Sunday, 03 January 2010

IRAN'S ULTIMATUM

Ken Berwitz

The US/UN deadline for nuclear compliance on the part of Iran, has passed.  And - surprise, surprise - there are no consequences. 

So now Iran, not content with ignoring that deadline and showing the US and the UN as completely useless, is setting deadlines of its own.

From Agence France Presse:

TEHRAN (AFP) Iran's foreign minister gave the West a one-month "ultimatum" on Saturday to accept a uranium swap, warning that it will produce its own nuclear fuel for a Tehran reactor if there is no deal.

"The international community has just one month left to decide whether or not it will accept Iran's conditions," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted by state television as saying.

 

"This is an ultimatum."

 

Iran, which rejected a December 31 deadline to accept a UN-brokered deal, said on Tuesday it was ready to swap abroad its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel, while insisting that the exchange happen in stages.

 

Tehran had already rejected a proposal by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to ship most of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for processing into fuel for the research reactor.

 

But Iran said it was ready for a fuel swap "in several stages," and in late December Mottaki said Iran is open to exchanging uranium on Turkish soil.

 

Earlier in December, Iran had proposed to exchange 400 kilogrammes (880 pounds) of uranium on its Gulf island of Kish but was bluntly dismissed by the United States, with the IAEA already having ruled out swap on Iranian soil.

World powers have been pushing for Iran to accept the UN-brokered deal and are also mulling plans to impose fresh UN sanctions against Tehran after the Islamic republic dismissed the year-end deadline.

 

Iran is already under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to abandon its sensitive programme of uranium enrichment, the process which produces nuclear fuel or, in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

 

The United States, Israel, and other world powers suspect Tehran is making an atomic bomb under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme.

 

Iran denies the charge and says its purpose is entirely peaceful.

 

On Wednesday, US State Department spokesman Darby Holladay said the West will still focus on "dual-track policy" regarding the Islamic republic.

 

"Even as we leave the door open to engagement," world powers agree that Iran will pay the consequences if it does not meet its international nuclear obligations, Darby told AFP.

 

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain -- plus Germany are "in the process of considering next steps consistent with our dual-track policy," he said.

 

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who rejected the year-end deadline, told AFP in mid-December that Iran was ready to strike a uranium enrichment deal if the United States and the West respect the Islamic Republic and stop making threats.

Iran and its illegitimate, murderous "leaders" are laughing at the US (they're laughing at the UN too, but they've been doing that for a long time already so it's nothing new).  And they are doing so out of complete confidence that, no matter what President Obama says, the US won't do a thing about their nuclear activity.

If there were ever any doubt that the US would stand aside and let them build nuclear weaponry, it was lost in June of last year, when President Obama stood by mutely as tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of Iranians marched against Iran's phony election and its represssive government.  Not a word of encouragement.  Not even a word of generic support for democracy.  Nothing. 

After all, if Mr. Obama dared to say something ahmadinejad didn't like, he might not sit down and have a talk.  And isn't sitting down and having a talk the ideal solution?  Doesn't it look great in a photo-op? 

As for those people risking (and sometimes losing) their freedom, even their lives, for the cause of real democracy?  Screw 'em.  Let 'em twist in the wind. 

So Iran's thugs, justifiably emboldened by our demonstrated weakness, have taken command.  Now it is them setting the rules, which the US and UN are supposed to follow. 

What will President Obama do about it?  Beg to talk it over with them?

And what will President Obama do if  Israel, which Iran has told the world it wants wiped off the face of the map, acts pre-emptively to take out Iran's nuclear capability? 

THEN I bet you'll get action from Mr. Obama.  After all, he knows who the real enemy is, doesn't he?


SON OF STIMULUS

Ken Berwitz

If you liked what the so-called "stimulus package" did for jobs (unemployment jumped from 8% to 10%) you'll love what its next-generation legislation will do.

Here, excerpted from an Associated Press article, is the "good news":

When the Senate takes up a jobs bill later this month or early in February, the debate will center on whether it really will create jobs and be worth plunging the government tens of billions of dollars further into debt.

Republicans scoff at the "Jobs for Main Street Act" title that House Democrats put on their $174 billion package last month. They refer to it as "son of the stimulus," the $787 billion economic recovery plan of nearly a year ago that they say was ineffective at producing jobs.

In its last vote of 2009, the House narrowly passed the bill, 217-212, without a single Republican supporter.

Democrats tick off the job prospects from the House bill's $75 billion in infrastructure and public sector spending: tens of thousands of new construction jobs, 5,500 more police officers, 25,000 additional AmeriCorps members, 250,000 summer jobs for disadvantaged youth, 14,000 part-time jobs for parks and forestry workers.

