Patterico's Pontifications


The Top-Tier GOP And The Fabulous Plan-B’s

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

CNN announced the debate top-tier candidates today and Fiorina is in:

Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Chris Christie will appear in the 8 pm primetime debate; a total of 11 candidates.

Debating earlier at 6 pm will be Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsay Graham.

We’ll see whether Dr. Trump shows up in his scrubs and schools Ben Carson on the best technique when going for the jugular.

And we’ll also see if Trump can keep his mouth shut about Fiorina’s looks, uh, persona…

Hopefully there will be extra security to keep Huckabee from strong-arming Cruz in an effort to keep him off the stage, as well as an array of energy drinks for Jeb.

Of course, the debate may not be the ratings bonanza that CNN is hoping for given that Trump is, well, being Trump:

Donald Trump has called on CNN President Jeff Zucker to donate all profits from next week’s Republican presidential debate to veterans’ charities.

In a letter to Zucker Wednesday morning, Trump cited reports showing that CNN’s estimated ad revenue has dramatically increased since the first debate, hosted by Fox News, which attracted a record 24 million viewers.

“While I refuse to brag, and as you know very well, this tremendous increase in viewer interest and advertising is due 100% to ‘Donald J. Trump.'” Trump wrote.

It is being reported that CNN is charging 40 times its normal rate for ads during the debate, which will be streamed online.

Trump closed his letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker with this:

“I am self funding my campaign — I do not want money from lobbyists, donors or special interest groups,” Trump wrote. “Likewise, you should view the second debate broadcast as a public service and not accept the massive profits that this airing will generate. I believe all profits from this broadcast should go to various VETERANS groups, a list of which I will send to you in the near future.”

“This large contribution of many millions of dollars would be a truly wonderful thing for CNN to do,” he added.

But as they say, the show must go on, with or without the ringmaster.

There is also drama on the Democratic side of the aisle. Hillary appears to be going down and the party is girding their loins in preparation for what may come. Hence, Plan-B:

If Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new apology for her private email server fails to reassure jittery supporters, it could amplify the chatter among some Democrats who have been casting about for a potential white knight to rescue the party from a beleaguered Clinton candidacy.

Haha. White knight. What other color could that knight possibly be considering the big name Plan-B’s being discussed by party leaders: Al Gore, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and John Kerry. Yep, the party of Old White People keeps on rolling out more of the white patriarchy. Oh, and one token faux-Native American for the sake of diversity! And given the dearth of fresh faces being considered, there is a new hashtag: #Dukakis2016.

Anyway, it seems that the Democratic leadership is a bit annoyed with Clinton’s (mis)handling of the email scandal :

Each [potential candidate] has been discussed among party officials in recent weeks as an alternative to Mrs. Clinton if she does not regain her once-dominant standing in the 2016 presidential field and instead remains mired in the long-running email controversy, with its attendant investigations.

Even as Hillary is being advised that the path to victory is to “exude feminine power,” one veteran strategist wryly, yet accurately, observed that Hillary’s biggest problem in the general election won’t have anything to do with her feminine power or lack thereof, but will have everything to do with the simple fact that nobody likes her and nobody trusts her because everyone knows she is a shameless lying liar.*

(*The strategist may or may not have worded it quite like that, but it was pretty darn close…)


No, I Do Not Care About Your Political News Story Today

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:56 pm

What to blog about?

Trump big in polls…nope.

Trump on Fiorina’s face…nope.

Trump fights with Carson…nope.

Jindal attacks Trump…nope.

Huck says Dred Scott is the law of the land? NYT graphic analyzes whether opponents of Iran deal are “Jewish”? Beck hates Palin?

Nope. Can’t bring myself to care.

I think I care more that Ian Bagg didn’t win Last Comic Standing. What a travesty. It feels like the fix was in for Clayton English many episodes ago.

Why Justin Amash Opposes the Iran Deal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

Justin Amash, a libertarian Republican who explains all his votes on Facebook, has a lengthy set of reasons for his opposition to the Iran deal. He first objects to its violating the Treaty Clause, which is a familiar argument that I will not quote. He then goes on to say:

Even if we accept this dubious claim, there is a second constitutional defect that compels me to reject the nuclear deal. Under the Take Care Clause (Art. II, Sec. 3, Cl. 5), the president must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” As I discuss below, the president clearly fails to fulfill this obligation.

In May, both houses of Congress passed, and the president signed into law, H.R. 1191, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (Review Act). The Review Act provides a process for congressional oversight of any nuclear deal, so that Congress can determine whether the nuclear-related sanctions Congress has imposed on Iran should be lifted. I have supported sanctions on Iran directed at preventing the country from obtaining or using a nuclear weapon (in contrast to sanctions targeting non-nuclear-related civilian activities), and it’s likely that negotiations would not have taken place had those sanctions not been enacted.

The Review Act requires the president to submit to Congress the text of any nuclear deal reached with Iran. Submission of the nuclear deal triggers a period of review for Congress to analyze the agreement—a period during which the president is prohibited from taking any actions to lift statutory sanctions.
The precise language of the Review Act recognizes that a comprehensive nuclear deal includes many separate components, and that for members of Congress to accurately assess the merits of the agreement, Congress must have access to all portions of the agreement. Thus, the Review Act carefully defines “agreement” to include “annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements.”

