Congress cannot save America from Obama? 8

Even if Congress were to nix the doomsday deal Obama made with the evil rulers of Iran, Obama could ignore the people’s representatives and continue to help the mullahs become a nuclear armed power hostile to America.

The Associated Press reports:

The September vote on the Iran nuclear deal is billed as a titanic standoff between President Barack Obama and Congress. Yet even if U.S. lawmakers reject the agreement, it’s not game-over for the White House.

A congressional vote of disapproval would not prevent Obama from acting on his own to start putting the accord in place. While he probably would take some heavy criticism, this course would let him add the foreign policy breakthrough to his second-term list of accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t need a congressional OK to give Iran most of the billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions that it would get under the agreement, as long as Tehran honors its commitments to curb its nuclear program. …

What commitments would those be? Are there any?

With Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, the House and Senate are expected to turn down the deal.

Obama has pledged to veto such a resolution of disapproval, so the question has turned to whether Congress could muster the votes to override him. And Obama would forfeit the authority he now enjoys to waive sanctions that Congress has imposed.

But Democrats and Republicans have predicted that his expected veto will be sustained — that opponents lack the votes to one-up Obama. More than half of the Senate Democrats and Independents of the 34 needed to sustain a veto are backing the deal. There is one notable defection so far — New York’s Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate and the party leader-in-waiting.

In the House, more than 45 Democrats have expressed support and 10 their opposition.

The president could suspend some U.S. sanctions. He could issue new orders to permit financial transactions that otherwise are banned now. On the financial sector, Obama could use executive orders to remove certain Iranians and entities, including nearly two dozen Iranian banks, from U.S. lists, meaning they no longer would be subject to economic penalties.

Only Congress can terminate legislative sanctions, and they’re some of the toughest, aimed at Iran’s energy sector, its central bank and essential parts of its economy. Still, experts say Obama, on his own, can neutralize some of those sanctions and work with the Europeans on softening others.

The September votes won’t be the final word.

One looming question is whether Congress should try to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act, which authorizes many of the congressional sanctions. Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, have introduced legislation to renew it.

Iran could interpret a U.S. move to reauthorize the law as a breach of the nuclear agreement. Administration officials won’t say whether it is or isn’t, only that it’s premature to address it.

Should Congress push for a different deal? The administration says renegotiating the agreement is a nonstarter. …

[But] Schumer and other opponents think the Obama administration should go back to the bargaining table. In the past, Congress has rejected outright or demanded changes to more than 200 treaties and international agreements.

The only way America can save itself is by electing a president who will tear up the deal. But by then a lot of harm will have been done.

Referring to the Associated Press report, John Hinderaker at PowerLine comments:

That is correct. The president has the constitutional authority to enter into an executive agreement. Which is where debate over the Iran deal began, with an open letter to Iran’s leaders that was signed by 47 Republican senators and posted on Senator Tom Cotton’s web site. The letter explained that the Iran agreement was not being submitted to the Senate for ratification as a treaty. Therefore, as a mere executive agreement, it could be canceled with a stroke of the pen by America’s next president:

First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement. …

What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.

Tom Cotton’s letter was viciously attacked by liberals, but what it said was obviously correct. Now, with majorities in both houses of Congress opposed to the deal, the Associated Press tells us it can still proceed as an executive agreement. Of course it can. And the next president, who will probably be a Republican, can revoke it; and this Congress, or a subsequent one, can pass legislation inconsistent with it. That’s what happens when you don’t have the votes to ratify a treaty.

Even with the best scenario – a future president tearing up the treaty – the Iranians will have got even closer to building their nuclear arsenal.

If they haven’t started building it already. Which they probably have.

If Obama wants this deal to be a big part of his “legacy”, why can’t he understand that to a very great number of people – most of the Western world very possibly – it will be an abominable legacy? That he will be classed among the most destructive and evil leaders in history? Has that thought even occurred to him? And if it has, has he dismissed it as impossible? Is his arrogance that extreme?

Probably, yes. Hatred of America and love of Islam seem to be ruling passions of his life.

