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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Obama Laying Groundwork For Capitulation To Iran On Anytime/Anywhere Inspections

While the July 7th deadline has passed, the P5+1 negotiations with Iraq are continuing they will probably be completed in a day or two.  As I reported at yesterday (and still believe)
Most likely is there will be a “sort of” agreement, where the parties announce they’ve resolved all outstanding issues but they still have to fill in some details.

This will enable the talks to meet the congressional deadline of July 9th. If a deal is announced by the 9th congress will get 30 days to analyze and vote on the pact. After the 9th they get 60 days.

With the “sort of” scenario the P5+1 and Iranians would move in parallel to implement various commitments, the Iranians would have to work with the IAEA on its unresolved concerns regarding Iran’s weapons program (PMDs). By the winter time the IAEA would provide a face-saving way for the parties to declare Iran is cooperating (just like they did with the yellowcake conversion). This scenario would be very attractive to the Obama administration because it puts off granting Iran sanctions relief until the IAEA makes some noises about the Iranians cooperating, and after congress votes. Obama will tell Congress that “of course PMDs will be resolved before any sanctions relief is granted” and after Congress votes the lawmakers will have no leverage to stop the administration from caving.
Meanwhile the Obama administration and the supporters of its sellout are laying the groundwork for another U.S. collapse, this time on inspections. The signs are all there::

They have changed their verbiage, indicating they are going to break their promise of the most robust inspection/verification regime in history. During his April 2 announcement of the  "framework agreement" President Obama said:
 "Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history."
On May 2, White House spox Josh Earnest doubled down on Obama's statement made a month earlier:
"What President Obama has indicated must be part of any nuclear agreement... is the most intrusive set of inspections that have ever been imposed on a country’s nuclear program"
But on July 1st White House supporter and Director of the Arms Control Association Daryl Kimball spoke to Politico and began to make an excuse for those inspections not happening-- Iran hasn't been defeated in a war:
"this particular agreement will establish the most extensive, multilayered system of nuclear monitoring and verification for any country not defeated in a war"  
Monday Jofi Joseph, a former nonproliferation official in the Obama White House (until it was discovered he was trashing Hillary Clinton on twitter) told the LA Times that the Iranians can’t be expected to submit to anytime/anywhere inspections giving the same reason as Kimball:
"What is forgotten is that Iraq was militarily defeated in a humiliating rout and had little choice but to accept [anytime/anywhere inspections]"
Since the beginning of the P5+1 negotiations began the Obama Administration promised Congress that Iran that Tehran would (and after April 2nd had already) accept anytime/anywhere inspections.

Many in Congress disagreed and urged the administration to boost American leverage by working with the Hill to pass time-triggered sanctions. The administration responded with two different media wars that included accusations including some by the president - describing lawmakers as warmongers beholden to donor [a nice way to make the charge of Jewish] money. Now it looks like Congress was right and the administration was lying  misstating the facts; Why would lawmakers now accept a weaker inspection regime than what the administration said it could secure. Actually its not all of congress its the Democrats needed to override a presidential veto and Obama and friends have already begun to warn them to accept any deal he comes up with.

The new Obama talking point is that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has advanced technology which will compensate for the Administration collapsing on inspections. On Monday, two different progressive vehicles, The NY Times and The Daily Beast  published geeky articles about the IAEA’s latest toys but the toys weren't the key part of each story. The NY Times piece had Energy Secretary Moniz explaining that the technology, "lowers the requirement for human inspectors going in" and Daryl Kimball telling the Daily Beast that the technology meant that the IAEA would be able to "detect [nuclear activities] without going directly into certain areas."

The argument is a lie misstatement and those scientists should be embarrassed they told falsehoods misstatements to protect Obama's bad deal. In the same story the New York Times quoted Olli Heinonen, a 27-year veteran of the IAEA who used to run their inspections operation.
Mr. Heinonen, the onetime inspection chief, sounded a note of caution, saying it would be na├»ve to expect that the wave of technology could ensure Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. In the past, he said, Tehran has often promised much but delivered little.

“Iran is not going to accept it easily,” he said, referring to the advanced surveillance. “We tried it for 10 years.”

Even if Tehran agrees to high-tech sleuthing, Mr. Heinonen added, that step will be “important but minor” compared with the intense monitoring that Western intelligence agencies must mount to see if Iran is racing ahead in covert facilities to build an atomic bomb.
The most fundamental problem by relying on technology is that the IAEA require physical environmental samples to confirm violations. They may be able to use futuristic lasers and satellites to detect that Iran is cheating. But to confirm  the cheating they need environmental samples, and usually multiple rounds of samples. Without that level of proof  which requires anytime access the agency simply wouldn't be able to tell the international community that it was certain Iran is violation.

