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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I wish all of my six readers a very Merry Christmas from the wonderful state of North Carolina.

I working on a piece of Trump, Year One and hope to have it out soon, but now is the time to be happy to be free of the Caliban!


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Disconnect

I am not an economist, and don't play one on the internet. I, however, do keep an eye on my finances, and have protected my little nest egg relatively successfully -- I, after all, am Jewish.

I have been following the twists and turns of the latest tax bill, and listening to the hyperbolic talking points unleashed against it by our old friends, the so-called progressives. It seems that we are all going to die! Well, I mean, of course, those of us will die who have not already been killed by Brexit, the election of Trump, the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, the end of "net neutrality," and the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The craziness of the progressives is, once again, on display.

I wrote a long time ago (May 31, 2011) that modern democracy has turned into a battle between the voters and the taxpayers. The two groups increasingly do not overlap,
[T]he real source of the crises facing the major currencies, and, in fact, our core economic well-being . . . all comes down to a very simple and basic fact. The western nations have developed societies where those who pay for government services, in general, are not the ones benefitting from the services. In the United States, for example, we have the top one percent of earners paying 38-41% of all Federal income tax. We have nearly half of Americans who pay no income tax, and another large percentage 15-20% who pay minimal income tax (and lets not even get into "Earned Income Tax Credits".) We essentially have a society where some 25% of the income earners pay close to 90% of all Federal income taxes. That 25% does not consume anywhere near 90% of the services provided by the Feds.
We have a major political party, the world's oldest, the Democrat Party, that has decided to throw its lot in with the voters and ignore the taxpayers. It's not a totally stupid short-to-medium-term policy, although ultimately it leads to Venezuela, Greece, and Detroit. The Democrat base is increasingly composed of people who do not pay income taxes or who directly benefit from those and other taxes. The Dem voters are those on the public dole (including in Virginia, felons), those who work for a variety of public or semi-public organizations (including NGOs who rely on favorable tax laws), and in fields such as academia, the law, media, entertainment, and other occupations removed from the nitty-gritty of the real and productive economy. In other words, most of them don't have to meet payrolls. They do not have to engage in make-or-break investment decisions; they live in a fantasy bubble. The Dem Party also has a curious assortment of billionaires who have made it themselves, love virtue signaling, and really don't care if others can't make it because of the policies advocated by the Dems; those who can't make it are put on the dole controlled by the Democrat Party machine. Win-win.

The GOP tax plan is hardly, despite what its most ardent supporters proclaim, a revolutionary break with the past. It does make a very useful reduction in the absurdly high corporate tax, and should encourage investment in the US and job creation. Jobs! Good! It probably put another (fatal?) bullet into Obamacare by eliminating the penalty for failure to sign up. All good. It, however, doesn't do much with the taxes paid by the wealthy, with most of them probably paying about the same as they do now, and some paying more as they find that the break they get for paying taxes to high-tax states is capped, as is interest on "super" mortgages. It did not eliminate the idiotic death tax. Full disclosure: My preliminary calculations show that I end up about the same as before, so . . ..

The GOP tax plan is most certainly not the death sentence its strident opponents pretend to believe it. That does not and will not stop the Dems from their crazy talk. That's all they have left on the left, well, that and a hope that the blight of economic ignorance will continue to spread across the Western world.

Disconnect.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Traitor

Once, again, I apologize to the six people who care at all for the long break between posts. You all know my excuses, so I won't repeat them.

I just finished reading a piece in Politico--not normally one of my go-to journals--which if even remotely accurate is an outrage that makes all the other Obama Misadministration outrages pale by comparison. The article by Josh Meyer, "The Secret Story of How Obama let Hezbollah Off the Hook," is, in my view, well-written and appears/appears well-sourced, and quite believable. Read it for yourselves; you don't need me to tell you if something is good or bad, real or fake.

It seems like something out of some heated tin-foil hat Hollywood conspiracy movie in which good cops are closing in on the evil ones only to be told to "Stand down!" by a cabal of White House and State Department flunkies responding to orders from political superiors.

The article, as you will see, details how the White House and the State Department in their rush to get a deal with Iran on nukes, shut down a DEA/intel operation, "Project Cassandra," which had mapped out Iran-based Hezbollah's enormous international terrorist and criminal organization and its  engagement in terror, of course, murder for hire, money laundering, and drug and gun trafficking among other nefarious deeds. It, for example, helped finance its operations by shipping cocaine into the US and Europe. The DEA knew this and was working to shut it down, when the White House and State told them, you guessed it, "Stand down!"

Obama and Kerry, it seems, wanted absolutely nothing to get in the way of their "historic" deal, which I long ago labeled as fake. Not even I, an absolute opponent and detestor of the Obama Misadministration, could have thought that those scoundrels would go so far in their bid to undermine America and the West.

I am beyond outraged; this might be even worse than "Fast and Furious."

If DOJ doesn't get on this, there is no hope for any of us in defeating the Deep State.

Lock'im up!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Alabama

As I write this it appears that Judge Moore will lose the special election in Alabama to replace Jeff Sessions. It seems, unless there is some challenge, that Doug Jones, Democrat, will take that "safe" Republican seat. This is not good for many reasons and for many people.

The Trump agenda is already having trouble in the Senate with the thin and fickle Republican majority. The President, and those of us who voted for him, cannot count on the likes of McCain and several others to help pull the plug on the DC swamp. Now, of course, again, Jones will serve the two years remaining on Sessions' term, and then stand for re-election. It seems highly likely that a Republican will replace him. I think. I hope. Who knows?

This is not good for the nation's politics. The Democrats are likely going to think they have a winning formula here which they can use at will throughout the political world, to wit, make the election, with the help of the media, about the character and personal life of a Republican opponent, and downplay the positions of the Democrat, in effect, making the Democrat invisible. During the Alabama special election, for example, one hardly saw mention of Moore's opponent: what did he advocate? It turns out he's pretty much a typical progressive, and the Dems found it convenient not to exhibit his beliefs and prescriptions in conservative Alabama. Instead, they focused on the politics of personal destruction, a repeat of what they tried with Trump. Moore, however, was no Trump, and just could not fend off the barrage of accusations hurled at him on a daily basis from a variety of accusers and their media enablers. It became impossible to separate fact from fiction, the credible from the incredible. I, for one, do not believe the accusations against Moore: it doesn't make sense that he was a rapid perv some forty years ago, and then suddenly stopped. No evidence, except a forged yearbook entry, was presented, instead the media gleefully went along with the unproven "pedo" label for Moore. We' re going to see that again and again.

This is not good for Al Franken and others of his ilk. That imbecile, for one, will now have no excuse not to resign. It will also not be good news for a number of politicians who will face accusations of a similar nature and will find that there is no longer due process: a lot of those are going to be Democrats as the gates are now open to these sort of accusations, be they authentic or not. Bill Clinton could not have survived in today's atmosphere. The coarsening of the debate will be immense.

The North Koreans work on their weapons of mass destruction in cooperation, it seems, with Iran. The jihadis continue to overrun Europe. The EU lectures us on not making a competitive tax regime. We will be debating whether somebody did something "inappropriate" forty years ago.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Prog Weirdness Goes On

What passes for journalism in America took some major hits this week, or better said, inflicted some serious wounds on its already tattered reputation.

CNN, the most busted name in news!

