Iran would shut down roughly two-thirds of the 19,000 centrifuges producing uranium that could be used to fuel a bomb and agree not to enrich uranium over 3.67 percent (a much lower level than is required for a bomb) for at least 15 years. The core of the reactor at Arak, which officials feared could produce plutonium, another key ingredient for making a weapon, would be dismantled and replaced, with the spent fuel shipped out of Iran.
Mr. Obama, speaking at the White House, insisted he was not relying on trust to ensure Iran’s compliance but on “the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program.”
There is good reason for skepticism about Iran’s intentions. Although it pledged not to acquire nuclear weapons when it ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970, it pursued a secret uranium enrichment program for two decades. By November 2013, when serious negotiations with the major powers began, Iran was enriching uranium at a level close to bomb-grade.
However, Iran has honored an interim agreement with the major powers, in place since January 2014, by curbing enrichment and other major activities.
By opening a dialogue between Iran and America, the negotiations have begun to ease more than 30 years of enmity. Over the long run, an agreement could make the Middle East safer and offer a path for Iran, the leading Shiite country, to rejoin the international community.
Dakinikat had a problem with her car to deal with this morning, and I have to go out pretty soon myself, so I’m just going to put up some links that might get a discussion going. Maybe Dak will be able to post something more substantive later on–I’m not sure.
The Clinton email story is getting me so confused, the I’m about to throw up my hands and just let it play out. The right ringers seem to be in control and all the mainstream media seems uninterested in actually finding the truth and printing it. The latest headlines:
Jonathan Allen at Reuters: Exclusive: Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest.
For months, the U.S. State Department has stood behind its former boss Hillary Clinton as she has repeatedly said she did not send or receive classified information on her unsecured, private email account, a practice the government forbids.
While the department is now stamping a few dozen of the publicly released emails as “Classified,” it stresses this is not evidence of rule-breaking. Those stamps are new, it says, and do not mean the information was classified when Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election, first sent or received it.
But the details included in those “Classified” stamps — which include a string of dates, letters and numbers describing the nature of the classification — appear to undermine this account, a Reuters examination of the emails and the relevant regulations has found.
The new stamps indicate that some of Clinton’s emails from her time as the nation’s most senior diplomat are filled with a type of information the U.S. government and the department’s own regulations automatically deems classified from the get-go — regardless of whether it is already marked that way or not.
In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department’s own “Classified” stamps now identify as so-called ‘foreign government information.’ The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts.
This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be “presumed” classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters.
“It’s born classified,” said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Leonard was director of ISOO, part of the White House’s National Archives and Records Administration, from 2002 until 2008, and worked for both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
I couldn’t find any specifics in this story about what kinds of material might actually appear in these emails. We are just supposed to trust Reuters’ opinion, I guess.
Then there’s this from Media Matters: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Corrects Rep. Issa’s Claim That 300 Clinton Emails Contain Classified Information.
REP. DARRELL ISSA: The one thing that we now know is that, as they said, about 300 separate emails, maybe more, contain classified information.
ISSA: It’s not an accident to have 300 emails become retroactively, if you will, determined to be classified.
WOLF BLITZER: Well my understanding is those 300 emails they are looking at now, that they haven’t definitively ruled it was classified information. They’re going over it right now. There seems to be a dispute going on between the State Department and other agencies of the U.S. government what should have been classified, even if it had not been classified at the time. Is that your understanding as well?
ISSA: Well it is, but I’ll give you a little piece of history, during my chairmanship, it was amazing how the State Department classified the mAlost mundane information even when publicly available. In this case it appears as though State would like to say these things were not particularly classified. Well the CIA, and NSA, and other clandestine agencies appear to be appalled that very sensitive information was sent out on her non-government server in an unclassified format.
Are these the same emails Jonathan Allen wrote about? Who knows? I’m not sure if Hillary can end this story no matter what she does. We just have to hope that when the election takes place more than a year from now, it will be forgotten.
One more from Media Matters: NPR Story On Clinton Emails Does Not Disclose Sources’ Right-Wing Ties.
An NPR article on the government inquiry into classified emails cited two former government officials to criticize Hillary Clinton’s handling of her private email server when she was secretary of state. However, the article did not disclose that the former officials have conservative ties, with one of them advising GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
In the August 19 article, NPR extensively quoted Ron Hosko, who was identified only as previously leading “the FBI’s criminal investigative division.” Hosko suggested that emails which were sent to Clinton — and which have since been retroactively classified in an interagency dispute over classification levels — might represent “serious breaches of national security”:
“I think that the FBI will be moving with all deliberate speed to determine whether there were serious breaches of national security here,” said Ron Hosko, who used to lead the FBI’s criminal investigative division.
He said agents will direct their questions not just at Clinton, but also her close associates at the State Department and beyond.
“I would want to know how did this occur to begin with, who knew, who approved,” Hosko said.
NPR did not mention that Hosko is currently the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), a right-wing non-profit that claims to defend police officers fighting criminal charges, but which has come under scrutiny for financial ties to other conservative groups, such as the Federalist Society and the American Spectator. The chairman of LELDF is Alfred Regnery, the former president of conservative publisher Regnery Publishing, whileboard members include Ken Cuccinelli, the former Republican nominee for governor of Virginia; J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican politician and senior fellow at the Family Research Council; and Edwin Meese III, a former Reagan administration official who reportedly helped orchestrate the devastating 2013 government shutdown.
As everyone knows by now, I am interested in crime stories and criminal psychology. As such, I was sadden to learn of the passing of prolific true crime writer Ann Rule in late July. I don’t know how I missed the story until now.
From the LA Times: Ann Rule dies at 83; true-crime writer penned account of Ted Bundy.
Rule, who gained national prominence for her book on Bundy, “The Stranger Beside Me,” died Sunday at Highline Medical Center in Burien, Wash., according to Scott Thompson, a spokesman for CHI Franciscan Health. Rule suffered from congestive heart failure and other health problems, said her daughter, Leslie Rule.
A former police officer, Rule was virtually unknown in the publishing world in 1974, when she began researching a series of murders in the Seattle area. She later learned they had been committed by one of her close friends, Bundy. Rule published “The Stranger Beside Me” in 1980.
The book made her career, ultimately selling more than 2 million copies. Rule eventually penned dozens of true-crime works.
Rule actually began her writing career by publishing short crime stories in detective magazines in order ot support her family. She met Ted Bundy when they both worked the late night shift at a suicide hotline in Seattle. She began investigating the murders taking place in the area and even discussed her research with Bundy. Only later did she begin to suspect that he was actually the killer.
