I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of a railway station
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places only they would know
Lie-la-lie . . .
Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
Lie-la-lie . . .
Now the years are rolling by me
The are rocking easily
I am older than I once was
And younger than I’ll be
But that’s not unusual
No, it isn’t strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are
More or less the same
Then I’m laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone
Where the New York City winters aren’t bleeding me
In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the remainders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains
Lie-la-lie . . .
Trump says CAN’T promise not to run third party campaign
2016 Republican Party President Debate – 6 August 2015
Post debate analysis of 1st Republican Presidential Debate 2016 – The Kelly File
Rand Paul Closing Statements – FOX GOP Debate
FULL Debate: First Republican Presidential Debate: Lower Tier Candidates (8-6-15)
First GOP Debate: Rick Perry & Carly Fiorina BASH Donald Trump
How presidential contenders stack up before first debate
Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Central Park – Thanks
SIMON & GARFUNKEL – Sound of silence (1967 Live)
Who Won the Republican Presidential Debate?
Ten leading candidates for the nomination faced off in Cleveland, and some fared better than others.
John Minchillo / AP
THE EDITORS AUG 6, 2015
Anyone who thought that Donald Trump would take a conciliatory tack in the first Republican debate was quickly disillusioned. Chris Wallace, one of the Fox News moderators, asked if any candidate was unwilling to pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. And Trump, offering his best, most dramatic shrug, happily refused to take the pledge.
That set the tone for the rest of the night: First, the moderators weren’t going to pull any punches. Throughout the evening, they probed the candidates’ greatest perceived weaknesses. And second, Trump had no intention of abandoning the act that’s carried him from perennial joke to the top of the Republican presidential-nomination field.
It was a debate marked by conversations about immigration, abortion, and foreign policy—especially about Iran. The discussion of race relations, the biggest news story of the last year, was notably sparse. It took more than 90 minutes until a candidate received a #BlackLivesMatter question, and when it came, the candidates opted to tread lightly, avoiding unforced errors.
The evening also lacked many direct battles between the candidates. That was partly a factor of the format, but when asked to critique or speak directly to an onstage rival, the hopefuls often demurred.
That made the two big battles of the night all the more notable. In the first, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul battled over terrorism and civil liberties, with Christie accusing the senator of failing to understand the threat to the nation—and Paul tartly responding that Christie failed to understand the Bill of Rights. Later, Christie tangled with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who has presented himself as a defender of entitlements for workers and seniors.
And there was Trump, of course. He was, inevitably, one of the standouts of the night. Although he mostly avoided taking direct shots at his opponents, he couldn’t resist battling the moderators. They hardly relented, asking him about boorish comments about women; his slurs against Mexican immigrants; his previous Democratic allegiance; his past description of himself as pro-choice; and his donations to Hillary Clinton.
Trump repeatedly took issue with questions and interrupted the hosts, and what he lacked in coherence or detail, he made up for in bluster and grievance. Some of the questions seemed to play directly into his hands. Whether the night was good or bad for Trump remains to be seen—I’ve learned better in recent weeks than to try to predict whether the real-estate mogul’s comments will redound to his benefit or disadvantage.
But it’s interesting to watch Trump turn his weaknesses into strengths, which he does with an ease that eludes some long-time politicians. And he has plenty of weaknesses. He seems to be betting that his clear anger can, well, trump all of those flaws. Asked about donating to Clinton, for example, Trump delivered what amounted to a rousing defense of crony capitalism, saying that as a businessman he did what he had to. Later, asked about his companies declaring bankruptcy, he insisted he was just shrewdly taking advantage of the system.
He seems to be saying to the disaffected everyman Republican who’s angry at Washington and angry at his leaders: Yes, you’re right. The system is rigged. Would you rather elect a guy who’s part of that, or a guy who sits outside it and is shrewd enough to get rich from it? The hope is that they’ll respect his hustle and his ability to take advantage of that rigging, rather than viewing him as an elite charlatan.
Among the other candidates, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was able to make a strong impression and get lots of camera time but he also faced several difficult questions from the moderators, and he didn’t always have ready answers. Despite being asked repeatedly about the war in Iraq, Bush still doesn’t have a punchy and persuasive response (a problem he shares with Hillary Clinton). He also stumbled in replying to questions about his membership on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies and about the Common Core.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave one of the best performances of the night, showing why so many commentators remain bullish on his prospects despite his middling poll numbers. Rubio delivered strong and detailed answers, appearing poised and in command of his material. His best line of the night came early on, when he noted that he’d only recently paid off his student loans and asked, “How is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck?”
Yet perhaps the most surprising showing came from Chris Christie. His presidential campaign has widely been viewed as past its expiration date. But he was able to capitalize on his everyman persona Thursday night—speaking in detail, delivering his responses with passion, and picking his fights without letting his temper get the better of him.
Not everyone had such a strong night. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has consistently run alongside Bush and Trump atop polls, but his answers on Thursday night were forgettable. In his closing statement, he promised he was “aggressively normal,” but Walker’s problem in Cleveland was that the “aggressive” hardly came through. That’s not the worst-possible scenario for him: He avoided committing a serious gaffe, despite repeated questions that seemed aimed at testing his knowledge of foreign policy, and his strong showing to this point means this debate is unlikely to prove decisive for his prospects.
Ben Carson, a first-time debater and candidate, seemed listless and low-energy, and while he faithfully repeated the culture-war mantras that have won him fans, he didn’t have direct answers to almost any of the questions he fielded. (Carson did score some late points with a couple of funny jokes about brain removal in his closing statements.) Rand Paul also seemed a bit lost on stage. At his best, Paul is able to use the rest of the field as his foil, but on Thursday, he fumbled questions about Iran and foreign aid to Israel, passing up opportunities to land punches on his rivals. Beset by campaign scandal and fundraising struggles, Paul needed a strong performance, and he failed to produce one.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Huckabee, meanwhile, made up the middle of the pack and presented an interesting contrast. Both are charismatic figures vying for the social conservative vote. Cruz stuck mostly to his tried and true lines, and boasted of the long list of legislation that he has proposed in the Senate (without emphasizing the fact that none of it has become law). Huckabee, meanwhile, threw red meat to religious conservatives while playing up a populist case for entitlements.
The biggest question mark of the night is John Kasich. The Ohio governor was the last man to make it onto the stage, polling lowest among the 10 candidates who made the cut. At times, he seemed in command, but he also didn’t have a good answer to a question about accepting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Was his performance enough to make it to the next stage, or will a standout from the “kids’ table” debate earlier—perhaps consensus champion Carly Fiorina—take his spot? —David A. Graham
Republican debate veers between two subjects: America and Trump
By David A. Fahrenthold and Sean SullivanAugust 6 at 11:05 PM
At times, the other nine candidates on stage debated serious policies—immigration, the nuclear deal with Iran, government surveillance, the future of Social Security. And then, at times, the debate veered to Trump himself: a sharp-edged candidate who can say things that would torpedo anybody else on stage.
Earlier in the debate, Trump defended himself against questions about his companies’ multiple bankruptcy filings during Thursday night’s first major Republican primary debate, saying that he had “taken advantage” of the country’s bankruptcy in order to help his businesses.
“Out of hundreds of deals—hundreds–on four occasions, I’ve taken advantage of the laws of this country, like other people,” Trump said, in response to a question from moderator Chris Wallace. “The difference is, when somebody else uses those laws, nobody writes about it. When I use it, it’s like, ‘Oh, Trump, Trump, Trump.”
In one of the non-Trump-related exchanges, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Paul (got into a heated argument about the limits of government surveillance during Thursday night’s first major Republican debates, in an exchange that showcased two competing poles of Republican thought about security and privacy.
“I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans,” said Paul, the son of libertarian icon Ron Paul, and one of the party’s strongest advocates for limiting government collection of Americans’ phone records and other data.
“That’s a completely ridiculous answer,” said Christie, a former federal prosecutor, who has said that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks illustrated the need for broad-ranging collection of intelligence. “How are you supposed to know?”
“Use the Fourth Amendment! Get a warrant!” Paul responded.
Christie countered with the age-old insult that governors use against senators: “When you’re sitting in a subcommittee, blowing hot air about this,” the problem might seem easy, he said.
Paul retorted with the age-old insult that other Republicans use against Christie. “I don’t trust President Obama,” with records, he said. “I know you gave him a big hug.”
On a stage with 10 candidates, some seemed almost to disappear—neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) all struggled for air time. Others broke with the hard-edged cultural conservatism that dominated the 2012 Republican primary. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he had attended a same-sex wedding, and described that the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage should be accepted as the law of the land.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush defended an earlier statement calling immigration—including illegal immigration—“an act of love.”
“I believe that the great majority of people coming here illegally have no other option, and they want to provide for our family. But we need to control our border,” Bush said, pivoting to his plans to crack down on illegal immigration. He also returned to an idea that other Republicans have rejected: “There should be a path to earned legal status,” for illegal immigrants already in this country, Bush said. Others have rejected any pathway to legal status as “amnesty.”
But, time and again, the debate returned to Trump—and his long history of over-the-top statements, and flirtations with Democrats and Democratic ideas. At one point, Trump reiterated what—for any other candidate—would be a radioactive statement. He liked nationalized-single-payer health-care system—at least, as it worked in other countries.
“It works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked” in the U.S. at one point, Trump said. Still, he said, he now supports a more modest set of health-care reforms, including allowing consumers to buy insurance across state lines.
Paul spoke up, saying that Trump was on the wrong side of everybody by praising a single-payer system. Trump brushed him off. “I don’t think you heard me. You’re having a hard time tonight,” he said.
In the debate’s second hour, there was a civil exchange between Christie and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee about how to reform Social Security. Christie urged some reforms: raising the age at which seniors are eligible for the benefits, and allowing well-off seniors to collect less. Huckabee resisted those changes, saying that any reduction in anyone’s Social Security benefits was “fundamentally lying to the people, and stealing from them.”
“He’s complaining about the lying and stealing–the lying and stealing has already occurred,” Christie said, meaning that the Social Security trust fund was already under-funded.
Earlier in the debate, Trump took credit for bringing the subject of immigration into the 2016 presidential campaign during the first major GOP candidates’ debate on Thursday evening, in a sharp-edged performance in which he also indicated he might run as a third-party candidate if Republicans don’t choose him.
“If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn’t be talking. This wasn’t a subject,” Trump said to one moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Wallace also tried to press Trump to produce evidence for a key Trump claim: that the Mexican government was actively dispatching illegal immigrants over the border. Trump cited only conversations with “Border patrol. People, that I deal with, that I talk to, they say, this is what’s happening.”
He said he remained convinced that the Mexican government was orchestrating immigration, in order to avoid paying benefits and other costs associated with its own citizens. “The stupid leaders of the United States will do it for ‘em, and that’s happening, whether you like it or not.”
At the beginning of the debate, Paul had shown himself willing to attack Trump. But not everyone thought that was wise.
“They say we’re outspoken, we need to take lessons from Donald Trump,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said, when Wallace asked him to critique Trump’s assertion. “He’s hitting a nerve.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), also prompted to criticize Trump, also refused.
“People are frustrated,” he said.
As the debate’s first question, moderators asked candidates to raise their hand if they would not forswear running a third-party campaign against the GOP candidate. None of the 10 onstage raised their hand. And then, after theatrical pause, Trump did.
“I cannot say, ‘I have to respect the person, who is not me,’” Trump said, as the crowd booed him. “We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee.”
Immediately, Paul attacked, saying that Trump was “hedging his bets,” and accusing him of being too close to the Clinton family. “He’s already hedging his bets on the Clintons,” Paul said, pointing in Trump’s direction. “He’s already hedging his bets, because he’s used to buying politicians.”
Just as in 2012, the primary showcased the GOP’s combative side. The crowd cheered when a moderator mentioned that Cruz had called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)—one of the top Republicans in Washington—a “liar.” And onstage, Trump continued to be the best at embodying that edge. When moderator Megyn Kelly asked Trump about past statements criticizing women for their appearance, Trump responded by saying, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.”
He then turned on Kelly herself, suggesting she was on thin ice by even asking the question.
“I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either,” Trump said, as the crowd cheered. “If you don’t like it, Megyn, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you. Although I could maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me.”
Other candidates sought to distinguish themselves in the debate’s first few minutes. Huckabee attacked Planned Parenthood by saying that it sold parts of aborted fetuses “like parts to a Buick.” Rubio, whose parents were Cuban immigrants, said that he could debate Hillary Rodham Clinton about what’s best for families living paycheck-to-paycheck, because he had lived that way.Bush—the son and brother of presidents—responded to a question about his family legacy by saying that “They called me Veto Corleone,” in Florida, he said, because he had vetoed so many bills. “I’m my own man.”
The two-hour debate, which began at 9 p.m. on Fox News Channel, ties the record for most candidates in any primary-season debate. And that’s not even the whole field: earlier Thursday evening, seven other, lower-polling candidates held a separate debate in the same Cleveland arena.
In that undercard, former tech executive Carly Fiorina stood out, with pointed attacks on Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton–and on Trump himself.
“I didn’t get a call from Bill Clinton before the campaign,” she said, referring to a phone call reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday, in which Clinton encouraged Trump to get more involved in GOP politics. As it turned out, Trump has kneecapped the major projected rivals for the Democratic front-runner, who happens to be Clinton’s wife.
Fiorina also noted Trump’s history of position changes: “Since he has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care and on abortion, I would just ask, ‘What are the principles on which he will govern?’”
In the evening’s first debate among second-tier candidates, the person who seemed to do herself the most good was Fiorina, the only woman in the debate, and the only non-politician on a stage full of current and former senators and governors.
Fiorina talked about her experience meeting with foreign leaders, and urged greater cooperation with Israel, and with Arab countries that want to fight the Islamic State. She said she would personally call Iran’s Supreme Leader on her first day in office, to let him know that the U.S. would insist on tougher inspections of nuclear facilities, regardless of the deal recently negotiated by the Obama administration.
Fiorina said that, under her leadership, people would know “America is back in the leadership business.”
She stood out.
But, in this undercard, it was a low bar. The candidates largely agreed with each other, about wanting to undo President Obama’s policies on health care, immigration and Iran. The next 10 candidates will likely say something similar.
And, in this debate, the seven candidates had to begin by answering some version of a humiliating question: If you’re here, at the matinee, why don’t you just give it up?
“Has your moment passed, senator?” a moderator asked former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum at the beginning.
“If the people of Louisiana are not satisfied, what makes you think the people of this nation should be?” a moderator asked Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), after describing his dismal poll numbers.
“Is it time for new blood?” was the question for former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, who hasn’t run for office in more than a decade.
Did you miss your moment? the moderator asked former New York governor George E. Pataki, who had considered, then abandoned a presidential bid in the past. Pataki’s answer was a strange contortion: “I was ready to lead” back then, Pataki said. “But I wasn’t ready to run.”
The most pointed moment came when Santorum compared the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage to one of the most infamous decisions in American history.
Asked if the same-sex marriage decision was “settled law,” Santorum responded, “It is not, any more than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln.”
He meant the 1857 Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott vs. Sandford, in which the court declared that African Americans could not be citizens. President Lincoln later–during the middle of a Civil War fought over the issue of slavery–issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in defiance of the Scott ruling’s racist logic.
For the most part, however, the group did little to move themselves out of the back of the pack.
Meanwhile, Democrats announced Thursday that their debate season will kick off Oct. 13 in Nevada. The first debate will be followed by five others for the Democrats, a schedule that led a pair of underdog candidates to swiftly complain that there should be more.
Ed O’Keefe and Philip Bump contributed to this report.
Fox News Couldn’t Kill Trump’s Momentum and May Have Only Made It Stronger
Aug 7, 2015 5:30 AM CDT
Judging by Thursday’s electric debate, he may have sensed his true opponent before anyone else had a clue: the network.
A few hours before Thursday’s Fox News debate, a friend of Donald Trump’s confided to me that Trump was nervous. Not about the competition—he could handle them. No, Trump worried about Fox News, and in particular, debate moderator Megyn Kelly. She’d been hammering him all week on her show, and he was certain she was out to get him. He’d canceled a Fox News appearance on Monday night, the friend said, in order to avoid her. (Trump’s spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm or deny this.)
It turns out Trump was right. His toughest opponents Thursday night weren’t the candidates up on stage, but the Fox News moderators, who went right after him—none with more gusto than Kelly.
Kelly, the whip-smart queen of Fox News’ blonde stunners, went straight for the jugular. “You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” she admonished Trump. “Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”
But Trump saw her coming a mile away and cut her off. “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” he barked, drawing cheers from the crowd. When Kelly tried to point out that he had insulted more women than O’Donnell, Trump, as he would all night, steamrolled right past her. “The big problem this country has is being politically correct,” Trump practically shouted, invoking conservatives’ favorite term of disdain. “I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness and to be honest with you this country doesn’t have time either.” The crowd went wild.
Maybe they were cheering because the question was apropos of something Rachel Maddow would ask, and they were, after all, Republicans. But I think they were cheering because it was clear, at that moment, that Trump was going to be Trump, and wasn’t going to heed the pundits and phonies to tone down his act. According to a report in New York magazine, even his own daughter, Ivanka, was making that case.
When it became clear last week that Trump was the Republican front-runner, everyone assumed that the big battle shaping up in Republican politics was going to be between Trump and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. But judging by Thursday’s raucous, electric debate, Trump may have sensed his true opponent before anyone else had a clue: It’s Fox News. Throughout the evening, Trump and his inquisitors battled back and forth like gladiators. Both parties emerged as huge winners. Though nearly devoid of substance, it was the most entertaining debate I’ve ever seen.
Trump led the way. His ethos—the blustering bravado and aggression—became the ethos of the whole affair. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went bananas on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. The crowd was roaring throughout. There was none of the stilted, awkward talk of the junior debate earlier in the evening. Political Twitter was throbbing with joy and satisfaction.
Hurling insults, Trump went after O’Donnell, political reporters, Bowe Bergdahl, China, Mexico, Japan, money lenders, and practically everyone in Washington. “Our leaders are stupid,” he said, “Our politicians are stupid.” He did stop short of calling Mexicans “rapists,” but not by much. “We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly,” he said. “We need to keep illegals out.”
While the moderators went after Trump, the candidates mostly shied away from him. In fact, consciously or otherwise, several echoed his points and nearly everyone tried to match his energy. Some even seemed to genuflect. “Donald Trump is hitting a nerve in this country,” Ohio Governor John Kasich said at one point. “Mr. Trump is touching a nerve because people want to see a wall being built.”
Only Paul mustered the nerve to launch a pair of (pretty weak) direct attacks. He might have regretted it. Trump dispatched him with a single, withering aside (“You’re having a hard time tonight”) that was all the more effective because it was true.
Trump’s Fox News antagonists had their moments, too. When moderator Chris Wallace invoked the four bankruptcies his companies have suffered, Trump, seeming genuinely angry, repeatedly fell back on an oddly phrased legalism: “I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people you read about in the business section,” he said.
But it was Kelly who inflicted the deepest cut by rattling off the liberal positions Trump once held and stopping him cold with the question: “When did you actually become a Republican?” Trump’s bluster escaped him. He stammered nervously and seemed lost. “I’ve evolved on many issues over the years, and do you know who else has? Ronald Reagan,” he said feebly. “Very much evolved.” That’s as un-Trump-like a phrase as I’ve heard from him, something more befitting 2012 nominee Mitt Romney.
What’s more interesting than any Trump question or answer, though, was the larger dynamic at play. If Fox News has really turned on Trump, it will add a fascinating new twist to the race. Right now, Trump is the dominant candidate in the field because he has exerted a broad appeal to every part of the Republican Party. How might those Republicans react to Fox News—their own network!—aggressively trying to take down their favorite candidate?
To find out, I called Janet Roberts, 69, a nurse in Bellville, Ohio, who participated in last week’sBloomberg Politics poll and supported Trump (“He has the balls to stand up to the career politicians”). She had agreed to give me her reaction immediately after the debate. When I called, Roberts was furious. “I had more emotion about Fox News tonight than I did about Donald Trump,” she told me. “Those questions were not professional questions. They were bullying. They were set up to purposely make them all look bad. Our country is a mess and I feel like the debate was an example of that. I’m still with Trump.”
In fact, Roberts said, after watching the debate, she felt even more strongly than before. “He was very composed,” she said. “It’s probably difficult for him, because he’s a very opinionated person.”
We won’t know for a few more days if other Republicans reacted to the debate as Roberts did. But my guess is that Trump didn’t hurt himself and might even emerge stronger than before. There’s an unspoken accord between Trump and his supporters that Thursday’s debate can only have intensified. Trump rants and raves in language that upsets and scandalizes the establishment. In return, his fans annoy the elite know-it-alls by rallying to him anyway. Together, they raise a big middle finger to everyone. That’s the art of the deal.
Trump campaign: ‘He’s in first place for a reason’
Rand Paul Attributes Trump’s Rise to Temporary ‘Loss of Sanity’
Rand Paul Slams Donald Trump, Calls His Rise In Polls Temporary Loss Os Sanity – Mark Steyn – Cavuto
Trump Mentions Infowars Report During Campaign Speech
Dr. Jerome Corsi: Trump Is The Real Deal
An Honest Conversation About Donald Trump
Why Thursday’s Debate Matters (But Most Don’t)
“I was thinking of setting myself on fire” — that’s how former Mitt Romney strategist Stuart Stevens felt in January 2012. His candidate was in the midst of a marathon of primary debates and he despaired at the draining, repetitive nature of the events, saying they had a “‘Groundhog Day’ quality” to them.
Stevens’ despair about that campaign cycle’s torturously repetitious series of debates highlights a simple but oft-forgotten fact about these events: Candidates may put a lot of effort into preparing for debates, but they don’t usually move the polls. There were 20 Republican presidential primary debates in 2011 and 2012, and even the most knowledgeable political junkies can probably only name a handful of memorable moments from them.
But despite the relative boringness of those debates, there is significant anticipation surrounding Thursday’s inaugural GOP face-off. The sheer amount of media coverage related to who made it onto the prime-time stage, how candidates are or aren’t preparing and what to expect from Donald Trump suggests that this gathering won’t be the snooze that many past debates were. That raises a simple question – what accounts for the difference?
My take is that information makes the difference. Specifically, the 2012 debates failed to move the polls because they typically didn’t provide much new information on candidates, while Thursday’s event could provide a significant amount of new information to the party elite, the media and rank-and-file primary voters.
The 2012 Debates Didn’t Move the Polls
In 2011 and 2012, the Republican primary debates simply did not move the polls. To determine this, I calculated the difference between each candidate’s RCP average on the day of the debate and seven days after for every debate each candidate participated in. The results indicate that in most weeks following a debate, most candidates did not see a big uptick or drop in their RCP polling average. (To view a histogram demonstrating this, click here.)
Additionally, there wasn’t much difference between how much a debate and a typical week on the campaign trail changed polling numbers. To determine this, I calculated the difference between each candidate’s RCP average on every day after early April 2011 and their average seven days later. The mean was -0.24 (it was 0.41 for the post-debate weeks) and the standard deviation was 2.21 (2.47 in post-debate weeks). While debates on average moved candidates in a slightly positive direction and average weeks spent campaigning did the opposite, the magnitude of these changes was small. In other words, on average, debates changed a candidate’s standing in the polls about as much as a week on the campaign trail did.
Candidates were often unable to move polls through debates partially because those debates revealed relatively little new information about them. If Mitt Romney looked wooden on stage or Rick Santorum invoked the culture war, voters and journalists didn’t bat an eyelash. These candidates, their positions and personalities were, in many cases, known quantities at the time of the debate. In a few rare cases, candidates used good performances in debates to earn a second look from voters and the media. Both of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s moments in the sun were fueled at least partially by good debate performances. But the other candidates who surged to the front – Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Santorum, Rick Perry – typically began their ascent by performing well or getting media attention at a non-debate event. And when those candidates fell out of favor with the party, it was usually not a debate that did them in (not even in the case of Perry’s “oops” moment).
But Thursday’s Debate Could Change Things – and That Matters
While the 2012 debates didn’t provide voters with new information, Thursday’s gathering promises to provide information to three key groups – the party elite, the media and voters.
First, this debate will be an important part of the “invisible primary.” There are lots of good articles and books out there on the invisible primary, but here are the basics: In the invisible primary, “party elite” (defined broadly as anyone who uses their time, money or influence to advocate for their preferred candidate – which means everyone from Iowa door-knockers to governors of key primary states) attempt to reach consensus on which candidate to support. These party actors then use their resources and influence to give their preferred candidate a boost before primary voters head to the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. The party elite are not all-powerful – candidates who have won the invisible primary have gone on to lose or nearly lose the nomination, and sometimes the party is too fractured to give any candidate a clear invisible primary win – but the support of these elite actors does seem to matter.
Right now the invisible Republican primary is completely unsettled, and the party elite cannot be happy about Donald Trump’s recent success in the polls. Much of the GOP elite tend to gravitate towards candidates who share their ideology, have a good record of advocating for that ideology in public office and are plausible general election candidates. It would be an understatement to say that Trump fails to meet these requirements. The Donald has never held political office, he donated to Hillary Clinton throughout the 2000s, has flipped his position on health care, abortion and taxes, fares much worse than his fellow Republicans in hypothetical general election match-ups – I could go on, but the point is clear. There are large, powerful elements of the Republican Party with a keen interest in finding a candidate who can at least stop Trump in his tracks, if not go on to win the nomination and the presidency. And Thursday’s debate is one of the party’s first good opportunities to scout out the field for such a contender.
Second, this debate will have an impact on media coverage of the candidates. Specifically, candidates have an opportunity to get good or bad press or to kick off a media-wide “discovery” of a candidate or “scrutiny” of Trump. The first possibility here is fairly straightforward. If one of the well-known and serious candidates – say, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – performs especially well or poorly in the debate, then they could earn favorable or unfavorable press that changes their standing in the polls.
The second and third possibilities – a candidate is “discovered” or “scrutinized” – are much more interesting. The terminology here comes from “The Gamble” – an excellent book on the 2012 election by George Washington University Professor John Sides and UCLA Professor Lynn Vavreck. Sides and Vavreck studied the 2012 Republican primary and found that many of the candidates who enjoyed a brief moment atop the polls did so because of a media “discovery, scrutiny and decline” pattern. In the discovery phase, a relatively unknown candidate does something that attracts the attention of journalists (e.g. Herman Cain winning the Florida Straw Poll). These journalists become fascinated with that candidate, write a ream of stories about him or her (often neutral-to-positive in tone) and as a result that candidate rises in the polls. These same journalists then write positive stories about that candidate’s rise, and the candidate rockets to an even higher position. Thursday’s debate could focus the media’s attention on a new candidate. For example, if Ohio Gov. John Kasich has a breakout performance in the main debate or if Carly Fiorina dominates the second-tier candidate debate earlier in the evening, the media could “discover” them and cause a subsequent rise in the polls. Of course, this might not happen, but a good debate performance provides a plausible springboard for a media-fueled poll bounce.
It’s also possible that this debate kicks off the “scrutiny” phase of Trump’s candidacy. According to Sides and Vavreck, scrutiny happens after the candidate has had some time atop the polls and journalists decide to really dig into their public record and personal history. Right now Trump is firmly in the discovery phase of his candidacy. The media are still treating him as more of a celebrity than a candidate, so his policy positions and his past are getting less attention than his performance in the latest poll or his most recent bombastic statement. If the media and party establishment begin to scrutinize Trump in the way they would any other politician, it may lead to bad press and a related drop in his poll numbers – the beginning of the “decline” in Sides and Vavreck’s process.
That’s not to say that Trump will definitely be scrutinized after the debate. And the scrutiny may have a muted or delayed effect – part of Trump’s appeal is his aggression towards the mainstream media and political establishment. But it is possible that the debate marks a turning point in how Trump is viewed – and if that’s the case, then it has potentially huge consequences.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, many voters will be really introduced to these candidates for the first time. While the party and the media play a large role in influencing voters, voters themselves matter the most. There are a massive number of ways any one candidate could leverage the debate to speak to his or her desired coalition in a persuasive way, so it’s harder to play these scenarios out. But if a candidate manages to speak clearly, directly and persuasively to their coalition through this debate, that could really make a difference.
