Negotiations with the Iranian regime facilitated by our Russian “friends” have culminated in a final text of a new nuke deal announced in Vienna this week on August 8. FDD’s Richard Goldberg reviews the state of play in the disheartening essay “Five minutes from disaster.” Under the terms of a new deal:
Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030, including the lifting of U.S. terrorism sanctions imposed on the top financiers of a group President Joe Biden recently reaffirmed as a terrorist organization: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. As with the 2015 agreement, Iran would face no restrictions on its development of nuclear-capable missiles, its proliferation and sponsorship of terrorism throughout the Middle East, and its abuse of the Iranian people. And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Pompeo adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.
Emanuele Ottolenghi’s Tablet column “Totalitarians Inc.” supplements Goldberg’s essay. It is hard to understand the thinking behind the promotion of such a deal in terms of the national interest of the United States. Brain death doesn’t explain it. Suicidal self-delusion might do it.
The Biden administration waited until this week to unseal the August 5 criminal complaint against the IRGC operative charged in the case. He was not in the United States and has not been taken into custody.
I can’t think of any reason other than the finalization of the prospective deal to have sealed the complaint. The defendant appears to be beyond the reach of American justice (“at large abroad,” in the terms of the press release), and the defendant’s superiors in the IRGC chain of command remain unnamed and uncharged.
Bolton’s colleagues in the AEI office can’t be too thrilled with the plan as described in the charge. Moreover, the IRGC operative had a second (unnamed) target in mind. It is apparent even from the Department of Justice press release on the case that the Iranians have operatives working on American soil.
In an interview with FOX News digital reporter Brooke Singman, Bolton characterized the plot as an “act of war,” which of course it is, and called on Biden to give up the ghost of the deal with his prospective assassins. The AP quotes Bolton’s statement on the charge: “While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable: Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States.” The FOX News interview quotes Bolton on this salient point that remains implicit in the complaint:
“It is not just me,” Bolton said. “The regime in Tehran has targeted a lot of Americans.”
“The aim here is to kill Americans on American soil, and its former government officials,” Bolton explained. “This is a broad threat to private American citizens on American soil, and I think it is, essentially, unprecedented.”
The Biden administration cannot admit that the Iranian regime is at war with us any more than the Obama administration could. That “death to America” thing is simply boob bait for the Iranian bubbas, or something like that.
I’m afraid that this will not be the final installment of the Iran edition of this series. More to come.
Drawing on this week’s BLS report on the Consumer Price Index, President Biden and his flacks promoted the idea that inflation had dramatically fallen to 0 percent last month. I noted the administration’s 0 percent chorus here yesterday. Is it too late to cancel the destructive monstrosity moving through Congress under the misnomer of the Inflation Reduction Act?
That is one question the Democrat media adjunct failed to raise as it fell into line yesterday reiterating the talking point of the day (video below). So far as I can tell from the video, however, even the media adjunct could not whip itself into repetition of the 0 percent line.
A footnote to our coverage of inflation and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). IRA is the word for “anger” or “rage” in Latin. It is there in the opening lines of Vergil’s Aeneid (Aeneas is “battered” by “the savage Juno’s unforgetting anger,” in Allen Mandelbaum’s translation). At NRO, Philip Klein reports that Joe Manchin himself appears to have been battered by IRA:
[T]he polling for Manchin is…brutal. It finds that 51 percent of registered voters now have an unfavorable opinion of him, compared to just 21 percent who have a favorable view. In the same poll last month, Manchin was nearly even, with 34 percent favorable and 35 percent favorable.
That means that in a matter of a few weeks, Manchin’s favorability dropped a net 29 points! And there’s no way that can be attributable to anything other than his public support for the Democrats tax, spend, Obamacare expansion, and IRS audit bill [i.e., the IRA].
To be clear, this is not a poll of his home state of West Virginia, and it is unclear whether Manchin will even run again when he is up for reelection in 2024.
But it does undercut the idea that this bill is broadly popular and will give Democrats a big boost in November.
I asked yesterday who could think it was a good look to retail the line that inflation had fallen to 0 percent. The inflation ignited by Biden stares us in the face every day. Voters are resistant both to the administration’s happy talk and the alleged charms of IRA.
In their own way President Biden’s White House minders must be just about as far gone as he is. With the announcement that Consumer Price Index had declined year-over-year from 9.1 percent to 8.5 percent, they thought it made sense to push the line that the numbers reflect “zero inflation last month” (i.e., on a month to month basis). The Bureau of Labor Statistics data are compiled here (home page) and here (latest numbers).
This was the line of the day. The New York Post captures the bizarreries in the editorial “With prices up and output down, Biden’s boast of ‘0% inflation’ is beyond parody.” Put to one side Biden’s Zombie-in-Chief demeanor. Who can think this is a good look?
The whole thing puts me in mind of Leo Strauss’s observation regarding modern political science: “Only a great fool would call the new political science diabolic: it has no attributes peculiar to fallen angels. It is not even Machiavellian, for Machiavelli’s teaching was graceful, subtle, and colorful. Nor is it Neronian. Nevertheless one may say of it that it fiddles while Rome burns. It is excused by two facts: it does not know that it fiddles, and it does not know that Rome burns.”
Biden: "Today we received news that our economy had 0% inflation in the month of July. Zero percent." pic.twitter.com/n5IG1ONxe3
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) August 10, 2022
Is this the dumbest PR stunt of all time? If you haven’t seen it yet, the Democrats are trying to take “Let’s go, Brandon” and make it their own, much like Donald Trump did with fake news. Thus, they are putting out “Dark Brandon” memes in which Joe Biden appears as a rather sinister superhero.
This one comes from Biden’s Deputy Press Secretary:
A Biden staffer tried to make Dark Brandon a thing but copied a meme off of 4chan with a Reich Eagle in the background pic.twitter.com/C6h0eAP8Yv
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) August 8, 2022
The White House had to put out a statement to the effect that they didn’t intentionally incorporate Nazi imagery. Great job, PR team!
Here is another “Dark Brandon,” again from the Deputy Press Secretary. By the way, can you imagine being Karine Jean-Pierre’s deputy?
Dark Brandon is crushing it pic.twitter.com/w0L8xCzIW8
— Andrew Bates (@AndrewJBates46) August 7, 2022
This one is by Senator Chris Murphy:
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 7, 2022
Young conservatives like the ones I work with say, “The left can’t meme!” The Dark Brandon campaign bears that out. And of course, as many have pointed out, the idea of casting Joe Biden as a superhero is laughable. The man can’t even put on his own coat.
The Left holds our culture’s commanding heights, but one area where the right reigns supreme is memes. Basically, what is going on here is that the Biden administration is trying to compete with The Week In Pictures.
The White House leaked to its media adjunct that Biden and his aides didn’t know about the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago until they read about it on Twitter:
Senior White House officials found out about the FBI’s Mar a Lago raid on Twitter, had no notice, per source familiar
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) August 8, 2022
This claim is laughable. There is no way that Merrick Garland authorized a raid on the home of a former president and likely 2024 candidate without the express approval, likely in writing, of his boss, Joe Biden. As so often happens, one is left asking: how dumb do they think we are?
STEVE adds—When you’ve lost . . . (check notes) . . . Andrew Cuomo!?!?: