use his foreign-affairs power to give aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. On that score, note that as soon as Obama’s deal was announced, not only was Iran’s foreign minister vowing to continue funding jihadist terror; the regime’s “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was also extolling the continued Iranian call for “Death to America.”

Madison could not fathom a president who undermines the Constitution’s treaty requirements by the ruse of labeling a treaty an “agreement” or a “joint plan of action.” Still less could he imagine a president who resorts to chicanery in communicating the terms of an international agreement to the Congress. Such duplicity must have seemed inconceivable.

Yet now, it is not just conceivable. It is happening:

Obama’s original stated commitment to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons power has deteriorated into a deal that enables Iran to become a nuclear-weapons power by abiding by the deal’s terms. The mullahs’ inevitable cheating will merely speed up matters; the outcome is already certain.

Obama is willfully providing material support to the mullahs’ terrorism (a felony violation of federal law) — the deal will inject over $100 billion into Iran’s economy, and Iran brags that it will continue its open and notorious funding of Hezbollah and other anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Israel “allies” (while the administration splutters that, gee whiz, curbing terrorism was not part of the negotiations).

Obama not only lifts restrictions on Iran’s traffic in ballistic missiles and conventional weapons (which were also not supposed to be part of the negotiations) but also looks the other way while Russia sells the mullahs hundreds of sophisticated surface-to-air missiles — missiles that will be used against American forces when, inevitably, a future president decides to deal differently with our enemies.

Obama’s deal, rationalized as necessary to delay (but no longer to forbid) Iran’s nuclearization, obliges the United States to protect Iranian nuclear facilities from sabotage — i.e., the deal makes America the scourge of erstwhile allies like Israel, with which we have colluded in impeding our actual enemy’s nuclear progress.

Yet, however shocking they may be, these acknowledged concessions do not fully convey the depth of the president’s betrayal. After a few days of misdirection, administration officials now admit that there are “side deals” that the administration has not revealed to Congress and does not intend to make public.

So far, we know of two “side deals” — who knows how many more there may actually be? As the Center for Security Policy’s Fred Fleitz writes in National Review, they involve (a) a full accounting of Iran’s prior nuclear activities (many of which are believed to have been in blatant violation of international law) and (b) access to the Parchin military base, where Iran has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear missiles.

Apropos of these subjects, recall that the administration repeatedly promised there would be no deal, that the president would walk away from the table, unless Iran agreed to a rigorous inspection regiment. Such a regiment minimally requires: (a) complete disclosure of the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s past nuclear work, in order to establish a baseline for evaluating future conduct, and (b) the ability to conduct credible snap inspections of nuclear facilities.

Despite the administration’s chest-beating about these “red lines,” the Iranians remained alternatively coy and intransigent: When not lying about what cards they were willing to show, the mullahs insisted that Americans would not be permitted to snoop around their country and interfere in their military affairs.

Someone had to cave in, and — you could set your watch on it — that someone is Obama (if, that is, you are one of those who believed he was being honest in the first place). Thus the problem: how to cover up this decisive surrender within the surrender?

So, in his signature “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan” style, the president has come up with a fraudulent scheme: use the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) as a smokescreen. His administration now cynically claims that these critical agreement components — the rationale for lifting American sanctions on and making American commitments to the “Death to America” regime — actually have nothing to do with America . . . they are strictly between Tehran and the IAEA. Translation: Blame the IAEA, not Obama, for the abandonment of Obama’s core commitments.

This would be laughable if it were not so offensive — and so perilous. Put aside that the Constitution does not permit the U.S. government to delegate American national security to anyone. The IAEA is not an independent actor. It is an international bureaucracy forged by the United States in the 1950s. Not only is the U.S. is a staple of its governing board; the American people underwrite over 25 percent of its budget. Furthermore, the IAEA reports to the United Nations (to which the American taxpayers’ contribution also far exceeds that of other countries) and, specifically, to the U.N. Security Council (of which the United States remains the dominant permanent member).

