Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Disingenuity

Lots of Repubs deliberately not getting the point…

Open Thread: Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King Defends His Crown


When people refer to Trump as “America’s Racist-in-Chief”, Rep. Steve King is personally affronted. That’s HIS title, dammit! It’s not profiling when you Right-fully assume every person of color is inherently guilty…

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Monday defended former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for refusing to halt his immigration patrols but pardoned by President Trump.

“I don’t agree that profiling is wrong,” King told CNN’s Chris Cuomo…

“There’s a difference between racial profiling and broader profiling with all of the descriptions that are there,” King argued in the Monday night interview.

“And I say it’s wrong, too, and the Justice Department has issued a directive that says you shall not racially profile if that’s the only component.”

Trying To Break The Iran Agreement

This is pretty far down in the weeds, but it may help you to understand what is going on with the Trump administration and Iran.

Julian Borger summarizes Nikki Haley’s visit to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. The article is a good jumping-off place for what I’m going to say.

The first part of the article discusses US government intelligence analysts’ unease at the demands being put on them to find violations by Iran of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA). It’s déjà vu of what was done to justify the 2003 Iraq war. The reality is that Iran is complying with the agreement, to the satisfaction of the IAEA inspectors and, apparently, the US intelligence community. Read more

Open Thread: Trump & Arpaio, Dirty Birds of A Nasty Feather

Read more

Iran’s Claim of Five Days

We may see magnification and misrepresentation of some things Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s chief of atomic energy, said.

Let’s get an accurate translation first: Ariane Tabatabai speaks Persian. Her tweetstream starts here. I’ll collect what she translates for easier reading.

What Salehi actually said: “We are so prepared for snapback, that, really, the other party will be surprised. In just 4-5 days, we can start enriching [uranium] at 20%.”

That was several days ago. Tabatabai translates a more recent statement:

If we decide, we can start 20% enrichment in Fordow in maximum 5 days. And this means a lot. From a technical and professional perspective, this would send a signal, and the adversary would understand that. If they torpedo the JCPOA, North Korea will tell then, ‘you don’t stick to your promises.’ Imagine they’d want to solve DPRK politically. If they withdraw from JCPOA, North Korea will tell them, ‘you concluded a deal with Iran, and Iran insists it wants to stay in, so why did you leave?’ Then the North Koreans will ask what kind of guarantee there would be if they reach a deal. If JCPOA is dismantled, everything will part apart, foundation of international relations. And so will credibility of countries like US

Let me expand.

Five days is about what it would take to replumb the centrifuges at Fordow, now set up for enriching lighter nonfissile isotopes, to enrich uranium to 20%. That 20% is probably a rounding-up from 19.75%, which doesn’t seem like a big difference, but it is. Twenty per cent is defined by the IAEA as the lower limit of weapons grade uranium. The higher enrichment level Iran was producing for a research reactor was 19.75%, so that it would be in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

But even if 20% – weapons grade – is what Salehi intended, that’s not a big deal. The number of centrifuges at Fordow means that the quantities enriched would probably be on the order of grams per month. A bomb would require hundreds of kilograms of 20% uranium. That’s an impractical bomb and impossible goal with only the centrifuges at Fordow.

But 20% is a jumping-off point for further enrichment to a realistic weapons grade, generally taken to be over 90%. That would require still more centrifuges, or a program of constantly replumbing the centrifuges at Fordow for batches of stepped-up enrichments.

In order to do any of this, Iran would have to throw out the IAEA inspectors, so we would know as they started.

The bottom lines are

  1. The JCPOA is working. Iran remains about a year from a bomb.
  2. Salehi felt he had to bluster back at Trump’s bluster about desiring to find Iran in noncompliance.
  3. Opponents of the JCPOA are running with this and exaggerating it. So don’t believe what you may hear about Iran having a bomb in five days. Yes, there was one idiot headline that said that.


Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.

Media Open Thread: Beyond ‘An Embarrassment of Riches’, into ‘A Disgrace of WTFs’…

Decline and fall of a once-great ideal, in three arcs:


[*record scratch*] Fox News Dumbest Talking Head, former Bill O’Reilly hand puppet:

(If you’re unable to listen, ‘America is not a racist nation’ immediately segues to ‘Maxine Waters & Susan Rice, encouraging NK?’ and ‘[Black] guys with guns threatening President Trump over food stamps’)

Read more

Trump Had A Press Availability Today

Many people have complained that Donald Trump hasn’t gone before the press to answer questions. After today, those complaints may stop.

It’s…hard to know where to start.

Here’s the video:


The one thanking Putin has scrambled my brain to where it’s hard to look for more. If you’ve got more, I’ll add them. I would like to see a transcript, too. There should be one out soon.


Update: This is from earlier.

Also this



Bonus (This is good news, I think)