Remember when Mitt Romney said . . .

. . . that Iran would get nuclear weapons if President Obama was re-elected?1 From The Pirate’s Cove:

The More We Find Out About #IranDeal, The Worse It Gets
By William Teach July 14, 2015 – 10:13 am

Neville Chamberlain called, Mr. Obama, he wants his foreign policy back:

(Breitbart) Indeed, the deal is weaker than the provisional arrangement the White House announced this past April.

Under the agreement, which is 159 pages long, the Iranian regime agrees to limit its nuclear enrichment activities for eight years (instead of ten years, as agreed in Lausanne). It will limit its stockpile of enriched uranium to 300 kg, and will limit its research and development, and will be assisted by the international community in some nuclear research, including at the underground facility at Fordow, which it had operated illegally.

In return, the international community will drop major financial and economic sanctions against the Iranian regime. The agreement indicates that new sanctions cannot be applied by the EU or the U.S. before a special dispute resolution process is conducted.

Iran will only grant very limited access to international inspectors to visit nuclear sites. They will be allowed one visit to the military site at Parchin, and visits to other sites will be tightly controlled, with a 24-day advance warning, according to reports. If Iran refuses access, the issue will be arbitrated by a Joint Commission, on which Iran will also be represented. Sanctions can only be re-imposed for “significant non-performance.”

As many, including myself, are asking on Twitter, exactly what does the United States get out of this deal, other than Obama and Kerry being praised by the Left Wing Media? A bad deal is worse than no deal.

There’s more at the link, but one thing is obvious: it is in Israel’s best interests that Iran not obtain nuclear weapons. Thus, if this agreement actually inhibited Iran from developing an atomic bomb, the Israelis ought to support it, right?

Israel blasts Iran deal as ‘dark day in history’
By William Booth and Ruth Eglash | July 14 at 6:49 AM

JERUSALEM — Israeli leaders across the political spectrum condemned in stark apocalyptic language the Iranian nuclear pact announced by the United States and world powers Tuesday, calling it a historic mistake that frees Iran to sponsor global terror while assembling the information and materials to build a nuclear weapon.

“Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday. “Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted.”

Note that: it isn’t just Prime Minister Netanyahu, who neither likes nor trusts President Obama, but “Israeli leaders across the political spectrum” who believe that the agreement will allow the Persians to build atomic bombs more quickly than would have been the case without the agreement. The Israeli left are just as concerned about this as is Likud.

The obvious question is: should we trust Mr Netanyahu’s judgement, or that of our own President? What a silly question: of course Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judgement is better and wiser than that of Mr Obama, and anyone who can’t see that is a fool.
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  1. For some reason, the top article in my google search, from The Washington Post, wouldn’t load. I wonder if that was a coincidence?

It’s no wonder we can’t get spending under control . . .

. . . when the brilliant minds in Washington think that this is a good use of taxpayer dollars:

Taxpayers Spend $3.5 Million to Find Out Why Lesbians Are Fat
Ashley Rae Goldenberg | 7 hours ago

A U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) study to understand why lesbians are fat has now cost taxpayers over $3.5 million to-date.

The study, “Sexual Orientation and Obesity: A Test of a Gendered Biopsychosocial Model,” seeks to determine why there is a disparity in the obesity rates between straight women and lesbian women and straight men and gay men.

According to the study, “It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.”

Apparently, “these disparities are of high public-health significance,” therefore, the National Institutes of Health has been continuously funding the project.

More, the project isn’t even over: the study is supposed to continue through 30 June 2016.

Now, can someone please tell me why this study needed to be made, and, more importantly, why the government had to fund it? I wouldn’t care if some private group had put their money into it; private groups can waste spend their money any way they see fit. But at a time when we are cutting 40,000 combat soldiers, in wartime, due to budgetary constraints, the notion that we are spending any money at all, much less $3.5 million, to study obesity differences between heterosexual and homosexual Americans strikes me as utter madness!

Scott Scott Walker logo for President!

Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) is, to no one’s surprise, running for President!

It is no secret that the Editor of The First Street Journal has favored Governor Walker’s candidacy for some time now. Mr Walker has done an excellent job running the Badger State, breaking the power of the public employee unions, and winning both a recall election in 2012 and his regular re-election campaign in 2014.

Scott Walker logoCan Governor Walker win the nomination in a crowded Republican field? That remains to be seen; my preferred candidate in 2012, then-Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), had a similarly good record, and was an early frontrunner, but faded quickly after a poor showing in the debates; former Governor Perry is running again, this time for the 2016 nomination.