Rule was initially bothered by the idea of “making a living off of other people’s tragedies,” she once told The Times.
“I thought: ‘Oh my God, I’m making a living from somebody else’s tragedy. Can I do this?’“ Rule told The Times in 1998.
The question haunted her so much that she turned to a psychiatrist, who told her that many people — including police officers, morticians and lawyers — face the same ethical dilemma. The doctor emphasized to her that what mattered was her feelings toward the victims.
“I really care about the people I’m writing about,” said Rule, whose accounts focused as much on the anguish of the victims and their families as on the depravity of the killers. “I finally came to the knowledge I’m doing what I probably was meant to do in life.”
More stories, links only:
The Atlantic: A Trump-Inspired Hate Crime in Boston.
The Hill: Budowsky: Hillary vs. media malpractice.
Amanda Marcotte: Why Can’t All Ashley Madison Hacking Victims Be Josh Duggar?
What else is happening?
This is going to be a rather short post. Last Saturday, BostonBoomer wrote about the New York Times and its seemingly endless need to write completely unhinged things about Hillary Clinton. We’ve also written about MoDo before and her strange fixation on the former Secretary of State and presidential candidate. Peter Daou and Tom Watson have completely dissected MoDo’s screeds in a must-read blog post. I want to make sure y’all read it. Daou traces the memes and name calling back to Karl Rove and has a rather complete list of misogynist adjectives frequently assigned to Hillary.
• OVER AMBITIOUS
• WILL DO ANYTHING TO WIN
• OLD/OUT OF TOUCH
Just about any woman with grit, ambition, and a talent for assertiveness has worn those labels at one time or another. Why on earth is Maureen Dowd and the NYT allowing Karl Rove to control their narratives on the former Secretary of State? I’m always first in line to attribute the nonsense to the Dudebro culture where all white men with coveted college educations believe that only they can be the masters of the universe. See what you think.
In The Great American Brainwash: Half a Billion Dollars to Turn the Public against Hillary, Peter explains how these memes work and where they originate:
From a revealing report on Karl Rove’s Crossroads:
“An expensive and sophisticated effort is underway to test and refine the most potent lines of attack against Mrs. Clinton, and, ultimately, to persuade Americans that she does not deserve their votes. Republican groups are eager to begin building a powerful case against the woman they believe will be the Democratic nominee, and to infuse the public consciousness with those messages. The effort to vilify Mrs. Clinton could ultimately cost several hundred million dollars, given the variety and volume of political organizations involved.”
Crossroads’ goal is to indoctrinate the public with anti-Hillary narratives, to insert carefully tested negative memes into the public debate.
Voters need to understand that what they think they know about Hillary is often the result of sophisticated propaganda techniques, where tightly-crafted talking points are focus-grouped and deployed by shadowy GOP groups then magnified by the mainstream media and pundits.
This is the subtext to Maureen Dowd’s new, vicious attack against Hillary. Dowd’s words are chosen meticulously: they fit perfectly into the narratives and frames that have been developed for over two decades to smear Hillary. Each of these terms is taken from Dowd’s new op-ed – many are verbatim matches with our compendium of anti-Hillary memes:
“Acting all innocent, disingenuous, egregious transgressions, militant fans, craving a championship, surreptitious, wanting to win at all costs, calculating, history of subterfuge, crafty, sketchy value system, seamy, Faustian bargain, sheen of inevitability, robotic, queenly attitude, suspicious mind-set, unsavory.”
Delivering such excessive negativity in one piece is not opinion writing. It is not journalism. It is a personal vendetta aided and abetted by the New York Times, with the intention of spreading potent sexist frames crafted by conservative opposition researchers.
Dowd’s history of Hillary-bashing is notable:
Dowd has written more than 200 columns on Hillary, most of them negative. A detailed analysis by Oliver Willis and Hannah Groch-Begley published last summer found that “Dowd has repeatedly accused Clinton of being an enemy to or betraying feminism (35 columns, 18 percent of those studied), power-hungry (51 columns, 26 percent), unlikable (9 columns, 5 percent), or phony (34 columns, 17 percent). She’s also attacked the Clintons as a couple in 43 columns (22 percent), many of which included Dowd’s ham-handed attempts at psychoanalysis.”
The abuse continues. Just this past April, Dowd wrote that Hillary is a “granny” who “can’t figure out how to campaign as a woman” after she “scrubbed out the femininity, vulnerability, and heart” required to do so during her 2008 presidential run. Claiming Hillary is now trying to shift her image after she “saw the foolishness of acting like a masculine woman,” Dowd asserted that the candidate “always overcorrects,” and is now “basking in estrogen.” Dowd concluded, saying hopefully Hillary will “teach her Republican rivals…that bitch is still the new black” instead.
At #HillaryMen, we’ve dubbed this endless invective directed at Hillary in the media the “wall of words” and we’ve argued that it is the single biggest obstacle on her path to becoming America’s first woman president. Although Dowd is the master of anti-Hillary memes, she is hardly alone.
With that in mind, I have a lot of respect for the role Senator Bernie Sanders has played in the U.S. Senate even though he’s never been very influential or effective in getting anything passed. He at least is one notable voice from a point of view we rarely get to hear in this country. I also admire that–unlike Donald Trump or Ralph Nader–Sanders has said he would never run as an independent to try to unrail any other Democratic nominee. However, the same group of dudebros from 2008 have been popping up trolling women supporters of Hillary. There still seems to be an incredible discomfort among white male elites with the idea of a woman in charge.
On my side of the aisle, it’s all about Bernie. Well, Bernie vs. Hillary. And that’s where the rub is getting… rubbier.
I like Bernie; I’ve always liked Bernie. I’ve shared his memes and quotes over the years, I’ve appreciated his unvarnished views on issues of the economy and fiscal equity, and I believe he’s a passionate, powerful idealist who has a lot to say that bears hearing. I’m thrilled he’s running; I think he’s energized many on the left who’ve felt Hillary wasn’t left enough but didn’t have another candidate to support. He makes the Democratic ticket a true race, one that’s vibrant and competitive, and that’s a good thing.
