Patterico's Pontifications


Bret Stephens on the Insane Iran Arrangement

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:46 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The headline isn’t quite fully alliterative, but I tried to come close.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens unpacks the recent developments in our post-reaproachment with Iran world. Spoiler alert: the mullahs are already gleefully violating the terms they had allegedly agreed to. Stephens writes of a recent ballistic missile test, expressly prohibited by the agreement:

Earlier this month Iran test-fired a new-generation ballistic missile, called Emad, with an estimated 1,000-mile range and a 1,600-pound payload. Its only practical military use is to deliver a nuclear warhead. The test was a bald violation of the Security Council’s Resolution 2231, adopted unanimously in July, in which “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” for at least eight years.

Then Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei weighed in on the nuclear deal by way of a public letter to President Hassan Rouhani. “The behavior and words of the U.S. government in the nuclear issue and its prolonged and boring negotiations,” he wrote, “showed that [the nuclear issue] was also another link in their chain of hostile enmity with the Islamic Republic.”

Grant this to Khamenei: the negotiations were indeed prolonged and boring, mostly because Secretary of State Kerry lacked the guts and good sense to walk away from them. Iran now demands not just that the United States and its Western allies temporarily suspend sanctions, but that sanctions be formally and permanently lifted. Not that this is a huge deal, since by allowing this treaty to be sent to the United Nations without Congressional assent the Obama Administration has provided the green light for Russia and China to resume open and free trade with the Islamic Republic regardless of what the West chooses to do.

Stephens also points out that the very day after conducting the prohibited missile test, Iran convicted Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaian of espionage and treason, despite complaints from the White House that the trial was — let’s see: what sort of strong term should we use to express our opprobrium? ah yes, I have it“opaque.”

When Barack Obama told us back in 2008 that the was willing to negotiate with Iran without any preconditions, should we have known that there would in fact be no conditions of any sort whatsoever? The only thing we seem to have been interested in is how deftly we could camouflage our full capitulation.


An Amish Man Went To Buy A Gun…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:41 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Caught between a rock and a hard spot:

In a suit that brings together the Second Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), an Amish man filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania last week because he wants to buy a gun without the required photo ID — and because getting that photo ID would violate his religious beliefs.

Andrew Hertzler, according to the suit, is from Lancaster County, Pa., and is an “active and practicing” member of the community; his “parents, grandparents, and siblings are all active and practicing Amish”; and he “has a sincerely held religious belief that prevents him from knowingly and willingly having his photograph taken and stored.”

“The Amish faith prohibits an individual from having his/her photograph taken,” the suit read. “This belief stems from the Biblical passage Exodus 20:4, which mandates that ‘You shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth,’ as well as the Christian belief in humility.”

But Hertzler’s humility caused a problem when, in June, he tried to buy a gun from a Pennsylvania dealer “using a non-photo, state-issued identification.” This wasn’t enough, according to the dealer — Hertzler was told he needed a picture ID.

Hertzler brought the matter to the attention to Senator, Pat Toomey (R), who took it to the ATF, but to no avail: he was told that a picture ID was required, no exceptions.

From the suit:

Mr. Hertzler confronts Hobson’s choice: either forego his constitutional right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself and his home, or violate his religion,” the suit read. Yet: “The exercise of one Constitutional right cannot be contingent upon the violation or waiver of another.”

“By knowingly and willingly sitting for a photograph, even for a state-issued identification document, Mr. Hertzler would be violating his religion by taking a graven image of himself,” the suit read. “Thus, Mr. Hertzler’s religious freedom has been substantially burdened — in order to exercise his fundamental right to possess a firearm for defense of himself and his home, the Government is requiring him to violate a major tenet of his sincerely held religious belief.”

A local columnist observed:

“At a time when there’s been such a loud clamor to ‘do something’ about guns — and ‘doing something’ always involves more restrictions — if the courts agree with Hertzler, it will ultimately amount to fewer restrictions.”

Note: “While the Supreme Court has not ruled on photo identification religious exemptions for such purposes as drivers’ licenses and voter ID, lower courts have generally “been willing to recognize photo identification as a compelling purpose” that outweighs religious claims, according to a Congressional Research Service study of the issue, provided the photo requirement is “applied uniformly and without exemption.”


Boehner Agrees to Two-Year Budget Deal Increasing Spending

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

Ed Morrissey:

Republicans had wanted to end the sequester on defense spending, while Democrats demanded increases in social-program spending. Each side got what they wanted — more spending.

Same old same old.

Donald Trump might be OK with this or he might not. Who knows? And his opinion could change tomorrow. He has no anti-big government principles supporting his thinking.

But, without even looking, I know Ted Cruz will be against this.

You want change? Donald Trump ain’t the guy. Ted Cruz is the guy.

Trump No Longer Dominating Polls

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

With any luck, he is well on his way towards being the thing he hates the most: a loser.

Just a day after Ben Carson blew open a double-digit lead over Donald Trump in the state of Iowa in a new Monmouth University poll, a new poll shows the New York real estate mogul’s national advantage is slipping away.

A new survey from CBS News-New York Times released this morning shows Carson narrowly leading with 26 percent support and Trump with 22 percent support, though it is within the nationwide telephone poll’s margin of sampling error.

We don’t know that he’s losing nationally, but he’s no longer decisively leading. Let’s hope it’s a trend.

I get that people want a change, but it actually matters whether the change is towards a loose cannon who loves him some big government.

P.S. Our “Would You Vote for Trump?” poll, after 957 votes, stands as follows:

12% love him.
69% would hold their nose and vote for him over Hillary.
19% (185 people out of 957) would never vote him, period.

Polling is still open.

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