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No 933 “En mi opinión” Abril 27, 2015

No 933   “En mi opinión”  Abril 27, 2015

“IN GOD WE TRUST” LAZARO R GONZALEZ MIñO EDITOR

“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God ” ~Thomas Jefferson 

Democrats’ Dilemma

  • The Briefing, Vol. III, Issue 10

From: David Freddoso

A major logjam in the U.S. Senate ended last week, highlighting again just how much less dysfunctional that body has become in the Post-Reid era. Democrats dropped their months-long filibuster against a bill to assist the victims of human trafficking, in exchange for a meaningless sop to the abortion lobby. And President Obama’s pick to replace Eric Holder as attorney general finally received a vote — she won easily, in part because Republican senators were afraid of being branded as racist for opposing her.

You don’t have to like either development (and many conservatives are not happy about Lynch for a number of reasons) to see that the Senate is once again more than just a tool for killing bills that might put a president in an awkward position. Bipartisanship isn’t always a virtue, but it’s back, like it or not.

This is in some ways a positive development — certainly from a simple institutional standpoint it has to be — but it remains to be seen whether this situation can survive the next occasion when the same party controls the Senate and the presidency.

The Bush era represented the first run in which the Senate (then controlled by the GOP) really became noting more than a goalkeeper for a president’s image. Bush was able to go an unnaturally long time without having to veto a bill as a result of his Senate buffer, and so he ended up vetoing only 12 bills in his entire presidency — a tie with JFK (who served less than one full term before his assassination) and less than any other president since Warren Harding. Yet even then, the Republicans’ goalkeeping strategy did not exactly save Bush’s image, nor did it prevent the party from losing the Senate in the 2006 wipeout.

When Democrats lost control of the U.S. House in the 2010 election, they adopted the same strategy in the Senate to protect President Obama from bills originating in the House. As a result, Obama is on pace to cast fewer vetoes than Bush. But this use of the Senate also helped cost Democrats the chamber last year, and in a way that isn’t immediately intuitive. By abolishing the chamber’s role of debating and voting on all manner of amendments that could reveal ideological fissures in his party, Harry Reid put vulnerable Democrats in a situation where they could be said to have voted 90, 95, or 98 percent of the time with the president. This worked miracles for Republican election prospects at a time when Obama’s popularity was in the toilet.

The “goalkeeper” strategy — far more than any sort of ideological rigidity by Tea Partiers or Leftists — is what has made bipartisanship less common in Washington. It remains to be seen whether it will be revived in the future, but from an empirical perspective, it hasn’t conferred many political blessings on those who have embraced it.

President 2016

Meanwhile, on the presidential front, Marco Rubio established himself as a leading candidate, along with Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. And in the Democratic Party’s “field of one” primary, Hillary Clinton’s prospects for the presidency suffered a new blow.

Hillary Clinton: The much-anticipated release of Peter Schweitzer’s Clinton Cash is still more than one week away, yet its revelations are already creating havoc for Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.

Yes, the Clintons are scandal-tested, this goes without saying. But the potential repercussions here go beyond anything the Clintons have previously faced. The appearance of large bribes is unavoidable, and the idea that no one involved —

neither givers nor takers — viewed the payments and contributions in question as attempts to gain influence within the U.S. government is not terribly plausible.

With mainstream media organs no longer giving the Clintons the kind of cover they enjoyed during the 1990s, it is really anyone’s guess whether Hillary’s political prospects will survive the new revelations about the family and its charities taking money from people who had every incentive to influence Hillary in her cabinet post.

This is worse than the Clinton email scandal, and it may also help explain it. During Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State, parties with business before her — companies requiring State Department approval for their deals — gave large sums to the Clinton Foundation and/or paid Bill Clinton large sums to speak.

Whatever your opinion on the merits of any such proposal — and one is the Keystone XL Pipeline, which most conservatives support — this stinks. It has the obvious appearance of impropriety, which even crooked public officials typically try to avoid. The fact that one such deal put the Russian government in control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium capacity doesn’t help matters.

To compound the problem, Clinton appears to have broken the understanding she had with the Obama administration to disclose such donations to Clinton-controlled charities. The White House was embarrassed enough to pull out the line that there was “no evidence” that the donations affected Clinton’s decisions in office. On this basis, Americans are supposed to accept the idea of having officials raise money — and not small campaign donations, but six- and seven-figure amounts — from the same interests whose affairs they direct.