Now consider this: Under cover of this IAEA ruse, Obama ran to the Security Council and rammed through a resolution commencing implementation of his Iran deal before Congress or the American people could consider it. He thus undermined American sovereignty and the Constitution by scheming to impose an international-law fait accompli. And he thus undermined American national security by transferring his inspection commitments to an international agency that he knows is not close to being capable of executing them — an agency that will be further hampered by notice restrictions that, as Charles Krauthammer concludes, render the inspections “farcical” in any event.

The Constitution forbids providing aid and comfort to America’s enemies. And the Framers’ notion that a president would be punishable for deceiving Congress regarding the conduct of foreign affairs meant that lawmakers would be obliged to use their constitutional powers to protect the United States — not merely shriek on cable television as if they were powerless spectators.


— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Helping Russia’s sidelined and exiled journalists tell their stories

July 24, 2015
Yevgenia Albats: to be charged  with 'disobeying police'. BBC Photo
Yevgenia Albats (BBC)
When I first met Yevgenia Albats, it was the 1990s, the Soviet Union had just ceased to exist and she was a rising star in the new Russian journalism — one of many. The explosion of creativity in Russian media in that era is one of the post-Soviet miracles that no one has ever quite explained. The gray and mendacious Soviet press suddenly collapsed beneath the weight of its own tedium. Into the vacuum stepped witty writers, serious columnists and dedicated journalists such as Albats, one of the first real investigative reporters in Russia. Where did they all come from?
Equally important, however, is the question of where they all went. Despite the auspicious beginnings, almost all of the Russian media have since come under direct or indirect control of the Kremlin. Most of the witty writers either learned to conform or left the country. Some stayed but were forcibly silenced. Anna Politkovskaya, one of Albats’s journalism school classmates, was murdered in the stairwell of her Moscow apartment building.
Instead of wit and fine prose, much of the Russian media, but especially Russian state television, now pump out xenophobic, homophobic, anti-Ukrainian aggression and rants against the Sodom and Gomorrah of the West. Until you’ve watched the Russian evening news, heard the ominous music and seen the blood and violence, it’s hard to believe. But there are still a few islands of sanity left, and Albats runs one of them. The New Times, a magazine she owns and edits, faithfully investigates the news, eschews hate speech and reports on reality for those still willing to read about it.
From her own countrymen, Albats has received e-mailed death threats and anti-Semitic slander. Last February, she was attacked on the main evening news, which broadcast her photograph along with the phrase, in Hebrew, “What kind of Jew are you?” But now she has a new problem. Hubert Burda Media, a German company that has become a near-monopolist in the Russian magazine distribution business, has, for the past several months, effectively prevented her magazine from appearing in many Moscow shops and kiosks. The New Times can hardly be found in Moscow; newsstand sales have fallen by half. When I asked about it, Burda told me that the decision to restrict the paper’s distribution was purely commercial. But Albats said that a Burda representative in Moscow told her something different: The Munich-based company, which publishes some 60 titles in Russia, didn’t want to risk too close an association with anyone critical of the Kremlin.
As it happens, the boss of Burda Moscow is an acknowledged former Stasi informer, and the company fired another employee who wrote positively about Ukraine on his private Facebook page. Still, I don’t think that high politics is at the core of this story. It’s an uphill battle for any foreign media company in Russia — in the face of new restrictions, CNN went off the air there at the end of last year. But Burda still thinks it can make a profit. So it does what it takes to stay.
Burda isn’t the first Western company to make compromises with an authoritarian regime, and it won’t be the last. But its actions are more significant now, as the U.S. and European governments finally wake up to the nature of the poison that Russia pumps into its airwaves. The mass campaign against Ukrainian “Nazis,” the slander of opponents, the deliberate stoking of nationalist emotions in Russia, the “troll factories” that push out disinformation in multiple languages, all of that is designed to fuel war — and maybe not just in Ukraine.
To counter this onslaught, some now call for a new “European” television channel to project a different set of values into Russia. Others sketch out plans to build radio towers along the border. But this isn’t the Cold War, and nothing of the sort is necessary. The West should instead think about creative ways to support the generation of talented Russian journalists who have been sidelined or exiled. We don’t need to sponsor “counter-propaganda”; we need to help Russians like Albats tell their own stories in their own language.
There are multiple ways to do this. Maybe it’s time to take Radio Liberty seriously again, move its headquarters away from the backwater of Prague, and put it in a place where Russians actually live, such as Riga or Kiev. Maybe we need to set up an institution that commissions documentaries and television programs for existing Russian-language stations in those cities, or a wire service that reports news rather than propaganda from Russia itself. And maybe we need to shame the Western companies that fund hate speech by advertising on Russian television — and embarrass those that limit the circulation of whatever free media still exists.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I've Got A Crush On You, Baby