The rub is in the way too many of his supporters are comporting themselves in their effort to promote the cause. I don’t mind the enthusiastic postings about big crowds, electrifying speeches, or hope-inducing polls. The ideas he’s touting, the kind of government he’s visualizing, the core principals of his platform are all admirable, and it’s easy to see why people are excited. That’s how it should go in campaigns, certainly at this point in the process. I don’t even mind the countless invitations I’ve received to join this “Bernie group” on Facebook, or come to that Bernie event in Hollywood. Invite away; I’m a big girl and I have no problem being gracious in my responses.
But lately I’m seeing too many threads on the topic turn into sadly-typical spitting contests, with those supporting Bernie flinging epithets at Hillary supporters, breathlessly listing all her purported transgressions and foibles, denigrating her accomplishments, insulting her personal decisions, and acting as though anyone who supports her is an idiot who doesn’t grasp the folly of their ways. I’ve had Bernie supporters get snarly with me, bait me to answer questions about why I might support Hillary, push me to defend her record, explain her business decisions, even parse her choice to stay with her husband. As a woman I find it appalling, but frankly, many of those most zealous on this topic are women… Hillary has always had the capacity to trip the wire with some on that side of the gender aisle!
My moment came when I posted this and said wtf was he thinking on Facebook. In 1972, I was a kid in high school working as a volunteer in the origination of what’s now one of the most successful rape crisis lines and centers in the country. I was like all of 16 and I can tell you that rape is a woman’s nightmare and one likely to happen. It’s not a damned fantasy. Well, this was evidently a satire piece but hell, the immodest proposal of eating Irish Children was good satire because it was such an over the top unlikely scenario. Being raped or held down against your will by men is something most of us will experience and by that time I’d been held down by upperclassmen and yelled at for not being humble like Jesus. I just considered myself fortunate to not get the rape part of it but I have many many friends that have. So, my question is what was he thinking then and what has he said now. (RAPE TRIGGER FOR THAT LINK)
So, one of the responses I got was from a friend of a friend “Looks like the Hillary supporters are dredging for straws to grasp.”. Uh, we’ve got no straws to grasp. Being a self-proclaimed socialist in today’s USA is about all it takes to sink a candidate outside of a few states. I’m fine with him being in the race. It’ll make for interesting debates.
I also “like” being mansplained about a piece being a critique of entrenched gender roles. My response was as follows.
No one thinks it’s his own sexual preferences nor was the critique of gender roles lost on me. It’s the idea of using a rape fantasy for a woman that’s appalling period. But the dudebros back then were as misogynist as they are today. I just want to read something explaining what on earth he was thinking back then. When you write satire you assign outrageous scenarios but you don’t make ever woman’s nightmare–and a likely one at that–a fantasy. I don’t think this will impact any election. It’s just appalling no matter when it was written and no matter by who
You can read more on the Bernie Swoon and the way the press is encouraging him to Hillary bash by reading this example at The Atlantic. They should debate and establish contrasts but there’s no need for anyone to be combative.
I just absolutely hate to think that we’re going to have to go through another one of these political seasons where we get dick-thwapped just because a woman wants to be president. I especially don’t want to hear a rehash of all that Rove crap coming from the New York Times. We’re going to be treated to the Republican Primary Debates shortly. I hope they just stuck to trashing each other. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long, stressful, misogynistic political season.
The original MoDO screed is here at today’s NYT where she compare’s Clinton to Tom Brady and says they have an attitude of “win at all costs” with a history of “subterfuge.” She even quotes a Wall Street Journal article. Wow, the NYT really needs to reassess their relationship with her if that’s the stuff she reads and cites.
Anyway, you can consider this an open thread. I slept late today and took a huge long nap this afternoon. I’m exhausted.
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
At age 87, Susie Jackson had lived through the era of Jim Crow laws, the civil rights struggle and “through all of the mess racism has caused in this country,” an Ogden minister observed during a prayer service Friday to honor the nine victims of a mass slaying in Charleston, South Carolina.
“She was felled by hatred, racism and terrorism” in her own church, said the Rev. Gage Church of Ogden’s Congregational United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Church was among clergy from several Ogden area churches who joined in a prayer service at Embry Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the aftermath of the mass shooting.
Prayers were offered in honor of the six women and three men who were gunned down while attending a weekly Bible study and prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night.
Clergy also prayed for the victims’ families and for peace and justice in a broken world.
“We are angry and anguished, and then we are comforted because we know that in that room, she was not alone,” the Rev. Church prayed.
“The other victims were not alone. You were there. You were holding them in your loving arms.”
Prayers were offered on behalf of each of the victims, who include Jackson, the Rev. and South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; and the Revs. DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; and Daniel Simmons Sr., 74.
Let that sink in for a moment. This woman. What she has seen…and lived through. What hatred she experienced in her life, and the culmination of that hate on Wednesday.
I don’t have the resourcefulness of religion or even the amount of faith required to put this act of hateful violence into perspective. That anyone is capable of “being comforted” at all…about anything, it is beyond my reasoning. I am just constantly turning the thoughts in my mind, that this woman’s entire life…was one entire struggle against something many of us do not an will not experience first hand.
Living as a black woman in the South. And the one place where she should feel safe and at peace, with connections that go back to more than the “anglo-traditional” religious community, the Black Church especially symbolic in many, many ways…here Susie Jackson was murdered.
One of nine…
One of hundreds…
I only have links for you today. We leave this afternoon for Memphis, taking a detour to Shiloh Battlefield. Will post a quick thread on Wednesday…with a longer one on Sunday….Happy Father’s Day to the Daddies out there!
Before I get to more links on Charleston, an update on a shooting here in Georgia from back in March of this year…cop kills unarmed black man:
A quick reminder of what went down:
Police said officers feared for their life when the suspect jumped in a car, tried to get away, and drove at them in the white Maserati.
They have not yet identified the man who died.
The parents of Nicholas Thomas, 23, said their son was the man killed.
Thomas’ parents were both at the scene Tuesday afternoon and told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant that police had shot and killed their son.
“He was a lovable guy,” mother Felicia Thomas said. “He was just a lovable guy. He would do anything for everybody. He was just loved cars. He loved his family. He just had a baby. His baby is not even 5 months old.”
Nicolas Thomas’ father, Huey Thomas, told Diamant at the scene, “I guess now, I just want to understand what happened, because I hear so often and here it is now. I’m a professional, my wife is a professional and we have a kid that’s dead.”
It happened across the driveway from a busy Starbucks where witnesses inside took cover as it all unfolded.
“They were standing behind the car, opening fire. He wasn’t driving towards them,” Goodyear customer Brittany Eustache said.
Eustache told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman what happened. She said she watched from inside the store, just feet away.
