Feeding the crocodile, hoping to be eaten last

Peace in our time – John Kerry, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sign the P5+1 – Iran nuclear deal

The above headline is  a paraphrase of Winston Churchill’s memorable words warning against appeasement during WWII.  The parallels to the situation today are hard to ignore after the Western allies P5+1 group signed a deal last night with the Iranians to relax sanctions in exchange for the Iranians halting their nuclear program.

First, here is the (unauthorized) text of  “the Joint Plan of Action” via Fars News:

Here is a summary of the key points from a White House fact sheet (via Times of Israel). Some highlights:

Halting the Progress of Iran’s Program and Rolling Back Key Elements

Iran has committed to halt enrichment above 5%:

· Halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle the technical connections required to enrich above 5%.

Iran has committed to neutralize its stockpile of near-20% uranium:

· Dilute below 5% or convert to a form not suitable for further enrichment its entire stockpile of near-20% enriched uranium before the end of the initial phase.

Iran has committed to halt progress on its enrichment capacity:

· Not install additional centrifuges of any type.

· Not install or use any next-generation centrifuges to enrich uranium.

· Leave inoperable roughly half of installed centrifuges at Natanz and three-quarters of installed centrifuges at Fordow, so they cannot be used to enrich uranium.

· Limit its centrifuge production to those needed to replace damaged machines, so Iran cannot use the six months to stockpile centrifuges.

· Not construct additional enrichment facilities.

Iran has committed to halt progress on the growth of its 3.5% stockpile:

· Not increase its stockpile of 3.5% low enriched uranium, so that the amount is not greater at the end of the six months than it is at the beginning, and any newly enriched 3.5% enriched uranium is converted into oxide.

Iran has committed to no further advances of its activities at Arak and to halt progress on its plutonium track. Iran has committed to:

· Not commission the Arak reactor.

[…]

Unprecedented transparency and intrusive monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program

Iran has committed to:
· Provide daily access by IAEA inspectors at Natanz and Fordow. […]

· Provide IAEA access to centrifuge assembly facilities.

· Provide IAEA access to centrifuge rotor component production and storage facilities.
· Provide IAEA access to uranium mines and mills.
· Provide long-sought design information for the Arak reactor. This will provide critical insight into the reactor that has not previously been available.
· Provide more frequent inspector access to the Arak reactor.
· Provide certain key data and information called for in the Additional Protocol to Iran’s IAEA Safeguards Agreement and Modified Code 3.1.

[…]

In return for these steps, the P5+1 is to provide limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible relief while maintaining the vast bulk of our sanctions, including the oil, finance, and banking sanctions architecture. If Iran fails to meet its commitments, we will revoke the relief. Specifically the P5+1 has committed to:

· Not impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months, if Iran abides by its commitments under this deal, to the extent permissible within their political systems.

· Suspend certain sanctions on gold and precious metals, Iran’s auto sector, and Iran’s petrochemical exports, potentially providing Iran approximately $1.5 billion in revenue.

· License safety-related repairs and inspections inside Iran for certain Iranian airlines.

· Allow purchases of Iranian oil to remain at their currently significantly reduced levels – levels that are 60% less than two years ago. $4.2 billion from these sales will be allowed to be transferred in installments if, and as, Iran fulfills its commitments.

· Allow $400 million in governmental tuition assistance to be transferred from restricted Iranian funds directly to recognized educational institutions in third countries to defray the tuition costs of Iranian students.

[…]

Putting Limited Relief in Perspective

In total, the approximately $7 billion in relief is a fraction of the costs that Iran will continue to incur during this first phase under the sanctions that will remain in place. The vast majority of Iran’s approximately $100 billion in foreign exchange holdings are inaccessible or restricted by sanctions.

In the next six months, Iran’s crude oil sales cannot increase. Oil sanctions alone will result in approximately $30 billion in lost revenues to Iran – or roughly $5 billion per month – compared to what Iran earned in a six month period in 2011, before these sanctions took effect. While Iran will be allowed access to $4.2 billion of its oil sales, nearly $15 billion of its revenues during this period will go into restricted overseas accounts. In summary, we expect the balance of Iran’s money in restricted accounts overseas will actually increase, not decrease, under the terms of this deal.

