Obama declares it a crime to disobey his illegal law, which would be illegal to obey

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**Posted by Phineas

Approved by Juan Peron!

Approved by Juan Peron!

As part of my post yesterday on Juan Domingo Obama’s latest and almost certainly illegal rewriting of the Affordable Care Act to delay the employer mandate for another year for businesses with 50-99 employees, I noted that the administration, with no supporting legislation, unilaterally created a felony. In a usurpation of congressional authority, Treasury is requiring businesses taking advantage of the waiver to attest that they are not letting employees go because of the waiver, under penalty of perjury.

To put it another way, the Obama administration is declaring it a federal crime to make a logical business decision if you do so to take advantage of illegal rules written by the Obama administration.

And you thought 1984 was fiction.

This would have Andrew McCarthy’s head spinning, too, except he’s too busy being outraged at the lawlessness of it all:

So now Obama, like a standard-issue leftist dictator, is complementing lawlessness with socialist irrationality.

Think about how lunatic this is. There is nothing even faintly illegal about businesses’ – indeed, all economic actors’ – making financial decisions based on tax consequences. (And remember, notwithstanding Obama’s misrepresentations to the contrary, Obamacare mandates are taxes – as Obama’s Justice Department argued and as Chief Justice Roberts & Co. concluded.) The tax consequences of Obamacare are profound – that is precisely the reason that Obama is “waiving” them. No responsible officers in a corporation of relevant size would fail to take them into account in making the decision to staff at over or under 100 employees; in determining whether some full-time employees should be terminated or shifted to part-time; or in making any number of the decisions Obamacare’s mind-numbing complexity requires.

The officers’ responsibility is to the owners of the company, the shareholders. The business exists to create value, not to provide employment – employing workers is a function of the value added to the enterprise, not the need to create a more favorable election environment for the statist political party. Corporate officers who overlooked material tax consequences would be unfit to be corporate officers.

What is illegal and irrational is not a company’s commonsense deliberation over its costs, it is Obama’s edict. And look what attends this one: criminal prosecution if Obama’s Justice Department decides the business has falsely certified that its staffing decision was not motivated by Obamacare.

And, as McCarthy points out, if a company does take advantage of the waiver, regardless of the reason for doing so, it is in violation of the ACA as written, because the fine revenue is owed to the public, not the president. He has no authority forego its collection. Talk about being between the proverbial rock and a hard place: a company can pass on the waiver, even though it makes economic sense for them, thus breaking its fiduciary duty to its owners, or it could take advantage of it and face the threat of prosecution from two directions.

Heads you lose, tails you lose.

And so does the Rule of Law.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Schumer calls for Obama to use IRS as weapon against Tea Party. UPDATE: Et tu, Booker?

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**Posted by Phineas

A shark has a more sincere smile

A shark has a more sincere smile

Wait, didn’t we just have a national stink over the IRS harassing conservative and libertarian groups for their political beliefs? Yet now, not at all hiding his lack of understanding of or even his disdain for the principles that underlie our political system, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in a speech at the progressive Center for American Progress, has called on President Obama to use the IRS to limit the activities of these same groups.

Arguing that Tea Party groups have a financial advantage after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, Schumer said the Obama administration should bypass Congress and institute new campaign finance rules through the IRS.

“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies—we must redouble those efforts immediately,” Schumer said.

“One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created [by] the ill advised decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission],” Schumer said. “Obviously the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”

What really upsets Chuck is free speech and that these groups are effective at getting their message out and that people respond to it. Citizens United merely respected the First Amendment and, in the process, somewhat leveled the playing field against liberal donor groups and the liberal MSM that gives the Democrats arguably illegal in-kind aid. Can’t have that.

Note also his acknowledgement that no further restrictions on political speech would pass the House. Smart man, that Chuck. What escapes him, or really what he refuses to admit, is that the massacre his party suffered in the 2010 midterms in the House was due to popular reaction against his party and its policies. Quite literally, the Republican Party, the majority party in the House –the People’s House–  represents the will of most of the American people.

His solution? Rule by decree via administrative rule-making, in defiance of that will. Use the power of big government to silence the proponents of limited government.

Admit it, Chuck: What you really want is an Enabling Act, not a Constitution.

It seems Chuckie also hates competition. Would-be tyrants usually do.

Schumer also proposed electoral reform in his speech. “Our very electoral structure has been rigged to favor Tea Party candidates in Republican primaries,” he said.

