Buckets of Deplorable Presidential Endorsements

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president has sought to portray her Republican challenger Donald Trump as a racist, and those that support him as racists. Both she and President Barack Obama should consider that those same people endorsed them as well.

David Duke

David Duke is a leader of the racist group the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and is currently running for the Senate from Louisiana. He proclaimed that he would be the “biggest supporter” of Trump from his position in Congress. Clinton used the endorsement as an opportunity to portray half of Trump supporters as “deplorables” who are “irredeemable.” In doing so, she sought to send a message that anyone that votes for Trump is either a “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,or is happy to associate with such people.

There is no question that David Duke deserves the charge of a deplorable and maintains the views that Clinton ascribed.  However, it was that same David Duke that came out in favor of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. Should that have been a warning that the Democrats were advancing a deplorable deal?

Iran

Iran is listed by the US State Department as an official state sponsor of terror (one of only three countries with such designation).   Iran celebrated the nuclear deal brokered by Obama.  Does its support mean that Obama strengthened global terrorism?

Qatar

The government of Qatar supports Hamas, a virulently anti-Semitic terrorist group whose goal is the complete destruction of a US ally, Israel.

But the Clinton Foundation was happy to accept a $1 million gift from Qatar in 2011, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.  The Qatar government bought Bill Clinton’s former Vice President Al Gore’s cable channel, Current TV for $500 million in 2013. That deal netted Gore a personal gain of roughly $17 million.  That channel and social media site, AJ+, continue to spew anti-Israel commentary and incite violence against Israel.

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a well-earned reputation of falling into Clinton’s “basket of deplorables.”  It is the only country in the world that received a ZERO for women’s empowerment by the World Economic Forum. It kills anyone that converts from Islam (apostasy), a right that is clearly protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The country also condemns people to death for homosexuality – even minors.

This deplorable country gave the Clinton Foundation well over $10 million according to PolitiFact.

clinton-deplorables
Hillary Clinton addressing liberals at a campaign fund raiser
September 9, 2016

The Washington Post listed many other problematic parties supporting Hillary Clinton, including Algeria, Kuwait and Oman. The Arab countries continue to support her candidacy.


Donald Trump did not solicit the endorsement of David Duke, but was nevertheless rebuked for not immediately distancing himself from the man (which Trump did do later). But Clinton hammered continuously on the campaign trail and in advertisements that Trump supporters were racists, misogynists, xenophobes and homophobes. (The last claim is pretty remarkable, as Trump stood before the entire Republican National Committee, and drew loud applause for his pro-gay comments).

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton actively courted the support of some of the most deplorable countries in the world, who are homophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and racist.

Does Clinton claim that any endorsement from a “deplorable” means that all all (or at least half) supporters are terrible as well? Hillary Clinton often claims that Russia supports Trump and is behind her email scandal.  But that same Russia also supported the Iranian nuclear deal.  Does she want us all to revisit that toxic deal negotiated by Obama, Kerry and herself?

As Clinton and Obama trash the “deplorable” Trump supporters, they should consider their own tainted glass houses, in which some of the worst deplorables in the world gave them direct financial support and endorsed their most controversial policies.


Related First.One.Through articles:

A Deplorable Definition

Al Jazeera (Qatar) Evicts Jews and Judaism from Jerusalem. Time to Return the Favor

An Easy Boycott: Al Jazeera (Qatar)

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

An Open Letter to Non-Anti-Semitic Sanders Supporters

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Grading Evil and Evil Doers

On December 14, 2015, US President Obama told Americans that “the United States and our Armed Forces continue to lead the global coalition in our mission to destroy the terrorist group ISIL (the Islamic State).”  He laid out the ongoing efforts to “destroy” the group in its various facets, including “their fighting positions, bunkers and staging areas; their heavy weapons, bomb-making factories, compounds and training camps.

He used the word “destroy” five times in the speech.

That address stood in sharp contrast to his detailed comments on fighting “violent extremism.”

On February 18, 2015, Obama penned a piece in the Los Angeles Times called “Our Fight Against Violent Extremism.” He mentioned terrorism and terrorist threats from a range of countries, including: Yemen; Libya; Syria; Iraq; US; Canada; Australia; France; Denmark; Pakistan; Somalia and Nigeria.  His plan to deal with the global threat involved several initiatives: “We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem. Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so…. Our focus will be on empowering local communities.”

Obama’s plan to fight global violent extremism was broad.  Below is a review of Obama’s approach for confronting evil and evil-doers.

Evil to Destroy

President Obama referred to an “evil ideology” when he commented on the murder of American photojournalist Luke Somers.  For Obama, the evil of AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) was a “disregard for life” that threated to “harm our [American] citizens.”

Regarding ISIL/ the Islamic State, the evil was described in a similar manner.  In November 2015, after attacks in France and Turkey, Obama said ISIL is the face of evil. Our goal, as I’ve said many times, is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organization.”  He echoed comments he made with French President Hollande just a few days before when he saidthis barbaric terrorist group — ISIL, or Daesh — and its murderous ideology pose a serious threat to all of us.  It cannot be tolerated.  It must be destroyed.”

Evil had certain traits: barbarity and murder.  According to Obama, the root of the evil ideology was to “promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims.

Particular evil that needed to be destroyed, was evil that threated America, and in some cases, its allies.  Other evil could be addressed using other methods.

