Thursday, September 10, 2015

No Iran Deal

I attempted to watch the End the Iran Deal rally at the Capitol yesterday. The live stream on my computer was not without glitches. My viewing was interrupted a number of times. But I got to hear Ted Cruz’s speech, followed by Donald Trump’s speech, uninterrupted. And then, when it got hung up during Glenn Beck’s speech and I reloaded, it played from Ted Cruz again.
Ted Cruz at September 8, 2015
Tea Party Rally against Iran Nuclear Agreement
image from here

I’m sure I missed some good moments. And I searched out Glenn Beck’s speech later, which was worth hearing—maybe essential listening for anyone waking up to our situation. [The clip is here.] But I want to share Ted Cruz’s speech here today. I’m pleased with how well thought out his words are. He spells out the truth with bold clarity. And maybe more importantly, he offers solutions.

If you prefer watching, C-SPAN has the full event [here], and Senator Cruz speaks beginning at 33:18 and ending at 45:50. But I have transcribed his 12-minute speech, and then I have a few more comments afterward.

Senator Ted Cruz Speech at Tea Party Rally against the Iran Nuclear Agreement

God bless the United States of America! What an incredible gathering here today!
I want to speak to three groups of people. I want to start by speaking to the American people. This Iranian nuclear deal is catastrophic. It is the single greatest national security threat facing America. If it goes through, there will be three consequences:
Number 1: The Obama administration will become quite literally the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism. If it goes through, over $100 billion will flow directly to Iran, to the Ayatollah Khomeini. And  billions of those dollars will go directly to Hamas, to Hezbollah, to the Houthis, to radical Islamic terrorists across the world. And those jihadists will use those billions to murder Americans, to murder Israelis, to murder Europeans.
The second consequence of this catastrophic deal is that it abandons four American hostages in an Iranian hell hole, including Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, a Christian pastor sentenced to eight years in prison for the crime of preaching the gospel. Including former Marine Amir Hekmati. Including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. Including Bob Levinson. It is a disgrace for this administration to abandon Americans in Iranian hell holes.
But the third consequence of this deal going through, if it does, is that it will facilitate and accelerate the nation of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. There is no greater threat to the safety and security of America. There is no greater threat to the safety and security of Israel, than a nuclear Iran. I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that a nuclear Iran poses an existential threat to the nation of Israel. And let me be clear, when he says existential, he doesn’t mean a bunch of Frenchmen in black berets chain smoking. He means literally going to the very existence of Israel.
When Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress, a joint session that president Obama boycotted, that Vice President Biden boycotted, that every member of the cabinet boycotted, I participated in a panel with Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate, the holocaust survivor, and Elie Wiesel observed the one threat on the face of the earth capable of murdering six million Jews in an instant, in a flash of light, is a nuclear Iran. Elie Wiesel observed, “Never again means never again.”
The second group I want to address are Democratic senators and Democratic members of Congress [boos from crowd]. Right now today forty-two Senate Democrats have come out in support of this deal. It is my hope and prayer that every one of those Senate Democrats reconsiders—that they go home, and they fall to their knees, and they pray tonight. I agree with former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman that this vote is quite likely the most important vote that any member of Congress, any member of the Senate, will cast in their entire career.
There was a time when there was a tradition of Scoop Jackson Democrats, of JFK Democrats, of Joe Lieberman Democrats—of Democrats who were willing to defend national security. Sadly that is becoming rarer and rarer in today’s Congress. So to every Democratic senator, they are facing a choice: do you value the safety and security of the United States of America? Do you value standing with our friend and ally, the nation of Israel? Do you value the lives of millions of Americans? Or do you value more party loyalty to the Obama White House?
To every Democratic senator who said he or she will support this deal, I ask you to consider, how will you look in the eyes of the mothers and fathers of our soldiers, the hundreds of soldiers, American soldiers who were murdered in Iraq with Iranian IEDs that came from General Soleimani? This deal lifts sanctions on General Soleimani. Tell me, if you’re a Democratic senator, how you look a mom in the eyes and say, “I voted to lift sanctions on the man who murdered your son when he was defending this nation.”
But beyond that, when we talk about terrorism, it’s worth remembering that if this deal goes through, we know to an absolute certainty people will die. Americans will die. Israelis will die. Europeans will die. Osama Bin Laden never had a hundred billion dollars. He was filled with bilious hatred, and using rudimentary tools, murdered nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001. We’re now talking about giving the Ayatollah Khamenei, a theocratic homicidal maniac who hates America every bit as much as Bin Laden did—giving him $100 Billion to carry out his murderous plan.
I want to ask every Senate Democrat, how will you look in the eyes of the mother or father or sons or daughters of those who were murdered by jihadists, of those who were blown up, of those who were shot, those Americans who were killed, those Israelis who were murdered? And let me be clear: if you vote to send billions of dollars to jihadists who have pledged to murder Americans, then you bear direct responsibility for the murders carried out with the dollars you have given them. You cannot wash your hands of that blood.
And let me say to Republican leadership [boos from crowd]…. Well, hold on. “I come not to bury Caesar but to praise him.”  I want to give a path forward. There are two men in Washington, DC, who can defeat this deal. Their names are Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner. Under the terms of the Corker-Cardin review legislation, the clock does not begin ticking until the president hands over the entire deal—and he has not handed over the side agreements. What that means is that all that has to happen is for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to say, “The Congressional review period has not started. Under federal law it is illegal for Obama to lift sanctions.”
Now, this is a lawless president. So the odds are significant even if Congress did that, this president would ignore the law and try to lift sanctions. But I want in particular to speak to the CEO and the board of directors and the general counsel of every financial institution, every bank that is holding frozen Iranian money. If this president behaves illegally and decrees you can hand that money over to Iran, let me tell you now that does not exempt you from the legal obligation to follow the law. And any bank that listens to this president and releases billions to an international terrorist like the Ayatollah Khamenei will face billions of dollars in civil liability and litigation. And there will come a president who is not named Barack Obama.
Mitch McConnell and John Boehner can stop this deal if they simply enforce—if they simply enforce federal law.
If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, the single greatest risk is that they would take that nuclear weapon, they would put it on a ship anywhere in the Atlantic, and they would fire it up straight into the air, into the atmosphere. They would set off what’s called an EMP, an electromagnetic pulse. It would take down the electrical grid on the entire Eastern Seaboard and kill tens of millions of Americans. We can stop that.
But if Senate Democrats decide that party loyalty matters more than national security, and if Republican leadership decides that a show vote is more important than stopping this deal, then the single most important issue in 2016 will be stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
And any commander in chief worthy of defending this nation should be prepared to stand up on January 20th, 2017, and rip to shreds this catastrophic deal. Any commander-in-chief worthy of defending this nation should be prepared in January 2017 to look in the eyes of the Ayatollah Khamenei and say, “Under no circumstances does Iran led by a theocratic ayatollah who chants ‘Death to America’—under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. And if Iran will not stop its nuclear program, we will stop it for you.”
I want to thank everyone here for this rally. I want to thank Tea Party Patriots. I want to thank the Pro-Israel groups, the national security groups. I want to thank my friend Donald Trump for joining us today. I want to thank the leaders of Congress who are here. And I want to thank the American people. Let’s rise up and tell every elected official in Washington, “No more talk. No more show votes. Get it done. Stop this deal.”
Thank you. And God bless you!
Today I came across a piece by Andrew McCarthy explaining the Corker review, worth reading.

Cruz finishes speaking, just before Trump speaks
photo by Susan Walsh/AP, found here

Trump’s speech lasted only five minutes. But I did learn a couple of things from him, if he’s accurate. One was that the $150 B goes to Iran regardless, just because they came to the table. I had understood that was the result of the lifting of sanctions, so, if we follow Cruz’s plan, that would keep the sanctions from being lifted, maybe indefinitely. Clearly I don't know enough to run for president.

Also, Trump quoted tweets from the Ayatollah Khamenei just hours before the speech. He said the ayatollah said Iran was now done interacting with the United States—which means that they have no intention of “reporting” on their “promise” not to be developing nuclear weapons. So we got nothing positive out of the deal—absolutely nothing. Also, he tweeted that Israel would not exist 25 years from now. While it’s a horrible thing to say, I’m surprised the predicted timeline was so far into the future.

Trump said he guaranteed that, before his first day in office, those four hostages would be freed. Just by power of personality, and the fear, I guess, that he puts into the hearts of murderous terrorists? He didn’t say how he would accomplish that. The remaining half of his speech was a presidential stump speech about making jobs, and brightening the future—again by power of personality, rather than detailed plans.

But what was important was that as many people as possible heard Cruz’s speech. And Trumps presence adds numbers. So for that we thank him, as Cruz did.

I spent the time earlier today to contact my congressman, senators (thanking Ted Cruz and supporting him, since there’s no need to direct him), and also Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner. Senator Cruz has given them a way out from infamy. If only they take it.

By the time I got ready to post this, there was a vote on whether to disapprove of the deal, which was defeated because 42 the Senate Democrats voted against it, making it we short of the 2/3 needed to move forward. I’m confused about the process, because the original vote should have required only a simple majority.  An eventual veto would require 2/3 to overcome. This, I think, was a procedural vote to end debate without an up or down vote. Meanwhile, the House went ahead—after the Senate vote—and passed a resolution, along party lines, based on Senator Cruz’s claim that the president failed to provide Congress with details on the “side deals” and therefore has not complied with the law. It was a non-binding measure, but it could set up a future challenge. We can hope.

Obama owns this atrocity. And the Democrats are complicit.

Enjoy the anniversary of 9/11.

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