Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cruising the Web

We still don't know how Chuck Schumer is going to vote on the deal with Iran. Yet, by his own standards, the deal fails five of the issues he laid out in May that should be necessary for a deal. We'll see if Schumer was just saying what his audience of Orthodox Jews wanted to hear or he really meant what he said.

And I'd be fascinated to hear the logic by which any Democratic senator would defend this.
Pompeo says they asked whether they could see those agreements. He says IAEA officials replied, “ ‘Oh no, of course not, no, you’re not going to get to see those.’ And so everybody on our side of the table asked, ‘Has Secretary Kerry seen these?’ ‘No, Secretary Kerry hasn’t seen them. No American is ever going to get to see them.’ ”

It turns out that only the two parties — the IAEA and Iran — get to see the actual agreements (though you can see a picture of Iranian and IAEA officials holding up what appear to be the secret accords here).

In other words, Obama is gambling our national security and handing over $150 billion in sanctions relief to Iran, based on secret agreements negotiated between the IAEA and Iran that no U.S. official has seen.

“We need to see these documents in order to evaluate whether or not verification is ample to make such a big concession to the Iranians,” Pompeo says. “No member of Congress should be asked to vote on an agreement of this historic importance absent knowing what the terms of the verification process are.”

In fact, the Obama administration’s failure to transmit these side deals to Congress is a violation of the law. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which Obama signed into law, explicitly states that the president must transmit the nuclear agreement along with “all related materials and annexes.” That clearly covers any side agreements covering the verification of Iran’s compliance.

Susan Rice told reporters the administration “provided Congress with all of the documents that we drafted or were part of drafting and all documents shared with us by the IAEA.” Sorry, that’s not what the law requires.

But the administration cannot hand over what it apparently does not have. For Pompeo, that raises even more troubling questions. “Why on earth is the president letting the negotiations [on verification] be negotiated by someone other than us?” he asks. How can it be that the administration would “do a deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, that’s spent its entire existence cheating, and we would sign off on a deal with them whose core provisions are completely unknown to our side? It’s remarkable.”

What is in the secret side deals? According to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), one of the side deals governing inspections of the Parchin military complex allows Iran to collect its own soil samples, instead of IAEA inspectors. That is like letting Lance Armstrong collect his own blood samples for a doping investigation. “I suspect if we’re able to actually go over [these agreements], you find half a dozen that you would stare at and realize we really didn’t get verification,” Pompeo says.

Hillary Clinton wants us not to vote for us because she's a woman, yet she also wants us to vote for her because she is a woman. Her logic is as lame as her whole campaign.
"Clearly, I'm not asking people to vote for me simply because I'm a woman. I'm asking people to vote for me on the merits," Clinton said.

Then she directly addressed gender, adding: "I think one of the merits is I am a woman. And I can bring those views and perspectives to the White House."

Hillary Clinton seems to have left a lot out of her climate plan. And liberals aren't happy about it.
Hillary Clinton’s newly unveiled climate vision sounds ambitious on its face: 500 million new solar panels from coast to coast, eco-minded energy tax breaks and enough green power to keep the lights on in every U.S. home.

But just as glaring are the details she left out.

Does Clinton support or oppose the Keystone XL oil pipeline? Or Arctic offshore drilling? Or tougher restrictions on fracking? Or the oil industry’s push to lift the 1970s ban on exporting U.S. crude oil? Clinton avoided all those questions in the solar-heavy climate plan she outlined Sunday night and in her speech promoting it Monday in Iowa — and she declined yet again Monday to say where she stands on Keystone.

That means that liberals longing for Clinton to erase what they see as the dirtiest spot on President Barack Obama’s environmental record — his support for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that includes domestic oil and gas drilling — have to keep waiting. Greens want to cheer for Clinton, but Democratic rivals Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are already trying to outflank her with even more ambitious climate plans, while the GOP attacks her from the right.

“Clinton’s climate plan is remarkable for what it doesn’t say, yet,” California-based environmental activist R.L. Miller, who founded the Climate Hawks Vote PAC, said in a statement. Specifically, she added, Clinton offered “no effort to keep fossil fuels in the ground, no price on carbon; no word on Keystone XL, Arctic oil or other carbon bombs; no word on fracking.”

