The Mullahs: Still Crazy After All These Years

Barack Obama intends the centerpiece of his foreign policy legacy to be a de facto alliance with Iran–a stroke so brilliant that only he could think of it. The U.S. will set Iran up as the dominant regional power in the Middle East, in part by allowing it to develop the nuclear capability for which its rulers have long yearned, and in exchange, Iran will keep the peace and subdue troublesome upstarts like ISIS. To someone who grew up thinking that the call to prayer from a minaret is one of the most beautiful sounds on Earth, this might make some kind of sense. To those of us forced to live in the real world, it is bonkers.

Let’s test the idea that the mullahs are rational (from our perspective) actors with whom we can partner in pursuit of peace. FARS is the semi-official Iranian news service that reliably reflects the views of Iran’s government. Conveniently, it publishes in English as well as Farsi. This provides us with glimpses into the minds of the mullahs that are by no means reassuring. Consider two stories that have appeared on FARS in the last 24 hours.

The first relates to ISIS. Iran is bitterly hostile to ISIS, not because it objects to ISIS’s horrific brutality–in Iran, they hang homosexuals from cranes rather than pushing them off buildings–but rather, because ISIS is trying to horn in on Iran’s territory. Still, opposing ISIS would be good in principle, but for one thing: the mullahs are convinced that the U.S. is secretly aiding ISIS.

A group of Iraqi popular forces known as Al-Hashad Al-Shabi shot down the US Army helicopter that was carrying weapons for the ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province on Thursday.

Last week, Head of the Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee Hakem al-Zameli announced that the helicopters of the US-led anti-ISIL coalition were dropping weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL terrorists in the Southern parts of Tikrit.

He underscored that he had documents and photos showing that the US Apache helicopters airdropped foodstuff and weapons for the ISIL. …

Last Monday, a senior lawmaker disclosed that Iraq’s army had shot down two British planes as they were carrying weapons for the ISIL terrorists in Al-Anbar province. …

The senior Iraqi legislator further unveiled that the government in Baghdad is receiving daily reports from people and security forces in al-Anbar province on numerous flights by the US-led coalition planes that airdrop weapons and supplies for ISIL in terrorist-held areas.

The Iraqi lawmaker further noted the cause of such western aids to the terrorist group, and explained that the US prefers a chaotic situation in Anbar Province which is near the cities of Karbala and Baghdad as it does not want the ISIL crisis to come to an end.

Do Iran’s leaders actually believe this nonsense? Who knows? But they say it publicly, and they announce it to their people. The U.S. is the Great Satan, so why shouldn’t we be allied with ISIS?

Here is another one, also from earlier today. It relates to the current turmoil in Argentina, which is in part the long-delayed result of the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AIMA), a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Iran’s rulers have a novel theory about the bombing: Israel did it!

An advisor to the former Argentinean president disclosed that Israel’s internal spy agency, Shin Bet, was responsible for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA center in Buenos Aires.

“The AMIA blast was aimed at discouraging the (former) Israeli president from signing a peace treaty with the Palestinians and Shin Bet was behind repeated explosions and finally the AMIA blast” to the same end, Juan Gabriel Labake, the advisor to former Argentinean president (1990-1992) and parliamentarian (1973-1976), told FNA on Saturday.

The AMIA blast was an intelligence operation fulfilled under the impact of internal conflicts in Israel over the endorsement or non-endorsement of the peace treaty with the Palestinians, he added.

Asked about the reason for choosing Argentina for the operations, Labake said Argentina was a country with a weak government and its media were under the influence of the Israeli lobbies and, therefore, Shin Bet could easily materialize its goals in the country.

Actually, it is virtually certain that the mullahs themselves were behind the bombing, which killed 85 people and wounded many more.

Are Iran’s rulers crazy or evil? Take your pick. Either way, the idea that the U.S. can forge a strategic partnership with Iran, in which we rely on Iran as the dominant, nuclear-equipped, peace-keeping Middle Eastern power, is delusional.

