Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday roundup

How shameful and imperiling was the Iran nuke deal? We're just now grasping the full magnitude, per Politico:

Obama, the senior official and other administration representatives weren’t telling the whole story on Jan. 17, 2016, in their highly choreographed rollout of the prisoner swap and simultaneous implementation of the six-party nuclear deal, according to a POLITICO investigation.

In his Sunday morning address to the American people, Obama portrayed the seven men he freed as “civilians.” The senior official described them as businessmen convicted of or awaiting trial for mere “sanctions-related offenses, violations of the trade embargo.”

In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware. As part of the deal, U.S. officials even dropped their demand for $10 million that a jury said the aerospace engineer illegally received from Tehran.

And in a series of unpublicized court filings, the Justice Department dropped charges and international arrest warrants against 14 other men, all of them fugitives. The administration didn’t disclose their names or what they were accused of doing, noting only in an unattributed, 152-word statement about the swap that the U.S. “also removed any Interpol red notices and dismissed any charges against 14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful.” 

Three of the fugitives allegedly sought to lease Boeing aircraft for an Iranian airline that authorities say had supported Hezbollah, the U.S.-designated terrorist organization. A fourth, Behrouz Dolatzadeh, was charged with conspiring to buy thousands of U.S.-made assault rifles and illegally import them into Iran.

A fifth, Amin Ravan, was charged with smuggling U.S. military antennas to Hong Kong and Singapore for use in Iran. U.S. authorities also believe he was part of a procurement network providing Iran with high-tech components for an especially deadly type of IED used by Shiite militias to kill hundreds of American troops in Iraq.

The biggest fish, though, was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with being part of a conspiracy that from 2005 to 2012 procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran via China. That included hundreds of U.S.-made sensors for the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran whose progress had prompted the nuclear deal talks in the first place. 

When federal prosecutors and agents learned the true extent of the releases, many were shocked and angry. Some had spent years, if not decades, working to penetrate the global proliferation networks that allowed Iranian arms traders both to obtain crucial materials for Tehran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs and, in some cases, to provide dangerous materials to other countries.

“They didn’t just dismiss a bunch of innocent business guys,” said one former federal law enforcement supervisor centrally involved in the hunt for Iranian arms traffickers and nuclear smugglers. “And then they didn’t give a full story of it.”

In its determination to win support for the nuclear deal and prisoner swap from Tehran — and from Congress and the American people — the Obama administration did a lot more than just downplay the threats posed by the men it let off the hook, according to POLITICO’s findings. 

Through action in some cases and inaction in others, the White House derailed its own much-touted National Counterproliferation Initiative at a time when it was making unprecedented headway in thwarting Iran’s proliferation networks. In addition, the POLITICO investigation found that Justice and State Department officials denied or delayed requests from prosecutors and agents to lure some key Iranian fugitives to friendly countries so they could be arrested. Similarly, Justice and State, at times in consultation with the White House, slowed down efforts to extradite some suspects already in custody overseas, according to current and former officials and others involved in the counterproliferation effort.

And as far back as the fall of 2014, Obama administration officials began slow-walking some significant investigations and prosecutions of Iranian procurement networks operating in the U.S. These previously undisclosed findings are based on interviews with key participants at all levels of government and an extensive review of court records and other documents.
“Clearly, there was an embargo on any Iranian cases,” according to the former federal supervisor.
Jazz Shaw at Hot Air has the must-read take on Fearless Girl:

 It’s a similarly generic work in bronze, adequately depicting a young girl in a skirt with her hands on her hips throwing her chest out. If it were placed opposite a similar statue of an older woman in an apron with her arms crossed, the title of the piece might well have been, “Girl Throwing Temper Tantrum.” But when you put her in front of the bull [which has been displayed in a little public park just off Wall Street for years], she’s suddenly a symbol of standing up to the man or whatever other magic you wish to imbue in the totem. Either of these figures standing alone could represent almost anything. But juxtapositioned as they are, a new meaning offers itself up if you care to find one.
Returning to [bull sculptor Arturo] Di Modica’s point, it once again all comes back to context and the infinitely variable responses we have to art. One recent segment on cable news featured a woman standing in front of Fearless Girl weeping as she described how seeing the piece moved her to tears. I’m not unsympathetic to that, even if I don’t have the same response myself. I worked for several years with a woman who regularly used the same phrase as she recounted how she too was moved to tears the first time she saw an exhibit of Jackson Pollock paintings in a museum. I have zero doubt as to her sincerity, even though I’ve personally always thought that all of Pollock’s paintings could have been named Explosion at Paint Factory and sold off at a farmer’s market.
But all that rigid gender distinction is rapidly becoming so yesterday:

Trans-activist Riley J. Dennis says having ‘genital preferences’ in dating is transphobic.
Yes, you read that correctly. If you’re a man who wants your woman to have a vagina you’re a bigot.
Dennis released a video at about his theory on “cissexism”, which he says is interchangeable with “transphobia” and means “prejudice or discrimination against trans people.”
My head is spinning. So, you’re born gay, you’re born trans, but no one is born straight. Straight people are just bigots.
Got it….I think.
To quote Dennis:
[People] might argue that being attracted to women without vaginas in no way negatively affects trans people, but on the other hand I would argue it’s more complicated than that. We all have our implicit biases built into our preferences and gender isn’t as simple as just the genitals you have.
Speaking of vaginas, they figure into the final confirmation that Bill Nye should never be trotted out as any kind of science authority or other type of serious human being:

A clip of Bill Nye’s latest television show promotes transgenderism and other gender identities as hard science, and it’s performing horribly on YouTube, as of Monday.
“My Sex Junk,” published on YouTube Sunday, features actress Rachel Bloom singing a song about transgenders, gay sex, and how sexuality is a fluid concept. The clip comes from an episode of Bill Nye’s show “Bill Nye Saves The World.”

“Sexuality’s a spectrum, everyone is on it. Even you might like it if you sit up on it,” Bloom sings on stage. “Drag king, drag queen just do what feels right.”
Bloom also delves into a bizarre chant where she laments a world in which you have only two choices between gender identity: male or female.
“This world of ours is so full of choice. But must I choose between only John or Joyce? Are my options only hard or moist? My vagina has its own voice,” Bloom sings.

Claudia Rossett at PJ Media reminds us that, along with the strategic threat North Korea poses, we must never lose sight of its status as the world's premier human-rights horror.


  1. Re: the Politico revelations, let us rejoice and be glad that the lying has stopped, snooping is no more, hawks rule, let's roll....

  2. Well, "roll" is kind of a vague term, but I'd certainly go with "let's find a way to scrap this bad deal and treat the Iranian regime like the evil pariah that it is."

  3. Well, "roll" is kind of a vague term, but I'd certainly go with "let's find a way to scrap this bad deal and treat the Iranian regime like the evil pariah that it is."

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  5. China and Russia are lining up troops in the Korean theater. We may finally find out what Ole Ike feared so much back in the day. Maybe he was just a snowflake.

  6. Anyhow, there is a lot of explaining to do. I just heard the author of the Politico piece on Brian Kilmeade. Yes, it sounds like we got snookered. The Iranians and all our other enemies knew the wind might blow differently in a society such as ours that kind of see-saws from hawk to dove. At any rate, we got the nukes, gave 'em to Israel who won't publicly admit it and have already preempted this century and what we called saving the world from Communism was also preemptive as well. Common sense tells them that the US will preempt again. And of course we will under Trump. So, whatever weaponry they have been able to snooker will quite likely be used. Let's roll. Again.....