Consider Obama’s comments over his presidency about his desire to destroy evil.  It is limited to two terrorist groups who attacked Americans: al Qaeda and ISIL/ Islamic State.

  • December 1, 2009: “America, our allies and the world were acting as one to destroy al Qaeda’s terrorist network and to protect our common security.
  • March 28, 2010: “Our broad mission is clear:  We are going to disrupt and dismantle, defeat and destroy al Qaeda and its extremist allies.  That is our mission [in Afghanistan].”
  • October 29, 2010: “we will continue to strengthen our cooperation with the Yemeni government to disrupt plotting by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and to destroy this al Qaeda affiliate.
  • September 10, 2014: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”
  • February 11, 2015: “America’s armed forces are working with some 60 nations to degrade and destroy ISIL, a terrorist group that has committed countless barbaric atrocities and poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners.”
  • July 6, 2015: “ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple… Our main objective is to degrade and destroy this group through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.

Obama with military leaders
Obama discussing anti-Islamic State plan, surrounded by military leaders including
Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff on July 6, 2015 (photo: DoD/ Glenn Fawcett)

ISIL/ Islamic State and al Qaeda remain the only groups targeted for destruction by Obama.

Condemned Evil

There are other groups – and countries –  that are barbaric murderous entities which are not in Obama’s crosshairs.  They receive Obama’s condemnation and disapproval, but not concerted military attention.

Boko Haram is a barbaric, murderous terrorist group operating in Nigeria.  Like the Islamic State, it seeks to install an Islamic country in the place of the Nigerian secular government through a murderous campaign.

Obama has condemned the group’s actions, but remained measured in his call for action:

  • May 7, 2014 (an offer to help find abducted teenaged girls): “Boko Haram, this terrorist organization that’s been operating in Nigeria, has been killing people and innocent civilians for a very long time. We’ve always identified them as one of the worst local or regional terrorist organizations there is out there…So what we’ve done is we have offered — and it’s been accepted — help from our military and law enforcement officials. We’re going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them. In the short term, our goal obviously is to help the international community and the Nigerian government as a team to do everything we can to recover these young ladies. But we’re also going to have to deal with the broader problem of organizations like this that can cause such havoc in people’s day-to-day lives.” Obama did not offer to help destroy Boko Haram.
  • March 23, 2015: “Boko Haram, a brutal terrorist group that kills innocent men, women and children must be stopped…. by casting your ballot you can help secure your nation’s progress.”  Obama gave no support to destroy the group; he just suggested that Nigerians vote peacefully in elections and the Boko Haram threat would disappear.
  • July 10, 2015: “[The president of Nigeria is] very concerned about the spread of Boko Haram and the violence that’s taken place there, and the atrocities that they’ve carried out, and has a very clear agenda in defeating Boko Haram and extremists of all sorts inside of his country.” Obama noted the President of Nigeria’s concern, but did not mention his own.

While the evil of Boko Haram and other groups operating in Africa was the same, the Obama Administration would not target the groups for destruction as Americans were not targeted.  Obama would only condemn the evil and offer American support:

  • In Chad: “support the governments and people of the Lake Chad Basin region in their ongoing struggle to defeat Boko Haram
  • In Lebanon: “fully support the Lebanese authorities as they conduct their investigation… reaffirms its commitment to Lebanon’s security, and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Lebanon in confronting terrorism

The same evil ideology is held by other groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia which has killed hundreds.  In Ethiopia, after a brutal attack in the country’s capital, Obama saidWe don’t need to send our own marines in to do the fighting: The Ethiopians are tough fighters and the Kenyans and Ugandans have been serious about what they’re doing.”  The comment suggested that Obama’s modus operandi is that America will only engage militarily to destroy evil, if the local government is ill-equipped to do so.

Tolerated Evil

The evil ideology of barbarism and murder is not confined to a few terrorist groups that “promote a twisted interpretation of religion.”  Several countries also engage in barbarity of its own citizens.  Consider Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria.  These countries commit barbarity including:

  • killing gays by hanging them from cranes in the streets and throwing them off buildings;
  • stoning people to death for adultery;
  • beheading people in the middle of the streets;
  • executing minors;
  • capital punishment for activities that do not hurt anyone such as apostasy (converting from Islam)

The Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, crossing an Obama “red line.”  However, in the end, it did not matter.  Obama would not attack the Syrian government, and opted to negotiate with them to remove chemical weapons.

Regarding Iran, Obama stated that while they may be anti-Semitic, the country’s leaders were not so consumed by evil that they would do something that would harm their own interests.  Obama would not attack the country, but chose to negotiate to slow the pace of its nuclear program, even as the Iranian leaders chanted “Death to America.”

And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which publicly beheads “witches” and apostates, remains an American ally.  It receives billions of dollars of military hardware from the US.

ObamaAbdullah
Obama and the Saudi King

In short, evil perpetuated by countries is tolerated by the Obama administration.  The one country where Obama decided to launch an attack to remove its leader was Libya, a much less evil regime than in Syria, Iran or Saudi Arabia.  It just happened to be easier to remove Muammar Gaddafi, than the leaders of other countries.

Ignored Evil

The last category of Obama’s treatment of evil is “Ignored Evil”.  It is basically the same as “Tolerated Evil” except it is used for a group rather than for a country.