This controversy also opens a new can of worms when it comes to Clinton’s now-deleted emails. Were any of them related to the Clintons’ foundations? Were any deliberations made over email about whom to hit up for money — given that Clinton Foundation fundraising decisions seem to correlate in some way with people who had business before the State Department?

Democrats: The new revelations could help Republicans by driving down Clinton’s numbers in the short run — and indeed, she was already viewed as untrustworthy by a majority of Americans before they came. This could all bode well for a Republican victory in 2016, but it is far too early for Republicans to exploit.

This is the stage at which Democrats have to make up their minds about whether their 2016 election cycle will really be “Hillary or Bust.” Because as weak as the alternatives are, Clinton is beginning to look like she’s on the edge.

It seems unlikely that Democrats will abandon Clinton, but it seems less impossible now. She had been positioning herself further Left with a series of rather implausible leaks to The New York Times (on trade and on income inequality) to stave off an ideological challenge, but the perception that she is a flawed candidate could prove more difficult to overcome.

The real decider here is the party’s money-base. How willing would they be to commit to another Democratic candidate who will vigorously attack her on ethics? Donors to such a campaign would face great risks, were Clinton to get the nomination and win the presidency.

Beyond that is the Field of Dreams question for the other longshot candidates in the Democratic field. Is there a Democrat willing to start the attacks and build a campaign around them, in the hopes that the donors will suddenly be emboldened and come to them? So far, this does not seem to have happened. but anyone — even someone as bland as Martin O’Malley — could become the nominee this way, and has little hope of doing so any other way.

But the brave soul who follows that pat will risk becoming an outcast in the party and a persona non grata, should a second Clinton administration ever materialize. This is the moment when Democrats learn the truth about the other candidates — are they in to become secretary of Commerce, or are they in it to win?

House 2015

New York-11: As expected, Daniel Donovan, R, is dominating this special election race in Staten Island and some of the ethnic areas of southwest Brooklyn, outraising Councilman and former State Senator Vinnie Gentile, D, three-to-one. Democrats effectively conceded this race before it began. If Rep. MIchael Grimm, R, was able to win while under indictment, their chances seem slim.

Election Day is May 5. Likely Republican Retention.

House 2016

Pennsylvania-9: Rep. Bill Shuster, R, finds himself in hot water after revelations that he helped his girlfriend, a lobbyist, move an airline bill through the House. The divorced congressman’s excuse — that she did not lobby him on the issue while they were dating — is somewhat absurd, although frequently offered by members of Congress who find themselves with such conflicts. Surely, he was aware that she wanted the bill when he revived it from an obscure member and moved it to a voice vote on the House floor.

Shuster comfortably survived a three-way primary in 2014 with 53 percent of the vote. But it was not an overwhelming win, and he will have a lot more trouble on his hands if Tom Smith, the party’s 2012 Senate nominee, jumps in. Smith, a businessman, won a surprisingly respectable 45 percent against Sen. Bob Casey in a bad year for Republicans, and represents a much stronger challenger with greater financial resources than Shuster’s 2014 opponents. Art Halvorson, the strongest of Shuster’s 2014 challengers, has promised to back Smith if he chooses to run.

The district is overwhelmingly Republican, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index rating of R+17. It will not likely be a problem in November 2016, no matter who wins the primary.
Read more at http://conservativeintel.com/2015/04/27/the-briefing-vol-iii-issue-10/

 

Hillary Ineligible Due To Felony

Support Trey Gowdy (Andrew@EconomicFreedomNow.org)

To: lazarorgonzalez@hotmail.com

Hillary Clinton May Soon Be Facing Felony Charges! Her Treasonous Crimes In The Benghazi Attacks May Force Her To Drop Out Of The Presidential Race! Once All The Information Comes Out About The Benghazi Attacks, Her Campaign Will Be Ruined! The American People Deserve To Know The Full Story! Trey Gowdy Is Working To Investigate Benghazi And Expose Hillary Clinton’s “Personal” Emails!  