In a slightly delusional-sounding statement, sounding like a character in the Wizard of Oz, Secretary of State Kerry said:

..addressing the press, Kerry said that if Iran’s nuclear program was truly just for peaceful purposes, then it simply needed to “prove it” to the world. He also insisted that the first-step deal would make Israel safer.

How does “simply proving it to the world” jibe with Rouhani’s triumphant claim that “Iran’s nuclear rights have been sealed by the deal” and that Iran will keep on enriching?

“No matter what interpretations are given, Iran’s right to enrichment has been recognized,” said Rouhani, who later posed with family members of nuclear scientists whose slayings in recent years Iran has blamed on Israel and allies.

He said that in a final deal, Iran’s nuclear enrichment will be able to proceed “similar to the past.”

Despite Israel’s huge concerns (and not only Israel), there are experts who perceive this sorry deal as complicating Iran’s drive for the bomb:

By halting Iran’s most sensitive enrichment of uranium, Sunday’s interim accord is designed to stop the expansion of Iranian atomic activities and buy time for negotiations on a final settlement of the decade-old nuclear dispute.

However, Iran will for now retain thousands of centrifuges refining uranium – albeit only to concentrations far below that needed for nuclear weapons – and a stockpile that could potentially be used for bombs if processed much more.

“The short-term deal accomplishes a great deal,” nuclear proliferation expert David Albright of the US Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said.

For example, he said, it would eliminate Iran’s stock of uranium gas refined to a fissile purity of 20 percent, a source of deep concern for the West as it represents a relatively short technical step away from bomb-grade material.

Under the agreement, Iran must halt this higher-grade enrichment and also dilute or convert its existing reserve of such uranium to a form that is not suitable for further enrichment, according to a US fact sheet.

Once this is done, the breakout time – how long it would take Iran to produce sufficient highly-enriched uranium for one atomic bomb – would lengthen from at least 1-1.6 months to at least 1.9-2.2 months if the Iranians used all their installed centrifuges, Albright said in an e-mail.

“This may seem a small increase, but with the IAEA daily checking the camera film at Natanz and Fordow, this increase in breakout times would be significant,” he said, referring to the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

With all due respect to the esteemed expert, lengthening Iran’s breakout time from 1-1.6 months to 1.9-2.2 months means they will need – gasp! – a whole extra 0.3 to 1.2 months! Why, that’s a minimum of 9 extra days, and maybe as many as 37 extra days!

Who do they think they are kidding? Do they take us for fools? As for the IAEA leaping into action, excuse me while I choke over my keyboard.  The only time any international agency leaps into action is when Israel takes steps to defend itself.

As was entirely predictable, PM Binyamin Netanyahu called the nuclear deal a historic mistake:

Directly contrasting US President Barack Obama who praised the agreement as opening a “new path toward a world that is more secure,”  Netanyahu – speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting — said the world has become more dangerous as a result.

“What was agreed last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake,” he said. “Today the world has become much more dangerous because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step to getting the most dangerous weapon in the world.”

For the first time, he said, the leading powers of the world agreed to uranium enrichment in Iran, while removing sanctions that it has taken years to build up in exchange for “cosmetic Iranian concession that are possible to do away with in a matter of weeks.”

Netanyahu said the consequences of this deal threaten many countries, including Israel. He reiterated what he has said in the past, that Israel is not obligated by the agreement.

Other Israeli ministers lined up to condemn the agreement with Yair Lapid appositely calling it a choice “between the plague and cholera”.

“This deal sacrifices the long term interests of the West in exchange for the short term gain of getting Iran to agree not to cross the nuclear threshold for a few months,” he said.

Stopping Iran’s nukes

Israel’s previous threats and tough words prodded Barack Obama to try and assuage Israeli concerns, though judging by the above reactions, he will not meet with much success. He didn’t have much success in his own backyard on Capitol Hill:

There was some outright scorn about the deal in Washington.

Republican Senator Mark Kirk, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said he shared Obama’s goal of finding a diplomatic solution to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability but felt the terms of the deal were too lenient.

[…]

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said the deal “shows other rogue states that wish to go nuclear that you can obfuscate, cheat and lie for a decade, and eventually the United States will tire and drop key demands.”