Palestinian Arabs have many groups that are labelled terrorist organizations by the US State Department including: Abu Nidal; Hamas; Palestine Liberation Front; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine; PFLP- General Command; and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, among others.  These groups have stated their intention to destroy Israel, a US ally; to target Jews for murder; and install an Islamic state in Israel. The groups also torture fellow Arabs if there is suspicion of collaboration with Israel, and drag their bodies through the streets.

Obama has not called for these groups to be destroyed.  He does not tolerate their evil, as he doesn’t negotiate with them.  He simply ignores their barbarity, as he pushes Israel to tolerate and negotiate with them.

While Obama may state that he has “no sympathy for Hamas, he pushed Israel to release terrorists in exchange for… nothing.  When Hamas and Fatah announced a unity government in June 2014, the Obama administration said “we intend to work with this government.

There are Palestinian groups that are not labelled by the US as terrorists, that also incite violence against Israelis.  Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas called for jihad several times against Israel without rebuke from the Obama administration.

Conclusion

Obama has refused to label the evil that touches much of the world as “violent Islamic terrorism”.  By doing so, he compartmentalized the evil ideology: between those that threaten America and those that don’t; between established governments and terrorist groups seeking to replace countries.

As described above, each category received a particular treatment by the USA.  Only in Israel, did Obama opt to break his formula by ignoring the radical Palestinian jihadists, as acknowledging their evil, would likely undermine any chance for a two-state solution with Israel.

While some liberals think the nature of the evil ideology is different in particular places, most people understand the contours of jihadist terrorism and remain angered by Obama’s refusal to call out the religious barbarity in various corners of the world by its proper name.  Israel supporters are particularly enraged by Obama’s unique treatment of Palestinian Arab jihadist violence.

Liberals remain convinced that not all evil is the same, and that the barbarity has nothing to do with Islam.  Conservatives believe that all violent jihadist violence is very much the same, and should be dealt with in a singular fashion.

However, for Obama, remaining obtuse about the nature of the evil ideology enables flexibility in engaging particular evil-doers, while avoiding a broader conflict with the Muslim world.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Pick Your Jihad; Choose Your Infidel

The Banners of Jihad

I’m Offended, You’re Dead

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

My Terrorism

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Half Standards: Gun Control and the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Deal

“Double standards” is defined as a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another.” Double Standards are typically viewed as unjust, and some countries (like the government of Israel) complain when they are held to more rigorous standards of behavior than its neighbors by political bodies like the United Nations. Curiously, in 2015, some US Democratic candidates for president have introduced a new concept of “Half Standards,” in which they actively and happily pursue policies for other countries which are much less rigorous than they expect for Americans.

Democrats on Gun Control for Americans

After the killing of two journalists on air in August 2015, Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders stated that he would introduce “constructive gun control legislation which most significantly gets guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.” Similarly, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented that she is in favor of “reform that keeps weapons out of the hands that should not have them.

Such calls for gun control is not without controversy, as most Americans view the right to bear arms as a fundamental right laid out in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights that “shall not be infringed.” How can the government decide that there are parties that “should not have them [guns]?” Will the government take steps to block certain individuals from this right the way that it blocks felons from voting?

Who “should not have them“? Clinton called out “domestic abusers, the violently unstable” as targets who would lose the right to bear arms. Will the US courts create a system of defining such individuals?

What exactly will these “bad” people be prevented from owning?  In their call for new gun legislation, how far will the ownership limitations go? Will a domestic abuser be restricted from purchasing a new gun or will they also need to forfeit guns they currently own? What about ammunition? If a person has factories that make guns and ammo, would they be forced to sell it? If they ran a mine that sourced all of the raw materials to make guns or ammunition, would they be forced to shut it down? In short, would a “violently unstable” person be allowed to own and run an entire gun manufacturing infrastructure and warehouse even if they promised to give up having a gun in their home?

Contrast these Democrats’ positions about barring certain Americans from owning guns, with their positions on Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

Democrats Supporting the Iranian JCPOA

Clinton gave a strong defense of the nuclear agreement with Iran on September 9, 2015, even while she noted the many short-comings of the JCPOA.

Hillary Brookings
Hillary Clinton at the Brookings Institute discussing her support of the JCPOA
September 9, 2015

Iran is a “violently unstable” player: The US State Department has long considered the Islamic Republic of Iran to be a supporter of terrorism, one of only three countries with such designation. The Iranian government has been hostile to America since 1979 and continues to call for the “Death of America”.

…and will remain a “violently unstable” player: Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made clear in several interviews, that “this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that a change in the behavior of the Iranian regime should be an integral part of a timetable of sanctions relief to the Iranians, the Obama administration made clear that such notion would not be part of any Plan Of Action.

Iran “should not have them (WMDs)”: US President Barack Obama repeatedly stated that the Iranian regime should never be armed with weapons of mass destruction. He has tried to convince Americans that the JCPOA will keep Iran from actually being in possession of such nuclear weapons, and Clinton and Sanders agree that the JCPOA would accomplish such task.

…but will maintain the entire food chain of processing WMDs: While Iran would technically not have a nuclear bomb IF it adheres to everything in the JCPOA, it will continue to have everything required to manufacture and deliver such weapons:

  • Uranium mines left untouched
  • It maintains a stockpile of uranium
  • Thousands of centrifuges (6,104 by the White House count) for enrichment left intact
  • Heavy-water nuclear plant Arak is “redesigned” but not dismantled
  • Enrichment facilities of Natanz and Fordow will both remain operational
  • Obtain new short- and long-range ballistic missiles (available in 5 to 8 years)

iran_nuclear_624
Iranian Nuclear Infrastructure
(from BBC website)

Would Clinton and Sanders enable “violently unstable” Americans that have a constitutional right to bear arms, keep an entire weapons making assembly line? Why do they promote a “half standard” for a “violently unstable” country to maintain a vast nuclear weapons infrastructure?