Since breakout time is supposedly going to be the metric the president is using to evaluate any deal, then the words of the Washington Institute must be considered:
Warning time could also be shortened if the IAEA is not allowed to fully exercise rigorous monitoring and verification procedures. These range from routine inspections to so-called "anytime, anyplace inspections" and full access to component manufacturing facilities, as well as efforts to follow the procurement of certain dual-use materials and equipment to confirm their end use.
And with out those anytime inspections the IAEA won't know where to point those lasers and satellites so the can detect the activity. Unless of course they are to trust Iran to tell them where to look.

But this is what President Obama is trying to tell us, "we folded on our promise of unprecedented anytime/anywhere inspections"  but that's perfectly okay because the IAEA has cool toys. However unaffiliated scientists are telling us that technology cannot do the job without anytime/ anywhere inspections. Therefore the only thing that can be said about the administration's propaganda is that it's a prescription for a possible nuclear holocaust.

NO The Woman's Soccer Team Shouldn't Get Equal Pay (Yet)

Now that the U.S. Women's Soccer team has won the World Cup, the progressives are screaming that the winning women's team received less money than the men's team received not making it past the first round.  The chart above from a ThinkProgress  post complaining about the pay difference is correct. The chart is correct but the post is naive' as is the post in CNN complaining about the pay for the winning women.

I know little about soccer and my interest in the sport is less than my knowledge. I do however know about sports marketing and sponsorships, and how that money affects what athletes get paid. So does, as it turns out the Washington Post:
For the U.S. national team's stunning 5-2 win over Japan at the Women's World Cup on Sunday, a rout that made the Americans the first team ever to win three world championships, soccer's global governing body will award the team $2 million — about 5 percent of the $35 million FIFA gave to the German victors of last year's World Cup.

And while viewers made the Sunday match by far the most-watched soccer game in American TV history, little of that excitement could be seen in the tourney's marketing deals. Fox grabbed an estimated $17 million in ads from corporate sponsors of the elite women's matches — a tiny fraction compared to the $529 million ESPN pocketed in sponsorship revenue from last year's tournament in Brazil.
Yes Sunday's game had incredible viewing levels but those levels were a surprise, nobody expected them. Which means advertisers underpaid for their advertising. Having had to negotiate with Fox TV ad sales in the past, I can assure you that this mistake will not happen again.

Here's the truth, the only way for the women's team to get as much money as the men's team is for their entire tournament to get the same sponsorship dollars (TV, corporate, stadium, and team, etc.) than the men. While the women won, with the exception of the final game they did not draw the same audience as the men during the course of the tournament.

The basic rule is Audience+Interest=Sponsorship $$$ and Sponsorship $$$=Money For Team. Its really as simple as that. The women's tournament will probably generate higher sponsorship dollars next time in anticipation of a higher audience and interest, but it still will not be at the same levels as the men until they can prove the high ratings of this past Sunday was more than a one-time occurance.

CNN and Thinkprogress naively believe its about gender discrimination, but its all about the consumer.  They should be urging people to tune into the next women's tournament and to buy products that support the team. In the end it has nothing to do with the broadcaster that carries the game or FIFA, attracting more consumers is the ONLY way for the team to make more money.

Hypocritical Trump Employs Illegals To Build D.C. Hotels

Thus saith the Trumpster, "Do as I say, not as I do." 

A Washington Post report reveals the bloviating billionaire of  birtherism, Donald Trump employs illegal aliens as part of the crew building a new hotel in Washington, D.C.. 

Trump of course is embroiled in a controversy for his statement about Mexican Illegal immigrants made during his announcement speech. The real estate mogul  was correct about the problem of porous U.S. boarders. At the same time the verbiage he used," They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists. Some, I assume are good people" was politically stupid, and too divisive for somebody trying to be president of ALL the United States. 

Now it seems Trump who spends must of his time lashing out at other Republicans has a illegal immigration problem of his own, according to the Washington Post:
“It’s something ironic,” said Ivan Arellano, 29, who is from Mexico and obtained legal status through marriage. He now works as a mason laying the stonework for the lobby floor and walls of what will become the Trump International Hotel.

“The majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally,” Arellano said in Spanish. “And we’re all here working very hard to build a better life for our families.”

Interviews with about 15 laborers helping renovate the Old Post Office Pavilion revealed that many of them had crossed the U.S-Mexico border illegally before they eventually settled in the Washington region to build new lives.

Several of the men, who hail mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have earned U.S. citizenship or legal status through immigration programs targeting Central Americans fleeing civil wars or natural disasters. Others quietly acknowledged that they remain in the country illegally.

(...) Several of the laborers — who travel to work from as far away as Baltimore or Manassas, Va., every day — fumed at Trump’s comments, saying that they have led honest lives that have allowed them to buy homes and raise U.S.-born children.

