Friday, July 24, 2015

House Majority Leader McCarthy: Nuclear deal with Iran is worse than it looks, is nearly impossible to enforce and it leaves the anti-U.S. bias in place in Iran

 House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill.

 "The more we find out about the Iran nuclear deal, the worse it looks. Each new day Congress reviews this deal, we discover more information and more reasons why this deal is simply

1.    Though the deal was originally being negotiated to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, in its final form the agreement would allow just that when it sunsets in 10-15 years.

2.    This deal will accelerate regional nuclear proliferation. Saudi leaders for instance have said that this deal is worse than the nuclear pact former President Bill Clinton made with North Korea.

3.    Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said this deal will give Iran “hundreds of billions of dollars to fuel their terror and military regime.”

4.    Sanctions relief isn’t tied to Iran complying with the deal, meaning Iran gets massive amounts of relief before they’ve demonstrated strict adherence.

5.    And the money can’t be taken back once Iran gets it.

6.    That relief can be used to expand Iran’s malign and destabilizing influence in the region that has exacerbated sectarian conflict.

7.    The money can also be used to further fund Iran’s terrorist proxies like Hamas, Hezbollah, Assad, and Houthis in Yemen.

8.    In fact, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Iran will not change its anti-American policy.

9.    To enforce the deal, world powers must first know if Iran violated the deal but that is an unclear process that can be delayed for weeks while Iran would be able to hide and obfuscate banned activities.

10. Iran doesn’t have to come clean on its past nuclear activity, leaving world powers little ability to verify future illegal advances.

11. Iran’s foreign minister interprets the deal very differently than the Obama Administration does.

12. For example, he believes that the scale of foreign investments would effectively prevent the world from re-imposing sanctions on Iran, making the “snapback” provision of the deal effectively meaningless.

13. He also said that Iran could deny inspectors access to nuclear and military sites under the deal.

14. He also said that Iran would not be violating the deal if it broke the UN resolution prohibiting the purchase of conventional arms and missiles because the arms embargo is implicitly out of the scope of the nuclear agreement.

15. Even if Iran adheres to the arms embargo, the embargo is lifted in 5 years, giving Iran access not only to conventional arms to further fuel terrorism and their drive for regional dominancy.

16. In 8 years, the missile ban will be removed, allowing Iran to acquire missiles that could carry nuclear payloads.

17. The Obama Administration pushed for the UN to vote on the deal in an attempt to jam Americans and their elected representatives before they’ve even had a chance to review the deal.

18. Iran will be allowed to conduct advanced research and development that will pave the way for centrifuges that are modern and efficient. They will be able to enrich huge amounts of Uranium that will shorten their breakout time for a bomb.

19. The deal also provides sanctions relief to Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, leader of the elite Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, who is a designated terrorist who is responsible for the deaths of at least 500 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

20. On top of that, the deal lifts sanctions on two Iranian atomic scientists who worked on Iran’s illegal nuclear program and a nuclear proliferator who has previously helped smuggle nuclear components.

21. The murderous Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called this deal a “great victory” and congratulated Iran on their achievement.

Congress will continue its work reviewing this deal over the coming months. The people have a right to know exactly what the Obama Administration negotiated, and Congress won’t accept a deal that isn’t in our national security interest.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Is Trump a bully or a breath of fresh air, puppies are hot in the rental market (seriously) and California pins its hopes on a strong El Nino

 * ... TRUMP: So what do you think of Donald Trump and his "no holds barred" campaign style? Is he a breath of fresh air, a mean-spirited bully or a candidate who has the guts to say what others won't?Peggy Noonan, a former speech writer for Ronald
Reagan and now a respected conservative columnist for The Wall Street, was not charitable when she recently described Trump this way: "Mr. Trump is not a serious man, which is part of his appeal in a country that has grown increasingly unserious. He’s a showman in a country that likes to watch shows—a country that believes all politics is showbiz now, and all politicians are entertainers of varying degrees of competence. At least Mr. Trump is honest about it."

 * ... PUPPIES: And speaking of the Wall Street Journal, it carried a story the other day about the popularity of rental puppies (that's right, rented puppies) at a child's birthday and bachelorette parties. I am serious here. Across the country people are actually renting adorable puppies to entertain children and adults. One business in the Los Angeles area has access to 70 puppies with rates starting at $200 an hour for up to 10 pups.

