Posts

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Unanimously Approves Iran Nuke Review Legislation

Our Iconoclast post title about a denouement today on the P5+1 Iran Nuke agreement review legislation was realized this afternoon in a unanimous Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote approving a compromise measure. The Committee action reasserted   Constitutional prerogatives forcing President Obama to relent his opposition. The vote was 19 to 0 based on the compromise language worked out between Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). Assenting to the new version of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review  Act of 2015, originally co-sponsored by embattled  New Jersey U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Sen. Corker, were two Committee Members, announced GOP Presidential Contenders, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).  Corker had not been a signatory to Arkansas Tom Cotton’s letter that was sent to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic in Tehran apprising them of the Senate’s advice and consent on major treaties and agreements.

This legislative victory preserves the right of the Congress to review changes in the prevailing sanctions against Iran occasioned by the presentation of the Administration of any definitive agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran by the intended date of June 30, 2015.  Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif announced at a ministerial meeting in Spain today, that negotiations leading towards a possible definitive agreement would start April 21st in Lausanne, Switzerland.  U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said the House would approve the veto proof measure. A vote on the measure should reach the floor of the Senate shortly, at which time Amendments might be introduced for possible consideration.

Tower report noted:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the committee, said that the legislation, which passed 19-0, “absolutely, 100% keeps the congressional review process — the integrity of it — in place.”

The compromise language, which was worked out by Corker and ranking Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.), shortened the amount of time of Congress would get to review a nuclear agreement with Iran from 60 days to 30, and softened some other provisions of the bill.

The bill is consistent with a poll released today by Suffolk University showing that Americans favor congressional review of any nuclear deal with Iran by a wide margin—72% to 19%.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that President Barack Obama would sign the compromise bill, reversing the administration’s longstanding objection to any congressional oversight of a potential nuclear deal with Iran.

The New York Times reported how quickly Administration opposition to the legislation had folded:

Why Mr. Obama gave in after fierce opposition was the last real dispute of what became a rout. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said Mr. Obama was not “particularly thrilled” with the bill, but had decided that a new proposal put together by the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee made enough changes to make it acceptable.

“We’ve gone from a piece of legislation that the president would veto to a piece of legislation that’s undergone substantial revision such that it’s now in the form of a compromise that the president would be willing to sign,” Mr. Earnest said. “That would certainly be an improvement.”

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the committee’s chairman, had a far different interpretation. As late as 11:30 a.m., in a classified briefing at the Capitol, Mr. Kerry was urging senators to oppose the bill. The “change occurred when they saw how many senators were going to vote for this, and only when that occurred,” Mr. Corker said.

Mr. Cardin said that the “fundamental provisions” of the legislation had not changed.

But the compromise between him and Mr. Corker did shorten a review period of a final Iran nuclear deal and soften language that would make the lifting of sanctions dependent on Iran’s ending support for terrorism.

The agreement almost certainly means Congress will muscle its way into nuclear negotiations that Mr. Obama sees as a legacy-defining foreign policy achievement.

Under the agreement, the president would still have to send periodic reports to Congress on Iran’s activities regarding ballistic missiles and terrorism, but those reports could not trigger another round of sanctions.

The Times reported possible floor actions that might resurrect original provisions:

The measure still faces hurdles. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, fresh off the opening of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, dropped plans to push for an amendment to make any Iran deal dependent on the Islamic Republic’s recognition of the State of Israel, a diplomatic nonstarter.

But he hinted that he could try on the Senate floor.

“Not getting anything done plays right into the hands of the administration,” Mr. Rubio said.

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, abandoned an amendment to make any Iran accord into a formal international treaty needing two-thirds of the Senate for its ratification, but he, too, said it could be revived before the full Senate.

The measure will be brought up for a floor vote later this month and is expected to pass both the Senate and the House in near veto proof form.

It is clear that the victors in this battle are the Republican Majority and concerned Democrats who have been monitoring polls and constituent opinions regarding Congressional Review prerogatives.  In retrospect  Sen. Cotton’s letter and the March 3rd address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a Joint Meeting of Congress alerted  Americans to problems with the P5+1 framework for a deal  announced on April 2nd despite the objections of President Obama and certain leading Democratic minority members of both the Senate and House. Perhaps the diktats announced last Thursday by Ayatollah Khamenei demanding the lifting of all sanctions upon signing of an agreement and denial of intrusive IAEA inspections of military nuclear weapons development sites conveyed to Senate Democrats that there were different opinions about the two Facts Statements. The one released by the State Department versus that of the Iranian Foreign Ministry. Add to that was Monday’s removal of a 2010 moratorium on the sale of an advanced Russian S-300 air defense system to Iran an indication that President Putin and Ayatollah Khamenei could void weapons sanctions agreements at will.

