White House Offers Rebuttal Before Netanyahu’s Speech

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By DAVID E. SANGER and MICHAEL R. GORDON

WASHINGTON — Just four days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress, the Obama administration sought on Friday to refute the Israeli leader’s expected critique, arguing that he has failed to present a feasible alternative to American proposals for constraining Iran’s nuclear program.

In a briefing for reporters, senior administration officials contended that even an imperfect agreement that kept Iran’s nuclear efforts frozen for an extended period was preferable to a breakdown in talks that could allow the leadership in Tehran unfettered ability to produce enriched uranium and plutonium.

“The alternative to not having a deal is losing inspections,” said one senior official, who would not be quoted by name under conditions that the administration set for the briefing, “and an Iran ever closer to having the fissile material to manufacture a weapon.”

The briefing came at what appears to be a milestone in the talks.

Administration officials and their European counterparts appear to be preparing for some kind of agreement — one that could ultimately be frustrated by Congress or among hard-liners in Iran.

But the American officials speaking Friday avoided directly answering some questions about important outcomes of the agreement still being negotiated.

Asked whether the accord would guarantee that Iran would remain at least a year away from being able to produce enough fuel for a single nuclear weapon, a senior official said that the agreement was still under negotiation and that it was not yet clear how long the accord might last. He noted that some “transparency measures” that might provide insight into the inner workings of Iran’s nuclear activities might be in effect for an “extended period of time.”

Several news organizations, including The New York Times, reported this week that Iran’s capacity to produce enriched uranium would be sharply limited for at least a decade under a phased accord. But Tehran would be able to build up its capacity again in the last years of an agreement. That suggested that in those final years of a deal, Iran could move closer to where it is today — two or three months away from being able to produce a bomb’s worth of material, rather than the required year that the administration says is its bottom line for the first phase of an agreement.

The officials were also vague about whether, and how quickly, Iran would have to answer a dozen questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency about research it is suspected of carrying out on nuclear designs — what the agency calls the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s program. The I.A.E.A., the United Nations’ inspection agency, said again last week that Iran stonewalled inspectors on answering most of its questions, which the Iranians insist are based on fabricated evidence.

Mr. Netanyahu, in a speech he is giving at the invitation of the House speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, is expected to argue that the agreement taking shape now would leave Iran with a vast infrastructure it could use to pursue the development of nuclear weapons once the agreement expired, allowing Iran to become a “nuclear threshold state.”

This week, Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that Mr. Netanyahu was wrong when he predicted that the interim agreement reached with Iran would fail and would result in the collapse of the sanctions regimen against Tehran, and administration officials suggested that his opposition to a comprehensive agreement was also wrongheaded.

But the concerns voiced by Mr. Netanyahu are also shared by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states that are regional rivals of Iran. Mr. Kerry plans to meet with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and other Arab officials over the next week to try to reassure them about the agreement.

While the United States has taken the lead in the nuclear talks with the Iranians, the negotiating partners also include France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China. European officials have suggested in recent days that an agreement is closer than the “50-50” assessment by Obama administration officials.

“We have made a substantial amount of progress,” the senior administration official acknowledged. “Ultimately, Iran has to make a very significant political decision to allow the flexibility to close this deal.”

25 Quotes That Prove Liberals Don’t Love America

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Rudy Giuliani has been attacked by the Left for correctly saying, “I do not believe that the president loves America.” Giuliani wasn’t wrong about that and he could have just as easily said, “Liberals don’t love America.” Sure, there are a few exceptions, but they just prove the rule. Most liberals detest America, want to fundamentally change it and are disgusted by people who really love the country. Don’t believe it? Then just look at all these quotes from unpatriotic liberals and maybe you’ll change your mind.

1) While the rest of the country waves the flag of Americana, we understand we are not part of that. We don’t owe America anything – America owes us. — Al Sharpton at the “State of the Black World Conference” in Atlanta

2) We understand that Nixon’s aggression against Vietnam is a racist aggression, that the American war in Vietnam is a racist war, a white man’s war…We deplore that you are being used as cannon fodder for U.S. imperialism. We’ve seen photographs of American bombs and antipersonnel weapons being dropped, wantonly, accidentally perhaps, on your heads, on the heads of your comrades. – Jane Fonda in a propaganda message to South Vietnamese soldiers

3) As to those in the World Trade Center…Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. …If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it. – Ward Churchill

4) The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing “God Bless America.” No, no, no, God d*mn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God d*mn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God d*mn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme. — Jeremiah Wright

5) Let’s get rid of all the economic (expletive) this country represents! Bring it on, I hope the Muslims win! — Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders

6) You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a (flag) pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest… — Barack Obama