Among other self-inflicted injuries we had the nonsense about candidate Trump directing his team to meet, i.e., "collude," with the Russians. It turned out, of course, that it was President-elect Trump, with the tacit OK of the Obama State Department, that asked this team to meet members of the UNSC to discuss the MidEast. This little bit of "gotcha" misreporting cost the stock market several hundred points, and led ABC to suspend for four weeks a well-known fabricator who appears daily on their broadcasts.

We also saw, of course, that CNN reported--"Gotcha!"--that Donald Trump, and his son Don, had received an email on September 4, 2016 alerting them to a Wikileaks cache of hacked DNC emails, and "encryption" code. It turned out to be nonsense with the hapless maliciously-intended CNN journalist apparently not seeing the email and misreporting its date. It turned out it was September 14, well after Wikileaks already had released the DNC info to the public, and it had appeared in several publications and websites.

The bizarre by-election in Alabama took another drive into the Twilight Zone when one of Moore's principal accusers admitted that she had forged at least part of the entry in her high school yearbook allegedly put there by Roy Moore. The lefties did not know what to do with that so they tried to ignore it and deflect by claiming that there were still "lots" of credible accusations of sexual misconduct against Moore . . . yeah, sure. And the coverage of the abominable Al Franken? The less said about that lying creep, the better, except to not that despite the press reporting to the contrary he has not resigned from the Senate, and I would give it 50/50 that if/when Moore wins, Franken will try to stay on. The media, of course, has virtually ignored the trial of Senator Menendez, one in which he faced credible, there's that word, accusations of corruption and cavorting with underage prostitutes.

And, of course, we have increasing evidence--as if it were needed--that the Mueller Russia probe is an expensive bunch of partisan nonsense. One of the chief investigators, it turns out, played a major role in helping Hillary avoid prosecution, and made no secret in texts to his fellow DOJ lover of his hatred for Donald Trump. Other information is coming out, despite media efforts to downplay or ignore it, that Mueller's staff is rife with anti-Trumpsters out to get the President, and that FBI has been heavily politicized, as commented here last year.

It's all too, too weird. But, but, but, just imagine if Trump had not won the election . . . .

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The President Does the Right Thing

I am sure that the majority of my former colleagues at the State Department are besides themselves. Cries of "He did what?" "Jerusalem? He gave it to Israel!" "It's the end of the world!" or something more radical than that are echoing the long increasing desolate and irrelevant halls of State in the wake of President Trump's announcement that the US would now recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Israel, after all, is the only country in the world "not allowed" to designate its own capital.

Change is not something State does or deals with well. I remember being in a meeting back in the early 1980s at State when a senior official of the Reagan Administration told a group of us that the Reagan Administration fully intended to "roll back" the Soviet empire and put an end to the Soviet threat. The President, he said, was adamant that we would not be prisoners to past policies. Soviet Communism could and would be defeated, not merely managed. I remember thinking "Wow!" or something equally as profound; some of my colleagues afterwards, however, were scoffing, and making comments about how the Reagan people were "really, really dumb." The USSR, they said, was not going anywhere; we would have to deal with them, in essence, forever. Ah, yes . . .

We are now seeing another moment of apoplexy by the bien pensants who tell us that the world is going to end because the President has recognized the capital of Israel as the capital of Israel. Facts are hard things for certain types. Trump's acknowledgment of reality, they tell us, is going to get us all killed; it is going to put an end to the "peace process," and give the Muslim world YET another reason to murder us in our own cities. OK.

So, if the President merely had gone along with the past 70 years of fantasy, and with the giving in to the Islamic crazies, peace would have broken out? We've had so much peace in the MidEast over these past seven decades, I guess, that it would be irresponsible to put that at risk. Is that the argument? Not too convincing.

I also guess it was anticipation of Trump's 2017 decision that led to 9/11, 7/7, Nice, Paris, San Bernardino . . . yeah, sure. I am sure that the European countries now loudly opposed to Trump's decision have nothing to fear from radical Islamic terror, no way would the Islamists hurt their "friends."

President Trump did the right thing.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Free, At Last

Made it to my home in North Carolina. The sale on my house in California closed; I got my money. I am free of California!

The trek across the USA was quite delightful. I had never been on the I-40 and must consider it a major piece of engineering. Superb highway. I found the countryside exceptionally beautiful, especially in Oklahoma and Tennessee, not to mention the Appalachians in North Carolina. Everywhere I went the people were great: kind, polite, humorous. We have got ourselves a magnificent country, no doubt about it.

We can't, we just can't let the progs ruin it.

And God knows they're trying.

As soon as I get myself straightened out, I want to write about the unbelievable assault now underway by the progs on our nation, its history, culture, and institutions.

Give me a couple of days to build up the steam.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Flagstaff at Half

Tired. Doing a passable impression of "low energy Jeb." Sitting in a dog friendly motel off of I-40 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

My two dogs are eying me suspiciously and wondering when I am going to upset their life pattern, yet again. We just spent much of the day in the Chevy Silverado driving from Southern California on our way to North Carolina, seeing some genuinely beautiful countryside, by the way. The poor canines had no idea their tranquil and predictable world of walks and frolics in the mild California sun would come to an end when they jumped into the cabin this morning. They are uneasy in the motel room, and keep wanting to get back into the truck. They don't know that tomorrow we are doing an even longer leg of our ongoing exodus from Blue Cali to Red NC.

Have followed some of the news. Not much makes too much sense, well, not in a world of logic and disinterested reason.

It seems that every liberal icon is some sort of seething pervert who can't wait to stop mouthing his virtuous feminist platitudes and start the bacchanal with whatever female is handy. There is something seriously wrong in private prog world. Hollywood burns and it warms my cold conservative heart.

The verdict in the Kate Steinle case also makes no sense. A despicable illegal alien piece of human filth who repeatedly violated our laws, and defied deportation, openly murdered a young woman in San Francisco in broad daylight and in the presence of multiple witnesses. A SF jury, of course, found him not guilty of murder, and convicted him only on a relatively minor gun charge. The Feds better jump in on this and charge him with everything under the Federal sun, including civil rights violations.

The Flynn story also makes little rational sense. He has pled guilty to lying to the FBI by not accurately stating that he had a meeting with Russian officials (and others). The prog media is having a field day concluding, apparently, that Flynn's guilty plea is an admission that there was "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Putin. Nonsense. Flynn's meeting with the Russians took place AFTER the election and nothing discussed, it seems, was illegal. Guilty of an infraction of the Logan Act? I don't know since nobody has ever been convicted in the nearly 220 year history of the Logan Act. Not clear it is even Constitutional. I would note, by the way, that Obama, private citizen Obama, has been traveling overseas and meeting with foreign officials--a much more direct "violation" of the Logan Act than what Flynn did. And let's not even discuss young John Kerry's past Logan Act violations . . . Paris Peace Conference anyone?

I still see no sign that anybody is going to investigate blatant Mexican interference in our election.

To bed.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Back to CA

Will be flying back to California tomorrow to finalize the sale of my house there, AND--most important of all--to pick up the dogs. I will spend a few days there, maybe three or four, then gas up the Silverado, and the beasts and I are off on our great road trip in search of dog friendly motels across the mighty US of A.

I will try as much as possible to keep to a southerly route to try to avoid possible snow in this era of "warming."

