Zarif on getting to yes

In the annals of murderous deceit and provocative audacity, the video of Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif aimes at his American counterparts and a wider American audience must take the cake. The video is posted here with full text of Zarif’s message on YouTube.

Mr. Zarif advises: “Getting to yes requires the courage to compromise, the self-confidence to be flexible, the maturity to be reasonable, the wisdom to set aside illusions, and the audacity to break old habits.” Do check out the whole sickening production. It virtually defies belief. Mr. Zarif, where can I get the soundtrack?

Mr. Zarif, of course, speaks with a forked tongue about the qualities conducive to this particular agreement. He must be in some doubt on this point, but I’m confident that our own Supreme Leader has all the qualities necessary to enter into the deal in process with Iran.

Via Daniel Halper/Weekly Standard.

Extending Alinsky Rule 6

One of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals must support tactical lying, or lying on principle. Perhaps it is a variant of Alinsky Rule 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” I infer that the left loves it. Lying is one of their greatest hits.

I will formulate Alinsky Rule 6(a): “Lie when you have to, the worse the better. Your supporters will enjoy it, while others will be fooled by it and be reluctant to conclude that they were hoodwinked. Still others will remain sufficiently inattentive to suit your purposes.”

Think of Obamacare, peddled to the American people by the president of the United States without the utterance of a true word over a period of years. Alinksy would be proud.

Or think of the Iran agreement in process. Charles Krauthammer measures it against its professed objective and judges it to be founded entirely on the things which are not (to borrow the Houyhnhnms’ expression in Gulliver’s Travels). Krauthammer calls it “The worst agreement in diplomatic history.”

I may disagree slightly. I’d say it’s the worst agreement in the history of the world. It’s enough to make you doubt that Obama’s avowed objective is the one intended (a subject for another day, but consistent with the lying in support of the agreement).

Then we have Madam Hillary and the outrageous lies about her email as Secretary of State. Kim Strassel unpacks the lies in the Wall Street Journal column “Hillary’s email story unravels” (accessible here via Google).

Back to the Obama administration, let us not overlook the revelation of the destroyed IRS backup email tapes that were under subpoena at the time of their destruction. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George professes to have no evidence that the improper destruction was done out of a desire to conceal information, but good grief, man, can you use your common sense?

Churchill on “A Peculiar Type of Brainy People”

As with so many other things, Churchill was on to the problem of the administrative state and today’s presumptuous liberal cosmopolitanism from early on.  A 1933 speech offers a perfect description of our Beltway mentality today:

The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. They come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wage-earners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy people always found in our county, who, if they add something to its culture, take much from its strength.

Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self-abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. But what have they to offer but a vague internationalism, a squalid materialism, and the promise of impossible Utopias?

This quotation, and much more, appear in Larry Arnn’s forthcoming book, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government, which will be released in October. But you can pre-order now!

Churchills Trial Big copy

Climate Then and Now

From volume 4 of Churchill’s Marlborough: His Life and Times, about the winter of 1708-9, near the culmination of the long war against Louis XIV:

But there now fell upon France a new and frightful misfortune. Since the beginning of December there had been a hard and almost unbroken frost. On January 6, after a brief thaw, it set in again with a bitterness so intense that two days later the rivers of France, even the Rhone, one of the most rapid rivers in Europe, were almost completely covered with ice. All the canals of Venice were frozen, and the mouth of the Tagus at Lisbon. Masses of ice appeared in the Channel and the North Sea. Communications between England and Holland were suspended; Harwich and the Dutch ports were ice-bound. Olives and vines split asunder. Cattle and sheep perished in great numbers. The game died in the forests, the rabbits in their burrows. From January 25 to February 6 there was an interval of snow followed by a few days’ thaw, and then another month, until March 6, of extraordinary cold. Thereafter gradually the weather became less severe. Thus this almost glacial period lasted into the fourth month. On February 4 it was known at Versailles that the seed corn was dead in the ground. . .

Their sufferings were extreme. In Paris the death-rate doubled. . .  In the countryside the peasantry subsisted on herbs or roots or flocked in despair into the famishing towns. Brigandage was widespread. Bands of starving men, women, and children roamed about in desperation.

But never forget that the industrial revolution and a warming world is a disaster for humanity.

