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In November President Barack Obama announced the latest results in his administration's desire to come to a peaceful agreement with Iran in terms of its nuclear ambitions:

Since I took office, I’ve made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  As I’ve said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we’ve extended the hand of diplomacy.  Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community.  So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council, and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.

These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged.  I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall.  Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran’s Foreign Minister.  And we have pursued intensive diplomacy -- bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners -- the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.

Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure -- a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.

The President then explained the frail agreement with the Islamic republic:

While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal.  For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.  Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles.

Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor.  And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.

These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.  Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb.  Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program.  And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately criticized the announcement:
What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it's a historic mistake," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters. "It's not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC, which is a political donor entity to many members of Congress also was critical of the announcement and put forth a recommendation for additional sanctions:
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has released a new position paper on the Iranian nuclear deal in which it calls on Congress to "legislate additional sanctions so that Iran will face immediate consequences should it renege on its commitments or refuse to negotiate an acceptable final agreement."
In strong concurrence with AIPAC, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, Democratic Senator from the state of New Jersey, along with Mark Kirk (R-Ill) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) began an effort to interfere with the administration’s delicate negotiations with Iran, based also on the premise that additional threat of sanctions is required in order to force the Iranians to negotiate in good faith.

This despite administration warnings, such as those issued by Secretary of State John Kerry:

Our hope is now that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that if they are, it could be viewed as bad faith by the people we’re negotiating with, [and] it could destroy the ability to be able to get agreement.
Nevertheless, Mendez, aided by gleeful Republicans, and a number of other Democrats, began to construct legislation in order to sabotage his own Democratic president. To quote expert sabotage facilitator and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH):
Are You Kidding Me?!
Still, unlike the usual obstructionist effort by Republicans to block the first African American president from achieving any of his policy initiatives, this latest effort by Menendez appears to be designed to lead the United States and, yes, the world into a state of war with the nation of Iran. It is stunning to say the least.

Despite the understanding that switching off the light switch would cause the light to go out, Menendez, perhaps to confound Pavlov’s Dog, is determined to switch off the switch in order to keep the light on.  

In a powerful episode of the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Thursday, Rachel Maddow examined the efforts by Menendez to sabotage his own Democratic president.

Maddow: You know what?  If you close the only promising diplomatic channel there is with Iran? That makes the use of military force against Iran by us or somebody else about 99% more likely.

I mean, think about it, If you have an intractable conflict with somebody that just must be resolved…if for example Iran were saying 'we’re getting a nuclear weapon' and we and the rest of the world were saying ‘no, you aren’t’  that is an issue that has to be resolved one way or the other, right?

That is an intractable thing; there’s no compromise on half a bomb, right? It’s either you or me. If you have an intractable conflict with someone and you agree to not settle it by talking anymore, how else are you going to settle it?

Maddow discussed this premise of more sanctions on Iran in order to compel them to negotiate in good faith:
Maddow: Iran is already under sanctions. Years and years and years and years of difficult and increasing impossible to live under sanctions. That is at least part of what got them to the negotiating table. Where we literally are right now, today, right now, we are literally, at this moment, negotiating with Iran at a negotiating table, talking with them about ending their nuclear program.

The talks so far has lead to progress. They have stopped enrichment already. It is a six month experiment. There are daily inspections in Iranian nuclear facilities by international inspectors now, to make sure that they are keeping to their side of the bargain; it is happening already, it is underway.

If the US Congress passes more sanctions now, or passes more sanctions now that would go into effect in the future, at some specific date, or that will have some trigger attached to what we are negotiating with them about already, Iran has said explicitly, in no uncertain terms that if the US congress did that--that would mean no more talking; diplomacy is over.

She cited an interview by Time with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who when asked:
What happens if Congress imposes new sanctions, even if they don’t go into effect for six months?
Zarif responded:
The entire deal is dead.
Maddow referred to a report by Foreign Policy Magazine that focused on a standalone proposal in Congress to levy new sanctions against Iran, which would, in effect, blow up the current US/Iranian agreement:
Democrats, have begun circulating a draft of a new Iran sanctions bill that critics say could violate the terms of an agreement struck between Iran and the United States in Geneva last month.

The bill, set for introduction by the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, along with top sanctions hawks Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), defies the Obama administration's repeated requests for Congress to hold off on any new legislation that could imperil last month's interim nuclear pact with Iran while talks continue toward a comprehensive final deal.

On Thursday, 10 Senators of equal stature to Menendez,  each of them Senate committee chairs, crafted a joint letter to Majority Leader Harry Read (D-NV) imploring him to reject the efforts of the Senator of New Jersey. The Senators are:

Banking Committee Chair Tim Johnson (S.D.), Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (Mich.), Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Commerce Committee Chair John Rockefeller (W.Va.), Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (Calif.)., Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chair Thomas Carper (Del.), Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Ron Wyden (Ore.), and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Tom Harkin (Iowa).

