Iran redux

By Christopher Harper

Joe Biden says he wants to re-establish the nuclear deal with Iran—a move that would almost assuredly embolden the rogue regime.

Earlier this month, the Iranian parliament threatened to expand production of nuclear material in direct violation of a deal, which the Obama Administration negotiated and from which the Trump Administration exited in 2018.

Keep in mind, the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, only slowed Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon rather than stopped it.

If passed into law, the new parliament motion means that Iran would undertake a series of steps if the remaining parties to the agreement don’t provide relief from sanctions.

The steps include stocking 120 kilograms of uranium enriched at over 20% purity and withdrawing from a voluntary protocol, allowing U.N. inspectors access to non-nuclear sites. One hundred and twenty kilograms of 20%-enriched uranium is roughly half the material needed to fuel one nuclear weapon.

But there’s more. Last week Iran executed dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, who was sentenced to death for inciting anti-government protests in 2017.

The execution of Zam demonstrated Iranian authorities’ willingness to defy international opposition in its suppression of the country’s media and opposition activists and the reach of its intelligence services beyond the country’s borders.

Zam, who had been living in France since 2011, ran a popular news channel, which he used to share news and logistics involving unrest in Iran in 2017. amid efforts by government security forces to suppress it.

Three years ago, he traveled to Iraq, where he was captured by the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s security force.

But there’s even more. Earlier this year, U.S. officials determined that Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran in 2007, had died in Iranian custody. Last week Iran released a retired U.S. Naval officer, Michael White, for medical treatment to the Swiss embassy. His release was conditioned on his remaining in Iran.

Moreover, the State Department has repeatedly called for the release of three people with dual citizenship of Iran and the United States held by the Tehran regime.

Is Iran really the type of government that the United States can trust to abide by an agreement? I don’t think so, and neither should Joe Biden and his team.

Ach-ptooie, Twitter and Facebook hate conservatives–Hello Parler

By John Ruberry

I’ve had my fill of Facebook and Twitter blocking friends of mine from posting there and having their accounts suspended. These two social media giants unapologetically back liberal political figures while using their might to crush conservative leaders–as well as rank-and-file supporters of the right side of the political spectrum.

The most recent victim of Twitter bumptiousness is Da Tech Guy himself, simply because he questioned the veracity of the presidential recounts in swing states. It happened today.

Meanwhile there is another social media site, Parler, where free speech is encouraged. I’m @marathonpundit there. Please follow me. While I haven’t deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts–I’ll be spending much less time there. Besides, I don’t want someone to steal my handles there.

On his show radio show Friday night Mark Levin announced his social media transition. Today on the platform he announced, “Hurry and follow me at Parler. I’m trying to encourage as many of you as possible to immediately join me there as I may not stay at Facebook or Twitter if they continue censoring me. And one day I’ll have left their platforms. Parler is a wonderful alternative and is growing, and we need you there ASAP. It believes in truly open speech. Thank you!”

In his well-deserved grilling by the US Senate last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey couldn’t come up with a solid answer on why he continually blocks President Trump’s Tweets about controversial COVID-19 treatments and election fraud. Meanwhile, a post from the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, questioning whether the Holocaust occurred, remains on the microblogging platform. When asked about if any other world leader, besides Trump, has had Tweets blocked, Dorsey couldn’t come up with any examples. 

Twitter is a Trump-hating and a conservative-hating site. I can’t think of a single incident of a liberal–famous or not–having their posts deleted or their accounts blocked. Just last week, for instance, reputed comedian Kathy Griffin reposted on Twitter her notorious photo where she holds the bloody head of President Trump. Don’t forget, threats of violence against the president violates federal law. What would happen to my Twitter account if I posted a similar shot with Joe Biden?

It’s not just “the guy in his pajamas” Tweeting at home who gets bullied. The New York Post, America’s oldest daily newspaper and its fourth-most read, saw its Twitter account suspended for 13 days because of stories it wrote and Tweeted regarding email revelations alleging graft gleaned from Hunter Biden’s laptop. The Twitter “gods” deemed these reports unsubstantiated–even though the Biden-Harris campaign never denied the Post’s stories. Another reason given by Twitter for the Post’s suspension was its claim that the paper was publishing “hacked” information. But Hunter’s laptop was obtained legally.

Contrast that behavior with Twitter’s non-response to the New York Times’ stories on President Trump’s federal income tax returns. Those returns were possibly retrieved by hacking–and that tax information was almost certainly illegally obtained by somebody.