Will have the laptop along and will try to put up a couple of posts--I hope they're not as boring as the slideshows of yesteryear by your local neighborhood bore, "And here I am in the Zambezi River . . . "

Anyhow, off we go . . .

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Black Friday

Day after Thanksgiving.

Had most of the kids and their significant others at the new house in North Carolina. They brought along three rowdy dogs, so it was all good.

Unlike past Thanksgivings, we did not have a paella, nor did we share our day with the Native Americans at the local Indian casino. I figured, we are in North Carolina, and we would eat accordingly. I, therefore, ordered a massive "tailgate" meal from a local BBQ shack: pulled pork, ribs, sausage, hush puppies, fried okra, potato salad, and other good stuff. My wife ordered a vegetarian meal (gag!) from a local pretentious shop which seems to cater mostly to relocated Yankees--the meal, in truth, wasn't bad. In fact, we haven't had a bad meal since coming to NC. Things went well, lots of politics and culture discussed, and nobody was beaten or killed; the dogs ran wild all over the new house and property, and even managed to encounter a small herd of six or seven deer making its leisurely way through our woods. All of us were quite thankful that Hillary is not president.

The news? What can I say? The Religion of Peace showed its true colors yet again massacring hundreds of fellow Muslims at a prayer service in the Sinai.

At home, the progressive implosion continues as the lefties denounce each other for sexual improprieties. The election of Trump has revealed their madness. As noted above, all good, all good.

Off to be a tour guide.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Feathers: My Usual Thanksgiving Repost on a Repast from the Past

Feathers 

Yes, feathers. Not the figurative kind that fill leftoid heads, but the real kind that cover birds. We are going light today. Our topic is feathers and how they nearly produced a civil war in the Diplomad clan, and how echoes of that strife apparently will reverberate on the 4th of July.

As the six regular readers of this blog are painfully aware, during the Reagan years I served for a time at the UN in New York. We loved New York City, even with all its inconveniences especially with two rambunctious boys. Schooling was a problem as the local PS was, well, pretty bad. When two of the vastly overpaid teachers at the school told us that they would never send their own kids there, we decided to yank our boys out and send them--at considerable cost to the Diplomad bottom line--to private schools. One went to a school run by Irish Catholic nuns, who wanted no parental involvement, "Thank you very much, but we know how to do this." The older son went to one run by strangely liberal, yet oddly conservative Jews who wanted lots of parental involvement in the school as long as the parents did what the school wanted. Hey, it's New York. Live with it.

Well, as it does every year, the Thanksgiving holiday rolled around. You must understand we had spent most of our lives overseas. The boys had been born in Spain, and hardly had been in the US. Educated abroad, they--God help me--had grown to love soccer football soccer with both of them becoming (and remaining to this day) rabid fans of Spain's La Furia Roja. Their grip on Americana was a bit weak. Please remember that as this saga proceeds.

Another piece of background you will need. My Spanish wife hates, detests, abhors, loathes, etc, feathers and any creature sporting them. She shows a special wrath for chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. She cannot stand the thought of fowl on the meal plate. I have seen her blanche and break out into a cold sweat at fancy diplo dinners when served quail, duck or some other feather-bearing beast. It is not funny; better said, she has no sense of humor about this matter. My efforts to convince her that chicken tastes just like iguana have had no positive effect. Whenever we go to a restaurant, regardless of what she orders, she insists on, ahem, grilling the waiter on whether any foul fowl was involved in the making of her pending meal, "Uh, no ma'am, our salmon is, uh, salmon. It's a fish, not a bird." "Yes, yes, but the rice and the vegetables, were they cooked with chicken?" I am used to it by now.

Thanksgiving Day in New York, 1985. My older son, then about six was in a bad mood. I asked what was wrong, "You have no school today. Mom is making a nice Thanksgiving meal. What's wrong?" He glared at me, "The Pilgrims did not eat paella! They ate turkey!"

Explanation. Given the Diplowife's aversion to feathery creatures, our overseas Thanksgiving Day meals consisted of seafood paella. My wife had, ahem, implied in some way . . . oh, heck, she flat out told the kids that the Pilgrims ate paella with the Indians. Maybe she was thinking about Cortez and Pizarro, I don't know, but anyhow the kids had gotten into their heads that paella was the meal on Thanksgiving. Now in NY, the older boy had been asked the previous day to make a presentation at school on Thanksgiving. He, of course, reported that the English Pilgrims sat down and shared paella with the Native Americans. This caused a bit of a commotion and, I guess, led to some considerable ridicule, or what the politically correct nanny-staters now would label "bullying."

He was furious with us. He refused to eat paella and demanded a turkey. Even my wife was shocked into submission by the uncompromising fury coming from the tyke. It was Thanksgiving Day. I had to find a turkey in Manhattan! I dashed out of our building on the upper east side. All of the supermarkets were closed. A turkey! My kingdom for a turkey! I wandered the cold, darkling desolate concrete canyons, my despair growing and threatening to overwhelm me. I had let down my kids! The wages of sin, the consequences of falsehoods! God give me a sign that You will allow me to redeem myself . . . Wait! A deli! Still open but about to close! I ran in! Turkey sandwiches! They must have a turkey somewhere! A bizarre negotiation followed in which I finally convinced the suspicious Pakistani owner of the "Jewish" deli to sell me a whole kosher turkey at the price per pound of the sliced sandwich meat. I paid him a fortune--in cash--for a small bird about the size of a Chihuahua, and ran like the Grinch with my turkey under my arm.

My kids had turkey that day, and every other Thanksgiving since then has featured a big bird on the table. My wife refuses to sit anywhere near it, and has her own separate fish-based meal.

This will be an issue on the Fourth of July. The Thanksgiving paella got moved to Independence Day. The kids, now grown, of course, alas, are starting to make noises of impending rebellion against paella and in favor of hot dogs and other beast meat. The Diplowife mistrusts hotdogs, even the kosher all-beef ones, as stealth chicken missiles. She does not want anything with the potential of bearing fowl touching our BBQ grill or being anywhere near anything else that might be cooking. It appears that we might have a split Fourth meal. One side of the family eating chicken wings and hotdogs, and the other with the paella. Now that I think about it, this seems an appropriate metaphor for what is happening to our country.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Moore's the Pity?

Just a quick note as I am still unpacking, and a variety of techs and movers and delivery people are crawling all over the house. The Diplowife happier than a pig in mud, with her directing, supervising, giving orders . . . I get tired watching her.

Have been following only from a distance the Roy Moore senatorial election saga.

I don't know Moore; know very little about him; have no idea if he would be a good or bad senator from the Great State of Alabama. I, however, find disgusting this progressive/DNC tactic of launching swarm attacks alleging sexual improprieties of some 30-40 years ago. Frankly, when you have time to examine any particular one of the allegations, it almost invariably comes up short in the credibility department. There always seems to be some fatal flaw in the account that discredits it.

The progs, however, don't care. It's akin to the old Soviet WWII tactic of dealing with minefields: you just keep running through them. Individual soldiers get killed but the overall attack continues. You see, for example, how the press reports on the allegations, e.g., "dozens of women have come forth." The fact that individual stories seem to get blown up by the minefield of truth, does not stop the wave. The onslaught continues.

This weaponization of everything is going to tear us apart as a nation.