He argued that this is due to the political makeup of primary voters and gerrymandering by Republicans who “draw districts where a Democrat could never be elected.”

Schumer recommended a primary system “where all voters, members of every party, can vote and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, then enter a run-off.”

Whining against gerrymandering is rich, since Democrats have long benefited from the creation of safe seats. I don’t like it; I’d like to get rid of it. But those are the rules we have now, so, tough, Senator.Try enacting policies that don’t lead to a wipe out in state-level elections, and maybe on day your allies will control the process. And I’ll bet you’ll suddenly be a fan of the system, too.

The leaders of the Democratic Party sure have a problem with democracy, don’t they?

PS: Anyone else get a weird vibe from Schumer, like he’s sworn an oath to Don Corleone? The guy just oozes “made man.”

RELATED: Ted Cruz sends a letter to Eric Holder, demanding an independent prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal. Worth reading.

UPDATE: Just an hour ago on Twitter, Senator Cory “Imaginary Friend” Booker (D-NJ) had this to say about Senator Schumer’s call for restrictions on free speech:

via Katnandu

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Scientific journal shut down for questioning man-caused global warming. Updated

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**Posted by Phineas

"In the name of Gaea, burn, heretics!"

“In the name of Gaea, burn, heretics!”

This isn’t science; this is the return of Lysenkoism, where all research must conform to the Party line.

Background: The journal Pattern Recognition in Physics was founded ten months ago to research patterns discovered throughout the physical sciences. In a special issue published in 2013, the editors, many of them noted climate change skeptics, opined that the data published in the issue cast doubt on the claims of accelerated anthropogenic global warming put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the “Vatican” of the climate alarmist movement.

And for this heresy, the journal was shut down:

Copernicus Publications started publishing the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics (PRP) in March 2013. The journal idea was brought to Copernicus’ attention and was taken rather critically in the beginning, since the designated Editors-in-Chief were mentioned in the context of the debates of climate skeptics. However, the initiators asserted that the aim of the journal was to publish articles about patterns recognized in the full spectrum of physical disciplines rather than to focus on climate-research-related topics.

Recently, a special issue was compiled entitled “Pattern in solar variability, their planetary origin and terrestrial impacts”. Besides papers dealing with the observed patterns in the heliosphere, the special issue editors ultimately submitted their conclusions in which they “doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project” (Pattern Recogn. Phys., 1, 205–206, 2013).

Copernicus Publications published the work and other special issue papers to provide the spectrum of the related papers to the scientists for their individual judgment. Following best practice in scholarly publishing, published articles cannot be removed afterwards.

In addition, the editors selected the referees on a nepotistic basis, which we regard as malpractice in scientific publishing and not in accordance with our  publication ethics we expect to be followed by the editors.

Therefore, we at Copernicus Publications wish to distance ourselves from the apparent misuse of the originally agreed aims & scope of the journal as well as the malpractice regarding the review process, and decided on 17 January 2014 to cease the publication of PRP. Of course, scientific dispute is controversial and should allow contradictory opinions which can then be discussed within the scientific community. However, the recent developments including the expressed implications (see above) have led us to this drastic decision.

Interested scientists can reach the online library at: www.pattern-recogn-phys.net

Martin Rasmussen
January 2014

The bolded portion shows the editors’ real crime, whatever else Mr. Rasmussen claims (1): they had the temerity to question the dogma of the IPCC.

I don’t hold a PhD, or any advanced degree in the sciences, but I know enough to know this is not the scientific method, which does not just encourage skepticism and probing questions, but positively demands it. To say now that the IPCC’s hypothesis cannot be tested, that the “science is settled” and that if you dare question the Holy Writ, you will be silenced, is an absolute disgrace. The only question in my mind is whether the publisher, the ironically named “Copernicus Publications” was guilty of “noble cause corruption,” or was simply afraid of the wrath of the Warmists.

Regardless, this inability to accept disagreement as legitimate is a common feature of the progressive mind (2). Having discerned The Truth, all questioning must be stopped. If you doubt the The Truth, you are stupid at best or evil at worst, but you cannot be intellectually honest and have honorable motives. Think about it: do you criticize abortion on demand? Then you must want to enslave women and be some sort of religious fascist. Do you express doubt about the welfare state? You must hate poor people. Do you worry about the integrity of our elections and think requiring identification to vote would be a good idea? RACIST!!!

