Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Can Congress stop the Iran deal? [Obama's Veto Pen looms]

Hotair ^ | 07/14/2015 | Ed Morrissey 

Now that the P5+1 and Iran have inked a deal that will unleash Tehran from decades of international sanctions, the agreement has to go before the legislatures in Iran and the US. The former is a mere formality; if Supreme Leader Ali Khameini likes the deal — and there’s zero reason to believe that Iranian negotiators would have acted without his express permission — then the Iranian parliament will rubber-stamp it. That leaves Congress as the last remaining stage on which this deal must play before full implementation. Bloomberg’s Billy House sees a rocky path ahead for the deal, but will it be rocky enough to halt it?
The U.S. Congress will begin its scrutiny of the international nuclear agreement with Iran amid heavy skepticism among Republicans, many of whom said in advance that they’re prepared to reject a deal that’s weak and gives too much leeway to Tehran.
Under legislation passed in May, Congress will have 60 days for public debate and hearings by as many as eight Senate and House committees. Lawmakers then could vote on a joint resolution to approve or reject the nuclear deal, though they also may not act at all.
The Iran deal is “going to be a hard sell” in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday.” He said President Barack Obama “knows that the resolution of disapproval is likely to be introduced, is very likely to pass and very likely to get over 60 votes.”
Of course he does. In his statement earlier today, Obama already announced that he would veto any measure of disapproval:
So I welcome a robust debate in Congress on this issue and I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement. But I will remind Congress that you don’t make deals like this with your friends. We negotiated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union when that nation was committed to our destruction and those agreements ultimately made us safer.
I am confident that this deal will meet the national security interests of the United States and our allies. So I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.
Ahem. It’s not quite consistent to declare oneself welcoming of “a robust debate” while at the same time pledging to ignore everyone else’s advice on the subject of it. Obama isn’t welcoming a debate or scrutiny at all; he’s telling Congress to sit down and shut up. We’re used to Obama being inconsistent and hardline at home, though. We just wish he’d toughen up abroad.
The Senate rejection of the deal under Bob Corker’s bill takes 60 votes, and is almost a certainty. So is Obama’s veto, which everyone understood well enough without the reminder today. Under the Corker bill, that veto becomes subject to an override, which will take 2/3rds of both the House and the Senate. Can the Senate get 67 votes to override Obama’s attempt at legacy-building at the expense of our allies in the Middle East? Bloomberg analyst Greg Valliere says the keys may be Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin:
Note too the dismissal of John Kerry’s “what if there were no deal” argument as weak tea. “It’s a flawed agreement with an untrustworthy partner,” as one Bloomberg commentator notes, which makes “better than nothing” a ridiculous excuse — and just flat out not true. Nothing would have left sanctions in place, which would have at least curtailed Iran’s ability to fund its terror operations in the region. Jeffrey Goldberg calls the deal a morally dubious necessity anyway:
This sad conclusion is unavoidable. The lifting of crippling sanctions, which will come about as part of the nuclear deal struck in Vienna, means that at least $150 billion, a sum Barack Obama first invoked in May, will soon enough flow to Tehran. With this very large pot of money, the regime will be able to fund both domestic works and foreign adventures in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere.
It is hard to imagine a scenario—at least in the short term—in which Hezbollah and other terror organizations on the Iranian payroll don’t see a windfall from the agreement. This is a bad development in particular for the people of Syria. Iran, as the Assad regime’s funder, protector, and supplier of weapons, foot soldiers, and strategists, is playing a crucial role in the destruction of Syria. Now Syrians will see their oppressor become wealthier and gain international legitimacy (legitimacy not just for Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, which this deal will leave in place.) …
I worry that Obama’s negotiators might have given away too much to the Iranians. On the other hand, Netanyahu’s dream—of total Iranian capitulation—was never going to become a reality. The dirty little secret of this whole story is that it is very difficult to stop a large nation that possesses both natural resources and human talent, and a deep desire for power, from getting the bomb. We’ll see, in the coming days, if Obama and Kerry have devised an effective mechanism to keep Iran far away from the nuclear threshold.
True, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t have continued to keep Iran from accessing all the cash. If nuclear proliferation is as inevitable as Goldberg states — and he may well be correct — then sanctions would at least keep them from expanding other modes of terror. In this argument, we have essentially surrendered on every front. We have taken off the leash in its entirety. It’s a full retreat by the West, as I wrote earlier.
Certainly, many members of Congress will see it the same way. Can Obama keep 34 Senate Democrats in his corner to avoid a veto override? A lot depends on how the Iranians act over the next 60 days, but it’s almost impossible to bet against Obama in that scenario. Even those Democrats who have been rhetorically opposed to this deal will likely rationalize that this negotiation belongs to the executive branch. In fact, it might be tougher for opponents of the deal to get enough Democrats in the House to overturn a veto, given how entrenched those seats are. Unless those House Democrats are facing a primary challenger, there’s no upside to voting against Obama on a “peace” treaty.
The threat of Congressional veto override is similar to the “snapback” provisions of the deal itself. They exist in theoretical terms, but it’s unlikely that the will exists to exercise either of them when the time comes. Be prepared for grand theater, followed by grand capitulation, just as we saw in Vienna. When your final fallback to stopping Obama is Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin, you’ve already lost.