All attempting to restrain Menendez, in a sense, to hold him back from carrying out his legislative sabotage. The co-signers of the letter stated:

at this time, as negotiations are ongoing, we believe that new sanctions would play into the hands of those in Iran who are most eager to see the negotiations fail.

…new sanctions would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.

According to Ryan Grim, a White House official has accused Menendez of seeking to undermine the negotiations:
We have consistently and strongly opposed any new sanctions legislation during the negotiation. It is not necessary for Congress to pass this bill, because we are enforcing existing sanctions and can move to sanctions if negotiations don’t succeed or if Iran cheats," a senior administration official said.

This bill does not provide the president with the flexibility necessary to negotiate an agreement. The fact is, passing new sanctions now would split the international community, embolden Iranian hard-liners, and likely derail any prospect of a diplomatic resolution. Members of Congress pressing for this bill are effectively choosing to close the door on diplomacy, making it far more likely that we’ll be left only with a military option.

Maddow’s guest, Steve Clemens, foreign policy expert, and Washington editor at large for the Atlantic Magazine spoke chillingly of the stakes involved here:
Maddow: So why do you think we saw this last second, last thing we’re going to do before Christmas push today, for a standalone new effort at sanctions?

Clemmens: Well there is enormous pressure and it’s primarily from domestic political sources in the United States that sees a zero-sum game in the middle east and are putting extraordinary pressure on certain Senators, many Republican Senators, but of course, you know, on the Democratic side, as you’ve said, are people like Chuck Schumer but particularly Robert Menendez and they want to kill the deal.

I’ve been told tonight that the President of the United States Barack Obama has communicated to these Senators that he will veto this if it were to pass, which is new news and I think very important. I’ve heard from a very senior administration official who is arguing that Bob Menendez if he gets the way he wants to go is going to trip us into a war.

(emphasis diarist)
Clemmens (continued): So the stakes as you define them are very very high and this is not just another crank at the wheel on sanctions; this is a very important historic moment in US diplomatic history to systemically change the relationship of the united states with another key nation that has been problematic for us for three decades.

This is a Nixon goes to China moment and it would be like the US Senate handicapping and kind of cutting the legs out from underneath Richard Nixon in normalizing  China. That’s how big this is.

On Friday, MoveOn Executive Director Ann Galland offered a rebuke to Menendez and his tampering colleagues:
Democrats like Senators Schumer and Menendez should stop supporting Republican efforts to undermine President Obama's diplomacy. The last thing our country needs right now is another war. It is shameful and wrong for Senators to intentionally undermine the potential for a negotiated, diplomatic solution. We urge all Senators to avoid action that heightens the risk of conflict.
Also on Friday, the President addressed this issue during his last press conference of the year:
I've heard some logic that says, well, Mr. President, we're -- we're supportive of the negotiations, but we think it's really useful to have this club hanging over Iran's head. Well, first of all, we still have the existing sanctions already in place that are resulting in Iran losing billions of dollars every month in lost oil sales. We already have banking and financial sanctions that are still being applied even as the negotiations are taking place. It's not as if we're letting up on that.

So I've heard arguments, well, but, you know, this way, we can be assured and the Iranians will know that, if negotiations fail, even new and harsher sanctions will be put into place. Listen, I don't think the Iranians have any doubt that Congress would be more than happy to pass more sanctions legislation. We can do that in a -- in a day, on a dime.

Returning to Steve Clemmens:
Clemmens: So I think that the issue here is not one of earnestness by many of the Senators involved, it’s designed to sabotage what the White House is doing which is extraordinary and I think the White House is really demonstrating and I’ve heard people like the State Department deputy spokesman and others today, with almost ferocious turf protecting on this, and saying we’re not going to yield an inch and there will not be an inch yielded in this battle, first with Bob Menendez, and  they’re not going to lose this historic possibility with Iran.
 
Senator Menendez, there truly does not seem to be any reason to insist on seeking a vote to increase sanctions on Iran, now or after the holidays.

There is ample time to vote on increasing sanctions once it is deemed that negotiations will not bear fruit. Your motivations here seem quite apparent. Rachel Maddow had it absolutely correct when she said Thursday:

Maddow: By doing it now, the only point is to stop diplomacy and make it more likely that we are going to war with Iran; it’s the only reason to do this. A vote for this thing is a vote to go to war with Iran.
Senator, this is beyond shameful.

Originally posted to NedSparks on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Maddow mustn't have been paying attention (3+ / 0-)

    when the Senate approved the Lieberman Amendment, identifying a casus belli against Iran, but the slim margin of 97-0.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:08:31 AM PST

    •  Lieberman amendment passed July 12, 2007. (25+ / 0-)

      Rachel Maddow show commenced August, 2008, though she did fill in earlier in 2008 for Oberman. Who knows if she was paying attention, but she wasn't on MSNB to comment about it when it happened.