Posted under Iran, jihad, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 16, 2015

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The stupidest foreign policy 1

UNRWA, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, is an organization that exists solely to keep millions of Palestinians as stateless dependents, or as cossetted beggars to put it more bluntly. This cruel policy was decided upon by Arab leaders way back in the late 1940s, in order to bludgeon Israel and the West with their own sense of compassion – the Arabs themselves having no such bothersome thing –  and the Western powers have gone along with it ever since. How many more generations must be condemned to this fate?

Mark Kirk, the Republican US Senator from Illinois, recently decided it was time for questions to be asked about the ever-growing numbers of Palestinian “refugees”.

Cliff May wrote on May 31, 2012, at the National Review:

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee, on a unanimous and bipartisan basis, approved legislation requiring the State Department to tell Congress how many of the five million Palestinians currently receiving assistance from UNRWA were among the approximately 750,000 individuals displaced during the war against Israel, and how many are their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A statement from Kirk’s office explained that, “With U.S. taxpayers providing more than $4 billion to UNRWA since 1950, the watershed reporting requirement will help taxpayers better understand whether UNRWA truly remains a refugee assistance organization or has become a welfare agency for low-income residents of the Levant.”

Kirk’s legislation was strenuously opposed not just by UNRWA but also by the State Department.

– And by Patrick Leahy, Democratic Senator from Vermont.

Daniel Greenfield writes at Canada Free Press:

“I always look at what is in the United States’ interest first and foremost, and this would hurt the United States’ interests,” Senator Leahy stated firmly.

It is of course difficult to find as compelling a national interest as the UNRWA, a refugee agency created exclusively for the benefit of five million Arabs, approximately 30,000 of whom are actual refugees, but all of whom hate the United States.

Senator Leahy, who could not discover a national interest in the Balanced Budget Amendment, drilling for oil in ANWR or detaining Muslim terrorists, all of which he voted against,  finally discovered a binding national interest 5,500 miles away in Jordan, where “refugee camps” like Baqa’a (pop. 80,000), which are virtually indistinguishable from local towns and cities, complete with block after block of residential homes, stores and markets, multi-story office buildings, schools, hospitals and assorted infrastructure, must not be looked at too closely.

In Jordan, Palestinians from West of the River do actually have citizenship and are not, like the other “refugees”, stateless.  (Some two-thirds or maybe even three-quarters of the population of Jordan is native to the region of Palestine as defined under the post World War One British mandate. Jordan is, in fact, the Arab state of Palestine.)

As a city which will soon celebrate its 50 year anniversary, Baqa’a is older than many modern Israeli cities and is as much a refugee camp as any of them. … [But in] Baqa’a no one does anything for themselves because they are all eternal refugees with an entire UN agency dedicated to wiping their bottoms for them. A unique and singular honor in a world full of authentic refugees who have been driven out by rape squads and genocide, without getting their own minders in blue.

Senator Mark Kirk’s heretical proposal to begin reforming the UNRWA by distinguishing between people who could have some claim on being refugees from the vast majority who cannot, met with Leahy’s declaration that … “it would hurt the United States’ interests.”

It is no doubt in the best interests of the denizens of Baqa’a and their Jordanian rulers, who need to spend that much less money taking care of their people, but ignorance certainly doesn’t do the United States and its interests any good. A refusal to seriously examine the books does, however, benefit the UNRWA and politicians like Leahy who continue to support this boondoggle. …

Where exactly is the compelling national interest in standing behind the UNRWA’s 1.23 billion dollar biennial budget, and not just the budget, but a refusal to reform the methodology for accounting where all that money is going to? Before Washington D.C. cuts another quarter-of-a-billion dollar check to one of the biggest wastes of money in an organization that excels at wasting money, even more than D.C., it’s entirely sensible to ask whom the money is going to and how long we will be making out these checks?

There are currently five million people living off the UNRWA dole. Sooner or later there will be fifty million. Jordan’s government has done everything possible to inflate the UNRWA welfare rolls and keep cities like Baqa’a and their people on the Western dole. …

Thomas R. Nides, the Deputy Secretary of State, took a position against the amendment, calling the number of refugees a “Final Status Issue” that can only be resolved when Israel and the PLO militias complete their negotiations, at some unknown date. Diplomats have developed a bad habit of insisting on a dysfunctional status quo tilted toward the Muslim side, until the messiah of final status finally comes. There can be no Jewish housing in Jerusalem, because it’s a final status issue, we can’t count the refugees because it’s a final status issue, and we can’t question the final status, because that too is a final status issue.