House Democrats diverted $75 billion from the Wall Street bailout fund to offset some of the costs. Opponents said that amounted to a shell game because unused bailout money is supposed to be used to reduce the deficit.

Do you believe any of the Democrats' "prospects" for new jobs that are supposed to emanate from this bill?  If so, why? 

After the "stimulus package" was passed, unemployment rose 25%. About 3,500,000 more people went unemployed.   And durinng this time, the Obama administration looked you in the eye and told you it was "saving or creating" a million jobs.  Absolute, unadulterated, in-your-face lying.

Now, the same people are telling you all the wondrous benefits of another $174 billion of our tax money being dumped into this money pit. 

You would have to be a spud to believe a word of it.

Not one house Republican voted for the "stimulus package" and, so far, not one house Repubican voted for "son of stimulus".  But with its huge majority, Democrats were able to pass it anyway.

In November, you can let them know which side you think makes more sense. That election cannot come fast enough.

Zeke ... ... Your question was "Do you believe any of the Democrats' "prospects" for new jobs that are supposed to emanate from this bill? If so, why? " ... ... ... ... Answer: Yes, I do ... ... ... ... 25,000 additional AmeriCorps members .... .... does the junior stimulation bill (stimulation II) include funding for their brown shirts ? ... ... and where will the nation's future bureaucrats and activists come from, unless we invest in their future now? .... .... .... .... Their motto : "Waste, Duplication, Incompetence --- the Job of Government" (01/03/10)


STIMULUS ALLOCATIONS IN PELOSILAND

Ken Berwitz

When you have 787 billion dollars to play with you can play a lot.

Here, via an excerpt from an article in today's Oakland Tribune, is how they are playing with it in and around Nancy Pelosi's congressional district:

Stimulus money pouring into Bay Area

Projects, studies and businesses are benefiting from grants, loans and contracts.

By Thomas Peele and Josh Richman
Bay Area News Group

Posted: 01/03/2010 12:00:00 AM PST

Updated: 01/03/2010 07:27:07 AM PST

 

Call it fire money. In Oakland, $50,000 is going to a nonprofit best known for its fiery performance art.

Call it wine money. In Napa County, $54 million is going to protect the tracks on which a train hauls tourists through vineyards as they sip chardonnay.

 

Call it Indian money. In Sonoma County, $272,578 is going to provide housing assistance to two tribes that reap millions a year from lucrative gambling casinos, including one in Contra Costa County.

 

Call it nightclub money. In Berkeley, $499,384 is going for field studies of what kind of booze young people pound down in bars and other hot spots.

 

By any other name, stimulus money is what it is: an infusion of government cash by either grant, low interest loan or contracted service.

 

More than $1 billion from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is flowing freely into the Bay Area, flooding university research coffers and boosting transportation projects such as the long-awaited Caldecott Tunnel expansion and the BART-Oakland Airport people mover, funding high-tech baggage screening equipment at San Francisco International Airport and improvements to Caltrain in San Mateo County.

 

Money also is going to nearly every city in the region to help fund police services, boost Section 8 housing and upgrade infrastructure. Hundreds of arts groups, social researchers and private businesses are also receiving grants and low-interest loans.

 

The region is also receiving one of the largest individual awards in the country for green energy: a $535 million loan to Solyndra Inc. for the construction of a factory in Fremont where it will produce rooftop solar panels for commercial buildings.

 

Company officials announced in late December they intend to take the company public to raise more capital to leverage against the loan, which the Department of Energy administers.

 

Congress passed the stimulus bill in February, hoping for a massive jump start to the crippled economy. California's share topped $30 billion. Applicants from theater companies to stem-cell researchers scurried to submit grant applications alongside scores of government agencies.

 

In the Bay Area, Stanford University received more than $83 million in research grants and a $90 million government contract to study ultrafast scientific instruments, according to government data. The Berkeley Repertory Theatre got $50,000 to preserve jobs.

 

Tricky numbers

 

How individual awards are spent can be tricky to follow. For example, the government lists $1.6 billion as being delivered to Alameda County, but the number is deceptive.

 

Because Oakland is home to the University of California headquarters and a regional Caltrans district, hundreds of millions of dollars in grants, loans and contracts are identified as flowing to the county but are really marked for projects across the region and state.

 

That also means the amount of money identified as awarded in each county is skewed. For example, Caltrans work in Marin, Santa Clara and other Bay Area counties totaling hundreds of millions is listed as Alameda County money because of the location of the headquarters.

 

But wherever the money ends up, some of the dole-outs are bound to raise questions from critics of government spending.

 

"It is almost inevitable that in a mass government spending, no matter what they say, that questionable kinds of things get through," said Sean Randolph, an economist with the Bay Area Council, a pro-business organization of major regional employers.