We now know that there are at least two side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that are integral to the nuclear deal but nevertheless will not be shared with Congress. These side agreements cover how a primary Iranian military site will be inspected for nuclear activity and how Iran will resolve outstanding issues on possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. Remarkably, it was only through a chance meeting between two members of Congress and the IAEA that the existence of these secret agreements came to light. The Obama administration apparently preferred to keep Congress in the dark, and even now the administration refuses to provide the side agreements to Congress. Indeed, Secretary of State John Kerry claims that even the president’s negotiating team doesn’t have access to these side agreements.

The Obama administration’s secrecy surrounding these side agreements casts serious doubts on its other claims about the nuclear deal, and it makes clear that the president has not been working with Congress in good faith. The president signed the Review Act into law knowing full well that it requires him to provide all side agreements to Congress. The administration should not have negotiated a final nuclear deal that allows portions of the agreement to be withheld from Congress, because the president knows that his agreeing to such a nuclear deal violates U.S. law and his duty under the Constitution’s Take Care Clause.

This violation of law with respect to the submission of the agreement has further implications under the Review Act. The 30- to 60-day congressional review period for the nuclear deal isn’t triggered until the president submits the *entire* agreement to Congress. If the nuclear deal hasn’t been submitted in full—because side agreements remain hidden—then the review period hasn’t even begun.

But the existence of secret agreements with the IAEA has deeper implications still. The available text of the nuclear deal states that nuclear, missile, and arms restrictions on Iran are to be lifted after certain periods of time (between five and ten years depending on the source and type) “or when the IAEA has reached the Broader Conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities, whichever is earlier.” In other words, at the discretion of the IAEA, these restrictions may be lifted significantly earlier than the milestone dates specified in the agreement, and the exact method by which the IAEA will reach this conclusion can’t be known to Congress or even the Obama administration, because the side agreements remain secret.

Finally, even if we set aside the constitutional defects and related consequences discussed above, it is unconscionable that the Obama administration would negotiate a final agreement that does not secure the release of the three American hostages held in Iran—Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian—or information on the whereabouts of a former FBI agent abducted in Iran, Robert Levinson. The nuclear deal provides Iran access to billions of dollars in unfrozen assets and the almost immediate removal of major U.S. and international economic sanctions on Iran’s financial and energy sectors, followed by the termination of most nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in just a few years. If Iran is unwilling to return American hostages to their families as part of this agreement, then we cannot trust that Iran will act in good faith as sanctions are lifted.

I support peaceful negotiations to prevent Iran from obtaining or using a nuclear weapon, and I kept an open mind about this agreement as it was being negotiated. It’s regrettable that the president has acted disingenuously in his interactions with Congress and continues to treat the Constitution with contempt. Despite the Obama administration’s false rhetoric, the choice here is not between this nuclear deal and war. A better agreement that complies with the Constitution and secures long-lasting peace is possible.

I saw Ted Cruz making the same argument last night on TV.

I guess if you think that elected officials get to define their own duties any way they see fit, Obama is off the hook. Otherwise, it seems that Rep. Amash has a valid set of objections.

Head Of Yale Law School’s Program for Study of Reproductive Justice: Yes, Dismemberment Abortion Is A Humane Way To Die

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:07 am

[guest post by Dana]

On the first day of Congressional hearings taking place as the investigation into the abortion business of Planned Parenthood begins – this as a result of the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress – Priscilla Smith, who heads Yale Law School’s Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice, testified before the committee:

During questions from members of the panel, Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte read to Smith a portion of the Supreme Court decision describing a dismemberment abortion procedure during which the limbs of the unborn baby are torn off and the baby is dismembered and pulled apart.

After reading the description of the abortion procedure, Congressman Goodlatte asked Smith, “Do you believe this is a humane way to die?”

Smith attempted to deflect by focusing on the viability of the baby until Goodlatte interrupted her and related that in the Supreme Court proceedings, testimony revealed that a baby had indeed been born alive and missing one arm because of a failed abortion.

To which Smith responded:

“Yes, a D&E procedure is a very humane procedure.”


50 Spies Spill The Beans

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:24 am

[guest post by Dana]

Well, well, well… According to the Daily Beast, 50 intelligence analysts working out of Central Command claimed that senior management altered reports to more readily fit the administration’s narrative on ISIS:

It’s being called a ‘revolt’ by intelligence pros who are paid to give their honest assessment of the ISIS war—but are instead seeing their reports turned into happy talk.

More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials, The Daily Beast has learned.

The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.

“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.

One person who knows the contents of the complaint said it used the word “Stalinist” to describe the tone set by officials overseeing the military’s analysis.

This is interesting in light of President Obama’s claims last September that the U.S. would “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS, as well as subsequently claiming that we had the upper hand in the situation. This in spite of it never quite appearing to be true.

Is this as damning to the administration as it appears, or is it possible that the administration was just handed the very excuse needed to explain its overall lack of success in the Middle East and policy failure? It will be very interesting to find out who at the top gave the order to doctor the reports.


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