I hope Moore wins.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gone South

Sorry for the long break in blogging. We have made the move, internet is on, and I am loving North Carolina. Hope to start blogging ASAP, once all these pesky boxes disappear.

I have to say that throughout my long career in the Foreign Service and the many, many moves,  I proved either the luckiest or unluckiest FSO. My stuff always arrived. Through pirate infested seas, bandit clogged ports and highways, hurricanes, etc., my stuff always showed up. I couldn't get rid of it! That streak continues. . . . sigh.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Clintons, Again

Surpassed in the past perhaps only by the Kennedy clan, the Clintons just can't seem to stop generating attention. The very latest piece of publicity comes from former Clinton toadie Donna Brazile--the very one who helped slip the questions to Clinton before her debate with Sanders. This former DNC acting Chairman, and lifelong political hack of the rankest kind (remember her attacks on Barbara Bush?) has suddenly got religion and has lobbed the "bombshell" revelation that Hillary Clinton (shocked face!) is a duplicitous, conniving, crooked politico with no ethical standards. Wow! Who'd a thunk that? And, and (breathless!) she used her vast monetary reserves to take over the essentially bankrupt DNC (Thanks Obama!) and tried to rig the primaries against the dopey Bernie Sanders. Wow! Why has nobody ever said this before? What else Donna, what else? Tells us what else you have discovered? Japan attacked Pearl Harbor? Harvey Weinstein is a sexual predator?

The only interesting thing about the Brazile "revelations" is that even some of the closet collaborators of the Clinton Crime Family seem to be placing some distance between them and the CCF. Maybe we are seeing the end of the CCF? Dare we hope? We even see the hopeless Elizabeth Warren acknowledge, after months of denying it, that the Democratic primaries were rigged against Sanders. We see some of her closest confidants acknowledge, ah, gosh, yes, the Hillary camp paid for the phony Russia/Steele dossier on Trump which has led to the absurd collusion investigation now consuming millions of dollars. This, of course, after a year of Hillary's denying any involvement in the dossier. Hillary, herself, now no longer denies it, trying to justify as standard "oppo research" the payment of millions to foreigners, including former and active Russian government officials, to gin up the salacious dossier.

I will write more about this later, but for now let's just note that perhaps the greatest feature of the long history of Clinton corruption is how open it is; unlike what one would think a crook would do, secrecy is not at the core of their operations. The Clintons involve dozens, perhaps hundreds of people in their corrupt schemes, and make those schemes so massive and so wide-spread that it is hard to understand, analyze, and bring down. We are left like a blind man trying to describe a sunset. Whitewater. Travelgate. Clinton Global Initiative. Clinton Foundation. Lavishly reimbursed speaking tours. Uranium One. Pay for Play. Buying a political party. Private email server. And on, and on. It is rather breathtaking.

Al Capone could have learned a lot from the Clintons.

Meanwhile, Donna Brazile continues on her atonement circuit. Like the Weinstein denouncers, just a bit too late.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New York, Again

Eight dead, over a dozen injured in New York City.

It seems that a man from "Tampa" engaged in a wild shooting spree driving a rental truck into a crowd while shouting something that might have been interpreted as "God is Great!" or perhaps he was screaming the name of actor "Alan Arkin!" as have many other individuals over the past several years whilst murdering thousands of people.

There. Have I got the official narrative right? I don't want to offend anybody or put any group into a defensive posture . . .

Let me ask a couple or so questions, however, while we search for the motive and debate whether he was or was not a "lone wolf": What was he doing in the USA? Why was he here? Why do we let these "folks" into our country?

Won't make any difference if we build a wall if we let them in via JFK. I think we have plenty of kooks and killers produced at home without having to import more . . . I don't want to seem isolationist or protectionist, but . . .

Time to get serious . . . unless that offends, of course . . . if it does, well, we can always break out the Teddy bears, flowers, and candles, and darken a couple of buildings for a day or two . . . that might do it.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Collusion Collision

OK. Just a quick one as I enter the final days of the GREAT MOVE.

The Russian collusion story has gotten so weird nobody could have predicted it . . . well, except for this blog and about tens of millions of other persons.

Anyhow, as regular readers know, I have written a great deal about the Russia story and the allegations that Trump and his campaign were in bed with Moscow, and that Putin was willing to go for broke (almost) to ensure that Trump, instead of that really, really scary Hillary Clinton, won the November 2016 presidential election. I never bought it, simply because it made no sense.

Last March I wrote a piece which basically called the true narrative of the Trump-Putin collusion story,
As part of the Democrats' desperation move to delegitimize and perhaps even abort the Trump presidency, the obedient and well-trained progressive national media took up the theme of Russian hacking of our election and of Russian intel efforts on behalf of Trump's candidacy. Please see the many pieces I have posted on this if you want more details . . . . 
The Democrats, trying to avoid discussing that their terrible candidate used an illegal private server for classified work while she served as SecState, and to distract from the steady and corrosive drip-drip of information coming out of Wikileaks re a range of Democratic shenanigans, hit on the story of the Trump campaign being in bed with Putin and his agents. A series of "bombshell" "leaks" from what was claimed were intel sources alleged that the Russians were working to get Trump elected and that the Trump campaign not only knew this but was collaborating with Moscow <...>

The Dems claim that Trump is in bed with the Russians; Trump denies it and countercharges that the Dems had him under surveillance. We have here a problem. If the Dems have official intel on Trump's connections with Russia, how did they get it? Presumably from the official intel services which then it would appear were monitoring Russian contacts with Trump's people. If there was no surveillance order given to US intel, from where did the intel on Russian contacts come? The British is apparently the Trump answer. I have a more plausible one. I think there was surveillance of Russian activity, probably by the NSA, and it found nothing to show that Trump had contacts with the Russians; the Obamistas and the Clintonistas then made up the accounts of Russian interference. In other words, they lied. That's the most charitable explanation I can develop. There, of course, are harsher ones which I hope are not accurate, ones that would show, once again, Obama's misuse of the nation's intel and enforcement capabilities.
When all the spinning, talking points, and bad/fake news reporting ends, one is left with the irrefutable fact that the Democrats lied about Trump's links to Russia. They lied BECAUSE, in fact, they were the ones in cahoots with the Russians. Bill and Hillary aided Vlad's effort to corner the world's uranium market in exchange for, (drumroll, shocked face) money! Lots of it. Some (around $145 million or so) funneled to the odious criminal organization known as the Clinton Foundation, and other large amounts handed directly to Bill as "speaking fees."

The Clintons and Obama were dead certain Hillary would win the election, and all this grotesque corruption and selling out of the nation's interests would be buried and ignored. Hillary's campaign and the Democratic Party leadership paid millions to a shady outfit (Fusion GPS) to develop a narrative about Trump being the Ruskies' Pet Poodle. In violation of US election laws, the Dems paid millions to foreigners, including Russians, to cook up the salacious but very fake "dossier" on Trump and help ensure the election would go Hillary's way.

It's all coming apart now, a massive train wreck.

Popcorn has never tasted so good . . .

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Progsanity

Let me just assure one and all  one that the move out of the formerly magnificent state of California continues apace. No turning back.  Purchased airline tickets, have a date for two of the cars to ship, and movers on the hook. We are heading east and down!