“The car was not moving when they began to shoot at him. The car had been stopped. He hit a curb. He couldn’t go any further,” she said.
“So at no point was he making any aggressive moves?” Stockman asked her.
“None, none at all. They immediately opened fire on them,” Eustache said.
No police officers were injured. A spokesperson for the Smyrna Police Department said the shooting has already taken an emotional toll on the officers involved.
Thomas’ parents said he was working at the store to pay off fines associated with what they called a traffic warrant.
Police have yet to confirm that. Investigators said they are still trying to figure out how many of the six officers who were at the scene actually opened fire.
A man who was killed by a police officer’s bullet was shot in the back, a medical examiner’s report says, adding a new twist to a case in which police say the man was driving a car toward officers when the incident happened.
An autopsy on the body of 23-year-old Nicholas Thomas was conducted by the Cobb County medical examiner’s office March 25, the day after Thomas was killed while at the wheel of a customer’s Maserati outside the Goodyear tire store where he worked, according to the report that was certified by the medical examiner on Tuesday.
Police have said Smyrna police Sgt. Kenneth Owens shot Thomas because the officer feared for his life. Police have said Thomas was driving toward officers as they tried to serve him with a warrant for a parole violation, though his family says other witnesses dispute that.
The medical examiner’s report says Thomas died from a gunshot wound after a bullet entered his upper back on the right side. The bullet hit his lungs and aorta before coming to rest in his upper chest on the left side.
The autopsy did not determine how far the officer was from Thomas when the shot was fired, but the report says no gunpowder or soot was found on Thomas’ back or shirt.
“Nicholas Thomas died as a result of a gunshot wound of the torso sustained during an altercation with police,” the report says. “The manner of death is classified as homicide. The designation of the manner of death as homicide does not necessarily indicate improper actions on the part of police.”
Mawuli Davis, a lawyer for Thomas’ family said the fact that Thomas was shot in the back “reinforces the position we have taken that he was not a threat to the officers.” It also seems to contradict the police assertion that Thomas was driving toward officers, Davis said.
Back to Charleston:
This link is from a white distant relative of Pinckney: ‘Only white people can save themselves from racism and white supremacism’ – Americas – World – The Independent
Pictures for today’s post:
This is an open thread. My internet is going out. Hope to get the images up soon….
I’m moving slow today. I was in a recording studio on the North Shore yesterday and it just wore me out. So, I’m catching up on life right now. A meteor could’ve hit the planet yesterday and I probably wouldn’t have noticed at all.
So, the House just tanked Obama’s demands for enhanced negotiating ability on the Pacific region trading deal. The President actually showed up on the Hill to lobby for the bill. (Wonk Trigger Alert!)
House Democrats rebuffed a dramatic personal appeal from President Obama on Friday, torpedoing his ambitious push to expand his trade negotiating power — and, quite likely, his chance to secure a legacy-defining trade accord spanning the Pacific Ocean.
In a remarkable rejection of a president they have resolutely backed, House Democrats voted to kill assistance to workers displaced by global trade, a program their party created and has stood by for four decades. By doing so, they brought down legislation granting the president trade promotion authority — the power to negotiate trade deals that cannot be amended or filibustered by Congress — before it could even come to a final vote.
“We want a better deal for America’s workers,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader who has guided the president’s agenda for two terms and was personally lobbied by Mr. Obama until the last minute.
Republican leaders tried to muster support from their own party for trade adjustment assistance, a program they have long derided as an ineffective waste of money and sop to organized labor. But not enough Republicans were willing to save the program.
Obama seems to be staking the end game of his Presidential legacy on this deal which begs the question “Why Does Obama Want This Trade Deal So Badly?”. William Finnegan writes this bit for The New Yorker.
The Senate passed fast-track last month, sixty-two to thirty-seven, with only fourteen Democrats voting yes. Boehner and Ryan expect to be able to produce two hundred Republican votes. That means eighteen Democratic votes are needed. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, is reported to be working closely with Boehner and Ryan to come up with the number they need—although she still hasn’t said which way she’ll vote herself. That’s how strange the legislative politics of the T.P.P. have become. Nearly every constituency in the Democratic Party opposes it; and the more they learn about it, the more they oppose it. And yet their leader, Obama, wants it badly.
But why? Maybe it’s a better agreement—better for the American middle class, for American workers—than it seems in the leaked drafts, where it appears bent to the will of multinational corporations. John Kerry, the Secretary of State, and Ashton Carter, the Secretary of Defense, co-authored a column on Mondayin USA Today arguing, in evangelical tones, that the T.P.P. will usher in a glorious new era of American-led prosperity, a “global race to the top” for all parties. Meanwhile, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. sees only a race to the bottom. Organized labor, by all accounts, plans to punish any elected Democrat who supports the T.P.P., or even supports fast-track for Obama, in the next campaign. It’s difficult, again, to evaluate the agreement when we can’t see it. And it will be difficult for Congress to do its job if its members can’t study each part of the many-tentacled T.P.P. on its merits, but must simply vote yes or no on the whole shebang. What’s the rush? Is it simply Obama’s wish to make his mark on history and to complete his pivot toward Asia before his time is up? Politicians are often accused of supporting pro-corporate policies to please wealthy backers, looking toward the next campaign. That can’t be Obama’s motive now.
I’m going to use my own analysis here and will begin by letting you know that my doctoral dissertation and my research area is the existing trade and development deals in the region of ASEAN+3. ASEAN is a group of small countries that are quite diverse that first banded together under the CIA to oppose the spread of communism in the region. Now, the group actually has some of those very communist countries it feared in its numbers.
It includes some of the most politically and economically diverse countries in the world. Seriously. It’s members include the Sultanate of Brunei, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Indonesia. Indonesia is an Islamic Democracy. Brunei is a monarchy. Myanmar is for all intents and purposes run by a military junta. You’ll notice there are also several single party communist states. Brunei has oil. Singapore is an offshore banking haven and international financial center. Many of the other countries are mostly agricultural and traditional economies with production facilities of other countries basically paying labor badly while ignoring any environmental impact of the manufacturing process. But the deal is that this small group of countries along with their plus three neighbors (Japan, South Korea, and China) are the economic dynamos of the global economy for the next century.
It’s the region and area where the most potential for economic growth and development will occur. So, the US needs to be there for many reasons that include economic and political. Most of these countries are emergent democracies and most of these countries are liberalizing their markets which means less state ownership of things. New Zealand and Australia are huge players in the region already. For many reasons, we need to get into their trade deals to remain relevant in THE KEY region of the next century.
