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Thursday, April 02, 2015

'Truth, justice and the American way'?

From the current Memeorandum. Any further comment needed? Anyone out there think this has nothing to do with politics?

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Professor Jacobson's apology tour to Israel

Last night, I got an email from Professor Jacobson telling me that he's coming to Israel and asking whether I would like to get together with him (yes, of course I would). Today, I see on his blog that he's coming here to apologize for the United States' behavior to Israel.
I just booked my plane tickets to visit Israel in May.
Maybe I’ll call it an Apology Tour.
I’ll let Israelis know that the current administration, with its childish chickens**t taunting treatment of Israel, does not represent the American people, who overwhelmingly support Israel. (Will this violate the Logan Act?)
Fortunately, I have the speech already written for me:
Read the speech

The funny thing is that when I read the post, I skipped over the line that has the link to the original speech. So I read the speech without knowing that it was actually written by... you'll figure it out. And all I could think about as I was reading the speech was 'wow, this sounds just like Obama except that Obama apologized to enemies and to countries with whom the United States shares nothing in common, while Bill is proposing to apologize to a country that was deservedly called the United States' best friend until Obama took office.'

Hmmm.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Capitulator

David Rutz summarizes an article written by Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal summing up the serial apologist's series of capitulations to Iran.
Obama made repeated assertions during a December 2013 forum with Haim Saban about what Iran clearly did not need to have a “peaceful nuclear program.”
“We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful nuclear program,” Obama said. “They certainly don’t need a heavy-water reactor at Arak in order to have a peaceful nuclear program. They don’t need some of the advanced centrifuges that they currently possess in order to have a limited, peaceful nuclear program.”
Stephens writes:
Hardly more than a year later, on the eve of what might be deal-day, here is where those promises stand:
Fordo: “The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites.”—Associated Press, March 26.
Arak: “Today, the six powers negotiating with Iran . . . want the reactor at Arak, still under construction, reconfigured to produce less plutonium, the other bomb fuel.”—The New York Times, March 7.
Advanced centrifuges: “Iran is building about 3,000 advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges, the Iranian news media reported Sunday, a development likely to add to Western concerns about Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.”—Reuters, March 3.
Obama also spoke about verification at that forum, saying of any nuclear deal, “We can envision a comprehensive agreement that involves extraordinary constraints and verification mechanisms and intrusive inspections.”
But on March 24, the Associated Press reported “an Iranian official rebuked the chief of the U.N. atomic agency for demanding snap inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites, saying the request hindered efforts to reach an agreement with world powers.”
Obama’s promised over and over, even in State of the Union addresses, that his goal was to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Now, even members of his own party acknowledge what they’re negotiating for is to extend Iran’s nuclear break-out time to one year.
“The clock is ticking,” Obama said sternly during his foreign policy presidential debate with Mitt Romney. “We’re not going to allow Iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere.”
In addition to being a serial apologist and capitulator, Obama is also a serial liar. If you voted for him, shame on you.

Read it all.

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Video: Shocking new hot mic moment of John Kerry with Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Josh Rogin).



Takes me back to the gym in the late '80's and early '90's. Heh.