In the summer of 1902 Frank Ashton, an educated young man from London, is on a walking holiday in Devon with a friend. When he falls and twists his ankle, Ashton is helped at a nearby farmhouse and stays there for a few days to recover, while his friend goes on. Ashton quickly falls for the village girl who looks after him, Megan David, and she falls in love with him, to the great distress of her cousin Joe Narracombe, who wants her for himself. Ashton and Megan spend a night together, and after that he takes the train to a seaside town to cash a cheque at a bank, promising to return the next morning and take Megan away with him and marry her.
On arrival in the town, Ashton finds a branch of his bank, but it will not cash his cheque, insisting on first contacting his branch in London. While he is delayed, Ashton meets an old school friend, staying at a local hotel with his three sisters, of whom the oldest is Stella Halliday. Thanks to the bank’s delays, he misses the train he needed to catch to make his rendezvous with Megan. During the day that follows, he spends more time with his friend and his sisters, and while Stella flirts with him he begins to have second thoughts about marrying Megan.
Megan then travels to the seaside town looking for Ashton, carrying her luggage for running away. He sees her on the beach and follows her into the town, but when she turns and catches a glimpse of him, he hides.
Twenty years later, Ashton is married to Stella and they are motoring through Devon. They have no children. Ashton visits the farm where he seduced Megan and is recognized. He learns that Megan was heart-broken about losing him and also that she died soon after giving birth to a son, who she named “Francis”, or Frank. He is taken to see Megan’s grave, which is at the spot where he had arranged to meet her. She had asked to be buried there, to wait for his return. In motoring away with Stella, Ashton passes his son, young Frank, who gives him a friendly wave.
Angelo Codevilla – Does America Have a Ruling Class?
1. America’s Ruling Class
2. Has Homeland Security Been a Failure?
3. What’s Wrong with the CIA?
4. Are We Winning the “War on Terror”?
5. The Superiority of the Founders’ Foreign Policy
America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution
The only serious opposition to this arrogant Ruling Party is coming not from feckless Republicans but from what might be called the Country Party — and its vision is revolutionary. Our special Summer Issue cover story.
By Angelo M. Codevilla – From the July 2010 – August 2010 issue
As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.
When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.” And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.
Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several “stimulus” bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind. Moreover, 2009-10 establishment Republicans sought only to modify the government’s agenda while showing eagerness to join the Democrats in new grand schemes, if only they were allowed to. Sen. Orrin Hatch continued dreaming of being Ted Kennedy, while Lindsey Graham set aside what is true or false about “global warming” for the sake of getting on the right side of history. No prominent Republican challenged the ruling class’s continued claim of superior insight, nor its denigration of the American people as irritable children who must learn their place. The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it.
Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.
Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.
The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
The Political Divide
Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg’s tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences “undecided,” “none of the above,” or “tea party,” these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate — most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class’s prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans — a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents — lack a vehicle in electoral politics.
Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled. Whereas in 1968 Governor George Wallace’s taunt “there ain’t a dime’s worth of difference” between the Republican and Democratic parties resonated with only 13.5 percent of the American people, in 1992 Ross Perot became a serious contender for the presidency (at one point he was favored by 39 percent of Americans vs. 31 percent for G.H.W. Bush and 25 percent for Clinton) simply by speaking ill of the ruling class. Today, few speak well of the ruling class. Not only has it burgeoned in size and pretense, but it also has undertaken wars it has not won, presided over a declining economy and mushrooming debt, made life more expensive, raised taxes, and talked down to the American people. Americans’ conviction that the ruling class is as hostile as it is incompetent has solidified. The polls tell us that only about a fifth of Americans trust the government to do the right thing. The rest expect that it will do more harm than good and are no longer afraid to say so.
While Europeans are accustomed to being ruled by presumed betters whom they distrust, the American people’s realization of being ruled like Europeans shocked this country into well nigh revolutionary attitudes. But only the realization was new. The ruling class had sunk deep roots in America over decades before 2008. Machiavelli compares serious political diseases to the Aetolian fevers — easy to treat early on while they are difficult to discern, but virtually untreatable by the time they become obvious.
Far from speculating how the political confrontation might develop between America’s regime class — relatively few people supported by no more than one-third of Americans — and a country class comprising two-thirds of the country, our task here is to understand the divisions that underlie that confrontation’s unpredictable future. More on politics below.
The Ruling Class
Who are these rulers, and by what right do they rule? How did America change from a place where people could expect to live without bowing to privileged classes to one in which, at best, they might have the chance to climb into them? What sets our ruling class apart from the rest of us?
The most widespread answers — by such as the Times’s Thomas Friedman and David Brooks — are schlock sociology. Supposedly, modern society became so complex and productive, the technical skills to run it so rare, that it called forth a new class of highly educated officials and cooperators in an ever less private sector. Similarly fanciful is Edward Goldberg’s notion that America is now ruled by a “newocracy”: a “new aristocracy who are the true beneficiaries of globalization — including the multinational manager, the technologist and the aspirational members of the meritocracy.” In fact, our ruling class grew and set itself apart from the rest of us by its connection with ever bigger government, and above all by a certain attitude.
Other explanations are counterintuitive. Wealth? The heads of the class do live in our big cities’ priciest enclaves and suburbs, from Montgomery County, Maryland, to Palo Alto, California, to Boston’s Beacon Hill as well as in opulent university towns from Princeton to Boulder. But they are no wealthier than many Texas oilmen or California farmers, or than neighbors with whom they do not associate — just as the social science and humanities class that rules universities seldom associates with physicians and physicists. Rather, regardless of where they live, their social-intellectual circle includes people in the lucrative “nonprofit” and “philanthropic” sectors and public policy. What really distinguishes these privileged people demographically is that, whether in government power directly or as officers in companies, their careers and fortunes depend on government. They vote Democrat more consistently than those who live on any of America’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Streets. These socioeconomic opposites draw their money and orientation from the same sources as the millions of teachers, consultants, and government employees in the middle ranks who aspire to be the former and identify morally with what they suppose to be the latter’s grievances.
Professional prominence or position will not secure a place in the class any more than mere money. In fact, it is possible to be an official of a major corporation or a member of the U.S. Supreme Court (just ask Justice Clarence Thomas), or even president (Ronald Reagan), and not be taken seriously by the ruling class. Like a fraternity, this class requires above all comity — being in with the right people, giving the required signs that one is on the right side, and joining in despising the Outs. Once an official or professional shows that he shares the manners, the tastes, the interests of the class, gives lip service to its ideals and shibboleths, and is willing to accommodate the interests of its senior members, he can move profitably among our establishment’s parts.
If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can “write” your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was “inadvertent,” and you can count on the Law School’s dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that “closes” the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded. By contrast, for example, learned papers and distinguished careers in climatology at MIT (Richard Lindzen) or UVA (S. Fred Singer) are not enough for their questions about “global warming” to be taken seriously. For our ruling class, identity always trumps.
Much less does membership in the ruling class depend on high academic achievement. To see something closer to an academic meritocracy consider France, where elected officials have little power, a vast bureaucracy explicitly controls details from how babies are raised to how to make cheese, and people get into and advance in that bureaucracy strictly by competitive exams. Hence for good or ill, France’s ruling class are bright people — certifiably. Not ours. But didn’t ours go to Harvard and Princeton and Stanford? Didn’t most of them get good grades? Yes. But while getting into the Ecole Nationale d’Administration or the Ecole Polytechnique or the dozens of other entry points to France’s ruling class requires outperforming others in blindly graded exams, and graduating from such places requires passing exams that many fail, getting into America’s “top schools” is less a matter of passing exams than of showing up with acceptable grades and an attractive social profile. American secondary schools are generous with their As. Since the 1970s, it has been virtually impossible to flunk out of American colleges. And it is an open secret that “the best” colleges require the least work and give out the highest grade point averages. No, our ruling class recruits and renews itself not through meritocracy but rather by taking into itself people whose most prominent feature is their commitment to fit in. The most successful neither write books and papers that stand up to criticism nor release their academic records. Thus does our ruling class stunt itself through negative selection. But the more it has dumbed itself down, the more it has defined itself by the presumption of intellectual superiority.
Its attitude is key to understanding our bipartisan ruling class. Its first tenet is that “we” are the best and brightest while the rest of Americans are retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly constrained. How did this replace the Founding generation’s paradigm that “all men are created equal”?
The notion of human equality was always a hard sell, because experience teaches us that we are so unequal in so many ways, and because making one’s self superior is so tempting that Lincoln called it “the old serpent, you work I’ll eat.” But human equality made sense to our Founding generation because they believed that all men are made in the image and likeness of God, because they were yearning for equal treatment under British law, or because they had read John Locke.
It did not take long for their paradigm to be challenged by interest and by “science.” By the 1820s, as J. C. Calhoun was reading in the best London journals that different breeds of animals and plants produce inferior or superior results, slave owners were citing the Negroes’ deficiencies to argue that they should remain slaves indefinitely. Lots of others were reading Ludwig Feuerbach’s rendition of Hegelian philosophy, according to which biblical injunctions reflect the fantasies of alienated human beings or, in the young Karl Marx’s formulation, that ethical thought is “superstructural” to material reality. By 1853, when Sen. John Pettit of Ohio called “all men are created equal” “a self-evident lie,” much of America’s educated class had already absorbed the “scientific” notion (which Darwin only popularized) that man is the product of chance mutation and natural selection of the fittest. Accordingly, by nature, superior men subdue inferior ones as they subdue lower beings or try to improve them as they please. Hence while it pleased the abolitionists to believe in freeing Negroes and improving them, it also pleased them to believe that Southerners had to be punished and reconstructed by force. As the 19th century ended, the educated class’s religious fervor turned to social reform: they were sure that because man is a mere part of evolutionary nature, man could be improved, and that they, the most highly evolved of all, were the improvers.
Thus began the Progressive Era. When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked “can’t you let anything alone?” he answered with, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill.” Wilson spoke for the thousands of well-off Americans who patronized the spas at places like Chautauqua and Lake Mohonk. By such upper-middle-class waters, progressives who imagined themselves the world’s examples and the world’s reformers dreamt big dreams of establishing order, justice, and peace at home and abroad. Neither were they shy about their desire for power. Wilson was the first American statesman to argue that the Founders had done badly by depriving the U.S. government of the power to reshape American society. Nor was Wilson the last to invade a foreign country (Mexico) to “teach [them] to elect good men.”
World War I and the chaos at home and abroad that followed it discredited the Progressives in the American people’s eyes. Their international schemes had brought blood and promised more. Their domestic management had not improved Americans’ lives, but given them a taste of arbitrary government, including Prohibition. The Progressives, for their part, found it fulfilling to attribute the failure of their schemes to the American people’s backwardness, to something deeply wrong with America. The American people had failed them because democracy in its American form perpetuated the worst in humanity. Thus Progressives began to look down on the masses, to look on themselves as the vanguard, and to look abroad for examples to emulate.
The cultural divide between the “educated class” and the rest of the country opened in the interwar years. Some Progressives joined the “vanguard of the proletariat,” the Communist Party. Many more were deeply sympathetic to Soviet Russia, as they were to Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Not just the Nation, but also the New York Times and National Geographic found much to be imitated in these regimes because they promised energetically to transcend their peoples’ ways and to build “the new man.” Above all, our educated class was bitter about America. In 1925 the American Civil Liberties Union sponsored a legal challenge to a Tennessee law that required teaching the biblical account of creation. The ensuing trial, radio broadcast nationally, as well as the subsequent hit movie Inherit the Wind, were the occasion for what one might have called the Chautauqua class to drive home the point that Americans who believed in the Bible were willful ignoramuses. As World War II approached, some American Progressives supported the Soviet Union (and its ally, Nazi Germany) and others Great Britain and France. But Progressives agreed on one thing: the approaching war should be blamed on the majority of Americans, because they had refused to lead the League of Nations. Darryl Zanuck produced the critically acclaimed movie [Woodrow] Wilson featuring Cedric Hardwicke as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who allegedly brought on the war by appealing to American narrow-mindedness against Wilson’s benevolent genius.
Franklin Roosevelt brought the Chautauqua class into his administration and began the process that turned them into rulers. FDR described America’s problems in technocratic terms. America’s problems would be fixed by a “brain trust” (picked by him). His New Deal’s solutions — the alphabet-soup “independent” agencies that have run America ever since — turned many Progressives into powerful bureaucrats and then into lobbyists. As the saying goes, they came to Washington to do good, and stayed to do well.
As their number and sense of importance grew, so did their distaste for common Americans. Believing itself “scientific,” this Progressive class sought to explain its differences from its neighbors in “scientific” terms. The most elaborate of these attempts was Theodor Adorno’s widely acclaimed The Authoritarian Personality (1948). It invented a set of criteria by which to define personality traits, ranked these traits and their intensity in any given person on what it called the “F scale” (F for fascist), interviewed hundreds of Americans, and concluded that most who were not liberal Democrats were latent fascists. This way of thinking about non-Progressives filtered down to college curricula. In 1963-64 for example, I was assigned Herbert McCloskey’s Conservatism and Personality (1958) at Rutgers’s Eagleton Institute of Politics as a paradigm of methodological correctness. The author had defined conservatism in terms of answers to certain questions, had defined a number of personality disorders in terms of other questions, and run a survey that proved “scientifically” that conservatives were maladjusted ne’er-do-well ignoramuses. (My class project, titled “Liberalism and Personality,” following the same methodology, proved just as scientifically that liberals suffered from the very same social diseases, and even more amusing ones.)
The point is this: though not one in a thousand of today’s bipartisan ruling class ever heard of Adorno or McCloskey, much less can explain the Feuerbachian-Marxist notion that human judgments are “epiphenomenal” products of spiritual or material alienation, the notion that the common people’s words are, like grunts, mere signs of pain, pleasure, and frustration, is now axiomatic among our ruling class. They absorbed it osmotically, second — or thirdhand, from their education and from companions. Truly, after Barack Obama described his opponents’ clinging to “God and guns” as a characteristic of inferior Americans, he justified himself by pointing out he had said “what everybody knows is true.” Confident “knowledge” that “some of us, the ones who matter,” have grasped truths that the common herd cannot, truths that direct us, truths the grasping of which entitles us to discount what the ruled say and to presume what they mean, made our Progressives into a class long before they took power.
The Agenda: Power
Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels’ wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges — civic as well as economic — to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly. This, incidentally, is close to Aristotle’s view of democracy. Hence our ruling class’s standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government — meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc. Hence more power for the ruling class has been our ruling class’s solution not just for economic downturns and social ills but also for hurricanes and tornadoes, global cooling and global warming. A priori, one might wonder whether enriching and empowering individuals of a certain kind can make Americans kinder and gentler, much less control the weather. But there can be no doubt that such power and money makes Americans ever more dependent on those who wield it. Let us now look at what this means in our time.
By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While the economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on that value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not tampering with civil equality. By endowing some in society with power to force others to sell cheaper than they would, and forcing others yet to buy at higher prices — even to buy in the first place — modern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are. Thus if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu. Eventually, pretending forcibly that valueless things have value dilutes the currency’s value for all.
Laws and regulations nowadays are longer than ever because length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally. For example, the health care bill of 2010 takes more than 2,700 pages to make sure not just that some states will be treated differently from others because their senators offered key political support, but more importantly to codify bargains between the government and various parts of the health care industry, state governments, and large employers about who would receive what benefits (e.g., public employee unions and auto workers) and who would pass what indirect taxes onto the general public. The financial regulation bill of 2010, far from setting univocal rules for the entire financial industry in few words, spends some 3,000 pages (at this writing) tilting the field exquisitely toward some and away from others. Even more significantly, these and other products of Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses empower countless boards and commissions arbitrarily to protect some persons and companies, while ruining others. Thus in 2008 the Republican administration first bailed out Bear Stearns, then let Lehman Brothers sink in the ensuing panic, but then rescued Goldman Sachs by infusing cash into its principal debtor, AIG. Then, its Democratic successor used similarly naked discretionary power (and money appropriated for another purpose) to give major stakes in the auto industry to labor unions that support it. Nowadays, the members of our ruling class admit that they do not read the laws. They don’t have to. Because modern laws are primarily grants of discretion, all anybody has to know about them is whom they empower.
By making economic rules dependent on discretion, our bipartisan ruling class teaches that prosperity is to be bought with the coin of political support. Thus in the 1990s and 2000s, as Democrats and Republicans forced banks to make loans for houses to people and at rates they would not otherwise have considered, builders and investors had every reason to make as much money as they could from the ensuing inflation of housing prices. When the bubble burst, only those connected with the ruling class at the bottom and at the top were bailed out. Similarly, by taxing the use of carbon fuels and subsidizing “alternative energy,” our ruling class created arguably the world’s biggest opportunity for making money out of things that few if any would buy absent its intervention. The ethanol industry and its ensuing diversions of wealth exist exclusively because of subsidies. The prospect of legislation that would put a price on carbon emissions and allot certain amounts to certain companies set off a feeding frenzy among large companies to show support for a “green agenda,” because such allotments would be worth tens of billions of dollars. That is why companies hired some 2,500 lobbyists in 2009 to deepen their involvement in “climate change.” At the very least, such involvement profits them by making them into privileged collectors of carbon taxes. Any “green jobs” thus created are by definition creatures of subsidies — that is, of privilege. What effect creating such privileges may have on “global warming” is debatable. But it surely increases the number of people dependent on the ruling class, and teaches Americans that satisfying that class is a surer way of making a living than producing goods and services that people want to buy.
Beyond patronage, picking economic winners and losers redirects the American people’s energies to tasks that the political class deems more worthy than what Americans choose for themselves. John Kenneth Galbraith’s characterization of America as “private wealth amidst public squalor” (The Affluent Society, 1958) has ever encapsulated our best and brightest’s complaint: left to themselves, Americans use land inefficiently in suburbs and exurbs, making it necessary to use energy to transport them to jobs and shopping. Americans drive big cars, eat lots of meat as well as other unhealthy things, and go to the doctor whenever they feel like it. Americans think it justice to spend the money they earn to satisfy their private desires even though the ruling class knows that justice lies in improving the community and the planet. The ruling class knows that Americans must learn to live more densely and close to work, that they must drive smaller cars and change their lives to use less energy, that their dietary habits must improve, that they must accept limits in how much medical care they get, that they must divert more of their money to support people, cultural enterprises, and plans for the planet that the ruling class deems worthier. So, ever-greater taxes and intrusive regulations are the main wrenches by which the American people can be improved (and, yes, by which the ruling class feeds and grows).
The 2010 medical law is a template for the ruling class’s economic modus operandi: the government taxes citizens to pay for medical care and requires citizens to purchase health insurance. The money thus taken and directed is money that the citizens themselves might have used to pay for medical care. In exchange for the money, the government promises to provide care through its “system.” But then all the boards, commissions, guidelines, procedures, and “best practices” that constitute “the system” become the arbiters of what any citizen ends up getting. The citizen might end up dissatisfied with what “the system” offers. But when he gave up his money, he gave up the power to choose, and became dependent on all the boards and commissions that his money also pays for and that raise the cost of care. Similarly, in 2008 the House Ways and Means Committee began considering a plan to force citizens who own Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to transfer those funds into government-run “guaranteed retirement accounts.” If the government may force citizens to buy health insurance, by what logic can it not force them to trade private ownership and control of retirement money for a guarantee as sound as the government itself? Is it not clear that the government knows more about managing retirement income than individuals?
Who Depends on Whom?
In Congressional Government (1885) Woodrow Wilson left no doubt: the U.S. Constitution prevents the government from meeting the country’s needs by enumerating rights that the government may not infringe. (“Congress shall make no law…” says the First Amendment, typically.) Our electoral system, based on single member districts, empowers individual voters at the expense of “responsible parties.” Hence the ruling class’s perpetual agenda has been to diminish the role of the citizenry’s elected representatives, enhancing that of party leaders as well as of groups willing to partner in the government’s plans, and to craft a “living” Constitution in which restrictions on government give way to “positive rights” — meaning charters of government power.
Consider representation. Following Wilson, American Progressives have always wanted to turn the U.S. Congress from the role defined by James Madison’s Federalist #10, “refine and enlarge the public’s view,” to something like the British Parliament, which ratifies government actions. Although Britain’s electoral system — like ours, single members elected in historic districts by plurality vote — had made members of Parliament responsive to their constituents in ancient times, by Wilson’s time the growing importance of parties made MPs beholden to party leaders. Hence whoever controls the majority party controls both Parliament and the government.
In America, the process by which party has become (almost) as important began with the Supreme Court’s 1962 decision in Baker v. Carr which, by setting the single standard “one man, one vote” for congressional districts, ended up legalizing the practice of “gerrymandering,” concentrating the opposition party’s voters into as few districts as possible while placing one’s own voters into as many as possible likely to yield victories. Republican and Democratic state legislatures have gerrymandered for a half century. That is why today’s Congress consists more and more of persons who represent their respective party establishments — not nearly as much as in Britain, but heading in that direction. Once districts are gerrymandered “safe” for one party or another, the voters therein count less because party leaders can count more on elected legislators to toe the party line.
To the extent party leaders do not have to worry about voters, they can choose privileged interlocutors, representing those in society whom they find most amenable. In America ever more since the 1930s — elsewhere in the world this practice is ubiquitous and long-standing — government has designated certain individuals, companies, and organizations within each of society’s sectors as (junior) partners in elaborating laws and administrative rules for those sectors. The government empowers the persons it has chosen over those not chosen, deems them the sector’s true representatives, and rewards them. They become part of the ruling class.
Thus in 2009-10 the American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supported the new medical care law, which the administration touted as having the support of “the doctors” even though the vast majority of America’s 975,000 physicians opposed it. Those who run the AMA, however, have a government contract as exclusive providers of the codes by which physicians and hospitals bill the government for their services. The millions of dollars that flow thereby to the AMA’s officers keep them in line, while the impracticality of doing without the billing codes tamps down rebellion in the doctor ranks. When the administration wanted to bolster its case that the state of Arizona’s enforcement of federal immigration laws was offensive to Hispanics, the National Association of Chiefs of Police — whose officials depend on the administration for their salaries — issued a statement that the laws would endanger all Americans by raising Hispanics’ animosity. This reflected conversations with the administration rather than a vote of the nation’s police chiefs.
Similarly, modern labor unions are ever less bunches of workers banding together and ever more bundled under the aegis of an organization chosen jointly by employers and government. Prototypical is the Service Employees International Union, which grew spectacularly by persuading managers of government agencies as well as of publicly funded private entities that placing their employees in the SEIU would relieve them of responsibility. Not by being elected by workers’ secret ballots did the SEIU conquer workplace after workplace, but rather by such deals, or by the union presenting what it claims are cards from workers approving of representation. The union gets 2 percent of the workers’ pay, which it recycles as contributions to the Democratic Party, which it recycles in greater power over public employees. The union’s leadership is part of the ruling class’s beating heart.
The point is that a doctor, a building contractor, a janitor, or a schoolteacher counts in today’s America insofar as he is part of the hierarchy of a sector organization affiliated with the ruling class. Less and less do such persons count as voters.
Ordinary people have also gone a long way toward losing equal treatment under law. The America described in civics books, in which no one could be convicted or fined except by a jury of his peers for having violated laws passed by elected representatives, started disappearing when the New Deal inaugurated today’s administrative state — in which bureaucrats make, enforce, and adjudicate nearly all the rules. Today’s legal-administrative texts are incomprehensibly detailed and freighted with provisions crafted exquisitely to affect equal individuals unequally. The bureaucrats do not enforce the rules themselves so much as whatever “agency policy” they choose to draw from them in any given case. If you protest any “agency policy” you will be informed that it was formulated with input from “the public.” But not from the likes of you.
Disregard for the text of laws — for the dictionary meaning of words and the intentions of those who wrote them — in favor of the decider’s discretion has permeated our ruling class from the Supreme Court to the lowest local agency. Ever since Oliver Wendell Holmes argued in 1920 (Missouri v. Holland) that presidents, Congresses, and judges could not be bound by the U.S. Constitution regarding matters that the people who wrote and ratified it could not have foreseen, it has become conventional wisdom among our ruling class that they may transcend the Constitution while pretending allegiance to it. They began by stretching such constitutional terms as “interstate commerce” and “due process,” then transmuting others, e.g., “search and seizure,” into “privacy.” Thus in 1973 the Supreme Court endowed its invention of “privacy” with a “penumbra” that it deemed “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” The court gave no other constitutional reasoning, period. Perfunctory to the point of mockery, this constitutional talk was to reassure the American people that the ruling class was acting within the Constitution’s limitations. By the 1990s federal courts were invalidating amendments to state constitutions passed by referenda to secure the “positive rights” they invent, because these expressions of popular will were inconsistent with the constitution they themselves were construing.
By 2010 some in the ruling class felt confident enough to dispense with the charade. Asked what in the Constitution allows Congress and the president to force every American to purchase health insurance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi replied: “Are you serious? Are you serious?” No surprise then that lower court judges and bureaucrats take liberties with laws, regulations, and contracts. That is why legal words that say you are in the right avail you less in today’s America than being on the right side of the persons who decide what they want those words to mean.
As the discretionary powers of officeholders and of their informal entourages have grown, the importance of policy and of law itself is declining, citizenship is becoming vestigial, and the American people become ever more dependent.
Disaggregating and Dispiriting
The ruling class is keener to reform the American people’s family and spiritual lives than their economic and civic ones. In no other areas is the ruling class’s self-definition so definite, its contempt for opposition so patent, its Kulturkampf so open. It believes that the Christian family (and the Orthodox Jewish one too) is rooted in and perpetuates the ignorance commonly called religion, divisive social prejudices, and repressive gender roles, that it is the greatest barrier to human progress because it looks to its very particular interest — often defined as mere coherence against outsiders who most often know better. Thus the family prevents its members from playing their proper roles in social reform. Worst of all, it reproduces itself.
Since marriage is the family’s fertile seed, government at all levels, along with “mainstream” academics and media, have waged war on it. They legislate, regulate, and exhort in support not of “the family” — meaning married parents raising children — but rather of “families,” meaning mostly households based on something other than marriage. The institution of no-fault divorce diminished the distinction between cohabitation and marriage — except that husbands are held financially responsible for the children they father, while out-of-wedlock fathers are not. The tax code penalizes marriage and forces those married couples who raise their own children to subsidize “child care” for those who do not. Top Republicans and Democrats have also led society away from the very notion of marital fidelity by precept as well as by parading their affairs. For example, in 1997 the Democratic administration’s secretary of defense and the Republican Senate’s majority leader (joined by the New York Times et al.) condemned the military’s practice of punishing officers who had extramarital affairs. While the military had assumed that honoring marital vows is as fundamental to the integrity of its units as it is to that of society, consensus at the top declared that insistence on fidelity is “contrary to societal norms.” Not surprisingly, rates of marriage in America have decreased as out-of-wedlock births have increased. The biggest demographic consequence has been that about one in five of all households are women alone or with children, in which case they have about a four in 10 chance of living in poverty. Since unmarried mothers often are or expect to be clients of government services, it is not surprising that they are among the Democratic Party’s most faithful voters.
While our ruling class teaches that relationships among men, women, and children are contingent, it also insists that the relationship between each of them and the state is fundamental. That is why such as Hillary Clinton have written law review articles and books advocating a direct relationship between the government and children, effectively abolishing the presumption of parental authority. Hence whereas within living memory school nurses could not administer an aspirin to a child without the parents’ consent, the people who run America’s schools nowadays administer pregnancy tests and ship girls off to abortion clinics without the parents’ knowledge. Parents are not allowed to object to what their children are taught. But the government may and often does object to how parents raise children. The ruling class’s assumption is that what it mandates for children is correct ipso facto, while what parents do is potentially abusive. It only takes an anonymous accusation of abuse for parents to be taken away in handcuffs until they prove their innocence. Only sheer political weight (and in California, just barely) has preserved parents’ right to homeschool their children against the ruling class’s desire to accomplish what Woodrow Wilson so yearned: “to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible.”