Now we just have to wait and see whether Netanyahu has the intestinal fortitude to go it alone and act against America’s express wishes in order to defend Israel’s vital and existential interests. We must hope and pray that he does, and that our ever-divided Knesset will unite for once in these very dangerous times and give Netanyahu the domestic political backing that he will need if he is to act.

Above all we should remember another of Churchill’s immortal words in reaction to Neville Chamberlain’s shameful “peace in our time” speech in 1938, whose parallel to today’s situation is glaring:

Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.

And let us hope and pray that history will not repeat itself.

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29 Responses to Feeding the crocodile, hoping to be eaten last

  1. cba says:

    The parallels are stunning.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see any Churchill this time.

    • anneinpt says:

      Bibi sounds Churchillian on occasion but his deeds don’t match his words. Trouble is, his words lead him to be described as “hawkish”, “hardline” or “extreme right” in the media, whereas his actions are center to center-left. It would be less frustrating if he was soft in words AND deeds, but the way things are, he and we get the worst of both worlds – condemned for words, whereas nothing on the ground changes.

      I wouldn’t even care if these epithets were used against him if really did bomb the shi!t out of Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah. But he doesn’t.

  2. ealha3 says:

    This “deal” is politically driven and its enforcement will be politically defined. “Failure is not an option…” and Obama will not permit violations to “violate” his political image meaning any violation will be rationalized within the vagaries of the “deal.” It is more likely violations will be obfuscated, denied, rationalized, concealed, lied about, justified and ignored given the history of Obama’s corrupt and inept administration in dealing with numerous scandals and other adverse political activities. The Congress, Israel and those allied with efforts to neutralize Iran’s nuclear threat must remain in the public eye exposing violations, expressing frustration over the anti-Semitic agenda of those negotiating away Israel’s effort to exist, such that when the inevitable military option is exercised by an international consortium, it will be applauded by the rest of the rational world.

    • anneinpt says:

      I fear your assessment of how violations will be obfuscated or swept under the carpet is highly likely. I think we can be pretty sure that Israel at least will keep its objections loud and in the public eye. I hope Congress’s objectors will do the same.

      However I have grave doubts that when, as you say, the “inevitable military option is exercised”, there will be understanding and applause from the rest of the world. It’s unlike you to be so optimistic Elliott. I fully expect loud condemnations, UN resolutions, and possibly even sanctions. Not to mention retaliatory attacks from Iran – and those might very well be applauded as a legitimate response to Israel’s aggression. You watch and wait. I would love to be proven wrong.

  3. PeteCA says:

    WELL – let’s look at this agreement objectively. This is the first time I have seen all the points of the agreement spelled out in detail. There really are quite a lot of strong points made in this agreement … PROVIDED Iran actually carries them out! Their former Pres. Ahmadinejad once described the Iranian nuclear program as a “speeding train with no brakes”. This agreement would bring the train into slow-motion. And for the Iranians the change would almost feel like they had stopped altogether. That is – IF they actually carry out all these steps.

    The mian problem is simply this … how do we actually KNOW the Iranians are doing all this stuff? How can it be verified effectivedly? Do we honestly believe they will give outside inspectors full access to their undergound facilities at Qom? Do we believe that they don’t have other secret facilities? Will they agree to immediate and unfettered access by inspectors in any region of their country where there is a concern? You will notice that the agreement does not spell out the enforcement and verification steps with any kind of mandate. So the only way that Iran “complies” with all these steps – is if they voluntarily comply from their own initiative. How likely is that?

    Yes … if the agreement goes in force then time is “frozen”. They are close to a working weapon. They will get 6 months to get their country’s ailing economy working again. If their intentions are deceptive, then they can easily use the next 6 months to improve their centrifuge technology (without building new ones), and finish any R&D work for the nuclear program. So this could be no more than a hiatus. What are the chances of getting the sanctions program re-established …. probably pretty small.

    Where does Israel’s opinion fall on all of this? As I said earlier, Bibi is very open with his opinions. But no-one can tell where the rest of the Israeli intel establishment falls in their assessment. This agreement makes Isarel much more isolated. Politically, if Israel is unhappy and takes some unilateral action, then Israel becomes the “black sheep” because an agreement is in force.

