Thursday, March 05, 2015

Netanyahu to Congress: Deal with Iran paves way to bomb

In his address to Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that the proposed nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran will lead inexorably to a nuclear-armed Iran and war in the Middle East.

“This deal has two major concessions: One, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program, and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade,” Netanyahu said in his speech Tuesday morning. “That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”

Netanyahu argued that the deal under consideration, which is being negotiated with Iran by the United States and other world powers, would let most of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure stay in place, including thousands of centrifuges. That would leave Tehran with a very short “breakout time” with which it could produce nuclear weapons, he said.

The Israeli leader also said that the inspection regime under negotiation would be insufficient because inspectors can only document violations, not stop them, and Iran has a history of maintaining secret nuclear facilities.

“Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors,” Netanyahu said. “Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted.”

Because Iran threatens many of its neighbors, other countries in the region likely would develop their own nuclear weapons to keep pace with the Islamic Republic, Netanyahu warned, leaving the region “crisscrossed with nuclear tinder-wires.”

“If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again,” he said. “When we get down that road, we will face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.”

Netanyahu urged Congress to reject the deal.  “For over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal,” Netanyahu said. “Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”

The audience responded with a standing ovation.



IAEA Warns of Possible Iranian 'Activities Related to Development of a Nuclear Payload'

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has “further corroborated” information indicating that Iran “has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says in its most recent report on Iran.

Yet not only does Iran continue to deny inspectors access to a key suspect site, it has carried out work there that the agency says will make it more difficult to determine what has been going on there, should they ever be admitted in the future.

Even couched in the staid language favored by U.N. bureaucrats, the Feb. 19 report underlines the still-unresolved concerns about alleged nuclear weapons activity, even as the P5+1 group – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – draws closer to a late March deadline for a proposed nuclear agreement that will allow Iran to keep much of its nuclear infrastructure intact.

“The agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile,” IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano writes to the Vienna-based agency’s board of governors.

Those suspected activities, first outlined in a Nov. 2011 IAEA report and “assessed by the agency to be, overall, credible,” have since been “further corroborated,” he said.

The missiles which the IAEA has concerns about boast a range that encompasses Israel as well as U.S. forces in the Arabian Gulf.

In a bipartisan letter to President Obama, circulating on Capitol Hill Monday, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) pointed to Iran’s lack of cooperation, arguing that “[t]he potential military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program should be treated as a fundamental test of Tehran’s intention to uphold the final comprehensive agreement.”

Iran is obliged to allow IAEA monitors access to Parchin, a military site near Tehran, where the U.S. suspects testing of high explosive components for a nuclear weapon has been carried out.

That obligation is spelled out in a 2010 U.N. Security Council resolution, which called on Iran to “cooperate fully with the IAEA on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the IAEA …”

Meanwhile, Iran’s evident failure to comply with this requirement is outlined in Amano’s report:

--“Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the two outstanding practical measures relating to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations.” (Neutron transport studies, which determine how neutrons are moving and interacting with other materials, can be relevant to nuclear weapons development.)

--“Since the director-general’s previous report [three months ago], at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has observed, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment and probable construction materials, but no further external changes to the buildings on the site.”

--“As previously reported, the activities that have taken place at this location since February 2012 are likely to have undermined the agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.”

--“It remains important for Iran to provide answers to the agency’s questions and access to the particular location at the Parchin site.”

Iran all along has denied the IAEA allegations about suspect activities, calling them  “mere allegations” and saying they “do not merit consideration.” At the same time, however, Iranian officials have repeatedly pledged to cooperate with the agency to resolve the ambiguities.

Why Iran is not doing so is unclear, but fuels suspicions that despite its denials it does indeed have something to hide.

The Nov. 2011 IAEA report that first spelled out the concerns spoke of “credible” evidence that Iran carried out “activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” as part of a “structured program” until the end of 2003 – and that there were indications that some of those activities had continued after 2003 and “may still be ongoing.”

“The agency is concerned because some of the activities undertaken after 2003 would be highly relevant to a nuclear weapon program,” it said.

Among the alleged PMD activities identified in that report, some of it carried out at Parchin, was work on detonator designs, including detonator devices that could be used in a nuclear weapon and could fit in a ballistic missile warhead.

Specifically, it said the Iranians were believed to have worked on a project aimed at fitting a “spherical payload” into the payload chamber of a Shahab-3 missile. (The fusion device in a nuclear warhead is typically spherical in shape.)

The Shahab-3 missile, developed with North Korean assistance according to the CIA, and first test-fired by Iran in 1998, has a range of around 800 miles, potentially threatening Israel as well as U.S. forces in the Gulf.

Although Kerry and others in the administration say Iran has met its commitments under the JPOA, the PMD issue remains unaddressed.



