Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Getting the Agreement with Iran Approved


For John, BLUFPick your fights.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I am in favor of the US Congress passing the recently negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, but the President, the Secretary of State and Iran are making it hard.  Our Nation's Capitol probably hasn't seen a mess like this since President Woodrow Wilson tried to get the Peace Treaty with Germany ratified by the US Senate.  This article, in the Washington Free Beacon is headlined "Iran:  U.S. Banned from Knowing Details of Iran Nuclear Inspection Agreement".  The reporter is Mr Adam Kredo.  The sub-headline is "Congress demands Obama release secret documents".  Not likely to happen.

Here is the lede:

Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the nuclear inspection organization is barred from revealing to the United States any details of deals it has inked with Tehran to inspect its contested nuclear program going forward, according to regional reports.

Recent disclosures by Iran indicate that the recently inked nuclear accord includes a series of side deals on critical inspections regimes that are neither public nor subject to review by the United States.

Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador and permanent envoy to the IAEA, stated over the weekend that no country is permitted to know the details of future inspections conducted by the IAEA.  In addition, no U.S. inspectors will be permitted to enter Iran’s nuclear sites.

“The provisions of a deal to which the IAEA and a second country are parties are confidential and should not be divulged to any third country, and as Mr. Kerry discussed it in the Congress, even the U.S. government had not been informed about the deal between IAEA and Iran,” Najafi was quoted as saying by Iran’s Mehr News Agency.

Due to the secretive nature of these agreements, IAEA officials vising with lawmakers are barred from revealing to them the details of future inspections.

The revelation has rattled lawmakers on Capitol Hill, several of whom are now rallying colleagues to sign a letter to President Barack Obama protesting these so-called side deals.

One thing for those saying no to keep in mind is that there will not be a new round of negotiations, wherein the US and the World come out with a better deal.  This is it.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pre-Debate Unscientific Poll


For John, BLUFA look at the views of conservative/libertarian Republicans.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Over at the InstaPundit is a pre-debate Poll regarding Republican Candidates.  Go join the happy throng and voice an opinion.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The First Amendment stops at the Canadian Border


TRIGGER WARNING:  Bad language at the link.
For John, BLUFPoliteness has a price.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Canada has human rights commissions.  They are supposed to make sure everyone plays nice and acts like polite Canadians, or emigrates to the United States (e.g., Mark Steyn).

Here is an open letter to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, "Dear Alberta Human Rights Commission".  And it goes down hill from there, but in a humorous way.  Well, it does start out slowly…

I'm informed that your Commission (via your proxy) considers the word "crazy" an insult.
… and then quickly picks up speed.

This is not by Mr Ezra Levant, but is about him.  Yes, he is back.  The former publisher of the Canadian Western Standard.

He writes:

Here we go again.

This October I will be prosecuted for one charge of being "publicly discourteous or disrespectful to a Commissioner or Tribunal Chair of the Alberta Human Rights Commission" and two charges that my “public comments regarding the Alberta Human Rights Commission were inappropriate and unbecoming and that such conduct is deserving of sanction.”

Because last year I wrote a newspaper editorial calling Alberta’s human rights commission “crazy.”

Have you ever heard of a journalist being prosecuted for being disrespectful towards a government agency? A journalist in Canada, that is — not in China or Russia.

I remember seeing a video, a while back, in which a Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer reminded Mr Levant that Canada doesn't have a First Amendment, like that was a plus for Canada.  That European view that the People benefit from the Government protecting them from themselves.  Bonapartism.

The Social Justice Warriors strike again.

Regards  —  Cliff

  From the Blog Small Dead Animals.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Line Item Veto and Governor Perry


For John, BLUFIf a Governor can be sued over his or her veto, the veto is weakened.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



We may have forgotten that GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas, was indicted over his use of his veto power.  Here is Law Professor Eugene Volokh, back on 24 July, on the issue.  The legalese may bore you, but it is a short item in his column, "The Volokh Conspiracy", in The Washington Post and it is important in that it helps us understand how far a Governor may go with his or her line item veto.

"The remaining count of the Rick Perry prosecution, and how it unconstitutionally intrudes on the Governor’s veto power".

Governor Perry exercised his line-item veto and stepped on some toes.  Here is how Professor Volokh describes it:

Count I of the indictment essentially alleges that Governor Perry violated Section 39.02(a)(2) of the Texas Penal Code when he vetoed a bill that would have funded the continued operation of the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office.  The prosecution alleges that Governor Perry exercised this veto “with intent to harm another” — namely, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg and the Public Integrity Unit.
In plain English, Ms Rosemary Lehmberg violated some laws, involving drinking and driving, and the Public Integrity Unit failed to take action.  Breaking it down even further, Ms Lehmberg should have been fired and the ones who should have done it was the Public Integrity Unit, but there was corruption.  Governor Perry dealt with it by defunding the bunch of them.  They sued.

One of the counts was thrown out on the face of it.  This second needs to be appealed, and Professor Volokh thinks it too will die.

I hope so.

Regards  —  Cliff

Lowell Sun on Olympic Bid


For John, BLUFAnd we still need a replacement for the Rourke Bridge, immediately.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I believe Editor Jim Campanini, of The [Lowell] Sun captured, today, the debacle that was our Olymipic Bid for 2024:—"Little minds miss the big picture for Boston 2024".

