What's $400 Million When You're Appeasing?

You could tell. By the long pauses. And slightly-strangled voice projection. That even Josh Earnest had some difficulty getting out the official denials that a planeload full of pallets of hard currency in the dead of the night to Iran was not what it clearly was: a ransom payment by America to a terrorist-sponsoring, radical, islamic theocracy. Who had American servicemen imprisoned. And who finally released them the day after the planeload of cash arrived in Tehran.

While $400 million might seem like a relatively small amount to Washington insiders who cobble together sums that are orders of magnitude greater on a weekly or even daily basis, it is a lot of cash when you are supporting forces in Syria's civil war and elsewhere in the Middle East. And it will get to those forces, as salaries and munitions, you can be sure of that. In fact, it has already. All this happened back in January.

And of course, you have to add $1.3 billion that also is going Iran's way. All part of the Iran deal. But Josh and the folks at State seem to be assured that Iran is using the money for infrastructure projects. As Josh Earnest declared in a momentary fit of passion: their infrastructure was crumbling!

Never mind Hezbollah, Iran needs better highways and sewage treatment plants. Which they surely do, as a corrupt resources-rich theocracy that has squandered their oil wealth and made enemies throughout the Middle East and the World. And yes, thank goodness, sanctions have been applied against such a destabilizing, hate-mongering regime. And they did squeeze the regime.

But that's the wrong narrative. Just ask Obama. We have to encourage the ayatollahs to become members of the green-loving, civilized world. We have to embrace their honest desire for nuclear energy. The way Russia embraced 20% of America's uranium reserves, thanks to lobbying done in, and money flowing through, the Clinton Foundation. And a little help from the Secretary of State back in 2010. And her boss of course. That's the way Iran should do business with America! And with a few more billion dollars handed over to Tehran, they surely will.

Aside from the Obama administration's encouragement of Iran to behave like Putin's Russia, there is a further slight problem. Because the $400 million was nothing if not a ransom payment, other bad actors now view America as willing to pay up if servicemen and women are taken hostages. Or if other high-value individuals are taken hostage. Americans around the world are far more vulnerable as a result of the secret payment.

In other words, any consistent and rigorous signaling by America has now been undercut by the Obama administration's actions. Yes, there are echoes of the Iran-Contra scandal. But that produced a Congressional inquiry, which is what is needed to get to the bottom of how this deal was put together. And this is a far greater scandal, because it comes wrapped up in a nuclear deal that may result in Iran becoming capable of doing precisely what the deal was supposed to prevent: acquiring nuclear weapons.

While Trump has had a really rough week and is all over the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the Iran deal is proving to be a frighteningly incompetent work of political appeasement that both Hillary and Obama will have to answer for. For years to come.

Posted by Keeley at August 4, 2016 10:53 PM
Comment #406667

Another article by someone who never reads what’s already written here. Christine and John have apparently abandoned Watchblog.

Posted by: oraoghaile at August 5, 2016 7:01 PM
Comment #406668

To be clear, this is Iran’s money. The Iran gave it to us 40 years as part of an arms purchase and we never delivered those arms. The only honest thing to do would be to refund the payment.

That said, Ann Althouse does make an interesting point. Even if the $400 million was not a ransom payment, the fact that Republicans claim that it was has now severely damaged the credibility of America’s claim to never pay ransom. Keep up the good work, guys!

Posted by: Warren Porter at August 5, 2016 7:11 PM
Comment #406670

Instead of congratulations to Kerry and Obama for a hand well played, we get this crap.

The Iranians have wanted their $400 million back for a very long time. There is little question that they had a legitimate legal claim. They also wanted the Iranian political prisoners held in the US returned to Iran. We wanted the American political prisoners held in Iran returned to the US. But, far more importantly, we wanted independent assurance from the IAEA that Iran had complied with all nuclear pre-conditions before final sign off on the nuclear agreement and lifting of the far more significant economic sanctions.

So, Kerry and Obama conditioned the monetary and prisoner exchange on independent verification that Iran had complied with all nuclear pre-conditions to the main nuclear agreement before executing the prisoner and monetary exchange.

The prisoner exchange and return of the Iranian money was not an isolated agreement and was leveraged by the US to obtain assurances that Iran was not playing games on the general nuclear agreements.

Posted by: Rich at August 5, 2016 9:16 PM
Comment #406672


What else would you expect from the “blame America first” crowd?

