Thursday, July 16, 2015

Iran Deal now on its way....pause for a lift of spirits, at least on this front. + Open Thread

From a "The Week That Was" post 0n 4 April this year:
And FINALLY...some good news!

Though the deal will not be sealed until later this year, a framework agreement, relating to Iran's nuclear program, was announced in Switzerland on Thursday. Agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the USA, plus Germany). It could be indication of better days ahead unless, of course, opponents manage to derail the agreement. Nothing is ever certain, but there is now at least room for hope. See HERE.

Things have now been moved further down the road to a "done deal" (see HERE). The agreement reached by P5+1 and Iran has still to be passed by the UN and, in September, by the US congress. Hmm - a possible bump in the road there, eh? How bloody ridiculous can the GOP make themselves on this? Dang!!

As someone pointed out among commentary I read yesterday, the congress vote in September is very important, but even more important still, on the Iran question (and on many others), is who'll be in charge after the 2016 general election.

Ye gods ! ~ Just when I was trying to feel uplifted, here comes more embarrassment for those of us living in OK who claim at least partial sanity:

Protesters Fly Confederate Flags To Greet Obama In Oklahoma
"You know, this flag's not racist. And I know a lot of people think it is, but it's really not."

And today - THIS!! Hellfire!!


mike said...

You ask, "How bloody ridiculous can the GOP make themselves on this?". I'd say they can make themselves look extremely ridiculous! The GOP has taken victimhood to new heights. I marvel at the religious freedom and family values they are so desperately clutching, protecting from all of us unctuous, liberal thieves. And, yes, the confederate flag is just one more assault upon their humble, benign ancestry.

"I know you are, but what am I?" Pee Wee

JD said...

Two links for you-

This from Peter Oborne a couple of days ago:

This second link is from November 2014:

Twilight said...

mike ~ It's like being down the rabbit hole with Alice ! ;-/ Maybe we are!

Twilight said...

JD ~ Thank you - good articles! I haven't forgiven Prez. Obama for his horrible drone programme, but he has earned some brownie points during the past few months - no getting away from that!

LB said...

Twilight ~ Much as I wish the nuclear deal was good news, I'm not so sure. In politics and within our government, things are rarely what they seem . . . which makes it hard to understand the machinations behind the nuclear deal with Iran. Who knows what it really means or if it's even intended to pass. Or, if it does pass, how it will actually play out in terms of exploiting others in order to further our own interests. Is the objective *really* peace, or something else? I've tried to read up on the deal but only ended up more confused. I don't know.

I do know it at least makes the Prez (and fellow Democrats who support the deal) *appear* to be motivated by something altogether different than their record suggests (drones being just one example) and as elections draw near, helps to perpetuate the ongoing illusion of one party (in this case, the Democrats) being morally or intellectually superior to the other. In reality the difference between the two parties is often negligible.

Judging by the responses left here and elsewhere, the issue of the confederate flag (while completely legitimate ~ it belongs in a museum, not flown above public spaces) ends up serving the same purpose.

Related to this, did you happen to read (or listen to) the interview Chris Hedges gave on Ralph Nader's show a few days ago? It was interesting and IMO, very insightful. He talked about Bernie Sanders and his decision to run as a Democrat, among other things. While I don't always agree with Chris, in this case I found his points to be valid ones, though I understand you'll likely disagree. Here's a link to the article on CounterPunch:

While I doubt very much if I'll be voting for Bernie, I'm not actively trying to discourage anyone else from voting for him. I also remain uncertain about the Iran deal and what it really means (for Iran and others).

As other commenters on other sites have pointed out, why is the US the moral authority when it comes to nuclear weaponry or anything else? I'm wary of the motivations behind the deal.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I think I understand how you feel - we have become suspicious of just about everything, due to having been let down and lied to so many times. This Iran deal was not just Obama's doing though, it was hammered out by the P5+1 and Iran. Obama was just one cog in the wheel, so I'm inclined to think more on the positive side about it.

Re confederate flag - I'm not really qualified to talk about it because it means little or nothing to me, being a relative newcomer. But I do feel what some OK people are doing is very disrespectful of the President, whether these people agree with him or not.