      •  Even now, that is to say today, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, Notreadytobenice

        commentator are allowed a sense of historical perspective.  Except maybe for Thom Hartmann, who can hardly shut up when it comes to the Federalist Papers.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:03:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So you're indifferent to (or favor?) new sanctions (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NedSparks, Matt Z, elwior, Hayate Yagami

      which would scuttle diplomatic efforts that have been underway well after the 2007 vote you cite?  If not, then what is your point?

      •  Hoping for consistency with 2007, (0+ / 0-)

        because that's what's important?

        If Hobby Lobby is against contraception, why does it buy its inventory from China, the country that limits the number of children by law?

        by Inland on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:11:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ctexrep

        Nothing in the Menendez bill requires the US to do anything that would violate our current agreement with Iran.

        If the US Congress passes more sanctions now, or passes more sanctions now that would go into effect in the future, at some specific date, or that will have some trigger attached to what we are negotiating with them about already, Iran has said explicitly, in no uncertain terms that if the US congress did that--that would mean no more talking; diplomacy is over.
        In short, the Iranians got their agreement, in which they committed to try to come to a permanent agreement, and then immediately turned around and stated that they would violate their agreement with the US unless we agree to their new terms.

        They are already negotiating in bad faith.  The only way to respond to bullies like this is to ignore them.  We should stick to the terms of our agreement.  Nothing less and nothing more.

        Beyond that, if they don' want additional sanctions let them give up their nuclear program.

    •  But we didn't go to war then and we probably won't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goodpractice

      this time either if the intelligent people get their way.

      The US hasn't won a war since Japan surrendered.  Because we have chosen to fight unwinable wars and because Americans don't really want to have another World War II type of war.

      There is no logic in waging wars that can't be won in countries whose populations don't want us there.

      We had to practically destroy Japan and Germany, and just about everything else on our path there and basically turn our entire country's manufacturing and supply efforts and all our money plus a huge debt to win in Germany, Italy and Japan.

      We haven't been, as a nation, willing to make that kind of sacrifice since.  And we likely wouldn't now to destroy a country half way around the world that has not committed an act of war against our home land.

    •  Here's a link to Diary on the 2007 vote: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hayate Yagami

      SUN JUL 15, 2007
      Lieberman Got Senate to Give Cheney a Casus Belli for Iran
      by Lefty Coaster
      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Also, from "casus belli" wiki:

      Casus belli is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. Casus is related to the English word "case," and can mean "case," "incident", or "rupture". Belli means bellic ("of war"). A nation's casus belli involves offenses or threats directly against it, whereas a nation's casus foederis involves offenses or threats to an ally nation or nations—usually one with which it has a mutual defense pact, such as NATO.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...
    •  speaking of not paying attention, you fail.. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Time for a Petition to reject the Menendez bill (47+ / 0-)

    I hope Dailykos sets it up and makes it a front page issue.  The military industrial complex just never gives up in its efforts to keep us in perpetual war with someone, somewhere.  
    The 'liberal' Schumer is especially disgusting in this matter.

    Elizabeth Warren 2016!

    by windwardguy46 on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:26:11 AM PST

  •  Sen. Schumer is 3rd most powerful in Senate (19+ / 0-)

    being the Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate and chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.  It has been known that he wants to succeed Sen. Reid as head of the Senate.

    So, given a choice between his own President's wishes and AIPAC's demands on negotiating with Iran on the nuclear issue, he sides with the Israeli lobby.  He is after all a member of AIPAC.  

    There is more:  His top 9 campaign contributors are all financial institutions having given $2.5 million so far.  It is no wonder then that he voted for the repeal of Glass-Steagall.  And from Wikipedia:

    On December 14, 2008, the New York Times published an article on Schumer's role in the Wall Street meltdown. The article stated that Schumer embraced the industry’s free-market, deregulatory agenda more than any other Democrat in Congress, even backing measures now blamed for contributing to the financial crisis.[112] Schumer took steps to protect industry players from government oversight and tougher rules, a review of his record shows. Over the years, he has also helped save financial institutions billions of dollars in higher taxes or fees. He succeeded in limiting efforts to regulate credit-rating agencies. This article also charged that Schumer blocked ratings agencies reforms proposed by the Bush Administration and the Cox SEC.[112]
    Obviously, this is not an Elizabeth Warren Democrat.  Schumer is the leader of the Corporate wing of the Democratic Party who wants what's best for Corporations, not the people.  He is willing to go against the leader of his own party in support of the zealots of Israel.  He is a dangerous man and if we are not careful, will soon be the leader of the Senate Democrats.  

    Elizabeth Warren 2016!

    by windwardguy46 on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:23:01 PM PST

    •  windw - financial institutions cannot (0+ / 0-)

      make campaign contributions. No corporation can contribute to the campaign for any candidate for federal office. The Tillman Act of 1907 is still in full force and effect. What nearly everyone does here at DKOS in their comments and diaries is to pick up data on the employers of individuals who make campaign contributions or contributions from PACs (which are also funded by individuals and not corporations).  Post Citizens United what corporations can do is fund independent expenditures. Is the $2.5 million referenced in your comment independent expenditures on behalf of Senator Schumer, or contributions from individual employees of financial institutions?