Hillary Clinton is a criminal and she may soon be forced to drop out of the Presidential race! Her treasonous role in the Benghazi attacks may soon lead to felony charges that make her ineligible to run for President. Voters are going to be outraged when they find out that Hillary Clinton made a clear orchestrated effort to hide evidence and ignore security in Benghazi! Once the truth about Benghazi is revealed to the American people, Hillary Clinton’s campaign will be ruined! Trey Gowdy’s investigation into Benghazi is going to expose Hillary Clinton and ruin her Presidential campaign. Please contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, or more, to support voter outreach and advertising efforts to re-elect Trey Gowdy.

Trey Gowdy wants a comprehensive federal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s server. As Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Trey Gowdy has legally subpoenaed Hillary Clinton’s 31,380 “personal” emails. Predictably, the Hillary Clinton legal mob is fighting against Trey Gowdy’s investigation. Trey Gowdy’s heroic efforts could ruin Hillary Clinton’s career and that’s why the Democratic machine is doing everything possible to stop the investigation. If Hillary Clinton didn’t have anything to hide, her lawyers wouldn’t be fighting against Trey Gowdy’s investigation! It is impossible to believe Hillary Clinton’s claim that all of the 31,380 personal emails are about personal matters such as weddings, birthdays, and party invitations! In reality, there is most likely incriminating evidence about the Benghazi attacks in the emails! Fortunately, the incriminating evidence is impossible to delete! Even if Hillary Clinton attempts to erase data, data recovery experts can easily retrieve deleted emails in less than a day! Hillary Clinton cannot run from the truth!

Once the truth about Benghazi comes out, Hillary Clinton will be forced to drop out of the Presidential race. Not only will Hillary Clinton lose support from voters, she will most likely be facing multiple felony charges! Will you support Trey Gowdy’s heroic efforts and help expose Hillary Clinton? Please contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, or more, to support voter outreach and advertising efforts to re-elect Trey Gowdy.

Trey Gowdy is a conservative hero. He is dedicated to stopping amnesty, balancing the budget, and protecting the Second Amendment. In Congress, he also fights to end big government programs such as ObamaCare and Common Core. He knows that the federal government is the biggest obstacle to economic growth! Will you help re-elect Trey Gowdy to Congress? Please contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, or more, to support Trey Gowdy with voter outreach and advertising! 

The Democratic machine is furious about Trey Gowdy’s investigation of Hillary Clinton. Clinton operatives view Trey Gowdy as a threat to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Sleazy Clinton political consultants are working hard to smear Trey Gowdy and stop his heroic efforts. Every Clinton donor and ally wants to remove Trey Gody from Congress! Will you help fight back and defend Trey Gowdy?
As a father, Trey Gowdy knows that the liberal agenda is bad for America’s future. In Congress, Trey Gowdy fights to balance the budget, stop amnesty, and defend the Constitution. He knows that the best way to grow the economy is to get the federal government out of the way! It is crucial that conservatives everywhere support Trey Gowdy and defend his House seat. Conservatives cannot allow Trey Gowdy to be replaced by a radical liberal! 
Please help re-elect Trey Gowdy to Congress by contributing $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, or more, for voter outreach and advertising!

 

 

If Only President Obama Weren’t Black
Over the weekend, most of the worst people in the world gathered together in Washington, D.C. as a circle of jerks to sing each other’s praises. Sadly, there was no Samson to tear down the columns and collapse the roof on the Philistines of Washington. But there was a President of the United States willing to make jokes about the “F-word” and an Imperial Court to worship him.

Byron York notes that much of President Obama’s speech to the White House Correspondents Dinner centered around “black anger.” In other words, President Obama let loose over the weekend that he has concluded all the opposition to him is because he is black.

It must be comfortable and convenient for President Obama to assume the opposition to him is because of his race. He can negotiate a bad deal with Iran and conclude the public hates it because he is black. He can tell people they can keep their doctors then take their doctors away from them and console himself that the anger of the public is just racist. He can see a solid position in Iraq and Afghanistan squandered as ISIS overruns us and, when people point it out, conclude it’s just because of his skin color. People can drop out of the workforce because they can’t find jobs and when their stomachs rumble and their mouths grumble, President Obama can look himself in the mirror and think it’d all be different if he were not a black man.