Posted by: Warren Porter at August 6, 2016 9:42 AM
Comment #406673

Julian Assange on Real Time with Bill Maher yesterday:


Posted by: oraoghaile at August 6, 2016 11:11 AM
Comment #406689

And the rout is on.

Polls opening up to double digit leads for HRC. Swing states too. Red states like GA +4 and now +7.

High profile Republicans turning against Trump, including the 50 who signed a letter denouncing Trump for his temperament and unsuitability to be in charge. I mean, that was almost the entire GOP foreign policy establishment dating back to Nixon.

He gave a speech off a teleprompter about the economy. He was congratulated for staying on message, meaning he did not attack the family of a slain soldier, or denounce a judge for being Mexican.

Instead, he tweeted this:

“Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails.”

Apparently Trump picked this up from Senator Cotton, who came out with it on a Sunday talk show. A fact checker called this the stupidest one yet. The Iranian was mentioned in newspapers by name, but never in HRC’s e-mails. On the plus side, it sparked an entire meme of hilarity- statements starting with “Many people are saying…” and then finishing with whatever ridiculous claim you care to make. Good times.

And today, he said this in a speech:

…” if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Let me guess. Implying someone might assassinate Hillary Clinton or her judicial appointments is just another example of sarcasm. ‘Just kidding’ about using a gun on her, folks!

This is, without question, the worst presidential campaign in modern history. And it is only August.

Posted by: phx8 at August 9, 2016 4:12 PM
Comment #406690

Correction- the fact check called the tweet about the Iranian and HRC’s e-mails “among the stupidest claims made so far in this campaign.” Not necessarily the stupidest one of all. But right up there. The competition for the title of stupidest is truly fierce.

Posted by: phx8 at August 9, 2016 4:18 PM
Comment #406696
This is, without question, the worst presidential campaign in modern history. And it is only August.

Posted by: phx8 at August 9, 2016 4:12 PM

It’s so bad that the biggest problem might be getting people out to vote in November. One thing for sure is that the Mexican-American vote will be huge. Drumpf made sure of that.

I don’t understand why Drumpf’s statements are considered to be newsworthy. If he says something, it’s bound to be a lie, nonsense, or confused gibberish. How is that news? “Many people are saying…” that you are unfit, Drumpf, so why don’t you address that instead of making accusations based on what a friend of a friend told you.

There is some question about whether or not Condoleezza Rice would come out against Drumpf. It looks like she just doesn’t believe there is any possibility that he will be elected.

Posted by: oraoghilie at August 9, 2016 5:20 PM
Comment #406715

Why would you take the left nut, or the right nut, when you could have The Johnson?

(Funniest Meme I’ve seen in months)

In all seriousness, I wrote a piece on this and Trump’s inexplicable rise to his current (and unforseen level).

You liberals have it wrong, very wrong, and I laugh at Warren’s comment that Conservative’s are the “Blame America First” crowd. Liberals have been descrying American Exceptionalism, and talking about how terrible we are, and racist we are, and violent and corrupt since Bush. Obama trots around the world apologizing for how bad America is, and somehow the other side is the side that blames America first? Laughable.

Trump’s rise to power spans all socioeconomic and ethnic lines BECAUSE he is such a rabid dog. The left and progressive movement (not a new idea at all) have been so unbelievably successful at controlling the social narrative and moral momentum in this country, I believe we have reached a terrible tipping point.

The cauldron of frustration has bubbled and the social and economic pendulum has swung SO far to the left, that millions of people (Trump Supporters) would rather see the whole place burn than to see another transvestite follow a little girl into the Target restroom. As a nation we have lost our minds.

Here’s what it means to be conservative nowadays, according to the continual stream of leftist media rhetoric:

If you disagree with Obama on anything, you are a racist.
If you are black and disagree with Obama, you are an Uncle Tom and should know your place.
If you think Obama has done nothing to unite us, only to divide us, you’re a racist and hate blacks.
If you think Obama is the LEAST transparent presidency in US history, same same. Racist.
If you disagree with total government domination over your life, you are a radical.
If you disagree with LGBTQQ being rammed down our throats (pardon) all the time, you are an intolerant bigot.
If you simply think traditional families are the ideal, again, bigot.
If you HAVE ideals at all(that aren’t liberal/socialist) you’re a bigot.
If you think participation trophies are a mentally retarded idea, and a disservice to youth, you are an intolerant ogre.
If you even use the word retarded, you’re as bad as a criminal.
If you think guns are to hunt and defend yourself from bad guys, you are an enemy of the state.
If you think a woman who wants to stay home to raise her kids is the most beautiful, powerful, awesome thing in the world, you are a sexist, woman-hating creep.