Facebook isn’t quite as bad as Twitter in regards to censorship but it has a shameful free speech record too. Many of my friends have ended up in “Facebook jail” for pushing the envelope a bit as they challenge the leftist dogma. I’ve never hear about liberals being tossed into “Facebook jail.” And yes, I have liberal friends.

Twitter makes money on ads, mainly thru “Promoted Posts” that appear on its feed. If I am not on Twitter, I don’t see them. Just as when my television is switched off I don’t see commercials there. 

Facebook is downright creepy in its ad strategy. If I click “like” on a story for a sports team, shortly afterwards I’ll see ads on my Facebook page promoting hats and shirts for that team. A few hours after I arrived in Alaska this summer for a vacation this T-shirt ad on my FB page. “I may be in Anchorage but my heart is with the Chicago White Sox.” Does Facebook know when I use the men’s room? It gets worse. A couple of years ago–just five minutes after leaving the wake for a friend of mine–I was requested to write a review on Facebook for the funeral home that hosted the wake.

Facebook takes the predilections and overall activities of its users and essentially sells them to advertisers. In fact they are selling you to advertisers. Yep, you.

But if I’m not there, or not there very much, Facebook and Twitter will suffer. If millions of conservatives follow the same action they’s suffer a lot more.

Let’s think of social media hatred of conservatives this way. Imagine you are a member of an ethnic group that is disliked by the proprietors of the only two restaurants in town. You still eat at these places because sometimes you are hungry and you just don’t have the energy to prepare your down dinner. That is, until you find out that the cooks always spit into your sandwiches. 

Ach-ptooie! 

That’s what Facebook and Twitter is doing to conservatives. Spitting on them. 

Over 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump. Let’s see if Facebook and Twitter can endure angering such a large segment of America. 

Patriots, it’s time to spit back.

Ach-ptooie!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. You can follow him on Parler @marathonpundit.

The Iran War Powers Act, and what it (doesn’t) mean

Qasem Soleimani, Commander of Quds Forces during National AGIR commanders conference, from Wikipedia

There is much to-do about President Trump’s veto (that was not overridden) of the Iran war powers resolution. On its face, a bill that says President Trump can’t just declare war on Iran seems to be a good thing, given the crazy number of places we have committed our Armed Forces to so far. I was curious what the bill actually said, so I did a bit of digging. At first, it was difficult to get the right bill because there have been multiple bills introduced by various members trying to restrict war with Iran. The one that was recently vetoed was S.J. Res. 68. You can read the PDF version here.

It’s a pretty short bill, so let’s dive into it! We’ll skip the fancy header stuff and get into the meat of it:

Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Congress has the sole power to declare war under article I,
section 8, clause 11 of the United States Constitution.

Well, no issue there. In case you only read the amendments to the Constitution, this is squarely in Article I.

(2) The President has a constitutional responsibility to take actions to defend the United States, its territories, possessions, citizens, service members, and diplomats from attack.

Sounds about right.

(3) Congress has not yet declared war upon, nor enacted a specific statutory authorization for use of military force against, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) do not serve as a specific statutory authorization for the use of force against Iran.

Sure… but how does this apply if you’re a terrorist funded by Iran? Iran is running a proxy war against the United States, and the U.S. has responded in kind. Both nations are fighting each other in the shadows, but hesitating to attack each other directly, although there have been the occasional assassination attempt. Essentially, this says you can’t use these two pieces of legislation to justify war with Iran.

(4) The conflict between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran constitutes, within the meaning of section 4(a) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1543(a)), either hostilities or a situation where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances into which United States Armed Forces have been introduced.

That is correct, see the USC text here. Then again, you could say this applies every time we conduct a Freedom of Navigation transit. It’s pretty vague. A U.S. Carrier Strike Group would be always “equipped for combat,” so anytime it goes anywhere its meeting this criteria.

(5) Members of the United States Armed Forces and intelligence community, and all those involved in the planning of the January 2, 2020, strike on Qasem Soleimani, including President Donald J. Trump, should be commended for their efforts in a successful mission.

Yay, I guess? Did they just give a shout-out to the President? Who snuck that in?

Even Democrats give me credit!

(6) Section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)) states that “at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs”.

True, but missing a section. The previous portion, 5(b), allows the President to essentially deploy the military for up to 60 days before he has to remove them. Kind of important. Should read the whole text, available here.