 

"Some of this is taking a lot of money and throwing at the wall and seeing what sticks," added Randolph, who has studied stimulus funding and made recommendations on projects.

 

Two Republican U.S. senators, John McCain of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, recently identified four Bay Area projects as among 100 nationally they called a questionable use of public money. Those four include the building of irrigation systems to use reclaimed water for golf courses in Antioch and Pacifica, elevating a bridge to protect the Napa Wine Train from flooding, and enhancing security for a ferry company that no longer has federal contracts, according to the report.

Do you suspect that a lot of this money could be put to far better use elsewhere?  Far more ethically?  So do I.

This is another layer of the corruption and favoritism that abounds in the Obama administration and among the leaders of Mr. Obama's party.  But it is our fault - because we proactively put this bunch into office.  You elect one-party government and this is the kind of crap you wind up with.

The 2010 elections cannot come fast enough.  And that goes double for 2012.


THE CRIMINAL DEFENDANT VS. ENEMY COMBATANT DANCE

Ken Berwitz

Why is umar farouk abdulmutallab, the "undie bomber" who tried to blow up almost 300 people in a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas day, being treated as a criminal defendant who gets the full rights of US citizens in a civil court?  Why is he not an enemy combatant facing a military tribunal?

Read the folllowing blog by Scott Johhson of www.powerlineblog.com, and see if you can figure out a viable reason.  I'm betting you can't:

The dove that dares not speak its name

January 3, 2010 Posted by Scott at 8:28 AM

Chris Wallace interviewed Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan on FOX News Sunday this morning. The interview transcript will be posted on RealClearPolitics this afternoon. At the moment I'm writing from memory.

In the middle of the interview Wallace asked Brennan why the administration was treating Nigerian terrorist bomber Omar Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant rather than an enemy combatant. Wallace referred to the fact that Abdulmuttalab had reportedly been cooperating with authorities until he obtained a lawyer.

Brennan declined to challenge the premise of the question, but he talked a bit around the question. He stated that Abdulmutallab was apprehended in Detroit. He referred to the treatment of Richard Reid and others by the Bush administration as criminal defendants. He asserted that Abdulmutallab might start talking at a later date when it may serve his interest in the criminal process. He emphasized that the determination regarding Abdulmutallab's treatment was made by the Department of Justice.

Eureka! The DoJ determination takes us back to the administration's treatment of Khalid Sheik Mohammed as a criminal defendant. No reason of law or justice, history or tradition, supports the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed et al. in federal court. Indeed, as Thomas Sowell observed, it is something of an obscenity.

Cloaking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed et al. with the constitutional protections afforded American citizens comes at a steep price. In the case of Omar Abdulmutallab the cost is foregone intelligence regarding the planning of future attacks on American citizens.

Why is the Obama administration paying the price? In his interview with Wallace, Brennan simply stated and reiterated the conclusion. Missing is any statement of the rationale that supports the conclusion. The Obama administration is stalwart in its refusal to articulate the rationale supporting the treatment of particular perpetrators as criminal defendants rather than enemy combatants.

Attorney General Holder's announcement of the "forum decisions for 10 Guantanamo Bay detainees" likewise lacked the statement of a rationale. Addressing KSM et al., here is what Holder said:

I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial, just as they have for over 200 years. The alleged 9/11 conspirators will stand trial in our justice system before an impartial jury under long-established rules and procedures....

[M]y decision as to whether to proceed in federal courts or military commissions was based on a protocol that the Departments of Justice and Defense developed and that was announced in July. Because many cases could be prosecuted in either federal courts or military commissions, that protocol sets forth a number of factors - including the nature of the offense, the location in which the offense occurred, the identity of the victims, and the manner in which the case was investigated - that must be considered. In consultation with the Secretary of Defense, I looked at all the relevant factors and made case by case decisions for each detainee.

In his announcement Holder never got around to articulating the rationale or applying it to the cases. He left the rationale unstated. It is, you might say, the dove that dare not speak its name.

At the conclusion of his announcement Holder stated: "For over two hundred years, our nation has relied on a faithful adherence to the rule of law to bring criminals to justice and provide accountability to victims."

But the United States has never tried enemy leaders responsible for acts of war in civilian courts. Never before in American history has the United States brought its martial enemies to trial in a civilian court and cloaked them with the protections of the United States Constitution. Someone in a position to do so really ought to question responsible administration officials such as Holder and Brennan in a forum designed to secure a full statement of reasons accounting for the administration's actions.

UPDATE: Byron York reports on Brennan's FNS interview here. RCP has posted the transcript of the Brennan interview here.

JOHN adds: Here is the full transcript of the relevant portion of this morning's interview:

WALLACE: Perhaps the most controversial step that President Obama took after the Christmas day terror attack was to charge Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant.