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Shame upon shame

The Virginia State Bar Association is looking worse by the hour. The bar's putrid leadership has apparently hijacked the entire organization without seeking anyone else's opinion (Hat Tip: Leah P).
Let me make five general points:
1) I’m proud to say that many, inside the State Bar and beyond, reacted with vigor to the timing and content of the announcement.  Several petitions have been organized, to rescind the cancellation (I think it’s too late for that), to obtain the resignation of the VSB president,  or at least to elicit a full apology.   B’Nai Brith International, among many other groups, has condemned the State Bar for its action.  Even the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates has chimed in.  Most importantly, many individual VSB members have written to the Bar to express their outrage; several have been kind enough to send me copies of their letters.  Here’s an excellent example, from Jonathan Schraub, an attorney in McLean whom I did not have the honor of knowing before this episode brought us together.  Mr. Schraub’s letter will be published in the next issue of the Virginia Lawyers’ Weekly and thereby brought to the attention of every member of our state Bar:
AN OPEN LETTER TO VIRGINIA STATE BAR PRESIDENT KEVIN E. MARTINGAYLE
                Re:  Your decision to cancel the mid-year meeting in Israel
Dear President Martingayle
                Along with many others I was shocked, outraged and deeply disappointed to receive your blast e-mail late Friday evening announcing a previously undisclosed intention by the leadership of the VSB to cancel the planned, mid-year meeting in Jerusalem, Israel.  The substance of the decision, the secretive manner in which it was arrived at and the cavalier manner in which it was announced all merit condemnation and call into question your continued ability to serve as President of the Bar.
                According to your email, the decision to cancel the planned trip was based on “objections” by “certain members of the Virginia State Bar and other individuals.”  Neither the Bar members nor the “certain other individuals”, presumably not Bar members, are identified. Indeed, this entire decision is cloaked in a veil of secrecy and opacity unbecoming of the Bar. Had you provided any measure of disclosure regarding your decision, you would have advised VSB members that the decision was based on a petition that, at last report, had 33 signatures. (The Virginia State Bar has over 50,000 members).  The petition, although citing reports form the US State Department regarding border security measures in Israel, reaches inflammatory conclusions regarding discrimination based on citations to such marginal, committed anti-Israeli sources as the website “Electronic Intifada”.
               Choosing to announce it late on a Friday evening and without any prior hint that the matter was even being considered and without any input from VSB members, speaks loudly to the underlying discomfort that VSB leadership must have (and should have) felt at adopting this position.  What exactly was the influence that the 33 signatories to the petition had over the VSB leadership – not to mention the “others” who presumably are not even constituents of the  VSB?  The VSB is an arm of the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia Commonwealth. The Commonwealth has a state sponsored commission to promote the expansion of Virginia/Israeli ties (i.e., The Virginia Israel Advisory Board).  What exactly was the mandate that the VSB felt it was under to unilaterally sever the ties of the Virginia mandatory bar association with the State of Israel and announce it as a fait accompli?  Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate, if the issue was to be considered at all, to publicly announce it, and put in place a method for debating and ultimately voting to secure the clear sense of the membership of the VSB?  Instead, the decision was made in secret, with no disclosure in the letter announcing the decision as to what the thought process (if any) had been, who had been involved and what competing arguments (if any) were considered.  Nothing.  Just an intentionally vague communique that reeked of secrecy, politics and fear of full disclosure and debate.
Many of us are left to wonder if this decision is intended as a deliberate endorsement of the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement targeting the state of Israel. Certain elements—the complete lack of transparency or open deliberation, the late Friday afternoon announcement, and the reliance on unabashed organs of the BDS movement like “Electronic Intifada”—point in that direction. The BDS campaign is biased, unapologetically one-sided, naïve at best and, other than the reckless participation by an established group such as the VSB, historically viewed as marginal, unsuccessful and for many who promote it, anti-Semitism in a thinly disguised, modern costume. 
If endorsing the BDS campaign was your intention, then the VSB has elected to join hands with a truly radical movement whose openly declared ambition is the end of the state of Israel. We know that the BDS movement has no concern for promoting any objective, fairly applied standard of concern over “unacceptable” practices to any state or country other than Israel and the question is always, “why is that the case?”  Sadly, history tells us that the concern is not over humanitarian or moral issues at all but is thinly disguised anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic and anti- Israel propaganda. And with respect to the BDS movement in particular, there is no need to rely on historical inference. From a resolution urging expulsion of all Jewish students at a South African university, to the removal of all Israeli academics from a journal in the UK, to efforts to block the appointment of a Jewish student to a university government position in California, to accusations that Jewish organizations were funded by money supposedly embezzled from failing financial firms, the BDS movement has been implicated in naked anti-Semitism on too many occasions across too long a period for there to remain any doubt about its character. In each of the above situations BDS defenders rushed to complain that it was only being accused of anti-Semitism because they were “critical of Israel.” This is nonsense.  Being part of an organization like the VSB which as you state is “an agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality” means having at least a minimal understanding that deciding to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a movement that the global Jewish community has long warned stands as amongst the primary purveyors of anti-Semitic hatred, is a serious, indeed defining, step for the VSB.  Did you give any thought as to whether the BDS position fairly reflects the views and beliefs of your membership?  Or were you simply pandering to the 33 members and “others” who for whatever reason had your ear?
Your letter references “unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security” in Israel.  These “policies and practices”, according to your letter, “affect travelers to the nation” Is it really your contention (and now that of the VSB) that meetings are not held on a regular basis in Israel by hundreds of groups – including the ABA and academic groups with Arab participants? What did you do to determine whether the proposed VSB meeting would, in fact, have faced any “discrimination” with regard to access by any and all participants? With whom did you speak before reaching your conclusion that there is in fact “unacceptable discriminatory practices”?  To whom and in what manner is it “unacceptable”?  While there is no question but that Israel has strict policies and procedures regarding access to the country, is it really your position (and now the position of the VSB) that such measures are so obviously unnecessary to protect legitimate security concerns such that they can be dismissed as a mere pretext for discrimination? Do you similarly demand that all policies and procedures and laws and social mores of each state in the United States and each country overseas in which the VSB holds meetings or sponsors trips be vetted for “objectionable” content?  Or is it just Israel?   Israel remains the most vibrant democracy in the Middle East.  The Arab-Israeli political party coalition now occupies the third largest voting bloc in the Knesset. While that society is not perfect and many of us do not agree with the policies of the present Israeli administration (and feel free to say so), anyone who maintains a modicum of objectivity and is not fronting for an ideologically anti-Israel position, will recognize that Israeli policies are borne of the real politick faced by that country. If they are more stringent and focused than those of Switzerland or Sweden or Canada, it is because the reality of life is different in Israel than in most other places.
This, of course, raises the other possibility—that the endorsement was unintentional, and that you did not realize what this decision would mean in the context of placing the VSB imprimatur on a global movement seeking to isolate and dismantle the world’s sole Jewish state. This possibility, too, does not inspire confidence. Had you simply raised this issue publicly with the Virginia Bar, deliberated openly rather than issue a back-office decree, these concerns would have raised and the Bar could have avoided this catastrophe altogether. To be blunt, this is why transparency matters—so one does not blunder into controversies that could easily be avoided, so that genuine problems can be resolved in a manner attentive to the concerns of all the relevant stakeholders, and so that when the decision is finally made everybody can feel that their voice was heard and their views fairly considered. That did not occur here, by all appearances because you knew that your decision would be met with justified outrage.
By adopting this position, the VSB has jumped with both feet into the most extreme edges of the political spectrum on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  Either it intended this result, or it didn’t. Neither possibility has anything positive to say about VSB leadership. And regardless of what your intentions were, the VSB, by aligning itself with the BDS movement which seeks to isolate Israel – and only Israel -  has instead succeeded in isolating itself. Although it did not have the courage to debate the issue before deciding, the position it has taken is far removed from the mainstream of public opinion in this country and, without any doubt that of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the rank and file VSB members.
It is beyond sad that, if allowed to stand, this will be the legacy of the VSB – and of the Martingayle administration in particular.  It is outrageous form the point of view that the VSB is a mandatory membership organization.  As a practicing attorney, I am obligated to be a member.  I am obligated to pay dues to support the policies and programs administered by you and your administration.  But I, along with many others I am sure, will now do all we can to distance ourselves from the VSB and to cease any and all participation in VSB programs.  It is simply no longer an association that merits the support of its members.
Shame on you President Martingayle and on the very small clique of radical supporters with whom you have chosen to throw your lot and reputation  – and by coerced reference, the lot and reputation of the VSB.