This state only became a state in November of 1907, and isn't a true "southern state" anyway, it was Indian Territory. The confederate flag isn't part of its history - as far as I can tell - but even if it were, it would still be ignorant and disrespectful of these people to do what they are doing, more especially because of the president's own ethnicity.
Bad manners do not impress me much!

I will read the article you've suggested, thanks - if I haven't seen it already - can't recall, but I think I might have at least read snips from it somewhere.

I shall remain a Bernie Sanders supporter though, I've made my choice now. :-)

anyjazz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anyjazz said...

I wonder why these people claim that the confederate flag has something to do with their "heritage." Oklahoma was not a part of the confederacy; it was not even a state in 1861-1865. It was still "Indian Territory" during the American Civil War so; maybe these flag wavers all have an Indian Heritage? But, then the Indians basically cared nothing about the confederate flag or whatever it stood for. They had their own problems.

It does seem that what many of the right-wing flag wavers are saying is "My rights are more important than your rights."

And I have always found it odd that they can find something in the Bible that backs whatever behavior they have selected, even if it contradicts the basic principles of the Christian religion. “Love thy neighbor as thyself … except for those two and that bunch over there, and a few I read about.”

And our GOP is aligning themselves with these people; fostering their behavior, in fact. They have little interest in the common man except to dupe them into voting republican.

They would privatize or eliminate all programs that have the word “public” in them; public library, public park, public transportation. They say this will lower taxes. In reality, “taxes” will become “fees” for books, permits, road usage. Regulated taxes will become unregulated fees.

And my own feeling is that a republican president in the next term would be a giant step toward a corporate government. It will be the senator from Monsanto, and representatives from DuPont, and the Exxon Supreme Court. The boxes around special interest groups, lobbyists and lawmakers will become almost indiscernible.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ Thanks aj - always happy to have your observations. You have far more experience than I do of the vagaries and shenanigans of the GOP in Oklahoma - and elsewhere.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Sorry if my comment wasn't clear. I agree about the confederate flag. It's a symbol of enslavement, racism, exploitation and cruelty.

But you already know how I feel about slavery and exploitation. We may have made slavery illegal here in the US but it still exists, here and throughout the world. Humans continue to enslave and exploit the most vulnerable among us for profit or pleasure.

Our government and its leaders (both Democrats *and* Republicans) are complicit, as are the majority of individual citizens (myself included), whether we know it, like it or want to admit it.

Capitalism (and Free Trade) thrived and thrives on the backs of exploited and enslaved people:

It still does, even if we don't see it. Pick something you own, use or consume on a regular basis: those cotton sheets you sleep on, that fruit or those veggies you eat to stay healthy, the spices that flavor your food, the coffee you drink each morning, the clothes you wear, the TV, computer or cell phone you depend on, etc., etc.

With most things, some form of neglect, abuse, exploitation or slavery was involved. Sometimes it involves indigenous peoples, sometimes migrant workers or human trafficking victims brought in across borders. Sometimes it involves the environment.

Then too, both parties, Democrat and Republican, continue to profit from the Military-Industrial Complex ~ what Chris Hedges has referred to as the "The Dead Rhetoric of War":

It's relatively easy to talk about symbols and politics, much harder to walk the talk by making an effort to create a more just world. To that end, I'm trying to get in the habit of asking myself "What can I *do*?", without forcing myself to make lesser-of-two-evil choices if I'm uncertain or don't have to.

Bob said...

Ultimately for each, everything, along with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Common Sense Test - 90% fail

Bernie's Burlington: What Kind of Mayor Was Bernie Sanders?

Getting to Know Jane Sanders, Wife of Bernie

Bob said...

Not bad for 70. A tour sometime before May 5 2009.

Bob said...

How about 92?

A clip from "Moments to Remember", broadcast on PBS March 4, 2006. Recorded in October of 2005.

Bob said...

Same material - different results for beholders.

Frankie Laine - Granada

Luciano Pavarotti sings "Granada"

mike (again) said...