(7) More than 100 members of the United States Armed Forces sustained traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian retaliatory attack on the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq despite initial reports that no casualties were sustained in the attack.

And initial reports are normally wrong, so the point here is what? Iran shot a bunch of missiles at us and nobody died? Some people get a Purple Heart and a VA disability bump? Sure, its just a statement of fact, but to what end?

I’m not downplaying the damage here, it sucks that people got injured. My bigger point is that it doesn’t matter to this bill in the slightest.

(8) Section 8(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1547(c)) defines the introduction of the United States Armed Forces to include “the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged in, hostilities”.

100% true.

(9) The United States Armed Forces have been introduced into hostilities, as defined by the War Powers Resolution, against Iran.

Introduced? Against Iran? Here’s where you can lawyer-away. The troops were in IRAQ. They were attacked in IRAQ. President Trump authorized a strike on General Soleimani in IRAQ. Not Iranian soil, Iraqi soil. He even notified the Iraqis. The troops in Iraq are in no way sufficient to invade Iran. We’re not even shooting across the border…General Soleimani was killed in Baghdad, which is over 200 km from the Iranian border.

Maybe I’m wrong, but this simply sentence seems like its reaching a bit. Troops that were already there (not introduced) and are helping Iraq (not fighting Iran) are somehow now engaged in hostilities against Iran? Please, if a lawyer wants to drop a comment to explain this, I’m all ears. I just don’t see it.

(10) The question of whether United States forces should be engaged in hostilities against Iran should be answered following a full briefing to Congress and the American public of the issues at stake, a public debate in Congress, and a congressional vote as contemplated by the Constitution.

Sure, couldn’t agree more. Congress hasn’t lost the ability to declare war or turn off the military funding tap, neither of which it has decided to do. And, to be fair, President Trump hasn’t put military forces in Iran, nor is he massing troops on the border to do so.

(11) Section 1013 of the Department of State Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1984 and 1985 (50 U.S.C. 1546a) provides that any joint resolution or bill to require the removal of United States Armed Forces engaged in hostilities without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization shall be considered in accordance with the expedited procedures of section 601(b) of the International Security and Arms Export Control Act of 1976.

Yup, but again, the soldiers involved were all already in IRAQ, and there to help the Iraqi Army.

SEC. 2. TERMINATION OF THE USE OF UNITED STATES FORCES FOR HOSTILITIES AGAINST THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN.

(a) Termination.–Pursuant to section 1013 of the Department of State Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1984 and 1985 (50 U.S.C. 1546a),
and in accordance with the provisions of section 601(b) of the
International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976,
Congress hereby directs the President to terminate the use of United
States Armed Forces for hostilities against the Islamic Republic of
Iran or any part of its government or military, unless explicitly
authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of
military force against Iran.

OK. So, pray tell, what hostilities? Did we shoot missiles into Iran? Did we invade some piece of Iranian territory? I’d like to know.

(b) Rule of Construction.–Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the United States from defending itself from
imminent attack.

Well that’s good to know!

So I’m not seeing the big deal with this bill, besides that its a bunch of grandstanding. It’s a lot of fluff and it’s accusing the President of conducting operations against Iran, without saying WHAT operations he’s engaging in. It also is attempting to link soldiers that are already in IRAQ as somehow having something to do with IRAN. I get it, the countries are only one letter apart…but seriously.

How this piece of legislation feels

I’ve had a few people quote President Trump’s tweets about “raining fire down on Iran” if they attack our Navy vessels. OK, I’ll bite. For starters, imminent attack and self defense are still protected, so President Trump threatening to use them is a giant nothing-burger. Did he threaten to invade Qeshm Island? If so, I’d be all onboard saying that’s a really bad idea without a war declaration.

That’s not what is happening. Essentially, we have a President that is totally fine making bombastic claims when another country threatens him. It’s his personal style and likely part of his negotiating strategy. We can argue about whether this is effective, and I think there is plenty of room for debate on that. I personally think it isn’t always the best strategy to use with our allies, for example. I’m not the President, so I don’t get to make those choices, and for people that really don’t like that style, there is the voting box come November.

To accuse President Trump of engaging in hostile acts directly against Iran, but then not being able to name them, and trying to disguise it as an attempt to reign in a President that is trampling on Congressional rights is nothing more than stupid grand standing. We continue to be promised World War III with President Trump, and it continues to not happen.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

CNN Letter to Sean Davis (with apologies to Abe Lincoln & Horace Greeley)

There are many who seem confused by the MSM’s behavior toward China, Russia Iran and even towards the efforts to arrest the spread of the Corona / Wuhan Virus in the US. This behavior has drawn harsh responses from conservatives and confusion to those who believe the media operate in the pubic interest. For those who might be confused this letter might explain their actions:

CNN offices,
Atlanta, March 22, 2020.

Sean Davis The Federalist:
Dear Sir.

We have just read your tweet of the 21st. addressed to ourselves through that medium & previous statements through the Federalist. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which we may know to be erroneous, We and other mainstream media do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which we may believe to be falsely drawn, We do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, We waive it in deference to a fellow member of the media although as you are on the right you don’t really deserve such deference.

As to the policy We “seem to be pursuing” as you say, we have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

We would save the Union from Donald Trump. We would save it the shortest way under the Constitution or outside of it. The sooner the national authority of our allies in the Deep state in general and the Democrat party in particular, can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” before those horrible days of the internet, Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge in the days before he decided to join our noble cause.

If there be those who would not save the Union from Donald Trump, unless they could at the same time attack Communist China or Putin Iran and save the nation from the spread of the Corona Virus , We do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Communist China, Putin or even Iran, We do not agree with them.

Our paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union from Donald Trump, and is not either to save or to destroy Communist China, Putin Iran or even the Corona Virus. If we could save the Union from Donald Trump without helping Communist China, Russia, Iran or even the spread of the Corona virus we would do it, and if we could save the Union from Donald Trump by directly helping Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the Corona Virus we would do it; and if we could save the Union from Donald Trump, by helping Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the corona virus in some cases and hindering Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the Corona Virus in others we would also do that.

What we write, broadcast and report about Communist China, Russia, Iran and the Corona Virus,we do because we believe it helps to save the Union from Donald Trump; and what we forbear, we forbear because we do not believe it would help to save the Union from Donald Trump.

We shall do less to help efforts to fight the Corona Virus in the US whenever we shall believe what we are doing hurts the cause of defeating Donald Trump in November, and we shall do more to help efforts to fight the Corona Virus whenever we shall believe doing more will help the cause of defeating Donald Trump in November. We shall try to correct errors when shown to be also errors in our efforts in obtaining that goal of Trump destruction; and we shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be in aid of that effort to destroy Donald Trump.

We have here stated our purpose, shared by other members of the media on TV, online and in print according to our view of the official duty of the media to destroy conservatism in general and Donald Trump in particular; and we intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free of Donald Trump in particular and conservatism in general.

Yours,
CNN.

If you wish to read a slightly modified version of this letter which was sent by some fellow named Abe Lincoln to a newspaperman by the name of Horace Greeley on August 22nd 1862 in response to critiques of his actions concerning fighting of the American Civil War you can read it here.

A Basic Compare and Contrast

The letter of the day is I

by baldilocks

It turns out that you can compare apples to oranges.

On Monday, Iran’s Ministry of Health released new data concerning the coronavirus. It said that 66 people have died from the virus while 1501 have been infected. But given the Health Ministry’s propensity for lying, the figure for those dead and infected is likely much greater.

The rampant spread of coronavirus in Iran was a problem largely the result of the Islamic Republic’s own making. In early February, Iranian officials were aware of a potential problem in the city of Qom, where a shrine holy to Shia Muslims served as a breeding ground for the transmission of the virus. Yet authorities took no action to quarantine the city or even warn residents to take safety precautions. The shrine still remains open to visitors and video has recently emerged showing people licking the shrine.

By the time health officials began taking action, it was a case of too little too late. Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, downplayed claims made a city lawmaker that deaths from COVID-19 had reached 50 and said that he would resign from his post if that assertion was accurate. A day later, Harirchi became a victim of COVID-19 and was under quarantine but not before he was observed coughing on those adjacent to him during the previous day’s press briefing. Several other Iranian diplomats and parliamentarians have since been infected, and at least two have died including a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s bumbling and incompetence in dealing with the health crisis can be attributed to the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to acknowledge weakness and vulnerability.

(…)

Iran’s handling of the crisis stands in marked contrast to how its arch nemesis Israel is addressing the issue. While Iranian officials are spewing little else but propaganda, the Israelis are at the forefront of inventing cures and treatments for the coronavirus.

The Migal Research Institute, an Israeli company based in Galilee has announced that they are on the cusp of developing a coronavirus vaccine. The company had been developing a vaccine for coronavirus in chickens and recognized that they could tweak their vaccine to combat coronavirus in humans. According to Migal’s CEO, David Zigdon, a vaccine for humans could be ready in a few months.