At stake are the most important questions: What is the right way for human beings to live? By what standard is anything true or good? Who gets to decide what? Implicit in Wilson’s words and explicit in our ruling class’s actions is the dismissal, as the ways of outdated “fathers,” of the answers that most Americans would give to these questions. This dismissal of the American people’s intellectual, spiritual, and moral substance is the very heart of what our ruling class is about. Its principal article of faith, its claim to the right to decide for others, is precisely that it knows things and operates by standards beyond others’ comprehension.
While the unenlightened ones believe that man is created in the image and likeness of God and that we are subject to His and to His nature’s laws, the enlightened ones know that we are products of evolution, driven by chance, the environment, and the will to primacy. While the un-enlightened are stuck with the antiquated notion that ordinary human minds can reach objective judgments about good and evil, better and worse through reason, the enlightened ones know that all such judgments are subjective and that ordinary people can no more be trusted with reason than they can with guns. Because ordinary people will pervert reason with ideology, religion, or interest, science is “science” only in the “right” hands. Consensus among the right people is the only standard of truth. Facts and logic matter only insofar as proper authority acknowledges them.
That is why the ruling class is united and adamant about nothing so much as its right to pronounce definitive, “scientific” judgment on whatever it chooses. When the government declares, and its associated press echoes that “scientists say” this or that, ordinary people — or for that matter scientists who “don’t say,” or are not part of the ruling class — lose any right to see the information that went into what “scientists say.” Thus when Virginia’s attorney general subpoenaed the data by which Professor Michael Mann had concluded, while paid by the state of Virginia, that the earth’s temperatures are rising “like a hockey stick” from millennial stability — a conclusion on which billions of dollars’ worth of decisions were made — to investigate the possibility of fraud, the University of Virginia’s faculty senate condemned any inquiry into “scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer review standards” claiming that demands for data “send a chilling message to scientists…and indeed scholars in any discipline.” The Washington Post editorialized that the attorney general’s demands for data amounted to “an assault on reason.” The fact that the “hockey stick” conclusion stands discredited and Mann and associates are on record manipulating peer review, the fact that science-by-secret-data is an oxymoron, the very distinction between truth and error, all matter far less to the ruling class than the distinction between itself and those they rule.
By identifying science and reason with themselves, our rulers delegitimize opposition. Though they cannot prevent Americans from worshiping God, they can make it as socially disabling as smoking — to be done furtively and with a bad social conscience. Though they cannot make Americans wish they were Europeans, they continue to press upon this nation of refugees from the rest of the world the notion that Americans ought to live by “world standards.” Each day, the ruling class produces new “studies” that show that one or another of Americans’ habits is in need of reform, and that those Americans most resistant to reform are pitiably, perhaps criminally, wrong. Thus does it go about disaggregating and dispiriting the ruled.
Meddling and Apologies
America’s best and brightest believe themselves qualified and duty bound to direct the lives not only of Americans but of foreigners as well. George W. Bush’s 2005 inaugural statement that America cannot be free until the whole world is free and hence that America must push and prod mankind to freedom was but an extrapolation of the sentiments of America’s Progressive class, first articulated by such as Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson and Columbia’s Nicholas Murray Butler. But while the early Progressives expected the rest of the world to follow peacefully, today’s ruling class makes decisions about war and peace at least as much forcibly to tinker with the innards of foreign bodies politic as to protect America. Indeed, they conflate the two purposes in the face of the American people’s insistence to draw a bright line between war against our enemies and peace with non-enemies in whose affairs we do not interfere. That is why, from Wilson to Kissinger, the ruling class has complained that the American people oscillate between bellicosity and “isolationism.”
Because our ruling class deems unsophisticated the American people’s perennial preference for decisive military action or none, its default solution to international threats has been to commit blood and treasure to long-term, twilight efforts to reform the world’s Vietnams, Somalias, Iraqs, and Afghanistans, believing that changing hearts and minds is the prerequisite of peace and that it knows how to change them. The apparently endless series of wars in which our ruling class has embroiled America, wars that have achieved nothing worthwhile at great cost in lives and treasure, has contributed to defining it, and to discrediting it — but not in its own eyes.
Rather, even as our ruling class has lectured, cajoled, and sometimes intruded violently to reform foreign countries in its own image, it has apologized to them for America not having matched that image — their private image. Woodrow Wilson began this double game in 1919, when he assured Europe’s peoples that America had mandated him to demand their agreement to Article X of the peace treaty (the League of Nations) and then swore to the American people that Article X was the Europeans’ non-negotiable demand. The fact that the U.S. government had seized control of transatlantic cable communications helped hide (for a while) that the League scheme was merely the American Progressives’ private dream. In our time, this double game is quotidian on the evening news. Notably, President Obama apologized to Europe because “the United States has fallen short of meeting its responsibilities” to reduce carbon emissions by taxation. But the American people never assumed such responsibility, and oppose doing so. Hence President Obama was not apologizing for anything that he or anyone he respected had done, but rather blaming his fellow Americans for not doing what he thinks they should do while glossing over the fact that the Europeans had done the taxing but not the reducing. Wilson redux.
Similarly, Obama “apologized” to Europeans because some Americans — not him and his friends — had shown “arrogance and been dismissive” toward them, and to the world because President Truman had used the atom bomb to end World War II. So President Clinton apologized to Africans because some Americans held African slaves until 1865 and others were mean to Negroes thereafter — not himself and his friends, of course. So assistant secretary of state Michael Posner apologized to Chinese diplomats for Arizona’s law that directs police to check immigration status. Republicans engage in that sort of thing as well: former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev tells us that in 1987 then vice president George H. W. Bush distanced himself from his own administration by telling him, “Reagan is a conservative, an extreme conservative. All the dummies and blockheads are with him…” This is all about a class of Americans distinguishing itself from its inferiors. It recalls the Pharisee in the Temple: “Lord, I thank thee that I am not like other men…”
In sum, our ruling class does not like the rest of America. Most of all does it dislike that so many Americans think America is substantially different from the rest of the world and like it that way. For our ruling class, however, America is a work in progress, just like the rest the world, and they are the engineers.
The Country Class
Describing America’s country class is problematic because it is so heterogeneous. It has no privileged podiums, and speaks with many voices, often inharmonious. It shares above all the desire to be rid of rulers it regards inept and haughty. It defines itself practically in terms of reflexive reaction against the rulers’ defining ideas and proclivities — e.g., ever higher taxes and expanding government, subsidizing political favorites, social engineering, approval of abortion, etc. Many want to restore a way of life largely superseded. Demographically, the country class is the other side of the ruling class’s coin: its most distinguishing characteristics are marriage, children, and religious practice. While the country class, like the ruling class, includes the professionally accomplished and the mediocre, geniuses and dolts, it is different because of its non-orientation to government and its members’ yearning to rule themselves rather than be ruled by others.
Even when members of the country class happen to be government officials or officers of major corporations, their concerns are essentially private; in their view, government owes to its people equal treatment rather than action to correct what anyone perceives as imbalance or grievance. Hence they tend to oppose special treatment, whether for corporations or for social categories. Rather than gaming government regulations, they try to stay as far from them as possible. Thus the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Kelo, which allows the private property of some to be taken by others with better connections to government, reminded the country class that government is not its friend.
Negative orientation to privilege distinguishes the corporate officer who tries to keep his company from joining the Business Council of large corporations who have close ties with government from the fellow in the next office. The first wants the company to grow by producing. The second wants it to grow by moving to the trough. It sets apart the schoolteacher who resents the union to which he is forced to belong for putting the union’s interests above those of parents who want to choose their children’s schools. In general, the country class includes all those in stations high and low who are aghast at how relatively little honest work yields, by comparison with what just a little connection with the right bureaucracy can get you. It includes those who take the side of outsiders against insiders, of small institutions against large ones, of local government against the state or federal. The country class is convinced that big business, big government, and big finance are linked as never before and that ordinary people are more unequal than ever.
Members of the country class who want to rise in their profession through sheer competence try at once to avoid the ruling class’s rituals while guarding against infringing its prejudices. Averse to wheedling, they tend to think that exams should play a major role in getting or advancing in jobs, that records of performance — including academic ones — should be matters of public record, and that professional disputes should be settled by open argument. For such people, the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Ricci, upholding the right of firefighters to be promoted according to the results of a professional exam, revived the hope that competence may sometimes still trump political connections.
Nothing has set the country class apart, defined it, made it conscious of itself, given it whatever coherence it has, so much as the ruling class’s insistence that people other than themselves are intellectually and hence otherwise humanly inferior. Persons who were brought up to believe themselves as worthy as anyone, who manage their own lives to their own satisfaction, naturally resent politicians of both parties who say that the issues of modern life are too complex for any but themselves. Most are insulted by the ruling class’s dismissal of opposition as mere “anger and frustration” — an imputation of stupidity — while others just scoff at the claim that the ruling class’s bureaucratic language demonstrates superior intelligence. A few ask the fundamental question: Since when and by what right does intelligence trump human equality? Moreover, if the politicians are so smart, why have they made life worse?
The country class actually believes that America’s ways are superior to the rest of the world’s, and regards most of mankind as less free, less prosperous, and less virtuous. Thus while it delights in croissants and thinks Toyota’s factory methods are worth imitating, it dislikes the idea of adhering to “world standards.” This class also takes part in the U.S. armed forces body and soul: nearly all the enlisted, non-commissioned officers and officers under flag rank belong to this class in every measurable way. Few vote for the Democratic Party. You do not doubt that you are amidst the country class rather than with the ruling class when the American flag passes by or “God Bless America” is sung after seven innings of baseball, and most people show reverence. The same people wince at the National Football League’s plaintive renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Unlike the ruling class, the country class does not share a single intellectual orthodoxy, set of tastes, or ideal lifestyle. Its different sectors draw their notions of human equality from different sources: Christians and Jews believe it is God’s law. Libertarians assert it from Hobbesian and Darwinist bases. Many consider equality the foundation of Americanism. Others just hate snobs. Some parts of the country class now follow the stars and the music out of Nashville, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri — entertainment complexes larger than Hollywood’s — because since the 1970s most of Hollywood’s products have appealed more to the mores of the ruling class and its underclass clients than to those of large percentages of Americans. The same goes for “popular music” and television. For some in the country class Christian radio and TV are the lodestone of sociopolitical taste, while the very secular Fox News serves the same purpose for others. While symphonies and opera houses around the country, as well as the stations that broadcast them, are firmly in the ruling class’s hands, a considerable part of the country class appreciates these things for their own sake. By that very token, the country class’s characteristic cultural venture — the homeschool movement — stresses the classics across the board in science, literature, music, and history even as the ruling class abandons them.
Each of the country class’s diverse parts has its own agenda, which flows from the peculiar ways in which the ruling class impacts its concerns. Independent businesspeople are naturally more sensitive to the growth of privileged relations between government and their competitors. Persons who would like to lead their community rue the advantages that Democratic and Republican party establishments are accruing. Parents of young children and young women anxious about marriage worry that cultural directives from on high are dispelling their dreams. The faithful to God sense persecution. All resent higher taxes and loss of freedom. More and more realize that their own agenda’s advancement requires concerting resistance to the ruling class across the board.
Not being at the table when government makes the rules about how you must run your business, knowing that you will be required to pay more, work harder, and show deference for the privilege of making less money, is the independent businessman’s nightmare. But what to do about it? In our time the interpenetration of government and business — the network of subsidies, preferences, and regulations — is so thick and deep, the people “at the table” receive and recycle into politics so much money, that independent businesspeople cannot hope to undo any given regulation or grant of privilege. Just as no manufacturer can hope to reduce the subsidies that raise his fuel costs, no set of doctors can shield themselves from the increased costs and bureaucracy resulting from government mandates. Hence independent business’s agenda has been to resist the expansion of government in general, and of course to reduce taxes. Pursuit of this agenda with arguments about economic efficiency and job creation — and through support of the Republican Party — usually results in enough relief to discourage more vigorous remonstrance. Sometimes, however, the economic argument is framed in moral terms: “The sum of good government,” said Thomas Jefferson, is not taking “from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” For government to advantage some at others’ expense, said he, “is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association.” In our time, more and more independent businesspeople have come to think of their economic problems in moral terms. But few realize how revolutionary that is.
As bureaucrats and teachers’ unions disempowered neighborhood school boards, while the governments of towns, counties, and states were becoming conduits for federal mandates, as the ruling class reduced the number and importance of things that American communities could decide for themselves, America’s thirst for self-governance reawakened. The fact that public employees are almost always paid more and have more generous benefits than the private sector people whose taxes support them only sharpened the sense among many in the country class that they now work for public employees rather than the other way around. But how to reverse the roles? How can voters regain control of government? Restoring localities’ traditional powers over schools, including standards, curriculum, and prayer, would take repudiating two generations of Supreme Court rulings. So would the restoration of traditional “police” powers over behavior in public places. Bringing public employee unions to heel is only incidentally a matter of cutting pay and benefits. As self-governance is crimped primarily by the powers of government personified in its employees, restoring it involves primarily deciding that any number of functions now performed and the professional specialties who perform them, e.g., social workers, are superfluous or worse. Explaining to one’s self and neighbors why such functions and personnel do more harm than good, while the ruling class brings its powers to bear to discredit you, is a very revolutionary thing to do.
America’s pro-family movement is a reaction to the ruling class’s challenges: emptying marriage of legal sanction, promoting abortion, and progressively excluding parents from their children’s education. Americans reacted to these challenges primarily by sorting themselves out. Close friendships and above all marriages became rarer between persons who think well of divorce, abortion, and government authority over children and those who do not. The homeschool movement, for which the Internet became the great facilitator, involves not only each family educating its own children, but also extensive and growing social, intellectual, and spiritual contact among like-minded persons. In short, the part of the country class that is most concerned with family matters has taken on something of a biological identity. Few in this part of the country class have any illusion, however, that simply retreating into private associations will long save their families from societal influences made to order to discredit their ways. But stopping the ruling class’s intrusions would require discrediting its entire conception of man, of right and wrong, as well as of the role of courts in popular government. That revolutionary task would involve far more than legislation.
The ruling class’s manifold efforts to discredit and drive worship of God out of public life — not even the Soviet Union arrested students for wearing crosses or praying, or reading the Bible on school property, as some U.S. localities have done in response to Supreme Court rulings — convinced many among the vast majority of Americans who believe and pray that today’s regime is hostile to the most important things of all. Every December, they are reminded that the ruling class deems the very word “Christmas” to be offensive. Every time they try to manifest their religious identity in public affairs, they are deluged by accusations of being “American Taliban” trying to set up a “theocracy.” Let members of the country class object to anything the ruling class says or does, and likely as not their objection will be characterized as “religious,” that is to say irrational, that is to say not to be considered on a par with the “science” of which the ruling class is the sole legitimate interpreter. Because aggressive, intolerant secularism is the moral and intellectual basis of the ruling class’s claim to rule, resistance to that rule, whether to the immorality of economic subsidies and privileges, or to the violation of the principle of equal treatment under equal law, or to its seizure of children’s education, must deal with secularism’s intellectual and moral core. This lies beyond the boundaries of politics as the term is commonly understood.
The Classes Clash
The ruling class’s appetite for deference, power, and perks grows. The country class disrespects its rulers, wants to curtail their power and reduce their perks. The ruling class wears on its sleeve the view that the rest of Americans are racist, greedy, and above all stupid. The country class is ever more convinced that our rulers are corrupt, malevolent, and inept. The rulers want the ruled to shut up and obey. The ruled want self-governance. The clash between the two is about which side’s vision of itself and of the other is right and which is wrong. Because each side — especially the ruling class — embodies its views on the issues, concessions by one side to another on any issue tend to discredit that side’s view of itself. One side or the other will prevail. The clash is as sure and momentous as its outcome is unpredictable.
In this clash, the ruling class holds most of the cards: because it has established itself as the fount of authority, its primacy is based on habits of deference. Breaking them, establishing other founts of authority, other ways of doing things, would involve far more than electoral politics. Though the country class had long argued along with Edmund Burke against making revolutionary changes, it faces the uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them: are we now to accept what was done to us just because it was done? Sweeping away a half century’s accretions of bad habits — taking care to preserve the good among them — is hard enough. Establishing, even reestablishing, a set of better institutions and habits is much harder, especially as the country class wholly lacks organization. By contrast, the ruling class holds strong defensive positions and is well represented by the Democratic Party. But a two to one numerical disadvantage augurs defeat, while victory would leave it in control of a people whose confidence it cannot regain.
Certainly the country class lacks its own political vehicle — and perhaps the coherence to establish one. In the short term at least, the country class has no alternative but to channel its political efforts through the Republican Party, which is eager for its support. But the Republican Party does not live to represent the country class. For it to do so, it would have to become principles-based, as it has not been since the mid-1860s. The few who tried to make it so the party treated as rebels: Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. The party helped defeat Goldwater. When it failed to stop Reagan, it saddled his and subsequent Republican administrations with establishmentarians who, under the Bush family, repudiated Reagan’s principles as much as they could. Barack Obama exaggerated in charging that Republicans had driven the country “into the ditch” all alone. But they had a hand in it. Few Republican voters, never mind the larger country class, have confidence that the party is on their side. Because, in the long run, the country class will not support a party as conflicted as today’s Republicans, those Republican politicians who really want to represent it will either reform the party in an unmistakable manner, or start a new one as Whigs like Abraham Lincoln started the Republican Party in the 1850s.
The name of the party that will represent America’s country class is far less important than what, precisely, it represents and how it goes about representing it because, for the foreseeable future, American politics will consist of confrontation between what we might call the Country Party and the ruling class. The Democratic Party having transformed itself into a unit with near-European discipline, challenging it would seem to require empowering a rival party at least as disciplined. What other antidote is there to government by one party but government by another party? Yet this logic, though all too familiar to most of the world, has always been foreign to America and naturally leads further in the direction toward which the ruling class has led. Any country party would have to be wise and skillful indeed not to become the Democrats’ mirror image.
Yet to defend the country class, to break down the ruling class’s presumptions, it has no choice but to imitate the Democrats, at least in some ways and for a while. Consider: The ruling class denies its opponents’ legitimacy. Seldom does a Democratic official or member of the ruling class speak on public affairs without reiterating the litany of his class’s claim to authority, contrasting it with opponents who are either uninformed, stupid, racist, shills for business, violent, fundamentalist, or all of the above. They do this in the hope that opponents, hearing no other characterizations of themselves and no authoritative voice discrediting the ruling class, will be dispirited. For the country class seriously to contend for self-governance, the political party that represents it will have to discredit not just such patent frauds as ethanol mandates, the pretense that taxes can control “climate change,” and the outrage of banning God from public life. More important, such a serious party would have to attack the ruling class’s fundamental claims to its superior intellect and morality in ways that dispirit the target and hearten one’s own. The Democrats having set the rules of modern politics, opponents who want electoral success are obliged to follow them.
Suppose that the Country Party (whatever its name might be) were to capture Congress, the presidency, and most statehouses. What then would it do? Especially if its majority were slim, it would be tempted to follow the Democrats’ plan of 2009-2010, namely to write its wish list of reforms into law regardless of the Constitution and enact them by partisan majorities supported by interest groups that gain from them, while continuing to vilify the other side. Whatever effect this might have, it surely would not be to make America safe for self-governance because by carrying out its own “revolution from above” to reverse the ruling class’s previous “revolution from above,” it would have made that ruinous practice standard in America. Moreover, a revolution designed at party headquarters would be antithetical to the country class’s diversity as well as to the American Founders’ legacy.
Achieving the country class’s inherently revolutionary objectives in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with its own diversity would require the Country Party to use legislation primarily as a tool to remove obstacles, to instruct, to reintroduce into American life ways and habits that had been cast aside. Passing national legislation is easier than getting people to take up the responsibilities of citizens, fathers, and entrepreneurs.
Reducing the taxes that most Americans resent requires eliminating the network of subsidies to millions of other Americans that these taxes finance, and eliminating the jobs of government employees who administer them. Eliminating that network is practical, if at all, if done simultaneously, both because subsidies are morally wrong and economically counterproductive, and because the country cannot afford the practice in general. The electorate is likely to cut off millions of government clients, high and low, only if its choice is between no economic privilege for anyone and ratifying government’s role as the arbiter of all our fortunes. The same goes for government grants to and contracts with so-called nonprofit institutions or non-governmental organizations. The case against all arrangements by which the government favors some groups of citizens is easier to make than that against any such arrangement. Without too much fuss, a few obviously burdensome bureaucracies, like the Department of Education, can be eliminated, while money can be cut off to partisan enterprises such as the National Endowments and public broadcasting. That sort of thing is as necessary to the American body politic as a weight reduction program is essential to restoring the health of any human body degraded by obesity and lack of exercise. Yet shedding fat is the easy part. Restoring atrophied muscles is harder. Reenabling the body to do elementary tasks takes yet more concentration.
The grandparents of today’s Americans (132 million in 1940) had opportunities to serve on 117,000 school boards. To exercise responsibilities comparable to their grandparents’, today’s 310 million Americans would have radically to decentralize the mere 15,000 districts into which public school children are now concentrated. They would have to take responsibility for curriculum and administration away from credentialed experts, and they would have to explain why they know better. This would involve a level of political articulation of the body politic far beyond voting in elections every two years.
If self-governance means anything, it means that those who exercise government power must depend on elections. The shorter the electoral leash, the likelier an official to have his chain yanked by voters, the more truly republican the government is. Yet to subject the modern administrative state’s agencies to electoral control would require ordinary citizens to take an interest in any number of technical matters. Law can require environmental regulators or insurance commissioners, or judges or auditors to be elected. But only citizens’ discernment and vigilance could make these officials good. Only citizens’ understanding of and commitment to law can possibly reverse the patent disregard for the Constitution and statutes that has permeated American life. Unfortunately, it is easier for anyone who dislikes a court’s or an official’s unlawful act to counter it with another unlawful one than to draw all parties back to the foundation of truth.
How, for example, to remind America of, and to drive home to the ruling class, Lincoln’s lesson that trifling with the Constitution for the most heartfelt of motives destroys its protections for all? What if a country class majority in both houses of Congress were to co-sponsor a “Bill of Attainder to deprive Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and other persons of liberty and property without further process of law for having violated the following ex post facto law…” and larded this constitutional monstrosity with an Article III Section 2 exemption from federal court review? When the affected members of the ruling class asked where Congress gets the authority to pass a bill every word of which is contrary to the Constitution, they would be confronted, publicly, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s answer to a question on the Congress’s constitutional authority to mandate individuals to purchase certain kinds of insurance: “Are you kidding? Are you kidding?” The point having been made, the Country Party could lead public discussions around the country on why even the noblest purposes (maybe even Title II of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964?) cannot be allowed to trump the Constitution.
How the country class and ruling class might clash on each item of their contrasting agendas is beyond my scope. Suffice it to say that the ruling class’s greatest difficulty — aside from being outnumbered — will be to argue, against the grain of reality, that the revolution it continues to press upon America is sustainable. For its part, the country class’s greatest difficulty will be to enable a revolution to take place without imposing it. America has been imposed on enough.
Story 1: Obama The Tyrant Races To Have The United Nations Security Council Pass The Traitorous Terrorist Treaty Before Congress Votes It Down — Congress and President Betray The United States Constitution — Just Walk Way From Both Political Parties — Never Again Fasicism — Videos
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KEY POINTS OF HISTORIC IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
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Blackburn: Iran Nuclear Deal is Bad for the United States
Levin: ‘U.S. Senate Just Capitulated To Obama,’ And Rewrote The Constitution’s Treaty Provision
Just Walk Way From Both Political Parties
Discusses Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act on FOX News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor”
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Judge Napolitano : Obama pushes World Government by signing U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (Sep 26, 2013)
Obama Bringing Iran Deal to UN, Bypassing Congress
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UN ENDORSES IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL WITH 6 WORLD POWERS
The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously endorsed the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers and authorized a series of measures leading to the end of U.N. sanctions that have hurt Iran’s economy.
But the measure also provides a mechanism for U.N. sanctions to “snap back” in place if Iran fails to meet its obligations.
Both U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo called the agreement an important achievement for diplomacy, the Iranian promising to be “resolute in fulfilling its obligations” and the American pledging to be vigilant in ensuring they are carried out.
The resolution had been agreed to by the five veto-wielding council members, who along with Germany negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran. It was co-sponsored by all 15 members of the Security Council. The European Union’s foreign ministers endorsed the agreement later Monday in Brussels and pledged to implement it.
Under the agreement, Iran’s nuclear program will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions. Many key penalties on the Iranian economy, such as those related to the energy and financial sectors, could be lifted by the end of the year.
Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful, aimed at producing nuclear energy and medical isotopes, but the United States and its Western allies believe Tehran’s real goal is to build atomic weapons. U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed that all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon are cut off for the duration of the agreement and Iran will remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of uranium.
Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said “the world is now a safer place in the knowledge that Iran cannot now build a nuclear bomb.” But Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor told reporters immediately after the vote that the Security Council had “awarded a great prize to the most dangerous country in the world,” calling it “a very sad day” not only for Israel but the entire world.
The document specifies that seven resolutions related to U.N. sanctions will be terminated when Iran has completed a series of major steps to curb its nuclear program and the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that “all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.”
All provisions of the U.N. resolution will terminate in 10 years, including the “snap back” provision on sanctions.
But last week the six major powers – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – and the European Union sent a letter, seen by The Associated Press, informing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that they have agreed to extend the snap back mechanism for an additional five years. They asked Ban to send the letter to the Security Council.
Obama told reporters the vote will send a strong message of international support for the agreement as the best way to ensure “that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.” He faces strong opposition in the Republican-controlled Congress and expressed hope that members will pay attention to the vote.
Power, the U.S. ambassador, said the nuclear deal doesn’t change the United States’ “profound concern about human rights violations committed by the Iranian government or about the instability Iran fuels beyond its nuclear program, from its support for terrorist proxies to repeated threats against Israel to its other destabilizing activities in the region.”
She urged Iran to release three “unjustly imprisoned” Americans and to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who vanished in Iran in 2007.
The message that diplomacy can work ran through many speeches from council members.
Iran’s Khoshroo stressed that only if commitments are fully honored “can diplomacy prevail over conflict and war in a world that is replete with violence, suffering and oppression.”
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the agreement “clearly demonstrates that where there’s a political will based on realism and respect for legitimate mutual interests of the international community, the most complex tasks can be resolved.”
“Today, the Security Council has confirmed the inalienable right of Iran to develop its peaceful nuclear program, including to enrich uranium, while ensuring the comprehensive control by the IAEA,” Churkin said.
[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…
One of three types of international accord
In the United States, the term “treaty” is used in a more restricted legal sense than in international law. U.S. law distinguishes what it calls treaties from congressional-executive agreements and sole-executive agreements. All three classes are considered treaties under international law; they are distinct only from the perspective of internal United States law. Distinctions among the three concern their method of ratification: by two-thirds of the Senate, by normal legislative process, or by the President alone, respectively. The Treaty Clause  empowers the President to make or enter into treaties with the “advice and consent” of two-thirds of theSenate. In contrast, normal legislation becomes law after approval by simple majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Throughout U.S. history, the President has also made international “agreements” through congressional-executive agreements (CEAs) that are ratified with only a majority from both houses of Congress, or sole-executive agreements made by the President alone. Though the Constitution does not expressly provide for any alternative to the Article II treaty procedure, Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution does distinguish between treaties (which states are forbidden to make) and agreements (which states may make with the consent of Congress). The Supreme Court of the United States has considered congressional-executive and sole-executive agreements to be valid, and they have been common throughout American history. Thomas Jefferson explained that the Article II treaty procedure is not necessary when there is no long-term commitment:
It is desirable, in many instances, to exchange mutual advantages by Legislative Acts rather than by treaty: because the former, though understood to be in consideration of each other, and therefore greatly respected, yet when they become too inconvenient, can be dropped at the will of either party: whereas stipulations by treaty are forever irrevocable but by joint consent….