After twenty years of negotiations, that have led to nothing except a rump terrorist state that is one big Baqa’a inside Israel, it’s ridiculously clear that there will never be any final status negotiations

Final status, for all intents and purposes, means forever. It’s an excuse for maintaining Baqa’a and the United Nations budget, and nothing else. But suppose that we might one day look forward to final status negotiations, there is no reason why an objective like what makes one a refugee, cannot be addressed by the nation funding the refugees. Final status agreements cannot defer the dictionary or common sense. And unless we are expected to keep on funding Baqa’a on its 100 year anniversary or its 200 year anniversary, sooner or later the numbers have to be added up, and people whose only claim to the bottomless aid bucket is that their great-grandfather was on the losing side of a war of conquest, started by their side, will have to get a job. …

What conceivable national interest has there ever been in picking up Soviet leftovers like the PLO, and pouring billions of dollars into a sewer, which only spits up more terrorism, hate and chaos? When Senators and Deputy Secretaries talk about national interests, what they really mean is the interest of Muslim monarchies in the Gulf … 

The UNRWA, Baqa’a and the PLO aren’t an American interest — they’re a Muslim interest. What Leahy and Nides really mean is that it’s in America’s national interest to cater to Muslim interests. Nides comes closest to saying that, when he writes that cutting UNRWA aid would place a heavy burden on our allies in the region, who despite their billions in oil wealth and their passionate feelings on the subject, somehow can’t be bothered to cover the cost of feeding, teaching and caring for Baqa’a.

The King of Jordan found 1.5 billion dollars to build the Red Sea Astrarium, a local version of Disneyland, but the Hashemite monarchy, like the House of Saud, the Al-Thanis, the House of Sabah, and every other bunch of burnoosed tyrants with palaces and investments across the world, can’t be asked to care for their own people in their 50 year old refugee camps, who are kept that way because it’s an easy way to sock the gullible West for another few billion dollars to fund their terrorist training bases.

Even if there were a valid reason for the United States to champion Muslim interests by carving up Israel in order to create yet another Sunni Muslim state, it would not be a national interest, it would be appeasement. … A foreign policy of feeding other people to the beast, in the hopes that he won’t feed on us, is not a national interest — it’s craven cowardice that has no hope of succeeding.

The future of the United States will not be secured by turning Washington D.C. into the front office for a bunch of medieval tyrannies that have no future. …

To return to Cliff May’s article, he reports and comments:

There are 1.8 million Palestinians who hold Jordanian citizenship and yet are counted as refugees, despite the fact that under international law — specifically, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Article 1C, the “Cessation” Clause) — a person stops being a “refugee” once he “has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality.”

Would anyone suggest that a Pakistani citizen, the descendant of a Muslim who left India following the post–World War II partition of the subcontinent into two states, should be classified as a refugee?

It should be obvious that UNRWA’s beneficiaries are being used as cannon fodder.

– To be kept as beggars forever if the Arab leaders continue to have their way.

Incredible as it must seem to the logical Western mind, the Arab plan is to keep the Palestinian refugees as refugees dependent on hand-outs from the charitable democracies even if they attain a Palestinian state. 

They have been told by their own leaders that they will be denied Palestinian citizenship even in a future Palestinian state. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” Abdullah Abdullah, the Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon, stated last year, “but … they are not automatically citizens. … Even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [area of a projected Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”

Why not? Because statelessness makes them more lethal weapons of war. Ambassador Abdullah explained: “When we have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the conflict. This is not a solution to the conflict. This is only a new framework that will change the rules of the game.”

The end of the “game” being the liquidation of the State of Israel – the goal of the Arabs to which the State Department closes its ears and mind, because to acknowledge it would be to confess that the  whole notion of a “peace process” is nothing but a game, a farce, a protracted stupidity. As a policy, the State Department’s obstinate stance helps neither the refugees nor Israel. It prolongs the misery of  the one and the insecurity of  the other. How it serves the real long-term interests of the United States is impossible to see.