If only President Obama weren’t black, maybe he would realize that people don’t dislike him because he is black, they dislike him because…

 

 

Clinton Foundation admits ‘mistakes’

 COWBOY BYTE  APRIL 26, 2015

They say admission is the first step……

The Clinton Foundation’s acting chief on Sunday acknowledged the organization had made missteps, but defended its transparency efforts amid Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign.

Acting CEO Maura Pally’s statement, posted to the foundation’s blog, comes in response to a flood of questions surrounding a forthcoming book that scrutinizes foreign donations to the foundation.
Read more at http://cowboybyte.com/38068/clinton-foundation-admits-mistakes/

 

Jeb Bush says the “best part” of Obama’s presidency is the NSA’s unconstitutional domestic spying program

BY JASON PYE

4 days ago

Jeb Bush continues to defend the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional domestic spying program, telling a conservative talk show host that this gross encroachment on the Fourth Amendment is the “best part of the Obama administration.”

There’s absolutely no evidence that the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program has prevented a terrorist attack in the United States. This is a conclusion reached by the New America Foundation and the White House Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology. ThePrivacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board could “not identif[y] a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation.”

Bush, however, hails the massive expansion of the NSA and its domestic spying program. “I would say the best part of the Obama administration has been his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced,” the former Florida governor told Michael Medved on Tuesday. “Even though he never defends it, even though he never admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation of our national government is to keep us safe.”

Not only is the narrative that Bush is trying to set utterly false when compared to aforementioned reports by private and government-backed panels, there is no legal basis for the NSA’s domestic spying program.

NSA apologists say that Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act authorizes this broad program through which the NSA can collect metadata on virtually every call made in the United States. But the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board rebutted this argument, noting “Section 215 does not provide an adequate legal basis to support the program.”

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board listed several reasons why this broad interpretation of Section 215 runs afoul of what the statute actually says. While Section 215 does authorize the collection of records connected to terrorism investigation, as the Board explained, it was not meant to apply so broadly that the government is collecting records of swaths of innocent people who are not suspected of terrorist activity. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who authored the PATRIOT Act and now advocates for reform to protect civil liberties, noted that this absurd notion rests on the idea that the government needs the “the haystack” (virtually every call made in the United States) “to find the needle” (records relevant to an actual investigation).

Moreover, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board noted that the language of the statute “permits only the FBI to obtain items for use in its investigations; it does not authorize the NSA to collect anything.”

The Fourth Amendment exists to prevent the federal government from illegal searches and seizuresthrough general warrants. No one disagrees that terrorism is a threat to the United States, but, as Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) explained in an August 2013 interview, “it’s precisely because we live in this dangerous world that we need protections like the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”

Section 215 will expire on June 1, and there’s a showdown looming. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced legislation, S. 1035, on Tuesday to extend the provision through the end of 2020.

Reformers in Congress have, however, introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act, H.R. 1466. This bill,which FreedomWorks supports, would bring to an end the NSA’s unconstitutional domestic spying program and restore the civil liberties protected by the Fourth Amendment.

STOP THE NSA’S WARRANTLESS SPYING

 

 

FERGUSON ALL OVER AGAIN? Mayhem in Baltimore Erupts During Freddie Gray Protests [WATCH]

This is how not to “seek justice”.

Hours after Baltimore police promised “deep, systemic changes in the culture” of their department to protesters upset over the death of Freddie Gray, waves of violence and looting shook the city.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that demonstrations and marches were peaceful until about 7pm, when protesters became “agitated” and clashed with police around Camden Yards baseball stadium. Fans inside the stadium were told to stay inside.

Hundreds of Baltimore and Maryland State Police in riot gear tried to calm the crowd, but police said that a small group of protesters left the Camden Yards area and went on a violent spree through the streets, smashing windows and looting a local convenience store.

Videos taken at the scene show some protesters jumping on top of police cars and smashing windows, throwing things through store windows, and leaving shelves of items overturned in shops. Footage also captured a large group of police clad in riot gear sprinting down the street toward protesters.

Jorge A Villalon: La resurrección de Neville Chamberlain

  JOSÉ AZEL

     El primer ministro británico Neville Chamberlain falleció en 1940, pero su fracasada política exterior de apaciguar enemigos de gobiernos democráticos ha resucitado. La actual reencarnación del enfoque del apaciguamiento en política exterior –que llamo “neo apaciguamiento”   – es articulada por el profesor Charles Kupchan, de la Universidad de Georgetown, en su libro Cómo los enemigos se vuelven amigos: las fuentes de una paz estable.