A further distinction embodied in U.S. law is between self-executing treaties, which do not require additional legislative action, and non-self-executing treaties which do require the enactment of new laws. These various distinctions of procedure and terminology do not affect the binding status of accords under international law. Nevertheless, they do have major implications under U.S. domestic law. In Missouri v. Holland, the Supreme Court ruled that the power to make treaties under the U.S. Constitution is a power separate from the other enumerated powers of the federal government, and hence the federal government can use treaties to legislate in areas which would otherwise fall within the exclusive authority of the states. By contrast, a congressional-executive agreement can only cover matters which the Constitution explicitly places within the powers of Congress and the President. Likewise, a sole-executive agreement can only cover matters within the President’s authority or matters in which Congress has delegated authority to the President. For example, a treaty may prohibit states from imposing capital punishment on foreign nationals, but a congressional-executive agreement or sole-executive agreement cannot.
In general, arms control agreements are often ratified by the treaty mechanism. At the same time, trade agreements (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and United States accession to the World Trade Organization) are generally voted on as a CEA, and such agreements typically include an explicit right to withdraw after giving sufficient written notice to the other parties. If an international commercial accord contains binding “treaty” commitments, then a two-thirds vote of the Senate may be required.
Between 1946 and 1999, the United States completed nearly 16,000 international agreements. Only 912 of those agreements were treaties, submitted to the Senate for approval as outlined in Article II of the United States Constitution. Since the Franklin Roosevelt presidency, only 6% of international accords have been completed as Article II treaties. Most of these executive agreements consist of congressional-executive agreements.
American law is that international accords become part of the body of U.S. federal law. Consequently, Congress can modify or repeal treaties by subsequent legislative action, even if this amounts to a violation of the treaty under international law. This was held, for instance, in the Head Money Cases. The most recent changes will be enforced by U.S. courts entirely independent of whether the international community still considers the old treaty obligations binding upon the U.S.
Additionally, an international accord that is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution is void under domestic U.S. law, the same as any other federal law in conflict with the Constitution. This principle was most clearly established in the case of Reid v. Covert. The Supreme Court could rule an Article II treaty provision to be unconstitutional and void under domestic law, although it has not yet done so.
In Goldwater v. Carter, Congress challenged the constitutionality of then-president Jimmy Carter‘s unilateral termination of a defense treaty. The case went before the Supreme Court and was never heard; a majority of six Justices ruled that the case should be dismissed without hearing an oral argument, holding that “The issue at hand … was essentially a political question and could not be reviewed by the court, as Congress had not issued a formal opposition.” In his opinion, Justice Brennan dissented, “The issue of decision making authority must be resolved as a matter of constitutional law, not political discretion; accordingly, it falls within the competence of the courts”. Presently, there is no official ruling on whether the President has the power to break a treaty without the approval of Congress, and the courts also declined to interfere when President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew the United States from the ABM Treaty in 2002, six months after giving the required notice of intent.
Scope of presidential powers
Presidents have regarded the Article II treaty process as necessary where an international accord would bind a future president. For example, Theodore Roosevelt explained:
The Constitution did not explicitly give me power to bring about the necessary agreement with Santo Domingo. But the Constitution did not forbid my doing what I did. I put the agreement into effect, and I continued its execution for two years before the Senate acted; and I would have continued it until the end of my term, if necessary, without any action by Congress. But it was far preferable that there should be action by Congress, so that we might be proceeding under a treaty which was the law of the land and not merely by a direction of the Chief Executive which would lapse when that particular executive left office. I therefore did my best to get the Senate to ratify what I had done.
A sole-executive agreement can only be negotiated and entered into through the president’s authority (1) in foreign policy, (2) as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, (3) from a prior act of Congress, or (4) from a prior treaty. Agreements beyond these competencies must have the approval of Congress (for congressional-executive agreements) or the Senate (for treaties).
In 1972, Congress passed legislation requiring the president to notify Congress of any executive agreements that are formed.
Although the nondelegation doctrine prevents Congress from delegating its legislative authority to the executive branch, Congress has allowed the executive to act as Congress’s “agent” in trade negotiations, such as by setting tariffs, and, in the case of Trade Promotion Authority, by solely authoring the implementing legislation for trade agreements. The constitutionality of this delegation was upheld by the Supreme Court in Field v. Clark (1892).
HAMILTON’S WARNING AGAINST OBAMA AND THE IRAN DEAL – FEDERALIST NO. 75
“An ambitious man might make his own aggrandizement, by the aid of a foreign power, the price of his treachery to his constituents.” Thus did Alexander Hamilton warn the American people, in Federalist No. 75, against allowing the president to make treaties alone.
Hamilton, while a supporter of executive power, nevertheless argued for the Senate’s treaty role, because “it would be utterly unsafe and improper to intrust that power to an elective magistrate of four years’ duration.”
It would be unsafe, he said, because even the most virtuous individuals, with the best of intentions, would fall prey to the temptations that negotiations with foreign powers would certainly provide.
How much more so does his advice apply to a president of lesser virtue, such as Barack Obama, who intends to decrease the power of the United States as a matter of ideological conviction, and who seeks narcissistic satisfaction in the attention a deal with Iran would temporarily provide!
Hamilton also anticipated the greed allegedly displayed by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, whose perambulations around the globe in service of the president’s dubious foreign policy agenda coincided with generous donations from foreign governments to her family’s personal foundation.
“An avaricious man might be tempted to betray the interests of the state to the acquisition of wealth,” Hamilton warns, prescribing the review powers of the Senate as the remedy.
And lest apologists for Obama argue that the nuclear deal with Iran is not actually a “treaty,” but merely an “executive agreement,” Hamilton leaves no doubt as to the scope of arrangements to which the Senate’s review power applies.
“The power of making treaties,” he says, concerns “CONTRACTS with foreign nations, which have the force of law, but derive it from the obligations of good faith” (original emphasis).
Congress should heed Hamilton’s warning before it is too late.
The Treaty Clause has a number of striking features. It gives the Senate, in James Madison’s terms, a “partial agency” in the President’s foreign-relations power. The clause requires a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Senate for approval of a treaty, but it gives the House of Representatives, representing the “people,” no role in the process.
Midway through the Constitutional Convention, a working draft had assigned the treaty-making power to the Senate, but the Framers, apparently considering the traditional role of a nation-state’s executive in making treaties, changed direction and gave the power to the President, but with the proviso of the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.” In a formal sense, then, treaty-making became a mixture of executive and legislative power. Most people of the time recognized the actual conduct of diplomacy as an executive function, but under Article VI treaties were, like statutes, part of the “supreme Law of the Land.” Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist No. 75, the two branches were appropriately combined:
The qualities elsewhere detailed as indispensable in the management of foreign relations point out the executive as the most fit in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operation of treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.
Another reason for involving both President and Senate was that the Framers thought American interests might be undermined by treaties entered into without proper reflection. The Framers believed that treaties should be strictly honored, both as a matter of the law of nations and as a practical matter, because the United States could not afford to give the great powers any cause for war. But this meant that the nation should be doubly cautious in accepting treaty obligations. As James Wilson said, “Neither the President nor the Senate, solely, can complete a treaty; they are checks upon each other, and are so balanced as to produce security to the people.”
The fear of disadvantageous treaties also underlay the Framers’ insistence on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. In particular, the Framers worried that one region or interest within the nation, constituting a bare majority, would make a treaty advantageous to it but prejudicial to other parts of the country and to the national interest. An episode just a year before the start of the Convention had highlighted the problem. The United States desired a trade treaty with Spain, and sought free access to the Mississippi River through Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Spain offered favorable trade terms, but only if the United States would give up its demands on the Mississippi. The Northern states, which would have benefited most from the trade treaty and cared little about New Orleans, had a majority, but not a supermajority, in the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, treaties required assent of a supermajority (nine out of thirteen) of the states, and the South was able to block the treaty. It was undoubtedly that experience that impelled the Framers to carry over the supermajority principle from the Articles of Confederation.
At the Convention, several prominent Framers argued unsuccessfully to have the House of Representatives included. But most delegates thought that the House had substantial disadvantages when it came to treaty-making. For example, as a large body, the House would have difficulty keeping secrets or acting quickly. The small states, wary of being disadvantaged, also preferred to keep the treaty-making power in the Senate, where they had proportionally greater power.
The ultimate purpose, then, of the Treaty Clause was to ensure that treaties would not be adopted unless most of the country stood to gain. True, treaties would be more difficult to adopt than statutes, but the Framers realized that an unwise statute could simply be repealed, but an unwise treaty remained a binding international commitment, which would not be so easy to unwind.
Other questions, however, remained. First, are the provisions of the clause exclusive—that is, does it provide the only way that the United States may enter into international obligations?
While the clause does not say, in so many words, that it is exclusive, its very purpose—not to have any treaty disadvantage one part of the nation—suggests that no other route was possible, whether it be the President acting alone, or the popularly elected House having a role. On the other hand, while the Treaty Clause was, in the original understanding, the exclusive way to make treaties, the Framers also apparently recognized a class of less-important international agreements, not rising to the level of “treaties,” which could be approved in some other way. Article I, Section 10, in describing restrictions upon the states, speaks of “Treat[ies]” and “Agreement[s]…with a foreign Power” as two distinct categories. Some scholars believe this shows that not all international agreements are treaties, and that these other agreements would not need to go through the procedures of the Treaty Clause. Instead, the President, in the exercise of his executive power, could conclude such agreements on his own. Still, this exception for lesser agreements would have to be limited to “agreements” of minor importance, or else it would provide too great an avenue for evasion of the protections the Framers placed in the Treaty Clause.
A second question is how the President and Senate should interact in their joint exercise of the treaty power. Many Framers apparently thought that the President would oversee the actual conduct of diplomacy, but that the Senate would be involved from the outset as a sort of executive council advising the President. This was likely a reason that the Framers thought the smaller Senate was more suited than the House to play a key role in treaty-making. In the first effort at treaty-making under the Constitution, President George Washington attempted to operate in just this fashion. He went to the Senate in person to discuss a proposed treaty before he began negotiations. What is less clear, however, is whether the Constitution actually requires this process, or whether it is only what the Framers assumed would happen. The Senate, of course, is constitutionally authorized to offer “advice” to the President at any stage of the treaty-making process, but the President is not directed (in so many words) as to when advice must be solicited. As we shall see, this uncertainty has led, in modern practice, to a very different procedure than some Framers envisioned. It seems clear, however, that the Framers expected that the Senate’s “advice and consent” would be a close review and not a mere formality, as they thought of it as an important check upon presidential power.
A third difficult question is whether the Treaty Clause implies a Senate power or role in treaty termination. Scholarly opinion is divided, and few Framers appear to have discussed the question directly. One view sees the power to make a treaty as distinct from the power of termination, with the latter being more akin to a power of implementation. Since the Constitution does not directly address the termination power, this view would give it to the President as part of the President’s executive powers to conduct foreign affairs and to execute the laws. When the termination question first arose in 1793, Washington and his Cabinet, which included Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, embraced this view. All of them thought Washington could, on his own authority, terminate the treaty with France if necessary to keep the United States neutral.
A second view holds that, as a matter of the general eighteenth-century understanding of the legal process, the power to take an action (such as passing a statute or making a treaty) implies the power to undo the action. This view would require the consent of the President and a supermajority of the Senate to undo a treaty. There is, however, not much historical evidence that many Framers actually held this view of treaty termination, and it is inconsistent with the common interpretation of the Appointments Clause (under which Senate approval is required to appoint but not to remove executive officers).
The third view is that the Congress as a whole has the power to terminate treaties, based on an analogy between treaties and federal laws. When the United States first terminated a treaty in 1798 under John Adams, this procedure was adopted, but there was little discussion of the constitutional ramifications.
Finally, there is a question of the limits of the treaty power. A treaty presumably cannot alter the constitutional structure of government, and the Supreme Court has said that executive agreements—and so apparently treaties—are subject to the limits of the Bill of Rights just as ordinary laws are. Reid v. Covert (1957). InGeofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court also declared that the treaty power extends only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” However, at least in the modern world, one would think that few topics are so local that they could not, under some circumstances, be reached as part of the foreign-affairs interests of the nation. Some have argued that treaties are limited by the federalism interests of the states. The Supreme Court rejected a version of that argument in State of Missouri v. Holland (1920), holding that the subject matter of treaties is not limited to the enumerated powers of Congress. The revival of interest in federalism limits on Congress in such areas as state sovereign immunity, see Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida (1996), and the Tenth Amendment, see Printz v. United States (1997), raises the question whether these limits also apply to the treaty power, but the Court has not yet taken up these matters.
Turning to modern practice, the Framers’ vision of treaty-making has in some ways prevailed and in some ways been altered. First, it is not true—and has not been true since George Washington’s administration—that the Senate serves as an executive council to advise the President in all stages of treaty-making. Rather, the usual modern course is that the President negotiates and signs treaties independently and then presents the proposed treaty to the Senate for its approval or disapproval. Washington himself found personal consultation with the Senate to be so awkward and unproductive that he abandoned it, and subsequent Presidents have followed his example.
Moreover, the Senate frequently approves treaties with conditions and has done so since the Washington administration. If the President makes clear to foreign nations that his signature on a treaty is only a preliminary commitment subject to serious Senate scrutiny, and if the Senate takes seriously its constitutional role of reviewing treaties (rather than merely deferring to the President), the check that the Framers sought to create remains in place. By going beyond a simple “up-or-down” vote, the Senate retains some of its power of “advice”: the Senate not only disapproves the treaty proposed by the President but suggests how the President might craft a better treaty. As a practical matter, there is often much consultation between the executive and members of the Senate before treaties are crafted and signed. Thus modern practice captures the essence of the Framers’ vision that the Senate would have some form of a participatory role in treaty-making.
A more substantial departure from the Framers’ vision may arise from the practice of “executive agreements.” According to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the President may validly conclude executive agreements that (1) cover matters that are solely within his executive power, or (2) are made pursuant to a treaty, or (3) are made pursuant to a legitimate act of Congress. Examples of important executive agreements include the Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments.
Where the President acts pursuant to a prior treaty, there seems little tension with the Framers’ vision, as Senate approval has, in effect, been secured in advance. Somewhat more troublesome is the modern practice of so-called congressional–executive agreements, by which some international agreements have been made by the President and approved (either in advance or after the fact) by a simple majority of both houses of Congress, rather than two-thirds of the Senate. Many of these agreements deal particularly with trade-related matters, which Congress has clear constitutional authority to regulate. Congressional–executive agreements, at least with respect to trade matters, are now well established, and recent court challenges have been unsuccessful. Made in the USA Foundation v. United States (2001). On the other hand, arguments for “complete interchangeability”—that is, claims that anything that can be done by treaty can be done by congressional–executive agreement—seem counter to the Framers’ intent. The Framers carefully considered the supermajority rule for treaties and adopted it in response to specific threats to the Union; finding a complete alternative to the Treaty Clause would in effect eliminate the supermajority rule and make important international agreements easier to adopt than the Framers wished.
The third type of executive agreement is one adopted by the President without explicit approval of either the Senate or the Congress as a whole. The Supreme Court and modern practice embrace the idea that the President may under some circumstances make these so-called sole executive agreements. United States v. Belmont (1937); United States v. Pink (1942). But the scope of this independent presidential power remains a serious question. The Pink and Belmont cases involved agreements relating to the recognition of a foreign government, a power closely tied to the President’s textual power to receive ambassadors (Article II, Section 3). The courts have consistently permitted the President to settle foreign claims by sole executive agreement, but at the same time have emphasized that the Congress has acquiesced in the practice. Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981);American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi (2003). Beyond this, the modern limits of the President’s ability to act independently in making international agreements have not been explored. With respect to treaty termination, modern practice allows the President to terminate treaties on his own. In recent times, President James Earl Carter terminated the U.S.–Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1977, and President George W. Bush terminated the ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001. The Senate objected sharply to President Carter’s actions, but the Supreme Court rebuffed the Senate in Goldwater v. Carter (1979). President Bush’s action was criticized in some academic quarters but received general acquiescence. In light of the consensus early in Washington’s administration, it is probably fair to say that presidential termination does not obviously depart from the original understanding, inasmuch as the Framers were much more concerned about checks upon entering into treaties than they were about checks upon terminating them.
Story 1: Planned Parenthood’s Evil of Killing, Butchering and Selling Baby Parts Regrets Their Tone Not Their Actions– Reminds Me of The Nazis (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) Discussing The Final Solution for The Jewish Question — The Killing of Babies Supported By Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Progressives and Ruling Political Elites — Stop Killing Babies And Lying To The American People — Videos
He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
~Henry David Thoreau
The resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.
The Holocaust was the most evil crime ever committed.
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
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Caught on Camera: Planned Parenthood Harvesting Babies Organs
Die Wannseekonferenz (1984)
A real time recreation of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, in which leading SS and Nazi Party officials led by SS-General Reinhard Heydrich gathered to discuss the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”.
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Mind Control Hate Propaganda, Hate Speech & Crime, Black PR
Mind Control, Psychology of Brainwashing, Sex & Hypnosis
Margaret Sanger: Eugenicist (1/3)
Margaret Sanger: Eugenicist (2/3)
Margaret Sanger: Eugenicist (3/3)
Eugenics Glenn Beck w/ Edwin Black author of “War Against the Weak” talk Al Gore & Margaret Sanger
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Auschwitz: The Nazi and the Final Solution (1/5)
AUSHWITZ:THE FINAL SOLUTION CLIP 2/5
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Auschwitz: The Nazi and the Final Solution (4/5)
Auschwitz: The Nazi and the Final Solution (5/5)
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Glenn Beck – Ted Cruz Discusses the Evils of Agenda 21
Bill Whittle What We Believe Full Version
Brenda Lee – I’m Sorry (Live from Canada 1980)
Planned Parenthood head apologizes for ‘tone’ of doctor in covert video
The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America on Thursday apologized for remarks captured on video that show Deborah Nucatola, an executive of the organization, casually discussing abortion techniques aimed at preserving the internal organs of fetuses for use in research.
But Richards also emphatically defended the organization’s tissue donation program, which she said is purely voluntary for the women and does not yield a profit for Planned Parenthood. And she condemned the group that covertly recorded Nucatola’s remarks, which she said heavily edited the video to make “outrageous claims.”
“We know the real agenda of organizations behind videos like this, and they have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women,” she said. “Their mission is to ban abortion completely and cut women off from care at Planned Parenthood and other health centers.”
Richards’s apology came a day after a little-known anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress unveiled the video as part of what its leader said was a 30-month investigation into Planned Parenthood’s tissue donation program. The group alleges Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal body parts to companies that use the tissue for research.
While the video did not prove this claim, it still painted Planned Parenthood in an unflattering light that reignited controversy over the women’s health organization, the nation’s largest abortion provider and a longtime target of anti-abortion activism. It showed Nucatola, the organization’s senior director of medical services, discussing graphically the ways in which abortions can be completed to preserve a fetus’s liver, lungs, heart and other materials for research.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver,” she says in the video, drinking wine and eating salad with anti-abortion activists posing as medical company representatives.
Later in the video, she continues: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
The Center for Medical Research distilled the video into a nine-minute clip, but also posted a longer cut lasting more than two-and-a-half hours showing a fuller context of the discussion. It also posted some supporting documents on its site, and the group’s leader has promised more evidence in the coming weeks.
Planned Parenthood’s president apologized Thursday for a top official’s tone in a controversial video, but she also denied the clip’s allegation that her organization profits from tissue donation.
“Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements,” said Cecile Richards, the group’s president, in a video out Thursday. “As always, if there is any aspect of our work that can be strengthened, we want to know about it, and we take swift action to address it.”
Since the video’s release on Breitbart earlier this week, conservative elected officials have slammed its contents and called for congressional hearings on the incident, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“I hope that everyone in the country watches it,” said Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri, who called the video “the most horrifying and heartbreaking undercover video I have ever seen” during a Capitol Hill news conference on Wednesday.
But allegations that Planned Parenthood sells baby body organs and tissue are unfounded, she said.
“I want to be really clear: The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true. Our donation programs — like any other high-quality health care providers — follow all laws and ethical guidelines.”
On Wednesday, Richards used Twitter to criticize lawmakers and presidential candidates
Richards said political attacks are nothing new for her organization, the country’s largest abortion provider.
“Spreading false information is an age-old strategy of people hell-bent on denying women care & shaming them for exercising their rights,” she tweeted.
Several Republican candidates have promised to defund federal dollars to Planned Parenthood if elected. Richards argued that would keep millions from breast exams, sexually transmitted infection exams and sex education.
“Reminder: 1 out of every 5 women has been to PP in her life. Threatening our patients’ care & rights will get politicians nowhere real fast,” she tweeted. “We’ve fought for our patients before, and we’ll fight for them again and again.”
Planned Parenthood exec, fetal body parts subject of controversial video
By Steve Almasy and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
An anti-abortion group has released an online video that it says documents how Planned Parenthood is selling fetal organs for a profit, a felony, while violating medical ethics by altering normal abortion procedures so as to preserve the organs.
Planned Parenthood has countered that it donates the tissue for scientific research and receives only reimbursement for its expenses, which is legal. The group also says it helps people donate tissue “with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards,” according to a statement from spokesman Eric Ferrero.
Later, Ferrero issued another statement saying, “These outrageous claims are flat-out untrue, but that doesn’t matter to politicians with a longstanding political agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Women and families who make the decision to donate fetal tissue for lifesaving scientific research should be honored, not attacked and demeaned.”
The group leveling the accusation, the Irvine, California-based Center for Medical Progress, says it shot the video a year ago at a California restaurant. On it, two people purporting to be with a human biologics company speak with a Planned Parenthood doctor over what appears to be a lunch meeting. The Center for Medical Progress says the pair, who are off-camera and never seen, are paid actors.
“Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization,” said statement from David Daleiden, who led the undercover project.
The video has drawn the ire of GOP lawmakers in Washington, with House Speaker John Boehner calling for hearings on Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices.
“When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so. When an organization monetizes an unborn child — and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video — we must all act,” he said.
On the video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, is seen talking matter-of-factly about the organization’s participation in tissue-donation programs.
Though Planned Parenthood has described the Center for Medical Progress footage as a hit piece by “a well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services,” Nucatola acknowledges in the video that Planned Parenthood’s national office sees the potential for controversy.
“So, we tried to do this, and at the national office we have a Litigation and Law Department that just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” she said. “And so we had a conversation, and we said, ‘What if we go out and find everyone who is doing this and present everybody with a menu?’ And at the end of the day they just decided that right now, it’s just too touchy an issue for us to be an official middleman.”
In another part of the video, the doctor tells the undercover actors that “behind closed doors,” Planned Parenthood’s affiliates are discussing how to handle the matter.
“Every provider has had patients who want to donate their tissue, and they absolutely want to accommodate them. They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as ‘This clinic is selling tissue. This clinic is making money off of this,’ ” she said.
The edited version of the video appears to be missing important context that’s provided in the longer video. For instance, one of the actors asks Nucatola about prices for the organs.
“OK, so when you are, or the (Planned Parenthood) affiliate is determining what that monetary … so that it doesn’t raise any question of ‘This is what it’s about; this is the main,’ what price range would you …” the woman asks, her question trailing off.
Nucatola responds that the price would be between $30 and $100 per specimen, with consideration for what facility is used and “what’s involved.” It’s not clear if a specimen constitutes the entire organ or only samples of it.
Nucatola doesn’t specifically say that the price is for the purchase of the tissue, but the comment troubled bioethicist Art Caplan of New York University, who said after watching the edited version of the video it sounds like Planned Parenthood might be trying to make a profit.
But in the longer version of the video, Nucatola elaborates and appears to say the price is related to the cost of performing the procedure and shipping.
“It just has to do with space issues. Are you sending someone there who is going to be doing everything or is their staff going to be doing it? What exactly are they going to be doing? Is there shipping involved or is someone coming to pick it up?”
Selling fetal body parts — or any body parts — is against federal law, but Planned Parenthood said it makes no profit.
“In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field,” the group said.
Another part of the video also raised concerns for Caplan. Nucatola talks about doctors performing abortions in which ultrasound is used to ascertain the best location to grab the fetus with forceps.
“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver because we know that, I’m not going to crush that part,” she says.
Altering procedures in order to get tissue in the best condition would be a “big no-no,” the bioethicist said, because the patient’s health is paramount and that should be the only concern for doctors. Caplan did not comment specifically on whether the ultrasound procedure would endanger the mother, but he made it clear that any deviation from normal procedures is unacceptable.
“In abortion the primary goal is to give the safest abortion possible,” Caplan said. “Your sole concern has to be the mother and her health.”
There’s a parallel in patient care, he said. When someone is dying, doctors shouldn’t change how they treat the patient in order to harvest good tissue for donation after death.
Doctors should treat the patient as they normally would, and then use whatever is available after death. If a provider is considering how to get the tissue that’s in the best shape, “that’s a huge conflict of interest. … If you modify how someone dies, that’s unethical.”
The Center for Medical Progress also alleges that Nucatola describes a method — using ultrasound to manipulate the fetus so it comes out feet first, or breech presentation, instead of head first, or vertex presentation — that “is the hallmark of the illegal partial-birth abortion procedure.”
Partial birth abortions are illegal, according to U.S. law, which defines them as procedures “in which the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus.”
On the video, Nucatola describes the best strategy to extract calavarium, or skulls, intact, but it is not clear if she is speaking in general terms or if she is describing Planned Parenthood’s methods. And then, she says nothing about whether the fetus is still alive when it’s delivered.
“And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex, because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.”
The Center for Medical Progress responded to Planned Parenthood’s written statement about the video and accused Planned Parenthood of lying about obtaining consent from patients and not making a profit on the tissue transactions. It did not offer any further evidence of either claim.
Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, said the anti-abortion group was the one that was lying.
“A well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research,” it said.
The statement continued, “Similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades. These groups have been widely discredited and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case.”
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), commonly shortened to Planned Parenthood, is the U.S. affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and one of its larger members. PPFA is a non-profit organization providing reproductive health and maternal and child health services. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. (PPAF) is a related organization which lobbies for pro-choice legislation, comprehensive sex education, and access to affordable health care in the United States. In recent years, Planned Parenthood has begun to move away from the pro-choice label to words and phrases that more accurately reflect the entire range of women’s health and economic issues.
Planned Parenthood is the largest U.S. provider of reproductive health services, including cancer screening, HIV screening and counseling, contraception, and abortion. Contraception accounts for 34% of PPFA’s total services and abortions account for 3%; PPFA conducts roughly 300,000 abortions each year, among 3 million people served.
The organization has its roots in Brooklyn, New York, where Margaret Sanger opened the country’s first birth-control clinic. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which in 1942 became part of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Since then, Planned Parenthood has grown to have over 820 clinic locations in the U.S., with a total budget of US $1 billion. PPFA provides an array of services to over three million people in the United States, and supports services for over one million clients outside the United States.
Margaret Sanger (1922), the first president and founder of Planned Parenthood
The origins of Planned Parenthood date to October 16, 1916 when Margaret Sanger, her sister Ethel Byrne, and Fania Mindell opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York. All three women were immediately arrested and jailed for violating provisions of the Comstock Act– for distributing “obscene materials” at the clinic. The “Brownsville trials” brought national attention and support to their cause, and although Sanger and her co-defendants were convicted, their convictions were eventually overturned. Their campaign led to major changes in the laws governing birth control and sex education in the United States.
In 1938, the clinic was organized into the American Birth Control League, which became part of the only national birth control organization in the US until the 1960s, but the title was found too offensive and “against families” so the League began discussions for a new name. By 1941, the organization was operating 222 centers and had served 49,000 clients. By 1942 the League had become part of what became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Following Margaret Sanger, Alan Frank Guttmacher became president of Planned Parenthood and served from 1962 till 1974. During his tenure, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of the original birth control pill, giving rise to new attitudes towards women’s reproductive freedom. Also during his presidency, Planned Parenthood lobbied the federal government to support reproductive health, culminating with President Richard Nixon‘s signing of Title X to provide governmental subsidies for low-income women to access family planning services. The Center for Family Planning Program Development was also founded as a semi-autonomous division during this time. The center became an independent organization and was renamed the Guttmacher Institute in 1977.
Faye Wattleton was the first woman named president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1978 and served till 1992. She was the first African-American to serve as president, and the youngest president in Planned Parenthood’s history. During her term, Planned Parenthood grew to become the seventh largest charity in the country, providing services to four million clients each year through its 170 affiliates whose activities were spread across 50 states.
