Part 3 #s 8-10
8.  IRAN
Trump plans to renegotiate the nuclear deal.
Last year, I followed the news about President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry “negotiating” a deal with Iran.  I was appalled at what I read and heard. Obama and Kerry were violating basic rules of negotiation:
                                       Never let the other side know one is desperate for a deal;
                                       Never bid against oneself;
                                       Always seek a quid pro quo for any concession;
                                       Always be specific in nailing down deal points;
                                       Always listen and act when the other side does not agree to deal points;
                                       Never announce a deal without a writing with the details spelled out.
One day, I happened upon a news channel with the Iranian foreign minister discussing the “agreement.” At the end of his remarks, he begin applauding [and well he might!] and stated: “Everyone knows Iran is for peace”
Iran is for peace? The funding of Hezbollah, Hamas & Yemen terrorism; the incessant chants of Death to America; the daily vows to eradicate Israel. And, in the week prior to the announcement, in a war exercise, Iran built a replica of a US carrier and blew it to bits.
Remember the 1980s and Reagan’s  “Trust but verify.”  The phrase was a translation of a Russian proverb and RR had learned Russians like to talk in proverbs. He used it as a short hand for “extensive verification procedures that would enable both sides to monitor compliance with the treaty.”
Fast forward to Obama’s Iran “deal. ” President Obama summed it up for us:
After two years of negotiations, we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
True?  Faithful to Trust but Verify? Not even close.
This might be the whopper of the speech. …Iran has been ‘permanently prohibited’ from obtaining nuclear weapons since 1970, the year Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. So this arms deal prohibits nothing that wasn’t already prohibited more than 45 years ago… like saying, ‘Nazi Germany was prohibited from attacking Poland.’… the agreement enables Iran to cheat the whole time. There is no inspection ‘anytime, anywhere’ — which is the only type of inspection that matters….a) If the IAEA suspects cheating, it gives Iran up to a 24-day notice. If Iran objects, the issue goes before the P5+1 nations, which, of course, include Russia and China. b) The United States is prohibited from ever sending in its own inspectors. c) No military sites can ever be inspected. Iran can therefore establish or move nuclear facilities to whatever area it wishes and label those areas ‘military.’
Following the announcement, controversy and contradictions exploded. Why did the U.S. not negotiate for the release for 4 hostages when they had the leverage of making the deal? Kerry said it would have been counterproductive and the parents of the hostages understood. Only they didn’t.
…the frustration voiced by the hostages’ families in the days before and after the Iran deal was finalized. ‘We said, ‘Before you walk away from the deal, make sure they’re released and secured,’ Abedini’s wife Naghmeh recalled last week.
When the hostages were released, there were denials that a ransom was paid,  then a modification as to the timing of the payments, then claims the payment was part of an earlier 1.7 billion agreement, then questions as to how that made any sense.
On that score, as we’ve asked before: What happened to the other $1.3 billion Obama agreed to pay Iran in settling the failed arms deal? If Obama had been forthright about this matter, there would have been no need to give Iran hundreds of millions in untraceable cash that it can use to support Hezbollah and other terrorists without leaving a paper trail. There would have been no need for installments; Obama could simply have wired Iran the full 1.7 billion sum – in dollars or foreign currency equivalent. The Journal concludes its report by noting that “Obama administration officials have confirmed that they paid the remaining $1.3 billion to Iran. Yet, notwithstanding inquiries from Congress and the press, the administration still ‘refuse[s] to disclose how the Obama administration made this additional payment.’
After the release of four American hostages, Iran took two more Americans hostage.
Ramirez summed it up beautifully:
Incredibly, in a December press conference, Obama blithely boasted:
And almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago.