Read the whole thing. (Yes, that's just point 1).

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Iran wins!

Late last night, Iran and the P 5+1 decided to 'stop the clock' to allow 'negotiations' to continue beyond midnight on March 31. While US Secretary of State John Kerry is currently meeting with Iranian chief negotiator Javad Zarif, the bottom line is, according to Bloomberg's Eli Lake, that Iran has already won.
With a final announcement due any moment from negotiations over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran appears to be doing quite well for itself.  
After all, before the real negotiations began, Iran won vague recognition -- from the U.S. and five other great powers -- that it has a right to enrich uranium. Between 2008 and 2012, the United Nations Security Council passed five resolutions sanctioning Tehran for violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty by operating centrifuges at facilities it had not bothered to tell the International Atomic Energy Agency about. 
Now, if press leaks turn out to be correct, Iran is on the brink of securing an agreement to allow it to keep thousands of those centrifuges, and also to operate its laboratory at Fordow, a facility burrowed deep into a mountain for the production of what Zarif assures us are medical isotopes. When U.S. spies smoked out that facility in 2009, Obama demanded that Iran come clean about all of its past nuclear activities. Last week, the IAEA reported that Iran continues to stonewall the agency on the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program before 2003. 
Zarif's ability to negotiate concessions despite Iran's shaky past would be impressive enough for any foreign minister. But consider that he was able to do so even as his bosses in Tehran waged a successful proxy war against Western allies throughout the Middle East. In Yemen, a pro-American government fell this month to Iranian backed Houthi fighters, and prompted Saudi Arabia to launch an air war to beat them back. In Syria, Iranian support has been vital to the survival of Bashar al-Assad, the dictator Obama used to say had to go.
How does Zarif do it?
Read the whole thing.  Part of how Zarif does it is the milquetoast negotiating style of Kerry and Obama, who have overdosed on seeing these negotiations from the Iranian point of view.