There is so much weirdness going on it's hard to pick starting and ending points. I see that some whacky Congresswoman from Florida, who dresses up like Howdy-Doody for some reason, has gotten all patriotic and is blasting President Trump for being insensitive in his call to the widow of a slain SF soldier, one who died on an operation in Niger. In the course of his condolence call, he apparently used a phrase something like, "He knew what he signed up for." This phrase has been jumped upon by the Honorable Ms Howdy Doody and the prog media as some sort of insult or insensitivity. It, of course, is a fairly standard phrase when discussing the deaths of heroes, to wit, people who knew the danger but went ahead and did their duty, regardless. The whole thing is obscene., and shows that nothing is off limits for the Progs. I can't stand when Progs play patriot. The fake just stinks way too much.

Speaking of fake Prog patriotic outrage, I am not hearing much of this Russia craze as the story slowly oozes out about the Clintons' own very strong Russia connection, i.e., the worst kept secret in the world. The Russians, it seems, poured some $146 million into the Clinton Foundation, and paid Bill some $500,000 in speaker fees, precisely at the time that a Russian owned subsidiary was negotiating a massive uranium deal and seeking SecState approval for it--uh, guess who was SecState . . . So the Russians had the anti-fracking, anti-military Clintons on their payroll but were working to get pro-fracking, pro-military Trump elected? Hmmmm . . . .

New word, progsanity: willful political, historical, and social amnesia commonly found among progressives when convenient to advance a radical agenda; the rewriting of history, including recent developments and the refutation of logic and its substitution by loud screaming, sneering, and violence, all justified by "the cause," to wit, the destruction of Western values, norms, and civilization.

Back to loading my cars . . .

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Movement Continues

Looks like we've sold our house in California. On the market less than 24 hours, and we got a full-price offer--no haggle, no fuss, no muss. Now we have to step on the gas hard to clear the place out. The paperwork for the North Carolina house, my son calls it the "Castle," is moving along smartly--we have some excellent realtors, genuinely excellent.

I have been checking on veterinary hospitals, boarding kennels, and gun stores near the new place. All signs are good. Also looking into North Carolina's concealed carry requirements, and they aren't bad; not too onerous, anyhow. The cars start to ship late next week, and we should be in NC by November 7. I will head back to California after Thanksgiving and put the doggies into my Silverado, and drive across country with them. I just can't put them in the cargo hold of a plane. My highly nervous Akita would have a total meltdown. Can't do that to him. The peregrination continues . . .

A lot in the news, some of which won't get the play it deserves. More and more is coming out about what a sleaze Jim Comey was as head of the FBI; the Russian collusion seems to have been between Hillary and Moscow, and more and more is coming out about that, too. Hollywood continues to implode and like Saturn to devour its own children. A wondrous and wonderful sight. All good stuff.

The best news is the systematic destruction of ISIS, just like Candidate and President Trump promised. To those around the world who doubted it, it makes a difference who is in the White House. ISIS & Co. are very good at killing unarmed people, but don't do well when confronted by well-trained people who shoot back. They are being shown for the miserable, brutal cowards they are.

As ISIS disintegrates, there seems to be less and less of an excuse to take "refugees" from the Middle East. I would think that many, many of these "refugees" living lives of "desperation" and dealing with "Islamophobia" in the West, would be right now packing their bags to return home . . . No? What is Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, etc., going to do with all that empty housing and unspent dole money? The world wonders . . . .

Back to my boxes . . .

Friday, October 13, 2017

Weakened Weekend Observations on Stuff

We're moving to North Carolina and are tired. Tired. Sore. Aching. Very.

Packing and moving stuff makes you realize that you have become a prisoner to that stuff. You don't own it, it owns you. It extracts your money and your energy, both physical and emotional. Do I keep this piece of useless doodad or do I throw it away? Is it worth paying somebody to ship it 3,000 miles or better to replace it on the other end or, horrors, do without it?

What about all that other stuff in boxes in the garage--the stuff you haven't looked at since you were a young buck in Pakistan? Thoughts turn macabre: When I pass, what will my kids do with my faded high school diploma? With my awards for obscure achievements in the State Department? With my collection of old stock certificates?  With my sneakers? Should I just throw the stuff out, or should I hang on to it for some sort of ill-defined psychic/emotional reasons? Sigh . . . . Smithsonian, interested? Let me know . . . cheap.

All of this stuff has distracted me from my usual concerns with other types of stuff, i.e., politics. I've, nevertheless, been following from a distance and intermittently the Harvey Weinstein "scandal." Come on, folks! Is this a surprise? Haven't there been all sorts of books, plays, and even HOLLYWOOD MOVIES about the Hollywood casting couch? When I would visit my father's house in Malibu and hit the bars and restaurants, they were full of hopeful "starlets" from around the world seeking favor from rich, creepy, old guys. It was open season all year, and, unlike other types of hunting, there was an understanding between the predators and the prey, to wit, you get what you want, I get what I want--and, at times, it was hard to tell who was predator and who was prey. It was and is a sick, sick game, and all sides in it are to blame.

The devil can only buy your soul if it's up for sale.

Weinstein is a creep, and, as befits the majority of such creeps, he's a well-respected and much adulated (75 Oscars!) progressive creep who gives lots of money to Democrats. There are lots more where he comes from. Disgusting phony hypocrite--the motto of the progressive. Hillary call your husband, if you can find him, and ask him about it.

The election of President Trump has, I think, overturned a rock that would have stayed firmly in place had he not won. The insanity of Antifa, the Russia craziness, BLM violence, kneeling NFL etc., how much of that would have happened if Hillary had won? The Dems would have called it off real fast.

OK. Back to the other stuff . . . boxes are waiting, a photographer from the realtor's office is here, a handyman wants to be paid . . .

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Good-Bye, California

Well, we did it.

We put an offer on a house out of this state; had a couple of go-rounds with the seller; came to a mutually acceptable price; and . . . we're packing our stuff. We should be out of California in a few weeks, probably well before Thanksgiving.

I was not born in California, and I spent decades out of the state. Despite that, I always considered California my home. I went to school there all the way through graduation from UCLA, once a great university with some fabulous professors. I loved the place, and its colorful history. It seemed anything was possible.

I remember coming to California one Christmas from grad school in Massachusetts, and literally spending the morning in the snow up in the mountains, and the afternoon on the beach. I loved the desert and the coastline; scuba diving off Catalina island; racing up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. For much of my time in California, this place was where IT was happening, almost regardless of what IT was. Technology, medicine, literature, movies, TV, theater, cars, fashion, economy, etc, California set the pace for the country and the world. I have been no place on earth, even the most remote, where people have not heard about California.

In the last few years, however, this place has gone nuts, and not in the eccentric, creative sort of way that produced, say, Hollywood, Apple, or Uber, but in a bizarre, self-destructive one that seeks to undermine all about California that made California into California: The ever rising taxes; government regulations; the absurd political correctness and its ugly traveling companion, to wit, social and political insanity on things such as guns, immigration, and the environment.

Reality has been banned here; I have a feeling, nevertheless, that it will make a reappearance with a vengeance. I don't want to be around these parts when that happens.

So, we're moving. Our house is full of boxes and bins. The dogs are sensing change, and acting nervous and suspicious. My back hurts from moving stuff around. Yes, we're moving.

We looked at a lot of places, and fortunately this country still has a lot of nice places with very good and welcoming people. In the end, however, we had to pick one and we decided on (drum roll) North Carolina!