7) For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. — Michelle Obama

8) America has an almost obscene infatuation with itself. Has there ever been a big, powerful country that is as patriotic as America? And patriotic in the tinniest way, with so much flag waving? You’d really think we were some poor little republic, and that if one person lost his religion for one hour, the whole thing would crumble. America is the real religion in this country. — Norman Mailer

9) Of course, Mr. Hannity was outraged that any American would not cross her hand over her heart and repeat the hypocritical words, one nation. Whenever we come up on the Fourth of You Lie, I think of Frederick Douglas and his masterful oration, The meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro. Pledge the flag? I think not! — Julianne Malveaux

10) Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America. More specifically, Barack Obama is the president of a congenitally racist country, erected upon the plunder of life, liberty, labor, and land. This plunder has not been exclusive to black people. — Ta-Nehisi Coates

11) As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the “capital of the free world.” But it seems to me that this great city (Brussels), which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title. – Joe Biden

12) The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now. – David Westin, ABC News President

13) In practice, US officials seem to know better than to indulge in the patriotic myth that our constitution is the greatest system of government ever devised. – Matthew Yglesias

14) Mitt Romney’s rally in Mansfield, Ohio, on Monday began the way every political event begins. ‘Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and our country’s national anthem.’ This is always an uncomfortable moment for me. While I sat at my laptop, most of the reporters around me stood and put their hands over their hearts. This time instead of just sitting and working, I tweeted what I was feeling: ‘@Ari_Shapiro: As a reporter I’m torn about joining in the pledge of allegiance/national anthem at rallies. I’m a rally observer, not a participant.’ — Ari Shapiro

15) My fight against terrorism, to me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America. I’m trying to fight the terrorism that’s actually causing the other forms of terrorism. You know, the root cause of terrorism is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen. The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists. — Lupe Fiasco

16) I get always a little uptight when I hear politicians say how exceptional (America is). — John Kerry

17) Obama’s not embarrassing. The country is embarrassing. — Hollywood producer and Obama donor Harvey Weinstein

18) America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for… — Cindy Sheehan

19) The entire country may disagree with me, but I don’t understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country? I don’t see why people care about patriotism. — Natalie Maines

20) It’s official: The U.S. is the world’s leading terrorist state, and proud of it. – Noam Chomsky

21) The US is indeed a terrorist nation. …It’s also the greatest purveyor of violence on earth over the past half century, and the foremost threat to world peace today. – Bill Ayers

22) A friend of ours said if the same laws were applied to U.S. Presidents as were applied to the Nazis after WWII, that every single one of them, every last rich white one of them, from Truman on would be hung to death and shot. And this current administration is no exception. They should be hung and tried and shot as war criminals. — Zack de la Rocha, Rage Against The Machine

23) The land on which they [the Founders] formed this Union was stolen. The hands with which they built this nation were enslaved. The women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class….This is the imperfect fabric of our nation, at times we’ve torn and stained it, and at other moments, we mend and repair it. But it’s ours, all of it. The imperialism, the genocide, the slavery, also the liberation and the hope and the deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of us. — Melissa Harris-Perry

24) The enemy is inertia. There are a zillion reasons not to do anything; indeed, we Americans haven’t done anything — hell, we haven’t thought about doing anything — for generations. So, at risk of repeating myself, I must emphasize that our current crisis — economic and political collapse, a surging right poised to take over, with possible environmental apocalypse looming just around the corner — is not going to resolve itself in a way that we like if we sit on our asses. The current U.S. government must be prophylactically removed. Our economic and social structure must be radically reinvented. These things can only happen by using force. – Ted Rall

25) I hate to say it, but killing is our way. We began America with genocide, then built it with slaves. The shootings will continue. It’s who we are. — Michael Moore

US, UK mulling more sanctions against Russia – Kerry

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The US and its allies are considering extra sanctions against Moscow over the crisis in Eastern Ukraine. They have accused Russia of undermining a “European-brokered” truce between Kiev and the rebels, US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

The Ukrainian issues are expected to dominate US-British talks, more specifically what other allies they could potentially rally to force Russia to follow western policies towards its historically closest neighbor.

“Russia has engaged in an absolutely brazen and cyclical process over these last days,” declared John Kerry, who has arrived in London to hold talks with his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

“We are talking about additional sanctions, about additional efforts, and I’m confident over the next days people will make it clear that we are not going to play this game … and be part of this kind of extraordinarily craven behavior,” Kerry said.

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The speaker of the Russian State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin hit out at the US’s mooted move, saying that added sanctions were not in the interests of large parts of the EU.

“Sham solidarity in sanctions against Russia has little in common with reality as it encroaches on the national interests of lots of European countries and they are determined to fight for their rights,” Naryshkin said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her part said that sanctions were only an option if a peace deal to end the hostilities in Ukraine failed, and should not be seen as an end in themselves.