   Explorar   ideas no convencionales señala al trabajo académico, y la erudición del profesor Kupchan puede brindar conocimientos teóricos en el estudio de las relaciones internacionales. Pero las relaciones internacionales no pertenecen a las ciencias físicas, donde se puede realizar experimentación benigna de laboratorio sin impactar negativamente las vidas de millones de individuos.

   La experimentación en ciencias sociales, del tipo que plantea Kupchan, es mejor mantenerla en la torre de marfil donde podemos discutir hasta la náusea sin arriesgar vidas.  

   Lamentablemente, las hipótesis de Kupchan se movieron con él al Consejo de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos, donde es director superior de Asuntos Europeos, y su neo-apaciguamiento parece exponerse plenamente en la formulación de la política exterior de EEUU. Desde el primer capítulo de su libro destaca que “la administración Obama considera claramente que los enemigos pueden convertirse en amigos”.

   Entonces, ¿cuál es la hoja de ruta del profesor y de la administración para convertir enemigos en amigos?  

   La receta neo-apaciguadora implica un proceso de cuatro fases. Debe comenzar, de acuerdo a Kupchan, haciendo concesiones a nuestros enemigos, en una acción de “acomodo unilateral”. Las concesiones deben ser “extraordinarias y costosas” para mostrar buena voluntad. Supongo que eso era lo que el primer ministro Chamberlain tenía en mente cuando entregó a Adolfo Hitler los Sudetes en 1938.

   La segunda fase implica “restricción recíproca”. En esta restricción recíproca las naciones adversarias se alejan de la rivalidad, surge la paz, y la competencia geopolítica cede paso a la cooperación. Debe haber sido lo que Hitler tenía en mente cuando Alemania ocupó lo que quedaba   de Checoslovaquia seis meses después del Pacto de Múnich, y continuó con la invasión de Polonia en 1939, desatando la Segunda Guerra Mundial.  

   “Integración social” y “generación de nuevas narrativas e identidades” son la tercera y cuarta fases de la secuencia de Kupchan hacia la paz estable. Él y el presidente Obama creen que profundizar negociaciones entre adversarios de alguna manera los llevará a un   cambio de identidad donde, “las distinciones entre uno mismo y el otro se erosionan, dando paso a identidades comunes y sentido compartido de solidaridad”.

   No puedo determinar si tal aseveración   es ingenua o simplemente absurda, pero dejémosla de momento mientras exploramos otra tesis inquietante del trabajo del profesor, donde expresa que la democracia no es necesaria para una paz estable. Desde su punto de vista, EEUU debe evaluar si los países son enemigos o amigos basados en su diplomacia (o sea, en lo que dicen) y no en la naturaleza de sus instituciones domésticas –lo que hacen.

   Supongo que esto explica las decisiones diplomáticas de la administración marginando aliados democráticos como Israel y apaciguando regímenes represivos como Rusia, Irán y Cuba.  

   Normalmente las democracias no guerrean entre ellas, y reconocer que las democracias tienen enemigos no es sinónimo de belicosidad. El tipo de gobierno es importante, y no debemos buscar, como prescribe el neo-apaciguamiento, identidad común y sentido de solidaridad compartida con personajes como Alí Jamenei, Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin o Raúl Castro.

   El neo-apaciguamiento parece ser el fundamento intelectual de la política exterior de la administración. Bajo ese estandarte admitimos la ocupación por Putin del territorio de Georgia, como Chamberlain admitió a Hitler. Abandonamos nuestros planes de defensa antimisiles en Europa del Este; habremos retrasado, pero   finalmente aceptamos el camino de Irán hacia el arma nuclear, y el Presidente utiliza su poder ejecutivo para normalizar incondicionalmente relaciones con el régimen cubano.

   Cuando se cuestiona su política exterior, el Presidente señala repetidamente que “no está interesado en pelear batallas que comenzaron antes que hubiera nacido”, dando a entender que la paz mundial depende de un cálculo de antes o después del nacimiento de Obama.

