fficials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee knew the odds were against them in the fight to block President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran from surviving a congressional vote. But the influential pro-Israel group threw itself into a nearly $30 million advertising and lobbying effort to kill the accord anyway.
On Thursday, the committee, known as Aipac, was handed a stinging defeat. After Mr. Obama mustered enough Democratic backing in the Senate to halt a vote on a resolution of disapproval against the deal, a group known for its political clout saw its power and reputation in Washington diminished.
“They failed — they couldn’t even get a vote,” said Clifford Kupchan, an Iran expert and the chairman of the Eurasia Group, a consulting firm, who noted that Aipac had gone “all in” and tried everything to stop the deal. “It’s among the biggest setbacks for Aipac in recent memory.”
The loss has raised difficult questions about the future of Aipac, a group formed in 1951 just a few years after the birth of Israel. Aipac has long drawn its political potency from its reservoirs of loyalty among members of both parties, but that bipartisan veneer all but vanished in recent weeks as the debate over the Iran deal became increasingly bitter.
Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson told a crowd at Yeshiva University in New York on Tuesday that the only proper negotiating tactic with Iran would be fire a nuclear missile at the country and threaten to wipe out the entire population of Tehran, the nation’s capital.
Adelson, the largest donor to the Republican Party and its affiliated groups, made the comments during a panel discussion hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens and Yeshiva University President Richard Joel. Adelson’s remarks were videotaped by Philip Weiss of the news site Mondoweiss:
What are we going to negotiate about? I would say “Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.” … You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, “OK let it go.” And so there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever. Then you say, “See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes.”
* Slavery not racial.
* Bigger income gap between East / West Europeans, than Black / White Americans.
* Hispanic Household Income > Black Household Income, but Hispanic Individual Income < Black Individual Income. (Hint: Hispanic families are larger.)
* Black families more harmed by welfare than slavery.
* Racism is NOT discrimination.
The Vulgar Pride of Intellectuals
* “At the heart of the social vision prevalent among contemporary intellectuals is the belief that there are ‘problems’ . . . and ‘solutions’ . . .”
* “There has probably never been an era in history when intellectuals have planed a larger role in history than the era in which we live.”
* “Intellectuals give people who have the handicap of poverty the further handicap of a sense of victimhood.”
* Acknowledging that wealth is created (instead of arguing over its distribution) would devestate intellectuals’ world view.
* “[Although intellectuals pay a lot of attentions to inequality among racial groups], seldom . . . has this attention been directed . . . toward how the less economically successfull . . . might improve themselves by availing themselves of the culture of others around them.”
(For example, Scots embraced English language and culture to their great benefit in the mid 19th century.)
* “Black unemployment rates were lower than that of whites as long ago as 1890.”
* Minimum wage laws have wreaked havoc upon black employment.
* “Sweeping claims for the benefits of . . . diversity in innumerable institutions . . . have prevailed without a speck of evidence being asked for or given.”
* “At the same time you’re getting all this mouthing of diversity, there’s an extremely narrow ideological conformity that’s being enforced.”
* “In Chicago (unlike Harvard), economics was a full contact sport.” (HA!)
* “I was a Marxist when I went into Milton Friedman’s course. I was a Marxist when I came out. . . . [and then] I went to work for the government . . . . I realized other people’s well being would never be the priority of politicians and bureaucrats.”
* “The road to hell is paved with Ivy League degrees.”
* “I love the use [Obama’s] of the word opportunity. You know, I had just as much opportunity as Michael Jordan to become an NBA star. It just so happened that there was some difference in skill.”
The Difference Between Liberal and Conservative
Liberal premise: There is nothing in human nature that would cause us to be unhappy. It’s the fact that we have the wrong institutions.
Conservative premise: Man is flawed from day one and there are no solutions, only trade offs.
Most liberal ideas can be destroyed by three questions:
1. Compared to what?
2. At what cost?
3. What hard evidence do you have?
On Occupy Cry Babies
Argo provides the uninitiated Westerner with a crash course in the nature of the Iranian people as if out of some kind of hawkish fairy tale. Not just the regime, the people. In Argo, somewhere amid the exciting escape of six sympathetic American victims, we are treated to hordes of hysterical, screaming, untrustworthy, irrational, bearded and lethal antagonists. Some of them are pivotal characters that advance the plot. Others are just bystanders in seething crowds. It doesn’t seem to matter. The point is, these are the villains. Or more specifically, the Iranians. All of them. There is not one positive Iranian subject in the entire story.