Express even the mildest doubts about the IPCC’s claims, and you will be silenced.

Whatever this is, it ain’t science.

But MiniTrue would approve.

via Jo Nova

Footnotes:
(1) In her post, Jo notes that the paragraph on “nepotistic bias” seems to have been added after the notice’s initial publication. It’s a darkly funny accusation, given the widespread corruption of the peer-review process, particularly within climate science.
(2) Happens too often on the Right, too, but, in that case, it’s a bug. For progressives, I contend, it’s a feature.

UPDATE 1/20/14: At Watt’s Up With That, perhaps the best known of the AGW-skeptic sites, Anthony Watt’s looks at PRiP‘s shutdown and finds blame on both sides and some validity to the “nepotistic bias” or “pal-review” accusation.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Consistency: Obama lied *before* #Benghazi, too

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**Posted by Phineas

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

I know it will come to a shock to you –well, at least that portion of you that has been hiding under a rock for the last five years– but the man we chose twice to head our government lied through his teeth about taking steps to ensure our facilities in Libya were protected before September 11th, 2012.

That’s the latest revelation from newly declassified transcripts of House hearings held last spring on the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi massacre, in which four Americans died. FOX’s James Rosen reports:

On Sept. 10, 2012 — the day before Al Qaeda-linked terrorists carried out the bloody assault on the U.S. consulate and a related annex in Benghazi — the White House Press Office issued a press release entitled “Readout of the President’s Meeting with Senior Administration Officials on Our Preparedness and Security Posture on the Eleventh Anniversary of September 11th.”

A set of “Top Secret” documents obtained by Fox News reveals that the nation’s highest-ranking uniformed military officer, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified to Congress in executive session last year that the Sept. 10 meeting “was actually a conference call.” Moreover, Dempsey testified, Libya was never even discussed during the call, despite a persistent and increasingly worrisome stream of threat reporting from that country, and from Benghazi in particular.

The Sept. 10 press release stated that the session had covered the “specific measures we are taking” and “steps taken” to protect Americans and U.S. facilities abroad. It also related an order from President Obama for all agencies to “do everything possible to protect the American people, both at home and abroad.”

Yet the declassified documents show that Dempsey testified to the Congress last year that not a single directive had been issued by him or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to adjust American military force posture anywhere in the world as the 9/11 anniversary loomed just hours away.

(Emphases added.)

In other words, this was all showboating to preserve the narrative that al Qaeda was on the run and to protect the President’s reelection campaign. That “order” quoted above is the kind of grandstanding one would expect from a cheap pol — which is what Obama is.The proof is in his administration’s deeds, not its words, and, in the run up to September 11th, 2012, with regard to Benghazi, his administration’s deeds show Barack Obama did nothing.

Except lie to the American people about it.

Just to draw a line under the point that the administration had ample warning that trouble was brewing in Benghazi, but chose to ignore their duty, let me quote another section that relates the testimony of Marine Colonel George Bristol (1):

Still another high-ranking military officer with relevant jurisdiction also told the House Armed Services subcommittee that his own expressions of concern about Libya were effectively ignored in that critical period. Marine Corps Col. George Bristol, commander of AFRICOM’s Joint Special Operations Task Force for the Trans Sahara region, testified before the panel in executive session on July 31 of last year that he warned State Department officials in Tripoli that “if [the terrorists] were going to try something … this would be a day.” Asked by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., if he had seen “any intelligence” that led him to believe “there was an increased threat on 9/11,” Bristol replied, “Yes, sir.”

BRISTOL: “Did they take individual security measures inside of the Libyan embassy [sic]? Sir, that I do not know.”

WITTMAN: “But you did have conversations with folks there [at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli]?”

BRISTOL: “Yes, sir.”

[…]

WITTMAN: “In your professional opinion, based on that, were you somewhat uncomfortable maybe, knowing about the threat, that that was the posture then that was going to be there within that theater?”

BRISTOL: “Sir, I — yes, and that wasn’t the only country that I was worried about that.”

This supports what we already knew, that the administration had ample warning. As I wrote late last November:

The central issue here, however, is the incompetence bordering on malfeasance on the part of both Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The State Department under Clinton was almost bloody-minded in its refusal to provide adequate security for a post that was effectively in daily contact with the enemy. And President Obama failed utterly in his duties to oversee our interests in a nation where he had overthrown the government and created a client state. Why wasn’t he verifying that Benghazi had sufficient protection? Why didn’t he make sure there was a sufficient force on standby to come to the aid of a station in hostile territory?