Immediately after the ceasefire agreement came into force last Sunday, officials in Kiev accused Russia of sending ‘more’ troops and armed vehicles to Eastern Ukraine. Claims of the kind, however, have never been confirmed throughout the conflict in Ukraine by international observers: neither the OSCE inspectors on the scene, nor military observers monitoring Russia’s regions bordering Ukraine.

French President Francois Hollande on Friday could not confirm Russian tanks were present in Ukraine.

“I have no confirmation at this stage that Russian tanks have entered Ukraine,” he told journalists after meeting Angela Merkel.

The Minsk agreement was negotiated in the Belarusian capital last week by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine. It was endorsed on Tuesday by a UN Security Council resolution. It states that Kiev would gain control over the border between Russia and its dissenting regions only after implementing far-reaching constitutional reform and giving wide autonomy to those regions.

Following the deal, the OSCE, Berlin, Paris, Kiev and Moscow agreed the truce “in general” was working. One notable exception, however, is the town of Debaltsevo in the Donetsk Region, which continued to be a site of fighting between the rebels and regular troops.

Debaltsevo had reportedly been a sticking point at the Minsk talks. Anti-government forces said they had encircled 3,000 Ukrainian troops in the region and had been calling on them for days to lay down their arms and surrender, offering them a safety corridor. Kiev rejected the very existence of the trap, insisting that Debalstevo supply lines were intact and that the city would remain under their control.

Three days ago Kiev announced its troops were retreating from the area. Donetsk People’s Republic spokesman Denis Pushilin, however, said the authorities’ claims that soldiers orderly marched out of the area were not true.

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“Most of these formations, which Poroshenko referred to, were defeated by the militia forces, and some of these units surrendered,” Pushilin said.

Following the retreat, President Petro Poroshenko proposed the UN and EU deploy a peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine. The proposal did not find much enthusiasm in the EU.

Moscow was also critical of Poroshenko’s calls, saying Kiev is trying to sideline the OSCE mission, which was tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement.

“I think it’s a little bit disturbing, because they just signed the Minsk agreements on February 12. And the Minsk agreements provide for the role of the OSCE, There is nothing about the UN or European Union,” Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told RT.

“So for them to start talking immediately about something else… I think instead of coming up with new ideas they should really work harder on implementing what they agreed on,” Churkin added.

Despite the progress on the Minsk deal, the Obama administration continues to accuse Moscow of interfering in the Ukrainian conflict militarily, though it has not put forward any reliable proof.

“There is no question there have been a huge number of violations [of the ceasefire],” the Secretary of State John Kerry said in London. “The question is what is the status of where we think this is going from here and what are the costs that should be imposed.”

President Barack Obama is to make a decision “in the next few days.”

First Comes Jihad! Then Martial Law, And Then We Have A Dictator…

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By Mike Shepard

With all that’s going on it only seems to be getting worse. We have a few that hold no respect for the law. They lie under oath with no fear in their eyes. We have 435 congressmen and 100 senators who are doing nothing about it. These people mock those who voice their concerns. Their threats of law suites are laughed at during parties paid for by the American taxpayer.
These lawbreakers are traitors who give our money away to the enemy. They cut our military and build up the forces who wish us harm. Our money is being used to help strengthen the enemy. Our money is being used to buy rockets fired at our allies. That money is being used by cowards who use children as human shields. Obama and Kerry have orchestrated the unlawful entry of tens of thousands into our country. They have paid Mexican officials to turn the other cheek. They have financed their crimes with our money. They are also aware that jihadist are crossing our border. Why haven’t we seen anyone arrested? Why hasn’t Obama and John Kerry been charged with treason.
Hoping for change in 2016 is just what they want from us. If politicians don’t do their job there won’t be an election. If you were Al Qaeda who would you want as president. They have spent years setting up command in Washington. If this war breaks out guess what! Article one, section 8, clause 15, allows for the president to declare martial law. Article two, section 2, clause 1, makes Obama commander. More like a dictator than commander. The forces who wish to destroy us are here. Al Qaeda is growing stronger everyday, and our military is being scaled back. Everything going on brings instability to our economy, and weakens this country.

I know there are people here to hurt us. Some of these people read what we are saying. I pray they all change their mind, but I ain’t counting on it. I know some don’t want to go through with it. It’s not to late to share information with law enforcement. It’s only a crime if they don’t change their mind. If they change their mind this nation will be grateful. I pray they don’t put their kids, and the world through this. If you’re in Washington, and you know what’s going, please come forward. If you don’t the people will have no mercy after the fact. Politicians have to forget about party protocol, and start thinking of our future. They have to untie the hands of justice so we can clean up this mess. This country and the world depend on it…God Bless each and every one of you. Semper Fi, Shep

Read more at http://dcgazette.com/first-comes-jihad-martial-law-dictator/

Obama: I will veto any new sanctions against Iran…

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    The two leaders just finished a press conference in D.C. The biggest news: Obama says he will veto further Iran sanctions.