 Power Line Blog ^ | June 23, 2015 | Scott Johnson 

Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s "Ally: My Journey Across the Israeli-American Divide" is out from Random House today. The book is part autobiography, part memoir, part history and part (as they say in the bookstore) current events. I urge interested readers to pick it up now and study it with care.
The book makes a valuable contribution to recent history in which he has been a participant and to which he has been an eyewitness. The heart of the book gives us an important angle on the long, strange trip we have been on for the past six-and-a-half years.
Oren’s account of the Obama administration’s betrayal of Israel in favor of the Islamic Republic provides its most important narrative thread. Combining an insider’s perspective with what is already publicly known, Oren offers a powerful portrait of the administration’s deceit and misjudgment.
Oren is a distinguished historian. He is also a liberal former contributor to The New Republic. His many contributions to TNR are collected here. His critique of the Obama administration based on the facts presented in the book derives from no personal or political antipathy.
Indeed, Oren asserts that Obama is a friend of Israel. Oren nevertheless studied Obama in 2008 and developed prescient concerns about Obama’s ambivalence toward the United States and Israel. In the book he presents his short course on Obama under the heading “Obama 101.” Based on his study of Obama in 2008, Oren avoided drinking the Obama Kool-Aid.
The intelligent reader may well observe on the strength of Oren’s book that Obama is a friend of Israel’s enemies, from the anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood to the anti-Semitic Turkish Prime Minister to the insanely anti-Semitic Islamic Republic of Iran. Based on the evidence Oren presents, the intelligent reader can draw a conclusion about Obama at odds with Oren’s own.
Oren’s account has teeth. The Obama administration has therefore demanded that Prime Minister Netanyahu renounce it. Oren is if anything more charitable toward Obama than Netanyahu is. Netanyahu’s views are discernible directly or by inference over pages 50-375 passim. In substance, Netanyahu’s views do not in relevant part diverge from Oren’s. In the book they disagree only on how tactically to negotiate Obama’s demands on Israel.
Obama’s demand (through US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro) that Netanyahu now denounce Oren is of great interest. Oren’s book strikes a nerve at a critical moment. The demand represents standard operating procedure, Chicago style, but it is absurd (a word which we will quote Oren himself using presently). Oren’s book offers more than sufficient evidence for interested readers to make up their own minds.
From Oren’s first day on the job in 2009 as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Israel’s relations with the United States — with the Obama administration — are in a constant state of crisis. To some extent the crisis is manufactured by Obama and his minions. One may infer that the crisis reflects the strategic reorientation of the United States away from Israel toward its enemies by the Obama administration.
Of these enemies the Islamic Republic of Iran is of course preeminent. While Oren was studying Obama before his election, he recalls hearing the theory that Iran could assist in resolving regional conflicts. “I first heard the theory at Georgetown back in 2008,” he writes, “in conversation with think tankers and former State Department officials. They also believed that Iran’s radical Islam was merely an expression of interests and feats that the United States could, with sufficient goodwill, meet and allay.”
Oren drily comments: “Such ideas initially struck me as absurd.” They still strike him as absurd. He adds: “After all, even irrational regimes such as Nazi Germany could take rational steps to reach fanatical goals.”
What Oren first heard in Georgetown he soon heard from Obama. “Obama, himself,” Oren writes “now began describing Iran’s behavior as ‘strategic’ and ‘not impulsive.’”
“Finally, after many months of attentiveness,” Oren notes, ” I reached my conclusion. In the absence of a high-profile provocation…the United States would not use force against Iran. Rather, the administration would remain committed to diplomatically resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, even at the risk of reaching a deal unacceptable to Israel.”
In the course of his ambassadorial service, Oren observes the administration asserting that it reserves “all options” against Iran’s nuclear program, yet he finds the assertion to be a thin pretense. The administration effectively undermines Israel’s efforts against Iran. It treats the prospect of Israeli military action in 2011 and 2012 as a threat to be deterred. When its deterrence works, it brands Netanyahu a “chickenshit.” Israel finally discovers in 2013 that the administration has been negotiating with the Islamic Republic of Iran behind its back for seven months. By that point, even Ray Charles could read the writing on the wall.