Related First One Through articles:

Some Ugly Supporters of the P5+1 Iran Deal

The Gap between Fairness and Safety: WMDs in Iraq and Iran

Is the Iran Deal a Domestic Matter (NY Times) or an International Matter (Wall Street Journal)

The New Endorsed Parameters of Peaceful Nuclear Power

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Snack-Pack Inspections

A Satire

Scene: A conference room with dozens of politicians, including the senior members of the P5+1 team and Iran, negotiating terms to the comprehensive nuclear agreement. The hour is late and people are agitated and sleepy. Each country team is mostly talking amongst themselves.

P5+1
(photo: Getty Images)

Sensing the moment is right to bring up a new deal point, US Secretary of State John Kerry attempts to catch everyone’s attention.

US Secretary John Kerry (in a loud clear voice): “We have gone through the various points of this agreement and concluded that we cannot approve it without additional security precautions. As such, we insist on automatic ‘snapback sanctions’ if there is a material breach of the terms of the agreement.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi: “What are ‘snack-pack sanctions’?”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: “’’Snack-pack inspections’. It is another excuse for the Americans to snoop around.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif: “I won’t agree to it. That is outrageous. Why must you Americans continue to compromise on our dignity?!”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle: “Mohammad, please. It is not that big a condition. Use the American request to push forward some of your own ideas.”

Zarif: “Why are Iranian snacks anyone’s concern? You have pushed too far!”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius: “The Americans are big snackers, they cannot help themselves! Eating all of that fast food and potato chips!”

Aide to Kerry blurts out: “Potato chips are just cold French fries!”

Fabius: “Your ‘French Fries’ are not from France, you idiot!”

Westerwelle (laughing while patting his stomach): “The Americans don’t just snack- they snack BIG. They turn warehouses into giant snack stores.  That’s why they have snacks in packs. Can you imagine!”

Kerry: “People! I said ‘snapback sanctions’ not ‘snack-pack inspections’. We need some teeth in this agreement.”

Fabius: “You Americans are real gluttons, sinking you teeth into everything. Why do you have to always focus on consuming so much garbage?”

Zarif: “I cannot agree!”

Lavrov (in a loud, condescending voice): “Hey, Mr. Ketchup, let’s say we agree with snack-pack inspections. But you would have to agree to import some of our snacks too. For example, some Beluga caviar. It would be a nice improvement for your abused tongues.”

Zarif: “We get to export our caviar to the Americans again? This would be excellent!”

Lavrov (in a hushed voice to Zarif): “You and I will discuss later where the caviar will actually come from.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague: “Does that satisfy your appetite, John?”

Yi: “Be careful Mohammad. Your country is about to be flooded with McDonalds!”

Zarif: “I’ll tell you, I will take up to 20 McDonalds, but America must agree to take our pistachios as well.”

Lavrov (out loud, but absent-mindedly): “But Russia doesn’t export pistachios.”

Hague: “Well, maybe Iran could also start to import our ‘Smarties’ now.”

Kerry: “People! This is not about exporting chocolate to Iran!”

Lavrov: “Hey Mr. Heinz! Did you marry a Hershey too? Keep quiet and we’ll handle the details of your new request.”

The conference room breaks down into lots of side conversations. After a minute, Kerry pushes away from the table disgusted, and leaves the room with some aides.


Scene: Outside the conference room, Secretary Kerry walks the halls with two assistants with a phone clutched in his hand.

Kerry (agitated): “Yes, Mr. President…. Yes, I brought it up…. How did it go?.. Well, let me sum it up this way. The other members of the P5+1 team are now renaming the streets in front of the American embassies in their cities ‘Hershey Highway’.”


Related First One Through article:

The Joys of Iranian Pistachios and Caviar

Congress should Vote on the Deal, not on the Disappointment nor on the President

The long saga of global bodies negotiating over Iran’s nuclear program ended a significant phase on July 14, 2015, when the parties concluded a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna, Austria. The negotiation has now entered the “approval” phase by various bodies including the US Congress. The initial reviews and comments of the JCPOA have been heated and ugly.

The Disappointment

On August 7, 2015, David Brooks of the New York Times wrote an op-ed piece entitled “3 U.S. Defeats: Vietnam, Iraq and Now Iran”. Brooks enumerated the various points that make many Americans angry about the terms of the JCPOA, specifically, the failure to realize the stated goals set out by the Obama administration:

  • Prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power
  • Dismantle the nuclear infrastructure
  • Remove their ability to enrich uranium
  • Close the Fordow Heavy water reactor enrichment facility
  • Force Iran to disclose all past nuclear activities
  • Anywhere, anytime inspections
  • No sanctions relief until all of the above have been accomplished

Brooks concluded that none of Obama’s stated objectives were realized. He referred to the agreement as a “partial surrender” to Iran that came about because of the poor tactics of team Obama.

However, that is not the question before Congress. If Congress were to vote on whether the JCPOA produced a disappointing result, the vote would be nearly unanimous (with the exception of a few Obama puppets).  But Congress is not being asked to opine if this was the best deal that could have been achieved, but whether the deal is good enough.