In addition to vaccinations, the ability to rapidly test for the presence of coronavirus is critical. To that end, researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have developed technologies that drastically reduce the time needed to analyze saliva samples for the presence of COVID-19. This technology reduces the time to analyze a sample from an hour to approximately 15 minutes.

There are more interesting details, but back to the fruit …

Both are good; similar but different. Neither is better than the other.

However, when the apple releases its seeds to fall to the ground, it preserves its progeny and bears more apples. And when the orange withholds its seed, it and all its seed rot away.

Choices matter.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Follow Juliette on FacebookTwitterMeWePatreon and Social Quodverum.

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Hello Iran: When people stop believing government lies they stop believing in the government

Latvian Popular Front Leader Mavricks Vulfsons. Signs read “Freedom” and “1940–Year of Stalinist Occupation Regime”

By John Ruberry

Regular readers of my posts here and at Marathon Pundit know that my wife, Mrs. Marathon Pundit, was born in the Soviet Union–in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. She emigrated to the United States in 1991.

Mrs. Marathon Pundit was lied to regularly–just as citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been fed untruths since 1979.

As with other members of her generation, Mrs. MP believed the lies pumped out by the government, and that includes the schools, whoppers such as Soviet citizens enjoyed an advanced standard of living, even though Mrs. Marathon Pundit grew up in a farmhouse with no running water that was heated by birch logs. And Latvia was considered better off than most other Soviet Republics. She believed the falsehood that Latvia, along with Estonia and Lithuania, asked to join the USSR in 1940. The reality is that as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact the Baltic States were occupied by the Red Army and promptly annexed; the leaders of Latvia and Estonia were exiled to remote corners of the Soviet Union. The fate of Estonian president Konstantin Päts was particularly sad, as he was tortured in psychiatric hospitals because of his “persistent claiming of being the president of Estonia.”

Mrs. Marathon Pundit’s parents knew better of course. They also knew it was best to keep quiet. They knew repercussions awaited those who talked about the wrong things. The silent survive. And while it was impossible to cover up the deportations to Siberia of the Joseph Stalin era, the extent of it was known only to a few.

There were big lies and little lies. Here’s one of the latter. Before swimming in one of the few public pools in Latvia, Mrs. Marathon Pundit and other bathers were warned that if they chose to urinate in the water, or if there was an accidental leak, the urine would be immediately turn red and the pee menace would be promptly identified and of course punished. Eventually–I don’t know how–she discovered the clear truth on urinating in swimming pools.

Then there were the omissions. My wife didn’t learn until I told her that the Red Army–two weeks after the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939–seized eastern Poland. The same goes with the Soviet invasion of Finland later that year.

The “Throne of Lies” in the USSR began to collapse after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Ordinary Soviet citizens eventually learned that the state-controlled media reported on the severity of the catastrophe only after western governments noticed the spike in radioactivity in their lands. “The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month,” Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in 2006, “even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later.”

Those being lied to didn’t believe the lies any more.

A few years earlier the end of the junta era of Argentina came after the government had to admit their rosy reports on the Falklands War with Great Britain were wrong. It was the UK that was winning nearly every battle.

Now protests are breaking out across Iran after the mullahs were forced to admit that the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which took place on Wednesday shortly after Iran fired missiles at US troops in Iraq, was caused by a missile fired by the Iranian military, after first denying it. And there was a lie within the lie as the Iranians claimed that the passenger jet veered over a sensitive military area.

“They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here,” is one the chants heard in Tehran.

The people of Iran–or at least some of them–don’t believe the lies anymore.

Kimia Alizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, defected last week. Yes, she did win a bronze in taekwando, that’s not a lie, but her state-created image was a sham. “Whatever they said, I wore,” Alizadeh wrote. “Every sentence they ordered, I repeated.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The Ultimate Iranian Irony

There seems to be a lot of outrage over Iran’s admission that they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner full of Iranians, Ukranians and Canadians during their “attack” on our bases.

The outrage seems to be coming from all over the world from Canada to Ukraine to within Iran itself to the point where, much to the shock of Michael Moore, they are even defacing posters of a certain late Iranian general.

I’ll readily concede that people have a reason to be outraged. A lot of innocent people were killed, and this accident might have been preventable if Iran had grounded flights during their attack, or informed those manning batteries that the plane was going up, or had better trained their battery peole etc etc etc and the fact that this was an accident doesn’t make the people involved any less dead.

