Why Iran’s mullahs should never have nuclear weapons

**Posted by Phineas

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In the words of Bret Stephens below in the Prager University video, we must never allow Iran to get “the bomb,” because they are likely to use it:

All of what Stephens says is true, but the key is that the real power in Iran is held by millenarian fanatics who see it as their duty to bring about the Shiite “End Times.” To these people, the temptation to use nuclear weapons in fulfillment of what they see as a religious duty might well be irresistible.

What’s so very frustrating in this situation is that all too many see only a binary choice: either accept Iran as a nuclear power, or preemptively invade the country at a potentially tremendous cost in blood and treasure. There is a third way, though we’ve wasted much time.

My friend Michael Ledeen has often written about the brittleness and vulnerability of the Iranian regime, which lives in desperate fear of the people it rules. (If you’ve read any Iranian history, you’ll know why.) Here’s an example from a recent column:

The wreckage of the Iranian state is not just the result of corruption and incompetence;  it also derives from the intense infighting within the elite.  Unconfirmed stories have appeared in the Iranian press reporting phone taps organized by the Revolutionary Guards Corps against members of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s inner circle, as well as against one another within the Guards.  There are documented fractures within the ranks of Hezbollah.  Assassinations continue apace, as in the case of Mojtaba Ahmadi, the head of the Cyber Army, in October.  The Iranian Embassy in Beirut was bombed in November by a terrorist group the Iranians had actually created.   And, in a telling blow to the regime’s ideology, Christianity is booming, and the regime is resorting to public meetings to warn the people about its dangers.

The regime does not seem to know how to cope with this crisis.  On the one hand, it increases repression.  The tempo of executions has famously increased since Rouhani’s election, and the recent brutality in Evin Prison–discussed by Ben Weinthal–shows that regime leaders are even afraid of prisoners.  For good reason:  last year many leading political prisoners refused to join the regime’s call for easing sanctions, despite torture and isolation.

It’s a hollow regime.  Its internal opponents hold it in contempt and do not fear it, and it is palpably failing.  

Between acquiescence to a nuclear Iran and outright invasion lies the choice of aiding the democratic opposition, which is large and growing. In the 1980s, we undertook a similar program in Poland, aiding the anticommunist resistance both with non-lethal aid (radios, etc.), but also open, loud public support for the rights of the people against the regime they hated. It was part of a broader American-led effort to resist Soviet aggression, and it worked. The fall of Communism in Poland was the crack that eventually lead to the collapse of the whole Soviet Empire.

Something similar could well work in Iran, whose people are desperate for the only genuinely revolutionary nation on the planet to lend its still vast moral authority on behalf of a nation that wants to free themselves from the schemes of the mad mullahs.

We missed a great chance to do this in 2009, when massive street demonstrations brought the regime to the edge of collapse. When the world needed the moral clarity of Ronald Reagan, there was instead the diffidence of Barack Obama.

And now, five years and one farcical agreement later, Iran is that much closer to having a nuclear weapon. We had better hope that they don’t achieve it before 2017, when, we again hope, a new and competent administration comes takes over. One that will not fool itself about the dangers of an Iran with a nuclear bomb.

Because, otherwise, they will use it.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Michael Sam floats insinuation late pick in #NFL draft may have been due to homophobia

Michael Sam

Does he have a point?
(2014 NFL Combine photo courtesy
of Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It begins:

ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis/AP) — Michael Sam believes he should’ve been taken sooner in the draft.

The Rams selected the former University of Missouri defensive standout with the 249th pick in the seventh round, which was the seventh-to-the-last pick in the 2014 Draft. The openly gay football player, who was SEC Defensive Player of the Year, thought a team should have chosen him during the first three rounds.

“From last season alone, I should’ve been in the first three rounds. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-American,” Sam said during a conference call, adding that other teams chickened out on selecting him.

The frustration mounted for Sam as the hours and rounds passed by, but he felt he would be picked.

“I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I’m going to sack their quarterback,” Sam said.

Sam stopped short of directly saying his stock dropped in the draft because he came out.

“You know what, who knows? Who knows? Only the people who sit in the war room know,” he said. “They saw Michael Sam, day after day they scratched it off the board. That was their loss. But St. Louis kept me on that board. And you know what I feel like I’m a (Jadeveon) Clowney, a first draft pick. I’m proud of where I am now.”

I’ll admit I don’t pay much attention to sports stats, combines, etc so I’m not even sure he has a case here – but from what I’ve gathered from people who do read and analyze sports facts and figures and other related data, they’re saying his seventh round pick was just about right.  What do you think?

Honestly, no matter where he was picked I had hoped Sam would have said, “Great – I have a team, now let’s do this” – and then have gotten back to making his career about playing football and not about being gay, since it’s supposed to be something we’re not supposed to think about anyway.  That’s not to say he shouldn’t continue to promote gay awareness, and it’s not to say he doesn’t have a legitimate gripe.  But in some cases – especially in those situations where you’re just looking for an “in” with an organization so you can show people you’re no different than anybody else, sometimes it’s best to put certain suspicions to the side, especially when you can’t confirm them … and especially when you’re first starting out (no pun intended).

On the flip side of this, the same article that quoted Sam hinting that homophobia might have been behind his late round pick also included this bit of intriguing information:

An NFL.com writer was in the Rams’ draft room and reported late Saturday night that head coach Jeff Fisher unexpectedly suggested taking Sam, a player the team had not given much consideration to before.

Soooo … could Sam have been picked by the Rams because the team wanted to put on a show of “inclusiveness” rather than judging the athlete by his talent? Or was it a mixture of both?

