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“Negotiating A Good Iran Deal”: Negotiators Are On The Right Track To Resolve The Iranian Nuclear Crisis Peacefully

The United States, its international partners, and Iran will soon likely reach a final agreement to limit Tehran’s nuclear program. Judging by the framework reached in April in Lausanne, Switzerland, the finalized deal will not only greatly enhance American and regional security by preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon, it will also eliminate a source of great tension between the U.S. and Iran — freeing America’s hand to deal with other undesirable Iranian behavior.

Yet you can be sure that war hawks will be screaming “bad deal” — insisting on a better one.

What they mean by “better deal” is one in which Iran completely capitulates, gives up its entire nuclear program and changes its bad behavior on a wide range of issues outside the scope of the nuclear program, all without the United States having to give up much in return.

But that’s not really how negotiating works. Successful deals involve give and take. Most of the time, all parties walk away with something they like and something they don’t.

Don’t just take my word for it. Some of those closest to the negotiations agree. “[W]e do not live in a perfect world, and the ‘better deal’ proposed by the critics of the Lausanne framework is a fantasy,” said Phillip Gordon, who, until recently worked on the Iran issue in the White House and is now a senior fellow and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Those arguing for a better deal also believe that if only the United States increased sanctions on Iran, Iran would agree to even better terms. But, as former National Security Adviser to President Clinton, Sandy Berger wrote recently, more sanctions would not have their intended impact. Instead, they “would mystify and alarm the rest of the world, isolating and weakening us. Such sanctions would crumble under their own weight — amounting to, as Shakespeare said, “Sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Former national intelligence officer and Middle East expert, Paul Pillar, agrees. “[T]here is nothing in the Iranians’ record to suggest that at some level of economic pain they would cry uncle and capitulate to hardline demands,” he wrote earlier this year. “If this were possible, it would have happened by now after many years of debilitating sanctions.”

While the “better deal” crowd may continue to crow, the reality is that there is an overwhelming consensus among the nuclear and security expert community that the Lausanne Framework is a good deal, a deal that the six powers can be confident will prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. “When implemented,” a statement from 30 leading nuclear nonproliferation specialists reads, the agreement “will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East.”

And it’s not just the experts: Numerous polls show that a majority of Americans support the framework. Moreover, a recent survey done in conjunction with pro-Israel group, J Street, found that 59 percent of American Jews support the framework; a result that can perhaps mitigate concerns that U.S. Jews feel the deal could be bad for Israel. The poll also found that a 78 percent of American Jews support the agreement when additional details of the deal are provided.

It’s rare to have such a large consensus on any particular issue these days. But it’s no fluke that the White House, many in Congress, experts and the American people support diplomacy with Iran over war and will support a good final nuclear deal. I am hopeful that Missouri’s Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt are part of that mix of support.

It is difficult to dispute that Iran is led by a dictatorial regime that oppresses its people, supports terror and wreaks havoc in the region. It is for these reasons that we should prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon and ink a good final agreement that is done on our own terms.

It appears that the six international powers and Iran will get past the finish line, but as the saying goes, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” President Obama has repeatedly stated that he prefers no deal to a bad deal. Fortunately, the negotiators are on the right track to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis peacefully, allowing all sides to walk away knowing that what they’re getting is better than they’re giving up.

 

By: Stacey Newman, Missouri State Representative, The Blog, The Huffington Post, July 5, 2015

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Iran, Nuclear Weapons, War Hawks | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“It Was Fun While It Lasted”: The Coming GOP-Evangelical Divorce

What are evangelical conservatives going to do? I ask the question not with any sympathy, but with a mountain of schadenfreudian glee—I am profoundly reassured about my country’s direction every time I hear Tony Perkins bemoan it. But however it’s asked, it’s a question that’s growing more and more urgent. Mike Huckabee says that if the GOP embraces same-sex marriage, “evangelicals will take a walk.” Others pooh-pooh this on the usual grounds that they’ve got nowhere else to go. But they do: back to private life. And it’s my bet that in, say, eight or 12 years’ time, that’s where a lot of evangelicals will be. Having gotten into politics to rescue America from the sinners and fornicators, I reckon a critical mass will decide by 2024 that it was fun while it lasted, but that the fight is hopeless.

It’s going to be fascinating to watch and see what the party does on same-sex marriage as these next months and years progress. I, for one, do not expect to see the senators tumble like dominoes after the push from Ohio’s Rob Portman. Too many of them are from states where adopting that position would be suicide. Remember, we’re talking here not about the mores of the state as a whole, but of its GOP primary voters. So Claire McCaskill could announce her support for same-sex marriage in Democratic Missouri. But Roy Blunt in Republican Missouri? One doubts it. Different state, really. He in fact just reaffirmed his support for the Defense of Marriage Act.

Perusing the list of GOP senators, one sees only a few who might follow Portman. Susan Collins of course; Mark Kirk; Kelly Ayotte, at least on geographic grounds, although she’s quite conservative. You get the idea. I haven’t studied the political situations of all 232 GOP House members, and I won’t, but the general picture is similar. Right now, a grand total of two GOP House members back gay marriage—Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of upstate New York. Two.

This is all pretty amusing because after Portman, some people started talking and writing as if some sort of floodgates were opening, but in reality it would be completely shocking if more than 20 of Capitol Hill’s 279 Republican solons were backing same-sex marriage as we approach 2016. There may well not be more than 10.