The losers in this episode are Secretary Kerry and President Obama. How those negotiations go starting April 21st will determine if Congress will have anything to review on June 30th.

RELATED ARTICLE: Commentators On Arab TV: Obama Supports Iran Because His Father Was A Shi’ite

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). Source: Politico

Brandeis University Roiled by anti-Police and anti-Zionist Radicals

At 10:03 PM Saturday, December 27, 2014  Americans for Peace and Tolerance (AP&T) sent an email containing a petition requesting the President of Brandeis University, Frederick Lawrence and the 29 university trustees,  to protect the free speech rights and person of intrepid student, Daniel Mael.  So far it has garnered 2,337 signatures. This writer was among the earliest to sign it. More should, as the circumstances warrant it.

Mael had published an expose in on-line publication Ben Shapiro’s Truth Reports   about scurrilous anti- police tweets sent by Khadijah Lynch, a junior and African and African American studies department major at the Waltham, Massachusetts elite campus. Lynch’s provocative tweets were hateful to police in general, specifically suggesting how pleased she was about the assassination on December 20th of two NYPD officers, Felix Ramos and Wenjian Liu. They were shot from behind by convicted felon, Ismaaliya Brinsley, without warning while seated in their patrol car at the troubled Tomkins House in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Brinsley subsequently took his life with the murder weapon at a nearby subway platform after a chase by responding officers. The irony was these downed NYPD officers were protecting minorities from the depredations by the likes of Brinsley and drug gang bangers at the Tompkins Houses.

Earlier on Saturday,  a literal ”sea of blue” composed of  25,000 uniformed police from across the U.S. and Canada attended the funeral services  for  downed NYPD officer Ramos at Christ Tabernacle in the Glendale section of Queens New York. Eulogies were given by Vice President Biden, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. When controversial New York Mayor William DiBlasio turn came to eulogize Officer Ramos, NYPD officers in the multitude outside the church turned their back on the large video screen in a demonstration of contempt. They were expressing their anger  regarding his promotion of protests against  grand jury actions upholding police conduct in the shooting death in July 2014 in Ferguson , Missouri of Michael Brown and the August 2014 Staten Island death of former convicted felon Eric Garner under NYPD physical restraint in Staten Island, New York.  They were called to the scene by African American shop owners in the vicinity regarding Garner’s continual violation of the law.

A  Gatestone Institute article by Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz was posted at 1:30 AM EST, Sunday morning, “A Brandeis Student Refuses to Show Sympathy for Assassinated Policemen — and Her Critic Is Attacked.”  Dershowitz drew attention to Lynch’s hate-filled tweets:

As I watched, with tears in my eyes, the funeral of police officer Rafael Ramos who was ambushed along with fellow officer, Wenjian Liu, in revenge for the deaths of two black young men who were killed by policemen, I could not help thinking of the following horrible words tweeted by a bigoted young woman named Khadijah Lynch, on the day the police officers were murdered in cold blood, and the day after:

“i have no sympathy for the nypd officers who were murdered today.” (December 20, 2014)

“lmao, all i just really dont have sympathy for the cops who were shot. i hate this racist f…ing country.”(December 21, 2014).

Nor was this her first bigoted tweet. She has apparently described her college as “a social themed institution grounded in Zionism. Word. That a f…ing fanny dooly.” And she cannot understand why “black people have not burned this country down….” She describes herself as “in riot mode. F… this f…ing country.” She has apparently said that she would like to get a gun and has called for an intifada: “Amerikkka needs an intifada. Enough is enough. ” “What the f… even IS ‘non-violence’. “

Ms. Lynch is certainly entitled to express such despicable views, just as Nazis, Klansmen and other bigots are entitled to express theirs. But when another Brandeis student, named Daniel Mael, decided to post her public tweets on a website, Lynch threatened to sue him for “slander”. Republishing someone’s own published words could not possibly constitute slander, libel or any other form of defamation, because you can’t be slandered by your own words. You can, of course, be embarrassed, condemned, ostracized or “unfriended” due your own words

Brandeis, you should  recall was founded under Jewish auspices as a living memorial to revered  US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a vigorous defender of free speech rights, something that Mael was exercising. Lynch’s comments, while inflammatory and hateful, as Dershowitz  had referenced, would be regarded as ‘protected speech’  under Supreme Court rulings , such as the  landmark 1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio  decision in a matter involving a Klu Klux Klan leader.