      In the future when you make such references you should be clear about when actual corporate funds are used (those funds cannot be contributions directly to a campaign) and when someone has aggregated a group of individual contributions based on the employers of those contributors.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:51:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Via many tentacles, money is certainly flowing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, goodpractice

        from business interests into political interests.

        What was Citizens United all about?   At any rate, business pays lobbyists, lobbyists exert pressure, politicians need money and request it at their fundraisers, often for their personal or charity interests and the money flows and flows and flows.

        As you know, "independent expenditures" are only independent to the extent that there is zero coordination when we know in several cases coordination occurred, OR the matching of the "independent expenditures" was so tailored "independently" as to exactly reinforce candidates' messages about their own campaigns, using the same themes and issues.  In that case, there was no direct coordination, but anyone seeing what the candidate represented could readily tailor their "independent spending" to align very well with the candidate.

        It is disingenuous to pretend that zero corporate dollars influence political decisions when the amounts actually influencing politics are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, per year.  All that money definitely does influence politics and there's just no way around it.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 05:30:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  YM - my point is very simple (0+ / 0-)

          If anyone writing on DKOS states that Citbank made a campaign contribution to a candidate for federal office that is a false statement, it's illegal.  I just want people here to be clear and state when corporations make political expenditures and when employees of corporations make campaign contributions.

          I couldn't agree more that corporations have tremendous political influence. I just want people to write in a factual manner. It doesn't help that the websites who track campaign contributions and spending try very hard to blur the difference between corporate cash spent for political purposes and employee contributions.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 07:07:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It may not be legal yet but there are already (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YucatanMan

            a few court cases that if they go the right way would make it perfectly legal for Shittibank to make a direct campaign contribution of say, ten million directly to a federal candidate.  From there it is only one step away to getting a ruling that a person or corporation has the right to express what they expect in exchange (as in "i gave you 10 million for your campaign, now I want you to do this for me") and two steps away from actually making such a bribery contract legally binding.

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 07:12:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Throw The Bums Out - what cases are those? (0+ / 0-)

              I would be very interested in following those cases because campaign finance is an area of intense interest to me.

              What I have found is that the diaries on campaign finance, with the notable exception of Adam B who is a real expert, tend to be advocacy rather than analysis. Therefore they never have all the actual facts of the case or a real legal analysis of the issues in the case. Unfortunately, the DKOS diaries on this topic often provide information that isn't factually correct, due I think to lack of knowledge not an intentional intent to misinform.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:51:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Treason (10+ / 0-)

    To try to interfere with on-going negotiations between the US and Iran is treason.  Schumer needs to pay a price as well as Menendez.  Sad that Maddow leads the US in calling this out.  They are paid and their corruption should also be called out.  The worst is their setting up a war.  We need a leader in Congress to make this a big deal.  Israel should not be making US foreign policy.  American people said not to bomb Syria.  They need to say no to going back to sanctions when negotiations are on-going.  Easy to return to sanctions IF they fail.  Also a slick move to try this in the dark right before the holidays.

    •  Lil - it's not treason (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emelyn

      for two reasons. It does not fit the definition of treason (you can look it up, it's in the Constitution). And members of Congress have very broad immunity for their actions as legislators. Imposing additional sanctions on Iran is a legislative act, and therefore cannot be a crime.

      Try again.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:54:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Technically that may be true. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, LillithMc

        But what else does one call and American, especially an elected America who caters to the wishes of a foreign country against the leadership of the CIC and and against the interests of his own nation and the desires of the majority of the voting public?

        What is a name for that kind of rat fink?

      •  It may not be treason, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, OleHippieChick

        the dem senators are traitors to the party, in attempting to sabotage an important diplomatic effort by the head of their party, the President of the United States of America.

        The DNC should pull their funding. H/t Juan Cole.

        If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

        by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 05:49:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Of Course they do (0+ / 0-)
        And members of Congress have very broad immunity for their actions as legislators.
        And they are highly skilled at using this immunity even against the good of the very citizenry that, as one might put it, they require to give them their monthly windfall checks.

        Do we send politicians to office to do what "they believe in" to do what "their feigned conscious" demands? Is that okay with us?

        We need the right to vote and to vote often. We need amendments that require each representative to receive the vote of the citizens of their own districts or states and be bound to vote this way.

        Of course it would need to include a law that single item bills must be provided the people to review and research, including the method of appropriations.

        How else do we have a voice in the evolution of our society? The concept we accept living in a system designed back when we had no ability to interact and travel.. Is astounding to me.

      •  Sanctions (0+ / 0-)

        The removal of sanctions are the reason Iran is allowing all the people into the country to confirm what they are doing.  If Congress tries to reverse this, Obama has said he would veto the bill.  Perhaps it is not the letter of the Constitution and treason, but the intent, especially from Democrats, is truly nasty and deserves a big blast back at them.  Especially when it looks like Israel trying to start a war.