When CIA operative Tony Mendez (the hero, played by Affleck) and the American escapees are trying to make their way through a bazaar in the crowded streets of Tehran, the omnibus nature of the hate-spitting Iranians is reminiscent of costumed characters from a professional wrestling league. In a subtler, earlier scene in which Mendez lands at the Tehran airport, the film makes it clear that every Iranian in sight – from an old man to a young woman – is to be treated with suspicion.
This is to say nothing of the more incendiary moments, such as that of a barking flock of Iranians stomping on an American flag. Scenes like that are clearly meant to arouse the emotions of a Western audience. And in a fiction-meets-reality kind of kismet, here’s a Hollywood movie that finds convenient kinship – and symbiotic validation – in today’s news cycle, as American politicians hammer away at the message that Iran and its people represent the greatest threat to global peace. (Read more)
Ten years before his “red line” speech at the United Nations last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared before the United States Congress and called for bringing down Saddam Hussein before he developed nuclear weapons. (Read more)
The Moment had arrived! I’m talking about that Benghazi Moment, when the axis of elite opinion turns and the Forces of Righteousness come to the rescue — Syria’s internet was down!
Rachel Maddow had one of those “Oh, This is Serious” looks on her face as she solemnly warned us that Something Was Up: that nasty old critter Bashar al-Assad was about to commit Hair-Raising Atrocities “in the dark”! Think of those poor jihadists “rebels” who would have to construct their suicide bombs without downloading the instructions — why, that could be dangerous!
Of course, Maddow knew who was behind this outage, because the US government told her what to believe, and she believed it. So in place of reporting, you know, actual news, she channeled US government officials accusing the Syrian government of this dastardly act.
. . . .
Two days later, our Rachel was “reporting” the imminence of yet another Benghazi Moment — the Syrians, she breathlessly recounted, have Weapons of Mass Destruction! Without referencing her previous false alarm, Maddow once again solemnly informed us the evil Syrian government was about to visit Death and Destruction “on its own people” — you know, just like Saddam Hussein, that other possessor of Weapons of Mass Destruction. (Read more)
Uncritical, fear-mongering media propaganda is far too common to take note of each time it appears, but sometimes, what is produced is so ludicrous that its illustrative value should not be ignored. Such is the case with a highly trumpeted Associated Press “exclusive” from Tuesday which claims in its red headline to have discovered evidence of “Iran Working on Bomb”.
What is this newly discovered, scary evidence? It is a “graph” which AP says was “leaked” to it by “officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon” (how mysterious: the globe is gripped with befuddlement as it tries to guess which country that might be). Here’s how AP presents the graph in all its incriminating, frightening glory:
This, says AP, shows that “Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.” Moreover, “an intelligence summary provided with the drawing” – provided, that is, by the mysterious “country critical of Iran’s atomic program” – “linked [the graph] to other alleged nuclear weapons work – significant because it would indicate that Iran is working not on isolated experiments, but rather on a single program aimed at mastering all aspects of nuclear arms development.”
Where to begin? First, note that AP granted anonymity here not merely to an individual but to an entire country. What’s the proffered justification for doing so? The officials wanted it, so AP gave it: “officials provided the diagram only on condition that they and their country not be named.” That’s very accommodating of AP.
Binyamin Netanyahu UN with bomb Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a diagram illustrating Iran’s nuclear programme.
Second, this graph – which is only slightly less hilariously primitive than the one Benjamin Netanyahu infamously touted with a straight face at the UN – has Farsi written under it to imbue it with that menacing Iranian-ish feel, but also helpfully uses English to ensure that US audiences can easily drink up its scariness. As The Atlantic’s Robert Wright noted: “How considerate of the Iranians to label their secret nefarious nuke graph in English!”. It’s certainly possible that Iranian scientists use English as a universal language of science, but the convenient mixing of Farsi and English should at least trigger some skepticism.
Third, even if one assumes that this graph is something other than a fraud, the very idea that computer simulations constitute “evidence” that Iran is working toward a nuclear weapon is self-evidently inane. (Read more)
From earlier this month:
Many bazaar merchants had closed their shops the day before and authorities reported arrests amid efforts to clampdown on black market money exchangers, who effectively set the rates around the country. Trash bins were set ablaze during sporadic confrontations with security forces.
The Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran said 16 people have been detained for “disrupting” the currency — an apparent reference to speculators trying to take advantage of the rial’s declining value.
Iran’s rial has lost nearly 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in the past week. The rate Thursday — about 32,000 rials for the dollar — was a bit higher than the record low earlier this week. (Read more)