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BY KAVEH WADDELL AND PRISCILLA ALVAREZ

British Prime Minister David Cameron with President Obama walk the West Wing colonnade of the White House on January 15, 2015 in Washington, D.C.(Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
January 16, 2015 After a tumultuous two weeks of terror and emotional responses in Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Washington, D.C. to meet with President Obama, largely about security and cyber issues. And now they’re trying to show off the strengths of their “special relationship” to the press.

Obama kicked off his opening statement explaining just why he reportedly calls Cameron “bro.” Why so casual? “Put simply, David is a great friend,” Obama said. “Great Britain is our indispensable partner,” Obama said Friday. “And David has been personally an outstanding partner.” Cameron, in his opening statement, called Obama a “great friend to Britain and to me personally.”

In addition to economic security, Cameron focused on terror organizations such as ISIS, and the domestic threats they inspire, calling their basis as “poisonous ideology.”

“The world is sickened by this terrorism, so we will not be standing alone in this fight,” Cameron said. “We know what we’re up against and we know how we will win.”

Cameron also announced that he and Obama “have agreed to establish a joint group to identify what more we can do to counter the rise of domestic violent extremism and to learn from one another.”

Cameron, who is running for reelection by this May, made sure to emphasize the work he and Obama have done to pull the U.S. and U.K. economies out of their slumps.

But perhaps the biggest moment of the presser, so far at least, was on Iran. Obama addressed the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and a bill that lawmakers are expected to introduce next month that would increase sanctions on the Iranian regime. It’s a bill the president says he will veto.

“Through some very strong diplomatic work, we united the world and isolated Iran. And it’s because of that work that we brought them to the negotiating table.” But Obama is still putting the odds of a comprehensive agreement with Iran at “probably less than 50-50.” Iran, he said, is run by a regime that “is deeply suspicious of the west, deeply suspicious of us.”

Obama said new sanctions legislation would likely cause the negotiations to collapse. “And if that happens, there is no constraint on Iran at that point going back and doing exactly what it had been doing before they came to the table.”

He also said that if negotiations fail, the likelihood of military confrontation goes up, “and Congress will have to own that as well.”

For that reason, Obama said he plans to veto any new sanctions that come to his desk. Obama, in speaking with the Democratic congressional caucus yesterday, said that “I respectfully request them to hold off for a few months to see if we have the possibility of solving a big problem without resorting potentially to war. And I think that’s worth doing.”

Obama later clarified that if diplomacy doesn’t succeed now, the U.S. won’t be on “immediate war footing” with Iran.

Similarly, Cameron voiced his disagreement on new sanctions that could fracture negotiations with Iran, saying he’s even talked to U.S. senators during his visit to “simply make a point.”

Discussing the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Europe, Obama said that the United States has “one big advantage in this whole process.” The advantage, he said, is the fact that the Muslim communities in the U.S. are assimilated and “feel themselves to be Americans.”

That’s not the case in parts of Europe, Obama said, which is “probably the greatest danger that Europe faces.” He suggested that European governments work on strengthening ties between their cultures and Muslim immigrants, rather than responding “with a hammer and law enforcement and military approaches to these problems.”

While Cameron agreed on that point, he also pointed out that some who have those advantages in a multiracial society still get seduced by “this poisonous, radical death cult of a narrative.”

In combating terror threats streamed through social media and the Internet, Obama and Cameron announced that they will be reviewing cybersecurity and challenges that may surface with new technologies.

The presser wasn’t all completely serious and policy-forward. In the first question from the press, Obama was asked about what he made of reports that Mitt Romney is considering running for president again. “No comment” was as far as he went.

The meeting between the two follows a series of terror attacks in France that left 17 people dead. More than 40 world leaders marched along hundreds of thousands of people in Paris last weekend in honor of the victims. Cameron was there, but Obama was not. The White House was criticized for not sending the president—or at least the vice president—to the rallies, and the administration later admitted it should have sent someone “with a higher profile.” Secretary of State John Kerry visited France Friday to express his sympathy, saying “I really wanted to come here and share a hug with all of Paris and all friends.”

The news conference also serves to present a united front against terrorism in the face of additional threats this week in Europe. On Thursday, Belgian police said they thwarted “a major terrorist attack,” engaging three would-be attackers in a shootout that left two gunmen dead. And on Friday, more than two dozen suspects were arrested in coordinated French, German, and Belgian police raids.

Marina Koren and Matt Berman contributed to this article.