Anti-Semitism at UCLA

Is anti-Semitism alive and well on America’s college campuses? In the video below, UCLA’s student council deliberates over the application of Rachel Beyda for a position on the university’s judicial board. Ms. Beyda is acknowledged to be “qualified, for sure” and “a great candidate, obviously.” Yet there is a problem. “I just worry about her affiliations.” She is “a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community.” The student council voted not to appoint Ms. Beyda to the judicial board:

Happily, the decision was later reversed. Still, the extent to which anti-Semitism has gone mainstream in universities is shocking.

Via Jeffrey Goldberg on Twitter.

Goodbye to Eric Holder, With One Question

Eric Holder is on his way out, thankfully. In a farewell interview with Politico, he demonstrated again why he was unfit to be Attorney General. He trashes his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales:

I had to take a Justice Department that was in shambles, you know, when I got here: political hiring, political firing, exclusion of career people from decision making for political reasons.

Someone in Gonzales’s Justice Department tried to bring a little diversity to the almost monolithically liberal department by hiring a few conservatives, and got slapped down for it. Holder continues:

And so, I had to rebuild the department, put in place people who I thought would share my — my view of what this department ought to be.

But wait! How is “put[ting] in place people who…would share my view of what this department ought to be” different from “political hiring”? In fact, it was Holder, not Gonzales, who brought an unprecedented degree of politicization to DOJ. But Politico’s Mike Allen, a fellow Democrat, fawns uncritically.

He asks Holder about the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin cases:

MIKE ALLEN: Travyon Martin’s mother says George Zimmerman got away with murder. You’re writing a letter to Trayvon’s mother, his parents, what will it say?

AG. HOLDER: Well, I’m going to try to — it’s yeah — I’m going to pen a letter to them. -I’ve worked on it already, and I think I’d like to kind of keep that personal. …

MIKE ALLEN: And it looks like no federal charges in Ferguson or Trayvon. I’m a young African-American. What do I think?

AG. HOLDER: Well, I would say, first, I would note I have not announced anything with regard to — to Ferguson. …

MIKE ALLEN: Mr. Attorney General, are the standards of the civil rights laws too high for you to make cases in instances like this?

AG. HOLDER: I mean that’s certainly something that I’m going to want to talk about before I leave. I think some serious consideration needs to be given to the standard of proof that has to be met before federal involvement is appropriate, and that’s something that I am going to be talking about before — before I leave office.

MIKE ALLEN: And in what sense have you come to realize that the standards in the civil rights laws are too high?

AG. HOLDER: Well, I think that if we adjust those standards, we can make the federal government a better backstop, make us more a part of the process in an appropriate way to reassure the American people that decisions are made by people who are really disinterested, and I think that if we make those adjustments, we will have that capacity.

Those pesky laws keep getting in the way! It is hard to imagine what Holder means by “standard of proof.” The laws they are talking about are criminal (principally 18 U.S.C. §242, which could apply to Ferguson, and 18 U.S.C. §249, which could apply to the Martin/Zimmerman case), and the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Finally, Allen asks Holder whether people opposed him because of his race:

MIKE ALLEN: Now, there clearly have been times more recently since then when you have felt disrespected on Capitol Hill. How much of that do you think relates to race?

AG. HOLDER: It’s hard to say. You know, hard to look into people’s minds, you know, their hearts.

MIKE ALLEN: But were there times when you thought that was a piece of it?

AG. HOLDER: Yeah, there have been times when I thought that’s at least a piece of it.

MIKE ALLEN: Now, the piece of it that was racial, how did that make you feel?

This is the kind of tough questioning that Democrats get from “reporters.” A more appropriate question would have been, Since pretty much everyone who holds a high federal office gets criticized, what reason do you have to think that criticism of you had anything to do with race?

But I actually have a different question for Eric Holder: Your predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, was mercilessly savaged by Democrats. In fact, you savaged him in this very interview. Were Democrats’ criticisms of Gonzales based on race? And if not, why not?

When All You Have Is a Hammer. . .

You almost have to have some sympathy for Rep. Raul Grijalva, given that he’s a slave to the crudely Marxist reductionist view that economic interest determines everything. It has been the fundamental driving principle of the left for a very long time. When all you have is a hammer. . .