Yeah, yeah – lots of questions, I know. And we’re unlikely to get concrete answers on any of it beyond people speaking “on background” due to fear that they, too, might be thrown into the “homophobia” mix.

Costly failed state #Obamacare health exchanges may cost much more to “fix”

"Sorry, our system is temporarily down."  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

“Sorry, our system is temporarily down.”
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Politico reports that four failed state healthcare exchanges that cost close to half a billion dollars to create will likely cost much more to fix:

Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher.

Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. All have come under scathing criticism and now face months of uncertainty as they rush to rebuild their systems or transition to the federal exchange.

The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare.gov. The federal system is already serving 36 states, far more than originally anticipated.

As for the contractors involved, which have borne most of the blame for the exchange debacles, a few continue to insist that fixes are possible. Others are braced for possible legal action or waiting to hear if now-tainted contracts will be terminated.

The $474 million spent by these four states includes the cost that officials have publicly detailed to date. It climbs further if states like Minnesota and Hawaii, which have suffered similarly dysfunctional exchanges, are added.

Their totals are just a fraction of the $4.698 billion that the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation calculates the federal government has approved for states since 2011 to help them determine whether to create their own exchanges and to assist in doing so. Still, the amount of money that now appears wasted is prompting calls for far greater accountability.

PJ Tatler’s Rick Moran provides a depressing reality check on the issue of “accountability” in government:

Unfortunately, there’s no law against a politician or bureaucrat wasting taxpayer money. If there were, I would imagine we’d have to build a few more prisons to house the majority of politicians in America who have voted for “roads to nowhere” and other such boondoggles. And a few more prisons constructed for all the bureaucrats who shouldn’t be put in charge of redecorating their office much less a $200 million dollar IT project.

So no one will go to jail. And I suspect President Obama won’t press the issue of a refund very hard, considering the fact that he doesn’t want to advertise how much money his namesake achievement has cost the American taxpayer.

Nothing to see here…move along.

Politicians may not be able to go to jail over bad policy and wasting taxpayer dollars, but they can certainly be voted out of office. Let’s all do our part – starting with NC’s Senator Kay Hagan, who helped craft this pile of fail in the first place and who has, after months of dodging and weaving on the issue, now decided to ‘fully embrace‘ Obamacare. Let’s send Kay packing in November, shall we?

In “protect Hillary” mode, Eleanor Clift says Amb. Stevens died of “smoke inhalation”

Hillary Clinton testifies on Benghazi

HIllary Clinton testifies on Benghazi. – January 2013

There are any number of excuses liberal Democrats are using to circle around potential Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in order to try and protect her on the Benghazi issue, but this one – via the Washington Times – takes the cake:

Eleanor Clift, noted liberal columnist and pundit from the Daily Beast, insisted during a broadcast discussion of Benghazi on “The McLaughlin Group” that U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens wasn’t really murdered.

[…]

Her exact words: “I’d like to point out that Ambassador Stevens was not ‘murdered,’ ” she said, bending her fingers in the air to suggest the drawing of quote marks, “but died of smoke inhalation in a CIA safe room.”

[…]

Ms. Clift’s reply: The terrorist attack was fueled by the anti-Muslim video. And “it was still a CIA [outpost]. If you’re going to put somebody on trial, put David Petraeus on trial, not Hillary Clinton.”

The Times was quoting Mediate.com, which has video of the exchange you can watch. Pretty shameful that Clift is so much in the tank for Hillary Clinton that she deliberately tries to obfuscate the issue in order to help her chances at running for President.

Next thing you know, someone will be yelling out, “What difference at this point does it make?!?” Oh wait, that’s already happened

Sen. @MarcoRubio teases on possible 2016 run in This Week interview

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Rubio.

The Senator from Florida sat down with This Week’s Jonathan Karl on Friday while on a visit to the key state of New Hampshire and teased on the possibility of a 2016 Presidential run (via Memeorandum):

He’s a 42-year-old freshman senator, but when asked by Jonathan Karl on “This Week” if he’s ready to be president, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida answered without hesitation.

“I do … but I think that’s true for multiple other people that would want to run … I mean, I’ll be 43 this month, but the other thing that perhaps people don’t realize, I’ve served now in public office for the better part of 14 years,” said Rubio. “Most importantly, I think a president has to have a clear vision of where the country needs to go and clear ideas about how to get it there and I think we’re very blessed in our party to have a number of people that fit that criteria.”

When asked if he was qualified to run, Rubio reiterated that the Republican Party has several qualified candidates.

“The question is what — who’s vision is the one that our party wants to follow?” he said.

Rubio – who spoke to Karl on Friday in New Hampshire — said that if he decides to seek the presidency, he would not simultaneously seek re-election as a senator for the Sunshine State.

“I believe that if you want to be president of the United States, you run for president,” he said. “You don’t run for president with some eject button in the cockpit that allows you to go on an exit ramp if it doesn’t work out.”

I’ll just go ahead and put it out there for the record that if Rubio definitively decides to run for President later this year, he’ll be a frontrunner for my vote.  He, along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, are intriguing figures in Republican politics and both articulate strong visions for their respective states – and America’s – future very well.  With Rubio in particular, he has a crossover appeal on a national level that the party desperately needs.  He’s appealing to younger voters, Hispanic and other immigrant voters, is strongly pro-growth and pro-life, and has an extremely compelling family history.

Make sure to read the rest of his interview with Karl as he talks about the “grade” he would give former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as his thoughts on whether or not “climate change” is “man-made.”