He was cooperating with authorities. He was giving information about his links to Al Qaida. But after he got a criminal lawyer, he reportedly stopped cooperating, stopped talking.

Why not treat him as an enemy combatant, put him in a secret prison, use the interrogation techniques that President Obama has specifically approved, and try to get more information out of him?

BRENNAN: Well, we have an array of tools that we will use, and we want to make sure we maintain flexibility as far as how we deal with these individuals.

Now, let's get the facts on the table. He was arrested on U.S. soil on a plane on -- in the Detroit airplane. He was, in fact, talking to people who were detaining him.

There were people who were arrested during the previous administration -- Richard Reid, the shoe bomber; Zacarias Moussaoui; Padilla; Iyman Faris; others -- all were charged and tried in criminal court and sentenced, some cases to life imprisonment.

Just because somebody is going to be put into the criminal legal process does not mean that they're -- we don't have other opportunities to get information from them.

WALLACE: But wait, wait. Let me ask you specifically. After Abdulmutallab got lawyered up, did he stop cooperating with authorities? Did he stop talking?

BRENNAN: I'm not going to address exactly what he did before or after he was -- talked with his lawyer. We got information. We continue to have opportunities to do that.

As you talk with the lawyers and you talk with the individuals, as they recognize what they're facing as far as the charges, conviction and possible sentence, there are opportunities to continue to talk about it.

FBI has some of the best interrogators and debriefers in the world, and so I'm confident that we're going to continue to be able to work this system and see whether or not...

WALLACE: But once he gets his Miranda rights, he doesn't have to speak at all.

BRENNAN: He doesn't have to, but he knows that there are certain things that are on the table, and if he wants to, in fact, engage with us in a productive manner, there are ways that he can do that.

WALLACE: But why not treat him -- you certainly had the right -- have -- had -- still have the right to treat him as an enemy combatant. Why not do that?

If he has more actionable intelligence about future attacks, and you say there's a real possibility of that, doesn't the president have a responsibility to do everything legal he can to get that information?

BRENNAN: And the president has that responsibility, and the Department of Justice makes these determinations about what's the best tool to use. And in this instance, we felt as though it was the best way to address Mr. Abdulmutallab's case.

We'll continue to look at each of the cases individually and proceed accordingly.

WALLACE: Just briefly, what's the downside of treating him as an enemy combatant?

BRENNAN: There's -- there are no downsides or upsides in particular cases. What we're trying to do is to make sure we apply the right tool in the right instance. In this case, we made a determination that he should be tried in U.S. criminal court.

SCOTT adds: The reason Brennan dances around Wallace's questions is that there is no good answer to them. "There's -- there are no downsides or upsides in particular cases." Absolutely, unbelievably pathetic.

No wonder the world is laughing at President Obama and his administration.  No wonder the most powerful nation on earth is not even being taken seriously by third world thugs.

Scott calls this "absolutely, unbelievably pathetic".  He is being too kind.

free` I would like to see a poll of what people think about obama's answer to the ticking time bomb scenario? Letting the undie-bomber lawyer up with miranda rights is his answer. (01/03/10)


WHO IS SCOTT BROWN?

Ken Berwitz

Who is Scott Brown?  What a sad question to have to ask.

Scott Brown is the engaging, telegenic Republican challenger to Democrat Martha Coakley, for this month's senate race in Massachusetts - the seat previously occupied by Ted Kennedy.

I have read in several different places that Brown is making a race of it.  But I keep looking in major mainstream media for coverage of this one and only senate race in the country, for the seat occupied by arguably the most fabled senator of the past 40 years, and see nothing.

Are our wonderful "neutral" media looking the other way?  The answer, clearly, is yes. 

And why are they doing so?  Is it because Scott Brown, a State Senator and Lt. Colonal in the National Guard, is a genuinely attractive candidate who could win if given sufficient exposur?  Is it because Martha Coakley, who arrogantly has refused to debate Mr. Brown,  has the scandal of pushing then- Republican Governor Jane Swift to make sure that Gerald Amirault, an innocent man who had already spent 15 years in prison, rotted there for three years more? 

Coakley championed Amirault's continued incarceration even after everyone knew he was an innocent man.  It was done purely for political reasons on the part of both Coakley and Swift.  But it isn't Swift running for senator, it is Coakley.

The election takes place on January 19 - about two and a half weeks from now.  Will the media at least tell us who won?

Oh, one other thing:  I looked up Martha Coakley at www.wikipedia.com.  And there is not one word about the Amirault scandal.  To read the biography there, she is a saint-in-waiting, who never did a thing wrong in her life.  That is why you always double check wikipedia.

RightKlik Defeat ObamaCare. Take away the 60th Senate vote. Support Brown! (01/03/10)


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