By Mark Steyn
July 23, 2015

Dr. Mary Gatter, President of Planned Parenthood's Medical Director's Council in a second video released by the Center for Medical Progress (See video below)

If abortion were the respectable medical procedure its proponents insist it is, there would be no such thing as "Planned Parenthood", anymore than there is a Planned Hernia megacorp. We are told constantly that abortion is a very teensy-weensy, barely statistically measurable, all but undetectable micro-sliver of the wide range of "women's health" services Planned Parenthood provides. So it only does an estimated third of a million abortions per year - or about as many abortions as half the remaining G7 nations perform in total (Germany, France, Canada). It is the single biggest aborter on the planet.

So the "right to choose" has facilitated the rise of a characteristically American racket: a billion-dollar "non-profit" that gets over half its funding from the US taxpayer and pays its eight top executives an average of 300 grand in order to serve as the paramilitary wing of reproductive liberalism. Planned Parenthood is an abortion-industrial complex: America is, alas, the abortion mill of the western world, and Cecile Richards' organization is its Standard Oil, US Steel and American Tobacco combined. Its ministrations fall disproportionately on minority women, so in that sense it is still true to the racist and eugenicist theories of its founder, Margaret Sanger: among blacks in New York City, there are more abortions than births - a grim statistic one otherwise has to go to Russia and its satellites to find.

Will the recently released undercover videos change the perception of what Planned Parenthood does? In USA Today, Kirsten Powers (a rare pro-life Democrat) notes that PP head honcho Cecile Richards has apparently apologized for "the uncompassionate tone her senior director of medical research, Deborah Nucatola, used to explain the process by which she harvests aborted body parts to be provided for medical research". "Dr" Nucatola's "tone" is certainly arresting. As she explains to a potential organ client over lunch:
You're just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact.
That's the easy part. But these days a lot of customers are interested in harvesting an intact brain to work on, so you gotta keep your graspers away from crushing the head - or, as "Dr" Nucatola prefers to call it, the "calvarium":
With the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it's not vertex, because when it's vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there's dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.
The chit-chat's all nice and medical, isn't it? If it's "vertex presentation" - ie, the baby comes out head-first - it's hard to get a nice clean intact skull. But, if it's "breech" - feet-first - then "you can evacuate an intact calvarium".

If it is, as Ms Richards says, merely a "tone" problem, it's a revealing one. It's not possible to "crush" as many nine-month-old "fetuses" as "Dr" Nucatola does and still retain your humanity. If would be an unbearable burden to regard the "fetus" as a baby and the "calvarium" as a head and the "evacuation" as a birth, and still go to work in the morning. So the de-humanization is part of what's necessary to survive as an abortionist.

And, once you accept that, what won't you accept? During the trial of "Dr" Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia reproductive-rights provider, the blogger Pundette compiled a list of questions she hoped that prosecuting counsel might ask him:
Why did you routinely suction out the brains and crush the skulls of babies after they were fully delivered?
Indeed. Usually the suctioning of the brains and crushing of the skull has to occur when the "calvarium" is still in the uterus. If you do it on the table, people might get the icky idea that it's infanticide or something. So the trick is to get to the head before it's cleared the cervix. "Dr" Tracy Weitz of the University of California, San Francisco explains:
When a procedure that usually involves the collapsing of the skull is done, it's usually done when the fetus is still in the uterus, not when the fetus has been delivered. . . . So, in terms of thinking about the difference between the way abortion providers who do later abortions in the United States practice, and this particular practice, they are completely worlds apart.
But Kermit Gosnell wasn't that good a doctor. So he preferred just to snip the spinal column. Which certainly kills the fetus. But then he additionally suctioned out the brains and crushed the skills.