The President

On August 10, 2015, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against the president’s tactics in aggressively trying to sell the JCPOA. In “White House Should Leave Politics Out of Iran Deal,” Bloomberg admonished Obama for name-calling opponents of the deal war-mongers and for threatening payback against any politician who dared to vote against the deal. For his part, Bloomberg concluded that the JCPOA was extremely marginal at best, and that Obama’s forceful defense of the deal was “grossly overstating” his case.

The “especially disappointing” behavior by the White House was politics at its worst, particularly when so much is on the line, according to Bloomberg. Politicians should not vote on this significant agreement based on politics or party loyalty; they must vote based on the deal’s merits.

The Deal

On August 7, 2015, New York Senator Charles Schumer detailed his rationale for not supporting the JCPOA. He analyzed the deal based on three criteria:

  • Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons over the next ten years
  • The position of Iran’s nuclear capabilities at the sunset of the deal
  • The cost of the agreement in terms of giving Iran sanctions relief

In terms of the negotiating team’s primary mission of preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, Schumer stated that there “are serious weaknesses in the agreement,” including the lack of anytime-anywhere inspections and that the US would need approval of a majority of China, Russia and the Europeans to enforce inspections. Overall, he thought the deal’s terms were not compelling.

On the second point, Schumer was even more negative and stated “we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.

Regarding the non-nuclear components of the deal, Schumer was extremely clear in opposing the enablement of a state-sponsor of terrorism to obtain billions in funds and access to ballistic missiles: “When it comes to the non-nuclear aspects of the deal, I think there is a strong case that we are better off without an agreement than with one.”

Senator Schumer analyzed and articulated his assessment of the deal. He avoided voting based on the deal’s disappointment, and based on his president’s rhetoric.

Schumer
NY Senator Charles Schumer
(photo: Getty images)

Vote Ramifications

President Obama has stated that the only alternative to this deal is war. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that there is no “better deal” out there nor is there an opportunity to renegotiate this one.

Yet, those claims are far from clear. Based on behavior of both Obama and Kerry, it would be easy to conclude that these are just their opinions dressed as facts as they attempt to forcefully push through the JCPOA.

There is no clear answer as to the impact of the US voting down the JCPOA.  While procedurally, it is understood that Obama outmaneuvered Congress in only needing one-third instead of a two-thirds vote to secure his deal, what happens if Congress does manage to have the votes?  Obama claims that Iran gets the best of all worlds and gets sanctions relief from the rest of the world while it moves forward with a nuclear program.  That is hard to imagine. That inherently implies that the rest of the world doesn’t care if Iran has nuclear weapons and it is only the USA that is applying the pressure.  If Obama really believes that, then a negative US vote is an opportunity to renegotiate.

Conclusions

Disappointment: The JCPOA is clearly a disappointing result, especially considering the many years that tough sanctions were imposed on Iran as well as the severely depressed recent price of oil applied intense pressure on the regime that will be hard to ever replicate. Together with significant American troops next door in Afghanistan, the P5+1 had tremendous leverage to force complete capitulation by Iran.

The President: Obama is overselling his weak deal as a “strong deal” (in his words) and is bullying his fellow Democrats into submission. If the deal is as strong as he claims, it should be able to stand on its own merits.

The Deal: The deal by itself seems borderline at best. Perhaps it is better than nothing- but only if it costs nothing. The significant sanctions relief and various deal terms make the marginal deal appear unacceptable.

Ramifications: Congress must vote on the deal based on its merits and not based on the disappointing terms nor Obama’s threats. But it must also better understand the ramifications of rejecting the deal.  Kerry’s losing face is not a reason to alter one’s vote on something so important.

Congress and the American people must understand the actual ramifications of turning down the JCPOA without the aggressive salesmanship of the White House.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

The Obama Administration Lays Foundation of Blame at Israel for a Potential War with Iran

Obama’s White Lie on his Red Line

The Gap between Fairness and Safety: WMDs in Iraq and Iran

The New Nuclear Normal

Some Global Supporters of the P5+1 Iran Deal

Obama’s bright white lie on his red line.

US President Obama gave a speech about the broad support the Iranian deal enjoys: “because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously supported it. The majority of arms control and nonproliferation experts support it. Over 100 former ambassadors who served under Republican and Democratic presidents support it.

There are others that strongly support the deal too that Obama failed to highlight:

  • Syria’s president Basher al-Assad, the man who has waged a war with this own people that has killed over 220,000 people thus far told the Iranian leader: “In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.
  • Hezbollah, the terrorist group in Lebanon was impressed that Iran now had “global recognition as a member of the nuclear club.
  • David Duke, the former member of Congress and head of the KKK was happy that the Iranian deal would likely keep Israel from attacking Iran

assad_iran_083013_1385159834190

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Tehran 25 January 2001.(photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

 

As part of this agreement, Iran will get funds in the range between Obama’s estimate of $56 billion to as much as $150 billion.  Not surprisingly. this makes the various terrorist entities that are financed by Iran quite happy including (parenthetical is the year when placed on the US State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations):

These Iranian-backed terrorist groups are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians and continue to destabilize the Middle East and beyond..

In Obama’s attempt to sell the Iranian deal, he cited many allies that endorsed the deal while specifically avoiding mention of America’s enemies that also support it.  How does one account for the fact that both US allies and foes celebrate the deal? Is the deal actually beneficial to all of the parties, or do some countries simply not understand the deal’s details?