The biggest deal with this region is that it doesn’t have the political instability and outright strife that’s impacting Southern Africa and MENA. It’s also not stagnant like Europe. It has political issues but they haven’t blown up into perpetual terrorism and even the near dictatorships are reforming peacefully. Contrast this to what’s going on in the Middle East, then look South to Africa. Those regions appear to be clusterfucks into eternity.
So, it’s a safer place for Western Foreign Direct Investment and it’s economies are developing at phenomenal rates. There are plans to turn the region into a European style Union in the works with a single currency and banking system. All of this decreases the tricky parts of international trade in a region. The region has already successfully negotiated huge trade and currency deals with its neighbors. They all are serious about development. The US cannot maintain its leader of the world nation status and not be a major player in this region. It clearly hands the role over to the PR of China if we can’t get in there. And believe it or not, it makes Australia more of a player than Europe in the near future. The TPP also includes Latin America Countries that border the pacific so it’s a diverse group of nations.
The deal is, however, at what cost do we join in? Why do we seem to be negotiating so much independent power for multinational corporations (MNCs)?
While every other president from Ford onward has been granted similar powers, today’s vote has turned out to be anything but routine. Critics who oppose the TPP and other pending agreements are working to stop the bill—and thwart the anticipated trade deals.
The fast-track process was set out in 1974’s Trade Act, which empowered Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority bills—like the one slated to be voted on today—that allow presidents to negotiate and sign trade deals with less involvement from the legislative branch. Congress still gets to vote yes or no on any final agreement, but amendments are generally prohibited. In exchange, TPA bills let legislators lay out trade priorities and negotiating objectives for the president, and set requirements on how and how often the administration must check in while negotiations are underway.
This TPA, if passed, will guide presidential trade negotiations through 2021. It builds upon a bill that expired in 2007, and is likely more complex than any other in history, expanding congressional oversight and consultation while including new provisions on intellectual property, cross-border data protection, and the environment and human rights. It also increases transparency, requiring presidential administrations to make agreements public 60 days before signing them.
So, the bill does include increased transparency despite many charges that it does not. It’s just not now and and it’s a fairly small window for reaction.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a meandering but dramatic floor speech on Friday announced her vote against a measure providing assistance to workers displaced by trade.
“If TAA slows down the fast-track, I’m prepared to vote against TAA,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi announced her opposition to the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program just before it went down in the House, with 302 lawmakers voting against it.
The failure of TAA could sink a broader trade package that includes President Obama’s request for fast-track trade authority.
Pelosi’s move is a rare split with Obama, who visited Capitol Hill on Friday morning and pleaded with Democrats to back the measure.
The California Democrat had been under pressure from liberal groups to oppose the trade package. While many had expected Pelosi to vote against fast-track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), her opposition to TAA took many by surprise.
Pelosi argued that opposing TAA now would give Democrats leverage for a trade package they view as more favorable.
“We want a better deal for American workers,” Pelosi said.
A group of liberal House Democrats opposed to the trade package, including Reps. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) and Brad Sherman (Calif.), applauded when Pelosi announced her opposition to TAA.
Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO who has been aggressively lobbying Democrats to vote against the fast-track deal, praised Pelosi in a statement just minutes after the TAA bill failed on the House floor.
Obama is rightly focused on the region and the need to get in there before the US is inched out of the deal. The majority of fears are based in the NAFTA deal that caused some economic chaos–especially with traditional labor union jobs–that went south. I’m going to do something that will probably shock and say that it’s likely that these concerns are unfounded.
Sending jobs to Mexico is relatively easy. It’s close, stuff ships over land routes, and even though Mexico still has the feel of a narco-state, many of its regions are developed and there’s not anything in the way of civil unrest. Locating production facilities in Mexico for shipment of final goods and services to the US is a low cost no brainer.
You’re not exactly going to see that happen with Myanmar or Brunei. Also, there’s so much going on already in places like Vietnam that it’s hard to imagine it’s going to get much worse. My data and scooby sense tells me that any business located there will be shipping regionally there so I doubt it will have the same impact that the Mexican deal did. All of these countries have blossoming middle classes that are going to be shopping happy during the next decades. They’ll be able to sell stuff there much more easily than shipping it way over here to a steady state economy. (That means we’re just about as developed as we’re going to get).
Obama had rushed to Capitol Hill on Friday morning to make a last-ditch plea to an emergency meeting of the Democratic caucus. The president urged members to vote with their conscience and “play it straight,” urging them to support the financial package for displaced workers, which Democrats have long supported.
“I don’t think you ever nail anything down around here,” Obama told reporters on his way out of the Capitol. “It’s always moving.”
But anti-trade Democrats pushed hard to block the financial aid plan, knowing that its defeat would also torpedo a companion measure to grant Obama fast-track authority to complete the TPP. That bill was later approved with overwhelming Republican support in what amounted to a symbolic vote because it could not move forward into law without the related worker assistance package.
The package for displaced workers should be put in place. I’m sorry to see it used as a political tool because Republicans hate it to begin with and it’s a necessary component of any trade deal. The only issue here–which is the main issue for organized labor–is that many of the displaced workers would likely come from union jobs and go to jobs that are less likely to be union like health care workers. That’s what happened with NAFTA passage. Clinton insisted on the displaced worker clause, got it, and then many Ladies Garment Workers in the South became Nurses as a result. So, in many ways, this could really change the face of organized labor. However, labor unions need to get better footholds in the services industries since trade and technology has already eroded its member base. This deal just exacerbates an already existing issue, if anything.
I’m frankly more worried about the legal implications of making MNCs out of reach of a country’s laws. I expressed that concerned in an April, 2015 post. Here’s a link to my earlier post on the TPP listing some of the most germane concerns.
But, you can see, Obama’s backers on this deal were definitely Republican in general. Politics continues to make strange bedfellows.
On the GOP side, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) cast a vote in favor of TAA. Speakers cast floor votes on relatively rare occasions.
Only 40 Democrats backed TAA, while 144 voted against it. On the GOP side, 158 Republicans voted “no,” while 86 Republicans voted “yes.”
The vote against TAA is a humiliating defeat for Obama, who had spent weeks lobbying House Democrats to support his trade agenda in the face of overwhelming opposition from liberal groups and organized labor.
Under the procedure established for considering the trade package, TAA had been packaged with fast-track authority, and a vote against either doomed the total package.