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Obama's Iran policy is no accident either

Obama is about to crash the world. It's no accident. Can anyone break down the cockpit door?

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ambassador Power sends a message to Iran?

The tweet above was retweeted by the French Ambassador to the US, @GerardAraud, and by the US State Department.

Is there a message to Iran there? 

Hmmm.

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The Maccabeats with Dayenu

Friday night is Passover. Here are the Maccabeats with their rendition of Dayenu (Enough!) in honor of the event.

Let's go to the videotape.



You wouldn't believe how much I have to do before Friday....

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It starts: Emirates first two nuke plants applies for licenses, to go online by '17

Anyone who thought that an Iranian nuclear capability would not set off an arms race in the Middle East needs to be concerned about this: The United Arab Emirates has submitted its first two applications for operating licenses for nuclear power plants, with four such power plants expected to go online by 2020.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) will now examine the submission. ENEC is aiming to receive the operating licence for Barakah unit 1 in 2016, in time for the plant to become operational in 2017, with the licence for Barakah 2 expected to be received the same year. The company is seeking a licence to operate both units for 60 years, in line with the expected operating life of the Korean-designed APR1400 units.
ENEC CEO Mohammad Al Hammadi said the on-time submission of the OLA was a crucial milestone towards the 2017 start-up of the UAE's first nuclear power plant. "The submission is the culmination of many years of work by ENEC and Kepco. It is proof of the organization's successful transformation into a world-class nuclear operating company," he said.
ENEC has already applied to FANR for two separate licences covering the import, receipt and possession of radioactive and nuclear materials, which it anticipates receiving well ahead of its first fuel load for Barakah 1 in 2016.
Barakah will ultimately comprise four APR-1400 reactors built by the KEPCO-led consortium. Unit 1, under construction since 2012, is now over 69% complete and on schedule for its 2017 start-up. Units 2, 3 and 4 are scheduled to follow on at 12-month intervals, with units 2 and 3 under construction. Work has yet to begin on the fourth unit, which is expected to start up in 2020.
The Emirates has the fourth largest (fifth if you include OPEC as a country) proven oil reserve in the world.  Now, obviously these plants are intended for civilian purposes (the United States actually is helping the UAE to build the plants), but Iran claims the same thing about their nuclear power plants, and one has to wonder whether the United Arab Emirates would be seeking a nuclear energy capability were it not facing Iran, which will soon have one. And like Iran, the UAE is not exactly a democracy.

What could go wrong?

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Jewish Community Federation of Richmond (Virginia) blasts State Bar Association for boycotting Israel

The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond (Virginia) has issued a powerful response to the State's Bar Association's decision to cancel a trip to Israel, essentially abiding by the diktat of the European-Arab-Muslim Boycott-Divest-Sanction movement.

I am embedding the response below:

Jewish Community Federation of Richmond Response to Virginia State Bar Israel Trip Cancellation

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Cruz: One-state? Two-state? Up to Israel

Wow would Ted Cruz (R-Tx) ever be an improvement over the current occupant of the White House.

Let's go to the videotape.



Awesome. For more, go here.

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'Palestinians': We never agreed to drop the ICC prosecution

The 'Palestinians' are denying a story I ran earlier today that claimed that they had agreed to drop their attempt to have Israel prosecuted for 'war crimes' in the International Criminal Court in exchange for having their tax moneys released.
A senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that the report, which first appeared in The Jerusalem Post, was entirely false and merely spin put out by the Prime Minister's Office.
"We continue to seek membership of the International Criminal Court and we expect the ICC to open an investigation into Israeli settlements, as well as the recent war in Gaza," the official said.
"The reports in the Israeli newspapers are nothing more than spin from Netanyahu's bureau; there was no such agreement. The money that Netanyahu transferred is Palestinian money and he isn't doing us any favors."
As far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned, the official added, Ramallah is more determined than ever to forge ahead with war crimes charges in The Hague.
"This Wednesday," he said, "Palestine will become a member of the ICC and the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Dr. Riyad al-Maliki, will represent the Palestinians in The Hague." He added that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said as much during the Arab League summit in Egypt over the weekend.
Who wants to bet that they did agree to drop it and changed their tune once the money was released?