“Do you think that when we’re hanging out there from the eighth floor that we’re raping or selling drugs?” Ramon Alvarez, 48, a window worker from El Salvador, said during a break Monday morning just outside the construction site. “We’re risking our lives and our health. A lot of the chemicals we deal with are toxic.”
When asked about the illegals, the Trump organization blamed the contractors, which may be very true. But if you were going to make the kind of statements about Illegals like Trump did, wouldn't you have your organization double check?  Either way this revelation is not "a good thing" for The Donald.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sen. John McCain: On ISIS Obama Is A Classic Example Of Delusion

Regular readers of this site know that in general I am not a big fan of Senator McCain, partly because he is always attacking the Republicans whose views are more conservative than his, partly because he sired that obnoxious daughter who believes she is a real Republican, partially because he fought too nice against Obama in 2008, and most importantly partly because I have nightmares of the guy running after me with a 12 gauge screaming at me to get off his property.

On the other hand one thing McCain knows is national security and that was the crux of his discussion he had on the Hugh Hewitt Show where he condemned Obama's ISIS policy as delusional. 

Hewitt: Senator McCain, you join me in condemning domestic terrorists and racists. We’ve had one of those. He murdered nine innocent people. Lindsey Graham was on the show speaking eloquently about that last week. But what is the President, is he out of his mind? They are killing by the thousands of people in Iraq and Syria, and soon Libya and Jordan.

McCain: You know, I don’t like to analyze people’s psychology, but the fact is the President came to the presidency to get us out of conflict no matter what. He didn’t, what he didn’t understand is that just because we leave does not only mean that the conflict doesn’t end, but it escalates. The classic example, of course, is leaving Iraq without a residual force after the sacrifice of thousands of young Americans. We had it won. It was won. And he pulled everybody out, and unfortunately, Lindsey and I predicted, and Joe Lieberman predicted exactly what was going to happen. I mean, the classic example is delusion. He said there have been five thousand sortees. Did you hear that quote?

Hewitt: Yes, I did. Yeah.

McCain: Do you know what percentage of them returns without dropping a weapon?

Hewitt: No, I don’t.

McCain: 75%.

Hewitt: Wow.

McCain: Okay, so…

Hewitt: So there have been, really, 1,250 bomb dropping sortees.

McCain: Yeah, yeah.

Hewitt: Wow.

McCain: And I guess the other sortees are to damage people’s hearing. I don’t know else that flying over them…and the fact that he pointed out that we have succeeded in regaining some territory? They still control the second-largest city in Iraq.

Hewitt: Well, here’s what he said, Senator. Let me play for you his rebuke to you, cut number four.

Obama (on tape): Ideologies are not defeated with guns. They’re defeated by other ideas, a more attractive and compelling vision. So the United States will continue to do our part by working with partners to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online. We’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam. We’re fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims.

Hewitt: Don’t you, you know, I’m thinking of the Korean War and the Vietnam War in which you were a prisoner of war, Senator, and I’m thinking about Stalin and Hitler. And it would have been news to them that ideologies can’t be defeated by guns.

McCain: And again, the delusion here that somehow this is just simply something that we can win by having nice programs and have Islamic clerics condemn them, and all that would be good, but first, you have to defeat them on the battlefield. Then all the rest of that follows. I mean, there’s no doubt there’s ideological struggle here. There’s no doubt there’s an economic problem in those places in a world where they have gigantic youth unemployment. All of those things are correct. But as, I guess it was Bismarck, the issue will be decided by blood and steel.

Hewitt: Yeah, you used the word delusion. That’s a strong word, Senator. You standing by that word, delusion?

McCain: Here’s the delusion. The delusion is going on right now in these negotiations with Iran, that somehow they will consummate a nuclear deal, no matter how back, with Iran. And Iran will now be our partner. You know, in, we are now training young men outside Syria to go back into Syria and fight against ISIS, and not protect them against Bashar Assad’s barrel bombing, this atrocious weapon that slaughters men, women and children. They are having to take an oath that only they will fight against ISIS and not against the guy that’s killed 230,000 of their countrymen and women? I mean, that’s what I call delusion. What do you call it, Hugh?

Hewitt: I agree with you, Senator McCain. Come back early and often, and good luck in the reelection campaign. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you, John McCain.

A Political Satire/Musical Comedy Whose Time Has Come—-Again

Of Thee I Sing, a musical that first appeared on Broadway over eighty years ago is long overdue for a Broadway revival.

One of the most biting political satires ever written, Of Thee I Sing was the first successful American musical with a consistently satiric tone. It was so satirical, the writers of the play and the cast were unsure of what the public’s reception would be, prompting one of the writers of the book, George S. Kaufman, to quip “Satire is what closes on Saturday night.”