Why? To make sure the dead baby was really, truly dead? Or just because he could? Or, like "Dr" Nucatola, once you've de-humanized what you do to get through the day, and you've decided that killing a healthy gurgling newborn isn't really killing at all, why restrict yourself to merely killing her once when you can kill her thrice? The Pundette posed another question of "Dr" Gosnell:
Why did you chop off and preserve baby hands and feet and display them in jars?
Which he did, like pickled eggs by the cash register of an English pub. There's no compelling medical reason for "Dr" Gosnell's extensive collection, but bottled baby feet certainly make a novelty paperweight or doorstop.

In the end he never took the stand, and the Pundette was obliged to provide her own response. "I think we already know the answer," she wrote. "He enjoyed it."

Kermit Gosnell was the most successful mass murderer in American history, but because he was a "women's health care provider" nobody knows that. The case barely made the papers. The enterprising and indefatigable Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are crowdfunding a feature film about Gosnell mainly because no Hollywood studio or TV network ever will.

Gosnell was a nickel'n'dime abortionist so he turned baby parts into the abortionist's version of a Damien Hirst Turner Prize-winner. For Cecile Richards and "Dr" Nucatola, it's about market share and subsidiary rights and sub-licensing and diversifying your business model to leverage growth opportunities. So they sell baby parts. Once you're in the dehumanization business, each of us dehumanizes as he can.
In her USA Today column, Kirsten Powers adds:
It's a measure of how damning the video is that Planned Parenthood's usual defenders were nowhere to be found. There was total silence from The New York Times editorial board and their 10 (out of 11) pro-abortion rights columnists. Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi — both recipients of Planned Parenthood's highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award — have been mum.
The silence is not from shame, or from having to defend the indefensible, but part of a much colder calculation: Silence is how you kill the story, for Planned Parenthood as for Gosnell.

And that's part of the dehumanization, too. When kids are slaughtered in a Connecticut schoolhouse or churchgoers are shot down in Charleston, the media jump straight on the public policy implications: gun control, Confederate flags at state buildings... But when baby parts are sold by an organization that receives half-a-billion in taxpayer funds, there are no public policy questions at all, and it is necessary to look away. 
Because the realities of abortion have to crushed and smothered by the slick, blurry evasions of "a woman's right to choose". That's a dehumanization strategy, too. When the pro-choice rally ends and Cameron Diaz, Ashley Judd and other celebrities d'un certain age return to Hollywood, and the upper-middle-class women with the one designer baby go back to their suburbs, poor and minority and under-age women are left in the abortion-industrial complex's pro-choice back alley:
In December 2009, Metropolitan Medical Associates, based in Englewood, New Jersey, settled a $1.9 million lawsuit out of court filed by a woman who was comatose for one month following a botched abortion she received there. 
Newark resident Rasheedah Dinkins had an abortion in January 2007 at the Metropolitan Medical Associates abortion business that went horribly wrong. 
Dinkins, who was 22 at the time of the settlement, became severely ill following the abortion and was transferred to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center where she needed blood transfusions and had her uterus removed. She also suffered a stroke due to the serious blood loss and had one of her lungs collapse.
At the time Metropolitan Medical Associates was performing 10,000 abortions a year - or about as many as Switzerland. Among developed nations, only America kills on this scale and in this manner. You can't do it, and retain your humanity.

The most forceful part of Kirsten Powers' column is the headline: "Crush Planned Parenthood." But to do that is to ask American liberals to confront honestly the metastasizing evil they have loosed upon the land. It is easier, under the cover of "choice", to go on crushing the parts of babies with no retail value.

~Today I will be keeping my weekly radio date with Hugh Hewitt, live coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Official stamp of history for Flannery O'Connor

By Terry Mattingly
July 20, 2015

left to right: Daniel Piazza, Chief Curator of Philately, Smithsonian National Postal Museum; Ralph C. Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature, Baylor University; Daniel D. Grant, Postmaster, McLean, VA; and Bruce Gentry, Professor of English and Editor, Flannery O’Connor Review, Georgia College

Famous authors are often invited to elite dinner parties in New York City, a setting in which the rich Georgia drawl of Flannery O'Connor stood out like a dish of cheese grits next to the caviar.