But the irony of the situation really hits me.

Since the Islamic Revolution Iran has been the #1 or #2 exporter of terror in the world (behind the soviets for a while) there are literally thousands if not tens or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of people who are dead because of the action of the Iranian Mullahs and their proxies, not to mention the millions who have suffered because of it. Their actions have deliberate, methodical and calculated but most importantly Iran’s actions have been an open secret known worldwide from Krakow to Khartoum.

Despite this knowledge the world had to be dragged kicking and screaming to get even weak sanctions applied to them to Iran. Diplomats were happy to look the other way as Iran did what it did.

Forty years of deliberate murder and the world didn’t bat an eye, but now Iran finds itself isolated not because of all those decades killing people on purpose, but for the one batch of people whose deaths they didn’t intend.

The world is a very strange place.

Unremembered Gratitude, Gatez Misdemeanor, Occam on Iran, Manslaughter vs Murder Williamson goes under the fedora

There is a running gag in the TV show Maverick when both Brett or Bart Maverick after a long trip in a stagecoach or horse or whatever invariability when they get to a hotel they want a tub and hot water. As soon as it’s drawn invariability whatever lady they are paired with whether it is Connie Stevens or Kathleen Crowley appropriate the full bath from this which angers them to no end as a bathtub of water costs a dollar (the equivalent of $21.18 today) for it since someone has to haul the water, heat it and then haul it again to the tub one bucket at a time.

While California is doing it’s best to return their state to a land where a hot bath or shower is a luxury that most people can’t afford, which has been the norm the rest of us can be grateful that we live in an age and a land where such comfort is so common that it never occurs to be grateful for it.


Rep Matt Gaetz is getting a ton of flack for his vote with the Democrats on their Iran resolution in the house.

I can’t see the point of it, this resolution was symbolic, has no chance of becoming law and was about as meaningless as any that Pelosi has pushed.

After all we don’t throw Rand Paul or Mike Lee off the bus because their principles on foreign policy are different, perhaps Gaetz believes that on principle congress should not cede this power to the executive as a rule.

When he abandons the President or the Pro-life movement on something that actually matters I’ll worry but for now I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. After all people have the right to be wrong.


Had a bit of a twitter debate with a fellow who was insisting that we shouldn’t trust the US government info on the downing of that Ukranianian jet.

While there is nothing wrong with doubt Occam’s razor suggests that this was all about some panicked at the thought that Donald Trump would follow through almost at once, a perfectly reasonable explanation made more reasonable by Iran’s ducking and dodging on the investigation. Particularly with Iran doing all it can to obscure the site.

I’m wondering if those who are seeing a conspiracy here think that the pickets who shot Stonewall Jackson were actually Union spies under deep cover, after all they had the most to gain by removing him before Gettysburg…


One more thing about the jet business. I object to the use of “Murder” in describing what happened. Manslaughter or involuntary homicide would be more accurate. I suspect if the gunners knew it was a passenger jet they would not have shot it down, but given the situation it was irresponsible for Iran to let the jet go up.

Of course if you subscribe to the idea that Iran tipped us off and knew we weren’t hitting back because of it the command might have assumed they gave the battery folks a heads up. Very bad idea if so.


Finally Marianne Williamson has dropped out of the presidential race. A lot of people laughed at her but I am very relieved that she is gone.

In my opinion she was one of two candidates who had an actual chance against President Trump, not a great chance, but a chance.

You might ask why, and once all the candidates I think have a shot are gone I might give it, but until then I’ll just be satisfied that the President’s chances have improved considerably.

Three Trump Choices to Respond to the Iranian “attack”

Last night twitter was all abuzz about the Iranian attack on our bases. All kinds of reports were flying hither and non but after a short period of time it became clear that what we were seeing was a giant propaganda exercise where Iran launched about 15 missiles with more than 20% of em blowing up on the way and then hit large US bases without managing to harm any Americans.

This not withstanding they put out a bunch of photos from previous events pretending that they were from tonight, and plenty of video and news of a great Iranian victory which our Trump hating media lapped up while loudly proclaiming that if we left them alone from this point on they’d leave us alone.

As can be expected the Iranians are talking big. I rephrased the statement of the Iranian diplomats thus:

Or as Kurt Schlichter put it:

There might be an explanation for this bad bit of aim.