The Editor points out that the Olympics would have been good for our region, but giving us more attention, upon which we could capitalize.  On the other hand, the Olympics would require investments of money, which would have required taxes.

I have been of two minds about the Olympics Bid.  On the one hand, it would be good for the region, in a number of ways, including infrastructure investment.  On the other hand, I feared out of control costs, reminiscent of the Big Dig.  Nothing I had heard gave me confidence that this was a program that would be under control.  And for those who forgot the Big Dig, here is some history:

Here is how Mr Campinini wraps it up:

While I agree that Boston 2024 was its own worst enemy, it provided a map to the future.  It identified development locations and ideas for Boston that even the best and brightest planners failed to see from their high-salaried government perches.

It proposed solutions to problems.  For example, buildings constructed for the Olympics would be designed for re-use as affordable housing units or college dormitory space.

Many of Massachusetts' infrastructure needs were addressed in the 2024 bid package, signaling a jump-start on long overdue and neglected projects.  What happens now?  Will they be kicked down the road like in the past?

The Massachusetts way is sinking in.  OK, we are a provincial lot.  We've got the best medical and educational facilities around, gorgeous beaches, wonderful neighborhoods, and don't need to take on a billion risks to prove ourselves.  One out-of-state columnist, in praising Walsh's decision to walk away from the USOC, said Massachusetts didn't want to become the "Greece of America."  It's a clever line.  Yet for some reason I believe we're more bankrupt today than anything the 2024 Summer Olympics would have brought us.

I agree, great idea, very poor execution.

Regards  —  Cliff

  On the other hand, if someone had said Mitt Romney was going to be the trail boss, I would have had confidence.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Twisted Personalities


For John, BLUFWant to borrow it when you are back?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




The Narrows
Michael Connelly
Hard Cover:  416 Pages (We listened to the audio version)
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Language:  English
ISBN:  0-316-15530-6
Copyright:  2004

My wife and I just finished listening to the CD version of Mr Michael Connelly's Detective Novel, The Narrows.  It was a gripping yarn.  And it is a continuation of a story, The Poet, to which we recently listened.

The hero is retired Los Angeles detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch.  The way the story is written, we hear Harry's point of view and also the point of view of exiled FBI Agent Rachel Walling.  Exiled to the Dakotas because of her actions in the previous story, The Poet.  We also get glimpses of the point of view of serial killer and ex-FBI supervisor Robert Backus.  FBI Agent Rachel Walling shot and wounded Robert Backus as the end of The Poet and he crashed through a large window.  He escaped, but the body found wearing his clothes and with his ID was to decomposed to positively be identified as his.  SPOILER ALERT:  He was on the run, committing more murders.

Harry Bosch's detective instincts allow him to stay ahead of the FBI and only a little bit behind fugitive killer Robert Backus.

ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT:  Quoting from the Wikipedia article on the book:

However, the relationship between Bosch and Walling falls apart in the end when Bosch learns that the FBI had discovered that Backus had nothing to do with McCaleb's death but had withheld the information from him. In fact, McCaleb had killed himself in a manner to make his death look accidental, as his heart transplant was failing, and he did not want to burden his wife and children with the crippling expense of additional medical procedures.
This was a large chunk of the Wikipedia review.  And rightfully so, since it represents another plot twist.  Perhaps the author created it to make FBI Agent Rachel Walling go away at the end of the story, thus cleaning up a loose end.

However, I think that Harry Bosch was pushing it.  FBI Agent Rachel Walling was trying to protect her friend of former colleague.  Why make a Federal case out of it.  It turns out it isn't really all about Harry Bosch.  While FBI Agent Rachel Walling had been referred to by her ex-husband, in The Poet, as the Painted Desert, there might have been something there for Harry.  But, he couldn't leave well enough alone.  Perhaps this is a character flaw that makes him such a good detective.  Maybe it is the character flaw that makes him a not so good lifetime partner.

Regards  —  Cliff

Illegal Immigration Crisis (UK Version)


For John, BLUFIllegal immigrants desperate to reach the UK.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The International New York Times we have an article by Reporters Steven Erlanger and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, dateline Friday, Britain and France Point Fingers as Migrant Crisis Becomes a Political One"".

The lede:

More than 4,500 vehicles are stuck along one of Britain’s main highways, caught in the chaos over efforts by desperate migrants to make their way through the Channel Tunnel from the French port city of Calais, 31 miles away.  Another 4,500 cars and trucks are stuck on the other side of the English Channel.

Food is rotting, drivers are exasperated and commerce is delayed.  Would-be vacationers bound for the Continent are furious, and the British news media is on a rampage, with The Daily Mail wondering how migrants could invade Britain when Hitler could not and calling for the army to be deployed.

The British government is in crisis mode, with Prime Minister David Cameron returning from Asia on Friday to lead yet another meeting of the security cabinet.

Under pressure to show that the government is in control, Mr. Cameron emerged on Friday to promise more high-tech security fencing and sniffer dogs for the French and the use of Defense Ministry land in Kent to park some of the waiting trucks, to get them off the highway.

If you wish to see the pictures of a wall of burning tires in Calais, France, check out this Daily Mail article.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I wonder if the Brits are sending the "weld mesh" fence they developed to protect the American GLCM bases from nuclear protesters.