Friday, October 13, 2017

Has Trumpanzee Come Up With A Nasty, Disrespectful Name For Hassan Rouhani Or Ali Khamenei Yet?


Pelosi hasn't exactly declared impeachment "off the table" again-- she's dying to but she wouldn't last 5 minutes as Democratic Leader if she did-- but she has made it clear she's not interested in talking about impeachment, certainly not before the midterms. Maybe she and her Beltway advisors think it's bad strategy. But California billionaire Tom Steyer, who wants to run for governor or senator or something, thinks it's the right thing to do. So right, in fact, that Alexander Burns reported in the NY Times Wednesday that Steyer, the biggest single donor to the Democratic Party of late (over $91 million in 2016 alone), is demanding that candidates pledge to support removing Trump from office. (If Steyer were serious he would ask Trump-friendly Blue Dog Dan Lipinski to take the pledge and then finance a SuperPAC IE for the progressive opposing Lipinski, Marie Newman.) Steyer sent a letter to the DCCC, the DSCC and every incumbent Democrat making the case for impeachment.

Meanwhile, Trump's sociopathic behavior gets worse by the day. He signed executive orders to destroy the Affordable Care Act and to end the nuclear treaty with Iran yesterday, while telling prostrate and half-destroyed Puerto Rico he wants to withdraw FEMA. The L.A. Times reported that he's ignoring his advisors and getting his advise from Fox News hosts, especially Sean Hannity. His inner fascist is getting more and more free range as he pays less and less attention to his chief of staff, John Kelly. So-- remember this was on Wednesday-- they wrote "Advisors more aligned with the Republican establishment have prevailed on Trump to avoid some decisions that could have rattled foreign allies. For example, according to a second person close to the White House, who also spoke on condition of anonymity to maintain those ties, early on Trump was talked out of withdrawing from the six-party Iran nuclear deal, an issue he will revisit this week, and dissuaded from moving the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a provocative act that would put Mideast peace talks at risk."

Well, today Trump is revisiting the Iran treaty, with potentially disastrous consequences. Reuters reported yesterday that State Rex Tillerson has spoken with senior officials of Britain, China, France and Russia in recent days to discuss Trumpanzee’s planned announcement on Iran today, the State Department said without giving details.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Trumpanzee’s expected move to "de-certify" the international nuclear deal with Iran is driving a wedge between Europe and the United States and bringing Europeans closer to Russia and China: "It’s imperative that Europe sticks together on this issue. We also have to tell the Americans that their behavior on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA."
Senior U.S. officials, European allies and prominent U.S. lawmakers have told Trump that refusing to certify the deal would leave the U.S. isolated, concede the diplomatic high ground to Tehran, and ultimately risk the unraveling of the agreement.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog has repeatedly certified that Iran is adhering to restrictions on its nuclear energy program mandated by the deal to help ensure it cannot be put to developing atomic bombs.

Signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran, the deal lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear work.

Germany has close economic and business ties with Russia, although relations have soured since Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. Berlin is also working to expand ties with China.

...Gabriel on Monday urged the White House not to jeopardize the nuclear agreement, saying such a move would worsen instability in the Middle East and could make it more difficult to halt nuclear arms programs in other countries.

Few members of Congress are looking forward to this. The Hill reported yesterday that "Republicans in Congress will face a wrenching choice if President Trump follows through on decertifying the Iran nuclear deal. Decertification would unlock a fast-track procedure for Congress to reimpose sanctions, leaving Republicans with two unappealing options. Snap back the sanctions, and Iran likely walks, killing an agreement that top administration officials say is in the national interest. Do nothing, and the deal likely stands, preserving a pact that Republicans have lambasted for years. For now, it appears that Republicans have little appetite for reviving the sanctions. Yet the pressure from hard-liners to act will be intense."
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, signaled the GOP’s likely approach on Wednesday. He said the U.S. should demand Iranian compliance with the agreement but also impose new sanctions for activities outside the scope of the deal.