    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      Pete, you’ve assessed the situation perfectly – the deal is great on paper. But in practice? Who knows? Who can tell? The allies have essentially gambled away Israel’s future on a whim and a prayer.

      Israel’s options are, as you say, problematic. It’s a lose-lose situation for us politically and diplomatically – Israel’s self-defence always is. The world has no problem building memorials to dead Jews and saying pretty words about the Holocaust but they have a big problem with live Jews not wanting to end up the same way.

      BUT an Israeli strike on Iran would be a win-win situation on the existential side – because a strike will hopefully destroy Iran’s nuclear plans and ensure Israel’s survival. And if it doesn’t – well then, G-d help us all. Literally.

      • ealha3 says:

        Let’s remain realistic and objective. The fantasy world is in denial of reality and believes Iran has turned a new leaf, is no longer a religiously compelled theocracy intent on dominating the Middle East and the rest of the world. Instead, she is perceived to be a docile, self humbling, credible entity notwithstanding that it has only recently called for Death to America and extermination of Israel. Because, therefore, it is not realistic to believe Iran will abide by the agreement, it now becomes important to wait, document and corroborate the inevitable violations. These violations should be publicly shared with the international community exposing Iran’s relentless objectives so that the inevitable military response will be justified.

        • anneinpt says:

          Those are very sensible and realistic suggestions. I hope someone in authority, in Israel and the West, is listening. I would assume that Israel will indeed do as you suggested. Whether the world will listen or care is another matter altogether.

  4. PeteCA says:

    ” The world has no problem building memorials to dead Jews and saying pretty words about the Holocaust but they have a big problem with live Jews not wanting to end up the same way.”

    well said. those are memorable words.
    I may put that quotation on my desk as a permanent reminder.
    Pete, USA

  5. PeteCA says:

    Israel is not convinced …

    http://news.yahoo.com/israel-denounces-iranian-nuclear-deal-historic-mistake-101521379.html

    but the world will read this media story as “Bibi is not convinced” and those who are skeptical about Israel will read it as “Bibi still looking for ways to attack Iran”. i am not expressing a personal view, but this is typical of what many readers say about Israel’s current position on major news outlets.

    Pete,USA

    • anneinpt says:

      Yep. Bibi is always portrayed as a war-monger, no matter what he says or does. In which case we might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

      • Brian Goldfarb says:

        More to say below, but Lapid, Bennett, Lieberman (among others) have all joined in condemning the “agreement”. That hardly leaves Bibi isolated in Israeli politics. He’s joined by any number of other Ministers (the latest Times of Israel offers extracts of their speeches) as well as intelligence & military analysts.

        One online source (possibly the same Times of Israel edition) argues that Bibi has misjudged it and now has no place to go. Alternative argument could be that he has made it abundantly clear that Israel has no place to go but…His duty (and the Government’s) is to protect Israel. How to do that may be seen differently, but it’s interesting that so far only the Israeli far Left has “welcomed” the “agreement”: some Labor MKs and Meretz. But when was Meretz (even as Mapam) ever other than on the outside looking in?

        That is, the right (in political, not religious, terms), centre and centre-left are agreed on this.

  6. Pingback: One small Lurch for Obama, Giant Leaps for Iran | danmillerinpanama

  7. Reality says:

    I’m not one for war but I really think we’ll have no choice. The problem is can we succeed? Who cares about world condemnation? They’ll condemn us as well if we do nothing & the bomb is created because we should’ve stopped the Iranians. Either way it’ll be the Israelis/Jews fault. I just hope Netanyahu realises this & doesn’t wait for outside help. Let America & the rest of the P5 stew in their own juice. They’re so full of themselves they can’t believe that they’ve suddenly become “friendly” with Iran.

    • anneinpt says:

      I’m also worried that we’ll have no choice in the end. I have no doubt we’ll succeed, but at what cost.

      I don’t think the P5+1 necessarily want to become friends with Iran. They just want peace and quiet and not to be bothered by pesky sabre-rattling Jews or Arabs. They think by signing a deal with Iran that the danger has passed, or at least can be contained. But they’ve caught a tiger by its tail and might have bitten off more than they can chew. (to mix various metaphors).