You can click on Mr Walker’s campaign logo to the right to go to his campaign website. Governor Walker’s campaign announcement is coming today, and I’ll have more on this story later.

€urosclerosis: Schadenfreude! Updated!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Greek Bailout Talks Yield Progress but Deal Still Uncertain
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says deal won’t be made ‘at all costs’

By Gabriele Steinhauser and Viktoria Dendrinou | Updated July 12, 2015 1:59 p.m. ET

BRUSSELS—The eurozone edged closer to a new bailout deal for Greece, but the agreement considered by European leaders meeting here Sunday would require almost complete surrender of the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to creditors’ demands.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to the media as she arrives for a meeting of the leaders of the 19 countries that use the euro in Brussels on Sunday. )PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES)

A statement prepared by the currency union’s finance ministers ahead of the summit and seen by The Wall Street Journal said negotiations on a new rescue could only start once the Parliament in Athens had passed pension overhauls and sales-tax increases, along with further financial-policy measures.The parliamentary votes would have to happen by Wednesday, according to the statement, which foresaw Greece’s financing needs rising to as much €86 billion ($96 billion), up from €74 billion estimated by the institutions representing Greece’s creditors on Saturday.

The statement from ministers was intended to serve as the basis of discussions for the leaders’ talks.

Despite the progress in talks on Sunday, Greece’s future in Europe’s currency union still hangs in the balance. In case no deal can be reached, the statement suggested that “Greece should be offered swift negotiations on a time-out from the euro area.”

There’s a lot more at the link, including the point that many of the Eurpoean leaders, specifically including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, just don’t trust Greek Prime Minister Tsipras. And really, how could they? He came to power campaigning on breaking out of the deal to which the former Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, had agreed, and, just last Sunday, held a referendum asking Greek voters whether they would agree to the harsh austerity measures that are the only way Greece can ever pay off its debts, or whether they rejected paying their bolls; the Greeks gave 61.3% of their votes to the rejectionist side.

Chancellor Merkel has wasted almost €60 billion of her taxpayers’ money on this failed program, and Greece is closer to bankruptcy today than it was before. How are the European leaders going to go before their voters and tell them that, after wasting €244 billion trying to save Greece, they will have to throw another €86 billion at a nation which has voted, twice now, that it won’t accept the measures which would enable the county to have a chance of repaying the loans?

Why has The First Street Journal spent so much time and bandwidth on the Greek bailout? Part of it is because the Editor has rather smugly noted that we have been right all along on this; we have been saying this for three years now: Greece will never repay its bailout debts, because the country lacks the productive capacity to earn that much money without educing its standards of living to very low levels, and the Greeks are in this mess because they kept borrowing money to allow their people to live better than their production justified. When given a democratic choice between trying to behave responsibly, and pay their bills, and get back on their feet, or voting in leftists who promised that no such thing would happen, they chose the left. We have pointed out what ought to be obvious: there is simply no sense at all sending good money after bad to bail out a country led by leftists, knaves, fools and liars.

The Greeks had a bailout, and the voters decided that the country should go back on its word. When the Prime Minister who won office by promising that the county would go back on its word put it to the voters again, once again they chose not to pay their bills. That the hedge fund started by Bill and Hillary Clinton’s son-in-law has had some disastrous results betting on Greece simply adds to the feeling of schadenfreude.

But, larger than any smugness on our part, the Editor sees Greece as only the beginning.  If the Greeks have lived better than their production could support, then so has the United States! We have been stimulating our economy, in good times as well as bad, buy, in effect, importing money.  When we borrow from abroad, we are bringing in additional money to pump up artificially our gross domestic product and increase total money supply and the velocity of money1 in our economy. But as we have to pay back what we have borrowed, some of those payments wind up leaving the county, and our economy, depressing the very economy we’ve been trying to stimulate. We owe $6.1 trillion to foreign countries and investors, of which China alone is owed $1.224 trillion; our total foreign-owned debt is about a third of the total national debt, which means that roughly a third of the debt service payments we make, both in scheduled interest and bond redemptions, leaves our economy.

This has been a large part of Greece’s problem: they are having to borrow money to make debt payments to foreign counties and investors, which means some of what they have been borrowing never actually helps the Greek economy. It doesn’t create jobs for Greek citizens, but goes to pay back the investors whose earlier loans might have created some Greek jobs, in the past, but who now have to be paid, while Greek jobs are disappearing. This is a horrendous loss cycle that the Greeks cannot win, and it’s one which could hit the United States as well.

The US has some advantages the Greeks do not: we control our own currency, our debts are all denominated in our own currency, and the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. But if the dollar is to remain the world’s reserve currency, we have to get our economic house in order. If the dollar loses that status, future loans from foreign countries could come denominated in Chinese Yuan, which would be disastrous for us.

