Saturday, September 24, 2016

In Paul Ryan's Make Believe World, Obama Paid The Iranians Ransom; He Didn't... But Ryan Passed A Resolution About It Anyway


Republicans are still embarrassed about how Reagan got caught in what came to be known as the Iran-Contra scandal. It started as a scheme to ransom 7 U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon by having Israel sell U.S. weapons to Iran and the U.S. replacing those weapons for Israel. Oliver North's twist was to have the Iranian money shipped to fascist rebels in Nicaragua (the Contras). Reagan blocked all the investiagtions although eventually 14 of his officials were indicted, including Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. When Reagan went on TV to apologize, already suffering from the impact of Alzheimer's, he said "A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages. This runs counter to my own beliefs, to administration policy, and to the original strategy we had in mind." In November 1986 Reagan's approval rating dropped from 67% to 46%, the largest drop any president's popularity ever suffered in the history of polling. Eventually George H.W. Bush pardoned all the criminals involved-- including Weinberger, National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane, far right sociopath Elliott Abrams, Oliver North, top CIA operatives Alan Fiers and Clair George and nearly a dozen others-- as he was leaving office.

The GOP has been looking for political payback ever since. Recently Paul Ryan concotted a story that the Obama Administration paid a $400 million "ransom" to get back several detained American citizens. The $400 million was Iranian money the U.S. had embargoed over 3 decades ago (payment for jets the Iranians had paid for and the U.S. never delivered). The U.S. balked at repaying the money it had finally agreed to pay Iran for the jets while Iran was holding U.S. prisoners. So Ryan (and Trump) called it paying "ransom" when the prisoners were released and the money was paid.

Thursday the House passed a resolution by right-wing imbecile Ed Royce, H.R. 5931, implicitly spanking the Administration for paying ransom to Iran. It passed 254-163.The only Republican honest enough to vote NO was Thomas Massie (KY) but 16 of the worst reactionary and cowardly fake Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP, these:
Peter Aguilar (New Dem-CA)
Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE)
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Tony Cárdenas (CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL)
Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ)
Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
Juan Vargas (New Dem-CA)
Filemon Vela (Blue Dog-TX)
I want to point out that very right-wing, very ambitious Florida Blue Dog Gwen Graham, who almost always votes with Republicans on contentious matters like this, plans to run for governor of Florida (unless Bill Nelson does, in which case she'd run for his Senate seat.) And right now, the DSCC is heavily backing right-wing New Dem Ann Kirkpatrick, another worthless pile of reeking garbage on two legs, for the Arizona Senate seat. Who wants to promote these kinds of trash politicians up the political ladder? Well, rote-Democratic establishment hacks of course-- and in this case, because of their plumbing, EMILY's List-- but no one who cares about the values and principles that differentiate the Democratic Party from the Republican Party. At least Loretta Sanchez, a Blue Dog who would normally vote with the GOP on this kind of crap and who's running for Barbara Boxer's open Senate seat, was smart enough to absent herself from the chamber and not vote at all. But these aren't the kind of women Americans need in our government. Wisconsin's Mary Hoeft, on the other hand, is.

Among Royce's crackpot co-sponsors was Wisconsin Trumpist Sean Duffy, a partisan worm always looking for an opportunity to create division and stoke hatred and fear. We contacted Hoeft, the progressive Democrat running for the northwestern and central Wisconsin district that Duffy operates out of. "Sean Duffy," she told us, "asked Obama Administration Officials how they could be sure this money won't go to terrorists The more important question Duffy should have asked, 'What honorable country takes more than 40 years to repay its debt for goods purchased but never delivered?' Another question, perhaps more irrelevant to Mr. Duffy, 'How can we be certain the $400,000 you accepted in campaign donations from bankers over the last few months isn't directly linked to your efforts to cripple the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?' Another question, 'How can we be certain, Mr. Duffy, since you recently received the largest single donation from Well Fargo of any member of Congress, that you didn't play a significant role in Wells Fargo's most recent scandal to defraud Americans?'" Blue America would like to see Hoeft replace Duffy in Congress. It would be good for Wisconsin and good for America. If you'd like to help, you can contribute to her campaign here.

Another co-sponsor of Royce's and Ryan's election year GOP gibberish resolution was, predictably, Texas' most Trumpy congressman, Lamar Smith. We called his Democratic opponent in the TX-21 congressional race, Tom Wakely, and Tom told us that to his mind "those willing to politicize our President's diplomatic resolutions, especially in the Middle East, show their warmongering colors. God forbid we reach necessary nuclear solutions with Iran without senseless bloodshed. This wasn't ever an issue of ransom. It was an issue of diplomacy and peace, but that doesn't fit the narrative of war. It doesn't fit the narrative of President Obama being weak. So here Lamar Smith and the House Republicans waste taxpayer dollars and time to beat their chest in an effort to prove just how tough they are. They use a facade of strength to try to trick their constituents into thinking they can solve any conflict with brute force because they lack the intelligence to understand the nuance of diplomatic solutions. President Obama is a hell of a lot tougher than any of the Republicans who sponsored this bill, and the constituents of my district are a hell of lot smarter than Lamar Smith."

Please consider helping Mary Hoeft and Tom Wakely replace Trump-genre congressional disgraces Sean Duffy and Lamar Smith by tapping on the thermometer below and contributing what you can:
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