Whatever happened to the Iran nuclear deal? 

Whatever happened to the Iran nuclear deal? It used to be a central issue in U.S. foreign policy. We talked about it all the time. We even argued over whether we should bomb Iran. In fact, it is now a “done deal” and all sides began implementation in early 2016 requiring severe limits and effective monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program. The new administration promised to “tear it up.” It may still do that — which is why it is worth spending a few minutes considering that prospect. Lend me your eyes and your mind….

Today, we follow closely the next steps of our new administration and worry about Russian action in Syria, the test of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile, and new tensions with Europe and indeed China. We don’t fret about an imminent Iranian nuclear threat, because there isn’t one. Tough and principled American diplomacy removed that danger for nearly 15 years. Even if Iran decides to violate the agreement and build a bomb, it would take them at least a year. It is one less worry we must confront in 2017, a year that has barely begun but is already brimming with uncertainty and concerns.

Iran faces a new election in the late spring with President Rouhani running as a possible winner. It is too early to predict — we have now learned that — but he and his team played a major role in getting us here. He supports pragmatic policies and a new approach to Iran as a member of the international community in reasonably good standing. He has fierce opponents who see Iran in deep danger and are willing to lash out to try to protect it and who oppose a Jewish state in the region and support a Shiite religious hegemony across an arc of the northern Middle East. But Iran has more choices now, as opposed to the past 35 years, and we welcome a more moderate Iran over the long term.

Now, imagine there was no international agreement curtailing Iran’s nuclear program, no program of unprecedented inspections, no removal of thousands of centrifuges, no disablement of the plutonium-producing Arak reactor, no shipping out of 98 percent of Iran’s enriched uranium. Absent an agreement, Tehran’s hard-liners will still try to take the next election to push forward with the nuclear program. But they can’t, because Iran’s program is locked down under the most intrusive inspection system ever devised and supported by more than 100 other countries in the world who oppose nuclear proliferation in any form.

Of course, the agreement isn’t perfect; no agreement is. Iran’s leaders — and particularly the hard-liners — complain that the U.S. has not kept its side of the bargain on sanctions relief. The international community worries about Iran’s supply of arms to regional hot spots, but the core of the agreement which caps and reduces Iran’s nuclear activities has been a success. How do we know that? The International Atomic Energy Agency, with its 24/7 monitoring of nuclear facilities and wide access to them, has confirmed Iran’s compliance for more than three years. And where there have been differences, those have been quickly settled to our satisfaction under arrangements provided for in the agreement. If we violate the deal, Iran will be free to go for a bomb, or free to isolate us by keeping the deal and its declared policy not to become a nuclear weapons state.

But many still just do not understand what the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action accomplished for U.S. security. They want to torpedo the agreement and start over, by either walking away outright or killing it by introducing new sanctions. If we do that, it will be the U.S. — not Iran — that will get the blame. Our allies have already made clear that, if we break the agreement, they will not join in new sanctions. And without new international sanctions, starting all over again is dead on arrival.

If the agreement is not preserved by the United States, Iran’s hard-liners will be free to do whatever they want with their nuclear program. Instead, we should begin now to think about how we can make that deal a more permanent arrangement for Iran and the rest of the world. We should not throw away our own achievements and we should keep our word. At a time when new international dangers seem to emerge with each passing day, we should be thankful that Iran’s nuclear program is one less worry in what promises to be a very busy year.


3 ‘triggers’ for Islamic uprising under Trump presidency

  The prayer by Imam Mohamed Magid at Trump’s inaugural prayer service in the National Cathedral last Saturday amounted to a “a signal flag,” to the Muslim community, Haney said. “The context of the verse he quoted from the Quran just happens to be related to the AMJA roadmap fatwa, so what he did was he waved a signal flag and told the Islamic community, here I am, I’m making a declaration that we should stand up and oppose the calamity of the Trump administration.”

Magid’s Muslim Brotherhood credentials are impressive. He’s past-president of ISNA, he served on Obama’s CVE or “countering violent extremism” steering committee and he is imam of the ADAMS mosque that was at one time under investigation by the federal government for ties to Hamas. And if that’ snot enough, he’s listed on the AMJA website as a shake and a fatwa expert. A shake in Islam is higher than imam.

“That means he’s a trained Shariah specialist,” Haney said. “But here he is at the National Cathedral in Washington delivering an inauguration prayer.”

Haney goes back to the allegory Trump used of draining the water out of the swamp.

“Your work really begins after the water is taken out,” he said. “You have to see what is actually buried down in the muck and mire. And if Trump has experts who are qualified to go in and conduct a forensic analysis, they’re going to find all kinds of stuff there and it will set in motion a whole sequence of events, if they can catch their breath and take a look at it. It will set off a sequence of events that will allow law enforcement and immigration officials to honestly evaluate the status of our current immigration policies and they’re going to find that there are a lot of problems with it, whether it’s the State Department issuing visas to folks they shouldn’t be, the way the USCS process people coming into the country on visas and green cards, all the way to the United Nations itself and how it does the initial selection and vetting of the refugees.