In a slight surprise, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced after the TAA vote that the House would still vote on the fast-track measure, as well as a separate customs bill.
In the vote on fast-track, the measure was approved in a 219-211 vote. Twenty-eight Democrats backed fast-track, while 54 Republicans voted “no.”
House Republicans said they would bring the TAA bill up for another vote by Tuesday.House GOP lawmakers maintained that voting on TAA again next week would give the Obama administration time to lobby more Democrats to support it.“The president has some work yet to do with his party to complete this process. This isn’t over yet. And we hope that they can get together and make sure that we finish this so that America is back leading,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a hastily scheduled press conference with members of the GOP leadership after the vote.
But it is difficult to see why the Democrats who objected to it on Friday to prevent movement on fast-track would shift their strategy, particularly after Pelosi’s words.Despite the rebuke from House Democrats, the White House still expressed optimism about passing its trade package.Press secretary Josh Earnest described the defeat as “another procedural snafu,” comparing it to a failed test vote last month in the Senate on the trade package, which eventually passed the bill.
So, my political scooby senses still say that this move was to basically appease organized labor and environmental concerns. I’m not sure they’ll win much but a few good enough concessions in the long run.
So, again, sorry for the late posts but my life is bipolar at the moment and it’s wearing on me. At least I make the bills. Now, if I could only get a schedule that doesn’t exhaust me.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Today is Memorial Day but it’s also known as Decoration Day! It’s the day we celebrate the sacrifice of the soldiers and sailors who gave their lives in service to their country. Wouldn’t it be nice if no one lost their lives to war?
“Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.”
The passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 by Congress made it an official holiday.
I have a few news items to share with you. As an economist, I cannot understand the contribution of John Nash’s game theory to our understanding of high concentrated markets like duopoly or oligopoly. Dr. Nash and his wife were killed in a car accident over the weekend.
US mathematician John Nash, who inspired the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind, has died in a car crash with his wife, police have said.
Nash, 86, and his 82-year-old wife Alicia were killed when their taxi crashed in New Jersey, they said.
The mathematician is renowned for his work in game theory, winning the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994.
His breakthroughs in maths – and his struggles with schizophrenia – were the focus of the 2001 film.
Russell Crowe, who played him, tweeted: “Stunned… My heart goes out to John & Alicia & family. An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”
The film’s director, Ron Howard, also tweeted his tribute to the “brilliant” John Nash and his “remarkable” wife.
Alicia Nash helped care for her husband, and the two later became prominent mental health advocates.
I loved the movie that detailed the mental health struggles of Nash and how he because the hero of his own life.
BB and I talk a lot about homeschooling and how–in the majority of cases–it’s a clear form of child abuse. Children really need to be with their peers to learn socialization skills as well as learn about their idea of self in a world full of different kinds of people. Many parents that home school are in it to assert control over their children and most rely on dubious curricula. No where is this more clear than in the Christianist Cults identified by BB in her post on Saturday. The more we learn about the kinds of things these children have been subjected to, the more outrage we should feel. Children are not their parents property to use and abuse for their personal hang ups. Here’s a disturbing item on how to handle sexual abuse in home schooling environments but out by some even scarier people. It undoubtedly leaves children quite scarred. This is the material from Gothard-the Grabber–covered a bit in BB’s post. The details are just profoundly upsetting to any one that cares about young girls.
According to its website, the ATI is a “home education program” that provides parents with curriculum and support to teach their children with a Biblical worldview.
The ATI operates under the Institute of Basic Life Principles, a conservative Christian nonprofit group.
The group came under fire last year after its founder, Bill Gothard, resigned in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against him.
Gothard was accused of hiring young women, some of them teens, to work for him and then making unwanted advances toward them. The allegations stretched back for decades, the Christian Post reported.
The family has also discussed sending their sons to an ATI program called ALERT, which “focuses on training men in Biblical disciplines and character within the framework of learning skills for crisis response and ministry support.”
After the sexual abuse allegations against Josh Duggar emerged, documents from ATI’s programs about sexual abuse came under heavy scrutiny.
One document in particular, called “Lessons From Moral Failures in a Family,” is particularly striking because it describes circumstances eerily similar to what allegedly happened in the Duggar home.
The document was shared by Recovering Grace, a website dedicated to those impacted by the teachings of Gothard and ATI.
The website says the document was distributed in the late 1990s by ATI at several of its conferences.
The document describes a situation in which social workers visited a home and informed the parents that their oldest son had sexually abused younger members of his family.
According to the document, the boy repented for what he had done and was later asked to answer a list of questions in writing to shed more insight on what happened.
The questions included asking what factors had contributed to his sin, what could have been done to prevent it, and what factors “in the home contributed to immodesty and temptation.”
“The information he gives is so helpful that every parent should read it and diligently apply the lessons that this family learned the hard way,” the document states.
The most striking part of the document comes when the boy seems to blame his actions on the lack of “modesty” in his home, especially when it came to his young sisters.
The boy wrote that modesty was a “factor” in his actions because it “was not at the level is should have been in my family.”
“It was not uncommon for my younger sibling to come out of their baths naked or with a towel,” he wrote.
He also said his younger sisters acted inappropriately when they wore dresses, saying they “did not behave in them as they should.”
He then said his sisters didn’t realize what they were doing to him because they didn’t realize their “own nakedness,” and it wasn’t taught properly to them. He seems to blame this on his mother, who he says didn’t see the human body as a big deal because she is a nurse.
The boy said he spoke with his mother who had “no idea” how “visual” men are sexually compared to women. He said changes have since been made in his home.
“This was not a major reason for the offending, but it allowed my little sister to be open to what I made her do,” he wrote.
He then wrote, “A different lifestyle, with more modesty, might have prevented what happened.”
The document then provides guidelines as to how to prevent this type of situation. These include “[insisting] on modesty at all times” and “[not allowing] boys to change diapers.”
This advice filled with victim shaming and blaming is totally disgusting. The more information that comes out about the Duggar scandal, the more that fans of the show realize how the behavior they’ve seen in the girls is explained by their molestation and shaming. There are all kinds of tweets that mention how their behavior differs from the show that tries to show a happy cheery family that I admit to never having watched. Tbogg lists a series of tweets that express concern for the girls, something that has failed to reach any critical level among the Quivering Cult and Mike Huckabee.
Fans express concern and support for Duggar daughters on Twitter: ‘Run away and be free!
In their statement to the media, parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — who hushed up the scandal — mentioned “God” six times without mentioning their daughters once.