A Planned Parenthood supporter participates in a demonstration in support of the organization.
From 1996 to 2006, Planned Parenthood was led by Gloria Feldt. Feldt activated the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the organization’s political action committee, launching what was the most far reaching electoral advocacy effort in its history. She also launched the Responsible Choices Action Agenda, a nationwide campaign to increase services to prevent unwanted pregnancies, improve quality of reproductive care and ensure access to safe and legal abortions. Another initiative was the commencement of a “Global Partnership Program” with the aim of building a vibrant activist constituency in support of family planning.
PPFA is a federation of 85 independent Planned Parenthood affiliates around the U.S. These affiliates together operate more than 820 health centers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The largest of these facilities, a $26 million, 78,000-square-foot (7,200 m2) structure was completed in Houston, Texas in May 2010. This serves as a headquarters for 12 clinics in Texas and Louisiana. Together, they are the largest family planning services provider in the U.S. with over four million activists, supporters and donors. Planned Parenthood is staffed by 27,000 staff members and volunteers.
They serve over five million clients a year, 26% of which are teenagers under the age of 19. According to Planned Parenthood, 75% of their clients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
In 2009, Planned Parenthood provided 4,009,549 contraceptive services (35% of total), 3,955,926 sexually transmitted disease services (35% of total), 1,830,811 cancer related services (16% of total), 1,178,369 pregnancy/prenatal/midlife services (10% of total), 332,278 abortion services (3% of total), and 76,977 other services (1% of total), for a total of 11,383,900 services. The organization also said its doctors and nurses annually conduct 1 million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams.
Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed into law the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act, amending the Public Health Service Act. Title X of that law provides funding for family planning services, including contraception and family planning information. The law enjoyed bipartisan support from liberals who saw contraception access as increasing families’ control over their lives, and conservatives who saw it as a way to keep people off welfare. Nixon described Title X funding as based on the premise that “no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”
In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, total (consolidated) revenue was $201 million: clinic revenue totaling $2 million, grants and donations of $190 million, investment income of $2 million, and $7 million other income. Approximately two-thirds of the revenue is put towards the provision of health services, while non-medical services such as sex education and public policy work make up another 16%; management expenses, fundraising, and international family planning programs account for most of the rest.
Planned Parenthood receives about a third of its money in government grants and contracts (about $360 million in 2009). By law, federal funding cannot be allocated for abortions, but some opponents of abortion have argued that allocating money to Planned Parenthood for the provision of other medical services “frees up” funds to be re-allocated for abortion.
A coalition of national and local pro-life groups have lobbied federal and state government to stop funding Planned Parenthood, and as a result, Republican federal and state legislators have proposed legislation to reduce the funding levels. Some six states have gone ahead with such proposals. In some cases, the courts have overturned such actions, citing conflict with federal or other state laws, and in others, the federal executive branch has provided funding in lieu of the states. In other cases, complete or partial defunding of Planned Parenthood has gone through successfully.
Planned Parenthood is also funded by private donors, with a membership base of over 700,000 active donors whose contributions account for approximately one quarter of the organization’s revenue. Large donors also contribute a substantial portion of the organization’s budget; past donors have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Buffett Foundation, Ford Foundation, Turner Foundation, the Cullmans and others. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s contributions to the organization have been specifically marked to avoid funding abortions. Some, such as the Buffett Foundation, have supported reproductive health that can include abortion services. Pro-life groups have advocated the boycott of donors to Planned Parenthood.
Stand on political and legal issues
Planned Parenthood and its predecessor organizations have provided and advocated for access to birth control. The modern organization of Planned Parenthood America is also an advocate for reproductive rights. This advocacy includes contributing to sponsorship of abortion rights and women’s rights events and assisting in the testing of new contraceptives. The Federation opposes restrictions on women’s reproductive health services, including parental consent laws. Planned Parenthood has cited the case of Becky Bell, who died following a septic abortion after failing to seek parental consent, to justify their opposition. Planned Parenthood also takes the position that laws requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor are unconstitutional on privacy grounds. The organization also opposes laws requiring ultrasounds before abortions, stating that their only purpose is to make abortions more difficult to obtain. Planned Parenthood has also opposed initiatives that require waiting periods before abortions, and bans on late-term abortions including intact dilation and extraction, which has been illegal in the U.S. since 2003.
Planned Parenthood argues for the wide availability of emergency contraception (EC) measures. It opposes conscience clauses, which allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs against their beliefs. In support of their position, they have cited cases where pharmacists have refused to fill life saving drugs under the laws. Planned Parenthood has also been critical of hospitals that do not provide access to EC for rape victims. Planned Parenthood supports and provides FDA-approved abortifacients such as mifepristone.
Citing the need for medically accurate information in sex education, Planned Parenthood opposes abstinence-only education in public schools. Instead, Planned Parenthood is a provider of, and endorses, comprehensive sex education, which includes discussion of both abstinence and birth control.
Planned Parenthood also has a political action committee called Planned Parenthood Action Fund. The committee was founded in 1996 by then new president Gloria Feldt for the purpose of maintaining reproductive health rights and supporting political candidates of the same mindset. In 2012 election cycle the committee gained prominence based on its effectiveness of spending on candidates.
Planned Parenthood regional chapters have been active in the American courts. A number of cases in which Planned Parenthood has been a party have reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Notable among these cases is the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the case that sets forth the current constitutional abortion standard. In this case, “Planned Parenthood” was the Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter, and “Casey” was Robert Casey, the governor of Pennsylvania. The ultimate ruling was split, and Roe v. Wade was narrowed but upheld in an opinion written by Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter. Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens concurred with the main decision in separately written opinions. The Supreme Court struck down spousal consent requirements for married women to obtain abortions, but found no “undue burden”—an alternative to strict scrutiny which tests the allowable limitations on rights protected under the Constitution—from the other statutory requirements. Dissenting were William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Byron White. Blackmun, Rehnquist, and White were the only justices who voted on the original Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 who were still on the Supreme Court to rule on this case, and their votes on this case were consistent with their votes on the original decision that legalized abortion. Only Blackmun voted to maintain Roe v. Wade in its entirety.
Other related cases include:
Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth (1976). Planned Parenthood challenged the constitutionality of a Missouri law encompassing parental consent, spousal consent, clinic bookkeeping and allowed abortion methods. Portions of the challenged law were held to be constitutional, others not.
Planned Parenthood Association of Kansas City v. Ashcroft (1983). Planned Parenthood challenged the constitutionality of a Missouri law encompassing parental consent, clinic record keeping, and hospitalization requirements. Most of the challenged law was held to be constitutional.
Planned Parenthood v. ACLA (2001). The American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) released a flier and “Wanted” posters with complete personal information about doctors who performed abortions. A civil jury and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals both found that the material was indeed “true threats” and not protected speech.
Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood (2003). Planned Parenthood sued Attorney General Gonzales for an injunction against the enforcement of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Planned Parenthood argued the act was unconstitutional because it violated the Fifth Amendment, namely in that it was overly vague, violated women’s constitutional right to have access to abortion, and did not include language for exceptions for the health of the mother. Both the district court and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed, but that decision was overturned in a 5–4 ruling by the Supreme Court.
Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (2006). Planned Parenthood et al. challenged the constitutionality of a New Hampshire parental notification law related to access to abortion. In Sandra Day O’Connor’s final decision before retirement, the Supreme Court sent the case back to lower courts with instructions to seek a remedy short of wholesale invalidation of the statute. New Hampshire ended up repealing the statute via the legislative process.
Controversy and criticism
Planned Parenthood has occupied a central position in the abortion debate in the U.S., and has been among the most prominent targets of U.S. pro-life activists for decades. Congressional Republicans have attempted since the 1980s to defund the organization, nearly leading to a government shutdown over the issue in 2011. The federal money received by Planned Parenthood is not used to fund abortion services, but pro-life activists have argued that the funding frees up other resources which are, in turn, used to provide abortions.
Planned Parenthood is the largest single provider of abortions in the U.S. In 2009, Planned Parenthood performed 332,278 abortions (for comparison, 1.21 million abortions were performed in the US in 2008), from which it derives about $164,154,000, or 15% of its annual revenue as of their 2008–2009 calculations. According to PPFA’s own estimates, its contraceptive services prevent approximately 612,000 unintended pregnancies and 291,000 abortions annually. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has argued that the organization’s family planning services reduce the need for abortions. Megan Crepeau of the Chicago Tribune said that, because of its birth control and family planning services, PPFA could be “characterized as America’s largest abortion preventer.” Anti-abortion activists dispute the evidence that greater access to contraceptives reduces abortions.
In the 1920s various theories of eugenics were popular among intellectuals in the United States. For example, 75% of colleges offered courses on eugenics. Sanger, in her campaign to promote birth control, teamed with eugenics organizations such as the American Eugenics Society, although she argued against many of their positions. Scholars describe Sanger as believing that birth control, sterilization and abortion should be voluntary and not based on race. She advocated for “voluntary motherhood”—the right to choose when to be pregnant—for all women, as an important element of women’s rights. Opponents of Planned Parenthood often refer to Sanger’s connection with supporters of eugenics to discredit the organization by associating it, and birth control, with the more negative modern view of eugenics. Planned Parenthood has responded to this effort directly in a leaflet acknowledging that Sanger agreed with some of her contemporaries who advocated the voluntary hospitalization or sterilization of people with untreatable, disabling, hereditary conditions, and limits on the immigration of the diseased. The leaflet also states that Planned Parenthood “finds these views objectionable and outmoded” but says that it was compelled to discuss the topic because “anti-family planning activists continue to attack Sanger . . . because she is an easier target” than Planned Parenthood.
Periodically pro-life activists have tried to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood does not follow applicable state or federal laws. The groups called or visited a Planned Parenthood health center posing as victims of statutory rape, minors who would need parental notification for abortion, racists seeking to earmark donations for abortions for black women to abort black babies, or pimps who want abortions for child prostitutes. Edited video and audio productions of these dialogues seem to capture employees being sympathetic to potentially criminal acts, leading to allegations that the health centers in question are violating the law. An official federal inspection in 2005 by the Bush administration‘s Department of Health and Human Services “yielded no evidence of clinics around the nation failing to comply with laws on reporting child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape or incest.”
In 2011, the organization Live Action released a series of videos that they said showed Planned Parenthood employees at multiple affiliates actively assisting or being complicit in aiding the underage prostitution ring of actors posing as a pimp and a prostitute. Planned Parenthood conducted a frame-by-frame analysis of the recordings, and said they found instances of “editing that dramatically alter[ed] the meaning of the recorded conversations.”
None of these stings have led to criminal conviction. However, a small number of Planned Parenthood employees and volunteers were fired for not following procedure, and the organization committed to retraining its staff.
State and local court cases against Planned Parenthood
In some states, anti-abortion Attorneys General have subpoenaed medical records of patients treated by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has gone to court to keep from turning over these records, citing medical privacy and concerns about the motivation for seeking the records.
In 2006, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, a strongly anti-abortion Republican, released some sealed patient records obtained from Planned Parenthood to the public. His actions were described as “troubling” by the state Supreme Court, but ultimately Planned Parenthood was compelled to turn over the medical records, albeit with more stringent court-mandated privacy safeguards for the patients involved. In 2007, Kline’s successor, Paul J. Morrison, notified the clinic that no criminal charges would be filed after a three-year investigation, as “an objective, unbiased and thorough examination” showed no wrongdoing. Morrison stated that he believed Kline had politicized the attorney general’s office. In 2012, a Kansas district attorney dropped all of the remaining criminal charges against the Kansas City-area Planned Parenthood clinic accused of performing illegal abortions, citing a lack of evidence of wrongdoing. In all, the Planned Parenthood clinic had faced 107 criminal charges from Kline and other Kansas prosecutors, all of which were ultimately dropped for lack of evidence.
In Indiana, Planned Parenthood was not required to turn over its medical records in an investigation of possible child abuse. In October 2005, Planned Parenthood Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota was fined $50,000 for violating a Minnesota state parental consent law.
On December 31, 2012, Judge Gary Harger ruled Texas may exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for abortion rights.
In 1994, John Salvi entered a Brookline, Massachusetts Planned Parenthood clinic and opened fire, murdering receptionist Shannon Elizabeth Lowney and wounding three others. He fled to another Planned Parenthood clinic where he murdered Leane Nichols and wounded two others.
William Sanger (1902–1921)[note 1]
James Noah H. Slee (1922–1943).
Margaret Higgins Sanger (September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966) was an American birth control activist, sex educator, and nurse. Sanger popularized the term birth control, opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger was also a writer. She used this method to help promote her way of thinking. She was prosecuted for her book Family Limitation under the Comstock Act in 1914. She was afraid of what would happen, so she fled to Britain until she knew it was safe to return to the US. Sanger’s efforts contributed to several judicial cases that helped legalize contraception in the United States. Sanger is a frequent target of criticism by opponents of abortion and has also been criticized for supporting eugenics, but remains an iconic figure in the American reproductive rights movement.
In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, which led to her arrest for distributing information on contraception. Her subsequent trial and appeal generated controversy. Sanger felt that in order for women to have a more equal footing in society and to lead healthier lives, they needed to be able to determine when to bear children. She also wanted to prevent unsafe abortions, so-called back-alley abortions, which were common at the time because abortions were usually illegal. She believed that while abortion was sometimes justified it should generally be avoided, and she considered contraception the only practical way to avoid the use of abortions.
In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In New York City, she organized the first birth control clinic staffed by all-female doctors, as well as a clinic in Harlem with an entirely African-American staff. In 1929, she formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control, which served as the focal point of her lobbying efforts to legalize contraception in the United States. From 1952 to 1959, Sanger served as president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. She died in 1966, and is widely regarded as a founder of the modern birth control movement.
Sanger was born Margaret Louise Higgins in 1879 in Corning, New York, to Michael Hennessey Higgins, an Irish-born stonemason and free-thinker, and Anne Purcell Higgins, a Catholic Irish-American. Michael Hennessey Higgins had emigrated to the USA at age 14 and joined the U.S. Army as a drummer at age 15, during the Civil War. After leaving the army, Michael studied medicine and phrenology, but ultimately became a stonecutter, making stone angels, saints, and tombstones. Michael H. Higgins was a Catholic who became an atheist and an activist for women’s suffrage and free public education. Anne Higgins went through 18 pregnancies (with 11 live births) in 22 years before dying at the age of 49. Sanger was the sixth of eleven surviving children, and spent much of her youth assisting with household chores and caring for her younger siblings. Anne’s parents took their children and emigrated to Canada when she was a child, due to the Potato Famine.
Supported by her two older sisters, Margaret Higgins attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, before enrolling in 1900 at White Plains Hospital as a nurse probationer. In 1902, she married the dashing architect William Sanger and gave up her education. Though she was plagued by a recurring active tubercular condition, Margaret Sanger bore three children, and the couple settled down to a quiet life in Westchester, New York.
Sanger’s political interests, emerging feminism and nursing experience led her to write two series of columns on sex education entitled “What Every Mother Should Know” (1911–12) and “What Every Girl Should Know” (1912-13) for the socialist magazine New York Call. By the standards of the day, Sanger’s articles were extremely frank in their discussion of sexuality, and many New York Call readers were outraged by them. Other readers, however, praised the series for its candor, one stated that the series contained “a purer morality than whole libraries full of hypocritical cant about modesty. Both were later published in book form in 1916.
During her work among working class immigrant women, Sanger was exposed to graphic examples of women going through frequent childbirth, miscarriage and self-induced abortion for lack of information on how to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Access to contraceptive information was prohibited on grounds of obscenity by the 1873 federal Comstock law and a host of state laws. Searching for something that would help these women, Sanger visited public libraries, but was unable to find information on contraception. These problems were epitomized in a (possibly fictional) story that Sanger would later recount in her speeches: while Sanger was working as a nurse, she was called to the apartment of a woman, “Sadie Sachs,” who had become extremely ill due to a self-induced abortion. Afterward, “Sadie” (whose marital status Sanger never mentioned) begged the attending doctor to tell her how she could prevent this from happening again, to which the doctor simply advised her to remain abstinent. A few months later, Sanger was called back to “Sadie’s” apartment — only this time, “Sadie” died shortly after Sanger arrived. She had attempted yet another self-induced abortion. Sanger would sometimes end the story by saying, “I threw my nursing bag in the corner and announced … that I would never take another case until I had made it possible for working women in America to have the knowledge to control birth.” Although “Sadie Sachs” was possibly a fictional composite of several women Sanger had known, this story marks the time when Sanger began to devote her life to help desperate women before they were driven to pursue dangerous and illegal abortions.
Accepting the connection proposed between contraception and working-class empowerment by radicals such as Emma Goldman, Sanger came to believe that only by liberating women from the risk of unwanted pregnancy would fundamental social change take place. She proceeded to launch a campaign to challenge governmental censorship of contraceptive information. She would set up a series of confrontational actions designed to challenge the law and force birth control to become a topic of public debate. Sanger’s trip to France in 1913 exposed her to what Goldman had been saying. Sanger’s experience during her trip to France directly influence The Women Rebel newsletter. The trip to France was also the beginning of the end of her marriage with William Sanger.
In 1914, Sanger launched The Woman Rebel, an eight-page monthly newsletter which promoted contraception using the slogan “No Gods, No Masters“.[note 2] Sanger, collaborating with anarchist friends, popularized the term “birth control” as a more candid alternative to euphemisms such as “family limitation” and proclaimed that each woman should be “the absolute mistress of her own body.” In these early years of Sanger’s activism, she viewed birth control as a free-speech issue, and when she started publishing The Woman Rebel, one of her goals was to provoke a legal challenge to the federal anti-obscenity laws which banned dissemination of information about contraception. Though postal authorities suppressed five of its seven issues, Sanger continuing publication, all the while preparing, Family Limitation, an even more blatant challenge to anti-birth control laws. This 16-page pamphlet contained detailed and precise information and graphic descriptions of various contraceptive methods. In August 1914 Margaret Sanger was indicted for violating postal obscenity laws by sending the The Woman Rebel through the postal system. Instead of standing trial, she jumped bail and fled to Canada. Then, under the alias “Bertha Watson”, sailed for England. En route she ordered her labor associates to release copies of the Family Limitation.
Margaret Sanger spent much of her 1914 exile in England, where contact with British neo-Malthusianists helped refine her socioeconomic justifications for birth control. She was also profoundly influenced by the liberation theories of British sexual theorist Havelock Ellis. Under his tutelage she formulated a new rationale that would liberate women not just by making sexual intercourse safe, but also pleasurable. It would, in effect, free women from the inequality of sexual experience. Early in 1915, Margaret Sanger’s estranged husband, William Sanger, was entrapped into giving a copy of Family Limitation to a representative of anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock. William Sanger was tried and convicted, he spent thirty days in jail, while also escalating interest in birth control as a civil liberties issue.
This page from Sanger’s Family Limitation, 1917 edition, describes a cervical cap.
Some countries in northwestern Europe had more liberal policies towards contraception than the United States at the time, and when Sanger visited a Dutch birth control clinic in 1915, she learned about diaphragms and became convinced that they were a more effective means of contraception than the suppositories and douches that she had been distributing back in the United States. Diaphragms were generally unavailable in the United States, so Sanger and others began importing them from Europe, in defiance of United States law.
On October 16, 1916, Sanger opened a family planning and birth control clinic at 46 Amboy St. in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the first of its kind in the United States. Nine days after the clinic opened, Sanger was arrested. Sanger’s bail was set at $500 and she went back home. Sanger continued seeing some women in the clinic until the police came a second time. This time Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, were arrested for breaking a New York state law that prohibited distribution of contraceptives, Sanger was also charged with running a public nuisance. Sanger and Ethel went to trial in January 1917. Byrne was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse but went on hunger strike. She was the first woman in the US to be force fed. Only when Sanger pledged that Byrne would never break the law, she was pardoned after ten days. Sanger was convicted; the trial judge held that women did not have “the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there will be no resulting conception.” Sanger was offered a more lenient sentence if she promised to not break the law again, but she replied: “I cannot respect the law as it exists today.” For this, she was sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse. An initial appeal was rejected, but in a subsequent court proceeding in 1918, the birth control movement won a victory when Judge Frederick E. Crane of the New York Court of Appeals issued a ruling which allowed doctors to prescribe contraception. The publicity surrounding Sanger’s arrest, trial, and appeal sparked birth control activism across the United States, and earned the support of numerous donors, who would provide her with funding and support for future endeavors.
Sanger became estranged from her husband in 1913, and the couple’s divorce was finalized in 1921. Sanger’s second husband was Noah Slee. He followed Sanger around the world and provided much of Sanger’s financial assistance. The couple got married in September 1922, but the public did not know about it until February 1924. They supported each other with their pre-commitments.
American Birth Control League
Sanger published the Birth Control Review from 1917 to 1929.[note 4]
After World War I, Sanger shifted away from radical politics, and she founded the American Birth Control League (ABCL) in 1921 to enlarge her base of supporters to include the middle class. The founding principles of the ABCL were as follows:
We hold that children should be (1) Conceived in love; (2) Born of the mother’s conscious desire; (3) And only begotten under conditions which render possible the heritage of health. Therefore we hold that every woman must possess the power and freedom to prevent conception except when these conditions can be satisfied.
Sanger’s appeal of her conviction for the Brownsville clinic secured a 1918 court ruling that exempted physicians from the law that prohibited the distribution of contraceptive information to women—provided it was prescribed for medical reasons—she established the Clinical Research Bureau (CRB) in 1923 to exploit this loophole. The CRB was the first legal birth control clinic in the United States, and it was staffed entirely by female doctors and social workers. The clinic received a large amount of funding from John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his family, which continued to make donations to Sanger’s causes in future decades, but generally made them anonymously to avoid public exposure of the family name, and to protect family member Nelson Rockefeller‘s political career since openly advocating birth control could have led to the Catholic Church opposing him politically. John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated five thousand dollars to her American Birth Control League in 1924 and a second time in 1925. In 1922, she traveled to China, Korea, and Japan. In China she observed that the primary method of family planning was female infanticide, and she later worked with Pearl Buck to establish a family planning clinic in Shanghai. Sanger visited Japan six times, working with Japanese feminist Kato Shidzue to promote birth control. This was ironic since ten years earlier Sanger had accused Katō of murder and praised an attempt to kill her.
In 1926, Sanger gave a lecture on birth control to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey. She described it as “one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing,” and added that she had to use only “the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.” Sanger’s talk was well received by the group, and as a result, “a dozen invitations to similar groups were proffered.”
In 1928, conflict within the birth control movement leadership led Sanger to resign as the president of the ABCL and take full control of the CRB, renaming it the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau (BCCRB), marking the beginning of a schism in the movement that would last until 1938.
Sanger invested a great deal of effort communicating with the general public. From 1916 onward, she frequently lectured—in churches, women’s clubs, homes, and theaters—to workers, churchmen, liberals, socialists, scientists, and upper-class women. She wrote several books in the 1920s which had a nationwide impact in promoting the cause of birth control. Between 1920 and 1926, 567,000 copies of Woman and the New Race and The Pivot of Civilization were sold. She also wrote two autobiographies designed to promote the cause. The first, My Fight for Birth Control, was published in 1931 and the second, more promotional version, Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, was published in 1938.
During the 1920s, Sanger received hundreds of thousands of letters, many of them written in desperation by women begging for information on how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Five hundred of these letters were compiled into the 1928 book, Motherhood in Bondage.
In 1929, Sanger formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control in order to lobby for legislation to overturn restrictions on contraception. That effort failed to achieve success, so Sanger ordered a diaphragm from Japan in 1932, in order to provoke a decisive battle in the courts. The diaphragm was confiscated by the United States government, and Sanger’s subsequent legal challenge led to a 1936 court decision which overturned an important provision of the Comstock laws which prohibited physicians from obtaining contraceptives. This court victory motivated the American Medical Association in 1937 to adopt contraception as a normal medical service and a key component of medical school curriculums.
This 1936 contraception court victory was the culmination of Sanger’s birth control efforts, and she took the opportunity, now in her late 50s, to move to Tucson, Arizona, intending to play a less critical role in the birth control movement. In spite of her original intentions, she remained active in the movement through the 1950s.
In 1937, Sanger became chairman of the newly formed Birth Control Council of America, and attempted to resolve the schism between the ABCL and the BCCRB. Her efforts were successful, and the two organizations merged in 1939 as the Birth Control Federation of America.[note 5] Although Sanger continued in the role of president, she no longer wielded the same power as she had in the early years of the movement, and in 1942, more conservative forces within the organization changed the name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a name Sanger objected to because she considered it too euphemistic.
In 1946, Sanger helped found the International Committee on Planned Parenthood, which evolved into the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1952, and soon became the world’s largest non-governmental international family planning organization. Sanger was the organization’s first president and served in that role until she was 80 years old. In the early 1950s, Sanger encouraged philanthropist Katharine McCormick to provide funding for biologist Gregory Pincus to develop the birth control pill which was eventually sold under the name Enovid.
While researching information on contraception Sanger read various treatises on sexuality in order to find information about birth control. She read The Psychology of Sex by the English psychologist Havelock Ellis and was heavily influenced by it. While traveling in Europe in 1914, Sanger met Ellis. Influenced by Ellis, Sanger adopted his view of sexuality as a powerful, liberating force. This view provided another argument in favor of birth control, as it would enable women to fully enjoy sexual relations without the fear of an unwanted pregnancy. Sanger also believed that sexuality, along with birth control, should be discussed with more candor.
However, Sanger was opposed to excessive sexual indulgence. She stated “every normal man and woman has the power to control and direct his sexual impulse. Men and women who have it in control and constantly use their brain cells thinking deeply, are never sensual.” Sanger said that birth control would elevate women away from a position of being an object of lust and elevate sex away from purely being for satisfying lust, saying that birth control “denies that sex should be reduced to the position of sensual lust, or that woman should permit herself to be the instrument of its satisfaction.” Sanger wrote that masturbation was dangerous. She stated: “In my personal experience as a trained nurse while attending persons afflicted with various and often revolting diseases, no matter what their ailments, I never found any one so repulsive as the chronic masturbator. It would not be difficult to fill page upon page of heart-rending confessions made by young girls, whose lives were blighted by this pernicious habit, always begun so innocently.” She believed that women had the ability to control their sexual impulses, and should utilize that control to avoid sex outside of relationships marked by “confidence and respect.” She believed that exercising such control would lead to the “strongest and most sacred passion.” However, Sanger was not opposed to homosexuality and praised Ellis for clarifying “the question of homosexuals… making the thing a—not exactly a perverted thing, but a thing that a person is born with different kinds of eyes, different kinds of structures and so forth… that he didn’t make all homosexuals perverts—and I thought he helped clarify that to the medical profession and to the scientists of the world as perhaps one of the first ones to do that.” Sanger believed sex should be discussed with more candor, and praised Ellis for his efforts in this direction. She also blamed the suppression of discussion about it on Christianity.
Sanger’s 1920 book endorsed eugenics.
As part of her efforts to promote birth control, Sanger found common cause with proponents of eugenics, believing that they both sought to “assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.” Sanger was a proponent of negative eugenics, which aims to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing the reproduction of those who were considered unfit. In “The Morality of Birth Control,” a 1921 speech, she divided society into three groups: the educated and informed class that regulated the size of their families, the intelligent and responsible who desired to control their families however did not have the means or the knowledge and the irresponsible and reckless people whose religious scruples “prevent their exercising control over their numbers.” Sanger concludes “there is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.” Sanger’s eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods and full family planning autonomy for the able-minded, and compulsory segregation or sterilization for the “profoundly retarded”. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the “undeniably feeble-minded” from procreating. Although Sanger supported negative eugenics, she asserted that eugenics alone was not sufficient, and that birth control was essential to achieve her goals.
In contrast with eugenicist William Robinson, who advocated euthanasia for the unfit,[note 8] Sanger wrote, “we [do not] believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding.” Similarly, Sanger denounced the aggressive and lethal Nazi eugenics program. In addition, Sanger believed the responsibility for birth control should remain in the hands of able-minded individual parents rather than the state, and that self-determining motherhood was the only unshakable foundation for racial betterment.