On what earth is President Obama living?
What was predicted from the deal has occurred. Not only were billions released to Iran which it has used to fund terrorism, Iran has increased its hostile actions including launching ballistic missiles in violation of U.N. sanctions, unlawfully arresting and taking Americans hostage, threatening to shoot down U.S. planes in international airspace, harassing U.S. Navy ships.  A defense official stated there were 31 such interactions. Iran actually detained our sailors who were forced to make an apology shown on Iranian television.
John McCain properly was enraged:
…the humiliation of American servicemen and women on the deck of their ship, forcing them to kneel with their hands clasped behind their necks in gross violation of all international law…While …[Iran is] humiliating American sailors and broadcasting it throughout the Middle East, our secretary of state [John Kerry]is thanking them … [Emphasis added.]
How can anyone claim America is stronger and more respected today?
Trump has vowed to renegotiate the deal, correctly terming it a disaster. Iran has claimed there is “no possibility”it could be overturned but even the Obama State Department says we can abrogate it.
It’s not a formal treaty, and, of course, no one else can prevent any party to this agreement from walking away.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the whole deal, is the cynicism and contempt of the White House,where staffers were amused at how they manipulated reporters into supporting the deal:
…selling a misleading narrative … ‘The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns…. They literally know nothing….They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.… We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively… So we knew the tactics that worked.’…The storyline they peddled was that the Iran deal had been negotiated in a furious round of back-and-forthing in 2014 and 2015, with the United States getting far better terms out of Iran than it expected due to the flexibility of a newly moderate government in Tehran….…. The general terms were actually hammered out in 2012…, rooted on Obama’s deep desire from the beginning of the administration to strike a grand deal with the mullahs. [Emphasis added.]
To put it mildly: The Obama Administration has not keep its promise of transparency.
After early promises to be the most transparent administration in history, this has been one of the most secretive. And in certain ways, one of the most elusive. It’s also been one of the most punitive toward whistleblowers and leakers who want to bring light to wrongdoing they have observed from inside powerful institutions.
9. Ensuring the Integrity of the Vote
Is voter fraud  a real problem?  Yes.
Does voter fraud  usually benefit Democrats?  Yes.
Is voter identification necessary? Yes.
Is voter identification required in most areas of American life?  Yes.
Is voter identification necessary to apply for food stamps?  Yes.
Have more people applied for food stamps than ever before? Yes.
Is requiring voter identification racist, as Bill Clinton asserted in defeating such measures?
Of all the many lies told by Bill Clinton, this was one of his most odious.
One picture worth a thousand words? How about Nelson Mandela wearing a shirt with the legend: GET AN ID. REGISTER. VOTE.
Is requiring voter identification racist? Emphatically, NO.
There is only one reason to oppose voter ID – to make fraud easier.
[The foregoing is documented in Archive Issue 12 – VOTER FRAUD – THE LEFT’S ‘FAIL SAFE’.]
Voting reforms are essential. Ensuring the integrity of the vote is not a project that can be accomplished in the 1st 100 days but it must be started now so that  fraud will be substantially reduced for the elections in 2018  elections.
 Courtesy of A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection
The problems are many;  dead people voting and illegal immigrants voting are two obvious and prevalent frauds.
Others are more subtle. Allowing absentee voting without an affidavit of cause makes ballots available for anyone to use. Voting early allows organizations to pressure people to cast their vote without being fully informed, as many material facts come to light in the closing days.
Electronic voting machines,  often are controlled by the SEIU, a union which gives millions of dollars to democrats, have been found to turn votes pressed for a republican ticket into votes for democrats.  Drivers licenses are issued to illegal aliens, and used to register to vote.