   Profesor Senior en el Instituto de Estudios Cubanos y Cubanoamericanos de la Universidad de Miami, y autor del libro Mañana in Cuba.

    jazel@miami.edu 

 


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WATCH: It Takes Just 40 Seconds For This Awesome Southern Judge To Smack Down A Gang Member

She laid down the law, Southern style.

Norvell Rose 

She’s being called the “Southern Judge Judy” for her tough, direct, no-nonsense demeanor in her Tennessee courtroom. Lila Statom laid down the law for a reputed gang member, O’Shea Smith, when he appeared before her on an attempted murder charge and referred to a public housing development as his “hood.”

The video of that verbal smackdown has gone viral, with a lot of viewers leaving comments thanking Hamilton County Judge Statom for her firm stance on the gang violence that has rocked Chattanooga in recent months. Chattanooga police say there’s a violent war being waged among several gangs, including the Gangster Disciples of which Smith, the suspect in the attempted murder, is a known member.

 

 

 

Obama Kept Iran’s Short Breakout Time a Secret

By Eli Lake

The Barack Obama administration has estimated for years that Iran was at most three months away from enriching enough nuclear fuel for an atomic bomb. But the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public.

Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: “Oh quite some time.” He added: “They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the . . . . R&D work. If you put that together it’s very, very little time to go forward. That’s the 2-3 months.”

Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to me Monday that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1.  

Here is the puzzling thing: When Obama began his second term in 2013, he sang a different tune. He emphasized that Iran was more than a year away from a nuclear bomb, without mentioning that his intelligence community believed it was only two to three months away from making enough fuel for one, long considered the most challenging task in building a weapon. Today Obama emphasizes that Iran is only two to three months away from acquiring enough fuel for a bomb, creating a sense of urgency for his Iran agreement. 

Back in 2013, when Congress was weighing new sanctions on Iran and Obama was pushing for more diplomacy, his interest was in tamping down that sense of urgency. On the eve of a visit to Israel, Obama told Israel’s Channel Two, “Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close.” 

On Oct. 5 of that year, Obama contrasted the U.S. view of an Iranian breakout with that of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who at the time said Iran was only six months away from nuclear capability. Obama told the Associated Press, “Our assessment continues to be a year or more away. And in fact, actually, our estimate is probably more conservative than the estimates of Israeli intelligence services.” 

Ben Caspit, an Israeli journalist and columnist for Al-Monitor, reported last year that Israel’s breakout estimate was also two to three months away. 

A year ago, after the nuclear talks started, Secretary of State John Kerry dropped the first hint about the still-classified Iran breakout estimate. He told a Senate panel, “I think it is fair to say, I think it is public knowledge today, that we are operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months.” 

David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told me administration officials appeared to be intentionally unspecific in 2013, when the talking points used the 12-months-plus timeline. “They weren’t clear at all about what this one-year estimate meant, but people like me who said let’s break it down to the constituent pieces in terms of time to build a bomb were rebuffed,” he said. Albright’s group released its own breakout timetable that focused solely on the production of highly enriched uranium, not the weapon itself. It concluded Iran was potentially less than a month away.

When USA Today asked a spokeswoman for the National Security Council about Albright’s estimate, she responded that the intelligence community maintained a number of estimates for how long Iran would take to produce enough material for a weapon. 

“They have made it very hard for those of us saying, let’s just focus on weapons-grade uranium, there is this shorter period of time and not a year,” Albright told me. “If you just want a nuclear test device to blow up underground, I don’t think you need a year.”

This view is supported by a leaked document from the International Atomic Energy Agency, first published by the Associated Press in 2009. Albright’s group published excerpts from the IAEA assessment that concluded Iran “has sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device based upon (highly enriched uranium) as the fission fuel.”

Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst who is now an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution, told me that most of the technical estimates about an Iranian breakout were not nearly as precise as they are sometimes portrayed in the press. “The idea there is such a thing as a hard and fast formula for this is nonsense,” he said. “All the physicists come up with different answers depending on what inputs they use.”

In this way, Obama’s new, more alarmist figure of two to three months provides a key selling point for the framework reached this month in Switzerland. When Obama announced the preliminary agreement on April 2, he said one benefit was that if it were finalized, “even if it violated the deal, for the next decade at least, Iran would be a minimum of a year away from acquiring enough material for a bomb.”