Re - Chris Hedges' article in CounterPunch. I think it was a very wise move on Sanders' part to play the Democratic party, as he's a dead dog had he not. Chris Hedges is providing the "sell out" rhetoric. This is probably Sanders last chance to run for president, so should he align with the socialist party and assure he's not elected, or switch to Democratic? Same message and same Bernie, but running as a Democrat will include him in the debates and the process...the socialist Bernie will not.

Hedges' paragraph:
"'The lie of omission is still a lie,' Hedges said. 'Bernie’s decision to play the game within the Democratic Party and in essence lend credibility to the party and lend credibility to Hillary Clinton is very destructive. A liberal feeding frenzy within the Democratic Party would see a rise of an actual liberal establishment within the party – I’m not sure one exists any more — that challenged the Party for selling out working men and women.'”

I can understand that Bernie's running Democratic may uplift that party, but certainly not "lend more credibility to Hillary Clinton". I think the whole point of Bernie's Democratic run is to reform that party and provide "an actual liberal establishment within the party". If he wins, it will change the party, guaranteed.

I have to appreciate Hedges' asking Bernie why he is running as a Democrat and Bernie told Hedges that he didn't want to end-up like Nader. That sums it.

Bob said...

Escape the heat! Watch Doctor Zhivago.

LB said...

For a look at Bernie's record coming from a slightly different perspective, here's the link to an article on the World Socialist Web Site:

It seems fair enough in that it includes many of the same (complimentary) details found in the Huffington Post link Bob provided, about what a great mayor Bernie was. It also includes some other details which help to paint a more complete picture.

Like I said before, I'm not trying to discourage anyone from voting for Bernie. He is who he is. I just think it's important to make the most informed decision possible.

Twilight said...

LB, Bob, mike ~ I shall read your latest input carefully in the morning along with any links provided. Have just been watching a long movie on Netflix: "There Will Be Blood" and it has left a nasty taste in my mouth! Tomorrow's another day - as they say. :-)

Bob said...

Some signs of the times. What will the next President face - and what is in store for the current one?

Twilight said...

LB and Bob ~ Thank you for the Bernie Sanders links. I've read them now. I like the sound of Jane Sanders! The piece from the Socialist website was, I thought, unduly nasty in places. Sour grapes and all that! Sanders doesn't present himself as a Socialist proper, he describes himself as a Democratic Socialist - different animal entirely. If he once described himself as Socialist - that's not relevant now.

As for the pro-military points - yes, I've said before this is a mark against him, but there will never be a candidate for the presidency for whom ALL boxes can be ticked. We have to work with what we've got. Who else is there that comes within miles of Sanders? The Green Party just cannot get off the ground, much as I'd like to support them, there's no point because they cannot get on the ballot in Oklahoma (and several other states) - here we get to choose between R or D, full stop, due to OK's stringent ballot requirements.

Dennis Kucinich was my first choice in the run up to the 2008 election, and he'd still be, if running alongside Bernie - between them they'd be my ideal. But that's in cloud cuckoo land - ideals don't exist.

Re Bob's last link - hmmm. I think that's going way too far on the negative side - stirring up fear. I've seen similar articles before, often encouraging people to buy gold or whatever - or become survivalist. Interesting, but I'm not yet buying into that level of paranoia. We'll see. The next Prez will have enough on their plate with just what's immediately in front of 'em on day one.

LB said...

Twilight ~ I won't defend the article's sarcastic tone (in places), even if I understand where it comes from. Rather than relying on facts, most of us (you and me included) occasionally use those same tones, if not publicly (in posts and comments), then privately.

Still, the article contains a lot of good info. If not to form a more well-rounded opinion, then as a jumping-off point for further investigation.

It's not just Bernie's pro-military record or his sometimes questionable support of Israel in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's that he consistently votes along party-lines, even going *against* the major issues he *claims* to support, such as *single-payer* when he voted to pass the Affordable Care Act, an act co-written by insurance company executives. I've read some refer to Obamacare as "Corporate-care" and I agree.

While it's not reasonable to expect anyone to be perfect, the bottom line for me is Bernie doesn't consistently walk the talk when the going gets tough and he has the opportunity to stand out from the pro-military/corporate crowd.