“As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it,” Royce said at the top of a hearing. “Let’s work with allies to make certain that international inspectors have better access to possible nuclear sites, and we should address the fundamental sunset shortcoming, as our allies have recognized. This committee will do its part tomorrow by marking-up the Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act.”

Asked after the hearing whether he thinks Congress will reimpose the nuclear sanctions, Royce pointed back to his opening statement.

Trump faces a Sunday deadline to tell Congress whether Iran remains in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and whether the agreement remains in the national interest of the United States.

Trump has certified the deal twice before. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have said Iran is complying. Mattis testified to Congress that staying in the deal is in the United States’ national interest.

But Trump is widely expected to announce this week that he disagrees and is decertifying the deal.

Congress created the certification deadline in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). That law established a 60-day window for Congress to quickly snap back sanctions lifted under the deal. In the Senate, that fast-track process means only a simple majority is required to reimpose sanctions, so Democrats would not be able to block it.

...Even some of Congress’s staunchest Iran hawks have thrown cold water on the idea of approving a sanctions bill during the 60-day window.

At a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations last week, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) argued for decertifying the deal, saying the threat of sanctions would force Iran to renegotiate. But he also said 60 days may not be enough time for that type of “coercive diplomacy” to work.

“I have no intention right now to introduce snap back sanctions legislation on Oct. 16,” Cotton said. “If it’s obvious by the end of that 60-day period that the course of action I’ve recommended will not work, then perhaps we will have to reimpose sanctions then. But I’m also willing to give the administration and our allies in Europe and the Middle East more time than just 60 days to try to get a better deal.”

Democrats are predicting Republicans won’t snap back sanctions.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said he doesn’t think Congress will reimpose sanctions because Iran would keep the money it’s already gotten from the deal.

“I don’t think they want to take back the car and let the dealer keep our money, too,” Sherman said.

Still, Iran hawks are railing against the deal ahead of the certification deadline.

“With Iran financing terror, overthrowing foreign governments, illegally test firing intercontinental ballistic missiles, chanting death to America, calling Israel the little Satan, America the great Satan, I would say that it was the wrong answer for us to be propping up the wrong regime with a jackpot of sanctions relief,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said.

“We should be ... turning this into a reasonable deal, not one that’s very one-sided and one where we got ridiculously played at the table,” Zeldin said.
Kia Hamadanchy is an Iranian-American candidate for Congress in Orange County. We asked him for his perspective on this mess. "Pulling out of the Iran Deal would be a complete and utter disaster," he told us. "It continues to represent the best course of action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and to prevent a war. The Israeli military and intelligence establishment are in complete agreement and those who feel differently are the same ones who led us to war with Iraq under false pretenses. If we pull out of this deal it will be the United States not Iran that our European allies blame and it will prove impossible to fake any sort of action against their nuclear program.  Secretary of State recently referred to Donald Trump as a moron. Only a moron would pull out of this deal and it is now up to Congress to make sure it remains in place."

UPDATE: Trump-- Crazier And Less Fit Than You Thought?

Sam Jammal is the Orange County progressive Democrat running for the seat Royce is still occupying. After Trump made his crazy and untruthful statement about Iran today, he told us that "We must be a country where our word means something. Its not about the Iranians-- this is about our other global partners, whom we will need if Iran violates the deal or North Korea decides to continue its current path. We can't run away from the global community, which is why Congress plays an especially important role given Trump's chaotic and dangerous approach to foreign affairs. Right now, Trump is making it seem as though our agreements are worth nothing more than Trump Vodka or Trump Steaks. Ed Royce needs to be about more than words. He needs to show action that constrains Trump. For example, where is Ed on Trump's lack of enforcement of Russia sanctions? Even on Iran, I am skeptical that this isn't more of Ed saying something reasonable but turning a blind eye toward extreme actions."

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