Hence the frustration of Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “We’ve been researching their claim that a deal would lengthen the breakout time for Iran from two to three months to a year,” he told me of the administration. “We’re just trying to confirm any of their numbers and we can’t confirm or make sense of what they are referencing.”

Nunes should hurry. The Iranian nuclear deal is scheduled to breakout in less than three months. 

 

 

 

 

Radio Miami: Renunció la jefa de la DEA por un escándalo de agentes con prostitutas

La agencia antidrogas de EE.UU. Michele Leonhart había sido duramente criticada por su tibia respuesta en este sonado caso

La directora de la DEA, la agencia para el control de drogas estadounidense, Michele Leonhart, renunció al cargo tras la fuerte presión legislativa que recibió a raíz del escándalo protagonizado por varios agentes de ese organismo en Colombia, donde tuvieron fiestas sexuales organizadas por narcotraficantes.
El anuncio lo hizo este martes el secretario de Justicia, Eric Holder, quien señaló que la medida se hará efectiva a mediados del mes próximo. “Michele dirigió esta distinguida agencia con honor, y he estado orgulloso de considerarla mi socia en la labor de salvaguardar la seguridad nacional y de proteger a nuestros ciudadanos del crimen, la explotación y el abuso”, afirmó a través de uncomunicado formal.
Leonhart, que ocupaba el cargo desde 2007, había sido duramente criticada por su tibia respuesta al informe de la propia DEA, donde se admitía que agentes antidrogas asistieron a fiestas sexuales con prostitutas en Colombia, algunas de ellas pagadas por jefes de los carteles de drogas locales.
La semana pasada Leonhart compareció ante la Comisión para la Supervisión del Gobierno de laCámara de Representantes, pero sus declaraciones resultaron muy endebles. La mayoría de los integrantes de la comisión dijeron que habían perdido la confianza en ella ya que no aplicó ningún castigo a los agentes involucrados. “Carece de la autoridad y voluntad para tomar las decisiones necesarias para achacar responsabilidades a quienes ponen en riesgo la seguridad nacional y deshonran sus puestos”, dijeron los legisladores. Es más, señalaron que era “deplorablemente incapaz de cambiar” la cultura de la agencia.
Entre los legisladores que expresaron sus críticas había 13 demócratas y nueve republicanos, incluido el presidente de la comisión, Jason Chaffetz. Varios de ellos, incluso, pidieron la renuncia inmediata de Leonhart, algo que finalmente se concretó ayer.

 

 

 

When did America forget that it’s America?

By Natan Sharansky 

Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former political prisoner in the Soviet Union, is chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

On a number of occasions during the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, the Israeli government has appealed to the United States and its allies to demand a change in Tehran’s aggressive behavior. If Iran wishes to be treated as a normal state, Israel has said, then it should start acting like one. Unfortunately, these appeals have been summarily dismissed. TheObama administration apparently believes that only after a nuclear agreement is signed can the free world expect Iran to stop its attempts at regional domination, improve its human rights record and, in general, behave like the civilized state it hopes the world will recognize it to be.

As a former Soviet dissident, I cannot help but compare this approach to that of the United States during its decades-long negotiations with the Soviet Union, which at the time was a global superpower and a existential threat to the free world. The differences are striking and revealing.

For starters, consider that the Soviet regime felt obliged to make its first ideological concession simply to enter into negotiations with the United States about economic cooperation. At the end of the 1950s, Moscow abandoned its doctrine of fomenting a worldwide communist revolution and adopted in its place a credo of peaceful coexistence between communism and capitalism. The Soviet leadership paid a high price for this concession, both internally — in the form of millions of citizens, like me, who had been obliged to study Marxism and Leninism as the truth and now found their partial abandonment confusing — and internationally, in their relations with the Chinese and other dogmatic communists who viewed the change as a betrayal. Nevertheless, the Soviet government understood that it had no other way to get what it needed from the United States.

Imagine what would have happened if instead, after completing a round of negotiations over disarmament, the Soviet Union had declared that its right to expand communism across the continent was not up for discussion. This would have spelled the end of the talks. Yet today, Iran feels no need to tone down its rhetoric calling for the death of America and wiping Israel off the map.

