Yet one more instance of the Most Transparent Administration™ conducting itself in the era of Smart Diplomacy™: Launder $400 million in exchange for five hostages, refuse to call it a ransom, and then launder $1.3 billion more. Make sure it’s all in cash, à la Breaking Bad, load it in pallets, and fly it in, so you bypass the international banking system and Constitutional prohibitions.

The WSJ reports,
U.S. Transferred $1.3 Billion More in Cash to Iran After Initial Payment. First $400 million coincided with Iran’s release of American prisoners and was used as leverage, officials have acknowledged

The Obama administration followed up a planeload of $400 million in cash sent to Iran in January with two more such shipments in the next 19 days, totaling another $1.3 billion, according to congressional officials briefed by the U.S. State, Treasury and Justice departments.

The cash payments—made in Swiss francs, euros and other currencies—settled a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal dating back to 1979.

On that arms deal, Stephen Green points out that

 The arms deal “failed” because the government we had signed it with ceased to exist, toppled by the Ayatollah Khomeini — whose supporters attacked the US Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

To this day, Iran celebrates the anniversary of the Embassy attack with annual anti-U.S. rallies.

But back to the WSJ (emphasis added),

The Obama administration briefed lawmakers on Tuesday, telling them that two further portions of the $1.3 billion were transferred though Europe on Jan. 22 and Feb. 5. The payment “flowed in the same manner” as the original $400 million that an Iranian cargo plane picked up in Geneva, Switzerland, according to a congressional aide who took part in the briefing.

The $400 million was converted into non-U.S. currencies by the Swiss and Dutch central banks, according to U.S. and European officials.

The Treasury Department confirmed late Tuesday that the subsequent payments were also made in cash.

Must I remind you, Obama took to the airwaves last month and bare-faced lied to all, smirking,

“We announced these payments in January. Many months ago. Th-that wasn’t a secret; we announced them.”

Following the latest news,

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would bar such payments to Iran in the future and seeks to reclaim the $1.7 billion for victims of Iranian-backed terrorism.

Good luck with that.

Last month Claudia Rosett reported that Treasury made thirteen equal payments of exactly $99,999,999.99 each to the State Department under the generic heading of settling “Foreign Claims.”

Rosett points to The Judgement Fund, which is used for bypassing the Constitution:

The Judgment Fund has long been a controversial vehicle for federal agencies to detour past one of the most pointed prohibitions in the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

The Judgment Fund, according to a Treasury Department Web site, is “a permanent, indefinite appropriation” used to pay monetary awards against U.S. government agencies in cases “where funds are not legally available to pay the award from the agency’s own appropriations.”

Rosett asks,

And why were the 13 payments in amounts of one cent less than $100,000,000?

Who knows? Is there a rule or procedure which specifies that all payments of $100 million or more are referred to an official that would not have been agreeable to the transfer?

What we do know is that the Obama administration has laundered money for the Ayatollahs.

Parting question: Does that constitute an impeachable offense?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

As election day comes closer I find myself thinking of a sermon my pastor gave on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

For those not familiar with it, here is the passage in Luke Chapter 10 Verses 25 to 37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’

Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.

When my pastor talked about this story he noted that there was more than meets the eye.

Priests in the time of Christ were born not made.  A priest might have only a couple of chances to serve in the temple in his lifetime.  So the priest seeing the injured man might have said to himself.  “Boy I’d really like to help out but if I do and become ritually unclean I can’t server in the temple and that’s more important.

Likewise the Levite had religious duties and might have said to himself.  Well my first duty is to God so while I’d really like to help I can’t make myself unclean and unable to serve him.

Put simply they (like the doctor of the law asking “who is my neighbor) found a plausible reason to not do what they knew they should and as our pastor explained, while both of them might have thought they were serving God better by doing what they did Jesus teaches them:  No you’ve got it wrong, to serve God you have to love your neighbor even if it carries risk.

And those days are coming soon to Christianity in the US, in fact they’ve already arrived.

Even before the election of Hillary we are seeing laws being passed that put Christian organizations in a horrible dilemma, either enable and/or justify sin or find yourself unable to act out your calling either due to financial penalties or legal prohibitions.

I’m sure there will be plenty of christians organizations whose lawyers, whose contributors and even some clergy will tell them:

Look think of all the good you are doing, or, listen you can’t risk the liability here if something goes wrong, or you can’t give your foes an opening by opposing them because they want to destroy you and anyways if you get the state upset you might lose  donors and then where will you be?

The problem is that Christ didn’t tell us to go out and be social workers (although we as Christians do many works for the social good) He didn’t preach be friends with the state (although Christian organizations invariably are not only good citizens but teach virtues that make their children good citizens as well)  And he didn’t tell us to worry about wealth (although he did say to use it for good).

What he DID say is go out and preach the good news to all the world, to do so with courage and be ready to be persecuted for doing so as he was.

 

A Christian who actually believes knows that there are worse things awaiting man than death and that to justify and/or encourage sin, in the hopes of doing good, only leads to death.

CS Lewis Screwtape warned us about this:

 The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. 

If the post Vatican II world taught us anything it’s this:  One we decide we can ditch bits of the faith to keep the turnstiles turning we’ll find out really quickly that there’s no longer any demand to turn them at all.

Or put simply the first virtue is courage without that virtue no other can survive.  I fear we will find out in the near future what Christians have courage and the fear of God and which ones don’t.

Or put simply, don’t be the priest or the Levite in the story.