Goodnight Vienna (3)

Omri Ceren provides an email update on the latest from Vienna, this one addressing “State Dept vs. State Dept on Iran cheating on deal — State.gov contradicts State Dept damage control on Iran violations.” Omni writes:

Day 3 of this, and still nothing on the record from the Obama administration about why it’s OK to let the Iranians be in violation of the interim JPOA’s requirement that they convert their excess enriched uranium (UF6) into uranium dioxide powder (UO2). The main argument appears to be that the Iranians got close enough: a “US official” told the Associated Press the US was “satisfied” with Iran transforming the uranium gas into something that’s not dioxide, and yesterday Scott Kemp – a former science advisor for the State Department on Iran’s nuclear program – tweeted that the distinction was about “minor chemical variants not meaningful in the slightest.”

No, it’s not. The issue isn’t about chemical variants of uranium oxide as mandated by the interim JPOA deal. It’s about the credibility of the final JCPOA deal that Congress will have to evaluate. For the interim agreement, the administration invented an unproven technological quick-fix so that it could cave to an Iranian demand – the demand to keep enriching – while still telling lawmakers that Tehran’s program was “frozen.” When that technological quick-fix failed the White House went into “Iran’s lawyer” mode: first they declared that skeptics were wrong and that the Iranians would stay in compliance – because White House scientists said so (!) – and when that became indefensible they weakened the deal’s criteria so they could claim the Iranians weren’t cheating.

The political problem is straightforward: for the final deal, and especially for the administration’s core claim that “scientists” confirm a one-year breakout time, everything hinges on the success of a dozen similar technological quick-fixes. At least a couple of those too-cute-by-half mechanisms are also likely to fail. In evaluating the deal Congress will want assurances that the Obama administration will hold Iran accountable for noncompliance. So it’s politically problematic for State Department officials to keep declaring that the Iranians came close enough, so who cares?

Maybe the State Department will come up with something else before the Iranian cheating is overtaken by events. But they’re on the wrong side of this debate. Every year the Congressional Research Service publishes a report on the JPOA. Every year the State Department publishes those CRS reports on state.gov. Those reports have no ambiguity. Here’s the language:

Iran is also to, in effect, freeze its production of enriched uranium hexafluoride containing up to 5% uranium-235 by converting the material to uranium dioxide. Tehran would take this step when it has completed the necessary facility, which is currently under construction.

The 2013 and 2014 reports live here.

The conventional wisdom remains that the President retains sufficient political capital to hold a sufficient number of Congressional Democrats on whatever Iran deal negotiators bring home. But if lawmakers were evaluating the agreement based on whether the Obama administration will even enforce it, 100% of the evidence cuts the other way. In the last 20 months, the administration has never called out Iranian cheating, and has instead played Iran’s lawyer on half a dozen different JPOA and UN sanctions violations.

The Palestinian aid charade (updated with a golden oldie)

You probably missed the story of the latest attempt to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The blockade prevents the resupply of Hamas terrorists with the tools of their murderous trade. Attempts to break the blockade are held out as acts of pro-Palestinian activism, but they are at best stupidity in action.

In this week’s episode, the “activists” aboard a Swedish vessel failed to punch through the blockade when Israeli commandos boarded the vessel, searched the ship and brought it to an Israeli port. The foreign activists were detained and are being deported. (I am borrowing from the account of the episode here by Washington Post Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth.)

Now here’s the beauty part. Israel denied that the vessel even contained humanitarian aid. Asked to provide evidence of the aid, Freedom Flotilla Coalition member Ann Ighe sent this photograph:

Aid

William Booth reports:

The Gaza activitists said the larger cardboard box contains a solar panel, donated by a Swedish magazine, ETC, which also runs an “environmentally-friendly electricity company.” The panel was bound for Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

Ighe said the Swedish Association of Midwives also donated a nebulizer, a machine used to inhale medicines, often used to calm asthma attacks. That is the small cardboard box.

Booth declines to judge the merits of the charade, but he gives Israelis the last word:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office wrote a letter to the activists, suggesting they would have been better off going to Syria and not Gaza.

“There is no blockade on the Gaza Strip,” the letter read.

“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” [Defense Minister] Yaalon told Israeli diplomatic reporters.

The situation in Gaza “isn’t pleasant,” Yaalon conceded, but added that “if they were to decide to export strawberries from Gaza instead of rockets, the situation would be entirely different.”

At Commentary, Jonathan Tobin exercises his critical faculties in “Gaza activists brought hate, not aid.”

UPDATE: A reader suggests that we revisit the evergreen classic “We Con the World” (video below).