Today was supposed to be the day in which the Europeans decided whether or not to give the Greeks yet another bailout; I have my doubts that the final answer will come today. But if Europe keep bailing out the Greeks, if it becomes true that the socialists really can’t run out of other people’s money, then I have to wonder: just who is big enough to bail out the United States when the time comes?
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Update! Perhaps the Europeans won’t cave after all!

Greek Debt Crisis: Germany Flexes Its Muscles in Talks With Bailout Ultimatum
Standoff’s telling factor may be that Greece fears its exit from the euro more than Germany does.
By Marcus Walker | July 12, 2015 7:56 p.m. ET

ATHENS—Europe’s ultimatum to Greece, demanding full capitulation as the price of any new bailout, marks the failure of a rebellion by a small, debt-ridden country against its lenders’ austerity policies, after Germany flexed its muscles and offered Athens a choice between obeisance or destruction.

Sunday’s statement on Greece by eurozone finance ministers will go down as one of the most brutal diplomatic démarches in the history of the European Union, a bloc built to foster peace and harmony that is now publicly threatening one of its own with ruination unless it surrenders.

The weekend’s power play also highlights the cracks among Greece’s creditors—especially Germany and the International Monetary Fund—as the cost of keeping Greece in the euro spirals out of control. The IMF has urged Europe to give Greece some debt relief, something Berlin has opposed. Part of the reason for Germany’s hard line now is that maximally tough austerity in Greece could reduce IMF pressure to write off Greek loans.

The other 18 euro members were late Sunday pushing Greece to implement all of the austerity measures and broader economic overhauls its voters have twice rejected—in elections in January and in a referendum on July 5—not in return for new rescue loans, but as a precondition for even talking about them.

The Greek government of left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which has spent all year trying to challenge Europe’s bailout policies, has ended up a near-powerless pariah in Europe—even though Mr. Tsipras is politically dominant inside Greece. Its only remaining option for disobedience—to default and leave the euro—would satisfy rather than horrify many of its European critics, led by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

More at the original. But Prime Minister Tsipras may not survive this:

The fall of the Tsipras government under the creditors’ heavy pressure would please many European policy makers. In Berlin and other northern European capitals, officials have made little secret of their view they can’t trust Mr. Tsipras to deliver his side of a bailout deal, even if he were to sign one. But most officials know that Mr. Tsipras’s fall after only six months would raise awkward questions about the scope for democracy in an EU that presents itself as a beacon of popular sovereignty for the world.

Greece hasn’t complied with creditors’ demands yet. But its only alternative appears to be the gamble of a euro exit, which most Greeks fear would bring worse economic devastation.

In the end, the telling factor in the standoff may be that Greeks fear their country’s exit from the euro more than Germany does. That gives Berlin the stronger hand to impose its austerity-and-reforms prescription.

I have no problem at all with a socialist government falling. But the plain fact is that Alexis Tsipras can’t govern: he promised socialist ideals, but can’t pay for them, and is having to kowtow to (somewhat) more capitalist and realistic financial people who have the money that he does not.

It seems that if Mr Tsipras rejects the ultimatum, Greece exits the euro, and goes broke, and the government falls; if the Prime Minister accepts the ultimatum, his leftwing coalition rebels, and the government falls. Either option is a good one.
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From Around the Blogroll

I am coming to believe that Margaret Thatcher’s oft-(mis)quoted dictum that socialists inevitably run out of other people’s money might not be quite true; the situation in Europe concerning the the latest proposed Greek bailout is starting to make me wonder if there will always be “other people” stupid enough to keep giving socialists money. From The Wall Street Journal:

Greek Bailout Deal Remains Elusive
Eurozone finance ministers to reconvene Sunday to discuss whether proposed economic overhauls merit negotiations on fresh loans
By Viktoria Dendrinou and Gabriele Steinhauser | Updated July 11, 2015 7:25 p.m. ET

BRUSSELS—Greek crisis talks between eurozone finance ministers on a new €74 billion loan came to an inconclusive end Saturday, in a sign that a deal which would secure much-needed financing for Athens and prevent a possible exit from the currency area is still far from certain.

The ministers will reconvene Sunday morning in an effort to reach consensus on whether economic overhauls and budget cuts proposed by Greece are sufficiently far-reaching to form a basis for negotiations on fresh loans to Athens.

Later Sunday, the baton will be handed over to European leaders, who will gather for an emergency summit. The heads of state and government will then have to determine how much money, and political goodwill, they are prepared to spend on keeping Greece in their currency union.