My non-meat-eating wife discovered pulled pork there: watching her pass up the salad and go for the pulled pork was a sight to see. The BBQ was great; the people were super; the prices are reasonable (gasoline is almost a dollar a gallon cheaper than here in SoCal); folks love the second amendment; the taxes are OK, although property tax is a bit on the high side; and it's a very beautiful place with a colorful history of its own and lots and lots of places to visit and enjoy. It is getting many folks coming in from around the world, and I hope that doesn't destroy the feeling of the place. Anyhow, we've scored a very nice house on a large wooded lot, one without irksome neighbors breathing down my neck. It's a bit dark and remote, but at night you can see these things in the sky, which I believe the locals call "stars." I am going to have to investigate those . . . odd little things that they are . . . We're moving.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Las Vegas

I am deeply troubled by the mass murder in Las Vegas. It is beyond outrageous that the simple act of attending a concert or another public event can prove life threatening almost anywhere in the world today. My family and I are all very sad. One encouraging fact, however, is the many, many examples of courage and compassion that we saw during and after this attack. There is still some hope for humanity, I guess.

I aso find beyond outrageous some of the comments from the lefties. I am sure you have already seen those so I won't repeat them. Those are driven by the lefty attitude of never let a horror go to waste, whether it is a mass killing or a hurricane; the first impulse of the lefties is to politicize it and try to gain some sort of advantage by establishing a narrative--regardless of the actual facts--that demonstrates the evil of Western man, and the need for corrective action by the state.

I am reluctant to comment at length about this shooting but feel very uneasy with the information being put out by most media outlets. Much of it just seems wrong, and not only because most early information in an incident such as this is inaccurate almost by definition. Too much just doesn't make sense, way too much. I suspect there is a great deal more information to come that will alter the narrative about this horror.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taking a Break

No blogging for a few days.

I've just about had it with California--perhaps the most beautiful place in the world, but insane.

The Diplowife and I are going to look at some houses in another state, and see what we are going to do. I do not want to be buried in California despite having thought of it as my home for many decades. Two of my kids have given up on the state, and I can see why.

We are taking our red votes and going where they can do some good.

I will report back in a few days.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Progressive Assault on "We"

I know that I start many of these posts by saying I have already said what I am about to say, and, therefore, will try not  to be too repetitious, and then I proceed to be repetitious. Well, I am doing it here, sorry, but I will be mercifully brief.

The progressives at it, yet again. I have written before about the progressive assault (here, here, here, here, here, here, for example) on what makes us a country, on what makes us "We, the People" in a union for the common good. This kneel for the anthem stunt is another in that long line of attacks. if you have time, please go read those linked posts.

These attacks all have one thing in common: they seek to dissolve the glue that holds us together. They originate in our decrepit educational institutions and spread out from there. We have produced hordes of illiterate, pampered, self-important and entitled brutes, and this is the result.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Getting Out of the Disastrous Iran "Deal"

I have written a great deal about the fake nuclear deal with Iran (here, here, here, here, here, and others.) I am extremely concerned about the real impact on our national security that the fake Iran deal is having and will have. I was delighted to hear President Trump declare it an "embarrassment" in his address to the UNGA.

The Center for Security Policy has issued a letter to President Trump (see text below) calling for him to get the US out of the fake deal, and to implement the Bolton Plan for dealing with Iran. I urge everybody to read the letter and Ambassador Bolton's proposal for a way forward (also provided below). I was delighted and honored to be asked to sign the letter.

September 21, 2017
 
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC
 
Dear President Trump:
 
We are writing to you as national security experts, many who worked in the nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation and intelligence fields, to express our strong opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) and to ask that you withdraw the United States from this dangerous agreement as soon as possible. 
 
We also call on your administration to declare to Congress next month that Iran has not been complying with this agreement and that it is not in the national security interests of the United States.
 
We strongly supported your statements during the 2016 presidential campaign that the JCPOA was one of the worst international agreements ever negotiated and as president that you would either withdraw from or renegotiate this deal.  Your campaign statements accurately reflected that the JCPOA is a fraud since it allows Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program while the agreement is in effect by permitting it to enrich uranium, operate and develop advanced uranium centrifuges and operate a heavy-water reactor.  Such limited restrictions as the deal actually imposes on Iran’s enrichment program will expire in eight years.  In addition, the JCPOA’s inspection provisions are wholly inadequate.
 
We also note that a joint July 11, 2017 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from Senators Cruz, Rubio, Cotton and Perdue outlined significant violations of the JCPOA by Iran, the most important of which is Iran’s refusal to permit IAEA inspections of military facilities. 
 
In addition, although the JCPOA did not require Iran to halt its belligerent and destabilizing behavior, President Obama and Secretary Kerry repeatedly claimed it would lead to an improvement.  This has not happened.  To the contrary, after the JCPOA, Iran’s behavior has significantly worsened.  Tehran stepped up its ballistic missile program and missile launches.  There was a 90% increase in Iran’s 2016-2017 military budget.  Iran has increased its support to terrorist groups and sent troops into Syria.  Harassment of shipping in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea also increased, including missiles fired at U.S. and Gulf state ships by the Houthi rebels, an Iranian proxy in Yemen. 
 
Moreover, in light of major advances in North Korea’s nuclear program, we are very concerned that North Korea and Iran are actively sharing nuclear weapons technology and that Iran is providing funding for North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.  CIA Director Mike Pompeo suggested this possibility during a September 11 Fox News interview.
 
We are unconvinced by doom-and-gloom predictions of the consequences of a U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA.  The sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.  Claims that Iran will step up its nuclear program or engage in more belligerent behavior must be considered against the backdrop of what Iran is allowed to do under the JCPOA and its actual conduct since this “political understanding” was announced. 
 
Some Iran deal advocates argue that the United States should remain in the JCPOA and instead try to amend it to fix its flaws over several years.  A few contend you could decertify the agreement to Congress, but remain in the deal and then try to amend it.  Since Iran has made it clear it will not agree to changes to the JCPOA, we believe these proposals are unrealistic.  Continuing to legitimate the agreement is not conducive to its renegotiation.  The day will never come when the mullahs agree to amend the sweetheart deal they got in the JCPOA.
 
Ambassador John Bolton has drawn up a plan to implement a far more effective, comprehensive and multilateral approach to address the threat from Iran.  This approach includes strict new sanctions to bar permanently the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran.  He also calls for new sanctions in response to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and efforts to destabilize the Middle East, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. 
 
Unlike the JCPOA, which was negotiated with no input from America’s allies in the Middle East, Ambassador Bolton outlines a multilateral campaign to forge a new comprehensive approach to the threat from Iran that includes the Gulf States and Israel to assure that their security interests are taken into account. 
 
We agree with Ambassador John Bolton that strong international sanctions, a tough negotiating strategy and a decisive American president who will not engage in appeasement is the best approach to rein in Iran’s belligerent behavior and induce it to joining negotiations on a better agreement. 
 
As national security experts who understand the urgency of addressing the growing threat from Iran, we urge you to implement the Bolton plan, withdraw from the dangerous Iran nuclear deal and not certify Iranian compliance to Congress next month.  It is time to move beyond President Obama’s appeasement of Iran and to begin work on a comprehensive new approach that fully addresses the menace that the Iranian regime increasingly poses to American and international security. 
 