Fans of the show, and of the daughters in particular, expressed more support for the girls on Twitter, with one advising eldest daughter Jana to “Run away and be free!”
Many noted that some of the daughters seemed to have a darker side on the normally bright and peppy show, and wondered if it was a manifestation of being molested when they were little.
Particular attention is being paid to 25-year-old Jana Duggar, known as “Cinderella Duggar,” because she is unmarried, still lives at home, and is treated like a maid, taking care of the younger Duggars.
A state senator from Northwest Arkansas is calling for the Springdale police chief to be fired over the recent release of a 2006 police report detailing accusations that Josh Duggar as a teenager molested five underage girls.
Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, said the girls have been re-victimized now that the report is public. He said Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley acted recklessly in releasing the report and should be held accountable.
“The law to protect minors’ identities is not a suggestion,” Hester, pictured, said Saturday (May 23). “So sad to see the person charged with protecting the community being so reckless and irresponsible. I believe it is unavoidable that the Springdale police chief should be terminated. She has re-victimized these young ladies.”
Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said O’Kelley and Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate determined after researching the matter that the report had to be released under law.
“From every indication I have the chief and city attorney reluctantly did what they had to do to comply with the state FOI (freedom of information) law,” Sprouse said Saturday (May 23).
The Springdale police report was obtained by In Touch Weekly magazine and posted on the magazine’s website this week. The names are redacted in the report. On May 21, Washington County Juvenile Judge Stacey Zimmerman issued a court order that the police report be destroyed and expunged from the public record.
That’s great. Fire a police chief for doing his job! Makes perfect sense in the twisted authoritarian minds of those trapped in Christianist cults.
In other news, hateful expressions of racism are still resplendent all over our country. This is an example from New Orleans. It’s hit the press now but most of us that know the Neville family received notice about 5 minutes after it happened. I’m still pretty shocked frankly. This is a prime example of a privileged little white boy who got a job from his general manager father and just seems to think he can do anything to any one.
The waiter who wrote the N-word on a New Orleans restaurant receipt knew what he was doing when he unleashed the racial slur that caused intense backlash and calls for boycotts, according to one former coworker.
“I printed those receipts 50 times a day. I know for a fact he knew it would show up on his receipt,” a former Huck Finn’s waitress told the Daily News. “I was like, are you that hateful that you would put that on the receipt?”
Dakota Crochet, 23, was fired from the French Quarter sports bar this week after the phrase “N—– 100% dislike” appeared on a check he gave to a group of black customers Thursday.
One of the diners, Liryca Neville Branch — the daughter of New Orleans musician Cyril Neville — is now mulling a lawsuit and demanding a personal apology from both the canned waiter and the restaurant’s management.
“I’ve never had anything like this happen before to me,” she said. “Trust me — this is not over. I refuse to let this die out.”
Branch, 33, was eating lunch with three coworkers when they were given a bill with the racial slur in all capitals staring them in the face.
Suffolk County police are investigating a possible hate crime targeting an African-American family in Lindenhurst.
Ronica Copes, a resident of the suburban neighborhood, received a letter saying “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE” and other hateful words on Thursday.
Understandably so, she was disappointed at the sight of the hateful letter.
“Unbelievable but then it’s not…our daily reality, I’ve just never seen it in this form,” Copes posted on Facebook.
The writer of the flyer who says “Lidenhurst is 84 percent white” urges Copes in bold capital letters to “LEAVE AS SOON SHE CAN” because “IT WILL BE BETTER FOR ALL OF US.”
The racist letter gained the attention of county executive Steven Bellone, who lashed out against the author of the flyer in a statement Friday.
“To the coward who committed a hate crime against an innocent family in Lindenhurst — There is no place for intolerance in Suffolk County. I know the Suffolk County Police Department will do everything possible to solve this hate crime, out you and see you punished. I stand together with all Lindenhurst residents who decry this act of hatred. This community and all of Suffolk County are better than that.”
While police continue their investigation, Copes is thankful for the support she’s received during the ordeal.
So, today is a day to remember all of the beautiful minds that we’ve lost. It is also a day to ensure that the not-so-beautiful minds don’t get away with ruining other people’s lives. On many levels, we are still fighting the Civil War.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I’m guessing Dakinikat had another rough night at work last night. She will probably put up a post later this afternoon.
For now, I thought I’d post an open thread to celebrate a very important birthday. Our beloved JJ turned one year older today, but I’m not going to ask her the number. I just know she’s much younger than I am.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JJ!!!
Have a wonderful day!
And now, a few quick headlines.
Guardian Editorial, The Guardian view on Hillary Clinton: hammering the glass ceiling (again).
Washington Blade, Meet the gay couple in Clinton campaign video.
I liked this piece by Greg Sargent, What Hillary Clinton’s campaign announcement video tells us.
Look who’s talking: Mitt Romney says “Hillary Clinton is just not trustworthy.” (CBS Local Washington)
The New York Times: Marco Rubio Announces Presidential Bid.
Ugh. The Guardian again, Walter Scott shooting: officer laughs about adrenaline rush in recording.
What else is happening?
I’m running late again! My schedule is just upside down now and DST just double whammed me on the same weekend I started my late night work. Still getting used to the weird hours. I also wanted to spend some time on the negotiations with Iran over its nuke program so I had to catch up with the news. I’m glad BB’s post was so good because I can see you’ve spent a lot of time commenting on what’s going on in Indiana with its so-called “religious freedom” bill.
Obviously, there are going to be several sides to the “deal” depending on your views and their connections to US/Israel policy. So, I thought I’d highlight a few. Max Fisher–writing for VOX–says the deal is “astonishingly good.”
When Aaron Stein was studying nuclear non-proliferation at Middlebury College’s Monterey graduate program, the students would sometimes construct what they thought would be the best possible nuclear inspection and monitoring regimes.
Years later, Stein is now a Middle East and nuclear proliferation expert with the Royal United Services Institute. And he says the Iran nuclear framework agreement, announced on Thursday, look an awful lot like those ideal hypotheticals he’d put together in grad school.
“When I was doing my non-proliferation training at Monterey, this is the type of inspection regime that we would dream up in our heads,” he said. “We would hope that this would be the way to actually verify all enrichment programs, but thought that would never be feasible.
“If these are the parameters by which the [final agreement] will be signed, then this is an excellent deal,” Stein concluded.