Chris Cillizza looks at four poll numbers that should really scare Hillary Clinton. The more people see her, the less they like her.

John McWhorter has a very thoughtful essay on what he describes as America's new religion - Antiracism.
Yet Antiracism as religion has its downsides. It encourages an idea that racism in its various guises must be behind anything bad for black people, which is massively oversimplified in 2015. For example, it is thrilling to see the fierce, relentless patrolling, assisted by social media, that the young black activists covered in a recent New York Times Magazine piece have been doing to call attention to cops’ abuse of black people. That problem is real and must be fixed, as I have written about frequently, often to the irritation of the Right. However, imagine if there were a squadron of young black people just as bright, angry and relentless devoted to smoking out the bad apples in poor black neighborhoods once and for all, in alliance with the police forces often dedicated to exactly that? I fear we’ll never see it—Antiracism creed forces attention to the rogue cops regardless of whether they are the main problem.

The fact is that Antiracism, as a religion, pollutes our race dialogue as much as any lack of understanding by white people of their Privilege. For example, the good Antiracist supports black claims that standardized tests are “racist” in that black people don’t do as well on them as other students. But Antiracism also encourages us to ask why, oh why black people are suspected of being less intelligent than others—despite this take on the tests, and aspiring firefighters and even teachers making news with similar claims that tough tests are “racist.” Now, to say that if black people can’t be expected to take tests then they must not be as smart is, under Antiracism, blasphemous—one is not to ask too many questions. The idea of a massive effort—as concentrated as the people battling cop abuse against black people—to get black kids practice in taking standardized tests doesn’t come up, because the scripture turns our heads in other directions.

And too often, Antiracism doctrine loses sight of what actually helps black people. Ritual “acknowledgment” of White Privilege is, ultimately, for white people to feel less guilty. Social change hardly requires such self-flagellation by the ruling class. Similarly, black America needs no grand, magic End of Days in order to succeed. A compact program of on-the-ground policy changes could do vastly more than articulate yearnings for a hypothetical psychological revolution among whites that no one seriously imagines could ever happen in life as we know it.

Antiracism as a religion, despite its good intentions, distracts us from activism in favor of a kind of charismatic passivism. One is to think, to worship, to foster humility, to conceive of our lives as mere rehearsal for a glorious finale, and to encourage others to do the same. This kind of thinking may have its place in a human society. But helping black people succeed in the only real world we will ever know is not that place.

Timothy Carney explains what has been going on with the Highway bill and Ex-Im Bank votes. It all leads Ben Domenech to wonder why the Republican Party even exists and what principle it serves.
Why does the Republican Party exist? What is its purpose as a political entity – to what end do its members work to elect their fellow Republicans? What are its priorities? Whose interests does it serve? Why is this political party still around so long after its primary motivations for creation – the defense of the Union and the end of slavery – were achieved? The Democratic Party exists to serve its clients – but the Republican Party’s justification is more ethereal. Is it just an arbitrary entity seeking a universal negative, designed to push back against Democratic policies and demand they be more something (efficient) or less something else (expensive)? Or does it have actual principles and priorities it seeks to make a reality?

The Republican Party’s voters and supporters certainly seem to have such beliefs. But they rarely seem to make it through the process of synthesis that turns such beliefs into actual policy priorities. Being a negative force is not nothing, and blocking bad policy is worthwhile. But when given the opportunity to put good policy into place, or to take steps to make such policy more feasible in the future, where is the Republican Party to be found?
David Harsanyi takes a stab on explaining why Republican voters are so disgruntled with the Republican Party.
There are, no doubt, countless answers to the above question, but let me take a stab at it: It’s conceivable, and I’m just spitballing here, that many conservatives are wondering: If the Republican Party is incapable or unwilling to make a compelling case against the selling of baby organs or the emergence of a nuclear Iran or the funding of a cronyist state-run bank—or all three—then really, what exactly can it do?