Written at the beginning of the great depression, Of Thee I Sing lampoons a political system too tied up in personalities and silly little issues to fix the country’s economy and of how a completely gullible American people can be controlled at the hands of a good presidential media spin (sound familiar?).

The creative team behind the musical was a Broadway All-Star team. The book was written by George S. Kaufman (You Can’t Take it With You) and Morrie Ryskind. The team’s previous collaboration was Animal Crackers, a Broadway musical written for the Marx Brothers (Ryskind went on to write many of the Marx Brothers movies). George and Ira Gershwin wrote music and lyrics. George Gershwin was perhaps America’s greatest composer, writing everything from musicals, to opera, to classical music and ballet. Ira Gershwin is one of the American musical’s greatest lyricists, who wrote for both stage and screen (including the original A Star is Born).

Of Thee I Sing was the first musical ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Unfortunately though the score is an essential part of the play, the Pulitzer committee did not recognize George Gershwin.

The play tells the story of presidential candidate John P. Wintergreen,” he’s the man the people choose, loves the Irish and the Jews.” For Vice President the choice is Alexander Throttlebottom, a man best known for gaffes (sound familiar)  who throughout the play keeps trying to get into meetings and rallies, but gets thrown out because no one knows who he is.

Thanks to political bosses Louis Lippman and Francis X. Gilhooley, newspaper magnate Matthew Arnold Fulton, Senators Carver Jones and Robert E. Lyons – Wintergreen’s chosen platform was selected to avoid political controversy, ending up with the “love platform.” The party bosses also decide that Wintergreen should get married, so they hold a beauty pageant to select a bride for him. The winner is the sultry southern belle Diana Deveraux.

The Minds Behind The Musical: George Gershwin, Morrie Ryskind, George S. Kaufman, Ira Gershwin

Unfortunately the candidate throws a wrench into the plans when he falls in love with the all-American Mary Turner whose major qualification is, well:
 “some girls can make a pie made up of prunes and quinces, some make an oyster fry others are good at blintzes, some lovely girls have done wonders with turkey stuffings but I have found the one who could really make corn muffins.”
Wintergreen and his Mary win the election but immediately after the inauguration/wedding, Ms. Deveraux shows up to tell her story of winning the contest and being jilted by the new President. The Supreme Court is called in to decide between corn muffins and justice. Thankfully the Court decides, “corn muffins are more important.”

Of Thee I Sing is merciless in the way it attacks all American institutions, the nine members of the Supreme Court care more about politics than justice (just like today), the Senators care more about petty local politics than doing their jobs, and the political operatives don’t give a rat’s ass about what the country needs. They only care about public opinion and maintaining power.

Some things never change.

The least sympathetic character is the French Ambassador, even back then (as Al Bundy once said) everyone hated the French. The Ambassador escalates the Diana Deveraux scandal, bursting into the White House demanding retribution for the affront to France. It seems that the sultry Deveraux is “the illegitimate daughter of an illegitimate son of an illegitimate nephew of Napoleon.”

France is not happy, so to placate the French, the political operatives decide to have the President impeached. But just as the Senate is going through its roll call, in bursts the First Lady who announces she’s expecting. Since no expecting President has ever been impeached the impeachment is called off (she ends up with twins–because it was the politically expedient thing to do).

And what of Ms Deveraux? Vice-President Throttlebottom reminds us, when the President is not able to fulfill his duty, that obligation is taken over by the Vice-President.

In the end everyone is happy, the President has his Mary (and corn muffins).

Of Thee I Sing is a special play because it really connected with the mood of America during the first part of the depression. A mood similar to today a feeling that our government was run by a bunch of well-meaning fools, who get tied up in their own underwear trying to get anything done. Over and above the great music, comedy and biting satire, the element that worked best was a sense of optimism; a feeling that however bad things got eventually things would turn out fine.

That optimism is uniquely American.

Two years after Of Thee I Sing opened the same exact all-star team of producers, writers, actors, etc. wrote a sequel called Let Them Eat Cake, it only lasted 90 performances. It failed because was it was much darker and more pessimistic than the original.

Of Thee I Sing was revived a few times, a planned movie version starring the Marx Brothers never came together (thank God), there was even a dreadful TV version starring Carroll O’ Connor (it was the musical comedy equivalent of the Star Wars Christmas Special), but it was never brought back at the right time.

This classic of American theater works best during a time when the country is in economic and political distress, at a time when the country looks for entertainment poking fun at what they are going through while understanding that as bad as things get, in the end everything will be just fine. A time like now

Below for your enjoyment is a recording of the impeachment scene from the original 1931 cast.