At one such event, O'Connor ended up talking to author Mary McCarthy, who opined that her childhood Catholicism had faded, but she still appreciated the Eucharist as a religious symbol. The reply of the fervently Catholic O'Connor became one of the most famous one-liners in a life packed with them.

"Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it," replied O'Connor, as reported in a volume of her letters. "That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me."

The fact that this literary legend now graces a U.S. postage stamp – more than 50 years after her death – is a testimony both to the greatness of O'Connor and to the fact that her radical, even shocking, vision of life has always been impossible to pigeonhole, said scholar Ralph C. Wood of Baylor University.

In particular, O'Connor refused to bow to man-made idols – including the U.S. government and the civil religion many attach to it, said Wood, speaking at a National Philatelic Exhibition rite in McLean, Va., marking the release of the author's commemorative stamp. She refused to make her faith private and polite.

"We honor Flannery O’Connor today because she resisted such idolatry," he said. "She set her loves in order by giving her first and final loyalty, not to the nation-state, but to the incarnate and living God. ... She became the most important Christian author this nation has yet produced ... by becoming a radically Catholic writer.

"This meant that she was critical of her country, therefore, because she loved it. She also loved and criticized her native South in much the same way. Precisely because she discerned the transcendent virtues of her region could she lament its temporal evils."

O'Connor also lanced the soft underbelly of church culture in her short stories. For Wood, the author's description of the smug Mrs. May in "Greenleaf" was crucial: "She thought the word, Jesus, should be kept inside the church building like other words inside the bedroom. She was a good Christian woman with a large respect for religion, though she did not, of course, believe any of it was true."

The new stamp, which costs 93 cents, has raised some eyebrows because it shows a young, glamorous O'Connor, smiling and wearing pearls. She is not wearing her trademark cats-eye glasses. As a New York Times essay noted, "What's Betty Crocker doing on Flannery's stamp?"

Wood said it's interesting to ponder a different question: How did O'Connor receive this salute from America's cultural powers that be in the first place? Surely the desire to honor a female writer was pivotal.

"If that is the question you are asking you can hardly get around Flannery O'Connor. Who outranks her? She is a giant in American culture," said Wood, author of "Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South."

"It's safe to say this was not an attempt to honor all that O'Connor stood for. The American cultural elites have never known what to do with her faith. ... People keep trying to tame this lady, to make her nice. But you cannot make her nice because she wasn't nice. You cannot defang her."

But if the convictions in her stories unnerved some secularists, the bizarre and violent plot twists left many conservative believers shaking their heads, as well. In his lecture marking the stamp's release, Wood noted that her work is full of grotesque characters that walk with "a divinely inflicted limp" caused by their wrestling matches with real sins and with God. These flawed believers "both believe and behave strangely."

O'Connor heard all these muttering voices.

"When asked why her fiction, like that of so many other Southern writers, is rife with freaks, O'Connor famously replied that Southerners 'are still able to recognize one,' " said Wood. "They take the measure of themselves and others by the biblical plumb line that exposes all deviations from the true Vertical."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Iran Deal’s Collapsing Rationale

Blowing up the Middle East in order to save it—that’s the logic at work.

July 20, 2015

Saudi foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir answers a question as US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) listens to him after their meeting at the Department of State in Washington, DC on July 16, 2015. (© AFP)