      But when we say ‘I told you so” will they listen? Probably not.

  8. PeteCA says:

    I still think it would be good for Israel to clarify intelligence assessments – someone in an official position to explain things rationally. It should be someone else besides PM Netanyahu, because he has been seen as a figurehead for a reprisal. This idea of getting the intel services to speak up seems a ridiculous request in view of the great sensitivity of this matter. Clearly there is much that cannot be said. But there is enough that can be said – that someone should try to summarize it. Really, this is a form of Israel “making its case” directly to the world. It is valuable to do that … even if the case is made to the world media. People do listen, and you can never underestimate the way in which God works in the world. Some good may come out of it.
    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      It’s a nice idea in theory but I don’t think it’s really practicable. There’s no way the intel people are going to explain in public what they know and don’t know – that would be giving the entire game away. I’m sure the people who need to know e.g. in the Administration or in Europe will be informed as necessary (if Israel feels they can trust them) but there is absolutely no need for the wider public to know. In any event, those who side with Israel will believe them, and those hostile to Israel will claim the intel people are making up stories etc. There is no point in going public with state secrets.

      • PeteCA says:

        I think the answer is because of Bibi’s “red line” speech. It needs follow-up. There is no need for the intel people to contribute state secrets – nor should they. What’s needed is futher rationale – why is the Geneva agreement in error, why is Bibi’s criterion superior in the eyes of Israel, what demonstrates that Rouhani isn’t genuine? These issues are some blend of politics and intel, but they do not require secret information. Here is one reason why this is important: if Israel takes action, there will be a profound effect on the global economy because of oil prices. Hence all the nations will be drawn into the politcial fray, and Israel will not have an easy time with possible economic sanctions. Therefore, it is better to explain a viewpoint clearly when a lot is at stake.
        Pete, USA

        • anneinpt says:

          For the Israelis there is no need for Bibi to explain further. We all know very well what Iran is capable of and what its intentions are. They publicise these daily. Israelis are simply not cognitive-dissonant, and know very well that when their enemy says he wants to wipe them off the map, he means it. And if he gets the means to do so he will use them. It’s the rest of the world who refuse to believe that the Iranians really want to wipe Israel off the map. “It’s just a figure of speech” they say. “They can’t do it anyway” they reassure. Except that figures of speech like that are not used against any other country, and Iran WILL have the means once they get the Bomb. Which they will thanks to Obama and his pals.

          Bibi and the Mossad and intel etc. can explain to the world til they’re blue in the face, but the world refuses to believe, so what’s the point. If the world doesn’t know by now why Rouhani is not genuine, then no amount of explaining is going to help. Excuse me, but the Americans hardly reacted when Khamenei called Israel “a rabid dog, a cancer” etc. just last week. Is that the behaviour of an ally? Why didn’t America or the West protest this disgusting speech? If they say “it’s a figure of speech” let’s see how they react when Israel calls America “pathetic surrender monkeys”.

          I don’t think the world will impose sanctions on Israel if Israel strikes. In the end the world needs Israeli inventions and technology. In any event, we’ve been there before, done that and survived and prospered. Let the world take a running jump. If they want to replay history and “boycott the Jews” they will just prove they are the blatant antisemites that we’ve always suspected they are.

  9. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Anne, you shouldn’t be so unkind to the Centre & Centre-Left: whatever else one thinks of him (and I voted for him – and the UK Labour Party – but then I’m a recidivist labour voter: I continually re-offend), Blair did back Bush W. on Afghanistan & Iraq, so the Left need hardly be seen as wimpish on war. We are talking of the sane left here, not the rancid left. For those who need convincing, see John Lukacs “Five Days in in London: May 1940”, which shows that both Churchill and the Labour members of the War Cabinet were not fooled for an instant by Hitler’s offer of a “truce” with Britain (this while the British & French were being driven back towards the Channel ports). The British Labour Party was never fooled by the fascists, whatever line the Communists followed.

    However, my major purpose here is to note that I fear that Obama and Kerry, in their desire to secure a deal of “historic” proportions in the field of foreign affairs, have just created the conditions for the next Middle East war. One which is likely involve not just Israel but also Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States on the same side against Iran. I suspect that Hilary Clinton would have insisted on sanctions staying in place until the Iranians showed good faith (if putting “Iranians” and “good faith” in the same sentence isn’t an oxymoron).