 * ... EL NINO: There is a lot of talk about the increasing chances that California could get some relief from the drought with a strong El Nino this year. Said The Washington Post: "The present El NiƱo event, on the cusp of attaining 'strong' intensity, has a chance to become the most powerful on record. The event — defined by the expanding, deepening pool of warmer-than-normal ocean water in the tropical Pacific — has steadily grown stronger since the spring." Even a strong El Nino won't erase four years of drought, but it's a start.

 * ... THIEVES: There is a Facebook account dedicated to catching the thieves that break into our homes and cars. It's called 'Bakersfield Thieves' (search for it and then ask to join) and it features posts by victims about local crime. One recent post: it turns out as the price of gas goes up, thieves are routinely crawling under cars and stealing the entire gas tank.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If you're an astronaut and you don't end every relationship by saying 'look, I just need space' then you're wasting everyone's time."

 * ... COHN: Chain, Cohn, Stiles, the local plaintiff's law firm, is getting ready to move into its new downtown headquarters at the corner of 18th Street and Chester Avenue. Originally built as a bank in 1874, the 30,000-square-foot building has been gutted and remodeled and now bears a fresh coat of paint, a welcome addition to the heart of downtown. For most of the building’s history, banks have called it home: Kern Valley Bank and Crocker National Bank to name a few. The lawyers and staff will be moving this weekend and will be at the new location beginning next week.

 * ... HIGHWAY 58: A regular reader posed this question: "Can you please tell me when Highway 58 is going to be completed for the lanes go straight instead of looking like a maze being pushed to the right and the left by all these little orange pylons?"

 * ... GOOD ADVICE: Here's some sound advice I received in a local horoscope the other day: "Some people believe other people's lifestyles are somehow an affront to their own. Let them argue it out while you're busy making money."

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A weekend of wild weather in Kern County, and what kind of mother takes her small children to a movie about the death of a heroin addict?

 * ... WEATHER: What a glorious, and unusual, weekend of weather. It's always the talk of the town here when it rains, but sprinkle in some wind, lightning and powerful thunderstorms and it was an evening to remember. I spotted some trees down, but the southern Valley came out relatively unscathed. Folks in Frazier Park said the rain was near biblical in its strength. We could use more shows of nature like that.
(Photo courtesy of KERO-TV, viewer submitted)

 * ... SPOTTED: At the Kidfest celebration at the Kern County Museum Saturday a rather large, tall man was spotted wearing a T-shirt with this message on the front: "Fat people are hard to kidnap."

 * ... BAD FORM: Since when it is okay to bring your small children to an R-rated movie? That's what happened this weekend when I dropped by the Valley Plaza cinemas to catch the heart breaking and bitter-sweet documentary called "Amy," the tragic story of British jazz singer Amy Winehouse who died of a heroin and alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27. It's a terrific profile of a woman that Tony Bennett said was the best jazz singer since Ella Fitzgerald, but it wasn't appropriate for the two very young girls who were seated with their mother.

 * ... OVERHEARD: Anthony Bernal picked up this conversation at a grocery store between a man and a woman chatting on her cell phone. "I didn't want to say anything while you were on the phone, but you're in America now. You need to speak English. If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. In America we speak English." The woman's reply: "Sir, I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English go back to England."

* ... BAD FORM: If there is a universally despised bit of 'bad form,' it has to be folks who walk their dogs and allow them to poop wherever they desire. Said reader Joe Chavez: "I live in the country  club area, and there's a person who walks three dogs at a time. I've  seen that this person has no control over them and every time they leave excrement on my sidewalk. I work very hard to keep my area clean and I would like to tell this person to please carry something to pick the poop up. Would be much appreciated."

* ... TREES: Michelle Claxton sent this note about the trees being cut down at Munsey Elementary School on the corner of Real Road and Belle Terrace. "I presume the city school district thinks the kids do not need shade or a soft grass area for playing ball and running and physical activity.  I completely and fully understand the drought. Our city has closed the local park swimming pools, water spray-parks, and must limit the water usage to keep plants alive, but when is it over kill? Maybe the school district will be replacing the trees with large shade structures and that would be okay, but I doubt that expense will be forthcoming."