“It is still very difficult, but work is still in progress” said Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who presides over the meetings with his counterparts.

“There’s always hope,” said Pierre Moscovici, the European Union’s economics commissioner, adding that he hoped for more progress tomorrow.

Only unanimous agreement on the amount of new rescue loans and debt relief to grant Athens will allow the country to avoid full-on bankruptcy and Greek banks to reopen Monday with euros in their tills.

More at the link. But if “unanimous agreement” is really what is required, there is at least a hope that the Europeans won’t cave, and will let Greece go bankrupt. It’s bitter medicine, no doubt about that, but it is, and has been, the only rational course, and we’ve known that for years. When Monsieur Moscovici said that “The’s always hope,” what he really meant — though he’d deny it — is there’s always hope that the Europeans will be dumb enough to send the Greek socialists more of other people’s money.

At some point, the democratic European leaders are going to have to face their voters, and explain why they pissed away so many of their taxpayer’s euros on a rescue effort that anyone with any common sense realized was doomed to fail.

And now, on to the Blogroll!

Rule 5 Blogging: The Glam Life

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Selena Gomez in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

This week, the absolutely glamorous life of women in the United States Army! I’m not sure how any American woman could resist volunteering for such a high fashion life in such romantic settings. Click any photo to enlarge.

military_woman_usa_army_000579

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: The Glam Life’ »

#BlackLivesMatter : Lying to themselves

From The Wall Street Journal:

Baltimore Mayor Fires Police Commissioner Anthony Batts
Move comes amid steep increase in homicides, critical report from union on riot response
By Scott Calvert | Updated July 8, 2015 7:24 p.m. ET

BALTIMORE—Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake abruptly fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts on Wednesday amid a steep increase in homicides and hours after the city’s police union sharply criticized the department’s response to rioting in April.

Ms. Rawlings-Blake announced the decision minutes before Mr. Batts was due to hold a news conference about an independent review that began Wednesday of the police response to the unrest. The mayor named Kevin Davis, who has been Mr. Batts’s deputy since January, as interim commissioner.

At a news conference, Ms. Rawlings-Blake praised Mr. Batts for helping to modernize the department, putting more police on the street during crime spikes and improving transparency. “But as we have seen in recent weeks, too many continue to die on our streets, including three just last night and one lost earlier today. Families are tired of feeling this pain, and so am I,” she said.

She said the recent focus on Mr. Batts’s leadership had distracted the department from the fight against crime. “So we need a change. This was not an easy decision, but it is one that is in the best interests of the people of Baltimore,” she said. .  .  .

“It’s about time,” said Edward Reisinger, vice president of the City Council, who earlier Wednesday called for Mr. Batts to be replaced. “We have to focus on the shootings, the homicides in the city of Baltimore.”

As of Wednesday, police said there had been 155 homicides this year, a 48% increase from the comparable period last year. May’s 42 homicides were the most in a month in 25 years. Nonfatal shootings were up 86%, with 303 so far this year.

Mr. Batts, who was appointed in 2012, has been at the center of a storm since April, when 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of injuries sustained in police custody. Officials said Mr. Gray, who was black, died of severe spinal injuries. Six officers have been charged in the case. All have pleaded not guilty.

Hours after Mr. Gray’s funeral on April 27, a small protest mushroomed into widespread rioting. Nearly 400 businesses were damaged or destroyed, the National Guard was called in and a curfew was imposed for five days.

More at the link.

So, in a city which has been run by Democrats for decades, a black Mayor has fired a black Police Commissioner, because more black men are shooting other black men in the streets, after the black Mayor said, concerning the rioting after career criminal Freddie Gray died from injuries while in police custody, “We also gave those who wish to destroy space to do that as well.” The police were put on notice by the quick filing of criminal charges against the six officers who were involved in Mr Gray’s arrest that the city would not back them against a culture of violence.

Was Commissioner Batts a good police chief? I don’t know, and don’t particularly care. But the problem isn’t that the police are somehow allowing more murders in Baltimore; the police don’t prevent crime, but deal with its aftermath. The problem is the culture prevalent in the black community in the Charm City. We have to ask why black men are shooting other black men at such ridiculously high rates, in Baltimore, in Philadelphia, in Camden, and in Chicago. But, of course, to ask that question is raaaaacist, and the left won’t ever ask it, won’t even hint at it, because they depend upon charges of racism for political heft.

Yet, no problem was ever solved by not taking a clear look at it; if the left foreclose any questions about the responsibility of the black community for murders of its people, by its people, then those killings will continue and continue and continue.