The framework nuclear deal establishes only the very basics; negotiators will continue to meet to try to turn them into a complete, detailed agreement by the end of June. Still, the terms in the framework, unveiled to the world after a series of late- and all-night sessions, are remarkably detailed and almost astoundingly favorable to the United States.
Like many observers, I doubted in recent months that Iran and world powers would ever reach this stage; the setbacks and delays had simply been too many. Now, here we are, and the terms are far better than expected. There are a number of details still to be worked out, including one very big unresolved issue that could potentially sink everything. This is not over. But if this framework does indeed become a full nuclear deal in July, it would be a huge success and a great deal.
According to Reuters, Iranians were celebrating in the street as the deal was announced yesterday. The country has been living under harsh embargoes which have obviously hurt ordinary people.
Iranians celebrated in the streets after negotiators reached a framework for a nuclear accord and U.S. President Barack Obama hailed an “historic understanding”, but senior global diplomats cautioned that hard work lies ahead to strike a final deal.
The tentative agreement, struck on Thursday after eight days of talks in Switzerland, clears the way for a settlement to allay Western fears that Iran could build an atomic bomb, with economic sanctions on Tehran being lifted in return.
It marks the most significant step toward rapprochement between Washington and Tehran since the 1979 Iranian revolution and could bring an end to decades of Iran’s international isolation.
But the deal still requires experts to work out difficult details before a self-imposed June deadline and diplomats said it could collapse at any time before then.
The backlash from likely Republican presidential contenders to thepotential nuclear deal with Iran trumpeted Thursday by President Barack Obama came swift and hard. A more optimistic response came from likely 2016 Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the deal — aimed at reining in Iran’s nuclear capabilities — “will only legitimize those activities.”
“Nothing in the deal described by the administration this afternoon would justify lifting U.S. and international sanctions, which were the product of many years of bipartisan effort,” Bush said. “I cannot stand behind such a flawed agreement.”
Clinton, meanwhile, held up the tentative agreement as an “important step” in preventing a nuclear Iran.
“Getting the rest of the way to a final deal by June won’t be easy, but it is absolutely crucial. I know well that the devil is always in the details in this kind of negotiation,” Clinton said in a statement. “The onus is on Iran and the bar must be set high. It can never be permitted to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
But the former secretary of state allowed leeway for herself in case things go awry in the coming months, stating, “There is much to do and much more to say in the months ahead, but for now diplomacy deserves a chance to succeed.”
The rest of the Republican field, however, coalesced around rejecting the deal.
Making his first trek to Iowa as an announced presidential candidate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz contended the President must bring Congress into the process.
“The very first step for any deal, good or bad, should be submitting it to Congress, and the President making the case both to Congress and to the American people why this advances the national security interests of the United States,” Cruz told reporters after a town hall in Cedar Rapids. “Now everything President Obama has said up to this date has suggested that he is going to do everything he can to circumvent Congress.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described the early details of the agreement as “very troubling” and said “this attempt to spin diplomatic failure as a success is just the latest example of this administration’s farcical approach to Iran.”
Obama pushed to quiet skeptics of the framework during his remarks in the White House Rose Garden Thursday, asking, “Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?”
As Mr. Obama stepped into the Rose Garden to announce what he called a historic understanding, he seemed both relieved that it had come together and combative with those in Congress who would tear it apart. While its provisions must be translated into writing by June 30, he presented it as a breakthrough that would, if made final, make the world a safer place, the kind of legacy any president would like to leave. “This has been a long time coming,” he said.
Mr. Obama cited the same John F. Kennedy quote he referenced earlier in the week when visiting a new institute dedicated to the former president’s brother, Senator Edward M. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” The sense of celebration was captured by aides standing nearby in the Colonnade who exchanged fist bumps at the end of the president’s remarks.
But Mr. Obama will have a hard time convincing a skeptical Congress, where Republicans and many Democrats are deeply concerned that he has grown so desperate to reach a deal that he is trading away American and Israeli security. As he tries to reach finality with Iran, he will have to fend off legislative efforts, joined even by some of his friends, to force a tougher posture.
THE “KEY parameters” for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program released Thursday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration. None of Iran’s nuclear facilities — including the Fordow center buried under a mountain — will be closed. Not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled. Tehran’s existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be “reduced” but not necessarily shipped out of the country. In effect, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, though some of it will be mothballed for 10 years. When the accord lapses, the Islamic republic will instantly become a threshold nuclear state.
That’s a long way from the standard set by President Obama in 2012 when he declared that “the deal we’ll accept” with Iran “is that they end their nuclear program” and “abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” Those resolutions call for Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium. Instead, under the agreement announced Thursday, enrichment will continue with 5,000 centrifuges for a decade, and all restraints on it will end in 15 years.
Mr. Obama argued forcefully — and sometimes combatively — Thursday that the United States and its partners had obtained “a good deal” and that it was preferable to the alternatives, which he described as a nearly inevitable slide toward war. He also said he welcomed a “robust debate.” We hope that, as that debate goes forward, the president and his aides will respond substantively to legitimate questions, rather than claim, as Mr. Obama did, that the “inevitable critics” who “sound off” prefer “the risk of another war in the Middle East.”
The proposed accord will provide Iran a huge economic boost that will allow it to wage more aggressively the wars it is already fighting or sponsoring across the region. Whether that concession is worthwhile will depend in part on details that have yet to be agreed upon, or at least publicly explained. For example, the guidance released by the White House is vague in saying that U.S. and European Union sanctions “will be suspended after” international inspectors have “verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear related steps.”
“I just came from a meeting of the Israeli cabinet. We discussed the proposed framework for a deal with Iran.
The cabinet is united in strongly opposing the proposed deal.
This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel.
The deal would not shut down a single nuclear facility in Iran, would not destroy a single centrifuge in Iran and will not stop R&D on Iran’s advanced centrifuges.
On the contrary. The deal would legitimize Iran’s illegal nuclear program. It would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure. A vast nuclear infrastructure remains in place.
The deal would lift sanctions almost immediately and this at the very time that Iran is stepping up its aggression and terror in the region and beyond the region.
In a few years, the deal would remove the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, enabling Iran to have a massive enrichment capacity that it could use to produce many nuclear bombs within a matter of months.
The deal would greatly bolster Iran’s economy. It would give Iran thereby tremendous means to propel its aggression and terrorism throughout the Middle East.
Such a deal does not block Iran’s path to the bomb.
Is he the little boy that has cried wolf too often?
Anyway, I hope you’ll read up on the situation since it stands to be one of the biggest foreign policy agreements for quite some time.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?