A “Life to America” News Sandwich

This week I was relieved to hear that a number of Democrat Senators–enough to, along with Republicans, create veto-proof legislation–oppose the “deal” with Iran that is currently being negotiated in Switzerland by John Kerry. These Senators thankfully didn’t get the memo from two Cato scholars that Islamic terrorism “poses no existential threat to America.” Writes Francesca Chambers at the Daily Mail,

[A] dozen Democratic senators, including Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the highest-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, have said they will join with the GOP majority to pass bills inserting themselves into the [negotiation] process.

One would levy additional sanctions on Iran after June 30 if it doesn’t agree to the final terms of a deal, though monthly waivers would be allowed should more time be requested. The other would give the Senate the power to reject within 60 days any pact the executive branch makes with Iran.

(HT Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch)

If Iran were to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon, it would have the means and opportunity to “pose an existential threat” to many Americans. What about motive? This week, even while the negotiations are going on with John Kerry in Switzerland (did he bring James Taylor with him?), Khameni is back in Iran doing a “Death to America” reprise.

The Islamic doctrine of taqiyya, which permits Muslims to lie to “Infidels” like us, should be enough to keep any sane person away from the negotiation table with a theocracy like Iran. But, in addition, the New York Times today provides us with evidence that the doctrine is alive and well, and part of Iran’s strategy for developing its nuclear capacity. Yesterday the paper reported that, in late 2012, our intelligence agencies “uncovered an Iranian businessman’s scheme to buy specialty aluminum tubing, a type the United States bans for export to Iran because it can be used in centrifuges that enrich uranium, the exact machines at the center of negotiations entering a crucial phase in Switzerland this week.” Why should we think, if a “deal” were to be reached–even a deal that Senators would approve–that it would be worth anything at all? In fact, such a deal would likely aid Iran in its nuclear ambitions, because no doubt part of the “deal” would include us sending some of our tax dollars to them, among other “concessions.”

While the Senate may succeed in preventing some of the damage that would result from a “deal” with Iran, our real hope is to elect a candidate in 2016 who can begin to undo the accumulated foreign policy damage. This is no small task because, while the damage done has increased substantially under Obama, it goes back much further than that, arguably spanning decades. Ted Cruz, who is slated to announce his candidacy tomorrow, has been a vocal opponent of Jihad and shows signs that he is not the typical neoconservative. This is only one of many reasons we have to believe that a Ted Cruz presidency would bring back Life to America.

Is Ted Cruz “The Guy”? That’s a question we asked on my podcast back in 2013. Listen here.

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American Sense of Life vs. Hollywood

Although it’s old news, I learned about it only in the last week or so via Facebook: “A bipartisan group of Congressmen introduced a bill [in May of this year] that would stop costly first-class flights by lawmakers at taxpayer expense and force representatives and senators to fly coach.” The four Congressmen who sponsored the bill are evidence that at least some in Washington have retained an important element of what Ayn Rand called the “American Sense of Life.” In her essay, “Don’t Let It Go,” she described various aspects of this sense of life, this implicit philosophy that American share and that, Rand thinks, has saved us (so far) from being taken over by a totalitarian dictator. One aspect, Rand wrote, is that Americans “feel that a government official is a human being, just as they are, who has chosen this particular line of work and has earned a certain distinction.” So, while we may feel respect for our government officials, “it is the respect of equals.”

Travel west to Hollywood and you’ll find quite a different attitude. Gwyneth Paltrow, herself a celebrity who one would think would see herself as equal to a politician, apparently fell all over herself when introducing Barack Obama at a fundraiser in her home. “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly,” quipped the recently consciously uncoupled actress.

What’s even more disturbing is that Paltrow seems to see no problem with the idea of Obama being exempt from the rule of law, from the Constitutional limitations that plague mere mortal presidents: “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass,” she said.

Travel north to Silicon Valley for the most heartening example of the American Sense of Life—in particular, the focus on achievement and independence—that I’ve read about this week. Jony Ive, in a rare on-stage interview, described how Steve Jobs taught him about the importance of focus, and how he agreed with Jobs that, if you said no to other activities, opportunities or projects, it was not a sacrifice because “I wasn’t vaguely interested in doing those things anyway….” (I assume he meant that, in the context of what he was currently working on, he wasn’t vaguely interested in doing those things he said no to.)

Even more awesome than that was an exchange Ive recalls having with Jobs over the latter’s famously harsh critiques of the work product of members of their design team. Ive asked Jobs whether he would consider softening the critiques.

And he said, ‘Well, why?’

And I said, ‘Because I care about the team.’

And he said this brutally brilliantly insightful thing, what he said was, ‘No Jony, you’re just really vain.’

‘Oh.’

‘No, you just want people to like you. And I’m surprised at you because I thought you really held the work up as the most important, not how you believed you were perceived by other people.’

And I was terribly cross because I knew he was right.

I sure hope Ive stays at Apple, and stays healthy and productive, for the rest of a very long life. (Much longer than 75!)

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Squandering Political Capital

While there’s little chance of this story distracting from Obama’s failure effectively to deal with ISIS/Ebola/Economy, the White House is facing another scandal as the Washington Post reports that Obama aides “knew of possible White House link to Cartagena, Columbia prostitution scandal.” The article states that “new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member — yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged.”

Read more here. Even if no particular action is taken in response to the latest of many lies told by the Obama administration, it’s nice to see what little credibility he has left be further eroded. It’s not surprising to see that, as this AP Story reports, Obama allies are “getting harder to find.”

It may turn out that during the last two years of his presidency, all Obama will have is his pen and his phone—without many people being willing to pick up the phone. (Certainly government bureaucrats should be less willing to pick up the phone, if they don’t want to end up in Lois Lerner’s situation.)

While I’m happy to see Obama squander what little political capital he has left, I was sorry to see this week that Ted Cruz—who may be the best, potentially electable candidate for 2016—denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear any of the same-sex marriage cases. He has even vowed to introduce a Constitutional Amendment defending “traditional marriage.” I have loved Cruz’s principled stand on free speech, Obamacare, and other crucial issues, and here I think that Cruz is not only wrong (I support same-sex marriage), but that he is also wasting time, energy and political capital. I feel like I could quote right back to him the beginning of the speech he made in opposition to the Senate Democrats’ proposed Constitutional Amendment to curb free speech. In fact, I hope the Democrats do that.

Given that the 2014 elections are nearly upon us, I was happy to see Jason Mattera help Senate Majority Fossil Harry Reid squander a bunch of his political capital this week. It seems Mr. Reid doesn’t like being questioned about his multi-million-dollar net worth. Reid’s “aide” (as one source called him) actually physically attacked Mattera, who was doing nothing more than asking Reid how he made so much money while living on a government salary his entire career. Reid has vehemently denounced the Koch brothers, who spend their own money to influence politics so that politics doesn’t have as much influence over our lives. In the meantime, Majority Fossil Reid has apparently used political influence—and our tax dollars—to line his own pockets. It’s time we showed him the door.

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