Thoughts from the ammo line

It feels like we have had to wait too long for relief by Ammo Grrrll this week. She arrives just in time with THE THRIFTY TEXAN. She writes:

The Paranoid Texan is my regular morning walking partner whenever the temperature in our Dusty Little Village is lower than body temperature. We have our limits, even here in Arizona. Mr. Ammo Grrrll is a runner, not a walker, plus he runs with headphones in which he is hearing and repeating Hebrew dialogue as he runs. Which is not companionable, but does complete the picture along with his running outfit, of making him resemble a recently escaped mental patient. The outfit includes a bush hat which, when anchored by the headphones, turns into a Little House on the Prairie style bonnet.

I have heard many people say, “I don’t care what other people think of me.” Most of them are lying. Mr. AG truly does not care if he is hip or cool. He cares if people think he is honest, ethical and kind. Beyond that, he doesn’t mind channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder if she had up and left her little house on the prairie and moved to a little kibutz in Israel.

So, one day, I go to collect the PT for our walk and he informs me that he’s sorry that he can’t go because he spent the entire previous day either on Hold, or talking with a variety of bureaucrats at a motley assemblage of insurance companies and HR departments in order to save $1,000. A goodly amount of money and well worth a day’s effort, no matter how tedious.

He had only one tiny part of that task left, he said. Today, he was fixin’ to spend just four hours to save $9.00 on some refresher driving class for seniors. I offered to GIVE him a ten-spot (which only has an old dead white guy on it, anyway) and said he could even keep the change. I’ll probably win it back at the next poker game. He insisted it wasn’t about the money, but there was some cockamamie principle involved. A “principle” that involves working for a little over $2.00 an hour?

“What about the principle of committing to exercise so we don’t turn into the dreaded roly-poly Walmartians?”

“One day won’t make any difference in that.” The Paranoid Texan has the strongest resistance to being ripped off of anyone I have ever known, except for Mr. Ammo Grrrll.

Mr. AG’s bargaining skills have made grown car salesmen cry. I also witnessed a memorable conversation in the Sears Home and Garden Department when we bought our first modest home. When we moved into the house one cold April day in Minnesota, we bought the most basic electric lawn mower Sears had on offer.

The salesman had started with a riding John Deere that cost more than either of our crap cars and reluctantly worked his way down. The only grass-cutter more basic than what we selected would have been a Garden Weasel or, possibly, a goat.

He then tried to sell the young Mr. AG a year-long “extended warranty” for about half of what we had just paid for the lawn mower. “A year?” asked Mr. AG, with hardly a trace of sarcasm. “That should come in handy in Minnesota from October through next April.”

When The Paranoid Texan lopes down to the mailboxes, he often stops by our house to get our mailbox key too. So we have had occasion to open our electric and water bills at the same time. This month our electric bill was exactly double his! I was pretty sure it was blatant anti-Semitism, and not the fact his identical house is dark except for the room he is currently in, while I keep mine well-lit enough to guide small aircraft to a safe night landing within.

Being a Texan, he also has his air conditioning set to 86, whereas if I accidentally left the milk out for a couple days, it would be perfectly safe. Once when we lived in an apartment on the East Side of St. Paul, Mr. Ammo Grrrll took me somewhat forcefully by the arm into the basement to see all the electric meters ticking slowly away, save for one. In Apartment 107, it appeared that the meter was actually spinning. Uh-oh. That can’t be good. Must be defective.

The PT is far from poor. But he believes buying food is a waste. Especially if it has to be cooked, which squanders electricity. He is not a fussy eater. One of his favorite meals is tacos from Jack In The Box – that famous purveyor of fine Mexican food – six for $3.23. He asks: Is it fast? Is it easy? Can it be microwaved? Sometimes he also asks if it’s cheap, but fast and easy are more important. He eats on paper plates. In the dark, he says. (He rarely accepts our nearly daily dinner invitation, because usually – catch this, ladies – he says he is “not hungry.” Like hunger has anything at all to do with eating!)

But back to our topic: What is it about guys and fear of somebody taking advantage of them? Maybe we women are just used to it. A multimillionaire friend of mine pitched a fit when we had lunch in a popular Mall of America restaurant that charged a $1.00 apiece “mixology” charge to mix two cocktails. He never returned. (“Well done, management! Lose a customer over $2.00!”) And that was about the same time he donated $10 Million Dollars to the University of Minnesota for scholarships. So, clearly, he was not cheap. He just refused to be ripped off. “Millions for defense; not one penny for tribute,” and all that.

Friends: Under what circumstances would you spend four hours to save $9.00? Discuss. Show your work.