Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Liberal Democrats Urge US Congress to Hold Off on Tougher Iran Sanctions

In a letter obtained by The Cable, Reps. Jim McDermott, John Conyers, Keith Ellison and Jim McGovern urge the House leadership to delay the vote on the bill which they fear could jeopardize the Obama administration’s renewed effort to engage Iran’s newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani on the country’s nuclear program.
The dispute highlights the wide gulf on Iran policy between Congress and the White House. On the one side, you have the Obama administrationeasing sanctionson Iran last week and planning to engage with Rouhani, a relative moderate, on the nuclear issue in September. On the other side, the Republican-controlled House wants to squeeze Iran’s oil exports to a trickle in a billexpectedto pass with ease. That bill could then move to the Senate Banking Committee in September.
"We believe that it would be counterproductive and irresponsible to vote on this measure before Iran’s new president is inaugurated on August 4, 2013," reads the letter. “A diplomatic solution remains the best possible means for ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, and the House of Representatives should not preempt a potential opportunity to secure such an outcome with another sanctions bill."
Jim McDermott:
In September 2002 McDermott  traveled to Baghdad along with fellow Progressive Caucus member David Bonior and Rep. Mike Thompson. The three lawmakers embraced Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and created propaganda in his behalf, publicly expressing doubt about the Bush administration’s claims that Saddam’s regime had manufactured and stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. Interviewed upon his return to the United States by George Stephanopoulos on ABC, McDermott declared that President George W. Bush was “trying to provoke a war.” McDermott then told the startled Stephanopoulos that he found Saddam more credible than Bush: “I think you have to take the Iraqis on their value — at their face value [but] I think the President would mislead the American people.

When that interview was conducted, it was generally believed that the $5,510 travel expenses of McDermott’s trip to Baghdad had been paid entirely by the nonprofit organization Life for Relief and Development (LRD), an organization that regularly shipped food and medicine to Iraq. One of LRD’s financial supporters was Detroit-area Iraqi-American businessman Shakir al-Khafaji, who, according to an April 2004 investigation published by the Seattle Times, had received “lucrative vouchers for Iraqi oil from Saddam’s government."
John Conyers:
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) banged a large wooden gavel and got the other lawmakers to call him “Mr. Chairman." He liked that so much that he started calling himself “the chairman" and spouted other chairmanly phrases, such as “unanimous consent" and “without objection so ordered." The dress-up game looked realistic enough on C-SPAN, so two dozen more Democrats came downstairs to play along.
The session was a mock impeachment inquiry over the Iraq war. As luck would have it, all four of the witnesses agreed that President Bush lied to the nation and was guilty of high crimes — and that a British memo on “fixed" intelligence that surfaced last month was the smoking gun equivalent to the Watergate tapes. Conyers was having so much fun that he ignored aides’ entreaties to end the session.The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration “neocons" so “the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world." He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation," McGovern said. “The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic."Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who prompted the question by wondering whether the true war motive was Iraq’s threat to Israel, thanked McGovern for his “candid answer."
At Democratic headquarters, where an overflow crowd watched the hearing on television, activists handed out documents repeating two accusations — that an Israeli company had warning of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that there was an “insider trading scam" on 9/11 — that previously has been used to suggest Israel was behind the attacks.
Keith Ellison:
  • Supported Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam
  • Says that Farrakhan “is a role model for black youth,” “is not an anti-Semite,” and “is a sincere, tireless, and uncompromising advocate of the black community and other oppressed people around the world”
  • Spoke favorably of the high-profile murderers and leftist icons Mumia Abu Jamal, Assata Shakur, and Geronimo Pratt
As a third-year law student in 1989-90, Ellison penned two columns for the Minnesota Daily under the name “Keith Hakim.” In the first piece, he made respectful reference to “MinisterLouis Farrakhan,” defended the incendiary Nation of Islam (NOI) spokesman and black supremacist Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and, as The Weekly Standard reports, spoke “in the voice of a Nation of Islam advocate.” In the second piece, Ellison demanded reparations for slavery and said that African Americans should be offered the option of settling in an all-black, geographically self-contained “homeland” if they wished to do so. In February 1990, Ellisonparticipated in sponsoring Kwame Ture (a.k.a. Stokely Carmichael) to speak at his law school on the subject, “Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy, or Both?”—a speech that proved to be deeply anti-Semitic.
But look everyone likes a good local nuclear war.

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