Thursday, August 13, 2015

Momentum Grows For Iran Deal-- Despite Schumer/AIPAC Threats


AIPAC whore Chuck Schumer has cemented his alliance with Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) and other reactionaries who want to lead the U.S. into a war with Iran, by working the phones-- not just Senate colleagues, but frightened House Democrats as well who are being threatened with political extermination by AIPAC bullies. Many minority members recall vividly how AIPAC was able to use its money and influence to wreck the political careers of African American Democrats Cynthia McKinney (GA) and Earl Hilliard (AL). Members of color are particularly susceptible to AIPAC threats, especially when a corrupt powermonger like Chuck Schumer and henchmen like Eliot Engel and Steve Israel are spewing them. Yes, the vile Steve Israel is helping Schumer whip against the Iran deal-- this Steve Israel:
My "Representative" Steve Israel is more than someone with whom I disagree with politically. He is a man with the moral fiber to stiff a Synagogue out of thousands of dollars when he decided to move (a debt that was eventually paid by an anonymous donor when a member of the Synagogue's board threatened to release the info to the press-- yes that was me).
This morning PPP released a new survey showing that Israel's, Engel's and Schumer's attempts to stampede minority congressmembers in New York, like Hakeem Jeffries, are based on pure bullshit:
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that there’s broad support for the Iran deal among voters in New York City and that Democratic elected officials will benefit politically, particularly within their party base, if they support the agreement.

Key findings from the survey include:

58% of New York City voters support the Iran deal, compared to only 35% who oppose it. Democrats (61/28) and independents (62/34) both give it strong support.

What’s particularly noteworthy is how consistent support for the deal is along various demographic lines. Women support it 59/32, and men support it as well at 55/39. African Americans (73/17) give it resounding support and so do majorities of Hispanic voters (54/37) and whites (52/44). And voters in every age group from young voters (62/20) to seniors (57/31) give it their backing too.

Only 33% of voters in the city want to see their members of Congress block the agreement and prevent it from being implemented, compared to 59% who want their members to let the agreement go forward. Strong majorities of both Democrats (64/27) and independents (61/32) think their members should vote for the deal to proceed.

There’s no risk of backlash from constituents for Democratic members who vote to let the deal move forward- in fact if anything they’re likely to benefit. 47% of voters say they’d be more likely to vote in the future for someone who supported the Iran agreement, compared to only 30% who say they’d be less likely to vote for someone who supported it.

Most notably though among Democratic voters who are the ones that matter in primary elections, 54% are more likely to vote for someone who supports the agreement to only 25% who say they’d be less likely to. No one is going to risk a primary challenge by supporting the deal.

The politics on the Iran agreement in New York City are pretty clear-- voters strongly support the agreement, they want their elected officials to move it forward, and if there are any future political ramifications for New York area Democrats who support the deal, they’re positive ones.
Also this morning, Al Franken, a Jewish senator from Minnesota, released a statement explaining why he is backing the Iran deal.
After careful review, I have decided that I will vote in support of the agreement the United States and our international partners reached with Iran last month.

It's not a conclusion I came to lightly. Since the deal was announced, I've consulted with nuclear and sanctions experts inside and outside government; Obama administration officials, including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz; ambassadors from the other countries that negotiated alongside us; advocates for Israel on both sides of the issue; my constituents in Minnesota; and, of course, my colleagues in the Senate.

Many have expressed reservations about the deal, and I share some of those reservations. It isn't a perfect agreement.

But it is a strong one. This agreement is, in my opinion, the most effective, realistic way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon anytime in the next 15 years. It does so by imposing a series of physical limits on Iran's nuclear program, especially its production of the fissile material it would require to make a bomb. The agreement's verification provisions are extremely strong: 24/7 monitoring of, and unfettered access to, Iran's nuclear sites and ongoing surveillance of Iran's nuclear supply chain.

That means: In order to make a nuclear weapon in the next 15 years, Iran would have to reconstruct every individual piece of the chain-- the mining, the milling, the production of centrifuges, and more-- separately and in secret. The regime would have to run the risk of any of these steps being detected by international inspectors or our own comprehensive intelligence efforts. It would risk losing everything it gained from the deal, and the re-imposition of sanctions.

You don't have to trust the regime's intentions to understand the reality it would face: Attempting to cheat on this agreement would carry an overwhelming likelihood of getting caught-- and serious consequences if it does.