ATTACHMENT: “Abrogating The Iran Deal: The Way Forward” By Ambassador John Bolton
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Winston Lewis Amselem
U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Minister-Counselor (Ret.)
 
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, USA (Ret.)
Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
 
Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
Former Chief U.S. Negotiator for Defense and Space and SDI Director
 
Stephen Coughlin
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence analyst
 
Jack David
Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction and Negotiations Policy
 
Paula A. DeSutter
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance
 
Joseph E. diGenova
Former U.S. Attorney District of Columbia
 
Jessie Jane Duff
Gunnery Sergeant USMC (Ret.)
Senior Fellow London Center for Policy Research
 
Dr. Manfred Eimer
Former Assistant Director for Verification and Intelligence, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
 
Fritz Ermarth
Retired CIA officer.  Former chairman of the National Intelligence Council
 
Douglas J. Feith
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
 
Frederick Fleitz
Former CIA analyst and Professional Staff Member, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
 
Kevin D. Freeman, National Security Investment Counsel Institute
 
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting)
 
Daniel J. Gallington
Former General Counsel, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Member, U.S. Delegation to the Nuclear & Space Talks
 
D. Scott George
Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.). President/CEO, IN-Cyber Vision, Inc.
 
Dr. William R. Graham
Former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science Advisor to the President; NASA Administrator and Chairman of the General Advisory Committee (GAC) on Arms Control and Disarmament
 
Larry K. Grundhauser
Brigadier General, USAF Retired; Former Director of Intelligence, HQ Air Combat Command; Former Vice Director for Intelligence; Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Former Arms Control Policy Advisor US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
 
Philip Haney
Department of Homeland Security founding staff member and former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer
 
George William Heiser II
Former Director for Arms Control, Reagan National Security Council Staff
 
Richard T. Higgins
Former Director for Strategic Planning, Trump National Security Council
 
Peter Huessy
President, GeoStrategic Analysis, Former Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for International Energy Security
 
Ambassador Eric M. Javits
Former US Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament and to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
 
Ambassador Robert G. Joseph
Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Assistant to the President on Arms Control and Nonproliferation; and Chairman of the ABM Treaty Standing Consultative Commission
 
Morton A. Klein
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President
 
Dr. Charles M. Kupperman
Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan; former Executive Director, General Advisory Committee to the President on Arms Control and Disarmament
 
Herbert I. London
President, London Center for Policy Research
 
Robert L. Luaces
Foreign Service Officer (Ret.). Former Director, State Department Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs
 
Admiral James A. Lyons
U.S. Navy (Ret.).  Former Commander-in Chief, Pacific Fleet
 
Lt. Gen Thomas McInerney, US Air Force (Ret.)
Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Director of the Defense Performance Review
 
Vice Admiral Robert R. Monroe, U.S. Navy (Ret.).  Former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency
 
Daniel Pollak
Co-Director of Government Relations, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)
 
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
Executive Director, Task Force on National and Homeland Security; Senior Staff on the
Congressional EMP Commission, Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA
 
George Rasley
Editor of ConservativeHQ and consultant
 
Major General Edward M. Reeder
U.S. Army (Ret.)
 
Ambassador C. Paul Robinson
Former President and Director of Sandia National Laboratories.  Head of the Nuclear Weapons and National Security programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Chief Negotiator and Head of the U.S. Delegation to the U.S./Soviet Union Nuclear Testing Talks
 
Nina Rosenwald
Founder and President, Gatestone Institute
 
Mark Schneider
Senior analyst, National Institute for Public Policy.  Former Senior Director for Forces Policy and Principal Director for Strategic Defense, Space and Verification Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense.  Former Senior Foreign Service Officer.
 
Tony Shaffer, LTC (ret)
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Operations, London Center for Policy Research.  Former CIA-trained senior intelligence operative
 
Sarah Stern
Founder and President, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
 
Kenneth R. Timmerman
President and CEO, Foundation for Democracy in Iran
 
Victoria Toensing
Former Chief Counsel, Senate Intelligence Committee
 
Adam Turner
General Counsel and Legislative Affairs Director, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
 
J. Michael Waller
Founding Editorial Board Member, NATO Defence Strategic Communications
 
David Wurmser
Former Senior Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney
 

 
ABROGATING THE IRAN DEAL: THE WAY FORWARD
By Ambassador John Bolton
I. Background:
 
The Trump Administration is required to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is complying with the July 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — JCPOA), and that this agreement is in the national-security interest of the United States.1 While a comprehensive Iranian policy review is currently underway, America’s Iran policy should not be frozen. The JCPOA is a threat to U.S. national-security interests, growing more serious by the day. If the President decides to abrogate the JCPOA, a comprehensive plan must be developed and executed to build domestic and international support for the new policy.
Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, the President must certify every 90 days that:
 
(i)  Iran is transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement, including all related technical or additional agreements;
 
(ii)  Iran has not committed a material breach with respect to the agreement or, if Iran has committed a material breach, Iran has cured the material breach;
 
(iii)  Iran has not taken any action, including covert activities, that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons program; and
 
(iv)  Suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the agreement is –
 
(I)  appropriate and proportionate to the specific and verifiable measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program; and
 
(II) vital to the national-security interests of the United States.
 
U.S. leadership here is critical, especially through a diplomatic and public education effort to explain a decision not to certify and to abrogate the JCPOA. Like any global campaign, it must be persuasive, thorough, and accurate. Opponents, particularly those who participated in drafting and implementing the JCPOA, will argue strongly against such a decision, contending that it is reckless, ill-advised, and will have negative economic and security consequences.
 
Accordingly, we must explain the grave threat to the U.S. and our allies, particularly Israel. The JCPOA’s vague and ambiguous wording; its manifest imbalance in Iran’s direction; Iran’s significant violations; and its continued, indeed, increasingly, unacceptable conduct at the strategic level internationally demonstrate convincingly that the JCPOA is not in the national-security interests of the United States. We can bolster the case for abrogation by providing new, declassified information on Iran’s unacceptable behavior around the world.
 
But as with prior Presidential decisions, such as withdrawing from the 1972 ABM Treaty, a new “reality” will be created. We will need to assure the international community that the U.S. decision will in fact enhance international peace and security, unlike the JCPOA, the provisions of which shield Iran’s ongoing efforts to develop deliverable nuclear weapons. The Administration should announce that it is abrogating the JCPOA due to significant Iranian violations, Iran’s unacceptable international conduct more broadly, and because the JCPOA threatens American national-security interests.
 
The Administration’s explanation in a “white paper” should stress the many dangerous concessions made to reach this deal, such as allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium; allowing Iran to operate a heavy-water reactor; and allowing Iran to operate and develop advanced centrifuges while the JCPOA is in effect. Utterly inadequate verification and enforcement mechanisms and Iran’s refusal to allow inspections of military sites also provide important reasons for the Administration’s decision.
 
Even the previous Administration knew the JCPOA was so disadvantageous to the United States that it feared to submit the agreement for Senate ratification. Moreover, key American allies in the Middle East directly affected by this agreement, especially Israel and the Gulf states, did not have their legitimate interests adequately taken into account. The explanation must also demonstrate the linkage between Iran and North Korea.
 
We must also highlight Iran’s unacceptable behavior, such as its role as the world’s central banker for international terrorism, including its directions and control over Hezbollah and its actions in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The reasons Ronald Reagan named Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984 remain fully applicable today.
 