    It’s not surprising that most US Jewish groups are extremely unhappy about the Geneva agreement (from now on, please imagine inverted commas around the word agreement, when it includes Iran). Okay, the ADL is a bit wishy-washy about it, but most of the others are in complete agreement. See: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/11/24/american-jewish-leaders-censure-nuclear-deal-lauder-says-no-way-iran-will-honor-agreement/.

    On top of that, in the same issue of The Algemeiner, there’s this: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/11/24/u-s-senator-schumer-disproportionality-of-iran-deal-makes-bi-partisan-sanctions-likely/, which argues that the Senate isn’t going to lie down, and is likely to pass further sanctions measures. If they pass them with a big enough majority (and if the House of Representatives does the same), then Obama may have to think twice about vetoing the measures, especially if they are left to become operative in 6 months time.

    If you want a really harsh judgement, how about this from Daniel Pipes, still in The Algemeiner: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/11/24/the-nuclear-deal-with-iran-is-a-foreign-policy-disaster/, and he goes on to say: “This wretched deal offers one occasion when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid. An overeager Western government, blind to the evil cunning of the regime it so much wants to work with, appeases it with concessions that will come back to haunt it. Geneva and Nov. 24 will be remembered along with Munich and Sep. 29.”

    All so O & K could strut.

    Makes Bibi look like a real statesman and a prescient one at that. He does look like he’s walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

    And I don’t even like the man!

    And in case you didn’t know, J Street has welcomed the agreement. And I used to think that they had something to say worth listening to. They’re give us Left-Liberals a really bad name!

    • anneinpt says:

      Brian, I think it was you who brought up the left, not me. :-). But I agree that the left and center-left are not a problem, certainly not in Israel. It’s the extreme (rancid) left as you say that are problematic.

      I fear that Obama and Kerry, in their desire to secure a deal of “historic” proportions in the field of foreign affairs, have just created the conditions for the next Middle East war.
      Exactly. And they’re so proud of themselves!

      I made a small mention of the objections in Congress in my post. The question is how much influence do they have and can they overturn this deal? I don’t think so. And since Obama is not up for re-election he really doesn’t need to take any notice of these objections.

      Re J Street – they always live down to my expectations.

      • Brian Goldfarb says:

        The Senate is likely to bring a stiffer sanctions package to the table. And it might just pass. Obama will be unable to influence the Democrat Senators too much (he won’t have any patronage to give after 2015), and they appear collectively upset over the “agreement”. If it passes with a big enough margin, especially if it has a 6 month delayed action fuse attached, the O would have great difficulty stamping out the flame. And the Representatives are likely to follow suit.

        Funnily enough, O & K could have got here by just saying that no weakening in sanctions for 6 months until we see that you mean it. Then Congress would have stayed their collective hand.

        They trust the Ayatollahs a whole lot less than the Administration.

  10. Aridog says:

    Do not trust the United States on this “agreement”…there is considerable legal opinion that the accord is not legally binding from the US perspective. Further, it appears to be merely a US political gesture for personal purposes. Time will tell if it is properly presented to Congress, not that it matters one whit to this US administration. .

    The Catch-22 footnote at the end of the document is interesting:

    * With respect to the final step and any steps in between, the standard principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” applies.

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Aridog, good to see you again.

      Don’t worry, Israel has no intention of trusting the US on this or anything else I would think.

      I had indeed noted that Congress doesn’t really get a say in this deal – it’s been signed and sealed, and they can protest all they want, but it won’t make a difference. I suppose that makes Obama some sort of dictator, but then again, it doesn’t surprise me.

      The footnote at the end is indeed interesting – in a bad sort of way. Kind of like the Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times”.

      • Aridog says:

        I think about you and yours almost every day. My problem is that given circumstances, and the blind naiveté in this country, I can’t find much good to say, so I say little these days. Brian Goldfarb is correct about the potential kick back by Congress here. The real problem is the “so what” factor…e.g., who would enforce any act or order of Congress? I’m not sure we can survive 3 more years of this administration of autocratic idiots and fools.

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