Dershowitz went further to point out Mael’s rights under the law:

Mael had the right — and was right — to expose Lynch’s words for public assessment and criticism. Now hard left students at Brandeis are calling for Mael’s head — or at least his expulsion — for exercising his freedom of expression. He has been accused of “stalking”, “cyberbullying” and “inciting racial hatred and oppression” for merely republishing what Lynch published.

Dershowitz also pointed to the irony that  Lynch comments   was  supported by the Brandeis Asian American in view of downed NYPD officer Liu, who was Asian.

The Algemeiner revealed more about Mael’s earlier efforts to expose Lynch’s support for the violent Students for Justice in Palestine eviction notice campaign posted on Jewish student dorm doors across the country that involved  the attacks by SJP against Jewish  university students, Brandeis Radical Who Insulted Murdered NY Cops is Backed by Students for Justice in PalestineThe Algemeiner reported:

When Lynch ran for student office in 2013, she gushed that she “fell absolutely in love with Brandeis”… The two organizations that endorsed her manifesto, which included a commitment “to make Brandeis a safer, more tolerant, and friendly environment,” were the Brandeis Black Student Organization and the Brandeis chapter of SJP.

“An apathetic attitude toward the murder of innocents and calls for violence are entirely in-line with the actions of Students for Justice in Palestine chapters across the country,” Mael told The Algemeiner. “Unfortunately the vicious rhetoric of Ms. Lynch is echoed by many other student activists across the country. This language helps fuel a disturbing atmosphere of hatred and fear.”

Mael’s own expose of SJP, published last October in The Tower magazine, detailed a number of violent attacks on pro-Israel students by members of that organization.

Since Mael’s article about Lynch appeared, both he and members of his family have been targeted for abuse. Lynch herself tweeted “i need to get my gun license asap” after Mael contacted her for comment regarding her tweets.

Meanwhile, Brandeis University President Fred Lawrence weighed into the controversy today, releasing a statement in which he confirmed, “We have no greater concern than the safety of our students at Brandeis.” Lawrence did not, however, specifically address the threats made against Mael and his family, nor the involvement of hate groups like SJP in the verbal attacks and threats made against him.

 APT’s petition campaign to Brandeis  President Lawrence  may have forced  him to act. Unfortunately , this was what we have come to expect under his leadership at Brandeis.  Witness, his acceding to demands  from  Muslim Brotherhood front groups CAIR and the Brandeis Muslim Students Association  and Near Eastern and Judaic  Studies faculty members  to withdraw  the honorary doctorate to Ayaan Hirsi Ali  that was to be awarded her at  commencement this past  June. We noted in an April 9, 2014  Iconoclast post  the circumstances under which  Brandeis President Lawrence withdrew her honor:

Tuesday evening [April 8, 2014]  Brandeis University President Fred Lawrence rescinded an honorary doctorate that was to be conferred on Somali American women human rights advocate and author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the June 2014 Commencement.  He succumbed to outcries of Islamophobe and Fatwas from the Waltham, Massachusetts campus Muslim Students Association chapter supported by a letter signed by 86 members of the university’s Near Eastern and Judaic studies faculty.

[…]

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, US correspondent for The Jewish Press, herself an honored graduate of Brandeis, Class of 1980, declared in an email:  “there is no justice for Hirsi Ali” at her alma mater. In her Jewish Press article, on this latest example of dhimmitude at Brandeis, she noted the campus furor that forced the decision of President Lawrence:

 The Brandeis students issued a fatwa: the invitation to Ali had to be rescinded. The school newspaper, The Justice (yes, the irony!) ran both a “news article” and an editorial denouncing the decision to give Ali an honorary degree.

Sic ignominia transit Brandeis.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. Featured image courtesy of Americans for Peace and Tolerance.