“So this examination, if it is thorough, is going to set off a lot of events that are going to expose the methods of the Obama administration as providing no oversight or protection whatsoever.”

Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2017/01/3-triggers-for-islamic-uprising-under-trump-presidency/#UWsRWTJ4qymSOPYX.99


Never Look a Gay Mexican in the Mouth

HA HA I do like this writing style!
I don’t actually know if Mexican economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo is gay. But I do know he negotiates like a drunk in someone else’s box. Discussing the looming NAFTA renegotiations, a perturbed Guajardo asserted that if Trump was going to talk about his siphon-hose of a country like that, then the Mexicans will just pack up their free-trade agreement and leave.

“If we’re going for something that is less than what we have now, it doesn’t make sense to stay in,” Guajardo said.

Beating numberless competition, I present the world’s dumbest Mexican.

Theodore Roosevelt rejoins forces with CVW-17 

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) welcomed aboard Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, Jan. 17, for carrier qualifications in preparation to begin the ship’s work-up cycle.

The flight operations mark the first time aircraft have landed aboard Theodore Roosevelt in almost a year. CVW-17 was previously embarked aboard Theodore Roosevelt in early 2016 before the ship entered its planned incremental availability.”The relationship between the TR and CVW-17 was as smooth as I’ve ever experienced between an air wing and ship’s crew, and I’m very optimistic this will continue,” said Cmdr. Christopher Jason, Theodore Roosevelt’s air boss. “We’re both very professional groups, and despite having new personnel, we have the same core of leadership to ensure success during this critical underway period. We’re heading right into work-ups, so this gives us a chance to recalibrate and refresh ourselves on how to conduct flight operations.”Preparations to bring CVW-17 aboard started immediately after the air wing disembarked March 2016. Theodore Roosevelt has undergone an extensive amount of upgrades and maintenance, with the ultimate goal of returning to sea to conduct flight operations.”There are key roles from every single department to prepare for the air wing coming aboard,” said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony K. Tobias, Theodore Roosevelt’s principal assistant for logistics. “It’s challenging to be fully prepared for the additional people, but with the TR spirit it makes the transition easy.”More than 180 pallets of Theodore Roosevelt’s cargo, including food, storeroom parts, ship’s store items, and other resources along with 175 pallets of CVW-17’s cargo were on-loaded to accommodate new personnel living aboard, said Tobias. There was also an immense effort from the crew to off-load trash and other unnecessary materials before getting underway.Advertisement (1 of 1): 0:15Theodore Roosevelt becoming fully operational gives many of the “Big Stick’s” Sailors their first look at flight operations, and many CVW-17 Sailors and Marines their first experience living aboard a ship.Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Eric Williams stepped aboard an aircraft carrier for the very first time.

Source: Theodore Roosevelt rejoins forces with CVW-17 | Fleet And Navy | hanfordsentinel.com

North Carolina: Asheboro legislator files ‘unfunded liability’ bill

State Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph) introduced a bill Thursday to study ways state government might whittle down a massive hole in state employees’ Retire Health Benefit Fund.Her proposal, cosponsored with state Rep. Rena Turner (R-Iredell), would create a joint House-Senate committee to consider ways of whittling down the plan’s unfunded liability of about $30 billion.

The fund provides health care for retired state employees. The bill requires that the committee — with five members from each chamber — consider at least six options for narrowing the gap. Options range from increasing government contributions to requiring employees to contribute to the fund as they do to other retirement plans.The bill envisions the committee submitting a final report to the General Assembly next year. Titled “Study Unfunded Liability/Retiree Health Fund,” it’s similar to a bill that stalled in the 2016 session.

Source: Inside Scoop: Asheboro legislator files ‘unfunded liability’ bill | Blog: The Inside Scoop | greensboro.com

Outrage Dilution #Trump 

I’m having a fun time watching President Trump flood the news cycle with so many stories and outrages that no one can keep up. Here’s how the math of persuasion works in this situation:1 outrage out of 3 headlines in a week: Bad Persuasion 25 outrages out of 25 headlines in a week: Excellent Persuasion At the moment there are so many outrages, executive orders, protests, and controversies that none of them can get enough oxygen in our brains.