The point in this mere scratching of the surface of the amazing label job the left has done, is that it has driven the discourse down into the guts of conservatives. The left has made it such that ANY discourse or disagreement (in the political world) is simply answered by a denigrating label. Regardless of the merit of the point. You are either Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, or Bigoted. Pick your poison.

Given enough time, suppressing healthy frank discussion about issues, along comes the loudmouth jackass, Donald Trump. He slams a spigot into the emotional pressure cooker where normal people of all walks of life have been stuffing their emotional frustrations and disagreements and BAM, an inexplicable rise to the top fueled by the steam of collective frustration that has been building for decades.

Mobs don’t start out Mobs, they start out as tinder, waiting for a match. That is exactly what Trump has done, and it’s a scary time. Conservatives have been so desiccated by the process of watching anything traditional or moral be destroyed on the altar of the left’s war against traditional values, that they are reduced to tinder for Trump’s Bombastic match.

Scary for everyone.

5 people in the last month have been murdered
all near to Hillary Clinton with potentially damaging evidence against her.

I am not excited for the years to come. Over the weekend I chanced to read the declaration of independence. It reads very like the mental manifesto of many, many conservatives I know.

“Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn,that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

The left’s inexorable march to embrace what has been long held as deviance, to destroy the traditional family values, and to divide the country into as many groups as possible (to peddle oppression to) is what is fueling the ridiculous mob mentality of Trump’s campaign. It is the very heart of the Trump campaign and the extremely bloody future I fear is headed our way.

I’ve been in group settings recently where women who I’ve only ever heard speak with grace and kindness speak of death and politicians hanging from nooses. The speeding train is off the rails, and more labels and name calling are only making things worse. The worst thing you could do is stick your head in the sand and think the movement is fringe or small. It is staggeringly large, and a largely silent group, who are ready for a great, and if need be violent, reset.

Scary times indeed.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at August 10, 2016 4:32 PM
Comment #406718

Yukon Jake, I don’t share your fear of the future. I see it as nothing more than the working folks looking for a restoration of a more balanced economy.

The majority are opposed to the inequality prevalent in the nation.

So many young people are coming out of college and unable to find decent paying jobs. Many are left with college debt, living with their parents and so on - - -

Millions of special and general skill folks have been sidelined by globalism, automation and immigration.

Well, it’s clear the establishment/corpocracy wasn’t going to offer major reform. None, not one, of the 16 or so GOP candidates offered anything more than to dance with those that brung them.

Trumps supporters, while they would like major reform, are not expecting him to do much more than fringe change. They are most happy that he may be a stick in the eye of the establishment.

Just like Obama, Trump may do 4 or 8 years and after that the establishment will clear out anything Trump has done they don’t like and globalism will rock on.

Possible that when Trump fails to measure up biggly a new third party might rise up and, over time, get us some reform.

Right now Trump is the closest thing we’ve got to a Jefferson revolution.

Otherwise, we have the corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: roy ellis at August 10, 2016 5:22 PM
Comment #406722

We’re past the tipping point of business as usual. Sound money is utterly gone. The cash faeries have all been gobbled alive and the global ponzi scheme has lost control.

It’s not the 80’s anymore. Our national debt grows by a million dollars a minute now. The money that was referenced in the start of this thread is added to our national credit card balance EVERY 7 Hours.

I think you’re wrong. We won’t make it 8 more years of business as usual.

Anyone with dirt on the Clinton’s won’t make it 8 more hours the way things are going.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at August 10, 2016 6:35 PM
Comment #406748


Let me know when you’ve returned to reality. Otherwise, your baseless accusations aren’t going anywhere.

Posted by: Warren Porter at August 11, 2016 3:17 PM
Comment #406769

I am planted firmly in reality Warren. All of my statements are either personal anecdotes, my observations about media responses to anything that is not politically correct or left leaning, or a link to a story you can read for yourself.

I’ve watched for years as this cauldron bubbled, and if you want to call it a fantasy that the country has been divided into as many little groups as possible (note: the exact opposite of E Pluribus Unum) in order for the left to peddle oppression, then call me crazy. It only proves the point I made that the left simply denigrates a messenger and that is what is causing Trump’s rise to political power.

And to me, the notion is scary.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at August 12, 2016 3:56 PM
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