  • The Western world gets to curtail Iran’s nuclear program and avoids a war in the near-term
  • Iran gets to avoid a war, keep its nuclear infrastructure intact, global legitimacy, does not have to change its behavior regarding backing terrorism, and gets tens of billions of dollars in cash
  • Iran’s allies get access to funds and arms from Iran in the near and medium-term, and potentially a nuclear-armed Iranian-sponsor in the not-too-distant future

Obama deliberately does not discuss the many enemies of the United States that support the P5+1 deal and their long list of reasons for doing so. Instead, he makes comments that it is only the Iranian hardliners (and Republicans and Israel) who oppose the agreement. By doing so, he attempts to conceal the enormous benefits granted to Iran (and its proxies) in the agreement. It is pure marketing and a bright white lie over his old red lines.

do not enter
A bright White Lie over a Red Line
(Do Not Enter)


The party Obama highlighted as not being happy with the deal is Israel. A few reasons:

  • Iran will be allowed to continue to call for Israel’s annihilation
  • Iran will have billions of dollars that will not be constrained in any manner from funding terrorist groups that target Israel
  • Iran will get access to a range of ballistic missiles in as little of five years
  • Within 10-15 years, Iran will be a threshold nuclear state
  • The structure of the deal provides Iran opportunity to break the terms and develop nuclear weapons within ten years

In other words, there is a little something (or a lot) for everyone in the deal, with the exception of Israel.


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The Obama Administration Lays Foundation of Blame at Israel for a Potential War with Iran

President Obama has not only begun to lobby aggressively to win support for the P5+1 deal on the Iranian nuclear program, he has begun to lay the foundation of blame for a potential war squarely on Israel.

epa04873202 US President Barack Obama delivers a speech on the nuclear deal with Iran, at American University's School of International Service, in Washington DC, USA, 05 August 2015. Obama urged Americans to accept a controversial nuclear deal with Iran in spite of criticism from Republican lawmakers. The speech evoked late US President John F. Kennedy's 1963 USSR speech at American University during the height of the Cold War.  EPA/PETE MAROVICH / POOL ORG XMIT: MHR02

US President Barack Obama delivers a speech on the nuclear deal with Iran, at American University’s School of International Service, in Washington DC, USA, 05 August 2015. (photo: EPA/PETE MAROVICH / POOL ORG XMIT: MHR02)

Diplomacy or War?

  • US President Barack Obama: “Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some sort of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon… How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?August 5, 2015

What does the world want?

  • US President Barack Obama: this deal is not just the best choice among alternatives, this is the strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated, and because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support.” August 5, 2015

If war happened, who is to blame?

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry: “I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn it, our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed, and we would lose Europe and China and Russia with respect to whatever military action we might have to take because we will have turned our backs on a very legitimate program that allows us to put their program to the test over these next years.” July 24, 2015

Is there anyone in the United States – including the Obama administration – that believes this is a great deal? Does anyone deny that Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain largely intact with this signing? Honest people can arrive at different conclusions about whether to endorse or reject this agreement. So why state that a negative outcome of the vote would be the fault of Israel, “money” and “lobbyists“?

Obama has framed his opponents in a familiar anti-Semitic canard that Jews are responsible for wars around the world.  Here is a section of Article 22 from the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas in its foundation Hamas Charter:

“The enemies have been scheming for a long time, and they have consolidated their schemes, in order to achieve what they have achieved. They took advantage of key elements in unfolding events, and accumulated a huge and influential material wealth which they put to the service of implementing their dream. This wealth [permitted them to] take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like. [They also used this] wealth to stir revolutions in various parts of the globe in order to fulfill their interests and pick the fruits. They stood behind the French and the Communist Revolutions and behind most of the revolutions we hear about here and there. They also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith and the like. All of them are destructive spying organizations. They also used the money to take over control of the Imperialist states and made them colonize many countries in order to exploit the wealth of those countries and spread their corruption therein. As regards local and world wars, it has come to pass and no one objects, that they stood behind World War I, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate. They collected material gains and took control of many sources of wealth. They obtained the Balfour Declaration and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization. They also stood behind World War II, where they collected immense benefits from trading with war materials and prepared for the establishment of their state. They inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their intermediary. There was no war that broke out anywhere without their fingerprints on it

Obama and Kerry have dismissed anyone who disagrees with the agreement they helped craft.  They have announced that members of Congress must fall into one of two camps: agree with Obama OR be a pawn in the Israeli scheme of lobbyists.

Now, if the US goes to war, any casualties and ramifications would be the fault of Israel and its lobbyists. Not Iran. Not the poorly negotiated deal. But Israel.

There is a long history of anti-Semites blaming Israel for wars in the world. It is shocking to see the administration of the Unites States – which purports to be a strong ally of Israel – use a blood libel to lay blame for another Middle East war on Israel.


Related FirstOneThrough article:

Israel and Wars

Has the “Left-Wing” Joined the UN in Protecting Iran and the Palestinians from a “Right-Wing” Israel?

The New Blood Libel

John Kerry’s Hypocrisy: “Can You Deliver?”

Listening to US Secretary of State John Kerry try to explain and defend the P5+1 Iranian nuclear deal to various audiences is a spectacle to behold, regardless of one’s position on the best course of action.  One of the people who might want to watch the sessions and learn something from John Kerry is John Kerry.

Kerry CFR
John Kerry speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations
July 2015

Secretary Kerry argued at the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) that Congress must support the deal or it would undermine his ability to negotiate any treaty with any government in the future. At 29:55 of the CFR talk, Kerry said: “Other people in the world are going to sit there and say ‘hey, let’s negotiate with the United States, they have 535 Secretaries of State. I mean, please! I would be embarrassed to try to go out… I mean, what am I going to say to people after this as Secretary of State? ‘Come negotiate with us?’ ‘Can you deliver?’ Please!

Kerry made the point that when two parties sit down to negotiate, it is critical for the sides to know that the negotiating parties are both authorized to negotiate and have the ability to fulfill their sides of the deal. If no such authority or ability exists, the discussions are an irrelevant waste of time.

Despite Kerry being quite clear about his logic, he has nevertheless insisted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sit down and negotiate with Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, even though it is clearly understood that Abbas can deliver nothing.

  • No Mandate: Abbas’s four-year term as president ran out in 2009. No presidential elections have been held since then.
  • No Authority: Abbas’s Fatah party lost legislative elections in 2006, winning only 33% of the parliament. No legislative elections have been held since then.
  • No Support: Abbas lags in every Palestinian poll held since 2006.
  • No Control: Abbas has no control of Gaza since his Fatah party was kicked out in 2007.
  • No Track Record: Abbas has shown zero credibility in being able to strike compromises to govern his own people, let alone deliver compromises with Israel.

Despite the glaringly obvious impotence of Abbas, the Obama administration continued to pressure Israel to negotiate with this straw man.

The Obama administration publicly acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority has absolutely no ability to deliver peace a few years ago. During the Gaza war on Israel in 2012, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to broker a cease-fire. She made a dozen calls to various world leaders to halt the war- but not ONCE called the Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

Compounding the inherent flaws in Abbas and the Palestinian Authority is Abbas’s insistence on bringing terms of any deal with Israel to a referendum. Abbas stated that he cannot decide on the “Right of Return” for all Palestinians, but that each of the 5 million Palestinian Arab “refugees” must make a decision for themselves. Hey Kerry- 535 “second-guessers” looks pretty good compared to 5 million! In terms of the rest of the components of a final agreement, Abbas stated that he “would go to a referendum everywhere because the agreement represents Palestinians everywhere.”  That’s impressive – he seeks the approval of 11 million “Palestinian” Arabs from all around the world!


Kerry’s comments regarding Iran are both on- and off-the-mark.  Iran and all of the parties in the negotiations know that the United States is a democracy and the political process must run its course.  Once the American people’s representatives in Congress make a decision, the government will deliver on its commitments.

However, Abbas – a complete straw man if ever there was one – with no authority or control whatsoever, openly states that millions of individuals will ultimately not only decide the fate of an Israeli-PA deal overall, but even on certain components on an individual basis.

 

Kerry fully appreciates that before negotiators start a process that they want to know the answer to the fundamental question: “Can you deliver“? However, he doesn’t care when he forces Israel to do exactly that with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.


Related FirstOneThrough video and articles:

Abbas demands R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?

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The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

 Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic, penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Angry voices are again being heard about J Street due to their position in favor of the Iranian nuclear deal promoted by the Obama administration. Is Wieseltier correct in that we only seek to hear our own voices and that “the orthodoxies and the bubbles and the closed loops and the echo chambers are everywhere?” Is there a “red line” that J Street and others have crossed and therefore deserve to be excluded from the broad tent of acceptable conversation?

Individual Hate Speech

Many countries have laws that ban hate speech. Sometimes the exact language is clearly spelled out about what cannot be said publicly and sometimes it is more general in nature.

For example, several European countries, including Germany, have laws that prohibit Holocaust denial. Those countries took such steps not simply because such expressions offend Jews, but because of the continent’s failure to step in and protect Jews which led to their slaughter. Silence became complicity which must never be allowed to happen again.

For its part, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 16/18 whose goal is “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief.” The resolution was drafted principally at the behest of Islamic countries who were worried about the spread of “Islamophobia.”

The various laws against hate speech all seek to curtail an incitement to violence and harm. The banned speech relates to a specific group of people (ie. Muslims) and not a concept (for example, a religion like Islam).  While a person can legally say disparaging remarks about a concept (“Communism is evil”), one risks breaking the law by attacking a group of people (“All Communists should be beaten up”).

Banned Groups

Hate Speech laws are typically drafted against individuals. However, laws are also drafted against groups that incite violence.  Israel banned two political parties, Kach and Kahane Chai in 1994 as they were defined as terrorist organizations.  The groups’ ideology was based on the teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane who called for expelling Arabs from Israel, thereby running afoul of the premise of calling for negative actions against people.  Israel has also banned some Arab parties from running in elections which supported terrorism.

BDS, Hamas and Iran

Liberals and J Street supporters feel that BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), Hamas and the Iranian nuclear deal should be rightly within civil discourse.  However, do these topics and groups support violence against people, or are they just broad discussions about policies and ideas?

BDS: Reasonable people can arrive at different conclusions about Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. Some feel that all the settlements are completely legal as called for in international law in 1922, while others feel that Jews living east of the Green Line is against international law as recently stated by the UN Secretary General. Those competing viewpoints would fall within legal and acceptable conversation, both in public society and in an open-minded pro-Israel community.

However, inciting hatred against settlers is inciting violence.  Calling on the economic strangulation of Jews who legally purchased homes and businesses is akin to hate speech.  As such, new laws are being passed which specifically outlaw supporting BDS.