The Iran deal is supposed to prevent a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East. So what better way to get that ball of hopefulness rolling than by arming our regional allies to the teeth?
“The U.S. is specifically looking at ways to expedite arms transfers to Arab states in the Persian Gulf and is accelerating plans for them to develop an integrated regional ballistic missile defense capability,” the Journal’s Carol Lee and Gordon Lubold reportedMonday. The goal, they add, is to prevent the Saudis “from trying to match Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.”
Let’s follow this logic. If the Iran deal is as fail-safe as President Obama claims, why not prove it by giving the Saudis exactly the same nuclear rights that Iran is now to enjoy? Why race to prevent an ally from developing a capability we have just ceded to an enemy? What’s the point of providing the Saudis with defense capabilities they presumably don’t need?
A hypochondriac convinced he has cancer isn’t usually offered a course of chemotherapy. What we have here is ObamaCare for Arabia.
The deal is also supposed to preserve the options of a future U.S. president in the event that Iran should go for a bomb. On this point, the president is explicit. “If, in a worst-case scenario, Iran violates the deal,” he said last week, “the same options that are available to me today will be available to any U.S. president in the future.”
Here the claim is false by the president’s own admission. The promise of the deal is that it is supposed to give the world at least a year’s notice that Iran is seeking a bomb. But once the terms of the deal expire, so does the notice period. “At that point,” Mr. Obama acknowledged to NPR’s Steve Inskeep, “the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” That’s not true today.
On Thursday, Moscow confirmed that it will proceed with the sale to Iran of its state-of-the-art S-300 surface-to-air missile system, notwithstanding the deal’s supposed five-year arms embargo on Iran and over no objections from the White House. The sale means that a future president ordering airstrikes against Iran would do so against an adversary that can shoot American planes out of the skies. That’s also not true today.
What about “snap back sanctions”? This is the make-believe mechanism whereby the slightest Iranian infraction will swiftly be detected and countered by a majority vote of a special multilateral committee that will instantly and forcefully reapply all the sanctions that were previously lifted.
Because this is how multilateral committees across the ages have always worked. Efficiently and without regard to political or commercial considerations.
But notice something else about the deal: Just as the U.S. can claim the deal is being violated, so too can Iran. If the West gets sanctions snap back, Tehran gets what Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies calls “nuclear snap back.”
In practice, the threat of the latter will inevitably prevent the application of the former. Iranian violations of the deal, especially if they are technical and incremental, will be tolerated for the sake of preserving the deal. Violations will be treated as differences of interpretation as to what the deal requires, or as arcane disputes over technical issues, or as responses to some Western provocation. Pretexts will be contrived to revise the deal to suit new and more expansive Iranian demands. Editorialists will enjoin “all parties” to reason and restraint.
“When enough bureaucratic prestige has been invested in a policy,” Henry Kissingeronce wrote, “it is easier to see it fail than to abandon it.” That’s the future of the Iran deal.
Meantime, Iran gets $150 billion in mostly upfront sanctions relief. Susan Rice insists that “for the most part” the money will be spent on “the Iranian people and their economy,” an insight the national security adviser must have from the same people who briefed her on Benghazi and Bowe Bergdahl. But she also admits that some of the money might be spent on Iran’s “bad behavior in the region”—but that’s OK because the nuclear deal “was not designed to prevent them from engaging in bad behavior.”
Let it be entered into the record that the United States government has agreed to release monies that it believes will be used to fund Iran’s terrorist proxies. It has done so on the intriguing rationale that, in order to prevent the Middle East from becoming a very dangerous place in the future, it is necessary to allow it to become a very dangerous place now. To adapt a phrase, the administration believes that it has to destroy a region in order to save it.
Iran will get its money. It will redouble its bad behavior. And sooner or later it will probably get its bomb. The most Congress can do now is to lay a political predicate for the next president to disavow the deal. Good luck.
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The Obama administration tries to box in Congress.

July 21, 2015

The UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution endorsing Iran nuclear deal. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