Sanger also supported restrictive immigration policies. In “A Plan for Peace”, a 1932 essay, she proposed a congressional department to address population problems. She also recommended that immigration exclude those “whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race,” and that sterilization and segregation be applied to those with incurable, hereditary disabilities.
Sanger’s writings echoed her ideas about inferiority and loose morals of particular races. In one “What Every Girl Should Know” commentary, she references popular opinion that Aboriginal Australians were “just a step higher than the chimpanzee” with “little sexual control,” as compared to the “normal man and Woman.” Elsewhere she bemoaned that traditional sexual ethics “… have in the past revealed their woeful inability to prevent the sexual and racial chaos into which the world has today drifted.”
Such attitudes did not keep her from collaborating with African-American leaders and professionals who saw a need for birth control in their communities. In 1929, James H. Hubert, a black social worker and leader of New York’s Urban League, asked Sanger to open a clinic in Harlem. Sanger secured funding from the Julius Rosenwald Fund and opened the clinic, staffed with black doctors, in 1930. The clinic was directed by a 15-member advisory board consisting of black doctors, nurses, clergy, journalists, and social workers. The clinic was publicized in the African-American press and in black churches, and it received the approval of W. E. B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP. In 1939 Sanger wrote, “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” She did not tolerate bigotry among her staff, nor would she tolerate any refusal to work within interracial projects. Sanger’s work with minorities earned praise from Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1966 acceptance speech for the Margaret Sanger award.
From 1939 to 1942 Sanger was an honorary delegate of the Birth Control Federation of America, which included a supervisory role—alongside Mary Lasker and Clarence Gamble—in the Negro Project, an effort to deliver birth control to poor black people. Sanger wanted the Negro Project to include black ministers in leadership roles, but other supervisors did not. To emphasize the benefits of involving black community leaders, she wrote to Gamble “we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” This quote has been cited by Angela Davis to support her claims that Sanger wanted to exterminate black people. However, New York University’s Margaret Sanger Papers Project, argues that in writing that letter, “Sanger recognized that elements within the black community might mistakenly associate the Negro Project with racist sterilization campaigns in the Jim Crow South, unless clergy and other community leaders spread the word that the Project had a humanitarian aim.”
Freedom of speech
Sanger opposed censorship throughout her career, with a zeal comparable to her support for birth control. Sanger grew up in a home where iconoclastic orator Robert Ingersoll was admired. During the early years of her activism, Sanger viewed birth control primarily as a free-speech issue, rather than as a feminist issue, and when she started publishing The Woman Rebel in 1914, she did so with the express goal of provoking a legal challenge to the Comstock laws banning dissemination of information about contraception. In New York, Emma Goldman introduced Sanger to members of the Free Speech League, such as Edward Bliss Foote and Theodore Schroeder, and subsequently the League provided funding and advice to help Sanger with legal battles.
Over the course of her career, Sanger was arrested at least eight times for expressing her views during an era in which speaking publicly about contraception was illegal. Numerous times in her career, local government officials prevented Sanger from speaking by shuttering a facility or threatening her hosts. In Boston in 1929, city officials under the leadership of James Curley threatened to arrest her if she spoke—so she turned the threat to her advantage and stood on stage, silent, with a gag over her mouth, while her speech was read by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr.
Sanger’s family planning advocacy always focused on contraception, rather than abortion.[note 9] It was not until the mid-1960s, after Sanger’s death, that the reproductive rights movement expanded its scope to include abortion rights as well as contraception.[note 10] Sanger was opposed to abortions, both because she believed that life should not be terminated after conception, and because they were dangerous for the mother in the early 20th century. In her book Woman and the New Race, she wrote: “while there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.”
Historian Rodger Streitmatter concluded that Sanger’s opposition to abortion stemmed from concerns for the dangers to the mother, rather than moral concerns. However, in her 1938 autobiography, Sanger noted that her opposition to abortion was based on the taking of life: “[In 1916] we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.” And in her book Family Limitation, Sanger wrote that “no one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. This is the only cure for abortions.”
Books and pamphlets
What Every Mother Should Know – Originally published in 1911 or 1912, based on a series of articles Sanger published in 1911 in the New York Call, which were, in turn, based on a set of lectures Sanger gave to groups of Socialist party women in 1910–1911. Multiple editions published through the 1920s, by Max N. Maisel and Sincere Publishing, with the title What Every Mother Should Know, or how six little children were taught the truth …Online(1921 edition, Michigan State University)
Family Limitation – Originally published 1914 as a 16-page pamphlet; also published in several later editions. Online (1917, 6th edition, Michigan State University)
What Every Girl Should Know – Originally published 1916 by Max N. Maisel; 91 pages; also published in several later editions. Online (1920 edition); Online (1922 ed., Michigan State University)
The Case for Birth Control: A Supplementary Brief and Statement of Facts – May 1917, published to provide information to the court in a legal proceeding. Online (Internet Archive)
Fight for Birth Control, 1916, New York]  (The Library of Congress)
Birth Control A Parent’s Problem or Women’s?” The Birth Control Review, Mar. 1919, 6-7.
The Woman Rebel – Seven issues published monthly from March 1914 to August 1914. Sanger was publisher and editor.
Birth Control Review – Published monthly from February 1917 to 1940. Sanger was Editor until 1929, when she resigned from the ABCL. Not to be confused with Birth Control News, published by the London-based Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress.
Collections and anthologies
Sanger, Margaret, The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Volume 1: The Woman Rebel, 1900–1928, Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, Peter Engelman (eds), University of Illinois Press, 2003
Sanger, Margaret, The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Volume 2: Birth Control Comes of Age, 1928–1939, Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, Peter Engelman (eds), University of Illinois Press, 2007
Sanger, Margaret, The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Volume 3: The Politics of Planned Parenthood, 1939–1966, Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, Peter Engelman (eds), University of Illinois Press, 2010
Story 1: Democrats and Progressives Support Planned Parenthood’s Big Business of Abortions, Baby Butchering and Selling Baby Body Parts For Money — Moral Bankruptcy of The Lying Lunatic Left — Killing Black, Hispanic and White Babies and Selling Their Baby Parts For Money — Progressive Eugenics Today –Stop Killing Babies! — Videos
SHOCK VIDEO: Planned Parenthood sells dead baby body parts
Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts
BUSTED! Proof Planned Parenthood Sells Dead Babies to Anyone Willing to Buy! LEAKED FOOTAGE!
REP STANDS UP TO BABY PARTS BROKERS of PLANNED PARENTHOOD SATANISTS
Planned Parenthood Exposed
FULL FOOTAGE: Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts
The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want (lyrics)
Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want (The David Frost Show 1969)
The Silent Scream (Full Length)
The Silent Scream Complete Version – Abortion as Infanticide
Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s classic video that shocked the world. He explains the procedure of a suction abortion, followed by an actual first trimester abortion as seen through ultrasound. The viewer can see the child’s pathetic attempts to escape the suction curette as her heart rate doubles, and a “silent scream” as her body is torn apart. A great tool to help people see why abortion is murder. The most important video on abortion ever made. This video changed opinion on abortion to many people.
Introduction by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, host. Describes the technology of ultrasound and how, for the first time ever, we can actually see inside the womb. Dr. Nathanson further describes the ultrasound technique and shows examples of babies in the womb. Three-dimensional depiction of the developing fetus, from 4 weeks through 28 weeks. Display and usage of the abortionists’ tools, plus video of an abortionist performing a suction abortion.
Dr. Nathanson discusses the abortionist who agreed to allow this abortion to be filmed with ultrasound. The abortionist was quite skilled, having performed more than 10,000 abortions. We discover that the resulting ultrasound of his abortion so appalled him that he never again performed another abortion.
The clip begins with an ultrasound of the fetus (girl) who is about to be aborted. The girl is moving in the womb; displays a heartbeat of 140 per minute; and is at times sucking her thumb. As the abortionist’s suction tip begins to invade the womb, the child rears and moves violently in an attempt to avoid the instrument. Her mouth is visibly open in a “silent scream.” The child’s heart rate speeds up dramatically (to 200 beats per minute) as she senses aggression. She moves violently away in a pathetic attempt to escape the instrument. The abortionist’s suction tip begins to rip the baby’s limbs from its body, ultimately leaving only her head in the uterus (too large to be pulled from the uterus in one piece). The abortionist attempts to crush her head with his forceps, allowing it to be removed. In an effort to “dehumanize” the procedure, the abortionist and anesthesiologist refer to the baby’s head as “number 1.” The abortionist crushes “number 1” with the forceps and removes it from the uterus.
Abortion statistics are revealed, as well as who benefits from the enormously lucrative industry that has developed. Clinics are now franchised, and there is ample evidence that many are controlled by organized crime. Women are victims, too. They haven’t been told about the true nature of the unborn child or the facts about abortion procedures. Their wombs have been perforated, infected, destroyed, and sterilized. All as a result of an operation about which they they have had no true knowledge.
Films like this must be made part of “informed consent.” NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) and Planned Parenthood are accused of a conspiracy of silence, of keeping women in the dark about the reality of abortion. Finally, Dr. Nathanson discusses his credentials. He is a former abortionist, having been the director of the largest clinic in the Western world.
Margaret Sanger’s “Negro Project” & Barack Obama’s Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood Exposed
Obama Tells Planned Parenthood-God Bless You – YouTube
A message to Planned Parenthood Supporters from President Obama
Barack Obama Addresses Planned Parenthood
Obama In ’03: No On Banning Late Term Abortions
Obama’s Barbaric Views on Partial Birth Abortion and Infanticide
MAAFA 21 [A documentary on eugenics and genocide]
Hitler`s Biological Soldiers / Science and the Swastika (EUGENICS)
Eugenics Glenn Beck w/ Edwin Black author of “War Against the Weak” talk Al Gore & Margaret Sanger
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Eugenics, Planned Parenthood & Psychology, Mind Control
Mind Control, Psychology of Brainwashing, Sex & Hypnosis
Sex Addiction, Restless Legs Syndrome, PMS & Drug, Mind Control Report
Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s Racist Founder
Margaret Sanger: Eugenicist (1/3)
Margaret Sanger: Eugenicist (2/3)
Margaret Sanger: Eugenicist (3/3)
Pro-Lifer Mark Crutcher & Alex Jones: Eugenics is The Heart of The Globalists Religion 1/3
Pro-Lifer Mark Crutcher & Alex Jones: Eugenics is The Heart of The Globalists Religion 2/3
Pro-Lifer Mark Crutcher & Alex Jones: Eugenics is The Heart of The Globalists Religion 3/3
Slow Kill Holocaust: Proof the Government is Killing You
War on the Weak: Eugenics in America
Eugenics: Science In History
Bill O’Reilly Calls Planned Parenthood An “Abortion Mill”
Eugenics: alive and well in the USA
Scientific Racism The Eugenics of Social Darwinism
Eugenics, Population Control, and the NWO
Agenda 21 & Eugenics – Bill Gates Depopulation Plans Exposed
The Depopulation Agenda For a New World Order Agenda 21 ☁☢☁☰☰☰☰☰✈
George Carlin – List of people who ought to be killed
The Rolling Stones – Angie – OFFICIAL PROMO (Version 1)
Undercover video shows Planned Parenthood official discussing fetal organs used for research
By Sandhya Somashekhar and Danielle Paquette
An antiabortion group on Tuesday released an undercover video of an official at Planned Parenthood discussing in graphic detail how to abort a fetus to preserve its organs for medical research — as well as the costs associated with sharing that tissue with scientists.
Over lunch at a Los Angeles restaurant, two antiabortion activists posing as employees from a biotech firm met with Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical research. Armed with cameras, the activists recorded Nucatola talking about Planned Parenthood’s work donating fetal tissue to researchers and pressed her on whether the clinics were charging for the organs.
The Center for Medical Progress, which recorded and edited the video, says the footage proves that Planned Parenthood is breaking the law by selling fetal organs. But the video does not show Nucatola explicitly talking about selling organs. The Planned Parenthood official says the organization is “very, very sensitive” about being perceived as illegally profiting from organ sales and charges only for the cost, for instance, of shipping the tissue.
[Congressional and state investigations into the video have begun]
The video threatens to reignite a long-standing debate over the use of fetal tissue harvested through abortions and could add fuel to efforts seeking to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In a statement, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood said the video misrepresents the organization’s work. Planned Parenthood clinics, with a patient’s permission, may sometimes donate fetal tissue for use in stem cell research, said the spokesman, who added that the group’s affiliates, which operate independently, do not profit from these donations.
“At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health-care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards,” spokesman Eric Ferrero said. “In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”
He accused the Center for Medical Progress of mounting a misleading attack similar to those by other groups that have tried to mount undercover “stings” targeting Planned Parenthood.
But antiabortion groups said the video shows that Planned Parenthood is essentially selling fetal organs and that Congress and other authorities should investigate.
Buying and selling human fetal tissue is illegal in the United States. Federal regulations also prohibit anyone from altering the timing or method of an abortion for the sole purpose of later using the tissue in research. Donating the tissue for research, however, is legal with a woman’s consent.
Antiabortion groups also said the callous nature of the discussion captured on film should tug at viewers’ consciences — particularly when Nucatola apparently describes “crushing” the fetus in ways that keep its internal organs intact and her remarks about researchers’ desire for lungs and livers.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver,” she says in the video posted on the Center for Medical Progress’s Web site, between bites of salad. “And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.”
She continues: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
It’s hard to assess exactly what happened at the lunch with Nucatola. The antiabortion group had complete control over the filming and editing of the footage. The group also posted a nearly three-hour version of the video that it’s calling the “full footage,” though there is no way to verify that the video is truly complete.
Key moments from the undercover recording with Planned Parenthood executive(7:56)
The anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress posted a long version of the conversation between a Planned Parenthood executive and undercover actors on YouTube along with an shorter version that has been shared widely. These are excerpts of the longer version. (CenterforMedicalProgress.org)
The unidentified activists, a man and a woman, told Nucatola they worked for a biotech firm that aimed to snare “a competitive advantage” by providing local samples for researchers who would like to avoid lengthy trips between clinic and lab. They said they worked in Norwalk, a suburb.
“Every provider has patients who want to donate their tissue, and they want to accommodate them,” says Nucatola. “They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as: This clinic is selling tissue. This clinic is making money off this. In the Planned Parenthood world, they’re very, very sensitive to that. Some affiliates might do it for free. They want to come to a number that looks like a reasonable number for the effort that is allotted on their part . . . ”
One activist asks, “Okay, so, when you are — or when the affiliate is — determining what that monetary . . . So that it doesn’t raise the question of . . . ‘This is what it’s about’ — What price range would you . . . ?”
“You know, I would throw a number out, I would say it’s probably anywhere from $30 to $100, depending on the facility and what’s involved,” says Nucatola. “It just has to do with space issues, are you sending someone there that’s going to be doing everything . . . is there shipping involved? Is someone going to be there to pick it up?”
In order to film the footage, the activists wore “police-quality undercover cameras,” said David Daleiden, who ran the project for the Center of Medical Progress. (He refused to elaborate: “I don’t answer questions about our undercover costumes.”)
The “sting” unfolded over three years, Daleiden said, because it takes time to build up a front as a biotech company and gain access to Planned Parenthood executives. The lunch, he said, is just the beginning: The Center for Medical Progress plans to release a new video every week for the next few months.
Daleiden rejects Nucatola’s claim that costs associated with fetal tissue donation involve shipping and staff hours. “Literally the only thing the clinic is doing is carrying the fetus from the operation to the tech,” he said.
The Center for Medical Progress was established by Daleiden, a controversial antiabortion activist who previously worked with Live Action, another antiabortion group known for its “stings” of Planned Parenthood using actors and undercover videos.
The group is a non-profit organization that describes itself on its Web site as “a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances.”
“The promotional video mischaracterizing Planned Parenthood’s mission and services is made by a long time anti-abortion activist that has used deceptive and unethical video editing, and that has created a fake medical website as well as a fake human tissue website that purports to provide services to stem cell researchers,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement Tuesday.
Daleiden also alleges that the procedure described by Nucatola is similar to “intact dilation and extraction,” referred to by opponents as partial-birth abortion, which Congress outlawed in 2003. The Supreme Court upheld the law’s constitutionality four years later.
In the 1980s and 1990s, researchers considered fetal tissue transplants a budding treatment for Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Some believed they held the potential to prevent autism.
As different kind of stem cells — embryonic stem cells — gain prominence in research, fetal tissue donations today are often used to gain deeper anatomical understanding of fetuses, said Arthur Caplan, director of New York University’s Division of Medical Ethics. The practice, however, is problematic if an abortion provider goes into a procedure with the primary intention of preserving a liver, he said. In the video, Nucatola appears to allude to methods for carefully extracting the organs.
“I think the only relevant goal of an abortion clinic is to provide a safe and least risky abortion to a woman,” Caplan said. “If you’re starting to play with how it’s done, and when it’s done, other things than women’s health are coming into play. You’re making a huge mountain of conflict of interest around a period for many people is morally difficult.”
A number of Republicans, including a few presidential candidates, reacted Tuesday to the video.
“This latest news is tragic and outrageous,” Carly Fiorina wrote on Facebook.
“This is a shocking and horrific reminder that we must do so much more to foster a culture of life in America,” said Jeb Bush on Twitter.
As politicians responded to the video, a bill to increase funding for breast cancer research was pulled from the House floor after abortion critics linked it to Planned Parenthood. The Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act would have raised as much as $4.75 million in research funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure—an organization that has a longstanding alliance with Planned Parenthood to fund preventative cancer screenings. The bill was expected to pass easily, but House Republican leaders pulled it from consideration after the conservative group Heritage Action objected.
Whether the video Tuesday shows illegal activity could ultimately be irrelevant. For years, antiabortion groups promoted their cause by highlighting the sometimes disturbing details of abortion procedures and painting abortion providers as callous and unethical.
They have argued against allowing abortions later in pregnancy by suggesting that older fetuses can feel pain and they are pushing for a federal ban on the procedure at 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The accusation that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling the organs of fetuses is not new among antiabortion advocates. The controversy gained national attention in 2000, after the publication of an undercover investigation by a Texas-based antiabortion group, Life Dynamics, which was also involved in Tuesday’s video release.
The investigation’s conclusion, that a Kansas clinic affiliated with Planned Parenthood was participating in a scheme to profit from the sale of fetal tissues, prompted a 20/20 hidden camera investigation on the subject, and a hearing of the Subcommittee on Health and Environment in the House of Representatives.
The FBI also investigated the Kansas clinic for any wrongdoing, but later concluded that it did not break any laws.
Story 1: Profiles in Perfidy: Obama and Kerry Lying To American People — The Traitorous Terrorist Treaty — Strategic Surrender To Terrorist Islamic Republic of Iran– No Dismantling and Destruction of Nuclear Infrastructure/Bomb Factories — No Surprise Inspections — No Economic Sanctions — No Limits on Missiles — No Sanctions On Individual Terrorists or Terrorism — The Sellout of America For Nobel Peace Prizes Will Result in Middle East Nuclear Arms Race, Proliferation and War — Iran Celebrates Victory and $150 Billion of Unfrozen Assets To Finance More Terrorism and Oppression — Congress Must Veto The Traitorous Terrorist Treaty — Terminate With Extreme Prejudice — Videos
1. Deliberatebreach of faith;calculatedviolation of trust;treachery:“thefink,whoseperfidywasequaledonly by hisgall”(GilbertMillstein).
2. Theact or an instance of treachery.
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Iran, World Powers Reach Nuclear Deal
Accord sets White House on course for months of political strife with dissenters in Congress, Mideast allies
By LAURENCE NORMAN and
Updated July 14, 2015 1:14 p.m. ET
Iran reached a landmark nuclear agreement with the U.S. and five other world powers, a long-sought foreign policy goal of President Barack Obama that sets the White House on course for months of political strife with dissenters in Congress and in allied Middle Eastern nations.
The accord, which comes after a decade of diplomatic efforts that frequently appeared on the verge of collapse, aims to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.
The Obama administration and its partners hope the deal will resolve a dispute that at times threatened to spark a military conflict. In the optimistic view, it would ease tensions with Tehran over time and pave the way for fresh attempts to resolve some of the region’s many other conflicts.
In an address from the White House early Tuesday, Mr. Obama hailed the deal, threatening to veto any vote in Congress against it.
“Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region,” he said. “Because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”
Critics in Washington, Israel and the Gulf nations that neighbor Iran say the deal will merely delay the country’s path to nuclear weapons. After 10 years of restraint on its activities mandated by the agreement, Iran will then be able to ratchet up its nuclear program and potentially unleash a nuclear arms race in the region, they fear.
Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahucalled the deal a historic mistake.
“Wide-ranging concessions were made in all of the areas which should have prevented Iran from getting the ability to arm itself with a nuclear weapon,’’ Mr. Netanyahu said. “The desire to sign an agreement was stronger than everything else.”
The deal could provoke new strains in U.S. ties with its traditional Middle Eastern allies in Israel and Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia. All have warned that lifting tight international sanctions will deliver an economic windfall that enables Iran to expand its regional influence by boosting funding for proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, far right, and U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, second from right, gesture toward Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, far left. Iran’s Ali Akbar Salehi is second from left. Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stands center.PHOTO:HERBERT NEUBAUER/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
The last two years of diplomacy were the most intense dialogue between Washington and Tehran since diplomatic relations were ruptured after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
“Today, a new page has turned,” Iranian PresidentHassan Rouhani said in a nationally televised speech, adding that the deal met all his country’s goals.
The final round of negotiations stretched for more than two weeks and was punctuated by tensions and setbacks, at times devolving into shouting matches among international officials. The U.S. repeatedly warned it was willing to walk away from a bad deal while Iranians threatened to rev their nuclear program back up.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has spearheaded negotiations over the past two years, praised his Iranian counterpartJavad Zarif as a tough negotiator and a patriot, saying the two had maintained mutual respect throughout often heated talks.
However Mr. Kerry said the administration was fully aware that the nuclear deal would not resolve Washington’s concerns about Iran’s actions.
“From the very beginning of this process, we have considered not only our own security concerns but also the serious and legitimate anxieties of our friends and our allies in the region—especially Israel and the Gulf States,” he said.
“What we are announcing today is an agreement addressing the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. Period.”
At the heart of the agreement between Iran and the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, Germany and France is Tehran’s acceptance of strict limits on its nuclear activities for 10 years. These are supposed to ensure that the country remains a minimum of 12 months away from amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb. After the 10-year period, those constraints will ease in the subsequent five years. In exchange, the U.S., the European Union and the United Nations will lift tight international sanctions on Tehran, a move that Western diplomats say could help Iran’s economy to expand by 7% to 8% annually for years to come.
Iran, which analysts say could double oil exports quickly after sanctions are lifted, will also receive more than $100 billion in assets locked overseas under U.S. sanctions.
Mr. Obama has cast the nuclear diplomacy as an effort to avoid another costly, risky war in the Middle East. He recently said that even if the U.S. took military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it would only partially set back Tehran’s program, not eliminate it.
The nuclear agreement still faces significant hurdles before it takes full effect.
Iran must take an array of specific steps. It must disable two-thirds of its centrifuge machines used to enrich uranium, which can be used as fuel for nuclear energy or nuclear weapons. It must slash its stockpile of enriched uranium and redesign its nuclear reactor in the city of Arak so that it produces less plutonium, which can also be used in a weapon.
Oil-rich Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is for entirely peaceful purposes, such as producing electricity and medical isotopes.
After years of stalling, Iran also must disclose information on its past nuclear activities, which many Western officials suspect was aimed at gaining nuclear weapons know-how. It must provisionally implement an agreement giving United Nations inspectors much broader access to non-nuclear sites including military installations inside the country and eventually get parliamentary approval for that agreement.
The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency and Iran set out a short-term road map that says both sides will aim to finish their discussions of past nuclear work by the end of the year.
The nuclear deal is sure to fan intense political debate in Washington, where Congress may vote within 60 days on the agreement. As a last resort, the Obama administration may have to rely on the support of Democrats to uphold a presidential veto if the Republican-led Congress votes to overturn the agreement.
Among other steps, the U.N. Security Council is supposed to annul past resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran and replace them with a new resolution.
The U.S. will maintain sanctions on Iran linked to its rights abuses, ties to terrorist groups and to support for Syria’s regime among others.
Observers warned that given the complexity of the agreement, which contains one main text and five detailed annexes and totals about 100 pages, the risks of disputes over implementation of terms could cause delays or even derail the deal.
“The technical obstacles can be surpassed with goodwill and diligence, but political hurdles can turn into poison pills,” said Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst at Crisis International, an international conflict resolution group.
According to senior U.S. officials, the agreement will allow a Security Council ban on conventional arms sales to or from Iran to end after five years—or earlier if the U.N. nuclear agency gives its final, full all-clear that Iran’s nuclear program is purely peaceful. That is expected to take many years.
In addition, a ban on trading ballistic missiles and parts with Iran will expire after eight years unless the IAEA gives its all-clear earlier. Iran is committed to using a special procurement channel to buy a wide range of products that could be used in a nuclear weapons program, the official said.
Mr. Kerry said that with three of the countries—Iran, Russia and China— opposed to maintaining the arms ban and able to walk away from the deal, he believed “we did very well to hold onto” these restraints. However, the agreement also includes specific oversight measures that few other countries have ever agreed to. There will be monitoring and oversight of Iran’s uranium mines, plants for manufacturing key parts of centrifuge machines and a range of activities that could be used to develop a nuclear warhead.
Iran deal reached, Obama hails step towards ‘more hopeful world’
Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal on Tuesday, capping more than a decade of negotiations with an agreement that could transform the Middle East.
U.S. President Barack Obama hailed a step towards a “more hopeful world” and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said it proved that “constructive engagement works”. But Israel pledged to do what it could to halt what it called an “historic surrender”.
The agreement will now be debated in the U.S. Congress, but Obama said he would veto any measure to block it.
“This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction,” Obama said. “We should seize it.”
Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.
The agreement is a political triumph for both Obama, who has long promised to reach out to historic enemies, and Rouhani, a pragmatist elected two years ago on a vow to reduce the isolation of his nation of almost 80 million people.
Both face scepticism from powerful hardliners at home in nations that referred to each other as “the Great Satan” and a member of the “Axis of Evil”.
“Today is the end to acts of tyranny against our nation and the start of cooperation with the world,” Rouhani said in a televised address. “This is a reciprocal deal. If they stick to it, we will. The Iranian nation has always observed its promises and treaties.”
For Obama, the diplomacy with Iran, begun in secret more than two years ago, ranks alongside his normalisation of ties with Cuba as landmarks in a legacy of reconciliation with foes that tormented his predecessors for decades.
“History shows that America must lead not just with our might but with our principles,” he said in a televised address. “Today’s announcement marks one more chapter in our pursuit of a safer, more helpful and more hopeful world.”
Republicans lined up to denounce the deal. Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, called it a terrible deal that would make matters worse. Former senator Rick Santorum, another candidate, said the administration had capitulated to Iran.
The Republican-controlled Congress has 60 days to review the accord, but if it votes to reject it Obama can use his veto, which can be overridden only by two-thirds of lawmakers in both houses. That means dozens of Obama’s fellow Democrats would have to rebel against one of their president’s signature achievements to kill it, an unlikely prospect.
While the main negotiations were between the United States and Iran, the four other U.N. Security Council permanent members, Britain, China, France and Russia, are also parties to the deal, as is Germany.
Enmity between Iran and the United States has loomed over the Middle East for decades.
Iran is the predominant Shi’ite Muslim power, hostile both to Israel and to Washington’s Sunni Muslim-ruled Arab friends, particularly Saudi Arabia. Allies of Riyadh and Tehran have fought decades of sectarian proxy wars in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.
But there are also strong reasons for Washington and Tehran to cooperate against common foes, above all Islamic State, the Sunni Muslim militant group that has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq. Washington has been bombing Islamic State from the air while Tehran aids Iraqi militias fighting it on the ground.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters that the deal was about more than just the nuclear issue:
“The big prize here is that, as Iran comes out of the isolation of the last decades and is much more engaged with Western countries, Iranians hopefully begin to travel in larger numbers again, Western companies are able to invest and trade with Iran, there is an opportunity for an opening now.”