    •  Anyone have any idea how (7+ / 0-)

      Bad these sanctions are for the people in Iran?  
      Life daving meds such as chemo and others are not available. Thousands are dying. US citizens should think how it would affect our people if another country did that to us.
      The elite would not be harmed, as the elites in Iran are not.
      Iraqi sanctions killed over 500,000 kids.
      Albright thought it was worth it.
      Israel should not get to dictate US policy and we should quit giving them our $3 billion a year that goes for weapons.
      Not while Congress says we need to gut safety programs for our citizens.

      SORRY FOR THE TYPOS. Ziggy fingers on an Ipad :)

      by snoopydawg on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 03:59:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amen and again (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snoopydawg, goodpractice

        Amen

        So it should be written.

        Israel is not defenseless any more.  They drain huge amounts of wealth and materiels from this country, and keep us in a constant state of war protecting them, and our oil interests.

        It's enough already let them fight their own wars if that's what they want to do, or better yet pay us back some of what we have given them.

        •  Not so much OUR (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          goodpractice

          Oil and other interests. Corporations are global now, and you are correct. Let them hire and pay for their military protection, not use our soilders and our taxes to pay for THEIR invasions.
          Too many believe our soilders are fighting for our freedoms or to keep us safe.
          No country would dare to invade the US, so bring our troops home and close the 1000 bases.
          Besides, since the GWOT started we have lost most of our freedoms anyway.
          1st, 3rd, 4th, Haebeus Corpus, ect.

          SORRY FOR THE TYPOS. Ziggy fingers on an Ipad :)

          by snoopydawg on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 06:35:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  "Israel should not be making US foreign policy." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilywascal

      And any elected leader who allow it to is a traitor to this country.

  •  Yes, there is something weird about all this (18+ / 0-)

    I emailed Schumer, Menendez and Blumenthal even though, as a non-resident of those states, I don't expect them to read it much less reply.

    But my question was why the objection to a 6-month trial period without the threat of more sanctions?  If, as Obama said, they can just reinstitute the sanctions (or enact more) if it's believed Iran does not comply, why not put the sanctions rhetoric aside until then?

    I think what's more telling is that the bill contains non-binding language essentially committing the US to military and economic support to the Government of Israel in its "defense of its territory, people, and existence." Since I think we're already sort of committed to that notion anyway, the fact that they felt the need to include this tells me Israel is planning to attack Iran...in self defense, of course.

    •  I am happy you emailed them nonetheless, their (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, joynow, elwior, LillithMc

      arguments are thoroughly illogical and efforts utterly transparent. It is disgraceful.

      •  And the truth is, we'll all be impacted (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, LillithMc, OleHippieChick

        whether we are constituents or not.  If, as Rachel suggests, such a bill passing would guarantee a war with Iran, it is the country that goes to war, not just New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.   I tried to mention that in my emails...and remind them that the majority of Americans voiced disapproval about intervention in Syria a mere 4 months ago. I'm not sure they would feel that differently about war with Iran, especially if the justification for any military actions Israel may take are questionable.

  •  Hi Ned, that was a great segment... (11+ / 0-)

    on Rachel's show.  I totally agree that a vote for such a sanction's bill would be a vote to go to war with Iran, and the American people are firmly against that.  I don't think such a bill will be brought up by Reid, the White House will see to that.  

    "Really nice, but also very serious about his job." Jackie Evancho on President Obama 6/7/12

    by BarackStarObama on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:19:50 PM PST

  •  This is bipartisanship from hell (10+ / 0-)

    Defying Obama, 26 Senators Push New Iran Sanctions

    The bill, sponsored by 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans, sets sanctions that would go into effect if Tehran violates the nuclear deal it reached with world powers last month or lets the agreement expire without a long-term accord. The measures include a global boycott on Iranian oil exports within one year and the blacklisting of Iran's mining, engineering and construction industries.
    And war with Iran will be hell.  It will make Iraq and Afghanistan look like a pic-nic.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:47:18 PM PST

    •  It would be horrific. The interesting thing in (6+ / 0-)

      all of this too is the fact that if these people continue with their undermining attempt, they'll find that we won't have any allies in the world to enforce even existing sanctions.

      •  So sad as well. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NedSparks, Shockwave, LillithMc

        TV-watching American don't realize that many Iranians don't like their Islamic extremist governments. Millions protested Imadinnerjacket's regime in 2009 and hundreds were shot.

        I've read travelogues about Iran. The American writers were welcomed and ate sumptious meals and learned about Rumi and Sufi dancing.

        I'm not saying it's paradise. I'm just saying many regular Iranians are willing to forgive us for killing 290 civilians (including 66 children) by mistake. http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Reaganomics noun pl: blind faith that unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources. Synonyms: trickle-down; voodoo economics. Antonyms: common sense. Related Words: Laffer curve.

        by FrY10cK on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 03:57:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's a twist to the unkonwn (to Americans) (4+ / 0-)

          shooting down of a civilian Airliner operating within Iranian airspace on 3 July 1988. It was destroyed by the USS Vincennes which entered Iranian terretorial waters before wrongly identifying the airliner as

          a Grumman F-14 Tomcat that the U.S. manufactured and sold to Iran.
          I'm a yankee from NH and a USAF vet. I'm not pro-Iran. I'm ant-dumbshit.