[More details are set forth in Archive 12.]
Democrats continually complain about hacking interfering with the election. What is laughable is that no one seems to notice they never deny that what was leaked was true. This is not voter fraud; this is democrats caught in fraud
Arguing against anyone publishing stories about them just because they may have begun with Russian hackers is just a way of desperately trying to block embarrassing stories about the DNC from getting published.
Allowing felons to vote is suspect.  This was urged by Loretta Lynch and facilitated by Virginia Governor McAuliffe, a long time Hillary ally. He accomplished this by executive order, and had each felon sent a letter with instructions on how to register. Note, both Lynch and McAuliffe are democrats; and, yes there is evidence that felons vote for Democrats far more often than for republicans.

How do we correct the abuses?  Look to Mexico!

Every eligible Mexican citizen has a tamper-proof photo-ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram.  …The registration process requires all citizens to personally enroll. Proof of birth or citizenship is step one. Applicants are photographed and fingerprinted and then required to personally return to collect their voting credential. [emphasis added]
Here are 6 voting reforms that will restore integrity to the process.
1. Adoption of the tamper-proof photo-ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram;
2. Set election for Saturday or Sunday to convenience most working voters;
3. Require the vote to be cast in the voter’s precinct;
4. Ban early voting;
5. Allow absentee voting only on affidavit demonstrating good cause;
6. Count all ballots by hand at each polling place on election night.
Number 6 is the ultimate assurance that there was no tampering with the results.
Statistician Elizabeth Clarkson:
…the best solution is voter-marked paper ballots, counted by hand, in full public view.
These are bold and dramatic moves but necessary to ensure the integrity of the vote.  We are fortunate to have a President-Elect who does not shrink from the bold and dramatic.

10. Term Limits

Even more so than with voting reforms, term limits will not be accomplished anytime soon. But it should be put on the table early in 2017.

One ex-governor noted:

We didn’t always have representatives and senators as career politicians. At the end of the 19th century, for example, a member of the House of Representatives served an average of 3.5 years, and a senator served an average of 6.5 years. …This process of becoming career politicians is one reason Congress is so unpopular. It’s unhealthy to be constantly seeking re-election. It’s like a shepherd feeding himself on the lambs in his own flock, instead of fending for and protecting them. …Governing with term limits, I saw politicians do the right things for the right reasons — instead of whatever it took to get re-elected.

[Emphasis added.]

Economist Thomas Sowell made explicit the reason for term limits:

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politiciansare not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are No. 1 and No. 2. Whatever is No. 3 is far behind. [Emphasis added.]

What is the easiest way to get elected and re-elected? Give your constituents “free stuff.”  Of course, there is no  free stuff – there’s only stuff paid for by taxpayer money.

Another plain talking economist Walter Williams:

People who pay little or no income taxes become natural constituents for big-spending politicians. After all, if you pay no income taxes, what do you care if income taxes are raised? Also, you won’t be enthusiastic about tax cuts; you’ll see them as a threat to your handouts. [Emphasis added.]

Even republicans who run as fiscal conservatives succumb once they are in office.

Case in point: Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.

Hatch ran for the Senate  in 1976 against democrat Frank Moss, a three-term incumbent.  Hatch criticized Moss’ 18-year tenure in the Senate:

What do you call a Senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home.

Hatch claimed Senators in office that long lose touch with their constituents.

Hatch has now been in office 40 years with 5 more left!

Other examples:

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.  McConnell has been in office 32 years with 4 more to go

And John McCain. McCain  has been in office 33 years, 4 in the house and 30 in the Senate with 5 more to go.
They are 3 of a number of republicans who voted to approve Obama’s budget deal which raised the debt ceiling beyond  B.O.’s term, and approved $50 billion of additional spending in 2016 and $30 billion in 2017!
Hatch and McConnell were also among 10 Republican Senators who incredibly voted to confirm Loretta Lynchas Attorney General after she swore she would uphold Obama’s illegal amnesty executive order -the one Obama said 20 times he did not have the constitutional authority to make.
What happens to these people when they get in the Beltway? They do not keep their promises.

Apparently, life is easier in DC if one is acceptable to the Left.

Most outrageousof all – Hatch’s recent statement that republicans should not use what Harry Reid unintentionally [he thought Hillary would win] gifted them – the dismantling of the phony 60 vote filibuster rule.[Archive Issue 22 #1]

Hatch wants to reinstate it claiming the republicans will need it when they are in the minority. And McConnell and other republicans are reported to agree. McCain is not mentioned but at one point he had a similar view.

How crazy is that? We have seen the democrats will not honor it when they are in the majority!

This is not rocket science; it is simple math.52 republican senators lose if the requirement is 60 votes but they are winners if 51 is the measure.