Still, Washington’s friends in the region were furious, especially Israel, whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has cultivated a close relationship with Obama’s Republican opponents in Congress.
“Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world,” he said. “Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons.”
His deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, denounced an “historic surrender” and said Israel would “act with all means to try and stop the agreement being ratified”, a clear threat to use its influence to try and block it in Congress.
Some diplomats in Vienna said the strong Israeli response could actually help, by making it easier for Rouhani to sell the agreement back in Iran.
While Saudi Arabia did not denounce the deal publicly as Israel did, its officials expressed doubt in private.
“We have learned as Iran’s neighbours in the last 40 years that goodwill only led us to harvest sour grapes,” a Saudi official who asked to remain anonymous told Reuters.
Nor were hardliners silent in Iran: “Celebrating too early can send a bad signal to the enemy,” conservative lawmaker Alireza Zakani said in parliament, according to Fars News agency. Iran’s National Security Council would review the accord, “and if they think it is against our national interests, we will not have a deal”.
It will probably be months before Iran receives the benefits from the lifting of sanctions because of the need to verify the deal’s fulfilment. Once implementation is confirmed, Tehran will immediately gain access to around $100 billion in frozen assets, and can step up oil exports that have been slashed by almost two-thirds.
The deal finally emerged after nearly three weeks of intense negotiation between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – unthinkable for decades, since Iranian revolutionaries stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
Hatred of the United States is still a central tenet of Iran’s ruling system, on display only last week at an annual protest day, with crowds chanted “Death to Israel!” and “Death to America!”.
But Iranians voted overwhelmingly for Rouhani in 2013 on a clear promise to revive their crippled economy by ending Iran’s isolation. Hardline Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not block the negotiations.
“Today could have been the end of hope on this issue, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope,” Zarif, who studied in the United States and developed a warm rapport with Kerry, told a news conference.
Kerry said: “This is the good deal we have sought.”
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said:
“I think this is a sign of hope for the entire world.”
Obama first reached out to Iranians with an address in 2009, only weeks into his presidency, offering a “new beginning”. But he followed this up with a sharp tightening of financial sanctions, which, combined with sanctions imposed by the EU, have imposed severe economic hardship on Iranians since 2012.
Tehran has long denied seeking a nuclear weapon and has insisted on the right to nuclear technology for peaceful means. Obama never ruled out military force if negotiations failed, and said on Tuesday that future presidents would still have that option if Iran quit the agreement.
France said the deal would ensure Iran’s “breakout time” – the time it would need to build a bomb if it decided to break off the deal – would be one year for the next decade. This has been a main goal of Western negotiators, who wanted to ensure that if a deal collapsed there would be enough time to act.
Obama said Iran had accepted a “snapback” mechanism, under which sanctions would be reinstated if it violated the deal. A U.N. weapons embargo is to remain in place for five years and a ban on buying missile technology will remain for eight years.
Alongside the main deal, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced an agreement with Iran to resolve its own outstanding issues by the end of this year. The main deal depends on the IAEA being able to inspect Iranian nuclear sites and on Iran answering its questions about possible military aims of previous research.
For Iran, the end of sanctions could bring a rapid economic boom by lifting restrictions that have shrunk its economy by about 20 percent, according to U.S. estimates. The prospect of a deal has already helped push down global oil prices because of the possibility that Iranian supply could return to the market.
Oil prices tumbled more than a dollar on Tuesday after the deal was reached. [O/R]
“Even with an historic deal, oil from Iran will take time to return,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at London-based consultancy Energy Aspects, told Reuters. “But given how oversupplied the market is with Saudi output at record highs, the mere prospect of new oil will be bearish for sentiment.”
Monday 13 July 2015 06.15 EDT Last modified on Monday 13 July 2015 11.36 EDT
European and Chinese officials are pushing for a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme to be signed on Monday, but Washington and Tehran – the two main protagonists at the negotiations in Vienna – will not be rushed.
The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, told reporters that his team “believes that no agreement could be perfect, and conditions are already in place for us to reach a good agreement,” as he joined his counterparts for the endgame of the negotiations. “We believe that there cannot, and should not, be further delay.”
This latest round of talks got under way in the Austrian capital 17 days ago, though negotiations between the international community and Iran over the country’s atomic aspirations have been held on and off for 12 years.
European diplomats at the talks said on Sunday that the major obstacles to a deal had been cleared away and that they expected an announcement on Monday afternoon, but their American counterparts were more cautious. They distributed logistics information to US journalists covering the negotiations about the choreography of events after an announcement, but a senior state department official insisted “major issues” remain.
Meanwhile, the Iranian delegation also suggested the talks were not yet at the finish line. Its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said: “We believe there shouldn’t be extension but we can continue working by the time that it’s necessary.” Zarif’s deputy, Abbas Araqchi, said: “I cannot promise whether the remaining issues can be resolved tonight or tomorrow night. Some issues still remain unresolved and, until they are solved, we cannot say an agreement has been reached.”
Diplomats in Vienna suggested that one reason for the delay was that neither the US nor the Iranian delegations wanted to present the White House or the supreme leader a deadline for completing their review of the final text. However, going beyond midnight on Monday would require a 2013 interim deal to be rolled over for the fourth time in a fortnight, to keep a freeze on sanctions and the Iranian nuclear programme in place
Even after a deal is announced, it would take some hours for the text of the agreement, the English version of which stretches to more than 80 pages, including five annexes, to be “scrubbed” or proofread and reviewed by lawyers. Translations would then have to be completed before the final text was sent to the relevant capitals for approval by national leaders.
Under the expected settlement, Iran will accept curbs on its nuclear programme in exchange for extensive sanctions relief. Tehran would also have to subject its facilities to a more rigorous inspections regime. It would represent a historic compromise after a 12-year standoff that has at times threatened to provoke a new conflict in the Middle East. In a statement issued on Sunday, a senior US State Department official said: “We have never speculated about the timing of anything during these negotiations, and we’re certainly not going to start now, especially given the fact that major issues remain to be resolved in these talks.”
The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, returned to the UK for unspecified reasons. Diplomats said he was expected back on Monday and suggested his departure meant that the main political decisions had been taken as far as the UK was concerned, leaving mostly technicalities to finalise. Over the weekend, Iranian officials had said that the UK and Germany had made forceful arguments about their own red lines, and that was confirmed in the British case by western diplomatic sources. Their concerns appeared to have been resolved by Sunday evening.
Once an agreement is announced, it will not take effect for some time. It must first survive a trial by fire from its critics in Washington and Tehran. The greatest hurdle will be the US Congress, where Republicans have a majority and are expected to vote against the deal after a review period of up to 60 days. They will seek to win over 12 Democrats in an attempt to defeat a presidential veto.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, described the expected deal as “a very hard sell”. Bob Corker, the Republican head of the Senate foreign relations committee, told NBC: “At the end of the day I think people understand that if this is a bad deal that is going to allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, they would own this deal if they voted for it, and so they’ll want to disapprove it. On the other hand, if we feel like we’re better off with it, people will look to approve it.”
The European and Chinese foreign ministers have come and gone over the course of the talks and even Zarif left for a day, but John Kerry remained in Vienna throughout. It is the longest time that a US secretary of state has spent abroad in a single location dealing with a single issue since the aftermath of the second world war.
Kerry has also conducted the gruelling fortnight of diplomacy, including repeated late-night meetings, on crutches after a bicycle accident in May. On Sunday morning he attended mass in Vienna’s 14th-century St Stephen’s Cathedral, where Mozart was married and Vivaldi’s funeral was held. Speaking about a late-night meeting with Zarif hours before, he said: “I think we’re getting to some real decisions. So I will say, because we have a few tough things to do, I remain hopeful.”
The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told reporters as he rejoined the talks on Sunday afternoon: “I hope we’re arriving finally at the last phase of these marathon negotiations. I believe so.”
The road ahead
Although the deal could be agreed and published as early as Monday, it will be months before it starts to come into effect. A number of steps have to be taken first:
The US Congress will have two months to review the agreement, and then an extra 22 days are set aside for voting, a possible presidential veto, and then another vote to see if opponents can muster 67 Senate votes to override the veto. At the same time, Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, will study the deal and issue its own verdict, but has no firm timetable.
Assuming it survives legislative scrutiny, the agreement will be codified and incorporated in a UN security council resolution, which will also lift UN sanctions on Iran, conditional on Tehran taking its agreed steps to reduce its nuclear infrastructure. Some Iranian sources say the resolution will come earlier in the process, while the deal is still under legislative review.
Iran will then begin to disconnect centrifuges, remove the core from its heavy-water plant and reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency will monitor and verify the steps taken. Iran will also work with the IAEA to resolve unanswered questions about alleged past nuclear weapon design work.
At the same time, Barack Obama will grant waivers on economic and financial sanctions, and the EU will vote to lift European sanctions. Both sets of sanctions relief will be made contingent on IAEA confirmation that Iran has upheld its side of the bargain.
In a final step, possibly around the end of the year, economic and financial sanctions will be lifted, and an enhanced IAEA inspections regime will be implemented, routinely monitoring Iran’s fuel cycle from uranium mines to enrichment and fuel manufacture, and visiting undeclared sites.
Obama Can’t Force His Iran Deal on the Country without Congress’s Consent
Having the U.N. Security Council bless a deal wouldn’t make it binding under our Constitution. So, as we warned earlier this week, the international-law game it is. It is no secret that Barack Obama does not have much use for the United States Constitution. It is a governing plan for a free, self-determining people. Hence, it is littered with roadblocks against schemes to rule the people against their will. When it comes to our imperious president’s scheme to enable our enemy, Iran, to become a nuclear-weapons power — a scheme that falls somewhere between delusional and despicable, depending on your sense of Obama’s good faith — the salient barrier is that only Congress can make real law.
Most lawmakers think it would be a catastrophe to forge a clear path to the world’s most destructive weapons for the world’s worst regime — a regime that brays “Death to America” as its motto; that has killed thousands of Americans since 1979; that remains the world’s leading state sponsor of jihadist terrorism; that pledges to wipe our ally Israel off the map; and that just three weeks ago, in the midst of negotiations with Obama, conducted a drill in which its armed forces fired ballistic missiles at a replica U.S. aircraft carrier.
This week, 47 perspicuous Republican senators suspected that the subject of congressional power just might have gotten short shrift in Team Obama’s negotiations with the mullahs. So they penned a letter on the subject to the regime in Tehran. The effort was led by Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), who, after Harvard Law School, passed up community organizing for the life of a Bronze Star–awarded combat commander. As one might imagine, Cotton and Obama don’t see this Iran thing quite the same way.
There followed, as night does day, risible howls from top Democrats and their media that these 47 patriots were “traitors” for undermining the president’s empowerment of our enemies. Evidently, writing the letter was not as noble as, say, Ted Kennedy’s canoodling with the Soviets, Nancy Pelosi’s dalliance with Assad, the Democratic party’s Bush-deranged jihad against the war in Iraq, or Senator Barack Obama’s own back-channel outreach to Iran during the 2008 campaign. Gone, like a deleted e-mail, were the good old days when dissent was patriotic.
Yet, as John Yoo observes, the Cotton letter was more akin to mailing Ayatollah Khamenei a copy of the Constitution. The senators explained that our Constitution requires congressional assent for international agreements to be legally binding. Thus, any “executive agreement” on nukes that they manage to strike with the appeaser-in-chief is unenforceable and likely to be revoked when he leaves office in 22 months.
For Obama and other global-governance grandees, this is quaint thinking, elevating outmoded notions like national interest over “sustainable” international “stability” — like the way Hitler stabilized the Sudetenland. These “international community” devotees see the Tea Party as the rogue and the mullahs as rational actors.
o, you see, lasting peace — like they have, for example, in Ukraine — is achieved when the world’s sole superpower exhibits endless restraint and forfeits some sovereignty to the United Nations Security Council, where the enlightened altruists from Moscow, Beijing, and Brussels will figure out what’s best for Senator Cotton’s constituents in Arkansas. This will set a luminous example of refinement that Iran will find irresistible when it grows up ten years from now — the time when Obama, who came to office promising the mullahs would not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons, would have Iran stamped with the international community seal of approval as a nuclear-weapons state.
Down here on Planet Earth, though, most Americans think this is a bad idea. That, along with an injection of grit from the Arkansas freshman, emboldened the normally supine Senate GOP caucus to read Tehran in on the constitutional fact that the president is powerless to bind the United States unless the people’s representatives cement the arrangement.
Obama, naturally, reacted with his trusty weapon against opposition, demagoguery: hilariously suggesting that while the Alinskyite-in-chief had our country’s best interests at heart, the American war hero and his 46 allies were in league with Iran’s “hardliners.” (Yes, having found Muslim Brotherhood secularists, al-Qaeda moderates, and Hezbollah moderates, rest assured that Obama is courting only the evolved ayatollahs.) When that went about as you’d expect, the administration shifted to a strategy with which it is equally comfortable, lying.
Obama’s minions claimed that, of course, the president understands that any agreement he makes with Iran would merely be his “political commitment,” not “legally binding” on the nation. It’s just that Obama figures it would be nice to have the Security Council “endorse” the deal in a resolution because, well, that would “encourage its full implementation.” Uh-huh.
Inconveniently, the administration’s negotiating counterpart is the chattiest of academics, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Afflicted by the Western-educated Islamist’s incorrigible need to prove he’s the smartest kid in the class — especially a class full of American politicians — Zarif let the cat out of the bag. The senators, he smarmed, “may not fully understand . . . international law.”
According to Zarif, the deal under negotiation “will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the U.S., but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution.” He hoped it would “enrich the knowledge” of the 47 senators to learn that “according to international law, Congress may not modify the terms of the agreement.” To do so would be “a material breach of U.S. obligations,” rendering America a global outlaw.
This, mind you, from the lead representative of a terrorist regime that is currently, and brazenly, in violation of Security Council resolutions that prohibit its enrichment of uranium.
Clearly, Obama and the mullahs figure they can run the following stunt: We do not need another treaty approved by Congress because the United States has already ratified the U.N. charter and thus agreed to honor Security Council resolutions. We do not need new statutes because the Congress, in enacting Iran-sanctions legislation, explicitly gave the president the power to waive those sanctions. All we need is to have the Security Council issue a resolution that codifies Congress’s existing sanctions laws with Obama’s waiver. Other countries involved in the negotiations — including Germany, Russia, and China, which have increasingly lucrative trade with Iran — will then very publicly rely on the completed deal. The U.N. and its army of transnational-progressive bureaucrats and lawyers will deduce from this reliance a level of global consensus that incorporates the agreement into the hocus-pocus corpus of customary law. Maybe they’ll even get Justice Ginsburg to cite it glowingly in a Supreme Court ruling. Voila, we have a binding agreement — without any congressional input — that the United States is powerless to alter under international law.
Well, it makes for good theater . . . because that is what international law is. It is a game more of lawyers than of thrones. In essence, it is politics masquerading as a system governed by rules rather than power, as if hanging a sign that says “law” on that system makes it so. At most, international law creates understandings between and among states. Those understandings, however, are only relevant as diplomatic debating points. When, in defiance of international law, Obama decides to overthrow the Qaddafi regime, Clinton decides to bomb Kosovo, or the ayatollahs decide to enrich uranium, the debating points end up not counting for much.
Even when international understandings are validly created by treaty (which requires approval by two-thirds of the Senate), they are not “self-executing,” as the legal lexicon puts it — meaning they are not judicially enforceable and carry no domestic weight. Whether bilateral or multilateral, treaties do not supersede existing federal law unless implemented by new congressional statutes. And they are powerless to amend the Constitution.
The Supreme Court reaffirmed these principles in its 2008 Medellin decision (a case I described here, leading to a ruling Ed Whelan outlined here). The justices held that the president cannot usurp the constitutional authority of other government components under the guise of his power to conduct foreign affairs. Moreover, even a properly ratified treaty can be converted into domestic law only by congressional lawmaking, not by unilateral presidential action.
Obama, therefore, has no power to impose an international agreement by fiat — he has to come to Congress. He can make whatever deal he wants to make with Iran, but the Constitution still gives Congress exclusive authority over foreign commerce. Lawmakers can enact sanctions legislation that does not permit a presidential waiver. Obama would not sign it, but the next president will — especially if the Republicans raise it into a major 2016 campaign issue.
Will the Security Council howl? Sure . . . but so what? It has been said that Senator Cotton should have CC’d the Obama administration on his letter since it, too, seems unfamiliar with the Constitution’s division of authority. A less useless exercise might have been to CC the five other countries involved in the talks (the remaining Security Council members, plus Germany). Even better, as I argued earlier this week, would be a sense-of-the-Senate resolution: Any nation that relies on an executive agreement that is not approved by the United States Congress under the procedures outlined in the Constitution does so at its peril because this agreement is likely to lapse as early as January 20, 2017. International law is a game that two can play, and there is no point in allowing Germany, Russia, and China to pretend that they relied in good faith on Obama’s word being America’s word. It is otherworldly to find an American administration conspiring against the Constitution and the Congress in cahoots with a terror-sponsoring enemy regime, with which we do not even have formal diplomatic relations, in order to pave the enemy’s way to nuclear weapons, of all things. Nevertheless, Republicans and all Americans who want to preserve our constitutional order, must stop telling themselves that we have hit a bottom beneath which Obama will not go. This week, 47 senators seemed ready, finally, to fight back. It’s a start.
Could the Iran Deal Be the Worst International Accord of All Time?
by DANIEL PIPES July 14, 2015 10:27 AM
Barack Obama has repeatedly signaled during the past six and a half years that that his No. 1 priority in foreign affairs is not China, not Russia, not Mexico, but Iran. He wants to bring Iran in from the cold, to transform the Islamic Republic into just another normal member of the so-called international community, thereby ending decades of its aggression and hostility.
In itself, this is a worthy goal; it’s always good policy to reduce the number of enemies. (It brings to mind Nixon going to China.) The problem lies, of course, in the execution.
The conduct of the Iran nuclear negotiations has been wretched, with the Obama administration inconsistent, capitulating, exaggerating, and even deceitful. It forcefully demanded certain terms, then soon after conceded these same terms. Secretary of State John Kerry implausibly announced that we have “absolute knowledge” of what the Iranians have done until now in their nuclear program and therefore have no need for inspections to form a baseline. How can any adult, much less a high official, make such a statement?
The administration misled Americans about its own concessions: After the November 2013 joint plan of action, it came out with a fact sheet that Tehran said was inaccurate. Guess who was right? The Iranians. In brief, the U.S. government has shown itself deeply untrustworthy.
The conduct of the Iran nuclear negotiations has been wretched, with the Obama administration inconsistent, capitulating, exaggerating, and even deceitful. The agreement signed today ends the economic-sanctions regime, permits the Iranians to hide much of their nuclear activities, lacks enforcement in case of Iranian deceit, and expires in slightly more than a decade. Two problems particularly stand out: The Iranian path to nuclear weapons has been eased and legitimated; Tehran will receive a “signing bonus” of some $150 billion that greatly increases its abilities to aggress in the Middle East and beyond. The United States alone, not to speak of the P5+1 countries as a whole, has vastly greater economic and military power than the Islamic Republic of Iran, making this one-sided concession ultimately a bafflement.
Of the administration’s accumulated foreign-policy mistakes in the last six years, none have been catastrophic for the United States: Not the Chinese building islands, the Russians’ taking Crimea, or the collapse into civil wars of Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. But the Iran deal has the makings of a catastrophe.
Attention now shifts to the U.S. Congress to review today’s accord, arguably the worst international accord not just in American history or modern history, but ever. Congress must reject this deal. Republican senators and representatives have shown themselves firm on this topic; will the Democrats rise to the occasion and provide the votes for a veto override? They need to feel the pressure.
Story 1: When Will Obama and Kerry Walk Like Men Out Of Negotiations With The World Leading Terrorist Nation The Islamic Republic of Iran? Never! — Yakety Yak– Where Is The Written Signed Agreement/Treaty Stopping Iran From Having Nuclear Weapons President Obama? — Time To Release Some Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) — Bunker Busters on Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Factories — Bombs Away — Videos
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Walk like a manOh how you tried
To cut me down to size
by telling dirty lies to my friends
But my own father
Said give her up, don’t bother
The world isn’t coming to an endHe said walk like a man
Talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman’s worth
Crawling on the earth
So walk like a man my sonoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-ooFine eyed baby
I don’t mean maybe
We’re gonna get along somehow
Soon you’ll be crying
On ‘count of all you’re lying
Oh yeah, just look who’s laughing nowI’m gonna walk like a man
Fast as I can
Walk like a man from you
I’ll tell the world
Forget about it girl
And walk like a man from youoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
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Walk Like a Man Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Lyrics
July 2015 Breaking News USA ready to attack Iranian nuclear facilities with awe-inspiring plan B
30,000 Pound Bunker Buster Bomb designed to detour Iran Nuclear Threat
As negotiations with Iran continue towards a nuclear arms agreement, the United States still holds a trump card. The 30,000 Pound Boeing GBU-57 Bunker Buster bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon in U.S. inventory, designed to destroy nuclear weapons bunkers in Iran and North Korea. The bunker buster, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg.) and has been improved with “adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and hi-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex.”
“Hopefully we never have to use it, but if we had to, it would work.”
The existence of a bomb that has the capability of destroying the underground facility from the air could also give the West extra bargaining power in nuclear negotiations with the Iran.
US officials believe the improved MOP will serve to convince Israel to hold off on unilaterally attacking Iran and give Washington more time to diplomatically neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat.
US military chiefs openly admitted the weapon was built to attack the fortified nuclear facilities of “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea. Although the Pentagon insists that it is not aimed at a specific threat, unnamed officials within the ministry have repeatedly claimed the bomb is being tailor-made to disable Iranian nuclear facilities at Fordo.
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Bunkers & Bunker Busting Bombs
MOP Massive Ordnance Penetrator GBU-57A-B Penetrator bunker buster bomb Iran United States
World War 3 Pentagon unveils 30,000 pound M O P Bunker Buster Bomb against Iran May 03, 2013
Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) 37,000 LB Bombs To The USAF – GBU-57
Israel Air Force Refuels Mid-air
Only on AP: US Tankers Refuel for IS Fight
WATCH OUT IRAN Israeli Air Force unveils Refueling aircraft for possible Airstrike
Israel To Buy 25 More F-35 Lockheed Stealth Fighters: Sources
December 2014 Breaking News USA F35 Israel to buy second squadron of stealth F35 jets
News Wrap: As deadline looms, Kerry says Iran nuclear talks not ‘open-ended’
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Frankie Valli And 4 Seasons Live on Ice 2008
The Coasters – Yakety Yak – ORIGINAL MONO VERSION
Yakety Yak – The Coasters with lyrics
Where Have all the Flowers Gone: Eve of Destruction
Iran Made Illegal Purchases of Nuclear Weapons Technology Last Month
The question is not whether Iran can be trusted to uphold the nuclear deal now being negotiated in Vienna (it can’t), but whether the Obama administration and its P5+1 partners can be trusted to punish Iran when it violates the agreement?
Experience shows that unless Iran violates the deal egregiously, the temptation will be to ignore it. For instance, Iran got away with selling more oil than it should have under the interim agreement. More ominously, Tehran repeatedly pushed the envelope on technical aspects of the agreement—such as caps on its uranium stockpile—and got away with it. The Obama administration and other Western powers have so much invested in their diplomatic efforts that they’ll deny such violations ever occurred.
More evidence of Iranian violations has now surfaced. Two reports regarding Iran’s attempts to illicitly and clandestinely procure technology for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs have recently been published. They show that Iran’s procurement continues apace, if not faster than before the Joint Plan of Action was signed in November 2013. But fear of potentially embarrassing negotiators and derailing negotiations has made some states reluctant to report Tehran’s illegal efforts. If these countries have hesitated to expose Iran during the negotiations, it is more likely they will refrain from reporting after a deal is struck.
The first report was released last month by the U.N. panel of experts in charge of reporting compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iran. The panel noted that U.N. member states had not reported significant violations of U.N. sanctions and speculated as to why: either Iran was complying, or countries did not wish to interfere with negotiations.
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The second report, released last week by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, is less ambiguous. The agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, confirmed to us that Iran continues to seek illicit technology for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.
Iran has had a long history of trying to obtain nuclear technology from German companies, particularly by seeking ways to transport merchandise in circumvention of international sanctions. Since November 2013, Tehran has sought industry computers, high-speed cameras, cable fiber, and pumps for its nuclear and missile program. It appears that Iran’s readiness to negotiate does not reflect any substantive policy change. Rather, it is a diplomatic tactic retreat forced by economic distress, not a strategic rethinking of its priorities.
Iran’s cheating should give Western negotiators additional resolve to impose ironclad guarantees in the agreement. They should compel Iran to reveal its past activities, including its post-JPOA procurement efforts, and impose tough, intrusive, “anytime, anywhere” inspections before sanctions are suspended, let alone lifted.
Instead, the lack of reporting to the U.N. despite evidence of cheating suggests a lack of resolve on the part of Western nations, and their willingness to downplay all but the most egregious violations. This does not bode well for the future. If Western powers are reluctant to penalize Iran for trying to evade sanctions because they’re afraid of spoiling the negotiations, what will happen in the future when Western powers have even more invested in preserving an agreement?
Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow.
In 2002, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin were working on the development of a 30,000-lb (13,600 kg) earth-penetrating weapon, said to be known as “Big BLU“. But funding and technical difficulties resulted in the development work being abandoned. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, analysis of sites that had been attacked with bunker-buster bombs revealed poor penetration and inadequate levels of destruction.This renewed interest in the development of a super-large bunker-buster, and the MOP project was initiated by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to fulfill a long-standing Air Force requirement.
The U.S. Air Force has not officially recognized specific military requirement for an ultra-large bomb, but it does have a concept for a collection of massively sized penetrator and blast weapons, the so-called “Big BLU” collection, which includes the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst) bomb. Development of the MOP was performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida with design and testing work performed by Boeing. It is intended that the bomb will be deployed on the B-2 bomber, and will be guided by the use of GPS.
Northrop Grumman announced a $2.5-million stealth-bomber refit contract on 19 July 2007. Each of the U.S. Air Force’s B-2s is to be able to carry two 14-ton MOPs.
On 6 October 2009, ABC News reported that the Pentagon had requested and obtained permission from the U.S. Congress to shift funding in order to accelerate the project. It was later announced by the U.S. military that “funding delays and enhancements to the planned test schedule” meant the bomb would not be deployable until December 2010, six months later than the original availability date.
The project has had at least one successful Flight Test MOP launch. The final testing will be completed in 2012.
The Air Force took delivery of 20 bombs, designed to be delivered by the B-2 bomber, in September 2011. In February 2012, Congress approved $81.6 million to further develop and improve the weapon.
On 7 April 2011, the USAF ordered eight MOPs plus supporting equipment for $28 million.
On 14 November 2011, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and that the deliveries “will meet requirements for the current operational need”. The Air Force now has received delivery of 16 MOPs as of November 2011. And as of March 2012, there is an “operational stockpile” at Whiteman Air Force Base.
In 2012, the Pentagon requested $82 million to develop greater penetration power for the existing weapon. A 2013 report stated that the development had been a success, and B-2 integration testing began that year.
MOP being offloaded in preparation for its first explosive test, 2007.
Mock up of MOP inside a bomb bay of a B-2 simulator, 2007.
B-52 releases a MOP during a weapons test, 2009.
Next-generation Penetrator Munition
On 25 June 2010, USAF Lt. Gen. Phillip Breedlove said that the Next-generation Penetrator Munition should be about a third the size of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator so it could be carried by affordable aircraft. In December 2010, the USAF had a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Next Generation Penetrator (NGP).
Global Strike Command has indicated that one of the objectives for the Next-Generation Bomber is for it to carry a weapon with the effects of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. This would either be with the same weapon or a smaller weapon that uses rocket power to reach sufficient speed to match the penetrating power of the larger weapon.
One of the current limitations of the MOP is that it lacks a void-sensing fuze and will therefore detonate after it has come to a stop, even if it passed by the target area.
