Obama’s Nuke Deal Gets Loads of Skepticism + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Fri 05/15/2015 by



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Obama’s Nuke Deal Gets Loads of Skepticism

Once Barack Obama signs his deal with Iran, that’s it. Re-imposing sanctions or striking down the nuclear deal will become very hard — even if Iran does weaponize its nuclear program. On Thursday, Congress passed its resolution watering down its role in treaty negotiation by requiring a 30-day review of Obama’s treaty before voting on it. Essentially, Obama’s deal can be struck down only by veto-proof majorities in Congress. Meanwhile, Russia announced it will not allow an automatic snapback of sanctions if Iran is found stuffing fissile material into missiles, and it can use its position as one of the veto votes on the UN Security Council to prevent such a diplomatic move. By doing so, Russia is currying favor with Iran.

Finally, Obama hosted leaders of countries in the Persian Gulf at Camp David Thursday, trying to assure them that this nuclear deal is in their best interest. But after reading the joint statement released after the meeting, Charles Krauthammer said, “That was a prepared statement for a summit that is meant to assure the Gulf Arabs that we’re not selling them out. That was a sellout announcement. … They should be terrified.” Another win for Obama.

The DOJ Is on a Mission to Stop Racist Pollution

Under the current administration, we’ve come to expect an ideologically activist Department of Justice that seeks out instances of pollution and racism and acts accordingly. But when the DOJ looks for instances where pollution itself is racist, the department veers into injustice. National Review’s Roger Clegg pointed out a DOJ publication that touted this approach in its spring edition. According to a memorandum issued by Bill Clinton during his administration: “In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, each Federal agency shall ensure that all programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance that affect human health or the environment do not directly, or through contractual or other arrangements, use criteria, methods, or practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin.” That means if an organization receiving federal funds — like a city government — needs to somehow affect the environment, it needs to justify that it’s not racist to boot. Justice thus assumes that creating a landfill or creating a facility that deals with harmful chemicals in a certain location may have racist intent when in fact the intent may be purely economic. Furthermore, labeling neighborhoods “black” or “white” fails to take into account their evolution, as when they undergo white flight or gentrification. But never mind all this when social justice – rather than colorblind justice – is the DOJ’s ultimate goal. More…

No, Antarctica Is Not Experiencing Rapid Ice Melt

Antarctic sea ice is so expansive that researchers are exploring ways to avoid more embarrassing mishaps. Writing in The Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch says, “50 scientists have gathered in Tasmania to discuss more accurate ways to predict Antarctic sea ice levels so researchers don’t get stuck in ice pack when traveling southward.” So it was richly ironic when CBS News reported this week that “Antarctica is melting from above and below.” The article, which documents a new alarming study on how global warming is supposedly eating away at the giant ice cap, begins with an outrageous claim — “It’s no secret that ice shelves in Antarctica are thinning” — and warns that “warming air temperatures and warmer ocean currents together could explain why the Antarctic Peninsula’s floating ice shelves are losing volume and becoming more vulnerable to collapse.” The truth? As of Wednesday, sea ice extent was breaking the previous record high set just last year, according to data from the National Snow & Ice Data Center, and the trend for decades now has been a steady increase in areal ice coverage. In fairness, the exception is the western portion of the continent, where ice is lagging behind the 1981-2010 average. But averages are based on the whole, not cherry-picked portions of the data. This is nothing more than selective outrage.


The Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda Approach to Foreign Policy

By Michael Swartz

As a leading GOP presidential candidate and brother of the former president, Jeb Bush had to know he was going to be asked about Iraq sometime during the campaign. That “sometime” came this week as Megyn Kelly of Fox News asked him whether, “knowing what we know now,” he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq. Jeb used the answer to both speculate that Hillary Clinton would have done (in fact, did) the same thing and declare that, “if they’re trying to find places where there’s big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those.”

The blowback was predictable, and he quickly walked back his answer, insisting he’d misheard the question. He did seem to answer the “knowing what we knew then” version. Now he says flatly, “I would not have gone into Iraq.”

Needless to say, there’s been a lot of debate about the fitness of the younger Bush’s initial answer. Conservatives ponder whether he needed a better one, made “a rookie mistake,” or was exactly right. There are also those who thought the question itself was “completely stupid.”

Stupid or not, the question was bound to come up as a result of the ongoing mess we’re dealing with in the Middle East, and we now have over a decade of hindsight at our disposal. There weren’t the quantities of weapons of mass destruction everyone — even those who quickly pretended otherwise — originally believed were in Iraq. Intelligence estimates at the time were all George W. Bush had to go on, not “what we know now.” There was also Saddam Hussein’s established record of atrocities, belligerence and threats to U.S. interests. So, we eliminated a bloody dictator, the byproduct of which convinced Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi that he should abandon his own efforts at a WMD program.