By coincidence, as Grijalva was rolling out his Climate Blacklist this week, I happened to be rereading portions of G.K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man. Chapter VII, “The War of Gods and Demons,” begins as follows:

The materialist theory of history, that all politics and ethics are the expression of economics, is a very simple fallacy indeed. It consists simply of confusing the necessary conditions of life with the normal preoccupations of life, that are quite a different thing. It is like saying that because a man can only walk on two legs, therefore he never walks about except to buy shoes and stockings. Man cannot live without the two props of food and drink, which support him like two legs; but to suggest that they have been the motives of all his movements in history is like saying that the goal of all his military marches or religious pilgrimages must have been the Golden Leg of Miss Kilmansegg or the idea and perfect leg of Sir Willoughby of Patterne. But it is such movements that make up the story of mankind and without them there would be practically no story at all. Cows may be purely economic, in the sense that we cannot see that they do much beyond grazing and seeking better grazing grounds; and that is why a history of cows in twelve volumes would not be very lively reading.

Let me suggest in passing that a history of cows in twelve volumes would likely be better than much of the academic writing in social science today. But save that for another occasion. The history of the climate change campaign is going to be similarly tedious in the fullness of time.

Netanyahu’s moment

The coming deal with Iran represents folly of a Chamberlainite proportion. One can easily see it in the administration’s prebuttal of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech, reported in today’s New York Times story by David Sanger and Michael Gordon. I hear the voice of Susan Rice in the unnamed administration official quoted by the Times. Whoever it is speaks out of the love that dare not be identified with his or her own name.

Now we too can know how Churchill felt when Chamberlain proclaimed that he had achieved “peace for our time” with Hitler at Munich. It’s not a good feeling.

What is to be done? The Senate has unanimously passed a resolution welcoming Benjamin Netanyahu to the United States for his speech before a joint session of Congress. Adam Kredo reports on the resolution here. I take it the resolution passed on a voice vote so that Democrats would not be identified with it by name. They can welcome Netanyahu and still protest his speech by skipping it.

Vice President Biden and Secretary Kerry will of course be pursuing other interests when Netanyahu speaks before Congress.

Netanyahu is of course speaking out before Congress on Tuesday against the coming deal with Iran. I haven’t read a better backgrounder than the BESA paper by Brig. Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser (res.) titled “The struggle over the Iranian nuclear program.” Like the Munich Agreement, the coming deal entails consequences which will travel far with us along our road.

In her current column Caroline Glick sets the moment of Netanyahu’s speech in the context of the past six years of the Age of Obama. Glick notes how far Netanyahu has bent to accommodate the wishes of President Obama. Glick’s conclusion is addressed to her Israeli readers, but it hits home here as well:

Netanyahu is not coming to Washington next Tuesday to warn Congress against Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, because he seeks a fight with Obama. Netanyahu has devoted the last six years to avoiding a fight with Obama, often at great cost to Israel’s national security and to his own political position.

Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama has left him no choice. And all decent people of good will should support him, and those who do not, and those who are silent, should be called out for their treachery and cowardice.

The genocidal mania of Iran has been the focus of Netanyahu’s concerns for at least the past 20 years. Bill Kristol rightly calls this “Netanyahu’s moment.” Netanyahu can and will lay out the argument — no one can do it better — but he can’t give us the will to do something about it. For that we’re on our own.

The Week in Pictures: #FreeTheGrijalva7 Edition

Really, I haven’t had this much fun since Climategate (which, incidentally, I’ll be revisiting in the next couple of days).  But if you really want to see what a theater of the absurd the environmental world has become, check out the story about Sharon Stone being sued for backing out of an anti-Chevron protest in Eucador.  Seriously?  Sharon Stone is your protest headliner?  What—Leo DiCaprio wasn’t available?  Anyway, this week’s Grijalvations provide a good excuse to round up a “best of” climate material from Weeks past, plus one or two new ones.  Because why haven’t we heard from Al Gore yet?  But first up, lookie what I discovered on the trail map of the ski mountain where I’m currently looking for global warming.  I may have to wander by and snap a selfie.