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Monday, March 30, 2015

'If you want to keep your enriched uranium, you can keep your enriched uranium'

Desperate for a deal, US President Hussein Obama sent out moron Marie Harf to lay the groundwork for making yet another concession to Iran in the P 5+1 talks: No, they're not going to send their enriched uranium stocks out of the country.

Iran would not necessarily have to ship its stockpile of highly enriched uranium abroad under a nuclear pact with major powers, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Monday.
"You don't have to ship it out of the country to get to a year breakout time," she said in a conference call, referring to the goal of stretching the amount of time it would take Iran to acquire enough fissile material to make one atomic bomb.
"You can have some other dispositions for it that get us where we need to be in terms of our bottom line," Harf said.
What could go wrong? 

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Obama: 'What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy'?

Take that... from someone who grew up hearing 'inquest into the death of Mary Jo Kopechne' on the radio for months on end.

Maybe better that we shouldn't carry ourselves like Ted Kennedy.

More here.

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Only one pilot in the cockpit

Hat Tip: Jerry G.

If anyone doesn't get the reference, go here.

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American Jews can only rely on Israel, not US, says....JOE BIDEN!

Joe Biden told American Jewish leaders last fall that American Jews can only rely on Israel and not on the United States (Hat Tip: Mike P).
One evening this past September, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, hosted a gathering in Washington to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. The guests—political supporters, leaders of Jewish organizations, members of Congress, Jewish officials of the Obama administration, and the stray journalist or two—gathered by the pool of the vice president’s house, on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Biden was characteristically prolix. He talked about the Shoah, and about the many contributions Jews have made to American life, and he mentioned, as he invariably does in such settings, his first encounter with a legendary Israeli prime minister.
“I had the great pleasure of knowing every prime minister since Golda Meir, when I was a young man in the Senate, and I’ll never forget talking to her in her office with her assistant—a guy named Rabin—about the Six-Day War,” he said. “The end of the meeting, we get up and walk out, the doors are open, and … the press is taking photos … She looked straight ahead and said, ‘Senator, don’t look so sad … Don’t worry. We Jews have a secret weapon.’ ”
He said he asked her what that secret weapon was.
“I thought she was going to tell me something about a nuclear program,” Biden continued. “She looked straight ahead and she said, ‘We have no place else to go.’ ” He paused, and repeated: “ ‘We have no place else to go.’ ”
“Folks,” he continued, “there is no place else to go, and you understand that in your bones. You understand in your bones that no matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States … there’s only one guarantee. There is really only one absolute guarantee, and that’s the state of Israel. And so I just want to assure you, for all the talk, and I know sometimes my guy”—President Obama—“gets beat up a little bit, but I guarantee you: he shares the exact same commitment to the security of Israel.”
Who'd have thought that Biden actually gets it? 

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This says it all about Iran nuke deal

 

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P 5+1 foreign ministers had enough?

Maybe this has something to do with it:
And the five countries other than the US are convinced that the deal does nothing of the sort?