I can’t obsess about problem X because the rest of the alphabet is coming at me at the same time.When you encounter a situation that is working great except for one identifiable problem, you can focus on the problem and try to fix it. But if you have a dozen complaints at the same time, none of them looks special. The whole situation just looks confusing, and you don’t know where to start. So you wait and see what happens. Humans need contrast in order to make solid decisions that turn into action. Trump removed all of your contrast by providing multiple outrages of similar energy.You’re probably seeing the best persuasion you will ever see from a new president. Instead of dribbling out one headline at a time, so the vultures and critics can focus their fire, Trump has flooded the playing field. You don’t know where to aim your outrage. He’s creating so many opportunities for disagreement that it’s mentally exhausting. Literally. He’s wearing down the critics, replacing their specific complaints with entire encyclopedias of complaints. And when Trump has created a hundred reasons to complain, do you know what impression will be left with the public?He sure got a lot done.Even if you don’t like it.In only a few days, Trump has made us question what-the-hell every other president was doing during their first weeks in office. Were they even trying?—For a fun party trick, ask your most liberal friends if they think the Federal government should have a say in whether a woman gets an abortion or not. When they say the Federal government should stay out of that decision, inform them that President Trump shares their opinion. He doesn’t want the Federal government to be in the business of making health care choices for women. He prefers leaving that decision to the woman, her doctor, and state laws.

Source: Outrage Dilution – The Burning Platform

Navy scales back humanitarian mission to Latin America, will treat fewer patients

The U.S. military is scaling back its humanitarian mission to Latin America, where it plans to visit the fewest number of countries and treat the fewest number of patients since Operation Continuing Promise began in 2007.

The Navy is sending a speedy transport ship carrying medical personnel to three countries beginning Thursday instead of the much larger hospital ship USNS Comfort that provided care in 11 countries in 2015 when the mission had a budget more than three times as large.The United States regularly provides medical aid, veterinary care and other assistance as part of Operation Continuing Promise, although the missions don’t occur every year. The operation is used to build goodwill and partnerships with host nations and to help maintain the United States’ influence in the region.This year’s mission is expected to treat about 15,000 patients, compared with about 100,000 patients in 2015.Using a smaller ship with fewer personnel aboard over a shorter time will save money. The Navy says the budget for this year’s Operation Continuing Promise is about $11 million, compared with the $40 million that was budgeted for Continuing Promise 2015.Beyond military personnel, nongovernmental organizations like Virginia Beach-based Operation Smile typically embark aboard participating ships and provide free medical care. While some NGOs will still participate in this year’s mission, Operation Smile said this week that after “thoughtful deliberations” it will not be among them.“Our focus is on providing as many surgeries as we can for children with cleft lips and cleft palates. Without a hospital ship as the host, we would not be able to provide those surgeries during Continuing Promise,” Operation Smile spokeswoman Lisa Jardanhazy said in an email.

Source: Navy scales back humanitarian mission to Latin America, will treat fewer patients | Local Military | pilotonline.com

The Most Important Civil Rights Issue Trump Could Solve with an Executive Order: End the “War on Drugs” Gulag, by Charles Hugh Smith


Charles Hugh Smith’s proposal is so sensible that the cynical among us will say it has no chance of ever seeing the light of day. With President Trump, however, who knows? From Smith at oftwominds.com:

Here is an opportunity for “Black Lives Matter” and the Trump administration to find common cause.

President Trump has a golden opportunity to strike a major blow for civil rights with a single executive order: end the failed “War on Drugs” and shut down America’s drug-war gulag. None of the previous three presidents expended any political capital on curbing the immensely destructive “War on Drugs” or freeing the (in many states, preponderantly African-American and Hispanic-American) prisoners in America’s drug-war gulag.

“Fake-liberal” Bill Clinton did nothing, “fake-conservative” George W. Bush did nothing, and “fake-liberal” Barack Obama did nothing to end the “War on Drugs” or curb the gulag it created. Their parties and supporters were delighted…

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“Navy Proud”: Norfolk plans celebrations for base’s 100th anniversary

NORFOLKThe city that’s home to the world’s largest naval base is planning a year full of celebrations for the base’s 100th anniversary.

Centennial events for Norfolk Naval Station kick off this week.Officials created a logo with the slogan “Norfolk: Navy Proud. 100 Years” that they plan to plaster on billboards, bumper stickers and public buses. There also will be promotions online and in print.The plans came from the Naval Station Norfolk Centennial Commission, which the City Council appointed in September.Highlights of the year’s events include a Blue Angels flyover tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13, a Navy League gala on June 28 and Navy tribute nights at professional and college sports events.In many cases, Navy celebrations have been added to existing events. Karen Scherberger, vice chairwoman of the centennial commission, said more than 35 events are confirmed so far, with more in the works.

Source: “Navy Proud”: Norfolk plans celebrations for base’s 100th anniversary | Local Military | pilotonline.com

Organizing for Action’s Propaganda Is Not Going Away | NCRenegade

Friend — I have disturbing news. Today we learned about a series of actions coming from leaders in Washington, D.C. that violate our American values. We learned that they are moving forward w…

Source: Organizing for Action’s Propaganda Is Not Going Away | NCRenegade