          Reaganomics noun pl: blind faith that unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources. Synonyms: trickle-down; voodoo economics. Antonyms: common sense. Related Words: Laffer curve.

          by FrY10cK on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:09:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are they willing to forgive us for the Shah? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            goodpractice, FrY10cK

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            Shortly prior to the 1952 presidential election in the US, the British government invited CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. to London to propose collaboration on a secret plan to force Mosaddegh from office.[8] This would be the first of three "regime change" operations led by Allen Dulles (the other two being the successful CIA-instigated 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état and the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba).
            Under the direction of Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., a senior Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer and grandson of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, the American CIA and British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) funded and led a covert operation to depose Mosaddegh with the help of military forces disloyal to the democratically elected government. Referred to as Operation Ajax,[9] the plot hinged on orders signed by Mohammad Reza to dismiss Mosaddegh as prime minister and replace him with General Fazlollah Zahedi – a choice agreed on by the British and Americans.

            Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

            by Shockwave on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 06:43:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Americans don't forget 9/11 (0+ / 0-)

              But they often conveniently forget or overlook the atrocities we have perpetrated upon others. This is a classic example of what America likes to call supporting democracy.

              Mosaddegh's overthrow was because he had the temerity to nationalize their oil resources after Great Britain's Anglo-Iranian Oil Company refused to provide equitable compensation for Iran's oil. Iran was asking for the profits to be split, which Aramco had done for Saudi Arabia, as they could not meet their obligations or provide for their citizens under the existing arrangement. This was also done to limit British meddling in Iranian affairs. Mosaddegh enjoyed strong support and was a staunch proponent for democracy and needed reforms. He worked to limit the power of the monarchy.

              Despite being opposed to socialism, the Iranian communist party supported him, and this was the lever Churchill was finally able to use to convince the Americans to overthrow him after Eisenhower was elected. Prior to that, British refusal to bargain in good faith during mediation attempts sparked U.S. SoS Dean Acheson to remark they were, "destructive, and determined on a rule-or-ruin policy in Iran."

              Most Americans fail to fully appreciate the legitimate basis for Iranian distrust of--and animosity toward--the U.S. We don't grasp that were it not for our own misguided actions, Iran may well have long been a secular democracy and trusted friend in the region. Currently, instead of advancing our interests by acknowledging and apologizing for our transgressions, we see AIPAC, the MIC, and Big Oil once again seeking to underwrite our foreign policy.

    •  As enumerated above the people who suffer from the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, LillithMc

      sanctions are the civilians.  Not only is that unjust, but it will be several generations before they forgive the US for what we have done to them.

      As as  matter of logistics, making war against a country half a world away and land locked will be both terribly expensive, and since it would most likely be fought by bombing and use of missiles and drones, horribly murderous of the civilian population.

      Would we expect to have troops occupy Iran after our Blitzkrieg?  If not the same religious leadership would still be there

      This is insane,  Truly, seriously insane.

      We just lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ruined our alliance with Pakistan.  And we want to nuke Iran.

      Menendez et al are truly seriously dangerously insane.

  •  This tidbit about Israel is real interesting (11+ / 0-)

    in that bill.

    If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence;
    So we are going to let Israel, who has a fabulous track record of "legitimate self-defense", lead us into another war? At their choosing?

    Knowing Israel, they will make a preventive strike and howl it was pre-emptive.

    And to yet another war we will be required to march.

    This is not about Republicans trying to undermine President Obama, this about to whose flag these senators salute when ordered.

    Contrary to popular belief, zombies are quite intelligent and excel in anagrams.

    by Patience John on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:59:25 PM PST

    •  This is a pretty important step, as Steve Clemmens (6+ / 0-)

      said on the program, which is worth repeating here:

      This is a Nixon goes to China moment and it would be like the US Senate handicapping and kind of cutting the legs out from underneath Richard Nixon in normalizing  China. That’s how big this is.
    •  My guess is that should that happen Tehran (0+ / 0-)

      will end up getting nuked as a way to end the war on the cheap by "breaking their will to continue fighting".  After all, if Iran manages to effectively close the Straits what else could we do?

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:56:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  someone enlighten me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, NedSparks, OleHippieChick

      Where in the US constitution does it require this?  I'm no constitutional scholar so I'm curious.

      "the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence;"
      •  Well, Congress has the power to declare war. (0+ / 0-)

        So I assume that was what they meant.

      •  There is a Constitutional requirement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patience John

        to honor our treaties, although that has not always been done.

        Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, establishes the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, and U.S. Treaties as "the supreme law of the land." The text provides that these are the highest form of law in the U.S. legal system, and mandates that all state judges must follow federal law when a conflict arises between federal law and either the state constitution or state law of any state.

        Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution grants power to the President to make treaties with the "advice and consent" of two-thirds of the Senate.

        American law is that international accords become part of the body of U.S. federal law. As a result, Congress can modify or repeal treaties by subsequent legislative action, even if this amounts to a violation of the treaty under international law.

        However, there is no treaty between the U.S. and Israel that compels the U.S. to come to its defense. So, I think this is kind of a clever but disingenuous attempt to fool U.S. citizens into thinking this is our obligation. It can be defended as they are referring to the Constitutional duty of Congress to declare war, as pointed out just above, and are just using the technical terms, but I think the intent is clearly to deceive.
    •  "This is not about Republicans trying to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Patience John, wilywascal

      undermine President Obama, this about to whose flag these senators salute when ordered."

      Republicans and turn coat Democrats.

    •  Utterly amazing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Patience John

      Or.. Shocky, rather the brash open admittance of who they serve.  They ask another country how to vote, how to design the bill and ignore fully the harm to their people, their country, their own responsibility?

      Is this a breaking of the oath they pledge when take office?

  •  The whole reason I became politically active (14+ / 0-)

    was all the bullshit surrounding the Iraq war. I'm from New Jersey and I will not vote for Menendez if he insists on pushing this bill through.

    Everyone should remember that Menendez was a Syria hawk as well.

    That quote about GDP by Robert Kennedy

    by erichiro on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:59:42 PM PST

  •  Or a permanent Cold War, where we fight thru (0+ / 0-)

    Proxies or on third party turf.

    If Hobby Lobby is against contraception, why does it buy its inventory from China, the country that limits the number of children by law?

    by Inland on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:09:44 PM PST

  •  Not only is new sanctions at this time just (6+ / 0-)

    dumb,  Menendez is interfering in an area that is solely under the provenance of the Commander in Chief/head of the Executive Dept. - foreign relations.

    It is just common sense that when a country speaks to another country it speaks with one voice.  And that is the POTUS.

    Hopefully some of the more powerful Dems will sit on him and stuff a dirty sock in his mouth.

  •  Schumer!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, roadbear, wilywascal

    Strikes again.  What isn't to love about my Senator?  

    He loves war and wall street.  No room for the rest of us in his big heart.  

    Where is the great progressive Senator Gillibrand on this issue?   I'm kidding.  She loves war and walls street, too!

    It's great living in a blue state and being represented by democratic senators.

  •  How many lives will be forfeit if Menendez and (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onemadson, NedSparks, elwior, LillithMc

    Schumer and their buddies get their way? They want war, it's as simple as that.

    "Let's stay together"--Rev. Al Green and President Obama

    by collardgreens on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:52:36 PM PST

    •  Well, Tehran has a population of 7.8 million (as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LillithMc

      of 2006) and you can bet your ass that Tehran would be obliterated the minute it looks like Iran might put up a halfway decent (i.e. expensive) fight.  If you don't think it would go that far what do you think would happen once gas jumps to $10-$15 a gallon (or 3-5 times it's normal price, for those of you outside the USA) and stays there?

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:59:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Drill baby drill? (0+ / 0-)

        This is not the 1990s.

        If the price of gas looks like it will jump you will see all the tar sands and oil shale projects getting approved and built lickety split.

        That's a lot simpler than nuking Tehran.

        •  And how long would it take to build those (0+ / 0-)

          tar sands and oil shale projects?  Too long to prevent millions of people from dying of starvation because the trains and trucks can't afford to get food to the grocery stores.  The food riots alone would force drastic action.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 06:46:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can you tell me where you scored the crack (0+ / 0-)

            you must be smoking?

            Gas in Europe is that expensive, but people are not starving in the streets.

            It does not take very long to build these projects if they are national priorities and we tell the EPA to stick it's collective head up its collective butt.

            •  Most of that is due to taxes and I have a feeling (0+ / 0-)

              that trains and probably even commercial truckers don't pay the full tax amount.  I know farmers in Europe don't have to pay $10-15 a gallon for diesel fuel for their tractors.  Otherwise a gallon of milk would cost $10 or so just because of the cost to transport it to the stores.

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 07:36:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  A truck pulling a 40 foot container can (0+ / 0-)

                bring about 4000 gallons of milk to a store.

                The gas costs are quite high, but that money is being amortized over a lot of product.

                Farmers are exempt from fuel taxes in the US if their equipment does not run on public roads because US gas taxes are supposedly for road upkeep.

                I have no idea what the rules are in Europe for farmers.  I guarantee to you, however, that commercial truckers pay full freight.

                •  In Europe farmers get a huge discount and I would (0+ / 0-)

                  be willing to bet that trains do as well.  But if you seriously think a tripling of gas prices won't have a major impact on food prices, especially in the US where shipping distances are much longer, then I just don't know what to say.  Besides, commercial truckers here are operating on such razor thin margins that many of them couldn't afford to keep running at all.  So it could very well lead to starvation deaths, especially for those people who rely on food stamps or other extremely limited fixed incomes and are barely getting by as it is now.