We'll still have work to do to diminish the threat Iran poses to our national security and the safety of our allies in the Middle East, beginning with Israel. As sanctions are lifted, the non-nuclear threat to the region may grow, and we'll need to bolster our support to regional counterweights such as Saudi Arabia, and increase our support of and cooperation with Israel, accordingly. And, of course, we'll need to maintain our terrorism-related sanctions, which are unaffected by the deal.

But there's no doubt in my mind that this deal represents a significant step forward for our national security.

It's worth noting that many of the restrictions in the deal expire after 15 years-- leading some to express concerns about what might happen in year 16.

There will still be major checks on Iran's nuclear program after that date, including continued heightened monitoring and permanent, specific prohibitions on several of the steps necessary to build a bomb. Iran must never, ever have a nuclear weapon-- and we will still have every option we currently have, up to and including the use of military force, to prevent that from happening.

But we also must begin now to make the case to the world that the danger posed by an Iranian nuclear weapon will not expire in 15 years-- and remind Iran that, should it begin to take worrisome steps, such as making highly enriched uranium as that date approaches, we stand ready to intervene.

That said, we don't know what the world will look like in 15 years. As long as this regime holds power, Iran will represent a dangerous threat to our security. But it's possible that, by 2031, Iran may no longer be controlled by hard-liners determined to harm our interests. More than 60% of Iran's population is under the age of 30. These young Iranians are increasingly well-educated and pro-American.

We don't know how this tension within Iran will work out. But we do know that backing out of a deal we've agreed to will only embolden the hard-liners who insist that America cannot be trusted.

Indeed, while critics have eagerly pointed out what they see as flaws in the deal, I have heard no persuasive arguments that there is a better alternative. All the alternatives I have heard about run the gamut from unrealistic to horrifying.

For example, some say that, should the Senate reject this agreement, we would be in position to negotiate a "better" one. But I've spoken to representatives of the five nations that helped broker the deal, and they agree that this simply wouldn't be the case.

Instead, these diplomats have told me that we would not be able to come back to the bargaining table at all, and that the sanctions regime would likely erode or even fall apart, giving Iran's leaders more money and more leverage-- and diminishing both our moral authority throughout the world and our own leverage.

And, of course, Iran would be able to move forward on its nuclear program, endangering our interests in the region-- especially Israel-- and making it far more likely that we will find ourselves engaged in a military conflict there.

Some critics seem to lust after such a conflict, with one of my colleagues suggesting that we should simply attack Iran now, an exercise he believes would be quick and painless for the United States. But this is pure fantasy, at least according to what our security and intelligence experts tell us. And it's certainly not the lesson anyone should have learned from the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

In March, 47 of my Republican colleagues took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to Iran's leaders just as these sensitive negotiations were nearing an accord. It was a clear attempt to undermine American diplomacy-- and a signal that they would oppose any deal with Iran, no matter its terms.

It's not surprising that these critics now oppose the finished deal. But it is disappointing that they refuse to acknowledge, let alone take responsibility for, the dire consequences that would almost certainly result from killing it.

Diplomacy requires cooperation and compromise. You don't negotiate with your friends; you negotiate with your enemies. Indeed, no one who's for this deal has any delusions about the nature of the Iranian regime, any more than American presidents who made nuclear arms agreements with the Soviet Union had delusions about the nature of the communist regime there.

For a long time, it has looked like our only options when it came to Iran would be allowing it to have a nuclear bomb or having to bomb the country ourselves. This agreement represents a chance to break out of that no-win scenario.

And to take the extraordinary step of rejecting it-- because of clearly unrealistic expectations, because of a hunger to send Americans into another war, or, worst of all, because of petty partisanship-- would be a terrible mistake.

Monday, former and future Senator Russ Feingold told popular Wisconsin radio host Sly Sylvester that he's supporting the Iran deal. "Frankly, I think the President is doing a good job on the fundamental point," said Feingold.
I do agree that we cannot let Iran have a nuclear weapon, but we're not giving up any options by being in this agreement. If it's broken by them, we can do what we need to do... It appears to me from my reading that it moves us in the right direction rather than in the alternative that is to be potentially going to war to deal with this problem... [T]here are always going to be concerns when you're dealing with a regime like the Iranian regime. To not have concerns would be irresponsible. On the other hand, it is completely irresponsible to not try to do something about it. Just sit back and say it's a bad deal and I have no alternatives. 
Feingold's opponent, right-wing extremist Ron Johnson, is eager to foment a war with Iran. He's on board with Schumer.


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