Though it'd be nice to believe otherwise, there's no reason to believe he'd be any different if he were elected president, when the pressure to make political compromises would be even greater.

LB (again) said...

I found a great quote in an article titled, "Bernie Sanders Is No Eugene Debs":

"The Republican and Democratic parties, or, to be more exact, the Republican-Democratic party, represent the capitalist class in the class struggle. They are the political wings of the capitalist system and such differences as arise between them relate to spoils and not to principles. With either of those parties in power, one thing is always certain, and that is that the capitalist class is in the saddle and the working class under the saddle." Eugene Debs

Twilight said...

LB ~ Voting along party lines, in relation to the Affordable Care Act - this was a stumbling block for Dennis Kucinich supporters (myself included) after he'd been on a plane ride with the President, and do doubt endured a bit of arm-twisting. The ACA has done some good for some people, and that is better than doing nothing for anybody. It was all that was going to be on the table- again due to Republican input, and Obama's dropping the "Public Option" he had promised. Again - it was necessary for any with compassion for the needy to work with what was available, otherwise we'd still be in the totally awful position we were in before. We have to be reasonable on this, we all would prefer Medicare for all, or single payer or something nearer to those, but it wasn't going to happen -too much money in politics, too much insurance corporation power, etc etc etc. Blame Obama first for not insisting on the Public Option, he reneged on that, leaving decent Democrats in the lurch.

LB....LOL! You won't change my mind - I've heard or read most of these points in various places before. Bernie isn't Debs, of course he isn't - this is 2015 and this is a different world. Maybe in 2075 someone will be saying "....... is no Bernie Sanders" when the people are trying, once again, to get out from under the corporations and their money in politics.

Bernie, in my opinion, is doing the only thing left available that will get us anywhere - and it entails running with the Democrats, even being aware as he surely is, of the fact that most of 'em are hardly a smidgin better than Republicans. He has lived for 70+ years, he's a shrewd cookie, I think he knows exactly what he's doing.

Tell me, LB - who else is there who would be a better president, with an outside chance of being a)nominated and b) elected? I'm curious to know your view on this.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Your question wrongly assumes we must disregard our consciences and choose based on how electable a candidate is, and also, I think, that we must vote for someone rather than no one.

My conscience won't allow me to vote for *anyone* who supports corporate healthcare, the Military-Industrial Complex (a MAJOR cause of environmental and social injustice, btw), the use of drones, development of a $400 BILLION fighter jet and various other unjust acts of oppression and aggression throughout the world. Or any bill that results in $8.6 billion in food stamp cuts. All in the name of 'compromise', as if that's a good thing. It's not as if Bernie Sanders will suffer the consequences of these compromises.

You said, "We have to be reasonable on this, we all would prefer Medicare for all, or single payer or something nearer to those, but it wasn't going to happen -too much money in politics, too much insurance corporation power, etc etc etc."

There's no reason to believe anything will be different with Bernie in office.

Universal healthcare (along with a lot of other things) is only 'unreasonable' if we continue to accept a certain way of thinking, one based on a capitalistic, imperiaistic paradigm that places a higher value on extreme profits and power (often corporate/military) over the long-term wellbeing of people and the environment.

I also think your faith in the merits of Obamacare is misplaced. If you're interested, you can read some of *our* stories here:

I relate to a lot of these stories . . . about high deductibles, unaffordable premiums, lack of access, ongoing bureaucratic confusion and poor treatment by doctors and insurers, with even **less accountability** on the part of insurance companies than before. It's what those of us who advocated for single-payer were predicting all along.

Maybe it's different for folks with more money who can afford the more expensive plans, Gold and Platinum.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Related to the nuclear deal with Iran you touched upon, did you happen to read how the Prez is offering to discuss an increase in military aid to Israel after Israel's prime minister expressed his displeasure over the deal?

Twilight said...

LB ~ Not voting for president is something I did in 2012 - but I did vote Dem. down ticket.
It's for everyone to vote, or not, as they see fit, at each opportunity.

We're never going to agree on this, so let us simply agree to disagree.