Of course, changes in rhetoric did not change the Soviet Union’s policy, which included sending missiles to Cuba, tanks to Prague and armies to Afghanistan. But each time, such aggression caused a serious crisis in relations between Moscow and Washington, influencing the atmosphere and results of negotiations between them. So, for example, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan shortly after the SALT II agreement had been signed, the United States quickly abandoned the deal and accompanying discussions.

Today, by contrast, apparently no amount of belligerence on Iran’s part can convince the free world that Tehran has disqualified itself from the negotiations or the benefits being offered therein. Over the past month alone, as nuclear discussions continued apace, we watched Iran’s proxy terror group, Hezbollah, transform into a full-blown army on Israel’s northern border, and we saw Tehran continue to impose its rule on other countries, adding Yemen to the list of those under its control.

Then there is the question of human rights. When American negotiations with the Soviets reached the issue of trade, and in particular the lifting of sanctions and the conferring of most-favored-nation status on the Soviet Union, the Senate, led by Democrat Henry Jackson, insisted on linking economic normalization to Moscow’s allowing freedom of emigration. By the next year, when the Helsinki agreement was signed, the White House had joined Congress in making the Soviets’ treatment of dissidents a central issue in nearly every negotiation.

Iran’s dismal human rights record, by contrast, has gone entirely unmentioned in the recent negotiations. Sadly, America’s reticence is familiar: In 2009, in response to the democratic uprisings that mobilized so many Iranian citizens, President Obama declared that engaging the theocratic regime would take priority over changing it.

Reality is complicated, and the use of historical analogies is always somewhat limited. But even this superficial comparison shows that what the United States saw fit to demand back then from the most powerful and dangerous competitor it had ever known is now considered beyond the pale in its dealings with Iran.

Why the dramatic shift? One could suggest a simple answer: Today there is something the United States wants badly from Iran, leaving Washington and its allies with little bargaining power to demand additional concessions. Yet in fact Iran has at least as many reasons to hope for a deal. For Tehran, the lifting of sanctions could spell the difference between bankruptcy and becoming a regional economic superpower, and in slowing down its arms race it could avoid a military attack.

I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is not its assessment, however incorrect, of the two sides’ respective interests but rather a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

But in today’s postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.

We have yet to see the full consequences of this moral diffidence, but one thing is clear: The loss of America’s self-assured global leadership threatens not only the United States and Israel but also the people of Iran and a growing number of others living under Tehran’s increasingly emboldened rule. Although the hour is growing late, there is still time to change course — before the effects grow more catastrophic still.

 

 

 

WATCH CHELSEA LIE FOR MAMA: Hillary’s Kid Defends Clinton ‘Charity’, It’s ‘Among the most transparent of foundations’

It’s true, it’s about as transparent as the Obama administration too…if that’s how we’re defining transparency now.

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton issued a pointed defense of her family foundation on Thursday after allegations surfaced that it reaped millions from foreign countries that had issues pending before her mother when she was secretary of state.

‘What the Clinton Foundation has said is that we will be even more transparent’ in the wake of the scandalous claims, said Chelsea, the philanthropy’s vice chair, ‘even though Transparency International and others have said we’re among the most transparent of foundations.’

Clinton, the daughter of former U.S. president Bill Clinton and presumptive Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, spoke during an event on women and girls at the Council on Foreign Relatiosn in New York City.

ABC News hosted the event, and reported that Chelsea outlined what she said is ‘the right policy. That we’ll be even more transparent. That to eliminate any questions while we’re in this time, we won’t take new government funding, but that the work will continue as it is.’

FAITH

World Leader Says It’s ‘Ridiculous’ That With Black President, ‘Crimes Against U.S. Blacks Continue.’ Now Guess Who Said It.

Sharona Schwartz

2K

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took the opportunity to slam the U.S. over the death of Freddie Gray and the police shootings of black men Walter Scott and Michael Brown, posting on Twitter, “It’s ridiculous that even though US President is black, still such crimes agnst US blacks continue to occur.”

In a speech to police commanders in Tehran just hours after a night of violent anti-police protests in Baltimore over Gray’s death, Khamenei said the behavior of U.S. police toward blacks represents “cruel might,” contrary to Islam which, he said, does not favor “power with cruelty.”

“FREEDOM IS  NOT  FREE”

“En mi opinión”

Blooger:  https://www.blogger.com/home

https://enmiopinionlrgm.wordpress.com/

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