Maybe this is what convinced them (Hat Tip: Memeorandum):
For months, Iran tentatively agreed that it would send a large portion of its stockpile of uranium to Russia, where it would not be accessible for use in any future weapons program. But on Sunday Iran’s deputy foreign minister made a surprise comment to Iranian reporters, ruling out an agreement that involved giving up a stockpile that Iran has spent years and billions of dollars to amass.
“The export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in our program, and we do not intend sending them abroad,” the official, Abbas Araqchi, told the Iranian media, according to Agence France-Presse. “There is no question of sending the stocks abroad.”
On Saturday, former IAEA chief inspector Ollie Heinonen published a paper that concluded that based upon leaks about what is in the current deal, Iran could have a nuclear breakout in 7-8 months
What is Iran's current breakout time?
Natural uranium has only 0.7 percent of the isotope U-235, and the effort required to enrich it to one SQ of WGU is about 5,000 Separative Work Units (SWUs). Iran currently has about 9,000 functioning first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, with another 9,000 not in operation. The IR-1s installed in the Natanz and Fordow facilities have been performing at an average per unit rate of 0.75 to 1 SWU per year. Using the 1 SWU/year performance of the latest IR-1 model, the breakout time with 9,000 machines using a natural uranium feed would be six to seven months. However, Iran also has substantial stocks of 3.5 percent enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) that can be used as an alternative feed, shrinking the breakout time to three months.
If Iran brought online its other nearly 9,000 IR-1s, breakout time would be about three months with natural uranium feedstock and four to six weeks with 3.5 percent UF6 feedstock. Iran has also developed the more advanced IR-2m centrifuge, rated at 5 SWU/year. If the 1,000 IR-2ms installed at Natanz were used in conjunction with all 18,000 IR-1s, the respective breakout times would be cut by a third.
According to media accounts, the proposed nuclear agreement would lower the number of operating centrifuges to around 6,500. In that circumstance, what would Iran's breakout time be?
Using IR-1s with natural uranium as a feed, the breakout time for 6,500 centrifuges would be about nine months. A crucial question will be how much 3.5 percent enriched UF6 will remain in Iran. Yet even if UF6 stocks are reduced from their current 7.5-8 tons to 500 kg, a breakout time of between seven and eight months would still be possible given the program's enrichment capabilities with natural uranium feed. Since these breakout times are less than the goals set by the U.S. administration, it is important to know what parameters Washington used for its estimates.
So everyone other than the Obama administration has figured out that this is a bad deal? What could go wrong? 

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Success? 'Palestinian Authority' to drop ICC in exchange for tax moneys

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the 'Palestinian Authority' has agreed to drop its efforts to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court in exchange for tax moneys.
The Palestinian Authority will formally join the International Criminal Court on April 1, but – following Israel’s decision on Friday to release frozen tax revenues – is not expected at this time to take steps against Israel in the ICC regarding settlement construction.

In addition, The Jerusalem Post has learned that while the ICC prosecutor has – at the PA’s request – opened a preliminary examination on alleged Israeli war crimes during Operation Protective Edge over the summer, the PA is not expected at this time to take additional legal steps in the ICC regarding the Gaza operation.

As a result of Israel’s decision to free up the funds, the PA also does not intend now to stop its security cooperation with Israel, the Post also learned.

It was the PA’s steps to join the ICC at the end of December that led Israel to freeze the monthly tax transfers in the first place.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday that, at the recommendation of the security establishment, the money that has accrued since then, some $500 million, will be freed up, though the PA’s electric, water and hospital bills to Israel will be subtracted from those funds.

...
One government official said that no decision has yet been made regarding whether March’s revenues will be transferred, an indication that this will depend on whether the PA does indeed not pursue other moves at this time at the ICC, and whether it maintains its security cooperation with Israel.

With the security establishment recommending for weeks the transfer of the frozen funds in order to reduce tension in the West Bank, it was expected for some time that this move would take place relatively soon after the March 17 election.
 So if you squeeze them hard enough, they eventually cry 'uncle.' There's a lesson here for the future.

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Virginia State Bar boycotting Israel

I've been way too busy with work to post very much. But this morning, I awoke to an email from one of my law colleagues that was a bit surprising.

One of my law firms is having a meeting in May, part of which is scheduled to take place in Virginia. This morning, I had an email from one of my colleagues attaching a link to this article from the Times of Israel reporting that the State Bar Association of Virginia has canceled a November seminar in Israel, claiming that 'many' of its members will not be allowed in because... wait for it... they are Arabs or Muslims.
In a letter sent late Friday night, Kevin Martingayle, president of the Virginia State Bar, wrote, “Upon review of US State Department advisories and other research, and after consultation with our leaders, it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israel trip and exploration of alternative locations.”

Martingayle told the Washington Times that the trip was canceled due to concerns that “many of its members” would not be let in to Israel.

The concerns appear to stem from a change.org petition by the Concerned Members of the Virginia State Bar, which said, “It is without question that Israel employs discriminatory entry and exit policies for US citizens, particularly against visiting Arab- and Muslim-Americans.”