Hamas: Hamas is a rabidly anti-Semitic organization that calls for the complete destruction of Israel. It has fired well over 10,000 rockets into Israel, killed thousands of people in hundreds of attacks. Since completely taking over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has engaged in three wars against Israel.

Supporting Hamas in any way is supporting terror.  It should be banned completely in public society and in the pro-Israel tent.

Iranian nuclear deal: The Iranian nuclear agreement took various turns over the past several years. As Iran openly calls for the destruction of Israel, any group supporting Iran or helping Iran obtain weaponry would be supporting violence against Israel.

While the Iranian deal may arguably slow down Iran’s pathway to nuclear weapons, it certainly gives Iran tremendous financing and weaponry.  As such, 78% of Israelis oppose the Iran deal in its current format.

J Street Views

J Street has taken provocative stances on these three issues.

  • On BDS, the group technically states that it opposes the BDS movement, while it supports efforts that do call for BDS, particularly of communities east of the Green Line.
  • On Hamas, the group’s own website states that “Hamas is a political movement with an important and significant base of support within Palestinian society… and we support efforts by third parties to achieve reconciliation [between Fatah and Hamas which Israel opposes] and a unity government.”  One could similarly say that the Nazi party was a political party.
  • On Iran, the group launched a major campaign to support the deal, in direct opposition to pro-Israel groups such as AIPAC and the government of Israel itself. J Street was even against Iranian sanctions in 2009.

20150724_072448
 Full page J Street Advertisement supporting Iran Deal
New York Times July 25, 2015

On these issues which directly harm Israelis and the state of Israel, J Street has sided against the stated desires of the government of Israel.  Each time, they have taken stances which closely align with Israel’s enemies which seek to harm the country and its citizens.

Further, and most alarmingly, J Street has urged the Obama administration to vote against Israel at the United Nations Security Council, which is the sole voice of support in many instances. That action was so reprehensible, that even devout liberal politician Gary Ackerman (D-NY) said I’ve come to the conclusion that J-Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated….America really does need a smart, credible, politically active organization that is as aggressively pro-peace as it is pro-Israel. Unfortunately, J-Street ain’t it.

Erekat
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat at J Street Conference
March 2015 (photo: J Street)

A Related View from Tisha b’Av

The Talmud relates a story about the reason the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed:

In Gittin 56ab the Talmud tells the story of zealots who wanted to fight the Romans as they got ready to attack Jerusalem. These zealots burned decades worth of food that had been stored in Jerusalem in order to force the residents of the city to confront the Romans.

These zealots undoubtedly considered themselves pro-Jewish. They thought that by destroying all safeguards and alternative options, they could force the rest of the Jewish people to adopt their position in the battle against Rome.

J Street, like the zealots 2000 years ago, view themselves as pro-Israel. While some parts of the Arab and Muslim world (f/k/a Romans) may seek to attack and destroy Israel, J Street views their approach to the conflict as the only logical course of action.  As such, they have engaged in co-opting the US government to take positions against those sought by the government of Israel.  Like the zealots who burned all of Jerusalem’s food supplies (now known as US support), they feel that Israel stripped of all of the territories won in 1967, without a Gaza blockade, and with a nuclear pact in place with Iran will secure Israel’s future. J Street is pursuing global and US pressure to make that happen, rather than seeking to convince the Israeli government.

JStreet-Map
Bookmark designed for J Street Conference
(Photo: Lisa Goldman)

 In the minds of many, the J Street positions have made them the a modern-looking version of Neturei Karta, the anti-Zionist Chasidic sect, similar to the clean-shaven Jewish outreach people who market a more modern version of Chabad outreach.


Debating the merits of different approaches for how Israel deals with hostile neighbors is within constructive debate.  Consistently arguing in favor of Israel’s enemies that seek to destroy the country and kill its people is akin to inciting violence.

Review the statements and positions of J Street here and consider whether such voices deserve to be heard in your community.


Related First One Through articles:

New York Times Confusion on Free Speech

Selective Speech

A Disservice to Jewish Community

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The Joys of Iranian Pistachios and Caviar

This is not a Satire (?)

The full text of the Iranian nuclear deal completed in Vienna on July 14, 2015 was a weighty 159 pages. The many members of the negotiating teams clearly used their time very productively as they worked through months of discussions and debates, even working past several deadlines on complicated scientific matters of nuclear fission.

The great citizens of the United States can thank the members of Secretary of State John Kerry’s team who negotiated endlessly on behalf of every American. His negotiating skills were clearly evident as he secured important points to benefit the country in these tense talks. In particular, Americans may not have caught a key clause buried inside the deal points. I offer one here (see page 67 of the agreement):

“Section 5.1.3 License the importation into the United States of Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs, including pistachios and caviar.”

kerry green tieThis was an important concession that Kerry’s team was able to secure.  Americans have grown tired of California pistachios and miss their Beluga Caviar from the Caspian Sea.  While the Iranian team was busy focused on centrifuges, missiles and fissile material, Kerry scored a big hit for US bellies.

Over the coming weeks, Obama will surely point out this key item in emphasizing that this is a “good deal” for the United States. The American people have suffered long enough from the sanction regime that has denied them these delectable treats from Iran.

pistachios

To paraphrase Robin Leach in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous to the Obama Administration trying to sell this “good deal” to Congress:  “Wishing you pistachio wishes and caviar dreams.”