Setting aside presidential politics for a moment, three issues have filled the conservative ether the past few weeks: The administration’s pact abetting Iran’s efforts to become a threshold nuclear power, Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting controversy, and, to a lesser extent, the renewal of the Export-Import bank. None of these are hobbyhorses of the wild fringe. They’re issues—ostensibly, at least—that are core issues of the modern GOP. And on all three, the GOP has, though it has plenty of leverage to raise a stink, capitulated. In fact, it has probably put more effort into evading confrontation than its standard response of pretending to court it.

I’ve long defended John Boehner’s House as one the most productive in history— obstructing more detrimental and intrusive legislation than any other in modern history. This is a meaningful legacy. From 2010 to 2014, the House was the nation’s checks and balances—inadvertently, perhaps, but still the only thing stopping a monocracy. Even most rank-and-file conservatives disagreed with this assessment. While no one (or, I should say, no sensible person) is expecting the GOP to demand a shutdown, what’s the point of a party that not only ignores issues conservatives are emotionally and ideologically invested in but ones that could appeal to a wider electorate?

How shameless was the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, as he laid into John Kerry at the Iran-deal hearings earlier this week? Corker had the temerity to claim the administration had “been fleeced” by the Iranians after listening to the administration’s rationalizations for the deal.

This might be true. It might also be true that Corker was willing to abdicate his responsibility of holding on to congressional oversight when he agreed to a framework that allows the Iranian deal to move forward even if a majority of the Senate votes no. It’s the risk-free alternative. Corker (and others) can now profess disgust at the outcome, lecture the administration about its impotence, and oppose the deal for the benefit of conservative voters while having, in essence, voted for it months ago.
So it is very depressing, but I don't think that the answer is Donald Trump.

I'm with John Podhoretz. He is depressed about politics for the vary reasons I have been.
No sense pretending: Donald Trump is the only news of the 2016 race, and this fact says something very troubling about the Republican party, the conservative electorate, the mass media culture, and the United States in general. Sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. Really it’s not.

Ted Cruz goes to war with the GOP Senate leadership; Hillary Clinton proposes the highest tax rates in 70 years; Marco Rubio goes after John Kerry on the Iran deal in a Senate hearing. Well, big deal. Phffft. They’ve all been crowded out by the Trump noise. There will be the first Republican debate in ten days. It’s the most important political event of the year thus far. And it will be all about Trump. He will see to that; the reporters will see to that, and the minor candidates looking to move up will see to it by trying to pick fights with him and best him.

It’s not enough to say that there are matters of deathly serious to be discussed, from Iran to ISIS to the possible collapse of the Euro and the Chinese economy to the harvesting of fetal organs, because there are always serious matters to be discussed as elections approach. The issue with Trump is that his approach can only be called “the politics of unseriousness.” He engages with no issue, merely offers a hostile and pithy soundbite bromide about it. He yammers. He describes how wonderful things will be when he acts against something or other without explaining how he will act, what he will do, or how it will work.

The Trump view, boiled down: They’re all idiots and I’m very rich and I know how to do things and if you say Word One against me I will say something incredibly nasty about you and who cares about how the Senate works or the House works or international alliances work or how treaties work or how anything works. That stuff is for sissies and losers and disasters. I know how to do it I me me me I me me I I me. And me. And I.
Add in the Iran deal, and it's been an extremely depressing few weeks.

San Francisco has found a way to deal with one problem.
San Francisco is testing the idea of painting walls with urine-repellant paint that will soak the sprayer before the wall gets wet.

Mohammed Nuru, San Francisco's director of public works, got the idea to use the paint, Ultra-Ever Dry, after reading about its effectiveness in Hamburg, Germany. The paint repels most liquids so the urine would "bounce back" on the sprayer.

"The urine will bounce back on the guy's pants and shoes," Rachel Gordon, a public works department spokeswoman, said. "The idea is they will think twice next time about urinating in public."

After painting nine walls around areas with prominent nightlife or homeless communities, the city has received requests many other requests for the paint. In fact, it costs less money to paint the wall than to clean it, Gordon said, according to The Guardian.
I suppose that is innovative, but arresting and fining a few guys might accomplish just as much.

Oh, geez. Here is the latest wimpiness from the gender wars. Now, apparently men need to worry that they're buying into some macho stereotype by enjoying grilling.