Obviously, the “knowing what we know now” question is valid only as a hypothetical, since we cannot turn back the hands of time. But if we’re playing the hindsight game, we should also consider what the consequences of inaction might have been. Might Saddam Hussein now be a nuclear-powered menace? And might the region have already experienced its first nuclear calamity? We can only deal with the here and now, and the window of opportunity for taking action isn’t generally unlimited.

Indeed, as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger observed, “The analyst can allot whatever time is necessary to come to a clear conclusion; the overwhelming challenge to the statesman is the pressure of time. The analyst runs no risk. If his conclusions prove wrong, he can write another treatise. The statesman is permitted only one guess; his mistakes are irretrievable. The analyst has available to him all the facts; he will be judged on his intellectual power. The statesman must act on assessments that cannot be proved at the time that he is making them; he will be judged by history on the basis of how wisely he managed the inevitable change and, above all, by how well he preserves the peace.”

Surely the U.S. made irretrievable mistakes during the Bush years — primarily not fighting hard enough to win decisively quickly. The surge was all well and good, but it came years too late. And it likely will be many more years before any solution benefiting U.S. interests will take hold in the cradle of civilization. We didn’t call this the “Long War” for naught.

One thing that’s painfully evident from the last six years, however, is that Barack Obama is continuing to make irretrievable mistakes in Iraq. He squandered American blood and treasure with his foolish pullout, and then tried to revise the story by blaming George W. Bush. History will be the judge of his results, and so far the progress has been lacking to the point where we are nearly back at square one — albeit with different tyrants in charge. Would ISIL have arisen from al-Qaida’s ashes if Obama hadn’t abandoned Iraq?

That brings us to another “what if” question that begs to be asked of the American people: If we knew in 2008 what we know now, would we have elected such a woefully inept and inexperienced commander in chief?



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Charles Krauthammer: “Fast-track authority allows an administration to negotiate the details of a trade agreement and then come to Congress for a non-amendable up-or-down vote. In various forms, that has been granted to every president since Franklin Roosevelt. … Obama wants a deal. But he has utterly failed to bring his party along. It’s not just because for six years he’s treated all of Congress with disdain and prefers insult to argument when confronted with opposition, this time from Democrats like Elizabeth Warren. It’s also because he’s expended practically no political capital on the issue. … This is the Republicans’ chance to demonstrate that they can think large by advancing an important strategic objective — giving substance to Obama’s as yet stillborn ‘pivot to Asia.’ I wouldn’t mind seeing Obama sunk by his own arrogance in intraparty fratricide over trade. But the issue is bigger than Obama. In 20 months, he will be gone. Asia will not. And it will get away from us if Republicans don’t step up and step in where Obama and the Democrats have failed.”


Insight: “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” —Author Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Non Compos Mentis: “If Freddie Gray’s killers walk you will see cops being killed in broad daylight. Many are being killed now. In self defense blacks must kill. If you can find the snake that bit you in the garden, any old snake in blue will do! Kill in self defense the one in blue who’s killing you!” —Dr. Mauricelm-Lei, a Black Panther and Ferguson organizer who describes himself as a “psychotherapist”

The annals of the absurd: “[I]f you look at the red-letter version of the Bible, Jesus was probably to the left of the Democratic Party.” —Howard Dean (Wrong. Jesus was not a socialist.)

Dezinformatsia: “I made charitable donations to the [Clinton] Foundation in support of the work they’re doing on global AIDS prevention and deforestation, causes I care about deeply. I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record. However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation. I apologize.” —ABC’s George Stephanopoulos

Village Idiots: “We have to have jobs for young people. I probably shouldn’t say this in a room like this, but occasionally when I go home I’ll sit down with some of the gang leaders back home in Chicago, and I ask them … ‘What’s the biggest impediment to getting your guys off the streets?’ It’s jobs. So we need to think about what we do at scale to create those kind of opportunities for young people who just have to make some money, want to do it in a positive way, but in too many places they don’t exist.” —Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Late-night humor: “Even the White House is weighing in on the deflate-gate scandal. [This week] they encouraged Tom Brady to ‘be mindful of the way he serves as a role model.’ And then President Obama stuffed out his cigarette and went golfing at noon on a weekday. … They would’ve said more, but there was a drunken Secret Service agent streaking across the Rose Garden.” —Jimmy Fallon

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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