Cardinal Dolan: ISIS Carrying Out 'Targeted Genocide' of Christians

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York City, agreed with CNN's Chris Cuomo today that Islamic State jihadists are engaging in "targeted genocide," a "holy war" against the Christian population in the Middle East, with Dolan adding that these extremists are indeed "Muslims" however "perverted" their form of Islam.

On CNN Live this morning, Mar. 3, host Chris Cuomo asked Cardinal Dolan, "Obviously, ISIS is going after everybody who doesn’t agree with them.  But do you believe that this is targeted genocide, this is holy war by these ISIS extremists on Christians?"

The cardinal said, "I do.  I think it’s time to talk turkey.  I think it’s a systematic, well-choreographed, very well-focused attempt to eradicate the ancient Christian population in the Middle East."

"Now I’m quick to add, Chris, and I mean this, I also believe with all my heart and soul that these extremists do not represent genuine Islamic thought," said Cardinal Dolan.

Cuomo then asked, "But do you believe they are Muslims?"

Dolan said, "They are, they are for sure – I would say a particularly perverted form of Islam."

Cuomo interjected, "Because you know this has been a real problem, here, for the White House, in terms of defining who the enemy is?  The president doesn’t want to give credibility to them as Muslims because they’re not really good Muslims – many believe it’s more confusing than clarifying."

Dolan, who oversees the Catholic community in New York City, then said, "No, they claim to be Muslims. Even the majority of temperate, peace-loving Muslims would say, ‘I’m afraid they have a particular strand of erroneous Islam.’ But I do think they are [Muslims]."

ISIS is the abbreviation for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the Muslim group recently changed that name to the Islamic State.

The archdiocese of New York was established in 1808 and currently serves 2.6 million Catholics in 310 different parishes (churches), as well as dozens of schools, charities, and health care facilities.



The Honesty Gap

By Thomas Sowell

There may be some poetic justice in the recent revelation that Hillary Clinton, who has made big noises about a “pay gap” between women and men, paid the women on her Senate staff just 72 percent of what she paid the men. The Obama White House staff likewise has a pay gap between women and men, as of course does the economy as a whole.

Does this mean that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both discriminate against women, that they are themselves part of the nefarious “war on women” that so many on the left loudly denounce? The poetic justice in the recent “pay gap” revelations is that the fundamental fraud in the statistics that are thrown around comes back to bite those who are promoting that fraud for political purposes.

What makes such statistics fraudulent is that they are comparing apples and oranges.

Innumerable studies, going back for decades, have shown that women do not average as many hours of work per year as men, do not have as many consecutive years of full-time employment as men, do not work in the same mix of occupations as men and do not specialize in the same mix of subjects in college as men.

Back in 1996, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that young male physicians earned 41 percent higher incomes than young female physicians. But the same study showed that young male physicians worked over 500 hours a year more than young female physicians.

When the study took into account differences in hours of work, in the fields in which male and female doctors specialized and other differences in their job characteristics, “no earnings difference was evident.” In other words, when you compare apples to apples, you don’t get the “gender gap” in pay that you get when you compare apples to oranges.

This is not peculiar to the medical profession. Nor was this a new revelation, even back in 1996. Many studies done by many scholars over the years – including female scholars – show the same thing, again and again.

A breakdown of statistics in an old monograph of mine – “Affirmative Action in Academia” – showed the pay differential between women and men evaporating, or even reversing, as you compared individuals with truly comparable characteristics. This was back in 1975, forty years ago!

There might have been some excuse for believing that income differences between women and men were proof of discrimination back in the 1960s. But there is no excuse for continuing to use misleading statistics in the 21st century, when their flaws have been exposed repeatedly and long ago.

Many kinds of high-level and high-pressure careers require working 50 or 60 hours a week regularly, and women with children – or expecting to have children – seldom choose those kinds of careers.

Nor is there any reason why they should, if they don’t want to. Raising a child is not an incidental activity that you can do in your spare time, like collecting stamps or bowling.

If you trace the actual history of women in high-level careers, you will find that it bears no resemblance to the radical feminist fable, in which advances began with the “women’s liberation” movement in the 1960s and new anti-discrimination laws.

In reality, women were far better represented in professional occupations in the first three decades of the 20th century than in the middle of that century. Women received a larger share of the postgraduate degrees necessary for such careers in the earlier era than in the 1950s and 1960s.

The proportion of women among the high achievers listed in “Who’s Who in America” in 1902 was more than double the proportion listed in 1958. The decline of women in high-level careers occurred when women’s age of marriage and child-bearing declined during the mid-century “baby boom” years.

The later rise of women began when the age of marriage and child-bearing rose again. In 1972 women again received as high a proportion of doctoral degrees as they had back in 1932.

The truth is not nearly as politically useful as scare statistics. The “gender gap” is not nearly as big as the honesty gap.



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