                  You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                  by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 02:49:37 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't think you understand economics (0+ / 0-)
                    Besides, commercial truckers here are operating on such razor thin margins that many of them couldn't afford to keep running at all.
                    Since an increase in the cost of gasoline would impact all truckers equally all that would happen is that logistics costs would increase.

                    There would be a small decrease in demand due to the increase in cost, but it would be unlikely to make much difference since logistics is a pretty price insensitive good.

                    But if you seriously think a tripling of gas prices won't have a major impact on food prices, especially in the US where shipping distances are much longer, then I just don't know what to say.
                    See http://www.answers.com/....
                    Raw commodities (farm value), labor, and packaging comprise 67 percent of the cost of food. The rest of the costs are in transportation, advertising, rent, profits, energy, business taxes, depreciation, interest payments, miscellaneous costs, and repairs.
                    As you can see, transportation is just one piece of 33% and energy costs are just one piece of transportation costs.

                    So no, tripling the price of gasoline would certainly increase food costs, but not dramatically.

                    So it could very well lead to starvation deaths, especially for those people who rely on food stamps or other extremely limited fixed incomes and are barely getting by as it is now.
                    That would be a policy decision.  Right now, we choose not to let people starve in the US.  Personally, I believe that we will keep that consensus even if costs of food increase.  Apparently you disagree.
    •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

      They want to be SEEN as wanting war, to convince their AIPAC-manipulated voters that they've not "gone wobbly". It's all optics, but with possibly tragic consequences. How many Dems who voted for the Iraq war actually thought it would happen? At the time, lots of people thought Bush was bluffing.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 06:16:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  leslie stahl is on 60 minutes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, LillithMc, OleHippieChick

    right now, making the case for why Iran must be stopped and removing sanctions is a mistake.  

    Not that anyone should be surprised by that.

    If you can, watch her face as she talks about this.  I think Leslie would push the button to nuke Iran if she had the chance.

  •  Harry Reid file a Rule 14 on Friday, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, roadbear

    which begins the process of bringing this bill to the floor without going through committees. You'll notice that all the dems who signed the letter against this bill were committee heads.

    http://www.reuters.com/...

    If reality clashes with your belief, then the problem clearly is reality.--God

    by Flyswatterbanjo on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 05:28:12 PM PST

  •  I agree with Maddow (5+ / 0-)

    Rachel has guts and she is clear and understandable.

    I really feel pleased that she is out there asking real questions.

    The end of year Press Conference made me think the White House Press Corps are just a bunch of hacks.  They seemed to be trying to look for some way to discredit the President, not for information that would help the public understand anything.

    Rachel is the opposite.  She is always asking good questions, always speaking clearly to the people who watch her.  

  •  Of all years, he has to pick this year to skip (0+ / 0-)

    his annual holiday joint to the Dominican Republic.  

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 05:35:09 PM PST

  •  A difficult discussion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NedSparks, bluedust

    About a year ago an online contact who contributed much to this community posted a series of comments about Israeli right wing influence in politics. Everyone in the discussion was banned.

    This is a very important time to have open discussion of this topic. There should be NO foreign influence in the discussion of how best to pursue peace and American values in our international policies.

    I hope that we can can identify and discuss the influences in this very important area without threats from any side.

  •  Menendez (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NedSparks

    and the others supporting this bill are full of shit.

    Having said that, let's not start panicking yet.  President Obama has already said he'd veto it.

    If they have enough votes to override, then we can worry.  Otherwise, even if this passes both houses of Congress, there's no way it goes into effect.

  •  The cowardice of Democratic senators from states (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NedSparks, roadbear, goodpractice

    with significant numbers of politically conservative Jewish swing voters is so OBVIOUS, and so disappointing, in this matter. Yet, how many times has coming at an issue from the right worked for Dems, politically?

    Can anyone here count to zero?

    Disclaimer: as many here know, I'm Jewish, and originally from Israel, so please, no silly accusations of anti-semitism (let alone Jewish self-loathing). It's SOOOOOOOOO boring and annoying.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 06:13:03 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the dairy. (0+ / 0-)

    I found that your first link to the Statement By The President On First Step Agreement On Iran's Nuclear Program is not working. The letter "m" seems to be missing off the word "program" in your link. This link should work OK.

    Here is a link to what Iran and E3+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, UK and USA) agreed on in the Joint Plan of Action of 24 November 2013.

    I notice that the Joint Plan of Action states...

    Iran would undertake the following voluntary measures:

    Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months.

    ...this is a bit different from what Rachel Maddow stated...
    The talks so far has lead to progress. They have stopped enrichment already.
    ...I believe Rachel would have been more accurate if she had stated that enrichment to 5% for nuclear power plant use continues, but enrichment to a level of 20% for the Tehran Research Reactor has stopped.

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