Whether Iran is racing toward nuclear weapon capabilities is one of the most contentious issues challenging the West, including the United States and Israel, which has been involved in a shadow war with the country.
April 2, 2015
April 2, 2015
Iran Agrees to Nuclear Limits, But Key Issues Are Unresolved
Iran and European nations say they have reached an understanding about next steps, but key issues need to be resolved before a final agreement by June 30.
According to European officials, roughly 5,000 centrifuges will remain spinning enriched uranium at Natanz, about half the number currently running. The underground enrichment site at Fordo — which Israeli and some American officials fear is impervious to bombing — will be partly converted to advanced nuclear research and the production of medical isotopes.
A major reactor at Arak, which officials fear could produce plutonium, will operate on a limited basis that will not provide enough fuel for a bomb.
In return the European Union and the United States will begin to lift sanctions, as Iran complies.
Kerry Announces Extension to Iran Talks Video by Reuters/ Photo by Roland Schlager/European Pressphoto Agency
U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months
A yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure fell short, forcing the United States and its allies to declare a seven-month extension, but with no clear indication of how they plan to bridge fundamental differences.
The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, Catherine Ashton, who is representing the European Union, and Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna. Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
Negotiators Scrambling as Deadline Looms in Nuclear Talks
As six world powers and Iran race to meet a Monday deadline for an agreement that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the United States stakes out an ambitious goal for what an accord should accomplish.
American officials say the agreement should slow the Iranian nuclear program enough that it would take Iran at least a year to make enough material for a nuclear bomb if it decided to ignore the accord.
It has become increasingly unlikely that any accord announced on Monday would be a complete one. And whatever deal is reached, it may not matter if Iranian hard-liners have their way. In Iran, the final decision on a nuclear deal lies with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.
Under a proposed deal, Russia will convert uranium into specialized fuel rods for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.Majid Asgaripour/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Role for Russia Gives Iran Talks a Possible Boost
Iran tentatively agrees to ship much of its huge stockpile of uranium to Russia for conversion into specialized fuel rods for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial reactor. The agreement is potentially a major breakthrough in talks that have until now been deadlocked.
A key question remains about the negotiations that American officials have been loath to discuss in public: In a final deal, would Iran be required to publicly admit its past activities, or merely provide a mechanism for monitoring its actions in the future?
Iran’s nuclear reactor in Arak, about 150 miles southwest of Tehran, is being redesigned.Hamid Foroutan/Iranian Students News Agency, via Associated Press
Iran Altering Arak Reactor in Bid for Nuclear Deal
Atomic power engineers in Iran start redesigning a partly constructed reactor in Arak to limit the amount of plutonium it produces, Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, says, expressing hope that the change will help alleviate Western objections that the plutonium can be used in weapons.
Iran, the United States and the five other countries agree to a four-month extension of the negotiations, giving them more time to try to bridge a major difference over whether the country will be forced to dismantle parts of its nuclear infrastructure, according to senior Western diplomats involved in the talks.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, accuses the West of trying to sabotage a reactor being built near Arak.Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal; Accepts Limit
As the deadline for the talks approaches on Sunday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the country could accept a freeze on its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years, provided it could eventually produce fuel unhindered.
The proposal will effectively extend a limited series of concessions Iran made last November as part of a temporary deal to get negotiations started on a permanent accord. In return, Iran wants step-by-step relief from sanctions that have substantially weakened its economy.
Iran Is Providing Information on Its Detonators, Report Says
The I.A.E.A. releases a report stating that Iran is beginning to turn over information related to its nuclear detonators. The agency says that Iran has provided “additional information and explanations,” including documents, to substantiate its claim that it had tested the detonators for “a civilian application.”
From left, Foreign Ministers Laurent Fabius of France and William Hague of Britain, and Secretary of State John Kerry with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan, in Paris. Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images
Negotiators Put Final Touches on Iran Accord
Iran and a group of six world powers complete a deal that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran’s nuclear program starting Jan. 20, in exchange for limited relief from Western economic sanctions.
The agreement faced opposition from Iranian hard-liners and Israeli leaders, as well as heavy criticism from some American lawmakers, who have threatened to approve further sanctions despite President Obama’s promise of a veto.
The negotiators in Geneva early Sunday morning. President Obama hailed the agreement. Denis Balibouse/Reuters
Deal With Iran Halts Nuclear Program
The United States and five other world powers announce a landmark accord that would temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement.
The aim of the accord, which is to last six months, is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive accord that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could only be used for peaceful purposes.
Iran is in a much different position now to negotiate on its nuclear program than it was four years ago when President Obama first broached the subject.
Iran Says It Agrees to ‘Road Map’ With U.N. on Nuclear Inspections
The I.A.E.A. says that Iran has agreed to resolve all outstanding issues with the agency, and will permit “managed access” by international inspectors to two key nuclear facilities. But the promise does not extend to the Parchin military site, which inspectors have been trying to see for months.
Marathon talks between major powers and Iran fail to ease sanctions on the country and produce a deal to freeze its nuclear program.
Iran and a group of six world powers say that they have engaged in “substantive” and “forward-looking” discussions on the disputed Iranian nuclear program and that they will reconvene on November 7.
The account of the two days of talks in Geneva came in a rare joint statement from Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, who is the lead negotiator with Iran.
President Obama says he has spoken by phone with President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct contact between the leaders of Iran and the United States since 1979. Mr. Obama, speaking in the White House briefing room, said the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program and said he was persuaded there was a basis for an agreement.
Moments before Mr. Obama’s announcement, Mr. Rouhani’s Twitter account posted this now-deleted message: “In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @HassanRouhani: “Have a Nice Day!” @BarackObama: “Thank you. Khodahafez.”
Rouhani, Blunt and Charming, Pitches a Moderate Iran in First U.N. Appearance
Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, turns himself into a high-speed salesman offering a flurry of speeches, tweets, televised interviews and carefully curated private meetings, intended to end Iran’s economic isolation.
At the United Nations General Assembly, he preaches tolerance and understanding, decries as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and says nuclear weapons have no place in its future. He takes aim at Israel’s nuclear arsenal in a public – while the country’s leaders caution over what they deem as an empty charm offensive.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new leader, received a private letter from President Obama about easing tensions between the countries.Vahid Salemi/Associated Press
Iran Said to Seek a Nuclear Accord to End Sanctions
Seizing on a perceived flexibility in a letter from President Obama to President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s leaders are focused on getting quick relief from crippling sanctions, a top adviser to the Iranian leadership says.
The adviser says that Mr. Obama’s letter, delivered about three weeks ago, promised relief from sanctions if Tehran demonstrated a willingness to “cooperate with the international community, keep your commitments and remove ambiguities.”
Iran Slows Its Gathering of Enriched Uranium, Report Says
I.A.E.A. inspectors say that Iran is slowing its accumulation of enriched uranium that can be quickly turned into fuel for an atomic bomb. The report’s disclosure is significant politically because it delays the day when Iran could breach what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel last fall called a “red line” beyond which Iran would not be allowed to pass — the point at which it has enough purified uranium to quickly make a single nuclear weapon.
Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, has been elected the next president of Iran.
Iran Elects New President
Voters overwhelmingly elect Hassan Rouhani, 64, a mild-mannered cleric who advocates greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.
The diplomat sheik played a key role in Iran’s voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment in 2004, which Western powers responded to by asking for more concessions from Iran.
Mr. Rouhani replaces his predecessors’ foreign minister with Mohammad Javad Zarif, an American-educated diplomat known for his understanding of the West, and makes him responsible for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Rouhani also removes a hard-line nuclear scientists as head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, and replaces him with the former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. In September, Iran’s longtime ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency will be replaced as well.
The Obama administration escalates sanctions against Iran for the fourth time in a week, blacklisting what it describes as a global network of front companies controlled by Iran’s top leaders, accusing them of hiding assets and generating billions of dollars worth of revenue to help Tehran evade sanctions.
The White House also accuses Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of personally directing an effort to bypass them.
The United States also blacklists Iranian petrochemical companies, its automotive industry and more than 50 Iranian officials, and threatens to sanction foreign banks that trade or hold Iran’s national currency, the rial.
The I.A.E.A. says Iran has made significant progress across the board in its nuclear program, while negotiations with the West dragged on this spring. But it said that it has not gone past the “red line” that Israel’s leaders have declared could trigger military action.
In its last report before the Iranian elections next month, the agency also gives details that point to an emerging production strategy by the Iranians. One strategy involves speeding ahead with another potential route to a bomb: producing plutonium. The report indicates that Iran is making significant progress at its Arak complex, where it has built a heavy-water facility and is expected to have a reactor running by the end of next year.
The United States expands its roster of those violating Iran sanctions, blacklisting four Iranian companies and one individual suspected of helping the country enrich nuclear fuel. It also singles out two other companies, including a Venezuelan-Iranian bank, accused of helping Iran evade other Western-imposed prohibitions on oil sales and financial dealings.
The penalties came a day after the Senate introduced legislation that could effectively deny the Iran government access to an estimated $100 billion worth of its own money parked in overseas banks, a step that proponents said could significantly damage Iran’s financial stability.
Iranians rush to supermarkets to buy cooking oil, red meat and other staples, stockpiling the goods over new fears of price spikes from a change in the official exchange rate that could severely reduce the already weakened purchasing power of the rial, the national currency.
Prices of staples are set to increase by as much as 60 percent because of the currency change.
Economists say the result is from a combination of severe Western sanctions and what many call the government’s economic mismanagement.
Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon. Next week he will travel to the Middle East to finalize the arms sale.Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
U.S. Arms Deal With Israel and 2 Arab Nations Is Near
The Defense Department is expecting to finalize a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week that will provide missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran.
Israeli Officials Stress Readiness for Lone Strike on Iran
In an interview with the BBC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, saying Israel has “different vulnerabilities and different capabilities” than the United States. “We have to make our own calculations, when we lose the capacity to defend ourselves by ourselves.”
Israeli defense and military officials have been issuing explicit warnings this week that Israel was prepared and had the capability to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
US Blacklists an Iranian and Businesses Over Violation of Sanctions
The United States blacklists an affluent Iranian business executive, Babak Morteza Zanjani, and what it describes as his multibillion-dollar money laundering network, accusing them of selling oil for Iran in violation of the Western economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
On March 14, The Treasury Department, which administers the government’s Iran sanctions, blacklisted a Greek shipping tycoon, Dimitris Cambis, over what it called his scheme to acquire a fleet of oil tankers on Iran’s behalf and disguise their ownership to ship Iranian oil.
Family members of slain nuclear scientists stood with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, far right, a nuclear official. Arash Khamoushi/Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, via Associated Press
After Talks End, Iran Announces an Expansion of Nuclear Fuel Production
Iran’s president announces an expansion of the country’s uranium production and claims other atomic energy advances, striking a pugnacious tone in the aftermath of diplomatic talks thatended in an impasse with the big powers on April 6 in Kazakhstan.
A look, provided by the United States Navy, at how its laser attack weapon works. The video is silent.
Navy Deploying Laser Weapon Prototype Near Iran
The U.S. announces that the Navy will deploy a laser weapon prototype in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.
The laser will not be operational until next year. It has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.
President Obama traveled to Israel on March 20, in a symbolic two-day visit to the country, the first of his presidency.
Iran Nuclear Weapon to Take Year or More, Obama Says
President Obama tells an Israeli television station that his administration believes it would take Iran “over a year or so” to develop a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Obama’s estimated timeline contrasts with Mr. Netanyahu’s stated belief that Israel and its Western allies are likely to have to intervene by the spring or summer, when, he says, Iran’s scientists will have enriched enough uranium to become a nuclear threat.
Iran meets with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Kazakhstan, but talks end with no specific agreement over a proposal that would sharply constrain Iran’s stockpile of the most dangerous enriched uranium, in return for a modest lifting of some sanctions.
The six powers also agreed that Iran could keep a small amount of 20 percent enriched uranium — which can be converted to bomb grade with modest additional processing — for use in a reactor to produce medical isotopes.
Iranian oil sales have been reduced by half as a result of the international pressure on the country, and restrictions on financial transactions and transportation have created many difficulties for its leaders.
The state news agency IRNA quotes a report by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, saying that it had found significant new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations.
Iran’s raw uranium reserves now total around 4,400 tons, including discoveries over the past 18 months, IRNA quoted the report as saying.
A few weeks earlier, Ayatollah Khamenei said that his country was not seeking nuclear weapons but added that if Iran ever decided to build them, no “global power” could stop it.
Speaking to air force commanders in Tehran on Feb. 6, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran “will not negotiate under pressure.” Khamenei Official Web site, via European Pressphoto Agency
U.S. Bolsters Sanctions
A new round of American sanctions take effect which state that any country that buys Iranian oil must put the purchase money into a local bank account. Iran cannot repatriate the money and can use it only to buy goods within that country. Violators risk severe penalties in doing business with the United States. Oil exports from Iran have already dropped by a million barrels a day.
A week earlier, Iran announces that it would deploy a new generation of centrifuges, four to six times as powerful as the current generation.
Most of that decline comes in a frenzy of speculative selling by Iranians worried that rapid inflation could render their money worthless. The government responds with a crackdown in which some money traders are arrested.
The depressed value of the rial forces Iranians to carry ever-fatter wads of bank notes to buy everyday items. But the sanctions also present a new complication to Iran’s banking authorities: they may not be able to print enough money.
Meanwhile, the European Union toughens sanctions against Iran, banning trade in industries like finance, metals and natural gas, and making other business transactions far more cumbersome.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, displaying his red line for Iran’s nuclear program. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Israel’s ‘Red Line’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel tells the United Nations that Iran’s capability to enrich uranium must be stopped before the spring or early summer, arguing that by that time Iran will be in a position to make a short, perhaps undetectable, sprint to manufacture its first nuclear weapon.
The United Nations atomic agency reports that Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges needed to complete a deep-underground site under a mountain near Qum for the production of nuclear fuel.
The I.A.E.A. also says that Iran may have sought to cleanse another site where the agency has said it suspects that the country has conducted explosive experiments that could be relevant to the production of a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, the United States imposes more punishing sanctions against Iran, aimed at its oil and petrochemical sectors, as well as its shipping trade, intensifying existing sanctions intended to choke off the revenue that Iran reaps from its two largest export industries.
The Neptune, an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, is part of a fleet of about 65 Iranian tankers serving as floating storage facilities for Iranian oil, each one given a nautical makeover to conceal its origin and make a buyer easier to find. Thomas Erdbrink
Embargo on Iranian Oil
A European Union embargo on Iranian oil takes effect, playing a large role in severely restricting Iran’s ability to sell its most important export.
In retaliation, Iran announces legislation intended to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf shipping lane, and tests missiles in a desert drill clearly intended as a warning to Israel and the United States.
In January 2013, Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, acknowledged for the first time that petroleum exports and sales had fallen by at least 40 percent in the previous year, costing the country $4 billion to $8 billion each month.
Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in Baghdad. Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters
Talks With West Falter
After a brief spurt of optimism, talks between Iran and six world powers on its disputed nuclear program fail to produce a breakthrough in Baghdad. The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany wanted a freeze on Iranian production of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, which is considered a short step from bomb grade. The Iranians wanted an easing of the onerous economic sanctions imposed by the West and a recognition of what they call their right to enrich. The countries agree to meet again in June, but talks were further slowed after a new regimen of harsh economic sanctions and a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency that said Iran had made ”no progress” toward providing access to restricted sites it suspects of being used to test potential triggers for nuclear warheads.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad surveying the centrifuges at Iran’s underground complex at Natanz in March 2007.Office of the Iranian President
Meanwhile, I.A.E.A. inspectors are still trying to gain access to the Parchin site, 20 miles south of Tehran, to ascertain whether tests have been carried out there on nuclear bomb triggers.
But satellites images show that the site has been extensively cleaned by the Iranians.
Jan. 11, 2012
Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency supplied this photo of what it said was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s car after the bombing.Meghdad Madadi/Fars News Agency, via Associated Press
Bomb Kills Nuclear Scientist
A bomber on a motorcycle kills Mostafa Ahmadi Rosha, a scientist from the Natanz site, and his bodyguard. Iran blames Israel and the United States. The Americans deny the accusation, but Israel is more circumspect.
Iran displayed the drone for propaganda purposes, with photographs of ayatollahs who led Iran’s revolution behind it and a desecrated version of the American flag. Revolutionary Guards, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A Blow to U.S., as Drone Crashes
A stealth C.I.A. drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, crashes near the Iranian town of Kashmar, 140 miles from the Afghan border. It is part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into Iran to map suspected nuclear sites.
Iran asserts that its military downed the aircraft, but American officials say the drone was lost because of a malfunction.
Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz.Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press
Natanz Plant Recovers
After a dip in enriched uranium production in 2010 because of the cyberattacks, Iranian production recovers. While the United States and Israel never acknowledged responsibility for the cyberprogram, Olympic Games, some experts argue that it set the Iranians back a year or two. Others say that estimate overstates the effect.
With the program still running, intelligence agencies in the United States and Israel seek out new targets that could further slow Iran’s progress.
A poster of an Iranian gas field is a backdrop to passers-by in Asaluyeh. Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times
West Expands Sanctions, and U.N. Offers Evidence on Nuclear Work
Major Western powers take significant steps to cut Iran off from the international financial system, announcing coordinated sanctions aimed at its central bank and commercial banks. The United States also imposes sanctions on companies involved in Iran’s nuclear industry, as well as on its petrochemical and oil industries.
The United Nations atomic agency releases evidence that it says make a “credible” case that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” at its Parchin military base and that the project may still be under way.
Unidentified attackers riding motorcycles bomb two of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, killing one and prompting accusations that the United States and Israel are again trying to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.
The scientist who was killed, Majid Shahriari, reportedly managed a ”major project” for the country’s Atomic Energy Organization. His wounded colleague, Fereydoon Abbasi, is believed to be even more important; he is on the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for ties to the Iranian nuclear effort.
The Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, with his 7-year-old son, greeting family members in Tehran.Newsha Tavakolian/Polaris, for The New York Times
Iranian Scientist Defects to U.S., Then Reconsiders
Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who American officials say defected to the United States in 2009, provided information about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and then developed second thoughts, returning to Iran. (After a hero’s welcome, he was imprisoned on treason charges and tortured, according to reports from Iran.)
The bizarre episode was the latest in a tale that has featured a mysterious disappearance from a hotel room in Saudi Arabia, rumors of a trove of new intelligence about Iran’s nuclear plants and a series of contradictory YouTube videos. It immediately set off a renewed propaganda war between Iran and the United States.
Ambassadors to the United Nations, from right: Susan E. Rice of the United States, Mark Lyall Grant of Britain and Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda voted to affirm a Security Council resolution on Iran while Turkey’s ambassador, Ertugrul Apakan, voted against it. Mario Tama/Getty Images
U.N. Approves New Sanctions
The United Nations Security Council levels its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions curtail military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program.
The Security Council also requires countries to inspect ships or planes headed to or from Iran if they suspect banned cargo. In addition, Iran is barred from investing in other countries’ nuclear enrichment plants, uranium mines and related technologies, and the Security Council sets up a committee to monitor enforcement.
The United States and Israel realize that copies of the computer sabotage program introduced in Natanz are available on the Internet, where they are replicating quickly. In a few weeks, articles appear in the news media about a mysterious new computer worm carried on USB keys that exploits a hole in the Windows operating system. The worm is named Stuxnet.
President Obama decides not to kill the program, and a subsequent attack takes out nearly 1,000 Iranian centrifuges, nearly a fifth of those operating.
Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.Herwig Prammer/Reuters
Work on Warhead
The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declare for the first time that they have extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead.
The report also concludes that some Iranian weapons-related activity apparently continued “beyond 2004,” contradicting an American intelligence assessment published in 2008 that concluded that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in 2011. Francois Lenoir/Reuters
Leaked Gates Memo on U.S. Policy
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warns in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability.
When the memo becomes public in April, Mr. Gates issues a statement saying that he wishes to dispel any perception among allies that the administration had failed to adequately think through how to deal with Iran.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Obama, in Pittsburgh, accused Iran of building a secret nuclear fuel plant.Doug Mills/The New York Times
Warning on Nuclear ‘Deception’
American, British and French officials declassify some of their most closely held intelligence and describe a multiyear Iranian effort, tracked by spies and satellites, to build a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain.
The new plant, which Iran strongly denies is intended to be kept secret or used for making weapons, is months from completion and does nothing to shorten intelligence estimates of how long it would take Iran to produce a bomb. American intelligence officials say it will take at least a year, perhaps five, for Iran to develop the full ability to make a nuclear weapon.
The negotiators Saeed Jalili of Iran, left, and William J. Burns, third from right, in Geneva. Pool photo by Denis Balibouse
Talks End in Deadlock
International talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions end in deadlock despite the Bush administration’s decision to reverse policy and send William J. Burns, a senior American official, to the table for the first time.
Iran responds with a written document that fails to address the main issue: international demands that it stop enriching uranium. Iranian diplomats reiterate before the talks that they consider the issue nonnegotiable.
President George W. Bush rejects a secret request by Israel for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wants for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. The Bush administration is alarmed by the Israeli idea to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz and decides to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Mr. Bush will hand off the major covert program to President Obama.
The United States works with Israel to begin cyberattacks, code-named Olympic Games, on computer systems at the Natanz plant. A year later, the program is introduced undetected into a controller computer at Natanz. Centrifuges begin crashing and engineers have no clue that the plant is under attack.
The Security Council unanimously approves sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions ban the import and export of materials and technology used in uranium enrichment and reprocessing and in the production of ballistic missiles.
The heavy-water plant in Arak, south of Tehran.Iran/Reuters
Iran Opens a Heavy-Water Reactor
Just days before Iran is supposed to suspend enrichment of uranium or face the prospect of sanctions, President Ahmadinejad formally kicks off a heavy-water production plant in Arak, 120 miles southwest of Tehran, which would put Iran on the path to obtaining plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear weapons.
In November, Iran seeks international assistance to ensure safe operation for a 40-megawatt reactor it is building. Citing broader doubts about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the United Nations atomic agency, the United States and European countries oppose offering help.
A satellite image of Natanz in 2007.GeoEye/SIME, via Associated Press
Natanz Production Is Restarted
Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Natanz after negotiations with European and American officials collapse.
The I.A.E.A. approves a resolution to report Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council, citing “the absence of confidence” among the atomic agency’s members “that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”
President Ahmadinejad offended Israel in his speech on the rule of law at a United Nations conference in 2012. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Ahmadinejad Elected President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known only as a secular conservative and a former mayor of Tehran, becomes president. He becomes a divisive figure in world affairs, cheering on the development of Iran’s nuclear program despite orders from the United Nations Security Council to halt it, calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map’’ and describing the Holocaust as “a myth.”
With Laptop Files, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims
Senior American intelligence officials present the International Atomic Energy Agency with the contents of what they say is a stolen Iranian laptop containing more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments — studies for crucial features of a nuclear warhead.
Intelligence reports reveal that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a little-known Iranian scientist, leads elements of Iran’s weaponization program known as Project 110 and Project 111.
But doubts about the intelligence persist among some experts, in part because American officials, citing the need to protect their source, have largely refused to provide details of the origins of the laptop beyond saying that they obtained it in mid-2004 from a source in Iran who they said had received it from a second person, now believed to be dead.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi talking to reporters in Tehran ahead of nuclear talks in Paris. Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency
Violation and New Agreement
Iran violates the agreement, charging that the Europeans reneged on their promises of economic and political incentives. After 22 hours of negotiations, an Iranian delegation and senior officials from France, Germany, Britain and the European Union come to a preliminary agreement to immediately suspend Iran’s production of enriched uranium. The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, praises the so-called Paris Agreement but emphasizes that any suspension will be temporary.
In a few weeks, the I.A.E.A verifies Iran’s suspension of its enrichment activities, with one exception: its request to use up to 20 sets of centrifuge components for research and development.
An Iranian missile displayed by the Revolutionary Guards under a portrait of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, in September 2003. Henghameh Fahimi/Agence France-Presse
Nuclear Program Is Suspended
Possibly in response to the American invasion of Iraq, which was originally justified by the Bush administration on the grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Ayatollah Khamenei orders a suspension of work on what appear to be weapons-related technologies, although he allows uranium enrichment efforts to continue.
Inspectors with the United Nations atomic agency find traces of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, and Iran concedes to demands, after talks with Britain, France and Germany, to accept stricter international inspections of its nuclear sites and to suspend production of enriched uranium.
Discovery of Secret Plants
Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian dissident group also known as the M.E.K., obtains and shares documents revealing a clandestine nuclear program previously unknown to the United Nations.
The program includes a vast uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak. In December, satellite photographs of Natanz and Arak appear widely in the news media. The United States accuses Tehran of an “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” but takes relatively little action because it is focused on the approaching invasion of Iraq the next year.
Iran agrees to inspections by the I.A.E.A. It also signs an accord with Russia to speed up completion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr.
Mohammad Khatami in 2009. Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press
Proposal for Nuclear-Free Mideast
President Mohammad Khatami of Iran goes to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first Iranian leader since 1979 to visit the Arab world.
He issues a joint statement with King Fahd expressing concerns about Israel’s nuclear weapons program and support for ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. In 2003, Iran supports such a proposal initiated by Syria.
President Bill Clinton addressing reporters in July 1996. Joe Marquette/Associated Press
Sanctions Against Iran and Libya
With growing intelligence estimates that Iran may secretly be trying to build a nuclear weapon, President Bill Clinton signs a bill imposing sanctions on foreign companies with investments in Iran and Libya. Such rules are already in place for American companies.
A Russian engineer checking equipment at the Bushehr nuclear plant in April 2007.Behrouz Mehri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Iran and Russia Sign Nuclear Contract
Iran announces that it will sign an $800 million contract with Russia to complete construction on one of two light water reactors at the Bushehr nuclear plant within four years. After many delays, the project was completed in 2010.
The United States has been persuading countries like Argentina, India, Spain, Germany and France to prohibit the sale of nuclear technology to Iran’s civilian program.
In 2005, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency is on the verge of reviewing Tehran’s nuclear program when Iranian officials admit to a 1987 meetingwith Dr. Khan’s representatives. But Tehran tells the agency that it turned down the chance to buy the equipment required to build the core of a bomb.
Iraqi gunners used a Soviet 130-milllimeter field gun to shell the Iranian cities of Abadan and Khurramshahr.United Press International
Nuclear Program Restarts
The Iran-Iraq war, from 1980 to 1988, changes Iran’s thinking about the nuclear program. With Saddam Hussein pursuing a nuclear program in Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini secretly decides to restart Iran’s program and seeks the assistance of German partners to complete the construction at Bushehr, which was damaged by bombs during the war.
Feb. 11, 1979
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini descending from the Air France plane that returned him to Tehran after 15 years in exile.United Press International
Khomeini Comes to Power
Prime Minister Bakhtiar is overthrown by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an exiled cleric, after bloody clashes in Tehran.
The new leader is uninterested in the nuclear program and ends the shah’s effort. Many nuclear experts flee the country.
The Bushehr nuclear plant on Aug. 21, 2010, as its first fuel rod was loaded. Getty Images
Creation of Atomic Energy Body
The shah creates the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which conducts training for its personnel and nuclear deals with countries including the United States, France, West Germany, Namibia and South Africa. By training engineers in Iran and abroad, the country gains a solid understanding of nuclear technologies and capabilities.
A year later, Kraftwerk Union, a West German company, agrees to construct two light water reactors to produce nuclear energy at the Bushehr complex, 470 miles south of Tehran. Construction begins in 1974 but the contract is not signed until 1976.
By the late 1970s, the United States becomes worried that Iran may harbor nuclear weapon ambitions.
July 1, 1968
Iran Signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
With the American-provided research reactor running, starting in 1967, Iran becomes one of 51 nations to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, agreeing to never become a nuclear-weapon state.
Iran begins a civilian nuclear program in the 1950s, led by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who reaches a deal through the Eisenhower administration’s Atoms for Peace program. Under the agreement, the United States agrees to provide a nuclear research reactor in Tehran and power plants.
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