Power Line

I swear I thought Greenpeace was a credible organization. Now what am I gong to do with all these Green Weenie Awards?

I swear I thought Greenpeace was a credible organization. Now what am I going to do with all these Green Weenie Awards?

Don'tcha just hate it when a House Dem backbencher makes a fool of the climate campaign?

Don’tcha just hate it when a House Dem backbencher makes a fool of the climate campaign?

Never forget.

Never forget.

Gore Noah copy Gore copy

Church of Climatology copy

Is Pachauri giving Gore tips on releasing his chakra?

No, no, Al: you hold your Green Weenie Award this way!

Climate Colder Winters copy Gore Marked Down copy

Seen Gore Lately? copy Climate Causes Everything copy

Weather copy Gore meme scandal copy

Gore Flamethrower copy IPCC HQ copy Climate Skeptic copy Debate Over copy

Dyson copy Peer Review copy

Hillary Denier copy

Michael Mann: Don'tcha just hate it when a Dem House backbencher. . . oh wait, Al already said this.

Michael Mann: Don’tcha just hate it when a Dem House backbencher. . . oh wait, Al already said this.

Mann Torture copy

Mann Cartoon copy

The perfect spokesman for the climate campaign.

Caption contest!

More ISIS Jobs copy Crusades again copy

Obama Pearl Harbor copy

50 Shades of Bray copy Biden Harris copy

Obama Keystone copy Dissent Hypcrisy copy

Obamacare Non Oscar copy

Net Neutrality copy

Clinton Dress copy

Hide Potato copy X-men copy Receive Bacon copy Pie Area copy To Be or Not copy Darth Heimlich copy

Stool Sample copy

Thumb Drives copy

Thellma and Llouise

Thellma and Llouise

And finally. . .

Hot 20Y copy

Are Washington Republicans Incompetent?

It is almost unbelievable how badly Congressional Republicans have botched their opposition to President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty and the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. The House, under John Boehner’s direction, did the right thing: it passed a bill that fully funded DHS, but barred spending to implement the amnesty that has now been declared illegal by a federal court. The action then moved to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried repeatedly to bring the House measure to the floor for a vote. Four times, the Democrats filibustered the DHS funding bill.

As a result of the Democrats’ filibuster, DHS was in danger of running out of money. That put Republicans in a strong position. All they had to do was…nothing. If they didn’t blink, pressure on the Democrats to fund DHS would prove irresistible. It’s not for nothing the voters gave the GOP a majority, right?

Instead, Mitch McConnell backed off. He gave in to Harry Reid’s demands, even though Reid was surely bluffing, and the Senate passed a “clean” DHS funding bill that did nothing to block the illegal amnesty. That put the House in an untenable position. With the clock ticking down to the last hours before DHS ran out of money, it was now Republicans–not Democrats–who were standing in the way of funding the Department.

Having been sold out by the Senate, House Republicans bowed to the inevitable. John Boehner tried to pass a three-week funding extension, but didn’t have the votes. At the last possible moment, the House fell back to a seven-day extension, with Democrats providing the needed margin of support. The seven-day extension can have no possible purpose other than to give Republicans an opportunity to beat an orderly retreat.

If the Republicans wanted to arm their enemies, they couldn’t have done a better job. This is the New York Times’ triumphant account:

Republicans vowing to govern effectively as a congressional majority failed a fundamental test Friday, when House leaders managed to narrowly pass only a seven-day funding extension to avert a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security just hours before money was to run out.

That’s a news story, not an opinion column. But it’s hard to blame the Democrats for exulting. They were in a corner; they had no cards to play; the voters have ejected them from the majority in both chambers; their objective was to keep alive a patently illegal program that had already been declared so by a federal judge. And the Republicans still couldn’t manage to pull out a victory.

Politics is like anything else: if you want to succeed, you have to be good at it. As best I can tell, Washington Republicans aren’t. We need new leadership, and we need it now.