Let me be plain here: the only solutions to the problems in our urban black communities must come from within those communities; they cannot be imposed from outside. If black teenaged boys continue to drop out of school at rates greatly in excess of whites, the black community will continue to be saddled with lower average incomes, and the black community will continue to be plagued by higher joblessness, and the (mostly) white elites cannot do one damned thing to stop those dropouts. That needs to come from the mothers and fathers of those boys considering dropping out of school. If urban black teenaged males keep joining gangs, an action which puts them at high risk of crime, of violence, and of going to jail, it is because joining a gang is too highly rewarded within the community in terms of prestige and sex, and white outsiders can’t do one single thing to change that.

I didn’t have much hope for Barack Obama becoming a good President, but I did think that there was one area in which he could have had a huge, positive impact: I had hoped that his example, of doing well in school, of going to college and then law school, would be an inspiration to young black males, would be showing them that doing those things wasn’t somehow “acting white,” but was the road to success. Sadly, it just hasn’t worked out that way.

Instead, we have the Twitter hashtag #blacklivesmatter , but it really ought to be #BlackLivesDontMatter, because, unless a black person is killed by a white man, nobody seems to care.

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Related Article:

One more thing on which President Obama wants you to have no choice

I have said, only half jokingly, that the only way that the government could end segregation is through the use of assigned housing.1 Well, it looks like the Obama Administration is taking steps in that direction. From The Wall Street Journal:

New HUD Rules Take Aim at Segregated Housing
Government can withhold money from communities that fail to address historical segregation
By Laura Kusisto | July 8, 2015 11:49 a.m. ET

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday unveiled a rule designed to bolster requirements that communities receiving federal dollars seek to break down historical patterns of segregation.

The rule is a response to criticisms that federal enforcement of so-called fair housing laws has been opaque and difficult for smaller communities to follow, but critics say it amounts to forcing communities to integrate against their will.

Under the new rule HUD will provide communities with data that must be used to analyze historical patterns of segregation. Communities now will be required to submit this analysis to HUD, set goals for reducing segregation and track the results.

“Unfortunately, too many Americans find their dreams limited by where they come from, and a ZIP code should never determine a child’s future,” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro in a statement. “This important step will give local leaders the tools they need to provide all Americans with access to safe, affordable housing in communities that are rich with opportunity.”

There’s more at the original.

My mother worked at a mortgage company for many years, and she told me, more than once, about the various laws concerning non-discrimination: people could not be asked about their race, marital status, and a whole host of other things when applying for a mortgage. Such discrimination has been against the law for decades, but we still have largely segregated housing patterns. Realtors are also prohibited, by law, from engaging in practices which try to steer clients to, or from, particular neighborhoods on the basis of race.

Why? Well, a big part of the reason is that people get to choose where they want to live, constrained only by their ability to pay for it.2 And the ability to pay for housing in a particular neighborhood is going to have a self-segregating impact, because white Americans, on average, are wealthier and earn more than black Americans.

But that’s hardly all of it: there are plenty of black Americans who earn very good livings, and could choose to live in very affluent neighborhoods, yet choose not to buy houses in affluent, primarily white neighborhoods. Why they take their decisions is, of course, up to them individually.

President Obama’s Hyde Park residence

Well, President Obama, whose personal home is in an affluent, integrated neighborhood in Chicago.3 is upset about that, and is now trying to use the power of the federal government to force greater integration in housing patterns.

This is a huge overreach by government, and one which could pose devastating economic problems for Americans. Blacks simply earn less, on average, and have poorer credit histories. To force integration in areas which are almost all white, due to higher housing prices, means forcing the construction of lower-cost housing in those neighborhoods, and that would bring down the value of all of the homes in such neighborhoods. The President’s initiative, if carried to its logical conclusion, would force a lot of people who bought expensive homes underwater on their home values, leading to yet another housing bust.4

But the bigger problem, to me, is the attitude that the government has the right and the power to meddle with people’s housing choices. We have noted previously that the Democrats believe in freedom of choice on exactly one thing.  People choose their houses, so far as they are able, based on any number of things, many of which are personal preference, and on availability, and Mr Obama really doesn’t like the results of people’s free choices .  .  . so he will push the government to try and change them.  January 20, 2017 cannot come soon enough.
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Related Articles

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  1. I was unable to find it through site searches here, so it may have been in a comment on another site.
  2. That includes being able to get to and from work, of course.
  3. One site refers to Hyde Park as “the most racially integrated neighborhood in the nation’s most racially segregated city.”
  4. Your Editor believes that housing is very much overpriced in a lot of areas, but it’s the market, and not my opinions, which set those prices. From a purely economic viewpoint, a house is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it.