Hatch was correct in 1976:  Senators in office more than 2 terms are out of touch with their constituents.  30% of Senators were in that category in 2016.
Term limits are necessary. But hogs do not lead themselves to slaughter and it is no surprise to find the entrenched against term limits.
Trump and Pence have work to do; they need to remind these senators of White House ability to make things unpleasant and they need to take the cause of term limits directly to the people. RR’s: if they won’t see the light, make them feel the heat. [Archive Issue 22 #2]
The task is made easier by the fact that 74% of the public want term limits.
And so does the President Elect.
It would seem that a deal could be made to grandfather those now in Congress in return for support of term limits going forward.
How do we enact term limits?
To amend the Constitution, Article V requires needs a 2/3rds vote of both House and Senate and then ratification by 3/4ths of the States. But Article V allows another procedure:
  1. Two-thirds of state legislatures (34) pass bills applying for the Term Limits Convention.
  2. Congress is mandated to call the Convention.
  3. The Convention, which features delegates chosen by the states, proposes one or more term limits amendments.
  4. Three-quarters of states (38) must ratify the amendment, either by legislature or state convention.
With this process there are checks in place to make sure that there is a narrow agenda for the term limits convention to discuss ONLY term limits on Congress. This will ultimately help us accomplish our goal as over 75% of Americans agree with term limits. It means no other divisional issue can sneak in and prevent our progress.

Most proposals suggest 2 term limit for the Senate and 6 term limit for the House – 12 years for each.

I would prefer that to be halved – one term for  the Senate and 3 terms for the House.

We need not fear that the limits will dissuade people from running. United States senators and representatives are paid well, their benefits are exceptional, their expense allowances generous, their pensions outstanding and the working days limited.

The base salary for a member of Congress is $174,000…[and an] allowance. This funding generally goes toward maintaining their offices and building up a legislative entourage. In the House, representatives are allowed to spend more than $900,000 on salaries for up to 18 permanent employees. They get about a quarter-million dollars more for office expenses, including travel, and additional funding for a well-known congressional perk known as ‘franking’ … the term for the mass constituent mail sent out by members of Congress and paid for courtesy of the taxpayer. Senators enjoy the same privilege but get a much bigger allowance for their office expenses… each senator is given a $500,000 budget to hire up to three legislative assistants…
members move into an office on Capitol Hill,…[and] they maintain space in their home districts and states too. … Every senator gets $40,000 — and potentially more — for furniture in their home-state offices…Members of Congress can deduct up to $3,000 for expenses while outside their home districts or states.
…[weekly] The Senate has averaged about three working days on Capitol Hill… Plus there are several breaks, which Congress calls “work periods…a Presidents Day break, a spring break, a Memorial Day break, an Independence Day break and a summer break.

As for pensions:

Congress has a retirement plan that would make any Fortune 500 executive blush. Members can retire younger, having contributed fewer of their own dollars, than almost any worker in the country — even more than the generous terms other federal workers get.

So let’s bring on the term limits and more. The President Elect has also proposed 5 worthy ethical reforms.

  1. Instituting a five-year ban on all executive branch officials from lobbying the government after they leave government service. (Currently officials are barred from lobbying the agency they leave for one or two years, depending on their seniority.)
  2. Calling on Congress to impose its own five-year ban on former members and their staffs from lobbying. (Currently the prohibition is one year for House members and two years for senators.)
  3. Expanding the definition of a lobbyist to close the loopholes that Trump says allow former government officials to label themselves consultants and advisers “when we all know they are lobbyists.”
  4. Issuing a lifetime ban on senior executive branch officials from lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
  5. Asking Congress to pass campaign finance reform that would prevent registered foreign lobbyists from raising money in American elections.

President-Elect Trump needs our help to get the RINOs in line. Let our representatives know “We the People”are their employers not their servants. They need to vote for term limits.

Professional politicians like to talk about the value of experience in government. Nuts! The only experience you gain in politics is how to be political. …Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty…
The one thing our Founding Fathers could not foresee — they were farmers, professional men, businessmen giving of their time and effort to an idea that became a country — was a nation governed by professional politicians who had an interest in getting re-elected. They probably envisioned a fellow serving a couple of hitches and then eagerly looking forward to getting back to the farm.
– Ronald Reagan

Dick Coleman

Richard M. Coleman served as National Co-Chair, Lawyers for Reagan-Bush ’84 and really does miss RR. A graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, Dick is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and of the National Caucus of Metropolitan Bar Leaders. A professor on the faculty of Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution for 17 years, he received Pepperdine’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He has hosted TV forums on legal and financial topics and written and spoken extensively on political issues.

© Richard M. Coleman 2018