If this is true than despite the breathless (and disgraceful) cheerleading for Iran by the American left and the media this might in fact be an Iranian peace feeler in the sense that they can tell their own people they won a great victory while backing down thus saving face, it doesn’t have to be true (for example Egypt still pretends they beat Israel in 1973) and their own people don’t have to believe it but they can pretend that they do. A very Arabian cultural solution keeping their pride while letting the US know they have backed down.

But regardless the President had three options at this point all of which I’m willing to support.

Option #1 Point and Laugh

Option one is to point out that if this is the best the Iranians can do it’s a giant joke and a sign that they are not a threat. He could even confirm the above possibility I just mentioned pooh pooing Iran’s claims as face saving drivel. He can back up his claim by the ineffectiveness of the Iranian action and say his base warning still stands. A few mega hawks will be disappointed and the left that was so worried about escalation will call him cowardly and of course he loses the change to completely erase the Iranian threat but he would avoid a war he doesn’t want plus in the end all the bluster and propaganda won’t bring General jigsaw back together again.

The bad part about this plan it is doesn’t put a further crimp in Iranian plans and the government could just wait for a Democrat to be elected before they start killing Americans again.

Option 2: Tat Tat Tat for Tit

Because the President promised a disproportionate response to any attack instead of laughing at the Iranians he could take several options that are damaging but not mega lethal. This would be within his MO because he doesn’t seem to want to respond to a non-lethal attack with a lethal one. He could take out several oil rigs, blow up some parked jets or even hit a refinery although that would likely risk civilian lives.

He could even seize an Iranian flagged ship, capture the crew paddle and release them (fun but risky).

All of these things have the advantage of being bigger than the attack, particularly in terms of how it would hurt Iran without being lethal and it would once again put Iran on the spot forcing them to either publicly submit which they really don’t want to do or go to a non asymmetrical war which they want to do even less.

The bad side of course is keeps the risk of a larger war on the table that he doesn’t want and of course it’s a half measure which tends to increase uncertainty. While uncertainly in Iran is to our advantage, uncertainty at home is less so, plus we don’t know how Europe or our enemies will react.

Option 3 52 putdown

This option is to treat this as a full fledged attack and to respond with the promised overwhelming force, destroy their navy, destroy their airforce, destroy their refineries and generally leave the country a wreck.

If the Iranians had managed an actual attack that killed someone this would in fact be the only option on the table.

The advantage of course is to clean up the trash that should have been cleaned up four decades ago and crush the power of the terror state to the point where revolution will almost certainly succeed. Frankly this should have been done in 1979 and if it had been a lot of the problems of the last 40 years would not be. Furthermore the lack of Iranian support would crumble terror networks all over the world and would put a lot of bad guys on notice that from this day on, none of them is safe.

While those a big rewards this option also comes with the biggest risks.

  1. If Iran falls we don’t know what will actually replace it. It could become a Persian Libya.
  2. Such a move would almost certainly cause attacks from any sleepers they have here (which might actually be good in the sense better to root them out when they’re not ready vs letting them plan) and cause some terror attacks in the middle east and possibly Europe.
  3. Russia & China with Iran neutralized will have to find a new proxy to counter us which could get really interesting.
  4. While we don’t need Iranian oil the flow stopping will make Europe more dependent on Russian energy
  5. Once the threat of Iran is gone the incentive for the Arabs who were scared of them to make nice with us and Israel goes with it
  6. It’s the equivalent of blowing up your neighbor’s building for trying to step on your toe and missing.
  7. The MSM will blow out of proportion the small amount of naval & air casualties that such a move would cost.

Biggest risks, biggest rewards


Given what we’ve seen from the deep state I hesitate to give a lot of credit to the Government however I do presume they know more about this than me and from what I’ve seen from Donald Trump I trust him to make the right choice from this list (or a different one that I haven’t thought of) based on what he considers in the best interest for the country given the realities on the ground.

The only think we really know for sure is that whatever the President does the Media will denounce him for it as either a failure, a coward, a warmonger or a butcher under the overriding principle of Orange man bad.

That’s why they can be safely ignored.

Update: Always trust the opinions of an Elder who has experience:

Still, at this time, it looks like Trump let Iran know that they can no longer assume that they can act with impunity in the Middle East, and Iran blinked – hard.

The honor/shame culture is what runs the Middle East. To Muslims in the region, appearances are more important than facts. It appears that at least some people in this much-derided administration understood that and the response was calibrated to allow Iran to maintain its honor.