Wait. What am I saying? There was fundraising to be done!

And Rosen’s report confirms what the failure to act on these warnings implied: Barack Obama really couldn’t care less about doing his job.

Footnote:
(1) We’ve met the Colonel before. You might want to review the post, since his declassified testimony shows why the DoD acted as if they couldn’t find him — his statement lays Panetta and Obama’s incompetence bare.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The Tea Party is an evil to be fought against. Just like rapists. No, really.

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**Posted by Phineas

Don’t take my word for it; that’s the comparison made in this ad for Jennifer Wexton, a former prosecutor running as a Democrat for an open Virginia state senate seat. As you’ll see, I’m not exaggerating in the headline:

This must be more of that new, more civil tone the Democrats like to preach to Republicans about, in which case I’d hate to learn their definition of “rude.” Not only does she insult the good citizens of this country who have chosen to support the principles of limited government by comparing their activism to one of the worst crimes imaginable, she also insults the victims of those crimes. What a rape victim suffers is horrific; to compare it to the results of constitutionally protected political activity is moronic.

Normally, I wouldn’t take notice of state-level legislative races outside of my own state, but Ms. Wexton’s ad warrants making an exception. Her Republican opponent is John Whitbeck, and control of the Virginia senate might depend on the results of the race.  A vote for him might just send a message that comparing innocent citizens to rapists isn’t a smart thing to do.

via David Freddoso

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Hospital not paying doctors and staff, blames #Obamacare contractor

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**Posted by Phineas

"Obamacare at last!"

“Obamacare reveals its true face”

Oh, this is just grand. On top of all the other problems we’ve suffered through so far with Obamacare, now a hospital treating Medicare patients hasn’t been reimbursed by the government and thus hasn’t been able to pay its staff for weeks. Over Christmas. The blame? Apparently it lies with the same contractor hired by the Obama administration to build the back-end payments system for healthcare.gov:

Dozens of employees at a hospital in northeast Houston have had to make it through the holidays without getting paid for weeks. The CEO of Saint Anthony’s Hospital on Little York is blaming a new Medicare payment contractor for his payroll problems.

Nearly 150 employees, ranging from doctors to nurses and administrators, haven’t been paid in nearly a month, and the CEO says it’s not his fault.

(…)

The hospital is strapped for cash not because its not making money, but because Leday says a new Medicare payment facilitator named Novitas Solutions is taking too way long to pay out Medicare claims to the hospital.

Leday says he’s owed nearly $3 million in payments from Medicare and can’t make payroll.

According to the ABC-13 article, the Texas AMA says that other community hospitals in the state are facing similar payment problems with Novitas. So, what happens to Medicare patients when unpaid doctors stop providing services because they haven’t been paid, or the pharmacists stop filling prescriptions? Aren’t these the very people this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law was supposed to help? Or should we just make physicians serfs of the state, as one Democrat proposed?

Via Jeryl Bier, who adds this about Novitas’ link to healthcare.gov:

Novitas’s direct connection to Healthcare.gov stems from an emergency, no-bid contract for “financial management services” awarded in August and first reported by THE WEEKLY STANDARD in September.  The services required included accounting, tracking of accounts receivable and accounts payable, documenting funds collected by CMS, and data validation, among other things.  CMS justified the no-bid award because the “prospect of a delay in implementing the Marketplace by the operational date of January 1, 2014, even for a few days, would result in severe consequences, financial and other” and that the services required were “beyond what was initially anticipated and beyond CMS’ currently available resources.”

In light of Novitas’ performance in Houston, I can’t wait to see what this government contractor no-bid crony can do for the whole nation.

PS: There’s a video report at the ABC link.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Five-year old suspended for “playing Army”

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**Posted by Phineas

"Armed and dangerous"

“Armed and dangerous”

They had to do it; the kid was armed — with a finger gun! (The horror…)

A 5-year-old boy was reportedly suspended from school after making a gun gesture with his hand on the playground.

His father, David Hendrix, was furious when he found out his son was issued a suspension for the gesture.

“He was playing army on the playground,” Hendrix told WBTV. “I just felt like the punishment was way too severe.”