This is the kind of issue on which the party’s position will largely be determined by the person it nominates to be president. All the contenders are reliably anti-, yes, even Rand Paul. His libertarian disposition brings him up short of the usual epileptic hatred of gay people, but he’s against them all the same. So the party will likely head into the 2016 election with a position identical to the one it has now. The hard-shell platform, which in 2012 backed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and woman, may get a nip here or tuck there, which those sad Log Cabin people will tout as a great advance, but no more than that.

And, by 2016, it will be more clear than it is today that their bigoted position is a big electoral loser for them. They likely will have lost again, assuming Hillary Clinton runs. And then, staring at the grim reality of 16 straight years of Democratic governance by two people they believe to be Satan and, uh, Satan, they’ll start to make some changes. They’ll study up on the actuarial charts, and same-sex marriage is one of the changes they’ll make—maybe not whole hog right at first, but eventually and inevitably. By 2024—after Hillary, that is—the Republicans will be not all that distinguishable (at least through evangelical eyes) from the Democrats, with a platform supporting same-sex marriage, or at least tolerating it in antiseptic language.

Then what for the Christian right? They got into politics in the 1970s. Remember, Jerry Falwell himself, in a 1965 sermon called “Ministers and Marches,” denounced mixing religion and politics. But then came late-’60s tumult, Roe v. Wade, and kindred signs of the devil’s grip (preceded by the Supreme Court’s decision to take God out of the classroom). Religious conservatives got into politics to undo those things. And here we are, 50 years later, and it’s only gotten worse as far as they’re concerned. By 2024, if my forecasts are correct, things will get only worse still.

Well, how much patience can a movement have? By 2024, evangelicals will have been up to their armpits in politics for half a century. With what to show for it? A country where (I’m betting) abortion is still legal, and now Adam and Steve are saying vows. And their vehicle for their agenda, the Republican Party, will be walking away from them to a place where they smell more votes (and money).

And that’s how the GOP-evangelical divorce will happen. Not all evangelicals will leave. Maybe not even half. But a reduction in the Republican primary electorate from 50 percent evangelical, which is roughly what it is now, to 30 percent would make for some enormous improvements in how the party approaches social issues. And many evangelicals, heeding that old Falwell advice, will stop obsessing so much over this life and spend more time preparing for what they believe is the next one, where (if their own predictions are correct) they won’t feel like hating anyone anymore anyway.

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, March 30, 2013

March 31, 2013 Posted by | GOP, Religious Right | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Toxic Misfits: Donald Trump, Birthers And Other Hazardous Materials

It seems that there is no end in sight. You can’t turn to any television channel or listen to any radio station without hearing something that has to do with Donald Trump and his vile birther rants. One wonders when will it all end. Some have given Trump a pass in this regard. Many believe that he is simply doing it for the attention while others, for some odd reason, see his actions only as a joke.

It seems that this whole “birther” issue began with Jim Geraghty, a conservative blogger for National Review and National Review On-line. The spark for the birther campaign began by Geraghty suggesting that President Obama’s first and middle names were not the same as listed on his birth certificate. The embers were kindled by Jerome Corsi in an interview on Fox News where the idea that Obama’s birth certificate was fake. This quackery has been non-stop since.

This birther theory was elevated to a different level of insanity by Orly Taitz, who not only believes that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States, but also believes that Hawaii cannot be considered part of the United States “unless it can produce an authentic statehood certificate”. Taitz, mind you, emigrated from the Soviet Union to Israel and then to the United States and is a dual citizen of Israel and the U.S. In her view, “the islands of Hawaii appear to be colonies of Kenya”.  As such, “everyone born in Hawaii is legally not an American but a Kenyan”. Never mind that these assertions have no basis of fact. Joshua Wisch, Attorney General of Hawaii has repeatedly noted that the presidents certificate of live birth is on file in the archives of the Department of Health of Hawaii.

Then you have the likes of Andy Martin, Michael Savage, G. Gordon Liddy, Lars Larson, Bob Grant and…. oh yes, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Chuck Norris, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Roy Blunt and David Vitter.

The latest participant in this land of make believe is none other than Donald Trump. Over the past several weeks, Trump seems to have gone out of his way to etch his place in history as the “birther of all birthers”. He has been given numerous opportunities by the media, often unchallenged, to espouse again and again what he surely knows to be flat out lies. Despite “prima facie” evidence, Trump has chosen to continue down a path that can be best described in every category as bigoted, racist and divisive.

I have been trying to figue out why this gang of “misfits” continue to propagate this charade on the American people. Surely they cannot believe that actions of this nature will endear them to the majority of the American people, or do they? It really makes you wonder if they are merely front persons for the real behind the scenes “power players” whose goal is to completely alienate and isolate certain segments of the population. This idea seems to have worked very well in the past with groups such as the teaparty and the christian right. Could it be that they are attempting to expand their grasps to include even more radical segments?

Power, radicalism, extremism, racism, bigotry, hate, fear…they all work, but at what cost to the rest of the country. There is a bigger picture here…one larger than Trump or Bachmann or Newt. The “power players” are all about the preservation of an aggressive, radical and dangerous conservative ideology…an ideology that is appealing more and more to the fringe and most noxious elements of our society…nothing more and nothing less.

Continued unfettered tolerance of these types of behavior is merely an assent of their vile actions and intents. That is just not acceptable. At some point, good people will have to take a stand and put a stop to the shananigans of these toxic misfits.

By: Raemd95, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Bigotry, Birthers, Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Democracy, Democrats, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Government, Human Rights, Ideologues, Ideology, Journalists, Liberty, Media, Politics, President Obama, Public, Pundits, Racism, Religion, Republicans, Right Wing, States, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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