All the while, in the reality based world, the US has won this skirmish hands-down. Iran’s major architect of terror is gone and Iran is backing down. The US has shown the Iranian leaders that direct conflict would be a very, very foolhardy move.

Again keeping in mind that it is too early to say for sure, but so far it looks like the “experts” and fearmongers have been wrong, and the White House has achieved an unqualified victory that not only hurt Iran because of their loss of Soleimani, but also has forced them to re-think all of their offensive moves in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.

Iran Strikes Back: Ooh Burn!

Amy: [storming into Leonard & Sheldon’s apt] Sheldon Cooper, I’ve got a bone to pick with you, and I’m about to do it in front of all your friends!

Penny: Yeah, you pick that bone. You pick that bone clean!

Amy: I’m gonna publicly shame you, and then sit back as societal pressure compels you to modify your behavior.

Penny: Ooh, burn!

The Big Bang Theory The Weekend Vortex 2012

I had to laugh when I saw this story at PJ Media about Iran’s big retaliation:

At around 8 p.m. Saturday, hackers breached and defaced the website of the U.S. Federal Depository Library (USFDL), posting a graphic image of President Trump being punched in the face and announcing, “This is a message from Islamic Republic of Iran.”

U.S. officials have not confirmed that the attack on the website of USFDL, a program created to make federal government publications available to the public at no cost, came from Iran, but the hackers claim to be avenging the death of Qasem Soleimani, the brutal Iranian terrorist who was killed in a U.S. airstrike at the Bahrain Airport in Iraq early Friday morning.

About an hour after the attack on the little-known USFDL website, the Iranian propaganda had been removed and the website was offline

I like to think of myself as well informed but I’d never heard of USEDL and I’ll wager that if you asked 1000 Americans 999 wouldn’t have any idea who there were either.

But if you read what the Iranians are saying this is a big deal.

“Martyrdom was his (Shahid Soleymani) reward for years of implacable efforts. With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and the blood of the other martyrs of last night’s incident,” the message read. “Hacked By Iran Cyber Security Group HackerS…  This is only small part of Iran’s cyber ability! We’re always ready… to be continues… We Are: Iranian Hackers… #Hard revenge… #ICG – #SpadSecurityGroup.”

But that’s not all guess what they’re chanting in the Iranian parliament:

“Death to America,” almost all of the 290 members of the Iranian parliament chanted over the weekend.

“Mr. Trump! This is the voice of the Iranian nation. Listen!” Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said as lawmakers chanted.

Oh NO! You mean the Iranians instead of chanting “death to America” like they were doing before are now doing it for a completely different reason! But it gets worse!

Iranian state television reports that Iran will no longer abide by any of the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal.

The announcement came Sunday night after another Iranian official said it would consider taking even-harsher steps over the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Friday in Baghdad.

OMG you mean the Iranians are now publicly declaring that they will ignore a deal they likely didn’t keep anyways and might do something even harsher! If that’s not bad enough here is the corker:

Iran has placed an $80 million bounty on Donald Trump’s head and threatened to attack the White House in response to the president’s warning that any strike on American interests in the region will bring massive retaliation.

An organizer for a funeral procession for General Qassem Soleimani called on all Iranians to donate $1 each ‘in order to gather an $80million bounty on President Trump’s head’. 

The organizer made the remarks during the procession in Mashad.

emphasis mine

They’ve got to raise that bounty a buck at a time, I guess pallets of cash don’t stretch as far as they used to.

So let me get this straight, for all the bluster that Iran is making their big retaliation is a web hack, a telethon a bunch of chanting jihadist “lawmakers” & ignoring a deal we didn’t trust them to keep?

What is this: South Park?

Now here in the west such “retaliation” might bring the following reaction:

But I expect Iran to play it up big internally (and further more I expect our media to do so too along with this meaningless vote) because if all this stuff is a big deal and fitting revenge then there is absolutely no need to do anything that might get any of the leader of Iran, or their navy or their air-force or their oil refineries blown up.

It will be just one more face saving lie that they tell to themselves and President Trump will be happy to allow them to do so because that lie will inform the entire Middle East who is running the show.

Hint It’s not the Mullahs anymore.

Now in fairness it is possible that the Iranians will decide to risk destruction either by misjudging Donald Trump or because culturally they believe in it (think Japan just before the end of WW 2) so we should be alert and not be reckless.

But make no mistake the initiative has now shifted and as long as Donald Trump is president it will remain so.