Let’s try, “shouldn’t have happened at all.” I mean, do school administrators not have the same childhoods the rest of us have? Little boys don’t play Army and make finger guns in their world? They don’t yell “bang-bang!” and argue over who’s “dead?” Do children in their universe sit around in their onesies talking about health insurance? What goes through these “educators'” heads, except air?

I mean, my goodness. It’s not like the kid was armed with a Pop-tart, or something.

via Pirate’s Cove

(Photo source: Wikipedia)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Stay Classy: Dem tracker group blasted for following Sen. Ayotte to memorial service

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Clueless

Clueless Democrats in New Hampshire.

Via the Daily Caller (hat tip):

Democratic opposition research organization American Bridge apologized on Monday for sending someone to follow New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte at a funeral this weekend, after a reporter and the New Hampshire Republican party attacked them for the move.

Ray Burton, New Hampshire’s longest serving executive councilor passed away in November,* and the crowd in attendance at his memorial service on Saturday included a number of politicians, including former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, and New Hampshire’s two Senators, Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen.

Also in attendance was a Democratic “tracker,”someone who follows around candidates with a video camera capturing moments that can potentially be used to attack them later. The tracker was sent by the Super PAC American Bridge to follow around Ayotte.

WMUR’s James Pindell reported the presence of the tracker on Twitter, tweeting Saturday: “Hey @AmericanBridge tracker: Put away your damn camera taping @KellyAyotte and others at Ray Burton memorial service. #nhpolitics #getclass.”

On Monday, the New Hampshire Republican Party picked up the attack. In a statement posted on the NHGOP website, state GOP Chair Jennifer Horn called it “disgusting that a Democrat-affiliated group like American Bridge would politicize a memorial service and use this non-partisan event to try and score cheap political points.”

“Clearly this classless liberal political organization has crossed the line, and as a result of its outrageous behavior, American Bridge trackers are immediately banned from all New Hampshire Republican State Committee sponsored events. Additionally, we will encourage all candidates, and local Republican committees to remove American Bridge staff from their events,” she said.

American Bridge blamed it on a “miscommunication” with their staff. Uh huh ….

Your info is not safe: Covered CA gave insurers contact info of ppl who browsed its site

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Covered California

Outrageous.

The stories just keep getting worse. Via the LA Times:

Raising concerns about consumer privacy, California’s health exchange has given insurance agents the names and contact information for tens of thousands of people who went online to check out coverage but didn’t ask to be contacted.

The Covered California exchange said it started handing out this consumer information this week as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by Jan. 1.

State officials said they are only trying to help potential customers find insurance and sign up in time. But some insurance brokers and consumers who were contacted said they were astonished by the state’s move.

[…]

The names provided include people who started an insurance application on the Covered California website since enrollment launched Oct. 1, but for whatever reason never picked a health plan or completed the sign-up process.

The state said it provided information on tens of thousands of people who logged into the state’s website, but it didn’t know the exact number.

The exchange said agents were given names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses if available.

No other information on the application, such as Social Security numbers, income and other personal details, was shared, according to the exchange.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, acknowledged that these consumers did not ask to be contacted by the state or its certified insurance agents. But he said the outreach program still complies with privacy laws and it was reviewed by the exchange’s legal counsel.

“I can imagine some people may be upset,” Lee said in an interview Friday. “But I can see a lot of people will be comforted and relieved at getting the help they need to navigate a confusing process.”

What sheer audacity and arrogance! Kinda reminds me of the liberal fascists who have tried to shove the complaints of the millions of consumers who lost their insurance policies as a result of Obamacare  to the side by essentially saying, “it was what was best for you, so deal with it, rubes.”   They think they know what’s best for you and are, you know, acting in your “best interests”, right?  Disgusting.

PJ Tatler’s Rick Moran has much more, and notes that this typo of privacy-invading personal information sharing is a feature – not a bug – of Obamacare:

This is a drop in the bucket. In fact, it’s a feature, not a bug of Obamacare that personal, private data of Americans be widely distributed — even delicate, personal health information.

Ellen Wu, executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, said health plans are sitting on a mountain of data. Why not look at who among their customers has diabetes, for example, and target interventions to them, Wu asked.

“The general sense is absolutely we have to treat this data appropriately,” Wu said. “It must be confidential and have the right protections, but it’s also important that it’s shared and analyzed. One is not exclusive of the other.”

Wow.