The petition also said, “As members of the VSB, we have taken an oath to uphold our profession’s highest ideals. At the core of these ideals is the belief that no person or group should be subjected to differential treatment on the basis of their immutable characteristics. The location of this year’s Seminar, however, strikes at the heart of our profession’s ideals.”

The petition was closed after the decision to cancel the trip. It had 39 signatures.
Writing in his group blog in the Washington Post, the Volokh Conspiracy's David Bernstein has a few reactions.
(1) The American Bar Association has recently held meetings in Israel, for example here and here [update: along with hundreds of international conferences that are held in Israel every year, including, for example, a conference on Arabic literature with Muslim attendees from abroad.]  Virginia has a state agency called the Virginia Israel Advisory Boardthat proactively serves as the bridge and facilitator between Israeli companies and the Commonwealth of Virginia.” The idea that either the state bar as an attorney organization or as a state agency has some obligation to avoid Israel is nonsense. Surely Martingayle and colleagues can’t be so naive and out-of-touch to think that the concerns raised are not part of the broader divestment, sanctions, and boycott movement meant to delegitimize Israel.
(2) If the Virginia State Bar is in effect boycotting Israel, I, and I suspect many others, will henceforth be boycotting the State Bar, in my case beyond what is necessary to assist my students, which is my professional obligation. I would hope that no Virginia attorneys who are supporters of Israel will attend whatever alternative venue the State Bar settles on.
(3) As near as I can tell, the only public discussion of all this before Martingayle’s letter was a petition circulated three days ago by anonymous “Concerned Members of the Virginia State Bar” that, as of this writing, has received a grand total of thirty-four signatures. It’s hard to imagine that the Martingayle and colleagues canceled a planned event that already had a hotel booked, a CLE program, and even optional tours set up based on those objections. Who are the “other individuals” mentioned by Martingayle who objected?
(4) Relatedly, as a state agency, the Virginia State Bar is subject to FOIA. If no enterprising journalist is already FOIAing the relevant correspondence that led to this decision, I’m sure somebody else will be.
UPDATE: The email Martingayle sent out is timestamped 9:59 pm on March 27. Yet somehow the virulently anti-Israel “Electronic Intifada” managed to have a copy of the letter on its Facebook page and website more than two hours earlier. Inquiring minds want to know who had a copy of this letter before it was sent out to bar members at large, and why. [Comments below suggest that while I and several others I know received the 9:59 time stamp, other members of the bar received the same message time-stamped earlier. If so, mystery solved.]
Hmmm.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Israeli officials resigned to Iran nuke deal

Tweeted a short time ago:
And for those who don't know Sheera Frenkel....
Buzzfeed News Middle East Correspondent. Formerly of The Times of London, NPR, and McClatchy.
Hmmm.

UPDATE 10:26 AM

More confirmation.
What could go wrong?

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Report: Lubitz tweeted "A Germany in which religious feelings have more rights than the meaning of freedom - is not my Germany"

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane who deliberately crashed in the Alps on Tuesday killing 150 people, retweeted (actually looks more like shared on Facebook) the photo above, with the caption "A Germany in which religious feelings have more rights than the meaning of freedom - is not my Germany." (Hat Tip: Mike K).

And the New York Times reported on Friday that Lubitz "lived, at least part time, with his parents. Mr. Lubitz’s mother was an organist at a Protestant church near the town center.”

Mike K adds:
Here is the sad, but probably true story.

He is not a murderer or Muslim.
 
He took medications which overcame him as he flew.  The Pharmaceuticals do not tell the public all the
side-effects of their meds.  They put people into murderous, zombie like states.  Most school shooters were
on anti-depressants.
 
There is every reason to believe that this guy may have been overcome by his medications. Medications
which are legal for pilots to take.  The FAA allows pilots to fly on SSRI anti-deressants  (Click Here)
 
SSRI medications are chemically similar to LSD-25.   He could have had a flash back without warning.
 
He did not say Allahu Aqbar.  Those are the magic words required to get 72 virgins. So he was probably
NOT Muslim.
 
His heart rate remained steady.  Not something one would expect from a man soon expecting death.
 
His medication probably did this to him, or a medical condition.
 
Morally, his culpability may be minor or non-existent.
 
Fox News reported on how dangerous these meds are
 
Watch this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAO5_Hk06Mc
 
The Pharmaceutical Companies may be the guilty parties.  They do not warn the public that these SSRIs can be dangerous.
 Hmmm.

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