Cruz: We Still Have an Opportunity to Tell the Truth about Today’s ‘Mistake of Historic Proportion’

TedCruz.org ^ | 07/14/15 

Congress Must Stop a Deal that Puts Iran on Path Toward Nuclear Bomb

HOUSTON, Texas — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, released the following statement in response to the nuclear deal negotiated with Iran:
“Today, the international community led by the United States has agreed to not only legitimize and perpetuate the Iranian nuclear program, but also to further arm and enrich the brutal theocratic regime that has oppressed the Iranian people for more than thirty years – a regime that is wrongfully holding United States citizens captive, that is sponsoring radical Islamic terrorism across the globe, and that regularly promotes the destruction of both Israel and America throughout its streets.
“Despite these facts, it seems President Obama would concede almost anything to get any deal – even a terrible deal – from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Under the terms of this deal, Iran will retain all of its centrifuges, one-third of which will continue to spin. Rather than the most intrusive inspections regime in history that we were promised, IAEA inspectors must petition the mullahs to visit sensitive sites, and wait for two weeks for their permission. In a final, shocking concession, the United States will support lifting of the United Nations arms embargos that restrict the Iranian ballistic missile program and arms trafficking. And in return, billions of dollars of economic relief will flow to Tehran.
“Yet, in his remarks this morning, the President glossed over the truth about Iran’s world-leading state-sponsorship of terrorism that is violently destabilizing the region, and would grow more deadly should the Iranians get a nuclear bomb. He failed to mention American citizens, Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, who continue to languish in Iranian prisons or Robert Levinson, who is still unaccounted for. For them, today is no ‘opportunity to move in a new direction’ as the President claimed. We owe it to our fellow Americans to elevate, not ignore, their plight, to demand their swift and unconditional release by the implacably hostile regime that holds them.
“Even by the low standards of the Joint Plan of Action, this is a staggeringly bad deal. It is a fundamental betrayal of the security of the United States and of our closest allies, first and foremost Israel.
“But thankfully, it is not a done deal. We still have an opportunity to tell the truth about what Prime Minister Netanyahu called today a ‘bad mistake of historic proportion.’
“Congress will have 60 days to review it, and the American people will have 60 days to tell their elected representatives just what they think of it. I urge all my fellow citizens to speak out and let their elected leaders know that even if President Obama won’t see it, we know the leaders of the Islamic Republic who lead crowds in chants of ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ are not our partners in peace, and must not be put on the path to a nuclear bomb.”

Pity the Poor RINO, Restore Republican Freedom

Coach is Right ^ | 7/14/15 | Rob& Sherri Dodsworth 

How often at your workplace have you held your tongue out of fear of saying something that could get you fired?
Everyone looks out for their interests. Read that again. You and I and everyone else naturally try to do that which best serves ourselves and our families. It’s called human nature and it has served mankind well since the Creation.
The people we send to government are no different. They can’t be different, for like us, they are as imperfect as the rest of mankind.
First we must understand that most of the chosen 435 in the House of Reps had to claw, grasp, climb their way up from humble beginnings. Does that sound familiar? Didn’t you have to do the same to achieve your level of success?
Anyhow, being in the House means they “made it.” In this heady environment, most congressmen believe they should be senators and most senators believe they should be president.
What happens to what may otherwise be good and upstanding people? Like anyone else, they respond by varying degree to their surroundings. And nowhere in the nation will more corrupt surroundings be found than in Washington, D.C. Go along to get along with party leadership and lots of extra power and money are virtually guaranteed.
Most of our elected officials would respond in just that manner, conducting themselves in such a way as to facilitate their continued ascent in so-called public service. It is human nature. What you and I do in our own workplace is hardly different from the behavior of politicians. It cannot be any other way!
We can admonish Republicans for their failure to stand up for the Constitution. We can beat up RINOs and blame them for accelerating tyranny. It feels good. I occasionally take part in the sport...
(Excerpt) Read more at coachisright.com ...



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