Okay, Seattle raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. but that leads to a problem. Now workers are earning too much money to qualify for subsidized housing and child care. Miss CJ at Chicks on the Right comments,
Sooooo... the point of a higher minimum wage wasn't necessarily so you could provide things like housing and food and childcare for yourself - it was just to have more money for whatever else you wanted while the government continues to provide all the free/cheap stuff they were giving you BEFORE you got the minimum wage raise? You mean that even when people don't have to be totally dependent on the government, they still WANT to be?


Basically, they want a "living wage" (whatever the heck THAT means) AND they still want all the freebies the government gives them. Because that's TOTALLY the point of working hard and being independent. And the sad thing is, liberals are seriously cheering this on

No wonder we're doomed.

Charter schools in New Orleans since Katrina have been a very bright spot in education reform.
Students that had been almost certainly destined for failure simply by having been born in New Orleans today have the chance to succeed. "There's nobody that can argue that children are not getting a much better education today than they were getting prior to Hurricane Katrina," Campbell said.

In May, the first group of kindergartners that started at Hynes after Katrina will graduate the eighth grade and head off to high school. With a long waiting list, Douglas said she's considering whether Hynes should open a second campus soon.

New Orleans isn't perfect, but there are lessons that can be learned from its education reforms. The old one-size-fits-all education model is a failure. Flexibility for school leaders can empower them to accomplish amazing things, even in the face of unprecedented adversity. Giving families a choice of where to send their children helps keep schools accountable.

Most importantly, when an education system fails students, don't wait until God intervenes to fix it.

Molli Hemingway lists the four most embarrassing things from Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards' appearance on ABC News with George Stephanopoulos. Hemingway totally describes the whole defense that the videos are edited.
There are a few problems with this talking point, however. First and foremost is that the journalists who taped the undercover videos took the additional step of releasing the lengthy full footage of the interviews at the same time they released shortened versions. Here’s the full footage of Dr. Nucatola, running 2 hours and 42 minutes. Here’s the 9-minute cut of the full footage. Here’s the full transcript. Here’s the full footage of Mary Gatter, running 1 hour and 14 minutes. Here’s the 8-minute cut of the full footage. Here’s the full transcript. Both the full footage and the edited cuts were released at the same time and all the videos are publicly accessible. Interested parties can and should watch both videos.

Another problem with the editing charge is that it’s basically meaningless. I mean, everything is edited. The “news” clip setting up the interview with Richards was edited. All news, whether broadcast or print, is “highly” and “selectively” edited.

No one, and I mean no one, actually fits this description of “deceptive” editor better than Jon Stewart, beloved liberal media figure. Oh look here. Here are 10 times Planned Parenthood praised Jon Stewart.

One major difference between Jon Stewart, who actually doctors videos, splicing answers from one question to a completely separate question, and the undercover journalists hitting Planned Parenthood hard is that only one releases full footage for all to see.

Precisely because Planned Parenthood is running so hard with this talking point, objective journalists need to make sure people know that unlike most all the things that are edited in the world, full footage is public and ready for anyone to see. On that note, the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes falsely claimed last week that the full footage was only released after Planned Parenthood complained about the edited version. That’s incorrect. Both videos were released at the same time. I contacted the New York Times corrections desk about this factual error at 2:15 PM on Tuesday, July 21. That was a full day before the editorial page repeated the error. It remains uncorrected.

Journalists also need to sit down and watch the full videos, which many of them rather obviously haven’t done. I would actually quibble with the editing of the videos in part because they left some of the most salacious details out. For instance, by watching the full second video, I saw that Gatter flat out said that some Planned Parenthood officials wondered whether it was legal to accept so much money for the body parts given how “we didn’t have to do anything” to get them. I might have put that in the shortened video if I were one of the journalists running this project.
Then Richards resorted to baseless character assassination of the leader of the group making the videos. Her defense has a lot of holes in it. She better brush up on her defense because David Daleiden, the man she accused of being part of the the movement that is "behind the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors in their homes, and in their churches," says that they have total of a dozen videos. Who knows what Planned Parenthood employees said in those videos?