II. Campaign Plan Components
 
There are four basic elements to the development and implementation of the campaign plan to decertify and abrogate the Iran nuclear deal:
 
1. Early, quiet consultations with key players such as the U.K., France, Germany, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, to tell them we are going to abrogate the deal based on outright violations and other unacceptable Iranian behavior, and seek their input.
 
2. Prepare the documented strategic case for withdrawal through a detailed white paper (including declassified intelligence as appropriate) explaining why the deal is harmful to U.S. national interests, how Iran has violated it, and why Iran’s behavior more broadly has only worsened since the deal was agreed.
 
3. A greatly expanded diplomatic campaign should immediately follow the announcement, especially in Europe and the Middle East, and we should ensure continued emphasis on the Iran threat as a top diplomatic and strategic priority.
 
4. Develop and execute Congressional and public diplomacy efforts to build domestic and foreign support.
 
III. Execution Concepts and Tactics
 
1. Early, quiet consultations with key players
 
It is critical that a worldwide effort be initiated to inform our allies, partners, and others about Iran’s unacceptable behavior. While this effort could well leak to the press, it is nonetheless critical that we inform and consult with our allies and partners at the earliest possible moment, and, where appropriate, build into our effort their concerns and suggestions.
 
This quiet effort will articulate the nature and details of the violations and the type of relationship the U.S. foresees in the future, thereby laying the foundation for imposing new sanctions barring the transfer of nuclear and missile technology or dual use technology to Iran. With Israel and selected others, we will discuss military options. With others in the Gulf region, we can also discuss means to address their concerns from Iran’s menacing behavior.
 
The advance consultations could begin with private calls by the President, followed by more extensive discussions in capitals by senior Administration envoys. Promptly elaborating a comprehensive tactical diplomatic plan should be a high priority.
 
2. Prepare the documented strategic case
 
The White House, coordinating all other relevant Federal agencies, must forcefully articulate the strong case regarding U.S. national-security interests. The effort should produce a “white paper” that will be the starting point for the diplomatic and domestic discussion of the Administration decision to abrogate the JCPOA, and why Iran must be denied access to nuclear technology indefinitely. The white paper should be an unclassified, written statement of the Administration’s case, prepared faultlessly, with scrupulous attention to accuracy and candor. It should not be limited to the inadequacies of the JCPOA as written, or Iran’s violations, but cover the entire range of Iran’s continuing unacceptable international behavior.
 
Although the white paper will not be issued until the announcement of the decision to abrogate the JCPOA, initiating work on drafting the document is the highest priority, and its completion will dictate the timing of the abrogation announcement.
 
A thorough review and declassification strategy, including both U.S. and foreign intelligence in our possession should be initiated to ensure that the public has as much information as possible about Iranian behavior that is currently classified, consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods. We should be prepared to “name names” and expose the underbelly of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard business activities and how they are central to the efforts that undermine American and allied national interests. In particular, we should consider declassifying information related to activities such as the Iran-North Korea partnership, and how they undermine fundamental interests of our allies and partners.
 
3. Greatly expanded diplomatic campaign post-announcement
 
The Administration, through the NSC process, should develop a tactical plan that uses all available diplomatic tools to build support for our decision, including what actions we recommend other countries to take. But America must provide the leadership. It will take substantial time and effort and will require a “full court press” by U.S. embassies worldwide and officials in Washington to drive the process forward. We should ensure that U.S. officials fully understand the decision, and its finality, to help ensure the most positive impact with their interlocutors.
 
Our embassies worldwide should demarche their host governments with talking points (tailored as may be necessary) and data to explain and justify abrogating JCPOA. We will need parallel efforts at the United Nations and other appropriate multilateral organizations. Our embassies should not limit themselves to delivering the demarche, however, but should undertake extensive public diplomacy as well.
 
After explaining and justifying the decision to abrogate the deal, the next objective should be to recreate a new counter-proliferation coalition to replace the one squandered by the previous Administration, including our European allies, Israel, and the Gulf states. In that regard, we should solicit suggestions for imposing new sanctions on Iran and other measures in response to its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, sponsorship of terrorism, and generally belligerent behavior, including its meddling in Iraq and Syria.
 
Russia and China obviously warrant careful attention in the post-announcement campaign. They could be informed just prior to the public announcement as a courtesy, but should not be part of the pre-announcement diplomatic effort described above. We should welcome their full engagement to eliminate these threats, but we will move ahead with or without them.
 
Iran is not likely to seek further negotiations once the JCPOA is abrogated, but the Administration may wish to consider rhetorically leaving that possibility open in order to demonstrate Iran’s actual underlying intention to develop deliverable nuclear weapons, an intention that has never flagged.
 
In preparation for the diplomatic campaign, the NSC interagency process should review U.S. foreign-assistance programs as they might assist our efforts. The DNI should prepare a comprehensive, worldwide list of companies and activities that aid Iran’s terrorist activities.
 
4. Develop and execute Congressional and public diplomacy efforts
 
The Administration should have a Capitol Hill plan to inform members of Congress already concerned about Iran, and develop momentum for imposing broad sanctions against Iran, far more comprehensive than the pinprick sanctions favored under prior Administrations. Strong congressional support will be critical. We should be prepared to link Iranian behavior around the world, including its relationship with North Korea, and its terrorist activities. And we should demonstrate the linkage between Iranian behavior and missile proliferation as part of the overall effort that justifies a national-security determination that U.S. interests would not be furthered with the JCPOA.
 
Unilateral U.S. sanctions should be imposed outside the framework of Security Council Resolution 2231 so that Iran’s defenders cannot water them down; multilateral sanctions from others who support us can follow quickly.
 
The Administration should also encourage discussions in Congress and in public debate for further steps that might be taken to go beyond the abrogation decision. These further steps, advanced for discussion purposes and to stimulate debate, should collectively demonstrate our resolve to limit Iran’s malicious activities and global adventurism. Some would relate directly to Iran; others would protect our allies and partners more broadly from the nuclear proliferation and terrorist threats, such as providing F-35s to Israel or THAAD resources to Japan. Other actions could include:
 
· End all landing and docking rights for all Iranian aircraft and ships at key allied ports;
· End all visas for Iranians, including so called “scholarly,” student, sports, or other exchanges;
· Demand payment with a set deadline on outstanding U.S. federal-court judgments against Iran for terrorism, including 9/11;
· Announce U.S. support for the democratic Iranian opposition;
· Expedite delivery of bunker-buster bombs;
· Announce U.S. support for Kurdish national aspirations, including Kurds in Iran, Iraq, and Syria;
· Provide assistance to Balochis, Khuzestan Arabs, Kurds, and others — also to internal resistance among labor unions, students, and women’s groups;
· Actively organize opposition to Iranian political objectives in the U.N.
 
IV. Conclusion
 
This effort should be the Administration’s highest diplomatic priority, commanding all necessary time, attention, and resources. We can no longer wait to eliminate the threat posed by Iran. The Administration’s justification of its decision will demonstrate to the world that we understand the threat to our civilization; we must act and encourage others to meet their responsibilities as well.
 
 
1. Although this paper will refer to “the JCPOA,” the abrogation decision should also encompass the July 14, 2015, statement by the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany, attached as Annex B to Security Council Resolution 2231. The JCPOA is attached as Annex A to Resolution 2231.