The United Nations Security Council approved unanimously a resolution endorsing the final Iran nuclear deal agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The resolution, which will go into formal effect 90 days after its passage on July 20th, incorporates the JCPOA as an attachment. It invokes the Security Council’s authority under the UN Charter to call upon all UN member states to support the implementation of the nuclear deal terms. 
The intent in adopting the Security Council resolution so quickly was, in the words of New Zealand’s Foreign Minister who was presiding over the Security Council session, “to give international legal force to the agreement reached in Vienna, and extend the obligations it contains across the broader UN membership.”
The New York Times reported that Secretary of State John Kerry could not prevail on his negotiating partners or Iran to put off lifting the UN sanctions on Iran until Congress was able to weigh in. Even some Democrats complained about moving to the Security Council so quickly. Kerry got defensive during an interview on a Sunday talk show. “It’s presumptuous of some people to suspect that France, Russia, China, Germany, Britain ought to do what the Congress tells them to do,” he said. “They have a right to have a vote.”
They may have a right to have a vote, but the United States has the right to veto any such premature resolution. The Obama administration thought it was more important to defer to the impatience of the “international community” than to respect Congress’s role in the U.S constitutional process. 
Now, with the resolution in place, Congress is being boxed in by the argument that failure to proceed with implementation of the JCPOA starting in 90 days irrespective of what Congress does would violate international law. Congress could bar Obama from waiving any congressionally imposed sanctions, if it is able to override Obama’s veto. It can also decide down the road not to lift any U.S. statutory sanctions permanently. However, if Congress were to take such actions, the tables would be turned in Iran’s favor. If Iran decided to walk away because of congressional action, the U.S., not Iran, would be blamed for sabotaging the deal. If Iran called Congress’s bluff and relied on the rest of the international community, acting under the new Security Council resolution, to do business with Iran so long as Iran was demonstrating compliance with its commitments. In that case, any “snapback” of sanctions would, as a practical matter, be virtually impossible to accomplish if Iran were then to violate the terms of the JCPOA and the United States is for all intents and purposes sidelined. Yet at least putting off the vote on the new Security Council resolution for 90 days was a risk that President Obama should have been willing to take if he cared about the U.S. Constitution and the welfare of the American people. But time and time again, he has shown that he does not care.   
What does President Obama care about instead? Iran has grievances with the United States that we need to understand, he said, in keeping with his global apology tour. An example of such a grievance was what Obama described as U.S. “involvement with overthrowing a democratically elected regime in Iran.” He was referring to the 1953 overthrow of the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, in which the CIA had a hand. However, if Obama’s handlers had done a bit more research, they would have found out that Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, had supported Mosaddegh’s overthrow in part because Mossadegh's cabinet had submitted a bill granting women the right to vote. He supported the Shah until the early 1960’s, when bills for land reform and female franchise were introduced by the Shah’s government. 
Using Mosaddegh’s overthrow as an excuse for seizing American hostages in 1979 and holding them in deplorable conditions for 444 days was a cynical maneuver for which the Iranian regime should apologize. It could have made a start by releasing the three American hostages, including a pastor and a reporter, it is holding today. Indeed, the hostages should have been released immediately upon the signing of the JCPOA. However, Obama did not think it was important enough to make their release a precondition for moving forward with completing his legacy nuclear deal. 
Obama’s apology tour continues, only this time the consequences may be catastrophic. 
Six prior Security Council resolutions passed between 2006 and 2010 have required Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program altogether, four of which contain sanctions. They are now to be terminated and replaced with the loop-hole ridden JCPOA, just as Congress begins its 60 day review period to consider what the JCPOA contains.
Security Council Resolution 1929 (2010), for example, had specifically stated that enforcement measures including sanctions would only be lifted if and when “Iran suspends all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, as verified by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency].” Security Council Resolution 1747 (2007) contained a similar edict as a condition for lifting an embargo on Iran’s import or export of conventional arms and ballistic missile related materials.
Iran never complied with this nuclear enrichment and reprocessing suspension edict.
In a report dated May 29, 2015, the IAEA concluded: “Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended all of its enrichment related activities…”  The report added that Iran was still “conducting a number of activities” at certain sites “which are in contravention of its obligations to suspend all enrichment related activities and heavy water related projects, notwithstanding that the facilities are under Agency safeguards.”
Iran also stonewalled the IAEA’s investigation of military nuclear related activities that were said to have occurred at sites which Iran had not declared. 
The May 29, 2015 report stated:
“The Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. Iran is required to cooperate fully with the Agency on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the Agency.”