If you’re a resident of California and you’re outraged and disgusted by what Lee and the rest of Covered California did in sharing information of people who didn’t sign up for insurance and didn’t ask to be contacted, file a complaint with the California Dept. of Insurance.  It doesn’t matter if it’s “technically legal” – it’s WRONG. Also, here’s a pro-tip: If you want to ensure that these things don’t happen to you, DON”T PUT IN ANY DIRECT CONTACT INFORMATION (phone number, address, email address) – in fact, if you can avoid it and still find out the information you want to know, don’t fill out even ONE LINE on any page that asks for your information.  Protect yourselves from these info thieves because your private business is your private business – not anyone else’s.

(Via Memeorandum)

#IranDeal: It wasn’t just the Israelis and the Saudis Obama backstabbed

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**Posted by Phineas

"Left to rot."

“Left to rot.”

There’s been a lot of talk since the weekend about the deal brokered between Iran on the one hand, and the US and its European partners on the other, that supposedly somehow represented a breakthrough in the quest to prevent the Iranian mullahs from getting their hands on nuclear weapons. Discussions have centered around diplomacy and grand strategy, and the motives of the Iranian and US governments. Matter of “high politics,” as they might have said in the 19th century.

But the agreement touches people on a very personal level, too. Left unmentioned in any of the negotiations are Americans trapped in Iranian prisons, men such as Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor from Idaho who was accused of the horrid crime (in Iran, under Islam) of preaching the Gospel and helping to establish home churches (1). Abedini was yanked off a bus, his passport taken from him, and he was consigned to Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

And, in the negotiations leading to this wonderful deal, the US never mentioned him once:

Two words are nowhere to be found in the pages of text that spell out a new interim nuclear deal with Iran: Saeed Abedini.

Now some supporters of the American pastor, who’s been detained in Iran for more than a year, are accusing U.S. officials of betraying Abedini by signing off on an agreement that doesn’t get him out of prison.

“We were across the table from the Iranians, and we did not bring home Americans. To me that’s a tragedy and that’s outrageous,” said Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s family in the United States.

While analysts debated the nuclear agreement’s pros and cons, Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, said she was trying to comfort her two young children.

“It’s very painful,” she told CNN’s “The Lead” on Monday. “My kids were crying this morning, saying, ‘God, don’t let Daddy die. Bring him home.’ “

One would think an American government, leading a nation founded on principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, would have raised a stink about Abedini at these negotiations, something along the lines of “You want sanctions lifted and your sequestered cash released? Give us Abedini and we’ll talk.” (2)

But then one would remember Barack Obama is in charge. Defending Americans in danger abroad is a bit alien to him, as we learned in Libya.

Via Bryan Preston, who connects Abedini’s abandonment to his Christianity and draws a parallel to the Obama administrations attacks on religious liberty here. I disagree with Bryan on this: nations have often sacrificed individuals for “reasons of state” when a higher goal was at stake. In the Obama administration’s case, the nuclear deal with Iran was paramount, and if the government was willing to blindside Jewish Israel and Muslim Saudi Arabia with this, they weren’t going to let the fate of Saeed Abedini (or Robert Levinson) stand in the way. It’s shameful and cynical, to be sure, but not religiously motivated.

RELATED: There are several good articles explaining why this deal stinks. At The Weekly Standard, John Bolton calls this “abject surrender.” Writing at PJM, Michael Ledeen points out, among other excellent observations, that the Iranian treasury was almost empty, but we’ve now agreed to give them billions. Genius. Eli Lake at The Daily Beast quotes an expert who says this comes close to a “nuclear 1914 scenario.” How fitting, with the hundredth anniversary of World War I approaching. James Carafano calls this a deal based on a dangerous fantasy — Munich II. My own observation is this: Regardless of the restrictions placed on the Iranian public nuclear program by this deal, if you think there isn’t a secret program run in parallel by the military that is still going full-speed, you’re high.

This deal makes war more likely, not less.

PS: There’s a support page for Pastor Abedini at Facebook, and a web site for Robert Levinson.

Footnote:
(1) Abedini’s offense was compounded by being himself a convert to Christianity from Islam. Under Islamic law, that is the crime of apostasy and is punishable by death. I suppose the Iranians thought they were being merciful for just sticking him in jail for eight years.
(2) Not that I’m a religious person, but I believe very strongly in the natural right of all humans to freedom of speech and religion, and, within very broad bounds, government should stay the heck out. No law is legitimate that oppresses those rights, and an American government that won’t stand up for its citizens’ rights in the face of a tyranny that tramples both is craven.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)