In the absence of Iran’s full cooperation and opening up of all suspected sites to unfettered IAEA inspections, the IAEA report stated that “the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
Under the sanctions regime established by Security Council resolutions going back nearly a decade, Iran would get no relief from sanctions or the embargoes unless the IAEA certifies that all nuclear material in Iran is being used in peaceful activities. 
Despite the fact that Iran is far from complying with these long-established requirements, the resolutions containing them are being swept away. Past Security Council resolutions prohibiting nuclear enrichment and research & development outright are being replaced by a resolution which endorses Iran’s retention of its core nuclear enrichment infrastructure and sunsets major restrictions on further enrichment or research & development.  The open-ended conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes are being replaced by embargoes that will go away in 5 years and 8 years respectively, no matter what Iran does or does not do. 
In other words, Iran is being rewarded for its misbehavior. Sanctions relief will begin in a matter of months, possibly triggered by an IAEA report due at the end of this year that would simply provide an “assessment of the clarification of the issues related to the possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program. All that the IAEA, led by its Director General Yukiya, will be providing is a progress report on whether Iran is finally showing evidence of cooperating with the IAEA investigation, not a final conclusion with full satisfactory answers to all its questions regarding Iran’s past suspected activities. 
There are many other things wrong with the final agreement being endorsed by the new Security Council resolution. After the main restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program go away in 12 years or so, Iran will be free to enrich enough uranium in advanced centrifuges to develop a nuclear bomb in virtually no time. With sanctions having been lifted years earlier, Iran will have enough money available to pay for advanced enrichment equipment and missile delivery systems it needs to become a full-fledged nuclear power, while increasing its funding of its terrorist proxies all around the world.
Moreover, while the JCPOA restrictions on enrichment, nuclear-related R&D and purchases remain in effect, the inspectors from the IAEA will not have “anytime, anywhere” access to suspected sites. Experts, including former members of President Obama’s own administration, have said that such access is necessary for effective verification of Iran’s compliance with the restrictions. The Obama administration instead agreed to a convoluted dispute resolution procedure which will give Iran at least 24 days to play a shell game with any covert activities it decides to undertake in contravention of the JCPOA. Iran’s long record of cheating virtually ensures that Iran will game the system set up for deciding whether inspectors will have access to all sites where undeclared suspected nuclear related activities may be going on.
A careful reading of the new Security Council resolution also lays bare two major loopholes in the deal that have not received much discussion so far. When President Obama talks about the “snap back” of sanctions if Iran violates its commitments, he means that any sanctions previously lifted would automatically go back into place. And indeed the JCPOA does provided a complex set of procedures involving the Security Council which boil down to the veto-proof restoral of sanctions if Iran is found violating its commitments. The problem is that any commercial agreements entered into after the lifting of the sanctions – contracts that would have been prohibited if the sanctions had not been lifted - will continue to remain in effect even after the sanctions “snap back.” This means that if sanctions are removed in Year 2, for example, Iran will then be able to enter into multiyear contracts for the purchase and sale of goods, services, commodities and technology that it had been barred from doing before. If in Year 3, Iran is found to have violated key commitments and the sanctions snap back into place, Iran can still bank on those multiyear contracts it had entered into before the snap back.
The second loophole receiving very little attention has to do with the lifting of the ballistic missile embargo after Year 8, whether or not the IAEA gives Iran a clean bill of health on the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. Assume for the moment that Iran decides not to cheat beforehand and obtain missile parts and technology from North Korea, which would be virtually impossible to stop. Iran needs only to wait 8 years and then be free of any requirement for Security Council approval in order to procure any items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. Indeed, Iran will be free after 8 years, with the blessing of the Security Council, to engage in any activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches. If Iran’s nuclear program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes as Iran has persistently claimed, why on earth would Iran ever need to conduct activities or procure anything that could contribute to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems?
Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor spoke to the press shortly after the fateful Security Council vote. He spoke the truth that few wanted to hear:
“Today is a very sad day. Not only for the state of Israel, but for the entire world, even if at this moment, the international community refuses to see the tragedy."
The Obama administration negotiated a disastrous deal with the world’s leading state sponsor of global terrorism. The deal hands the Iranian regime the keys to a nuclear armed future, threatening the future of our children and grandchildren. The United Nations Security Council is being used to midwife the legal instrument that legitimizes the path to a possible nuclear holocaust.